Essential Research: 51-49 to Labor

More dissonance between two-party preferred and other poll movements, this time from Essential Research.

The Guardian reports the fortnightly Essential Research poll has followed Newspoll in recording the Labor lead narrowing from 52-48 to 51-49 – and also in doing so from primary votes that you would think more likely to convert to 52-48. Labor are actually up two points from an unusually weak result last time, from 35% to 37%, while the Coalition are up a single point to 39%. The explanation for Labor’s two-party decline must lie in the two-point drop for the Greens, from 11% to 9%, and the attendant weakening in their flow of preferences. One Nation are up a point to 6%; no response option has been added for the United Australia Party, and there is nothing to suggest their ascent in the combined “others” tally, which is down a point to 9%.

If preference flows from 2016 are applied to these crudely rounded numbers, Labor starts with its 37% primary vote and gets 7.4% from the Greens (82% of their total), 3.0% from One Nation (50%) and 4.4% from others (49%), plus a 0.1% boost to correct for preference leakage between the Liberals and the Nationals. Add all that together and Labor comes out on 51.9%. Since this is, to the best of my knowledge, more-or-less the formula Essential uses, the explanation must lie in rounding. Dial Labor back to 36.6% and the Greens to 8.6%, and boost the Coalition to 39.4%, and you get primary votes that round to the published totals, but which produce a Labor two-party result of 51.4%, rounding to 51-49. There can’t have been much in it though.

The poll also features Essential’s occasional measure of leadership ratings, but all we are given at this stage is preferred prime minister. Scott Morrison’s lead as preferred prime minister is 40-31, down from 44-31 when the question was last asked in early March. So here too the poll reflects Newspoll in finding leadership ratings headed the opposite way from the two-party headline.

We will have to wait until later today for the full report, but The Guardian report relates that 59% expect Labor to win compared with 41% for the Coalition (so presumably a forced response); that “voters have logged news stories about the Liberal party’s preference deal with the controversial businessman Clive Palmer’s United Australia party, and are noticing the debates about tax and healthcare”; that the top rated issues were health, national security and the economy; and that 19% reported taking no interest in the campaign, 29% a little, 33% some, and 20% a lot.

UPDATE: Full report here. The preferred prime minister is the only leadership ratings result – nothing on leaders’ approval and disapproval.

Further poll news:

Roy Morgan, which either publishes or doesn’t publish its weekly face-to-face poll in irregular fashion, has released its results for a second successive week. Polling conducted over the weekend had Labor’s two-party preferred lead steady at 51-49, according to both respondent-allocated and previous election preference measures. Both major parties are up half a point on the primary vote, the Coalition to 39.5% and Labor to 36%, while the Greens are steady on 9.5% and One Nation (which doesn’t do well in this series at the best of times) down two to 2.5%. Also not doing well in this series is Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party, steady on 2%. The poll was conducted face-to-face on Saturday and Sunday from sample size unknown, but probably around 700.

• The Advertiser has a YouGov Galaxy poll of Sturt, the Adelaide seat being vacated by Christopher Pyne, which had the Liberals leading 53-47, compared with their post-redistribution margin of 5.4%. The primary votes were 42% for the new Liberal candidate, James Stevens (44.7% post-redistribution); 35% for Labor candidate Cressida O’Hanlon (23.1%); a striking 9% for the United Australia Party (triple what Palmer United managed in Sturt in 2013); and 6% for the Greens. The poll also gives Scott Morrison a 45-31 lead over Bill Shorten as preferred prime minister; finds 40% less likely to vote Liberal because of Malcolm Turnbull’s replacement by Scott Morrison, compared with 25% for more likely; and finds only 22% more likely to vote Labor because of its franking credits and capital gains tax policies, compared with “almost half” for less likely. The poll was conducted last Wednesday from a sample of 504.

The Age yesterday related that Labor internal polling had it leading 55-45 in Dunkley, 54-46 in Lyons, and by an unspecified margin in Gilmore.

• The weirdest poll story of the campaign so far turns out to be the revelation that a supposed ReachTEL poll of the Curtin electorate, provided by independent candidate Louise Stewart to The West Australian and run as a front page story on Saturday, was fabricated. The Liberals reacted to ReachTEL’s denial that any such poll had been conducted by calling on Stewart to withdraw from her campaign, but Stewart says she believes she is the victim of a trick by her opponents. However, a follow-up report in The West Australian relates that Stewart told the paper she had “committed two polls from ReachTEL/Ucomms before election day”, and is now refusing the provide the email she received either to the paper or to ReachTEL. ReachTEL principal James Stewart said Louise Stewart had told him the email had been “deleted somehow”, but Louise Stewart says this is “not true”. Alex Turnbull, the son of the former Prime Minister, who has loomed large in independent candidates’ efforts to unseat sitting Liberals (though not, so far, in Stewart’s), said he believed he had been impersonated as part of the ruse. Stewart tells Andrew Burrell of The Australian that Turnbull’s investigations linked the distribution of the fake poll to a source “close to a senior conservative WA Liberal MP’s office in Perth”.

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.

923 comments on “Essential Research: 51-49 to Labor”

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  1. “hungry jack says:
    Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at 4:46 am
    essential 51-49

    should be 54-46 really
    should be also alright”

    Well, either there is a conspiracy amongst pollsters, or it has tightened. I suspect the latter.
    There could be a touch of both.

    However, perhaps all to be expected.
    I think it will stretch out again a little as the campaign continues.

  2. I dont mind a good conspiracy theory, but i think we have to accept it has narrowed to around 51.5

    I struggle to explain that though, where is the LNP strong demographic, not women, or people under 40, or Victorians.

    LNP strength has to be older age bracket (SMSF aspirants), Queensland their best state, and NSW second but borderline.

    (The LNP demographic should be a lot less favourable than 2016)

  3. Eseenestial like all the other opinion polls , gives the margin of error in favour of the libs/nats

    Even in the 1998 unusual federal election the libs/nats 2pp was not 10% on top of the libs/nats combined primary vote , even though it was close it was 2pp was 9.5%

    the libs/nats combined primary vote was 39.51% = 2pp 49.01%

    so it probably safe to say that with libs/nats combined primary vote 38-39% = 2 pp 46/47%

  4. Foxtel peasants have found their lines re the Debate “loss” by Scrott. Many references to there being “only 48” undecided voters . Also these debates never make any difference any way …………… not that Shorten was any good.

  5. My sources told me long ago that the polls would be managed and massaged to show a closer contest.
    The PM has openly said in the past he will do anything to win.
    We were told the Liberals and the media were closely liaising in planning this campaign.
    I kept this blog up to date on some of the information I was receiving at the time.
    As each day goes by in this campaign the information we received on its conduct has been proved spot on.
    The polls will not widen, no matter what happens, they will continue to tighten.

  6. So all three polls – news, morgan & essential are 51-49.

    Those who claim conspiracies are leftie bedwetting morons – give yourselves an uppercut.

  7. Red13
    In the end there are reputations to be burned. They need to remove their massaging soon, and they clearly are being massaged.

  8. Vic

    Basil Semplis managed to cut off Scotty mid rant 2 times, which showed his value.

    Otherwise, Bill has his lines well rehearsed, and spoke more quickly – which came across as a more natural flow. Scotty, well, to be kind to him, he has overachieved to this point.

    Mark Riley and especially Lanni Scare showed their bias in their framing of questions to Bill – which he promptly ignored

  9. Holden Hillbilly
    In the end there is an election. They missed he Victorian result by 4%. Outside the margin of error you would expect for the sample size.

  10. The LNP’s strength is anyone who hates paying taxes.

    Shorten & Bowen are complete idiots for scaring everyone by releasing their tax plans in such detail. This allows the LNP to construct a pretty effective scare campaign around “Labor being unable to manage money” & now planning to “come after your money”.

    Here is a news report on Rudd’s tax plans before the 2007 election:

    Rudd gave the the LNP zero ammunition to conduct a scare campaign & the only thing Costello could say in response to Labor’s plans was that Rudd had “copied the government” & that Labor’s plans for tax cuts “could not be believed”.

    THIS is the proper way to run an election-winning campaign.

    The way Shorten & Bowen are doing it, is the WRONG way & will lead to an election loss.

  11. bug1 says:
    Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at 6:20 am
    I dont mind a good conspiracy theory, but i think we have to accept it has narrowed to around 51.5

    I struggle to explain that though, where is the LNP strong demographic, not women, or people under 40, or Victorians.

    LNP strength has to be older age bracket (SMSF aspirants), Queensland their best state, and NSW second but borderline.

    (The LNP demographic should be a lot less favourable than 2016


    Mentioned yesterday I sat near enough to three retired couples in a cafe and the anti-Bill sentiment was ‘strong in them’. I imagine that their Smellygraph, 2GB, Macca on Sunday infused existence leaves little room for actual ideas formed on their own buy fact-based thought.
    Positive though- I didn’t try to educate them, it would be a bit like my mother, you’d just get this faintly horrified, confused look.

  12. Interesting that Pauline Hanson and One Nation were quite happy with Steve Dickson trying to get money from the US gun lobby to undermine Australia’s gun laws, but they seem less happy when he attends a strip club.

    After Al Jazeera published its [NRA] report, Mr Dickson and Mr Ashby called on the publication to release all footage they recorded in order to prove it was not taken out of context.

    Well they seem to have responded with more footage!

  13. One Nation’s Queensland leader Steve Dickson has resigned from politics after footage of his lewd behaviour in a US strip club was leaked #auspol 

  14. Settle down Tetsujin, liberals already have a tax scare campaign regardless of what Labor does or does not do.

    Liberals are doing a massive scare campaign and we know that from day one.

    People are stupid not Labor

    So keep your nickers on.

  15. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.
    It would appear the poll situation has set itself around 51.5/48.5 as the campaign enters the home straight, Going on last night’s debate performance Morrison can’t have much left in the tank.

    Here is Katharine Murphy’s view of the latest Essential poll.
    David Crowe reviews the debate.
    Michelle Grattan says Shorten had the content, Morrison had the energy in the first debate.
    Katharine Murphy gets it right with her views on the debate.
    The ABC has fact checked the debate,
    Paul Bongiorno writes that Morrison’s switch to vaudeville has stalled.
    Research fellow Emily Lane writes that the newest election fault line isn’t left versus right, it’s young versus old – and it’s hardening.
    David Crowe reports that the union movement will mobilise more than 2,500 volunteers in a bid to tear down the Morrison government using paid advertisements and deploy more than 100 volunteers in each key seat.
    Neil McMahon gives us the rundown on last night’s Q and A. Quite funny actually.
    Peter Hartcher examines the Liberal Party’s effective dumping of Jim Molan.
    Shane Wright says that the RBA’s deliberations nest Tuesday will put the election spotlight on the economy and budget assumptions.
    and Michael Pascoe says that next week’s RBA meeting is something to keep Josh Frydenberg awake at night.
    Michael McCormack says a preference “deal” between the Nationals and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation “just makes sense” because the parties’ policies closely align and it will help the Coalition win the election.
    CEO of Early Childhood Australia, Samantha Page, explains why the wage rates are too low and turnover is too high in the industry.
    Justifiably, Jenna Price gets stuck into Dan Tehan after his train wreck interview with Fran Kelly yesterday morning.
    Jennifer Hewett looks at Morrison’s campaign tactics.
    The Grattan Institute declares that too many Australians miss out on timely dental care – Labor’s pledge is just a start.
    Pauline Hanson’s good judgement when it comes to candidate selection is on display again as Steve Dickson shows his class in a strip club. (And in breaking news Dickson has just resigned!)
    Which corporations make the best contribution to Australia’s tax base, per dollar earned? Who tips in most for our defence and health, our roads and bridges? Michael West reports on the biggest taxpayers, and the best, the Top 40 Tax Heroes.
    Patrick Hatch writes that Australia must find a new way of taxing road users soon or be unable to fund new infrastructure, according to the boss of toll giant Transurban, who says the inevitable mass adoption of electric vehicles will soon demolish fuel excise revenue.
    Will Higginbotham writes that the lack of a climate agenda could hurt the Coalition on voting day.
    If you’re a fan of buying supermarkets’ own-brand products, you would be better off shopping at Woolworths rather than IGA, obesity experts say.
    Following revelations that a senior police sniper is suing the State of NSW over the siege, accusing them of negligence the families of the Lindt cafe shooting victims say authorities are failing to acknowledge their culpability in the mistakes made during the siege, with the partner of cafe manager Tori Johnson accusing the NSW government and police of a “cover-up”.
    Peter FitzSimons says that when it comes to being a weird mob, the French are gold medallists. The French and Australians are not seeing eye to eye in the big submarine project. I remember trying to work with the French in the automotive manufacturing industry and they were by no means the easiest to work with. This situation is unsurprising.
    Thousands of travellers were left stranded – some for hours – at international airports across Australia yesterday because of a technical glitch that hit electronic passport gates.
    Sydney house prices have fallen another 3 per cent and the median is now $170,000 below its mid-2017 peak, new research shows, but the bottom of the downturn could be in sight.
    April 2019 marks the tenth anniversary of Australia first achieving “world’s best economy” status. Alan Austin concludes his two-part retrospective which seeks to counter the myth of the Coalition as “best economic managers” mantra.,12620
    Heads should roll after New Zealand and Sri Lankan intelligence failures on terror attacks says Clive Williams.
    Gladys Liu opens her stupid mouth yet again!
    Apple is at it again as it cripples screen-time apps that compete with its own.
    Finding a place to rent is still an impossible dream for many low-income Australians explains Greg Jericho.
    Labour is braced for a showdown over whether to back a referendum on any Brexit deal when the party’s governing body meets to agree its draft European elections manifesto.
    Lawyers representing hundreds of workers who lost their jobs at Clive Palmer’s Queensland Nickel say they are unaware of how the leader of the United Australia party intends to pay outstanding entitlements despite his claim to be establishing a $7m trust fund.
    Gupta’s GFG and Gordon Murray Design have been closely studying the Australian market, as part of their global examination of where the best opportunities lie. Mr Gupta wants to make electric vehicles in Australia, and then set up manufacturing operations in India.
    How climate change poses a clear financial risk to Australia.
    Watergate exemplifies the Government’s contempt to the interests of those of us who actually pay the bills says Mungo MacCallum.,12624
    Elizabeth Knight tells us how children have become the swing factor in deciding where mum and dad should buy groceries.
    Michael McGowan has been following the Leyonhjelm/Hanson-Young defamation case.
    Joanne Penney discusses the prosperity-driven ethos behind the Prime Minister’s Pentecostal religion.,12623
    The number of measles cases in the United States has reached a 25-year peak, propelled by the spread of misinformation about the vaccine that can prevent the disease.
    The White House incumbent has told a staggering 10,000 lies since taking office, some big, some trifling. Here’s a selection
    Australian astronomers have discovered a stellar-mass black hole “feeding” on a nearby star, resulting in the emission of powerful and dramatic spinning jets.
    This woman earns today’s nomination for “Arsehole of the Week”.

    Cartoon Corner

    Scary stuff from David Rowe.

    Cathy Wilcox takes a swipe at Tehan.

    David Pope goes inside the Liberal Party machine.

    From Matt Golding.

    Mark David with “Back in the Black”.

    Zanetti impressing his employer again!

    Sean Leahy rightly excoriates Palmer.

    Jon Kudelka and the debate debate.

    And he feels for electors.

    From the US.

  16. @Zac_Beers

    Ken O’Dowd supporters are literally trying to cover up Labor’s signs that expose his support for the top end of town.

    The reality is it’s too late to cover up the $80 billion dollar handout the LNP tried to give to the big banks and multinationals

  17. Holden Hillbilly says:
    Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at 6:56 am
    So all three polls – news, morgan & essential are 51-49.

    Those who claim conspiracies are leftie bedwetting morons – give yourselves an uppercut.


    No one claiming conspiracies , the facts are

    The election will not be that close with the libs/nats combined primary vote being below 40%

    The libs/nats combined primary vote needs to be over 43%

  18. WB provided a very good explanation of what was happening at Newspoll yesterday. While I’m as partisan as anyone and there is a sense that the rules have been changed half way through the third quarter of the Grand Final, it’s also clear that all the pollsters are struggling with how to deal with the sudden emergence of Palmer’s Party. So, I’m in the corner of it is what it is mane. Only am post election analysis is going to reveal if the model for allocating preferences is correct.

    However, this Election is going to be won on the ground with the best organised team winning the day in all the really contentious seats. I doubt whether swings will be uniform across the Country. States and even within seats.

    So my take out is not to be overly focussed on National Polls because MOE will cause you to fret and have conniptions.

    Watch where the Leaders go during the campaign as that will tell you what theParties are prioritising.

  19. Good morning all

    Shall we start a list / book on which candidates will be axed / sacked / resign before the poll?

    First up
    Steve Dickson PHON

    The odious Liberal candidate for Chisholm Gladys Liu could be next given more revelations

  20. Thanks again BK

    “Michael McCormack says a preference “deal” between the Nationals and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation “just makes sense” because the parties’ policies closely align and it will help the Coalition win the election”

    Lets see him mumble and fumble his way around that zinger at the press club. The Nationals leader by association and by his own words attaching his own Party to the Al Jazeera guns fiasco- genius this man, genius. Barnaby must be lapping this up.

  21. After the ‘Great Debate’ last night and PHON’s travails this morning I expect the next set of polls to move back to 53/47.
    Pauline still insisting they were never looking for money from the NRA, and blaming the messenger (aka Al Jazeera) for Steve Dickson’s predicament.

  22. President Trump has made more than 10,000 false or misleading claims

    It took President Trump 601 days to top 5,000 false and misleading claims in The Fact Checker’s database, an average of eight claims a day.

    But on April 26, just 226 days later, the president crossed the 10,000 mark — an average of nearly 23 claims a day in this seven-month period, which included the many rallies he held before the midterm elections, the partial government shutdown over his promised border wall and the release of the special counsel’s report on Russian interference in the presidential election.

  23. I doubt they’ll sack Gladys Liu because they will be wanting to retain that seat as a path to victory.

    What she has said is not really that controversial to me anyway – it’s true that a lot of conservative Chinese people think that way. It’s unpalatable but can’t simply be ignored.

  24. From GG:
    “However, this Election is going to be won on the ground with the best organised team winning the day in all the really contentious seats. ”
    This was a take in a few of the MSM commentaries – not a generalised swing election but a large series of local on-the-ground by-elections.
    If that is the case you would have to put your money (if you have any left over what with stagnant wages and all) on Labor.

  25. Jeffrey Toobin‏Verified account @JeffreyToobin · 10h10 hours ago

    Breaking: I talk to fall-guy @MichaelCohen212 as he prepares for prison. “I’m not the one who slept with the porn star.”
    Why is he the only one heading to prison?

    Michael Cohen’s Last Days of Freedom

    These days, the President’s former lawyer, and the fall guy in his web of misconduct, looks like a victim as well as a perpetrator.

    You are going to find me guilty of campaign finance, with McDougal or Stormy, and give me three years—really?” Cohen said. “And how come I’m the only one? I didn’t work for the campaign. I worked for him. And how come I’m the one that’s going to prison? I’m not the one that slept with the porn star.”

  26. Maybe the parties have been so preoccupied with checking whether their candidates are in breach of s44 that they have been distracted from checking whether their candidates are simply ratbags/wingnuts.

  27. I’m happy to accept it’s narrowed to 51.5; which is an easy Labor win.

    ScoFo’s personal rankings appear to be on the slide in all polls. So much for the media narrative that he’s campaigning well.

  28. It’s too late to ‘sack’ candidates. Nominations are closed. Ballots have been printed. People will already have voted ar pre-polling places for candidates such as Liu.

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