Jun 7, 2010

Essential: Rise and rise of the Greens

Labor is leaking voters to the Greens, torn between progressive voters who want the party to move to the Left, and voters who don't understand the asylum seeker issue.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

The latest Essential Report confirms Labor is leaking votes to the Greens, with its lowest primary vote in four weeks and the Greens recording their highest ever level of support. With the Coalition vote stubbornly failing to shift much above 40%, it means a tiny shift in the 2PP Labor's way from last week, back to 52-48 on a rolling two-week average. Labor's primary vote is down 2% from last week, back to its nadir of a month ago of 37%, and the Coalition is down 1%. The Greens have topped their previous highest level of support to reach 12%, confirming that the low esteem voters now feel for both parties, and Kevin Rudd's shift to the right on asylum seekers and emissions trading, is driving real interest in a third-party alternative. Essential also asked who out of the Government or the mining industry voters found more believable. While the results tended to reflect party affiliation, 36% said the miners, over 33% who believed the Government. However, it is the very high proportion of Don't Knows, nearly a third, that suggests the Government's advertising may struggle to sway public opinion about the RSPT. The only small consolation for the Government is that Labor's leadership team is rated much higher than Tony Abbott's team, 47-31%, and is ahead in nearly all demographics except the elderly and Liberal voters -- although 25% of the latter didn't believe Tony Abbott and his team were better than Labor's line-up. Essential last week also asked about voters' understanding of the numbers of asylum seekers arriving by boat. In response to concerns in Labor Caucus last week, the Prime Minister committed to trying to puncture some of what he called "myths" about asylum seekers. When asked what proportion asylum seekers arriving by boat made up of Australia's annual migration intake -- an issue singled out as a key misperception by the Prime Minister last week -- 10% of people believed it was 50% or more, 15% believed it was a quarter, and 13% believed it was 10%. Even at current levels, the number of asylum seekers arriving by boat makes up about 2.5% of total annual permanent migration, and about 1% when temporary migrants are included.  Only 18% of respondents knew that; 30% couldn't give an answer. Younger voters and Liberal voters were most likely to wildly overestimate asylum seeker figures, and Green voters most likely to get it right. If Kevin Rudd wants to start puncturing some myths, he could start right there.

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60 thoughts on “Essential: Rise and rise of the Greens

  1. jacksont

    Labor seems to think its easier to out right wing the Coalition on asylum seekers than to lead the way forward on this issue. Its an absolute slap in the face to those who voted for labor hoping for an end to the Howard era policies and with Rudd looking more like Howard every day the slide of votes to the greens won’t be stopping anytime soon.


    If we ever needed any evidence that the meedja aren’t informing people, but are pushing their own barrows, then here it is!

    An issue that’s been done to death by all the usual suspects ever since Tampa came over the horizon, and the public still has no idea (well, most of them) of the facts.

    Here we are, awash in daily commentary and there’s the public still as ill-informed and gullible as ever. (Maybe it just happens to ‘fit’ their incipient racism?)

    It could be funny, but it’s not.

  3. Astro

    KRUDD is dead man walking at the moment. Since the last interest rate rise and the stupid mining tax announcement, consumer sentiment has taken a battering. You speak to huge, medium and small retailers and they say sales have crash dived, especially in discretionary purchases. This will be reflected when results are announced, in August / September.

    The Mining Tax impact will ripple through the economy right to tradespeople and coffee shops.

    The impact on foreign investment is also a worry, why would anyone invest in Australia when you have a government who can introduce such wildcat taxes?
    KRUDD and his team have forgotton that 8.5 /10 resource explorations fail or fail to materalise into profits. The 40% tax deductions on exploration will be useless to a miner who does not make a profit, as they cant use them.

  4. New Cassandra

    “it means a tiny shift in the 2PP Labor’s way from last week, back to 52-48 on a rolling two-week average.”

    Oh Bernard, spin spin spin – thats how to hide the decline!

  5. Jack Smit

    Since we signed on to the UN Refugee Convention in 1954 (when Menzies didn’t even bother to issue a press release about it, let alone inform the electorate about our obligations), no prime minister has bothered to educate Australians about the ins and outs of the Convention, ESPECIALLY NOT about the rights of entry for boat arrivals (who arrive unannounced, but whose act is supported by International law and the UN Convention articles).

    Rudd is not about to change that. The ambiguity around boat arrivals has become a real “cultural treat” in Australia – and it made mandatory jailing of boat arrivals possible, and as we notice, the Abbott gang is smelling blood and engaging the “invasion, flood and takeover” anxiety in vile ways. Leaving the electorate stupid and uninformed in just too handy to correct.

  6. FFC

    Thankyou thankyou thankyou Bernard for bringing to light the boat people statistics – it is so frustrating to see such ignorance from both the public and our politicians about this important fact.

    It’s a disgrace that we target these people who are the most vulnerable, and how Tony Abbott et al can run such a horrible advertising campaign playing off the Australian people’s ignorance and stupidity.

    But it’s not the Liberals fault, we are the stupid ones.

  7. Mack the Knife

    Personally I’m not to concerned if the Greens win government with Labour. At least they will have to work with the reality of what things cost and sacrifices needing to be made.

    I don’t think its going to happen though.

    Firstly what is the credibility of Murdoch’s Courier Mail and Newspoll when they hosted huge headlines on Queensland’s polling day that voters had left Labour in droves and the Nats were a shoo in.

    And the previous weekend Insiders had the same Courier mail’s editor’s wife, Madonna King on your shout taking the views of some well heeled at an expensive golf club.

    The MSN and Their ABC’s bias is probably worth about 5% against Labour in the polls but its been pretty much unopposed to date. As with Murdoch’s MSN in the UK voters were not driven into the conservatives arms but to third parties. As soon as the election campaign kicks in this media bias will be pushed back again and the punters are going to be reminded of how bad the fiberals are.

    And unlike Labour’s campaign, the fiberal’s have no positives to spruik as they have been lazy for three years and retarded so much important legislation. Apart from being negative, how do you sex up voters to like all the things you are taking away from them, ask them to be proud you have no policies at all except to tear down everything the other side has built.
    How do you pretty up a new Workchoices? How bad are the gaffs from the fibs leaders likely to be based on traditional performance?

    If another WFC is on the horizon, voters will rush back to the incumbent Labour government anyway (the Thatcher principle that JWH oft used to save his bacon).

    Kevin Rudd has also been bequeathed underdog status.

    Yup, I’m not too worried.

  8. JamesK

    “Labor is leaking votes to the Greens”.

    Say no more Bernard Keane.

    We understand.


    Yes. We do understand.

    It must be a very difficult time for you.

  9. Sancho

    Something that I’ve never seen examined in the media, but I think is crucial in interpreting the current polls, is how the experience of a Labor government is shaping the voting intentions of Australians aged 25-35.

    Few teenagers are politically aware, so many people now in their 30s only knew the Howard government during the time they formed opinions about politics. I think many of them voted for Rudd expecting a radical change, and are now very disappointed.

    They’ve also lived through the period in which the major parties and media companies crying wolf about the Greens’ economy-destroying, drug-mandating, grannie-killing intentions has worn thin enough to make them a viable choice.

    My bet is that people will protest poll now but give their vote to one of the dinosaurs on election day, but the dynamics have changed quite a bit since 1991, so we could be in for an upset.

  10. 1934pc

    Astro: Watch Four Corners TONIGHT, you may get a clearer PICTURE!.

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