Newspoll Lift Helpful But Coalition Has a Long Way to Go

Helpful Lift in Coalition Newspoll But Still Well Behind

Today’s first Newspoll for 2019 shows a helpful improvement for the Coalition in its TPP gap from 45/55 in early December to 47/53 but Morrison’s “Satisfactory”  rate as PM went down from 42  to 40 and his “Dissatisfaction” rate went up from 45 to 47. By contrast, the “Satisfactory” and “Dissatisfaction” rates for  Shorten each improved by a point and left him only 3 rates behind Morrison. In the “Better PM” rate Morrison also dropped a point while Shorten’s rate was unchanged, albeit at 7 points behind Morrison. This Newspoll was taken during the period when three ministers announced they would not stand at the next election (see Newspoll TPP Loss Reduced to 53/47).

One might say that the improvement in the Coalition’s TPP is not cancelled out by the deterioration in satisfaction and better PM rates. But the improved TPP has also to be assessed by noting that it is still suggests a 3.4 per cent swing against the government since the July 2016 double dissolution election won by Turnbull by one vote. Remember also that the Turnbull government itself experienced a swing against it then of over 3 per cent ie the Coalition has a lot of ground to make up.

The NSW State election on 23 March (for all seats in the lower house) will provide the next electoral test for the Coalition, although there will also be more Newspolls before then.

In my Commentary on 27 January I argued that Morrison needed to get cracking on enunciating policies asap and drew particular attention to the problems arising from existing energy and climate change policies, including of course the large blackouts in Victoria.  Commentary concluded that  “the cost of producing more power, and reducing electricity prices, would also be reduced if the existing policy of reducing emissions from coal usage was either dropped or substantially reduced and the non-binding agreement in Paris was dropped or reduced”.  I also argued that increased usage of renewable is not the way to reduce electricity prices.

Note too that, according to Simon Benson at News, Morrison believes that the Coalition’s attack on Labor’s negative gearing and dividend imputation policies “represent a significant vulnerability in Labor’s economic argument”. But the (correct) attack on such policies is likely to have only a limited effect on polling.

So far there is no sign of any movement on the most important policies and Morrison’s announcement today of tax concessions for small businesses, apparently at a cost of $750mn , is only touching the edges of policy (see Morrison Announces Tax Concessions for Small Businesses). Equally, to meet his prediction that there will be an increase in jobs of 1.25 mn over the next five years (similar to Abbott’s successful prediction), appropriate policies and circumstance will need to be in place.

In today’s Herald Sun et al, Terry McCrann says “Sorry Scott and Josh, but there ain’t anything you can do to stop it. Labor is going to win the federal election. The two of you, and especially Scott, won’t do the two big things that are so critical to Australia’s future and, properly argued “axe-the-tax style”, could at least make a fight of it.  That’s to slash immigration and walk away from the Fake Paris Climate Accord” ( see McCrann: Labor will Shutdown Lights/Economy)

Morrison needs to address in a substantive way the “two big things” mentioned by McCrann.

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