Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Coalition MPs trail in eight out of 11 marginals as budget issues bite, poll says

Coalition MPs trail in eight out of 11 marginals as budget issues bite, poll says

Coalition MPs trail in eight out of 11 marginals as budget issues bite, poll says

  • Swing voters angry at Medicare copayment and university fees
  • ReachTEL survey will increase unease among backbenchers
See full poll data

Cormann denies tension over Abbott leadership

Tony Abbott

Prime minister Tony Abbott will try to reboot the government’s agenda
with a speech in Canberra next week. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Coalition MPs are trailing in eight of 11 marginal seats held by the
government, new polling shows, with swing voters turned off by the
government’s two key budget policies of a Medicare co-payment and
university fees.

The ReachTEL polling
was conducted in January for the activist group Getup. It shows
significant numbers of undecided voters in 11 marginal seats with strong
resistance to two issues: the Medicare co-payment and university
deregulation, both of which have yet to pass the Senate.

The polling was conducted on 21 January, after the government backed down on planned cuts to Medicare rebates for GP consultations shorter than 10 minutes but before the controversial decision by Tony Abbott to award Prince Philip a knighthood.

Coalition still plans to go ahead with what has been widely known as a
Medicare co-payment which effectively cuts the doctors’ rebate by $5 for
adult non-concession patients. GPs are likely to pass on the cost.

The poll results will increase the pressure on nervous backbenchers
in the government party room just as the prime minister is set to
deliver an important address to the National Press Club next week to
reboot the government’s agenda.

The poll surveyed 7,368 people, including 742 undecided voters, in
the seats of Barton, Eden-Monaro, Dobell, Reid and Banks in NSW, Petrie
and Capricornia in Queensland, Lyons in Tasmania, Solomon in the
Northern Territory, Hindmarsh in South Australia and Deakin in Victoria.

In the bellwether seat of Eden-Monaro in southern NSW held by Liberal
MP Peter Hendy, the Coalition is trailing Labor on a
two-party-preferred basis by 38.8% to 47.7%, with 13.5% undecided.

Among those undecided voters in Eden-Monaro, 66.7% strongly oppose or
oppose the government’s plan to introduce a Medicare co-payment. Of
those undecided voters, 53.8% said the co-payment would make them less
likely to vote for the Coalition at the next election.

Eden Monaro has swung towards the elected government since the 1970s.

In the provincial Queensland coastal seat of Capricornia, held by LNP
MP Michelle Landry, the Coalition is trailing Labor on a 2PP basis by
43.5% to 51.4% for the ALP. Already in the grip of a state election, the
polling results show the fewest undecided voters in any of the 11
electorates, at 5.2% of those polled.

in three undecided voters polled in Capricornia said they were less
likely to vote Coalition as a result of the Medicare co-payment, while
38.9% said they were less likely to vote Coalition due to the
deregulation of university fees.

Also in Queensland, in the outer metropolitan seat of Petrie held by
Liberal MP Luke Howarth, the Coalition is trailing Labor by 43.7% to
50.4%, with 5.9% undecided.

In the Tasmanian electorate of Lyons, held by Liberal MP Eric
Hutchinson, Labor leads on a 2PP basis by 47.9% to 43.6%, with 8.5%

While it is usual for there to be high numbers of undecided voters so
far out from an election, the co-payment and university deregulation
still loom large for undecided voters, eight months after the budget
that revealed the changes.

And four months before the next budget, the measures have yet to pass the Parliament.

Getup campaigns director Mark Connelly said the polling bore out the
distaste for the federal budget, which was widely seen as unfair by

“Australians are angry about these policies across the board, but
it’s especially strong among the swing voters who will decide the
outcome of the next election,” said Connelly.

“These policies are an attack on the Australians who do most of the
working and paying and living and lifting in our communities. It’s no
wonder Liberal backbenchers have been getting an angry earful about the
GP co-pay and university deregulation from their voters. Now these
numbers back up those backbench concerns.”

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