Malcolm Turnbull form guide

On Malcolm Turnbull’s big day, a review of past polling for Turnbull specifically and the Liberal leadership in general.

To set the ball rolling on a new prime ministership, a walk through some highlights of Malcolm Turnbull’s polling record:

• On five occasions, pollsters asked how respondents would vote if Malcolm Turnbull were prime minister, by way of contrast with the headline results. On each occasion, the two-party vote for the Coalition under Turnbull was substantially higher – by 4% in an Essential Research poll in June 2011; by 7% and 8% in ReachTEL and AMR Research polls shortly after Kevin Rudd resumed the prime ministership in July 2013; and by 6% and 9% in Galaxy and ReachTEL polls immediately after the first Liberal Party spill vote in February (compared with 4% and 6% if Julie Bishop had been leader).

• The chart below shows trends in preferred Liberal leader polling during the period of Tony Abbott’s party leadership, encompassing 35 results from Morgan, Essential Research, ReachTEL, Ipsos and Nielsen. There has been some variability in the options available in these polls, but all featured Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott, Julie Bishop and Joe Hockey, with the exception of the two most recent Morgan results, which dropped Joe Hockey. Scott Morrison only became a regular in the middle of last year.

• The next chart records Malcolm Turnbull’s approval and disapproval trends in Newspoll while he was Opposition Leader. Unfortunately, the trend smooths out the dislocation that occurred following “Utegate” in June 2009, which you can get a clear sense of if you view the individual poll results marked by the circles. More recently, there have been three occasions when pollsters have gauged personal ratings for Turnbull. In January 2014, UMR Research respectively had his approval at 42% and disapproval at 30%. Essential Research recorded 44% approval and 31% disapproval in June 2014, which improved to 47% and 24% last month.

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.

1,164 comments on “Malcolm Turnbull form guide”

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  1. The idea that Turnbull has to hold the same ground as 2013 seema like a natural proposition but it’s not really correct. They’ve already lost that ground on the current policy settings, not on the policies they took to the 2013 election.

    Though how much of that was Abbott, I guess we’ll find out.

  2. DareTo: Ah, but you see, a lot of voters in the middle are elitist wankers who have safe jobs, so they don’t worry about jobs, jobs jobs. People who worry about jobs, jobs, jobs probably vote labor anyway.

  3. Guytaur

    I disagree, I support SSM but it is not a first order issue for many, which is why I’ve made the point that five minutes after it happens, most wont care abut it.

  4. meher baba

    [First of all, the far right anger against Turnbull will soon dissipate, ]
    As long as the polls look prettier for them it certainly will.

  5. MB

    Then your viewing of politics is out of touch. We know its important. 70% have said so.

    Look at the rallies around the countries of which Labor leaders have led.

    Its important all right to many and do not fool yourself that describing it as unimportant or third order issue can change that.

  6. I don’t think the Coalition CAN introduce legislation that guarantees first dibs to Aussies for jobs under ChAFTA. Wasn’t that the non-negotiable block to any agreement over the decade or so that Lib/Labor have been negotiating?

    The Chinese will simply walk away if Coalition legislates against the terms already signed off by Robb..

    I also wonder if the Japanese FTA will fall over if they don’t get the submarine contract..

  7. quytaur@1100: SSM is undoubtedly a first order of importance for many people. No question.

    It’s just that I strongly suspect that somewhere between 95 and 99% of these people have never, and will never, vote for the Coalition parties.

    Oddly enough, I reckon there is a Labor-leaning Catholic element for whom SSM is a strong turn-off and, if Labor were to take a really strong stance on it, would switch to the Libs.

    I have known quite a few gay people who belong to, or support the Liberal Party. They all accepted that their party tended towards being anti-gay. They didn’t care, because they were fired up about other issues: eg, hating the unions, wanting taxes to be as low as possible, etc, etc.

    I just can’t see that SSM is ever going to play any sort of significant role in deciding a Federal election.

  8. Will be really interesting to see if Turnbull goes long enough to preside over a 2016 Budget and what it will look like. That is what will make or break his leadership.

    If he wants to hang onto the budget policies fro 14/15 he is fwarked.

  9. meher baba@1095

    Abbott didn’t do anything to destabilise Turnbull in 2009: the likes of Robb, Andrews and Bronwyn Bishop did it all for him.

    Wasn’t Hockey linked to Gretch?

    Then Hockey acted as a spoiler candidate in the subsequent spill.

  10. Guytaur

    All that poll showed was that 70% said yes to it, that doesn’t make it a first order issue, if we had a stronger economy then it would be but what tends to happen when economic conditions decline and we saw it in the early 1990s, people become more focused on jobs and their mortgage (despite only a third of the population having a mortgage)

  11. MB

    70% cent of the population. The young Nationals yes Nationals have voted to officially adopt ME as policy.

    The opposition is small and getting smaller and is regarded as a pointer to out of touch backwards looking reputation Abbott has gained for the LNP.

  12. davidwh@1098

    Personally we have wasted a lot more than the cost of a plebiscite on much less important issues than removing unfair discrimination against a minority group. If that’s what it takes I can live with the cost. Hopefully things will change before a plebiscite is necessary.

    The *issue* remains that it is a device to delay – nothing more.

    Labor wasting $55 Million would be taken to the woodshed.

    turnbull off to a very poor start.

  13. Other MB

    Its a first order issue because it says everything you need to know about the religious dominated backward thinking LNP.

    Its a first order issue because the LNP have made it one.

  14. Baba

    SSM along with Climate Change say as Labor are saying Turnbull sold out. You can’t trust him.

    Actually said in QT. No analysis needed

  15. Guytaur

    Israel and Palestine

    Most Australians would say that its terrible that they can’t live together and it would generate plenty of tweets from the politically active but out there in voterland how many seats swing on the issue.

    A few more than do on SSM but still not as many seats as we might expect considering most people would agree that its a terrible situation.

  16. The issues on which Turnbull was questioned today are less relevant than the fact his answers clearly demonstrate he’s NOT a man of principle ..or, rather that he can change his principles according to the pressures applied to him from within his party..

    He has been clear about Direct Action being a dog of a policy on numerous occasions ..and he’s stated that if a plebiscite is to be held on ME it should be held BEFORE ..or AT the next election. He has now bowed to the Nats & thinks AFTER the election is a good idea..

  17. Just Me has nailed the perfect attack

    $158,000,000 to run a plebiscite

    That’s an awful lot of domestic violence shelters, etc. 🙁

  18. [1035

    In this instance, the change I refer to is within the Liberal party. His challenge is not just to engage better (than Abbott) with his colleagues, but to persuade/lead his party to engage better with the rest of Australia.

    He says he will be more collaborative/consultative within the party. What about people outside of the party? With quite different values/philosophies? He says he will seek to advocate and persuade. What if people are not persuaded? Will he and the party remain obdurate as under Abbott? Do they even entertain the possibility that they, not everyone else, may be persuaded?]

    Isn’t that the fundamental issue? This government has long thought its only issue was that it wasn’t selling the message properly. That, if the government could just phrase its message better, the public would suddenly accept uni deregulation, medicare taxes, welfare changes, cuts to health and education, GST increases etc etc.

    If the government had recognised that it wasn’t just Abbott that was toxic, but its policies, then Abbott simply would’ve simply abandoned those policies. But no, this government was not for turning. That included Turnbull, who supported every single one of the 2014 budget measures.

    Naturally it would have been better for him to make that (a sincere attempt by the party to change) a condition of his leadership, though it may have increased the risk of losing the ballot. That he could, would or did not, does not bode well for him. Nor does the public insistence by various persons that he adapt to the party rather than vice versa. However, as leader, post-ballot, he may have greater success over time – assuming he tries.

    Exactly. Turnbull is beholden to the right. And the right will prevent the implementation of any measures that will recover support for the government. Furthermore, by refusing to accommodate Turnbull, they are damaging how Turnbull will be perceived by the public.

  19. MB

    Every family knows of a gay person if not have a gay member.

    Also if I am wrong then so is the media saying that as the first issue they mention before any other including climate change in headlines as 24 just did.

  20. meher baba

    [ I just can’t see that SSM is ever going to play any sort of significant role in deciding a Federal election. ]

    The main role it will play is to demonstrate how conflicted Turncoat is, and how much he is a captive of the RWNJs in his party.

    In fact, it demonstrates Turncoat is more hypocritical than Abbott was, since at least Abbott was a RWNJ himself, and he truly believed gay marriage was a terrible thing.

    Turncoat is interested in Turncoat only. Not policy.

  21. This seems to imply that Turnbull would hold the SSM plebiscite at the same time as the next election

    [MALCOLM Turnbull is standing by the coalition government’s commitment to hold a national plebiscite on legalising same-sex marriage.

    ALL Australians will have a choice about how the issue is resolved at the next election, likely in 2016, he said.]

  22. Guytaur

    That might be the case although I don’t appear to have any gay relatives so its not necessarily the case that every family as a gay member.

    The media such as 24 tend to spend their time around places where you will see similar supporters, its a reverse of 2GB and ACA who seem to spend their time where they will find fellow travelliers.

    Its an issue which should just be dealt with by the parliament

  23. 24 showing the answer to the SSM question now.

    Not the climate one. Not the budget one. The SSM one.

    This is because the media know SSM represents character in policy decisions.

    They have now gone onto Abbott’s last speech.

  24. [1125
    Player One
    The main role it will play is to demonstrate how conflicted Turncoat is, and how much he is a captive of the RWNJs in his party.

    meher baba seems to be incapable of grasping this point.

  25. Shorten should be in his office having a few bevvies with his team and pondering how much fun this will be as he only needs to remain true to his strategy

  26. Guytaur

    Sorry I know that the issue is a biggie for you, but for the community at large it rates well behind other important issues. With Abbott the issue could be used to freak him out and reveal his weirdness but it will not work so well against Turnbull.
    Having promised the party room a plebiscite then that is what it will be. the best cost saving initiative he could go for is to hold it at the same time as the next election. This I think he could sell to his party room.

  27. Guytaur

    Yeah, its not downplaying, I don’t appear to have any gay family members, its not like they wouldn’t know that I support SSM.

  28. [After all that the coalition has invested in demonising the pricing of carbon, it shouldn’t be a surprise that an ETS won’t be adopted any time soon – never mind that a much higher proportion of economists recommend carbon pricing than dentists use whatever that brand of toothpaste is.

    That means those of us who pay income tax will continue to directly subsidise carbon polluters. You might call that a warped form of carbon tax.]

    Read more:–sort-of-20150915-gjn2mr.html#ixzz3lmvoHRxY
    Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

  29. Guytaur

    Please the ALP is no more unified than the Liberals on the matter which is why Shorten will not allow a free vote unless that has now changed

  30. KEVIN-ONE-SEVEN@1051

    Just Me: He’d also have to renegotiate the agreement with Telstra AGAIN. Wow.

    Better he has to wear the opprobrium for the cost than Labor, because a) it’s his fault to start with that it has to be done, and b) it will have to be done anyway, at some point in the not too distant future.

  31. Every issue counts. Malcolm Turnbull will give a big boost to LNP in opinion polls simply because he is not Abbott. However the more he keeps the same policies the more the gloss will be coming off. He doesn’t have the political capital and time to make slow changes. ALP will highlight how he is another version of Abbott every chance they get. Having knifed his leader and party deeply divided Turnbull won’t have much room to move.

    SSM and climate change may not be big issues in the community but they are the things that differentiated Turnbull to Abbott.

    On economy, things will continue to get worse with last coalition budget guaranteed to have some nasty numbers.

    ALP had a huge boost when Rudd was installed again. Turnbull may follow the same path. No doubt he has revived Coalition’s chances though.

    Shorten’s task got much harder. However should he win the next election he will have a huge mandate, having killed off two PM’s, taken out a treasurer (Joe will most likely go) and a speaker. Where as cruising into victory with Abbott would of made people think he just won because he wasn’t Abbott.

    If you win because you are not the other guy you will have no honeymoon and little political capital to push your agenda.

  32. lol victoria. No.

    They are currently voting for Turnbull the myth – the staunch defender of SSM, An ETS as the most cost effective way to deal with climate change, the Republic, not to mention Inventor of the internet.

    Those numbers won’t last when people come face to face with Turnbull the man, who toes the party line on SSM, who has to defend the ridiculous Direct Action Plan, who has lost all interest in a Republic and made a complete mess of the NBN.

    Of course there was going to be a huge jump in support for Turnbull as PPM (and a smaller jump for the Liberals 2PP), but we all know it will drop off as reality starts to bite.

  33. Guytaur

    Please read what is written rather than what you think is written.

    I don’t have any family members who are openly gay, that isn’t downplaying anything.

  34. Abbotts final press conference one of total hypocrisy ever single phrase of it

    He gained power by doing the exact opposite of what he said today
    Good riddance

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