Essential Research: 54-46 to Labor

Only the barest of improvements for the Coalition in the latest Essential poll, as reports of private polling in Wentworth confirm a collapse in the Liberal primary vote.

The fortnightly Essential Research result has Labor’s lead at 54-46, down just slightly from its 55-45 in the poll conducted in the very immediate wake of the leadership change on August 24. All we have of the primary vote at this stage is that the Coalition is up a point to 36%. Scott Morrison records a 39-27 lead on preferred prime minister, little changed from his 39-29 lead in the last poll. As with Newspoll, Essential’s second poll of the Morrison era includes its first approval ratings for the two leaders: Morrison debuts on 37% approval and 31% disapproval, while Bill Shorten is on 35% approval, up one on a month ago, and 43% disapproval, down one.

UPDATE: On the primary vote, the Coalition is up a point to 36%, Labor is down two to 37% – solidly lower than Newspoll – the Greens are steady on 10% and One Nation is up one to 8% (their second increase in a row, the opposite of what Newspoll has shown). The full report is here.

The poll finds 47% disapproving of the leadership change compared with 35% in support, widening a gap that was recorded at 40% to 35% in the last poll (the narrowness of which I found hard to credit). Presented with a series of propositions on the leadership change, 63% agreed with the proposition that they had lost trust in the government and wanted a new one; 60% that Morrison “was not elected by the people and has no legitimacy” and “needs to go to an election as soon as possible“; and 67% that they were “sick of the major parties changing their leaders” and “consider voting for a third party to send a message to them both”. Also included are a finding that 69% think a policy to reduce carbon emissions important, versus 23% for unimportant; and leadership attribute ratings which I may or may not take a closer look at when the full report comes out later today.

Also today, The Australian has some results from a poll of 1000 respondents in Wentworth. The poll was conducted for Andrew Bragg, the early Liberal preselection frontrunner who is now set for a seat in the Senate, who seems to be publicising it to back his decision to vacate the field in Wentworth for a woman. A straight voting intention question recorded the Liberal primary vote at just 39%, compared with Malcolm Turnbull’s 62.3% in 2016, with Labor’s Tim Murray on 25% and Kerryn Phelps, who is expected to announce shortly she will run as an independent, on 20%. However, a secondary voting intention specifying a female Liberal candidate found the party’s vote increasing to 43%.

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.

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