Essential Research: 51-49 to Coalition; Morgan: 52.5-47.5

Morgan finds serious slippage in support for the Coalition for the first time since Malcolm Turnbull became leader, bringing it more closely into line with Essential Research, which continues to find the Coalition with a narrow lead.

It looks like the only two new federal polls this week are the regular Essential Research and Roy Morgan series, and a solid drop for the Coalition from Roy Morgan brings the two much closer together than they have been since Malcolm Turnbull assumed the prime ministership. Essential is its usual stable self, with the Coalition’s modest two-party lead of 51-49 unchanged on last week. The primary votes are 43% for the Coalition (down one), 35% for Labor (steady) and 11% for the Greens (steady). The voting intention results were derived from online polling conducted over the two previous weeks, from an overall sample of about 2000. From this week’s sample of 1000 only, the poll also offers us Essential’s monthly leadership ratings, which find Malcolm Turnbull steady on 51% approval and up two on disapproval to 27%, while Bill Shorten is steady on 27% approval and up one on disapproval to 48%. Turnbull’s lead on preferred prime minister has increased from 51-18 to 52-15. Respondents were also asked to register two reasons why the government might wish to reform the tax system, for which the most popular response by some margin was “to address the budget deficit”, which was rated first or second by 58%. Favoured possibilities for revenue raising followed the usual pattern in coming in highest for proposals targeting multinational corporations and high income earners, with a GST increase rating last out of seven listed options. When forced to choose between higher income tax or a higher GST, 37% came down for don’t know.

Morgan’s two-party measures record their first significant movement of the Turnbull era, with the Coalition’s respondent-allocated two-party lead down from 55-45 to 52.5-47.5, and previous election preferences down from 54-46 to 52.5-47.5. Clearly rounding and changed preference flows had a fair bit to do with this, because the primary votes are little changed, with the Coalition steady on 43.5%, Labor up a point to 29%, and the Greens up a point to 16%. The poll was conducted by face-to-face and SMS over the two previous weekends, from a sample of 3072.

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.

786 comments on “Essential Research: 51-49 to Coalition; Morgan: 52.5-47.5”

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  1. Philip Soos on the unhelpful mythology of negative gearing:

    The favourite scare story promulgated by the housing lobby is that when the Hawke/Keating government quarantined negative gearing during 1985-87, it caused rental prices to surge, quickly leading to its reinstatement. Fortunately, not only did the evidence refute this urban myth, it showed that negative gearing can be safely quarantined, if not abolished.

    Rents rose in Perth and Sydney only, remained steady in Melbourne and Canberra, and fell in Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin. If the lobby was correct, quarantining should have adversely affected all capital city rental markets equally, not just two out of eight (even when factoring in a lagged response). There were confounding factors at work: rising interest rates, introduction of capital gains tax and a stock market bubble.

  2. When did that Morgan come out? I must have missed it.

    It’s a doozy, too. I’m hesitant to read much into Morgan or Essential at the best of times, but that’s a pretty substantial shift (at least on TPP). I guess time will tell if it actually means anything.

  3. Morgan is truly the troll poll.

    I wonder what Mark of Mark the Ballot will have to say given that he was looking to this week’s poll as a measure of whether Morgan was cooling.

  4. Nicholas: as I said on the previous thread, the removal of a major part (typically more than half) of the post-tax returns on investment on rental housing for most investors simply has to have a significant impact on investor choices. It’s hard how this wouldn’t have an impact on both availability and rents in markets in which capital gains are low on average.

  5. Nicholas: as I said on the previous thread, the removal of a major part (typically more than half) of the post-tax returns on investment on rental housing for most investors simply has to have a significant impact on investor choices. It’s hard to envisage how this wouldn’t have an impact on both availability and rents in markets in which capital gains are low on average.

  6. Sabra Lane told us yesterday that voters would give Tony Turnbull a big tick for dumping or maybe delaying, or whatever, the GST increase. Maybe he thought that musing publicly about stupid and unpopular policies for a few months before shelving them was an easy way to win friends so privatising Medicare is bound to be another winner when he dumps it.

  7. [.26.Nicholas@2020: so why didn’t the Federal Government of the time leave it in place?

    Is it conceivable that they had access to better data, including forecast modelling, than this bloke?

    The idea that it wouldn’t have any impact is like the suggestion

    Ok so the stats fail to show a clear impact (indicating that it is likely any impact was simply less significant than other impacts). ]

    It is more likely than not that the Fed Govt folded to political pressure.

    I guess there is a fine line between no impact (which no one has claimed) and an impact that was utterly trivial compared to other factors.

    It is the weakness with the GST scare campaign, we don’t have a scale of how bad it is. In 2000 it wasn’t that bad.

    Did you (MB) claim the income tax deduction made up half the return on these investments? I missed that.

  8. So, getting back to MOE territory for the 2PP….

    Waiting, waiting for the “Bill’s gotta go” mob to wind up.

    I notice McGowan in WA, even with a surprising 53-47 lead to Labor a little while back, is now being reported as surplus to requirements for WA Labor, at least – or according to, some local hack who claims to have got it from some “insiders” in Labor in the “know”.

    Who can figure it?

  9. Governments often make decisions based on misinformed fears rather than evidence and logic. The decision to reinstate negative gearing in 1987 was one of those poor decisions.

    It’s interesting that rents only increased in two metropolitan markets after negative gearing was removed in 1985 (Sydney and Perth), remained steady in two markets (Melbourne and Canberra), and actually fell in four markets (Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, and Darwin). The financial and real estate sectors have a strong interest in keeping their parasitic racket going, so they make the false claim that rents went up across the board in 1985-1987 when in fact they only went up in two out of eight capital cities.

    Negative gearing interacts with other factors (interest rates, other tax arrangements, what’s happening to other asset classes, population growth, economic growth), and those factors aren’t uniform in their impact across the country. One way in which removing negative clearing can actually reduce rents is this: less attractive tax breaks for investing in real estate results in less money chasing after the housing supply, which results in lower house prices, which induces some people move to move of the rental market because they can now afford to buy. Taking some heat out of the rental market causes rents to fall. Perhaps that dynamic was at work in Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, and Darwin in 1985-87.

    I think it’s very noteworthy that rents only went up in two out of eight capital city markets in 1985-87.

  10. And this

    [Mark Di Stefano – Verified account ‏@MarkDiStef

    Embattled minister Stuart Robert breaking his media silence & will be interviewed by @vanOnselenP tomorrow. PM’s office must be thrilled.]

  11. My theory about Essential is that because it polls the same people week in and week out there is a lot of inertia. People need a good reason to change the response that have been given for a number of weeks. In other words, they don’t tend to make a fresh assessment every time.
    Does that sound right?

  12. victoria,

    There is a bit more than that to unfold.

    Seems that pesky Chinese giovernment was keen to issue press releases while Robert was there.

    It appears that when Robert met with the Chinese Minister reps from the mining company in question were with him.

    A bit of conflict of interest I would think.


  13. Maybe the pollster that draws a sample from the same panel week after week encounters consistency bias: respondents feel foolish about admitting to changing their minds and they succumb to social pressure to appear consistent and avoid looking flakey.


    [Long-criticised for being too “blokey”, ABC program Q&A will aim for half its panellists to be women in 2016.

    In a post for Mamamia, series producer Amanda Collinge lists the “disturbing” reasons many women refuse to appear on the talk show.

    Some are concerned about online abuse, which is directed overwhelmingly at female guests.

    In response, the program will “upgrade” its monitoring and reporting of trolls. It is also developing a “safety strategy” with Twitter.

    Because Q&A aims to give voters access to their representatives, Australia’s chronic shortage of senior female politicians is often reflected in the program. ]

  15. My understanding is that Essential select from a pool of people each week, but not the same combination/group. Perhaps Bill knows.

  16. [Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull rejected the first option presented by Attorney-General George Brandis for the new sex discrimination commissioner and instead chose to generate a fresh recommendation via an advisory panel that excluded Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs.

    The government will announce the new sex discrimination commissioner this week following a five-month delay, a Senate hearing was also told. ]

  17. [Long-criticised for being too “blokey”, ABC program Q&A will aim for half its panellists to be women in 2016.]

    A female presenter would be a good start as long as its not Virginia Triolli or Annabel Crabb.

  18. The burning question in the Stuart Robert saga, is how did the media get the suggestion that he may have breached ministerial code. Remember this happened over a year ago

  19. If you are polling the same people all the time wouldn’t you be getting the same answer with little movement?

    The whole point of polling over time is to try to work out whether people are changing their minds. If people are not changing their minds in the broader public then your polling numbers should reflect that and remain static. You hope you’re not getting polling variation simply by sampling different people all the time and only getting differing responses because of that. The size of the pool should be largely irrelevant, provided you have a large enough representative sample.

    My suspicion is that Essential has a lot of trouble with the “representative sample” part of that – not biased per se, but quite possibly leaning toward politically disengaged – the fact that the pool of respondents is effectively self selecting (in terms of who can be bothered to fill in surveys regularly) probably means you get more stay-at-home responders (in times gone by that would have been bored housewives, dole bludgers and pensioners perhaps, but these are more enlightened times).

    I can’t imagine, eg, that they have a good sample of what might pass as the “happening youth” or business professionals or etc etc.

    I imagine they massage their data fairly heavily as a result, but … the outcome appears to be a strangely static sample.

  20. Essential Poll….
    [Your Source has a self-managed consumer online panel of over 100,000 members. The majority of panel members have been recruited using off line
    methodologies, effectively ruling out concerns associated with online self-selection.
    Your Source has validation methods in place that prevent panellist over use and ensure member authenticity. Your Source randomly selects 18+
    males and females (with the aim of targeting 50/50 males/females) from its Australia wide panel. An invitation is sent out to approximately 7000 –
    8000 of their panel members.
    The response rate varies each week, but usually delivers 1000+ interviews]

  21. Why on earth would they want to get rid of Gillian Triggs?

    She was sitting there next to Brandis while it was happening for God’s sake – all class not!

  22. MTBW@23


    If you are polling the same people all the time wouldn’t you be getting the same answer with little movement?

    You can track movement in the same group of people.

    IIRC, they also average the last 2 polls to get their result. That makes it less volatile and it takes longer to register shifts of opinion.

  23. Morgan has been acting weirdly – it’s like it snapped into a Coalition frenzy over the past few months, and, without warning, just snapped back right now.

  24. At its peak, the Libs were at 57.5 in Morgan, I think. If that figure, and this figure, are correct, the Libs have dropped 5% in only a few months. If it was Labor, the MSM would be screaming “freefall”.

  25. Additionally less than 1% of Greens voters “Strongly approve” of Turnbull’s rating of the job (compared to 5% of Greens voters for Shorten). Poor Malcolm.

  26. CTar1@38


    This tweet from last thread not remotely news nor of any interest to anyone unless the reader has a fetish for Jackman.

    Why post it? Very curious.

    theprojecttv: Hugh Jackman warns others against dangers of not wearing sunscreen #TheProjectTV


    There are many useless and meaningless things posted here, as if some people just have a compulsion to post something… anything.

    Trouble is, the same people sometimes post real gems so can’t just scroll past them. 🙁

  27. If I were to take a stab at why Essential is so stable, its that;

    they ‘invite’ 8000 people from their panel to reply to a ‘interview’. Only about 1000 reply. So I assume that only those engaged in politics respond. Such people are more likely to be stable in their voting intention.


    Essential have the most precise methodology. Maybe people in general do not fluctuate in their voting intention (they may do so slowly over long periods) and thus their results reflect this – the other polls have variability due to imprecision due to poor methodology.

    Accuracy is a whole different saucepan of kettles.

  28. Also I think a paradigm of Morgan’s unreliability is shown in the fact that, in their polls, the NXT dropped 7.5% since two weeks ago for no discernable reason

  29. The last time Morgan had a similar primary vote distribution for ALP:LIB:GRN (29:43.5:16) was 30 June 2012 when the distribution was 29.5:43.0:14.5.

    Then the TPP was calculated as 42.5:57.5 in favour of LIB.

    There must have been some significant resettings.

  30. Seth – It’s actually not inconceivable that it’s about a 50/50 race right now. You can chose whichever poll takes your fancy.

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