Making sense of the polls

Making sense of the polls

Labor moves into dead heat with Coalition

We have had three polls so far this week, with ReachTEL and Ipsos both showing a 50-50 tie, and Newspoll repeating last fortnight’s poll that had Labor ahead 51-49. Here is the poll table showing all polls released so far this week. The last Ipsos was taken in mid-March, and the last ReachTEL in late March.

polls late April part.

Ipsos’ respondent allocated preferences were 51-49 to the Coalition, 1% better for the Coalition than the previous election method. Given the Coalition’s persistent advantage on respondent allocated preferences, they are probably still ahead in real voting intentions. This is likely to reflect hard right voters who have left the Coalition since Abbott’s dumping returning after preferences.

While the trend to Labor has continued to now have Labor and the Coalition in a dead heat, this trend could still become stable or reverse. Since Labor probably needs at least 51% Two Party Preferred (2PP) to win the election, the Coalition is still ahead in seat terms. Labor may need 52% on 2013 election preferences to be ahead in seat terms once respondent allocation is factored in.

Kevin Bonham’s poll aggregate is now showing an exact 50.0-50.0 tie. However, his seat model still gives the Coalition 78 of the 150 seats, to 68 for Labor.

I will have an article about the results of the New York US primary on Thursday, and will add results from Morgan and Essential then.

Leaders’ ratings

Turnbull’s downward ratings trend continued in Newspoll, with his satisfied rating down two points to 36%, and his dissatisfied rating up one point to 49%, for a net approval of -13. Shorten’s net approval was an unchanged -21.

In ReachTEL, Turnbull’s (total good) minus (total poor) rating was -11, a fall of six points since March. Turnbull’s net rating has fallen 52 points since his January peak of +41 in this poll. Shorten’s net rating was -19, a gain of eight points since March, and 25 points above his January nadir of -44. Shorten’s rating is his highest since May 2015.

While Turnbull’s net rating in ReachTEL is still far better than Abbott’s was, his total good rating is lower than Abbott’s, with many more in the “satisfactory” category. Abbott had a bedrock of support from the hard right, which Turnbull does not have.

In Ipsos, 51% approved of Turnbull’s performance (down 4) and 38% disapproved (up 6), for a net approval of +13. Shorten’s net approval was -23, down three points. Ipsos’ ratings have been far more favourable to Turnbull than other polls.

The better PM measures showed differences, with Turnbull ahead by 54-27 in Ipsos, and 47-28 in Newspoll. In ReachTEL’s forced choice question, Turnbull led by 58-42.

In last week’s Essential, Turnbull had a net zero rating, down from +10 in March. Shorten had a net rating of -14, up from -20.

Notes on these polls

In Newspoll, 45% said the Coalition was most likely to spend responsibly and manage government debt, and 31% chose Labor. I think this is a good outcome for Labor, as the question appealed to what is seen as a key Coalition strength. The question on government spending showed 65% supported reducing spending, and only 23% wanted spending increased. However, while most people want to reduce spending in general, when specific spending cuts are proposed, they do not tend to be popular.

In Ipsos, 65% supported Labor’s proposal for a royal commission into the banks, and 26% were opposed. Leader attributes show that Turnbull still leads on all positive attributes except “has confidence of his party” (Shorten by 8) and social policy (Shorten by 7). The biggest lead for Turnbull is on economic policy, where he leads by 28 points. Turnbull’s scores on most positive attributes have declined by 10 points or more since the attribute question was first asked in October; the biggest falls are for “ability to make things happen” (down 25) and “strong leader” (down 20).

In ReachTEL, 22% thought Scott Morrison’s performance as Treasurer was good or very good, 37% poor or very poor, and 37% average. By 53-18, voters thought Turnbull was doing a better job than Abbott; the highest support for Abbott came from Others, who only favoured Turnbull 36-30. 54% would support a royal commission into the banks, with 18% opposed. 17% thought they were better off financially than at the same time last year, and 38% thought they were worse off.

In last week’s Essential, 35% supported re-establishing the ABCC, and 16% were opposed; these figures are little changed from March. However, 41% thought the ABCC issue was not important compared to other issues, while 34% thought it was important. By 39-24, voters would approve of calling a double dissolution if the Senate fails to pass the ABCC; in March, this was 34-22 in favour.

By 55-36, voters thought the current tax system was not fair; in October, this margin was 52-40. Those on lower incomes were more likely to think the tax system unfair. The most supported tax reforms were those that taxed the wealthy and big companies more. Removing negative gearing and replacing stamp duty with land tax were roughly even in support and opposition, and tampering with the GST was strongly opposed.

Bronwyn Bishop dumped in Liberal preselection

On Saturday night, Bronwyn Bishop lost Liberal preselection for Mackellar to Jason Falinski, 51 votes to 39. This preselection loss effectively ends Bishop’s political career.

The “Choppergate” scandal of late last year had earned Bishop much public opprobrium. Had Bishop recontested Mackellar, a strong Independent could have won it (Dick Smith was considering running). With Bishop out, the Liberals are very likely to retain Mackellar at the election.

While Liberal preselectors made the correct decision in dumping Bishop, Sophie Mirabella’s preselection for Indi was a big mistake. At the 2013 election, Mirabella became the only Coalition sitting member to lose, to Independent Cathy McGowan. Given the clear antipathy that Indi voters had for Mirabella, her chances of regaining Indi at this election are less than for a fresh Liberal candidate.

Galaxy poll has LNP leading by 51-49 in Queensland

A Galaxy poll has the Liberal National Party (LNP) leading by 51-49, unchanged on March. Primary votes are 41% for the LNP (down 2), 37% for Labor (down 2) and 10% for the Greens (up 2). Had preferences been based on the last election’s flows, Labor would be ahead, but Galaxy is using an average of the last three elections for its preferences. This poll was presumably taken on the 13-14 April from a sample of about 800.

Cruz wins all 14 delegates at Wyoming state convention

Yesterday, Ted Cruz swept the 14 delegates awarded at Wyoming’s state convention. In March county conventions, Cruz had won 9 of 12 delegates, to one each for Trump, Rubio and uncommitted; Rubio’s one delegate has endorsed Cruz.

Conventions in Colorado, North Dakota (ND) and Wyoming have awarded 84 delegates, though the 25 from ND are officially unpledged. Of these 84 delegates, Trump has won just two so far (17 ND delegates have not yet declared which candidate they will support). Trump’s struggles in conventions have been blamed mainly on poor organisation, but I also think the hardcore party faithful who attend these conventions are unlikely to support Trump.

Trump now has 758 delegates, to 556 for Cruz and 145 for Kasich. Trump has 44.5% of delegates awarded so far, and needs 67% of remaining pledged delegates to reach a majority (1,237 delegates). Including unpledged delegates, he needs 55% to reach a majority. The good news for Trump is that no more delegates will be decided at conventions, and that the northeastern states, which vote over the next nine days, look strong for Trump.