Poll stuff: the redhead on the surge

The dominant media narrative has been that the voters continue to desert the main parties, especially the LNP, in droves, mainly to One Nation. Reality is a bit more complex, and recent polls have thrown up other interesting results, like 64% of people overall, and 56% of LNP voters, support a royal commission into banking.

Let’s look at Newspoll first, where Labor has opened up a yawning two-party preferred gap of 55-45, up from 54-46:

One conclusion is that Turnbull’s war on renewables and kill Bill strategies haven’t worked out too well. Mungo MacCallum thinks the strategy might backfire:

    the real flaw in Turnbull’s strategy is its sheer negativity. The great dominators of parliament – Menzies, Whitlam and Keating most notably – all had something to say: they were policy powerhouses, intent on changing the nation in their own images. There was plenty of attack, plenty of invective, but it was all aimed at providing a genuine agenda.

    Turnbull , so far at least, seems to be ranting simply for he sake of ranting.

Laura Tingle says Turnbull was mainly trying to impress those sitting behind him.


Essential Report polls every week, and took a shorter break over the holidays. They have Labor TPP at 53-47. This is their trajectory:

It looks like a steady slide for the LNP, but the gap opened to 53-47 back at the end of October, and may just be consolidating around those levels.

Both polls distribute preferences on the basis of the last election, which I think is problematic.

This is Newspoll’s primary vote:

Since February 6, Labor has gained one to be 37, while the LNP has lost one to rest at 34. The Greens are cruising at 10. One Nation has gained two while Others have lost two. Not much change, really.

However, look at the change from September 2015, when Turnbull took over. Labor has picked up two, while the LNP has lost 10.

The Greens are cruising, pretty much unchanged. ‘Other’ rose from 10 to 15 last October, when they started counting ON separately. Since October ON has gone from 5 to 10. Remember it was 1.3 at the election.

The media says that voters are leaving the major parties in droves, but in fact they are only leaving one party. And, over Christmas, look what happened:

The LNP lost 4 while ON gained 3. At the same time Labor and the Greens stayed the same.

We can look to Essential to compare:

Long term, the pattern is similar. Labor and the Greens are tracking more or less the same, while the LNP has clearly lost skin, and some flesh, to ON. There is no clear blip over Christmas, which I suspect is in part an artifact of the particular polls and their margin of error. However ON has gone from 6 to 10 and then to 9 from December.

The LNP and Labor are 37 each, which is where they were when the first converged back in early October. ON and the Greens are currently 9 a piece.

Turnbull has broken the normal practice of pollies not commenting on the polls by blaming Tony Abbott. Paul Syvret in the Courier Mail (Google ‘Paul Syvret IF THE answer is Tony Abbott, then it was a pretty dumb question to begin with’ if it’s paywalled) makes the case that Abbott was a major problem, ever since he became leader of the LNP. His dumb policies were a wrecking ball that exposed many vulnerable people. Syvret’s piece is a brilliant tour de force, unexpected in a Murdoch paper.

    Abbott sowed this field, and now Pauline Hanson is harvesting it.

    In that regard the claim that he and right-wing commentators make that the Liberal Party is bleeding support to conservative fringe parties is correct.

    Following them there however is not a solution, as it will leave a vacuum in the sensible centre – those people who don’t believe climate change is a NASA hoax, or perhaps are uneasy about banning immigrants on the basis of religion.

The only winner will be the redhead who wants to take us back to the 1950s.

This comment from Craig Emerson seems relevant:

    Conventional wisdom holds that the electorate has suddenly lurched hard right. Dissidents of the hard right within the Coalition – who coincidentally happen to have unfulfilled ambitions – are demanding that the Turnbull government mimic One Nation policies. True to its name, the Coalition fondled a lump of coal in the parliament, pledging to commit taxpayer funds to subsidise coal-fired power stations. Yet published opinion polls indicate that less than 20 per cent of voters have bought the government’s story that recent blackouts have been caused by over-reliance on renewable energy.

    If the electorate had truly shifted to the right, why has Labor established such a commanding lead in the polls? It’s not as if Labor has shifted to the right in pursuit of One Nation voters, what with its policies on renewable energy, same-sex marriage, Palestine, penalty rates and putting One Nation last on all how-to-vote cards. As hard-right colleagues and commentators drag Prime Minister Turnbull to the right he is conceding the ‘sensible centre’ to Labor.

For the rest of the Essential Report, I’ll repeat John D’s comment:

  • Banking Royal Commission – 56%
  • Believe climate change caused by human activity – 49%
  • Support Labors 50% renewables target – 55%
  • Believe blackouts were caused by too much renewables – 26%
  • Believe renewables are the solution to future energy needs – 58%
  • When you have a government that is so out of step with its supporters you wonder who the hell they think they are representing?

There is also a section on the personal attributes of the leaders. Turnbull leads Shorten hands down on intelligence, arrogance, and being out of touch with ordinary people.

Abbott loses out to Turnbull in intelligence, beats him in arrogance and ties in being out of touch.

Turnbull’s personal approval tanked by 7 points to reach -30, a far cry from the stellar positive ratings he had when he took over.

The penalty rates issue fed into the latest poll period and could have had an effect.

There is talk of the LNP demerging in Qld to more adequately compete with ON on it’s own terms, without the drag of any ‘liberal’ branding.

As always, time will tell. I believe both Paul Keating and John Howard recovered from a primary vote poll of 34 to win an election.

20 thoughts on “Poll stuff: the redhead on the surge”

  1. Interesting one Brian. My take is that ON has leveled out and may start dropping as it becomes clearer it has a lot of LNP style policies that actually don’t help most of the people who were initially attracted to it. This doesn’t mean that the LNP won’t face a crisis in Qld because of the current level of support for ON in regional Qld and Nichols willingness to sell his soul to ON if it will get him power.
    A more cohesive LNP might be able to fight Labor for the center instead of wandering around in circles.

  2. John, I think you could be right about ON peaking.

    If we get Tim Nichols in Qld it will only be with ON having the balance of power. That will probably be worse for us than the US electing Trump.

    I remebered today why Turnbull would have credibly lost votes over Christmas. First was the implementation of the pension eligibility changes. Oldies are the LNPs core constituency.

    Then there was the Centrelink robo scam.

  3. Heard an interesting talk on political psychology last night. One of the points made is that the supporters of things like Brexit and Trump tended to be a vee with the high levels of support coming from the rich and poor with very little support coming from the middle.
    Suspect ON is the same. Which explains all those LNP extreme style policies like getting rid of penalty rates that aren’t in the interest of the battlers ON claims to be supporting. I was started last time around when ON started supporting flat taxes that would make life much better for the rich end of town.

  4. Fairfax reports today that a poll they had done reported a recent drop in ON support in WA.

    Personally, I can’t see how the Libs’ preference deal with ON in WA can do anything much except hurt the Libs vote (by giving the impression of desperation).

  5. The Conversation Reports that WA – ReachTEL: Labor leads 52-48, One Nation down, Greens up

    primary votes of Liberals 34.6% (down 0.8), Nationals 6.8% (down 1.6), Labor 35.2% (up 0.2), Greens 10.7% (up 4.7) and One Nation 8.5% (down 3.2).
    The surge for the Greens is likely a correction from previous low Green votes in ReachTEL’s polls. At the 2016 Federal election, the Greens won 12.1% in WA, above their national vote share of 10.2%. In WA, the Greens tend to do relatively well and Labor relatively badly compared to the national vote at Federal elections.

    The drop for One Nation may be due to discontent at One Nation doing a preference deal with one of the big parties that its voters despise. Research reported by Possum (Scott Steel) also indicates that many people voting for One Nation are doing so as a protest against the major parties, but they do not agree with One Nation’s policies, and dislike Donald Trump.

    If this is the case, some people who currently say they will vote One Nation may desert as the election approaches and they become more aware of One Nation’s policies. This is also happening in the Netherlands; December polls had Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom easily winning more seats than any other party, but a dramatic slump in their support now has them second. The Dutch election will be held on 15 March.

    One could speculate that the Trump circus is damaging similar right wing populist parties like ON and perhaps moving some protest voters back to the Greens.
    Also suspect that ON and Libs cozening up has damaged both parties. Real conservatives probably detest ON and workers supporting ON may be put off by the link with the Libs and the closeness of many ON policies to the Lib “look after the rich policies” may be striking home.

  6. Then there is the problem of deserting ON candidates. One Nation candidate Ray Gould quits Kalamunda a week out from electionCandidate for Kalamunda, Ray Gould, told the ABC he was

    “giving it away” because the party had been dishonest with its candidates over its preference deal with the Liberals.
    “I’m talking to voters and they say, ‘We like Pauline Hanson but she’s done a deal with the Liberals and she can’t be trusted’.

    “I don’t think I’ll even get 4 per cent of the vote because she’s messing with the voters’ heads.”

    Kalamunda is held by Government minister John Day by a margin of 10.3 per cent, but with polls predicting a big swing away from the Liberals, he too could be in trouble next Saturday.

    Mr Gould’s departure came less than a week after two other One Nation candidates were disendorsed.

    Time for candidates and voters to think doesn’t seem to be helping ON or those who want to do deals with ON.

  7. We have to remind ourselves that Trump only scored around 28% of the vote, and 20 to 25% would have voted Republican no matter what.

    Certainly there is a large loose vote in Oz, which is described as the ‘centre’ but it is so individualistic and variable that it is hard to talk about. Disenchantment with the Libs in WA has apparently made this pool larger.

    Not much I can say from this distance , but there seems to be a natural limit to ON nonsense. They seem to have an attraction for shall he say, strong-minded candidates (bigots?) Pauline H says she wants her candidates to represent the people, but also says it’s her party and if they don’t like it they can get out.

    Tim Colebatch says nine of the last 15 elections in Oz have seen sitting governments removed, and in SA Labor only hung on with the support of independents.

  8. Oxford Dictionary.


    mass noun
    Intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself.

    Quite a bit of that in every Party I’d say, or have we a different definition now-a-days ?

  9. My Oxford (The Australian Pocket Oxford Dictionary) defines bigot as

    obstinate or unreasonable adherent of a creed or view

    and bigotry as

    conduct, state of a bigot

  10. I also have a Concise Oxford Dictionary (fifth edition) which defines bigot as

    One who holds irrespective of reason, & attaches disproportionate weight to, some creed or view

    and bigotry as

    Conduct, mental state, act, of a bigot

  11. My Oxford Australian dictionary defines ‘bigot’ as:

    an obstinate and intolerant believer in a religion, political theory etc.

    For ‘bigoted’ it has:

    unreasonably prejudiced and intolerant

    My Webster’s Collegiate has for ‘bigot’:

    One obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his own church, party, belief or opinion.

    For ‘bigoted’:

    So obstinately attached to some creed, opinion or practice as to be illiberal or intolerant.

    ‘Bigotry’ is a state of mind, but can also refer to acts or beliefs ensuing from such a state.

    Webster says it comes from the French, apparently 16C, who used to call Normans ‘bigots’.

    BTW my Webster is about 50 years old, and American, but I still find it useful.

  12. Sounds about right, but whos “reason ” ?
    Doesn’t mean xenophobic or racist as Ive seen it used in the media.

  13. Is someone who is intolerable of unreasonable obstinacy still a bigot?

    Apparently so Ootz.

  14. SM Herald online reports that PM Turnbull will not be visiting WA again, during the State election campaign.

  15. Fairfax online purports to tell of internal Liberal Party polling in WA.

    Key points:

    & 57 to 43 two party preferred with Labor ahead, and

    & chief factor in Liberal decline was preference deal with ON.

    Interesting….. I had thought the deal might damage rather than assist the WA Govt.

  16. Victoria may not be so ON-averse after all.Herald Sun reports a poll taken 2nd March which had

    Labor 30%
    Liberal 36%
    National 4%
    Green 8%
    One Nation 12.5%

    Percentages rounded off except for ON.
    This after the expenses scandal broke, resignation of both Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

    Report claims that the clear 2PP lead held by Liberals suggests about 18 seat loss by Labor Govt.

    A Fairfax head.ine has “Andrews govt just two idiots away from minority government”.

    Meanwhile the former Minister Jane Garrett MP, considered a leadership rival to Mr Andrews, has returned to Parlt after serious sick leave (treatment for breast cancer).

    I think the “living down at a beachside holiday town at taxpayers’ expense” scandal is exactly the type of behaviour to push voters across to Pauline.

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