Morgan: 60-40

Roy Morgan has broken its usual pattern by publishing a second face-to-face survey in successive weeks, from a sample of 915 voters. As the headline makes clear, it’s another disaster for the Coalition: Labor’s two-party lead has blown out to 60-40 from a relatively mild 54.5-45.5 last time. Also up by 5.5 per cent is the number of people expecting Labor to win, from 55 per cent to 60.5 per cent; the number expecting a Coalition win is down from 31.5 per cent 26.5 per cent. Labor’s primary vote is up from 46 per cent to 49 per cent, while the Coalition has plunged from 41 per cent to 34.5 per cent, returning it to the previous lows of March and April.

UPDATE: For what it’s worth, Morgan also has Senate voting intention figures aggregated from the past two months’ polling. As usual, these overstate the likely combined minor party vote, particularly for the Democrats.

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.

405 comments on “Morgan: 60-40”

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  1. Andrew my main argument that this poll is rogue is that the Nat vote is 1.5% how on earth could you think its a credible poll…you and the Rudd Huggers are embarrassing themselves by thinking this poll is credible…i’ve never said the Coalition is not so far behind because they are but that doesnt mean that this poll is credible…

  2. What Morgan does not provide is the State-by-State breakdown. If he did it would show Queensland swinging back big time to the ALP. Their campaign team are targetting not only the marginal coalition seats of Blair(5.7), Moreton(2.8) and Bonner (0.6) but are increasingly confident of Dickson ( Kernot’s old seat and at 9.1) held by that very ordinary Minister Peter Dutton, Bowman(8.9) previously an ALP seat, Leichhardt(10.3) which looses Warren Enstch,with a huge personal vote especially from the Torres Strait island voters, along with Herbert(6.1), Longman(6.6) and Petrie(6.6). It will be a Ruddbath in Queensland.
    As I have previously noted, the odds are shortening that Howard will pull the plug next weekj. No one knows for sure what he will do, but the story of Howard considering his position( as distinct from columns from pleading accolytes) will run in the mainstrem media over the next 48 hours. If it hasn’t got steam up by Monday, that will change with Neilsen which will reflect every other poll showing movement to the ALP.

  3. So just out of curiosity.

    A federal house of representatives with 123 Labor seats, 25 Liberal seats and a couple of independents.

    This is what you people are so happy about?

    If Rudd is going to win – which he will should Howard remain at the helm – then I would very much want him to win decisively, with, say 90 odd seats. This will be enough to ensure no one minority group (notably the unions) can claim credit for his victory. I want him to claim his mandate, so that he can make his own mark and not have others to blame three years later. The people have spoken, fair enough, so let’s see what he does with it – without being held back. It also keeps him accountable; under the knowledge the 2010 election is still an open ballgame.

    But 123 seats? That would be devastating. It would do two things:

    – Ensure a two-term Labor government is basically guaranteed. Very few circumstances would lead to a 9% swing against a one-term old government (unless Julia stages a coup…?) I digress. This would NOT be a good thing, six years of power without proper checks is not good for any democratic government. See the past two years of Howard with the Senate for your evidence

    – Ensure that the following election, anywhere from 20-50 seats will change hands again, when the Coalition inevitably gets a swing towards it (which it will) – again, this is not good for stable democracy, having a bunch of MP’s who are there and know they will be there for a single term. The beauty of our system, for all its faults, is it generally gives us some stability. 60-40 would shake that up. I’m not convinced it would be for the better.

  4. glen it is widely accepted I think that Morgan overestimates Labor’s 2PP. The importance of this poll is that it continues the TREND of the two other major polls of a large recent shift to Labor. But you keep clinging to your “the Nats vote is too low” argument, because it’s about the only straw youve got left to clutch

  5. Oops forgot my source – I plugged the 60-40 data into Bryan’s calculator, and made a couple of estimates. Not sure if other calculators would get a similar result, I imagine they would…?

  6. I think I hear the bells tolling.

    With polling this bad, the media has a LOT to write about, which feeds public perception, at which point a sizeable number of voters (and apparently the business community) may jump on the perceived winner’s wagon. I’d say it is game over for the Coalition.


    Your comments about potential leadership change in government and treasurer are intriguing. Your assertion that Downer or Abbott are inappropriately experienced/incapable of the portfolio suggest a couple of logical extensions:

    a) That Costello is actually alright at the job
    b) That Swan would be no better (no more experience than Downer nor Abbott and hasn’t carried a Federal Portfolio)
    c) Looks like we get Swan (based on the current polling)
    d) He’d better get as good as Costello quickly!

    I think Rudd could hold his own Internationally, in a way that perhaps Beazley and DEFINITELY Latham could not. I just hope the rest of the team rises to the challenge.

    On these figures… I wonder if the coalition will lose ground on the senate vote to the point where a double-dissolution is not required?

  7. Looks like the rust is falling off the Coalition. Time to strip it right back, cut out the worst bits of rust and start again. Or perhaps we could go buy a brand new car.

    The Nationals has been having an identity crisis for years – do they support the bush, or do they support the big end of town. It’s getting worse the longer they’re a minor party within the coalition. Every so often we hear different states talking about the coalition merging and that, but the redneck bushies don’t like the city yuppies. It gets worse when a Nat resigns and the Libs put in their own person causing a 3-way contest. The Nats seem to lose out. At times the Nat policies are in direct contrast to the Lib policies, but the Nats have been too weak to stand up and say ‘we will remove our support if you don’t do as we say’. So no wonder their vote is so low, they may have a few seats that are heartland but they’re totally irrelevant for the rest of Australia

  8. It is great that all us comrades think that this Election win by Kev is going to be the biggest thing since we all sat around the tree and formed the party… but you are misguided.

    Alpal, a 9.1% swing in Qld to win the seat of Dickson has never happen.

    Let’s try and keep things in perspective. The polls show a trend and that is it. Not a result

    On another note, let’s hope the “right” always stay in control of our party because god help us if the left dominates again. I don’t want the Whitlam years (for those of us that can remember) to ever happen again.

  9. Bryan may have to update his calculator, only goes to 60-40.

    Given that last election The Nats won 12 seats with 5.8% of the vote, could we expect a coaltion if they hold almost as many seats as the Libs?

  10. This Poll has the nats primary vote to low and Family first primary vote to low, and the green vote is overestimated by about 2-3 percent

    It does show a trend to labor but this could involve just reclaiming some of there ground in safe labor territories after the devastation of Latham…

  11. Max I doubt anyone is seriously predicting a 60-40 TPP. Even 54-46 seems too big an ask, 53-47 is more possible and 52-48 even better. Of course there have been big election victories in the past… no reason there can’t be another.

    The Howard Government definately deserves to be punished for what they’ve done to the Senate alone.

    Democracy tends to repair itself, the parties that lose big have to learn their lessons. The South Australian ALP were reduced to 10 seats in the early 1990s when there was a close to 60-40 TPP… they bounced back from that of course… but had to learn their lessons.

  12. There are about 10 “safe”national seats in the the country. there’s no way they will not get >>50% in each of these. thus the total vote for them is a minimum 10/150 `*50%, ~ 3.5%. thus 1.5 % is much too low.. but so what glen? The “normalising” process will always throw up glitches likes this ( & could eg reverse the process for the LIBs).
    Even if the coalition primary vote is underestimated by 3%, it is stll less than 40%!
    if I were you I’d hang my hat on the FACT ( as our taxpayer funded ads would put it) that except for tragics like me &you, the electorate doesn’t give a rats about polls. They only reallly concentrate when the pencil is 1cm from the ballot paper, if even then.
    So if I were you, I ‘d hope that the parents with 2.5 children, and mortgage payments that Go up by 10% of their take home pay every time Costelloe gives a smirk.. these folks will forget that thanks to Work Choices even the pay is at the mercy of a hopefully benevolent boss..will think that Howard, or Costelloe, or whoever is too nice a guy
    to kick out.
    Trouble is that even then, some of them might worry that by the time the 2.5 kids have 2.5 of their own, the won’t have any air to breathe.

    .. somehow, though, I don’t think that’s much of a hook for a hat

  13. Looking back it is interesting to see how polls predicted the Nats vote in past elections. In the past two they have polled 6% here is how the major polsters called it leading up to both elections

    2 1.5 2 2.5 2.5 2 3 4
    2.5 1.5 2.5 3 2 2.5 4 4

    7 3 5 3 4 5 5 5
    3 4 3 4 3 4 4 4

  14. An ever better figure is Morgan’s figure on ACTUAL intention rather than 2004 distribution of preferences, its 60.5/39.5. I know its pie in the sky but so good to see L-NP in the 30s 2PP!!!

  15. DLP…

    You do of course know that Whitlam was a right-winger…who smashed the Left’s control of the Party in Victoria…and opposed the Left’s Joe Chamberlain over State Aid and other issues…dragging the PArty to the electable Centre over a five-year period…???

    Just sayin’.

  16. I don’t understand why people like Glen are calling this a ‘Rogue’ poll. Hasn’t every poll in the last cycle shown a movement of 2-5 per cent to Labour?

    That would make this the opposite of a rogue poll. It would mean that the poll is confirming the trend.

    I don’t care if Glen ‘barracks’ for his candidate, but when every poll for the last year shows Labour in front on a 2PP basis, and sometimes by up to 20 points, its foolish not to acknowledge that there is a huge swing in the community.

  17. It’s not the expectation that these numbers will transalate that is making people giddy, it’s the knowledge that the arrogant buggers on the Coalition side are scared to death about it – just look at Downer’s toddleresque pouting. After 11 years of that incompetent, silver-spoon-chewing moron, I’m not surprised that people are enjoying watching them panic!

  18. Glen me ole china, just one word to take note of (or to be pedantic – as Julie Bishop would demand, “of which to take notice”) in triplicate ‘Trend, trend, trend.’

  19. I have to agree with Glen here. While the poll apparently confirms the Newspoll/Galaxy results of a Rudd 2PP somewhere in the high 50s, the extremely low Coalition and National primaries have got to indicate that something is wrong with the figures. Why would the Coalition primary have dropped 6.5% – that’s about 850000 voters – over a couple of weeks? It doesn’t make sense. It’s another good poll for Rudd, but clearly something is wrong with it.

    Could we bring back the intelligent analysis that there used to be in this site’s comments, instead of just attacking someone who dares to question a poorly-thought-through orthodoxy?

  20. optimist, youre spot on, no-one believes the election will be anywhere near 60/40 (I think even 53/47 would be sensational, but will take an ALP win by a seat!)

  21. Barney (#25) I don’t subscribe to the bunker analogy.

    To me what is happening is more akin to Romania 1989.

    I am savouring the demise of John and Janette Ceausescu, facing the firing squad and all the while screaming about how ungrateful we are.

  22. DLP
    You are wrong about Dickson. The current polling averages shows a swing to the ALP of over 10 per cent. Dickson will go to preferences. Last election Family first polled 4.5 per cent. This time that vote will end up with Rudd. It will be close, and Dutton may hang on – but my point is, the seat is an ALP target. They are spending time and money on it – and they dont throw money away on lost causes when every vote counts.

  23. The Chaser should run a Senate team as the Comedy First Party. I’m sure they could pick up the seats the Democrats will lose. The whole APEC circus may have unforseen consequences for Sydney marginals. Still too early for Maxine to pack her bags for Canberra but one more glowing endorsement of Howard by George W should do the trick.
    We outlanders grow more bemused by the day.

    “Labor View from Broome’

  24. Glen

    The Nats polling is easily explained in this poll. Less than 1000 people (granted, though, it was FTF) and Nats polling has been hovering around 5% anyway. The Nats are just suffering from the same problem that we face when we take Senate polls with minor parties: When dealing with small samples and minor parties, there are likely to be big shifts.

    Greens held more primaries than Nats on the last election and their results have been between 2-9% over the last two years for P & FTF, so this variance is expected.

    What I have noticed though is that since mid 2006 when Climate Change hit the national consciousness, the Greens have not seen a poll much above 9% since 2004 (the highest, I believe was Morgan Nov 2006 at 9.5%) and a fairly consistent aggregate trend shows then likely around 5.5% in November. Admittedly, polls do seem to underestimate Greens prior to elections. Ther graphs are here:

    It does seem apparent that some ALP growth has been at the expense of the Greens, though there must be wide tranches of interest won from soft Coalition supporters to gain this kind of divide.

    I just think that it makes the Greens far less relevant to the ALP this election and they may have some woes of their own even levelling their performance of 2004.

    If the Environmental message, which is only one part of a much larger platform for the Greens, is diluted too much, then they may face some soul-searching as the Dems did about 6 years ago..

  25. This is Rudd’s response:


  26. Fulvio (68),
    I believe that is what Hitler also proclaimed: that the German people weren’t worthy of him.
    But hey i’m not fussy. Happy to defer to your Caucescu analogy. Same outcome and that’s the main thing. 🙂

  27. i cant see Howard calling the election next week, he’s got the Canadian PM.addressing parliament hasnt he? he certainly couldnt drag his heels after that, Downer on the front page of the OZ assures us Howard is going to fight it out, i guess he’d know, anyway changing to Costello will leave them in such a disarray that Rudd’s margin would blow out even bigger.

  28. Re post 52: Max

    While I agree that a complete decimation of the Coalition will not be such a good thing for democracy from a theoretical standpoint, the triumphalist bollocks we on the Left of politics have had to put-up with from this bunch of ratbags for the last 11 years has stuck in my craw.

    I’m sick to death of being labelled a “bleeding heart”, anti-American, “un-Australian”, a terrorist sympathyser (and worse), all because I didn’t happen to agree with whatever policy or wedge John Howard was spruiking at the time. From refugees to Iraq to IR, the response was always the same: “Oh, you’re only saying this because you are a (insert insult) Leftie.” I want to see the end of the sort of bombast and bullshit that passed for political debate under Howard.

    I want to see him and his loathesome cadre of NeoCons annhilated.

    Perhaps if the Libs are reduced to a rump of 25 or 30 seats they’ll do some hard thinking about how they’ve managed to get themselves into such a pathetic position and finally make the hard decisions necessary to remake the Liberal Party as a true liberal party and not an Aussie version of the US Republicans.

    One can only hope.

  29. “The Nats polling is easily explained in this poll. Less than 1000 people …”

    Back in the good old days of Joh Gerrymander, those 1000 people would have been a whole, personally and creatively selected “game over, move on” electorate.

  30. Glen, as is always mentioned when a Morgan poll is released, the majority of National voters answer Liberal to these polls as they are unsure of the National candidates in their electorate and often merge the two parties together. Large MOE as well.

    Looking at the figures, the National vote seems to go to the Greens. HAHAHAHA! Is there ever anymore diametrically opposite parties than those two?

  31. Triangulum:

    “Could we bring back the intelligent analysis that there used to be in this site’s comments, instead of just attacking someone who dares to question a poorly-thought-through orthodoxy?”

    Thankyou Triangulum. This site is going downhill fast.

    It’s like a bully boy teen fan club.

    In between attacking perfectly reasonable comments, there’s a ridiculous amount of gloating (and the gloating is not even intelligent or witty).

    It’s becoming quite lame.

  32. Glen

    Hang in there, lad, like the boy on the burning deck. The thoughts you are voicing are familiar to us from 11 years of practice, from the other side of the fence. While the fat lady has yet to get her tonsils into gear, it doesn’t look good for Howard’s neo-con cohort. It does look like the real conservatives in the electorate have finally realised that the real conservative party in Oz is the ALP. Under Howard the Liberal party has become a thuggish, autocratic right wing putsch. The sad thing is that it’s taken them 11 years of. untold damage to the Australian psyche and self-image to work it out.
    If you are a real conservative you would actually be celebrating what’s happening.

  33. Max

    A cleansing is what the liberal party needs and it will be good for it, it has happened to ther parties and they have survived and come out the better for it.
    A landslide result will see a firm rejection of the arrogance and aloofness of the liberals of today.


    Reading Crosby Textor it looks like they are predicting a %11 swing in WA, so Canning could quite possibly be a gain.

  34. DLP @ #58. I am forever grateful to the Whitlam government. My husband, sister and her husband were all beneficiaries of Whitlam’s free tertiary education. We were from overseas but the 4 of us stayed on in this country and paid back in the form of taxes and more. Whitlam is our hero.

  35. Re (52),

    ” If it hasn’t got steam up by Monday, that will change with Neilsen which will reflect every other poll showing movement to the ALP.”

    Does anyone know what time the Neilsen comes out on Monday? The Libs have a party meeting on Monday. Don’t know whether not that has been scheduled for some time or if it was put on the agenda recently ;-D. Wondering if Neilsen will come out prior to their meeting which if memory serves is at 10am.

  36. OK firstly the low national polling. Lets get over that they are a joke and 1.5% would be appropriate, but lets not get over that a proportion of the nat vote is a liberal vote on a ballot without a liberal candidate.

    I’m sure who but someone with more stats knowledge them me has pointed out this bleeding obvious thing many times. And how much press has the Nats leader and party had recently; they should be glad they are polling 1.5% surely with AWB they don’t deserve that. They get a massive boom during the election where they pretend they still matter and aren’t just a dagg on the Liberal machine.

    ifonlys numbers seem consistent with this explanation, assuming the nationals growth is predominantly at the cost of the libs; with little impact on the tpp numbers. Perhaps someone smart has done this already.

    You maybe right I may be crazy, but it just might be a lunatic Fonzie’s looking for. But onto the article of faith you express that Howard has to be doing better than this poll because he has in the past.

    Now I accept fully there could be either a massive swing over the election campaign, and theorethically we could find people have just being lying to the pollsters. Both are possible.

    But for more than a year I’ve watched ozpolitics and here and the vast majority of people ‘sure’ that things would tighten up. With the exception of the Howard mini-revival polls over July and August almost every poll was greeted with oh we need to watch the next two or three before we believe it is real. Not long after Bryan’s calculator went up, I started asking why people weren’t talking of destruction and frankly the PM himself got the possibility well before many saw it as even a possibility.

    Now over this time there have been many theories about why it would tighten-up, and maybe it did a tiny bit in July and August but largely in essence it hasn’t at all. Flat-line. And the only question really is where the flat-line is at; and 56-57 tpp to labor would seem as good a guess as any; and frankly a much much better guess than 52 – 53.

    Of course things could move but after more than a year of believing this with it never happening you should at least be contemplating 56 – 57 now. Yes a historic win. Yes probably bad for democracy, but unless something new and amazing happens it seems to be the only probabl result. Kevin would have to lose the campaign badly and be VERY unhappy if he only gets 55% tpp, which is more or less roughly the low water mark of the polling for more than 9 months. 60% would be amazing and I don’t expect it, but frankly with nine months of polling it would be less amazing than a close election. If this is close from here either Rudd has malfunctioned (and yes the robot analogy is deliberate) or Howard has created a genuine miracle. And I’m talking a close loss for him, not a win.

    Again because you’ll say hubris and arrogance, I know it hasn’t happened yet and may not, but the illogical ‘faith based’ position is now a narrow loss. A landslide is conservative, a massive landslide is reasonable, somewhere in the middle is probable.

  37. The good thing for democracy will be if the Libs have a knock-down, drag-out fight amongst themselves for a while and decide if they want to be the party of Menzies or the party of nasty little insects like Alex Hawke (frmoer NSW young libs leader and candidate for the truly safe seat of Mitchell) – Labor has had to do soul searching of its own over the years and ultimately its a good thing.
    Libs should clean house and figure out what they really believe in – Petro Giorgiou for leader i say.

  38. Agree with Triangulam and Greg. As much I would like to see Labor win, please don’t count your chickens before they are hatched. Also, it’s not a fair fight as there are too few like Glen here. We don’t want him to leave.

  39. can someone explain to me the margin of error. everyone says well with moe it is 56/43 why could it not mean 63/37 .im curious and a novice but am i missing something in the way polls work?

  40. Julie,
    I’m sure the libs will have the Nielsen numbers in time for the meeting – what a meeting it will be….oh to be a fly on the wall.

  41. Ha the ALP soul searching…all they’ve done is say they support all our economic policies how is that soul searching???

    All they’ve done is put a dodgy new paint job over their party with a leader who is beloved by the media…it doesnt change the fact that the ALP is run by the trade union movement and it doesnt change the fact that they cannot be trusted with running the economy…

  42. I also don’t think much of Morgan and his polls, I also doubt that the swing is really this high, and I also doubt that the Nats vote is really that low. But this is all quibbling about whether the Titanic will sink at 1am or 2am. The fact is that it is clearly sinking, and I really don’t see how anyone can deny this and expect to be taken seriously. On all historical experience, this government is heading for defeat. It really makes no difference whether Labor wins 20 seats or 40 seats, Howard will still be gone and will remembered as the man who wrecked his own legacy through vanity and hubris.

  43. But if the polls are anything to go by at the moment Rooster Swan will have to run our 1 trillion dollar economy and id like to see him to a better job than Mr Costello…say what you will about ‘deputy dawg’ but at least he’s got a great track record as Treasurer….

  44. L, I hate to break it to you but Whitlam was not on the right of the Party.

    Do you recall his run ins with Calwell? Do recall the split of the party in the mid 50’s and EGW’s position.

    I can draw from various journals but I am happy to agree to disagree.

    Alpal, regarding Dickson, if you think history is going to be made then I am happy to take your money off you in October.

  45. Arbie, how did you get the wa pages from the report, the ones I downloaded didn’t have WA? Leaving WA out because it was bad, is a very different story to leaving it out because it was good?

    We are not counting chickens we are extrapolating (I use that in a non-statistical sense please don’t remind me it is statistically silly to do) a pretty clear 9 month pattern to speculate about a likely outcome.

    Brilliant point libsrok; I wish I had made it :P. Not only are many of the polls rogue, but they are always top of margin of error and never ever bottom of it. Frankly at 60% I’m happy for it to be in the middle of the margin of error 🙂

  46. For those that subscribe to the theory that the election will be close, can you answer these questions for me…

    1. Are there any precedents here for the current situation of an opposition being so far in front (ie at least 57-43 2PP) so close to an election (ie probably 6-10 weeks away)?

    2. If there is a precedent to 1. then on what logical basis are you relying on that what happened then will necessarily mean it will happen now?

    I haven’t got the data in front of me and please correct me if I’m wrong, but off the top of my head I can’t recall an opposition having this sort of lead so close to an election.

    Howard was behind in 2001 2 months out from the election, but not by this margin and the extraordinary events of Sep 11, Tampa and “children overboard” aided his cause.

    Similarly Keating was behind Hewson in 1993 at the same time in the electoral cycle, but again, by nowhere near the margin Howard is behind Rudd.

    And finally, why is it necessarily so that Howard must make ground in the election campaign proper?

    My thesis here is that we are in extraordinary uncharted political waters here (witness Rudd’s all time record poll results) and therefore should expect extraordinary results.

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