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Roy Morgan has published a poll which, so far as the headline figure goes, is extremely interesting in that it a) is consistent with the Newspoll result, and b) was conducted by phone, and thus cannot be anticipated to suffer the pro-Labor bias typical of Morgan’s face-to-face polling. However, the headline figure to which I refer is from respondent-allocated preferences, which for so long have been flowing to Labor in confoundingly weak proportions in Morgan’s face-to-face polls. In this poll however they have flowed to Labor inordinately strongly. If using the measure which allocates preferences according to how they flowed at the previous election, which I and all other pollsters recommended, the Coalition has a somewhat more comfortable lead of 52.5-47.5. The primary vote results are striking in being high for both major parties: 39.5% for Labor and 47% for the Coalition, against 8% for the Greens and a very low 5.5% for others.

The poll was evidently conducted from Monday to Thursday (despite some confusion in Morgan’s heading) from a sample of 668, with a margin of error of about 3.8%. Other questions were also posed by this poll, so stay tuned for more detail.

NOTE: As you may have noticed, Crikey has a new look and its implementation is characteristically being accompanied by teething problems – most seriously the failure of comments thread pagination, which has caused the previous 5000-plus comments thread to not work terribly well. Presumably this one should be okay though, for at least as long as it remains fairly short.

UPDATE: Further findings from the Morgan poll are that Julia Gillard recorded a fairly solid approval rating of 40%, with disapproval of 51%, which represents changes of 3% and 6% since Morgan last posed the question in January. Tony Abbott meanwhile is respectively down four to 32% and up four to 60%. On the question of better prime minister, Gillard has remained steady on 45% while Abbott has dropped four points to 37%. Abbott has also lost further ground to Malcolm Turnbull on the question of best leader for the Liberal Party, the former down three to 19% and the latter up five to 42%. That leaves Abbott nearly level with Joe Hockey, who is down one to 18%. Julia Gillard continues to trail Kevin Rudd as preferred Labor leader, with Gillard up three to 22% and Rudd up one to 34%.

And not forgetting …

Seat of the week: Bonner

To commemorate Labor’s improved position in the polls, Seat of the Week takes its first excursion to the Coalition side of the electoral pendulum.

The Brisbane electorate of Bonner extends south-westwards from the bayside Wynnum-Manly area to Mount Gravatt. It was created at the 2004 election, and has remarkably been left unchanged by the two redistributions conducted since. The seat is also remarkable for having changed hands with each election, starting with the Liberals’ success in overhauling a 1.9% notional margin in 2004. The defeated Labor candidate was Con Sciacca, a Keating government minister who held Bowman from 1987 to 1996 and again from 1998 to 2004. Sciacca took the safer option when the transfer of Wynnum-Manly to the new seat left Bowman with a notional Liberal margin of 3.1%, but he was unable to withstand an adverse swing of 2.4%. Labor appeared to be especially hampered by the loss of Kevin Rudd’s personal vote in those areas of the electorate which had previously been in Griffith.

The inaugural member for Bonner thus became Ross Vasta, a staffer to Senator Brett Mason, former restaurant owner, and the son of noted Brisbane barrister and Bjelke-Petersen era Supreme Court justice Angelo Vasta. Vasta’s main source of publicity in his one term in parliament was his involvement in the scandal surrounding misuse of electoral printing allowances, for which he was cleared by the Director of Public Prosecutions shortly before the 2007 election. He was always going to have his work cut out defending the Coalition’s most marginal Queensland seat at the 2007 election, and duly fell victim to a 5.2% swing which compared favourably with a statewide swing of 7.5%.

Bonner was then held for a term by Kerry Rea, previously a Brisbane councillor representing a ward that included the area around Mount Gravatt. Vasta meanwhile returned to his old job with Brett Mason and unsuccessfully contested the Wynnum-Manly ward for the Liberals at the 2008 Brisbane council election. The newly constituted Liberal National Party then gave him the chance to recover his old seat, which did not seem a likely proposition in the political climate of the time. While that had certainly changed by the time of the 2010 election, Vasta’s victory on the back of an emphatic 7.4% swing was a serious disappointment for Labor, making Bonner the “safest” of its nine notionally held Queensland seats to fall to the LNP.

Labor’s preselected candidate for the next election is Laura Fraser Hardy, an associate with Hall Payne Lawyers.

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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1563 comments

1,563 thoughts on “Morgan phone poll: 50.5-49.5 to Coalition; Seat of the week: Bonner

  1. Gorgeous Dunny@1538,
    if you’ve got nothing sensible to say, you’re better off saying nothing.

    Exactly what I thought today when I heard the tripe Tony Abbott came out with about the Prime Minister shoulda been in Indonesia cooling her heels outside the door of the President of Indonesia…while SBY was in…New York…where Julia Gillard is, coincidentally. 🙂

    Stop digging that hole, Tony!

    Frankly, I’m finding it hard to decide which campaign is the biggest train wreck, Mitt Romney, or the Coalition.

    Especially when you are about to have the NSW Liberal Party implode in the Supreme Court; and this sort of arrant nonsense coming out of Queensland:

    Qld AG threatens Labor’s IR plan:

    http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/Qld-AG-threatens-govts-national-workplace-plan-pd20120924-YESWN?OpenDocument&src=am&utm_source=exact&utm_medium=email&utm_content=107316&utm_campaign=am&modapt=news

    Not to mention the running sore that is the Coalition’s inability to solve the Wheat Marketing imbroglio causing a slight problem between East and West Wings of the Coalition.

    Oh, and did I mention that one of the first acts of the incoming CLP government in the Northern Territory was to reward their mates in the Hotel Industry by moving toot sweet to reintroduce full-strength beer to Remote Aboriginal Communities!?!

    Oi vey!

    And they have the hide to keep saying that Labor is a shambles.

    Only down the Rabbott hole, through the Looking Glass.

  2. Captain Obvious:

    [Stop chasing squirrels, Fran. Lighten up. Get some air. There may be special providence in the fall of a sparrow, but there is no rationale to these puns. That’s kind of the point.]

    Isn’t the reference to one type of epileptic seizure? Following Leone, it would refer to the metaphoric variant of the seizure. That would be a rationale.

    Is that an apt thing to be using for a joke at the expense of a politician?

    Perhaps it is, in your view. I merely seek clarification.

  3. Danny Lewis @ 1425,

    I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but the minute I start talking about head lice my head starts itching.

    It’s particularly obvious when at a pharmacy and a customer comes in asking for nit treatment. Everyone in the shop starts to squirm.

    OH went to school in the 1940s and 1950s, back in the days of short-back-and-sides and Brylcreem for the boys. He avers that he and his brothers never had nits – which I suppose is not unreasonable, given that the eggs would sort of slide off the hair … On the other hand, he also asserts that he and his siblings were never wormed, and that I take leave to doubt.

    Btw, the birthday weekend was a HUGE success. Stepdaughters and step-SIL are now on their way to Tasmania, and I am exhausted. But a great time was had by all 🙂

  4. re: headlice. I went to primary school in the 1970s and lice was not an issue, despite longer hair. My theory (not entirely serious) is we had so much DDT and other insecticides in our bloodstreams back then the lice did not stand a chance. The concentration of these chemicals in the average Australian’s blood is now about 1/10th what it was, and kids in particular have low rates compared to, 30-40 years ago. Dairy, potato and other farmers used dieldrin with abandon. The free milk we got at school may also have been inadvertent lice protection? My kids are rife with lice much of the time – as are most kids at their school. food for thought.

  5. I have hit paydirt my friends. The full transcript of the Abbott and Costello defamation trial against Bob Ellis.

    It is hillarious.

    http://pandora.nla.gov.au/nph-wb/19991130130000/http://www.lawpress.com.au/csub/a_cindex.html

    [TONY ABBOTT: Because it’s very important that no one think that they can tell lies without any justification, without any public interest argument and get away with it]

    [TOBIN: Whereabouts did you study?

    TONY ABBOTT: I studied politics and philosophy at the Queens College, Oxford.

    TOBIN: And were you awarded a degree?

    TONY ABBOTT: I was awarded a BA with Honours and that transmuted as Oxford degrees on good character and the payment of £10 to an MA.

    TOBIN: How much are PHd’s these days?

    HIS HONOUR: Do you want one, Mr Tobin? ]