Morgan: 56.5-43.5 to Coalition

At some point in the previous fortnight, I resolved to abandon my practice of reporting Morgan face-to-face results by highlighting the previous-election measure of two-party preferred, rather than the respondent-allocated method favoured by Morgan. For those not familiar with this issue, there are two methods pollsters can use to determine how minor party and independent voters would allocate preferences: asking them, or making a distribution according to how voters for the relevant parties divided between Labor and the Coalition at the previous election. While the former would appear to pass the common sense test, it is in fact the latter which has consistently given more reliable results. It would seem that asking respondents places them in a position which is not replicated in the polling booth, where many follow how-to-vote cards or otherwise contrive to avoid engaging mentally with how they order their preferences – the significance of which many would not appreciate. As a result, the previous-election method has come to be favoured by every company other than Morgan, with Newspoll having adopted the practice after its final pre-election poll in 2004 was broadly accurate with regard to the primary vote, but awry on two-party preferred. My policy of favouring the previous-election measure was adopted for the sake of consistency in a period when Morgan seemed to be jumping around from one method to the other. However, Morgan has since settled upon the respondent-allocated measure, despite its poor track record. Highlighting a different result from Morgan’s was thus creating confusion, notwithstanding that I believe it to be the superior method.

Today Morgan has published its first face-to-face poll results since I made this decision, and they have rather awkwardly produced the biggest divide yet between the two measures. The respondent-allocated figure highlighted by Morgan has the Coalition with a thumping 56.5-43.5 lead, much the same as the 56-44 result from the previous poll (which was conducted on the weekend of July 9/10, with the carbon tax announcement coming on the latter date; the current poll combines the weekends of July 16/17 and July 23/24). However, the previous-election method gives the government a far happier result of 53-47. The primary votes are in fact little changed: Labor is up a point to 34.5 per cent, the Coalition down one to 47 per cent and the Greens up half to 12 per cent. What has happened is an exacerbation of the recent trend where Labor’s share of minor party and independent preferences has gone in the same direction as its level of direct support. However, I remain unconvinced that this will be replicated on polling day. The Morgan figures for non-major parties are essentially identical to those recorded from the previous election, when the Greens polled 11.8 per cent and others 6.6 per cent (compared with 12 per cent and 6.5 per cent). If we take the Morgan respondent-allocated figure at face value, this suggests Labor’s share of all non-major party preferences has slumped from 66 per cent to 49 per cent. Since nearly two thirds of these voters are Greens supporters, this seems very hard to credit. The question nonetheless remains as to why poll respondents who favour minor parties and independents have become so much less likely to nominate Labor than the Coalition, to which I don’t have an answer – but keep in mind that the solid swing against Labor in the 2010 election was not reflected in the share of preferences it received.

Nonetheless, the record should note that Morgan has published a figure of 56.5-43.5, and has done so using a method that other pollsters were happy with until about half a decade ago. Equally though we should note that the alternative and apparently more reliable method has produced a result solidly more favourable to Labor than other pollsters have been producing of late. This brings us back to the old issue of the strong lean to Labor which has traditionally been evident in Morgan face-to-face polls, which the recent anti-Labor trend of respondent-allocated preferences has obscured. This point is illustrated by a chart I produced last month showing how Morgan face-to-face results (along with Essential and Nielsen) have differed from Newspoll since the start of 2009. As you can see from the two measures provided by Morgan, the issue of which preference method used was largely academic until the start of this year, when the present gap began to open. On this basis Morgan had become less favourable to Labor than Newspoll using the respondent-allocated method; its previous-election results remained more favourable, though only to the tune of about one point rather than the traditional three.

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.

2,646 comments on “Morgan: 56.5-43.5 to Coalition”

Comments Page 2 of 53
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  1. i heard Sloppy Joe complained yesterday that we put too much pressure on the youngsters of today, such as his young son.

    i agree, he should stop taking him to KFC everyday.

  2. I think the answer is we simply don’t know, William.

    One argument used to be that Morgan face to face favoured Labor because people didn’t want to be seen in a “face to face” situation to be supporting an “on the nose” coalition seen as reactionary & a tad racist. Given the absurd nonsense from some sections of the media in recent times and the highly public “lets kill Julia” lobby, maybe this has simply flipped 180 degrees? People now don’t want to be seen, face to face, as supporting JG at a time when the media are portraying her as the devil incarnate, even if they prefer her to the Mad Monk?

    And then, of course, people are only now just beginning to really come to terms with the CO2 / Climate Change stuff in real electoral terms. Abbott has a had a dream run on such things for months while the details have been sorted out. Voters probably carry a residual “pro Tony” view as a result, and “go safe” in face to face terms even though they now have some serious doubts now more info is out. There is a massive weight of economic and enviro evidence stacked against his position, despite the Abbott shock jock “love in”. Such things ultimately count.

    Ultimately I think we are at a point of huge electoral fluidity. Face to face polls reflect people’s views of what those polled think “other people think” more than phone polls. Such things can change very rapidly when the issues become real, and the voters have to make real choices and I don’t think voters are really wedded to either side, despite the hyperbole from some quarters.

    I think we are at a real “tip point”. The next couple of months may produce some dramatic changes.

  3. [Despite what bilbo asserts, if the money is right – they would sell their Grandmothers.]

    Push polling…

    ‘We have a national problem with grandmothers.
    The social security budget can not cope with the costs.’

    Now keeping that in mind, how much would you be prepared to pay for a grandmother?

  4. Boerwar,

    We, allegedly, had minus seven last night. The weather station monitor under our eaves said minus three.

  5. A question for the Bludgertariat

    If you are on the Do Not Call register do you still get calls from polling/ market research companies? Or are they banned?

  6. [It has finally happened, The great failure that has been the ABC’s supposedly leading Current Affairs programme bit the dust in a big way last night. It has now scored its smallest audience since the departure of Red Kerry. A miserable 450,000 viewers last night, which meant nearly 400,000 viewers either changed channels or turned off after the 7pm News]

    Well spotted David.

    That is the key issue here – you can blame multi-channels and other things for a decline in news viewers generally, but it doesn’t explain a mass switch off from the 7pm news’ still relatively healthy lead-in figures.

    Dumb and dumber have destroyed the 7.30 report’s credibility. It’s now partisan, tabloid and nasty.

    Shame, ABC, shame.

  7. [58


    Posted Friday, July 29, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    A question for the Bludgertariat

    If you are on the Do Not Call register do you still get calls from polling/ market research companies? Or are they banned?

    They, like Politiccal Parties and Religious Organisations are exempt.

  8. [People now don’t want to be seen, face to face, as supporting JG at a time when the media are portraying her as the devil incarnate, even if they prefer her to the Mad Monk?]

    i see the other way to people would not want to support him either if they hear what the shock jock say and dont like it and all the news coming from over seas.
    i think they are changing their vote becauce of this also, and are genuine.

    some people dont like to be on the nasty side of politics.

  9. Thefinnigans TheFinnigans
    The question facing the American public is you can no longer consume 25% of the world resources and must accept lower standard of living
    1 minute ago

  10. bring on the closing ,won’t take too much to bring on division among the libs MT can smell it, spring in the air !

  11. Boerwar,

    I not letting Tony Abbott any way near my weather station.

    Might give him a cuppa though. Just pruned the oleander.

  12. Found this treasure in UK guardian newspaper..thought I’d share it with you.
    “A journalist tells me that Rupert Murdoch has been deeply touched by some of the messages people left on Amy Winehouse’s phone…” ha ha ha.

  13. [A question for the Bludgertariat

    If you are on the Do Not Call register do you still get calls from polling/ market research companies? Or are they banned?]

    we registered for do not call, we still get charities and have had some polling recently

  14. Rod Hagan @52,

    Very good post.

    BTW, haven’t seen you post here for a while.

    Good to “have you back ” as they say.


  15. Rod @ 52

    I was polled by Morgan face to face a few years back. I recall the interviewer telling me that she had previously spent two whole days in Toorak without getting a single interview. When there a fences and security systems, as well security apartment blocks , I could see that the sample would be skewed in some way toward the ALP. Also, elderly people do not like answering the door etc.

    Even though in these days of mobile telephony (and all of the questions that raises about samples), you are likely to get the broader demographic through a phone interview just because of the perceived anonymity.

  16. [We, allegedly, had minus seven last night. The weather station monitor under our eaves said minus three.]
    weather thermometers are supposed to be in a box that is like a lattice

    in my other life i was a weather observer before the children at the WB
    loved it.
    the thermometers are not exposed and its done this way for an average temp.
    i ask recently and yes its still the same, only now you dont have to go outside every three hours like we did 24 hours shifts the computer registers in side.

  17. yes i know i am nagger, but why have morgan done this

    want they look odd when the other polls come out say even another newspoll
    or ess on Monday. shouldn’t polls be a typical way polls are calculated at a real poll
    like we have from the others pollsters.

  18. New NASA Data Blow Gaping Hole In Global Warming Alarmism


    Better Times!

  19. well DAVID William said we can that thats what it should be,so go for it, my only bother is that the media will pick up on it and start swooning
    ill keep my little bottle of Italian wine for a few more weeks, gosh i wish i could think of the name of it.

    its in a funny shape bottle dumpy on the bottom and thin neck

    get the vision.,do we

    its a sweet wine

  20. [yes i know i am nagger, but why have morgan done this]

    My own theory is that they are favouring an anti-Labor method of preference distribution (as it has become recently) to compensate for the pro-Labor results that their polling method traditionally produces (see Blackburnpseph at #73).

  21. gosh rommel my oh and i did a tour of alaska last year and saw several
    falls of glaziers with scientist on board ship and lots of other stuff as well.
    we did the tour we wanted to see of our selves i have phots if i could actuly show them here.

    i suggest you book your trip and see and learn

  22. blackburnpseph

    [If you are on the Do Not Call register do you still get calls from polling/ market research companies? Or are they banned?]

    You still get them I think they are exempted.

    Mind you I wish they could cut out the “I’m calling on behalf of Windows” here to help shysters.

  23. [distribution (as it has become recently) to compensate for the pro-Labor results that their polling method traditionally]

    well before doing that they should of checked the new trend

  24. Thefinnigans TheFinnigans
    To me Tony Abbott is an insidious, adorableless, gravitasless, tactless substance #auspol
    18 seconds ago

  25. rummel

    [New NASA Data Blow Gaping Hole In Global Warming Alarmism]

    Busted. Whatever credibility you had is no more. You link to a guy from the Heartland Institute. You may have heard of these guys before. There integrity is…..well read the following and y’all get an idea of what they are about.

    [In the 1990s, the Heartland Institute worked with Philip Morris to question the link between secondhand smoke and health risks.[6][15] Philip Morris used Heartland to distribute tobacco-industry material, and arranged for the Heartland Institute to publish “policy studies” which summarized Philip Morris reports.[15][16] The Heartland Institute also undertook a variety of other activities on behalf of Philip Morris, including meeting with legislators, holding “off-the-record” briefings, and producing op-eds, radio interviews, and letters.[15][17] In 1994, at the request of Philip Morris, the Heartland Institute met with Republican Congressmen to encourage them to oppose increases in the federal excise tax. Heartland reported back to Philip Morris that the Congressmen were “strongly in our camp”, and planned further meetings with other legislators.[18] ]

  26. david

    [My say re the wine does Mateus Rose ring a bell?]

    True story re Mateus Rose. It was Saddam’s wine of choice.

  27. poroti

    oh but i thought it was about the science not credibility?, that being the case we can toss out the IPCC with the clown Pachouri at the wheel.

  28. Tlbd @95,

    I have no indepth understanding of USA politics but as a outside observer I cannot see how the Republicans can come out of this looking good.

    They are arguing internally while the country hovers on the brink.

    Is this the icarus moment for the tea party? ( sorry can’t spell so hope icarus is correct )

  29. Actually I have a suspicion Mateus is a Portuguese wine …yes checked wikipedia who say…
    Mateus is a brand of medium-sweet frizzante rosé wine produced in Portugal. The brand was created in 1942 and production began at the end of World War II. The wine was especially styled to appeal to the rapidly developing North American and northern European markets. Production grew rapidly in the 1950s and 1960s and by the late 1980s, supplemented by a white version, it accounted for over 40% of Portugal’s table wine exports. At that time, worldwide sales were 3.25 million cases per year
    Oh well Italy, Portugal whats in the bottle that counts..if it tastes good, it must be good for you…

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