Morgan: 55-45

The latest Roy Morgan fortnightly (I think) face-to-face survey of 1772 voters has the two-party vote steady at 55-45, with the Coalition primary vote remaining at 40.5 per cent and Labor down 0.5 per cent to 47 per cent. There are also supplementary figures on strength of voting intention, which at first look like splendid news for the Coalition – their vote is 34 per cent “strong” and 6.5 per cent “soft”, compared with 30 per cent and 17 per cent for Labor. However, I am slightly dubious about the method here, which involved asking respondents if they felt Australia was “heading in the right direction” and marking their Coalition support as “strong” if they said yes. For what it’s worth, the survey records a sharp rise in expectations of a Labor victory.

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.

618 comments on “Morgan: 55-45”

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  1. Reality seems to be subjective in political junkie land. It seems that the junkies prefer to hang their reality on a story that their comfortable with.

    Our wonderful new friend Cerdic and some of his fellow travellers are convinced that no matter how bad Howard does in the polls, he will come good come election time and sweep all before him.

    This is based on a story that Howard is an election mastermind and will out-campaign Labor. Like all stories there is some truth to this, but also like all stories, they are not universally applicable and have a limited shelf-life.

    Similarly, you could make the charge that Labor supporters are clinging to the story that Rudd’s ascendancy in the polls will continue into the election campaign proper and deliver Labor a thumping election victory.

    So it all boils down to which story we will win the day. For this I’ll take the advice of the betting market any day over one-eyed junkies like Cerdic. The betting market tells us that Labor’s commanding poll position is no aberration and will most probably translate into an election win.

    In the meantime, I’m quite happy for Cerdic, Dennis Shanahan, Micharel Costello & co. to keep deluding themselves that Howard is on his way back, rather than on his way out.

    So says me from the sideline.

  2. As I mentioned elsewhere, when even the ridiculous Morgan face-to-face polls show the Government above 40%, you know Mr Howard’s doing well. I’d say that once all the inbuilt biases of the opinion polls are accounted for, the two major parties are pretty much neck and neck, a situation that vastly favours the incumbents.

  3. Gary, I think Howard’s age will be implied through Labor’s successful “old and tired government” line.
    There is no doubt that Rudd’s got 5 aces when it comes to campaign material. Most of which (to Cerdic’s horror), is of Howard’s own making, which we can of course ‘credit’ him with (no ‘Howard hating’ here).
    WorkChoices, nuclear power/enrichment proposals, the Iraq debacle, welfare-to-work, resisting initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases, slashed education funding and increased costs (HECS you bastard!), federal-state relations(domestics), housing afforability and childcare to name a few.
    Rudd Labor have a shopping list of anti-government campaigns that already have alot of traction in the community, and will deliver huge swings in key seats. These campaigns have not even begun.
    This also discounts the many policy initiatives and proposals released by the ALP which have been well received, gives the impression of a government-in-waiting that has real answers to the problems the current lot wont touch and makes the government look like its playing policy catch up and desperate politics to save its faltering campaign.

  4. Sorry sideline, but all those ovine punters are simply following the polls, which as all intelligent observers know are bollocks.

  5. Steven Kaye,

    Even if we give you the Morgan bias of 2-3%, how do you explain AC Nielsen and Newspoll consistently rating Labor in a commanding election winning position?

    More create your own reality to make yourself feel good from the Liberal crowd.

  6. I cant help thinking that the Devonport Hospital announcement was timed incorrectly. Much of the benefit of the announcement will dissipate as more analysis is done on both that decision and the previous decision to downgrade the hospital. Memories of Costellos quote re Howard and election spending are also fresh in commentators minds.

    If it had been announced during the hurley burley of a campaign proper instead of the current “phoney war” I think it could have been a certain seat winner. Is this another sigh of a fading electoral tactician?

    I also just noticed the front page of todays Sydney Telegraph whilst at a service station. It appears that Rupert may have picked his winner, and he thinks its name is Kevin.

  7. K Rudd has already lost the election. He hasnt released any policy and done anything to renovate the party, its too late to try now – there will be a reckoning at the polls. The zen is strong.

  8. This line from Rudd on Sydney FM radio today:

    “Mr Howard’s three years from the date of the last election is on 9 October. Under the Electoral Act, we have to have campaigns for a minimum of 33 days. Once we’ve had APEC, which finishes on or about the 10th September, you go forward 33 days and you’re into that zone. Therefore, if you’re going to have an election not long after the 9th October, it means it needs to be called very soon after APEC.”

    I’m wondering if Rudd is laying the ground now to suggest that if Howard decides to hold out for a November or December election, then he is breaking faith with voters by not going to the polls three years from the 2004 poll.

    It would feed into that “Howard arrogance” angle, even though constitutionally the PM doesn’t have to go to the polls until late January. But it would be a test for the PM to explain why he’s had three years to plan an election but then puts it off for a few weeks, without it coming across as the actions of a desperate politician.

  9. If the ALP is going to use that as an election winning issue, their campaign is even more intellectually bankrupt than I thought.

  10. Interesting to see in the breakdown of the Morgan poll that one in five Greens voters have said they will preference the Coalition, double that of a month ago. If that holds it could be crucial.
    Liberal tacticians will no doubt see that and work out how they can increase that to one in four or better. Malcolm Turnbull’s brain will be working overtime and John Howard may give him his head.
    Also the National Party vote is only 2.5% which is a nonsense. Could mean a bias in polling city voters. Nationals haven’t been less than 5.3% in the last four elections.
    Kevin Rudd’s forest announcement may be biting him.
    The Devonport announcement is looking grim for John Howard on the other hand and does remind us of how Peter Costello had difficulty in reining in John Howard’s pork barrelling last time.
    The Reserve Bank and Treasury would look upon that bizarre announcement with real concern. The RBA could even shoot across John Howard’s bows to warn him to curtail his expenditure promises and up the rate half a per cent.
    The RBA’s interest rate increase this time last year appears to have had some effect in the polls.

  11. Lord D,

    Thank you for that correction. I was relying on my memory of what I thought I had read. I still think Labor will win and I still expect the next Newspoll to move Labor’s way.

  12. Coota Bulldog, Kevin Rudd is effectively saying, and the voters would believe him, that elections are held every three years and why would John Howard want to hold on longer than his three years? He would only extend it because he is desperate and clinging on to power. It will be a positive for Kevin Rudd to point this out. Voters don’t get the fine point about being able to hold on till January. Also they would not be at all happy if the election were close to Christmas. Really the latest that would be acceptable would be the end of November and even that is pushing it.
    Mid November would be more likely.

  13. Richard you are quite correct…

    The fact is that the Morgan and AC polls consistently undervalued the National Party vote.

    In some of there polls they have the Nats on less than 2% i mean seriously wtf? If you add on the extra 3 or 4% the figures point to a close race something Rudd cannot afford and the left wingers consistently ignore the fact they hold 23 marginals just like the Coalition and if they lose a handful they’ll be goners for sure.

    Howard will win with an 6 seat majority and Costello will defeat Bill Shorten in 2010 so says Glen.

  14. Hmm, I wonder how many of those Coalition-preferencing Greens voters will be volunteering their electorate for a Nucular Power Station (TM) if Howard gets up? Oh to be a fly on the wall at some of those branch meetings if the Greens ‘do a Nader’ on the ALP.

  15. “Edward StJohn Says:
    August 3rd, 2007 at 6:17 pm
    K Rudd has already lost the election. He hasnt released any policy…”

    Liberal sycophants who make this statement have little understanding of history, and the 1996 election.

  16. 55/45 suggests a change of government. I think the margin of error is
    about 3%. Labor probably needs 52% or a lesser vote with better than
    52% in Queensland. My take on things is Australian voters will support
    a change of Government as long as they think labor is up to the task.
    campaigning can make a difference if the margin is closer than this
    figure. Please see Adam’s figures for the impact of a 52% Qld vote

  17. William said

    However, I am slightly dubious about the method here, which involved asking respondents if they felt Australia was “heading in the right direction” and marking their Coalition support as “strong” if they said yes.

    The actual questions used were —

    (1) “Generally speaking, do you feel that things in Australia are heading in the right direction or would you say things are seriously heading in the wrong direction?” …. and

    (2) “If a Federal election for the House of Representatives were being held today – which party would receive your first preference?”

    I agree William.

    The first question itself uses concepts primarily reserved for qualitative research which is required to provide definition’s of concepts like “generally”, “feel”, “things”, seriously” and “direction” . Who knows what the respondents perception of what was being asked and how they define these concepts in their heads in answering this opening question.

    Were they thinking, ‘generally speaking’,= the economic prospects of Australia are going forwards or backwards, or the social justice prospects or the equality prospects or whatever fits their perception of what ‘generally speaking’ the ‘right’ direction for Australia should/could be ? Who knows.

    This qualitatively framed first question is used as precursor for a follow up quantitative question.

    What you end up with is a single cataylst cause (question 1) and effect (question 2) scenario.

    That is, an unsubstantiated premise that people vote according to and only according to their perception of the general direction Australia is heading in. Moreover, the undefined (question 1) is presented as a basis upon which a very clearly defined follow up question (question 2) is put to the respondent’s.

    On the basis of this data, Morgan does a (please don’t notice) join-the-dots interpretation of quantitative data with a qualitative precursor.

    Morgan also assigns “soft” and “strong” voter intent (these are qualititative concepts again not defined or measured) outcomes , not by comparison of responses to the quantitative measureable question (2) data but by inexplicably associating people’s responses to the first question with the second.

    That is, Morgan is has set up an apriori assumption that people will vote (2) exclusivelyaccording to their perception of the general direction Australia is heading in (1) and we have no idea what those general “things” are.

    It is sloppy, poorly defined, and invalid research on a range of levels including objectivity, definition of concepts and questions, validity, reliability and is, therefore, misleading at best, blending qualitative and quantitative concepts without explanation and without adding anything valid to the knowledge base upon which getting a guage of the intentions and motives of the electorate at a given moment can be confidently gleaned. In my humble opinion, of course !!

  18. There you go William, Strop actually giving an opinion on the ACTUAL topic/theme of a stream: Miracles do happen mate !!

  19. Ok I could have just said Morgan’s question ‘suck’ but then Id be accused of being a dull, ignorant ‘lleftie’ again.

  20. Yawn – why dont you all just go and form an ALP branch or something – this smug patronising tone is just plain boring.

  21. Edward, yawn, why do you bother then? Just walk away old son if it really bothers you that much. You are not going to change people by this complaining. Are you suggesting they should start expressing views more to your own even if they don’t believe those views. What do you want to see happen? Come on some positive suggestions instead of carping.

  22. Well said, Strop at 7.07pm. Had been thinking about the inclusion of this question in previous Morgan polls, but the particular wording and linking in this one, renders it meaningless as far as I can make out. Has anyone asked Gary Morgan why the hell they are asking this or any form of the question, and what they think it means. I gather they are interpreting it to mean some ‘soft’ – whatever that means – votes for Labor, but it seems to me they are leaping tall assumptions here.
    Antony, You said earlier that following an election the polling folk would break open their surveys and revisit their methodology to try and refine how they went about sampling and analysis in relation to elections. Can you enlighten us, if you are able, as to whether there is any agreement amongst pollsters as to what is or is not reliable methodology for sampling and analysis. I ask because I’m a novice (you wouldn’t give me L plates) about psephology, but interested because of my interest in politics and using statistical analysis in my work (health).

  23. Are you the same Edward who used to argue a good case? I sense a change in character behind the name. You used to be far more considered and interesting. Now you’re more like one of those very young name callers who can’t do anything else but repeat the mantra that Labor is going to lose. A waste of time and effort really.

  24. If you don’t like it here, Edward, feel free to piss off. Doubtless there are other chat rooms where you’d be happier. All you ever do here is whinge and abuse people, so you certainly won’t be missed.

  25. Will Kevin Harkins get boned?
    As he’s on the administrative committee of the Tasmanian Labor Party, not very likely.
    And Harry Quick’s decision to campaign with the Liberal candidate might have the effect of even boosting Labor’s margin in Franklin – Quick had a substantial swing against him in 2004, he can’t have been that great a local member.

  26. The last time Morgan F2F gave 55/45 their next Phone poll showed 59/41 – truly off.

    Now we have 55/45 again, more people thinking ALP will win and more people thinking we are heading in the wrong direction. This may indicate the capacity for futher swing to the Govt is quickly diminishing.

    I wonder where they do their polling? How they choose? I wonder if they should do a mixture of F2F and phone polling.

  27. Imagine what this board will be like during the election campaign: let the games begin! There is some well informed and interesting comment here from many people, even occasionally our friends from the right have something useful to contribute.
    I’m loving it!
    Psephology is so much fun!

  28. TofK, August 3rd, 2007 at 5:58 pm – I agree with what you say. Having old ideas and outlook though is a far cry from saying you are too old for the job. As long as they restrict their criticism to his ideas being old this approach will work. They just need to be careful with it.

  29. GB,

    I exclude you in that, you’ve always made your sympathies known but are open to debate – but look at the examples:

    1. Fulvio Sammut
    2. TofK
    3. Stunkrat
    4. Lefty E
    5. BenC
    6. J-D

    Read those posts – they are all along the lines of “only sane sensible people vote Labor and the vulgarians dont” in an extremely patronising tone. I understand the ALP has a monoculture but patronising people who express a different point of view is actually very symptomatic of the ALP and its modern problems.

    Hence my Yawn – and indeed Gary it is drawing very close to time to say goodbye. So sayeth Edward StJohn

  30. I read recently that polling in Tas was showing a wipe out for the Libs. Has anyone seen any polling figures from down there?

  31. Ah of course – Adam from hack central! How charming – what an incisive and witty retort. Where are we travelling to now? Sao Paolo or will you email us from Santiago?

  32. I agree with Gary. I’d be very careful with running the “Howard Is Too Old” argument. Labor needs to win a larger percentage of the over 55 age group. All they need to do is make the comparison by promoting a much younger, fresher 49 year old man(soon to turn 50).

  33. Edward, I’m insulted you didn’t include me in your rant against the supposed deluded Labor supporters on this board.

  34. No Evan I dont have a problem with opinions which are argued – just people who just spout the party line and condescend anybody as mildly retarded who doesnt.

  35. Its funny how they cant compute the polling data so they just attack the people who talk about it.

    I notice in the Australian Kevin Rudd is talking about an election in 6 weeks.

  36. I suppose that given you need to call an election I think 4 weeks before it’s due then 6 weeks may not be that far off the mark.

  37. I assume Howard will call the election after APEC – hoping for some sort of bounce from his photo opportunity with Bush.
    Memo to the Rodent: appear as much as possible with Mr 29%, it’ll do your own poll numbers no good.

  38. # Cerdic Conan Says:
    August 3rd, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    Gary Bruce – you will see the trend in action on election night! The Man of Steel will come storming home, and the left will be left struggling to come up with some flimsy excuse as how he managed to beat them yet again. Stay tuned for that inventive excuse – it should be absolutely hilarious ! So says Cerdic Conan.

    Cerdic please do not confuse the ALP with the left

  39. 55-45 gives labor 94 seats.

    Back in January I thought that labor would get 83 seats, but as the campaign goes on I am thinking 92, the extra 2 to make 94 would be Bennelong and Kalgoorlie.

    People in voting will first think are they better off than the last election and can the other mob do a better job.

    As to are people better off than the last election,
    Work Choices has seen falling wages and conditions for those subject to it and threatens more of the same as others fall under it.
    Home ownership has been placed out of reach for the average Aussie as with tertiary education. Health and dental have been seriously underfunded.
    The cost of living has increased far above wage increases, and by cost of living I mean the essentials such as food, petrol, rent/ mortgage and utilities.

    Will the other mob do a better job, Howards answer is to blame the states for the problems ie no solutions, policies or answers to the above. Labors policies and answers is a cooperative nationwide all government approach and is one reason why they do look a viable alternative.

  40. With Bush threatening Iran and presidential candidates threatening Pakistan bombings the USA is hardly going to be comforting presence in the mind of Australians at APEC. Indeed it might be poison for Howard – a father and son reunion with images of all the dead blood splattered Iraqis in the background. Whats the odds of Howard wearing a Groucho Marx disguise whenever with Bush?

  41. The concept of a ‘soft’ vote is interesting. The fact that both Newspoll and Morgan at an earlier stage had the ALP at 60% or more and it is now 55% can be read two ways, depending on the starting point.

    Starting at 60%, 5% of the vote is obviously ‘soft’ in hindsight.

    As of now, the ALP could make a convincing case that 5% of the current Liberal-NP vote is clearly ‘soft’, as that percentage of people have actually indicated that they are prepared to vote ALP at some stage.

    It could be argued that a further swing to the ALP is easier than a continuing swing against them.

    The almost fixed primary vote for the Govt is their biggest problem, perhaps.

  42. If the ALP win can we expect the one of payments to pensioners/carers/parents to continue or will this be the first to be cut to be replaced with what? The amount of people i know that have put those payments to good use is massive!

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