Making sense of the polls

Making sense of the polls

Abbott’s Ratings Fall to Five Month Low

This week’s Newspoll had Tony Abbott’s satisfied rating down 3% to 33%, and his dissatisfied rating up 2% to 57%, for a net approval of -24, down five points from last fortnight. On all three measures, these were Abbott’s worst ratings since July. His ratings had been very poor after the May budget, but had improved following MH17, and peaked in mid-September owing to the focus on terrorism at the time. However, since that September poll which had Abbott’s satisfied rating at 41% and dissatisfied at 52%, his ratings have worsened. As the electorate’s focus has shifted back to domestic politics, the polls have become worse for both the Coalition and Abbott.

Here is this week’s poll table.

polls early Dec.

Newspoll’s pro-Labor run is continuing. For the last four fortnights, Newspoll has given a better Labor Two Party Preferrred (2PP) than Morgan, which is known to lean to Labor by at least a point. Kevin Bonham has noted that Newspoll’s non-major party vote is too high compared to other pollsters, which may partly explain the pro-Labor run; perhaps some people who nominate “Others” in Newspoll are soft Coalition voters in other polls.

Kevin Bonham’s poll aggregate is now at 53.1% 2PP to Labor, unchanged on last week. The Poll Bludger’s BludgerTrack is at 52.9% 2PP to Labor, a 0.2% increase for Labor. Primary votes are 39.3% for the Coalition, 38.0% for Labor, 11.7% for the Greens and 2.7% for Palmer United Party (PUP). Last week there was a 0.6% swing to the Greens, with both major parties down slightly. Graphs on the right sidebar clearly show the decline in Abbott’s ratings.

Notes on These Polls

  • Newspoll had Shorten’s net approval down two points to -4. Shorten’s ratings have been fairly stable for a long time, with net approvals between 0 and -10.

  • Morgan’s respondent allocated preferences showed a Labor lead of 53.5-46.5, a 2% gain for the Coalition on this measure, and 0.5% more favourable to Labor than the previous election preferences.

  • In Essential, 37% said micro parties holding the Senate balance of power was good for democracy, while 29% said it was bad for democracy. Labor and Greens supporters were more likely to say it was good, reflecting the Senate’s blocking of major Coalition initiatives. 56% disagreed with Abbott’s statement that he had “fundamentally kept faith with the Australian people”, with only 31% agreeing. A list of leader attributes generally had Abbott performing a little better than in May, and Shorten about the same, with Shorten still well ahead in a head to head comparison. Voters supported the Senate voting against listed government legislation, with the strongest support for the government occurring for the proposed introduction of a six-month waiting period before those under 30 can access the dole; this was supported by 39% and opposed by 48%, with all other measures having far stronger opposition. 42% thought the Defence Force pay increase of 1.5% was fair and 47% thought it was unfair.

Another Queensland Poll Shows a Close Race

A ReachTEL Queensland poll, conducted on the 27 November from a sample of 1500, has Labor leading by 51-49, a 2% swing to Labor since the early October ReachTEL. Primary votes are 39% for the Liberal National Party (LNP), down 2, 37.5% for Labor, up 1, 8% for the Greens, up 0.5, and 6.5% for PUP, down 0.5. It is difficult to see how ReachTEL gets a Labor 2PP of 51% from these primaries, which suggest about a 50-50 tie given optional preferential voting in Queensland. Two other polls from Galaxy and Morgan that were taken in the last two weeks have also shown a very close contest in Queensland, and it is now plausible that Labor could win the next Queensland election, due early next year. After Labor was reduced to only seven seats out of 89 at the 2012 election, it is remarkable that they are now in a competitive position.

Victorian Election Late Counting

The Coalition has clearly won Morwell, South Barwon and Ripon, which were in a little doubt after election night. The Greens have won Melbourne, and an Independent has won Shepparton. In Frankston and Bentleigh, Labor has had its election night leads reduced by late counting, but it is likely that Labor will win both seats, since absent votes, which favour Labor, have not yet been counted. Prahran is the only truly doubtful lower house seat. In that seat, the Liberals have a large primary vote lead over Labor and the Greens. There is a close contest for who finishes second between Labor and the Greens. Whoever wins that contest will receive the preferences of the excluded candidate, and the final count between the Liberals and Labor OR Greens could also be close. The final result is still likely to be 47 Labor, 38 Coalition, 1 Green, 1 Independent and one unclear (Prahran).

Update Thursday 12:40pm: With more absents counted in Prahran, the Liberals are clearly winning this seat, with the Liberal candidate now up by 265 votes on Labor after preferences. It is now very likely that the Liberals will hold Prahran.

Unfortunately, the Electoral Commission is wiping out the original count data when they begin their rechecks of all seats. In the lower house, the two candidate preferred counts are retained, but in the upper house very low percentages are now being shown as counted in all regions. Until the rechecked counts catch up to the original counts, sensible analysis of the upper house results will not be possible.

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