Morgan: 58.5-41.5

A Roy Morgan phone poll of 589 respondents, conducted over the previous two days, has Labor on 58.5 per cent of the two-party vote, down 0.5 per cent from the previous such poll a fortnight ago. Both major parties are up 1.5 per cent on the primary vote, with the Greens down 2.5 per cent and others down 0.5 per cent. Also featured is yet more polling on whether the country is “headed in the right direction”.

Other news: sadly, independent Calare MP Peter Andren has been diagnosed with cancer, and has abandoned his plans to run for a seat in the Senate.

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.

127 comments on “Morgan: 58.5-41.5”

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  1. Which goes to show the ‘heading in the right direction’ question seems not to relate to voting intention unless it gives them confidence to change now.

  2. Im waiting for the next galaxy. then nielsen, then newspoll, then..



    The election cannot come soon enough.

  3. 60% think Labor will win.

    60% 60% 60%

    Primary vote
    49.5% 49.5%

    Paul Keating will be sitting there with his slippers coco saying
    ‘a beautiful set of numbers’.

    This poll might be saying anything except that Labor support is reasonably steady.

  4. That’s wot it says alright. The Labor primary has been steady (within a margin of error) for about nine months.

    There is no way to positively spin these numbers for the government. But I’m sure Dennis will give it a go.

  5. I wouldn’t wish cancer on any of our politicians, but if it had to strike it is particularly tragic that it is on one so decent and committed as Andren.

  6. For those polling addicts who just can’t get enough.

    If the current polling follows the same patterns as the previous 7 elections; polling data to the actual result, at the same time in the election cycle; it would project the following votes for this year’s election.

    1987  L/NP 37.6   ALP  48.9   TPP  42.3/56.7

    1990  L/NP 35.5   ALP  48.9   TPP  42/58

    1993  L/NP 42.4   ALP  47.5   TPP  46.6/53.4

    1996  L/NP 37.3   ALP  49.1   TPP  43/57

    1998  L/NP 37      ALP  47.5   TPP  43.5/56.5

    2001  L/NP 41.6   ALP  44.6   TPP  47.4/52.6

    2004  L/NP 41.9   ALP  45.2   TPP  47.3/52.7         

    This analysis has used Newspoll data, and took the polling figures for the three months immediately before three months out from the election.  So in 2007 terms it used May/June/July polling, as August is three months out from the believed election date, early Nov.  Preferences were allocated to the ALP @58% for two party projections.

  7. Pi,

    Easy to spin this one. Its a 0.5% fall from the last phone poll. Phone polls are notoriously biased to the ALP as coalition voters are call screeners or don’t trust new technology.

    Taking these two factors together means the true 2pp is running around 53/47 with all the momentum on the Govt side. John Howard crusade against the evils of, well, just about everything at present, is winning hearts and minds aross the country ….

    Yup, I don’t buy it either – he’s toast.

  8. The Morgan phone poll sample of only 589 electors (MoE 4%) is a bit too mickey-mouse for my liking. However, a Labor primary of 49.5% is great news by any standard, and is a record Labor primary in that poll for this year (the poll only started in May).

    Blacklight, just as well we don’t live in the US, where Rasmussen has ALREADY switched to daily tracking polls for the Democrat and Republican nominations. Next poll will be AC Nielson on Mon, taken Thur-Sat.

  9. Aristotle,

    Love ya work.

    Can I just clarify something – are the figure you show based on adding any changes from polls to election result to the current poll levels. What are you using as the current based line?

  10. Do Liberal PMs have to hara-kiri /Seppuku 切腹 and Treasurers have to committ oibara 追腹 on dishounerable election loss? Can we insist?

  11. for those interested in Bennelong, there is a Bennelong special on SBS Insight on Tuesday night

    Don’t know whether the current Galaxy polling that a number of comments have mentioned (on the other thread) has to do with that one? But probably right that it is for News Ltd Tabloids given they have used Galaxy in recent months.

  12. I’ll be watching that SBS program next Tuesday night.
    My mother knows someone who was chosen to appear on the Insight Program. She’s a resident of Bennelong, and a Labor voter.
    The deal is Howard and Maxine will appear, with an audience of 15 Liberal voters, 15 Labor voters, and 15 uncommitted/swinging voters.

  13. Agreed Glen 600 people is not many.
    But even though the Morgan phone Poll has a Labor bias of about 3.5% and the error on 600 people is rather high the Morgan phone Poll has consistently been at these levels (+ or -) for many months you’d have to suggest that Labor’s primary vote is pretty solid at about 45-46% which is where most of the polls are.

    The consistency of this and other polls as well as a June Newspoll that indicated that nearly 90% of voters had more or less locked in their vote shows that Kevin Rudd (love him or loathe him) will be PM before the year is out – I’d suggest that would be over 90% by now.

    Poll’s can be wrong but not this many and not for this long.

  14. I have to agree with Glen (on this, if nothing else). Less than 600 respondents is a bit dodgy. Then again, I’d bet dollars to donuts that if the same poll had the Libs closing the gap, Glen would be extolling the virtues of the poll.

  15. Can someone explain again why Morgan’s phone polls and face-to-face polls produce such different results? Do we have any clue as to which, if either, is more reliable?

  16. I agree that 600 is a bit too small, but don’t agree that this poll is necessarily biased. In June, this poll had Labor at 46-40, then 43.5-40. The big swing to Labor in this poll occurred in July, when Labor averaged 48% and the Tories 36%.

  17. On its own, a poll of 600 does not say much. However, when it says the same thing as a large number of polls by different companies over a long period of time involving a large number of respondents…

  18. The argument goes that in face to face polls people don’t like admitting supporting conservative parties, i.e. the current government.

    There is a second argument that Morgan phone polls are also biased in favour of left wing parties, perhaps by a poor weighting methodology. Hence people think there is an inherent biase of 2 or 3% of the primary vote for the ALP in all Morgan polls.

  19. You seem confident in your opinion, Fire Maker, and you may well be correct. The key assumption underpinning the way you and others see it, is that 90% or thereabouts have “locked in” their votes, whatever that means. I count myself among undecided voters at the moment but on your analysis I am in relatively small percentage of the voting population. I will have to reflect more on your assumption.

  20. David, I think this site is testament to the fact that people have already made up their minds. Myself, I made up my mind in 2001 as soon as the Howard government started demonizing helpless people. Before that a la 1998, they actually had policies, like the GST. I’m one of the people that inherently believes that the GST is good for average Australians, because people earning higher incomes pay taxes (without any way to hide) where in the past, they would have had complex ways of avoiding them. It was good policy.

    But these days, the same people front-up against one another again and again, and very few people change their minds. Even when it is patently shown most right-wing arguments are based upon faulty logic, they still don’t change their minds.

    My theory is that the basis for most conservative support is around fear and a secret desire to return to a white-australia policy… but no-one would admit to that, now would they? Better to rely fear and scare-mongering about the yellow/red/muslim/whatever menace.

  21. Albert F, yes, the base for the poll projections is the may/june/july Newspoll results which gives the primary votes as L/NP 38.1 ALP 48.4.

    Then in each year the pattern of increase or decrease to the primary vote from what the polling showed to the actual result is added or subtracted.

    Adam, I don’t think anyone can explain why Morgan’s face to face and phone polls are so different. His phone polls used to replicate other phone pollsters results and his face to face used to understate the Coalition vote, now it is the other way around. As long as he hasn’t changed anything in his sampling, all we can do is throw it into the mix.

  22. Having witnessed someone participate in Morgan polling I cannot see how people would be less likely to respond in any particular manner using this approach (assuming this experience was typical): the pollster visited, explained the approach and then left a very-hefty booklet to be completed by the polled individual over the next week. This booklet included various questions about voting intentions but also brand recognition/consumption, TV/DVD/internet usage over the weeek, consumption of medical services etc etc.

    There was no need to “admit” to any particular voting intention face to face, as it was merely a small number of boxes to be ticked hidden within a very large number of pages.

  23. Aristotle, I don’t believe that Keating was ahead of Howard 49/37 at this stage in the 1996 election campaign (which would have been in December 1995). Is that what your table says, or am I reading it wrong?

  24. Use a moving average, Adam, it’ll smooth out your results and your graph.

    As for comments on the sample size of 600, remember the margin of error only increases to 4% not 10%. Galaxy & Newspoll have error margins of 3%, and Nielsen 2.6%.

  25. Pi thanks for sharing your views and also your theories about support on one side of politics. Of course, I speak only for myself and not others who visit this excellent site, so I cannot be as certain as you appear to be in the opening sentence of your prior post. Frankly, the remainder of your post does nothing to assist me in evaluating the assumption about “locked in” voters but I suspect the conversation in the thread has moved on.

  26. I used to live in Calare, and the electorate was surprised when Andren won in ’96. But he was a greal local member. He did his job, and he never bickered along party lines, and he was always against the party politics “machines”. I would have voted for him in the senate in this election (i’m assuming he has withdrawn). I think he also argued against politicians pay rises at some stage (someone pull me up if I’m wrong)

    I’m sorry to get emotional, but I think that him getting cancer sucks. Why do bad things happen to good people?

    William, I understand if you moderate this last part, but it is how I feel.

  27. SirEggo, I don’t wish to badmouth Andren, who, as I said above, is a very decent guy, but it’s very easy to take easy populist positions on things when you’re an independent and will never have to take responsibility for anything. And “arguing against pay rises for politicians” is the easiest populist wank of them all.

  28. Sorry, Adam, I should have made it more clear.

    The above table is projecting what vote both parties could end up with if the change from voting intention to election result is replicated.

    For example in the 1996 election, three months out from the election, the previous three months polls gave the votes as:

    Sept/Oct/Nov Opposition (L/NP) 46.3 Govt (ALP) 39.5

    Election Result Opposition (L/NP) 47 Govt (ALP) 38.7

    Difference (L/NP) +0.7 (ALP) -0.8

    Applied to 2007

    May/June/July Opposition (ALP) 48.4 + 0.7 = 49.1

    May/June/July Govt (L/NP) 38.1 – 0.8 = 37.3

    And then 49.1 & 37.3 translates to 57/43 TPP if preferences are allocated to the ALP @ 58%.

    The above changes in votes are absolute changes, but making the adjustments using relative shifts only marginally alters the figures.

    You’ll note, that in, 1987, 1990, 1996 and 1998, the polling and the election results were rather similar. 1993, 2001 and 2004, showed marked differences, but even in these scenarios the Coalition doesn’t get over 48% of the two party vote.

  29. I’m sorry to hear Peter Andren is sick. If ever there was a genuine politician he is it. All the best Peter. Beat that bloody thing.

  30. Pi and Kina. And an awful lot of taxpayers money!
    Someone estimated that Howard had squirreled around 10 billion dollars aside for this campaign and on top of the 22 billion mentioned a couple of days ago, get set for the mother of all pork barrel campaigns.

    The economy and battlers can all be dammed from here on. It’s every man for themselves, I mean every Liberal PM for himself.

  31. True, it is strange Adam, but there is a method behind the madness. Three highly ranked military recruits will put a bit more than a damper on the government’s attack that Labor is weak on national security.
    Despite the longstanding ‘tag along anywhere with the US’ ideology of the LNP, which has caused more than a few unnecessary headaches, foreign policy receives little public scrutiny, and Howard’s strong rhetoric wins the day.
    However, when you put distinguished military figures in the opposition to directly challenge the governments clearly false assertion ( just compare policies) that it is better at handling national security. Advantage neutralised.

  32. I like to also point to the message our asian neighbors would receive if we were to have a prime minister that spoke chinese.

    Actions speak louder than words.

  33. Very sorry indeed to hear about Peter Andren.
    Peter, I hope you are able to beat it.
    Rodney Cocks is a coup for Labor. What a quality candidate.
    Morgan is on the same track as the others. No surprises.
    Doesn’t look at all good for John Howard.
    If Monday’s follows the same path, he should seriously think about stepping down – for the good of the Party.

  34. I hope all goes well for Andren, I thought he was a good chance for the senate and was a pollie along the lines of Mack and Hatton who would have truly kept the B’s honest.

  35. I can’t help but wonder if the economic and national security issues were already largely neutralised.

    I wonder if they were broken down into more specific questions whether or not the Govt’s strong polling would be maintained.

  36. I would have thought the news that Bush will be arriving early for APEC would be another bad-sign for JWH – surely he doesn’t want to be rubbing shoulders with Bush for additional time? And especially in light of the potential extra disruption this is likely to cause…

  37. I think the coalition took square aim at its own feet in terms of national security when Howard went blindly into bat for George against Obama. Choosing one side of politics in a two party democracy, that is the worlds only superpower and (nominally) our strongest ally, is not the best approach to foreign affairs. Iraq doesnt help either.
    In terms of economic management, the ‘let the good times roll’ spin of the government has been subverted and turned against it as evidence it is arrogant and out of touch. Rudd has turned the broad economic outlook, which is optimistic, into one of personal economy, with many working families who are under pressure, due to rising prices and insufficient wage increases, providing fertile ground for the ALP.
    The intimate connection of IR with the economy has meant the unpopular baggage of WorkChoices is affiliated with the government’s rapidly declining trump card, the economy.

  38. Firstly good luck to Peter and hope he makes a speedy recovery.

    Secondly if the Coalition wins the election and I think they will, they could very well keep it’s senate majority. All they need is to win 3 out of 6 senators in each state.

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