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”

  1. Immigration
    I think the current trajectory of population growth is too high for the existing infrastructure and carrying capacity of our farmland, which we are trashing at a rapid rate

    Housing and public transport
    A decade ago the Pooh bans who comprise the productivity commission brains trust declared that australia would only invest in infrastructure that increased GDP. Public transport and housing amenity did not contribute to GDP. Sydney is reaping the bitter fruits of their myopic vision.

    Jobs
    Skilled immigration pushes existing residents down the socio economic ladder. In contrast to the 1950s when immigrants were deemed to be unskilled factory workers and existing residents happily climbed the socio economic ladder. Incidentally governments invested heavily in state housing for the immigrant factory workers. cf KA Betts Swinburne

    Only 36% of unemployed people claim Newstart, so there aren’t 680,000 unemployed, it’s more like 2,000,000 unemployed hunting for the same 280,000 vacancies of long and short duration.

    Newstart and employment programs are woefully inadequate at $276.10 per week and the mechanisms for claiming Newstart and CDP are humiliating and designed to punish

    Now if Newstart was increased and politicians stopped pretending that the unemployed were bludgers and invested in job creation then perhaps our current immigration levels are warranted

  2. yabba @ #994 Thursday, January 10th, 2019 – 6:00 pm

    The Perth engineer was already employed in a Bunnings warehouse, living at home with his parents, and getting a lift to work. He took a cut lunch his Mum made, and his employer supplied coffee, but only instant. The immigrant engineer is from Germany, and has 3 years experience in pet food manufacture. He rides his bike everywhere.

    Flatmates.com shows 6 suitable rooms in share houses available in Albury at $180-$200 per week. Avocadoes are expensive in Albury, but not as dear as in Hanover or Perth. Club meals at the Commercial Club in Albury are very cheap, and serving sizes are large. Rutherglen Muscat is ridiculously cheap.

    I have no idea what point you are trying to make … and neither, I suspect, do you.

  3. yabba @ #996 Thursday, January 10th, 2019 – 6:03 pm

    KayJay @ #990 Thursday, January 10th, 2019 – 5:54 pm

    BK @ #984 Thursday, January 10th, 2019 – 5:44 pm

    What does strewth mean in Australia?
    ___
    KayJay

    A diminution of “God’s truth”.

    Thanks BK. I used to hear Struth often in my younger years. Professor Google gives – sort of interchangeably Strewth – Struth and Streuth. It sound better to my aging ears with what I think of as the country Ozzie accent. – Probably just another of my delusions.

    In any case best of luck with the heat (and watering). 🥵 (Overheating face.)

    My mate Paul’s Mum threw me out of his house when I was about 8 for saying ‘strewth’. I was both surprised and humiliated.

    We copped it at home, something about taking the Name in vain, which meant zip at the time. And as for Xmas, taking the Christ out of Christmas – strewth!.

  4. Well have they ? Trump may help them decide sooner rather than later. From the NYT.
    .
    .

    Have We Had Enough of the Imperial Presidency Yet?

    The Trump administration has provided a new example of an old concept: the “imperial presidency.” That term, famously used by the historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. in 1973 to describe the excesses and abuses of the Nixon White House, fell out of use almost as soon as President Richard Nixon fell from grace……………………………………….. Most important, reforming presidential power will fall on the shoulders of voters. In the end, the most effective check on presidential power is to elect presidents who will exercise their authority with some restraint and respect our democratic institutions. That is the choice voters will have in 2020.

    Kevin M. Kruse and Julian E. Zelizer, history professors at Princeton

    https://outline.com/dPdhRs

  5. If Uncle Ben hires a German graduate over an Australian graduate the taxpayer has wasted their investment in the 17 years of education of the Australian graduate.

    HECS covers the cost of educating teachers, lawyers and Arts graduates but doesn’t cover the cost of training doctors, dentists and engineers

  6. That is a pretty low rent effort by PVO.

    First of all, Trump’s actual promise was to make Mexico pay for the wall. Insisting that congress now fund it seems to be contrary to this mandate malarkey. Indeed it’s a broken promise.

    Secondly, Trump’s mandate on this was to get it done in the last Congress – you know – the one controlled by his party. No bill to fund the wall was put to a vote in the republican congress. Nor did the republican senate attempt to muscle up for their president and call the senate democrats bluff on a threatened filibuster. Barely a word out of trump, let alone a government shut down over this republican indolence.

    Thirdly, house democrats have recently secured their own mandate – to oppose this stupid wall. They at least are fulfilling their promises on this.

    Lastly, Trump holds an office that relates to the whole of the federal government. He’s simply not doing his job on account on one line item in that governance – and one where he has been completely inconsistent on.

  7. Andrew_Earlwood @ #1013 Thursday, January 10th, 2019 – 6:19 pm

    That is a pretty low rent effort by PVO.

    First of all, Trump’s actual promise was to make Mexico pay for the wall. Insisting that congress now fund it seems to be contrary to this mandate malarkey.

    Secondly, Trump’s mandate on this was to get it done in the last Congress – you know – the one controlled by his party. No bill to fund the wall was put to a vote in the republican congress. Nor did the republican senate attempt to muscle up for their president and call the senate democrats bluff on a threatened filibuster. Barely a word out of trump, let alone a government shut down over this republican indolence.

    Lastly, house democrats have recently secured their own mandate – to oppose this stupid wall. They at least are fulfilling their promises on this.

    All of which shows that it’s a contrived issue pursued by Trump now because he’s under extreme pressure elsewhere.

  8. yabba
    Thursday, January 10th, 2019 – 6:03 pm
    Comment #996

    My mate Paul’s Mum threw me out of his house when I was about 8 for saying ‘strewth’. I was both surprised and humiliated.

    Jeez – that you have remembered all these years (I’m guessing) testifies to your statement (surprised and humiliated).

    Compare the language on these pages with the (supposed) acceptable of a few years back.

    Witness the disgusting, disgraceful, nay -the horror of conjuring up a vision of
    TA DA ❗ the Prime Minister’s Arse.

    Just a note regarding the Prime Minister’s Legs.
    My middle favourite daughter is a Registered Nurse local to Shoalhaven and volunteers driving and odd bod services with the local firies. ( I don’t usually write/say firies – I guess maybe should be what – Firepeople – very stilted. ❓ ❓

    I will call her later to congratulate her on her wisdom – avoiding the photo session.

    I think I better get ready for bed and the Big Bash.
    Up North has just brought up the old wash your mouth out with soap trick. Next thing it’ll be the wooden spoon and castor oil.
    Zounds – my friend. Cripes ❗ 😎

  9. Bert says:
    Thursday, January 10, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    Regarding transportation of convicts, I’ve read more than 1 account of ticket of leave men and women who wrote to relatives and advised them to commit a minor crime that would on sentencing get them transported to the Antipodies as they would end up with a much better existence than they currently had in whatever shithole they happened to live. As for people covering up convict ancestry, that was never a problem in my family, we’re descended from Irish convict “stock” and fiercely proud of it.
    -0-

    I went to primary school in Sydney, not knowing that just a few hundred meters away was the site of a stockade which held 58 Quebec rebels who were transported from Canada in 1840. It was the site later of my high school sports days.

    This footnote to the development of representative government in Canada is marked by the name chosen for the combined local municipalities 150 years later: Canada Bay. Other geographic remembrances are France Bay and Exile Bay in that arm of the Parramatta River.

    Until 1970, there was no monument or plaque on the site “Longbottom” which became Concord Oval on Parramatta Road where some World Cup rugby games were played in 1987. During 20 months there, the Canadian “patriotes” had to break stone and drag it to Parramatta Road, which was then under construction. They were also required to cut wood blocks for paving the streets of Sydney.

    In 1842 the prisoners were allowed to leave Longbottom under the the ticket-of-leave system. Some of the prisoners established a sawmill near Parramatta, some were employed as assigned servants by such people as the Surveyor General and the superintendent of convicts.

    The treatment of these political prisoners was considerably more lenient than that of the earlier convicts. They were helped in large measure by a sympathetic Roman Catholic archbishop of Sydney who is also credited with changing their ultimate destination from Norfolk Island to Concord. Remarkably, all but three of the rebels returned to Canada. Two died, and the other married a local and lived on the south coast.

    On his Australian visit in 1970, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau unveiled a monument to the rebels at nearby Cabarita Park. It was the only public engagement of Trudeau’s Sydney visit. The monument was later moved to nearby Bayview Park, the site of the wharf where the rebels were unloaded.

  10. Agree Andrew_Earlwood

    PvO’s ‘defence’ of Trump is right up there with Rudy Guiliani. A truly crap effort.

    I think it was ‘hard’ and he ‘had to write it’ because someone said he ‘had to write it’. The Tweet Confessions posted combined with the article calling itself ‘ridiculous’ and ‘dubious’ all seems rather self-conscious and embarrassed.

    Also some waffle top get the word count up. Howard, the GST, mandates, and how the L-NP wave things through (my arse).

  11. ItzaDream @ #1004 Thursday, January 10th, 2019 – 6:11 pm

    yabba @ #996 Thursday, January 10th, 2019 – 6:03 pm

    KayJay @ #990 Thursday, January 10th, 2019 – 5:54 pm

    BK @ #984 Thursday, January 10th, 2019 – 5:44 pm

    What does strewth mean in Australia?
    ___
    KayJay

    A diminution of “God’s truth”.

    Thanks BK. I used to hear Struth often in my younger years. Professor Google gives – sort of interchangeably Strewth – Struth and Streuth. It sound better to my aging ears with what I think of as the country Ozzie accent. – Probably just another of my delusions.

    In any case best of luck with the heat (and watering). 🥵 (Overheating face.)

    My mate Paul’s Mum threw me out of his house when I was about 8 for saying ‘strewth’. I was both surprised and humiliated.

    We copped it at home, something about taking the Name in vain, which meant zip at the time. And as for Xmas, taking the Christ out of Christmas – strewth!.

    The X of Xmas was inherited from the monks who were transcribing religious works. The X is the greek letter Chi, and stood for Christ, Khristos, which if you are writing it a lot is worth abbreviating. No disrespect was intended.

    It is not a modern invention.

  12. Player One @ #1003 Thursday, January 10th, 2019 – 6:11 pm

    yabba @ #994 Thursday, January 10th, 2019 – 6:00 pm

    The Perth engineer was already employed in a Bunnings warehouse, living at home with his parents, and getting a lift to work. He took a cut lunch his Mum made, and his employer supplied coffee, but only instant. The immigrant engineer is from Germany, and has 3 years experience in pet food manufacture. He rides his bike everywhere.

    Flatmates.com shows 6 suitable rooms in share houses available in Albury at $180-$200 per week. Avocadoes are expensive in Albury, but not as dear as in Hanover or Perth. Club meals at the Commercial Club in Albury are very cheap, and serving sizes are large. Rutherglen Muscat is ridiculously cheap.

    I have no idea what point you are trying to make … and neither, I suspect, do you.

    There were 2 points. 1. Which you didn’t quote, is that there is a shortage of engineers in Australia. Without them, productivity will be severely curtailed, in particular in regional manufacturing, mining etc.

    The second is that generalisations about infrastructure, services etc. are pretty pointless. In any situation where there is an underutilsation of capacity, adding more users will actually improve the situation at little or no cost. A severe problem in Australia is the over concentration of population in the two largest cities, which are bulging under the strain. Last week it took me 2 hours to get from Melbourne airport to a milk factory in the western suburbs, a trip which normally takes about 35 minutes, because of an earlier, long gone, breakdown on the western ring road.

    The factory is now surrounded by seemingly endless, almost identical, McMansions, with nary a tree in sight. A soulless wilderness. At peak hour, it takes people 20 minutes to get through the Palmers Rd – Boundary Road intersection. There is no public transport to speak of.

  13. yabba @ #1024 Thursday, January 10th, 2019 – 7:05 pm

    There were 2 points. 1. Which you didn’t quote, is that there is a shortage of engineers in Australia. Without them, productivity will be severely curtailed, in particular in regional manufacturing, mining etc.

    I didn’t quote it because I had already dealt with that point. We should be training Australian Engineers, not importing overseas ones, who would generally be more productive in their home countries than by taking jobs in pet food factories in Australia.

    The second is that generalisations about infrastructure, services etc. are pretty pointless. In any situation where there is an underutilsation of capacity, adding more users will actually improve the situation at little or no cost. A severe problem in Australia is the over concentration of population in the two largest cities, which are bulging under the strain. Last week it took me 2 hours to get from Melbourne airport to a milk factory in the western suburbs, a trip which normally takes about 35 minutes, because of an earlier, long gone, breakdown on the western ring road.

    The factory is now surrounded by seemingly endless, almost identical, McMansions, with nary a tree in sight. A soulless wilderness. At peak hour, it takes people 20 minutes to get through the Palmers Rd – Boundary Road intersection. There is no public transport to speak of.

    This is just a bunch of strawmen. Not germane to the original argument.

  14. Greensborough Growler @ #1031 Thursday, January 10th, 2019 – 3:25 pm

    Barney in Go Dau @ #1030 Thursday, January 10th, 2019 – 7:16 pm

    Greensborough Growler @ #1026 Thursday, January 10th, 2019 – 3:07 pm

    I have to pay this as a quality stunt!

    https://twitter.com/i/status/1083183695484248064

    Maybe they’re not so bad.

    It certainly wasn’t dumb.

    It had the sense to run away from her!

    Yeah, but the toad died and Hansen continues unabated because of clever marketing.

    Clever marketing?

    You’re easily impressed!

    I’ve got a bridge.

  15. A mandate is a couple of guys going out to dinner.

    In politics the only thing that counts are the things you can actually count – votes. You only hear galahs screeching about mandates when they don’t have the votes and aren’t likely to get them any time soon.

  16. Barney in Go Dau @ #1032 Thursday, January 10th, 2019 – 7:31 pm

    Greensborough Growler @ #1031 Thursday, January 10th, 2019 – 3:25 pm

    Barney in Go Dau @ #1030 Thursday, January 10th, 2019 – 7:16 pm

    Greensborough Growler @ #1026 Thursday, January 10th, 2019 – 3:07 pm

    I have to pay this as a quality stunt!

    https://twitter.com/i/status/1083183695484248064

    Maybe they’re not so bad.

    It certainly wasn’t dumb.

    It had the sense to run away from her!

    Yeah, but the toad died and Hansen continues unabated because of clever marketing.

    Clever marketing?

    You’re easily impressed!

    I’ve got a bridge.

    Whether I agree or not with her politics, it’s very clever politics.

    Soft story on National TV gathering brand awareness in a confused market. She stands out as almost a safe place to put your vote. She was affable and natural, self deprecating and communicating a message to those who might vote for her.

    Living in Melbourne, it’s easy to say there are no Cane Toads here or in SA, or in Tassie or in Perth.

    But as a device to connect to her prospective voters it was very effective.

  17. ratsak @ #1033 Thursday, January 10th, 2019 – 7:32 pm

    A mandate is a couple of guys going out to dinner.

    In politics the only thing that counts are the things you can actually count – votes. You only hear galahs screeching about mandates when they don’t have the votes and aren’t likely to get them any time soon.

    You can win the argument, I’ll take the numbers.

  18. Whatever happened to the days when we rarely if ever heard from our politicians from xmas until the end of January? Can we go back to those days?

  19. The regular appearance of ministers in the media during the holiday period reinforces my belief that we are headed for a March 2 election.
    Morrison won’t want the parliament to sit again.
    Just imagine Littleproud being asked about the Darling River fish kill. He seems to prone to a tanty at the drop of a hat and a real problem could see him explode.
    And the useless environment minister Price would be exposed all over again.

  20. Yep, let Frydenberg get out his message unchallenged.

    The more time Frydenberg is given to spout his idiocy the higher Labor’s vote.

    The only way these idiots are going to minimise their losses is to shut up and disappear from view until election day.

  21. Confessions

    Nah, it will be all over bar the shouting by the time the polls close in WA.

    Seriously, it might increase the number of absent votes but with the rising popularity of pre-poll voting I would think more and more of those heading away for the weekend get in early.

  22. Josh frydenberg is a former tennis champion apparently. From the John Alexander school with a nice white sweatband and a first serve of at least 100k an hour no doubt.

  23. rossmcg:

    Yes, I suppose the increasing utilisation of prepoll voting really does render events on actual election day or election day weekend practically irrelevant.

  24. Upnorth says:
    Thursday, January 10, 2019 at 6:14 pm
    Bugger was the go to word for mum. Had detergent put in my mouth when I said it once out loud.

    For my Mum the word was “hate”. We were not allowed to say it and if we did we coped a short lecture about it being an absolute word that left no space for forgiveness. I still inwardly cringe every time I use it. Fortunately Mum would never resort to the mouth wash. She was a devote pacifist although she would not have known that term.

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