Newspoll and Essential Research: 50.5-49.5 to Coalition; ReachTEL: 51-49

Three late polls find the Coalition with a narrow two-party lead, and Labor hanging on in its seat of Chisholm in Melbourne.

First up, the final reading of BludgerTrack, which after the addition of final results from Newspoll, Galaxy, ReachTEL, Ipsos and Essential Research is almost exactly where it was on Wednesday, so far as national voting intention is concerned. However, the Coalition is down a seat in New South Wales and Tasmania, and up one in Queensland and Western Australia. As always, I must stress that this is a two-party model that doesn’t take into account the Nick Xenophon Team factor and strong independent challenges in New England and Cowper, which could potentially cut the projected Coalition majority to the bone. I’m afraid I haven’t found time to update the personal ratings.


With the non-major party vote up 3.6% off an already high base in 2013, a lot depends on the accuracy of the assumption that preferences will flow as they did in 2013. Labor did particularly well on Greens preferences at the last election, and seem unlikely to improve upon that performance this time, but the preferences of “others”, who are treated as a homogenous blob, are something of a wild card, given the effective disappearance of Palmer United – although Palmer United preferences behaved almost identically to the remainder of the “others” preferences (i.e. everyone but Palmer United and the Greens) in 2013. The alternative approach is to go off respondent-allocated preferences, as published by Ipsos, ReachTEL and Morgan (which regrettably stopped publishing national polling results during the campaign), although the previous election method has generally worked better except when there were very substantial changes in the make-up of the non-major party vote. The following chart shows how the Coalition’s share of respondent-allocated preferences has trended since the last election, with the yellow line indicating where it was in 2013:


In other words, Tony Abbott had a remarkably consistent downward trajectory, whereas under Malcolm Turnbull it has broadly reflected the government’s overall standing in the polls. It nonetheless ends the campaign 3.7% below the 2013 election figure, which under the circumstances would make a fairly substantial difference, bringing the Coalition’s two-party preferred down to 50.3% and making as much as four seats’ difference on the seat projection.

The next chart tracks the Coalition vote state-by-state since the dawn of the Turnbull era. The most interesting point to emerge is that the Coalition has recovered strongly in Western Australia after appearing in a dire position there at the start of the campaign, possibly because the campaign has focused minds on the federal sphere and away from their discontent with the Barnett government. There has also been an upward trajectory in South Australia, but the static there from the Nick Xenophon Team is such that this should be treated with great caution. Tasmania also seems to have gone its own way over recent weeks, in this case in favour of Labor, although the small sample sizes here are such that this should be treated with caution as well. Elsewhere, the situation seems to have been fairly stable through the course of the campaign.


Now to polls. For starters, I’ve assembled all of the seat polling from the campaign that I’m aware of on a spreadsheet which (I think) you can access here.

The final Newspoll of the campaign was conducted Tuesday to Friday from a bumper sample of 4135, and records the Coalition with a 50.5-49.5 lead on two-party preferred, from primary votes of Coalition 42% (down one on last week), Labor 35% (also down one) and Greens 10% (up one). Malcolm Turnbull is up three on approval to 40% and down four on disapproval to 47%, while Bill Shorten is up one on both measures to 36% and 51%. Turnbull’s lead as preferred prime minister is 48-31, up from 45-30.

ReachTEL’s final national poll for the campaign is unchanged on last week at 51-49 in favour of the Coalition on respondent-allocated preferences, although previous election preferences would produce the same result. The forced preference primary votes are Coalition 42.8% (up 0.4%), Labor 34.6% (up 0.8%), Greens 10.7% (up 0.2%). Despite this, and contrary to Newspoll, Shorten’s personal ratings have strengthened and Turnbull’s have weakened. Shorten records his best result yet against Malcolm Turnbull as preferred prime minister, with the latter now leading 52.9-47.1 compared with 57.9-42.1 last week. Turnbull’s combined good and very good rating is down 2.3% to 31.2%, and his combined poor and very poor is up 3.6% to 36.9%, whereas Shorten is respectively up 4.1% to 34.8% and up 0.8% to 38.6%. The survey of 2084 respondents was conducted last night for the Seven Network.

Essential Research has published a special pre-election poll conducted Monday to Thursday, compared with its usual field work period of Thursday to Sunday, which has the Coalition on 42.5%, Labor on 34.5% and Greens on 11.5%. The numbers have been published to the nearest 0.5% because, Essential advises, “nearly all the figures came out very close to the .5”. These are quite substantial shifts when compared with the fortnightly rolling average published on Tuesday, which were Coalition 39%, Labor 37% and Greens 10%, but less so going off the hitherto unpublished result from just last week’s sample, which was Coalition 40%, Labor 36% and Greens 10%. The result is also broken down into results for those who have and have not yet voted, with the former (Coalition 45%, Labor 33%, Greens 10%) more favourable to the Coalition than the latter (Coalition 41%, Labor 35%, Greens 12%). The two-party preferred results are 50.5-49.5 to the Coalition overall, 54-46 among those who have already voted, and 51-49 to Labor among those planning on voting tomorrow. Thirty-eight per cent say Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals ran the better campaign compared with 29% for Bill Shorten and Labor, and 48% expect the Coalition to win compared with 21% for Labor. The poll also finds 14% saying Brexit will be good for the Australian economy, 26% bad and 34% makes no difference, and 15% saying it will make them more likely to vote Liberal, 11% more likely to vote Labor, and 64% makes no difference.

The weekly ReachTEL marginal seat poll is from the Labor-held Melbourne seat of Chisholm, where Labor has been weakened by the retirement of sitting member Anna Burke, and perhaps further by the Country Fire Authority issue. The poll finds Labor hanging on by a margin of 51-49, from primary votes of Liberal 41.5% (down 2.6% on the 2013 election), Labor 37.7% (up 1.8%) and Greens 15.1% (up 5.6%). The closeness of the two-party headline is down to a much stronger flow of preferences to the Liberals compared with 2013. If previous election preference flows are applied, the Labor lead is 54-46. The poll was conducted last night from a sample of 627.

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.

1,027 comments on “Newspoll and Essential Research: 50.5-49.5 to Coalition; ReachTEL: 51-49”

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  1. Two-party-preferred vote
    Australian Labor Party 6,216,445 50.12 −2.58 72 −11
    Liberal/National Coalition 6,185,918 49.88 +2.58

    Last Hung Parliament stats.

  2. Very encouraging ReachTel for both Greens and Labor. Not sure it’s worth much now that campaigning is over, but the leadership figures are quite encouraging for Shorten.

  3. Oakes on 9 says Shorten still confident based on daily tracking polls in marginals showing 4%swing to ALP.

  4. Big jump to Shorten – interesting.
    #ReachTEL Poll Preferred PM: Turnbull 52.9 (-5.5) Shorten 47.1 (+5.5) #ausvotes

  5. One of the more interesting aspects of these election results could be a bigger Greens to Libs preference flow. The Greens may pick up a lot of ‘pox on both your houses’ voters who have nowhere else to go (they had the dubious choice of PUP last time) and they may send a greater proportion of their votes to the Libs.
    Will have to wait and see on that.

  6. You gotta love the ch7 commentary:

    51/49 t coalition = it’s done and dusted

    seat of Chisolm 51/49 to ALP = tight

  7. What do people think about with the election being so close could long-time liberal voters and Tony Abbott supporters who want to vote independent may actually vote liberal when at the box?

  8. Here, let me clean this up for you, zoidlord:

    Two-Party-Preferred vote

    Australian Labor Party
    6,216,445 votes
    50.12%, -2.58% since last election
    72 Seats, -11 Seats since last election

    Liberal/National Coalition
    6,185,918 votes
    49.88%, +2.58% since last election
    72 Seats, +7 Seats since last election

    Last Hung Parliament stats.

  9. The polls don’t matter, according to Fran and Alison ,on the LNP Brekky Show this morning. The important number is the one from essential on who you think will win, and as 60+ % expect the LNP will win, it’s going to be a rout.
    An added bonus of the ALP winning would be these 2 eating some humble pie.

  10. The media is pretty dumb. They spend weeks talking up the Libs and saying ‘it’s ours!’ but come election day it all means nothing.

  11. There was nothing ripper about the Reachtel poll so the person who wrote that is a dirty lying bastard.

  12. I think “Ripper” was an adequate assessment of the Reachtel. Those PPM ratings are hard to believe, but quite welcome. Netsats suggest Shorten is actually ahead of Turnbull now. Good result for the ALP and especially for Bill. I’m sure Newspoll will be 51/49 LNP or worse, but as I mentioned earlier, if it’s 50/50 or better for ALP, Shorten has this won reckon.

    Of Course, this will all be brushed aside as “Conducted prior to the late swing to the Coalition.”

  13. The improvement in Bill’s PPM ratings coupled with the nose diving of Malcolm’s are at least a bit of short prose if not a full blown story. If people go into the booth tomorrow with the intention of voting presidentially, with a choice between corridor lurking Mal and benign Mother Theresa-Shorten, the late surge bodes well for the ALP.

  14. would be these 2 eating some humble pie

    Haven’t you heard – journos and media personalities are never wrong. There’s just other factors that no one could have foreseen. And Mediscare and lies! And people being duped into voting the wrong way.

  15. blackburnpseph @ #8 Friday, July 1, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    One of the more interesting aspects of these election results could be a bigger Greens to Libs preference flow. The Greens may pick up a lot of ‘pox on both your houses’ voters who have nowhere else to go (they had the dubious choice of PUP last time) and they may send a greater proportion of their votes to the Libs.
    Will have to wait and see on that.

    Perhaps. We saw something like this happen when ReachTEL removed NXT from every state other than SA – there was a corresponding uptick for votes for the Greens and Others. So the Green’s will probably get some of the ‘pox on both your houses’ voters in every state but SA, whom most will go to NXT.

  16. The Essential 38% to 29% in favour of Malc having campaiged better than Bill is interesting as it contrasts to the Reachtel – it seems a bit strange.

    Also the PPM move towards Bill in Reachtel is amazing.

  17. Fascinating that Labor and Green primaries jump over 1% combined but there’s no movement in the TPP… me thinks a victim of rounding.

  18. Sky News Australia
    3h3 hours ago
    Sky News Australia ‏@SkyNewsAust
    .@TonyHWindsor says 50/50 chance he will win, it will come down to the wire says @RobOakeshott1 has an 80percent chance. #ausvotes

  19. At this point, the last Newspoll is virtually irrelevant. We have had 4 polls in a range of 1%. If Newspoll comes in outside that range, then it is the outlier.

  20. j341983 @ #25 Friday, July 1, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Fascinating that Labor and Green primaries jump over 1% combined but there’s no movement in the TPP… me thinks a victim of rounding.

    Actually, the Greens went down 0.9 while Labor went up a bit more, obviously at the Greens expense.

  21. Overall Reachtel could easily produce a 50/50 on those results.
    LNP 42.8 plus 1.6 from Greens (17%) plus 5.6 (47% of Others plus NXT) = 50. More than 53% of preferences from Others to Labor and it goes over 50% for Labor.

    Chisholm could be line ball. Donkey vote has flipped since 2013 which would shift 51/49 to 50/50 or maybe slightly to LNP.

  22. This summary from KB after 2013 election

    The differences in polling skew are more significant and decisive. Every pollster that polled seat or local polls favoured the Coalition on average, and 2PP drift to the Coalition between when the polls were taken and the election made a lot of the seat polls look better than they actually were. On the whole, seat polls at this election were around 3.7 points too friendly to the Coalition at the time they were taken. The average actual difference from the seat polls to the election results, of 2.3 points, flatters them.

    On most recent past history wouldn’t the pollsters be better off say they don’t have a clue other than its too close to call.

    And wouldn’t KBs analysis point to a Labor victory, best indicator of accuracy is past pergormance , tomorrow’s weather more likely to be the same as today’s than any other outcome .

  23. The other thing to factor in is the number of respondants. 1,200 or so for Essential and 2,700 or something for Reachtel. Big difference.

  24. Newspoll is different this election – not a separate organisation as it was previously – so its reputation for reliability may not stack up this time. The big advantage of Newspoll was its state by state breakdowns so it could be seen where the swing might occur.

  25. I thought people knew that when the TPP vote moves in favour of the LNP, the PPM stats mean nothing. These latter stats only have meaning to the MSM if the polls fall for the LNP and the PM is still ahead in the PPM stakes. I have lost count of the times that there is immediate focus by some in the media when the polls move against the LNP to the PPM stats. That they have closed so much in the last few days is not good news for Turnbull.

  26. Chisholm could be line ball. Donkey vote has flipped since 2013 which would shift 51/49 to 50/50 or maybe slightly to LNP.

    Been robocalled by both Julia Banks and a “CFA Volunteer”

  27. Corporate misfit

    Cathy McGowan
    6h6 hours ago
    Cathy McGowan ‏@Indigocathy
    People reporting robocalls supposedly from #CFA. Spoken to CFA, they are not authorised by them. #indivotes

  28. “Haven’t you heard – journos and media personalities are never wrong. ”

    That’s half the fun of elections, the rewriting of history after the event.

    My favourite is how everybody in the media knew Latham was a madman …

    A major part of the problem with the political debate is there are too many people talking who all want us to think that they know something but they can’t tell us.

    They sit around on the couch on insiders or at the desk on sky and it’s all “nudge, nudge, wink, wink” if only I could tell you what my sources say about such and such.

    Most of it is a fairytale.

    So watch for it on Sunday and in the weeks ahead. There will undoubtedly be some surprises but our press pack will be telling us that they knew what was going to happen all along.

    They just couldn’t tell us at the time …

  29. The PPM in ReachTel could be very significant. Suggests that a lot of people are waking up from their slumber and realising that Malcolm is not prince charming. If so, they will finish their journey (and shift their vote from the Libs) before they vote.

  30. A Coalition MP in a marginal seat has junked her how-to-vote cards on election eve, telling voters to direct preferences to the far-right Rise Up Australia Party.

    Natasha Griggs is the Country Liberal member for the Darwin electorate of Solomon.

    Labor has laid siege to the seat, which she holds by just 1.4 per cent, and leaders from both major parties have made multiple visits to Darwin over the eight-week campaign.

  31. Does anyone know if Galaxy uses the same (or different) methodology for polls branded “Galaxy” and those branded “Newspoll”?

  32. And maybe that PPM is a lead indicator showing up in the tracking polls Oakes referred to. Fingers crossed.

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