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Making sense of the polls

Trump wins Republican nomination after Cruz drops out following Indiana loss

Donald Trump sealed the Republican nomination today, winning Indiana 53-37 over Ted Cruz with just 8% for John Kasich. After the loss, Cruz dropped out of the Republican nomination contest.

Kasich has only won one state so far, his home state of Ohio. With Kasich as Trump’s only official remaining opponent, Trump is very likely to easily win every remaining state, and will decisively win the 1,237 delegates required.

At this point, where the Republican contest effectively ended, Trump had won 1,045 delegates, including 1,011 pledged delegates. Cruz had 580 delegates, and Kasich 154. Trump had 51.6% of all delegates allocated so far, and Cruz 28.9%. Trump won all of Indiana’s 57 delegates, which are allocated winner takes all by statewide and Congressional District.

After not exceeding 50% until his home state, New York, voted on 19 April, Trump won a majority of the vote in all the last seven contests. He ends the contested stage of the Republican race with 40.2% of the vote, to 27.5% for Cruz, 14.1% for Kasich and 13.1% for Rubio.

Since Cruz won Wisconsin on 5 April, there has been a major move to Trump in national Republican polls and in election results. I think some of this movement was because Republicans wanted to avoid a contested convention, and Trump was the only candidate able to win outright.

However, Cruz received much more media attention in April than previously, but this attention backfired on him. As this chart of Trump and Cruz’s net favourability among Republicans shows, Cruz’s favourability dropped as he became better known. Many who know Cruz well strongly dislike him, including his Republican Senate colleagues. Former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner called Cruz, “Lucifer in the flesh”.

On the Democratic side, Sanders defeated Clinton in Indiana by a 52.5-47.5 margin, but gained only five net delegates. Clinton still leads by 290 pledged delegates, with 933 left to be allocated in remaining contests.

I have previously written about general election scenarios. Trump’s favourability numbers have improved since that article, but he still has a net -26 rating with the general electorate. Clinton’s rating has been steady at -13 since that article. Clinton currently leads Trump by 47-40, and I think those who dislike both candidates are more likely to vote for Clinton in the end, as she appears more presidential than Trump.

Australian Federal polling update

No major polls have been published this week as they will poll after the budget to ascertain if there is any reaction to the budget.

Morgan had Labor ahead by 50.5-49.5 on the previous election method, and 51-49 respondent allocated. This represented a 0.5% gain for the Coalition on the previous election method, but a 1% gain for Labor on respondent preferences. It is the first time either Ipsos or Morgan has had Labor doing better on respondent allocation than the previous election method since Turnbull became PM. This poll was conducted over the last two weekends from a sample of 2950.

Essential’s two week rolling average was at 52-48 to Labor this week, unchanged on last week. However, Labor gained 2% last week, and last week’s sample is still in the fieldwork. The two-week sample size was 1750. 57% approved of Labor’s policy to tackle climate change, with 21% disapproving. 52% approved of the submarine contract, with 27% disapproving.

43% approved of negative gearing and 36% disapproved; in March, this was 41-37 approval. 36% approved of changing negative gearing, and 38% disapproved, virtually unchanged from March; the question did not mention that this was proposed by Labor. On the impact of limiting negative gearing, 31% thought house prices would continue rising but at a slower rate, 24% thought house prices would fall and 13% thought house prices would continue rising at the same rate.

Turnbull’s positive attribute scores fell and his negative ones rose since March. The biggest changes were an eight point rise in being perceived as intolerant and narrow-minded, and a seven-point rise in erratic. Shorten’s attributes were better, highlighted by a seven-point increase in “a capable leader”. When Turnbull and Shorten are compared, the one negative attribute Turnbull leads by a double digit margin is “out of touch with ordinary people”. Turnbull leads five positive attributes by double digits.

In last week’s Essential, 40% approved of Turnbull calling a double dissolution, and 28% disapproved; two weeks ago this was 39-24. 42% thought the Coalition was most likely to win the next election, while 28% thought Labor most likely to win. 67% said they would vote for a party they wanted to lead Australia, while 21% said they would vote against the party they don’t want to lead. Former New Zealand PM Helen Clark was preferred over Kevin Rudd by 45-21 to be the next UN Secretary-General.

Voters were pessimistic on the forthcoming budget, generally saying it would be bad for everyone except Australian business (good by 21) and well off people (good by 36). Labor budget initiatives, such as limiting negative gearing and tightening capital gains tax exemptions, were well supported, but cutting personal income taxes was strongly supported. Note that this poll was taken before Tuesday’s budget.

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