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. “Regarding Pence versus Trump.
    I am prepared to believe Pence can cause more damage than Trump, but I also think Pence lacks the con-man that inhabits Trump, and further that right now Pence is doing the damage unobserved by us because we are so fascinated by the clown with mirrors in the White House. Should Trump go and Pence become POTUS the glare will be on him. Two wins. Trump should go.”

    Hmmmmmm….that post makes me uncomfortable lr.

    At the moment i would see it that if Trump removed and replaced by Pence that a lot of any support Trump may have had and lost bounces straight to Pence as the more “acceptable” face of Trumps apparent agenda. Baddness in and of its self on policy.

    Evangelicals would be solid behind Pence (although they seem to have “rationalized” supporting Trump) and Pence is a RW nutjobbie anyway.

    I want Trump gone, but i’d be wary of calling it two wins. Dynamic would be very different.

  2. Lets just say that yes the extreme claims that DTT is a Russian Agent (yes I jokingly said this myself at one time) is true.

    That does not make DTT a troll. That makes DTT giving us the Russian viewpoint.

    Get a grip people and Cat I don’t think William appreciates attempts to humiliate people and drive them off the blog. I could be wrong as I am not a mind reader and I don’t want to speak for William but it does appear to me that William does want different viewpoints being expressed

  3. Shortly before the holidays, I received a call from New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt asking me to meet with him about some reporting he had done. Schmidt did not describe the subject until we met up, when he went over with me a portion of the congressional interview of former FBI General Counsel James Baker, who was then my Brookings colleague and remains my Lawfare colleague. When he shared what Baker had said, and when I thought about it over the next few days in conjunction with some other documents and statements, a question gelled in my mind. Observers of the Russia investigation have generally understood Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s work as focusing on at least two separate tracks: collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, on the one hand, and potential obstruction of justice by the president, on the other. But what if the obstruction was the collusion—or at least a part of it?

    https://www.lawfareblog.com/what-if-obstruction-was-collusion-new-york-timess-latest-bombshell

  4. The proposition that Putin’s Russia is any way at all remotely socialist is a lie – a grubby lie. dtt would liken the defenders of Putin and Trump to the anti-war protesters of the 1960s and 70s. This is a grubby absurdity. It defiles the memory and the courage of the millions who fought against the militarists and the depravities.

  5. Palmer Report‏Verified account @PalmerReport

    I’m reading the NY Times story about the FBI investigation into Donald Trump secretly working for Russia. I’ll have some commentary about it once I pick my jaw up off the floor. And here I thought nothing could surprise me anymore.

  6. briefly

    Russia is a Kratocray.

    What is the meaning of Kratocracy?

    The phrase is most often used in negative assessments of expressions of power. Kratocracy: According to Montague, kratocracy or kraterocracy (from the Greek κρατερός kraters, meaning “strong”) is a government by those who are strong enough to seize power through coercive power, social persuasion, or deceptive cunning.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Might_makes_right

  7. Victoria says:
    Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 1:13 pm
    Briefly

    Dtt is a troll. That is all. End of story

    They have admitted as much themselves.

  8. Does anyone think Sarah Sanders actually believes the stuff she has to regurgitate back to the media? Surely she must get out of bed in the morning and think to herself more lies today. Can anyone be that brain washed???

  9. briefly says:

    [‘…Dtt is a voice for the corrupt, authoritarian, murderous, martial and undemocratic Putin regime while also doing their best to talk up the performance of the equally corrupt, decadent, criminal coward and traitor, Trump.’]

    So DtT, it’s official: you are a Русский агент.

  10. guytaur says: Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    briefly

    Russia is a Kratocray.

    **********************************************

    ….. and at the moment America is a Kakistocracy – a system of government which is run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens

  11. C@tmomma @ #1698 Saturday, January 12th, 2019 – 12:16 pm

    Victoria @ #1696 Saturday, January 12th, 2019 – 1:13 pm

    Briefly

    Dtt is a troll. That is all. End of story

    Yep. Returns every day, no matter how much she has been humiliated the day before.
    #blogclogger

    Catty

    You need to understand that I do not have a sufficiently high opinion of most of you for your perpetual insults to hurt. It DOES sting when someone i regard as having a brain and decent instincts insults me, but by and large that is not the case so i am able to bounce back.

    Your insults therefore affect me not at all though i do sometimes foolishly feed your troll like behaviour. Victoria is a joke and indeed she parrots USA propaganda such that it is quite possible she is a tool of some active operatives – it is so predictable and obvious and so much in the words of foggy Bottom.

  12. Tea Pain‏ @TeaPainUSA

    HOLY GUACAMOLE!! If the FBI had to open a counterintelligence operation against the President of the United States for workin’ for Russia, chances are good he is.

    The question we should ask is why is this comin’ out now?

  13. Confessions says:
    Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 1:31 pm
    Upnorth:

    It must take a particular brand of faith in or loyalty to Trump that she’s lasted this long in the job.
    ———————————————————————————-
    Must be some big pay off at the end. Her father was a Repug. Governor. My bet is she has been promised something for continuing to make herself look stupid .

  14. PR

    Yes. Sometimes DTT makes some valid points. Just as Trump did about steel and coal workers had been left out. Too late for even Bill Clinton to rescue the Democrats from Trump rhetoric from that reality.

    A brilliant campaign of attack on the Democrats. Its why I don’t use populist to describe Trump. A populist would have had real solutions to real problems. Instead the voters fell for a con man puppet of Putin.

    Yes no matter what you think of Putin thats what I think of Trump. He has tried to make the US into Russia’s image I agree. However I see it failing and the US returning to real democracy but its still not over yet.

    My best reason for thinking this is that Trump has backed down on the national emergency things. Just the kind of stuff would be dictators use to subvert democracy once they have the military behind them. Thats Trump’s problem he put the military offside too. He is no Putin and thats why I agree with Victoria that he has been useful idiot.

  15. Mavis Smith @ #1714 Saturday, January 12th, 2019 – 12:30 pm

    briefly says:

    [‘…Dtt is a voice for the corrupt, authoritarian, murderous, martial and undemocratic Putin regime while also doing their best to talk up the performance of the equally corrupt, decadent, criminal coward and traitor, Trump.’]

    So DtT, it’s official: you are a Русский агент.

    Mavis

    Briefly the other day gave us some deep personal information. I have resolved not to retaliate at all to him on the grounds of common decency. Briefly seems to be someone raised to fear the reds under the bed and to hate all those who have even a slightly left of centre. He is not alone on this blog. However he has for some time allowed his emotions to overset his jusdgement so rational debate is impossible.

    I have decided to once again block him because i do not want to be tempted to reply with unnecessary snark.

    I should block Cat but i must admit to a bit of interest in her sheer nastiness – like watching a soapie and the resident baddie.

  16. Upnorth says: Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    Confessions says:
    Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 1:31 pm
    Upnorth:

    It must take a particular brand of faith in or loyalty to Trump that she’s lasted this long in the job.
    ———————————————————————————-
    Must be some big pay off at the end. Her father was a Repug. Governor. My bet is she has been promised something for continuing to make herself look stupid .

    ****************************************************

    Rumours have it that NO-ONE outside the WH will give her a job – hence she is going down guns blazing with the Trumptanic

  17. Speaking of secret agents. I think Robert Ball has come unstuck somewhere, maybe detected trying to infiltrate North Korea, or perhaps he’s had his pc access restricted at the institution he’s being held at.

  18. Victoria, phoenixRed and I have often mused about this.

    But why, critics might ask, would Trump and his cronies risk everything in an election if they were in so deep with the Russians? The key to this apparent stupidity, I think, is that no one involved in the Trump campaign, including the president, expected to win.

    Indeed, for Trump and his circle, losing would have been the best outcome: Trump would become the de facto leader of the GOP, his advisers would have a direct line to the majority in Congress, and they could operate as a shadow government, dogging Hillary Clinton around the country while making scads of money in everything from consulting to merchandising. People like Manafort and Michael Flynn could parlay their time in the campaign into access and credibility among Republicans.

    Winning screwed all that up. Suddenly, all those Russian contacts were a problem. This was a nightmare for Team Trump, but an accidental windfall for Team Putin. The junk stock it invested in back in the 1980s was now a blue chip.

    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/07/10/trump-russia-jonathan-chait-218966

  19. Rumours have it that NO-ONE outside the WH will give her a job – hence she is going down guns blazing with the Trumptanic

    I can certainly believe that.

  20. FBI counterintelligence probe reveals Donald Trump was working for Russia all along – Bill Palmer

    Even as we wait for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report exposing Donald Trump as a traitorous criminal who conspired with Russia to rig the 2016 presidential election in his favor, the New York Times has just exposed a big piece of the puzzle that’s been playing out behind the scenes all along. The FBI probe into Trump-Russia hasn’t just been about collusion; it’s been about Trump being a willing Russian agent all along.

    Yes, we all already knew that Donald Trump has been beholden to the Kremlin from the start. But it’s one thing to us to “know” it, and it’s another thing for the FBI to open a counterintelligence probe into the sitting President of the United States. Clearly the FBI had evidence that Trump wasn’t merely colluding with the Kremlin, but that he is part of the Kremlin.

    This NY Times report makes clear that, in the view of the FBI, Donald Trump is every bit as much of a Russian agent as Maria Butina, Natalia Veselnitskaya, and others. Moreover, this FBI probe started more than a year and a half ago, shortly before the highly aggressive Robert Mueller was appointed, so you can imagine what he’s done with it since.

    What may stand out most here is the timing of this story. Why are the Feds choosing now to leak this information to the media and the public? It feels like they’re laying the groundwork for imminently exposing the specific treason-level and espionage-level crimes that Donald Trump has committed, by first making us all aware that they’ve been tracking him on this for a year and a half. This is no longer about collusion, or Trump’s ouster. It’s about treason

  21. hence she is going down guns blazing with the Trumptanic

    Yes, because that’s going to be the thing that finally restores her employability!

    I wouldn’t give her a job. Or a table in my restaurant. Or the time of day. Unsurprising that others wouldn’t, either.

  22. phoenixRED says:

    [‘The question we should ask is why is this comin’ out now?’]

    Maybe Mueller wants to do him over slowly. Trump’s certainly behaving decidedly nervous & even more eractic than usual, his trip to Texas achieving little more than a photo op, with him now back-flipping on his threat to declare a national emergency to pay for his “barrier”.

    https://www.politicususa.com/2019/01/10/trump-has-gone-to-texas-for-a-border-photo-op-today.html

  23. It’s true, fish is his staple. At dinner the night before the talk had been all fish. They talked halibut and salmon, hake and sea bass. Cuttlefish was served with black rice, a mysterious dish, chewy as well as flavoursome, sweet in a spiced way. Portuguese anchovies were available, but the other guests were not so keen. He felt some regret. The anchovies are smoothly textured and delicate as well as salty. They are the best he’s had. They have been made the same for 100 years or more, and are fat well as fine. They had Prosecco and later he had whiskey so that he could depict the immanent with greater subtlety. They talked as well about Charlie Court and John Tonkin, and the sale of Alaska to the US by the Romanovs following the decimation of the sea otter population by the fur hunters.

  24. imacca

    I want Trump gone, but i’d be wary of calling it two wins. Dynamic would be very different.

    Agreed, but the POTUS spotlight is something Pence has not had to endure. He strikes me as unimaginative. His talent is perseverance. I can’t see him winning in 2020 after a year or more in that spotlight. Though having said that I never gave Trump a chance either.

  25. “Occam’s razor says that the Coalition trashed the NBN with malice aforethough because “Labor bad! Coalition SMASH!!!”. Collusion with Murdoch (or even Telstra, which also gained an obscene amount from the FTTN backflip) isn’t a required motivating factor.”

    On the contrary I think Occam’s razor gives you the favour for Murdoch outcome. It is a much stronger and much more obvious motivating factor, the whole ‘obviously good infrastructure is bad’ just wouldn’t have worked without 150% support from Murdoch and everyone, including Media Watch at the ABC, save Nick Ross who nailed it 100% accurate.

    Also Malcolm’s ego would have, once the lies about the NBN delivered Abbott the Lodge, found a way to justify doing FTTP, unless it wasn’t just simple politics.

    And everyone seems to forget how recently we had actual reportage of Murdoch and Stokes changing the PM and also being confident that the worst possible case outcome for them was a one term Labor Govt.

    If you underestimate the power of these guys, you are a complete fool.

  26. Fess

    Whether Trump expected to win or not. He was acting in concert with a foreign adversary for personal gain and against interests of country he swore to serve.
    I said it from before he won.
    He is a treasonous traitor
    Nothing has changed

  27. Mavis Smith says: Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    phoenixRED says:

    [‘The question we should ask is why is this comin’ out now?’]

    Maybe Mueller wants to do him over slowly

    **********************************************

    I think Cohen coming out the other day – and now this NYT expose piece – are all part of the strategy to expose Trump and his Crime family in the face of the US public now on a daily basis …… death by 1000 cuts …..so no-one will be left to understand what is at stake here ….. its Trump or the US …..

  28. It may be that the grub would block ‘briefly’. dtt lies all the time, so the claim is doubtful on its face. They should know that ‘briefly’ will not block them. ‘briefly’ is interested in liars, having known a good many of them over the years. Why do liars lie? What profits do they seek? Why do they prefer the false to the true? dtt is inveterate and makes a spectacle of deceit.

  29. PhoenixRed

    Yep and the public will be demanding changes that will ensure that the moneyed up elite can’t hijack democracy going forward.

    As I said earlier, one good thing to come out of saga is much needed
    reform

  30. Regarding the slow train journey on SBS.
    (1) I turned the TV on to the longest straight section of rail on the planet. It wasn’t just straight, it was featureless. The horizon was the only thing to look at. So I did a bit of Internet searching. I learned the entire trip nowadays takes 65 hours and covers a distance of 4,352 km, and costs the order of $1/km per passenger (+/-20%). Then I remembered an article I read this week about the Space Elevator, which if built could stretch some 100,000 km away from the earth, though geosynchronous distance is only 35,786 km out. If such a thing were ever built it would have the same psychological effect as the train-line between Perth and Sydney, connecting two very distant places and taking a significant time to traverse, with beautiful slow scenery.

  31. Fess

    I feel Clinton winning would have made the country even more polarised and blind to the crimes being exposed now. This crap did not start in 2016
    As I also said earlier, wish there was an easier way of getting to
    a better place, but my feeling is that this is how it was destined to play out.

  32. The fur of the sea otter is among the finest that can be found, they say. It has two layers, the short and close, the inner layer; and the long, sleek and fine, forming the outer layer. So the coat is both warm and soft; dense and delicate. The Russians wanted it all and killed all the otters. They then sold the territory for a song.

    This is a great story. The man may travel to Alaska to learn more.

  33. We should have known something big was about to drop. The whole shutdown and declare a national emergency thing has been a distraction from this revelation being revealed. Trump has form and we should have remembered it.

    However a Shutdown is a distraction its hard to ignore.

    Are we taking bets on President Nancy Pelosi yet?

  34. Regarding the slow train journey on SBS.
    (2) Slow TV is a new phenomenon, or so they say. I beg to differ. The original slow TV was invented decades ago. It was called Summer of Cricket.

  35. guytaur @ #1721 Saturday, January 12th, 2019 – 12:38 pm

    PR

    Yes. Sometimes DTT makes some valid points. Just as Trump did about steel and coal workers had been left out. Too late for even Bill Clinton to rescue the Democrats from Trump rhetoric from that reality.

    A brilliant campaign of attack on the Democrats. Its why I don’t use populist to describe Trump. A populist would have had real solutions to real problems. Instead the voters fell for a con man puppet of Putin.

    Yes no matter what you think of Putin thats what I think of Trump. He has tried to make the US into Russia’s image I agree. However I see it failing and the US returning to real democracy but its still not over yet.

    My best reason for thinking this is that Trump has backed down on the national emergency things. Just the kind of stuff would be dictators use to subvert democracy once they have the military behind them. Thats Trump’s problem he put the military offside too. He is no Putin and thats why I agree with Victoria that he has been useful idiot.

    Guytaur

    Have you not noticed that Trump backs down on just about everything. He is constantly playing a game of bluff – strong words and bluster, then backs down. That is why i am not sure who is running the country.

    The other problem you have with this “puppet theory” is that why would Putin be so stupid as to use a certifiable clown such as Trump as his puppet. You are implying way, way too much.

    Look Putin disliked and feared the Clintons and considered they broke the word of the USA over the expansion of NATO. So naturally he would do whatever he could to support an alternative if he thought that person less likely to pose a threat to Russia. If we changed names around and say Obama was president of Russia, Obama would have done exactly the same. It is known as strategic thinking and international relations and complaining about it is a bit like King Canute’s courtiers asking him to stop the tides.

    Are you not aware that the USA does exactly the same- even here in Australia where leaders of parties are vetted by the US embassy. That was the most damaging Australia related leak coming from Assange and i guess it was the revelation that the US embassy gave st Julia the OK that has led to the vitriolic hatred of Assange by so many on here.

    So how about we cut portraying Putin McEvil and the devil and treat him like a national leader maneuvering to do the best for HIS country. So how would Obama, if in charge of Russia confronted with an election in which an known Russia hawk was certain to be elected. He would set his foreign agent to building better relations with ALL known alternatives and try to see which ones were less hostile to Russia, or who could be bought or blackmailed or who might in good conscience think that there could be some win/win trading between the two great nations that benefited BOTH.

    So in 2016 Putin (or Obama or Shorten or whoever was in charge of Russia) would have looked at the various options. Sanders no doubt was preferred to Clinton, but by no means would have been a welcome option. Of the incredibly nutty GOP candidates there were not many that any Russian could approach, let along get on decent relations with. I suspect that Putin’s preferred candidate would have been Jeb Bush, boring but sane and probably willing to keep the status quo. However once stuck with Trump/Clinton of course he would support Trump.

    Now that is a far cry from saying Trump is a puppet. Now i fully accept trump was keen to do deals with Russia – make some money, and possibly this was not always fully legal. Naturally Putin would use this to his advantage as would Obama, Shorten, Gillard or indeed anyone in charge of Russia.

  36. Mavis Smith
    says:
    Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 2:00 pm
    DaretoTread:
    [‘I have resolved not to retaliate at all to him on the grounds of common decency.’]
    That’s damn decent of you, DtT.
    ______________________________
    Yes, I agree good form DTT. Ironically, Briefly would have thrived at Pravda where his repetition and dehumanising language would have been embraced. Although he would dispute it, he would have made a very effective commissar.

  37. Mavis Smith says:
    Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 2:00 pm
    DaretoTread:

    [‘I have resolved not to retaliate at all to him on the grounds of common decency.’]

    This is another falsehood. dtt will break their word before long. They cannot help it.

  38. PhoenixRED:

    [‘death by 1000 cuts …..so no-one will be left to understand what is at stake here ….. its Trump or the US’]

    I can’t cavil with you on that point; the stakes are indeed very high.

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