Making sense of the polls

Making sense of the polls

Terrorism Boosts Abbott’s Ratings

Last Thursday 18 September there was widespread media coverage of an alleged terrorist plot to behead Australian residents in Sydney. As a result, the Coalition has regained the ground lost last fortnight, and Abbott’s personal ratings have received a major boost in Newspoll. Abbott’s satisfied rating is up 6% to 41%, and his dissatisfied rating down 2% to 52%, for a net approval of -11, up from -19 last fortnight. Kevin Bonham says this is Abbott’s best Newspoll net approval rating since April, and his best satisfied rating since November 2013.

Here are this week’s polls. Morgan leans to Labor by about 1.5%, and both Morgan and Essential were taken over two weekends, meaning that half their sample was taken prior to last Thursday’s terrorism. Essential has been Labor friendly for the last few weeks after a long run where it was more Coalition friendly than other polls. ReachTEL was taken on the night following the Sydney terrorism.

polls late Sep.

Labor was very lucky to have a 51% Two Party Preferred (2PP) vote in this week’s Newspoll. The published primary votes were 41% for the Coalition, 34% for Labor, 11% for the Greens and 14% for Others. Calculation from these votes using the 2013 preference flows gives Labor only a 49.8% 2PP. Clearly, rounding must have barely been enough to nudge Labor over 50.5% 2PP, rounding to 51.

Kevin Bonham’s poll aggregate is now at 51.5% 2PP to Labor, down 0.5% on last week. The Poll Bludger’s BludgerTrack now has Labor only ahead by 50.8-49.2, a 1.3% gain for the Coalition from last week. Primary votes are 41.0% for the Coalition, 36.2% for Labor, 10.6% for the Greens and 4.6% for Palmer United Party. The Coalition gained directly from the Greens last week. The difference between BludgerTrack and Bonham’s aggregate is partly because BludgerTrack uses the published primaries to calculate a 2PP figure, and thus interprets Newspoll as 50-50. Bonham is now using an average of the calculated 2PP figure and the reported figure, after previously only using the reported 2PP.

Notes on These Polls

  • ReachTEL had 30% saying that the Abbott government had done a good or very good job in its first 12 months, while 50% said it had been poor or very poor. 52% said the Abbott government had not kept its election promises, while 27% said it had. Sending military planes to Iraq to fight terrorism was supported by 49-29, but sending troops was opposed by 44-33.

  • Morgan’s respondent allocated preferences had Labor ahead by 54.5-45.5, a 0.5% gain for Labor from last fortnight.

  • Newspoll had Shorten’s net approval at -5, up from -7 last fortnight.

  • Essential had Labor’s attributes effectively unchanged on March, while the Coalition’s attributes are worse. Labor does at least 10 points better than the Coalition on five attributes, and is at least 10 points worse than the Coalition on two. Voters approved of military aid to Iraq to fight ISIS by a 52-34 margin. However, 51% thought that sending military forces to Iraq would make Australia less safe from terrorism, and only 15% said it would make us more safe. The current industrial relations laws are perceived to be balanced: 23% say they favour employers, 17% say they favour workers, and 30% say they balance employers and workers.

Last week’s Essential showed a double digit drop in perceptions of the government’s handling of many issues since a similar question in February. The only issues where perceptions of the government’s performance improved were “treatment of asylum seekers” and “managing the economy”. Buying submarines from Japan was opposed by 51-28. The changes to superannuation that were part of the deal to scrap the mining tax were opposed by 49-29. Only 10% thought that salaries would be increased as a result of deferred superannuation increases.

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