Morgan: 57.5-42.5

Roy Morgan has released results from a “special” phone poll of 600 respondents conducted yesterday and on Wednesday, which has Labor leading 57.5-42.5 on two-party preferred and 47.5 per cent to 37.5 per cent on the primary vote. The former figure is 1.5 per cent better for the Coalition than last week’s face-to-face poll. Some cute observations from Gary Morgan in the accompanying release:

Australia is lucky that we publish ‘voting intention’ more frequently than all other public opinion polls and Australians must be relieved they have, in addition to the traditional Australian media, an Internet news media which keeps everyone quickly, accurately and independently informed. All pollsters know voting intention is the real guide to how electors will vote. They also know it is hard or nearly impossible to measure how ‘preferences’ will be allocated at the ballot. We (the Morgan Poll) only ask approval ratings occasionally because Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Ronald Reagan and Helen Clark were all behind as the ‘preferred’ leader with low approval ratings a few months before being elected! All poll watchers need to read or re-read what I wrote on Wednesday, namely: ‘Can the Coalition win the Federal Election? The answer is…’

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.

150 comments on “Morgan: 57.5-42.5”

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  1. Short story:

    * No change, Labor still in a landlside election winning position.
    * Further confirmation (again) that nothing the Libs do matter because a majority of swinging voters have already made up their mind

    Time for John & Jannette to start thinking about moving house.

  2. Do you think John and Janette can find a house with silk on the walls and leather on the ceiling like on his jet?

  3. Yet, as Gary Morgan says: “But if the question being asked is: Can anything stop the ALP winning the Federal Election considering they have been well in front in all polls for months? The answer is “yes”, but over the next few months much can happen and we know “over 20%” of electors make up their minds as they vote!”

    I’ve made up my mind – but I live in a safe ALP seat. Who cares who I vote for? I know this is stating the obvious, but what counts is how many swing voters have made up their minds in the marginals. A swing to the ALP is no good if it’s absorbed in safe Lib seats, or merely pads the cushion in safe Labor seats. Anecdotally, it’s the people in outer metropolitan seats who are hurting the most because of the mortgage squeeze, and these seats are disproportionately Liberal (Lindsay is the banner example); but I’d like to see the numbers in these kind of seats before I’m convinced that the ALP will win.

  4. Seems Tim Dunlop is back, and reports of his demise were premature. His piece was pulled by his masters though, and he isn’t happy.

  5. Tim W. quite right.

    Unless these polling companies start regularly polling each individual marginal seat, we don’t really have anything but a vague idea about how the election might pan out. But IMO it’s better than nothing.

  6. I may as well get in early: when factoring in Stephen Kaye’s arsebiscuits, we get the real figure of ALP 3.4% – Coalition 96.6%.

  7. I think the point is that they have been consistantly bad for the Coalition. This has a multiplyer effect as business and suporters don’t see the need to waste time and energy. This silk walls thing is just another of those great ;out of touch’ yarns the ALP will spin….and as I have said before, wait until APEC is over and the Feds get a slap over the ear from the business community.

  8. Taking average of these two early July Morgan phone polls vs average of two early June ones has Labor up from 45 to 48 primary, Coalition down from 40 to 36. On 2PP, Labor goes from 55 to 58. It’s yet more evidence that Labor’s primary has increased since June, and also evidence of loss of Coalition primary, though that is yet to be verified by other polls.

  9. This would be equivalent to a Morgan face to face of 59.5 40.5 Pretty much nothing has changed for a long while – even gravity is having hard time pulling the vote down. But it MUST come down some time surely. Wait until the election is called.

    I hope Howard gets a good photo op with BUsh when he is here. Rudd can get one with Al Gore.

  10. I wonder if this election could be looked at as 2001 in reverse. Once 9/11 happened Big Kim knew he could not win and focused on there not being a rout. It was a rough gig but I think he did OK. In this year, Howard still seems to be casting desperately around for the next Tampa. My read is that the NT intervention weakened his position slightly and hardened views. Will there come a point were the coalition switches to damage control as Kim did in 2001?

    If he continues in the current direction there is the chance that in thrashing around for the next wedge issue the electorate will firm up at current levels.

  11. I like this bit: “All pollsters know voting intention is the real guide to how electors will vote. They also know it is hard or nearly impossible to measure how ‘preferences’ will be allocated at the ballot.”

    I heartily concur with the last part. Political polling in this country is idiotic in the extreme, and one of its most imbecilic features is the bogus 2PP figure pollsters come up with. The primary figures are dodgy enough as it is, so any attempt to calculate a 2PP figure from them is just a joke. And yet the pollsters continue to do it, even though one of them has just confessed it’s a useless exercise! Ridiculous!

  12. Steven, with all respect, there is no way in hell that you would have this opinion if the polls were reversed and the coalition were leading. In fact, weren’t you one of the ones who were jumping for joy when Galaxy published the “Howard’s great comeback” poll last month?

    That said, it is true that you can never be completely sure that the polls have it right, but the fact is that they MORE often right than they are wrong.

  13. Further vindication for Brent and leaves the Oz dangling in the wind. However Murdoch likes winners and I predict a change of editorial stance as howards post timely demise looms even larger.

  14. I just looked at the newspoll breakdowns and there is something interesting happening that hasn’t really been talked about.

    As you would expect in the age breakdowns the swing to Labor weakens as you get older, 11% swing in the youngest but ony 8% in the oldest.

    But in the capital/non capital the swing to Labor in the non-capitals is significantly bigger than in the capitals. In the capitals Labor has gone from 39.9 to 50 but in the non-capitals they have gone from 34 to 48! And in the non-capitals Labor 2pp has gone from 43.8 at the election to 56, which puts the swing into Wannon or Mayo territory.

  15. Don’t write off the coalition yet.

    Where can I put money on a minor terrorist attack in Australia sometime in the next 2 – 3 months? Remember the people who ordered the Australian Navy to look 2000 km in the wrong direction while SIEV X took hundreds of women and children to their deaths? They are still in Canberra.

  16. This is a load of partisan bunkum. Australia has had compulsory preferential voting since the 1920s. We know to a high degree of accuracy how voters allocate their preferences. The great majority follow their party’s how-to-vote card: hasn’t Steven ever seen one? Calculating a notional 2PV from an opinion poll is a perfectly legitimate exercise, and has been validated by many past state and federal elections.

  17. That Guy and Tim W there is no way a party receiving 53 or 54 percent two party preferred in a Federal election will lose. If the close seats don’t fall then the unexpected seats will. Either way your boy is in trouble.

  18. 92 seats happy, happy, happy.

    11 in Qld, 6 in NSW, 4 in Vic, 4 in SA,2 in Tas, 1 in NT and 4 in WA, Kalgoolie is line ball and Canning and Forrest are within reach.

    I have a bottle of nice brandy in memory of my dear old dad, originally I planned 1 nip per seat on election night but now I’m thinking I need a larger bottle.

  19. Arbie I hope you are right, but my money is against kalgoorlie, very very firmly. Canning is a weird one, and would be worth a bet given nice odds.

  20. Taking into account Morgan’s polling bias in favour of Labor (say 2pts, totally pulled from the air), It seems we are seeing an aligning and firming of the polls, 56-44 or thereabouts. I think AC Nielsen comes out on Monday which will round up the first half of July polling. If, as I suspect, it doesn’t shift too much from its 57-43 poll a month ago, then Howard should really really consider resigning. He won’t, of course. But the Gov’t is entering terminal territory.

  21. Jas

    Agree Canning worth a bet at nice odds and would not write off Kalgoorlie.
    4 months to go, still a while, but labor is holding a housing summit whilst Howard and Costello are still blaming the states.
    Rudd announces more power to ACCC to investigate food prices, Costello says food prices are kept low and then Dairy farmers announces a 25% increase in milk prices..
    Somehow labor looks like the govt and Howard and Costello like a carping opposition.

  22. The 2 point Morgan bias applies to the Morgan face-to-face series. It cannot be applied to the Morgan telephone series.

    On my blog I have argued that it is difficult to read much into the Morgan telephone series, other than to say Labor is well ahead.

  23. But what about the low sample, 600. That has quite a margin of error on it? I take your point re: the 2pt bias.

    Perhaps I should just read your blog.

  24. All things being equal, the Coalition should be dealt a fearsome defeat on account of WorkChoices, and the fact voters were never given a choice on it till now. If they win despite “natural justice”, the judgment of the electorate will diminish greatly in my estimation. (I’m optimistic though 🙂

  25. 57-43 2PP is looking more and more solid as each poll passes by; Id be content to toss 2.0 to the Coalition and call it 55-45 come election day- If thats right its not looking good, but this is only JULY; dont order that bigger bottle of plonk just yet !!

  26. Great Rogues Gallery collection Adam. Although I did stop when I saw that smug smile of Mr Costello grinning at me and went running off to your assessment of Higgins hoping for some inkling of hope that he could get rolled in Victoria. 8.8 percent margin, alas, no cigar !!

  27. About now we can confirm that Shannahan’s Masterclass budget is officially a dead cat bounce. The $billion back of an envelope Waterplan is a flop. The War on Northern Territory child abuse would have been more successful had they implemented the 97 recommendations of the report in full. The surge in Iraq is going nowhere. Governments reap what they sow!

  28. Nice to see that Morgan shares my opinion on preferred PM polling. That said, I’d have to echo the earlier poster’s assertion that swings are never uniform and if they are largely in places where the ALP does not need them, the assertions of seats with +11 Liberal majorities flipping are premature at best.

  29. # Gary Bruce Says:
    July 13th, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    That Guy and Tim W there is no way a party receiving 53 or 54 percent two party preferred in a Federal election will lose.

    Yup. And that’s pretty bloody vague, IMO.

    Any less than 52% and Rudd could still lose. Just as the Beazley lead ALP did when they got 51.somthing% in 1998.

    That’s why I said: this doesn’t really have anything but a vague idea about how the election might pan out.

    But yeah, it’s the best we can determine from these national phone polls, and it is better than nothing.

    If the close seats don’t fall then the unexpected seats will. Either way your boy is in trouble.

    I don’t know what “boy” you’re referring to, but it probably isn’t mine.

  30. Morgan dismisses approval ratings at his peril. When the smoke clears after the Government’s re-election and Rudd’s sycophants in the media and the blogosphere – those whose heads haven’t exploded, of course – are desperately scratching around for an explanation for the loss, they should look no further than the PM’s approval ratings. Because after 11 years in the job, his approval ratings of 46-53% (depending on whether you’re looking at Newspoll or Nielsen) are nothing short of miraculous. This is not a PM people are itching to dump, regardless of how many times Labor tells us he’s out of touch or stale or tricky or whatever the buzzword for the day is. And this is definitely not a reviled PM, like Keating was.

    Simply put, a booming economy combined with a popular PM will see the Government re-elected. Mark my words, kiddies.

  31. That Guy, I take your point about the swings rarely being uniform through every seat, and that large increases in ‘safe’ seats may be wasted.

    I’ve looked at close election results over the last couple of decades. One thing that stands out is that when both major parties poll low 40s or worse primary vote, the incumbent government gains the advantage of the marginals. There are various theories such as the ‘devil you know’ to energetic local members for this to occur.

    The polling in 2007 is a bit different. Labor has for around 6 months had a primary support of around 48%. The coalition support has been at about 37-39%. Now one interesting thing is that the primary vote holds up pretty uniformly throughout marginals – perhaps because they represent a middling sample of voters. And there you see the issue: incumbency and local identification is not going to count for much when your opponent’s primary is around 48%, especially if yours is around or below 40%. It needs only a small amount of preferences to get over the line.

    If the figures hold up, there may not be the 40-odd seats change hands for the reasons you suggest. But you can be sure most marginals will go, and on current figures a margin of 7% or 8% is no longer safe.

  32. Don Wigan,

    Thank you for your interesting and informative reply Don Wigan. Looking at the trend data for ’98 on the newspoll site, I see that both major parties were quite pathetically low on the primary vote that election year. I can see at least one big difference between then and now.

    So could we say that that is almost a precondition for an electoral outcome like that in ’98? i.e, an outcome where a party gets the majority of the 2PP vote, but fails to gain the majority of seats?

  33. Steven,

    Complete the following sentence “If Rudd wins, I will….”

    If you are wrong, old bean, what will you do?

  34. Steven Kaye Says:
    “Simply put, a booming economy combined with a popular PM will see the Government re-elected. Mark my words, kiddies.”

    Bookmarked for future reference. Question is, if your bold prediction is wrong, do you have sufficient humility and decency to turn up here and face psephological reckoning?

    Well, do you?

  35. The Howard Government WILL be re-elected, don’t you worry about that. And Howard didn’t even need to commit to a full-term, such are his achievements and status that he can now leave office when he wishes to remembered as perhaps the greatest statesman in the history of the Asia Pacific. He has ushered in a new era of prosperity, security and morality.

    Why would the average Australian risk third-rate Krudd?

  36. Nostradamus Says:

    And Howard didn’t even need to commit to a full-term, such are his achievements and status that he can now leave office when he wishes to remembered as perhaps the greatest statesman in the history of the Asia Pacific.

    Thank you for at least putting the word perhaps ahead of that view of our current pm as “the greatest statesman”. I wont bother to run off a list of reasons why that is just plain bulldust, Im sure others here will (Tampa etc).

    The kindest assessment I could offer of JWH is that he probably honestly beleived in what he was doing most of the time, ie he beleived in this country and did what he thought was the right thing to do on most issues.

    Whether or not what he did as PM in Government was, on the whole, good for Australia or reserved for particular sections of the Australian community (at the expense of others) is another question altogether and for mine that is the question to be asked if you are considering the ‘statesman’ value of a politician.

    On that score I think he failed and did some completely unforgivable things to particular sectors of the Australian community–That is not to say that Labor ‘statesmen’ have been much better, only that in my estimation things like Tampa and hiding his head in the sand over the NT issue until the very last moment of his governance are not ‘statesman’ like at all, they are unforgivable.

  37. That Guy, thanks, I think you can take it as read, even though I have not seen any published info on it. The 1990 result was exactly that of 1998 in reverse. Both scored exceptionally low primaries and the coalition actually finished in front on 2PP, but the marginals all fell safely to Labor.

    I’ve had a theory (only intuitive, mind) that an opposition needs to get a primary vote of at least 45% to have a chance of winning. There will be a ‘devil you know’ and popular sitting member clawback. Both major parties know how to work the marginals. In the lead-up to the 04 election, Latham once or twice got Labor primary up near 44, and I held my breath, but it couldn’t be sustained and quickly settled back at 42 and then below. I made 45 the cutoff point on the grounds that you’re getting close to having half the country behind you, instead of 60%+ really preferring someone else.

    As I say, while the primary is around 48, I’d be very confident.

  38. Roy Morgan said in his article regarding polls that were wrong in tipping election outcomes

    “The best Australian examples are Hewson (L-NP) losing the 1993 Federal Election and”.

    Someone better tell him Hewson was long gone before 1993 came along, no doubt avoiding birthday (cake) parties ever since. Must have been referring to 1983 when he got creamed trying to explain the GST on birthday cakes and candles …what an awful moment for him ….rates up there with Latham’s assault with malice on JWHs hand at that radio station.

  39. Why would the average Australian risk third-rate Krudd?

    Maybe you should come out of your ivory tower and ask a few people Nostradamus- you really are in fairy land with those views on JWH.

  40. Don,
    You are spot on in 98 being the reverse of 90. Both are eerily similar in the graphics department.

    In 1990, the minor vote jumped leading up to the election from around 9 to up around 16, and that minor party growth was the Greens and a bit if the Dems. Most of that 7 point growth in the minor primary came at the expense of the ALP.

    In 98, the minors rose from hanging around the 11 point mark up to the 18 to 20 mark. That was a result of the growth of One Nation and most of that growth came at the expense of the Coalition.

    The party that has an insurgency on their side of politics (in these examples, the Greens for the ALP and One Nation for the Coalition) can change what would ordinarily be an open and shut election into a knife edge.

    One might be tempted to think that it shouldn’t be that big of a deal as the major party will get those lost votes back with preferences, and while that is the general case, enough of those preferences ‘leak’ to the opposite major party to create a larger amount of tightly contested seats.

    If the ALP gets a primary vote of 44 in todays environment, they probably cant lose. If the Libs get a primary vote of 46 in todays environment they probably cant lose either. The problem though is that “the environment” changes as the elections go by depending on the strength of the minor parties, and which major party that minor party insurgency takes votes from.

  41. Incumbency isn’t a magic power as some posters here seem to be asserting. Maybe they’re trying to convince themselves. Howard has been in power for 11 years. That’s a long time. Too long, and that is enough reason for many people to simply say that’s enough. My parents-in-law are in their seventies, solid Lib supporters and they like John Howard. But my wife was surprised to hear her dad remark that Howard has been in too long. Time for a change he said. BTW they live in a lib electorate Ryan.

  42. Well there is a maximum of 22 weeks left for an election this year (LAST DATE 15 DEC) which I think it must be (Howard wont wait for the new year – obvious charge of clinging to power).

    which means a maximum total of 154 days until the next election. I think it is what 35 days or something that you must issue the writs before the poll.

    Based on the view that people are entrenched in their voting preferences there should be no movement in polls when the actual election is called or before then which up until now appears to be the case.

    However I think most people posting here would support the view that if the polls narrow to something like 53-47 by the date the election is called (ie between now and 119 days) then it is entirely winnable for Howard particularly if you believe there is always some swing back to the incumbent in the final weeks of an election campaign.

    So really we are talking about a swing back of 3-4% between now and 119 days for the election to be competitive (assuming 2PP of 57/56-43/44 as a consensus now).

    Despite wish fulfillment on many people’s part as to Howard losing, I dont see that as ungettable between now and say Mid October. I think to use a historical analogy the election is going to be a 69 or 72 that is a narrow loss or narrow win for Labor I just dont believe seats with margins over 5% or specifically 6-7% in Qld are going to fall easily and that after all is what Labor needs to win.

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