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Making sense of the polls

Labor Seizes Double Digit Poll Lead

We have had five polls released since last Friday night, and Labor leads by at least 55-45 in all of them except Essential, which has a well earned reputation for being slow to change. The previous Newspoll was taken in mid-December, while the other polls were previously taken in the last two weeks. Here is this week’s poll table.

polls mid Feb.

Since Abbott knighted Prince Philip, his approval ratings have crashed, and his net approvals are currently -33 in Essential, -38 in last week’s Ipsos, -42 in ReachTEL and -44 in Newspoll.

Abbott’s 61-39 win at Monday’s spill motion was a weak win for him, and it makes it more likely that he will be replaced long before the next election. His low ratings, combined with the clear divisions within the Liberal Party, make a Coalition recovery under his leadership very difficult to see.

Kevin Bonham’s poll aggregate is now at 55.8% Two Party Preferred (2PP) to Labor, up 0.8% on last week, and up 3.2% in the last three weeks. The Poll Bludger’s BludgerTrack gives Labor a 56.1-43.9 lead, a 1% gain for Labor on last week. Primary votes are 41.7% for Labor, 36.5% for the Coalition and 11.3% for the Greens. Since last week, the Coalition primary vote has lost 1%, with almost all going straight to Labor. Graphs show that, while the Coalition primary vote was this low in the post-budget period, Labor’s primary is now higher than during that period. Abbott’s net approval ratings have plummetted to -41.6%.

Notes on These Polls

  • Newspoll gave Shorten a net approval of +2, up from -6 in mid-December; this is Shorten’s first positive net approval since mid-May. Shorten’s current 48-30 better PM lead over Abbott is the second highest margin for an opposition leader, but the only opposition leader to better Shorten’s current 18-point lead was Alexander Downer, who led Paul Keating by 20 points in July 1994. Abbott’s -44 net approval rating is the worst for a PM since Gillard’s -45 in September 2011, though Keating performed worse after the “horror” budget of August 1993.

  • Morgan’s respondent allocated preferences were 57.5-42.5 to Labor, a 1% gain for Labor on this measure, and 0.5% better for Labor than the previous election preferences.

  • Essential had Abbott’s approval down 8 points to 29%, and his disapproval up 9 points to 62% for a net approval of -33, down 17 points from January. Strangely, Shorten’s net approval fell to -5 from +6; other polls have not shown this. By 59-25, voters approved of Abbott’s decision to drop the paid parental leave plan. 59% thought same sex couples should be allowed to marry, with 28% disagreeing; support is up from a 55-32 margin in December. 44% agreed with a negative viewpoint on governments retaining personal information, while 38% agreed with a positive viewpoint. Questions on asset privatisation find negative attitudes that perhaps explain the Queensland election result.

I discussed ReachTEL and Galaxy in last Sunday’s article.

NSW Ipsos Poll has Coalition Ahead by 56-44

While the Federal polls and the Queensland result are both dire for the conservative parties, a NSW Ipsos poll has the Coalition leading by 56-44, a 2% gain for the Coalition since November. Primary votes are 46% for the Coalition (up 2), 34% for Labor (down 2) and 12% for the Greens (steady). Respondent-allocated preferences have the Coalition lead at 53-47, 3% less than their lead under 2011 preferences. Premier Mike Baird’s approval rating is 60%, and his disapproval 18%, for a net approval of +42, with all measures steady. Luke Foley’s debut ratings are 30% approval and 21% disapproval. This poll was taken last Thursday to Saturday from a sample of 1000. The NSW election will be held on the 28 March.

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