Morgan phone poll: 51-49 to Coalition

Morgan has published results from a phone poll of 561 respondents conducted over the three previous nights, which suggests the recent flood levy debate has been one more episode of sound and fury that has no substantial effect on voting intention. The Coalition leads on the primary vote 42.5 per cent to 35 per cent, with the Greens on 12 per cent. After distribution of preferences as they split at the 2010 election, the Coalition has a two-party lead of 51-49. Morgan however has used the less reliable method of respondent allocation for its headline figure of 50.5-49.5. Also featured are results on leaders’ personal ratings, and here there has been significant movement: Tony Abbott’s approval rating has slumped eleven points since December to 39 per cent, with his disapproval up seven to 46 per cent. Julia Gillard is down three on approval to 46 per cent and up four on disapproval to 42 per cent. On preferred prime minister, Gillard’s lead has widened from 46-39 to 49-36. Since this is a phone poll, none of the usual qualifications about Morgan face-to-face polling’s bias to Labor apply. However, what does apply is a fairly substantial margin of error of about 4 per cent, owing to the small sample size.

The poll also canvassed opinion on preferred leaders of the major parties, finding Julia Gillard with only a modest lead of 31 per cent to 26 per cent over Kevin Rudd – well down on the 13-point lead Morgan recorded in a phone poll on December 8-9. While the sample on both polls was small, a question on preferred leader other than the incumbent suggests Rudd’s popularity has recovered since a post-election dive: his 36 per cent response is roughly where it was in July and August, but up nine points on December. That Gillard has lost so much ground in the head-to-head to contest with Rudd over time points to her own decline in absolute terms. The order of also-rans runs Stephen Smith (12 per cent), Wayne Swan (11 per cent) and Bill Shorten (9 per cent).

The same set of questions with regard to the Liberal Party shows Tony Abbott slipping to third place, though this is due to a gain for Joe Hockey (up four points since December to 25 per cent) at the expense of Malcolm Turnbull (down three to 28 per cent, though still in front), rather than a significant move in Abbott’s rating (down one to 24 per cent). On the question of preferred leader other than Abbott, Turnbull leads Hockey 35 per cent to 32 per cent, with no others in serious contention.

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.

2,046 comments on “Morgan phone poll: 51-49 to Coalition”

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  1. Robb fumbled any final chance of a leadership position with his totally inept performance during the Coalition’s NBN policy launch during the election period. It was one of the Coalition’s worst performances during the entire campaign. And few will forget Robb jumping off his sick bed to stick the knife into Turnbull. Then he badly buggered up the numbers with a failed Deputy Leadership bid because he wanted to take Shadow Tresury Spokesperson off Hockey. Between Robb and Hockey we had rubbery figures for the Coalition’s policy costings. It was truly pathetic stuff.

    Let’s face it, all this had nothing whatsover to do with Robb’s depression. The reality is that Robb has presented us with a colourless, lacklustre and inept performance over the last half year. Smith (?) was banished to the backbench for his troubles at the same launch. Abbott should have done us all a favour and carried out a political mercy killing of Robb while he had the chance.

  2. SK

    Thanks for that. I also can’t see Abbott’s replacement being leader for the next election. MT is currently $3.50. I think your scenario may well play out.

  3. victoria @ 1939

    Taken to its logical conclusion, then his theory would mean that none of us would be able to live here. In my time I’ve seen (not personally) Darwin flattened, Broome, FNQ with cyclones, bushfires galore (I was in Canberra, living in Weston, for the 2002 fires), parts of Hobart ablaze, Sydney several times, Victoria, Adelaide Hills, floods galore – Brisbane, parts of Sydney, Melbourne, many country towns, an earthquake in Newcastle and so on and on!

  4. BTW: I agree with you all that we need more diversity in media outlets. Thats separate to the fact that we are better off than other places (opinion only). US media may be more competitive bu from my perspective its still superficial, the pollies don’t get asked the hard Qs (note famous Doyenne of Washington Press Corps media sensation when she actually managed to get a Q to GWB about Y he went to war! The others were too chicken to ask!)

    Even if the Oz is 55 on the political spectrum, Fox “News” is 95! Fox is a comedy network, not a news network IMO

  5. Boerwar,

    Looking across the entire coalition bench, there really isn’t much depth there. Not really anyone that you would consider true Leadership material, which doesn’t augur well for the future of the Libs in the near future.

  6. According to Samantha Maiden at the Sunday Mail today, the Coalition has ‘secret research’ that found voters were overwhelmingly opposed to the floods levy scheme because of a lack of trust in the Gillard Government’s fiscal management”

    [The focus group findings, conducted over summer, also found voters did not believe Ms Gillard was “standing up” for them against rising electricity prices, big banks and giant corporations, including insurance companies]

    I think this might have changed over the last couple of weeks, but it is interesting to see where they are getting their talking points from.

  7. [Scott Morrison is definitely a potential liberal leader – it would help if he had experience somewhere else than immigration – somewhere less populist, more meaty (for want of a better word).]
    Immigration is a very meaty policy area if you want to do it seriously rather than just chant “Stop the boats”. Is there any sign that Morrison could or wants to expand his actions beyond chanting a 3 word slogan?

  8. [Both the US and UK have a wider range of media outlets across the political spectrum (mildly left to the crazy right).]

    And their top mastheads have a much better standard of journalism that any Oz paper. They also tend to leave slovenly-written, un-subedited, tabloid-style beat-ups to the tabloids. No Australian newspaper journalism comes within a country mile of USA’s NYT, WashPost; UK’s Guardian, Telegraph, Independent – or the significant Continental mastheads (Le Monde, Il Giornale, Frankfurter Zeitung etc); or, for that matter, top English Asian papers: eg Straits Times, Times of India.

  9. ABC News 24 just featured some of Phoney’s interview with Cassidy – I think we can add INSIDERS to the list of current affairs programs to be boycotted by Abbott from now on. 😉

  10. [Not that I haven’t forgotten myself once or twice! 😉 ]
    If you’ve never done it then you’ve never had anything more important on your mind.

  11. [Did it have the bit where Cassidy accused Abbott of being ‘sloppy’?]

    Yes, I think so!
    The most uncomfortable the unhinged one has looked in a while.

  12. [The focus group findings,]

    Just picked myself up off the floor! Focus Group finding! lol, lol, lol! 😉

    Coordinator to Liberal voting Focus Group; “now, group, the first question is; ‘is Ms Gillard standing up for you against rising electricity prices, big banks and giant corporations, including insurance companies’? ”

    Second question; “are you overwhelmingly opposed to the floods levy scheme because of a lack of trust in the Gillard Government’s fiscal management? ”

    LOL, LOL, LObloodyL, LOL! 😉 😉 😉

  13. Scorprio

    I thought that very funny myself. All the crap that Labor copped over ‘focus groups’ and now the libs have their own ‘secret focus group findings’.

  14. Ho, ho, ho, Samantha Maiden, Santa Clause here, that’ll convince the Labor voting bogans and Late sipping, Chardonnay drinking, elite Labor druggies that Gillard’s no good.

    Tone to the rescue! Tra la la lah!!! 😉 😉 😉

  15. Watching Business Lateline. They are talking to CEO of Suncorp, and he is saying the insurance industry is researching whether there is CC and how will it impact on insurance and states they have a role in informing and advising goverments as to changing risks in environment.

  16. [According to Samantha Maiden at the Sunday Mail today, the Coalition has ‘secret research’ that found voters were overwhelmingly opposed to the floods levy scheme because of a lack of trust in the Gillard Government’s fiscal management”]

    Ten bucks say the questions were loaded. If the “research” wasn’t just pulled out of their arses.

  17. [Ten bucks say the questions were loaded. If the “research” wasn’t just pulled out of their arses.]


    I think a bit of both.

  18. I find it so amusing that the more that Abbott’s leadership comes under fire, the more there are magical polls and research that show Gillard’s leadership is dead.

    Betcha if a Lib MP called for a challenge against Abbott, the story of the day would be a rumour that someone in the Labor caucus is thinking of doing the same.

  19. TSoP,

    That ‘black hole’ has certainly been responsible for some spurious numbers so I go with

    [the “research” wasn’t just pulled out of their arses.

  20. OzPol @ 2009

    Have you ever read the Straits Times? It is a mouthpiece for Singapore Inc aka the PAP and the Lee Family. Nothing more, Nothing less.

    Definitely not in the same league as your other examples. You may disagree with it’s politics, but The Australian should be in the list .. the SMH and The Age would have been once but they are a shadow of their former journalistic selves.

  21. [Betcha if a Lib MP called for a challenge against Abbott, the story of the day would be a rumour that someone in the Labor caucus is thinking of doing the same.]

    Shorten! 😉

  22. [IMHO, Taylor, a consumate professional, has contempt for Savva’s journalistic standards.]

    Boerwar@1871 – how good was Lenore Taylor. It’s a pleasure to listen to her and I just wish she was a JG adviser or press secretary.

    Nothing more to be said about Savva except OH walked in and said ‘I see the Addams family ad has been resurrected’.

  23. I wonder if that comment about Shorten, by what’sername on Insiders this morning, is just an example of a move in a long term strategy of the conservative forces to damage potential Labor leaders while they are still on training wheels?

  24. Hello PBs! I have spent the day furiously trying to fix an old computer for my daughter. I have been periodically checking in and reading as I go.

    Happy Birthday Frank! I have been especially thankful for your posts on the fires. The wind is going in the right direction for us. Without your posts I would have had no idea.

    I see that Mod Lib has been trying to play maestro to the orchestra: to change the aria from the obvious “Tone is in trouble” to some old tune about Rudd and the UN, or was it how grateful we should be for the media in Oz? Whatever.

    I have a question for Mod Lib:

    What is your current position on climate change?

  25. Re Rudd’s management style…1853.. Darren Laver….

    As to our comment’s re Rudd and his style,I didn’t think there was any more doubt about his awful management and his lack of personal skills. when PM.

    From some sources I have in Canberra, I leaned that his office management style was chaotic and
    so bad that he had endless changes of style and direction.

    I know one MHR who told me that many caucus members could never get to to see the PM who was guarded by his Praetorian Guard of young male minders.
    and his lack of support in caucus when the crisis came, seems to prove that.

    I guess we have all seen that style of management in our working lives,especially in office bureaucracies…it’s not uncommon but terribly disabling to a working group.

    I once worked in a bureaucratic situation where the manager of the section was so messy,mad and chaotic that it had a comic side to it…even small things were mishandled,and in the end so chaotic did it become, that the” higher-ups” had her moved to another place where she could do less harm.

    The wife of a very senior person worked in our group,and I saw from her rising contempt for the manager of the group ,that her husband would know all the facts and the end came as no surprise to me.

  26. Did anyone put this up earlier? A leak against a leaker! Priceless! 😉

    [Police sex file on WikiLeaks founder is itself leaked ]
    [A confidential police report detailing sexual assault allegations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been leaked online, days before a hearing to decide whether he should be extradited to Sweden.

    The file, which contains 100 pages of interview transcripts, investigatory notes and witness statements, was published anonymously on a file-sharing site.]

  27. Yes, the site’s been offline, and it’s still being goofy – it won’t let me add new post. So if you haven’t heard already, GhostWhoVotes reports Newspoll has Labor on 32 per cent (down two) and the Coalition on 44 per cent (up three), with two-party yet to be provided.

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