Newspoll's famous 50-50 result of three weeks ago is left looking more than ever like an outlier, with the latest result coming in four points higher for the Coalition. Meanwhile, the less erratic Essential Research continues to trend slowly Labor's way.
AAP, for some reason, reveals that the Newspoll to be published in The Australian tomorrow will have the elastic jerking back after the 50-50 anomaly of three weeks ago, with the Coalition now leading 54-46 on two-party preferred from primary votes of 33% for Labor (down three), 45% for the Coalition (up four) and 10% for the Greens (down two). However, Julia Gillard has improved further on her strongly recovering personal ratings last time, holding steady on approval at 36% and dropping two on disapproval to 50%, producing her best net approval rating since April last year. The wide gap which opened on preferred prime minister last time has narrowed only modestly, coming in at 43-33 in Gillard’s favour rather than 46-32. Tony Abbott’s personal ratings have also improved, his approval up three to 33% and disapproval down five to 55%.
Today’s Essential Research had Labor gaining a further point on the primary vote to 37%, with the Coalition steady at 47%. Essential has shown Labor gaining five points on the primary vote over six weeks, to reach a level not seen since March last year. The Coalition’s two-party preferred lead is unchanged at 53-47. Essential has smartly chosen this week to repeat an exercise from a year ago concerning trust in media personalities, finding Alan Jones among the most famous but least trusted (22% trust against 67% do not trust). The others best recognised were Laurie Oakes and George Negus, with the former slightly edging out the latter on trust (72% compared with 69%). Only 17% registered support for funding cuts to the ABC, with around a third each wanting funding maintained or increased. Opinion on government regulation of the media was fairly evenly spread between wanting more, less and the same.
UPDATE (9/10/12): The latest Morgan face-to-face result, combining its surveys over the past two weekends, has Labor down half a point to 37%, the Coalition up 1.5% to 43% and the Greens up half a point to 10.5%. The Coalition’s lead on respondent-allocated preferences is steady at 52-48, but they have gained a point on the 2010 election preferences measure to lead 51-49.
Senate-heavy preselection news:
Barnaby Joyce’s lower house ambitions for the next election have foundered with Bruce Scott’s determination to serve another term as member for Maranoa. Joyce will not challenge Scott for preselection, saying to do so would be self-indulgent personality politics, despite the impression many received from his declared opposition to the locally contentious purchase of the vast Cubbie Station by a consortium led by Chinese interests. Unidentified Nationals quoted by Dennis Shanahan of The Australian maintain Joyce had the numbers for preselection over Scott but it was going to be an ugly and drawn-out affair.
Two of the Queensland Coalition Senators whose terms expire after the next election have announced they will not seek re-election, leaving only 2007 ticket leader Ian MacDonald. Ron Boswell, who has been in the Senate since 1983 and was re-elected from number three in 2007, surprised nobody by announcing that at the age of 70 the time had come to bow out. Andrew Fraser of The Australian reports those in contention to take his place on the LNP Senate ticket include David Goodwin, the Boswell-backed president of the Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, along with LNP vice-president Gary Spence, LNP treasurer Barry O’Sullivan, and Barnaby Joyce staffer Matt Canavan. Liberal Senator Sue Boyce today announced she would not contest the next election as she wished to spend more time with her family, while acknowledging her preselection would have faced opposition from forces who perceive her as too moderate. Steven Scott of the Courier-Mail reported that other applicants are likely to include David Moore, who worked on Campbell Newman’s election campaign. Steven Scott of the Courier-Mail reported that hopefuls for a Senate position included David Moore, an LNP operative whose activities as a lobbyist were recently criticised by Clive Palmer.
Chris Ketter, state secretary of the Right faction Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association, has been preselected to top the Queensland Labor Senate ticket. The number one candidate from 2007, Senate President John Hogg, will retire. The second and third elected candidates from last time, Claire Moore and Mark Furner, will retain their old positions, a gloomy prospect for Furner in particular.
Mark Kenny of The Advertiser reports that Labor in South Australia will not promote Penny Wong to the top of its Senate ticket, despite the bad look of having the position instead go to one-time Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association state secretary Don Farrell on the strength of his Right faction’s control of between 55% and 60% of the votes at the party’s state convention.
Long-simmering hostilities between the NSW Liberals and Nationals over the seat of Hume have come to an end, with the Nationals agreeing not to field a candidate against Liberal candidate Angus Taylor in his bid to succeed retiring Liberal Alby Schultz. Senator Fiona Nash had most frequently been nominated as a potential candidate, together with state government minister Katrina Hodgkinson.
Bob Carr told reporters last week that were Robert McClelland to retire in Barton, he could not think of a better candidate to succeed him than his own successor as Premier, Morris Iemma. However, McClelland insists he has no plans to do so.
As anticipated, former Australian Medical Association president Bill Glasson has been confirmed as the LNP candidate to run against Kevin Rudd in Griffith. Glasson’s father, Bill Glasson Sr, was once Nationals member for the rural seat of Gregory and a minister in the Bjelke-Petersen, Cooper and Ahern governments. Other names mentioned in relation to the preselection were John Haley, Alfio Russo and John Adermann, who stayed with the process to the end, along with Angela Julian-Armitage and Wayne Tsang, who dropped out at an earlier stage.
The Mercury published extensive results on Saturday for polling of state voting intention in Tasmania, conducted on behalf of the Liberal Party by ReachTEL. The figures, which make for dismal reading for Labor, are detailed below, and have been thoroughly analysed by Kevin Bonham at the Tasmanian Times. The poll also found Liberal leader Will Hodgman favoured by 57.3% ahead of 22.9% for Premier Lara Giddings and 19.8% for Greens leader Nick McKim, and that 34.4% opposed the forestry peace deal against 28.2% support.
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.