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. I think DTT is spot on re Trump and Putin. Clearly the worst outcome for Putin was having Clinton in the WH. Anybody else was preferable. The fact that Trump made approving sounds over Putin’s tough guy image made it a bit easier for Putin to go all out against Clinton.

  2. Vic:

    It’s true that the corruption and the collusion is being exposed only because Team Trump won. That said, I would’ve much preferred President Clinton for the last two years instead of the man baby currently in the WH.

  3. Confessions

    In that alternative universe I would hope that law reform on electoral laws would have happened by now.

    With Democrat appointed Supreme Court justices gerrymandering I thing would have been handled more swiftly and maybe Citizens United overturned and who knows maybe the 2nd amendment interpreted as being a militia and not the right of the individual to own a machine gun.

    Sigh. We will never know.

  4. 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???
    ________
    She also thinks she’s beautiful!

  5. ‘briefly’ has an alter-ego who is a reader, a writer, a painter and a factory-worker; and largely self-taught. They’ve recently taken up regular drinking for professional reasons; and become a train-goer. They have shed weight and regrets alike, and become more observant. They have been exchanging belly fat and inches around the waist for ideas.

  6. briefly:

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

    Interesting that you use the determiner “their”. Are you suggesting that DtT has multiple personalities, as well as being a Russian agent?

  7. BK says: Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    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???
    ________
    She also thinks she’s beautiful!

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

    Former Trump aide Sam Nunburg had another opinion of Sarah Sanders – I won’t put it here but Google is there for anyone interested …

  8. guytaur,
    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.

    Didn’t I tell you? Hide like a rhino, mouth like a sewer trap and thinks she is all that and more! There is NO way dtt will ever go away. I couldn’t hope to be as nasty and spiteful, or as full of myself, as she is. No matter what her booster boys say.

    Mavis Smith said he needs a good root. I think he’s got the hots for dtt. 😆

  9. Regarding the NBN.

    I’m one of those who can remember Turnbull and Abbott launching their fraudband policy at Fox Studios. Fox Studios? Can it have been made more blatant?

    The day before the Daily Tellmecrap ran the “NINETY BILLION NETWORK” front page. Blatant collaboration, but hey, nothing new from Murdoch.

    At the launch, Abbott looked nervous – the way he does when he knows he’s telling lies.

    Yes Murdoch actively worked against the NBN. That’s pretty obvious. One can debate if that was actually in Murdoch’s best interests, but he was personally, actively involved in this.

    Abbott is a wrecker. We all know that. It’s unsurprising that he talked about destroying it. But the real villain is Turnbull.. or rather Mr HIH.

    Thing is, Abbott had no competency in this. It was Turnbull who came to Abbott and said “hey I can fix this for you”. The plan was to install stooges in charge of NBNco, bodge the books and flog it off.

    Well, Turnbull did install stooges to run NBNco. People with obvious conflicts of interest and people put there purely because they were mates. After this the bosses of NBN committed fraud on numerous occasions. One of the things that pleases me about this coming election is that after the election there are going to be all manner of dirty secrets come out of NBNco.

    Its also well documented but little understood that under Turnbull, NBNco’s stooges sought to carve up and sell off parts of the NBN. What stopped this is simply that institutional investors aren’t as easily lied to. No one wants the liabilities of copper. Indeed if you recall going back to 2009/2010, Turnbull promised that his plan would cost the same as Labor’s. The reason he claimed this is NBNco was to seek commercial investment to fund the project beyond the government “cap” of $30 billion.

    That was only ever going to happen if there was a network worth investing in. In other words a fully fibre, future proof network capable of delivering billions in revenue for 50 years. Turnbull made this impossible and guaranteed that the government would have to scrap the cap and tip in more money.

    Those of us who understand the technology saw this coming back in 2009.

    Turnbull was a lousy PM in many ways, but the thing he should be remembered for was the largest single act of economic vandalism this country has seen. Its a shame that even now a lot of people cannot face the sheer horror of the situation. They live in denial and pretend that what Turnbull has built will still be around 10 years from now. The reality is that Turnbull has spent tens of billions on a complete and utterly failure. Its temporary. It will be scrapped and replaced with fibre at further cost.

    The experts are telling us it will be written down. Labor knows this too. They just don’t want to make a song and dance about it.

    But Turnbull is a sanctimonious prick who think’s he’s clever because he can do dodgy deals. I want to see his legacy trashed.

    There are lots of things that have to happen immediately after Turnbull’s hand picked ones are defenestrated. Lots of truth telling. And a Royal Commission takes time. But it needs to happen and it needs to focus on the sheer dishonesty of the process. As well as Turnbull I also want to see the other conspirators taken down. Ziggy and Ergas to name two. But there are many.

  10. I had, wrongly, assumed ODI’s were still on the ‘must be on real tv’ list, but clearly it is only on Murdoch TV. And people who love democracy, truth and hate racism don’t pay for Murdoch TV.

  11. Regarding the slow train journey on SBS.
    (3) I have noticed that the more monotonous the scenery the more engrossed I am. I didn’t want to miss anything during the Nullarbor stage. Then trees appeared, and even more so now that “we have left Adelaide” and there is a stream of new things to see, and I find I am happy to look at PB, get a cup of tea, maybe have some lunch. Has the continual change become monotonous instead, or is it that I can’t see everything so it is easier to ignore. I should go grocery shopping…maybe tomorrow. 🙂

  12. Sarah Sanders is a Huckabee first. So she’s pleasing her father, who was a radical clapper. We’re all trying to please our fathers at some level. The radicals of Appalachia and the Mississippi have taken possession of the citadel and the loud speakers too. There’s a citadel in Hanoi, now abandoned. The external walls are dotted with casual service workers – where vendors and hawkers offer haircuts, shoe-shining, foot-rubbing, fresh coconut and papaya juices, taxi-rides, phonecards, lottery tickets and handicrafts from the hills of the interior.

    The citadel in Washington is being emptied now, gutted of its soldiers and councillors, and the periphery is lined by hucksters, tourists and gawkers and secret police.

  13. Mavis Smith says:
    Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 2:15 pm
    briefly:

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

    Interesting that you use the determiner “their”.

    I prefer the gender-free pronouns. It’s a habit I’ve tried to cultivate. I like it because it’s not quite as objectifying as gendered language.

  14. nath:

    [‘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.’]

    No comment comrade* nath until after I’ve finished my first bottle of red.

    Incidentally, Gough often used the word “comrade” to his underlings. I remember a tale when he accompanied a Queensland senator to a footy match in Brisbane, where he was unfortunately booed.
    Wwtte, he turned to the senator and said: “If I knew you were so unpopular I would’ve never attended the match.” Apocryphal maybe, but it’s in keeping with the great man’s sense of humour.

  15. briefly:

    [‘I prefer the gender-free pronouns. It’s a habit I’ve tried to cultivate. I like it because it’s not quite as objectifying as gendered language.’]

    Fair enough. I knew it wasn’t a typo.

  16. Terminator says:
    Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 2:32 pm
    Just got spam txt’ed by Clive Palmer, guess he doesn’t care I am in NSW. Joy oh joy.

    _______________________________________

    I’ve been letterboxed a couple of times in Canberra!

  17. C@tmomma:

    [‘Mavis Smith said he needs a good root. I think he’s got the hots for dtt. ‘]

    Did I really say that? I must’ve been pissed. Shocking! Just shocking. Though my screen persona does have a foul mouth.

  18. nath, it’s kind of you to talk up my qualities. I think your estimates are too high. I’m happy as a factory-worker. I like the tactile and the aural nature of the work; the heat and the cold too. I like the ache in the arms and legs at the end of the day. I like being able to hold the fruits of my labour in my hands. I think I’d be bored as propagandist.

  19. Mavis Smith says:
    Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 2:29 pm
    nath:

    [‘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.’]

    No comment comrade* nath until after I’ve finished my first bottle of red.

    Incidentally, Gough often used the word “comrade” to his underlings. I remember a tale when he accompanied a Queensland senator to a footy match in Brisbane, where he was unfortunately booed.
    Wwtte, he turned to the senator and said: “If I knew you were so unpopular I would’ve never attended the match.” Apocryphal maybe, that it’s in keeping with the great man’s sense of humour.
    ———————————————————————————-
    Senator Ronald Edward McAuliffe OBE (25 June 1918 – 16 August 1988) was a politician and sports administrator in Queensland, Australia. He is best remembered for his years running the Queensland Rugby League, and his instrumental role in the formation of the State of Origin series (Wikipedia).

    Ron was a character and an ALP Senator for 10 years (1971-1981)

  20. Mavis Smith says:
    Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 2:43 pm
    Upnorth:

    Thanks for that. I hope my recollection was near to the truth.
    ———————————————————————————-
    Perfect recollection – can you have a Red for me? On a grog free January…….

  21. Mavis Smith says: Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    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.

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

    Its becoming more obvious then if todays NYT expose is accurate :

  22. And let’s not forget that this is A PHOTO, IN THR OVAL OFFICE, FROM THE DAY AFTER HE FIRED COMEY

    That was taken my a Russian photographer if I remember correctly our people were not allowed in the meeting.

    As he went in, Lavrov stopped to talk to the press, and laughed in our face about Comey being fired.

    Trump told Russian diplomats that firing ‘nut job’ Comey from FBI relieved ‘great pressure,’

    During his meeting with Russian officials last week, President Donald Trump said recently fired FBI Director James Comey was a “nut job” whose ouster relieved “great pressure” on him, according to a report Friday in The New York Times.

    http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-trump-told-russian-diplomats-that-1495223961-htmlstory.html

  23. Trump-Russia report shows ‘we’re faced with the worst case scenario’: Former FBI exec

    MSNBC host Joy Reid, who filled in for Rachel Maddow on Friday night, asked former FBI assistant director Frank Figliuzzi what to make of the revelation that Trump was under a counterintelligence investigation by his own government.

    “The FBI is privy to all sorts of information, and if you’re going to open a case, as the New York Times reports, into the President of the United States you’re going to have more than just unstable public behavior,” Figliuzzi said. “You’re going to have something that at least gives you a reasonable suspicion, if not specific and articulable facts…. it means they’ve got intercepted communications, it means they’re privy to how these Russians were talking to the president or about the president.”

    https://www.rawstory.com/2019/01/bombshell-trump-russia-report-shows-faced-worst-case-scenario-former-fbi-exec/

  24. guytaur @ #1749 Saturday, January 12th, 2019 – 1:05 pm

    DTT

    I agree with PR Victoria and others. Trump is Putin’s puppet and no one expected him to win.

    Thus incompetence irrelevant.

    Guytaur

    Has it occurred to you that opportunism is usually the go to idea and that national/diplomatic forces are always flexible and sieze opportunity in an ever changing world?

    Yes i think that nobody expected Trump to win, so perhaps Russian agents hoped at best that by having someone make pro Russian statements that the prospect of PEACE or at least a reduction in hostility might be a little more likely if the opposing candidate was less hostile. It would make the task of outright war with Russia a little harder for Hillary. I believe that Hillary was seriously contemplating outright war, as i am sure Bolton favours and probably Pompeo together with most Democrats.

    This is where I seriously diverge with most here but in the last 2 years I am even more convinced my judgment was right. There is a serious “war with Russia” now faction within all sections of the US government. Hillary is part of it. Trump is not. Pompeo is part of it, probably Biden is part of it. Bolton wants war with Iran first, but anyone who looks at a map will realise that war with Iran is a precursor to war with Russia.

    We now know (or those of you who read anything other than MSN pap will know) that in the 1950s the US military PLANNED to extensively nuke Russia, dropping some 200 bombs. Russia retaliated by getting its own nukes (helped I think by UK pacifist scientists) and the cold war standoff with its MAD began.

    When the USSR collapsed US business interests pillaged Russia and along with the oligarchs, crushed the country so that by 2000 most of us including me, thought it a total basket case, the USA took its eye of the ball, assured that Russia was no threat. Thus attention turned to attacking Iraq and Iran.

    For whatever reason Putin turned this all around. It seems a stretch to say it was just Putin – there must have been other key players in government, military, business, the church etc, but somehow Russia regained its national pride. The military were paid, pensions resumed and the oligarchs were banished.

    Now faced suddenly with a re-emergent Russia what is the rational response of the military and others in government. It is immoral but inevitable and to be expected as part of “real politik”. Military people and hawks will start to consider how they can destroy Russia before it becomes strong enough to fight back. This is absolutely to be expected and Hillary was a part of this. It is still part of the thought processes and those of you who refuse to at least consider this as a real possibility are incurably naive.

    So in 2016 the battle in Foreign policy terms was between the beltway insiders (both parties) who feared Russia and were keen to find and excuse for open hostilities so that the powerful US airforce and navy could have an excuse to wipe out nuclear missile sites and whatever was left of the Russian military. Now as I say this may be a totally immoral strategy but it is still RATIONAL if you come from the perspective of the USA military and believe that you have sufficient force to wipe out the threat before there can be any retaliation. This faction is actually running the US just now, with Trump occasionally flailing around.

    Trump, probably because he was an outsider was not part of the war now faction and to the extent he and friends were hawkish it was against China. For whatever reasons (I suspect racism) Bannon and Trump chose to hate China not Russia. This is the rational strategy too of those with business interests, given that China is a bigger threat to US business interests than Russia.

    Now freak out at this statements (you mostly will) but think a little.

    So I made a judgment call in 2016 that Trump was less likely to start a war with Russia than Hillary. So far my judgement has been 100% correct, although I do not think Trump fully in control so the risk is still real and even growing.

    For those of you whom it makes feel good to assume i am just ranting, thin as to WHY Putin made his march 1 speech outlining 6 new fearsome weapons. Mostly nations keep these things quiet, but Putin chose not to. The most obvious reason for this was to tell the USA that if they did attack Russia that Russia will bit back. This message has now been delivered in at least 3 ways recently that i can recall. You do not send this sort of message unless you think it is needed. You also do not conduct civil defence drills involving MILLIONS of personnel, unless you think that it is necessary. If you just want PR you do something less full on.

    So dismiss me as a ranting fear monger as most of you will, but i will call you naive to the point of stupidity.

  25. Robert Reich
    @RBReich

    The state of the American democracy:
    A President who serves Putin’s interests
    A Secretary of Defense who serves contractors’ interests
    An EPA administrator who serves coal interests
    A Secretary of HHS who serves Pharma’s interests
    A Secretary of the Interior who serves Big Oil

  26. “One can debate if that was actually in Murdoch’s best interests, but he was personally, actively involved in this.”

    Any such debate is revisionist. It depends on the assumption that a fibre NBN was good business for Murdoch and so there was no need for him to oppose it.

    This ignores the fact that Foxtel was Murdoch’s great cash cow in Australia. It certainly wasn’t his newspapers. He had been gouging Pay TV customers with exorbitant fees for over a decade purely because he owned the Pay TV monopoly in this country.

    The threat to that cash cow came from a level playing field in which high bandwidth on demand TV services could be provided nation wide. His assumption was that a fragmented relatively low bandwidth network would be much less attractive to competitors such as Netflix.

    Murdoch’s expectations were that a substandard network would give his Foxtel a competitive advantage for at least another five years or more. At a couple of hundred million a year, that is a nice little earner.

    What blind sided Murdoch was that, against expectations, Netflix moved into Australia early. Forcing him to drastically drop prices on his Foxtel product to remain competitive, far in advance of the timetable he had anticipated.

    This is why News Corp ran their propaganda campaign against the NBN, and why they got their political pawns to stand up in front of Foxtel studios and announce the political element of that campaign.

    That fact that it didn’t work out for Foxtel because of the aggressive expansion of Netflix provides the rationale that Murdoch apologists now use to try to claim the premise is absurd.

  27. David Cay Johnston
    @DavidCayJ

    For two years I’ve warned that at best Donald’s Russia actions/statements show he has divided loyalties and, most likely, is a Kremlin agent. Tonight @nytimes revealed @FBI opened counterintelligence investigation of Trump in 2017. Trump defenders need to wake up.

  28. Julia Davis
    @JuliaDavisNews

    The Russians were awfully upset about my Tweet that noted the remarkable alignment between the pro-Trump, anti-migrant propaganda on Fox News & Russian state TV, down to the visuals. Sergei Markov cemented my point by defending Fox News coverage of “migrants storming US borders.”

  29. lizzie:

    If you’re going to buy a paper shredder may I suggest a “Fellowes”, available at Office Works. I’ve had mine for some ten years and it hasn’t lost a beat. It’s a bit expensive than other brands.

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