This week’s Essential Research shows no real change on voting intention, with the Coalition still leading 56-44 from primary votes of 32% for Labor (down one), 49% for the Coalition (steady) and 10% for the Greens (steady). Also featured are Essential’s monthly personal ratings, which likewise show little shift. Julia Gillard is down a point on both approval and disapproval, to 31% and 57%. Tony Abbott is respectively up one to 36% and down two to 51%, and his lead as preferred prime minister is up from 38-37 to 38-36 (I guess not too many people heard this then). A question on same-sex marriage finds 54% supportive and 33% opposed, respectively steady and down two on a year ago.

Preselection snippets:

Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald reports Gary “Angry” Anderson will seek Nationals preselection in Gilmore, the southern New South Wales seat which will be vacated at the election by the retirement of Liberal member Joanna Gash.

• In the neighbouring seat of Hume, where Liberal member Alby Schultz is retiring, Coorey further reports that state upper house MP Niall Blair is a further possibility as Nationals candidate, together with presumed front-runners Senator Fiona Nash and state government minister Katrina Hodgkinson. Leslie White of the Weekly Times recently reported both Nationals and Liberal internal polling had the Liberals ahead in the seat, but the Nationals remained confident they could win with Nash or Hodgkinson running.

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The Australian reports Matt Adamson, former Canberra, Penrith and national rugby league player, has been sounded out by the Liberals to run against Rob Oakeshott in Lyne. The Nationals have already endorsed David Gillespie, a local doctor who was best man at Tony Abbott’s wedding.

• The Victorian ALP has taken care of a whole bunch of preselection business, re-endorsing all sitting members and confirming Slater & Gordon lawyer Andrew Giles to succeed Harry Jenkins in Scullin, and United Voice official Lisa Chesters to succeed Steve Gibbons in Bendigo. The preselection for Melbourne will be held on August 26, with 2010 candidate Cath Bowtell considered the front-runner but Harvey Stern, president of Labor for Refugees Victoria, is also in the field.

• John Hogg, Queensland Labor Senator since 1996 and the chamber’s current President, has announced he will not re-contest the next election. Michael McKenna of The Australian reports Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Union state secretary Chris Ketter is “among the frontrunners” to replace him as a Labor Senate candidate – remembering that Labor won three Senate seats in Queensland in 2007, and the party fears it may only win one next year.

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