And now Morgan

We still need Newspoll to seal the deal, but it does seem that normality has returned to the opinion poll landscape: we are seeing Labor with slight to moderate leads plus a few per cent extra from Roy Morgan, just like old times. As it does each Friday, Morgan has published a telephone survey from 614 responses (slightly higher than usual), which shows Labor down from 46 per cent to 43.5 per cent on the primary vote – 3.5 per cent lower than any Morgan result since January. However, the Coalition haven’t budged from 40 per cent. The remainder has gone to minor parties and returned as preferences, leaving the two-party preferred result steady at 55-45.

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.

123 comments on “And now Morgan”

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  1. Will Kevin Rudd look back in December and think I should have ditched the unions in April?

    It may very well be one of the great what could have beens”

  2. Lets wait until AC Nielsen on Monday and Newspoll on Tuesday and see if we have the same drops in ALP primary vote.

  3. One of each is not sufficient to counter months of polling showing a different position. We need two or three of each showing the same “new levels” before we can credibly claim that there are indeed new levels of support.

  4. two party preferred at 55 is enough for labor to win the next election, rudd and co would’nt like to see it go below 55
    howard’s arrogance with the kirribilli fundraiser may help labor in the polls over the weekend

  5. Oyster, if meeting Bryan Burke did Rudd no harm, I highly doubt that this Kirribilli non-event will do Howard any harm either.

    The Poll Bludger is correct, Newspoll is needed to seal the deal. However, it is clear that there has been a slight trend towards the Coalition over the past several months. The question is whether this points to a firm recovery or it is too little, too late. I still reckon the picture will become clearer by August.

  6. “two party preferred at 55 is enough for labor to win the next election, rudd and co would’nt like to see it go below 55”

    Heck, a 2PP of 52-48 will be enough for the ALP to win the next election if it holds up across states (especially Qld). They’d be nervous going into the campaign with it much below 55-45 I imagine…

  7. A 2pp of 55:45 is a disaster for the Libs no matter how they window dress. I’ve been witing for a very long time to see the turn around despite throwing everything including the kitchen sink at Krudd. With a bit of luck and a booming economy the Libs should be asking themselve why does the electorate hate us some much!! But then again their arrogance isn’t conducive for self reflection. Pity, cos that’s the only way they’ll win the next election. Better that they go into opposition to fully mull that question over.

  8. If you look at my poll graph here:
    you will see that there has been no “slight trend towards the Coalition over the past several months.” Labor’s 2PV peaked at 61% in mid March. Since then (ie for three months) all polls by the three major pollsters have put Labor between 57 and 60. Morgan’s 55 is the first outside that range. If it is confirmed by News and Nielsen, then we can say we have a trend. If News and Nielsen are still in the 57-60 band, we can say Morgan is a blip.

  9. “…the biggest difference between soft ALP voters and strong ALP voters is on the issue of “managing the economy”.

    This is why Howard is pushing the economic management thing to the hilt. On every front, Howard and his hounds have been hysterical in trying to portray a win for Labor as a recipe for economic destruction, whether it be unions, emissions targets, Peter Garrett, IR, funding broadband, and so on.

    I am actually getting very frustrated with Labor at the moment. They can EASILY show how Howard’s claims about being a superior economic manager are total nonsense. They can blow it all out of the water just by pointing out some very simple facts. But instead, they are letting Howard get away with his lies and exaggerations, just as Latham and Beazley did. They have to nail this issue and do it NOW.

    I suspect that this is the reason why some non-right wing types have retreated from Labor back to minor parties, like the Greens, as this latest Morgan poll suggests. If they are like me, then they are getting annoyed at the way Labor are allowing Howard to mislead the public.

    But if they continue to avoid directly countering Howard on the economy and just stick to peripheral stuff like the Kirribilli issue, then they will start losing voters to the coalition. And that would be an absolute travesty for this country. Howard and his hounds need to go. This has to be their last term before they do even more damage. I know Rudd can do it, but he has to start getting bolder and formulate some clear messages about economic management. The blowout in the foreign debt would be a start, more stuff on productivity, and MOST importantly, highlight the massive contribution made to current economic conditions by Hawke and Keating.

  10. With respect, Comrade Carr, Newspoll had 55-45 right before the 60-40.

    And I would add, the Newspoll and ACN taken around the 20th of May had headline figures that looked unduly favourable to Labor, given the primary votes. I’d argue 56-44 would be a better interpretation of both.

    But you’re right. If ACN and Newspoll show 57-60 this week, that would suggest a flat line since April.

  11. Hmm. Tthere was a spate of polls last month and I must have missed a Newspoll somewhere while on my travels. What date was the one you refer to?

  12. Adam,
    Newspoll 30 March-1 April 2007# 43 57
    Newspoll 13-15 April 2007# 41 59
    Newspoll 27-29 April 2007# 43 57
    Newspoll 11-13 May 2007# 41 59
    Newspoll 18-20 May 2007# 43 57
    Newspoll 21-24 May 2007# 45 55
    Newspoll 25-27 May 2007# 40 60

  13. What I want to know is how does someone marry the idea Labor is being hurt by their association with the unions or economic management with the result of this poll when clearly the coalition is gaining very little extra support from Labor’s “fall from grace”.

  14. “What I want to know is how does someone marry the idea Labor is being hurt by their association with the unions or economic management with the result of this poll when clearly the coalition is gaining very little extra support from Labor’s “fall from grace”.”

    Gary, it might be that Howard’s fear and smear tactics are not working like they used to. It is also possible a lot of people have stopped listening anyway. It would be nice to think that most Australians are smart enough to see through Howard’s ridiculous and overblown hysteria.

    But even so, I do think Labor need to stand up for themselves a little better, even if only to pre-empt the possibility that Howard finds some way of gaining traction with voters.

    In all honesty, it amazes me that ANYONE would want to vote for Howard and this government at all. Who exactly are those 40% and what is going on in their heads?

  15. They did three polls in nine days, and got the figues 57, 55 and 60? Let us always recall that opinion polling is an inexact science!

  16. Speaking of scandals, minor or otherwise, what has happened with the Vasta-Hardgrave printing rorts investigation?

  17. I have just finished a telephone conversation at my home with a caller from Galaxy Research. He was polite and very professional in the way he conducted the interview. I was asked a series of questions, none of them leading questions, on a range of issues such as my lifestyle habits, my personal aspirations for family, travel etc., my views on legal rights for same sex couples and, of course, my present voting intentions for the House of Representatives and the Senate. There was no “push polling”.

  18. Morgan – “Who, if elected Prime Minister, would be better for managing a fair workplace: Mr Howard or Mr Rudd?” Howard 29 Rudd 59
    “Who, if elected Prime Minister, would be better for managing a productive workplace: Mr Howard or Mr Rudd?” Howard 39 Rudd 49
    Er, Edward?

  19. I assume from David’s comment that Galaxy will be published again next week… are they going to start going every 3 weeks until election day or something? Or do they poll over multiple weekends?

    Mr Speaker, like Adam, I’d like to know more.

  20. Good question. Hard to see how you can clear the MPs but nail the State Director for misusing their personal allowances?

  21. Well, just popped over to the CSA site (French pollsters – and they’re saying that this weekends 2nd round of French elections will be a Sarko-slide… maybe up to 470 seats for the right, although that appears less than some have predicted (up to 500 from one source – can’t remember who) – but this out of 577 seats. Then had a peek at the Le Monde’s site, which does have a breakdown of individual seats, but that was a bit too testing…did notice that the Greens may pick up between 1-3 seats, but its all looking a little bleak…

  22. Trend… WHAT trend?

    THIS trend:

    6-Mar-07 59.8
    13-Mar-07 59.8
    18-Mar-07 59.4
    2-Apr-07 58.8
    16-Apr-07 59.0
    1-May-07 58.9
    13-May-07 58.3
    20-May-07 56.8
    24-May-07 56.3
    27-May-07 56.7
    3-Jun-07 56.7
    7-Jun-07 55.9
    14-Jun-07 54.8

    This is the average of the poll of polls for the ALP TPP.

    Really, not so very different from what I posted here earlier. Cut and paste these numbers out of here into a spreadsheet and make a chart of them. Fit a trend line to it.

    NOW you see it?

    It looks like a trend to me. The conclusion is the same as on the previous post- if this keeps up, the ALP lead will be reduced to nothing by election day.

  23. Morgan is a licorice all-sorts poll. The ALP will be very worried that their primary vote is dropping. The coalition will be worried that their primary vote cannot capitalise on the ALP drop and that their TPP appears to be anchored on 44%-45%.

    If the polls next week show little movement then what does the PM do? Time is running out. His 3 year anniversary since the last election expires in October and I can’t see him delaying the election into November.

    Pressure will grow from the media and public to get the thing over and done with. If the PM calls the election after October then he will look like he is clinging to power. Constant speculation will probably be an electoral liability for the government. I suspect many people are sick of the phony campaign already.

    The ALP will make major gains in QLD and SA, some gains in NSW and Tasmania, and few or no gains in VIC and WA. There will be no national trend, rather a series of local elections contributing to a national result.

    The government’s best hope of winning does not rest with their leadership but with their entrenched grass roots candidates, especially incumbent MPs. People like Barresi in Deakin and Tollner in Solomon.

    I’m tipping October 27th as polling day. Is this enough time for the government to catch up? Possibly yes, but probably no!

  24. Geoff Lambert – if we take your argument to its logical conclusion we should look further than the election, say two years from now, and it should show Labor not recording a single vote. That’s as logical as your assumption that Labor will lose the next election because of this so called trend. By the way, where did you get those figures from?

  25. The longest that a trend has persisted in recent polling history (I have fortnightly figures back to 1992) is about 9 or 10 months. Persisent trends like this have occurred about 3 times (one level, 2 downward for the ALP TPP). There was an even longer underlying trend 1997-May 2001 (upwards), but it had a rather low slope and sufficient short term wobbles on it to somewhat hide it.

    I sent graphics of the trends 6 months pre- and post- election for all elections back to 1993 to both Mumble and Bludger a couple of weeks ago, with fitted regression lines for the 6 months prior to each election. The regression lines rather embarassingly pointed at the final TPP in almost every case. The exception was 2001 where Tampa (probably) dropped the ALP vote temporarily below the trend, but it returned to the trend line a few weeks before the election and continued to follow it after the election.

    As I said: “if this keeps up”. I also said, in a previous post, that I hadn’t the foggiest notion which way the trend for May-Oct was going to head. I still don’t.

    Morgan, Galaxy, Newspoll, AGBN. There have been 2 extra Newspolls and 2 extra Morgans in the last month. The figures are the weighted averages of each poll taken at a particular time, and then averaged again on a 3-sample linear moving average basis, centred on each polling time (which is usually on a weekend, but not recently).

  26. Gak!

    There should have been quotes from Gary Bruce in the above, topped and tailed by angle brackets, but Bludger’s blog snipped them out. Which comments were being responded to are hopefully still obvious.

  27. Excellent suggestion from Tony Abbott about restoring corporal punishment in schools, both in terms of policy and politically. The majority of mainstream Australians agree with it, despite the protestations of the Paediatricians’ Society and the academic elite. Whippings never did me any personal harm and made me learn from my failings. And with all the momentum shifting back to the Government this may just prove to be the sealer. Kind of ironic that the NZ Labour Government are in tatters after their disastrous anti-smacking legislation.

  28. Stung by the criticsm, I now calculate the second derivative of the 5-sample moving average, to show:

    # of weeks of
    persistent trend No of examples thereof

    That is to say, there was one period of over a year that a trend persisted It started in March 2004. That was Mark Latham’s. The 28-week job was Paul Keating’s in 1993.

    Well, we could play around a lot with this, but the point is that trends do persist sometimes for long periods. We just don’t know whether we’re entering one of those right now but, if… if… if we are, Kevin Rudd should be very very afraid.

  29. Mr Lambert, with due respect, you used similar data to predict a swing to Labor at the recent NSW election. Forgive me my scepticism.

    Although I do tend to agree with your conclusion – government coming back, we’ll see early next week – I don’t believe you can predict elections with poll regressions.

  30. The government may be coming back, from a very low base it has to be said but will it continue to do so. This trend has yet to be established in my mind. Looking at past trends does not give us that answer, ergo it is a waste of time and effort looking at such data. Geoff, you have admitted as much with your “ifs” and “I don’t knows” in regard to future polling.
    It has to be said that, if the polls stabilised at the level Galaxy and Morgan are indicating now up to the next election the coalition would be in strife.

  31. “It has to be said that, if the polls stabilised at the level Galaxy and Morgan are indicating now up to the next election the coalition would be in strife.”

    Done like a dinner in fact. Even, as Howard said, “Annihilated”.

    Nationwide, if you use not only the national TPP, but also the state-based polls, the marginal versus non marginal polls, and the individual seat polls that have been done this year, the current polling numbers would give the ALP a majority of somewhere between 35 and 40 if an election were held today and people voted the way they said they would vote.

  32. These irregular polls (the extra ones) are the pollsters’ way of messing with your minds 🙂 Best to stick to the scheduled ones and eliminate a variable. Never over-analyse. And don’t extrapolate polls. Things happen and people *change their minds*. They can also change their minds multiple times. They can also be undecided for arbitrary lengths of time, and they can make a decision at an arbitrary time.

    We “know” the polls will get closer. That’s really about as much as we can say.

    My feeling is that Labor won’t win narrowly. If they win at all, it will be comfortably (say 8 seats). I said that in February and nothing has happened since then to change my mind.

  33. It is very easy to get carried away with micro-analysis of polls. As they say in medical research: “If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything.” Polling is an inexact science. Often you will be looking at a statistical blip and not a real trend. If we get a series of polls showing the Labor 2PV has fallen below the 57-60 band where it has been since March, then we can say there is a trend.

    My own totally subjective view is that the Labor 2PV will decline gradually and that Labor will enter the campaign proper with a 2PV in the 51-53 range. All will then depend on the campaign and particularly on the debates, which are the only feature of a modern campaign that grab the attention of the “unengaged centre” who decide all elections.

    Topic for discussion: How will Howard and Rudd fare head-to-head, under the forensic questioning of Tony Jones or whover?

  34. Stewart J sez “did notice that the Greens may pick up between 1-3 seats”

    But note that just across the water following the recent election were their vote increased by 22% nationally the radical Green Party of Ireland has just entered a coalition with the conservative Soldiers of Destiny party and the economic fundamentalist socially liberal Progressive Democrats which is ummm… thought provoking.

    There are now two Green ministers in Aherns cabinet.

    see: and

  35. Matt Price suggested in The Weekend Australian today that there may be two debates later in the campaign than Howard has usually agreed to stage them. His reasoning is that Howard stands a better chance of exposing Rudd over the course of an hour-long debate than he does going soundbite-for-soundbite.

    I’m not sure that I entirely follow that logic, but it would certainly throw an x-factor into the campaign.

  36. The polls will continue to narrow till the election is called. Then Kevin Latham will be up against the greatest political campaigner Australia has ever seen. The result of this will be Howard returned with his majority largely intact.

  37. “How will Howard and Rudd fare head-to-head, under the forensic questioning of Tony Jones or whover?”

    Good question, Adam. A lot will relate to the obstinacy of the polls. If they stay more or less as they are, allowing for some tightening, Howard will be desperate to try and pin Rudd down, almost as Keating was to Howard in 96.

    It will then be up to Rudd whether to agree. He will, of course, but he will be in a much stronger position to dictate terms. There might be a bit of an arm-wrestle but Rudd should hold out for Tony Jones or Kerry O’Brien to chair. None of this Sugar Ray Martin as moderator or Neil Mitchell or Greg Sheridan on the panel.

    That means a slightly higher risk for Rudd, but there would be less chance of Howard slipping off the hook

  38. Hi everyone.
    I am having a great time meeting community groups in Kingston and not because it will gain myself votes but rather the interesting way these groups are evolving from one issue to multi dimensional ones. This is where the ALP will falter once again. The arrogance by many ALP candidates that the polls show them having an easy win will prove their downfall. In one meeting a group ( all past ALP voters ) have decided to move outside the square they live in and will vote Green in both houses for the first time. Their dilemma is where should their preference go? At this time the polls point to the prefs going back to the ALP, but people are wavering. My workplace is an other example with the majority believing Howard will win and many now openly admit that they will vote Howard once again. One reason that many ALP supporters are moving back to the Greens is the alleged dealings that the ALP is having with Family First on preferences. I do not want to see Howard win but i am afraid that we are seeing the cunning devils comeback and the ALPs move to the right as a disaster with a split inevitable.

  39. So there is a move to the right but the papers see Labor pandering to the unions. Hmm, it seems they can’t win.
    So these ex Labor people would much rather Howard and his IR laws than Rudd and his promise to do away with them because he is moving to the right? There is something wrong with that thinking in my book and deserve all they get if Howard is returned.

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