YouGov-Fifty Acres: 51-49 to Labor

The debut entry from a new federal poll series finds low primary support for the major parties and an unusually tight race on two-party preferred – although it would be a different story if preferences flowed as they did at last year’s election.

As reported here in early May, British-based market research giant YouGov has entered the Australian federal polling game, in conjunction with Australian communications agency Fifty Acres. After reporting attitudinal polling on a fortnightly basis over recent months, the pollster has produced its first set of voting intention numbers, which are exclusively related below.

First though, a few points about methodology. The poll is conducted through an online panel, similar to Essential Research, and indeed an increasingly dominant share of public opinion polls internationally. The polling is conducted fortnightly from Thursday to Tuesday from a sample of a bit over 1000 respondents (1125 in the case of the latest survey), drawn from its pool of survey volunteers.

With respect to voting intention, respondents are presented with a mock ballot paper featuring (together with party logos) Coalition options that vary by state, Labor, the Greens, One Nation, Nick Xenophon Team, Katter’s Australian Party, a generic option for “Christian parties”, and “other/independent”. The results are weighted not just by age, gender and region, which is standard in Australian polling, but also by education and past vote. The latter two are common in Britain but, as far as I’m aware, unique in Australia. Needless to say, this leads to two-party preferred results based on respondent allocation, rather than results from previous elections.

The results for this week’s poll are distinctive in the narrowness of the two-party preferred, with Labor’s lead at 51-49, and low primary votes for both major parties, which come in at 34% for Labor and 33% for the Coalition. Results for the minor parties are Greens 12%, One Nation 7%, Christian parties 4%, Nick Xenophon Team 3%, Katter’s Australian Party 1% and other/independent 6%.

The first thing to be noted is that Labor would record a much stronger lead of 54-46 if preferences were distributed as per the 2016 result, rather than respondent allocation. However, such is the size of the non-major party vote that this would be heavily dependent on preference flows remaining stable despite some fairly dramatic changes in vote share. The second point is that the Greens are two to three points higher than the recent form of Newspoll and Essential Research, although not Ipsos. One Nation and the Nick Xenophon Team respectively come in at 7% and 3%, which would be fairly typical coming from Essential Research, but the combined vote of 11% for everyone else is around double the equivalent figure from Newspoll and Essential Research over the past two months.

For the regular attitudinal questions, this fortnight’s poll focuses on Donald Trump, with findings that 58% consider him “erratic” and a third “unhinged” (not sure if the one response here precludes the other, or if we should combine them to conclude that nearly everybody considers him unstable or worse); that 47% think his presidency threatens to destabilise the world; that 44% feel he won’t last long; and that 52% think his use of Twitter not suitable for a world leader. The poll also records 52% saying Australia is “ready to be fully powered by renewables”, 47% considering climate change a threat to the economy, and 51% supporting the inclusion of clean coal in a clean energy target.

NOTE: Separate to this one, I have a new post that takes a detailed look at the census results.

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.

688 comments on “YouGov-Fifty Acres: 51-49 to Labor”

  1. I was polled by Reachtel 2 days ago. Are they expected to release any polling results soon? Or maybe it was internal polling by a party.

  2. Thanks for the notes on methodology, William. I imagine they still have a bit of ironing out of weights and sampling strata, etc.

  3. Interesting result, it’s certainly an outlier compared to all the other recent polling.

    Historically, now accurate is respondent-allocated polling?

  4. Paula Matthewson in today’s Crikey Daily Mail has been drinking the CPG Kool-Aid if she thinks it’s a good idea for Brian Trumble to start doing town halls:

    Turnbull could put Morrison’s strategy into action, somewhat ironically, by co-opting another of the approaches for which Bill Shorten’s Labor is known — the town hall meeting.

    Back in late 2015, Shorten embarked on an intensive round of town hall meetings in an effort to counter “the juggernaut that is Malcolm Turnbull”. By the time we saw him perform in the leaders’ election debates less than a year later, the Labor leader had clearly benefited from the regular gigs, which had honed his repertoire and loosened his stilted delivery style.

    Even more importantly, the semi-public meetings had not only given party members and like-minded supporters the opportunity to see the leader in a more informal context, but to have their questions genuinely answered instead of having to decipher the maddening soundbites confected by politicians to avoid gotcha moments from the media.
    It’s an old-skool, labour-intensive way of doing things, but if it can work for Shorten, then it could also work for Turnbull.

    The PM needs to spend his winter break — and as much time as he can spare between now and the next federal election — doing something similar. Turnbull should go to Liberal branch meetings around the country to circumvent Abbott and assure the conservative base that he is not Karl Marx reincarnate. And he should hold a series of town hall meetings to reconnect and rebuild trust with the progressive base.

    Clearly, Matthewson has never seen Brian trying to do unscripted and uncontrolled interactions with voters. Broadcasting a Brian Trumble town hall on Facebook would be a disaster for him. What little was left of his positive public image would collapse into smouldering ruins.

  5. Preference flows seem implausibly favourable to Coalition. I doubt we will see %9 fall in Coalition primary but only <%2 move in 2pp.

  6. Respondent preferences are historically less accurate than last-election, but there is a lot more data for last-election.

    For anyone interested there is far too much detail on this subject here:

    The problem with any one respondent preference result is that it increases the impact of sample error on the 2PP. So just because this one came out at 51-49 doesn’t necessarily mean they will always skew to the Coalition. If they do end up always skewing to the Coalition I’ll suspect many of the “Christian parties” voters are Liberals. I don’t like the inclusion of that category.

    I’ll be aggregating YouGov once they’ve done three polls, downweighted at first, unless their results look completely useless.

  7. First though, a few points about methodology. The poll is conducted through an online panel, similar to Essential Research, and indeed an increasingly dominant share of public opinion polling internationally.

    When I did statistics it was all about random samples. Is there any theoretical background to support this approach?

  8. Number Of Fake Time Covers Found At Trump Golf Clubs Doubles To 8

    More fake Time Magazine covers are being found at Trump golf clubs as the presidential fake news epidemic has grown from four covers to eight.

    The fake Time covers are a symptom of much deeper pathology that defines Donald Trump’s adversarial and oppressive relationship towards the free press.

  9. Trump Threatens America With A Great “Surprise” On Healthcare That Nobody Wants

    “Healthcare is working along very well…we’re gonna have a big surprise. We have a great Healthcare package,” President Trump told the White House pool in the Roosevelt Room Wednesday afternoon. When asked what that meant, Trump answered according to the White House pool report sent to PoliticusUSA, “We’re going to have a great, great surprise.”

    These kinds of big, vague promises got Trump elected by his base of people who didn’t bother or care to check on his actual policies to see if they were realistic, but they don’t work well when it comes to actually getting something legislatively accomplished.

  10. Trump’s lawyer in Russia probe is now himself facing investigations in two states

    According to The Guardian, the attorney generals of New York and North Carolina are investigating President Donald Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow for alleged misappropriation of funds from one of his charities.

    The investigations by North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman are being conducted partially in response to another report from The Guardian, which revealed on Tuesday that Sekulow’s Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism (CASE) paid Sekulow, his relatives, and members of his other companies more than $60 million since 2000.

  11. Senate Intelligence Committee will get Comey memos detailing possible obstruction of justice by Trump: report

    Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, revealed on Wednesday that his committee will receive memos written by former FBI Director James Comey detailing conversations with President Donald Trump.

    Legal experts have said that the memos could point to possible obstruction of justice by the president.

  12. Republicans no longer fear ‘paper tiger’ Trump as his approval rating continues to plummet

    President Donald Trump’s threats just don’t carry much weight with congressional Republicans, who privately admit he’s a lightweight.

    GOP lawmakers expressed frustration with Trump’s tweets, which show he lacks focus and consistency, and they told the Post the president shows little command of policy issues — and, perhaps most damaging, they’ve stopped fearing him.

    “They have come to regard some of his threats as empty, concluding that crossing the president poses little danger,” the newspaper reported.

  13. Trump’s fire-breathing lawyer wimps out in threat against Comey — here’s why that’s no surprise

    On Wednesday, Bloomberg News said that President Donald Trump’s attorney Marc Kasowitz delayed filing his complaint with the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) against fired FBI Director James Comey.

    This fits a pattern of bellicose but ultimately empty talk from Kasowitz, who has threatened to sue, variously, the New York Times for libel over calling Trump a millionaire instead of a billionaire, all of the women who came forward in the wake of the “Access Hollywood” tape who claimed Trump had touched, kissed or groped them without their permission and all of the media outlets that carried their stories.

  14. Raara, William reported that they had been doing polling for a while to validate their process, this is the first public release.

    I am wondering if there will be Newspoll next week.

  15. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Me oh my! Greg Sheridan writes about the “more or less complete political bankruptcy of the federal Liberal Party, its comprehensive capitulation to Labor in political ideas.” Modern Liberals are “rotten to the core”, he says. Google.
    Michelle Grattan says that Turnbull is being buffeted by a toxic mix of factional bitterness, revenge and ambition, Ouch!
    Adele Ferguson writes that The corporate watchdog has been called on to investigate recent trading of Aveo’s shares ahead of the company announcing a $145 million buy back this week.–calls-for-probe-into-aveo-share-trading-20170628-gx08sa.html
    This editorial from the SMH says it’s time for a good rejuvenation of the regulations around the retirement village industry.
    Morrison has some tough talk for the states when it comes to gas exploration. Google.
    Julia Gillard has penned a good piece on the stigma around mental health.
    What a cesspool FIFA was/is!
    Two neurosurgeons met at a hospital, formed a “deep emotional bond” and began taking the party drug GHB together on weekends. In 2013, the junior doctor died of a heroin overdose after planning to quit GHB, and the senior doctor has now been suspended for three months. Bloody hell!
    Andrew Street gives Abbott quite a serve here.

  16. Section 3 . . .

    In a bizarre effort Trump threatens to lap a tax on Amazon that they are already paying! Google.
    It seems Prissy has had some rather directed coaching over his SSM remarks.
    Phil Coorey writes about Pyne’s rare backwards step. Google.
    Latika Bourke wonders if Pyne’s recent performance could ironically lead to the fall of the moderates.
    Soapy has cleared the decks of the troublesome Administrative Appeals Tribunal, making more than 60 appointments including several people with Liberal Party links. Fancy that!
    Peter Martin bemoans a lost opportunity with regard to the census.
    Wayne Swan tells us that Trump is just another trickle-down insider.
    George Pell has got his hands full in the Vatican.
    Mungo MacCallum’s had enough of Potatohead.,10446
    Has the Department of Human Services come to its senses?

  17. Section 5 . . . Cartoon Corner

    Today’s best cartoon comes from Jon Kudelka.
    Mark David has Turnbull contemplating the census results.
    And he has more on the government’s internal issues.
    Trump and the free press.
    Eerie work from David Rowe.
    At the AFL tribunal with Mark Knight.

  18. Section 2a . . .

    The Australian’s David Crowe writes that a clash over Liberal Party reform is about to give Tony Abbott a new platform from which to attack Malcolm Turnbull, amid growing concern over the former prime minister’s “frontal assault” on the government as it slumps in the opinion polls. Abbott will join fellow conservatives this Saturday to debate giving party members more power, before a summit of members next month that will test the Prime Minister’s authority. Google.
    Senate Republicans were scrambling behind the scenes to save their stalled – and deeply unpopular – healthcare overhaul from collapse on Wednesday after mounting concerns and a divided party forced them to postpone a vote this week. There’s a reason for this – the bill is immoral.
    The Independent Australia has a “leaked” copy of the new citizenship test. Quite a good spoof.,10449
    This invigorated superbug is quite a worry.
    ASIC would no longer need to tip off targets of its investigations before obtaining a search warrant, something it must sometimes do today, under draft recommendations from a key government taskforce. This should be a no-brainer!

  19. Section 2b . . .

    Reversal of the Fair Work Commission’s decision to reduce Sunday penalty rates in industries including the hospitality and retail sectors could lead to industrial “chaos” and reduce wages to a political “plaything” experts warn.
    The middle ground on US health care is not the answer. What is needed is a universal system.
    Duterte has told soldiers trying to suppress uprising linked to Isis that that he will protect them if they accidentally kill civilians. Trump would love it!
    The federal government had to find another $57 million to cope with the popularity of the much-maligned myGov web service, the National Audit Office has revealed.

  20. (bemused
    I was polled by Reachtel 2 days ago. Are they expected to release any polling results soon? Or maybe it was internal polling by a party.)
    I was also polled by Reachtel a couple of nights ago. Short and sweet. No more than 5 or6 questions. Mainly voting intentions.
    What struck me about my poll was the last question. They gave me an option of 5 charities – which one I would most likely support. There was no option of neither for the 5 choices. When I did select a number I was then informed that an operator from that charity would contact me within a few days.
    FOOTNOTE. I am not against supporting charities but at this present time I am poor and penniless so I am not in a position to be a ‘giver’

  21. The YouGuv poll on the eve of the UK election had the Labour vote at 34%. It was 41% at the election. Only Qriously (41) and Survation (40) came close. YouGuv doesn’t seem to have much form.

  22. William

    re’ YouGov – 50 Acre polling

    Some thoughts –

    ** Pool of survey’ volunteers – I’m guessing, but one obvious way for the new pollster to recruit, at least for part of their ‘pool’, would be from 50 Acres clients. Said to be ‘the social sector including Not-For-Profits, social enterprises’. So, their contacts in these organisations likely to be upper or middle management, educated and socially progressive.

    Possibly part of the reason why the Greens polled better?

    ** Collection method – The idea of using a form that is like a ballot paper appeals to me. Being in a familiar format with the choices laid out in front of the person completing it would, to me, allow a better consideration of options than being thrown questions orally by a person conducting the poll and better emulates the actual voting experience.

    ** Data collected – As long as the method of collection stays constant for collection of the base data – primary vote, region, gender and age group and those numbers are available, I assume that you (and Kevin and others) will be able, after a series of these polls to devise a ‘bias factor’ to apply so a comparison can be made with other established and known polls. The addition of ‘education’ and ‘past vote’ provides extra break-up of the data set without effect on the ‘standard’ break-ups common with other pollsters – just ‘non-destructive’ extra data that may show some trend info not otherwise available.

    If ‘YouGov-50 Acres’ methodology stays constant and their polling is conducted on a regular basis having it looks like a ‘plus’ to me.

  23. Morning all.

    A new pollster = A shiny new toy for the press gallery to play with.

    And thanks BK for today’s Dawn Patrol even though you have family with you.

  24. Urban Wronski‏ @UrbanWronski · 12h12 hours ago

    ABC 7:30 Porter claiming citizenship test is evidence Coalition is not left wing. True. Your pledge of allegiance is medieval.

    I missed this last night and am completely unable to understand why Porter is defending Coalition as “not left wing”. Who said they were?

  25. Rick Wilson
    17 mins ·
    I gave a speech in Parliament recently about the importance of coal-power generation and investing in Carbon Capture and Storage, which particularly affects the town of Collie, Western Australia in my electorate.

    Interesting that he doesn’t mention Albany, also in his electorate and the fact that over 80% of its electricity supply comes from wind power. It’s all about coal.

  26. Somebody mentioned Porter was looking for a safer seat (grimace, confessions?) Maybe he wants to knife a moderate and is playing up his conservative credentials?

    (Im being mostly facetious)

  27. From the outside, it looks like a green shipping container on an industrial block in the suburbs. But on the inside, there’s plenty going on.

    The box is part of a little-known but growing Melbourne Water network of “mini-hydro” electric plants generating electricity in suburban Melbourne, and in the hills beyond.

    With the addition of Melbourne Water’s 14th hydroelectric plant, a “mini-hydro” to be turned on on Thursday in Mt Waverley, Melbourne Water’s hydroelectric system generates enough power to supply more than 14,100 homes. Eleven of the plants are “mini-hydro” plants.

    It’s a system that the water company hopes to expand further.

  28. NSW greens warming up:
    Bruce Knobloch, a NSW representative of the Australian Greens’ national council, which met after the party room decision, took to his open Facebook page.

    “I’d like to thank Cate Faehrmann and Richard Di Natale for their strategic genius in ‘leading’ the Greens on to the rocks,” he wrote. “A fine job on the party in only two years.

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