Leadership ratings revisited

Picking apart personal approval and preferred prime minister ratings in the Morrison era.

BludgerTrack’s leadership approval and preferred prime ministership readings have been in limbo since last August’s leadership change, since it was necessary to accumulate a certain amount of data before Morrison-era trends could usefully be generated. I have now finally got around to doing something about this, the results of which can be found through the link below:

This exercise has to contend with the very substantial idiosyncrasies of the various pollsters, of which three produce data that can meaningfully be compared with each other: Newspoll, Essential and Ipsos (there are also a handful of small-sample Morgan results in the mix). This is done by calculating a trend exclusively from Newspoll, determining the other pollsters’ average deviations from that trend, and adjusting their results accordingly. For whatever reason, Newspoll appears to be a particularly tough marker, which means the other pollsters are adjusted very substantially downwards on approval and upwards on disapproval:

Ipsos Essential
PM approval -11.0% -3.1%
PM disapproval +8.9% +8.6%
OL approval -5.5% -1.0%
OL disapproval +2.4% +9.5%
PM preferred -4.8% -0.3%

“PM preferred” refers to the size of the Prime Minister’s lead over the Opposition Leader in preferred prime minister polling – so Ipsos, for example, records relatively large leads for the Prime Minister in comparison with Newspoll, and is adjusted accordingly.

The job of charting trendlines through the spread of results is complicated by some notable outliers at around the time of the leadership transition. Malcolm Turnbull’s critics on the right are very keen on an Ipsos poll conducted over the last week of his prime ministership, as it is the only evidence polling has to offer that the Coalition’s present dismal position is not entirely down to the avoidable disaster of Turnbull’s removal. After a period of fairly consistent 51-49 results from all pollsters, this poll found Labor’s lead blowing out to 55-45 – and Malcolm Turnbull down nine on approval and up ten on disapproval. However, the BludgerTrack trend is not overly responsive to single poll results, so it records no sudden decline at the end of Turnbull’s tenure – only the levelling off an improving trend going back to late 2017.

Immediately after the leadership change, two pollsters posed questions on preferred prime minister, though not leadership approval. These produced very different results – a 39-33 lead for Bill Shorten from Newspoll, and a 39-29 lead for Scott Morrison from Essential. Newspoll is given a heavier weighting than Essential, so the trend follows its lead in finding Shorten with a very short-lived lead immediately after the leadership change. However, none of the fifteen poll results have replicated a lead for Shorten, so it is entirely possible that the Newspoll result was an outlier and the lead never existed in the first place.

The bigger picture is that Scott Morrison started well on net approval, but has now settled in roughly where Malcolm Turnbull was in his final months; that he is under-performing Turnbull on preferred prime minister; and that Bill Shorten’s net rating, while still not great, has been on a steady upward path since the leadership change.

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.

2,082 comments on “Leadership ratings revisited”

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  1. @joshgnosis tweets

    I shouldn’t be surprised but Devine tries to equate the Nazi rally with Mardi Gras in her column today, calling it an “equally boutique event”.

  2. @joshgnosis tweets

    I shouldn’t be surprised but Devine tries to equate the Nazi rally with Mardi Gras in her column today, calling it an “equally boutique event”.

  3. SugarBabyGate keeps on giving…

    The founder and CEO of the dating website that Andrew Broad met his sugar baby on has spoken for the first time about the scandal, with some stern advice for politicians who cheat.

    Seeking.com CEO Brandon Wade released a video statement today, officially confirming for the first time that the fallen Nationals MP met his sugar baby on his dating website.

    “More and more often we find politicians on both sides of the aisle get caught up in sex scandals or extra marital affairs that ultimately sink their careers,” he said.

    “The latest example comes from Australia where a member of parliament named Andrew Broad was caught in such a scandal.

    “He was found cheating on his wife with a woman he met on my website.

    “The problem with this is the hypocrisy that voters sense that the politician is living a completely different life than the public persona he or she exudes.”

    He went on to say that his dishonesty will affect any politican’s career.

    “The breakdown in trust with his wife extends to voters and that will sink any politican’s career,” he said.


  4. REVEALED: Manafort failed to disclose meetings with suspected Russian agent while managing Trump’s campaign

    Paul Manafort’s attorneys on Tuesday submitted a new legal filing filled with botched redactions that revealed some new details about evidence that special counsel Robert Mueller has gathered about the former Trump campaign chairman.

    In one section of the redacted filing, Manafort’s attorneys concede that Manafort had initially failed to tell investigators about meetings and conversations that he’d had with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian national who allegedly has ties to Russian intelligence services.


  5. Trump Knew That Manafort Gave The Russians Data

    Paul Manafort gave the Russians polling, data, and internal documents. Donald Trump knew about this and still coordinated lies to Mueller with him.

    The Guardian reported that Manafort is accused of sharing polling data with Russian intelligence agencies, “Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, has been accused by special counsel Robert Mueller of sharing polling data on the 2016 election with a Russian man linked to Moscow’s intelligence agencies.”

    The Russians would find polling and other campaign data very useful in their efforts to elect Trump because it would give them direction in their efforts to target voters. In order to get Trump elected, the Russians needed to know who to target and be in step with the campaign. Paul Manafort was one of those sources of information.

    Trump knew what Manafort did and he coordinated lies to Mueller with his former campaign chairman, which is why Manafort’s crimes have everything to do with Trump.


  6. Rudy Giuliani thinks Mueller report will be ‘horrific’ — and insiders say Trump may strike deal to resign: report

    Buried in a new Vanity Fair story about President Donald Trump’s lack of exit strategy for his showdown over the proposed border wall, which aides fear will be his “personal Alamo,” is another intriguing nugget.

    While most of the country is focused on the shutdown staredown, special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation trundles on.

    Trumpworld is preparing the worst.

    “Rudy Giuliani recently told a friend that he expects Mueller’s report to be ‘horrific,’ a person briefed on the conversation said,” the report says.

    In this case, though, Trump does appear to have an exit strategy.

    “You’re already hearing people speculate Trump could do a deal and resign,” Vanity Fair reports.

    “There Is No Endgame”: White House Aides Fear Trump Has Turned the Border Wall into His Alamo

    “The president put himself in a box” as Trump tries to fight his way out, his new chief of staff already eyes the exits, and Giuliani worries about Mueller’s possibly “horrific” report.


  7. CNN legal analyst explains why Russian lawyer worked as Kremlin agent during meeting with Trump Jr.

    On Tuesday, Russian lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya was charged with obstruction of justice in a money-laundering case, CNN reported.

    Former federal prosecutor Elie Honig broke down the ramifications of the revelations, pursued by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office. Among other things, it’s now clear that Veselnitskaya had dealings with Russian officials, which undermines the claim that her meeting with members of the Trump campaign, including Don Jr., were not linked to the Kremlin.

    “Now we know that she was working directly with corrupt, Russian officials,” former prosecutor Honig said. “That ups the stakes of the Trump Tower meeting.”


  8. Kamala Harris rains hell on Trump’s ‘lies’ about border: ‘This is a vanity project for this president’

    Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) scorched President Donald Trump on “The View” for pushing “propaganda” to concoct a phony emergency over immigration.

    Harris said the president and his administration had rigged up phony claims about immigration ahead of the midterm elections, and they were doing it again to justify the wall.

    “This issue is about a vanity project for this president, and it is a problem of his own making,” Harris said. “Listen, when I travel this country, folks have plenty enough problems that they need their president to focus on instead of a wall.”

    “By the way, because I was a prosecutor for many years, including the attorney general of California, (and) I specialized on transnational criminal organizations,” she added. “That wall ain’t gonna stop them.”


  9. Do the Libs seriously believe they select on “merit”?

    Ms Hughes is now set to joint the Senate, after she beat the Liberals’ Jim Molan to secure the top spot on the Senate ticket, in a rank and file preselection.

    Her victory, secured without a quota, then prompted calls for that result to be overturned by party officials to “save” Senator Molan.

    Mr Johns was recently the subject of controversy himself after he refused to step aside amid fears he would beat the Liberals Craig Kelly in a rank and file preselection.

    After it became apparent he would win, Scott Morrison was forced to intervene to scuttle the vote and ensure Mr Kelly survived.

    The conservative thinkers’ belief in male superiority is incredible.


  10. ‘Her victory, secured without a quota…’

    See! Women CAN get preselected without one, so it’s obviously totally unnecessary….

  11. Correlation or causation?

    William Bowe says:
    Wednesday, January 9, 2019 at 6:25 am
    New thread.

    BK says:
    Wednesday, January 9, 2019 at 6:26 am
    Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

  12. Peter van Onselen

    To be clear, I have no problem with this. But why don’t people who try to get here by boat who are found to be genuine refugees also get granted asylum? Why are they treated differently? The genuine refugees I mean, not those found to be non-genuine. #auspol

  13. Good Morning Bludgers 🙂

    I knew it! Konstantin Kilimnik is the Russian Agent who infiltrated American politics most successfully:

    In one section of the redacted filing, Manafort’s attorneys concede that Manafort had initially failed to tell investigators about meetings and conversations that he’d had with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian national who allegedly has ties to Russian intelligence services.

    And whose campaign manager has very close ties to Kilimnik, going way back?

    Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager, Tad Devine.

    Don’t be beguiled by him, don’t touch Bernie Sanders with a barge pole! Push him out to sea and wave goodbye!

  14. phoenixRED

    Re that russian lawyer. OMG, look at the charges. Isn’t that a lawyer’s KPI ? 🙂
    “Prosecutors say Veselnitskaya submitted deceptive declarations to a judge in a civil proceeding involving a Russian tax refund fraud scheme.”

  15. BK clean bowled by William.

    Will the Selectors go to one of the Marsh Brothers to take up the important position of opening the Dawn Patrol?

  16. C@

    I hope you got the heavy sarcasm!

    Why put that totally useless piece of information in the article, unless that’s what the journalist is implying?

  17. ‘Dee Madigan

    Verified account


    In this time of not enough women in the parliaments what does Tim James do after losing preselection to Felicity Wilson? He reviews the process twice. Loses twice. And then says I’m taking it to court for another preselection. Seriously. Libs, sort it out.’

    Anyone know more about this story?

  18. Zoomster

    NSW State Liberal Preselection. For seat of North Shore. Felicity Wilson barely won the preselection after it emerged last time that she lied about living in the electorate.

  19. C@t

    Behind the lurid headlines it is a bit of a nothingburger when it comes to RUSSIA!!!!.
    Robert Mueller Indicts Konstantin Kilimnik and Hits Paul Manafort With Another Charge

    The indictment alleges that in 2012, Manafort and his associate Rick Gates, who Mueller’s office also indicted last October for money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent, worked with Kilimnik to lobby on behalf of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to retain a group of lobbyists to act as independent assessors of the Ukrainian government, even though that government was actually paying them.

    Person A” – tried to get two witnesses to lie about lobbying work for Ukraine.

  20. Andrea Courtney
    ‏ 6m6 minutes ago

    @GregHuntMP is promising $47 mill after cutting $150mill (2 years ago). But the $47 mill is only promised next term.

    Bottom line. Libs cut $150 mill from mental health funding. End of story. @sunriseon7 didn’t call them out on it, citizens on twitter have to. #Auspol

    Greg Hunt has been wheeling out these promises at a rate of knots lately. All part of his strategy to fool the electorate and WIN!

  21. …I was more asking about the multiple appeals – the tweet is from today, so I thought there must be something happening currently.

  22. poroti,
    Why am I not surprised you are defending Russia?

    I suppose you haven’t heard about this though:

    NBC Politics

    Verified account


    JUST IN: US Supreme Court rejects appeal from an unidentified company in a foreign country that was seeking to escape a grand jury subpoena that is widely assumed to be sought by Special Counsel Mueller’s prosecutors.

    “The administrative stay previously entered … is vacated.”

    The thinking is it refers to a State-owned Russian Bank.

    Just a nothingburger again, poroti?

  23. lizzie

    I wish someone had kept track of all the Libs’-Cut $3 one year then trumpet their giving a huge’ increase of $1 the following year. It seems to be a favourite trick of theirs in many areas. Albo would have a list for infrastructure so that would be a start 🙂

  24. He’s done it again!!!

    Good morning Dawn Patrollers. (originally posted two hours ago)

    Now it’s Heathrow flights that have been suspended because of reported drone activity.
    The scare campaign on Labor’s dividend imputation policy has kicked off.
    Nicholas Stuart laments that politicians seem to find planning for the future difficult and so they prefer to inhabit a perpetual present.
    Greg Sheridan writes that the Morrison government has made a complete mess of the Neil Prakash citizenship revocation, in a case of such ballsed-up diplomacy that it is much more Monty Python than Yes Minister.
    Eryk Bagshaw reports that the big banks have launched an assault on market rivals, accusing short-term lenders such as Afterpay of shirking regulations as the financial services providers face the double threat of a royal commission and parliamentary inquiry.
    Industry superannuation funds are on track to overtake self-managed super funds to become the dominant players in the $2.7 trillion retirement savings system in the next two years.
    London’s Telegraph tells us that this is the year that mounting hammer blows to the Western alliance system and the edifice of global governance threaten to bring the old order tumbling down.
    Michael Koziol looks at Fraser Anning’s travel a=expense antics.
    How about this for a fatberg!
    The Guardian’s Anne Davies writes that The Australian’s unequivocal denunciation of those who seek to foment anger and intolerance based on race was refreshing. But also a little surprising. Had the editorial writer been reading any News Corp publications during 2018? Had they missed the year-long campaign to demonise the African community in Melbourne as a hotbed of gang activity?
    A Federal Court judge presiding over the Australian ”Dieselgate” class action has ordered Volkswagen to name which board members and those in senior management knew about the scandal.
    An interesting article from Ross Gittins on personality traits and happiness.
    Stephen Bartholomeusz looks at one positive legacy from the volatile cryptocurrency scene.
    Labour market expansion across Australia in 2018 was almost entirely driven by growth in public sector jobs, with private sector employment contracting in the period.
    Commonwealth prosecutors have been accused of acting unfairly in the Witness K case after dumping their brief of evidence on defence lawyers about 6pm on the last working day of the legal year.
    On the basis of this poll Boothby in SA is gorn!
    This Catholic educator says that raising ATAR for teachers won’t raise standards.
    The UK Guardian editorialises that the government has failed on Brexit – it’s time to go back to the people.
    Australia’s fuel stockpiles have dwindled so much that it could affect the country’s ability to react to a crisis, experts have warned.
    Latest figures reveal the country’s onshore storage levels of crude oil are little more than half that of the minimum requirement, putting Australia in breach of international obligations – and at severe risk.
    Idiot Trump is continuing to edge towards declaring a wall national emergency.
    Trump’s claim that his predecessors endorsed his idea of a wall at the Mexican border is getting no support from the ex-presidents’ club.
    Letting you converse with strangers in dozens of languages, Timekettle’s WT2 Plus earbuds ensure you’re never lost for words when travelling abroad.
    The Conversation tells us that almost every brand of tuna on supermarket shelves shows why modern slavery laws are needed.
    ScoMo has opened up on his hopes and dreams for 2019 in a fair dinkum prayer-letter to the man upstairs.
    A woman standing on her own waiting for an Uber in Rio de Janeiro may have appeared an easy target to a would-be thief. The only problem for the perpetrator was his target was a strawweight UFC fighter, who turned the tables on the thief with punches, a kick and a “rear-naked choke” before forcing him to sit and wait for the police. He certainly came off second best.
    And we have a posthumous “Arsehole of the Week” nomination today.
    And a nomination from the land of the living . . .

    Cartoon Corner

    Mark David with a brief history of the Liberal party.

    David Pope tunes up the dog whistle.

    Cathy Wilcox serves it up to Gladys.

    From Matt Golding.

    From the US.

  25. Zoomster

    Felicity Wilson won by a couple of votes. James claimed there was dodgy voting going on. Had it reviewed. Reviewed again. Currently unaware of legal proceedings.

  26. “I voted Abbott, Dutton and Porter for the GetUp who do you want to see gone list.”

    Re the GetUp campaign, who to boot out – so many right-wingers to choose from, it’s hard to pick only three.

    Actually the first two weren’t. Number 1 is Peter Dutton, a nasty crypto-Fascist, a possible future PM , potentially Australia’s first far right leader, on a margin of under 2%. Then Tony Abbott, of course, a good chance of being resurrected as Opposition Leader. No, we can’t afford the crap, the unrelenting negativity, we had to put up with from 2009 to 2013. He won’t go voluntarily so the voters of Warringah need to be persuaded to boot him out.

    As to the rest, there are many on comfortable margins who I would love to see gone, but we need to choose our battles. I would love to see Greg Hunt out. Barnaby too, although he’s a joke of no further consequence and his continued presence might damage a coalition Opposition. I chose Christian Porter, who seemed the right combination of low margin, right wing ideolog and potential future leadership material.

  27. Plus, you are really scarping the bottom of the barrel, poroti, to try and link me to Joseph McCarthy! Lol.

    Please accept my abject apology for wanting Russia to have nothing to do with Western Democracies. Not.

  28. Not only, but also, Konstantin Kilimnik is a Russian Agent who has worked to undermine the democratically-elected Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, on behalf of Vladimir Putin, who, of course, wants the Ukraine back under his control.

  29. Dutton has announced a proposal to publish a list of sex offenders including name, known aliases, photo and postcode. This idea has so many problems that it could only come from someone like Dutton. It will need to cooperation of the states so is unlikely to get up.
    Often when I am introduced to people they say that I look familiar. This probably means there is some poor mug who looks similar to me living in the same general area. I hope he is not a sex offender.
    On reflection, Dutton is probably hoping that the Labor state governments reject it so he can beat up the issue.

  30. Peter Stanton,
    The Coalition tried something similar under Howard, coincidentally when he looked to be losing the election to Rudd Labor. Back around the time of ‘Dolly’ Dunn. It was found to be unconstitutional to do it, but it sure does excite the base! 🙂

  31. I went Dutton, Abbott and Hastie. I think the latter is a proper nutbag and a potential future leader who needs the political judo chop asap.

  32. The ACT is not exactly the Speedy Gonzales of the Australian legal system.

    The prosecution of Witness K and Collaery will take forever to even be started.

    It will dribble on and off for years.

  33. There is no reason why a similar list of known drug dealers, including those operating at festivals, should not also be published if something for sex offenders is to occur.

  34. Peter Stanton

    Someone on News Breakfast very supportive of Dutton’s register (and of course so is Hinch). Insisting there have been no problems with vigilantes in America. I simply don’t believe it.

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