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Making sense of the polls

Abbott’s Ratings Slump Following “Knightmare” Affair

On Monday, Tony Abbott awarded a knighthood to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. A ReachTEL poll taken on Tuesday night shows only a modest one-point gain for Labor in voting intentions, but Abbott’s approval ratings have taken a major hit. Only 12% supported the decision to knight Philip, with 72% opposed. Abbott’s total good rating is now at just 22% (down 9), and his total poor rating is at 62% (up 10), for a net approval of -40, down 19 points. Here are the results for all of this week’s polls.

polls Jan.

Only ReachTEL was fully taken after the knighthood controversy, but two of five days in Morgan’s poll were also after this affair. Morgan usually takes his polls over two weekends, but this poll used five days from last Friday to Tuesday. Morgan’s polls lean to Labor by about 1.5% relative to other pollsters, so his poll should be interpreted as 54% Two Party Preferred (2PP) to Labor by another pollster. ReachTEL’s results are being compared with a late November Federal ReachTEL.

After a small move to the Coalition in early January, these polls return the situation to where it was in December, with Labor ahead by about a 54-46 margin. Labor’s primary vote is about 40%, the Coalition’s is about 39% and the Greens have about 11%.

Notes on These Polls

  • Essential has the government at a net +5 rating on foreign relations, and in the negative single digits on supporting Australian businesses and asylum seekers. On economic management, the government is at -14, and on most other issues polled they are at -20 or worse. On most issues, the government is down since September, when the Coalition had a mini-revival. 26% say the government is too tough on asylum seekers, and 23% say they are too soft, while 35% say their approach is about right. Under Labor, 60% thought the government was too soft. By a 44-32 margin, voters supported sending asylum seekers to Cambodia.

  • Morgan had Labor leading by 56.5-43.5 on respondent allocated preferences, 1% higher than using the previous election preferences.

  • ReachTEL has Malcolm Turnbull preferred as Liberal leader by 45%, compared with Julie Bishop on 31%, Abbott on 18% and Joe Hockey on just 7%. Among Coalition voters, Abbott still leads with 40%, with 28% for Bishop and 27% for Turnbull. Abbott’s ratings slump is driven by a 9% fall in his very good rating to under 10%. Shorten’s total good rating is at 27% (up 6) and his total poor rating is at 38% (steady) for a net approval of -11; Shorten has 35% who rate him “satisfactory”, including half of Greens voters.

ReachTEL Queensland Ashgrove Poll has Newman Trailing 54-46

As well as their Federal poll, ReachTEL has also taken a poll of the Queensland seat of Ashgrove on Tuesday night. Compared with a poll on the 13 January, Labor’s Kate Jones has increased her lead on Premier Campbell Newman by 1% after preferences. Primary votes are 46.5% for Jones (down 1.1), 42.3% for Newman (down 1.4) and 8.2% for the Greens (up 2.8). 45% approved of Newman’s performance as their local member, and 41% disapproved. 52% had a favourable opinion of Kate Jones, and 32% an unfavourable opinion. The sample size was 860.

I believe that the Greens in Ashgrove will be highly motivated to put Newman last, so Jones’ actual lead given these primaries is probably higher than 54-46. By this stage in 2012, Newman had a 54-46 lead in Ashgrove, which he won by 55.7-44.3. If this ReachTEL is accurate, it is now very hard to see Newman holding his seat. The Queensland election is just two days away.

NSW Galaxy has Coalition Ahead by 54-46

A NSW Galaxy, taken on the 21-22 January, finds virtually no change from a Galaxy in early January. Primary votes are 45% for the Coalition, 36% for Labor and 11% for the Greens, the only change being a 1% gain for the Coalition. Opposition Leader Luke Foley’s confession to drink driving is unlikely to affect the election outcome. 81% supported Foley’s campaign against allowing supermarkets to sell lottery tickets. The NSW election is in late March.

Greek Election Note: The Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) won last Sunday’s election with 149 of the 300 seats. They have formed an “anti-austerity” alliance with the nationalist Greek Independents, who won 13 seats. The two parties combined will have 162 seats, a clear majority.

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