Coalition loses ground in the polls, Greens surge

By Leith van Onselen

Two new polls out over the past 24 hours have the Australian Labor Party (ALP) extending its lead over the Coalition, with the Greens also gaining support.

The latest Roy Morgan Research (RMR) poll, released yesterday evening, has the ALP leading the Coalition 55% to 45% on a two-party preferred basis, suggesting that if an election were held now, Labor would win easily.

ScreenHunter_9287 Sep. 08 06.52

Primary support for the Coalition has decreased to 36.5% (down 2%), while ALP support is down 0.5% to 35.5%. Support for the Greens has risen to a new record high of 16.5% (up 2.5%), Palmer United Party is 1% (down 0.5%), Katter’s Australian Party 1.5% (unchanged), while Independents/ Others are at 9% (up 0.5%).

The RMR Government Confidence Rating has also fallen 5.5pts to 90pts this week, with 46.5% (up 2%) of Australians saying Australia is ‘heading in the wrong direction’ and only 36.5% (down 3.5%) saying Australia is ‘heading in the right direction’.

The RMR Poll on Federal voting intentions was conducted over the last two weekends, August 29/30 & September 5/6, 2015, with an Australia-wide cross-section of 2,653 Australian voters.

Meanwhile, a Newspoll of 1655 voters taken over the weekend and released yesterday shows the Coalition’s primary vote is down 6.6 points from its election win, with satisfaction with Prime Minister Abbott’s performance slumping 17 points in two years. Federal opposition leader, Bill Shorten, is also on top as voters’ preferred prime minister, with the ALP  holding a two-party-preferred lead of 54% to the Coalition’s 46%.

ScreenHunter_9288 Sep. 08 06.58

The Newspoll has support for the Greens at 12%, but with a 3.3% increase over the past two years.

With the 2016 Federal Election due by September 2016 at the latest, the Coalition will need to turn around its fortunes quickly or risk becoming one-term wonders.

[email protected]

Leith van Onselen


  1. The only poll that matters at the moment is Canning. If the Libs lose Canning we can expect 12 months of chaos in Australian politics as both leaders are dumped.

    • Realistically, Labor won’t win Canning unless there is a major f*$#up captain’s call in the next week or two. They’ll scrape in I reckon

      • Terror Australis

        I wouldn’t bank my house on that.
        I’ve seen some polls suggesting it is a toss of the coin situation.

        12% sounds like a lot of ground to make up, but consider.
        1) In 2013 Labor was on the nose in WA with the mining tax; Lib high water mark probably.
        2) Don Randall was a well liked and effective local member.
        3) Depending on which yardstick you use, the traditional bi-election swing is 2.5 – 5% against incumbent government.
        4) WA State government is not particularly popular either.
        5) Lot of fly-in / fly-out bogans in Canning. The anti-CFTA line from the local union activists may eat into “Tony’s Traddies” constituency.
        6) The renewable energy industry has strategically targeted this election and is doing heavy campaigning against Liberals.

        I think it’s too close to call.

    • I don’t believe Abbot will get dumped, even if they lose canning.
      And i don’t believe they will lose canning. Labor isn’t making the effort in canning that you would expect.
      And despite many locals being loyal to the previous member when it comes to the day of voting i believe many that voted for the previous guy will default to voting for the libs. But further to that the lib candidate is in my opinion a stand out honorable person and i believe he is very very electable.
      He comes across as articulate and just conservative enough for the region. Compare him to the almost invisible labor candidate, who i could not even pick out in the media scrum. Seriously when you cant stand out next to someone as bland as shorten what hope have you.
      Libs will win canning with a reduced margin. There wont be a spill motion.

      • “The ADF investigation, as David Wroe points out, centers on whether or not Australian soldiers breached the rules of war by removing the hands of Taliban fighters for the purposes of identification after the battle.”

        If not for Abbot i would vote for this guy no problems.
        As has been explained he himself was not on site but in a helicopter circling the battle field. And as required once he became aware of it he reported it up the chain of command. Regardless he has supported his men as he should. The guys on the ground did nothing wrong. That this investigation is still on going is an insult to our military, and they deserve better. That our soldiers are being used as political footballs by those that hate abbot is unfair. Frankly i hate our current prime minister and cant wait to see him drop kicked out of government. But it is unacceptable that serving men and women are being tarnished by those with a political axe to grind. Its about time the arm chair generals that like to criticize those on the field of battle from the safety of 3000 miles put their money where their mouth is and sign up to serve in combat fields and show us how its done.

      • @footsore You mean the fact that he’s a popular choice so voters elide past the lack of policies his party espouses (and their crappy actions)? Yeah for sure, the guy talks like a moron and is simply selected because of the perceptions a military-background candidate such as himself carries – we’ve got a taste of the US in politics now where a military background is a romanticised drawcard.

      • Terror Australis

        Libs win with <6% swing against = High fives all around
        Libs win with 6 to 9% swing against = Tony is safe but Joe gets fed to the sharks
        Libs win with 9 to 12% = Huge discussions about Tony's job, Joe is definitely fish-food.
        Libs lose = There won't be ANY discussion about Tony's job because everyones mind will be made up. Tony & Joe gone.

        THATS my call card.

      • “we’ve got a taste of the US in politics now where a military background is a romanticised drawcard.”

        Not to mention the religious aspect and the fact that he won’t deny that he believes in Creationism.

      • “Not to mention the religious aspect and the fact that he won’t deny that he believes in Creationism”

        I don’t recall him specifically being asked that question. I do recall he was asked about his fathers view on that. And his wife’s view on gay marriage when she posted a blog on the church website where she works, a blog written by someone else. It was her job to post blogs.
        He i think quite rightly refused to answer those specific questions. Neither of those people are running for govt.

      • “I don’t recall him specifically being asked that question.”

        He was and he won’t answer it. In a typical politician’s manner he tried to make it about his father, not him. It’s a fair question that speaks to his belief in science (or otherwise) which he won’t answer. I’ll give you one guess as to why he won’t answer it…

        “Asked about his own beliefs and the possibility he shared his father’s creationist views Mr Hastie declared it was off limits.”

      • Well i certainly don’t want to be defending someone who believes in creationism.
        Frankly you would have to seriously question the mental judgment of anyone who does, believe it.

        It could be he refuses to discuss it because he does not want to lose the votes of the nutters who do believe in it. But then that makes him less of a candidate either way.

    • No, it’s just moderate policies of Malcolm is nightmare for the Neo-Con LNP MPs. So they would rather lose than let that happen (besides, their goal in life is to secure roles as directors after politics, not doing good while they are in politics).

      • To be fair, Turnbull is definitely an arrogant prick who knows he is smarter than the rest of the LNP partyroom (not a huge challenge really). Perhaps not a Rudd-level egomaniac, but definitely up there.

      • No. Self-preservation will kick in at some point, like it did in 2013 when the ALP finally rolled Gillard despite it being obvious they were heading for electoral oblivion for at least 12 months beforehand.

      • truthisfashionable

        This really, really, really pisses me off!

        Why dont they become directors, learn some actual skills and then move into politics. Instead we get the worst of both.

        Career politicians with no idea what they are doing, who then get directorships making decisions within a company when they have no idea what they are doing!

      • @lorax

        LNP MPs has always has more options after politics, many company will reward them for doing their bidding. Getting elected for them is not be all end all.

      • @truth

        From what I’ve seen, the capabilities of directors in Australia is just as bad as politicians. Almost all project failures are due to bad management.

      • It is far from convincing that holding a directorship in Australia is a way to learn anything that could possibly resemble ‘real skills’.

        I would almost go so far as saying that if you were banned from being a parliamentarian for ten years after being a director – and, most importantly, vice versa – the quality of directors and parliamentarians would both be improved.

    • Turnbull’s ego is bigger than the Harbour Bridge. Many in the party room can’t stand him and will never support him.

      • Bob Hawke’s ego was (and remains) bigger than the bridge and the harbour combined, and he seemed to do okay for a time as a party leader.
        Suspect that what is required is for parliamentary party members to really think that MT as leader will be key to their personal success.

  2. Terror Australis

    “With the Federal Election due by Sept 2016 at the latest…”

    IN FACT the very latest date for the govt to go to the polls is Jan 2017.
    But that won’t happen of course.

    • If Abbott is still around he’ll drag it out as long as possible, probably November. If there’s a leadership change the election will be earlier.

  3. wasabinatorMEMBER

    Regarding the next Federal election, I’ve never been so excited and motivated to go and vote.

    • to wasabinator who said:
      Regarding the next Federal election, I’ve never been so excited and motivated to go and vote.

      raspberries to that. I have never been so disgusted with politics in uh-strayyah and never been so disenchanted about voting.
      Until we ‘break’ the bipartisan set-up and ditch our shonky preferential voting system we are not going to get fairness or decent, progressive change imo.

      • truthisfashionable

        Absolutely agree we need to break the 2 party/preferential/undeclared funding political system. I have a few ideas on how, but they might be controversial:

        – Pokie machines – special feature, you have to follow the preferential votes and select the correct outcome to win
        – Did you know style trivia under the bottle tops of Australia’s favourite foreign beers, Tooheys, VB, XXXX.
        – Newspoll et al, stop publishing or asking for 2 part preferences in their damn surveys!
        – People try to educate their friends and family, i.e. stop reading mainstream news and not questioning why they are saying what they are saying.

      • “ditch our shonky preferential voting system”

        And replace it with? Optional preferential voting? First past the post (which would make the duopoly worse)? Single transferable vote (that would be my choice)?

      • There is nothing wrong with our voting system.
        And the 2 party system is already cracking of it’s own accord.
        The days of either party controlling a majority in the Senate seem finished.
        Plus we are likely to see a dozen or so cross benchers in the lower house after the next election IMHO.

      • “Forced preferencing favours the duopoly.”

        Perhaps, but I can see optional preferential voting leading to the majors campaigning strongly with “Just vote 1 [us]” like the LNP did in the QLD election. I don’t think this would help break the duopoly and may well reduce the number of votes (and hence funding) for minor parties.

    • Perhaps but independents still have to nominate where/who they want their preferences to go to-ultimately towards one of the Big2.

      ….comes to mind:
      1-1 was a race horse
      2-2 was 1,2
      2-2 1, 1 and
      1-1, 1,1-2

      • truthisfashionable

        I can’t actually find a clear answer to this, Do independents have to eventually preference one of the ALP, LNP or can it be kept in an infinite loop between themselves?

      • “Do independents have to eventually preference one of the ALP, LNP…”

        Yes. Their preferences have to number everyone in the field under our compulsory preferential voting system.

      • In the House of Reps they don’t have to indicate preferences.
        For example they can issue a How To Vote card which says “Just put 1 next to our party and fill out the rest however you wish”.

        In the Senate, if it is a registered party, they can register a Group Voting Ticket (GVT).
        A GVT means that if voters put a “1” next to the party ABOVE THE LINE then the party can decide how those preferences are allocated. They need to do a full preference allocation so YES, eventually the party has to decide between Labor or LNP.

        Having said that, it is highly likely that Group Voting Tickets will be abolished prior to the next election. The alternative being suggested is to allow optional preferential voting on the Senate Ballot Paper (either above or below the line). It’s a good reform because voters should be responsible for determining where their preferences go and not outsourcing that responsibility to political party deal makers (preference whisperers).

    • There are five cross benchers currently. To break the two party system you basically need the main parties’ vote to be sufficiently close that the only way for a government to be formed is for one of the main parties to require cross bench support. Obviously that situation occurred in 2010 – an election where peoples’ votes actually counted far more than usual. It is looking like there could be more cross benchers coming (Clive may well go, but Xenophons, extra independents and extra Greens seem possible to likely at the next election).
      I suspect that unless one of the majors changes leaders, and as a result becomes able to gain a Rudd ’07 type majority (which doesn’t seem all that likely) this will be a good election for anti-duopolists.

      Another thing to take into account is that the existence of cross benchers at all, which provides a non-hegemony voice in the parliament. Compare to the ’80s and ’90s when there were often one or zero cross benchers.

      Also, your vote is not wasted if it assists an independent or minor party candidate to get their bond back and be able to contest more strongly in the next election.

    • Xenephon has no following in Tas and Lambie has no following in SA so I don’t think there is much point in this. Just a bit of a photo opportunity.

  4. Imo this is not the issue truthisfashionable. Remembering that each candidates aim is to win a first place…..come the crunch a candidate will do a deal with the devil to get on the scuffle startline and win as many assurances to get over the finish line best placed. The ones with the most/biggest powers will always be the Big2, whilst we continue adopting this bipartisan show. This is what is shonky about the preferential system.

  5. I have been voting in SA for 45yrs, and I reckon NXT has a good chance of winning 3 or 4 seats here. You have to be a crow eater to understand just how popular he is here and how widely spread across the community his support is.

    • He may not have the housing policies many would like, but he is miles ahead of the corporatist, lobbyist infested duopoly.

    • adelaide_economistMEMBER

      Agreed. No party has the perfect platform and there’s no doubt Xenophon would disappoint on a variety of fronts but I think the point has been reached, especially here in SA at least, where there is despair at both Labor and Liberal.

      Xenophon has a long enough track record to be both recognisable and also seen as ‘safe’ (for what that’s worth) to vote for. He generally treads a reasonable line probably not unlike what the Democrats would have followed were they still a political force in this State.