Roy Morgan has released two sets of poll results, one from its regular weekend face-to-face polling with 856 respondents, the other conducted on Wednesday and Thursday from only 525 respondents, but using far more reliable phone polling methodology. Bearing in mind that the latter has a margin of error approaching 4.5 per cent, it’s the best result Labor has had in a phone poll since May: their primary vote is at 34 per cent with the Coalition on 45 per cent and the Greens on 12.5 per cent. Applying Morgan’s headline two-party figure derived by asking minor party and independent voters how they would direct their preferences, the Coalition holds a modest lead of 51.5-48.5: however, the more reliable method of allocating preferences as per the result of the previous election has it at 52.5-47.5.
The phone poll was also used to gauge opinion on the Qantas dispute and Australian involvement in Afghanistan. The former is the first polling to emerge on this issue since the events of last weekend, and it finds respondents more inclined to blame management (56 per cent) than unions (42 per cent) for the shutdown, with 61 per cent disapproving of the decision to do so against 35 per cent who approve. However, 64 per cent are willing to sign on to the idea that the federal government should have acted sooner, whatever the ambiguities involved with such an assertion, an idea opposed by 32 per cent. The figures on Afghanistan show a remarkable reversal since Morgan last asked the question in early May, support for withdrawal going from 40 per cent 72 per cent with opposition down from 54 per cent to 21 per cent. However, the earlier result was at odds with the findings of an Essential Research poll conducted at the same time which had 56 per cent supporting withdrawal. Essential Research has had support for withdrawal progressing from 47 per cent last October to 56 per cent in May to 64 per cent in late August.
The results of the face-to-face poll have Labor on 34 per cent (down one on the previous week), the Coalition on 46.5 per cent (down three) and the Greens recording their highest rating in nearly a year with 13.5 per cent (up three). The two-party results present the usual confused picture: on respondent-allocated preferences the Coalition leads 56-44 (56.5-43.5 in the previous week), with minor party and independent preferences splitting about 50-50 typical of recent Morgan face-to-face polling, but quite unlike any election result of recent history. The Coalition’s lead on the previous election’s preferences are a much more modest 53-47, compared with 54.5-45.5 last time.
UPDATE: The latest weekly Essential Research poll has Labor up a point to 35 per cent, the Coalition down one to 46 per cent and the Greens down one to 9 per cent. Two-party preferred has also edged a point in Labor’s favour, from 55-45 to 54-46. This is Labor’s best result on two-party since June 14, and on the primary vote since May 16. It exactly replicates Morgan in finding 35 per cent approving of Qantas’s shutdown, but disapproval is 53 per cent rather than 61 per cent. A question on who is to blame substitutes workers for unions and includes a both equally option: the results are 41 per cent management, 20 per cent workers and 31 per cent both. Respondents were also asked whether they approved or disapproved of various parties’ handling of the matter, with pretty much equally bad results for the government, opposition, management, workers (although here the strongly disapprove rating was relatively low), Alan Joyce and union leaders. Julia Gillard and the government recorded 30 per cent approval and 59 per cent disapproval, against 27 per cent and 45 per cent for Tony Abbott and the opposition. The one party that emerged favourably was Fair Work Australia, with 55 per cent and 21 per cent. There are also questions on media usage which point to an increasing use of the internet as a news source, but not to the extent that respondents would be willing to pay for the content (9 per cent say likely, 88 per cent unlikely).