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. Cricket, because the commentary of some annoys (greatly).

    Name names.

    Nuff said! Don’t be so savage on those just starting out and 10 or so Innings into their Test careers.

    Sure, but many of those you listed showed immense promise over several seasons in Shield cricket first. Some were even dropped and came back the better for it.

    Some batters fail to score AND they are clearly just arent not up to it. Finch, for example, was so clearly out of his depth this series.

    And there are those who have played 50+ innings, and given several recalls…. and still fail.

  2. https://www.pollbludger.net/2019/01/09/leadership-ratings-revisited/comment-page-27/#comment-3046948
    On them unwanted comms …
    PollyTICs seem to not be subject to the do not call etc register (just like they are trying to not be subject to the federal ICAC, or organized religion not paying tax, not even a polluter pays levy or proceeds of crime legislation).
    Don’t answer numbers that do not show phone number calling (and yes CLI can be spoofed).
    I have most of my devices on silent, but children and wife in VIP list.
    Work has been told if you need me after hours call me twice (used to have a pager).
    Notifications are off between 22:00 and 06:00.
    Furthermore I have an app installed called Mr Number which seems to get rid of much junk.
    Should someone get through, I just ask for their details to call back.
    In terms of personal email, I have one account for subscriptions, and the other I actually use.
    Similarly I have one phone number that after hours has a voice recording saying we are now closed.
    My domain, email boxes have junk mail filters (do get the odd false positive), and I have anti-nasties software running on my devices.
    Nanna has stickers on her gate saying no door knockers, no junk mail and neighbourhood watch.
    The dog isn’t much of a …

  3. Almost 100 former ABC staff members have asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison to disqualify any candidates for the public broadcaster’s chair who have criticised its online activities, like former Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood.

    In an open letter to Mr Morrison released publicly on Friday morning, ABC Alumni – a recently launched lobby group of former employees at the public broadcaster – asked the government to delay choosing a replacement for former chairman Justin Milne.

    Mr Milne resigned in September amid allegations he encouraged sacked managing director Michelle Guthrie to fire journalists the government didn’t like.

    “The Federal Government must not rush to appoint a new ABC Chair, especially one who has displayed bias against the national broadcaster’s comprehensive role in Australian society,” the letter says, “The current process of selecting and appointing board members is open to political influence and needs urgent reform.”

    The letter says the public interest test should be whether a potential candidate has “a strong track record of support for the ABC and the concept of public media generally”.


  4. frednk

    The citizens of Venice disproved that sea level rise myth a long time ago. I’m sure I read that on Andrew Bolt’s blog. Or was it an Abbott speech?

  5. Re travel expenses: This has always been a petty argument as far as I’m concerned. MPs should be able to travel as much as they deem necessary to do their job. Anybody whose spent time traveling for work knows it’s not the most enjoyable pastime so they’re hardly doing it for fun. And considering the hours and long periods away from home it should be a given that spouses be able (when feasible) to travel as well.
    If we want qualified and intelligent representation in what is mostly a thankless task the least we can do is stop quibbling over how they go about it. Comparisons to welfare payments and demanding who, why, where and what for, be made public is just a nonsense.

  6. Gecko

    demanding who, why, where and what for, be made public is just a nonsense.

    Yes travel for work can become very much non glamorous and a pain but we damn well should hear the ‘who,why,where…. . If they want to pop over to check on an investment property or fly business class to nazi rallies or to see Rupert we should know and they should justify.

  7. The Liberal Party is “gangrenous” when it comes to climate change and “amputation might be the only cure”, Liberal Party dissident and former Clean Energy Finance Corporation chief executive Oliver Yates says.

    Mr Yates said “actual climate events are occurring with regularity” yet the behaviour of the Liberals “has been unchanged and seems to be unchangeable”, raising questions about integrity and a “culture of bullying” by coalition MPs and their staff.

    “Parts of the Liberal Party are gangrenous quite frankly. Amputation might be the only cure,” he told AFR Weekend.


  8. Gecko

    The Libs are very keen for all their ‘clients’ (unemployed, etc) to go digital. Why is it that MPs can only negotiate when in the same room?

  9. Socrates @ #1358 Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 4:02 pm

    “He is actually cash rich at present – he is trying to reopen the refinery”

    So he has paid the creditors?

    I gather there is legal argument. He claims that he did not shut down the refinery but the administrators. i guess it comes down to whether he was trading while insolvent. thing is he won the case with china so he was solvent sorta – it is a lawyers picnic.

    I am not across the detail but I think he has about 150 court cases on the go.

  10. The question is whether Cormann really did need to see those Senators on the day and at the time he did… $37,000 worth of “really”.

    The two Senators say “No”. They say the meeting wasn’t urgent at all. Nothing urgent was discussed. The discussion could have been conducted at any time in the next week.

    As I commented way back this morning: the real question isn’t why Cormann had to be in Adelaide at that date and precise time – the other guys at the meeting were themselves at a loss to explain it – but what was going on in Perth that made the expenditure of $37,000 (just to include a detour via Adelaide) so vital? The truth lies in who he had to see in his home city to justify the expense.

    I’m afraid “maintaining Work-Life balance” doesn’t cut it.

  11. …If they want to pop over to check on an investment property or fly business class to nazi rallies or to see Rupert we should know and they should justify….
    A Current Affair pap. Treat people like monkeys you get monkeys. Give them the tools to do their job … complain about the results and vote accordingly.

  12. Does “travelling for work “ include organising an overnight stop in Melbourne with some family members in tow to watch your footy team?
    My employer would never have come at that.
    In fact a colleague, travelling at a third party’s expense, was directly denied permission to take day’s leave and stay in Melbourne at his own expense.
    Or how about billing the taxpayer to attend your own wedding, never mind a colleague’s.
    Is getting married work related?

  13. Controversial businessman and former politician Clive Palmer has been accused of “spamming” Australians with a flood of text messages they never signed up to receive.

    Social media has been inundated with complaints from people who received one of a number of different SMS messages on Friday.

    The Queensland billionaire, who operates the United Australia Party, was listed as the sender of the texts, which are about everything from fast trains to energy supply and prices.

    Marty Friedel told news.com.au he never consented to receive the message, which lobbed into his phone’s inbox at 10.03am, beginning with: “Make Australia Great.”

    The text spruiks Mr Palmer’s campaign idea of fast trains for capital cities, saying: “1 hour to CBD from up to 300kms away. Vote 1 United Australia Party, Clive Palmer.”

    It contains a link to the required electoral marketing authorisation, but no information about opting out of further contact.

    “I’ll admit I’m not a huge politics fan — never would have consented to receiving texts from any party,” Mr Friedel said.

  14. lizzie

    With the rort track record of pollies they should have it as least as strict as Centrelink ‘clients’ . As they say,don’t ask someone to do something you’re not willing to do yourself.

  15. Well I’m glad to know I wasn’t the only one receiving unsolicited text msgs from Clive.

    I’d much rather be Newspolled though.

  16. Lizzie
    “Why is it that MPs can only negotiate when in the same room?”

    Guess it depends on topic and circumstance.. does it really matter?

  17. Rex
    Honestly, these taxpayer funded ‘tours’ are such a waste of money in this modern age of communication. Put the money towards a newstart increase instead.””
    You spend so much time on this site, are You UNEMPLOYED Rex?

  18. FFS BB… Corman’s a fairly high ranking dude in our government and must have some autonomy to decide where and why he goes somewhere without having to go into explanation for the likes of us … surely?

  19. People on Facebook are very unhappy about the Clive texts. One person says she’s had repeated text messages and all she can do is delete them. I’ve only had the one and have since blocked the number. Fingers crossed no more.

  20. I’ve been wondering where he is. Fighting fires in a clown suit, perhaps?

    Urban Wronski

    What extraordinary leadership from world champion buck-passer Scott Morrison over MDB rorting and utterly corrupt water mismanagement crisis. Is he in witness protection? Or is he out shopping for a Make Murray Darling Great Again cap?

  21. 1934pc says:

    You spend so much time on this site, are You UNEMPLOYED Rex?

    Of cause he is employed. You don’t think he would post the nonsense he does for free do you?

  22. Clive Palmer is paying a little bit of money for phone numbers and generating a lot of media coverage from outraged recipients. How to respond?

  23. My employer would never have come at that.

    Most of us dont even expect them to. Once working in Darwin I finished a project a day early. Decided to change my flights back to Adelaide to divert to Sydney to see a work colleague who was in palliative care for cancer. A close work colleague, who I had worked with, within that same company, for many years. Didnt even think about asking the company to pay for the cost of the flight or the time (they actually may have). Nor did I expect it when it came to his funeral where I would be catching up with dozens of work colleagues.

    Our honourable, well paid, elected members come across as rich pigs at the trough of gravy.

  24. And looks who’s back defending their legacy? Hopefully, he will get his chance to be cross examined before the Royal Commission into the NBN

  25. Frednk
    “And this very sensible view extends to a private jet?”
    Whatevs… the point remains that if you’re going to ask people to give up life as they know it to work 24/7 in the national interest they can only do so if given the tools and the ability to choose what best works for attaining what it is they set out to achieve. Travel, meetings, work, play, private life… all go into the mix.
    For mine it’s small fry to what most put in… no matter what side of the house you sit.

  26. Malcolm Turnbull’s reasoning is spurious.

    He says: Pay TV services like Foxtel have been smashed by over the top streaming services like Netflix.

    However, that is exactly the reason Murdoch wanted FTTP Broadband hobbled. To stymie Netflix. Imagine how much more successful Netflix would have been if everyone had FTTP!?! By throttling Australia’s broadband it was probably hoped by Murdoch that it would give him the time to get his own competitor to Netflix up and running, thus preventing customers from deserting his company.

    Turnbull then laughingly states that his MTM approach enabled broadband to be rolled out faster and at less cost.

    Both assertions are wrong. Turnbull’s mess of a system is over budget and overdue wrt his originally-stated timeline.

    So, in summary, in reality, Malcolm Turnbull’s mess allowed Murdoch to stay in the game.

  27. Whatevs… the point remains that if you’re going to ask people to give up life as they know it to work 24/7 in the national interest…..

    I nearly spat beer all over the monitor. I thought I had it under control but some worked its way out my nose.

  28. Fraudband might be ‘cheaper’ but only because it cuts corners and passes costs onto future governments with respect to switching out the copper bits.

  29. The first default position was for Cormann to take a commercial flight.

    Second default (absent the availability of a commercial flight) was to reschedule the meeting. It wasn’t urgent.

    There was never any excuse (that we have been told about) for spending $37-large on a single-passenger joyride.

    At the most extreme a VIP flight to Adelaide just might have qualified. But all the way to Perth? So he could be with the wife and kids?

    Pull the other one!

  30. “He [Truffles] says: Pay TV services like Foxtel have been smashed by over the top streaming services like Netflix.”

    What does our ex-PM mean by ‘over the top streaming services like Netflix’? Does he mean that Netflix, Stan, etc. can offer a superior service to Foxtel at a fraction of the cost?

  31. Simon² Katich® says:

    work 24/7 in the national interest….

    I have been watching and learning how to do it and feel ready to have a go at this “work 24/7 in the national interest” lark.




  32. Rudd gave Turnbull an out; the alternative was incompetence, he chose incompetence. It’s nice for Turnbull that people don’t believe Turnbull

  33. This is written by the fashion editor for the WashPo. It is spot on:

    In Trump’s battle over the border, facts have disappeared, been misstated or been so mangled that they’ve been rendered unrecognizable. His concrete border wall has been rebranded as steel slats, see-through barricades, a fancy fence or simply border security. Mexico will pay for it; Mexico is already paying for it. The families seeking asylum have been transformed into violent hordes toting drugs and scaling the barriers that already exist. The story of the border has become a made-up drama with real-life consequences. And Trump was costumed as the hero in the narrative that he has studiously crafted.


  34. Zoidlord @ #1380 Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 2:58 pm

    Senator Penny Wong
    ‏Verified account @SenatorWong
    49s49 seconds ago

    The real question is not what Fraser Anning calls his party, but whether the Liberals and Nationals will preference him, as they have done with One Nation

    I believe the Senator has answered her own question with that last bit there.

  35. Remember this?

    FOREIGN Minister Julie Bishop cost taxpayers at least $30,000, according to reports, after having an empty government jet fly from Canberra to Perth to collect her and her boyfriend from a charity event.

    News Limited is reporting that Ms Bishop and partner David Panton were the only two passengers on the RAAF Challenger Jet when it flew from Perth to Canberra on October 18.

    Ms Bishop told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph she opted for the government jet because there were no commercial flights available after the evening dinner, and she needed to be back in Canberra by 7am ahead of Parliament sitting.

    The dinner was not part of Ms Bishop’s official commitments, which ended when she announced $1.5 million in government funding for West Australian children’s charity Telethon.


    Perhaps she was right about the timing of commercial flights, but I suspect they charter the defence fleet because they just want to avoid the hassles that come with commercial airlines – queues, delays, transfers and so on. That isn’t acceptable to me.

  36. BB
    For someone who correctly defends those accused of the right to trial, there seems quite a few question marks in your previous that appear not to deter rather strident assertions … just sayin’

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