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”

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  1. Grimace

    …but, but…Malcolm has already proved that He is An Ordinary Person who Mixes With The Masses by using Public Transport. If he looks awkward and ill at ease whilst doing so, it’s because he’s a modest man, and finds the spontaneous outbursts of adoration demonstrated by Ordinary People on these excursions very humbling.

  2. When deep-well bore water arrived in Australian bush communities people thought the big thirst was over. Jeff McMullen reports that a decade long study shows unsafe water is now cutting lives short.

    If a baby is fed unsafe water contaminated with chemical nitrates, the child turns blue.

    The striking colouring occurs particularly around the eyes and mouth. Blue Baby Syndrome is the decrease of the oxygen carrying capacity of the haemoglobin. It is potentially fatal.

    And yet, in scores of communities across Australia many people are still not aware of the growing evidence that nitrates – found naturally in the environment and compounded by mining – are a crucial factor in a devastating epidemic of chronic illness, particularly renal problems afflicting children and adults.

    “I never dreamed that our water has such high levels of nitrate contamination,” says Dr Christine Jeffries-Stokes, paediatrician to the Goldfields region in Western Australia.

    “Water flows from the Pilbara all the way south to the Great Australian Bight. The critical threat is the nitrates, combined with uranium and arsenic, to create a perfect storm.”

    It is this discovery – that not only is there an immediate threat of nitrate poisoning from high levels in the water but also a long-term danger caused by prolonged exposure – that will bring Dr Jeffries-Stokes and her medical team from the Western Desert Kidney Project face to face with the WA Government this week, to present their findings and lobby the government to finally take action.

    “It is a deliberate neglect,” says Pastor Geoffrey Stokes, husband of Dr Jeffries-Stokes and a Wongatha Wonganarra elder.

    “It brings back memories of the mining magnate, Lang Hancock, saying someone should dope our water to make us sterile and that would take care of the Aboriginal problem.”

    Geoffrey Stokes glowers with anger at mining companies that encroach on Aboriginal lands and, he claims, contribute to the pollution of water supplies in many parts of the country through increased levels of nitrates and uranium.

  3. This morning Richard Di Natale was interviewed by Fran Kelly on ABC RN Breakfast.

    After a party room meeting that lasted almost five hours yesterday afternoon, a statement by the Greens’ acting whip Nick McKim said the Greens had a ‘structural issue’ in New South Wales that needed to be addressed.

    The problem involves the ability of the New South Wales branch to direct how it’s Senators vote — even if that means voting against decisions made by Federal party room.

    Senator Di Natale said with current NSW Greens rules ‘it makes it impossible for us to have a process based on consensus’.

    Of course it’s more than just a leaflet. It’s a recommitment to our consensus decision making processes,’ Senator Di Natale said.

    ‘If each state bound its senator (like NSW) we would not have an Australian Greens party room’.

  4. Meanwhile in Victoria two ALP MPs are being investigated.

    Police are investigating the use of taxpayers’ money by the Victorian Parliament’s former speaker and his deputy after they both made questionable expenses claims for their seaside residences.

    Victoria Police have confirmed that matters relating to both Telmo Languiller and Don Nardella had been assessed and had progressed to the “investigation stage” after they were referred in March.

  5. CPG Kool-Aid if she thinks it’s a good idea for Brian Trumble to start doing town halls:

    Zounds and Ye Gads!! Did she actually watch any of the last election campaign?? That said it would be mighty entertainment to watch Malcolm try and connect….particularly as his mate Tones taint goin nowhere for a while.

  6. How far does the Greens’ discipline extend? Surely branches have a right to lobby their parliamentary representative to vote in a certain way?

    As a Senator, the threat which can be used as leverage is loss of preselection, particularly when the party members have a vote. If Rhiannon ignores the wishes of her branches, they will preselect someone who will listen to them.

  7. The rumour going around in past week, is that The Washington Post have a big scoop on the Trump Imbroglio that is a game changer.
    Apparently have held off reporting it by specific request of Intell Services under the guise of national security.

  8. Ides Of March @ #46 Thursday, June 29, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Somebody mentioned Porter was looking for a safer seat

    Grimace mentioned it a couple of days ago.

    It was a ‘known’ that Porter was investigating nearby safe Lib seats with the idea of saving himself by seeing if he could get someone to chuck it in (or the prospect of seizing the pre-selection).


    Either way, some strange ideas about government and public policy are spreading and masquerading as fact when they are not.

    All this has led to doubts about authority, experts and “the establishment”.

    But, crucially, the spread of misinformation can have dire consequences.

    You only need look to the tobacco industry. Think of how many people died believing smoking cigarettes did not cause cancer.

  10. Fact Check:

    On May 3, Labor’s education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek published a Facebook post stating: “The Liberals are cutting $22 billion from schools. That’s like sacking 22,000 teachers.”

    With a Government touting record levels of education spending, and an Opposition speaking of cuts, what is the reality?

    Ms Plibersek’s claim is misleading: the Government is not cutting $22 billion from schools.

    Labor’s reference to sacking teachers is also misleading.

  11. Zoomster:

    This looks to me to be another ‘Get Rhiannon’ hatchet job by Di Natale that has blown up in his face.

  12. Something about to happen on Pell?

    Pell to be summonsed on child sex claims
    Victoria Police are expected to announce today what the charge or charges are. (Oz headline)

  13. Lizzie
    “It brings back memories of the mining magnate, Lang Hancock, saying someone should dope our water to make us sterile and that would take care of the Aboriginal problem.” 😈

    I have added this as a note in my thesis that there are at least two branches of modern humans. Some have empathy and others …………………:?:

  14. This will go down like a lead balloon in some States:

    Morrison’s GST threat for states
    Scott Morrison has threatened states and territories he will cut their GST distribution if they limit gas exploration. (Oz headline)

  15. Not quite new News?

    Nine News Australia‏Verified account @9NewsAUS · 1m1 minute ago

    #BREAKING: Reports that Cardinal George Pell will be summonsed on child sex abuse allegations. #9News

  16. KayJay

    That sentence stood out for me, too. Can’t help thinking that in spite of her soft voice and pillowy shape, Gina has the same hard core.

  17. I have added this as a note in my thesis that there are at least two branches of modern humans. Some have empathy and others …………………:?:

    Vote Liberal

  18. I just posted the following on Trumble’s fedback page:

    You say “Australians are bored, fed up with journalists and politicians talking among themselves.” On the contrary, I’m hugely entertained by it – keep it up! Remember, if it gets too distracting, you can always ask Sir Peter to dissolve the House of Reps. But slip in a quick SSM Bill first.

    I am not expecting a considered reply.

  19. Advice please.

    For the last week, when I attempt to watch ABC24 on computer, I get this message:

    Error loading player:
    No playable sources found

    I have not changed anything AFAIK. Is there anything I can do about it?

  20. Paula Matthewson –

    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.

    I note she says could also work for Turnbull.

    Going to Liberal Branch meetings is, in theory, a lot safer than a ‘town hall’ with the general public, but maybe not so for Turnbull in his current situation.

    Doing ‘Town Hall’ meetings with a crowd of locals with all sorts of opinions and Turnbull taking questions and giving answers sounds a much more risky proposition for him than it is for Shorten.

  21. Pyne force to apologize for suggesting ‘marriage equality might happen sooner than people think’. I feel like a must be exaggerating as i say this, but i think that apology could be the final nail in the coffin for this government.
    How can the PM claim to be in control of the government or the country when he doesnt have control of his own party, when he is forced by a minority faction to order the leader of the house to apologies for making popularist comments.
    If MP’s cant speak to issues that are popular in the electorate they cant claim to be ‘a broad church’, it undermines the rules the party has operated under for a long time.
    I like to see myself as being pretty strategic, but i cant see any way out this for them, there are two prizes, government and the soul of the party, there are two sides, the only way to maintain the status quo is for moderates to win both prizes, there is only one scenario i can think of that might save them, that is if Abbott willingly quits politics, we all know the chances of that.

  22. ‘Gender quotas increase the competence of organisations by leading to the displacement of mediocre men, a new study has found.

    The research counters one of the key arguments often put forward against the introduction of minimum quotas to promote equality in the workplace: that such targets are unmeritocratic.

    While some claim targets for the inclusion of underrepresented groups lead to the promotion of individuals that do not deserve it, economists at the London School of Economics found that the reverse is true. Quotas can work to weed out incompetent men.’

    ‘…The LSE team studied a strict gender quota introduced by Sweden’s Social Democratic party for its candidates in 1993.

    At the time, some men were more critical than others, the LSE researchers say. The quota became known colloquially as the “crisis of the mediocre man,” because incompetent men had the most to fear from an influx of women into politics.’

    ‘…“Mediocre leaders have a strong incentive to surround themselves with mediocre followers, so as to bolster their chances of remaining in power.” Quotas, they say, create a threat to such “cozy arrangements”.

    “Our main finding is that gender quotas increase the competence of the political class in general, and among men in particular. Moreover, quotas are indeed bad news for mediocre male leaders who tend to be forced out,” the researchers said.’

    So maybe adopting quotas would be the best way of ‘saving’ the Liberal party.

  23. A LONG article but it explains a lot :

    Fundamentalism, racism, fear and propaganda: An insider explains why rural, Christian white America will never change

    As the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump is still being sorted out, a common theme keeps cropping up from all sides: “Democrats failed to understand white, working-class, fly-over America.”

    Trump supporters are saying this. Progressive pundits are saying this. Talking heads across all forms of the media are saying this. Even some Democratic leaders are saying this. It doesn’t matter how many people say it, it is complete bullshit. It is an intellectual/linguistic sleight of hand meant to throw attention away from the real problem. The real problem isn’t east coast elites who don’t understand or care about rural America. The real problem is rural America doesn’t understand the causes of their own situations and fears and they have shown no interest in finding out. They don’t want to know why they feel the way they do or why they are struggling because they don’t want to admit it is in large part because of choices they’ve made and horrible things they’ve allowed themselves to believe.

  24. Is this new polling group aligned with a particular news outlet … iow will they be reporting regularly or will they go behind a paywall after a while?

  25. Long time lurker, first time poster. Hi all.
    I was polled by YouGov on Monday night, and wasn’t overly impressed. The “Christian Parties” option is particularly questionable, and I can’t for the life of me work out why I was asked if I voted for NXT given that I live in NSW (and no, not in Warringah). The Animal Justice Party received more first preference votes than NXT in NSW – why not give them an individual billing too?

  26. ‘ 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. ‘

    Um, these are the people who are supposed to be voting for him regardless.

  27. ScoMo just desperately flailing. Ignore him. GST allocation is determined by the Grants Commission. To reject their formula would be to open up the gates of hell. The Loons make WA wait for their GST allocation to go up because of the formula.

    Once the principle of allocation to achieve Horizontal Fiscal Equalisation is trashed ScoMo would find himself unable to scratch his arse for the Premiers knocking down his door to squeeze him for money. That’s even before the backlash in any state dudded.

    It’s stupid talk from a government without a clue but desperate to find a distraction. Going the same way as State Income Tax.

  28. ChkChkChk
    Thursday, June 29, 2017 at 9:23 am
    Long time lurker, first time poster. Hi all.
    I was polled by YouGov on Monday night, and wasn’t overly impressed. The “Christian Parties” option is particularly questionable, and I can’t for the life of me work out why I was asked if I voted for NXT given that I live in NSW (and no, not in Warringah). The Animal Justice Party received more first preference votes than NXT in NSW – why not give them an individual billing too?

    If I may ask, how did you come to be on the YouGov panel. Did you volunteer or were you offered a place?

  29. Imagine how many questions Trumble would get at town hall meetings about the NBN? People would not accept his labor to blame bullshit. They will throw mouses at him. It will not happen.

  30. Citizen – I signed up out of curiosity. All other surveys that I’ve completed for them have been market research.

  31. Obama Crushes Trump By A Huge 24 Point Margin As Americans Long For Effective Leadership

    A huge, 24-point margin of Americans believe President Obama was a far more effective leader than Trump, 58% to 29% – and among independents, it’s even worse, with a 35-point margin of 65% to 29%.

    Just as a matter of interest, is it legally possible for an ex president who has already served two consecutive terms to run again at a later time? Probably not, but based on those figures wouldn’t it be great for the US and the world if Obama could contest the 2020 election? He’d almost certainly win it hands down.

  32. Thanks and hi, ChkChkChk. Interesting stuff about YouGov. They seem to be making it up as they go along. Perhaps foreign outfits like YouGov and Ipsos don’t understand compulsory and preferential voting.

  33. NSA Director Mike Rogers complains to Congress about Donald Trump

    By Bill Palmer

    If you’re concerned about Donald Trump’s performance and his willingness to listen to reason, and if you’ve found yourself complaining to others about Trump’s erratic nature, it turns out you’re in good company. NSA Director Mike Rogers has complained to Congress that Trump won’t take intel seriously, won’t take the Russian threat seriously, and won’t take cyber espionage seriously, among other concerns.

    That’s the word from CNN, which is reporting that when Rogers recently testified before Congress behind closed doors, he “expressed frustration to lawmakers about his inability to convince the President to accept US intelligence that Russia meddled in the election” . In other words, the Director of the NSA is sufficiently exasperated by Donald Trump’s stonewalling and obliviousness that he’s been willing to vent to Congress about it, even knowing full well that his comments were going to end up leaking to the public.

    This comes not long after word surfaced that Donald Trump had tried and failed to lean on Mike Rogers, in the hope of getting him to meddle in the FBI’s investigation into the Trump-Russia collusion scandal . The NSA ended up documenting Trump’s attempts at obstruction in memos, which will likely end up being used as evidence in the Special Counsel investigation being led by Robert Mueller.

    In the mean time, the willingness of Mike Rogers to complain about Donald Trump to Congress means that you’re not just imagining it when it comes to Trump’s level of sheer unsuitability for the job. Trump truly is ignoring key verifiable threats to the United States, simply because he doesn’t want to have to admit to himself that Russian election interference is why he’s in office to begin with, and that he didn’t really win the election of his own accord.

  34. I responded to a post (from C@t?) about Porter seeking a safe seat in WA, and ran through the options.

    There are only three safe seats in the WA metro area. Curtin, the safest of them is Mesma’s seat and she’s already said she’s going nowhere. Moore and Tangney are the other two, both of which are held by MP’s nobody has ever heard of.

    If Porter wants a sea change then perhaps he’ll consider Forrest (south west WA). O’Connor and Durack are too far away from anywhere, covering the remote southern and northern half’s of WA respectively, for an ambitious person like Porter to be interested in.

  35. Good morning all,

    Poor old Scott Morrison.

    WA has been crying out for yonks for changes to the GST allocation formula and every time Morrison and Turnbull have passed full responsibility back to the states.
    ” Any changes must have support from all states and territories” has been the standard reply from both of them every time.

    Now, all of a sudden Morrison is holding the states to ransom re GST allocation. Instead of our hands are tied it is now we will give you less GST revenue if you do not play nice. The stupidity of this government amazes me. I am sure WA and other states will be very interested in the announcement by Morrison who is now pretty much saying ” the federal government controls allocation of GST revenue and we can change it as we see fit”. If that is now the case then Turnbull can no longer hide behind the excuses of the past. He will try but I will wait with great interest to see him and Morrison try to wriggle out of it.


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