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Essential Research: 51-49 to Labor

An uneventful weekly reading on voting intention from Essential Research, aside from a weak result for Palmer United, livened up a little by poor personal ratings for Joe Hockey.

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The only federal poll for the week is the regular fortnightly rolling average from Essential Research, and it’s none too eventful: two-party preferred is steady at 51-49 after successive one-point shifts to the Coalition over the previous two weeks, from primary votes of 41% for the Coalition (steady), 39% for Labor (up one), 9% for the Greens (steady) and 4% for Palmer United (down one to its lowest level since April). Further questions:

• Joe Hockey’s net approval rating has plunged since the question was last posed in November, now at 35% approval (down 10%) and 44% disapproval (up 16%). He is nonetheless given a higher rating on trust to handle the economy in comparison with Chris Bowen, at 34% to 23%.

• The government’s plan to require 40 job applications a month from the unemployed has 44% approval and 48% disapproval, which is a poor result as these things go. As if to illustrate that point, 68% are in favour of the unemployed doing up to 25 hours community service a week, with 25% opposed.

• Most respondents would prefer that Federal Police sent to the MH17 crash site be armed, with 64-25 in favour. An unarmed option draws a slightly lower net approval of 51-38.

• Relationships with other countries are deemed to be equally excellent in the case of the United States, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, less good but still strong for Japan, China and India, mediocre with Indonesia, and very poor indeed with Russia.

After a fallow period, I’m resuming my practice of appending these posts with preselection news. The first glimmers of movement have appeared for a federal election still two years away:

Brad Norington of The Australian reports talk of Barry O’Farrell succeeding Philip Ruddock in his blue-ribbon northern Sydney of Berowra. In a recent interview with the Seven Network, O’Farrell responded to a question about federal political aspirations by saying it was “an option”.

• A nominee for the fraught Liberal state preselection for the Sydney seat of Riverstone, Yvonne Keane, is said by Sean Nicholls of the Sydney Morning Herald to be motivated by a desire to “gain some exposure before a possible tilt at Greenway at the 2016 election”. Greenway has twice stayed in Labor hands at the past two elections thanks in large part to the disastrous candidacy of Jaymes Diaz, whose family dynasty is a principal player in the Riverstone preselection.

Finally, a couple of links worth noting:

• The latest venture of the Poll Bludger’s benefactors at Private Media, The Mandarin, has two items of interest to election watchers – a report on the Australian Electoral Commission’s lack of enthusiasm for a substantial move to electronic voting, and one on the rights of public servants who stand for election.

• Shout out to two very good psephology blogs that took a long time to come to my notice. One is Phantom Trend by Jamie Hall, who “designed quant models for the RBA” and brings to the polling aggregation game superior statistical chops to my own. The other is Infographinomicon by “PsephologyKid”, who is presently on hiatus but has done some fine work on everything from the Tasmanian Legislative Council to the Eurovision song contest.

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