Just what the doctor ordered? Dr Haneef, that is.

While it might offend our subscribers’ sensibilities, Crikey understands that Coalition polling has indicated the Haneef affair has been playing well with punters. That’s been backed up by the latest poll from Roy Morgan Research. It has the government’s primary support on 40 per cent for the first time all year.

Primary support for the government is up 4.5% to 40.5%, while Labor’s has dropped 3 points to 47.5%.

The two party preferred vote has improved for the government, but still splits Labor’s way – 55%, a drop of 4% – compared to 45% for the Coalitions.

Still, 52% of voters – an increase of two percent – think Labor will win the next election, while only 34.5%, a drop of 2.5, think the government will be returned.

Morgan’s measurement of soft Labor support looks better for the opposition, too.

Fifty-five per cent – up 4% – of electors think Australia is heading in the right direction, while 30% – down 1% – think Australia is heading in the wrong direction. This means 19.5% – down one – of all electors are soft ALP voters: voters who say Australia is heading in the right direction but also saying they would vote Labor if an election were held today.

“The swing back to the Coalition is not surprising as historically the Morgan Poll has shown that when security related events get significant press coverage, electors rally behind the incumbent government,” pollster Gary Morgan says.

This is backed up by experience from overseas.

However, Morgan also points out that despite the increase in support for the government, a clear majority of voters expect Labor will win the next election.

“If an election had been held during the last fortnight the ALP would have won,” says Morgan.

This latest face to face Morgan Poll on Federal voting intention was conducted on the weekend of July 7/8 and 14/15, 2007, with an Australia wide cross-section of 1,780 electors.

Pick the Newspoll result: time to enter

Richard Farmer writes:

The keen competition for the fortnightly title of Crikey Champion Psephologist continues with entries starting to arrive apace as next Tuesday’s publication of Newspoll approaches. Most of our astute readers wait until the weekend so they can digest all the news available to those interviewed by the pollster before putting in their entries but the early indications are that a swing to Labor will be predicted. The last Newspoll had the two-party preferred vote at 56 Labor to 44 for the Coalition. Our first batch of entries is going for 57 to 43.

The latest kerfuffle between Prime Minister John Howard and Treasurer Peter Costello is expected to restore Kevin Rudd’s lead over Mr Howard on the question of who would make the better Prime Minister. The Newspoll published in The Australian ten days ago had Mr Howard narrowing the Rudd lead to one point – 42 to 43 – but our early entrants are guessing that Rudd will be a couple of points higher this time.

To add your entry to our Pick the Newspoll contest which will see someone win a dozen bottles of wine, click here.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey