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Federal Politics 2013-

Mar 10, 2014

Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor

After the last result gave Labor its biggest lead of any poll since the election of the Abbott government, the latest fortnightly Newspoll has come in closer to trend.

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GhostWhoVotes relates that the latest Newspoll has Labor’s lead at 51-49 after a blowout to 54-46 a fortnight ago, from primary votes of 41% for the Coalition (up two), 35% for Labor (down four) and 11% for the Greens (up one). More to follow.

UPDATE: The Australian’s report, which just maybe reads excessive political import into what’s actually statistical noise. Although it could indeed be telling that Bill Shorten’s ratings have again gone down despite a better set of numbers for Labor on voting intention.

UPDATE 2: Leader ratings have Tony Abbott up two on approval to 38% and down two on disapproval to 50%, while Bill Shorten is down two to 33% and up four to 43%. Tony Abbott makes a solid gain on preferred prime minister, his lead out from 38-37 to 42-36.

UPDATE 3 (Essential Research): Essential Research is 50-50, after the Coalition hit the lead 51-49 last week. The Coalition is down two on the primary vote to 42%, while Labor and the Greens are steady on 38% and 8%, and the Palmer United Party up one to 4%. The monthly personal ratings have Bill Shorten up two on approval to 32% and up five on disapproval to 39%, Tony Abbott down one to 40% and steady on 47%, and Abbott’s lead as preferred prime minister down from 40-30 to 39-33. A question on Qantas shows respondents react negatively to the words “jobs being sent offshore”, 62% pressing the “disapprove” button despite the qualification of it happening improving the airline’s “profitability and long-term success”, while only 25% opted for approve. Fifty-nine per cent think foreign ownership would be bad for Australian jobs and 46% bad for the economy, versus 16% and 24% good. However, it would be thought good for Qantas profits by a margin of 48-19, and good for air travellers by 30-25.

UPDATE 4 (Morgan): The latest Morgan poll, conducted over the last two weekends from a sample of 2903 by face-to-face and SMS surveying, has a bounce in Labor’s lead from 50.5-49.5 to 53.5-46.5 on respondent-allocated preferences, which is a slightly more moderate 50.5-49.5 to 52.5-47.5 on previous election preferences. The Coalition is down 1.5% on the primary vote to 39.5%, Labor is up 1.5% to 37%, the Greens are up 1.5% to 12%, and the Palmer United Party is up half a point to 4%. Morgan has taken to including state breakdowns on two-party preferred, the latest set having Labor ahead 55-45 in New South Wales, 57-43 in Victoria and 51.5-48.5 in Queensland, while the Coalition leads 54.5-45.5 in Western Australia, 52.5-47.5 in South Australia and 52.5-47.5 in Tasmania.

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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1524 comments

1,524 thoughts on “Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor

  1. Socrates

    [I would be happy for the GST to be increased in exchange for a simple increase in the tax free threshold.]

    I wouldn’t agree there. Many low income people simply don’t submit tax returns for one reason or another. Also, their tax margin is too low to compensate them adequately.

    In the case of some low income families a cash payment won’t necessarily assist their dependants and moreover cash payments can decline in real value over time.

    Accordingly, I’d prefer most of the compensation benefits to be delivered in service with suitable needs-based assessment taking into account assets, income, health status, locality and so forth to determine co-contribution.

  2. Re Mikehillard @1299 Frightening how the whole “boats” issue has vanished from the media except for the odd lone voice.

    Out of sight out of mind.

  3. Fran

    Then it could be increased for a combination of an increase in transfer payments and the tax free threshold. Both should be looked at together to avoid anomalies. But I agree with your general principle of taxing more and transferring more.

    The same is true for infrastructure spending. At present we struggle because governments imagine user pays can fix everything. It can’t. Some necessary works are not viable as toll roads, and public transport almost never pays for itself. We need to tax more to pay for essential services too.

  4. I think the argument that the GST is regressive isn’t as strong these days. Income tax is easy to avoid for the wealthy, detracting from the ‘progressive’ aspect of income tax. However, eventually everyone, even the wealthy, have to spend, and they can’t buy their petrol or flat screen TVs in the Cayman Islands.

    If we do have a problem with the budget, a small increase in the GST plus broadening the base, with compensatory adjustments for low income earners (e.g pensions, tax free threshold) should be considered.

  5. Govt having revenue problems?

    It could reinstate the tax on superannuation earnings over $100,000 a year, or re-introduce the tightening up of FBT to sop the rorts that would provide $1.9 billion.

    Or keep the current carbon price legislation that provides the revenue to pay the $4.5 billion a year tax cuts and compensation.

    Then look again at the 34(?) changes that Labor were going to introduce that Abbott stopped.

    They could also look at improving the MRRT so it collected a proper amount of revenue.

    The Liberals whinging about reduced revenue when they have reduced the revenue to help out their wealthy mates and mining companies.

    And their solution is to increase tax paid by the lower paid, less wealthy and reduce assistance/benefits to those who call least afford such a move

  6. Steve777

    I’m remembering that compensation was paid at the introduction of the carbon price, but that has been ignored in all the then Opposition shouting “Carbon Tax”. Politically difficult??

  7. Lizzie @1508 – politically difficult? Probably impossible. It might be easier for the Coalition because they would have the Murdoch media campaigning for them, emphasising the compensation, as happened with the GST (Daily Telegraph headlines ‘everyone’s a winner’), unlike carbon pricing.

  8. I’ll just point out that the tax free threshold is now much higher than it was. You can’t compensate (true) pensioners, those on government payments, and low income earners by raising the tax free threshold, just as giving them tax rebates is pretty pointless, too.

    You could raise pensions etc to compensate, but even then you’d miss people on low incomes who don’t get government assistance (perhaps increasing health card benefits might help here, though).

    Anyhoo, apparentlty the Producitivy Committee has a proposal —

    [Asked by Treasurer Joe Hockey to investigate impediments to infrastructure funding, the Productivity Commission has zeroed in on fuel excise, originally designed to fund roads but shrinking each year in real terms because of a decision by the Howard government to freeze rather than index the rate shortly after it introduced the goods and services tax.]

    Which every economist of note called a barmy decision at the time, but hey, it helped turn around the polls, so who cared?

    [The commission says at the moment the fuel excise and registration charges, drivers licence fees, stamp duty and tolls amount to $18 billion per year. GST on cars and fringe benefits tax would add about $1 billion more. Spending on roads amounts to $19.5 billion, and is growing faster than funding]

    Not clear here if this means they’re pro retaining Labor’s FBT or whether they’re just referring to it ‘as is’.

    [It wants the states and Commonwealth to trial an alternative to fuel excise known as “telematics” – the direct charging of all vehicles for road use, worked out from information collected by GPS and wireless-enabled devices reported to a central computer which bills the drivers.]

    Doesn’t an exise on fuel achieve exactly the same thing, without the need for gadgets?

    I’ll be interested to see what the conspiracy theorists think of a proposal which involves the government recording every kilometre you drive in a cental data base.

    Is this what happens when no one has the balls to say “Howard made the wrong call here”?

    [The report says it would be important to ensure the measure couldn’t be portrayed as a tax grab.]

    I mean, it is one. It’s aimed at raising more tax. But as long as it’s not portrayed as one, we’re apples.

    [“It may be necessary for any reform to be revenue neutral when adopted and for a specified period thereafter,”]

    If it’s not going to raise more money, then why do it at all?

    [“If – and here there is scope for debate – motorists already pay their way, the greater efficiency arising from road pricing reform could be promoted as giving motorists more and better roads for a similar amount of money. It would also be fairer to only charge people for the roads they use.”]

    Right. So it is a tax grab.

    And if they’re only going to charge me for the roads I use, I’d be interested to see how that works.

    I KNOW (as a former local councillor) that our local roads are cheaper to maintain than most other councils (natural gravel base, which saves heaps on both construction and maitenance). So will I get charged less?

    And will a country driver who exclusively uses a kilometre or so of road (which costs more for the shire to maintain than he pays in rates) get charged more?

    [The draft report recommends Canberra “actively encourage state and territory governments to undertake pilot studies on how vehicle telematics could be used for distance and location charging of cars and other light vehicles”.

    The government should offer to partly fund these pilot studies and ensure that motorists are consulted.]

    “Dear Commonwealth, we think you need to make a hard decision which has potentially big political blowback. We suggest you outsource it to the States.”

    [The draft report warns that public-private partnership funding models often used for big infrastructure projects “are not a magic pudding”. It says sometimes direct government borrowing and funding through debt can be more cost-effective.]

    Indeed.

    http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/2147387/drivers-may-pay-per-kilometre/?cs=7

  9. Socrates

    [At present we struggle because governments imagine user pays can fix everything. It can’t. Some necessary works are not viable as toll roads, and public transport almost never pays for itself. We need to tax more to pay for essential services too.]

    Oh I agree.

    Major roads, assuming there’s a case for them in each proposed instance, really ought to be publicly funded, because one of the things governments can generally do better than the private sector is raising cheap funds.

    That said, I believe major connecting roads ought to be user pays based on vehicle tare, the driver profile, the vehicle type, traffic contention and the existence or absence of parallel public transport corridors. In some cases, shuttle bus services could run the length of the major roads during the peak and shoulder, subsidised by the vehicles paying the tolls. Parallel rail corridors could also benefit with an increase in services.

  10. Hockeys dilemma

    The latest national accounts figures show a growing economy; 0.8% for the December quarter. That’s a much better result than the September quarter’s 0.6%. The Treasurer says it is still below trend of 3-3.25% per annum but he was being cautious. Considering all the doom and gloom he was predicting prior to the election one would expect him to be guarded in what he said but, given this unexpected upturn, he must find the latest figures something of a dilemma. He should be over the moon but he knows he can’t take any credit for them because he hasn’t done anything yet. They belong to Labor. And, if you multiply December’s 0.8% by 4 you get 3.2% per annum which if it continues at that rate, is bang on trend. And none of it will have anything to do with Joe Hockey. It will all belong to Labor.

  11. [Consumer confidence has collapsed, sliding to its lowest point since the Gillard prime ministership as Labor supporters despair about jobs, the economy and business profitability.

    The latest result, a consumer sentiment index number of 99.5 means pessimists outweigh optimists by 0.5 percentage points, the first time that has happened since May 2013. It’s a spectacular dive from the November post-election high of 110.3 where optimists outweighed pessimists by 10.3 percentage points..]

    As is often the case, we can’t work out from this whether those surveyed were Labor supporters at the last election or have become Labor supporters BECAUSE of their pessimism about the economy..

    [”Asked which news items they recalled, over two thirds of consumers nominated news on ‘economic conditions’ with most viewing the news as negative,” he said.

    ”Within this broad topic, 37 per cent recalled news specifically about ‘business profitability’ – the highest level of recall since the global financial crisis in 2008 and prior to that since the sharemarket crash in 1987.

    ”Consumers also had a very high recall rate for employment-related news with 45 per cent reporting items on this topic, the highest reading since we began running these questions in 1976.”]

    I feel like doing one of those riffs climate change deniers do when confronted with “but this is the hottest day recorded since…”

    [Westpac’s separate unemployment expectations index has climbed 15 per cent since the September election.

    ”The index is at an extreme high only eclipsed by readings during 2008-09 and the recessions in the early 1990s and early 1980s,” Mr Hassan said. ”Higher readings indicate more consumers expect unemployment to rise.]

    Eek.

    [The pessimism isn’t yet evident in sales. The consumers who agreed that now was ”a good time to buy a major household item” outnumbered those who did not by 35 percentage points. ]

    Absolutely. Mum hasn’t lost her job yet, so we’d better grab what we need whilst we still have the money coming in.

    [The results add to pressure on the Treasurer to construct a budget that kindles rather than dampens confidence.]

    Hate to rain on your parade here, but that’s not happening…

    http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/2147385/economy-consumer-confidence-nosedives/?cs=7

  12. chris uhlmann is starting to make his mark on ABC AM

    first question to Will Hodgman this morning: “How will you get Tasmania back to work?”

    first question to Lara Giddings “Why has your government been such a failure?”

  13. And none of it will have anything to do with Joe Hockey. It will all belong to Labor.

    No – the rule is, since September 18, the good stuff belongs to the current Government, the bad stuff belongs to the previous Government, for as long as the Coalition can get away with it.

  14. [Doesn’t an exise on fuel achieve exactly the same thing, without the need for gadgets?
    ]

    The current system requires rebates which those entitled to are worried will be removed – just a guess but this idea may have come from that corner. I’m not sure the GST is meant to deliver income tax or bracket benefits to people – firstly it has to fund the deficit then it needs to fund a 2% income tax rate cut for business.

  15. Want to fix state govt budgets?

    Want to deflate the housing bubble and prevent it from happening again?

    Want the greatest beneficiaries from public goods (transport, road improvements, good local schools and health services) to contribute the most to funding them?

    Get the states to implement a decent land tax, on everyone.

    State govt funding problems. Fixed.
    Equity issues. Sorted.
    Fiscal imbalance. Gone.
    GST. 10%.

  16. So long as the land tax used market value as the base and not GRV or unimproved value I’m 100% with it. It is fair it is smart it is efficient and also has a positive impact on all those horrible unused bits of land in cities where the holding costs are sufficient to force the owner to develop or sell.

    If it was phased in correctly it would have relatively little impact on the lower and middle markets in real estate. You could also have a mechanism to save the little old lady living in a hovel worth $20 million by allowing in limited circumstances people to accumulate the tax until death or sale (so it would then function a bit as a death duty).

    If you coordinated and phased it in with an ability to invest part your super in your primary residence I think you could sell it.

    It is also an indirect way of discouraging negative gearing. You’d need to phase it in to try and ensure there was no market shock.