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. poroti @ #1245 Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 7:53 am

    lizzie

    But – but – free trade is so good for everyone. Huh?

    Shh, questioning Free (cough) Trade is heresy. 😉

    Why are free trade agreements so complex.

    Surely they should be one page documents that say;

    Country A and Country B agree to trade together without restrictions or barriers.

    👿 👿 👿 👿 👿

  2. lizzie

    “But – but – free trade is so good for everyone. Huh?”

    Alas, consumers often choose cheap and poor-quality goods over products that are higher quality but more expensive. This applies to food as much as it does to textiles, clothing, etc.

  3. Barney in Go Dau @ #1250 Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 11:00 am

    Why are free trade agreements so complex.

    Because most of them are mislabeled.

    Easy to win an argument if you can just paint the other side as “anti-trade” by calling your draconian thing a ‘free trade agreement’. Much harder if you actually have to present a case for why businesses should be able to sue democratic governments over policy matters they don’t like. 🙁

  4. Kakuru @ #1251 Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 8:05 am

    lizzie

    “But – but – free trade is so good for everyone. Huh?”

    Alas, consumers often choose cheap and poor-quality goods over products that are higher quality but more expensive. This applies to food as much as it does to textiles, clothing, etc.

    Clothing?

    They’re often made in the same factories by the same workers.

  5. It’s not ‘Free Trade’. It’s Mutually Advantageous Trade Deals. Usually where Australia is on the losing end and has to accept the crumbs.

    Speaking of which, I see nothing has yet happened to the Indonesia-Australia Free Trade Agreement. 🙂

  6. With so much information, coupled with some 17 investigations under way, it’s difficult to put a handle on where Trump’s most vulnerable. While Cohen’s certainly a lose cannon, I think Manafort is Trump’s Achilles’ heel. It’s now clear that Manafort shared ‘sensitive’ polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Ukraine native accused by prosecutors of having ties to Russian intelligence, which prima facie gives rise to Russian interference in the 2016 election, with Manafort the conduit, possibly Trump. The question yet to be adequately answered is: Did Trump know of Manafort’s skulduggery? If the answer to this is in the affirmative, Trump’s in more strife than the early settlers. Little wonder he’s out and about attempting to divert public attention.

  7. poroti @ #1243 Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 10:49 am

    DaretoTread

    The US Neoconservative movement originated with Marxists, Rupert must have made the same journey.

    Poroti

    I think they were Trots mostly – sort of Marxist but in the more passionate angry wing. I guess it is not really surprising that passionate ideologues such as trots when losing their ideological certainty swing to another ideological commitment – sort of like passionate religious converts. I think the mainstream communists – a dour bunch – just drifted into other leftwing parties eg Lee Rhiannon.

    I guess it was fairly easy for those Trots to swing first to an anti Russian position, and thence to an avidly pro USA position. For those Trots who were also Jewish then Zionism probably filled that emotional need for commitment to a cause and thence it was an easy step tp becoming zealous neocons.

  8. @AFPCommissioner

    Be Aware. Scammers are using an AFP phone number attempting to impersonate the AFP’s Sydney Office. We do not call asking you to pay money or threaten to arrest you. It’s a new version of an old scam – and it targets the most vulnerable community members. Do not call back. #scam

  9. How cheering. “Resigned, retired, kicked out or dumped.”

    A third of the nation’s 76 senators swept into power at the 2016 election have resigned, retired, been kicked out by the High Court or dumped by their own colleagues, as major parties prepare to pick up as many as six seats from crossbenchers at this year’s federal election.

    An analysis of Senate changes ahead of Parliament’s return in February shows voters will confront a Senate ballot paper unrecognisable from the one they faced at the 2016 poll.

    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/churn-factor-one-third-of-the-senate-has-been-wiped-out-since-the-last-election-20190110-p50qkx.html

  10. Barney
    “Clothing?

    They’re often made in the same factories by the same workers.”

    Now largely true, I’m afraid. Even Blundies. 🙁

  11. lol,

    AFP
    ‏Verified account @AusFedPolice
    1h1 hour ago

    SCAM ALERT! Scammers are referring victims to an AFP phone number at our Sydney office. Do not pay any money. If you believe you’ve been a victim, report it through @Scamwatch_gov or your local police. #scam

  12. sprocket_

    Interesting choice of party name – I suppose it gets difficult to carve out a niche when you are too extreme for both Pauline Hanson and Bob Katter!

    So now he has to get 500 members to register the actual party doesn’t he?

    And other parties can complain about the registered name or abbreviation – I think the Nationals will complain about the abbreviation “Conservative Nationals” (amusing contrast to “Liberal National Party” in Queensland). But going on the recent examples of complaints to the AEC about the LDP and ‘Labour-DLP’ I think the complaint will fall on deaf ears.

  13. So now he has to get 500 members to register the actual party doesn’t he?

    Could he have had a headstart on that at the weekend’s rally, or do the members have to be residents of Qld?

  14. lizzie @ #1260 Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 8:23 am

    How cheering. “Resigned, retired, kicked out or dumped.”

    A third of the nation’s 76 senators swept into power at the 2016 election have resigned, retired, been kicked out by the High Court or dumped by their own colleagues, as major parties prepare to pick up as many as six seats from crossbenchers at this year’s federal election.

    An analysis of Senate changes ahead of Parliament’s return in February shows voters will confront a Senate ballot paper unrecognisable from the one they faced at the 2016 poll.

    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/churn-factor-one-third-of-the-senate-has-been-wiped-out-since-the-last-election-20190110-p50qkx.html

    Well it’s hardly surprising when nearly half of the Senate is not up for reelection.

    … a Senate ballot paper unrecognisable from the one they faced at the 2016 poll.

  15. Of course if they do knock back his abbreviated name (the one that appears on ballot papers) I can think of a very much shorter name, four letters long, based on and incorporating the start of the “National” part of the name. That would probably help him sign up a few members, going on his recent ‘parliamentary business’ trips.

  16. Zoidlord @ #1265 Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 8:34 am

    ” rel=”nofollow”>

    https://hillreporter.com/kamala-harris-prepares-for-presidential-run-20887

    “Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) has confirmed she has decided to seek the 2020 Democratic nomination for president, according to sources who spoke to KCBS Radio. Harris will formally announce her bid for the White House on or around Martin Luther King Jr. Day.”

    So she’s not defecting to Anning’s new Party?

  17. An interesting exemption in the Electoral Act is that if you are a sitting Senator or Member, you can register a party without the 500 signatures.

    Conservative Nationals will probably fool just as many as the Liberal Democrats did, if they are lucky enough to get the Donkey position

  18. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) has confirmed she has decided to seek the 2020 Democratic nomination for president

    So has Ojeda. An interesting list emerging.

  19. poroti says:
    Friday, January 11, 2019 at 11:36 am
    NAFTA did not only screw over US auto and steel workers…………………

    There’s no satisfactory evidence that NAFTA has caused appreciable harm to US steel workers. Canadian steel production in 1990, before NAFTA came into effect (1994) was 12.3 million tonnes and was 13.7 million tonnes in 2017. The comparable figures for Mexico were 8.7 mt and 20 mt. US production was 89.7 million tonnes in 1990 and 81.6 million tonnes in 2017, having peaked at 101.8 mt in 2000 and then crashing to 58.2 mt in 2009, as the GFC hit worldwide industrial production.

    Steel production in China increased from 770.4 mt to 1691.2 mt over the same period. Indian production increased from 15.0 mt to 101.4 mt.

    The worldwide distribution of industrial production – the global division of labour – has radically changed in the last 25 years.

  20. Akubra:

    [‘But the ‘dumbed’ down Age newspaper persists on reporting this trash on these tossers.’]

    While on the Goldie, all the talk is about yet another comeback by our Sam Stosur. Such a shame she doesn’t get much past the first round at the Australian Open, her problem being the lack of consistency of her ground strokes, and her nerves when playing in Oz.

  21. This will be the 4th banner Anning has stood under since 2016…

    “It lists the registered officer as Boston White, who is Mr Anning’s staffer and was previously employed by One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts before he was booted in the Section 44 dual citizenship saga.
    Mr Anning, who took his position for One Nation, sensationally quit the party on his first day in parliament just prior to being sworn in.

    He then joined Bob Katter’s party but was later dumped by the firebrand Queensland MP.

    https://www.news.com.au/national/politics/controversial-politician-fraser-anning-registers-his-own-party-following-rightwing-rally-uproar/news-story/fdc36de59fcace7c46ba9e7421c5ea50

  22. Of course, Australia has been a very substantial beneficiary of the re-ordering of the global division of labour. The efforts by Trump to retard or reverse this re-ordering are having a distinctly negative effect on the global economy- effects that already include harm this economy.

  23. Just further to that Age article on the Senate.

    This election is actually unusual in that more than 4 current Senators will have been on the 2016 ballot and will be on the 2019 ballot.

    Normally it’s a maximum of 4, the Territory Senators, as all the others wouldn’t be up for election until 2021-22.

  24. Maybe the AFP wouldn’t be a fertile subject for creating scams around if the AFP didn’t have a carefully cultivated and apparently ongoing policy of being complete pricks more interested in smoothing out bureaucratic processes and covering their arses than actually trying to take care of people.

    Scammers are using an AFP phone number attempting to impersonate the AFP’s Sydney Office. We do not call asking you to pay money or threaten to arrest you.

  25. briefly

    So total production is your yardstick to measure workers’ welfare ?
    .
    The ‘harm’ has been at contract negotiation time.
    Union-3% pay increase please.
    Company- Sth of the Border looks good.
    Union- No we will not give up penalty rates.
    Company -Sth of the Border looks good.
    .
    So what does the union say ?

    “The members of the USW, the largest industrial union in North America, have suffered from the devastating impact of NAFTA on manufacturing and employment in both the United States and Canada. And workers in Mexico, who now make no more than they did before NAFTA, never benefited from the massive profits that multinational corporations realized as a result of the agreement. ”

    https://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/usw-looks-forward-to-working-with-ustr-to-continue-to-improve-new-nafta-usmca

  26. Even while making their general claims in relation to NAFTA, in November 2018 the union published a 4 year deal with Mittal steel that provided for agreed wage rises.

  27. Briefly, what were the agreed wage rises? 0%?

    Secondly, steel making is not an industry that you can move south of the border easily. NAFTA will probably mean any new steel plant will be constructed in Mexico. In the meantime, the unions in steel making still have some negotiating power.

  28. The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that its members have overwhelmingly ratified new, four-year labor agreements with ArcelorMittal USA that will increase wages, bolster retirement provisions, improve benefits and strengthen contract language for roughly 15,000 hourly production, maintenance, office and technical workers who belong to 13 local unions at 14 facilities in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

    https://m.usw.org/news The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that its members have overwhelmingly ratified new, four-year labor agreements with ArcelorMittal USA that will increase wages, bolster retirement provisions, improve benefits and strengthen contract language for roughly 15,000 hourly production, maintenance, office and technical workers who belong to 13 local unions at 14 facilities in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

    https://m.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2018/steelworkers-ratify-agreements-with-arcelormittal

  29. Great to see Shorten is going to go on a bus tour, and this time the tour leader will be travelling with the tour! Also kudos to Shorten for not shirking going into the right wing parts of Qld to meet people. It doubly undermines the credibility of his political opponent, who rarely seems to venture out of the Shire or Kirribilly without a tightly controlled itinerary and carefully selected “random strangers’ to meet.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jan/11/shorten-to-hit-the-road-in-bills-bus-for-queensland-campaign

  30. PeeBee

    Very true re ‘portability’ of Steel works. 🙂 The losses may have been in secondary manufacture rather than the production of steel.
    The US auto giants on the other hand had no ‘portability’ probs and loved it.

  31. Maybe someone should explain to Matthias Corman how FaceTime works, a lot cheaper than blowing $37k of taxpayers money, not that the leaner cares about saving taxpayers money

  32. I suppose that USW works better as an abbreviation than USPFRMEAI&SWIU, an abbreviation that needs an abbreviation. They could have called themselves the ‘Miscellaneous Workers Union’ like one of ours, but ‘Steel Workers’ sounds stronger and has a certain cachet.

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