BludgerTrack: 52.3-47.7 to Labor

A look under the hood of a rewired BludgerTrack.

BludgerTrack returns for 2018 with methodological tinkering to address two issues. The first is an effort to account for a different preference environment with the rise of the One Nation; the second puts the various pollsters on a level playing field in calculating the leadership rating treds.

After polling a national primary vote of 1.3% from the fifteen lower house seats they contested, One Nation’s polling has been approaching double figures for at least the past year. This limits the utility of allocating preferences as they flowed at the previous election, which is the most reliable method when the minor party environment experiences little change from one election to the next. The Coalition received barely more than half of One Nation’s preferences in 2016, but they did quite a bit better than that at last year’s state elections, receiving around 65% in Queensland and 60% in Western Australia — presumably because many of their new supporters have defected from the Coalition.

The alternative to previous election preference flows is respondent allocation, which the experience of the state elections suggests is leaning too far in the other direction. The approach now taken by BludgerTrack is to split the difference, which would have worked well if it had been applied in 2016. This is done by combining trend measures of previous election and respondent-allocated flows, with Ipsos and ReachTEL providing the data for the latter.

The chart below shows how these trends pan out in the latest run of the aggregation. Both pollsters had the Coalition maintaining its mid-thirties share from the election until around the middle of last year, when it rose to the low forties. With the major parties now accounting for barely three-quarters of the total vote, a change on this scale would, by itself, result in more than a full point of difference to the two-party total.

The impact of the new method on the BludgerTrack two-party trend reading is illustrated below, with the chart on the left showing how things would look if previous election preferences were still applied. The upshot is that BludgerTrack should be at least half a point less favourable for Labor than it was before, at least for as long as the recent pattern of respondent-allocated preference polling holds.

The second change relates to the leadership ratings measures, which until now made no effort to distinguish between the very substantial peculiarities of different pollsters. This meant its results were saying as much about the pollster that had reported most recently as they did about changes in the standing of the two leaders.

Unlike voting intention, leadership ratings cannot be measured against a real world benchmark. So the approach taken here is to treat Newspoll as the centre of gravity, and adjust the other pollsters by benchmarking them against a trend measure of Newspoll. These results are illustrated in the table below, which effectively shows how different a typical result from each pollster will be from a typical Newspoll.

  Essential Ipsos YouGov Morgan
Turnbull Satisified +3.9% +12.0% +11.0% -0.9%
  Dissatisfied -9.1% -9.7% -7.6% -2.4%
  Net +13.0% +21.7% +18.6% +1.5%
Shorten Satisified +0.9% +4.8% +10.0% -3.8%
  Dissatisfied -9.3% -1.9% -8.1% -0.4%
  Net +10.2% +6.7% +18.1% -3.4%
Preferred Turnbull -3.4% +5.5% -7.5% +5.7%
  Shorten -3.5% +0.8% -4.0% +0.3%
  N 30 15 5 2

This shows that both leaders, but Malcolm Turnbull especially, do much worse on Newspoll’s approval and disapproval ratings than they do from Essential, Ipsos and YouGov. Since these differences are now being corrected for, BludgerTrack will tend to record weaker net satisfaction results for both leaders, but especially for Turnbull.

This brings us to the latest BludgerTrack numbers, which as always are displayed in all their glory on the sidebar. Since the Essential poll is the only new data point of the last few weeks, a certain amount of caution is advised. While the Essential numbers were slightly better than the Coalition’s form late last year, more than half the 1.2% shift recorded in favour of the Coalition is down to the new preference method. It hasn’t made much difference to the seat projection, on which the Coalition gain one apiece in Queensland and South Australia, but lose one in Western Australia.

The impact of the new leadership ratings method on Malcolm Turnbull’s net satisfaction is muted by a set of Essential numbers which were, by the pollsters long-term standards, relatively good for him. However, Bill Shorten had a weak result from Essential, and is accordingly well down.

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.

3,076 comments on “BludgerTrack: 52.3-47.7 to Labor”

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  1. Wow, now the Coalition looks much, much better…. Gone is the continuous downward trend in the 2PP vote and the difference between the two major sides of politics has shrunk considerably….. Methink that a Federal election is coming this year….

  2. Of course, Edwina…. subtract from Labor in Qld and elsewhere, think hard about the better system of preferences allocation that favours the Coalition…. cross your fingers….. and hope.

    Do you think it’s gonna work, Edwina?…. I don’t think so!…. 🙂

    Tell us, when will the announcement of the date for this year’s Federal election be?…. In concomitance with consecutive negative Newspoll N.30?

  3. The Coalition in “solid position to be re-elected”?…. Great, let’s go to vote soon after or before consecutive negative Newspoll N.30!….. The People are ready when Truffle is!

  4. From the previous thread.

    Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Peter Martin reports that a sugar hit from the Trump administration’s US tax cuts is expected to propel world economic growth to 3.9 per cent in 2018, the best result in eight years.
    Australia is set to reach its Renewable Energy Target earlier than predicted due to record levels of renewables investment last year, says the Clean Energy Regulator. However, concerns have been raised for continued growth in the sector after 2020. South Australia is leading the states in developing world-leading renewable energy projects.
    A builder in Victoria is offering free Tesla batteries and solar panels to new homes. Could be the start of a new competitive trend?
    Frydenberg kicks sand in idiot Craig Kelly’s face over electric vehicles.
    Want to throw up? The read this effort from Tom Switzer!
    Jenna Price makes a case for retaining 26 January for Australia Day but changing what we celebrate and recognise.
    Adam Gartrell outlines the humanitarian emergencies the world ignored in 2017.
    ALP president Mark Butler has lashed out at the “backroom buffoonery” of the party’s factional warlords, accusing them of blocking internal reforms and leaving Labor’s members with fewer rights than in any comparable movement in the world.
    A peak American business group has complained Australia’s new “foreign influence” laws will deprive its members of freedom of speech, while universities warn US Defence funding will be put at risk. The Law Council of Australia said the proposed law would have a “chilling” effect on legitimate public debate.
    The SMH editorial says that a government shutdown should be regarded as a shameful failure of executive and parliamentary leadership. Yet in the US it has become a tactic.
    Greg Jericho sees some good economic signs and says that it gives Turnbull a chance of retaining power.
    Section 2 . . .

    How parents can do more to stop cyber bullying.
    The mother of a young man who tragically died writes that until mental health and substance misuse is seen as a combined medical issue by professionals and the community, until our health system’s failures are addressed and recovery support increased, nothing will change.
    The Australian bangs the drum again as Simon Benson writes that NZ’s offer to resettle 150 asylum-seekers is believed to have prompted an escalation in people-¬smuggling operations. Google.
    Natalie Reilly explains why Germaine Greer is out of touch and her motivation is obsolete.
    Frydenberg protests that the Turnbull Government is on track to achieve climate goals. Unfortunately, that’s not the same as cutting emissions.,11123
    Remember the Beaumont children case?
    Stephen Koukoulas says we should get ready for election economics.
    Melbourne’s St Kilda Road will be reduced to one lane in both directions between Kings Way/Toorak Road West and Dorcas Street for up to four years. Ouch!
    Bob Katter has questioned why two Queensland councils are paying $34m to build an airport to service a massive Adani coalmine, saying there is an “unpleasant odour” to the deal.
    The inflamed debate over the so-called African youth gang crisis was, in part, based on a dodgy statistic from a Coalition-led committee. Well fancy that!
    Section 3 . . .

    Why foreign investors are the only sure winners from Morrison’s tax cuts.
    The National Audit Office has dropped a load on the AEC.
    Pope Francis has apologised for insisting that victims of paedophile priests show “proof” to be believed. He said he realised it was a “slap in the face” to victims. But he doubled down on his defence of a Chilean bishop accused by victims of covering up for the country’s most notorious paedophile priest. He repeated that anyone who makes such accusations without providing evidence is guilty of slander. He keeps digging!
    The listed property company run by high profile real estate agent John McGrath faces scrutiny from the Australian Securities Exchange after a board and management exodus and shock earnings downgrade led to a share price plunge.
    Tess Lawrence has managed to get a copy of Donald Trump’s cognitive exam questions. Take the Trump test!,11126
    Michael West’s website begins an examination of the statins war between drug companies.
    Nine things we should know about a potential Australian republic.
    Clive Palmer held two meetings with himself in November to approve more than $170m in questionable payments. Google.
    Has Nick Kyrgios finally grown up?

    Section 4 . . . Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe gives Trump a rest and comes up with this cracker!

    Andrew Dyson with Turnbull’s contemplation of corporate tax cuts.

    Cathy Wilcox with a truth bomb.

    Paul Zanetti celebrates Trump’s fort year in the White House.

    Three from Matt Golding.

    And a couple from Sean Leahy.

    Glen Le Lievre gives us “The Planet of the Republicans”.

    Alan Moir and the first boat people.

    A beauty from Jon Kudelka on great moments in Australian history.

  5. Alpo says:

    The Coalition in “solid position to be re-elected”?

    The problem with the “1 million jobs achievement” is it is largely from organic growth due to population increase,about 2 million, rather than ‘fabulous’ economic management.

  6. grace pettigrew‏ @broomstick33 · 57m57 minutes ago

    #RNBreakfast Fran Kelly is back, reporting the #IMF is delighted with Trump’s Corporate Tax Cuts, and the Minerals Council wants the Government to invest in “clean coal” .. situation normal #auspol

  7. Lloyd’s of London, the world’s oldest insurance market, has become the latest financial firm to announce that it plans to stop investing in coal companies.

    Lloyd’s will start to exclude coal from its investment strategy from 1 April. The definition of what is a coal company and the criteria for divestment will be set over the coming months.

    The firm has long been vocal about the need to battle climate change, with insurance one of the worst affected industries by hurricanes, wildfires and flooding in recent years.

  8. Morning all. Thanks BK. Frydenberg is right to mock Kelly’s nonsense about electric cars. Ask Kelly for the source of his data.

    It reminds me of the ridiculous claim years ago thhat it took so much energy to make batteries that a Hummer caused less emissions in its life than a Prius. CC denialists simply make up lies when the facts get inconvenient.

  9. @Sohar re: William would be better off ignoring IPSOS, Yougov and Morgan altogether. Essential and Newspoll are the only capable pollsters.

    Morgan is fine.

    It over states minor party votes, but it does so consistently, so WB can simply fix it with adjustments – the trend in Morgan is still helpful.

    Agreed it’s not good to include Yougov. They have a history of changing their methodology to get the results the media say they should expect. If they can pick a methodology, stick with it for 2 full terms, and be roughly accurate in picking both elections then I would say include them.

  10. Centrelink reporting that the average wait time on the phone is around 15 minutes.

    I can only assume that there is a special line somewhere for a sh*tload of Centrelink users which I have never come across.

    90 minute wait times are not uncommon. If I was told I’d be waiting for 15 minutes, I’d think it was Christmas.

  11. zoomster

    I read last year that the 15 minute wait time was achieved by pretending the first answer was the response, whereas that was simply a referral on to a ‘real’ consultant. I think that happened to me a couple of years ago, and the subsequent wait was another 3/4 hour.

  12. Hi Poroti: I agree!
    These are the unemployment data from Morgan for the past 4 years:
    2014: 10.3%
    2015: 9.6%
    2016: 9.9%
    2017: 9.51%

    So, it’s high, lower, higher, lower…. up and down, but never below 9.5%!

  13. Good Morning Bludgers 🙂

    I think I might start up a polling company. I think I might call it MyPoll. It will have a large sample of 1. It will always have ALP 100% and everyone else bupkis. Then, it too can be included with all the other Mickey Mouse pollsters here to skew Bludgertrack the way I want it to go. 🙂

  14. Bk

    re’ Switzer and tax.

    No surprise on this. Switzer is an old fashioned US Republican supporter, definitely not an enthusiast for Trump.

    So that ‘plonks’ him domestically as a JWH man including how to ‘get your way’ have your argument preparedand wait until an event allows you to push on it. Like JWH with Tampa.

    So Swirzer is advocating ‘tax chopping for the rich’

    John Barron will be at this as well and I think at his core will people like van Onselen and many others in our core paid commentators group (main stream media/press and ‘institute/think tank’ people).

  15. Poroti, Alpo

    I agree re the coalition’s grim employment record. As Greg Jericho has pointed out (Labor should hire him to do analysis; he knows the stats better than anyone) the real story is told by stats on underemployment – hours worked – and real wages. A lack of one has led to the lowest growth on record in the other. There is a distinct lack of job security in the community, despite a record high share of corporate profits. The cake is not getter any bigger. The slices are being redistributed. People are not benefiting from change. We need a Libexit.

  16. I’ve always thought of One Nation as dissident “Liberals” who think the real Liberals are too full of the milk of human kindness when it comes to people and philosophies they don’t like – multiculturalism, Greens, asylum seekers, unions, people of colour, Muslims, welfare recipients and so forth. I’ve found One Nation voters who preferenced Labor almost as puzzling as Greens who preferenced Liberals. There are ex-Labor voters now in the One Nation camp. They would probably like to vote for Labor policies c. 1960 – including protectionism and the White Australia policy.

    Many actual “Liberals” probably regard One Nation as fellow travellers and would like to repeat John Howard’s trick of “addressing their concerns” and bringing them across.

  17. ABC radio had “Hank” someone or other from the department on this morning to discuss Centrelink phone wait times.

    He seemed quite proud to tell listeners that average wait times had increased this year by “only” 35 seconds, and they were still short of the 16 minute KPI. So what’s to complain about, suckers?

    Seems the answer to complaints about long periods listening to that scratchy pseudo “classical” Palm Court Orchestra music is to just wind out the target time and then get smooth-talkin’ Hank on to tell you you’re imagining things.

    If anyone’s ever tried to “background” music-on-hold, in the certain knowledge that if you happen to miss, “Welcome to Centrelink, Sally speaking…” you’ll be hung-up on and forced to wait all over again, they will know how much of an eternity even 16 minutes really is.

    They want the punters well and truly softened-up by the time they get to speak to anyone; desperate if possible. The aim is to let you know how lucky you are to have a real person to speak to, and how vanishingly unimportant your problem is, you bludger.

  18. Labor’s buffoon element needs to be brought to heel

    Maybe do what the “Liberals” do and put them on the Front Bench – maybe make one leader…

  19. In a speech given to the Victorian Fabian Society yesterday, Mark Butler, member of the Left faction has certainly given his ALP party a huge serve and dose of reality.

    Butler said that after two years as president the changes he championed in 2015 had been “blocked by factional leaders at the national conference and various state conferences”.

    “I’m sorry to say that ours remains a party that gives ordinary members fewer rights than any other Labor or social democratic party I can think of,” he said.

  20. @Steve777

    Less educated people don’t tend to do well under the Coalition’s ‘destroy medicare, lower wages and conditions for workers, privatise everything’ policy.

    Many of these people vote for Labor much of the time, because they want a job, a roof, and some food.

    However, this demographic can be persuaded to vote ON “we would have enough jobs to give you one if it weren’t for all the [insert most recent nationality of immigrants here]”. Sure, it’s a lie, but desperate people have done crazier things.

    They are entirely consistent, in that they vote based on what they think at the time is most likely to keep their children from starving.


    I have always been rather taken with Gary Larson’s Far Side cartoon which depicts a man getting out of bed in the morning, reading a very large poster on his wall that says:

    First pants, then your shoes.

    This stating of an obvious but critical ordering of events has salience for the debate over whether Australia should become a republic. Reconciliation between the Settler and First Nations populations is a self-evident prerequisite for Australia cutting the ties of colonial dependency with Britain to stand on our own.

    We might be attracted to republican prestige, with its sense of a national coming of age, but we can’t just take the title. Being a republic brings with it the responsibilities of being a grown-up country.

    Changing the date of Australia Day is the first tiny step for Australia, both as a nation and a society, to begin the reckoning with its origins. The Australian nation-state is founded on the dispossession of the people of the lands the nation-state now occupies, and from which it draws its wealth and identity.

    Drawing from the wisdom of the Far Side cartoon: Australia, first change the date to begin a just settling, then contemplate becoming a republic.

  22. morning all

    Thanks BK for today’s offerings.

    Last night I observed at least four govt adverts spruiking the the big and fairer funding going to schools.
    Obviously timed to go with the new school year.

    Meanwhile yesterday, whilst I never listen to Neil Mitchell and 3aw, I listened to audio replayed of debate between Vic AG and the opposition on law and order. Not surprised that the fibs are doing their best to suggest that crime is out of control here in Victoria, despite what the statistics say. The Vic AG Pakula made mention of the stats that crime has gone down significantly in the past two quarters, and the opposition Pessuto replied that it wasn’t true. Crime has skyrocketed. And somehow VIctoria is the worst in Australia and people are fed up and scared.

    So in this Victorian state election year, forget the progress the state has made and let’s focus on crime,which is something that is always needing to be worked on, and is an issue in every state.

  23. The red&blue dots in each of the charts do not quite match up, so am i right to say that William’s adjustments apply to the reported data as well as the trend calculations?

  24. Steve777

    I class PHON as the ‘political wing’ of ‘Talkback Radio” . The issues which ‘excite’ PHON are usually issues which ‘excite’ shockjocks and their devotees.

  25. William, have you applied this change of technique to the state poll trends as well?
    What if anything is different for SA and NSW?

  26. Grog’s article on the number of jobs increasing might be tempered by this story. It’s about Amazon in the UK but could equally apply here.

    A UK mum of four has made fresh allegations about Amazon’s ruthless workplace conditions.

    Christina Vango told The Mirror she and several other nightshift workers had recently been sacked by the retailer at midnight, claiming some colleagues had been forced to wait for six hours in the freezing cold for a bus home.

    Ms Vango was let go from her job as a packer around midnight on January 3, in the middle of the brutal English winter.

    The 39-year-old claimed the sacking occurred halfway through her shift at the Tilbury, Essex warehouse and that it came without warning.

  27. The confidentiality settlement reportedly paid to an adult-film star who said she had an affair with Donald Trump years before he became president may have violated campaign finance laws, a watchdog group alleged Monday.

    In a pair of federal complaints, Common Cause, a nonprofit government watchdog group, argued that the settlement amounted to an unreported in-kind contribution to Trump’s campaign. The group called on the Justice Department and Federal Election Commission to investigate.

  28. Socrates @ #23 Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018 – 8:50 am

    Poroti, Alpo

    I agree re the coalition’s grim employment record. As Greg Jericho has pointed out (Labor should hire him to do analysis; he knows the stats better than anyone) the real story is told by stats on underemployment – hours worked – and real wages. A lack of one has led to the lowest growth on record in the other. There is a distinct lack of job security in the community, despite a record high share of corporate profits. The cake is not getter any bigger. The slices are being redistributed. People are not benefiting from change. We need a Libexit.

    Exactly. So Labor have to move on from Jobson Groethe. They have to say that a job is fine but we have to return to the days when the fruits of the nation’s labours were distributed equitably.

    For the many, not the few. 🙂

  29. Fess

    Yes I did. Thanks muchly.

    Those that I have been following on Twitter from the get go, have said that there are a huge number of people under investigation in this whole imbroglio, and so many on the politico list is precisely the names they have bandied about over this time.
    Hence why I have often said that there are so many tenacles to this shit show, and it is very difficult to see and understand the big picture.

    I have tried to follow all the different aspects of this, and find myself forgetting some components which are rather important in the scheme of things.
    I don’t know if we will ever know the full story, but save to say my belief that it has its roots in gaining more power and money to those who already have so much. Greedy greedy people with no moral ethics or fibre whatsoever.
    Don’t care a fig about the damage to the environment or to people’s lives.
    There really is a malevolent force in play.

    It was bad enough that no one apart from the Bernie Maddow guy was held accountable for ripping off the financial system back in 2008, or for the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. My hope that this latest imbroglio will bring to bear those who are playing the system in the shadows, is not very strong!
    But hey fingers crossed!!!

  30. Voice Endeavour @ #30 Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018 – 9:08 am


    Less educated people don’t tend to do well under the Coalition’s ‘destroy medicare, lower wages and conditions for workers, privatise everything’ policy.

    Many of these people vote for Labor much of the time, because they want a job, a roof, and some food.

    However, this demographic can be persuaded to vote ON “we would have enough jobs to give you one if it weren’t for all the [insert most recent nationality of immigrants here]”. Sure, it’s a lie, but desperate people have done crazier things.

    They are entirely consistent, in that they vote based on what they think at the time is most likely to keep their children from starving.

    However, Labor have already proposed a solution for this area of unease amongst the population and have a policy to put Australians first in line for the jobs that are available and to modify the Work Visa program. Not only that but, unlike One Nation, Labor did not vote for the cuts to Penalty Rates for the lowest paid workers doing the most insecure work.

  31. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team has been talking with George Nader, a little-known Bannon associate who boasts of his well-placed connections in the Middle East, Axios has learned.

    Nader has spoken with Mueller’s team at least twice, according to a source briefed on the investigation. A second source briefed on the investigation confirmed that Mueller’s team has brought Nader in for questioning in the past week. The Special Counsel’s office declined to comment.

  32. Victoria:

    I have no idea whether we’ll ever know the full story either, but I have to say I’m finding this whole thing just fascinating watching from the outside!

  33. vic,
    The reason there are so many tentacles to the Trump gang’s global project, is because he has been at it for decades! The Presidency is just the apotheosis of his efforts. I get reminded of it every time I read about a comment he has made years and years ago. He always seemed to be popping up somewhere to say something about politics, even while he was doing The Apprentice and the Miss Universe pageants.

    But sociopathic pyscopaths are single-minded like that. 🙂

  34. Fess

    There is a suggestion that there are two moles that were in the WH during transition and thereafter. Apparently, they are well known to the

    Papapdopoulos was not one of these well known people and nor is Nader.

    I had never heard of him until now!!

  35. c@t

    Agreed. But this isn’t just about Trump and his dealings. It is much bigger than that.
    As said in past, just look some of the people in his cabinet. Wilbur Ross (who was head of Cyprus Bank) and Betty De Vos (whose brother Erik Prince was behind the Blackwater company during Iraq war) and Rex Tillerson (head of Exxon Mobil) who had big deals with Russia. Although, I am starting to think Rex Tillerson is still a patriot. ie. Won’t sell his own country down the river.

  36. Fess

    It is fascinating and whilst we are not seeing it, Australia is playing their part. Just look at what has happened with our rhetoric on China and the Sam Dastyari stuff. All part of the same shit show, Yep. Fascinating

  37. B
    Healthy eating, healthy people, healthy environment. Some macro policies to help that along:
    1. Internalize the cost of fossil fuels to the environment in all food commodities
    2. Plough around 90% of the world’s standing sugar crop into the ground.
    3. Put a methane tax on beef and dairy.
    These measure alone, implemented on a global scale, would probably lead to a doubling of the 5 million children who die annually because of famine, starvation and hunger-related illnesses.
    There can be no global warming fix without a substantial reduction in wealth global and national wealth inequalities.
    At least in Australia we can vote for a party that will probably form government and that will probably try to do something real about wealth inequality.
    If that does not tickle your fancy you could always vote for the 1%/70% crowd.
    It that does not tickle your fancy either, you could always vote for the Futile Change a Date Rabble.

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