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Federal Politics 2013-

Feb 24, 2014

Newspoll: 54-46 to Labor

As other pollsters find support for Labor trending downwards, Newspoll breaks ranks with the Abbott government's worst poll result since it came to power.

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The second Newspoll of the year is a wildly off-trend result that has no doubt made life difficult for a) whoever has been charged with writing up the results for The Australian, and b) anti-Murdoch conspiracy theorists. The poll has Labor leading 54-46, up from 51-49, which is the Coalition’s worst result from any poll since the election of the Abbott government. The primary votes are 39% for the Coalition (down two), 39% for Labor (up four) and 10% for the Greens (down two). Despite that, the personal ratings find Bill Shorten continuing to go backwards, his approval steady at 35% and disapproval up four to 39%. However, things are a good deal worse for Tony Abbott, who is down four to 36% and up seven to 52%. Abbott’s lead on preferred prime minister shrinks from 41-33 to 38-37.

Elsewhere in polldom:

Roy Morgan is more in line with the recent trend in having the Coalition up half a point on the primary vote to 41%, Labor down 1.5% to 35.5%, the Greens steady on 10.5%, and the Palmer United Party steady on 4.5%. Labor leads by 50.5-49.5 on both two-party preferred measures, compared with 52-48 on last fortnight’s respondent-allocated result and 51-49 on previous election preferences. The Morgan release also provides state breakdowns on two party preferred, showing the Coalition leading 52.5-47.5 in New South Wales and 55-45 in Western Australia, while Labor leads 54.5-45.5 in Victoria, 52-48 in Queensland, 53.5-46.5 in South Australia and 50.5-49.5 in Tasmania.

• The Australian National University has released results from its regular in-depth post-election Australian Election Study mailout survey, the most widely noted finding of which is that Tony Abbott scored the lowest rating of any election-winner going back to 1987. The survey asks respondents to rate leaders on a scale from zero to ten, with Abbott scoring a mean of 4.29 compared with 4.89 for Julia Gillard in 2010; 6.31 for Kevin Rudd in 2007; 5.73, 5.31, 5.56 and 5.71 for John Howard in 1996, 1998, 2001 and 2004 respectively; 4.74 for Paul Keating in 1993; and 6.22 and 5.46 for Bob Hawke in 1987 and 1990 respectively.

The Age reports that a poll of 1000 respondents by UMR Research, commissioned by the Australian Education Union, finds Malcolm Turnbull (a net rating of plus 12%) and Joe Hockey (plus 2%) to be rated more favourably than Tony Abbott (minus 8%).

UPDATE (Essential Research): The weekly Essential Research has Labor’s lead steady at 51-49, with the Coalition up a point on the primary vote to 42%, Labor down one to 39% and the Greens up one to 9%. Also featured: “government handling of issues”, showing neutral net ratings for the government’s best areas (economic management, asylum seekers, foreign relations) and strongly negative ones for welfare, service provision and industrial relations. Worst of the lost is “supporting Australian jobs”, at minus 19%. The existing renewable energy target is broadly supported (39% about right, 25% too low, 13% too high); opinion of Qantas has deteriorated over the past year (11% say they have come to feel more positive, 25% more negative), and there is support for the government buying a share of it or guaranteeing its loans; and opinion on government moves to crack down on illegal file sharing is evenly divided.

UPDATE 2: The West Australian reports that a Patterson Market Research survey conducted before last week’s High Court ruling from an undisclosed sample size suggests the micro-party vote would wither if a fresh Senate election was held. The poll has the Liberals on 45%, up six on its Senate vote at the election, Labor on 32%, up five, and the Greens on 12%, up three. The Palmer United Party collapses from 5% to 1%, with all others halving from 20% to 10%. However, one wonders how good polls are at capturing the sentiment that causes indifferent voters to plump for micro-parties at the last minute.

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