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Making sense of the polls

Turnbull’s increased popularity gives Coalition a clear lead

All polls in the last two weeks are now at 52 or 53% Two Party Preferred (2PP) to the Coalition, with the exception of Morgan (55% 2PP). These results are by last election preferences, and current respondent allocated preferences indicate an additional 1% for the Coalition. Here is this week’s poll table. The last ReachTEL was conducted on the night following Turnbull’s replacement of Abbott.

polls end Oct.

In Newspoll, 58% were satisfied with Turnbull’s performance (up 8), while just 23% were dissatisfied (down 2), for a net approval of +35. Shorten, on the other hand, slumped to a net approval of -32, down 7 points. This is Shorten’s equal worst net rating, with both low points occurring after allegations at the Trade Union Royal Commission (TURC).

This Newspoll set an all-time Newspoll record for the difference between the PM’s net approval and the opposition leader’s net approval (67 points). Turnbull’s net approval is the highest for an incumbent PM since Kevin Rudd in October 2009. However, as Kevin Bonham shows graphically, such a strong Newspoll rating for the PM should have the PM’s party doing far better than the Coalition’s current 52-48 lead.

ReachTEL gave Turnbull a (total good) minus (total poor) rating of +32, a huge improvement on Abbott’s -26. Even Labor and Greens supporters were more inclined to give Turnbull a good rating than a poor one. Turnbull’s ratings would be even higher if some of the 36% who selected “satisfactory” are counted as positive ratings. Shorten’s net ReachTEL rating improved seven points to -23.

There appear to have been two distinct moves to the Coalition since Turnbull became PM. In the first two weeks of PM Turnbull, the Coalition narrowly regained the poll lead due to relief at Abbott’s demise. While this relief has faded, Turnbull’s sheer popularity has driven the Coalition to its current clear lead.

As I said in last week’s article, Labor is not going to win an election while Turnbull continues to be so popular, regardless of who the opposition leader is. Labor can only hope that Turnbull’s stratospheric ratings dissipate before the next election. If the current relationship between Turnbull’s popularity and the Coalition’s vote holds, Labor could retake the poll lead with Turnbull still experiencing mildly positive ratings. Peter Brent believes Turnbull’s honeymoon will end before the next election.

Kevin Bonham’s poll aggregate is now at 52.4% 2PP to the Coalition, a 0.3% gain for the Coalition since last week. The Poll Bludger’s BludgerTrack is at 52.8% 2PP to the Coalition, a 0.9% gain for the Coalition since last week. Primary votes in BludgerTrack are 45.4% for the Coalition, 32.3% for Labor and 12.0% for the Greens. The Coalition primary has increased 1.7% at the expense of the Greens and Others, with Labor’s primary also up 0.4%. Graphs show a massive increase in Turnbull’s ratings.

Notes on these polls

In ReachTEL, 40% supported Labor changing its leader, with 26% opposed. Even Labor supporters wanted Shorten ousted by a 41-30 margin. By 46-41, respondents thought Tony Abbott should resign from Parliament, rather than remain in Parliament.

In last week’s Essential, trade unions were the second least trusted organisation behind political parties, and in this week’s Essential 42% of respondents thought the TURC was a legitimate investigation of union practices, while 27% thought it a political attack - in August this split was 39-27. However, by 62-28, respondents thought unions were important for working people today, and 45% thought workers would be better off with stronger unions, with 26% for worse off.

Same sex marriage was supported by a 59-30 margin, compared with a 60-31 margin in August. When prompted with information that a same sex marriage plebiscite would cost about $150 million, support for a plebiscite fell to 43%, and a parliamentary vote rose to 41%. When asked without the cost information in September, a plebiscite was supported by 67-21.

50% thought Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison would be better managers of the economy than Abbott and Hockey, with only 10% favouring the former incumbents. 89% thought it should be a criminal offence to post sexual images of ex-partners online without consent.

North Sydney by-election: 5 December

Following Joe Hockey’s retirement from Parliament, a by-election will be held in his seat of North Sydney on the 5 December. Hockey easily won North Sydney by 66-34 in 2013, and it has historically been a very safe Liberal seat. Given the current national polling, Labor will not contest North Sydney to avoid the prospect of an embarrassing loss. The Liberals’ main challenge is likely to come from the Greens, who won 15% in 2013, but the Liberals should easily retain this seat.

By-elections will be held this Saturday in the Liberal-held Victorian regional seats of Polwarth and South West Coast. There is no Labor candidate in either seat, and it looks as if the only contest will be Liberals vs Nationals. These are state seat by-elections, not Federal seats.

Poland and Argentina election results

Despite winning only 37.6% of the vote, the right wing Law and Justice party has won a majority of seats in Poland’s election, held last Sunday. This majority occurred because the United Left coalition and two smaller parties missed the threshold for election, set at 8% for coalitions and 5% for single parties. As a result, Law and Justice effectively received 45% of the qualified vote, and won a majority of seats on regional variations. The Polish left was completely wiped out of Parliament. This non-proportional outcome occurred under a proportional representation system.

The Argentina Presidential election will go to a runoff on the 22 November, after no candidate won over 45% in the first round, or won by more than 10% with over 40%. The runoff will be between Daniel Scioli of the centre left Front for Victory and Mauricio Macri of the centre right Cambiemos. On the first round, Scioli won 36.9% of the vote, to 34.3% for Macri and 21.3% for a third candidate. Front for Victory currently holds the Presidency.

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