Making sense of the polls

Making sense of the polls

Federal polls show little change since budget

The three polls released this week all have Labor leading by 52-48, in line with the post budget polling. Here is the usual poll table.

polls early June.

Morgan’s poll leans to Labor, but this lean has reduced in recent times. However, this poll’s lean explains why the poll aggregates have Labor still below 52.0% Two Party Preferred (2PP). This week Morgan’s respondent allocated preferences returned to their old form for Labor; Labor led by 53-47 on this measure, up 2% on last fortnight, and 1% higher than the previous election method.

Newspoll had Abbott’s satisfied rating down 1% to 38% and his dissatisfied rating up 1% to 53%, for a net approval of -15. The slight decline in Abbott’s ratings ends six consecutive Newspoll improvements. Shorten’s ratings fell to a net approval of -18, down 7 points since last fortnight. This is only the third Newspoll of this term with Abbott’s net approval better than Shorten’s.

An Essential question on leader attributes found that Abbott was up on most positive attributes and down on most negative ones since his nadir in February. Despite Shorten’s net approval slump this year, there was little movement in his attributes. Shorten is at least 10 points better than Abbott on all negative attributes, but only has slender leads on most positive attributes.

It is likely that the slump in Shorten’s ratings is because voters have simply become bored with him, rather than anything specific Shorten has done over the last few months. However, the PM’s approval rating has a far bigger impact on voting intentions than the opposition leader’s. Being perceived as boring will not stop Shorten becoming PM in Australia’s compulsory voting system. More exciting leaders could scare swinging voters into re-electing the government.

In other Essential questions, 59% supported same sex marriage, with 30% opposed; this compares with a 59-28 margin in February. Only 13% correctly said that less than 1% of the Federal budget is spent on foreign aid. 44% say Australia spends too much on foreign aid, 16% too little and 21% about the right amount. Among those who said we spend 1% or less on foreign aid, “too little” led “too much” by 39-26.

Kevin Bonham’s aggregate is at 51.8% 2PP to Labor, unchanged since the post budget polls. The Poll Bludger’s BludgerTrack has Labor ahead by 51.6-48.4, also unchanged since the budget. Primary votes are 41.9% for the Coalition, 37.6% for Labor and 11.9% for the Greens.

Queensland and other state polling

We had three Queensland state polls released last week. A Galaxy poll of 800 voters taken on the 19-20 May gave Labor a 52-48 lead, a 2% gain for Labor since the April Galaxy. Primary votes were 40% for Labor (up 1), 39% for the Liberal National Party (LNP) (down 3) and 9% for the Greens (up 2). Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had an approval rating of 59% (up 6) and a disapproval rating of 27% (up 3), for a net approval of +32.

However, this rosy picture for Labor was contradicted by ReachTEL and Morgan polls. ReachTEL’s first poll since the last Queensland election, conducted on the 22 May with a sample of 1550, had the LNP leading by 52-48, from primary votes of 45.6% for the LNP, 37.6% for Labor and 9.4% for the Greens. Palaszczuk had a total good rating of 40% and a total poor rating of 35% for a net approval of +5. A Morgan poll of 960, conducted 22-24 May, has the LNP leading by 52-48, a 4.5% gain for the LNP since April. Primary votes are 44% for the LNP (up 3.5), 34% for Labor (down 6) and 11% for the Greens (up 1.5).

Galaxy has a very strong reputation, while Morgan’s final NSW SMS poll gave the Coalition a far bigger lead than they actually received. However, ReachTEL also performed very well on primary votes at both the NSW and Queensland elections. We cannot know which pollster is right in Queensland at the moment.

In Tasmania, the Liberals have regained a clear election winning position according to the latest EMRS poll. This poll was conducted on the 19-22 May with a sample of 1000. Vote shares are 46% for the Liberals (up 4% on February), 29% for Labor (down 5) and 19% for the Greens (up 4). Kevin Bonham interprets this poll as implying 47% Liberals, 32% Labor and 17% Greens, and thinks the most likely seat outcome based on this poll is 13 Liberals, 9 Labor and 3 Greens. Morgan’s Tasmanian polling has been skewed to the left parties, but his latest Tasmanian poll also showed a movement to the Liberals since April.

Morgan’s other state polls gave the Coalition a massive 58.5-41.5 lead in NSW, from a Coalition primary vote of 53.5%. In Victoria, Labor had a huge 56.5-43.5 lead, a 2.5% gain for Labor since April. In WA, Labor led by 51-49, a 1% gain for Labor. In SA, the Liberals led by 50.5-49.5, a 1.5% gain for the Liberals. Sample sizes for these polls ranged from 620 in WA to 1290 in NSW.

The NSW Coalition has clearly received a big re-election bounce in support. In Victoria, the cancellation of the East West Link appears to have improved Labor’s support by removing anxiety within the electorate that the cost of cancellation could have been much higher than it actually was.