GhostWhoVotes reports the latest monthly Nielsen poll has the Coalition lead at 58-42, compared with 57-43 in the previous month’s poll. The primary votes are 28% for Labor (up two), 48% for the Coalition (steady) and 12% for the Greens (down two). That these shifts should send Labor backwards on two-party preferred can be put down to fortuitous rounding in Labor’s favour last time. Tony Abbott’s lead as preferred prime minister has widened, from 46-44 to 46-42, but personal ratings are little changed. Julia Gillard is down a point on approval to 35% and steady on disapproval at 60%, while Abbott is steady at 39% and down two to 55%.

Nielsen also has 88% of respondents wanting “the political parties to compromise to find a policy solution” on asylum seekers, not unreasonably (a more specific question regarding the arrangement which passed the House last week would perhaps have been more illuminating), with only 10% opposed. Labor (58%) fared worse than the Coalition (42%), the Greens (39%) and the independents (18%) when respondents were asked of each party in turn if they bore some responsibility for the impasse. The poll also has opposition to the carbon tax at 62%, up from 59% in October, while support is down from 37% to 33%. Only 5% believed they would be better off after carbon tax compensation, with 51% believing they would be worse off.

UPDATE: Essential Research has two-party preferred steady at 56-44, with the Labor primary vote down a point on last week to 32% and the Coalition and the Greens steady at 49% and 10%. Presented with the favoured policies of Labor (offshore processing in Malaysia), the Liberals (offshore processing in Nauru) and the Greens (onshore processing), respondents divided 18%, 35% and 14%. However, 57% favoured an option that the government should negotiate a solution over the alternative that it should adopt the Liberal policy. Further questions gauge use of newspapers and concern about their decline, culminating in a finding that 52% would approve of the government “taking action to maintain the publication of daily newspapers” against 27% who would disapprove.

We also have the quarterly Newspoll breakdowns by state, gender, age and capitals/non-capitals. The star attraction here is a collapse in Labor’s vote in Queensland, their primary vote down to 22% from 30% in the previous quarter and their two-party vote down from 42% to 35%. How much of this might be put down to static from the state election, and how much to the defeat of Kevin Rudd’s leadership challenge and the manner in which it was effected, is a subject for further discussion. I also note that the Greens primary vote appears to be down on the 2010 election result among men and voters under 35, but not among women and older people. The availability of state breakdowns from Nielsen allows us to combine their results, with due weight given to their respective sample sizes. This produces quarterly samples ranging from about 3300 in New South Wales to 1200 in South Australia/Northern Territory.

The Nielsen figures corroborate Newspoll’s result for Queensland (their last three monthly polls have had Labor’s two-party vote at 34%, 36% and 32%), and point to a Labor collapse there dragging the party down nationally. Queensland appears to have far surpassed Western Australia as Labor’s worst state, the latter having recorded only a 1% swing off the low base of 2010. The other states are recording swings of around 5% to 6%, off bases ranging from 48.8% in New South Wales to 55.3% in Victoria.

Preselection news:

• ReachTel published results from an automated phone poll of 644 respondents in Andrew Wilkie’s seat of Denison, which showed Wilkie well placed with 40% of the primary vote (compared with 21.3% at the 2010 election) to 28% for the Liberals (22.6%), 17% for Labor (35.8%) and 14% for the Greens (19.0%), panning out to a 65-35 win over Liberal after preferences. However, a Labor internal poll of 400 respondents reported by Matthew Denholm in The Australian had very different results: 23% for Wilkie, 26% for Labor, 31% for the Liberals and 17% for the Greens. Peter Brent at Mumble considered the likely wash-up after preferences, which – despite the roughly 10% swing in Labor-versus-Liberal terms – was as it was at the 2010 election: Wilkie would win if Greens and other preferences allowed him to overtake Liberal and/or Labor, but otherwise preferences from him and the Greens would deliver Labor a comfortable victory. The poll was also said to show Denison voters giving Julia Gillard a strong lead over Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister, of 51% to 26%. Anne Mather of The Mercury reports mental health policy adviser Jane Austin is assured of Labor preselection in Denison after winning the endorsement of the Left. The preselection will be officially confirmed at the party’s state conference in August.

• The Nationals have conducted their preselection for Rob Oakeshott’s seat of Lyne, again choosing their unsuccessful candidate from 2010, Port Macquarie gastroenterologist David Gillespie, from a field of five candidates.

• The Nationals have also conducted their preselection for the north coast NSW seat of Page, held for Labor by Janelle Saffin on a margin of 4.2%, choosing Clunes businessman and farmer Kevin Hogan over Clarence Valley mayor Richie Williamson.

• The Parramatta Advertiser reports that Martin Zaiter, a 29-year-old partner in a local accountancy firm, has won Liberal preselection for Parramatta. The unsuccessful candidates included Charles Camenzuli, who ran in 2010. Julie Owens holds the seat for Labor on a margin of 4.4%.

• Accumulating political difficulties for Mal Brough have refocused attention on the Liberal National Party preselection for Peter Slipper’s seat of Fisher, for which nominations close tomorrow. The most widely mentioned alternative contender has been Peta Simpson, director of Maroochydore recruitment agency New Staff Solutions.

Brett Worthington of the Bendigo Advertiser reports Jack Lyons of Lyons Constructions, business owner and teacher Peter Wiseman and transport business owner Greg Bickley have nominated for Liberal preselection in Bendigo, where Labor members Steve Gibbons will retire at the next election. An earlier report in the Bendigo Advertiser reported Anita Donlon, an activist for anti-carbon tax group the Consumers and Taxpayers Association and candidate for Bendigo West at the state election, was weighing up whether to nominate.

ABC Newcastle reports Troy Jurd, a director with the NSW Department of Corrective Services Troy Jurd, Greta heart surgeon Duncan Thompson and Upper Hunter councillor Michael Johnsen will contest Liberal preselection for Hunter, which Joel Fitzgibbon holds for Labor on a margin of 12.5%.

Ken McGregor of The Advertiser reports the SA Liberal Party state council will meet on July 27 to determine a replacement for outgoing Senator Mary Jo Fisher. Kate Raggatt, a former staffer to Nick Minchin, has backing from her old old boss’s Right faction and has been widely discussed as a front-runner, but Michael Owen of The Australian reports that her membership has lapsed, and factional rivalries will make it difficult for her to win the waiver she will need from state executive in order to nominate. The other front-runner is said to be moderate-backed Anne Ruston, owner of a Riverland flower-growing business. Serial aspirant Maria Kourtesis has ruled herself out, saying she wishes to stay focused on the state seat of Bright, which she narrowly failed to win from Labor at the 2010 state election. Still circulating as possible candidates are “Cathy Webb, Andrew McLaughlin, Paul Salu and Chris Moriarty” UPDATE: The ABC reports the nominees are Bev Barber, Gary Burgess, Greg Mayfield, Kate Raggatt, Anne Ruston and Marijka Ryan.

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