Making sense of the polls

Making sense of the polls

Final 2014 Polls Show Wide Labor Lead

In the last two weeks we have had polls from Galaxy, Ipsos, Newspoll, Morgan and Essential. All give Labor at least a 52-48 lead, with three higher. Here is my final poll table for 2014, which includes polls released this week and last week.

final polls.

From a poll watcher’s point of view, it is good to see that Newspoll and Morgan are back to where they normally are, with Morgan more favourable to Labor than Newspoll. For the last two months, Newspoll has for some reason been more favourable to Labor than Morgan. Morgan leans to Labor by about 1.5% relative to other polls, so his current result is equivalent to a Labor Two Party Preferred (2PP) of 55% from another pollster. This week’s Newspoll had the total non-major party vote at 23%, which is about where other polls have had it. The two 52-48 Labor leads in the table are from pollsters that are not greatly respected yet.

A major caveat with these poll results is that none of the fieldwork occurred after the hostage siege on Monday. Concerns about terrorism helped the government recover to near parity in September, and it is probable that Monday’s hostage drama has helped the government. However, the hostage crisis is unlikely to help the government for long, as shown by the swing to Labor since terrorism concerns last peaked in late September.

Kevin Bonham’s poll aggregate is now at 53.7% 2PP to Labor, up 0.3% since last week. The Poll Bludger’s BludgerTrack is at 54.2% 2PP to Labor, also up 0.3%. Primary votes in BludgerTrack are 39.5% for Labor, 38.0% for the Coalition and 11.2% for the Greens. Labor’s primary vote has increased by 0.6% on last week at the expense of both the Coalition and the Greens.

Notes on These Polls

  • Newspoll had Abbott’s satisfied rating steady at 33% and his dissatisfied rating up 1% to 58%, for a net approval of -25, down 1% from last fortnight. Shorten’s net approval was -6, down from -4. Abbott’s ratings have steadied after big falls in the last few Newspolls, but Kevin Bonham notes that in calendar year 2014, Abbott’s net approval was always negative in Newspoll. 2012 is the only other recent year where a PM’s net approval rating was always negative, but Labor won two elections in the 1990’s with PMs who had lasting negative net approvals.

  • Morgan’s respondent allocated preferences gave Labor a huge 57.5-42.5 lead, a 4% gain for Labor on this measure, and 1% higher than the previous election preferences.

  • In Essential, 57% said that climate change is caused by human activity, while 29% said it is due to normal fluctuations. This 28 point margin favouring human activity is up from 26 points in September, 16 points in October 2013, and 9 points in October 2012. 51% say they have become more concerned about climate change over the last two years, with only 9% saying they are less concerned. Australia was thought to be doing enough on climate change by 26%, too little by 51% and too much by 6%, but the US and China received worse ratings than Australia. 46% thought that Labor was most likely to win the next election, with 27% picking the Coalition. This is in contrast to betting markets, which still narrowly favour the Coalition, though that is changing. 51% say that Abbott is unlikely to still be the PM at the next election, with 29% thinking it likely. 40% thought Australia should not continue to expand the coal industry, while 34% thought otherwise. 44% disapproved of the government’s recently announced changes to the Medicare rebate, while 40% approved.

I discussed last week’s Ipsos here and Galaxy here.

After Fisher Recount, Labor Wins by Just Nine Votes

In the Fisher by-election, the Liberals were granted a recount after the first count gave Labor a 23 vote win. This recount carefully checked the formality of votes. As a result of a net 15 Labor votes being ruled informal, as opposed to a net one Liberal vote, Labor’s margin fell by 14 votes to nine.

The recount result is the final word from the Electoral Commission, and Labor’s Nat Cook will now take her seat in the SA lower house, giving Labor a majority government. The Liberals can appeal to the Court of Disputed Returns, but Cook will hold her seat until the Court decides the matter.

Victorian Upper House Results Finalised

Unlike the Senate, all 40 members of the Victorian upper house are elected at every Victorian election. At this election, Labor won 14 seats, down 2, the Coalition 16, down 5, the Greens 5, up 2, Shooters & Fishers 2, and the Sex Party, Democratic Labour Party and Vote 1 Local Jobs each won one seat.

The left parties (Labor, Greens and Sex) won a combined 20 seats. If the Coalition opposes a bill, Labor will need the Greens and at least two of the other five cross-benchers to pass it. Their most likely supporters seem to be the Sex Party’s Fiona Patten, and James Purcell of Vote 1 Local Jobs.

The Victorian Electoral Commission is now showing the Labor statewide 2PP win of 52.0-48.0 on its main results page. An Excel file can be downloaded that has the Labor vs Coalition 2PP results for all lower house seats.

I will do a detailed post on the upper house at the weekend.