This week’s Newspoll, conducted November 8-11 from a sample of 1,800, gave Labor a large 55-45 lead, a one-point gain for Labor since last fortnight. Primary votes were 40% Labor (up one), 35% Coalition (down one), 9% Greens (steady) and 6% One Nation (steady).
This is the second consecutive Newspoll drop for the Coalition, after they recovered somewhat from the post-spill fallout to trail 53-47 four weeks ago. In Malcolm Turnbull’s final four Newspolls as PM, the Coalition trailed by just 51-49; the situation is far worse for them now.
Labor’s primary vote in this poll has returned to 40%, a level only exceeded in the first two polls after Turnbull was ousted. Before those two polls, Labor’s support in Newspoll had only been at 40% or more once since Julia Gillard’s early days as PM.
39% were satisfied with Scott Morrison’s performance (down two), and 47% were dissatisfied (up three), for a net approval of -8, down five points. Bill Shorten’s net approval dropped two points to -15. Morrison led Shorten by 42-36 as better PM (43-35 last fortnight).
By 48-40, voters were opposed to Australia becoming a republic, a dramatic shift from a 50-41 margin in favour of a republic in April. This is the first time since the republic referendum in 1999 that those opposed have outnumbered those in favour. The popularity of Princes Harry and William (see Essential below) probably explains this shift.
This Newspoll was the fifth to gauge Morrison’s ratings. Turnbull’s net approval peaked at +38 in his fifth Newspoll, in November 2015, before starting a long decline. Morrison’s net approval peaked at +7 in his third Newspoll, and he has lost a net 15 points since that peak.
I have said before that the Coalition under Morrison would probably have problems with the educated people who were drawn to Turnbull. To compensate, Morrison needs to outperform Turnbull among those without high levels of educational attainment.
For these people, personal economic fortunes are probably a key concern. As long as wages growth remains low, Labor and the unions will be able to win support from this group. In my opinion, the Coalition’s only realistic chance of re-election is for wages to improve strongly by the time the next election is due in May 2019. The ABS will release data for wages in the September quarter on Wednesday.
Essential: 54-46 to Labor
In last week’s Essential poll, conducted November 1-4 from a sample of 1,028, Labor led by 54-46, a one-point gain for Labor since three weeks ago. Primary votes were 39% Labor (up two), 36% Coalition (down two), 10% Greens (steady) and 6% One Nation (down one). Rounding probably assisted the Coalition in this poll. While it is not as bad as Newspoll for the Coalition, the movement in Essential agrees with Newspoll.
Morrison’s net approval was +4, down 11 points since October. Shorten’s net approval was -6, up six points. Morrison led Shorten by 41-29 as better PM (42-27 in October).
By 44-32, voters supported Australia becoming a republic with its own head of state (48-30 in May). Over 60% had favourable opinions of Queen Elizabeth and Princes Harry and William, but opinion was split 33-30 favourable on Prince Charles.
By 39-35, voters approved of government support for new coal-fired power stations. Just 8% said they had a high interest in horse racing, while 44% said they had no interest.
Queensland Galaxy: 50-50 tie federally, 53-47 to state Labor
A Queensland Galaxy poll, conducted November 7-8 from a sample of 839, had a federal 50-50 tie in Queensland, unchanged from August when Turnbull was still PM. Primary votes were 38% Coalition (up one), 34% Labor (steady), 9% Greens (steady) and 9% One Nation (down one).
This poll would be a 4% swing to Labor from the 2016 election in Queensland, so it is not good news for the Coalition (the national swing in Newspoll would be just over 5%). One of the reasons given for replacing Turnbull was that he was on the nose in Queensland. Under Morrison, the Coalition is matching its position in Queensland compared to Turnbull, but it is performing far worse in the rest of Australia.
The same poll gave state Labor a 53-47 lead, a two-point gain for Labor since August. Primary votes were 36% Labor (up one), 34% LNP (down three), 11% Greens (steady) and 10% One Nation (steady).
46% (up five) approved of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, and 37% (down one) disapproved, for a net approval of +9, up six points. Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington had a +6 net approval, up one point. Palaszczuk led as better Premier by 43-26 (44-23 in August).
Late counting strongly favours Democrats in US midterms
Late counting for the November 6 US midterm elections has heavily favoured the Democrats, and they have reversed some election-night Republican leads in House and Senate seats.
The House is likely to finish at a 234-201 Democrat majority, which would be a net gain of 40 for the Democrats since the 2016 election. That would be Democrats’ highest number of gains in a House election since 1974 – despite the strong US economy and Republican gerrymandering.
The Senate is likely to finish at a 53-47 Republican majority, a two-seat net gain for the Republicans since the 2012 election, the last time these seats were contested; Democrats had a great year in 2012. Democrats lost North Dakota, Indiana, Missouri and likely Florida, but gained Nevada and likely Arizona. A Democrat win in Arizona would be their first Arizona senator elected since 1988.
I wrote in August that Trump’s ratings were well below where they should be given the strong US economy. If he had not been so blatantly right-wing on many issues, Trump’s ratings would probably have been far better at the midterms, and the Republicans would have held the suburban seats that they lost.
Democrats currently lead in the House popular vote by 6.5 points, and it is likely to end at about an eight-point Democrat margin. Rasmussen polls, which always give Trump far better ratings than other pollsters, had Republicans winning the House popular vote by one point.