To ACNeilsen’s John Stirton, the relatively low rating in his poll for Opposition Leader Kim Beazley is clearly not holding Labor back. There’s no mention in The Age or the Sydney Morning Herald this morning of people parking themselves temporarily away from the Coalition, which is the hypothesis of Sol Lebovic from rival Newspoll.

For the seventh time in a row, ACNeilsen has Labor in front on a two party preferred basis – this time by eight points, 54 to 46. “Despite some commentators believing that this is a typical pattern, the Simon Crean-led ALP was consistently behind the Coalition in 2003,” pollster Stirton told the Herald. “Thus Labor’s lead cannot be simply written off as due to a typical mid-term slump for the Government.” A veiled swipe at pollster Lebovic but a swipe nonetheless.

And it is interesting to see which other political questions the respective pollsters ask so that the political writers for their respective papers can pad out the findings about voting intention with an attempt at explaining why the numbers are as they are. For the Herald and The Age today, ACNeilsen provided numbers on the attitude of Australians to being involved in the Iraq war. The finding that opponents outnumber supporters 55 to 38 was given as a reason for Labor doing so well.

Accompanying the last Newspoll with its supposed parkers, The Australian had the Government getting considerable support for its pledge to introduce a formal test, which could include an English test, for migrants wanting to become Australian citizens.

The pattern of both polls over the last six months is shown below: