Ongoing poll bonanza

A recent flurry of opinion polling today reaches a climax with results from ACNielsen and, unexpectedly, Newspoll, which normally reports on Tuesday. The former rains on the recent Coalition polling parade somewhat with a survey of 1403 voters showing no change in the primary vote situation from last month: Labor on 48 per cent, Coalition on 39 per cent. Nonetheless, the two-party result has narrowed just slightly, from 58-42 to 57-43, while Kevin Rudd’s preferred prime minister lead is down from 51-43 to 48-42. Bryan Palmer’s newly updated graphs can be viewed here.

Newspoll offers a similar result, with Labor leading 56-44 on two-party preferred. However, it’s better news for the Coalition in relative terms – the previous Newspoll three weeks ago had Labor with a quirky-looking lead of 60-40. The Coalition primary vote is up from 35 per cent to 39 per cent; Labor’s is down from 52 per cent to 46 per cent; Kevin Rudd’s preferred prime minister lead is down from 47-38 to 46-40.

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.

430 comments on “Ongoing poll bonanza”

Comments Page 1 of 9
1 2 9
  1. 1. on a monday?!

    2. damn off by one.. i punted 55

    age says doom gloom, smh: not a dent but hope.


    oh dear

    the war of the polls.

  2. Closest AC Nielsen poll result all year. Closest Newspoll too; excepting that strange mid-week poll.

    Taking the polls together, they do tend to suggest a slight movement in the direction of the Coalition over the past month.

    You could either call it the start of a government resurgence or a mere correction of Labor’s previously sky-high numbers. (Depending, most likely, on which side you support.)

  3. Seeing Shamaham talk up the poll was sickening. Yes there is a slight move for Ratty in the primary vote, but the 2PP result is what really counts.

    but really both polls are 1 % off each other, much closer than Galaxy.

  4. Given the unreliable nature of the Newspoll primary vote lately, I wouldn’t be taking their figures too literally.

  5. I think the fact Newspoll uses preference distributions from the last election means there could be a extra percent hidden for the ALP.

    This is because environmental issues will play a bigger role in this election than last, so some voters may be tempted to park their vote with the Greens. For some voters this may turn out to unintentionally sending their vote from the government to the ALP, simply because they follow a how to vote card.

    I don’t understand why Newspoll doesn’t simply ask people to express a major party preference, assuming the person being interviewed said they were support a minor party.

  6. This movement has to be what most would have expected a few months ago and probably a greater movement.

    This gives Rudd lots of breathing space to try and solidify some of these numbers. He is sitting pretty if he has a decent sort of strategy from here on.

    Howard’s BabyOver board I suspect will have to be via a 3rd party this time around to be credible.

  7. May as well post this ABC Tasmanian Poll news here too [not good for the Govt]:
    New poll results show the Federal Government in trouble in Tasmania.

    An EMRS poll released today shows the Liberals are trailing Labor 35% to 65% in the northern seat of Bass, on a two-party basis.

    The Launceston seat is the proposed site for a controversial new pulp mill, and is renowned as a swinging marginal seat.

    The Government’s outlook is also bleak in the north-west seat of Braddon, where Labor leads 64% to 36% on two-party preferred.

    Those results would give all five Tasmanian seats to Labor, by a comfortable margin.

  8. The Nielsen is a rogue poll, but the Newspoll is about right (with a slight underestimation of the Nationals primary vote). Correcting for that, we find both parties are at either extreme of the 6 point band I mentioned in an earlier thread, a band they’ll occupy until the end of July. Then a further narrowing will occur.

  9. Rogue poll (psephological phrase): A poll whose findings the speaker or writer does not like.

    French elections: the left has staged a last minute rally and will win about 220 seats to the right’s 350. Still a victory for Sarko but not nearly as sweeping as predicted.

  10. I am statistically challenged to understand how two polls can be only 1% apart and yet one be “rogue” and the other “about right”.

  11. The polls will stay in this kind of range with a slight trend towards narrowing until the election is called, after which they will change dramatically to 50-50 or with the Government in front. The Coalition will be then nicely placed for a fifth election win.

  12. The last Newspoll was a rogue. The current Newspoll and ACNielsen look about right. ACNielsen comes out at 44 if you recalculate the TPP based on preference flows at the last election.

  13. These polls restore the status quo before the Galaxy aberrations, ie about 57/43. Since both polls have a margin of error of about 3% for figures around 50%, any talk of one or other being ‘rogue’ is plain silly. As can be seen from Brian’s graphs, there may be a very small upturn in the moving averages. The radical differences in Green and other party votes between pollsters is worthy of comment. These are consistent in magnitude over many polls. Why?

  14. the margin of error for Neilsen is 2.6% and for Newspoll 2.9%.

    Note they are in line with Morgan who has usually led both polls and has obviously improved his systems.

  15. Dennis says: “Howard closes gap”, John Stirton (AGBN) says ” if the trend continues, the election will be very close”

    These chaps had better watch themselves- their words will come back to haunt them

  16. Peter Hartcher today in the SMH is also trying to spin their poll in Howard’s favour. What is it with these political commentators? Are they so bewitched or spooked by Howard?
    I’m surprised actually there wasn’t more of a swing back to the Coalition, as a result of the anti ALP/ACTU campaign News Ltd in particular has been waging.

  17. The very low level of volatility in these polls suggests that the punters aren’t taking too much notice of the commentariat, the day to day political noise or the for that matter the government.

    In other words, they’ve made up their minds. They’re waiting patiently for polling day – armed not with a baseball bat just a blunt 2B pencil. But they will use it to the same deadly effect.

  18. Steven Kaye,

    How can Nielsen be rogue? The last Nielsen in May was 58/42. Today’s poll is within one point of Newspoll. Are you a transfer here from Ozpolitics? No wonder the comments were shut down!

  19. Alan H: The reason the minor party numbers are so much lower in the Newspoll compared to other polls is in the framing of the question – Newspoll asks “which party would you vote for; ALP, Lib, Other, Indi” – people have to self-identify as Green etc to register. The other polls specify minor party names (so ask ALP, Lib, Green, AD, FFP, Other, Indi etc). This does mean that while Newspoll may get the TPP pretty close, their primaries are going to be slightly skewed.

    Adam: I noticed in Le Monde this morning that the results are closer than that:
    UMP (and allies) – 324
    PS (and allies) – 205
    Nouveau Centre – 22
    PCF – 18
    MoDem – 4
    Les Verts – 4

  20. Three polls from Galaxy, ACN and Newspoll this month, showing Labor on 44, 48, 46 and the Coalition on 42, 39, 39. Average them out and you get 46-40, which goes to about 55-45 after preferences. ACN and Newspoll 2PP both look mildly odd from the primaries to me.

    I’m comfy with saying Labor’s about 55-56 at the moment and that the gap has narrowed somewhat. I note it is still possible (if Galaxy was rogueish) that Labor remains ahead by 49/38 or something like that, but it seems increasingly unlikely.

    One interesting thing: 3 of the last 5 non-Morgan polls have Labor’s primary below 48. That was something that absolutely HAD to happen if the Coalition was to get competitive in this election. If it continues to drift down over the next month or so Labor will be in serious trouble.

  21. Both Steven Kaye and Nostradamus are transfers from Oz Politics. They are , in my view, both prone to making unsupported assertions, and on occasion, playing the man rather than the ball.

  22. William
    Hope the young libs dont achieve what they did on Ozpolitics
    ie slander,libel and ultimately shutting blog down
    the less commentary by Blogs the more power to MSM

  23. These two polls today are truly very bad for the Govt, despite what it says in “The Australian”.

    Look at the evidence:

    AC Nielsen

    Dec 2 – primary vote ALP 48 Coalition 39 TPP 56/44
    June 15 – primary vote ALP 48 Coalition 39 TPP 57/43


    Dec 8 – primary vote ALP 46 Coalition 39 TPP 55/45
    June 15 – primary vote ALP 46 Coalition 39 TPP 56/44

    First three polls – Dec 2006 (ACN, Newspoll and Morgan)
    primary vote ALP 48 Coalition 37.5 TPP 56.6/43.4

    Last three polls – June 2007 (ACN, Newspoll and Morgan)
    primary vote ALP 48.3 Coalition 38.6 TPP 57/43

    Not much has changed since Rudd first came to the leadership (over 6 months ago), except that his approval has gone up and stayed in the 60’s and he continually leads Howard as preferred PM.

    These are rather poor and I suspect the leadership speculation will arise once more.

  24. Please, please, please… don’t let this blog go the way of OzPolitics. The continuous partisan sledging was nauseous, requiring one to wade through piles of crap before striking the odd psephological gem.

    Let’s all lift our game, and if you don’t have a bi-partesan comment to make that is relevant to the thrust of the thread then please don’t waste the bytes.

  25. Nostradamus says “These Tasmanian polls have sample sizes that are so low and have so little reliability that absolutely nothing can be read from them.”

    Nostradamus, the EMRS poll was of 200 respondents in each and every electorate, that is, 5 x 200, or 1,000 voters, ie about the same as Newspoll, ACNielsen , Morgan or Galaxy, for the whole of Australia. Because the sample sizes in each electorate are the same, you can add the percentages in each category and divide by 5, to get a figure based on a sample size of 1000 (ignoring rounding of the original percentages). The margin of error depends on sample size alone, not the size of the population being measured.

    With a sample size of 1000 total, hence about 3% margin of error for the aggregate, the overall TPP is 65/35. ALP primary is 57%. Lib is 33%, Green 9%. You can read from these figures for Tasmania whatever you like, but those are the figures.

  26. I agree many voters are not taking too much notice of day to day political noise, but whether these voters have made up their minds, is very debatable. As I see it, these low involvement voters will become more engaged when the election date is announced. Opinion polls outside the campaign period are eagerly awaited and then interpreted by those of us who are interested political observers, but I sometimes wonder whether observers (including me) overanalyse the pollsters’ findings. I honestly do not know how anyone can say a particular level of 2PP support is “about right” and even if it is correct, why that is significant for the outcome of a Federal poll later this year. I accept that people may have intuitive feelings about what they think is the present level of support in the community for one or other side of politics. Usually, but not always, those feelings seem to be informed by their own desires for a particular outcome (that is, whether they barrack for the Coalition parties or for the Australian Labor Party). Summing it all up, this means that the present discussions on opinion polls while interesting, are not very persuasive for me one way or the other as to the likely outcome of the Federal election.

  27. Don’t worry about Nostro, Steven or Leo as they are all Howard supporters.

    I must admit i make the odd bi-partisan comment, however there is good and bad in these polls for both parties and leaders.

    Rudd and the alp are still sitting pretty at aroun 55-58 (depending on the poll). Compare this to 2004/2001 they are now about 4-6% points higher than they were previously.

    While the coalition maybe making a come back, Rudd and the alp shouldn’t be written off just yet.

    If the polls are still around 55-58 by the end of July for the alp, then the coalition has a fight on its hands.

  28. Mad Dog, call a spade a spade. Both Steven Kaye and Nostradamus post provocative nonsense more often than not. Their posts aren’t clever enough to be awarded the status of trolling, which when done properly is an art form. They’re just… tedious.

    My recommendation is for any offending party (including myself) to be blocked (by Name) after warning. In which case, a poster will need a different handle in order to post, and they might conceivably grow a new personality to go with it.

  29. Simon

    Interesting point about preferences. Actually, I think these are generally a big assumption. Polling in the fortnight prior to the last election strongly underestimated preference swing from 2001.

    I think your assumption about Labor is sound from the point of view of the Greens. The South Australian and Tasmanian State elections showed about 67% contribution to Labor from Labor preferenced Green candidates.

    What is far less clear is the impact of Family First, which has shown a pattern of preferences on a seat-by-seat basis. In such cases where FFP preferenced Labor, the contribution is around 50% apparently. Interestingly, it is not much higher than this in Coalition-preferenced seats.

    This suggests two things:
    a) FFP voters are, by and large, more centrist than given credit for and
    b) That FFP voters may be less influenced by HTV cards

    Now, this is crucial. Such a group of voters are the most important. A chunk of these may well be swinging voters and given the swag of coalition marginals after the last election’s unexpected (and unpredicted by ALL polls) landslide, this could heavily influence the state of play.

    In reality, stronger preferences to Labor by FFP may have substantial benefits to both these parties. Given the way that FFP has voted in the senate this year, Labor may stand a better chance of clearance through the senate than the (rather frustrated) Coalition has done this year.

  30. I think the best thing going for Rudd and the ALP at this stage in the cycle is how well they continue to hold up as the year progresses. So far, Rudd has escaped the fall off in support that was evident in 01 and 04.

    There seems to be a general acceptance that once the campaign starts things will tighten. However, elections do not have to follow the same pattern every cycle. If Rudd can campaign well, I don’t know why the current levels of support cannot be maintained. Many also think that Howard will again pull out a wedge issue that will help him back – but there’s no guarantee that he won’t be wedged himself. History does not have to repeat itself (even if most in the MSM think it definitely will)

  31. These polls represent a disaster for the Libs.
    If they’re not panicking, then they should very well be in order to turn this around. They are in La la land and just don’t get it.
    Dress it up anyway you like, very little has changed since KRudd was leader. You’d rather be 2PP 55:45, and I don’t see thing s changing soon apart from a few more dodgy Galaxy polls to ensure Costello is off Howards back.

  32. Aesop, I wouldn’t say these particular polls are a disaster, just more of the same. What is changing is an ALP victory moving from possible to probable. Every week that goes by supports the contention that Labor are being taking seriously. I’ve said elsewhere that this election is about Howard not Rudd; I won’t bore some of you by rehashing the details. Rudd’s made plenty of relatively small mistakes and I believe the electorate has given him a suit of armour because nothing he does wrong changes anything and nothing Howard does changes anything. If Rudd can stay out of trouble, he will win. Howard is behind on the scoreboard and on the clock. He has to do something special soon and I believe he doesn’t have it in him. The electorate wants more than Howard has to give.

  33. I am reposting the following from an earlier thread as this is the most current one, and I think it is imprtant that all of us who want to discuss the political process act, no matter what level of self-restraint it requires, to ensure that this site does not go the way of OzPolitics:

    I am concerned, like others, that the demise of OzPolitics Blog will see the worst offenders on that site migrate here. There has already been a rise in the temperature of debate that bodes ill for the future of this site. I follow four rules in posting:
    1. I never ascribe motives to fellow posters.
    2. I never make assumptions about fellow posters.
    3. I never abuse fellow posters.
    4. I never respond to abuse.

    I think the last rule is particularly helpful, because abuse by A at one level leads to an abusive response by B at a higher level, which leads to A hitting back at an even higher level – and then you don’t even have a discussion about politics, just childish name-calling that would have earnt a detention if it had continued in any of my classes, not that I have ever taught students who were as abusive as some of the posters on OzPolitics.

    There is no point in partisan rants on this site. Most of us try to stand back and adopt at least some objectivity in putting our views about the state of politics rather than as advocates of particular causes, though the latter obviously colours the former. It is possible to state your case forcefully without descending into viciousness. If you are unable to do so, go away.

  34. General oracle… I agree with your comment that the Family First Party are a centrist party in terms of their socio-economic view of the world. However the spread across this spectrum is rather broad. What does define the party is the conservative views in relation to traditional family values.

    I have been tracking the minor party polling done by Morgan, and this confirms the centrist leanings of their constituents in terms of 2PP. In fact they lean only marginally to the Coalition (average +3% on the blue side since the last election). Where there was a strong bias to the coalition was with Latham as Labor leader. The fear of Latham left Labor controlled by the Greens frightened many away. This will not be the case under Rudd.

    Your comment about the directivity of FFP votes from the HTVs therefore is questioned. Certainly relative to the Greens, who will almost always return there vote to Labor regardless of the HTV, the FFP votes are quite directive. This enhances the negotiating power of FFP as the majors will clamour to gain a higher postion on the FFP card.

  35. Classic comment from a Blogocracy poster.

    “Good news for Labor who have increased their lead from 53-47 to 56-44 in the News Limited polls.

    Howard had pulled back Rudd’s lead to 53-47 but momentum has clearly swung back to Rudd. ”

    It really does depend on which numbers you choose to look at.

  36. Let’s archive this thread and revisit it post polling day. Suspect some of you will want to take advantage of this site’s relative anonomity to change your names.

    Lets look at the facts. In four of the last five elections, Newspoll had the Coalition going into the campaign either in front or level pegging. Labor clearly won the campaign in 1993 and 2001. In 1996 and 1998 the actual 2PP was identical to Newspoll at the start of the campaign – a draw. In 2004 Latham actually went ahead after the first week and then gradually fell away as the Coalition exploited doubts about him. It’s the only campaign they actually won.

    During campaigns governments lose the advantages of incumbency and oppositions attain equal status in terms of air time etc. As always negative campaigning will be important but, if the last few weeks are any guide, the Coalition had better find something new to say because the current scare campaigns just aren’t cutting it. And Labor hasn’t even started on the Coalition’s negatives.

    Since January Labor’s 2PP has averaged five percentage points better than the equivalent period in 2004 and the lift is even bigger on primaries. At this stage in the cycle the only thing that might save the Coalition is that if Rudd morphs into Latham – and I can’t see that happening.

  37. Ray,

    I used to think of Family First as a vaguely centrist party. But I am no so sure now. I still do not classify it with the US Religious Right, but I would be interested in how the following comments of a Family first candidate, David Bernard, can be seen in any way as centrist:

    Australian Your say Blog: Hockey’s bogus bogeyman

    You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. The demise of the union movement since the 1980s has corrresponded exactly with Australia’s increasing productivity. The 17 percent increase in real wages, not pathetic award rates, since Howard hit the streets, the lowering of interest rates and the lack of job-site brawls, stop works, go slows, and shut downs, and injected real life into Aussis families. I have experienced union thuggery. They are a bunch of leftwing militia who have nothing to do with increase, but everything to do with fear, standover tactics and power. With less than a fifth of workers still chained to unions, the union movement is desperate to hold on to their remaining fear-based control. Hockey is spot on linking their disgraceful behaviour and marketplace interference with the brain-dead, no-policy, winge-winge Labor Party.

    The unions so stuffed up Australia that many once profitable Australian companies have had to move offshore. I am one who has experienced union thuggery, standover tactics and the sheer terror unions place companies in to this day. Unions were once interested in workers rights, but since the 50s have been interested in their own political footballing, their super funds and their power over the economy. Workers are simply who they use and fool. I know because I’m one of the workers. I know because I’ve been threatened, ripped off and seen what they do to workers. They have evil ideologies such as crippling industries to get their way, providing no support to pregnant women or unborn children, and think that a system of penalty and award rates is a fair slice of the pie. They have no idea about how to make the economy thrive, no interest in workers welfare until after the accident, no sense of decency, and are just school-yard bullies, who have been let loose on society. The ALP is stacked with union members, Rudd’s front bench is 70 percent ex ACTU. A vote for Labor, together with all the Labor States, will totally destroy Australia.

  38. Hard to be a serious observer and expect anything other than drifting polls, both the Nielsen and News polls are in-line with trends indicative of low volatility and are consistent with expectations of pretty much most people without a partisan axe to grind. So the question remains, is this a slow correction as those interested in Rudd are either spooked by the anti-union rhetoric or find themselves irritated by some of Rudd’s personality traits? Or is this drift to the conservatives part of an establishing trend as people become more engaged?

    Despite the political theater of late, the artillery has been lightweight, both sides seem content to scrap around the edges in an attempt to lay out a general narrative to be fleshed out come campaign proper. I am surprised the Libs have let the nuclear cat out of the bag though, this would seem to me a risky maneuver open to exploit, are they gambling they can use it to neutralise the GG emission debate while delivering opportunities to big mining and creating leverage to wedge Labor? If so it could go spectacularly wrong.
    Also this new broadband policy seems to me to be a big porridge of technologies from aging copper to unproven Wimax. Is this another hastily cobbled together plan like the Murray scheme? Howard just seems to be making policy reactively and on the run and hoping the holes don’t show up till after the next election, to me this would indicate internal polling has them genuinely worried, worried enough to justify such big risks at any rate.

  39. Chris, Oracle, Ray – categorising Family First may well be like the blind men touching different parts of the elephant.

    But its reason for being is to promote conservative christian social values: so it deserves that categorisation. (Just as the DLP was an ‘anti-Labor’ party even if notionally it espoused pro-worker policies).

    That Fielding opposed ‘WorkChoices’ mark 1 or equivocated over VSU doesn’t alter that. It is merely an interesting consequence of the power he has having won a seat on the back of sectarian support.

  40. Ice

    Interesting. I am a Howard supporter – who won’t vote Coalition so long as John Howard is leading the Liberal Party.

    Interesting definitions you use.

    In terms of comparison with 2001/2004 – by my reckoning Labor’s 2PP is tracking about 2.5% above 2001 and 4.5% above 2004. If you want to extrapolate that it has Labor getting about 51.5-52% of the 2PP vote on election day, which would probably be enough for a narrow victory. That is of course silly analysis, but it would have worked in 2004.


    I would suggest Family First are a party with religious conservative views on social issues. People who hold those views will have a wide range of economic views, and they’ll be all the way from ex-DLPers like yourself to hardline free marketeers. Expecting a coherent economic policy approach is a bit much – most likely populism will rule the day on that front.

  41. “And Labor hasn’t even started on the Coalition’s negatives.”

    – duh, that’s because the Coalition does not have any negatives for Labor to attack!

  42. Chris.. like I said Family First has a wide spread about the centre when it comes to socio economic policy, and this David Bernard is clearly to the extreme right of that bell. I can’t understand that any party would even consider endorsing a candidate with such views. Maybe they need to review the level of scrutiny applied to their selection process. I hope we don’t see this guy contest a federal seat.

Comments are closed.

Comments Page 1 of 9
1 2 9