Essential Research suggests Labor’s recent slump may not have bottomed out yet, with their primary vote down two to 32% and the Coalition steady on 49%. With the Greens up a point to 10%, two-party preferred nonetheless remains steady on 56-44. Further questions relate mostly to the Greens, whose performance in the federal parliament is rated good by 17% and poor by 47%; whose politics are related too extreme by 52% and representative of the views of many by 24%; and whose leader Christine Milne is approved of by 22% (up two since November) and disapproved of by 29% (down four), with 48% (up one) still not knowing. The end of the formal agreement between Labor and the Greens is rated good for the Greens by 33% and bad for them by 26%, while the respective numbers for Labor are 26% and 40%. The poll also gauges firmness of vote, which I tend not to find too illuminating, and has 29% believing the mining tax should be amended to raise more money and 21% believing it should be maintained as is, with only 28% favouring its abolition.

We’ve also had ReachTEL striking while the iron is hot on behalf of the Fairfax papers in western Sydney, with automated phone polls of between 617 and 662 respondents conducted on Thursday in four of the area’s traditionally strong Labor seats. It finds the Liberals with a crushing 63-37 lead in Laurie Ferguson’s seat of Werriwa, a 62-38 lead in Chris Bowen’s seat of McMahon, a 54-46 lead in Ed Husic’s seat of Chifley, and a 54-46 lead in Jason Clare’s seat of Blaxland. The respective Labor margins in the four seats are 6.8%, 7.8%, 12.3% and 12.2%. Further questions on how respondents would vote if Kevin Rudd were leader get the usual response. Less usual is the strength of Tony Abbott’s personal ratings, which are net positive in two of the four seats, and the very weak results for the Greens, who score between 2.6% and 3.6% compared with 8.1% and 8.4% at the election.

ReachTEL has also conducted a poll of 693 respondents in Wayne Swan’s seat of Lilley for Andrew Bolt’s Channel Ten program The Bolt Report. This has Swan trailing his LNP opponent 54-46, almost perfectly replicating the result of another poll ReachTEL conducted for United Voice in January. As usual, it finds things would turn around if Kevin Rudd was Labor leader.

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