Friday, 1 July 2011

Wayne Swan gone, Kevin Rudd safe: Newspoll signals Queensland rout

KEVIN Rudd would be the only Queensland frontbencher left with a safe seat if an election were held today, with support for Labor so dire in the former prime minister's home state that Wayne Swan would be voted out of parliament.

Although Labor and Julia Gillard have suffered across-the-board falls in support in the past three months, Queensland and Western Australia have emerged as the worst states for the government and would deliver enough seats on their own in an election to give the Coalition an outright victory.

After a three-percentage-point swing to the Coalition in Queensland in the past three months, Trade Minister Craig Emerson would be left with a marginal seat and there would only be two safe Labor seats left in Queensland, including Mr Rudd's seat of Griffith.
The Treasurer's Brisbane seat of Lilley - along with Petrie, Capricornia and Moreton - would all be at risk of being lost, to leave just three ALP seats in Queensland.

Tony Abbott is now the preferred prime minister in Queensland for the first time since he became Opposition Leader, and voter satisfaction with the Prime Minister has crashed from 41 per cent to just 29 per cent in the period covering the first anniversary of the dumping of Mr Rudd as Labor leader. In Western Australia, Labor's primary support has also dropped markedly - from 35 per cent three months ago to just 27 per cent last weekend - giving the Coalition a two-percentage-point swing in the west on a two-party-preferred basis since the election for a lead of 58 per cent to 42 per cent.

If that swing held during an election, Special Minister of State Gary Gray could lose Brand, south of Perth, and Defence Minister and Labor leadership aspirant Stephen Smith's seat of Perth would become marginal, along with that of up-and-coming backbencher Melissa Parke in Fremantle, who has been critical of Ms Gillard's Malaysian refugee swap deal.

According to the latest analysis of Newspoll surveys over the past three months, conducted exclusively for The Australian, Labor's primary vote has been unchanged or fallen in every state, among men and women, in cities and regions and within every age group from the youngest to the oldest.

As the anniversary of the removal of Mr Rudd as prime minister in June last year has concentrated popular feeling towards the Foreign Minister, repeated polls show him to be preferred as Labor leader over Ms Gillard. Poor polling and the miners' advertising campaign against Mr Rudd's resource super-profits tax last year highlighted the resource states of Queensland and Western Australia as problems for Labor, prompting calls for his removal.
Personal support for Ms Gillard has plummeted in every area, with her worst performances being in Queensland - down 12 points in satisfaction to 29 per cent and up 12 points in dissatisfaction to 60 per cent - and among men, where she is down 11 points in satisfaction, to 31 per cent, and up 10 points to 59 per cent.

Older voters continued to turn away from Ms Gillard, with a seven-point fall in satisfaction in the past three months to 32 per cent - an 11-point drop since the election last year - and an eight-point rise in dissatisfaction to 59 er cent.

While dissatisfaction with the Opposition Leader remains above 50 per cent in most categories, Mr Abbott now leads Ms Gillard as preferred prime minister in Queensland by 42 per cent to 37 per cent and among men by 42 per cent to 39 per cent. Ms Gillard remains preferred over Mr Abbott in all other states and age groups, but Mr Abbott has narrowed her lead in all areas.

Ms Gillard's biggest leads over Mr Abbott as preferred prime minister, of 14-15 percentage points, are in Victoria, South Australia and among women. In non-metropolitan areas and among those over 50 years of age, Mr Abbott has closed within two points as preferred prime minister: 39 per cent to Ms Gillard's 41 per cent. Mr Abbott has more than halved Ms Gillard's lead among younger voters, aged 18-34, among those most likely to have mortgages, and families aged 35-49.

In the last national two-week Newspoll survey, published in The Australian on Tuesday, Mr Abbott overtook Ms Gillard for the first time as preferred prime minister and Ms Gillard's personal support fell to equal with John Howard's worst, with only Paul Keating having lower personal support as prime minister.

Yesterday, Ms Gillard, who has been visiting Western Australia and the Northern Territory, said she remained "very positive about this nation's future" and wanted to share the benefits of the resources boom. "Every day we are putting in place plans for our nation's positive future, to keep the economy strong and share the benefits of that strong economy with Australians and create opportunity for all Australians," she said. "That's what our economic policies are about, our education policies, our health policies - sharing the proceeds of this booming period in our nation's economy with every Australian."

Dennis Shanahan, Political editor. The Australian

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