Memo Tony: Shit’s happening

Feb 15, 2011

First published on The Drum: 15/02/2011

That philosopher to the common-folk, Tony Abbott, is this week dealing with his own slings and arrows as he enters the political twilight zone of disapproval from which some never return.

Despite ongoing difficulties within the Labor Government, Abbott is showing no signs of establishing himself as anything more than an attack dog whose fortunes rise when he runs negative on issues that happen to also be currently unpopular with the public.

This leaves him exposed when he has a bad week, such as the past one when he split his front bench by attempting to come up with a way of paying for flood reconstruction by cutting back anti-terrorism programs before nearly jobbing a TV reporter.

As this week’s Essential Report shows the response has been a sharp rise in disapproval to 46 per cent and drop-off in approvals to 37 per cent. To put this into perspective, the ALP moved on Kevin Rudd when his disapproval rating hit 47 per cent, with 41 per cent approval.

Q. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Tony Abbott is doing as Opposition Leader?

18 Jan 29 Mar 5 Jul 16 Aug 20 Sep 18 Oct 22 Nov 20 Dec 17 Jan 2011 14 Feb 2011
Total approve 37% 33% 37% 41% 43% 39% 40% 39% 42% 38%
Total disapprove 37% 50% 47% 44% 37% 45% 40% 39% 37% 46%
Strongly approve 5% 8% 8% 9% 12% 8% 6% 9% 7% 8%
Approve 32% 25% 29% 32% 31% 31% 34% 30% 35% 30%
Disapprove 20% 28% 23% 22% 21% 22% 22% 21% 22% 24%
Strongly disapprove 17% 22% 24% 22% 16% 23% 18% 18% 15% 22%
Don’t know 26% 16% 16% 15% 19% 17% 19% 22% 20% 16%

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Responsibility for Hospitals

Feb 14, 2011

Q. Would you support or oppose the Federal Government taking over the responsibility for hospitals from the State Governments? (Question commissioned by Network Ten)

14 Feb 2011 Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens 15 Feb 2010
Total support 48% 56% 48% 45% 58%
Total oppose 14% 12% 19% 12% 10%
Strongly support 21% 28% 18% 21% 26%
Support 27% 28% 30% 24% 32%
Neither support nor oppose 22% 22% 20% 21% 19%
Oppose 9% 9% 12% 6% 7%
Strongly oppose 5% 3% 7% 6% 3%
Don’t know 16% 10% 12% 21% 13%

48% support the Federal Government taking over the responsibility for hospitals from the State Governments and 14% oppose. This is a significant weakening in support since this question was asked in February last year.

However, a majority of Labor voters still support a Federal take-over, as do nearly half the Coalition and Greens voters.

Older voters were more likely to support a Federal take-over of hospitals – aged under 35’s split 37% support/14% oppose compared to aged 55+ at 52% support/20% oppose.

Download the Network Ten Essential Question of the Week. (661 KB pdf)

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Federal politics – voting intention

Feb 14, 2011

Q. If a Federal Election was held today to which party will you probably give your first preference vote? If not sure, which party are you currently leaning toward?

Q. If don’t know -Well which party are you currently leaning to?

sample size = 1,906

First preference/leaning to Election

21 Aug 10

4 weeks ago 2 weeks ago Last week This week
Liberal 43% 42% 43% 41%
National 3% 3% 3% 3%
Total Lib/Nat 43.6 46% 45% 46% 44%
Labor 38.0 38% 37% 38% 40%
Greens 11.8 10% 11% 10% 10%
Other/Independent 6.6 6% 7% 7% 6%
2PP Election

21 Aug 10

4 weeks ago 2 weeks ago Last week This week
Total Lib/Nat 49.9% 52% 51% 51% 50%
Labor 50.1% 48% 49% 49% 50%

NB.  The data in the above tables comprise 2-week averages derived the first preference/leaning to voting questions.  Respondents who select ‘don’t know’ are not included in the results.  The two-party preferred estimate is calculated by distributing the votes of the other parties according to their preferences at the 2010 election.

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Approval of Julia Gillard

Feb 14, 2011

Q. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Julia Gillard is doing as Prime Minister?

Kevin Rudd Julia Gillard
31 May 5 Jul 19 Jul 16 Aug 20 Sep 18 Oct 22 Nov 20 Dec 17 Jan 2011 14 Feb 2011
Total approve 41% 48% 52% 46% 45% 45% 43% 43% 51% 48%
Total disapprove 47% 27% 30% 40% 37% 37% 38% 40% 36% 41%
Strongly approve 7% 14% 11% 13% 12% 10% 7% 10% 8% 9%
Approve 34% 34% 41% 33% 33% 36% 36% 33% 43% 39%
Disapprove 25% 13% 17% 24% 21% 20% 23% 24% 24% 25%
Strongly disapprove 22% 14% 13% 16% 16% 17% 15% 16% 12% 16%
Don’t know 12% 26% 18% 13% 19% 18% 18% 17% 14% 11%

48% (down 3%) approve of the job Julia Gillard is doing as Prime Minister and 41% (up 5%) disapprove – a change in net rating from +15 to +7 over the last 4 weeks.

88% of Labor voters approve and 8% disapprove.

By gender – men 45% approve/45% disapprove, women 51% approve/36% disapprove.

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Approval of Tony Abbott

Feb 14, 2011

Q. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Tony Abbott is doing as Opposition Leader?

18 Jan 29 Mar 5 Jul 16 Aug 20 Sep 18 Oct 22 Nov 20 Dec 17 Jan 2011 14 Feb 2011
Total approve 37% 33% 37% 41% 43% 39% 40% 39% 42% 38%
Total disapprove 37% 50% 47% 44% 37% 45% 40% 39% 37% 46%
Strongly approve 5% 8% 8% 9% 12% 8% 6% 9% 7% 8%
Approve 32% 25% 29% 32% 31% 31% 34% 30% 35% 30%
Disapprove 20% 28% 23% 22% 21% 22% 22% 21% 22% 24%
Strongly disapprove 17% 22% 24% 22% 16% 23% 18% 18% 15% 22%
Don’t know 26% 16% 16% 15% 19% 17% 19% 22% 20% 16%

38% (down 4%) approve of the job Tony Abbott is doing as Opposition Leader and 46% (up 9%) disapprove – a net change from last month of -13%

73% of Coalition voters approve and 15% disapprove.

By gender – men 43% approve/46% disapprove, women 34% approve/46% disapprove.

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Better Prime Minister

Feb 14, 2011


Q. Who do you think would make the better Prime Minister out of Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott?

5 Jul 2010 16 Aug 20 Sep 18 Oct 22 Nov 20 Dec 17 Jan 2011 14 Feb 2011 Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens Kevin Rudd v Tony Abbott

21 Jun 10

Julia Gillard 53% 46% 47% 49% 45% 45% 47% 48% 89% 7% 81% 47%
Tony Abbott 26% 35% 35% 33% 34% 34% 32% 31% 4% 73% 6% 30%
Don’t know 21% 19% 18% 17% 21% 21% 21% 20% 8% 20% 16% 23%

48% believe Julia Gillard would make the better Prime Minister and 31% prefer Tony Abbott – a net increase for Julia Gillard of 2% on last month’s figures (from +15% to +17%).

Men favour Julia Gillard over Tony Abbott 45%/36% and women 52%/26%.

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Climate Change and Natural Disasters

Feb 14, 2011

Q. Does the extreme nature of the recent floods and cyclone make it more or less important for Australia to take action to address climate change or does it make no difference?

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens
Total more important 49% 60% 35% 83%
Total no difference/less important 47% 38% 63% 14%
Much more important 27% 35% 16% 59%
A little more important 22% 25% 19% 24%
Makes no difference 44% 37% 57% 12%
A little less important 1% * 1% 2%
Much less important 3% * 6%
Don’t know 4% 2% 2% 4%

49% believe that the extreme nature of the recent floods and cyclone make it more important for Australia to take action to address climate change and 47% think it makes no difference or is less important.

Opinions tend to be related to voting intention – 60% of Labor voters and 83% of Greens voters believe it is more important, while 63% of Liberal/National voters think it makes no difference or is less important.  55% of respondents aged under 35 think it is more important compared to 39% of those aged 65+

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Disaster Relief Fund

Feb 14, 2011

Q. Do you think the Government should set up a permanent disaster relief fund or do you think it is better for the Government to respond to disasters as they occur?

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens
Set up permanent disaster fund 63% 64% 65% 67%
Respond as disasters occur 29% 29% 31% 28%
Don’t know 7% 7% 4% 4%

63% believe the Government should set up a permanent disaster relief fund and 29% think it is better for the Government to respond to disasters as they occur.

Opinions are similar across voting intention groups.  Older respondents are more likely to support a permanent disaster fund (74% of aged 55+ support). 68% of Queenslanders also support a permanent fund.

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