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The Australian today brings us Newspoll’s regular quarterly breakdown of its federal polling by state, sex and age group. Compared with the last quarter of 2011, it finds Labor gained a point to lead 51-49 in South Australia, was steady at 50-50 in Victoria, cut the Coalition lead in New South Wales to 54-46 from 57-43 (59-41 in the July to September quarter), and took a point out of the still enormous Coalition leads in Queensland and Western Australia, which are now at 58-42 and 56-44. The Coalition’s two-party lead in the five main capitals is steady at 53-47 and down from 57-43 to 55-45 elsewhere.

Whereas last week’s Nielsen showed a dramatic widening in the gender gap between polls conducted in late February and late March, Newspoll records no such trend between its October-to-December and January-to-March surveys, which may of course conceal a very recent shift. It is interesting to note that the expectation Tony Abbott would poll badly among women was not realised in his earliest polls as Opposition Leader, but has been over time. Breaking it down by age group, the only change which skirts the roughly 3 per cent margins of error is among the 18-34s: Labor is up four points to 33 per cent, the Coalition down four points to 37 per cent and the Greens down three to 17 per cent.

Both leaders were down three on approval in New South Wales, Julia Gillard to 29 per cent and Tony Abbott to 33 per cent, but Abbott was up five in Queensland to 40 per cent. Abbott took a knock in Western Australia to be down five on approval to 31 per cent and up three on disapproval to 56 per cent. Preferred prime minister was essentially unchanged, although a shift in Gillard’s favour in South Australia – from 40-33 to 44-32 – pokes its head above the margin of error.

UPDATE: Oh yeah, Essential Research. As tends to be the case with polls these days, it’s very, very bad news for Labor, who have suffered a two-point shift away from them on two-party preferred compared with last week’s result – with the Coalition lead now at 57-43 – which is rare given that Essential publishes a two-week rolling average. The Coalition is up two points on the primary vote to 50 per cent – a new high for them so far as Essential is concerned – with Labor down two to 31 per cent and the Greens steady on 11 per cent.

Further attitudinal questions show 73 per cent believe the government should delay returning the budget to surplus if that’s what is required to maintain services and invest in infrastructure, with only 12 per cent supporting cuts to services and tax increases to restore the budget surplus. Although it may be that many respondents can instead be restored by “economic management” 28 per cent blame the present government’s lack of it for the present deficit, with 59 per cent choosing four other options available (16 per cent showing awareness of “lower tax revenues because of the Global Financial Crisis”).

On the question of Tony Abbott’s proposed childcare rebate for nannies, 44 per cent are in favour and 33 per cent opposed. Sixty-eight per cent support means testing as a general principle, while 24 per cent believe “people should receive the same subsidies and benefits regardless of income”. A “party best at” question draws the intriguingly dissonant response of a 12-point advantage to Labor on “representing the interests of Australian working families”, but a 6-point advantage to Liberal on “representing the interests of you and people like you”.

Finally, 78 per cent of respondents believe workers should get a “higher hourly rate” on weekends against only 18 per cent opposed, though how much higher exactly remains a subject for further investigation.

UPDATE (16/4): This week’s Essential Research has the Coalition’s two-party lead narrowing from 57-43 to 56-44, from primary votes of 48% for the Coalition (down two), 31% for Labor (steady) and 11% for the Greens (steady). Also featured are Essential’s monthly personal ratings, which have Julia Gillard’s approval steady at 32% and her disapproval down three to 58%, Tony Abbott’s respectively up two to 38% and down two to 50%, and Gillard’s lead as preferred prime minister shifting from 40-37 to 38-36. Support for the National Broadband Network is up a point since February to a new high of 57% with opposition down three to 22%, and 46% saying they will either definitely or probably sign up for it. There is also a question on appropriate areas for federal and state responsibility, with the states only coming out heavily on top for public transport and “investing in regional areas”.

William Bowe — Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe

Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, is one of the most heavily trafficked forums for online discussion of Australian politics, and joined the Crikey stable in 2008.

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5086 comments

5,086 thoughts on “Newspoll quarterly breakdown

  1. [didn’t look rock solid when Morgan had ALP ahead, and things also tightened when Rudd challenged and people started to engage.]

    When there was a chance that Rudd could lead, there was hope. When it was clear he was gone and the only option was Gillard, the polls went backwards for the ALP.

    [Coalition will remain soft whilst ever they are led by the unpopular ]

    Amazes me that people talk about the unpopularity of Abbott, yet forget to mention he is MORE popular than Gillard!

    C’mon guys, a little reality check please.

  2. [Amazes me that people talk about the unpopularity of Abbott, yet forget to mention he is MORE popular than Gillard!]
    Very marginal, within MOE and it has bounced around.

  3. Fine Gary, lets say AS unpopular as Gillard!

    The point is, the Libs can change Abbott, he has had a great run and done a wonderful job knobbling sequential ALP Prime Ministers.

    The ALP has no Plan B…

  4. Garrett is not a really strong promoter of any portfolio. He is a dud

    Brandis was appointed a Senator to replace a mid-term retirement in 2004
    He was appointed an SC in 2006, not a ringing endorsement of a searing judicial brain, more a demonstration of “vitamin B” as a German would say

  5. Bluegreen, have you ever watched Sky’s Liberal Agenda?

    The Liberal representatives are always; loud, angry, abusive and interruptive. You’ve got Morrison, Hockey, Dutton, O’Dwyer, Briggs etc. etc. it’s the only way the Liberals know to be.

    C’mon get real!

  6. BTW Gary:

    In the last year,
    Abbott has beaten Gillard in 18 polls (by up to 32 points)
    Gillard has beaten Abbott in 2 polls (by 1 and by 4 points)

  7. [The point is, the Libs can change Abbott, he has had a great run and done a wonderful job knobbling sequential ALP Prime Ministers.]
    I still maintain that while Abbott is there Labor has a chance. As I’ve said a couple of times both leaders are very unpopular, so we know people will hold their collective noses for whichever one they vote for. It must therefore be a decision on policy, not personalities one would think.
    I don’t accept Labor has no plan B. They have many “plan B’s” unlike the Libs.

  8. [billie
    Posted Monday, April 16, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Permalink
    Abbott polls very poorly with women, the Australian population is 52% female]

    Yes but pollsters ask women as well, not just men, when they conduct their polls.

  9. [They have many “plan B’s” unlike the Libs.]

    I am not saying there aren’t people in the ALP who could take the leadership, I am saying there is no way the electorate would let them get away with it, largely given the way the ALP and particularly Cabinet Ministers went about the latest leadership turmoil.

    I think they should just bite the bullet and do it anyway, take the huge loss and starting gathering up the forces for future battles. If they take the risk of going with Gillard to the next election prepare yourselves for a big result! I’m talking NSW / Qld “big”.

  10. [In the last year,
    Abbott has beaten Gillard in 18 polls (by up to 32 points)
    Gillard has beaten Abbott in 2 polls (by 1 and by 4 points)]
    But he’s not doing that now. Gillard is in office and holds the purse. As Howard has found it’s a powerful tool in getting yourself popular. Abbott is unpopular not being in office. What’s his excuse and how can he make himself more popular?

  11. [victoria
    Posted Monday, April 16, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Permalink
    Mod Lib

    Change Abbott to who? Do tell]

    It appears we are in a “Drovers dog” situation at the moment.

  12. [They have many “plan B’s” unlike the Libs]

    Yes Labor do have a few good opposition leaders ready to take up the challenge of driving the Labor tarago bus around.. 🙂

  13. Jesus that shits me.

    Tony Delroy has Dennis Shanahan on to provide “guidance” about current Australian politics.

    Dennis tells us so matter-of-factly, calmly and in such “measured” tones, that a Surplus will be damaging to the economy, that it will be in name only, and anyway, in a “$3 trillion” economy, a couple of billion here or there is not really worth the Budget paper it’s printed on.

    It’ll be a fudge, a conjurer’s trick and not important in the overall Big Picture. Swan will be judged harshly. Any cuts he makes will be thought by the Australian people to be cruel and unusual, targeting them personally for shallow political ends etc. etc. etc.

    Why in the f**k does Delroy BOTHER having such a partisan shill, with that little nasaly, squirmy, smarmy voice on telling ANYONE what’s what?

    It’s a bloody disgrace.

  14. [I think they should just bite the bullet and do it anyway, take the huge loss and starting gathering up the forces for future battles. If they take the risk of going with Gillard to the next election prepare yourselves for a big result! I’m talking NSW / Qld “big”.]
    You don’t know what’s coming in 18 months time. All guess work.

  15. [What’s his excuse and how can he make himself more popular?]

    His excuse is he is a schmuck, and he is unlikely to make himself much more popular than he is now, I suspect. Would be very surprised if Gillard did much with her popularity levels either.

    The Australian electorate is a pretty sensible one. Thank heavens they were smarter than those here who wanted a Latham government for example!

  16. [Would be very surprised if Gillard did much with her popularity levels either.]
    The point is she has the chance to do so being in power, Abbott doesn’t.

  17. [zoidlord
    Posted Monday, April 16, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Permalink
    Primary Up and Two Party Preferred is up]

    Those primary vote totals come out to 57:43 to me, so I am guessing things didnt change all that much in the last 3 weeks.

    12 months for that matter.

  18. [The Australian electorate is a pretty sensible one. Thank heavens they were smarter than those here who wanted a Latham government for example!]
    I agree with that and it is that that gives me hope. We all know Abbott and the Libs are bad news. The electorate hopefully will wake up to that fact as well before they do something stupid.

  19. [What plan b do the Libs have?]

    Well, I did actually, but you missed it.

    Turnbull
    Sinodinos
    Morrison
    Hockey
    Pyne

    Hell, even Wyatt Roy would probably beat Gillard at the moment.

  20. [rummel:

    unkind.

    It will likely be a van, not a tarago!]
    The hubris is running hot. One should keep these comments for if/when the polls turn.

  21. Mod Lib

    [It will likely be a van, not a tarago! ]

    A Labor Shawdow cabinet reshuffle will happen every 2 hours in 2013. Driver moved to the passenger seat for a rest …………….

  22. One of the other reasons I think it would be better for the ALP to go now…while Abbott is there.

    If some cunning moderate, gets a movement going and dumps Abbott, there could be a monumental electoral catastrophe for the ALP, from which it could take a generation to recover, if at all.

    If only there were more moderates in the party, the righties and Nats won’t contemplate the possibilities, particularly when they have consistent double digit leads.

  23. [One of the other reasons I think it would be better for the ALP to go now…while Abbott is there.]
    So the ‘cunning plan’ would be to go early so that Labor can lose the election by fewer seats than if they go in 18 months. LOL.

  24. [Gary
    Posted Monday, April 16, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Permalink
    So the Libs could change leaders but Labor couldn’t if it’s bloodless? Pull the other one it plays jingle bells.]

    The Libs could change leaders because they have had a solid run and Abbott is above average in longevity.

    The ALP can’t change leaders because they have admitted to knifing a sitting PM, not explaining what they did, and then did a nice little character assassination on him again 2 years later, saying that they were rock solid with Gillard. To go to the electorate a matter of months later, saying “No, scrap that, what we really meant is we think x is the best person to be PM” aint gonna cut it.

    In my view the devastation of a leadership change now would still be better than the unmitigated catastrophe that is in store for a Gillard election campaign.

    Medicare Gold in 2004
    Insipid performance in 2010
    Now the “Juliar” meme is well and truly set in
    Unlikely things would be different in 2012/2013 with Gillard in charge

  25. Pegasus@4624
    [quote]The growth for growth’s sake mentality needs a reality check and economic measures such as the GDP need to be jettisoned.[/quote]
    I don’t think it’s that bad
    If we can uplug GDP/the nation’s human economic activity from resource depletion and pollution creation then we’re good – (buggered otherwise as you say)
    Plug a bit, or better, more than a bit, of evironment protection into that economic activity so it’s neutral or positive/restorative then GDP growth becomes a good thing

    I’m a big fan of Ben McNeil’s “The Clean Indistrial Revolution” http://www.thecleanrevolution.com.au/ but then I’ve always been a techno cornucopian
    (And sadly, it’s only the Greens so far that get it – yet some parties including conservatives in Denmark, Germany, some in Ontario also get it)