Newspoll: 53-47 to Labor; Fairfax-Ipsos: 50-50

Shortly after its second budget, and for the first time since its first budget, the Coalition gets a poll showing it level with Labor – although Newspoll still has Labor comfortably in front.

The third and fourth cabs off the rank in the post-budget polling avalanche are Newspoll and Ipsos, and they reverse the situation of four weeks ago in that Newspoll’s numbers are considerably rosier for the government than Ipsos’s. To start with the former:

• Newspoll has Labor’s lead at 53-47, up from 52-48 last time. However, Phillip Hudson’s report in The Australian (paywalled) suggests Newspoll has junked a strict previous-election two-party preferred result in favour of something a little more speculative, with Labor allocated 80% of Greens’ preferences and 60% of everybody else’s. This compares with respective results of 83% and 47% at the 2013 election. The primary votes are 40% for the Coalition (up one), 37% for Labor (up two) and 12% for the Greens (steady). If preference flows from 2013 are crudely applied to these unrounded numbers, it comes out as 52.3-47.7. On personal ratings, Tony Abbott is up two on approval to 39% and down four on disapproval to 52%, while Bill Shorten is up one to 35% and down four to 46%. Abbott leads 41-40 as preferred prime minister, following a 38-38 tie last time. The poll had a sample of 1206 and was conducted from Thursday to today, which is slightly different from Newspoll’s usual practice of polling from Friday to Sunday. The Australian has full tables here.

• Ipsos has the two parties at level pegging on two-party preferred, a sharp turnaround on Labor’s 54-46 lead a month ago. It’s perhaps no surprise that the Coalition’s best poll in a year should come from Ipsos, which has consistently given it its strongest results during its six months of polling for Fairfax. Even so, it’s the best result for the Coalition out of six Ipsos polls thus far, eclipsing a 51-49 reading in late February. I’m presuming this is based on 2013 election preferences, though I should be able to provide a respondent-allocated result shortly (UPDATE: 50-50 by that measure as well). The primary votes are 43% for the Coalition (up four), 35% for Labor (down three), 13% for the Greens (steady) and 1% for Palmer United (steady). The strong Coalition result is reflected in the personal ratings, with Tony Abbott leading 44-39 on preferred prime minister after trailing 46-38 last time. Abbott is up eight on approval to 42% and down ten on disapproval to 50%, while Bill Shorten is down one to 41% and up one to 45%. The poll was conducted Thursday to Saturday from a sample of 1403.

Now to budget response. Newspoll has helpfully been providing more-or-less the same suite of questions since the late 1980s, and a comparative view of the current numbers suggests voters have a somewhat above-average view of the budget’s impact on their personal prospects, but an entirely average one with respect to the economy and Labor’s ability to have done a better job. Ipsos likewise asks similar questions to those that were being posed by Fairfax’s former pollster, Nielsen, although it would perhaps pay to read the current figures in light of the voting intention numbers produced by the same poll, which appear to suggest a Coalition-leaning sample.

• According to Newspoll, 20% say the budget will make them better off compared with 30% for worse off. The net rating of minus 10% is the eighth best result out of 29 budgets going back to 1988, although it’s lucky to have its nose in front of successive results of minus 11% in 2009 and 2010. Of the seven that surpass it, five were from the budgetary salad days of 2004 to 2008, the others being 1994 (an even more remarkable turnaround from the horror post-election budget of 1993) and 1998. Ipsos has somewhat better numbers for the government, in this and everything else, with 28% saying the budget will make them better off compared with 33% for worse off. When much the same question was posed by ReachTEL on Wednesday evening, it found 16.4% saying they expected to be better off, compared with 30.3% for worse off.

• Respondents invariably take the view that budgets will be better for the economy overall than for them personally, and this Newspoll result finds 46% rating the latest budget good for the economy versus 28% for bad. The net result of plus 18% is exactly in the middle of the historical range, ranking 15 out of 31 results going back to 1986. Ipsos has a roughly comparable question on whether the budget will be “good or bad for Australia”, which comes in at 54% good and 29% bad, and gets similar responses on fairness (52% fair, 33% unfair) and overall satisfaction (52% satisfied, 35% dissatisfied).

• On the question of whether the opposition could have done a better job, Newspoll’s results are 36% yes and 51% no, ranking it thirteenth out of 30 results going back to 1987.

UPDATE (Roy Morgan): Roy Morgan comes in on the budget-boost side of the equation, with a headline that the Coalition is in its best position since February last year. The Coalition primary vote of 41.5% is up 1.5% on a fortnight ago, with Labor down two to 35.5%, the Greens up one to 12.5%, and Palmer United steady on 1.5%. Labor’s lead narrows from 53.5-46.5 to 51-49 on respondent-allocated preferences, although the position is slightly less dramatic on previous election preferences, on which the lead shifts from 53-47 to 51.5-48.5, which was matched in a poll conducted in late September and early October. The poll was conducted by face-to-face and SMS over the past two weekends from a sample of 2439 (UPDATE: No, turns out it was just the most recent weekend on this occasion – thanks to Aristotle in comments for pointing this out).

UPDATE 2 (Essential Research): Next to no change on voting intention from Essential Research this week, with Labor up a point on the primary vote to 40%, the Coalition steady on 41%, the Greens down one to 10%, Palmer United steady on 1%, and two-party preferred unchanged at 52-48 in favour of Labor. The budget has 34% approval and 33% disapproval, which isn’t bad as these things go, and respondents were also equally divided as whether the budget made them more or less confident in the government’s ability to manage the economy, at 31% apiece. One point of clarity involved comparison of this year’s budget with last year’s, 45% rating it better and 15% worse. The government particularly seems to have hit the target with small business, as 66% say the budget will be good for them compared with only 6% for bad. In terms of personal impact, 15% say good and 28% say bad, while for the economy overall the figures are 30% and 22%.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

1,955 comments on “Newspoll: 53-47 to Labor; Fairfax-Ipsos: 50-50”

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  1. [
    – Newspoll is still the same, the change to it being done by the Galaxy company, and hence the change in its methodology, is not until July.

    Thanks Leroy. My mistake. Let’s see what the True Blue Newspoll brings us then.

  2. Well, I suppose that is about right. Disappointing, but nevertheless, seems to reflect the populism in the budget.

  3. Try again

    #Ipsos Poll Personal impact of Federal #Budget: Better off 28 (+20 from 2014/15) Worse off 33 (-41) #auspol
    8:32 PM – 17 May 2015
    11 11 Retweets 3 3 favorites

  4. [GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes 30m30 minutes ago
    #Ipsos Poll Personal impact of Federal #Budget: Better off 28 (+20 from 2014/15) Worse off 33 (-41) #auspol]

    Wow, that’s quite a turnaround from last year.

  5. I think Labor will campaign very well in the marginals.

    I do hope Abbott bites the bullet and goes now.

  6. Abbott would probably have won an election yesterday and they almost certainly will win an election held later in the year……then again, the UK election was almost certainly going to be a minority government and it wasn’t!

  7. If they go early they would be smart to go based on the current budget being blocked. They need several months for that to happen.

  8. David @22
    That is probably what may happen. Also throw in some senate reform as part of the election and see what happens.

  9. I think the best you could read into this poll is the punters didn’t throw out the budget as they did the 2014. As Savva said, it was a potical document not an economic one. Then again Tingle called it so convoluted as to be incomprehensible – take your pick either way it’s a dud and the polls will slide back to Lab 52 Lib 48 soon as.

  10. [The ALP won’t dump Shorten.]

    Certainly not right now. That’d be stupid and premature.

    Even if the polls did sink further south for the ALP, it might not be as obvious a choice as some think it would be.

  11. 52-48 was where it was after the last nasty budget & before this kindler/gentler one. Given the absence of any attempt to acknowledge its failures, let alone contribute to fixing them, the ALP aint in a good spot here.

  12. GhostWhoVotes
    May 14
    GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes
    #ReachTEL Poll Preferred PM: Abbott 42.8 Shorten 57.2 #auspol

  13. RB@ 30
    The senate in some eyes shows how little a vote can wield such power. Putting it into an election is better than it been done between the two majors.

  14. GhostWhoVotes
    1h1 hour ago
    GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes
    Correction: #Ipsos Poll Preferred PM: Abbott 44 (+6) Shorten 39 (-7) #auspol

  15. Most probably this Ipsos will not be backed up by other polls, but you can bet the media will hang on to it for as long as they can.

  16. davidwh

    It wasnt the budget reply. The budget and budget reply is only watched by the usual suspects. People are more interested in watching masterchef and renovation shows.

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