It’s been an interesting week in opinion polling on a number of fronts, with the Galaxy-conducted Newspoll series making its debut in The Australian, and big shifts emerging in the first leadership ratings to have emerged in three weeks. What there hasn’t been is any particular movement in headline two-party preferred numbers, although that’s of interest in its own right given misplaced press gallery expectations that things were about to turn in favour of the Coalition. So far as the BludgerTrack aggregate is concerned, Labor’s two-party rating has increased by 0.2% compared with last week’s reading, which is not enough to have made any change on the seat projection, with a Labor gain in Queensland having been cancelled out by a loss in South Australia.
However, the real picture which emerges from the latest results is of disaffection with both major parties. On the primary vote, the Coalition has ticked below 40% for the first time since March (before rounding, at least), while Labor is at its lowest ebb since November 2013, leaving room for the Greens to reach an historic high approaching 14%. Even more remarkable is a joint slump in the standing of both Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten. Their respective net approval ratings have been precisely tracking each other downwards since May, feeding into a startling reversal in the tone of media commentary concerning Abbott’s performance over the past week. The preferred prime minister trend has Shorten recovering a lead he lost at the beginning of May, albeit just barely.
The debut Galaxy-conducted Newspoll, in which the interview-administered phone polling mode of yore makes way for automated phone plus online polling from a bigger sample (1631 on this occasion, compared with around 1150 previously), has produced a satisfyingly conventional result. Compared with BludgerTrack, the poll was about a point high for Labor, a point low for the Greens, and bang on target for the Coalition. This series will not form part of the BludgerTrack voting intention equation until the model has more than one result to work with, although it does feature in the leadership ratings, for which it and Ipsos broke a fairly lengthy drought this week.
I’ve also published the detailed quarterly BludgerTrack breakdowns, for those wishing to probe primary and two-party vote trends at state level. Crikey subscribers can enjoy my analysis of the results here.
Further on the polling front:
There were two attitudinal results from the Ipsos poll which I neglected to touch upon earlier. Fully 75% of respondents were in favour of removing citizenship from dual citizens who took part in terrorist activities, with only 21% opposed. However, it should be noted that when Essential Research made a similar finding last month, it also asked a further question which established that most would prefer the determination be made by the courts rather than a minister. The poll also found 85% for support for constitutional recognition of indigenous peoples as the first inhabitants of Australia, up from 77% two years ago.
The Australia Institute has waded into controversies surrounding the ABC by having ReachTEL conduct polls in the electorates of North Sydney, Wentworth and Sturt, which are respectively held by Joe Hockey, Malcolm Turnbull and Christopher Pyne. Respondents in all three electorates came out strongly against the government’s cuts to the ABC budget, with net approval ratings of minus 27.5% in Sturt, minus 27.6% in North Sydney and minus 18.5% in Wentworth. The poll even found strong majorities in favour of the rather odd proposition that the political independence of the ABC should be enshrined in the constitution. These seemed to have formed questions two and five of a longer questionnaire; Kevin Bonham is unimpressed that the other results have been withheld.
The Northern Territory News last week reported on a poll conducted internally for the Northern Territory’s bitterly divided Country Liberal Party government, which found it at risk of losing all but one of the 13 seats it still holds in the 25-seat parliament after the recent resignation from the party of Araluen MP Robyn Lambley. The survey of 1154 respondents reportedly had Labor leading 59-41 on two-party preferred, pointing to a swing of 15%, and found many conservative voters of a mind to abandon the CLP in favour of independents. Parliamentary Speaker Kezia Purick was found to be better placed to retain her seat of Goyder if she ran as an independent, while Gerry Wood, the independent member for Nelson, was rated as the territory’s most popular politician with a net approval rating of plus 46%. Robyn Lambley was credited with a net approval rating of plus 10%, whereas Chief Minister Adam Giles and Treasurer David Tollner respectively scored minus 37% and minus 43%. Labor leader Michael Gunner was on plus 13%, and held a 16% lead over Giles as preferred chief minister. The poll also found only 18% of respondents saying the government was doing a good job, 22% saying it deserved to be re-elected, and 54% saying the territory was heading in the wrong direction.
Cameron Atfield of Fairfax reports that Labor’s candidate for the seat of Brisbane is Pat O’Neill, a 34-year-old serving army major and veteran of two tours in Iraq, who if elected will become the first openly gay member of the House of Representatives. O’Neil won preselection ahead of Clayfield solicitor Philip Anthony. Brisbane is held for the Liberal National Party by Teresa Gambaro, who won the seat from Labor’s Arch Bevis in 2010. Gambaro is set to face a preselection challenge from National Retailers Association chief executive Trevor Evans, having put noses out of joint with her frequent criticism of Tony Abbott.
A preselection held the weekend before last confirmed Sophie Mirabella as the Liberal candidate for Indi, which she lost to independent Cathy McGowan in 2013. Rob Harris of the Herald-Sun reports that Mirabella prevailed in the preselection ballot over Wodonga businessman Kevin Ekendahl by 126 votes to 66. Mirabella will also have to contend at the election with a yet-to-be-chosen candidate from the Nationals, with the Border Mail reporting local party members Marty Corboy and Bernard Gaffney are expected to nominate. There has apparently been talk in the party of the seat being contested by Steph Ryan, who won the new seat of Euroa at the November state election, although it seems she is understandably not interested.
Last week I had a paywalled article on Crikey on the terrible year that opinion polling has had internationally, having progressively dropped the ball in Israel, Britain, Poland and Denmark. Since then, there has been a new entry on the list with the referendum in Greece, at which pollsters heavily underestimated the no vote although in this case, Nate Silver is more sympathetic.
Also by me in Crikey recently for subscribers only: a look at the wild inconsistency in this week’s poll results for the Greens, and the obstacles facing Tony Abbott with respect to the timing of the next election.