GhostWhoVotes brings us the latest quarterly state Newspoll from Queensland, and it finds Anna Bligh’s government continuing to give Kristina Keneally’s a run for its money in the unpopularity stakes. From an already dismal starting point, Labor’s primary vote has slumped a further three points to a new low of 26 per cent, with the Liberal National Party up one to 45 per cent, the Greens down one to 13 per cent and others up three to 16 per cent. For what it’s worth under optional preferential voting, the LNP’s two-party preferred lead has opened from 57-43 to 59-41. Anna Bligh’s personal ratings, which already looked terminal to begin with, have also worsened: her approval is down two points to 24 per cent and her disapproval up two to 67 per cent. John-Paul Langbroek gets more good news from his personal ratings: he is now on 38 per cent for both approval and disapproval, up six and down six respectively, and his lead as preferred premier has widened from 42-34 to 41-31.
Happy new year everybody. Limiting our brief to known knowns, we have the following entries in the 2011 electoral calendar.
The NSW Labor government’s date for the electoral mincer is set for March 26. Mumble man Peter Brent has bravely ventured that Labor will do better than opinion polls in 2010 said they would, perhaps emerging with around 30 out of 93 seats. My tip is that this prediction of Brent’s won’t scrub up quite as nicely after the event as those he made in relation to Victoria.
John Brumby’s exit from politics will result in a by-election in his ultra-safe northern Melbourne seat of Broadmeadows, probably in February or March. According to David Rood of The Age, early contenders for Labor preselection include former Brumby adviser and Labor state secretary Nick Reece, former adviser to Steve Bracks and lobbyist Danny Pearson, Hume councillor Burhan Yigit, ex-Labor party officer and right-wing figure Mehmet Tillem, recently defeated Labor upper house MP Nathan Murphy and former Hobsons Bay Council mayor Bill Baarini. One might surmise that other Victorian by-elections will follow before the year is through.
Four of the 15 seats in Tasmania’s Legislative Council will become vacant this year, with elections almost certain to be held on May 7. These include two of the three seats held by Labor, with the other two being among the 11 held by independents (Vanessa Goodwin in Pembroke being the sole Liberal). In the normal course of events, two or three seats are on rotation to become vacant each year: this year is the turn of Launceston, Murchison and Rumney. Veteran independent Don Wing is retiring in Launceston, which will be constested for the Liberals by state party president Sam McQuestin. Sitting independent Ruth Forrest will seek another term in Murchison she will be opposed by a Labor candidate in the person of Waratah-Wynyard mayor Kevin Hyland (UPDATE: Kevin Bonham in comments advises that Hyland is no longer a starter), but not by the Liberals. Labor’s Lin Thorp is up for re-election in Rumney, and I can find no mention of potential challengers (it’s not unknown for Legislative Council members to be returned unopposed, but the Greens at least can be relied upon to take a shot in metropolitan seats). The bonus fourth seat is a by-election caused by the retirement of former Treasurer Michael Aird. Labor’s new nominee is Derwent deputy mayor Craig Farrell.
GhostWhoVotes brings results of the latest quarterly Newspoll of state voting intention in Western Australia, and it finds the state Labor Party joining its New South Wales and Queensland counterparts in the sub-30 primary vote club. From an already parlous position in July-September, Labor is down a point on both the primary vote, now at 29 per cent, and two-party preferred, with the Coalition now leading 58-42. Both leaders’ personal ratings are much as they’ve been all year: Colin Barnett is down a point on approval to 55 per cent and up three on disapproval to 35 per cent, Eric Ripper is down one on approval to 33 per cent and up one on disapproval to 43 per cent, and Barnett’s two-party lead has gone from 61-17 to 60-16. The sample for the poll was 839, for a margin of error of about 3.4 per cent.
Courtesy of GhostWhoVotes, the latest bi-monthly Newspoll shows the executioner’s axe continuing to hang over the head of the Labor government in New South Wales, although they have just slightly out-performed their all-time low in the previous poll. The Coalition’s two-party lead is down from 63-37 to 61-39, although the primary vote changes are fairly minor: Labor up one to 24 per cent, the Coalition down one to 45 per cent, the Greens down two to 15 per cent and others up two to 16 per cent. Barry O’Farrell has taken a six point hit on approval to 42 per cent after what looks like an aberrant result last time, and his disapproval is up one to 33 per cent. Kristina Keneally is down on both approval (three points to 35 per cent) and disapproval (one point to 49 per cent). The uncommitted result for each is up substantially. Keneally has slightly narrowed the gap on preferred premier, from 42-35 to 40-35.
The Australian has Newspoll’s quarterly geographic and demographic breakdowns, combining results from its six post-election surveys to obtain samples big enough for state, gender and metropolitan/regional breakdowns. These indicate that Labor has held its ground on two-party preferred thanks to gains in Queensland, where their two-party vote of 48 per cent compares with 44.9 per cent at the election. From a low base, the state has delivered a six-point boost to Julia Gillard’s personal ratings, her approval up to 40 per cent and disapproval down to 44 per cent. This has balanced losses in New South Wales (down 1.5 per cent to 48 per cent), South Australia (down 2.2 per cent to 51 per cent) and Victoria (down 0.3 per cent to 55 per cent). Labor is up 1.4 per cent to 45 per cent in Western Australia, in line with Westpoll’s recent results. Labor is down 0.5 per cent across all capitals, driven by a 5.1 per cent fall in the primary vote, and up 1.4 per cent in non-capitals (which I wouldn’t have picked). The Coalition has suffered an unlikely eight point hit on the primary vote among the 35-49 age bracket, a correction after a rogue result in Newspoll’s famed election eve poll.
UPDATE: The last Essential Research survey for the year has the Coalition’s two-party lead steady at 52-48, with Labor up a point on the primary vote to 38 per cent, the Coalition steady on 46 per cent and the Greens steady on 10 per cent. On the poll’s monthly measure of personal ratings, Julia Gillard is steady on approval at 43 per cent and up two on disapproval to 40 per cent, Tony Abbott is one point on each to 39 per cent on each, and Gillard’s lead as preferred prime minister is unchanged at 45-34. The big winner from the poll is Julian Assange: 53 per cent approve of the release of the Wikileaks material with just 25 per cent disapproving, and 46 per cent disapprove of the government’s response (the question explicitly referring to the Prime Minister’s grossly irresponsible and illegal lines) against 32 per cent who approve. Fifty per cent believe Assange should receive support and assistance from the Australian Government if he is charged with an offence by the US or another country, against 26 per cent who believe he should not. The poll also finds 43 per cent support (steady on a year ago) and 37 per cent opposition (up two) for the development of nuclear power plants for electricity.
L-NP in front on Face-to-Face Morgan Poll for First time since Federal Election, reads the Roy Morgan headline, with some understatement: the 51.5-48.5 headline figure represents the first time the Coalition has led Labor in a Morgan face-to-face poll since June 2006. However, this is the two-party figure derived by using respondent-allocated preferences for minor party voters, rather than the consistently more reliable measure of distributing preferences according to the results of the previous election, on which the parties are evenly split. Labor’s two-party vote has crashing to 48.5 per cent from 53 per cent a fortnight ago (52.5 per cent on the respondent-allocated measure), from primary votes of 38 per cent (down 2.5 per cent) for Labor, 43 per cent (up 2.5 per cent) for the Coalition and 13.5 per cent (steady) for the Greens. The poll covers 1757 respondents from the last two weekends of face-to-face surveying.