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. Vic,

    [Abbott calling an early election would be received the same way as Campbell Newman]

    I don’t know if that’s true, but it would have to weigh heavily in any decision to go early.

  2. [They won’t win a DD election on the 2014 budget triggers Fess.]

    True. So that leaves this budget. Except there isn’t much in this year’s budget that is opposed by the opposition and Senate cross benchers is there?

  3. Vic, the parallel with Newman stacks up to the extent I think Abbott will entertain an early election to shore up his position internally.

  4. Bludgertrack will make interesting reading this week. My guess is that it will still show Labor with a majority of seats.

  5. Abbot v Cando

    The obvious difference is Tony having to cope with unfriendly Senate, that would be his reason to go early, the dilema is the Senate has saved Tony from himself.

    Expect Tony to blow the whistle more on the bludgers / leaners, Howard showed how easy it is to pitch to Australians intrinsic selfishness & prejudice.

  6. The Libs will scratch their heads for a few days, not being able to believe their own luck.

    Then they’ll get cocky. Believing your own publicity is a terrible mistake.

    The Budget’s still a stinker. Just not as overt as the last one.

  7. True BB. Abbott might come out of hiding. He does worse when feeling hubristic. It will remind the electorate why the dislike him.

    Turnbull and Morrison must be scratching their heads.

  8. One thing i have picked up on twitter is the notion that businesses that buy goods to the value of $20,000 is 100% refunded. Rather than the reality of being able to claim 30% which is the tax rate

  9. hapless

    [I suspect going before the ALP dump Shorten is much more important]

    Perhaps you can outline the mechanism by which that will happen.

  10. @Edwina

    Changing leader now would be political suicide for Labor, and now technically quite difficult with the new rules.

  11. [Perhaps you can outline the mechanism by which that will happen.]

    Party room vote to change the rules
    Change the rules wins
    Leadership spill
    Leadership vacated
    New leader elected

  12. Well it’s pretty clear Shorten has failed, why preserve failure. abbot is unpopular but still about level with shorten in personal popularity.

  13. [Party room vote to change the rules
    Change the rules wins
    Leadership spill
    Leadership vacated
    New leader elected]

    Simple as……

  14. [Turnbull and Morrison must be scratching their heads.]

    My first thought when I saw the numbers was that there is going to be unhappy people on both sides of politics.

  15. Newspoll

    53-47 2PP to ALP

    Primaries: Coalition 40, Labor 37, Greens 12

    Abbott: Satisfied 39, Dissatisfied 52
    Shorten: Satisfied 35, Dissatisfied 46

    Better PM: Abbott 41, Shorten 40

    May 14-17 1206 sample

  16. While the idea of the electorate preferring Abbott as PM is galling, the one positive about this poll is it ensures Abbott will stay put as leader. The Libs with Turnbull or Morrison would be a stronger adversary.

    But other than that, this result sticks in my guts.

  17. victoria
    Its even less value than that in that the tax refund is the same but brought forward to the year of purchase instead of being collected over the depreciation period.

  18. Are you telling me Labor’s partyroom can just change the rules, without taking it to a membership vote or at least a national conference?

    Because that can’t be right, surely..

  19. [Edwina StJohn
    Posted Sunday, May 17, 2015 at 9:47 pm | PERMALINK
    It’s the beginning of the end for Shorten. Watch what Conroy does very carefully now.


    You seem infatuated with the idea that Shorten is going to be replaced. First it was Burke and now Conroy.

    How about putting your money where your mouth is? I’ll bet you $100, or any amount you like to name, that Shorten leads Labor to the next election.

  20. Newspoll moves away from the LNP just to keep it interesting!

    Can anyone remember the last approval ratings? They look like an improvement for Abbott tome (higher than Shorten sounds like a first).

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