The BludgerTrack poll aggregate finds the Coalition retaining last week’s big gain without significantly adding to it, except to the extent of a 0.4% increase on two-party preferred and a gain in New South Wales on the seat projection. Coming after this week’s unexpectedly strong result from Ipsos, Coalition-supporting readers of this blog (I know you’re out there) might have been hoping for more. There are two reasons they don’t have it, the first being that Ipsos has had the Coalition tracking solidly higher than its rivals over its four published federal polls, and a bias adjustment is being applied to account for this. So far as BludgerTrack is presently concerned, the Ipsos poll had Labor on 52.5%, rather than the published 51%. The second factor is this week’s Essential Research result. As is so often the case, Essential’s published fortnightly rolling average recorded no change this week. However, BludgerTrack is privy to Essential’s weekly numbers, and while I ordinarily don’t give anything away about them, dedicated observers of BludgerTrack could ascertain for themselves that a stronger result for Labor was concealed by fortnightly smoothing and possibly a little rounding.
It’s a different story on the leadership ratings, where Ipsos’s numbers have caused a particularly large movement in Tony Abbott’s favour on net approval, albeit from a disastrously low base. There are also two data points now to indicate that things might be going a bit awry for Bill Shorten, who long seemed to be tracking just below parity, but is now approaching minus double figures. Abbott has accordingly made up ground on preferred prime minister, which reflects voting intention in being back to where it was before Australia Day. But so far as net approval is concerned, Abbott remains well south of his previous low point after the budget.