Making sense of the polls

Making sense of the polls

Federal Ipsos has Labor lead down to two points

Today’s Ipsos poll has Labor leading by only 51-49, a 3% gain for the Coalition since the last Ipsos in late January. Primary votes are 42% for the Coalition (up 4), 36% for Labor (down 4) and 12% for the Greens (up 1). Despite the recovery in voting intentions, Abbott’s ratings are still dire, though they have risen: his approval is up 3% to 32%, and his disapproval down 5% to 62% for a net approval of -30, up from -38. Shorten’s ratings are a net zero, down from +10. This poll was conducted Thursday to Saturday with a sample of 1400.

An important qualification with Ipsos is that all four of its polls, conducted since it replaced Nielsen as Fairfax’s pollster, have shown a clear lean to the Coalition relative to other pollsters. As a result, this poll should be interpreted as being at least 52-48 to Labor.

Respondent allocated preferences give Labor a 52-48 lead, 1% higher than the previous election preferences, but there has been a 4% movement to the Coalition on this measure.

As I said in Thursday’s article, I believe that the Coalition vote is improving because people think that Abbott will soon be gone. An amazing poll finding is that 52% of voters think that Turnbull has the confidence of the Liberal party, while only 21% say that of Abbott. Abbott’s current -30 net approval is not compatible with the Coalition trailing by only two points. The rise in Abbott’s approval is probably because people are forgetting about the Prince Philip knighthood.

It is also possible that the Federal vote in NSW is being affected by the NSW state election campaign. In NSW, Ipsos has the Coalition leading by 53-47, compared with a 51-49 national deficit. Last week’s Morgan had Labor ahead by 51.5-48.5 in NSW, compared with a national result of 56-44. So there appears to be a 4% gap in favour of the Coalition between NSW and the national figure. This could be explained because the NSW Coalition government is far more popular than the Federal one, and this is influencing NSW Federal voting near the NSW state election. Last week’s BludgerTrack had Labor’s support in NSW about 2% less than overall.

In other Ipsos findings, Malcolm Turnbull leads as preferred Liberal leader with 39% to Julie Bishop’s 24% and Abbott’s 19%. Joe Hockey and Scott Morrison have a combined 9%. Since this question was last asked in November, Turnbull and Bishop are up 4, and Abbott down 1. Among Coalition voters, Abbott still leads with 38%, Turnbull has 30% and Bishop 21%, with changes of Abbott down 3, Turnbull up 6 and Bishop up 2. Turnbull leads Abbott on nine of ten personal attributes.

Kevin Bonham’s poll aggregate is now at 53.4% Two Party Preferred to Labor, down from 54.6% last week. The Poll Bludger’s BludgerTrack will not be updated until Thursday.

ReachTEL NSW Poll gives Coalition 53-47 Lead

Although the headline figure in this ReachTEL poll is a 53-47 Coalition lead, the primary votes indicate that the Coalition is actually ahead by 55-45 by 2011 preferences. Primary votes are 44.6% for the Coalition, 35.0% for Labor and 10.0% for the Greens. Mike Baird’s ratings are 42% total good and 21% total poor for a net rating of +21. Luke Foley gets a total good rating of 17% and a total poor rating of 27%; 18% say they have never heard of him, and the rest are satisfied. This poll was conducted Thursday night from a sample of 1500; it is the first ReachTEL NSW poll. The NSW election will be held in just under four weeks.

Newspoll has published NSW issue and leaders’ attributes questions from the same poll that had the Coalition ahead by 54-46 on Saturday. In a similar poll taken shortly before the 2011 election, the Coalition led massively on every issue. Labor now has a clear lead on its core health and education issues, and has made up ground on other issues. Baird leads Foley on personal attributes, though this is a little unfair on Foley, who has not been Labor leader for long. Baird leads Foley by 59-26 on who is best to handle the NSW economy.

See also my previous article on the NSW polls.