Nielsen says 55 to 45

In Fairfax, Green vote way down, Labor’s primary way up, Gillard v Abbott preferred PM up on Rudd’s. Something like this is par for the course.

In the case of Nielsen, comparisons are complicated by the possible rogure nature of the last poll; Abbott’s net approval (as opposed to just approval) has improved. Here’s anticipation on Thursday.

Table here, very odd state components (small samples of course). Victoria says 67 33 and the rest of the country about 50 50.

New tear ‘m down and put the next one up leaders nearly always get a boost vis a vis the predecessor, whether they’re a Rudd or a Howard, a Latham or a Downer, although it can take a few weeks. It doesn’t mean much in terms of eventual electability.

Update: Galaxy says 52 to 48, here, which is no two party preferred bounce at all from general polls. Will try to get tables.

And this sting in the tail for Tone: “The only measure where Mr Abbott topped the survey was that 52 per cent said he was someone they don’t like much compared with 24 per cent saying that of Ms Gillard.”

Ouw. A bit rude.

To the victor goes the fantasies

- That’s not a poll driven prime minister – this is a poll driven prime minister

We all thought Kevin Rudd was content-free and gutless; Julia Gillard has indicated she’s likely to gutless out on the mining tax. She was party to every previous bit of Rudd government gutlessing out. What’s left?

- The best, perhaps only, government policy explainer, Lindsay Tanner, is going. Just leaves Emerson and Bowen.

- Until 7pm on Wednesday most commentators favoured the government to win the election. Now they’re saying Labor couldn’t win under Rudd. That’s narrative-land for you.

- Barrie Cassidy had interesting piece in the drum. Rudd did make lots of mistakes.

But like everyone else Barrie accepts at face value the story, laid out for example with faux outrage by the over-exposed Paul Howes on Lateline, that it was Rudd sending CoS Alistair Jordon to visit caucus that drove Gillard over the edge.

Yes that’s right, she wasn’t going to challenge, but Kevin angered her so much she couldn’t help herself.

Oh, and Jordan wouldn’t let Karl Bitar show the prime minister the polling, so he …  sent it to Andrew Bolt instead. As you would; the journalist you go to when you’ve got your leader’s interests at heart.

Fair enough the plotters want to pretend there was no plot. Must the journos play along?

- And have a look at it on Bolt’s site. All vague and dodgy.

Party people armed with an agenda and opinion polls should be treated with grains of salt.

Jula Gillard and tyranny of the present

Julia Gillard gave a charming press conference, therefore she’ll defeat Abbott! This seems to be the view. Hey, let’s all think in the present.

Julia talked alot about communicating better – a very Kevin thing to do. Proof will be in the pudding, but she has not so far shown much inclination to go out and argue the government’s case when the going is tough. Like Rudd she’s been a serial avoider of hard topics.

Her decision to not move into the Lodge until after the election is silly and counterproductive. So the prime minister is not really a full prime minister?

Says she’ll be tougher on asylum-seekers. How much tougher can she go without embracing the Howardesque rhetorical dimension, which she says she won’t do?

Next opinion polls will likely see a drop in the Green vote and increase in Labor’s and possibly an increase in Labor’s two party preferred. Gillard’s net approval will be better than predecessor’s (with lots of undecideds). Her preferred PM will better Rudd’s recent numbers.

These sorts of things nearly always happen after a leadership change and are then seen as vindication for the decision - ie “these numbers show that Labor was right to replace leaders.” A virtuous cycle.

It’s what happens on election day that matters, of course.

(I reckon Abbott’s approval rating will likely increase.)

And a tweeter reminds of this post two years ago.

Update: oh, and the RSPT advertisement offer to mining companies is good but.

Julia Gillard becomes prime minister

Me in the Oz.

Newspoll in the marginals: Labor gone?

In the Oz, Mr Shanahan here (tables at bottom). They show big swings against Labor – except in the one seat with an around average Green vote, Page (NSW). (The rest have low Green support.)

We don’t know sample sizes. [Update: tables now at Newspoll, 600 in each of the NSW seats, and 600 across the three Queensland ones.]

They surveyed Lindsay on the same weekend as the Penrith by-election, which very likely boosted Liberal support at the expense of Labor.

That leaves the three Queensland seats of Dawson, Flynn and Longman which, assuming a good overall sample [update: 600, just large enough to escape a Mickey and about a 4 percent MoE], are bad news for the Rudd government with a six percent 2pp swing from 2007. Labor is doing very poorly overall in that state and WA overall, and as Richo said on Q&A last night (possibly because he has heard an RSPT compromise is coming soon) the government needs to get the RSPT out of the way.

Labor doing well in Page assumes Green preference flows similar to the last election. This does again make one wonder about those. (Despite Q&A, Greens how to vote cards don’t have a great deal of influence on preference flows. Well, they have some, but not as much as most seem to think.)

We really don’t know. Possum’s analysis of Nielsen suggests the preference flow will be more even, but that’s just from one small set of numbers (and ignored, as you must, the rather fluctuating number of Green supporters who didn’t nominate a major party).

It’s the only data we have, so we should probably expect a smaller flow to Labor than 80 percent.

But recall that back in 2004, Newspoll and Morgan got very good (ie very close to actual result) final week primary votes but not good two party preferred ones because they asked non major party supporters who would get their preferences. It was after this that they began estimating themselves based on the previous election, which gave them both very good final week 2007 results.

And who are the “others” in 2010? If Family First, One Nation etc, then Coalition-favouring. But we don’t know this either.

And taking a step back, if Labor does get 52 percent after preferences across the country, as the weekend’s Newspoll had, they would almost certainly win. Coupled with today’s results (if we take literally) it means they would do badly in traditional marginals but better elsewhere.

This is an interesting election.

Newspoll says 52 to 48

A reasonably happy result for Rudd. From primary support of 35, 40 and 15.

Main tables here. Also perceived standard of living here.

In defence of two party preferred

Some people say: forget the estimated opinion poll two party preferred support, Labor can’t win with 35 percent primary vote. They have a point: it’s hard to imagine a Labor victory with such a vote.

But it is even harder to imagine the Coalition winning with 40 percent if Labor gets 35 and the Greens 15.

People are also a bit right when they reckon estimating 2pp from such low major party primaries is a tad unreliable.

But in the end, respondents who tell pollsters they support a minor party/independent are either going to move back to a major party or give their preferences to them. We need some idea of two party preferred. In each seat, it’s what wins. 

If the pollsters didn’t give us 2pps we’d have to do it ourselves from the primaries.

The worst argument against 2pp is that apparatchiks in the PM’s office or somewhere don’t believe in them, that when they phone thay say “mate, just give me the primary votes and who has best haircut/nicest personality etc rating.”

We are supposed to defer to these institutionalised, spotty youths who probably had political strategy drummed into them by someone like Wayne “keep it simple mate and stay on message – never mind the personality” Swan?

I think not! I’ll remain a 2pp man, thanks.

Update: Peter (not me) in comments makes the point that if you assume the Green flow to Labor is as low as 2/3 (instead of 4/5 as at last election), and that “others” slightly favour the Coalition as they did in 2007, you end up with the opposition a little ahead on 2pp – say 51 to 49.

But these are of course just assumptions as well.

It would be great if someone did a huge survey of current Green voters and asked them which party came from and where their preferences are likely to go.

Newspoll here tonight at 11:30

Assuming still awake ….

Time to call an election, Kevin?

Penrith by-election today. Main question is whether two party preferred swing to Liberals begins with  ‘1′, a ‘2′ or even - you never know - a ‘3′. [Update: it's about 25. William Bowe reckons this "certainly doesn’t bode well for [Labor] in [federal seat] Lindsay”, but the two things don’t have much to do with each other. Under John Howard the federal Libs won Lindsay four times while state Libs were flogged in Penrith.]

When Kevin Rudd was riding high, bashings of NSW Labor at by-elections weren’t seen as some kind of test for him. They are today, it’s silly, but that’s the way it works.

The Oz reckons Julia Gillard may be leader this time next week. Are there really so many fools in Caucus?

It all seems to hinge on a bunch of about 1200 Australians of voting age who happen to be at home when Newspoll phones them this weekend.

One single survey will tell us bugger all about how the election’s gonna go, but will mightily influence reporting and hence the behaviour of the ALP.

If you get through this one Kevin, perhaps that earlier election is worth considering.

Replace Rudd with Gillard?

Me in Inside Story on the silliness of the idea, here.

What Kevin needs: a Ruddy good poll

It is a fact a modern life that judgements about how a party is “travelling” rest almost solely on the latest published opinion polls. Commentators bring in all sorts of “reasons”, but poll numbers are the main motivation. And it’s the ones published in newspapers that really count: Newspoll, ACNielsen and Galaxy. The latest Morgan face-to-face and Essential have Labor ahead, but they are largely discounted. (I’m not making any judgements about any of these outfits.)

Sadly for Kevin Rudd, this Queen’s birthday weekend means no Newspoll until next week, so last week’s 47 to 53 Nielsen, the worst for federal Labor since early 2006, will continue to inform commentary for another week.

Well, sad depending on what the result would have been had one been conducted over the weekend. Given those recent Morgan and Essential results, a Newspoll worse than that Nielsen seems unlikely.

On Saturday, the West Australian published a terrible survey for federal Labor in WA, 62 to 38 across the state; here.

The sample is only 400. (Anything under 500 earns a Mickey here.)

Still, as Pollbludger notes, last week’s national Nielsen had the same two party preferred WA component from a sample of probably around 150. 

As did the previous Nielsen actually, taken over 6-8 May (soon after the RSPT was announced).

Western Australia has the newest (and so most popular) government in the land, the only Coalition one and it’s running strongly against the RSPT. It’s having a large effect there, but whether that ends up meaning much on election day remains to be seen.