Nielsen has this week thrown a spanner into the BludgerTrack works, producing a dramatic shift on the basis of a result that’s yet to be corroborated by anybody else. The big mover is of course the Greens, who have shot up five points to the giddy heights of 15.4%, a result I wouldn’t attach much credit to until it’s backed by more than one data point. Only a small share of the gain comes at the expense of Labor, who have accordingly made a strong gain on two-party preferred and are in majority government territory on the seat projection. A further point of interest with respect to the Nielsen poll is that the two-party preferred response on respondent-allocated preferences, which is not published by Fairfax, is at 54.5-45.5 considerably stronger for Labor than the headline result from previous election preferences. This may reflect a swelling in Greens support from the ranks of disaffected Labor identifiers, and a consequent increase in the Greens preference flow to Labor in comparison with the 2013 election result which may in turn suggest the headline two-party result from the poll flattered the Coalition a little.
The other aspect of the latest BludgerTrack result which may raise an eyebrow is the strength of the Labor swing in Queensland, which also blew out excessively in January before moderating considerably thereafter. The Queensland breakdown from this week’s Nielsen played its part, showing Labor ahead 53-47 for a swing of around 10%. However, in this case the Nielsen is not out on a limb, providing the model with one of five Queensland data points from the past four weeks which all show Labor in the lead, with two-party results ranging from 51.1% to 56.5% (keeping in mind that sample sizes are in some cases below 200). The scattered state results provided by Morgan are not included in the model, but its poll release last week reported that Labor held a lead in Queensland of 51-49.
Nielsen also provides new data points for leadership ratings, and in keeping with the general weakness of the poll for the Coalition, their addition to the model puts Bill Shorten’s net approval rating back in front of Tony Abbott’s, and returns the narrowing trajectory to the preferred prime minister trendlines.