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Essential Research: 51-49 to Coalition

The ever-reliable Essential Research still has the Coalition with its nose in front on two-party preferred, but down two points on the primary vote. However, expectations for the future of the economy and various other indicators paint a very worrying picture for the government.

Crikey reports that Essential Research, which looks like the only poll we’re getting this week, is once again unchanged on two-party preferred, with the Coalition leading 51-49. However, both parties are down on the primary vote, the Coalition by two points to 43% and Labor by one point to 37%, while the Greens are up one to 9% and the Palmer United Party is steady on 4%. It should be noted that this result compares a two-week average with last week’s debut figures derived from one week of polling only, so a two-point primary vote change from this notoriously stable series is less striking than it would be normally. Also featured are results on asylum seeker policy (broadly favourable to the government) and climate change (51% caused by human activity, 39% part of a normal fluctuation), on which more shortly.

UPDATE: Full Essential report here. Another figure to emerge is a deterioration in perceptions of the state of the economy, with the total good rating down six points since immediately after the election to 34% and poor up one to 26%. Thirty-eight per cent now believe it heading in the right direction, down six, against 33% for the wrong direction, up seven. Respondents were asked whether things would get better or worse under the Coalition government across a range of measures, with remarkable results – large majorities of respondents expecting pretty much everything to get worse, with the singular exception of company profits. The figures are worse across the board for the government than immediately after the election, most remarkably so in relation to unemployment (from a net rating of minus 10% to minus 23%) and cost of living (minus 13% to minus 35%).

On asylum seekers, only 30% believe most are genuine refugees against 47% who believe most are not, and 22% believe the government too tough versus 25% for too soft and 35% for taking the right approach. Fifty-two per cent think recent extreme temperatures likely to be related to climate change, versus 34% who think otherwise.

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  • 1
    Rex Douglas
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Disappointing poll for the ALP given the destructiveness of this Govt.

    The ALP have been asleep at the wheel in holding the Govt to account.

  • 2
    Yesiree Bob
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    WB, lets get this straight, Essential is the only poll that has the Government in front. All other polls show the ALP leading the Coalition.
    Is it normal for Essential to differ somewhat ?

  • 3
    Rex Douglas
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    zoomster
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 10:44 am | PERMALINK
    Getting seriously angry with ex-Albo supporters (and my anger is vented at people on twitter, not here —) who are busily undermining Shorten.

    Oh, they’re not doing that, mind you. No, no. They’ve accepted the democratic vote, they tell you. It’s just Shorten isn’t doing a good job, and it’s their duty to point that out (and it’s pure coincidence that they supported Albo…)

    Disunity is death. We know lots of Liberals distrusted/disliked/loathed Abbott — but they did that behind closed doors, so to speak. In public, they fronted up to tell us what a great job he did.

    Labor needs to overcome the idea that it’s disunited, unstable, more interested in fighting internal battles over the leadership than it is about anything else.

    We’ve only just elected a new leader. Attacking him now creates a number of problems.

    Firstly, it suggests that it doesn’t matter who the leader is, Labor and its supporters are never going to unite behind them.

    Secondly, it puts the democratic election stuff under threat. It’s not part of the rules yet. We had a democratic election because caucus decided to let us have one.

    If we can’t make it work – if the impression is created that letting the rank and file have a say engenders division rather than suppressing it — than the factions will approach the next leadership contest with the attitude that they tried it, and it didn’t work.

    There’s already a discernible backlash against the idea of rank and file votes coming from the factions (and creating problems for us here in Victoria). Rank and file votes are a real threat to their ‘authority’. Give them a reason to get rid of them, and they will.

    Of course, the greater concern is that, by not uniting behind the leader, we let the Liberals win the next election.

    Such a public event to elect a new leader was always going to cultivate internal & external rivalry/divisiveness.

    One reaps what one sows.

  • 4
    Yesiree Bob
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    So Rex, can we take it that you’re quite happy to see Abbott elected for a second time ?

  • 5
    davidwh
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    YB Essential had a Labor in a theoretical winning position right up to the September 2013 election. It tends not to bounce around as much as the others and seems somewhat resistant to short-term noise.

    I doubt the LNP is ahead at this stage but we will have to wait another two weeks for any reliable guide.

    Apart from that polls mean nothing this far out from an election – spoken for and on behalf of Meguire Bob (does anyone else miss Bob’s unyielding positivity?). Heaven knows we could do with a bit of positivity here at present.

  • 6
    Asha Leu
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    @Rex Douglas 1

    Disappointing poll for the ALP given the destructiveness of this Govt.

    The ALP have been asleep at the wheel in holding the Govt to account.

    Given that Essential is notorious for being off-trend and is the only poll in town still showing the Government (just) in front, your Chicken Little routine doesn’t hold much water.

    Still three years to go. No need for the ALP to burn themselves out just yet, nor for Shorten to create a standard impossible for him to meet if elected, a la Abbott and (to a lesser degree) Rudd.

    And considering that the first opposition leader after an election defeat is usually regarded as not having a snowball’s chance in hell against the PM (especially this early in the cycle), Electric Bill is doing awfully well so far.

  • 7
    spur212
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Today’s Essential Media PDF file

    Some attribute ratings and stuff on the economy too

    essentialvision.com.au/documents/essential_report_140121.pdf

  • 8
    briefly
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Last week's labour market statistics spell out the challenge and the threat to the government's claim to be a good economic manager. The latest unemployment number was basically steady at 5.8 per cent. The worrying number is that the labour market participation rate has dropped in the past three years (covering the main period so far of Labor's re-regulation of the labour market) from 63.2 per cent in December 2010 to 61.8 per cent.

    This means fewer people are working and paying taxes, and more people are on benefits. Des Moore of the H.R.Nicholls Society and formerly of Treasury says the real consequence of the fall-off is that 345,000 capable workers have either dropped out of the workforce (212,000) or are unemployed (133,000). This is a trend Australia cannot, and should not, accept.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/tony-abbott-must-grasp-jobs-nettle-now-to-avoid-election-sting-20140120-314pp.html#ixzz2qzjkIOBZ

    Reith really misunderstands that labour supply is determined by demographic factors. Rather than market regulation, it is the aging of the population that is reducing the participation rate.

    If anything, measures that improve security of employment should be supporting participation. If the US experience is anything to go by, “reform” that weakens wages and erodes security of employment will only drive the marginally-attached out of the labour market.

    The other feature of the labour market is stagnant demand for labour, especially when considered in per capita terms. This really reflects weakness in domestic demand and continuing puny growth in domestically-facing investment in the period since the GFC.

    Reith is attempting to use the unfolding real depreciation in per capita earnings as an excuse for market deregulation that will harm the most vulnerable and divide the community – a standard LNP tactic.

  • 9
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Essential being stubborn as usual.

    I’d kinda like a Newspoll or a Nielsen soon.

  • 10
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Is it normal for Essential to differ somewhat ?

    When there is a change in the overall trend, it’s normal for Essential to record it more weakly than other pollsters. When Gillard’s polling improved in late 2012, Essential would rile Labor supporters by continuing to come out at 54-46 to the Coalition week after week. But when the Coalition lead blew out as the election campaign progressed, Essential pleased Labor supporters by showing it to be very close.

  • 11
    Yesiree Bob
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    DavidWH

    Apart from that polls mean nothing this far out from an election – spoken for and on behalf of Meguire Bob (does anyone else miss Bob’s unyielding positivity?). Heaven knows we could do with a bit of positivity here at present.

    I sure as hell miss ole Macguire Bob

  • 12
    Rex Douglas
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    YB

    Its good to see Thunderbird Bill out and about the last few days.

    About time… more of it please !

    This destructive Govt needs to be thoroughly held to account with the casual observer being made fully aware of its actions.

  • 13
    bemused
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Rex Douglas@3


    Such a public event to elect a new leader was always going to cultivate internal & external rivalry/divisiveness.

    One reaps what one sows.

    Utter rubbish Rex.

    It is a good move for party members to have a direct say in the election of the leader.

  • 14
    spur212
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting results from the “what do you expect to get better or worse under an L/NP govt” question in that poll

  • 15
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    The old guard can whinge all they want. The democratisation of the ALP leadership process is a natural evolution and I expect the Libs will follow suit before too long (despite their current heckling.)

  • 16
    Yesiree Bob
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    WB, thanks

    Briefly

    If anything, measures that improve security of employment should be supporting participation. If the US experience is anything to go by, “reform” that weakens wages and erodes security of employment will only drive the marginally-attached out of the labour market.

    As we know, the US has the amongst lowest wages of all “western” world, and yet they still have the weakest economy. The idea that low wages lead to jobs growth is an offensive myth.
    You really have to winder why the likes of Reith keep proposing such nonesense

  • 17
    Yesiree Bob
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting results from the “what do you expect to get better or worse under an L/NP govt” question in that poll

    well I expect everything to get worse under Abbott

  • 18
    Rex Douglas
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Caucus electing their own leader is hardly undemocratic.

  • 19
    bemused
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Yesiree Bob@16


    You really have to winder why the likes of Reith keep proposing such nonesense

    Really?

    I don’t wonder at all. Reith is simply an ideologically driven mouthpiece. Evidence is not required for any of his prescriptions.

  • 20
    himi
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been meaning to ask some of the more economically literate and sensible poeple on here what they think about Modern Monetary Theory (I’ve been reading up about it via Bill Mitchell’s blog). It makes considerable sense to me, though I haven’t exactly analysed the details or tried to examine it from first principles, so I’ve been wondering what other people think of it.

    Briefly, I’m particularly interested in your take, since you’ve been such a coherent and well thought-out commenter on economics in the past . . .

    himi

  • 21
    bemused
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Rex Douglas@18

    Caucus electing their own leader is hardly undemocratic.

    Please Rex, tell us your proposal for how the leadership should be determined?
    You have ruled out Caucus electing their leader.
    You have ruled out the membership having any say.

  • 22
    Yesiree Bob
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Bemused, the policies that blokes like Reith propose are the same as what caused the GFC, and yet he is still proposing them
    Even Pavlovs old Kelpie caught on, eventually.

  • 23
    bemused
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Oops… missed the un in undemocratic.

    But what is wrong with the party membership being involved?

  • 24
    Rex Douglas
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    bemused

    Caucus should elect their own leader.

    I’ve never suggested otherwise.

    Just so happens the current choice of the caucus I feel needs to lift his game.

  • 25
    briefly
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    1
    Rex Douglas
    Disappointing poll for the ALP given the destructiveness of this Govt.

    The ALP have been asleep at the wheel in holding the Govt to account.

    Once again, not missing an opportunity to sledge Labor.

  • 26
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Those “Better or worse under Liberal/National Government” numbers from Essential are quite something.

  • 27
    Asha Leu
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    @Rex Douglas 18

    Caucus electing their own leader is hardly undemocratic.

    Of course not. It’s a perfectly legitimate method for a party to choose their leader.

    However, I can’t see a shred of evidence to support your assertion that opening the vote to the members has somehow negatively affected their public standard or heightened disunity within the party. Quite the opposite, in fact.

    In fact, it seems to me that the main reason you keep pushing that line is a refusal to admit that your horror at Labor’s “navel gazing” at the time was completely misplaced.

  • 28
    rossmcg
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I think shorten is well advised. First of all, his main target, Abbott has been on holidays, so there is no benefit in being in the media everyday trying to score points.
    And the media is just not interested in politics at this time of the year, we have sport and sadly bush fires to distract people. The political animals get fired up by Morrison and the general and the boats but it is a second or third order issue in WA where we also have escaped prisoner scandals and shark hunts to distract us.
    One of the criticism of Abbott as LOTO was that he pulled a stunt every day, donning the high vis for a photo op and 30 seconds on the news.
    shorten can be above that and he will have plenty of time, remember we are more than two years from the election,

  • 29
    spur212
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    From Essential:

    Under the new Liberal/National government, do you expect the following will get better or worse (last time this was asked was Sept 2013):

    Political Leadership -5 (-16)
    Trust in govt -13 (0)
    Unemployment -23 (-13)
    The economy overall -8 (-16)
    Cost of living -35 (-22)
    Interest rates -17 (-3)
    Health services -27 (-8)
    Job Security -32 (-11)
    Workers rights and conditions -31 (-2)
    Company Profits +22 (-11)
    The environment -25 (-4)
    Education and schools -23 (-7)
    Public services -29 (-4)
    Benefits for people on govt support – such as pensioners and unemployed -36 (-11)
    Your personal financial situation -19 (-6)

    Pretty awful results given this is much worse than it was when the Coalition were in opposition. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a plunge in the polls especially if Abbott’s personal rating starts to go where Gillard’s went after around 6 months in office

  • 30
    bemused
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    himi@20

    I’ve been meaning to ask some of the more economically literate and sensible poeple on here what they think about Modern Monetary Theory (I’ve been reading up about it via Bill Mitchell’s blog). It makes considerable sense to me, though I haven’t exactly analysed the details or tried to examine it from first principles, so I’ve been wondering what other people think of it.

    Briefly, I’m particularly interested in your take, since you’ve been such a coherent and well thought-out commenter on economics in the past . . .

    himi

    Hi himi, I will go and read what Bill Mitchell had to say and maybe get back to you on that.

    But I wanted to draw your attention to something else.

    Deblonay posted a link to a great article which provides an excellent exposition of Keynesian economics. I commend it to you and anyone else interested in economics.
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/01/08/why-fdr-did-not-end-the-great-depression-and-why-obama-wont-end-this-one/

    It provides some interesting insights as to what policy prescriptions might be appropriate for the present.

    The author has a website here: http://www.alannasser.org/

  • 31
    Rex Douglas
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Asha Leu

    I’d much prefer the ALP to get on with informing the public of the level of destructiveness from this Govt than watching it publicly navel-gazing.

  • 32
    briefly
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    29
    spur212

    Under the new Liberal/National government, do you expect the following will get better or worse (last time this was asked was Sept 2013):

    The Abbott Despondency. No wonder confidence is tanking.

  • 33
    Rex Douglas
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    A bit off-topic but watching a great battle on RLA between two very talented ladies, Ivanovich and Bouchard.

  • 34
    bemused
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Rex Douglas@31

    Asha Leu

    I’d much prefer the ALP to get on with informing the public of the level of destructiveness from this Govt than watching it publicly navel-gazing.

    You mean… like it is already doing?

  • 35
    briefly
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    himi….I think this is a really interesting area and will comment. tks for bringing it up.

  • 36
    CTar1
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Rieth not only opposed to ALP but has no love for Tones so proposes the Libs should be more radical just to cause trouble.

    But he’s very much yesterdays man. I don’t know why anyone would take notice of him.

  • 37
    Rex Douglas
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    bemused

    No time to waste for the ALP – this Govt is a disaster and the casual observer needs to be alerted to it.

  • 38
    Asha Leu
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Fifty-two per cent think recent extreme temperatures likely to be related to climate change, versus 34% who think otherwise.

    This may well turn out to be one of the most worrying figures for the Abbott government.

    There seems to have been a bit of a turnaround in public opinion on climate change lately. Does anyone recall what the results of the last few polls of this nature were? I seem to remember that at the tail end of the Gillard/Rudd era, the percentage of the population who believed in AGW was generally under 50%.

  • 39
    briefly
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    27
    Asha Leu....

    In fact, it seems to me that the main reason you keep pushing that line is a refusal to admit that your horror at Labor’s “navel gazing” at the time was completely misplaced.

    Asha, the main reason RD finds fault with Labor is because he wants to divert attention away from the LNP. No matter how outrageous the conduct of the LNP, RD will always find a way to sledge the ALP…always.

  • 40
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    The ALP “navel-gazing” lasted a month. Directly after the Coalition was elected to government and nobody was paying attention to them. In fact, it had the benefit of giving the ALP the spotlight in a period they would’ve otherwise been visible. Since then, their attention has been focused completely externally.

    This is exactly what other parliamentary parties around the world go through and it does them no harm either. It’s a natural political evolution and you are going to have to just deal with it.

    Maybe stop trying to pine for a quick knockout blow against the government and look at the bigger picture.

    Am I saying Shorten or the ALP’s current approach is perfect (or even great)? No. But they are in a much better position than other oppositions have been at this point.

    It’s time to accept that the doom and gloom forecasts made directly after the election were wrong and move on.

  • 41
    bemused
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Rex Douglas@37

    bemused

    No time to waste for the ALP – this Govt is a disaster and the casual observer needs to be alerted to it.

    We are stuck with this govt until 2016 unless their hubris causes Tone to call a double dissolution.

  • 42
    rossmcg
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    CTar1

    I wish others shared our view of Reith. Never mind he is yesterday’s man, he left politics in disgrace. I hardly watch television these days but I imagine the ABC still has him on for “balance”. Do they introduce him as the man who paid back 50 grand in the phone card rort and was shown to have lied over children overboard?

  • 43
    gloryconsequence
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Bleedingly obvious that Australia voted Labor out because of their inability to portray a united front, not because of their policies or values. Look what happened as soon as both Rudd and Gillard were out of the picture.

  • 44
    Steve777
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Spur212 @29 – I assume that those numbers are net ratings i.e. percentage who thought new Govt will be better minus percentage who thought it would be worse. Those look like pretty damning numbers if that is he case. Why then does the Government have 2PP support of 51/49?

  • 45
    gloryconsequence
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Rex

    No time to waste for the ALP – this Govt is a disaster and the casual observer needs to be alerted to it.

    Not saying that Labor should sit back, but I’d say the casual observer is already alert to it.

    “Disaster” is the word to use.

    “The Abbott Liberals – what a disaster” will be the 2014 (and beyond) campaign catchcry.

  • 46
    Greensborough Growler
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Ashu,

    What it shows is that public opinion about the reality of AGW waxes and wanes depending on the weather or circumstances of a particular time. In the last few weeks there have been a number of extreme weather conditions around the globe, so people think there is something happeneing. Should milder weather return then their concerns will abate.

  • 47
    CTar1
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    rossmcg

    Do they introduce him as the man who paid back 50 grand in the phone card rort and was shown to have lied over children overboard?

    Even less relevant than Richardson and that’s saying something!

  • 48
    victoria
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    rossmore

    Been offline, thanks for your response in previous thread re the Timor Leste matter

  • 49
    Player One
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    We are stuck with this govt until 2016 unless their hubris causes Tone to call a double dissolution.

    No chance of that. Peta wouldn’t let him.

  • 50
    Greensborough Growler
    Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    rossmcg,

    They’ll never call Peter Reith “wallmaker”.

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