After the rapid gains for Labor last November and December, the Coalition has recovered some ground, though Labor still leads in the polls. Here are the three polls published this week. For Newspoll, it was the first poll taken since December, while Morgan and Essential have been polling since mid January.
As a result of these polls, Kevin Bonham’s poll aggregate has fallen to 50.7% to Labor from 51.3% last week, and the Poll Bludger’s BludgerTrack has fallen to 51.8% to Labor from 52.6% last week.
Notes on these Polls
Newspoll had Abbott’s approval rating stable at 40% positive and 45% negative for a net approval of -5. I have noted before that voting intentions are highly correlated with the PM’s approval rating. Shorten’s rating slumped to a net of zero from a net of +17 in December, but the opposition leader’s ratings do not have the impact on voting intentions that the PM’s ratings do. Newspoll also asked about ABC bias; about 50% thought the ABC was unbiased, 18% thought it wwas biased in favour of the left wing parties, 7% said it was biased in favour of the Coalition, and the rest were uncommitted.
Morgan’s respondent-allocated preferences were 52-48 to Labor, rather than the 51-49 given by using 2013 election preference flows.
Essential has Abbott’s approval falling from a net +4 in January to -7 now, while Shorten’s net approval has gone from +8 in December to -4 now. Approval of government support for nine industries was assessed, and the car industry had the second weakest approval, with 47% opposed to government support and only 36% in favour. Since November, Labor has improved its standings on party trusted to handle various issues, as usually happens with a change in voting intentions. In last week’s Essential, 61% thought that unions were important to Australian working people today, while 30% disagreed.
Griffith By-Election Result
Last Saturday night 8 February, Labor held Kevin Rudd’s seat of Griffith by a 51.7-48.3 margin despite a 1.3% swing to the Liberals. Given the current polling still shows a strong swing against the Coalition nationally, this result was a mild surprise, and probably shows that Rudd still had a sizable personal vote, and that Liberal candidate Bill Glasson was popular in that electorate. However, this result will have no impact on the next Federal election.