With pollsters generally preferring to hold their fire until after the budget, this has been a fairly quiet week for polling, with only a pre-budget ReachTEL poll for Fairfax joining the regular weekly Essential Research. The BludgerTrack poll aggregate maintains its trend of four weeks in having Labor and Palmer United up, and the Coalition and the Greens down. Labor’s gain of 0.8% to 37.8% puts it 3.7% higher than where it was four weeks ago, while the Coalition’s 38.8% represents a descent over the same period from 42.0%. The Greens continue to cool down after the boost which followed the WA Senate election and the aberrant Nielsen result that immediately followed, while the Coalition decline has been reflected by a steady rise for Palmer United, from 4.3% to 6.2%.
On two-party preferred, Labor makes a slight 0.2% gain this week to 52.6%, its equal best headline result from BludgerTrack in its nearly 18 months of existence. In New South Wales the gain for Labor is 0.6%, giving it an extra gain there on the otherwise unchanged seat projection. The Essential Research poll also provides a new set of data for leadership ratings, which sees the trendlines continue in the directions established by Newspoll last week: Bill Shorten pulling out of the summer slump that followed his early honeymoon ratings, Tony Abbott down sharply on his mediocre early year figures, and a linear trend on preferred prime minister getting ever nearer to parity.
Methodological note: It has been noted that ReachTEL has been leaning slightly to Labor relative to other polls recently, something that was not evident in the pre-election polling on which its BludgerTrack bias measures had hiterto been based. Consequently, I am now applying to ReachTEL the same bias adjustment procedure I use for Morgan, the upshot of which is that its deviance over time from the voting intention results modelled by BludgerTrack is measured and controlled for. This adjustment has caused Labor’s gain this week to be slightly less than it would have been otherwise.