Making sense of the polls

Making sense of the polls

Newspoll and Ipsos have contradictory results

On Monday we had two polls from Ipsos and Newspoll that gave contradictory results. Previously Ipsos has been a Coalition-leaning pollster, so Labor’s 54-46 lead in this poll was a big surprise. However, Newspoll had Labor still only ahead by 51-49, when a better result for Labor would have been anticipated. The previous Ipsos was taken in late February, and the previous Newspoll three weeks ago. Here is this week’s poll table, which also includes the weekly Essential.

polls mid April.

Both Ipsos and Newspoll have Abbott’s net approval rating at -26, and Essential has it at an unchanged -25. However, Ipsos usually gives the incumbent PM better net approval ratings than Newspoll, so this agreement is somewhat artificial. In Ipsos, Abbott gained four points on net approval, and in Newspoll he gained six points.

On Shorten’s net approval, Ipsos and Newspoll diverge greatly. Ipsos gives Shorten a net approval of -2, down two points, but Newspoll has Shorten’s net approval at -18, down seven points on what was already a poor result. In Newspoll, Shorten’s net approval has plunged 15 points in five weeks. Essential has Shorten’s net approval at -9, down from -5 in March.

In the last two weeks, we have also had ReachTEL and Morgan polls. The ReachTEL, conducted 29 March with a sample of 2400, was a strong result for Labor with a 54-46 lead. However, the Labor-leaning Morgan poll, conducted 28-29 March and 3-6 April with a sample of 3060, had a weak 53-47 lead for Labor, which is at least 1% less when Morgan’s lean is factored in.

Usually, Morgan’s respondent allocated preferences have Labor doing better than previous election preferences, but this time both measures gave the same result. This week’s Ipsos had Labor leading by 55-45 on respondent-allocated preferences, 1% higher than using the previous election method.

While the individual polls have been volatile, there has been no real movement in [Kevin Bonham’s aggregate](](http://kevinbonham.blogspot.com.au/2015/04/poll-roundup-discordant-polls-but-no.html) since early March. This aggregate is at 52.5% Two Party Preferred (2PP) to Labor, a 0.1% gain for Labor since last week.

The Poll Bludger’s BludgerTrack is at 51.9% 2PP to Labor, a 0.2% gain for the Coalition since last week. Primary votes are 40.7% for the Coalition, 37.3% for Labor and 11.6% for the Greens. The Coalition primary is steady, but the combined Labor/Green vote is down 0.5%. The two party graph shows a continuing slow movement to the Coalition since early March. Shorten’s net approval is -14%, and Abbott’s -26%. Graphs show a clear negative trend against Shorten, and a rebound for Abbott since the “Knightmare” dive.

Notes on These Polls

In Ipsos, Treasurer Joe Hockey’s approval rate was 33%, with 58% disapproving, for a net approval of -25. 41% said the Coalition was best able to manage the economy, with 32% selecting Labor and 3% the Greens. This is a weak result for the Coalition on what is a key strength for them, especially when you consider that the 3% who selected the Greens would almost all select Labor if forced to choose between Labor and the Coalition. 58% believed returning the budget to surplus should be a high priority. 37% supported increasing the GST, but 59% are opposed. 43% wanted reduced tax breaks for superannuation, but 50% are opposed.

In Essential, 43% thought that most asylum seekers are NOT genuine refugees, while 32% thought most are genuine refugees. 49% thought that asylum seekers arriving by boat should be allowed to stay in Australia if found to be genuine refugees. However, 27% thought that the Coalition government’s policies on asylum seekers are too soft, 22% too tough and 34% about right. In January, too tough led too soft by 26-23.

In ReachTEL, 43% said Malcolm Turnbull would be the better Coalition leader, with 29% supporting Julie Bishop and 24% Abbott. Since late January, Abbott is up 6% and both Turnbull and Bishop down 2%. Among Coalition supporters, Abbott had 53% support, with 24% for Turnbull and 22% for Bishop. 16% thought they were better off than 12 months ago, but 41% thought they were worse off. By 42-31, voters opposed selling government assets to invest in infrastructure. By a huge 68-19 margin, voters agreed that weekend workers should receive penalty rates.

WA and Queensland State Polling

In the last few weeks, Queensland MP Billy Gordon, who represents Cook, has been expelled from the Labor party owing to domestic abuse allegations; he will now sit as an Independent. This situation means that Labor now needs the votes of both Gordon and Peter Wellington to pass legislation opposed by the Liberal National Party (LNP) and Katter Party MPs.

A Galaxy poll in Queensland has a 50-50 tie, from primaries of 39% for Labor and 42% for the LNP. Unfortunately, no fieldwork dates, sample sizes or Greens vote are given; it was published in last Sunday’s Courier Mail. Preference flows are based on combining both the 2012 and 2015 elections, so Labor would probably be ahead by 52-48 based on just the 2015 election. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has an approval rating of 53% and a disapproval rating of 24%, for a net approval of +29. By a 62-26 margin, voters think Billy Gordon should resign from Parliament.

A WA Newspoll, taken over the January-March quarter from a sample of 870, has Labor leading by 52-48, a 2% gain for Labor since the December 2014 quarter. Primary votes are 40% for the Coalition (down 2), 35% for Labor (up 2) and 14% for the Greens (down 1). Premier Colin Barnett has 38% satisfied (up 1) and 53% dissatisfied (up 4), for a net approval of -15. Opposition leader Mark McGowan has a net approval rating of +25, up four points. The next WA election will be held in early 2017.

After a very poor final poll in NSW that had the Coalition ahead by 20% on primary votes (they won this measure by 11.5%), I no longer think that Morgan SMS state polls are worth much. For what it is worth, Morgan’s April SMS state poll, conducted 10-12 April in all states, has Labor leading by 54-46 in Victoria, a 2% gain for the Coalition since March, 52.5-47.5 to Labor in Queensland, a 3.5% gain for Labor, 51-49 to Labor in SA, a 2% gain for the Liberals, and a 50-50 tie in WA, a 0.5% gain for the Coalition. In Tasmania, Labor leads the Liberals by 41.5-39 on primary votes with the Greens on 15%, but Kevin Bonham thinks Morgan is very biased to the Left in Tasmania. Sample sizes ranged from 358 in Tasmania to 1240 in Victoria.

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