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Jul 23, 2013

Essential: Coalition on track for narrow win

Kevin Rudd has significantly improved voters' perceptions of Labor but the Coalition retains an election-winning lead.

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Labor’s primary vote under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd appears to have stabilised just short of 40%, leaving the Coalition with a narrow but election-winning lead, today’s Essential Report reveals.

However, Rudd has dramatically reversed the slide in Labor’s reputation across a range of key issues.

With speculation an election might be called as soon as this week, Labor’s primary vote remains unchanged on 39%, the Coalition has dropped a point to 45%, and the Greens remain in parlous territory on 7%. The two-party preferred outcome is 51%-49% to the Coalition, a little down on last week’s 52-48 result.

Essential repeated its questions about trust in parties’ handling of issues, asked just before Julia Gillard was removed as prime minister. Labor has improved three points on economic management (it trails the Coalition by 15 points), significantly increased its lead on education (from 1 to 9 points), moved to a small lead on health (from -5 to 1), picked up significantly on industrial relations (3 to 11), improved on Australian jobs and protection (-7 to -1), addressed the leadership issue (-19 to -7) and slashed the Coalition’s lead on asylum seekers from 22 points to 11 points.

Voters also support Rudd’s decision to move earlier to an emissions trading scheme, 45% to 29%, with both Liberal and Labor voters endorsing the shift and only Greens voters opposed.

The results suggest Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and the Coalition would narrowly win an election despite Rudd dramatically revising voters’ perceptions of the ALP. The judgement call for the Labor brains trust will be whether this is as good as it will get for them and they should go to an election now, or whether Rudd can wear down Abbott and gets Labor’s primary vote over 40%, at which it would be in a strong position to pull off a remarkable victory.

Voters were also asked about support for a referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and outlaw racial discrimination in the constitution. Some 62% of voters supported it, and 16% were opposed; 23% didn’t know. Greens voters were most likely to support it (80%); 56% of Liberal voters supported it, 21% opposed it.

Bernard Keane — Politics Editor

Bernard Keane

Politics Editor

Bernard Keane is Crikey’s political editor. Before that he was Crikey’s Canberra press gallery correspondent, covering politics, national security and economics.

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12 thoughts on “Essential: Coalition on track for narrow win

  1. Dominic Byrne

    Dear Kevin,

    You returning to guide the political party you once decimated, is like having Edward Scissor-Hands remold a soft, deformed unfixable piece of clay. The fact you are doing it for no reason but your own sociopathic, egotistical, revengeful personal gain is despicable. You were once deposed, because of Labors demise in the polls and fear of obliteration, are you seriously back in office to fix it?

    You stuffed up so many policies in your previous two-year tenancy, that the splintered factions facilitated your removal. Now we have some of those faceless colleagues, like Bill Shorten, removing a bloody dagger from your own back and thrusting it, with no remorse, into Julia’s spine, for his own personal gain. It’s like you have manufactured a culture of psychopathic behavior, all at the expense of Mr. and Mrs. Australia.

    How can you honestly talk about “Labor party reform” when it was you that leaked destructive material in the 2010 campaign, to deliberately sabotage YOUR OWN party with treacherous intent? Who will you recruit alongside Albanese, Bowen and yourself for the new gang of four? And will you ruin their political careers too? Did I hear you say, “Lets all be nice to each other?” I have more faith in those words coming from Mike Tyson’s mouth, just before he steps into the ring for an Evander Holyfield rematch.

    So you have changed your autocratic ways have you? People hate each other more within you own party than they do, the coalition, or the public towards yourself. A result due to your narcissistic, malicious, vindictive demeanor, that cannibalised the party to which you have been reinstated.

    Please don’t reiterate Swannies old boring rhetoric of comparing us to the rest of the developed world, we are our own country, and business is hurting. Our books aren’t balanced; we can’t spend our way out of debt. We’re not naïve enough, for you consider buying more votes with reckless cash splashing. Rumors you could be pushing the election back and keeping business development in doubt, is causing further paralysis in our economy, you are ruining hard working families lives.

    Last week, your own colleagues voted you in to save their own seats, I can’t imagine voting for someone I detest. Now representatives in your team, have to smile and pretend everything is ok, how painful and demoralising. I bet they are physically sick with their decision and the thought of the months ahead, working under you.

    You epitomise the current predicament of the Labor party, so while it’s fitting you are their “new” leader; it provides no hope for the country. You are a dishonest coward, running a government of instability in which you were the architect. If you won the next election, your re-appointment would be the inception of a full revolution of implosion. You represent nothing but dysfunction, division and disaster. You are not a “real choice”, you are a disgrace and an insult; it’s embarrassing to be Australian.

    I have a family. I work for a wholesaler that didn’t turn a profit for the first time in decades. Its tough out there and all you care about is your own scandal, conflict, policy cock-ups, grubby deals, disunity and strategic blunders. We’ve had enough.

    Yours sincerely,

    Dominic Byrne
    (and all the other Aussie punters that can’t stand the thought of you steering a sinking ship. Do yourself a favour, call an election and “zip” off)

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