Poll that doesn’t count: number two

Poor old Gary Morgan. Every second Tuesday the political class holds its breath in anticipation of the latest Newspoll result, but when figures are released from the Roy Morgan organisation, with its many decades of history behind it, no-one cares a damn. Obviously it’s entirely his own fault – I don’t know a single person anywhere who thought Labor were going to win on polling day in 2001, but with his family company’s reputation for reliability and sound judgement squarely on the line, Morgan bellowed from the roof-tops that just such a result was a lay-down misere.

Anyway, Morgan’s first Queensland state poll for the campaign came out today, although it was conducted over a six week period ending last weekend. Labor’s primary vote is on 51.5 per cent, which by Morgan’s reckoning is actually at the lower end of their band for the current term which has ranged from 51 to a frankly unbelievable 57.5 per cent. The Liberals have improved 3.5 per cent to record one of their better showings with 24 per cent, while Morgan maintains an admirable consistency in his measure of National Party support which has never wavered more than 1 per cent above or below its current level of 8 per cent (Newspoll is currently 5 per cent more generous). The Greens have today been talking up their showing of 6 per cent in this morning’s TNS poll but Morgan only gives them 4 per cent, behind One Nation on five. Over the long term, Morgan shows that One Nation have perked up a few per cent since the imprisonment of Hanson while the Greens’ result continues their pattern of apparently random fluctuation between 3 and 6 per cent. So given that it’s already been established that Morgan consistently has Queensland Labor a few percentage points above what seems realistic, there are essentially no surprises here.

Simultaneously Morgan has released a federal poll showing Labor with a two-party preferred score of 55.5 per cent, which seems a bit rich. Nevertheless opinion polls are best viewed by looking at long-term trends and there seems to be one emerging on the basis of Morgan’s recent results – since the ascension of Mark Latham, Labor’s results have gone from 38 per cent to 41, 42.5 and now 45 per cent. Most of this has come off the Greens, who reached a high-water mark just prior to Crean’s demise, and the Democrats, now plumbing all-time depths after Andrew Bartlett’s recent performance with just 1.5 per cent in the latest survey.

I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll reserve my judgement until Tuesday’s Newspoll.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.