Newspoll: 52-48 to Labor

Details here. More to follow.

UPDATE: Pardon my tardiness. Newspoll has Labor down two points on the primary vote to 40 per cent, the Coalition up four to 42 per cent and the Greens steady on 12 per cent, all of which conforms better with long-term trends than last week’s result. However, the changes in personal ratings are significant enough to be a worry for Labor: Julia Gillard’s approval rating is down seven to 41 per cent and her disapproval up eight to 37 per cent. Tony Abbott’s approval is up four points to 40 per cent and his disapproval down five to 46 per cent, and he has narrowed the gap on preferred prime minister from 57-26 to 50-34.

We also have a 52-48 result this morning from Galaxy, with primary vote figures that differ from Newspoll’s in that Labor is two points lower on 38 per cent and the Greens three points higher on 15 per cent, with the Coalition on 41 per cent. Also this morning comes a Patterson Market Research poll from Eden-Monaro which has Labor with a thumping 61-39 two-party lead from primary votes of 53 per cent for Labor member Mike Kelly, 36 per cent for Liberal candidate 36 per cent and 9 per cent for the Greens. This comes from Patterson’s usual small sample of a bit over 400, resulting in a margin of error of about 5 per cent. Essential Research should be along shortly.

UPDATE 2: Essential Research is unchanged from last week, with Labor’s two-party lead at 55-45. As in Newspoll, Julia Gillard’s personal ratings are down, approval three points to 49 per cent and disapproval up three to 33 per cent. A move like this in the first week of an election campaign would be a concern for Labor: it’s tempting to link it to “moving forward” overkill. However, Tony Abbott does even worse: approval down five to 35 per cent, disapproval up two to 46 per cent. Preferred prime minister is basically unchanged, Gillard up one to 51 per cent and Abbott down one to 26 per cent. Also covered are interest in watching the debate, interest in the election generally, and – interestingly – whether Peter Costello would have made a better Liberal leader than Tony Abbott, which gives 45 per cent yes and 26 per cent no.

Nielsen: 54-46 to Labor; Westpoll marginal seat polls

The good polling news for Labor continues to pile up: the first Nielsen poll of the campaign, unusually published on a Saturday, has Labor with a two-party lead of 54-46, compared with 52-48 a fortnight ago. Labor is up three points on the primary vote to 42 per cent, with the Coalition down one to 41 per cent and the Greens down one to 12 per cent. Among women Labor’s two-party lead is 58-42, compared with 50-50 among men. Julia Gillard’s approval rating is 59 per cent among women, 53 per cent among men and 56 per cent overall, while her disapproval is up a point to 33 per cent. Tony Abbott has an approval rating of 43 per cent and disapproval of 51 per cent, both of which are unchanged. Gillard has a 28-point lead as preferred prime minister among women and a 14-point lead among men, translating to a 21-point lead overall. Labor would be especially pleased to learn that 51 per cent believe Abbott would break his promise not to reintroduce WorkChoices.

Courtesy of The West Australian, we also have Patterson Market Research/Westpoll surveys of four Perth marginal seats conducted from Saturday to Wednesday, each from samples of slightly over 400, which show Labor travelling a lot better than they were in Kevin Rudd’s last days. In Hasluck, earlier thought to be gone for all money, Labor has a two-party lead of 54-46 from primary votes of 47 per cent for Labor, 43 per cent for Liberal and 6 per cent for the Greens. Labor also has its nose in front in Canning, where former state government minister Alannah MacTiernan is challenging sitting member Don Randall. MacTiernan leads 51-49 on two-party preferred from primary votes of 45 per cent Liberal, 44 per cent Labor and 6 per cent Greens. There is better news for the Liberals in the two seats they gained from Labor in 2007. In Cowan, the Liberals hold a two-party lead of 53-47, from primary votes of 51 per cent Liberal, 40 per cent Labor and 7 per cent Greens. In Swan the Liberals lead 52-48 on two-party preferred and 47 per cent to 37 per cent on the primary vote, with the Greens on 10 per cent. The margin of error in any given seat is about 5 per cent; however, pooling the four together halves the margin of error and produces an overall swing to Labor of 1 per cent.

UPDATE: The Illawarra Mercury/IRIS poll from Gilmore mentioned in the previous post turns out to have a sample of 400, and hence a margin of error of a bit under 5 per cent. It gives Liberal member Joanna Gash a hefty primary vote lead of 58 per cent to 31 per cent over Labor candidate Neil Reilly, with the Greens on 11 per cent. This translates into a 60-40 lead on two-party preferred, compared with a 0.4 per cent notional Labor margin after the redistribution.

Morgan: 55.5-44.5 phone poll, 55-45 face-to-face

As expected, Morgan has come good on voting intetion results from the phone poll for which a teaser was offered yesterday, and it shows Labor opening up a commanding 55.5-44.5 two-party lead. Morgan has also published a similar result from its routine weekend face-to-face polling, which has Labor’s lead up to 55-45 from 53.5-46.5 the previous week. Labor traditionally does better from Morgan’s face-to-face polling, so either there’s some statistical noise here or Labor has gained ground in the first week of the campaign. On the face-to-face poll, Labor leads 44.5 per cent (up 4 per cent) to 39.5 per cent (down 1.5 per cent) on the primary vote, with the Greens on 10.5 per cent (down 1.5 per cent). On the phone poll, the figures are 44 per cent for Labor, 38.5 per cent for the Coalition and 11.5 per cent for the Greens. The samples were 719 for the phone poll and 871 for the face-to-face, with respective margins of error of about 3.7 per cent and 3.3 per cent.

UPDATE: Via Twitter via Frank Calabrese in comments, we learn of an Illawarra Mercury poll showing the Liberals well ahead in their marginal south coast NSW seat of Gilmore. Past experience suggests this will be an IRIS poll with a small sample of 300 and a big margin of error of 7 per cent.

Advertiser poll: 67-33 to Labor in Kingston

The Advertiser has published a survey of 605 voters in the seat of Kingston in southern Adelaide, which Labor’s Amanda Rishworth holds with a margin of 4.5 per cent, and it shows Labor with a frankly unbelievable two-party lead of 67-33. On the primary vote, Rishworth leads Liberal candidate Chris Zanker 58 per cent to 25 per cent, with the Greens on 9 per cent and Family First on 6 per cent. Respondents favoured Julia Gillard over Tony Abbott by 68 per cent to 22 per cent, which panned out to 73 per cent to 17 per cent among women. Labor’s primary vote lead was 61 per cent to 24 per cent among women and 55 per cent to 27 per cent among men. Labor was rated best to handle asylum seekers by 44 per cent against 34 per cent for the Liberals. While The Advertiser’s Mark Kenny candidly acknowledges the likelihood the poll is a “rogue”, he also reports “party research shows that none of the previously marginal Labor seats is in danger of falling”. The question would seem to be whether Gillard’s local popularity can sweep them to victory in the Adelaide Liberal marginals of Boothby and Sturt.

UPDATE: More from Possum, who finds the poll’s “internals” curiously convincing.

Further polling factoids:

• Morgan has published preferred prime minister ratings from a phone poll of 719 respondents conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, which shows Julia Gillard leading Tony Abbott 58-29 among all voters, 62-22 among women and 54-36 among men. Gillard’s approval rating is 58 per cent and her disapproval rating is 26 per cent, while Abbott’s respective figures are 42 per cent and 48 per cent. These represent huge improvements for Gillard on the phone poll Morgan conducted in the week after the leadership change, which showed the Coalition with an anomalous 51.5-48.5 lead on two-party preferred. A separate Morgan release details questions on preferred Labor leader, with Gillard on 52 per cent, Kevin Rudd on 21 per cent, Wayne Swan on 7 per cent and Stephen Smith on 6 per cent, and also for preferred Liberal leader, with Malcolm Turnbull on 29 per cent, Tony Abbott on 24 per cent, Joe Hockey on 24 per cent and Julie Bishop on 8 per cent. Channel Seven has reported it will have exclusive Morgan poll results tomorrow evening: presumably these will be figures on voting intention from the same survey, and if the leadership figures are anything to go by it will be very much more favourable to Labor than last time. No doubt Morgan will also publish separate results tomorrow from last weekend’s face-to-face polling.

• Not entirely sure what the story is here, but Possum tweets of Galaxy polling from Brisbane marginals showing Labor ahead 55-45 in Petrie and 52-48 in Bowman, but tied with the LNP in Brisbane and Ryan.

• The Illawarra Mercury has published a none-too-illuminating finding from an IRIS poll of 306 respondents on its local turf, showing approval for Julia Gillard at 51 per cent. However, with “close to one-third” undecided it would appear that hesitant respondents were not pressed to offer a leaning one way or another, as per pollsters’ normal practice. Electorates covered by the poll are safe Labor Cunningham and Throsby, and marginal Liberal Gilmore.

• The latest Reuters Poll Trend, which aggregates various national polls, has Labor with a two-party lead of 53.5-46.5.

Highlights of day five

With just 31 days left to go:

• Two pieces of polling intelligence have emerged today on what appears to be a widening electoral gender gap. The Australian reports the weekend’s 55-45 Newspoll had Labor leading 44 per cent to 33 per cent on the primary vote among women, but trailing 39 per cent to 42 per cent among men. We are also told that the gender gap in Tony Abbott’s personal rating is now at nine points, up from four in April. As George Megalogenis noted last week, this is likely to hit the Liberals in seats with a high concentration of working women, of which Cameron Stewart of The Australian identifies four: Bennelong, Franklin, Brisbane and Deakin. The Herald-Sun also reports that the weekend’s 50-50 Galaxy poll had Julia Gillard’s preferred prime minister lead at 58-31 among women and 51-40 among men.

• The Herald Sun further informs us that 59 per cent of respondents from the Galaxy survey supported a levy on bank profits similar to that of the mining tax, not that either party is advocating such a thing. Only 28 per cent of respondents said they were opposed.

• Leisa Scott of the Courier-Mail reports that Jen Sackley, unsuccessful LNP preselection hopeful for Leichhardt, will run as an independent. Sackley has complained of a “bullying culture” in the party, and proclaimed Labor’s Leichhardt MP Jim Turnour to be of superior “stature” to Warren Entsch, the former Liberal member who is coming out of retirement to run again for the LNP.

Possum calculates the electoral impact of Labor’s decision to lock in an election date that gave voters only one weekday to get their enrolment in order. This is found to be in the order of fractions of 0.1 per cent, but might be a bit higher in seats with a particularly high concentration of young voters. The most marginal of these are identified as Melbourne, Ryan, Swan, Herbert, Macarthur, Solomon and Cowan.

• Verona Burgess of the Australian Financial Review notes the electoral impact of public service cuts not just on the Australian Capital Territory, where they might make life difficult for Liberal Senator Gary Humphries, but also in Eden-Monaro. As well as housing many of Canberra’s public servants in Queanbeyan, the famous bellwether electorate also encompasses Batemans Bay on the south coast, which Burgess tells us is known as “little Canberra-by-the-sea” due to its concentration of public agencies.

• Three cheers to Matthew Landauer of the Open Australia Foundation for instigating the most excellent ElectionLeaflets.org.au site, a repository for user-contributed scans and photos of electoral material.

Highlights of day four

A summary of yesterday’s events that didn’t get posted overnight due to internet trouble.

• The election debate will be held from 6.30pm and 7.30pm on Sunday, an hour earlier and half an hour shorter than normal. The reason on both counts is to avoid a conflict with the final of MasterChef on Channel Ten. David Speers of SkyNews will moderate, and the leaders will face a panel consisting of Malcolm Farr from the Daily Telegraph, Chris Uhlmann of ABC News 24 and Laura Tingle of the Australian Financial Review.

Christian Kerr in The Australian reports the Liberal campaign headquarters that will belatedly commence operation today is believed to be at 90 Collins Street, Melbourne, but “sources said the location was even being hidden from campaign workers who are expected to begin work there today”.

• Julia Gillard spent yesterday in the western Sydney and hinterland seats of Macquarie and Greenway. Matthew Franklin and Sarah Elks of The Australian note this is of a piece with an apparent campaign strategy to favour set-piece photo opportunities over less easily manageable appearance in public places. Tony Abbott on the other hand remained in Melbourne – less than a target-rich environment as far as marginal seats are concerned – which included a public appearance in marginal Labor Deakin. David Crowe of the Australian Financial Review made the following observation yesterday:

In a pre-emptive strike against Prime Minister Julia Gillard, the Coalition has begun a below-the-radar campaign in regional Queensland to woo voters in key areas that could decide the federal election … Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey launched the effort late last week – a move that focused on local media and local campaigns rather than participation in the blanket national media coverage of the election, when it was called on Saturday. The strategy ensured the Coalittion had senior figures campaigning in cities such as Townsville and the highly marginal seat of Herbert before Ms Gillard headed to the area yesterday (Monday) morning. Beginning last Wednesday, Mr Hockey travleled from Gladstone to Mackay, Townsville, Innisfail and Cairns over five days to campaign for Coalition candidates”.

For all your campaign movement needs (not just the leaders), note Crikey’s excellent Election Tracker feature.

• Adrian Schonfelder, Labor’s candidate for the Melbourne hinterland seat of Flinders (held for the Liberals by Greg Hunt), has apologised for suggesting Tony Abbott’s conservative social positions were “influencing people to take their own lives”.

Simon Canning of The Australian notes Labor is “expected to keep its hands clean in the election marketing war by allowing the union movement to carry the can and send out ads attacking Liberal leader Tony Abbott and the threat of a Coalition government”. The Australian Workers Union’s Addams Family ad is cited as a case in point.

Tony Koch and Sean Parnell of The Australian consider the impact of the government’s restitution of programs to engage indigenous people with the electoral process, which had been cut by the Rudd government. The main marginal seats with high indigenous populations are Leichhardt in far north Queensland and the Darwin-based seat of Solomon.

• The Liberal National Party has come up with an odd arrangement whereby its newly preselected candidate for Kevin Rudd’s seat of Griffith, Rebecca Docherty – herself a substitute for dumped former Liberal Democratic Party figure John Humphreys – will make way for an unspecified “high-profile” candidate should Rudd have a late change of heart about remaining in politics.

• Discussing Newspoll and Galaxy results in the Financial Review, Andrew Catsaras calculates the “market share of swinging voters” – 17 per cent of the total – at 29 per cent for Labor, 35 per cent for the Coalition and 31 per cent for the Greens. I presume he’s done this by comparing the totals to some measure of the parties’ bedrock levels of support. If we’re lucky he might enlighten us in comments.

• The Daily Telegraph has published details of a poll on climate change conducted for lobbyist firm Parker and Partners by “online polling company Pureprofile”, showing 82 per cent of respondents favouring “strong or moderate action immediately”.