The mad scramble to catch up on the surprisingly early Queensland election has left BludgerTrack unattended to, despite the publication last week of the first polls of the year on voting intention from Essential Research and Roy Morgan, together with a bonus Morgan phone poll on leadership ratings (supplemented by these findings on preferred Liberal and Labor leader, which find Tony Abbott is now in third place behind Julie Bishop as well as Malcolm Turnbull). My normal practice of updating this overnight on Wednesday/Thursday will resume henceforth.
The latest reading records a pretty solid shift to the Coalition since the last result in mid-December. In comparison with the in-depth state-level reading I put together after The Australian published Newspoll’s quarterly state breakdowns at the end of the year, the Coalition is up two seats in New South Wales and one each in Victoria and Queensland. But if you want to hold off for polling not conducted during the summer break before taking the results too seriously, I won’t judge you.
Closely inspect the scatterplot on the sidebar (located lower down than usual thanks to the Queensland election poll tracker) and you will observe the disparity between the results from Essential Research and Roy Morgan, the latter of which appears twice as I break it down into two separate results to reflect the fact that it is conducted over two weekends. As you can see, the trendline seeks to split the difference between the two sets of results, and considers last year’s polling to be old news. The two pollsters’ headline two-party figures were in fact much the same, but came out very differently once the meaty bias adjustment to the notoriously pro-Labor Morgan series was applied. Similar caveats should be applied to the Greens vote, which is now in single figures for the first time since who knows when. This may well be accurate for all I know, but the wisest course would be to consider the jury out for the time being.
The leadership ratings are arguably a bit more interesting, since they encompass a result from Roy Morgan’s low-sample but otherwise high quality phone polling, together with the monthly reading from Essential Research. Both leaders are found to be up quite substantially on net approval, consistent with the notion that the summer break tends to soften the public mood. Bill Shorten had remarkably static ratings throughout 2014, outside of a bump in his favour following the budget, but on the current reading at least he’s moved into the black. Tony Abbott has also moved in a positive direction for the first time since Coalition polling started heading south again in October. On preferred prime minister though, the leaders’ gains cancel out, leaving Shorten’s lead much as it was before.