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. Ah but see what you did there C@t. You compared the AMWU/AMCOR deals of the early 2000s with the AWU/VISY deal of 2010, long after Shorten and Pratt had left the field. What about the 2002 EBA?

  2. Confessions @ #1503 Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 11:11 pm

    Tom @ #1498 Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 8:07 pm

    C@tmomma (Block)
    Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 11:04 pm

    C@t, you should know better than introducing facts when talking to trolls…

    Why is C@t bothering with trolls?

    It’s the mother in me. I always try and get skid marks off things. Like my kids’ underpants before they got their shit together, literally. But also like blogs. 🙂

  3. nath @ #1495 Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 7:00 pm

    Barney in Go Dau
    Friday, January 11, 2019 at 10:57 pm
    nath @ #1490 Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 6:53 pm
    And what conditions were adjusted?
    From what I understand conditions were about the same. Which are pretty standard in the industrial sector, which are primarily limited to break times and RDO’s.
    So, not the same?
    I mean it’s possible that workers under the AWU EBA wanted only 2% wage rises instead of 4% year on year for an extra RDO. I would have expected the conditions to be pretty much the same though. But I’ve been enjoying your nit picking over this. The lengths some will go to, to protect the reputation of a dodgy union boss because he is now the leader of the ALP is something to behold.

    But you don’t know!

    It’s not nit picking, the detail is important in these things and unless you understand the detail your cherry picking one element or another is superficial and highly flawed especially when you try and compare it with another agreement.

    I’m protecting no one and what you are saying may be valid, but you have demonstrated that it is baseless because you do not understand the agreements and can not argue and justify your points as a result.

  4. nath @ #1505 Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 11:12 pm

    Ah but see what you did there C@t. You compared the AMWU/AMCOR deals of the early 2000s with the AWU/VISY deal of 2010, long after Shorten and Pratt had left the field. What about the 2002 EBA?

    I tried to find it but couldn’t so compared the ones closest in time that were comparable.

    Now, as you seem to be well-versed in both of them, how about you put them up here so we can compare them?

  5. So you just grabbed an EBA from when Shorten was in Parliament and compared it to one from a decade earlier? Shoddy. The AWU improved their game after Shorten left and have all but condemned his practices.

  6. Bill Shorten will be an ok PM because he has had the experience of political leadership for an extended period of time.. Whether his integrity withstands the egotism of being PM only time will tell. Most PM’s fail in my view.

  7. nath @ #1513 Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 11:18 pm

    So you just grabbed an EBA from when Shorten was in Parliament and compared it to one from a decade earlier? Shoddy. The AWU improved their game after Shorten left and have all but condemned his practices.

    I asked you to put up. Or shut up. No one believes your assertions without proof. I did the best I could to provide evidence. You have just continued to mouth off.

    Without proof.

    Btw, Cesar Melham was the person who took over from Bill Shorten. No one has ever suggested that they weren’t supportive of each other.

    However, what I have proven is that the AMWU negotiated for a much smaller workforce than did the AWU. So you’re not comparing apples with apples after all.

  8. nath @ #1507 Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 7:18 pm

    So you just grabbed an EBA from when Shorten was in Parliament and compared it to one from a decade earlier? Shoddy. The AWU improved their game after Shorten left and have all but condemned his practices.

    What did the RC find?

    What charges did they recommend?

    Sweet F all!

    How could they be so incompetent?

  9. confessions:

    [‘Why is C@t bothering with trolls?’]

    Perhaps it’s contrarianism – albeit, in your implied words, men are sexual predators. Please stop it!

  10. Although I have earned and still earn my living in business I am left leaning because to me progress is working less hours for a comfortable (not greedy) wage – which reduces health cost of stress illnesses and strengthens family ties. How many families break up due to work or financial stress? I have to take it in good faith that Bill Shorten and his team understand this and will steer the ship in the right direction. The Liberal party has no social comprehension whatsoever.

  11. Brexit Update: 77 days to go.

    Lots of reports in The Guardian tonight, but this one caught my eye.

    Foreign secretary says vote against withdrawal agreement could lead to UK staying in EU

    He means this is a bad thing.

    He said if MPs voted down the deal the prime minister had negotiated with the European Union, it might not lead to a different type of departure, but rather a process by which Brexit might never happen. “If this deal is rejected, ultimately what we may end up with is not a different type of Brexit, but Brexit paralysis. And Brexit paralysis ultimately could lead to no Brexit.

    In case you missed it, this is bad.

    Hunt insisted there was only one issue causing the deadlock over May’s deal and that was the backstop mechanism, designed to ensure there was no return to a hard border on the island of Ireland.

    As PB figured out some time ago, the sticking point is Ireland.

    “This is a strong and great country, we will find a way to succeed, but I do not think that no deal would be good for this country and I’m committed to making sure we find an alternative.”

    “Only a flesh wound”?

    And if you wish to record your best guesses these are the options.

    On or before 2019 March 30, Britain will decide for one of the following:
    39% (a) Hard Brexit – No Deal
    0% (b) Soft Brexit – Deal
    22% (c) Postponed Brexit – Negotiations Continue
    13% (d) Postponed Brexit – New Referendum
    0% (e) Withdrawn Brexit
    13% (f) Something else
    13% (g) Don’t care
    No. Of PB Respondents: 22

  12. The classic gambler, nervous on Fridays before Saturdays and dodgy Saturday night after a bad day. Never in attendance on a Saturday.
    Will back the favourite at the next election regardless. Not worth engagement. A complete waste of time.

  13. Confessions @ #1521 Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 11:39 pm

    Mavis Smith @ #1512 Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 8:29 pm


    [‘Why is C@t bothering with trolls?’]

    Perhaps it’s contrarianism – albeit, in your implied words, men are sexual predators. Please stop it!

    Nope not gonna “stop it”. Nath is yanking C@t’s chain, why she feels the need to respond is on her.

    Sorry, but I don’t ignore liars and the garbage they try and peddle. If you walk past it, it is what you tacitly accept, to mangle a metaphor a bit.

  14. Nath is yanking C@t’s chain, why she feels the need to respond is on her.
    As if this was C@t’s site and I’ve come to annoy her! I suppose evaluating the integrity of Australia’s next PM is not as important as posting stupid cartoons of a buffoon on the other side of the world. Anyway, I’m out. Peace.

  15. Sorry guys I can’t post more as @Barney in Go Dao might get his knickers in a knot


    IN A case of premature application, controversial Senator Fraser Anning’s plans to launch a self-styled political party have hit a snag after he started too soon.

    The Senator has started the process of applying to register a new political outfit named Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party.

    But the process has been suspended by the Australian Electoral Commission, at the request of Senator Anning, to change contact details in the party’s application.

  16. You haven’t ‘evaluated the integrity of Australia’s next likely PM’, nath. You came to slur his integrity.

    So far, without proof, other than bald assertion. I will continue to wait for it. Until then, you can peace off! 🙂

  17. Good luck Andrew – I hope your treatment goes well. I recommend this article to PB’ers. Andrew went from the Democrats to the Greens – but he is a decent guy.


    ANDREW Bartlett is struggling to find the right words, wary of sounding glib.

    He’s in his campaign office in Fortitude Valley — headquarters for his tilt at winning the federal seat of Brisbane for the Greens — but he’s not talking policy.

    He’s revealing his diagnosis of prostate cancer and how, despite his apprehension about surgery and side effects, it has come with the profound realisation that he wants to live.

    That’s not always clear to someone living with chronic depression, as Bartlett has for decades. Thoughts of death often play on his mind.

  18. Go outside and look at the sky and you might see the cow.*

    * You’ll also need a bloody big telescope!

    One amazing thing about this is that it happened 200 million years ago, but we are seeing it now.

    Another is that astronomers don’t yet know what it is.

    Mysterious cosmic ‘Cow’ may have produced a black hole or fast-spinning neutron star

    The sudden appearance of a powerful blast from a nearby galaxy last year sent astronomers around the world into a spin.


  19. Upnorth @ #1525 Friday, January 11th, 2019 – 9:00 pm

    Sorry guys I can’t post more as @Barney in Go Dao might get his knickers in a knot


    IN A case of premature application, controversial Senator Fraser Anning’s plans to launch a self-styled political party have hit a snag after he started too soon.

    The Senator has started the process of applying to register a new political outfit named Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party.

    But the process has been suspended by the Australian Electoral Commission, at the request of Senator Anning, to change contact details in the party’s application.

    That is exactly the way it should be done.

  20. Apparently that idiotic moron with poor judgement sam dastyari is on that pile ‘o shite show “I’m a celebrity get me out of here…” extremely poor timing, has he been spoken too or is the stupid git a free agent now?? Luckily its ratings are poor, and even poorer now 10 lost the BBL 😡 🙄

  21. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Crispin Hull writes that Australia’s health-insurance system (public and private) is slowly parting at the seams and the government’s “reforms” due in April are more likely to make patients angrier rather than mollify them.
    Jack Waterford, in looking at the future for the government, says that if Morrison and his ministers continue shedding votes almost every time they open their mouths, the casualty list could be twice as high, probably putting the Coalition out of reach of power until the late 2020s.
    Paula Matthewson says that sometime next week, Australia’s accidental PM will have to make a diabolical decision – whether to call a ‘snap’ election just after Australia Day for March 2, or paint himself into a corner by waiting for the scheduled election in mid-May.
    Why is it that Australia seems to have sympathy for an attractive, strong Saudi woman from a wealthy family, coming by plane who, if she were a man from the Middle East on a boat, we would call a ‘queue jumper’? Is there misandry or something else at play in our public debate?
    Greg Sheridan writes that British politics is facing a shocking crisis, as complex and dangerous as anything the great nation has seen since World War II. It will hit one decision point next Tuesday, when the House of Commons votes on Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal for the terms on which Britain leaves the EU — Brexit.
    Jonathon Freedland wonders whether or not UK MPs can unite quickly enough to save the country as a Brexit disaster looms.
    The National Party have voiced their concern over the proposed registration of a new “Conservative National” political party by Senator Fraser Anning, who attended a Victorian rally organised by some of Australia’s most prominent neo-nazis.
    The Australia Institute’s Ebony Bennett explains how policy and politicians are failing our environment and our future. On the MDB she says bypassing good process and due diligence is becoming a hallmark of this government.
    The Liberal Party is “gangrenous” when it comes to climate change and “amputation might be the only cure”, Liberal Party dissident Oliver Yates says.
    Richard Cooke writes about the moral and intellectual collapse of Australian conservatism.
    Key sections of the Great Ocean Road are at risk of being washed away, raising safety fears and calls for the Andrews government to reroute parts of the world-recognised tourist road.
    Donald Trump is edging closer to declaring a national emergency to fund his long-promised border wall, as pressure mounts to find a solution to the three-week impasse that has closed parts of the government, leaving hundreds of thousands of workers without pay.
    How Peta Credlin has become the Liberal Party’s ‘great right hope’.
    Opal Tower residents fear they are ‘caught in the cross fire’ between the owners’ corporation and the builder, with uncertainty on when they should return.
    Michael Koziol reports on Turnbull’s defence of his work on the NBN in light of Kevin Rudd’s spray the other day.
    Peter van Onselen thinks that in the light of an expected deterioration of economic outlook Morrison might call an early election.
    The corporate watchdog has suspended the financial licence of a stock broker that collapsed just before Christmas trapping more than $200 million in client funds. Bastards!
    The Lowy Institute tells us that we need the Five Eyes spy network, but with oversight.
    How Australia’s far-right were divided and conquered – by themselves.
    A fundraiser is seeking to address the atrocious incarceration of Aboriginal women in WA, a disproportionate number of whom have been imprisoned because of unpaid fines.
    Tim Soutphommasane tells us why a young go-getter like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won’t dance into Australian politics.
    Staffing ratios in aged care facilities being made public will be at the heart of Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie’s efforts when federal parliament returns next month.
    Booking.com should be at or near the top of the Tax Office’s list of grand tax avoiders but the revenue authorities seem blind to the true nature of this giant online travel agency and the governance arrangements of its parent, The Priceline Group. Google, Facebook and Apple have dominated the press coverage of new economy tax dodgers but the online travel agents are even worse offenders. Michael Hibbins exposes the business model .
    Despite some emerging acknowledgement of the miserable failure of neoliberalism, it will carry on as a dominant force in western ideology and policy formation, writes Rob Stewart.
    Fourteen consecutive months of declining new home approvals has cost South Australia’s building industry tens of millions of dollars, prompting calls for urgent action to support the struggling sector.
    Laly Katz, from personal experience, says women should not wait what has become the customary 12 weeks to tell friends and relations of one’s pregnancy.
    Almost 12 months after a crisis within Australia’s recycling sector came to light, local councils and businesses are still looking for answers from government at state and federal levels.
    Victoria Police announced on Friday that Craig McLachlan had been charged with eight counts of indecent assault, one of attempted indecent assault, and one of common law assault. It’s the “Lachy Horror Show”!
    What will Morrison say now about his beloved Sharks now they land a nomination for “Arseholes of the Week”?
    And this guy gets the gong for “Idiot of the Week”!

    Cartoon Corner

    David Pope with the MDB haunting the Coalition.

    Peter Broelman joins in on hammering Joyce.

    Mark David has been on fire this year.

    Alan Moir at the beach with Morrison.

    Matt Golding’s work for the day.

    Cathy Wilcox and The Wall.

    A fairly accurate depiction of the MDB situation from Jon Kudelka.

    From the US.

  22. Thanks BK

    I still think Morrison will call an election for early March. Probably on January 26th, in deference to the Murdoch media’s culture “wars”.

    The alternative, a resumption of Parliament and the resulting chaos for this zombie government would continue to worsen the prospects of all Coalition MPs.

    Oliver Yates sums it up with his suitably apt article headline

    Stench of dead fish around ‘gangrenous’ Morrison government

  23. Wasn’t Shorten running for PM the previous election so I’m not sure why the need to raise his quailifications this time for the highest office.

    If you haven’t found anything of substance in the nearly 6 years he has been Opposition Leader me thinks you protest too much.

    Just saying.

  24. Another sinecure for the Kleptocracy?



    Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President Donald Trump and a White House adviser, is being floated as a possible president of the World Bank, the Financial Times reported without attribution. The report said other names “floating around Washington” include Treasury official David Malpass, former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, and Mark Green, the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development. The Treasury Department says it’s beginning the process to make a selection, which typically but doesn’t have to go to an American. Non-American alternatives include Nigerian economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Rwandan economist Donald Kaberuka and Indonesian finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, the report said. Jim Kim resigned as World Bank president to work at a private-equity fund.


  25. Fraser has ‘white supremacy’ and intolerance in his blood .

    Anning and his wife own a number of hotels and live in Gladstone. They have two daughters.

    Anning grew up in north-west Queensland on Wetherby Station, one of the Anning family’s pastoral properties near the isolated town of Richmond. Anning is the great grandson of Charles Cumming Stone Anning, a British pastoral squatter who came to the Australian colonies in the mid 19th century to acquire landholdings. In 1862, Charles and several of his adult sons established the Reedy Springs property north of Hughenden. The family soon expanded their claims by forming the nearby properties of Chudleigh Park, Mount Sturgeon, Charlotte Plains and Cargoon. All this land was occupied at the time by various Aboriginal clans and subsequent frontier conflict occurred as the Annings forcibly took control of the land from the local people. In response to the spearing of cattle, Charles and his sons would ride out with firearms, attack Aboriginal campsites and capture young boys who had survived in order to use them as labour on their cattle and sheep stations.

    In 1865, the Annings employed W. R. O. Hill, an officer in the paramilitary Native Police, to be their station manager at Reedy Springs. Hill, who had experience in warfare against Aboriginal people, wrote in his memoirs that at Reedy Springs the “only wise thing to do on seeing a black was to shoot and shoot straight”. Frank Hann, another pastoralist in the region and who regularly participated in extrajudicial punitive raids on Aboriginals, described in his diary in 1874 how he saw “Anning just come back from hunting blacks”.

    Fraser Anning’s grandfather Francis “Frank” Albert Anning spent much of his time at Reedy Springs but also bought into further properties such as Wollogorang, Savannah Station and Compton Downs. At Wollogorang in particular, Frank Anning had to surround his hut with wire mesh to prevent spear attacks and was knocked unconscious by a waddy in another incident. One of Frank’s sons was W. H. (Harry) Anning who took up the Wetherby property and whose wife gave birth to Fraser Anning in October 1949.


  26. Chris Kenny provides a seemingly defeatist call to arms, whilst pumping the tyres of Dutton..

    “For the Coalition to turn its superior record and policy agenda into an unlikely election victory, it will require a level of energy, advocacy, unity and savvy that has been almost entirely absent for the past six years. The government needs to get cracking and some of its MPs have — the Treasurer and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton have been the busiest so far this year. The thrust of their effort has been to warn about opposition policies or to take actions that sharpen the contrast with Labor in areas of strength for the government. This is precisely what was lacking during the 2016 campaign and hasn’t been seen often enough since.


    “When the class war rages on the factory floor,” sang politically charged band Redgum 40 years ago, “If you don’t fight you lose.” It is sound advice for the Coalition in an election year when Labor is intent on a hard-fought battle on old-fashioned arguments about envy and class warfare. Dutton and Frydenberg have been attempting to show the way. If they are not joined soon by many others on the Coalition side — fighting even harder — the government will be annihilated in May.


  27. I think this article was posted yesterday, but meh —


    I’ve been challenging on twitter phrases such as ‘the rise of Nazi ism in Australia’ or ‘the growing tide of racism.” Some of the figures and comparisons in this article make it clear that they’re getting more attention, but their numbers are, if anything, in decline, and that far right groups are actually quite aware that if they are explicitly racist they will put off more people than they attract.

    So I think we’re back to ‘increasing media coverage’ being interpreted as a ‘rise’ in something, when it isn’t.

    (This doesn’t mean that politicians won’t get elected on racist platforms….but they always have been).

  28. Oh, and the money quote —

    ‘ Burgess encouraged patriots to attend the St Kilda rally.

    “There should be three to five thousand people down there on Saturday,” he says. “We don’t want to see a piss poor turn out of 70 to 100 people.”

  29. KayJay @ #1545 Saturday, January 12th, 2019 – 8:07 am

    C@tmomma @ #1542 Saturday, January 12th, 2019 – 7:00 am

    Good Morning Bludgers 🙂

    Good morning.
    Has your new modem arrived?


    You wouldn’t believe the sequel to that drama, KayJay! 😯

    Since I last spoke about it I have received an abusive email accusing me of lying about the fact that lightning struck the ground near our house and jumped the surge protector, killing the modem…all so I could wait a month for a new one!!! Apparently.
    We have had 2 nbn technicians come out and test the lines and the modem and say…it’s the modem lady, she is dead and report back to the ISP that fact. However, subsequent to that I received said email also stating that, even though they haven’t been able to locate what they believe to be the real cause of the problem, they would keep looking until they do and I won’t get a new modem until then!?!

    Well, when I got that email I just said, ‘Bugger you, Jack!’, or whatever the equivalent name is in the Philippines, and decided that I had had enough of this gimcrackery!

    So we decided that we would get a new modem quicker if we changed ISPs rather than wait around for the current lot to get their act together.

    Thankfully, the second nbn technician was a font of all knowledge and gave it freely. So he told us that, if you are with Telstra or Optus you just have to go to the Telstra store in your local area and they will give you a replacement modem on the spot if yours has been destroyed by lightning. No rigamarole, just catering to the customer’s needs.

    So, off we went the very next day. We got a modem, no problems, they had them out back of the store, and signed up with Telstra. They did tell us that, until we could get an nbn technician to come out and connect us up to the full nbn we would be on 7mbps download speeds, but hey, it’s better than nothing! 😆

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