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Essential Research: 52-48 to Labor

No real change in Essential Research, but some interesting findings from both parties' internal pollsters have emerged in the media this week.

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This week’s fortnightly rolling average result from Essential Research has both major parties up a point on the primary vote (the Coalition to 40%, Labor to 38%), both minor parties down a point (the Greens to 9%, Palmer United to 5%), and two-party preferred unchanged at 52-48 to Labor. The poll also has 57% saying the threat to Australia from terrorism has increased over the past few years with only 6% saying it has decreased, and 33% opting for stayed about the same; 56% approving of government spending to reduce the threat of terrorism versus 24% disapproving; 57% rating the contribution of multiculturalism to Australian society as positive versus 30% negative; 63% believing prospective migrants should not be rejected on the basis of religion versus 21% who say they should; and strong support for a greater emphasis on solar, wind and hydro power in providing for domestic energy, a neutral result for gas, and highly negative results for nuclear and especially coal.

Federal electoral news nuggets:

John Ferguson of The Australian reports Senators Stephen Conroy and Kim Carr are facing opposition within their respective Right and Left factions over their determination to seek another term at the next federal election. Partly at issue is Labor’s affirmative action requirement that at least 40 per cent of winnable seats go to women. Under a party rule to take effect on January 1, a spill of all preselections will occur if the requirement isn’t met. Rosie Lewis of The Australian reports that some in the ALP believe the Carr and Conroy preselections are being fast-tracked to lock them in before the rule takes effect. Carr is quoted saying the requirement will be satisfied by giving the third position on the ticket to a woman, but the result of the last election suggests the winnability of a third seat for Labor is doubtful for as long as the existing electoral system remains in place.

• The Courier-Mail reports that“federal Liberal and National MPs unhappy with the performance of Nationals deputy leader Barnaby Joyce” are planning to thwart his succession to the Nationals leadership by drafting Lawrence Springborg, the Queensland Health Minister and former Opposition Leader. This would be achieved by having Springborg succeed Bruce Scott as member for Maranoa, a seat Joyce had his eye on last term as he sought to make his move from the upper house to the lower.

Andrew Probyn of The West Australian reports a Labor internal poll of 600 respondents by UMR Research shows it leading 54-46 in the eastern Perth electorate of Hasluck, held for the Liberals by Ken Wyatt on a margin of 4.9%. Primary votes are cited of 40% for Labor and 37% for the Liberals. Aggregated polling for the three months after the budget, from May to July, is reported to show swings to Labor in WA of 12 points on the primary vote and 7.7% on two-party preferred.

• The Financial Review reports results from Coalition pollsters Crosby Textor showing a surge in support for the Renewable Energy Target, an increase in the salience of the environment as a political issue, and a decline for immigration.

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