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Federal Politics 2013-

Jan 21, 2014

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.

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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.

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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1416 comments

1,416 thoughts on “Essential Research: 51-49 to Coalition

  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.

  2. Yesiree Bob

    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

    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

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

  5. davidwh

    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

    @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

    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

    [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. Carey Moore

    Essential being stubborn as usual.

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

  10. William Bowe

    [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

    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

    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

    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

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

  15. Carey Moore

    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

    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