Making sense of the polls

Making sense of the polls

Poll trend to Labor continues; Trump, Cruz battle for Republican nomination

This week’s 50-50 Newspoll showed that last fortnight’s Newspoll was no fluke, and we also now have a 50-50 from Essential. Morgan is at 53-47 to the Coalition, but Labor’s primary vote of only 29.5% in Morgan seems far too low; Labor had 35% in Newspoll and 37% in Essential. Here is this week’s poll table.

polls early Mar.

Morgan was 53% Two Party Preferred (2PP) to the Coalition by both respondent allocated and previous election methods - the third successive time there has been no gap in Morgan. Morgan also had the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) at 5% nationally; this was the first time they had asked for NXT support nationally, instead of just in SA.

Turnbull’s ratings in both Newspoll and Essential continued to slump. In Newspoll, his satisfied rating was down four points to 44%, and his dissatisfied rating up three points to 41%, for a net approval of +3, down from +10. Since the first Newspoll of the year five weeks ago, Turnbull’s net approval has dropped by 19 points, from +22 to +3. In Essential, Turnbull’s net approval was +10, down from +24 in February.

Shorten’s ratings have trended up from a very low base in Newspoll; his net approval was -25, up from -29 last fortnight and -35 in early February. In Essential, Shorten’s net approval was virtually unchanged at -20, up one point.

Voting intentions are strongly related to the PM’s net approval rating. If Turnbull’s ratings continue to fall into negative territory, the Coalition could be behind Labor.

Kevin Bonham’s poll aggregate is now at 51.0% 2PP to Labor, a gain of 0.3% for Labor since last week. The Poll Bludger’s BludgerTrack is now at 51.3% 2PP to the Coalition, a gain of 0.2% for Labor since last week. Primary votes are 43.2% for the Coalition, 33.2% for Labor and 12.1% for the Greens. There have been losses for both the Coalition and Greens on primary votes, with Others gaining. Graphs show the rapid decline in Turnbull’s ratings.

More on Essential

In this week’s Essential, 34% preferred house prices to go down in the future, with 32% preferring that they go up. 41% approved of negative gearing in general, with 37% disapproving. 35% approved of changes to negative gearing, with 38% disapproving; the question did not say it was a Labor policy. Respondents were asked if they agreed with various statements on gender equality; over 70% agreed with laws requiring equal pay for equal work, and with the proposition that, while significant progress had been made, there is still a long way to go.

In last week’s Essential, 53% approved of the proposed Senate reforms, with 16% disapproving. However, the question was very detailed, explaining the reforms, and I think that relatively few people would understand the reforms without explanation. Even though the Greens party supports the reforms, Greens voters are more sceptical than Coalition or Labor voters.

16% thought Labor was too right wing, 19% too left wing and 30% about right. For the Coalition, these figures were respectively 26%, 9% and 31%, and for the Greens, they were 7%, 31% and 21%. 21% thought the Greens had become more left wing over the last few years, with 7% for more right wing.

Trump, Cruz dominate Republican race as Sanders wins four of six states

Since last Saturday, Presidential contests have been held in eight states for Republicans and six for Democrats. Last Saturday, Donald Trump lost heavily to Ted Cruz in Kansas and Maine, with the latter loss a huge surprise. However, he defeated Cruz narrowly in both Kentucky and Louisiana. Yesterday, Trump won easily in Michigan, Hawaii and Mississippi, but Cruz defeated him soundly in Idaho.

Neither Marco Rubio nor John Kasich have been a factor in these contests; the closest either have come was Kasich’s third place 24% in Michigan, and both have missed delegate thresholds in several states. Rubio had a great result in the US territory of Puerto Rico, winning over 70% of the vote and all 23 delegates, but he is performing poorly in the US itself.

From next Tuesday (Wednesday Melbourne time) winner take all delegate allocations are allowed, and Kasich and Rubio’s home states of Ohio and Florida will be winner takes all. Polling currently has Rubio badly trailing Trump in Florida, while Kasich is narrowly behind in Ohio.

The current Republican delegate count has Trump leading with 463 delegates, to 362 for Cruz, 155 for Rubio and 54 for Kasich; it takes 1,237 delegates to win the nomination. If Trump wins Florida, he gets all 99 Floridian delegates, and he is also likely to do well in Missouri and Illinois, two other states that use winner takes most rules next Tuesday. If it does become Trump vs Cruz head to head, I expect Trump will win by dominating the north east states that vote late.

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders easily won the low population states of Kansas, Nebraska and Maine at the weekend, but Hillary Clinton crushed him in Louisiana. In a huge shock, Sanders won Michigan 50-48 yesterday, a state where he had trailed by at least 13 points in the final week polls. Despite Sanders’ big wins, Clinton still increased her overall pledged delegate lead, as she won Mississippi 83-17.

Because Clinton has obliterated Sanders in the South, and since Democratic delegates are proportionally allocated, Clinton currently has a 760-546 pledged delegate lead. Given Michigan’s results, other midwest states, such as Ohio and Illinois, may be closer than was thought likely, but Sanders needs to win huge in populous states to close the pledged delegate gap. Clinton is still the overwhelming favourite to win the Democratic nomination.