The Australian has gotten in with Newspoll a day earlier than usual, as it does from time to time, and it confirms the picture of just about every other poll in having the two-party vote on 50-50, with primary votes of 37 per cent for Labor (up two), 43 per cent for the Coalition (steady) and 12 per cent for the Greens (up two). This is identical in every respect with Galaxy’s first poll of federal voting intention since June last year. Newspoll has notably failed to replicate its quirky 12 per cent “others” vote from a fortnight ago. Both polls were conducted from Friday to Sunday, and are thus the first properly conducted after the budget. According to taste, the two taken together show Labor either staunching the flow or failing to turn the tide.

The two polls also have broadly similar figures on other measures. On the economic impact of the budget, Newspoll has 44 per cent good against 31 per cent bad, while Galaxy puts it at 43 per cent and 28 per cent. Both pollsters asked respondents who would be best to lead the government: Galaxy had 45 per cent continuing to favour Kevin Rudd against 34 per cent for Julia Gillard, with a notable gender gap of 41-37 among women and 48-31 among men, while Newspoll had Rudd’s lead at just 40 per cent to 35 per cent. Newspoll has Kevin Rudd’s approval rating steady on 39 per cent, with his disapproval up a point to a new high of 51 per cent. Tony Abbott has recorded his first net negative rating from Newspoll, his approval down three to 42 per cent and disapproval up two to 45 per cent. Kevin Rudd’s lead as preferred prime minister is down from 50-32 to 49-33. Newspoll has 36 per cent agreeing the Coalition would have presented a better budget against 46 per cent disagreeing, which might not sound too encouraging for them but it is nonetheless the narrowest margin on this question since they first asked it in 2005.

The polls’ sample sizes are about 1200 in Newspoll’s case and 994 in Galaxy’s, for respective error margins slightly on either side of 3 per cent.

UPDATE: Possum reckons the Galaxy poll is “actually a 51/49 ALP with the pref flows we’ve been seeing and a Greens on 12 with Others on 8”. However, these results are marginally better for the Coalition than the recent 50-50 results from Nielsen (37-42-13) and Essential Research (37-42-11), and identical with Newspoll’s, so if that’s true for Galaxy it’s presumably true for the others.

UPDATE 2: Now Essential Research joins the 50-50 party, from primary votes of Coalition 43 per cent, Labor 38 per cent, Greens 10 per cent. Since this is a two-week rolling average, it suggests the most recent week’s result has seen Labor recovering from last week’s numbers, which dragged them down from 53-47 to 50-50. The budget is rated 36 per cent good and 28 per cent bad, though with less good responses on “good for you personally” and “good for businesses”; 31 per cent believing the government has done enough to reduce the surplus against 39 per cent not enough; 51 per cent believing the economy to be heading in the right direction against 25 per cent for the wrong direction; and 33 per cent considering Labor “best at handling the Australian economy in the interests of you and people like you” against 36 per cent for the Liberals.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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