Dec 12, 2011

Essential: both leaders end the year on the nose

Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott end the political year as deeply unpopular leaders, losing the faith of even more voters.

Jason Whittaker — Former <em>Crikey</em> editor and publisher

Jason Whittaker

Former Crikey editor and publisher

Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott end the political year as deeply unpopular leaders, losing the faith of even more voters in the latest Essential Research poll. Both the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader saw their approval ratings slump compared to last month, according to Essential's online panel of voters, and Gillard has lost ground to Abbott in the preferred prime minister stakes. Just 39% prefer Gillard as PM (down two points) over Abbott on 35% (down one). The Coalition also stole a point from Labor in its two-party preferred vote, now at 55% against the Labor vote of 45%. The opposition line that Gillard's personal standing had only improved through stateswoman-like performances on the world stage has borne fruit: while Gillard's personal approval ratings jumped to 37% in November, this month it has flat-lined at 34%. It's well above the low of 28% in September but still a long way from the 52% recorded before the election last year. Not that it has helped the Opposition Leader. Abbott saw his approval figures fall to the lowest they've been all year -- 32%, down from 36% last month and a high of 40% in October. His disapproval ratings also shifted a point higher to 53%. The Greens were the biggest political winners of 2011, according to Essential's panel when asked which parties and leaders had fared the best this year. Thirty-three per cent said the Greens had a good year, ahead of the Liberals (27%) and Labor (16%). Naturally, Bob Brown was declared the winner among legislators -- 32% said the long-time Greens leader had a good year, slightly ahead of not Gillard (21%) or Abbott (21%) but exiled Labor leader Kevin Rudd (31%). In a list of the most important policies on the Labor agenda, voters ranked the mining tax (48%) ahead of putting a price on carbon to address climate change (43%) and the plan to increase compulsory superannuation contributions to 12% (42%). Of all the issues -- including maternity leave, childcare rebates, cigarette packaging, gambling reforms and uranium exports to India -- giving Labor politicians a conscience vote on gay marriage ranked the lowest in terms of importance. And if not Gillard or Abbott, who were the big winners of 2011? The banks, according to Essential respondents who were asked whether it had been a good or bad year for a selection of sectors, along with the mining industry and big business broadly. Voters believe farmers and small businesses have been hardest hit, with the environment among the losers.  Only 20% believe the economy has lost out in 2011.

Still, just 30% of respondents said it had been a good year for their personal finances (32% answered in the negative). But most (43%) said their companies had fared well.

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8 thoughts on “Essential: both leaders end the year on the nose


    The most fascinating thing about all of this, is that the Parliament (and possibly the majority of the Public “Service” in Canberra) actually believe the sole purpose of the rest of the population is to serve the Government. To most members of Parliament, actually representing their Electorate is anathema.

  2. drmick

    With not one positive story about her in any main stream media offering, and the same MSM and its derivatives that provide 75% of the daily emesis that is tipped on her supporting the opposition leader; who is really on the nose? What would her figures be if she received any positive press? from anybody? I guess we will never know.

  3. shepherdmarilyn

    The new name for Crikey in 2012 can be ‘POLLS GALORE”.

  4. GocomSys

    Drmick. Agree.
    Couldn’t care less personally about irrelevant, misleading and disparaging mid electoral cycle polls, only the MSM does for all the obvious reasons!

  5. Bill Hilliger

    @DRMICK you’re spot on! With lots of assistance from the mediocre, one-sided press and electronic media reporting – 2011 will go down as the year “wing-nuts” reigned supreme. This, it appears, is a phenomenon that not only applies to Australia but the US as well. Nowadays if you want to have a laugh/cry or just roll your eyes in disbelief, just up watch the misfits that line up for the Republican debates that will culminate in next US Presidential nomination for the Republicans. Don’t be surprised if that “Huckster” Donald Trump makes a bid for the whitehouse. As for our own home-grown wing-nut and his merry band of mediocre misfits – we “the Australian people” should be careful what we wish for. Should they get into government there will be lots of laughs for all – can you imagine Joe Hockey and Andrew Robb in charge of fiscal policy? Unless the media is a bit more balanced and honest in their reporting, Tony Abbott will be in charge of the asylum of government.

  6. shepherdmarilyn

    If she said she would stop trying to flog off the victims of war and pulled out of Afghanistan maybe she might get something positive said about her.

    Instead the media still babble about the illegal and never to be legal “Malaysia deal” as if it could ever have been legal.

    Or will ever happen.

    If they shut up for a minute and didn’t fill their lousy papers with reams of crap about asylum seekers no-one would bother about it.

  7. Edward James

    I can’t really understand the big picture. But then I do not need to. Politics is a team activity, my elected reps on both sides of the adversiral government are supposed to have my interest and those of every other constituent formost in everything they do. We are reading about two politicians Guillard and Abbot two electorates… Not the two parties not much preferred. Just two politicians who have over years not been up to the task of representing their constituents. Edward James

  8. Peter Ormonde

    Oh dear… another week another abolutely “Essential” poll. I was starting to feel uninformed.

    It’s all getting a bit like Murdoch lite this Cr*key business isn’t it?

    I’m not even bothering to raise the methodological flaws and weaknesses of the market research conducted in such “polls”… I’ve bored everyone to death already on that elsewhere.

    But I am beginning to seriously wonder about the nature of the relationship between Cr*key and this particular mob of market research shamsters. These “Brand Labor” engineers.

    Is this routine boosting of the Labor leaning “Essential” just an ideological affinity with their particular set of crow entrails or is it more commercial?

    Are we reading an advertorial????

    It’s starting to look that way. What next: The Parrot as a regular columnist?

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