Morgan: Turnbull 70, Shorten 24

A snap SMS poll finds Malcolm Turnbull with a resounding lead over Bill Shorten as preferred prime minister, while Essential Research offers its final poll of the Tony Abbott era.

The first nugget of polling of the Malcolm Turnbull era is impressive even by the usual honeymoon effect standard, with Roy Morgan finding Turnbull enjoying a 70-24 lead over Bill Shorten as preferred prime minister, including a 50-44 lead among Labor supporters. The poll was conducted today from a sample of 1204 respondents.

Also out today is a now-redundant final reading of voting intention under Tony Abbott from Essential Research, which shows the pollster’s usual steady form in having the Coalition on 40%, Labor on 38% and the Greens on 11%, with Labor leading 52-48 on two-party preferred – none of which is changed from last week. Most of the remaining questions concern refugees, including a factual question on Australia’s refugee intake that produced fairly unremarkable results, with the highest response being for the broadly accurate total of “about 15,000”. Nor did Essential find evidence that opinions dramatically differed between a sub-sample that was advised of the actual figure and the other sub-sample that wasn’t.

Regarding the 12,000 additional Syrian refugees, Essential recorded 19% saying the number should be higher, 36% opting for lower and 30% saying it was about right. Forty-eight per cent expressed support for Australian involvement in air strikes on Islamic State in Syria, with 29% opposed. Other questions found 38% saying the unions’ take on the China free trade agreement, specifically that it fails to protect Australian workers, to be more credible than the government’s line that the agreement contains adequate protections; and 38% saying the coal industry should continue to expand with 33% saying it should not do so, which is a more positive result than you usually get concerning non-renewable energy sources.

Other polling intelligence of recent times that remains of at least historical interest:

Liberal internal polling reported by InDaily had the Nick Xenophon Team, which is yet to announce candidates, ahead of Labor in the South Australian seats of Barker and Mayo, and ahead of the Liberals in Adelaide and Kingston – suggesting the NXT would very likely win the seats on respective Labor and Liberal preferences.

Labor internal polling reported by the Herald-Sun suggests the Greens are a big show in the blue-ribbon Melbourne seat of Higgins, held for the Liberals currently by Kelly O’Dwyer, and in the past by Peter Costello, John Gorton and Harold Holt. The poll had the Greens on “between 24-26 per cent” with Labor on 24%, panning out to 50-50 in Liberal-versus-Greens two-party terms if the Greens did indeed finish ahead of Labor.

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.

1,190 comments on “Morgan: Turnbull 70, Shorten 24”

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  1. @95 – let’s see if Turnbull et al have a better sense of perspective than the people in here wanting to throw themselves out of the window based on a single poll.

  2. Turnbull is great at the prepared stuff see press conferences yesterday but an absolute waffling idiot when made to speak on his feet – see question time today not across detail and having to defend abbott-esque policy. ALP and Greens don’t need personal attacks they just need to keep asking policy questions. Unless Turnbull can change the liberal policy direction he will be toast come election time.

  3. Abbott gone
    Hockey gone

    Turnbull in
    Bishop (younger) stays
    Morrison becomes Treasurer

    Shorten looking like a used-car salesmen next to Turnbull

    Right wingers apoplectic

    This is seriously good for Australia

  4. Gorkay King

    Oh to have a Vote.1 Greg Combet. I would have preferred Albo but Shorten is still there in the ring and seen off Abbott so he must be doing something right.

    Some assume the approach of Shorten against Abbott will be the same approach he will use with Turnbull. I suspect they are wrong.

  5. @103 – despite Turnbull selling his soul to the Nats on a useless climate policy and wasting $150m on a plebiscite for something the HC said was Parliament’s responsibility?

  6. I think turnbulls trump card is the economy and that is where he will fight. Yes ssm, refugees etc are important but the most important thing is to get the economy right. I hope labor have a plan – it is not like they could claim dumping Abbott came as a surprise.

  7. BB is entirely right, of course. A 70-24 split, even if accurate merely says that people are happy Abbott is gone. Indeed, if the polling that says more than half of Labor voters prefer Turnbull is right, then that is very clearly the case. Let’s wait for a PPM when Turnbull is actually polled on his performance as PM>

  8. [JimmyDoyle
    …Happiness – what is this Canning poll that you referred to @ 96?]

    Yes, I was trying to find it and GWV has it now:

    [GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes 10m10 minutes ago
    #ReachTEL Poll 14/09/15 Seat of #Canning 2 Party Preferred (if Turnbull leader): LIB 57 ALP 43

    GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes 10m10 minutes ago
    #ReachTEL Poll 14/09/15 Seat of #Canning 2 Party Preferred: LIB 52 ALP 48]

  9. OK, I’ll take the gloves off. And this is not being “chicken” of Turnbull, rather it’s being candid about Labor’s prospects in this very changed political landscape.

    Shorten, to my close observation, is seriously underwhelming. The most telling problem is that he can’t speak properly, articulately, authoritatively.

    He says odd things, puts weird emphases on certain words in a sentence; the cadence is strange. It doesn’t sit easily on the ear, and for the viewer this peculiar speaking style seriously detracts from the message. Speaking aside, televisually he is fairly ordinary too. He doesn’t command any sense of authority or charisma. He falls flat. He delivers lines prepared by others with a crashing thud. I’m sorry but I think he is a total dud. I was willing to bite my tongue when he faced off against Abbott but the problems are all too evident in this new political setting.

  10. Whether ALP win next time around or not, Abbott needed to go for the good of politics in general.

    Abbott turned the amplifier up so loud all we heard was reverberations. The ‘music’ of policy had disappeared entirely from the discourse.

    Shorten, by NOT becoming an Abbott-like opposition did something Gillard, who I have the utmost respect for, could not: he has taken the heat out of the political discourse.

    If he had become shrill and violently loud like Abbott was in opposition, it would have fueled Abbott’s PMship by giving him an opponent to fight against. Shorten has instead, taken the policy route, with very little tit-for-tat politicking.

    The media, I don’t think, even realised what was happening until too late and kept calling Shorten insipid (as do a few on here).

    But by taking out half of the ‘fight’ Shorten allowed Abbott’s exaggerated fury to be shown up for what it is … insubstantial (but politically destructive) bluster. Media then started to notice that Abbott was out on a cliff bellowing about nothing.

    Hence the disfunction and lack of policy suddenly became noticeable.

    Turnbull will need to build a credible policy platform that was never there under Abbott. A difficult ask when half your party is still walking along the cliff’s edge, clutching a blue pamphlet that contains nothing but IPA devised ‘motherhood statements’.


  11. Jimmy

    Just NO

    Attacking Turnbull on those issues will BOOST him, solidifying the RW base but not denting his progressive image.

    Labor needs to define policy differences with the LNP, NOT personal attacks.

  12. It seems Turnbull has made a few deals with the Nationals.

    In the spirit of his new era of consultation and inclusiveness I wonder who Turnbull consulted with before agreeing ?


  13. [“• Liberal internal polling had the Nick Xenophon Team, which is yet to announce candidates, ahead of Labor in the South Australian seats of Barker and Mayo, and ahead of the Liberals in Adelaide and Kingston – suggesting the NXT would very likely win the seats on respective Labor and Liberal preferences.”]

    I wish Xenophon the best.

    He is the only moderate Indepedent in the entire parliament.

    Bit like how the Democrats used to be before they imploded

  14. @Millennial

    He’s respectful (to an extent) in the way he speaks. His answer to Adam Bandt today in the House didn’t ridicule, wasn’t just a bunch of ad hominem or deflection. He was using actual reason to construct his argument in front of his opponents and the public, not just lobbing pre-scripted lines like a muppet. That’s what I want politics to be. Whether that attitude will or can last, I have no idea.

    I disagree strongly with a lot of Turnbull’s positions, but (at this very early point) he seems to represent a more mature style of politics which makes Shorten look like a nagging child.

    As I said before, my voting intention (including preferences) hasn’t changed. As long as the Greens exist in their current form they will have my strong support and activism at elections, and Labor might be fumbling brutes but their hearts are vaguely in the right place, so they’ll get my preference. But in a person to person contest of Turnbull vs. Shorten, Turnbull wins hand over fist.

  15. looks like Snap election with same policies…

    Didn’t Coalition Party said (especially Abbott) you can change a leader, but not change the spot? (or something to that effect?

  16. I was actually wondering whether the Turnbull ascension would result in a massive swing (one way or another) in Canning.

    A swing to the LNP or a very small swing away 2 ro 3% would be a massive boost for MT
    A massive swing away or a loss would be a bad way to start your career as PM

  17. [109
    I think turnbulls trump card is the economy and that is where he will fight. Yes ssm, refugees etc are important but the most important thing is to get the economy right. I hope labor have a plan – it is not like they could claim dumping Abbott came as a surprise.

    As guytaur said, Turnbull is already in a bad position on the economy. He stands by all the Abbott Government’s neoliberal “reforms”, all of which are economically harmful. Additionally, the right will not allow Turnbull to implement any policies that would help the economy, and as a neolib Turnbull probably wouldn’t want to anyway.


    Nothing wrong with the market. One of our Senators was a wall-street banker, anyway. Also there are plenty of good people in Goldman Sachs.

  19. It really does amaze me that, after a lifetime of being a wrecker and a revenger, that ANYONE could think Abbott won’t get some payback if he can.

    What IS it with this bloke that otherwise intelligent people keep on giving him the benefit of the doubt?

    The man’s a psychopath.

  20. Happiness – well 57-42 represents a 5% swing, so more than 2%-3%, but if that can be replicated on election day, that is indeed a pretty good result for Turnbull, although he will then have yet another RWNJ to deal with on the backbench.

  21. Alias

    I have some sympathy with your comments, but it is early days yet.

    Shorten needs to switch to policy mode. He cannot beat Turnbull on communication (few can) so he needs to ramp up the policy.

  22. Hm

    They focused on ME (a no win) and climate change (could be turned to a winner but not just yet)

    It is economic policy and unemployment that is the game in town. Also government revenue and taxation. The rest is fluff.

  23. [JimmyDoyle
    ….Happiness – well 57-42 represents a 5% swing,]

    He has only been PM for a few hours……give him a few more days!

  24. daretotread – then you are advising Labor to lose. Elections are not won on policy alone, however much we wish it were so. If Turnbull is allowed to define himself and then implements harsh policies, he will simply be seen as a courageous leader in the mould of Howard, instead of the unprincipled sell-out he actually is.

    Further, I’m not suggesting that Labor attack Turnbull on the specific issues of marriage equality and climate change. His vow to stand by all the Abbott Government’s toxic policies is a much more potent weapon.

  25. I agree, Christian Porter is heading upstream.

    Kelly O’Dwyer too

    What about making Bronwyn Bishop Minister for Ageing as a consolation prize for the right?

  26. Alias thinks that Shorten’s stuffed because he needs elocution lessons so he can speak like a toff. Call for Professor Higgins, please.

  27. Maybe Turnbull will offer Abbott the US Ambassadorship. Just what Tony needs, go somewhere he’s ridiculed more than in Australia.

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