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. As I understand it you would only be getting a text fromClive Palmer if you have contributed generously to his campaign in the past and voted for him.

  2. Mexico will pay for it; Mexico is already paying for it.

    Today (yesterday) when asked about this, Trump said Mexico was already paying for the wall through the trade negotiations, and that their payment was never going to be a cheque presented to the US (or wtte).

    An enterprising tweep sourced this from the Trump campaign website (since deleted) where he claimed Mexico would pay for the wall on Day 3 of his administration:

    :large

  3. C@t
    Looks like Murdoch has flicked the switch to Labor.

    A 1786 essay refers to an early, non-English form of the familiar saying “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” Wrote George Horne, an English divine: “When a man deceives me once, says the Italian proverb, it is his fault; when twice, it is mine.”

    Labor won’t be fooled again… will they?

  4. C@tmomma says:
    Friday, January 11, 2019 at 6:46 pm
    And if David Panton isn’t Julie Bishop’s partner, why was he allowed to fly with her on the private government jet!?!

    ______________________________

    The Schrodinger’s cat of partners…

  5. C@t:

    I can’t understand why JBishop said Panton wasn’t her partner when it’s painfully obvious to all and sundry that’s what he is.

  6. Gecko says:

    Poroti
    Clearly MPs also need a wine allocation. 🙂

    They do but they have been a bit shy about using it since John Howard was ‘busted’ back in the good old days of 2003. 🙂
    .

    ……………. to Howard’s embarrassing exposure after we learned of his $120,000 Kirribilli wine bill, footed by taxpayers, and his and Janette’s $45,000 hotel bill for four nights in Rome almost a year ago (see below).

    I mean, what price a concrete hide?

    https://outline.com/U9ttmG

  7. “Labor won’t be fooled again… will they?”

    Another apt saying – if you would sup with the Devil, bring a long spoon – in this case about 4 miles.

  8. I observe that many here – possibly a majority – hold either no religious faith or are agnostic.

    It’s easy therefore (and with plenty of real-life examples) to assume that those who DO ostentatiously beat the religious drum are hypocrites, not really faithful, but ready to profess some kind of religious “conviction” in order to get ahead in life, politics or whatever.

    But there are also many who believe – sincerely – every word they utter.

    “Many of them relish the second coming because for them it means eternal life in heaven,” Andrew Chesnut, professor of religious studies at Virginia Commonwealth University said. “There is a palpable danger that people in high position who subscribe to these beliefs will be readier to take us into a conflict that brings on Armageddon.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jan/11/trump-administration-evangelical-influence-support

    Some of these people are dangerous, especially when their own personal salvation requires the megadeaths of others to justify it.

    Beware of Happy Clappers. They don’t give a shit about you. Only themselves.

  9. My observation of Bill Shorten is that he hasn’t gone near Murdoch with a 10 foot barge pole! Still, with Murdoch saying he would give Labor 3 years I can imagine that there will be a lot of fancy footwork engaged in by both men during that 3 years!

  10. The problem Labor will have is if they win big, and I mean really big, they going to elect a lot of members who are going to not much to do. They’re the members which end up causing trouble.

  11. C@t

    My observation of Bill Shorten is that he hasn’t gone near Murdoch with a 10 foot barge pole! Still, with Murdoch saying he would give Labor 3 years I can imagine that there will be a lot of fancy footwork engaged in by both men during that 3 years!

    _____________________________________

    Murdoch is brilliant at sniffing the political wind and positioning himself in the flow to look like a kingmaker. Bill Shorten knows this and I imagine that he will give Murdoch as much time and attention that will be in Shorten’s interest and no more.

  12. Re BB @7:20PM. I regard some (but not all) branches of Evangelical Christianity as little better than one of these cults who believe that their members will be whisked away in UFOs to another planet to escape the doom to come (Niribu, Nuclear War, whatever). They’ve got their ticket, they’re “saved”, God has condemned everyone else to Hell.

    I don’t want anyone who believes this stuff anywhere near the levers of power. Trump is a ‘useful Heathen’, but I think Pence might actually believe. I think that Morrison sort of believes but doesn’t let it get in the way of political necessity.

  13. B.S. Fairman @ #1417 Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 4:31 pm

    The problem Labor will have is if they win big, and I mean really big, they going to elect a lot of members who are going to not much to do. They’re the members which end up causing trouble.

    They will be members who may well experience a ‘sophomore surge’ at the subsequent election. 🙂

  14. 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’

    Fuckin’ “just say” whatever you want, Gecko. You’re the only one defending Cormann, besides himself, that is.

    Nice too that it’s his own department – Finance – that “approves” such expenditures. A nice little in-house job.

  15. Murdoch is an opportunist – pure and simple.

    He can see what blind Freddy sees – the appetite for the Coalition has soured. He can either defend a negative or jump on board with the positive.

    I just hope that the powers-that-be in Labor give him a cold shoulder. Murdoch’s allegiance is a cancer on whoever he aligns with.

  16. I think that Morrison sort of believes but doesn’t let it get in the way of political necessity.

    With all respect Steve777, I reckon that’s exactly what Morrison wants you to believe: i.e. that he’s not sincere.

    You’re goin’ to Hell anyway, so believe away. After the Rapture, God won’t care what you think.

  17. Gecko @ #1398 Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 2:44 pm

    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’

    Yep, before the trial questions need to be asked and investigations need to be done,

    however you don’t seem to be willing to even do this.

    Your unquestioning assent to allow politicians to go about the land is concerning.

    Obviously, in your books, no need for a federal ICAC!

  18. From the SMH – RWNJ are at war with themselves…

    n October 15, 2015, far-right kingpin Shermon Burgess posted his final video on the popular nationalist Facebook page, The Great Aussie Patriot. In the two-minute clip, which was filmed on a phone and edited with awkward jump cuts, he looked distressed.

    “G’day patriots,” he started. “Now just letting you know what’s going on. I’m going to be handing full leadership of the United Patriots Front over to Blair Cottrell. I won’t be doing it anymore.”

    Reclaim Australia – the series of rallies in 2015 that turned out thousands of anti-immigrant, anti-Islam “patriots” – saw Cottrell as the next golden child. And so did Cottrell. One researcher says he views himself as the “sexy Fuhrer”: a muscular, blond, articulate leader who has said Jews are “a much deadlier enemy than the violent Islamic pillagers”, and that to keep women in line you should “crack them around the ear every once in a while”.
    Right-wing figure Blair Cottrell addresses a rally in St Kilda.

    Right-wing figure Blair Cottrell addresses a rally in St Kilda. Credit:Darrian Traynor

    But in his three-year tenure as de facto leader of Australia’s far-right, the “sexy Fuhrer” has failed. The movement has dramatically weakened since its Reclaim Australia days – something that could have been predicted from watching Burgess’ resignation video three years ago.

    “I won’t be making videos and I’m taking down my page,” he said, before adding: “Now it’s not because of media, it’s not because of death threats from Islam – even though I’ve received many of those.

    “It’s because of the dumb f—ing patriots out there.”

    Australia’s far-right has cycled through enemies over the years – Islam, the media, Jews, the elites, African gangs – but with their constant infighting, division, ego and lack of leadership, they continue to ensure their biggest enemy is themselves.

    After becoming the UPF leader in 2015, Cottrell planned to go mainstream. He announced a political party, Fortitude, which folded after failing to muster enough support to register. He attended other rallies, such as one in Melbourne in mid-2016 about low milk prices, but was booed off the stage soon after taking the megaphone. And while his appearance on triple j’s Hack Live a couple of months later launched him as a truly national figurehead, he failed to translate that notoriety into boots on the ground.

    Despite his best efforts, the wildly different strands of far-right Australia refused to cooperate. Since Reclaim Australia, the single biggest ideological clash in far-right circles has been whether to be pro or anti-Israel. Some nationalists celebrate Israel, believing it sets a precedent for the emergence of other single-ethnicity states, while others find more ammunition by blaming Jews for faults in the economy and media.

    When it comes to Jews, Australia’s far-right hasn’t been able to keep it together. In the extensive field of far-right Facebook pages and groups, the big news at the end of last year was the clash between Neil Erikson and Avi Yemini. If Cottrell is Australia’s most well known nationalist, Erikson and Yemini are second and third. Erikson is a self-confessed “troll” who famously harassed former senator Sam Dastyari in a Melbourne pub in 2017, and Yemini is the most prominent member of the only far-right party to contest the recent Victoria state election, the Australian Liberty Alliance (which received 0.6 per cent of the upper house vote). He’s also Jewish.

    In November, Yemini circulated a photo on Facebook of Erikson appearing to do the Nazi salute at a Coburg pub, and Erikson returned serve by publishing a video where he made different accusations against Yemini. As the conflict escalated, Erikson begged his supporters not to vote for Yemini in the upcoming Victoria state election.

    For Erikson and Yemini, the clash was not just personal, but ideological: Yemini is a pro-Israel Jew, while Erikson was convicted for stalking a rabbi in 2014 and has confessed to once being a neo-Nazi.

  19. @B.S p

    I’m not so sure that’s true about large majorities. Palaszczuk had Gordon and Pyne. Andrews had Languiller and Nardella. Both on tiny majorities.

    And of course we have Malcolm and his cavalcade of fuckwits. Perhaps they are emboldened by dreams of the crossbench.

  20. One should be cautious re. posting poetry on a political blog; but T.S. Eliot was one of a kind:

    MISS HELEN SLINGSBY was my maiden aunt,
    And lived in a small house near a fashionable square
    Cared for by servants to the number of four.
    Now when she died there was silence in heaven
    And silence at her end of the streets
    The shutters were drawn and the undertaker wiped his feet—
    He was aware that this sort of thing had occurred before.
    The dogs were handsomely provided for,
    But shortly afterwards the parrot died too.
    The Dresden clock continued ticking on the mantelpiece,
    And the footman sat upon the dining-table
    Holding the second housemaid on his knees—
    Who had always been so careful while her mistress lived.

  21. Barney
    “Your unquestioning assent to allow politicians to go about the land is concerning.”

    Sorry to hear that. Why so?

    “Obviously, in your books, no need for a federal ICAC!”

    Jeebus… that’s a bit of a stretch. Even from Go Dau! 🙂

  22. But in his three-year tenure as de facto leader of Australia’s far-right, the “sexy Fuhrer” has failed. The movement has dramatically weakened since its Reclaim Australia days – something that could have been predicted from watching Burgess’ resignation video three years ago.

    One of the reasons I’m not entirely uncomfortable with these miscreants being given a voice and a platform for that voice is that they invariably show their wares to the mainstream who reject it out of hand. Remember that Cottrell was given a platform on Sky News and bungled it so badly the host was canned and I’d doubt Cottrell was invited back. Same with Ross Cameron, Mark Latham.

    And recall Milo whatshisname in the US who was protested off university campuses where he was scheduled to speak, instantly ramping up his profile beyond what it deserved. Yet in the wake of appearing on a primetime US talk show where he embarrassed himself profoundly and was made to look like a flamboyant identity-seeking moron, he was sacked from his job, ended up a public laughing stock, and is now reportedly in debt to the tune of millions.

    Let these idiots have their limelight, as it is invariably always their undoing. I’m hoping that Fraser Anning’s fawning at a racist rally in Melbourne spurned him onto registering his own political party so he too can bask in the glow of misinterpreted public support, only to see him receive a handful of votes at the election and sink into electoral oblivion forever because people systematically reject his racist idiocy.

  23. C@tmomma
    says:
    Friday, January 11, 2019 at 8:21 pm
    Ugh! Those fellatio lips of Trump’s again! Confessions!
    _________________________
    Speaking of fellatio, has Shorten booked a meeting with Rupert yet?

  24. Gecko @ #1436 Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 4:55 pm

    Barney
    “Your unquestioning assent to allow politicians to go about the land is concerning.”

    Sorry to hear that. Why so?

    “Obviously, in your books, no need for a federal ICAC!”

    Jeebus… that’s a bit of a stretch. Even from Go Dau! 🙂

    Well you don’t seem to believe in oversight and accountability for politicians, so there’s little for an ICAC to deal with.

    It’s a bit unfair having it just for public servants.

  25. Nath – how many times can a fellow make the same New Years resolution (to lay off Shorten until he becomes PM) and then immediately break it?

  26. Interesting tid bit from the safe Liberal seat of Mackellar. Someone has been doing polling, an independent candidate was mentioned by name in the group of candidates. Unfortunately I wasnt able to get information on the polling company. Thoughts?

  27. Andrew_Earlwood
    says:
    Friday, January 11, 2019 at 9:07 pm
    Nath – how many times can a fellow make the same New Years resolution (to lay off Shorten until he becomes PM) and then immediately break it?
    _________________________________
    Well I’ve lasted a while this time. He just gets to me.

  28. “Fuckin’ “just say” whatever you want, Gecko. You’re the only one defending Cormann, besides himself, that is.”

    I’m usually a contrarian on this kind of thing, I’m happy for premiers and their entourage to fly a private charter if they need to, I don’t care how much their first class flight and hotels to China or France or whatever. What should be important is the reason for the trip, which may or may not be worthy, and the outcomes. And I’m still of a view, reinforced by AOC’s ‘wow poor people really find it hard to be pollies, this whole system is for rich people, that we should pay pollies more (but with less weird and non-transparent allowances), and we should pay / finance them to leave with generous super. No price would have been to high to get Abbott out of the Parliament, and he is really only hanging around because no one else would ever employ him and he can’t afford to leave. I was also thinking of an informal term limit remuneration scheme where you get 1/3 of your salary for life if you leave after two terms but that it reduces steadily after that.

    But this Cormann thing is insane. $37k for a domestic flight for no real purpose. Indefensible. He should pay it back and resign immediately.

  29. nath @ #1442 Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 9:04 pm

    C@tmomma
    says:
    Friday, January 11, 2019 at 8:21 pm
    Ugh! Those fellatio lips of Trump’s again! Confessions!
    _________________________
    Speaking of fellatio, has Shorten booked a meeting with Rupert yet?

    No. He’s the only political leader in Australia who won’t and has no intention of doing it either.

  30. On the issue of paying for politicians’ travel etc, the modern Liberals might (but probably wouldn’t) want to take a leaf out of Menzies’s book. His attitude to public funds was described by his long-serving personal secretary (a public servant who had also worked for Curtin and Chifley) as follows: “If he were returning some hospitality, it could be some Ministers from the UK Government or a couple of Prime Ministers that were over for the conference, or anything like that. He asked one single person who was a friend. Say like, Sir Alan Herbert or some other people that were — and he paid for the whole lot himself. That was not a government return, it should have been, but because he invited, perhaps a couple of real friends who had nothing to do with the government, of course, he paid for that himself. He was very honest and really always looked at what the expense was.” https://oralhistories.moadoph.gov.au/hazel-craig-1914-2013

  31. nath @ #1446 Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 9:11 pm

    Andrew_Earlwood
    says:
    Friday, January 11, 2019 at 9:07 pm
    Nath – how many times can a fellow make the same New Years resolution (to lay off Shorten until he becomes PM) and then immediately break it?
    _________________________________
    Well I’ve lasted a while this time. He just gets to me.

    As do you get to us. Which is what you’re aiming for I guess.

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