Roy Morgan breaks the New Year polling drought with its regular face-to-face plus SMS polling compiled from surveys over the two previous weekends, in this case with a sample of 2622 (Morgan typically gets about 3000, so this might be seen as an insight into the challenges of polling over the holiday period). It is a better result from the Coalition than the previous poll conducted in early December, which had a rogue-ish 57.5-42.5 headline lead to Labor, compared with 53.5-46.5 at the poll in late November. This time the Labor lead is 54.5-45.5, from primary votes of 38.5% for both the Coalition (up 3.5%) and Labor (down 2.5%), 9.5% for the Greens (down two) and 2% for Palmer United (steady). When preferences are applied according to the 2013 election result rather than respondent allocation, Labor’s lead is 53-47, down from 56.5-43.5 last time and back where it was in late November.
UPDATE (Essential Research): Certainly no sign of any Coalition recovery in the debut Essential Research poll for the year, which being the first deviates from normal form in not being a rolling average combined two weeks of results. The poll has Labor leading 54-46 on two-party preferred, compared with 52-48 in the last poll of last year, from primary votes of 40% for Labor (up two), 38% for the Coalition (down two), 10% for the Greens (steady) and 2% for Palmer United (steady). Also featured are Essential’s monthly personal ratings, and here at least there is better news for Tony Abbott who reverses a slump in December to be up five points on approval to 37%, with disapproval down two to 53%. However, Bill Shorten is up four on approval to 39% and down six on disapproval to 33%, so perhaps this is festive cheer talking. Shorten remains ahead on preferred prime minister, although his lead has narrowed from 36-31 to 37-35. Further questions relate to penalty rates, and bode ill for the cause of deregulation. Eighty-one per cent support penalty rates as a basic principle with 13% opposed, 68% would oppose cutting them with 23% supportive, and only 18% believe encouraging employment would be the more likely result of doing so, compared with 63% for business making bigger profits.