tip off

Nielsen: 56-44 to Labor; Newspoll: 55-45

The hostile reaction to the government’s first budget comes into sharper focus with two bruising new opinion poll results, both of which show Bill Shorten opening up a big lead as preferred prime minister.

UPDATE (Morgan): The fortnightly Morgan face-to-face plus SMS result sings from the same song sheet, with Labor up 1.5% to 38.5%, the Coalition down 2.5% to 35%, the Greens steady on 12%, and Palmer up a point to 6.5%. Whereas Morgan polls usually combine two weekends of polling, this one is entirely from Saturday and Saturday, so all the responses are post-budget and the sample is somewhat smaller than usual. On two-party preferred, Labor’s lead is up from 53.5-46.5 to 56.5-43.5 on 2013 election preferences, and 55-45 to 57.5-42.5 on respondent-allocated preferences.

After a relatively mild result from yesterday’s Galaxy poll, in which the government may have benefited slightly from an earlier polling period (Wednesday to Friday, the budget having been brought down on Tuesday night), two big name pollsters deliver horror results for the Coalition:

• Newspoll, conducted from Friday to Sunday, has Labor’s two-party lead out from 53-47 to 55-45, from primary votes of 38% for Labor (up four), 36% for the Coalition (down two), 11% for the Greens (down three) and 15% for others (up one). Worse still for the Coalition are the leadership ratings, which have Tony Abbott down five on approval to 30% and up four on disapproval to 60%, while Bill Shorten leaps seven points on approval to 42% and drops two on disapproval to 39%. Shorten has opened up a big lead of 44-34 as preferred prime minister, after Abbott led 40-38 a fortnight ago. The Australian’s report here.

• Even worse for the Coalition is the monthly Nielsen result in the Fairfax papers. Conducted from Thursday to Saturday, it shows Labor’s lead out to 56-44 from 52-48 a month ago. The primary votes are 40% for Labor (up six), 35% for the Coalition (down five), 14% for the Greens (down three from am implausible result last time, but still very strong) and 6% for Palmer United (up two). Tony Abbott sinks nine points on approval to 34% and adds twelve on disapproval to 62%, whereas Bill Shorten is up four to 47% and down two to 39%, and shoots to a 51-40 lead as preferred prime minister after trailing 45-44 last time.

The leadership ratings in particular invite comparison with Julia Gillard’s low points. While Abbott still has a way to go before matching the worst of Gillard’s ratings in Newspoll, his present net approval rating of 28% in Nielsen was exceeded by Gillard on only two occasions, in September and October of 2011, and equalled in July 2011. Gillard’s final result before she lost the leadership in June 2013 was 36% approval and 61% disapproval. Abbott himself scored fractionally worse figures as Opposition Leader in December 2012, of 34% approval and 63% disapproval.

Both pollsters also have results gauging reaction to the budget, with Nielsen finding 63% considering it unfair against 33% for fair. The deficit levy finds support, with 50% in favour and 37% against, but there’s a surprisingly narrow majority of 49% to 46% in favour of abolishing the carbon tax. The poll finds predictably strong opposition to the notion of increasing the GST, with 30% for and 66% against.

Newspoll’s results on budget reaction are particularly illuminating, as it has been asking the same three questions after every budget since 1988. Forty-eight per cent rate this budget as bad for the economy versus 39% for good, with 4% opting for neither; 69% say it will leave them worse off, compared with just 5% for better off and 20% for neither; and 39% believed that Labor would have done a better job, with 46% saying they wouldn’t have.

The latter result can be put into context with the following chart, showing the positive result minus the negative result for the equivalent question going back to 1988, with Labor budgets in red and Coalition budgets in blue. This shows that the only budget to record a net result in favour of yes was in 1993, when the Keating government followed its surprise election win by breaking its L-A-W tax cuts promise. As such, the slight net negative result for this budget is an historically weak one for the government – particularly when taking into account an apparent tendency for governments to perform strongly on this measure when newly elected, and decline thereafter. This takes a good deal of gloss off the consolation the Coalition might have taken in the result being better than the last three for the previous government.

The next chart plots the result for each budget on “impact on own financial position” along the x-axis and impact on the economy along the y, with the current result indicated in red. This shows a clear association between the two results, demonstrating that people generally decide whether a budget is good or bad, and deem it equally so for both themselves and the economy. To the limited extent that variability exists, there does appear to be at least some constituency for the view that the pain inflicted in the current budget will be good for the economy – whereas the trendline indicates that the minus 64% rating on own financial position could be expected to associate with 24.5% on the economy, the latter figure in fact comes in at a relatively presentable minus 9%. Nonetheless, the outstanding fact to emerge from the chart is that the budget inhabits a zone of extreme unpopularity with only 1993 to keep it company. The budget the government might have been hoping to emulate, Peter Costello’s cost-cutting debut of 1996, had a plus 37% rating on the economy despite a minus 21% rating on personal financial situation.

Finally, a table showing the net result for all three measures at each budget, with averages by party at the bottom. This shows that despite the current results, Coalition budgets tend to be better received than Labor ones, with the gap being wider on impact on the economy. Partly this is down to historical circumstance – Labor was marked down for the recession-era budgets of the early 1990s, while the Howard government made political hay out of the revenue boom in its later years in office (though obviously not to the extent of saving them from the electoral cycle in 2007). However, it also reflects the tendency for the Coalition to outperform Labor in “best party to manage the economy” polling, a point illustrated by the averages for “would the opposition have delivered a better budget”. For more context on the individual budgets, here’s a very helpful resource from the Sydney Morning Herald.

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  • 101
    dave
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    confessions@93

    dave:

    Hockey is the ultimate buffoon.

    Yep :)

  • 102
    soyaking
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t say that it’s terminal. Howard was behind by this much or further back in 2001. OK, there was Tampa and 9/11, but even then, miracles do happen.

    This at least shows though that Labor are in a position to be back in the game and be competitive in 2016.

  • 103
    zoomster
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    PvO is of course referencing Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…

  • 104
    lefty e
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    I agree Andrew, but Im wondering if it ever got as bad as 44-56 for Howard anyway.

  • 105
    sohar
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Is the other problem for Abbott alluded to the preferred leader figures? We already know he has disapproval of 62%.

  • 106
    guytaur
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    “@Thefinnigans: 1 2PP 56-44 to ALP
    2 Disapproved 62% Approved 34%

    Hey Joe @joehockey i bet this is even more offensive than the windmills”

  • 107
    MTBW
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    guytaur

    Good on Mike Carlton he knows how to string a few words together and then some.

  • 108
    victoria
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Andrew

    The powers that be, would want Abbott to go quickly and quietly

  • 109
    dave
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    BK@76

    Abbott has awakened Australians from their political torpor.

    …and filled them with a terrible resolve….grrrr.

  • 110
    BK
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    @MikeCarlton01: SMH editors tell me yesterday’s column set new Fairfax readership records. So, many thanks. http://t.co/Kg2eRpQroP via @smh

    Shows what can happen when one doesn’t write crap.

  • 111
    sprocket_
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    @aus_politics: Heads up: headline numbers for latest Newspoll out in less than 30 mins. Keep an eye on Oz site.#aus_pol

  • 112
    soyaking
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    I will say that this has pretty much killed off any chance of Hockey replacing Abbott as PM. I still can’t see Turnbull being reinstated – he just wouldn’t have the numbers. Morrison or Dutton is a real possibility – would appeal to the base and offer the party a chance at renewal.

  • 113
    Andrew
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Victoria, like Rudd, Abbott does not have the personality to go quickly or quietly. Pass the popcorn

  • 114
    victoria
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Mike carlton’s piece attracted over 1000 comments. I had never seen a fairfax article with that many comments

  • 115
    roger bottomley
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Well, I said 55-45 for Newspoll, but this will do me nicely!

  • 116
    guytaur
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    soya

    Not Morrison he is mired in legal procedures to come over Manus. High Court is at moment looking at legality of Manus

  • 117
    sohar
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Interesting about Carlton’s column being so popular. But knowing the low intelligence level of Fairfax management, they’ll just give us more of Amanda.

  • 118
    dave
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    BK@110


    @MikeCarlton01: SMH editors tell me yesterday’s column set new Fairfax readership records. So, many thanks. http://t.co/Kg2eRpQroP via @smh


    Shows what can happen when one doesn’t write crap.

    Plus people like me kept clicking on Carltons article all day – over and over in incognito mode – I wondered how that would turn out.

    :)

  • 119
    Andrew
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Nielsen has been friendlier to coalition than Newspoll. Surely Newspoll cant be worse than 56/44

  • 120
    J341983
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    If Newspoll is out early, that explains PvO’s tweet.

  • 121
    gloryconsequence
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Newspoll imminent. Cue the conspiracy theorists if it’s not as bad as Nielsen

  • 122
    MTBW
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    guytaur

    Morrison is a grub and should not be anywhere near a leading position.

  • 123
    lefty e
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Yes, thats right: Howard trailed 44-56 11 weeks out from 2001 election, but then you had 9/11 and the Tampa.

    I think Tones is rooted, punters. And given his high profile during the Gillard era,Im not sure this even counts as ‘early days’ in the public mind/

    As always, lot of time till 2016: but seriously, this is DIRE territory for the LNP.

  • 124
    soyaking
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Legality of Manus means nothing for the LNP. Demonising refugees wins votes period.

  • 125
    Andrew
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Stroke of genius from Abbott to remove Hockey as a contender

  • 126
    shellbell
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    soya

    Not Morrison he is mired in legal procedures to come over Manus. High Court is at moment looking at legality of Manus

    Heard over 4 days in the last two weeks.

  • 127
    zoidlord
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    @112

    Not only that but Dutton is part of the reason why Health Cuts are coming, and Morrison for the inapt ability to fix Asylum Seeker issue.

    The rest of the Coalition Party would be tainted on top of the Commission of Audit, NBN, ABC/SBS, Universities etc.

  • 128
    confessions
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Surely Newspoll will come tomorrow, not tonight?

  • 129
    sprocket_
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Not sure what to make of theis Courier Mail front page

    @wrongdorey: Origin has come early. The Courier-Mail front page #auspol http://t.co/7nXbsIKfj4

  • 130
    guytaur
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    soya

    What it will mean to the LNP is AS transferred from Manus to Mainland Australia if High Court rules that way.

    Suddenly stop the boats total failure in their terms

  • 131
    KEVIN-ONE-SEVEN
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    How does turnbull come in and saywe are really cuddly and adorable. How does he explain the adults canning a leader within a year. Turnbull wont save them.

  • 132
    Graeme
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    @103 or Cpl Jones in Dad’s Army.

  • 133
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    I suppose two things the Government has going for it is time and a decent enough seat margin to sandbag but this is still not good for them. I have been saying for months that the mood on the ground is not good for Abbott and this budget has just exacerbated that – it’s been the most ill-received budget I can recall.

    The other effect I have seen from this budget is it has united Labor against it. The core philosophy of the thing and the thinly veiled attempt to push extreme reforms under the guise of reform has brought the most pragmatic moderate together with the most radical leftist.

    Abbott has time but if he doesn’t change his tact soon, it won’t matter.

  • 134
    Kevin Bonham
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    lefty e@104

    I agree Andrew, but Im wondering if it ever got as bad as 44-56 for Howard anyway.

    If you’re comparing like with like, individual polls with individual polls, there was a Nielsen in the Howard years that was 40-60. But Howard never had a net personal rating this bad. His worst was -21. It has taken Abbott less than a year to record a Nielsen net rating seven points worse than Howard did in his entire career!

  • 135
    zoidlord
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Retweeted by sortius
    Zac Spitzer ‏@zackster 2m

    Windows Vista #morepopularthanAbbott #auspol

    lol, I had to laugh at that one.

  • 136
    Kevin Bonham
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Troy Bramston @TroyBramston
    #Newspoll Yikes.

  • 137
    MTBW
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Abbott Hockey et al need to go to confession and ask forgiveness for their sins!

  • 138
    sprocket_
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Sam Maiden gives a heads up,on. NewsPoll

    @samanthamaiden: Newspoll out tomorrow - or so I am told. Backs Galaxy's David Briggs view that budget one of worst voter reax in two decades.

  • 139
    gloryconsequence
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    The only ones realistically tarnished from the first term so far + budget are Abbott and Hockey. Turnbull isn’t, and his NBN connection won’t cost him much as he is largely popular among the punters. Morrison and Dutton? Not a chance.

    Which prominent Coalition front bencher has been barely seen or heard this year?

  • 140
    The Lorax
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    When do the Fairfax websites post their reports on Nielsen? Midnight?

  • 141
    victoria
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Sprocket

    I linked this earlier. Maybe Cando is genuinely railing against the feds

    victoria
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 9:24 pm | PERMALINK
    I have read Elder’s latest piece

    The real political game, as it was under Howard, is to force the Coalition out of office at the state level so that the Coalition is not conflicted or diverted politically between federal and state governments. For the Manichean Abbott, the federal-state blame game can be clarified by abandoning state government (and its pernicious moderating influences) to Labor.

    It may have dawned on the premiers today that this is indeed the coalition game plan. They were scathing of Abbott and Co

  • 142
    Rex Douglas
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Carey Moore #133

    No-one will believe anything the Coalition says anymore, good or bad.

    Massive trust black hole.

  • 143
    KEVIN-ONE-SEVEN
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    BK – surely shannahan will relish the chance to polish this Everest sized turd. His whole career has been but a preparation for this moment. The eyes of Rupe are upon him

  • 144
    B.C.
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    The problem for the Coalition is this is one of those budgets that will talked about at the “water cooler”, and virtually everything said will be bad. If anything it reinforces the worst perceptions of the Coalition as right wing ideologues.

    I think in some ways this is going to be a slow burn. People will discover more over time as they talk about it.

  • 145
    guytaur
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    @TownsvilleLabor: We hear you! Someone’s gone to a lot of effort here! :) #auspol #qldpol http://t.co/x1JKloVPuE

  • 146
    J341983
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    @Mesma has been very… very careful.

  • 147
    soyaking
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a thought: Wyatt Roy to vacate his seat for new leader Sophie Mirabella!

  • 148
    MTBW
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Rex

    I think you are right!

  • 149
    Jimmyhaz
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    In regards to the co-payment, will free vaccinations now cost $7?

    If so, I can see some serious negative effects from it. Not least giving the anti-vac nut-bags ammo.

  • 150
    dave
    Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Carey Moore@133

    Abbott has time but if he doesn’t change his tact soon, it won’t matter.

    His insistence today that people heard something different from what he promised is not a promising start.

    Please please let voters just stopping listening to tories at all.

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