Two days out from the one we’ve all been waiting for, Fairfax has cutely interjected with an Ipsos poll – conducted on this most special of occasions from Tuesday to Thursday for publication on Friday night, and not from Thursday to Saturday for publication on Sunday night as standard. The sample is 1166, somewhat lower than the usual 1400 from Ipsos.
The headline two-party result of 52-48 to Labor, as determined using 2016 election preference flows, is only slightly above the Coalition’s usual form – but Malcolm Turnbull is given a very useful straw to grasp with a tied result using respondent-allocated preferences. This is something the Coalition hasn’t achieved on either kind of two-party measure in any poll since September 2016, except for the quirky and apparently short-lived YouGov series for Fifty Acres. The previous Ipsos poll in early December had Labor leading 53-47 on previous election preferences and 52-48 on respondent allocation. On the primary vote, the Coalition is up two to 36%, Labor is up a point to 34%, and the Greens are down a point to 12% (high results for the Greens being a consistent features of Ipsos polls).
The good news for Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t end there: the poll finds only 28% in favour of the Liberals removing him as leader, compared with 62% who think he should remain, and his approval rating bounces five points to 47%, with disapproval down six to 43%. This is the first time since April last year that Turnbull has recorded net favourable personal ratings – the previous instance being another Ipsos poll, which is no coincidence, since the series consistently records high approval and low undecided ratings for both leaders. Bill Shorten is steady on 38% approval and up one on disapproval to 53%. The poll also finds 49% support for company tax cuts, with the number opposed not provided. This is dramatically more favourable than ReachTEL’s finding of 29% in favour and 56% opposed, although recent Essential Research polls have had slight net favourable results.
We have also had Roy Morgan publish results of its face-to-face polling for the second fortnight a row, which the pollster has hitherto been reserving for its massively expensive subscriber service since the 2016 election campaign. I’m not sure if this portends a regular return to publication, or if it will be appearing on an ad hoc basis, as the release a fortnight ago seemed to suggest. Whatever it is, the result is likewise on the high side for the Coalition, with Labor holding a steady 51-49 lead on two-party preferred. This is in contrast to the form of the Morgan face-to-face series of old, which was notorious for its skew to Labor.
However, as with Ipsos, it’s respondent allocation that’s making the difference – if previous election preferences were applied, Labor’s lead would be up from 51-49 to 53-47. The primary votes are Coalition 38.5%, down from 40% a fortnight ago; Labor 37.5%, up from 35%; Greens 11%, down from 12%; and One Nation on an unusually weak 3%, down from 3.5%. The Morgan release has two-party breakdowns by state and income category. The poll was conducted over the past two weekends from a combined sample of 1477.