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Federal Politics 2013-

May 22, 2014

BludgerTrack: 54.2-45.8 to Labor

As you may have guessed in advance, this week's poll aggregate finds the pace of Labor's recent breakthrough quickening after a disastrous reception to the government's first budget, as Bill Shorten surges to a handy lead as preferred prime minister.


Post-budget polling has emphatically confirmed a second major shift in public opinion since the election, the first being a strikingly early dip in the new government’s fortunes in November, leaving the opposition with a narrow lead when the dust had settled. With every pollster but ReachTEL having produced results in the wake of last Tuesday’s budget, the latest landslip looks even bigger than the first, and it sends the Coalition into territory that was all too familiar to Labor during its tumultuous second term in office. The damage was done by Newspoll, Nielsen and Morgan, with a small amount of the edge taken off by more moderate results from Galaxy and Essential Research. Even so, Labor now has a lead on the primary vote for the first time since BludgerTrack opened for business in late 2012, even taking into account that the Greens have retained a healthy share of the vote, perhaps finding a new equilibrium with their head just above double figures. Also continuing to make hay out of the exodus from the Coalition is the Palmer United Party, which this week reaches a new high of 7.0%.

No less spectacular is the latest update on leadership ratings, for which near-identical sets of data have emerged this week courtesy of Newspoll and Nielsen. The slump in Tony Abbott’s standing which had become evident over the previous fortnight has continued apace, to the extent that I have had to increase the range of the y-axis on the net satisfaction chart to accommodate it. This puts Abbott at a level Julia Gillard would only have known in a particularly bad week. Even more encouragingly for Labor, Bill Shorten’s ratings are on an upward swing, putting him back into net positive territory after three months below par. What had previously been a steady narrowing trend in Tony Abbott’s lead on preferred prime minister has sharply accelerated, to the extent of putting Shorten substantially ahead – an uncommon achievement for an Opposition Leader.

The state projections this week see the distinction in state swings even out, most notably in the case of Queensland where the swing to Labor got out of hand for a few weeks there. A considerable influence here was the latest Nielsen breakdown, which provided the first presentable set of figures I had seen for the Coalition in Queensland for some time. This may suggest that the budget backlash in that state was muted by the fact that Labor had less slack to take up, although there is no doubt also a large element of the statistical noise to which state breakdowns are inevitably prone. The upshot is that the Coalition’s position on the Queensland seat projection actually improves by four seats this week, testament in part to the state’s super-abundance of marginal seats. Offsetting this are bumper gains for Labor in other states – four seats in New South Wales, putting Bennelong, Gilmore and Macquarie on the table in addition to all the seats lost in September; three in marginals-starved Victoria, adding Casey and Dunkley to the more familiar targets of Corangamite, Deakin and La Trobe; and one each in Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania.

In other BludgerTrack news, you now have the chance to put Labor’s poll surge in somewhat broader perspective thanks to the retrospective poll tracking displayed on the sidebar, which at present encompasses the previous three terms, with plans to go back to the start of the Howard era in due course. For this you can think the sleuth work of Kevin Bonham, who has provided me with Nielsen data going back to 1996. Taking into account the more readily accessible archives of Newspoll and Morgan, this should eventually give me three pollsters to play with over the totality of the intended period. For the time being, the display encompasses the familiar poll aggregate from the previous term; the first term of the Rudd-Gillard government, which also includes Essential Research and a smattering of Galaxy to supplement the three aforementioned pollsters; and the Howard government’s final term in office.


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1,618 thoughts on “BludgerTrack: 54.2-45.8 to Labor

  1. ___cog___

    Back from dinner in Italy.

    I see that ABC online has updated to reflect a story about some freeway in Melbourne but is staying silent on Whitehousegate Scholarshipgate

  2. ___cog___

    and a margin of 29 seats will do very nicely

  3. Boerwar

    Thank you William. Interesting analysis as always.

    Based on these stats, are there are now Coalition marginal seat holders who are pretty well gone for all money and who therefore have nothing to lose by going into virtual opposition to Abbott?

  4. Boerwar

    Abbott does need a fire brigade – his pants are on fire.

  5. Boerwar

    The Silence of the Nationals.

    They got all the cream and the Liberals are getting all the sour.

  6. Psephos

    Back from dinner in Copenhagen.

    Most Coalition backbenchers know that their only hope of salvation is to grit their teeth, maintain party discipline and hope that things improve. This parliament has more than two years to run. As we’ve seen very clearly in recent time, a lot can happen in two years. If Liberal party discipline breaks down, they really will be fucked. Even your average Liberal backbencher knows this. Conversely, Labor members know that premature triumphalism is not helpful to our prospects of winning in 2016.

  7. Boerwar


    True and true.

    Greetings from upside down. Wouldn’t mind your comments on China’s assertiveness/aggressiveness, should you have time and the inclination.

    Am off to count birds.

  8. Psephos

    The Chinese rulers are riding the tiger of Han Chinese nationalism, which they have unleashed to bolster their domestic regime against their critics and thus retain their own power and increasingly corrupt privileges. But the tiger must be fed, so the regime has to show that it is asserting China’s power against its former tributary states such as Vietnam. This is driving most the states of the region, notably Burma and Vietnam, into the arms of the west. (Cambodia seems to be the exception, since Hun Sen has become China’s agent in ASEAN – this is presumably so that China will support Cambodia against its traditional enemies Thailand and Vietnam.) The Chinese regime’s aggressive posturing is thus actually harming China’s interests by uniting most of Asia against it and strengthening the hand of the US in the region.

  9. sprocket_

    The Daily ToiletPaper has descended below the S-bend in comparing Disabled with war heroes.


    I think this is some warped idea that by demonising a class of welfare recipients that Abbott’s savage cuts will be cheered on by the shrinking audience – dole bludgers, Uni students, the disabled are all fair game.

  10. sceptic

    The Morons!
    Charge a $7 copayment to visit the doctor to fund Medical Reserch & at the same time change Uni funding …… in science courses that provide the medical researchers …. ONLY the Fibs could think of that!


    “The government also had reduced its funding for a number of academic disciplines, with modelling showing the university would face cuts of more than $5000 per student in engineering, environmental sciences, communications, and science courses.”

  11. frednk

    Wyn ‏@WynRichards 8h

    So ~approx 100,000 young unemployed Australians will now have ZERO income? That’ll end well. #auspol

  12. Socrates

    Morning all. Pleasing to see ABC Factcheck remaining impartial, pointing out that the planned $20 billion (by 2020) medical research fund will still not be as big as the Wellcome Trust in the UK is now. Hockey can’t even tell the truth about the good news bits of the budget. Maybe it is genuine ignorance.

  13. Socrates


    As I posted last night the budget papers (2) own economic forecasts say that unemployment will rise under this budget, making a mockery of the “earn or learn” rationale being used to justify cuts for the young unemployed. There are no new jobs coming for them to earn from, nor extra TAFE or Uni places for them to study. They will simply be poor. Should be great for crime statistics.

  14. Socrates

    Senator Cori Bernardi, leader of the nutbars, critises the budget. No, it isn’t nutbar enough for Cory.
    [“Personally, I would prefer to see the co-payment directed to debt reduction, but the Government decided otherwise,” he said.

    In relation to the 2 per cent hike in income taxes for top earners, he says taxes should instead be reduced “across the board”.]

  15. sprocket_

    It’s only 7.48 and Twitterati have discovered the source of the Daily ToiletPaper’s queue of disabled.

    Early commentary focused on why are the all standing, no wheelchairs etc? And now this

    [@AshGhebranious: Oh dear @dailytelegraph, You pic of disabled people in your article seems to be from something else #auspol http://t.co/aEXEV9r8hE

  16. sprocket_

    The Lying Friar explains ‘that wink’

    [@TheTodayShow: “I shouldn’t have done it Karl. I should have been more focused on the caller and less focused on the interview” – @TonyAbbottMHR #Today9]

  17. Socrates

    Several Uni VCs point out the obvious likelihood of good but poor students being denied a place in university.

    The situation under Abbott is actually worse than in the pre-Whitlam era. Back then most places were full fee, but there were Commonwealth scholarships for roughly one third of uni places. So at least the top ten percent or so of high school leavers got in on merit. Now it will be far less.

  18. BK

    Good morning Dawn Patrollers – sorry I’m a bit late. Computer update issues. From the window I can see the most magnificent sunrise unfolding.

    Of course this is what will happen! Pyne is a prat.
    Pull the other one folks! The Senate committee will have some fun with this one.
    The Guardian won’t let go of it either.
    Waleed Aly reckons Abbott has shot his political bolt.
    Lenore Taylor hits back.
    Here’s the missing budget tables that Hockey said weren’t missing. The tables themselves tell us why.
    If ever there was an ignorant brain fart this is it. Most of those offended by this are in the natural LNP constituency.
    Peter FitzSimons praises Essendon and slaps the Parrot.

  19. BK

    Section 2 . . .

    Tony Wright on Abbott’s “ocular malfunction”.
    Witch hunts must be a redhead thing.
    Labor MPs galvanised by the budget to hit their electorates.
    It’s all down to the carbon tax I tell you!
    When this rubber hits the road there will be hell to pay.
    Why won’t Morriscum answer Amnesty’s questions?
    This disgraceful paying of the piper deserves immense opprobrium and defeat.
    Even the pathetic Adelaide Advertiser has a dig at Abbott and Hockey not knowing their own policy details.
    Don’t kick sand in David Gonski’s face!
    It’s a waste of time with his mob Bill. The disabled are easy meat for them/

  20. BK

    Section 3 . . .

    Elizabeth Farrelly lets fly at Abbott and his disdain for renewable energy.
    David Pope rolls out the budget fire brigade. Abbott is the gift that keeps giving to the cartoonists!
    David Rowe goes retro.

  21. frednk

    Posted Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 7:42 am | Permalink


    As I posted last night the budget papers (2) own economic forecasts say that unemployment will rise under this budget, making a mockery of the “earn or learn” rationale being used to justify cuts for the young unemployed. There are no new jobs coming for them to earn from, nor extra TAFE or Uni places for them to study. They will simply be poor. Should be great for crime statistics.

    May cost $25,000 a year, to keep someone on newstart and $100,000 to keep someone in jail, may destroy someones life; may be a net loss for the nation; but you see jail is a state cost; so for a right wing nutter all is good.

  22. Sir Mad Cyril

    This Daily Telegraph headline has to be one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen. What the hell has one got to do with the other?

    NSW Disability Support Pensioners now outnumber Australia’s total war wounded by more than 44,000


  23. Fran Barlow

    In relation to the premature triumphalism, 2 years to run debate …

    It seems to me this mistakes temporal distance for qualitatively significant uncertainty.

    Yes, the next election is in theory about two tears away. In practice it might, as I’ve noted a couple if times, be sometime in 2015 or even late 2014. Uncertainty is no more a friend of the coalition than it is for a team in cricket series one third of the way that is at a serious tactical disadvantage. The coalition’s position is more likely to deteriorate than improve. While it could merely be about ‘not the ALP’ and promise stuff people wanted to believe, backed by Murdoch, in circumstances where the ALP seemed to have lost all sense of self, the playing conditions favoured it. That was its king tide.

    Now it is the regime, and its evident policy indolence, incompetence and reckless malice is in full display. There’s no place to hide. Any move it could make now to change the conversation will simply confuse and upset its remaining apologists yet if it doesn’t change the conversation, the status quo simply beds down. Dozens of LNP backbenchers know they will be swept aside and have nothing to lose by breaking ranks. There is really nobody with the competence and authority to manage 90 HoR members like that. So the question is — what, in the next two years independent of the regime, will tilt the playing conditions its way?

    It’s hard to imagine.

    I seriously doubt the regime will run close to full term or be led by Abbott when next it faces the voters.

  24. dave


    The Lying Friar explains ‘that wink’

    @TheTodayShow: “I shouldn’t have done it Karl. I should have been more focused on the caller and less focused on the interview” – @TonyAbbottMHR #Today9

    Its all coming along very nicely, can there be many people left who still believe anything he says.

    William still have room to adjust the Y axis on his charts even further.

    BTW – how long is it since there was an Indonesian Ambassador in Australia? Don’t hold your breath waiting for any of the media to ask abbott when he is going to repair the relationship he damaged.

    Now if it had been Labor……we wouldn’t have heard the end of it.

  25. Socrates

    Thanks BK. Frednk agreed, the policy on no dole under 30 is insane. Just because John Howard lived at home with his mother till he was 32(!!), does not make it normal, nor healthy.

    Have a good day all.

  26. Sir Mad Cyril

    As Mumble said yesterday, will someone please brief Tony on the budget. Joe could do with a refresher as well it seems.

    EMBARRASING bloopers by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey have revealed they don’t understand who will be forced to pay their controversial new $7 GP fee.

    And their mistakes have undermined the government’s attempt to sell a tough budget to angry voters.

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Melbourne radio listeners yesterday an average person would only have to pay the $7 GP fee ten times and then they would be bulk billed.

    In fact the government has put no limit on the number of times an ordinary worker will pay the $7 charge, however, there is a ten visit safety net just for pensioners and children.


  27. victoria

    Sir Mad Cyril

    Due to Abbott and Hockey not understanding their own budget, amd making contradictory statements, the Vice chancellors of universities are seeking clarification as to proposed changes to university funding

  28. confessions

    Morning all.


    It’s like I said yesterday. This mob have lost their ability to communicate. It’s as if it happened almost overnight.

  29. confessions

    This is not good.

    [Ministerial offices have produced lists of Dorothy Dix-style questions for Barnett Government backbenchers to ask during this week’s parliamentary Budget estimates hearings, soaking up time and helping ministers avoid questions from the Opposition.

    _The West Australian _has learnt lists of questions have been emailed to Government backbenchers ahead of estimates hearings, which are the Parliament’s chance to interrogate the detail of the Budget papers before the annual appropriation Bills.

    In other hearings, printed sheets of questions have been handed to backbenchers.

    Estimates is traditionally an opportunity for the Opposition to grill ministers on their budgets and operations of their portfolio.

    In at least one portfolio, not only were suggested questions distributed to Government backbenchers, but also suggested.]

  30. mikehilliard

    William gets my first laugh of the day. 🙂

    [The slump in Tony Abbott’s standing … I have had to increase the range of the y-axis on the net satisfaction chart to accommodate it]

  31. sceptic

    sprocket @ 16

    Abbots shovel handle just keeps getting long & longer.
    Heard audio of ” explanation”…. made absolutely no science at all… Abbott incapable of saying.. SORRY I WON’T DO IT AGAIN, I WAS WRONG.

  32. Sir Mad Cyril


    Yes, I just read an article on the Higher Ed shambles. In fact, shambolic seems to be the best way to describe the Governments effort at selling the budget so far.

  33. guytaur

    Good Morning

    @heldavidson: hahahaha that caption http://t.co/jv5UQ41ZWe

  34. guytaur

    “@political_alert: Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is in Melbourne today and will hold a doorstop on education funding at Moonee Ponds from 9.30am #auspol”

  35. guytaur

    On the Daily Telegraph.

    The attack on the disabled would have worked in the New York Post for its reader base. Here in Australia no way.

  36. guytaur

    @BernardKeane: .@tomwestland demonstrates in a single graph what bullshit the News Corp DSP campaign is http://t.co/b3mUnlBlxX

  37. victoria

    Sir Mad Cyril

    Vice chancellor of ACU just spoke to jon faine. I found him annoying. He was being an apologist for Abbott not knowing the details of the reforms outlined in the budget. This was in light of the contradictory information Abbott gave to Jon Faine yesterday.
    Well sorry if the PM does not have the detail of this huge reform, he should just f off and give the job to someone else

  38. poroti


    In the article we learn such bizarre factoids as “the number of DSP recipients in NSW is double that of Ukraine’s active army personnel ” .The Toilet had two pics, this is the other one.


  39. sceptic

    confessions 30

    There is a PhD in this, all to do with unstoppable social media.

    Murdoch will react when focus group research of his readership base shows they have already changed their view… A month ago

  40. guytaur

    BB on fire on twitter



  41. sceptic

    guytaur 40

    You could assume Murdoch is in panic mode…. Too silly for words, no one is stupid enough to accept the analogy.

  42. guytaur

    @DrCraigEmerson: The new, divided Australia: The Daily Telegraph describes people on Disability Support Pension as “slackers.” http://t.co/uTFKAyndYA

    Slackers an American term not good Aussie bludgers

  43. guytaur

    “@ABCNews24: Watch LIVE: New Zealand #cricket officials speaking on alleged corruption in the game http://t.co/FlRWJArtyW #abcnews24”

  44. mikehilliard


    Thanks again for all the links, you seem to have a target rich environment lately. 😀

  45. Tricot

    William – far be it from me to point out a typo as I make a lot myself, but I think 9 lines from the bottom of the above explanation you have written “…For this you can think the sleuth work of……” (thank?).

    I suspect like most, the pressure of time gets to us and, of course, the damn Spell Check is useless in the context of such sentences.

  46. guytaur

    @abcnews: Sex line grandmother ‘Gloria’ labels PM Tony Abbott’s #wink ‘sleazy’ and ‘slimy’

  47. poroti

    The Devine Miranda in the Daily Toilet puts her Manolo Blahniks into the disabled as well. Won’t bother linking .

    [Left would rather wreck than work

    THE truth is that we are now at the tipping point at which we switch from a nation of lifters to a nation of leaners……There is no equivalence between money that a government takes from a lifter’s pocket and the benefits it pays to a leaner ]


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