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”

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  1. People ought to not drink the kool aide on China. It’s economic condistion is not as healthy and robust as the MSM print. They have created significant problems for themselves which will be painful to work out.


    What all of my Shadow Ministers are doing is talking about the Coalition’s policy and we have a very strong and effective policy to deal with climate change. We are completely committed to the five per cent emissions reduction target by 2020. We have a policy that will get us there. We have a policy that will actually go out and achieve abatements, the Government doesn’t.

    I mean the interesting thing about the Government’s policy is that if you look at their own figures our emissions will actually increase with the carbon tax – they will go up from 578 million tonnes a year now, to 621 million tonnes in 2020 and the only way they’re actually going to achieve the emissions abatement target is by spending $3.5 billion abroad with foreign carbon traders.

    Now, not only are they going into [inaudible] to foreign carbon traders by 2020, the situation is just going to get worse by 2050. I mean with the carbon tax going up to $131 a tonne on the Government’s own figures our domestic emissions remain 545 million tonnes a year by 2050. So, they’re 578 million tonnes now, with a $29 a tonne carbon price, they’re going to go up to 621 million tonnes and with a $131 a tonne carbon price they’re only going to go down to 545 million tonnes. In other words they’re going to have to buy some 400 million tonnes of abatement abroad. Now, that’s going to cost them $57 billion going off to foreign carbon traders by 2050.

    What?! That is absurd. Abbott really believes that pricing carbon emissions will result in emissions increasing? Then why is he preaching doom and gloom for jobs in the industry?

  3. [In February 2010 Joyce declared that Australia was “going to hock to our eyeballs to people overseas” and was “getting to a point where we can’t repay it”. ]

    Joyce was on again about it this morning. Said he is in Sydney today to meet with Hockey to work out how they will commit future revenue to different policies, etc.

    Can we expect policy announcements soon? Perhaps Abbott is having 2 weeks to come back refreshed to announce policies.

  4. Yes Obama is selling out the US middle class to save his arse. We should not be surprised. Apart from a few signature issues like health-care, he has done so throughout his presidency, even when the democrats had a clear majority in Congress. Here is a story about the most recent example, where it seems government prosecutions of illegal banking practices at the heart of the sub-prime mortgage scandal are being settled quickly, without transparency, and with no jail time for the guilty.
    [Last fall, we learned that many mortgage lenders were engaging in illegal foreclosures. Most conspicuously, “robo-signers” were attesting that banks had the required documentation to seize homes without checking to see whether they actually had the right to do so — and in many cases they didn’t.

    How widespread and serious were the abuses? The answer is that we don’t know. Nine months have passed since the robo-signing scandal broke, yet there still hasn’t been a serious investigation of its reach. That’s because states, suffering from severe budget troubles, lack the resources for a full investigation — and federal officials, who do have the resources, have chosen not to use them.

    Instead, these officials are pushing for a settlement with mortgage companies that, reports Shahien Nasiripour of The Huffington Post, “would broadly absolve the firms of wrongdoing in exchange for penalties reaching $30 billion and assurances that the firms will adhere to better practices.” ]

    Too big to fail has become too big to jail.

  5. Socrates

    You are much too confident.

    When Barnyard made his statement I had been following much of the US debate on debt and banks. I knew Barnyard was right at least about the US. Note Henry’s comment about hypothetical and misinterpretation – as I said wtte “please do not panic the punters” NOT wtte “how silly no chance in hell.”

    The USA is a large rich country but do too is Argentina and Brazil but for many years these two were practically failed states. The USA has a political system suited to 1780, based on a limited franchise of wealthy traders and landowners and a large illiterate serving/slave population who did as they were told. Decisions could be taken slowly and with all lobby groups getting fingers in the pie.

    Shear wealth plus two world wars followed by military dominance and the cold war led the USA to have world dominance and masked the flaws in its political system. I think historians in 200 years will see that the slow decline started in 1972 when the Bretton Woods agreement got started but it has taken a long time to unravel.

    The following are the problems faced by the USA:

    Huge debt which must be repaid – $43,000 per person I think

    Dependence on fossil fuel in a market of increasing scarcity

    Loss of manufacturing overseas with a long time to rebuild even if the dollar fall and makes US manufacturing affordable again

    Over-reliance on military spending for its growth – a huge task to unravel

    Over extended “empire” with costly foreign bases which they can no longer afford but will have trouble winding back

    Rise of a powerful economic AND military rival ie China so that the US faces loss of navel supremacy in the Pacific which in turn reduced economic leverage

    Poor educational standards relative to equivalent powers

    Huge class/race divides, reducing national cohesion

    Huge immigration issues which keeps wages down and leads to local tensions

    Rapidly declining Middle” classes leading to large wealth inequalities a traditional marker for a failed state

    An ideological mind set which places the individual ahead of the group. While this is a positive in the times of growth it may be a negative in crisis as it may prevent people working together to overcome adversity.

    Ageing infrastructure – Most nations face this at some time and it is now the turn of the US

    A political system which has shown itself to be inflexible and not well geared to rapid and decision making. Probably no longer suitable for the modern internet linked world (and trading markets).

    Need I go on?

  6. Did anyone see 60 Minutes last night. Someone telling Laws he will never vote Labor again after seeing the program last night. Said the Minister wouldn’t answer any questions.

    Does any PBer know what that was about please?

  7. Finns,

    Bugger Obama. I wouldn’t be surprised if the public don’t take to the streets with Baseball bats. They have been sold out to big business.

  8. Does Barnaby still think breaking up Aussie banks is a good idea?

    I don’t know about Barnaby Joyce, but given that each one of our ‘4 pillars’ is now by definition too big to fail I’d say pretty much any economist worth their salt would think that, in theory, breaking up CBA, NAB, Westpac and ANZ would make sense from a systemic risk and competition point of view…

  9. [Finns,

    Bugger Obama. I wouldn’t be surprised if the public don’t take to the streets with Baseball bats. They have been sold out to big business.]

    Prettymuch! If he wanted a better solution, he could have got one. But he didn’t.

  10. TP

    My views o China are mixed. No doubt there are problems we don’t hear about but, equally, I think we fail to see things from their perspective. Why would they stop their expansion, when they are funding it with their own money? I don’t think they will. Like Japan, they may face many problems when the growth is finished, but that may not be for 30 years.

    See background papers by Paul Frijters:

  11. Barnyars is right about OUR debt. It is not yet critical but governments (all colours) need to look at the situation and plan for a debt reduction strategy. To do this Australia should

    Tackle our trade deficit. It is common bloody sense to see that we should not be buying MORE than we sell (excluding large long term income generating capital investments). The easiest thing to wind back will be consumer spending, although it needs to be done with caution. Costello lost the plot on this which is why I think he was the worst Treasurer we have had.
    We must NOT rely on China for our growth – Never rely on just ONE nation. Spread the risk.
    Keep our OWN manufacturing base come hell or high water. (i know sound old fashioned – still right though).

    More later . Work beckons

  12. [People ought to not drink the kool aide on China. It’s economic condistion is not as healthy and robust as the MSM print. They have created significant problems for themselves which will be painful to work out.]

    TP, of course China has its own problem. Like how do you feed 1.3 billion people and raise their basic living standards. They will find their own soultions to their problems:

    1. With self reliance
    2. With their own money
    3. They will endure whatever hardships that come their way without whinging and moaning
    4. They will not lecture other countries
    5. They know you cannot eat democracy

    That has always been with the Chinese people and civilisation.

  13. Abbott talking about tonnes,thought he said carbon dockside was weightless,does he ever think about his last pack of lies, as my father said to me to be a good liar you need to have a good memory,abbott does not.Bye the bye this trip to the UK is probably to visit Nosferatu murdoch to get his next lot of orders and his monthly cheque.

  14. daretotread
    [Need I go on?]
    Yes you do, but a little closer to the point. You have quoted a list of facts we all already understand. The US is already in recession, or growing too slowly to make any difference. They MAY default. Europe is similar. Either way, how will that change the rest of the world from where it is now?

    Barnaby said there could be a world wide collapse if the US defaults. That won’t happen, with or without US default. The lost decade may extend for Europe and the USA. But the rest of the world is changing, and continuing on, including our major trading partners. And what serious odds on Australia collapsing?? Zero chance IMO. That was pure scare-mongering by Barnaby.

  15. US National debt $14.6 trillion
    US GDP $14.8 trillion

    US total debt $54 trillion
    Total interest $6.3 trillion
    Debt per citizen $176k
    Spending $3.6 trillion Revenue $2.2 trillion
    Deficit $1.4 trillion

    Actual unemployed 24.8 million
    Those surviving on food stamps… 45 million

    US unfunded liabilities $115 trillion

    Its all good.

    US Personal debt $51k per citizen

    Total National assets $76tillion
    National Asset $243k per person
    national debt $176k person, private $51k per person

  16. [Barnyars is right about OUR debt.]
    Tosh. It is lower now, in % terms, than it was under Menzies.

    Read this, “A History of Public Debt in Australia”, especially the graph on page 8.

    You will note that Australia’s government debt hasn’t been this LOW for almost a century. Private debt is higher, but also reducing, as people pay their debts, which is demonstrated in recent retail trade figures.

    Stop the Dodgy Claims!

  17. Tackle our trade deficit. It is common bloody sense to see that we should not be buying MORE than we sell (excluding large long term income generating capital investments).

    Australia has been running trade surpluses of late … any current account deficit in recent times has been related to capital inflows (foreign investment).

    Trade imbalance is not a serious issue for Australia at the moment.

    I do agree we should not rely so much on Chinese demand, and we should attempt to maintain a diverse economy regardless of whether we’re making squillions from digging up our dirt right now…

  18. Socrates

    Yes Yes as to world collapse – agree, at least mostly. it is a sign of US loss of status that there will NOT be a world wide collapse. There will however be major strategic realignments.

    ditto about Australia -Barnyard lost the plot there.


    Time to send in the bailiffs????

  19. Boerwar @ 2254:

    Judging from your post you have obviously had what you perceived as a bad experience with the legal profession.

    And – even for you – making comparisons with the sex industry and the legal profession is more than a little over the top.

    Moreover, your post is really not much more than a series of sweeping generalisations.

    A profession is generally defined thus:

    [‘A disciplined group of individuals who adhere to high ethical standards and uphold themselves to, and are accepted by, the public as possessing special knowledge and skills in a widely recognised, organised body of learning derived from education and training at a high level, and who are prepared to exercise this knowledge and these skill in the interest of others.

    Inherent in this definition is the concept that the responsibility for the welfare, health and safety of the community shall take precedence over other considerations.’]

    It has been my experience that by and large, the legal profession fits aforesaid definition, yet will concede the law, like the other professions, do have within it a number who do not meet the high standards expected of them & that is why tribunals are given the authority to investigate those who are alleged to have transgressed.

    See the link under for those who were the subject of disciplinary proceedings in Queensland in 2009:

  20. Socrates and Jacko

    I agree with you both but there are still some issues.

    Jacko – yes our Terms of trade are great at the moment. We should be making the most of it and investing etc. It is pretty good at the moment. Need to keep it this way and not allow the Costello era back.


    I probably expressed myself poorly. Barnyard was right to identify it as an issue but way out of line to think it was a real problem for Australia just now. Typical barnyard in that he was spot on if unwise about the US but tried and failed badly to extrapolate for point scoring to Australia.

    Great discussion but MUST go – sadly

  21. Thefinnigans TheFinnigans
    USA fundanmental solutions – spend less on wars and the rich to pay more #debtceiling

  22. Looks like a deal has been struck to avoid US debt default, so Barnaby was wrong 🙂
    [President Barack Obama says Democrat and Republican leaders have reached an agreement to reduce the US deficit and avoid a potentially disastrous default.

    Congress has less than two days before the Treasury deadline of August 2 to lift America’s borrowing limit and avert a possible default which would sow chaos in the fragile world economy.

    Mr Obama says agreement has been reached on a deal which would see $US1 trillion in cuts initially, with a super congressional committee to find more savings to lift the federal borrowing limit beyond the 2012 election.]

    But the interests of US workers have been sold out, so Finns and Socrates were right 🙁

    The key point was only that there not be a problem in the 2012 election. Spending cuts mean that the US economy will continue to shrink, and unemployment will grow above 14 million. Still no sign they will drop the loopy Bush tax cuts for the super rich.

    daretotread 2525

    Fair enough. No argument about realignments. That is inevitable.

  23. Thefinnigans TheFinnigans
    hmmm, nobody is addressing the elephant in the room of USA – jobs, jobs and jobs – where do they come from #debtceiling
    5 seconds ago

  24. Finns 2532

    Sadly true. As I said, they need 14 million new ones and counting. The slide in the US position as a world power we saw under Bush is continuing. I doubt we will see it stop before China overtakes them. They needed a leader, but they got a politician.

  25. Socrates

    [But the interests of US workers have been sold out,]

    So no change there then. Steady as she goes. check this out. Written in 1996 there has been another 15 years of it.

    [Growing class inequality and stagnant wages are by design not accident, say six UC Berkeley sociologists in a combined analysis

    Berkeley — Over the past twenty years, the United States has “dismantled” many of its historic structures for spreading wealth out among the people, which goes far toward explaining the growing gap between rich Americans and everyone else in the country, according to six sociologists at the University of California at Berkeley. ]

  26. [I presume once he is re-elected he will go the repealing the rich tax cuts path]
    I hope I’m wrong but I doubt it. He made no effort to do that when he had a majority in both houses. He won’t get that position back again, and he has no chance of making the house republicans agree to it.

  27. Well, it’s time to call it.

    Obama is a dud. Sure, he’s not as inept as Bush, but he has not exhibited any courage at any stage since elected. The damage to the US may just be as great as that caused by Bush anyway.

    For those that think the Republicans will be punished by all of this, I think you are going to be sadly disappointed.

    Makes you sort of think what it would be like to have someone in charge who could actually negotiate difficult legislaition through and not just give pretty speeches….

  28. [For those that think the Republicans will be punished by all of this, I think you are going to be sadly disappointed.]

    I agree with you. Voters will blame Obama. After all, he’s the incumbent President.

    [Makes you sort of think what it would be like to have someone in charge who could actually negotiate difficult legislaition through and not just give pretty speeches….]

    Oooooh. Love it! 😆 The Americans were quite entranced with our PM when she gave her speech to Congress.

  29. Good morning, Bludgers.

    Lovely Spring morning, here: bare-feet-on-the-kitchen-tiles weather. Hang on there. It’s still July!

    [USA great place to buy quilting fabric my shop here wants 29 dollars a meter i can buy it in texas for 7.00]

    my say: You’re a Pinup Gal for Internet and its power to open doors to “new worlds” of international communication, information, education, media, merchandise and activism in national and international political and media affairs – as PBers who’ve shared your journey from your first tentative posts will agree.

    I hope you’ll write about your journey from your first day: how you felt; why & how you made each new step; how you felt during and after; whether it changed you, in what ways; where you see yourself going next. Have you joined international quilting/ other groups? Shared your quilts and other craft works on your own page?

    Most Internet users either grew up with it (as my generation did with books) or were forced by their jobs to use it, so arrived via computer use. Relatively few did as mature adults and can recall and record their discovery, exploration etc.

    A few months under 195 years ago, John Keats’ friend Charles Clarke introduced him to George Chapman’s translation of Ancient Greek poet Homer’s poetry.

    [They sat up together till daylight to read it: “Keats shouting with delight as some passage of especial energy struck his imagination. At ten o’clock the next morning, Mr. Clarke found the sonnet on his breakfast-table.”]

    On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer remains one of the few immediate reactions of a person introduced to a whole new world, in Keats’ case, literature (it’s on the page’s top RH side)

    Though few are as brilliant as Keats’, such personal accounts of transition through a fundamental change (esp in technology) are the lifeblood of good history. Very few survive. One of the best finds at Vindolander, a Roman fort on Hardian’s Wall, is one sister’s letter to another, saying how happy she will be if her sister could come and share that day – I have a very similar post card from my maternal grandmother to her future sister-in-law over a century ago. Despite almost 2000 years’ gap, both record the same human emotion.

    At least one of our important museums (National in Canberra?) collects/collected such stories as part of ethnographic studies of the times. I don’t know if Tassie ones do, its uni does – or Senator Conroy’s office does; but, as the NBN rolls out, someone will want to collect them.

  30. poroti

    Yes that is consistent with other papers I have read on structural causes of US equity issues.

    FYI there is an excellent article on the history of US wealth inequality by Picketty and Saez. The conclusion (its been getting worse) are self evident yet the instant response of many on the right was to challenge the validity of the data! (Picketty and Saez used official personal income data, so pretty amazing tactic.) Then there were counter-arguments based on using taxable income data (which ignores share dividends and bonuses for the wealthy) to try to claim the opposite.

    Just like climate change deniers – if you don’t like the facts, say the real ones are wrong, and make up your own to suit.

  31. Socrates
    I think the repugs have done themselves some serious damage because of their failure to be reasonable and I believe the American voters are going to show the repugs their displeasure at the ballot box which should give Obi the power he needs to do the rest of the things he wanted to do,this should be seen in the context of losing a battle to win a war.

  32. There is a bit of a parallel between Barack Obama’s situation with their House of Reps and Julia Gillard’s with the Senate pre-July 1.

    I can’t see how Barack could have done any better. Will have to wait for the gruesome details, I suppose.

  33. BigBob

    [Obama is a dud. Sure, he’s not as inept as Bush, but he has not exhibited any courage at any stage since elected.]

    Then again he was handed two pointless multi trillion dollar wars that had the Foxified Noos meeja going feral at any hint of “cutting and runnin” and “not staying the course” . He was handed the keys to an economy that GWB’s crew had just blown up. All in a country where over half Republican voters thought he was a secret “mooslim”. Trying to fix the health system produced “death panels” and Tea Party loons. He had no hope. I await the reaction to the pro Thanks Giving Day Turkey’s when they realise that cuts to medicare,medicaid and other beloved benefits lay at the end of the Tea Party Garden Path.

  34. This time around Obama may have faced a tough hand, but the fatal error he made IMO was not to get the tax reforms through when he had the chance in 2008-09. He had a strong mandate and didn’t use it. Then he lost it in 2010.

    I am pessimistic that US voters (even more ignorant than ours) will notice such subtleties in 2012. Remember these people re-elected George W Bush. The one hope I have is that they will push hard on investigating the Murdoch media empire. That might help more in 2012.

  35. Socrates

    [FYI there is an excellent article on the history of US wealth inequality by Picketty and Saez. The conclusion (its been getting worse) are self evident yet the instant response of many on the right was to challenge the validity of the data!]

    Thanks for that. If anyone wants to read the article Socrates referred to here is a link.

  36. IMO, Obama should do a national address & state that had he not made some concessions to the Repugs the US economy would have collapsed.
    Now is the time for Obama to lay the blame where it squarely belongs whilst the Repugs are celebrating ‘their win’ & owning the deal.
    They held the nation to ransom.

  37. blackburnpseph @ 2278:

    evan14 wrote: ‘Bob Carr had the right idea, choosing the time and manner of his departure from New South Wales politics in 2005.’

    I responded with: ‘Ditto Neville Wran.’

    You responded with: ‘Both were already on the downhill run.’

    Yes, your’re probably right about Neville Wran, evidenced by the fact that his seat of Bass Hill was won by Michael Owen of the Liberal Party when the former resigned; and, that Griener defeated Unsworth in 1988.

    But that really isn’t my point, which is: Wran, who you will recall won office some six months after Gough’s defeat, had the political nous to get out when the evidence seemed indicate the writing was on the wall.

    Shame more haven’t followed his lead.

    I’ll leave evan14 to defend Carr’s departure.

  38. Obama has to take responsibility for some of the economic mess though. Sure Bush was a disaster and left him the GFC, a budget deficit and 2 dumb wars. He did avoid the global recession, pass health care and got out of Iraq (3 ticks). But consider these:
    – his economic stimulus package was focused largely on the banks, and not creating jobs
    – none of the major players from causing the GFC have stood trial; most will now get off
    (also none of the major players from Gitmo, torture renditioning have stood trial – torture is a crime under US military and civilian law)
    – Bush tax cuts for super rich were extended
    – climate change action has been deferred, and US largely sunk Copenhagen

    I’d say a conceded pass at best.

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