Jul 24, 2010

Nielsen, Workchoices and the Rudd Effect

Nielsen comes in today via the Fairfax broadsheets with the primaries running 42 (up 3)/ 41 (down 1) to Labor, washing out into a two

Possum Comitatus — Editor of Pollytics

Possum Comitatus

Editor of Pollytics

Nielsen comes in today via the Fairfax broadsheets with the primaries running 42 (up 3)/ 41 (down 1) to Labor, washing out into a two party preferred of 54/46 the same way – a 2 point gain to Labor since July 8-10 when the last Nielsen was taken. The Greens are down 1 to 12 while the broad Others are down 1 to 5. This comes from a sample of 1400, giving us an MoE that maxes out around the 2.6% mark (tables here)

Looking closer at the vote estimates, taking them to a decimal point and breaking down into geography and gender, we get:


Again, the big gender splits we’ve been seeing for a while now continue on. On the preferred PM contest, Gillard leads Abbott 55/34 among all people, 58/30 among women and 52/38 among men. Moving on to the approval ratings we get:


Nielsen also asked additional questions on which party deserves to win, the nature of the replacement of Rudd and whether it makes people more or less likely to vote for the ALP and how many people believe that Abbott will keep or break his promise of not reintroducing Workchoices during the first term of an Abbott government – all of which are particularly interesting.

First off, we’ll start with the deserve to win question. Nielsen asked:

Do you think the Coalition deserves to be elected or not?

Do you think the Labor Government deserves to be re-elected or not?

The top-line results, full demographic breakdowns and attached maximum MoEs (rounded to the nearest whole number) come in like this:


Keep those MoEs in mind for the rest of the post, because they apply to the rest of the questions we’ll have a look at. One of the interesting things about these “Deserve to win” questions is what it might say about why people are intending to vote the way they are currently telling pollsters. Clearly, the ALP has a few problems in Qld to the point where the Coalition is more likely seen as deserving to win the election compared to Labor, with WA not far behind. Yet on the other side of the equation, the Coalition and Abbott are toxic among the 18-24’s.

It’s also interesting that a clear majority of Greens voters believe that the ALP deserves to win – which surely must add to the certainty of high Greens preference flows occurring on August 21 – which Nielsen currently has respondent allocated Greens to Labor preferences flowing at 81%.

One of problems that the ALP has faced, particularly in Qld, has been the way Rudd was replaced. Nielsen asked two questions on this:

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Kevin Rudd was replaced as Prime Minister?

And how has Mr Rudd’s replacement affected your vote?


What is worth noting here is that even though more people disapproved of the way Rudd was replaced than approved among all demographics, when it came to the question of a person being more or less likely to vote for the ALP as a result of that replacement, current ALP voters were alone, among all demographics, of being more likely to vote for the ALP on balance.

As we know, since Gillard became PM the ALP vote has improved – so this is suggesting that the current ALP voting stock (a voting stock level that puts Labor in a large winning position) is treating Gillard as a net plus – meaning that the effect of Rudd dragging down the likelihood of people voting for Labor is coming from people who aren’t currently voting for Labor anyway.

The only real drama here for Labor is up here in Qld, where Rudd being replaced by Gillard is still dragging the potential Labor vote down a few points – Qld having the lowest “no difference” score among all states and the largest negative net effect, twice that of any other state. Because those numbers in Qld are so large, it’s more likely that they contain people who “could” vote Labor rather than, say, people who wouldn’t vote for Labor in a pink fit – which is what most of the rest of the States look like considering the results among ALP voters.

Nielsen asked a follow-up question to this:

If Labor wins the election, would you support or oppose Kevin Rudd returning to the front bench as Minister for Foreign Affairs?

The results came in at 68% support, 22% oppose. There wasn’t much difference on the cross-tabs, with all states being a few points around 70% support except for WA which only had 53% support. Among Labor voters and Greens voters support was 82%, Coalition voters had it has 52%.

Next up, Nielsen asked about Abbott and Workchoices:

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says the Coalition will not reintroduce ‘Work Choices’ in its first term in office. Do you think Mr Abbott is more likely to…


The big gaps come out with the young, females, South Australians and among minor party voters. Interesting also is the non-capitals being more sceptical than the capitals – even though Abbott has larger political support in the former, going slightly against the grain.

In other news, Morgan has published a phone poll taken over the 20/21 July and a new face to face poll from last weekend, the details of which are:


All three polls today simply reinforce our trend line  that we picked up in the polls last week. The Pollytrend in the sidebar has been updated, along with the projections. Out Phone Poll Trend point estimate is currently sitting on 53.2%

Finally, the usual Nielsen charts come in like this:

pmapprovaljuly24 opapprovaljuly24

netapprovalsjuly24 preferredpmjuly24

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33 thoughts on “Nielsen, Workchoices and the Rudd Effect

  1. Gweneth

    Sorry – Essential not Galaxy – knew I should have checked.

  2. Gweneth

    Hi Guys – first post here.

    Just thought I would mention that I heard an interview in the radio with the guy from Galaxy(?) Their latest comes out today with a tightening but Labor still with a reasonable lead.

  3. David Richards

    on that last point – its not before time

    That both majors still get > 30% primary is beyond me

    They simply do not deserve the support they have been getting, and havent deserved it for 20 years

    All things being equal, the most likely result IS the return of the ALP.. for Action Man to become PM, he needs an awful lot of ducks to fall in an awful lot of rows simultaneously. Just not credible – as likely as a World Cup without a single refereeing error .

  4. blackburnpseph

    David R @ 27

    The only way I could see the Libs winning is if the QLD trend continues and is uniform across the state, WA stays the way it is going and the wheels fall of the ALP in NSW. There would probably be not enough upside in SA and Vic to make up. I have never throught the Libs would win but there could be seats going both ways (even in the same state) and the final result in some seats being very close. What could be the decider is what I see as the deep level of cynicism about both the major parties and how that pans out.

  5. scott73

    HA HA, Jag förstår dig. They will have to resource to McCarthyism to keep you Tree Hugging Commie Druggy from destroying society.

  6. Venise Alstergren


    I’ve just had a singular thought.

    Given the fact that both major Parties are putting so much effort to come up with losing strategies, and to put themselves in the least flattering light, it might be a fair thing to ask…Perhaps neither party actually wants to win?

    Whereas if they allow the Greens to win both Parties will have enough lousy jokes, new legislation, and horror stories of Green Communism to frighten the punters for the next two hundred years?

    I hasten to add that I am a Green voter of a somewhat quixotic sense of humour.

  7. David Richards

    so – blackburn – is the washup of all that you posted that Tony Abbott becomes PM or not?

  8. scott73

    Thanks blackburnpseph. “bottom” indeed.

    Just when people think Gillard is desperate Abbott is even more desperate with more announcement of incoherent policy.

  9. blackburnpseph

    Scott 73

    I wouldn’t give too much credence into the views of the Liberal candidate in Chifley. It is a fair way out, and the candidate has been disendorsed before nomination have closed. The parties always have problems with candidates in the safe seats of the other party – look at the ALP candidate for Flinders last week – that ALP candidate in Fairfax? in 2001 or 04 – it happens as both parties are really scarping the bottom of the barrel.

  10. blackburnpseph


    I can’t believe that the NSW result in the Nielsen poll is an outlier. Has there been any systematic study on whether days of the week have any outcome on poll accuracy? This poll being taken all on weeknights when the usual polling has a mix of weeknight (Thursday) and weekend. My thought being that in Sydney in particular, people have long commutes and this poll may have captured a lot of non workers or shift workers (many of whom work in the public sector) and then skewed the result.

    From David Richards @ 6 above.

    “even if you write off Herbert, Dickson, Longman, Flynn, Dawson, Forde, Leichardt, Petrie and Bonner, and concede the notional loss of Gilmore, and the loss of Melbourne to the Greens, the Libs would have to hold McEwen, Paterson, LaTrobe, Hughes, and Sturt.”

    One of the issues in Qld is whether the swing at this stage is uniform or whether there is a South East / non South East divide. Herbert and Dawson are particularly interesting as they have no incumbent members. Going south, I think that Melbourne could almost come down to the very last vote, McEwen to go to Labor (if only on demographics alone), La Trobe is interesting as the stronger areas for Labor are the ones with probably the least growth but the true mortgage belt areas( the new estates) swung most heavily last time – it all depends on mortgages and demographics. If there is a swing in Victoria to the ALP, Aston might also come into play. Here in Deakin, marginal ALP, I am not convinced that the ALP is travelling that well. That Labor won here last time was to most a genuine surprise and there have been reports that the funding tap has been cut off by the disaffiliation of the ETU (if my letter box is anything to go by, the ALP are spending a lot less than last time).

    NSW is interesting as there are a lot of seats in play. Robertson could still be a Liberal win especially if Belinda Neal runs. Incumbency may help the Libs in Gilmore and to some extent Macquarie – also in Macquarie, I would assume the Lib voting areas down on the plain are growing faster so helping the Libs there. The ALP primary might get a huge squeeze from the Greens as well. I don’t think anyone should write off Bob Baldwin in Paterson, he is a formidable campaigner. Hughes and Macarthur could very well be Labor gains , especially Hughes. Methinks the Nats might be in trouble in Cowper should there be a swing in NSW.

  11. scott73

    All I could see from Abbott in this election are a couple of slogan “stop the boats” and “referendum on mining tax” without any credible policy. Although the former will work for him to some extent I don’t think the latter will help much.

    The Libs are now more exposed to be going backwards and getting desperate now that we hear report of their running candidate for Chifley is anti Muslim, wanting to stop Muslim immigrants and said God is on the side of the Liberal Right. Regardless of what sanction Abbott decide to do with this candidate, this will enhance the bloody annoying ‘moving forward’ phrase of Gillard which distinguishes the two parties.

    On the boats people subject I saw in the Herald Sun report that the government is lying and there is no negetiation with East Timor at the moment. I wonder whether Possum’s friends who work on these issues knows if there is anything going on?

    I think if they ask to house the asylum seekers on an isolated island away from the local population then may be they can get the Timorese’ support. Or may be they could extent the Australian consulate or embassy in Indonesia to a large size where they could built a processing centre within and provide protection to asylum seekers as embassies and consulates are considered Australian land.

  12. Tom Jones

    The picture of Julie Bishop gazing fondly at Tony Abbott does nothing to make me think he is going to win over women. In fact it is likely to cement the idea that women are expected to adore him no matter his personal follies and foibles. He is too much of a patriach at a time when women are wanting recognition and respect.

  13. Just Me

    Agree with the above comments about Abbott leaving his run for the female vote way too late. He has a lot of baggage with that section of the electorate, and is not fooling anybody with this latest PR stunt. Anytime a politician is reduced to the ‘Some of my best friends are…’ form of sales pitch, and dragging out their family and party colleagues to vouch for them, then they are in serious electoral trouble, and know it.

    With a bit of luck, after the election the Libs will come to their senses and move a step or two back towards the political centre. Hope springs eternal.

  14. David Richards

    Did we just see the wheels fall off the Lib trolley today?

  15. chinda63

    As I said over on Poll Bludger, any change Abbott needs to make to woo female voters should have happened years ago, not at the eleventh hour in the heat of an election campaign.

    He can’t undo his past that easily.

  16. Jaeger

    fredex, Abbott’s speech reminded me of Sir Humphrey Appleby: “I love women. Some of my best friends are women. Um… My wife, indeed.”

  17. rosie

    No matter how much Abbott tries to sway the female vote I don’t think many are going to change their minds. I would say most of us have made our decision and won’t be swayed. Abbott lost us a long time ago, but what really scares me is that if WA and QLD vote against Gillard we may end up with Abbott as PM by default.

  18. fredex

    One of the messages I took, hopefully correctly, from the analysis of the Cosby-Textor report prior to the last election is that it is a bad tactic to engage in discussing policy whatever that is ‘owned’ by your opponents.
    It just highlights your weakness and emphasises your own problem.
    In the light of that I was amused by watching Abbott, and cronies, telling us tonight how much he loves admires/admires/works with ‘strong women’.
    Apparently the PR firm he hired to advise him on his image re women has suggested some strong…PR.

    My question is whether this falls into the category of emphasising weakness and is thus likely to be counter productive, or will people, women in particular, ‘trust’ Abbott on this and flock back to the COALition?
    I’m inclined to the former.


    What a shame, Cardinal Pell won’t be the Prime Minister’s Confessor!

  20. Possum Comitatus

    Imacca – even upping the TPP to 74% among 18-24’s, which was today’s Nielsen result, still only ups the ALP opportunity cost by about 0.1% at any expected level of enrolment increase.

  21. imacca

    If Abbott is this toxic to the 18-24 demographic maybe Poss will have to re-visit the recent post on how much the rolls closing when they did is likely to cost the ALP??

  22. Tom Jones

    I predict that as the poll gets closer that the female and youth vote will harden against Tony Abbott. His whole campaign contains words like battle lines, armada, attack, filthy campaign, stop the boats. His image is very macho.

    He adds nothing positive whereas at least Julia is working her way through the issues and trying to unite the country rather than divide and conquer. Young men feel that Tony Abbott would be a disgrace in representing them overseas. Women know that under Workchoices they were real losers and that in the past Tony Abbott said that Workchoices didn’t go far enough.That is a matter of belief and everyone also knows that as a Catholic Tony Abbott is willing to meddle in a woman’s decision about her body. Also a matter of belief. It is hard to believe that given the chance he will not work to mingle lawmaking with his beliefs – otherwise why is he there?

  23. evefran

    I thought the Libs were a risk to win despite themselves. They have exceeded expectations and written themselves off.

    To regain any chance from here they “just have to work harder”

  24. Possum Comitatus

    [I still don’t see Tony PM anywhere in there.]

    Nor I DR

  25. David Richards

    but.. if NSW is too good for ALP, then Qld is not so good for the Libs.

    WA is largely irrelevant – even the worst result for the ALP won’t make much difference. Maybe between a narrow victory either way or a hung parliament, but not really worth bothering about unless it is that close. SA is much the same – not a lot of movement that would make much of a difference.

    If the Libs do pick up some NSW seats, that probably means they’ll miss out on picking up some Qld seats.

    Vic, SA, and WA would probably end up pretty much as they are, with maybe a seat exchanged here and there, but net 0 gain.

    I still don’t see Tony PM anywhere in there.

  26. Possum Comitatus

    Canberra Boy – the sub-samples really need to be seen through the prism of their sample size, it’s why I added the MoEs for all the breakdowns above. I actually think the NSW is overcooked at the expense of Qld and WA, with Vic and SA pretty close.

    It’s sort of like a choose your own polling adventure! 😛

  27. canberra boy

    There have been a few comments over at Pollbludger about the state-by-state breakdowns of the Nielsen 2PP reported in The Age by Michelle Grattan and the SMH by Phillip Coorey. I was pleased to see that you’ve got the full cross-tabs report. We need to be a bit sceptical about these given the small state sample sizes and resulting high margins of error. It looks to me like the poll is probably overstating the Labor 2PP for NSW and understating it for Victoria and SA. I tried plugging the results into Antony’s calculator and got this.

  28. David Richards

    So.. even if you write off Herbert, Dickson, Longman, Flynn, Dawson, Forde, Leichardt, Petrie and Bonner, and concede the notional loss of Gilmore, and the loss of Melbourne to the Greens, the Libs would have to hold McEwen, Paterson, LaTrobe, Hughes, and Sturt.

    Any failure to win one of the Qld seats, or failure to retain one of the non Qld seats means they have to pick up some rather more difficult seats.

    I just don’t see the Libs managing to get all the low hanging fruit and simultaneously not lose any of theirs

    I don’t think Tony is going to be PM.

    It’s just not probable… given that there is no momentum driving such an outcome. A popular leader, or one with a positive and cohesive set of policies or both might be able to pull it off – but not an unpopular leader with neither a positive nor a cohesive set of policies. Tony, you’re toast.

  29. Possum Comitatus

    He might JimmyD.

    The NSW result in this poll is a few points too high for NSW compared to what we’re seeing in other pollsters, while the Qld result here is consistent with what we’re seeing from other polls. It’s just a small sample size on the state level sub-samples that does it.

    If a few more polls come out showing a NSW gap like that, then it would really be a problem – but we arent seeing it at the moment.

    Might be – some of the seat results we’re getting at the moment are certainly all over place.

  30. JimmyD

    Poss – based on those numbers, you say that Abbott and co are toxic amongst 18-24’s but that Qld is a problem state for Labor, then surely Abbott has a a big problem in NSW?

  31. David Richards

    So – it all hangs on Qld then. WA isn’t going to win it for Tony, and on those figures, neither is NSW. Will Qld be enough to get Tony the keys to the Lodge?

  32. Tweets that mention Nielsen, Workchoices and the Rudd Effect – Pollytics --

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  33. Andos

    Well, that is a strong trend now!

    The Kingston poll is certainly dramatic, and some of those demographic breakdowns are fantastic. I was very interested to see the party vote breakdowns for the question about Rudd’s removal, the approve/disapprove from the LNP voters is hilarious. Maybe they are angry because they thought he would have given them a better chance…

    Do you think, Scott, that this election might see a significantly larger standard deviation in the statewide swings than has previously been the case?

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