At last, a second poll to back the notion that Labor has taken a hit in recent weeks. The latest Roy Morgan face-to-face survey has Labor’s lead at 56-44: healthy enough in absolute terms, but down from 61-39 last week and 60.5-39.5 at the previous regular fortnightly survey. Labor is down 4.5 per cent on the primary vote while the Coalition is up 3.5 per cent (CORRECTION: up 6 per cent) to 38.5 per cent. The Greens are down 1.5 per cent to 8 per cent; not sure where the remainder went. The normal Morgan poll release is not available yet, but it can be assumed that this is based on last weekend’s polling of a sample of about 1000. The numbers can be seen on Morgan’s Poll Trends page. Thanks to sharp-eyed/well-informed readers for pointing this out.

UPDATE: Morgan’s poll release informs us that this is one of those occasions where Morgan also unloads a mid-week poll conducted on the back of an unrelated survey. This one has Labor’s lead at just 52-48 – but the sample is only 573. The sample size of the face-to-face poll turns out to have been 874.

UPDATE 2: Jamie Walker and Lenore Taylor of The Weekend Australian inform us of a Newspoll survey of 1847 voters conducted this week across six Queensland marginal seats: “the Brisbane-based Liberal seats of Bowman and Dickson, Labor-held Longman to the north of the capital, Flynn and Dawson in central Queensland, also with the ALP, and the Liberal electorate of Herbert, centred on Townsville”. What we really need here is a table, but between them the reports inform us that:

• Support for Labor “has lifted 2.9 per cent since Mr Rudd was elected two years ago, against 6.2 per cent Australia-wide”.

• Two-party support for Labor in Dawson in Flynn has increased almost 3 per cent since the election, despite hostility in those electorates towards emissions trading.

• Satisfaction with Kevin Rudd’s performance as Prime Minister ranged between 46 per cent in Flynn and 61 per cent in Herbert, and averaged 54 per cent.

• “Mr Turnbull’s best results were in Bowman, in Brisbane’s east, and Herbert, where he scored 38 per cent approval; his worst was 27 per cent in Longman, lost to Labor at the last election by former Howard government minister Mal Brough. Satisfaction with the Opposition Leader averaged out at 34 per cent.”

• Preferred prime minister reflected the national situation, with Rudd leading 63-22.

• Overall, “only 26 per cent of voters across the electorates like what (Rudd) is doing with Telstra, only 27 per cent think he is doing a good job with asylum-seekers and 56 per cent think he’s being too soft on them”; however, “sixty-one per cent of voters in the six electorates thought Labor was doing a good job in handling interest rates”.

Other news:

The Mercury reports former state Labor MP Kathryn Hay has pulled out of her comeback bid in Bass citing health problems. However, her media statement has made a point of telling us she “did not rule out” standing for Labor again, prompting suggestions she might yet seek to replace Jodie Campbell in the federal seat. Alison Andrews of the Launceston Examiner says Hay’s exit “provides the opportunity for newly elected Launceston City Council alderman Rob Soward to rethink trying for state politics”, after he failed to win one of the six positions in the recent preselection vote. For what it’s worth, a commenter on the Mercury article said he had it “on very good authority that Lisa Singh is also looking to jump the sinking Bartlett ship with an eye on Duncan Kerr’s Federal Denison seat”.

Peter van Onselen in The Australian reports that Labor’s preselection politburo wishes to install social worker Louise Durack as its candidate against Liberal front-bencher Michael Keenan in the Perth seat of Stirling, which has a notional margin of 1.3 per cent after minor redistribution adjustments. Durack failed to carry the highly marginal new seat of Ocean Reef at the September 2008 state election. Another aspirant, Balcatta Senior High School chairwoman Janet Pettigrew, is reportedly being pressured to withdraw.

James Massola of the Canberra Times reports the ACT Greens are likely to preselect Sue Ellerman for Canberra and Indra Esguerra for Fraser on Monday, but the more interesting question of their Senate candidate will not be resolved for a few more weeks.

• George Megalogenis of The Australian observes that “safe Liberal electorates have borne the brunt of the Rudd government’s clampdown on family payments”. All of the 15 electorates identified as most heavily affected are Liberal seats, including Wentworth, Curtin, North Sydney and Warringah.

Andrew Crook of Crikey reports the Prime Minister is weighing up whether to stick with Belinda Neal in Robertson or “install a political cleanskin untainted by the saga surrounding the notorious events at Iguana Joe’s”. The opinion of local branch members is unlikely to have much to do with it.

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