Making sense of the polls

Making sense of the polls

Queensland Galaxy 51-49 to Labor, but Palaszczuk’s ratings slump

A Queensland Galaxy poll, conducted 2-3 August from a sample of 900, has Labor ahead by 51-49, a one point gain for the Liberal National Party since late April. Primary votes are 36% LNP (up 2), 35% Labor (down 1) and 15% One Nation (down 2). No figure is given for the Greens. The next Queensland election must be held by early 2018.

While voting intentions are relatively stable, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s approval rating slumped eight points to 39%, and her disapproval rose nine points to 44%, for a net approval of -5, down 17 points. This is Palaszczuk’s first negative net approval. Opposition leader Tim Nicholls had a net approval of -14, up four points.

A key assumption in this poll is that One Nation preferences will split evenly between the major parties, as they did at the 2016 Federal election. However, if One Nation preferences are better for the LNP, Labor could be in trouble.

The April Galaxy poll was taken shortly after Cyclone Debbie, and that event may have given Labor and Palaszczuk a boost that has now diminished.

I would like to see a pollster ask whether Queenslanders support or oppose their government’s approval of the Adani coal mine. In my opinion, this approval is bad political strategy for Labor, as it angers environmentally progressive voters. Those who want the coal mine to proceed are likely to be sceptical of Labor, so it will not win over many new voters.

Nationally, Turnbull’s moves to the centre on Gonski have not won the Coalition many new voters since people trust Labor more on education. Similarly, Queensland Labor’s embrace of Adani has not benefited them as people who put economic development ahead of environmental concerns trust the LNP more.

I think Labor would now be doing better had Palaszczuk rejected Adani at the start of her term. This would have pleased progressives, and the mine would probably have faded as an issue.

Trump’s ratings slide further after shocking fortnight

The FiveThirtyEight poll aggregate has Trump at 37.0% approval, 57.3% disapproval, for a net approval of -20.3. Trump has lost over three points of net approval in the last week, as polls reflect the effects of the defeat of Obamacare repeal legislation and chaotic personnel changes at the White House.

Nate Silver has a breakdown of strong and somewhat approval. 47% strongly disapprove of Trump, 11% somewhat disapprove, 16% somewhat approve and 20% strongly approve.

Trump won the 2016 election partly because he was seen as an anti-establishment populist who would “drain the swamp”. However, he has appointed many men with Wall St backgrounds to senior positions in his administration. Other Trump appointments are very right-wing Republicans.

Trump said he would replace Obamacare with “something terrific”, but he supported the Republican Congress’ proposals that would have gutted Medicaid (health insurance for the poor), and increased the number of uninsured by over 20 million.

In polling for the November 2018 midterm elections, Democrats lead Republicans by 47.6-37.5 in FiveThirtyEight’s aggregate. A 10-point popular vote win would give the Democrats a clear majority in the US House. Furthermore, analyst Harry Enten says that the President’s party tends to lose ground as the midterms approach; the only exception was in 2002, due to September 11.