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Making sense of the polls

Turnbull’s Newspoll ratings slump fails to benefit Shorten

This week’s Newspoll had Turnbull’s satisfied rating down 8 points to 52%, and his dissatisfied rating up 8 points to 30%, for a net approval of +22, down 16 net points since last fortnight. However, Shorten’s net approval also fell a net 7 points to -38, and Turnbull continued to dominate Shorten 60-14 as better PM, compared with 64-15 last fortnight.

The poll table below gives the two party results of all polls conducted in the last fortnight. Note that Morgan is a week out of alignment with Newspoll, and so it was conducted prior to last week’s parliamentary drama. Rounding helped the Coalition avoid a drop in this week’s Newspoll when primary votes suggested a gain for Labor.

polls early Dec.

Essential has been behaving oddly in showing the Coalition’s Two Party Preferred (2PP) dropping in the last month to 51%, when other polls had the Coalition vote either increasing or steady. Morgan has continued to lean to the Coalition since Turnbull became PM; the latest Morgan is 56-44 to the Coalition by respondent preferences.

While Turnbull has taken a hit over the Brough and Macfarlane drama, his ratings are still much better than any of Abbott’s Newspoll ratings. The last PM to have a satisfied rating of over 50% was Kevin Rudd.

I think Shorten has been caught in a vicious circle. As he is utterly dominated by Turnbull, people on his own side are more likely to question whether he should be the Labor leader, and thus his ratings drop further. Shorten’s better PM score and approval ratings are unlikely to improve substantially unless Turnbull becomes very unpopular with the left.

Kevin Bonham’s poll aggregate is now at 53.4% 2PP to the Coalition, a gain of 0.5% for Labor since last week. The Poll Bludger’s BludgerTrack is now at 53.8% 2PP to the Coalition, a gain of 0.7% for Labor since last week. Primary votes are 46.1% for the Coalition, 30.8% for Labor and 12.3% for the Greens, with the Coalition losing 0.8% since last week, and the Greens gaining most of it.

More on Essential

In Essential’s monthly ratings, Turnbull had a net approval of +33, down three points, and Shorten’s net rating was an unchanged -20. By 44-40, voters approved of using our aid budget to help Pacific Island nations adjust to climate change. 64% had at least some confidence in Turnbull representing Australia, with only 23% having little confidence. Turnbull is easily thought to be best to lead the Liberals, while for Labor there is a 3-way tie between Shorten, Anthony Albanese and Tanya Plibersek, with Shorten on 13% and the other two both on 14%.

14% thought Abbott should stay in Parliament on the backbench, 18% thought he should become a minister, 30% thought he should resign from Parliament now, and 19% thought he should resign at the next election.

In last week’s Essential, 40% thought the tax system was at least moderately fair, while 52% thought it was not too fair or worse. 39% thought only minor changes to the tax system were needed, with 41% for “completely change it”. By 67-24, voters supported the proposed increase in tobacco tax.

A question on which party is best able to handle particular issues has the Coalition up slightly on most issues since October, indicating some benefit to the Coalition from Turnbull’s ascension. 52% thought that Coalition policies favoured the rich, 21% said they favoured the average Australian, and just 2% the poor. For Labor, these figures were respectively 17%, 38% and 17%.

Liberals win North Sydney 60-40 vs Independent Ruff

The addition of postal votes in North Sydney has given the Liberals a primary vote lead of 48.2-18.8 over Independent Stephen Ruff, with 15.7% for the Greens. The primary vote swing against the Liberals has been reduced to 12.8%, and the Greens now only register a 0.3% swing in their favour. Most booths have now been recounted with preferences between the Liberals and Ruff, and the Liberals have won by about 60-40. It will be interesting to see how many Greens preferred the Liberals to Ruff.

Morgan state polls

Morgan has conducted SMS polls in all states from the 4-6 December; comparisons are with October polls. In NSW, the Coalition leads by an unchanged 60.5-39.5. In Victoria, Labor leads by 53.5-46.5, a 2% gain for the Coalition. In Queensland, Labor leads by 51.5-48.5, a 2.5% gain for Labor. In WA, Labor leads by 50.5-49.5, a 2% gain for Labor. In SA, the Liberals lead by 54-46, a 3% gain for the Liberals. The Nick Xenophon Team is polled for the first time in SA, and wins 18% of the vote. Samples ranged from 490 in WA to 1080 in NSW.

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