This week's Newspoll shows the ALP's lead go from 58-42 to 55-45.
Time for rejoicing in the Liberal Party? Time for panic in the Government ranks? Hardly.
Yes, the ALP's primary vote went down 5 points from 47% to 42%, but where did those votes go? Not to the Liberals or Nationals. The Opposition's primary vote only went up from 37% to 38%. Most of the leakage from the ALP went to the Greens (up from 9% to 11%) and to "others" (code for 'dunno') up from 7% to 9%.
So that gives the ALP a two party preferred lead of 55% to 45%. And just to remind everyone, at he 2007 election the 2 party preferred was 52.7% to 47.3%. So on the basis of this poll the ALP would increase its majority.
But let's look at how the leaders are going. Kevin Rudd's satisfaction rating has dropped from the absurd level of 66% to the still pretty bloody absurd 64%. His dis-satisfaction rating? All the way up up from 25% to 26%. In other words, people still like him. If they keep liking him like this the ALP will absolutely bolt in the next election.
What about the Member for Wentworth? Well he is still in negative territory - Satisfied 36% (down 1%), dis-satisfied 45% (down 1%).
On the Preferred PM question, Rudd dropped from 67% to 64%, but Turnbull stayed dormant on 19% (all the leakage went to "undecided).
This poll is actually worse for Turnbull than the last one. With the ALP well out in front no one in the Liberal Party would be bothering about changing leaders. But if (and it's a big bloody "if") the polls continue to move away from the ALP on the two party preferred, but Turnbull stays in negative satisfaction territory, well then he is dead.
Always remember, when the ALP kicked out Beazley for Rudd it was because they were ahead in the polls, but Beazley had a net satisfaction rating of around minus 30.
The big interest though is the Budget coming on May 12. Historically the Budget actually doesn't affect the polls all that much but the 1993 "horror budget" of Keating/Dawkins did result in a 10% fall in the ALP's primary vote. Hard to see that happening this time round though - afterall Keating could only ever dream of a satisfaction rating in the 60s.
Interestingly the poll also asked about the budget and future stimulus.
Not surprisingly people want infrastructure rather than a cash payout (though people always say such things in polls...) by a margin of 85% to 12%. To be honest though, I would be shocked if the Government did announce anymore cash payouts. (I'd also be disappointed).
With regards the future tax cuts, 44% say they should go ahead, 47% say they shouldn't - hardly the type of numbers that would encourage the Government to be bold on this issue (though I think they should be). As Lenore Taylor points out, the 1993 budget was the one where Keating reneged on the "L.A.W. tax cuts" and the ALP still is shaken by the reaction that one got.
That legacy, and Howard's "core" and "non-core" promises has meant Rudd has been at absolute pains to keep every election promise. This is a worthy goal. But to be honest, times have changed, and we must change with them.