GhostWhoVotes reports Newspoll has the Coalition’s lead out from 57-43 to 59-41, with the Coalition up three to 50 per cent, Labor steady on 27 per cent and the Greens down two to 12 per cent. The worse damage from the Malaysia solution wreckage is for Julia Gillard personally, who has recorded the fifth worst net satisfaction rating in Newspoll history: 23 per cent approval and 68 per cent disapproval, surpassed only by four results for Paul Keating in the months following the 1993 budget (a pattern emerges of voters reacting unfavourably to unpromised tax initiatives). On the question of preferred Labor leader, Kevin Rudd is apparently up 21 points to 57 per cent – although I’m not sure when the earlier poll was conducted (UPDATE: GhostWhoVotes once again does my homework for me: it was conducted in mid-April). Gillard is down five to 24 per cent. Tony Abbott meanwhile is up three points on approval to 39 per cent and down three on disapproval to 52 per cent, and his lead as preferred prime minister is out from 39-38 to 43-34.
The first tranche of the Newspoll was delivered by The Australian yesterday, with two questions on asylum seekers which were predictably unfavourable to the government. Just 12 per cent were willing to rate its performance on the issue very good (2 per cent) or somewhat good (10 per cent), against 25 per cent for somewhat bad and 53 per cent for very bad. Even as the issue began to escape Labor’s control in 2009, the party was able to maintain a 37 per cent good rating in April and 31 per cent in November, with respective bad ratings of 40 per cent and 53 per cent. However, the current poll shows the Liberals failing to yield a dividend: Labor have plunged 17 points to 12 per cent since a week before the 2010 election, but the Coalition too are down five points to 38 per cent: “someone else” is up five to 13 per cent, with none/uncommitted up 25 to 37 per cent.
Meanwhile, today’s Essential Research had the Coalition going from 56-44 to 57-43 from primary votes of 30 per cent for Labor (down two), 49 per cent for the Coalition (steady) and 11 per cent for the Greens. It should be remembered that Essential Research is a two-week rolling average, meaning half the survey sample comes from before last week’s High Court ruling. The poll also finds 48 per cent favouring an election now against 40 per cent for a full term. The wording of the question, “do you think the Labor government should run its full term until 2013 when the next federal election is due”, is greatly preferable to the somewhat leading effort from last week’s Queensland Galaxy poll, “would you be in favour of or opposed to holding a fresh election to give voters an opportunity to elect a majority Labor or Coalition government”. Similar questions to Essential’s from Newspoll produced 42 per cent each way in May, and 40 per cent for and 44 per cent against in March.
Among the other questions are one gauging levels of recognition and trust in eight media commentators, which I’m pleased to say they took up on my suggestion. Strong results for Laurie Oakes, George Negus and Tony Jones bear out a well-understood tendency of this kind of inquiry to favour those in the medium of television. It might thus be thought all the more remarkable that Alan Jones is rated the least trusted of the eight: he has a near universal recognition rating of 84 per cent, and those outside New South Wales would only know him by television. Andrew Bolt scores a much more modest recognition rating of 52 per cent, but rates quite a lot higher on trust; Melbourne radio rivals Neil Mitchell and Jon Faine record mediocre results, and Michelle Grattan rather better ones. Also in Essential is a question on best leader to handle another global financial crisis, which has 40 per cent choosing one of the three Liberal options (20 per cent for Tony Abbott, 13 per cent for Malcolm Turnbull and 7 per cent for Joe Hockey) and 37 per cent the two from Labor (Kevin Rudd characteristically well in front of Julia Gillard, 24 per cent to 13 per cent). Forty-six per cent support the government’s mineral resource rent tax against 34 per cent opposed, and mining, agriculture and tourism rated the most important industries for Australia’s economic future.
Further afield, yesterday’s Launceston Examiner published results from an EMRS poll of 300 respondents in Bass, which found Liberal candidate Andrew Nikolic leading Labor incumbent Geoff Lyons 46 per cent to 31 per cent on the primary vote after distribution of the undecided. Distributing the 14 per cent Greens and 6 per cent others as per the 2010 election result, this gives Nikolic a lead of 53-47 (the Examiner has figures based on arbitrary preference splits which are slightly more favourable to the Liberals). The poll was conducted from August 22 to August 25, from the same sample that produced EMRS’s recent poll of state voting intention. Comments thread chat suggests EMRS preceded the question on voting intention with attitudinal questions on the carbon tax and detention centres, in breach of fairly well established polling convention which says such questions can influence the responses that follow. However, the suggested swing of nearly 10 per cent is fairly well in line with the national trend.
Last and probably least, the Courier-Mail informs us that a Galaxy poll shows 23 per cent of respondents saying they are “likely” to vote for Bob Katter’s Australian Party. It transpires that voters were specifically asked if they would be either “very likely” or “quite likely” to support the party after first being presented with a more normal question on voting intention, which turned up very little support for it. Beyond that, it is not clear whether this is a foretaste of another Galaxy poll of Queensland or, as I assume more likely, an extra question held back from last week’s poll.