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. I’m going to let it all wash over me, as there’s nothing I can do to influence the result, but…

    Sportsbet says Labor favourite to win the following seats from the Coalition – Burt, Lyons, Eden Monaro, Page, Macarthur, Patterson, Dobell, Barton, Capricornia, Petrie, Solomon.

    If Labor wins Eden-M, but loses the election, at least that’ll be another bullshit shibboleth the CPG can’t quote any longer.

  2. Boerwar

    Tho I don’t like Bluey’s prediction tonight I’ve enjoyed his musings. He deserves a nice rock pool safe from the Bludger wanting to slice, dice and cook him.

    BK Terrific effort over 8 long weeks and the cartoons this morning were terrific. Thanks.

  3. ReachTel
    15% say the recent vote for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union has made them more likely to vote Liberal and 11% say it has made them more likely to vote Labor. 64% say it makes no difference.

    This hardly supports Mals stability narrative

  4. More on the Austrian Presidential fiasco
    The Freedom party had contested the outcome of the vote after claiming to have detected formal “irregularities” in 94 out of 117, submitting a 150-word formal complaint to the constitutional court.

    Over the course of the investigation, it had emerged that several counting centres had begun to process postal votes on the eve of the election, rather than on the day after the election, as Austrian electoral law requires.

    Witness statements in court also revealed that election scrutineers in some centres had signed minutes of the vote count without having read them. However, there has so far been no evidence that the outcome of the election had been actively manipulated.

    Election winner Van der Bellen, a retired economics professor and former leader of Austria’s Green party, was due to be sworn as prime minister in a week’s time, on Friday 8 July.

    The ruling is unprecedented in Austria. In 1970 and 1995 the country’s constitutional court had ordered re-elections in individual councils, but not in the entire country.

  5. PG
    ‘…you wouldn’t be the first Labor hack to pretend to be a “former Greens voter”, and you won’t be the last…’
    Incorrectomundo, of course.
    You Greens are certainly consistent when it comes to getting stuff wrong.
    I can confess to actually having handed out Greens HTVs…

  6. Bushfire

    No, the media never let go of a cliche

    Eden Monaro will become the seat the used to be the bellwether seat and will be the seat that shows the exception proves the rule … Or something

  7. BK
    I take this opportunity to thank you for your really useful collating efforts over the course of the campaign. Not even Telstra can stop you! I trust your insomnia does not improve.

  8. sceptic @ #155 Friday, July 1, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    15% say the recent vote for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union has made them more likely to vote Liberal and 11% say it has made them more likely to vote Labor. 64% say it makes no difference.
    This hardly supports Mals stability narrative


    It never did. turnbull may well not be PM or might even be out of the Parliament by the time the washup and final outcome/ consequences etc of Brexit are known.

    But MSM bought whatever turnbull said anyway.

  9. Credlin on Sky: the minor parties vote that typically falls away in the closing days has not done so in tonight’s poll. It’s not just the rump, it has held up.

  10. One could drive Bills Bus through this level of credibility.
    The response rate varies each week, but usually delivers 1000+ interviews. In theory, with a sample of this size, there is 95 per cent certainty that the results are within 3 percentage points of what they would be if the entire population had been polled. However, this assumes random sampling, which, because of non-response and less than 100% population coverage cannot be achieved in practice. Furthermore, there are other possible sources of error in all polls including question wording and question order, interviewer bias (for telephone and face-to-face polls), response errors and weighting. The best guide to a poll’s accuracy is to look at the record of the polling company – how have they performed at previous elections or other occasions where their estimates can be compared with known population figures. In the last poll before the 2010 election, the Essential Report estimates of first preference votes were all within 1% of the election results

  11. A B Friday, July 1, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    Storm smashing the Broncos. “Ripper!”

    Yes, but how will that affect the TPP?

  12. Steve777- it at least won’t have any media narrative to be spun. People won’t hear much media between now and when they’re lining up to vote. They’ll be watching the footy.

  13. Boerwar:

    Bluey has excelled this election, esp given how long it’s been. Well done.

    And I’m fast coming to a similar conclusion about the ABC. If the Liberals’ intention by starving it of funding was bending it to its will and bringing the broadcaster to its knees, it has succeeded spectacularly. Outside the news and very occasionally Insiders and Qanda there isn’t one program I can recall watching over the last 2 years or so.

  14. @Boerwar
    “Bluey told the Greens THV person that he had cast either a first or a second pref for the Greens for as long as there had been a Greens party but that this was finished this election because of Di Natale”

    “finished this election”

    Yeah, I don’t think so. You were acting a role to give a false impression.

  15. The free local paper here today had a wrap-around front and back page dedicated to sitting Liberal MP Rick Wilson and how he deserves another term.

    I mean seriously. What has he achieved? Outside of turning up to the opening of an envelope and a handful of scattered small grants throughout the electorate, I can’t think of anything.

  16. Reflections: Excellent hardworking campaign from Shorten. May not quite get over the line but probably leaves more than 15 LNP seats on a margin of less than 2% going into the next election. A hollow victory for Turnbull confounding all the earlier expectations of a lay down miser win.

    Shorten ran a bloody good campaign in adverse circumstances. Print media and the LNP leaning ABC may have been on the winning side from day one but their influence is rapidly waning.

    One faint glimmer of hope is the high numbers of 18-24 yr olds registered to vote in this election (70% – up from 50% in 2013) who I suspect are undercounted in the traditional polling sampling methodologies, based as they are on past results and age distribution of votes. Perhaps the big sleeper in this election??

  17. j k @ #163 Friday, July 1, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Credlin on Sky: the minor parties vote that typically falls away in the closing days has not done so in tonight’s poll. It’s not just the rump, it has held up.

    And that is exactly how I see it too now. I’ve never been one to diss the polls because they are in the business of selling their services and election opinion polling is one of the few ways they can demonstrate their wares and be judged by potential clients.

    And before 2010, I would have given a win to the Coalition based on the polling figures I have seen in the last few days. But everything is up in the air now. There is a significant number of seats in this election where the preference flows from third parties will matter less than the flows to those parties.

    It may turn out to be a false alarm, but everything is pointing in a different direction because of the disaffection with the major parties. There may not be baseball bats, but there are certainly no welcome drinks either.

    So I won’t try and guess numbers, but the latest polls, together with anecdotal and other evidence tell me that this will be a hung parliament – probably with the Coalition being the largest single party. Interesting days indeed.

  18. Pollsters should be put under scrutiny if they massage their final poll to bring it line with the others too. Too often they are judged solely on the accuracy of the final poll compared with the election. Not much point being accurate then if the rest were all way out. We rely on polls that aren’t close to the election to give us the state of play. We can use the actual election to tell us that otherwise.

  19. PG
    I notice that the Greens have a bit of a predilection for doing amateur psychiatry when some one criticises their policies or calls them out on their hypocrisy.
    What I said to that Greens HTV person is exactly true insofar as it reflects my own behaviour. It is also very accurately reflects what I think about that grub Di Natale’s behaviour.
    You might admire it.
    My view is that he has been feeding Turnbull and that if Turnbull gets up then Di Natale will have to take some credit for it.
    Simple as that.

  20. Shorten ran a bloody good campaign in adverse circumstances.

    Esp after all those complaints about his style, his way of speaking etc. He deserves to be re-elected leader if Labor stay in opposition.

  21. Good evening all,

    Just arrived at my weekend B@B where I am meeting up with some old school friends of mine. We have been friends for 50 years. All labor voters and a bit annoyed Turnbull called the election for this week end. Only time we could all get together with family commitments etc and it was organised ages ago.

    Voted this morning for the Shorten A team so all is good.

    Interesting polling out this evening.

    I will stick with my prediction of a Turnbull loss of 13 seats that I posted earlier today but really really hope once again I did not pick the mood of the Australian voter and labor wins well.

    Good Election Day to you all and go labor.

    A bit of drinking to do and as we all took a blood oath to throw away our iPads and all other apparatus ( mobiles excluded purely for emergencies ) contact with the outside world until Sunday will be nil.

    Hoping all your wishes come true and Turnbull is humiliated.

    A big thank you to all those labor members who have worked so hard over the last months to push the labor cause. You are all legends.

    Cheers and a good weekend to you all.

  22. ON the 7:30 ABC show I saw a graphic indicating that 40.3% of eligible votes have already been lodged. If accurate that is staggering ….not sure of its impact on the result but suggests pre -polling could nearly account for close to 50% of all votes cats??

  23. Some Oakeshotte perspective from the southern border of Cowper.

    – oakeshotte highly regarded.All those years as a state and federal mp were not wasted on the locals who have been personally helped by him one way or another. No problem in pulling the established team back together for the 3 week election sprint
    – the mud slinging campaign against him has been breathtaking. Oakeshotte’s strategy in not announcing candidacy till closure of nominations have limited this, as has placing paid ads on 2MC which syndicates Alan Jones and chief smearmerchant Ray Hadley.
    – lots here hoping for a +1 in the Independents column

  24. Its really hard to get a vibe this election.
    Qld looks disappointing. Tas could be a surprise and even Bass to be an Alp gain.
    Late shift to Alp with undecideds. Final 2pp 50.5 to Alp.
    Prediction Hung Parliament.

  25. I’d love a hung parliament. If we have to have Turnbull again, I want to see him do the full 180 from scare tactics about minority government to trying to lead one and make it work. It’d take the sting right out of that narrative and do politics a lot of good in the long term. Of course fingers crossed that it’s hung the other way.

  26. @C@Tmomma
    Not as cute as when people base pretty much their entire opinion about a party on strawmen they pluck out of thin air.

  27. The quality and choice of candidates for O’Connor was very poor this year. Meet our Rise Up Australia candidate:

    In April, Mr Carson suggested the Port Arthur massacre was a conspiracy to justify Australia’s current gun laws and said Australia should have a right to bear arms.

    “I think to take guns off the people is not good, people should have a right to bear arms to defend themselves if necessary,” he said.

    “An armed society tends to be a polite society.”

    A man was charged, found guilty and convicted for the Port Arthur massacre, yet this fool thinks it was all a conspiracy. Did he sleep through it?

  28. Octopuses have a life expectancy of 3-5 years. Hopefully Bluey can be help us through the next election. Hopefully he can then deliver a more hopeful final bulletin.

  29. [Rossmore
    Friday, July 1, 2016 at 8:47 pm
    ON the 7:30 ABC show I saw a graphic indicating that 40.3% of eligible votes have already been lodged. If accurate that is staggering ….not sure of its impact on the result but suggests pre -polling could nearly account for close to 50% of all votes cats??]

    Sky News blog quoting AEC this evening says:
    [Tom Rogers from the Australian Electoral Commission says the electoral roll is in the best state it has ever been, and he thinks the youth vote is at its highest.
    On pre-polling, he says up to 50 percent of people voted before July 2 in some seats.]

    The 50% possibly applies to some seats in Victoria where school holidays began a week ago.

  30. The impact of the prepolls on election night will be that at some point in the night the vote will substantially change and it won’t be attributed to individual booths. The message is that early results may change.

  31. There was chat up thread about Essential Research “herding”, and I can see why you might think that based on comparison of their last published result and this one. But as I note in the post, the difference between last week’s weekly result and the one published today is not so great. Essential insists they have only changed two things: NXT was dropped from the list of options outside of SA, and the question wording from “if an election was held today” to “at the election to be held on Saturday”.

  32. The free local paper here today had a wrap-around front and back page dedicated to sitting Liberal MP …

    Same in Dawson for George. At first I thought it was an over-the-top endorsement from the paper … which, of course, is the idea.

  33. In April, Mr Carson suggested the Port Arthur massacre was a conspiracy to justify Australia’s current gun laws and said Australia should have a right to bear arms.

    Well if it never happened then there is no need to have guns to defend yourself .

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