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Newspoll: 51-49 to Coalition

Newspoll has opened its account for 2013 with an encouraging result for Labor, recording a primary vote six points higher than the previous poll of December 7-9.

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The result of the first Newspoll for 2013 has been reported by AAP (your guess as to how that’s come about is as good as mine) and almost simultaneously by the ever-reliable James J, and it’s a relatively encouraging one for Labor who trail just 51-49 on two-party preferred, down from 54-46 in the final poll of 2012. The primary votes are 38% for Labor, up six on last time, with the Coalition and the Greens both down two, to 44% and 9% respectively. Julia Gillard is up two on approval to 38% and down three on disapproval to 49% while Tony Abbott is up one to 29% and down one to 58%. Gillard leads as preferred prime minister by 45-33, up from 43-34.

UPDATE (16/1/13): A Morgan face-to-face result covering both the previous two weekends (and presumably warranting more than the usual degree of caution on account of the holiday period) has the Coalition leading 51-49 when preferences are distributed as per the 2010 election result, and by 52-48 according to respondent allocation. The primary votes are 36.5% for Labor, 41.5% for the Coalition and 10.5% for the Greens. This follows what now looks an aberrant result in the final poll of last year, when Labor led 53.5-46.5 on previous election preferences and 52.5-47.5 on respondent-allocated.

UPDATE (19/1/13): AAP reports a ReachTEL poll of 511 respondents conducted for the United Voice union in Wayne Swan’s Brisbane seat of Lilley suggests he is heading for defeat, trailing LNP candidate Rod McGarvie 45% to 38% on the primary vote.

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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3,565 thoughts on “Newspoll: 51-49 to Coalition

  1. confessions

    Carey M:

    C’mon. You know generational change means something different to the Tories! I mean, look at the Nationals when they made their own generational change to Warren Truss!!

  2. J M

    I am not saying this just because I am a partisan National, but I believe Newspoll to be wrong, and the Essential figure is more likely to be accurate. It’s not just that it suits me better, it’s that it just doesn’t make sense that Labor is so high, when the public mood has not seem to have changed at all, and how the state polls show that they’re stuffed.

  3. Carey Moore


    Haha true! 🙂

  4. J M

    I do watch tv, and read the paper.

  5. J M

    1934 – and you would know this, how?

  6. frednk


    We’re in luck (Coalition voters) for the next couple of months, as we have the AWU ]

    Can’t get over how much effort the Liberals are putting into trying to keep that story alive. It underlines in big black Texta how little the Liberal party has to offer.

  7. Wakefield

    The Advertiser report today about Natasha Stott-Despoja was michief making from a Liberal source – her marriage to right winger Ian Smith is one of the marvels of human ingenuity but there has been no indication NSD has changed to thinking Liberal.

    The Advertiser article also says NSD could “enter Parliament as an independent and be drafted into Cabinet US-style”.

    Obviously still the silly season in some places.

  8. Greensborough Growler

    Maybe that’s the problem JM. The newspaper’s you read are many years out of date. Perhaps the bullock drays that don’t get to your parts very often.

  9. Oakeshott Country

    Your getting your insights (including Labor strategy) from the Parkes repeater of 2GB, Correct?

  10. 1934pc


    [ it’s that it just doesn’t make sense that Labor is so high]

    With NO policies and a piss poor LOTO, it makes no sense that the Libs are AHEAD!.

  11. J M

    frednk – what parody? I don’t see the need for medicare, and I have been told of schools that had poorly built canteens and halls, some even without doors. The pink batts were a fiasco, a fatal fiasco at that. Labor thought that they could just throw money at these schemes, without even overlooking them. We have heaps of illegals here now, many of who get entitlements that the average Australian doesn’t, and live off of the taxpayer. Labor also seem to just think that there’s an endless supply of money. They don’t live in the real world.

  12. 1934pc


    1934 – and you would know this, how?

    Logic and common sense, which you appear to lack!.

  13. Carey Moore

    To be honest, the one that SA Labor should fear most as potential Lib leader is Steven Marshall, the member for Norwood (Dunstan as of the next election). A young, popular moderate from an inner Adelaide seat (not hills or country) – who could be quite instrumental in getting votes from Adelaide voters (where the Libs seem to be struggling) and younger voters.

    He was recently elected deputy, which was an obvious move to start grooming him. But it’s likely his supporters want him to demonstrate he can re-win his seat first, so he probably won’t be elected leader until after the election (assuming they lose and he retains his seat)

  14. Greensborough Growler


    What about dialysis machines?

  15. J M

    Funny how Labor supporters go on about how this AWU affair happened years ago, and thereby it’s redundant, and we should move on. Yet they talk about something that Abbott is ALLEGED to have done (not proven, like Gillard) 35 years ago. Double standards much?

  16. J M

    I watch a lot of of political shows on tv.

    1934 – that is all? Wishful thinking on your part.

  17. 1934pc


    Once a thug always a thug!.

  18. Psephos

    I think JM is GP. It is still schools hols, isn’t it?

  19. Fran Barlow


    [In the end the Greens and their fellow travellers have abrogated their responsibilities and will deliver a far worse outcome on this issue …]

    Laughable. All the outcomes on offer were irredeemably bad. There never was a plausible option, and if we’d sided with “Malaysia” we would (quite rightly) have been rejected by those possessed of an insistent regard for social justice and seen as having nothing more impressive than the now (deservedly) defunct Democrats.

    Just as importantly, left-of-centre voters everwhere would have been disenfranchised and challenged to go back to the drawing board and start afresh on building a party committed to equity, social justice, environmental sustainability and peace.

    I’m glad my party saw that and rejected the bullying. However we fare in the election to come, our party will have remained true to its principles and standing in solidarity with the vulnerable of our region. A party that doesn’t blink when under pressure is one that retains the possibility of shaping the polity around its vision.

  20. Toorak Toff

    orats. He’s a Port Adelaide man who’s at every Norwood Football Club function. He will bolt in next election. Dunstan will become a safe Liberal seat, just as Playford is a safe Labor seat. How anomalous

  21. Carey Moore

    [The Advertiser article also says NSD could “enter Parliament as an independent and be drafted into Cabinet US-style”.]

    US style is having a cabinet that isn’t a part of parliament, the nominations to which are approved by parliament, something which the government does not have the constitutional authority to do.

    Adding independents to cabinet isn’t something that only happens in the US. In fact it is precedented in SA, under the previous Premier, Mike Rann. Who appointed Nationals MP Karlene Maywald as Water Minister and Rory McEwen for various ministries (both retained their positions after the 2006 election when the government had a comfortable majority)

  22. confessions

    [I think JM is GP.]

    Nah, it’s ShowsOn.

    Remember his last alter-ego attempt, ‘Greentard’?

  23. Toorak Toff

    Should have read:

    Agree, Corey Moore. Marshall is as cunning as one of those rats. He’s a Port Adelaide man who’s seen at every Norwood FC function. He will bolt in next election. Dunstan will be a safe Liberal seat, just as Playford is a safe Labor seat. How anomalous!

  24. Carey Moore

    I agree Marshall will probably retain Norwood (Dunstan) but, considering it was held by the ALP prior to the last election, there’s still a long way to go before it can be called a safe Liberal seat.

  25. This little black duck

    Tony Abbott is not quite Lance Armstrong: Lance Armstrong has at least one son …

  26. This little black duck

    Tony Abbott is not quite Lance Armstrong: Lance Armstrong has at least one son …

  27. Wakefield

    Carey – no trouble having an independent in cabinet – but its not US-style. Suggestions of a scenario where NSD gets elected as a Lib sponsored independent?

  28. Toorak Toff

    Fran Barlow’s comments remind me of Gough Whitlam’s remark:

    [Only the impotent are pure].

  29. briefly

    Anyone who doubts that climate change is real and is affecting the economy needs look no further than the Roei Abalone Fishery in Western Australia.

    Roe’s abalone live on the inshore reefs that are scattered along the WA coast. Historically, the population has been distributed in clusters from far-western South Australia to the Zuytdorp Cliffs, north of Kalbarri. The commercial and recreational taking of this species has been tightly regulated for decades by the WA Fisheries Department.

    Despite controls in place to prevent over-fishing and illegal fishing, the total population, geographic distribution and commercial value of this species has declined very markedly over the last 20-odd years. These declines are entirely due to climatic and oceanographic events. The most profound of these events are almost certainly driven by climate change.

    The first major environmental event occurred in the early 1990’s when about 3/4 of the roei population in the “northern” zone – from Kalbarri through to the Cliffs – was destroyed during a La Nina event. A combination of sustained, very low tides and very hot air temperatures combined to kill the population that lived on the top of the reef shelf.

    This initial kill may or may not have been directly attributable to climate change, but in any case the northern zone population recovered only very slowly over the following 20 years, and commercial fishing never approached its former levels. It is probable that the very slow recovery from this event is at least partly attributable to environmental change – to the incidence of higher-than-normal water temperatures since the initial kill.

    In the first quarter of 2011, an unprecedented marine heatwave occurred along the WA coast, extending more than 2,000km, from as far north as Shark Bay to the South-western capes of WA.

    The water temperatures were elevated by between 2 and 4 degrees above their normal summertime maxima for around 10 weeks. In the Kalbarri/Zuytdorp region, among other impacts, the higher water temperatures completely destroyed the roei abalone population. Surveys by experienced fishermen with many decades of accumulated local knowledge and the WA Fisheries Department have since confirmed that the population has totally disappeared. This represents a loss of 2/9ths of the original commercial take of roei abalone.

    In addition to the destruction that occurred on the northern coast, there was evidence of abalone destruction elsewhere, including locations near Geraldton and Jurien Bay, and in the Metropolitan fishery.

    The Metropolitan fishery experienced destruction of significant numbers of larger-sized (more commercially-valuable) abalone. Though this escaped public attention in 2011, the population of abalone in the Metropolitan fishery was in such poor condition following the heatwave that commercial production was suspended until the end of 2011.

    It was expected that by late 2011/early 2012 the Metropolitan fishery would have recovered enough for normal commercial fishing to resume. The roei population has exhibited a very high degree of resilience for many decades – especially on the reefs near Perth, which is exceptionally favourable habitat for roei – and usually could have been counted on to “bounce back” following the seasonal winter break to fishing.

    But in fact, while the general health of the population had recovered to some degree by the end of 2011, the destruction of larger abalone during the heatwave and the failure of the remaining population to resume their normal growth meant that the value of commercial production fell significantly.

    The Metropolitan fishery largely failed to produce its usual mix of high-value, larger-sized abalone. While most of the commercial quota was fished for 2011/12, the commercial results clearly show the fishery had not recovered from the 2011 heatwave.

    The new commercial fishing season legally commenced on 1 April, 2012. Historically, fishing is permitted to occur reasonably freely until winter weather sets in and brings fishing to a natural halt. However, in 2012, after a few days fishing, the decision was taken to postpone fishing until the end of 2012.

    This decision was taken because even though the fishery had been “rested” the “quality” of the fish-able population had failed to fully recover. In the event, the commercial fishing that has occurred since October 2012 has been unusually poor. Catches are again down (even form their 2001 levels) and the size/condition of the catch is such that fishing will again almost certainly have to be curtailed.

    As well, we can now also observe some other changes that have been influencing roei fishing in the last few months. First, we have had an extremely prolonged – you can say unprecedented – spell of high inshore swells. Usually, in the period from October through to end January, we should expect to have 15-25 good fishing days (days with inshore swells below 1 metre) and another 15-25 just-workable days (days with swells from 1-1.5 metres). The rest of the time, we would expect the swells to be too rough for fishing.

    Since October 2012 until today there have been 2 “good” days and 12 “just-workable” days. This is unheard-of. There is almost no doubt at all that unfavourable fishing conditions alone mean the commercial catch will not be taken this year. This has never occurred before.

    This swell pattern is entirely driven by a seemingly endless series of intense storms in the mid-Indian Ocean that have been driving conditions in WA coastal waters. The long range forecast is for these swells to continue. The inference is that unprecedented high-energy weather systems over the ocean are changing coastal water patterns right along the WA coast.

    To make matters even more difficult for commercial roei abalone fishers, the water temperatures along the coast have been rising again. In the waters off the Perth coast, they are now around 24 degrees. When the sea is this warm, even roei abalone cannot grow.

    Abalone have quite high metabolic rates. A large part of their body-weight is muscle – the edible muscle they use to attach themselves to the rocks on which they live, and to grab hold of their food supply, passing floating algae. To metabolise effectively – and to grow and prepare for spawning – abalone need a good supply of oxygen-dense water. As the temperature of the water increases, so the levels of dissolved oxygen fall. As water temperatures remain higher for longer, we should expect to see fewer large abalone and more small ones, which is exactly what we are seeing.

    It is quite obvious that through 2012 and into 2013 the roei abalone population has failed to thrive. The total number of abalone is large – considered to be very large by researchers employed by the WA Fisheries Department. But individual abalone are not growing at anything like their usual rate. This is obvious to anyone who handles abalone and has the chance to inspect them in the shell.

    The combined consequences of these influences is the 2012/13 commercial quota will not be able to be fully taken. Furthermore, fishing in the 2013/14 season will not be able to commence in April as in the past. Production will inevitably be postponed again until the end of 2013 or even early 2014.

    It is important to note again that these effects are not being driven by excess or illegal fishing effort. They are not the consequence of management failure or irresponsible fishing practices. They are being driven by environmental factors – by changes in oceanographic conditions that affect literally trillions of cubic metres of sea water. These changes are occurring without warning and in ways that – so far – seem impossible to adapt to.

    At present we can say that changes to the quantity and composition of the catch, and the effects of competition from other substitutes, have reduced the value of roei production by about 80-85% or possibly more.

    A once-valuable commercial and recreational fishery is in danger of being wiped out on the West Coast. Changes on the South Coast are occurring more slowly, but there is no doubt they are taking place there too. There are similar anecdotal reports from abalone fisheries in Eastern Tasmania.

    As well, it is worth noting that there have been a series of years when the WA Rock Lobster fishery has failed to follow the patterns of the previous roughly-100 years of commercial fishing. The lobster have just “disappeared” at times when they would usually be abundant. Their numbers and behaviours have changed abruptly, seemingly for no reason.

    Roei abalone are not particularly important in the scheme of things. Production was never huge. But they are not migratory. They populate and re-populate the same reef systems over and over. What has happened is that system-wide events have changed conditions on individual reefs. And the changes have been large enough and quick enough to destroy marine species, including abalone, various algae and the micro-organisms that depend on them. We are seeing irrevocable change in the reef habitats of the WA coast.

    If this is not destructive climate change, I do not know what is. Sadly, for WA, this is just the beginning.


  30. frednk

    Posted Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    frednk – what parody? I don’t see the need for medicare, and I have been told of schools that had poorly built canteens and halls, some even without doors

    And now you have started repeating 2GB rantings, boring a complete waste of time.

    Think I will have a look at twitter, see how old the stories are that “Labor Dirt” is linking to, nothing from the 50’s yet.

    Might be an interesting troll, something more entertaining than 2GB rehash.

    Come on guys, school halls, pink bats and AWU have been done to death, come up with something new.

  31. Greensborough Growler


    The Greens policy on AS is akin to building a train track to the edge of a cliff without thinking through the implications of where that means the train is going.

    Toot! Toot! Greens. Make sure you punch your ticket on the Oblivion Express.

  32. ajm

    The reason why people confidently say they know the mood of the electorate from talking to people (and get it totally wrong) is because we all talk mainly to like minded people and other in our own fairly narrow social millieu.

    I recommend handing out HTVs for your favourite political party for the WHOLE DAY on election day just once in your life. Because most people do obey the law and vote, you will see the full horror of our society pass before your eyes (or at least as much as live in the vicinity of that polling place – so pick a pretty average suburb).

    After that you will never be surprised by any twist or turn in political outcomes.

    If the polls are picking up a pretty even contest, those votes on both sides will be happening somewhere and barring some huge distortions enough seats will change hands both ways to reflect the overall vote pretty closely.

    Alaos, quite a large proportion of the population moves house between elections, so the composition of the roll is quite different from the previous election. Although the fact that particular demographics stick to the same areas moderates this effect, there still remains the possibility of quite large changes in particular seats even if every person votes the same way they did last time.

    All that is a convoluted way of saying that the polls are usually pretty right as it gets close to the election date. Before that, most people hear the voting question as “Who won the popularity contest last week?”

  33. Carey Moore

    [Carey – no trouble having an independent in cabinet – but its not US-style. Suggestions of a scenario where NSD gets elected as a Lib sponsored independent?]

    She runs for a seat and the voters vote for her?

  34. confessions


    Quite so. As you said the other day, there are so many indicators of global warming in WA, it’s hard to know where to start in listing them all.

  35. psyclaw

    Well done most PBers.

    Stray animals that are fed keep on keeping on.

    Don’t feed ’em and they go elsewhere.

  36. deblonay

    JM 3526 re Schools grants from Feds

    In my observations of schools in G’borough where I live they all received grants for various building projects and all seem safisfactory and most useful to the better working of the schools
    I think you have bought(made up?) the Libs mantra re the School Building Programs…but you are just plain wrong..!!

    The Murdoch Press seized on some minor problems and made these in the typical “big lies ” that Murdoch…a disciple of Dr Goebells I think..made into”truths”
    Go out an look at what has been done in your community and see the facts

  37. ajm

    I’ll vote for the JM = GP theory.
    The turn of phrase being used by JM was sounding vaguely familiar to me but I think Psephos has nailed it. Showson always maintains some vaguely tenuous connection to reality but GP never bothered to do so.

  38. deblonay

    GG .. my reply to your comments(post 2854-58) on my past ALP involvement and my actions in the 1975 Constitutional case in the High Court re Electoral reform sre explained
    Thank you for that

    I posted late last night and I think you may have gone to bed

    We must stop being too civil to each other as it will perplex some of the regular posters here

  39. poroti


    [It’s not just that it suits me better, it’s that it just doesn’t make sense that Labor is so high, when the public mood has not seem to have changed at all]
    The problem is your “public” are 2GB listeners,rusted out Nationals and Pies + Bolta readers.

  40. deblonay

    for some reason part of my comment on GG statement was
    My reply is on post 3219-65

  41. Psephos

    [Showson always maintains some vaguely tenuous connection to reality but GP never bothered to do so.]

    ShowsOn is also an abusive loudmouth. This guy isn’t, he’s just a reciter of Coalition talking points.

  42. zoomster

    I know a lot of National voters.

    The more politically active they are, the more they tend to respect and admire me.

    The most usual reaction from a National voter re Labor is “I don’t understand why we don’t form coalitions with you guys. We have more in common with you than with the Libs.”

    That, btw, applies to National MPs as well as ordinary voters.

    One fairly ostentatiously accompanied me as I walked around the local show during the 2007 election, introducing me to to people. SM was at the same event – he didn’t go near her.

    A Nationals voter who professes extreme hatred for Labor is quite rare. It’s the Libs who hate.

  43. J M

    zoomster – I completely disagree. I despise leftism, and those national voters that you know – I would be ashamed that they were a member of the same party as me. How on earth are we more similar? Labor is centre-left, Liberal centre-right, Nationals right.

  44. J M

    Why do Labor supporters say that the AWU affair is irrelevant because it was 20 years ago, but they still go on about something Abbott is alleged to have done 35 years ago?

  45. Puff, the Magic Dragon.

    J M@3498

    frednk – I opposed medicare myself, I don’t like handouts. My electorate has been eternally National, and schools and hospitals and everything else here are in fine state, and every time I’ve had a problem, I’ve found my member (current and former) to be very helpful.

    Next time you see an overpriced school hall, thousands of Muslim illegal immigrants, and hear the word pink batts, just remember one word – ‘Labor’.

    I like intelligent discussion. You have just disqualified yourself.

    And if you really are s
    Showson, you should be ashamed of yourself for typing that drivel. I shall report you to the RSPCK (Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Keyboards).

  46. J M

    I have no idea what any of you are on about.

  47. cud chewer

    I have no idea what any of you are on about.

    Yes, it is a bit hard when you’re stuck in an alternate universe 🙂

  48. J M

    Does anyone know when the Insiders returns? It’s always nice to hear the fair, balanced and unbiased comments by Niki Savva. She stays fair and composed, even if the two Labor hacks on there gang up on her.

  49. Dorrie Evans

    What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.

    I see the pretty knitters are still letting what’s left of their lives ebb into the ether.
    Some of you are bright enough to know it even if the messenger is a little shit.
    All perspective is lost if you fixate and less is more simply because it has more punch. All this handbag at twenty paces stuff is nonsense, puerile and very unbecoming.

    I apologise for being a jerk at times but I am very frustrated. I looked at posts from 2011 and even though there were psychos even then, there was humor and playfulness and far less bickering.

    There are a number of problems going on here. We have a hard core group of posters who’s positions from the Middle East to free speech and everything in between are entrenched and even if JC descended and said otherwise people on any side of any debate would not be convinced (those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still as Mother would say).

    The other hurdle is that many of them are very intelligent, have very long memories and have all day, every day to argue their case.
    Unfortunately for the rest of us who are just trying to find a bit of truth amongst all the sparkling propaganda (let’s face it, most of it is), it becomes difficult to discern what is truth and what is opinion parading as fact.

    The other glaring thing about some of the regulars is the hypocrisy inherent in the way they conduct themselves. They rail against the tactics used by the MSM but they have not only absorbed the tactics but ape them at every turn.
    They refuse to see that they themselves are a clique and a claque that flatter each other and studiously bolster the ramparts that hold them afloat from day to day.
    Interlopers are viewed as Icarus types who will be sent to Coventry if they dare challenge the prevailing orthodoxy.
    Personally, I think I understand what is going on here. There are a lot of people on here who are lonely and bored who would be devastated if this blog were taken away from them.
    Hence the ferocious border protection policies that go something like this- “Hi Dorie, welcome aboard. Gee Dorrie, don’t know if I agree with that. How long before Dorrie falls underneath the PB bus lol”. It has become their lifeline and they will defend it with every bit of gumption they possess.
    This is problematic on so many levels I don’t know where to start.
    Frankly there are about 20 regulars who should take a very long holiday.
    Imagine being invited to William’s house for a party and being sat next to one of them. They talk and talk and talk and manage to say nothing (except of course about how wonderfully intelligent they are), talk over the top of each other and eventually hurl the simplest and most embarrassingly unoriginal insults at each other at the top of their voices for the entire evening.

    The other more temperate guests (lurkers all),try to lighten the evening with a joke but it is immediately wrung though the post modern and entirely humorless mincer of Medusa’s molars.
    The club consists of a group of people who are lamentably puffed up by being the first to report a tweet or an ‘update’ or god knows what from the 24 hr news cycle.
    Some of them are so desperate for praise that they will stay glued to 79 news feeds just to be cyber patted and and clucked over by all the other headless PB chooks.

    I think the blog deserves better than this. There are many people who lurk and occasionally post astonishingly beautiful things but they are drowned out by the loud mouthed and excruciatingly boring bullies who don’t know that they are bullies and refuse to shut up.