A track winding back

A look at leadership approval poll trends, and my new facility for tracking them.

BludgerTrack is back, sort of – you can find a permanent link on the sidebar along with a miniature version of its main attraction, namely polling trends for leader approval and preferred prime minister. These go back to the onset of Scott Morrison’s prime ministership in August last year, and thus encompass distinct Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese epochs.

As you can see, Morrison has mostly gravitated around neutral on his net rating (i.e. approval minus disapproval), barring a post-election surge that has now run its course. Shorten’s position appeared to improve during the election campaign, which was also picked up in Labor’s internal polling, though clearly not far enough. Albanese has mostly been around neutral, but as a newcomer he has a high uncommitted rating, which doesn’t come through when you reduce it to a net measure. This is how he manages to do worse than Shorten on preferred prime minister (although a narrowing trend kicked in here a few months ago) despite doing better on net approval.

I haven’t included the most recent Newspoll result at this stage, as this is clearly a distinct new series for which I will require a few more results before I can standardise it against the other polls. On the basis of this limited evidence, the new-look Newspoll’s leader rating scores can be expected to behave somewhat differently from the old. As Kevin Bonham notes, the new poll has markedly worse net ratings for both leaders, as uncommitted rates are lower and disapproval higher.

Needless to say, what’s missing in all this is voting intention, for which I am going to need a good deal more data before I reckon it worth my while. If you’re really keen though, Mark the Ballot has gone to the trouble of running a trendline through all six of the Newspoll results post-election. If nothing else, my BludgerTrack page features a “poll data” tab on which voting intention polls will be catalogued, which for the time being is wall-to-wall Newspoll. And while I have your attention, please note as per the post above that I’ve got the begging bowl out – donations gratefully received through the link at the top of the page.

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.

1,119 comments on “A track winding back”

  1. Bipartisan – The Guardian

    There’s not a lot of bipartisanship on display in Canberra this morning. But there’s one thing Labor and Liberal MPs are both happy to put their names to: an invitation to the industry-sponsored “parliamentary friends of resources” Christmas drinks.

    The invitation has just been jointly sent out by Labor’s Joel Fitzgibbon and the Liberal party’s Craig Kelly. The event is to be held in parliament house on 4 December. It is sponsored by the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association.

  2. The Guardian

    Richard Di Natale, the Greens leader, is responding to Wong’s attack. He says Labor’s criticism of events 10 years ago are a “distraction” from the “coal hugging Liberals”.

    “You’re supposed to be here to fight the Tories, not the Greens,” he says.

    Di Natale said today was the first day Labor had wanted to talk about climate change since the devastating fires on the east coast.

    “What are the Labor party doing? Turning their attention to the Greens. We had half the country on fire last week. We have had the east coast burning. We have had people losing their homes. You know what the response was from the Labor party? Well, again they joined the Liberal party: now is not the time to talk about climate change.”

    Di Natale says the Greens were the only party to take a carbon price policy to the election.

    “If you are so desperate to have a climate price introduced, let’s get together and work on one,” he said.

  3. lizzie
    Monday, December 2nd, 2019 – 1:03 pm
    Comment #780

    This is Christian Porter, Attorney-General. You can see he’s a kind, compassionate soul.

    Have mercy. Please stop posting prawnographic pictures.

  4. “You’re supposed to be here to fight the Tories, not the Greens,” he (RDN)says.

    Earth to RDN. The Greens are supposed to be here to fight the Tories, not Labor!

  5. The Greens are good – very good – at Chutzpah.

    Exhibit A – Pegasus’s ‘innocent’ cut and pasting of anti-Labor mewings by the Wiggle this morning, followed by her sanctimonious pontifications that Labour cant get over it, when her cut and paste drive by provokes the inevitable response.

  6. Andrew Wilkie and live export bans -The Guardian

    Wilkie’s private member’s bill is unlikely to pass. He has attempted to introduce a similar bill four times in the past and it has never won support from the government or Labor.

  7. Andrew_Earlwood @ #806 Monday, December 2nd, 2019 – 1:53 pm

    The Greens are good – very good – at Chutzpah.

    Exhibit A – Pegasus’s ‘innocent’ cut and pasting of anti-Labor mewings by the Wiggle this morning, followed by her sanctimonious pontifications that Labour cant get over it, when her cut and paste drive by provokes the inevitable response.

    Rinse and repeat. 😐

    So predictable you could set your clocks by it.

  8. Nick McKim on Medevac

    Greens senator Nick McKim is on his feet to speak on the medevac bill. He says the debate boils down to a simple question:

    Do you think sick people should get the treatment that medical professionals say they need? If you answer yes to that question, you will join the Greens in opposing this legislation.”

    McKim said the old regime had led to deaths, because it denied asylum seekers the care they needed.

    The medevac legislation has saved lives. It has delivered people the healthcare that they so desperately needed and that they had previously been deliberately deprived of by mendacious ministers and bureaucrats.”

  9. Someone works in a Greens’ MP’s office in Parliament House. Nick McKim had barely finished saying those words and they were up here toot sweet. 😉

  10. Julia Gillard’s carbon pricing scheme turned out to be better in every way than Rudd’s CPRS.

    Except it didn’t survive.

    Still hasn’t dawned on the Greens, Rudd might have been right. To survive it was important the Greens got no credit. After all 90% of the population don’t vote for them.

    Rudd tried, the Greens didn’t even vote to start, and the Greens proved him right. Ten years of nonsense started by the Greens and it is clear they are not going to apologize to the nation or to Labor.

    Double down on not perfect.

  11. AE

    Of course the ‘innocent’ cut and pasting of anti-Greens mewings by the usual suspects and the cherry picking showing Labor in a positive light is perfectly okay.

    Of course the sanctimonious pontifications from the usual suspects first thing in the morning about how the Greens are to blame for all the inaction tackling global heating must remain unchallenged.

    The elephant in Labor’s room is it is paralysed by the issue as it tries to reconcile its internal divisions about what to do.

    Look over there- it’s all the fault of those dastardly Greens. Oh woe.

  12. Richard Di Natale,

    “You’re supposed to be here to fight the Tories, not the Greens,” he says.

    Earth to RDN. Go and look at the last dozen press releases take away those that attack Labor and get back to me if any are left.

  13. ScoMo, the master of not answering the question. I’m sure his fans think he’s brilliant.

    Labor kicks off question time with an attack on the Coalition’s economic management, saying growth has slowed, and labour productivity has declined for the first time since records began. Morrison responds:

    Thank you. I can confirm that after the election, people’s taxes didn’t go up, Mr Speaker.

  14. Queensland Labor
    30 years ago today Wayne Goss and Labor won a historic victory and changed Queensland forever, and for the better. 2 December 1989 marked the end of the Bjelke-Petersen era.

  15. @BelindaJones68
    Hey @ScottMorrisonMP

    Countering Foreign Interference Taskforce is just a fancy way of saying Spud’s run out of money again.
    And the timing is to capitalize on sad events in London,in order to promote xenophobia so Govt’s cruel #Medevac repeal Bill will gain support

  16. Di Natale has to speak to his base, which is why he, and Adam Bandt, said this on April 14 this year:

    Asked if he was genuine about cooperation or would stick to pure positions, Di Natale said the ball was in Shorten’s court.

    “I have reached out to Bill Shorten. It is up to him to decide whether he wants to continue to ignore the Greens. He does that at his peril,” Di Natale told ABC TV on Sunday
    “At the moment, what he’s doing is adopting a weaker policy on climate than the policy he took in 2016, which is weaker again than the 2013 policy.”

    Earlier this week, the Greens MP Adam Bandt wouldn’t say whether the minor party will torpedo Labor’s policy if it is viewed as insufficiently ambitious, as the party did in 2009 when it rejected Kevin Rudd’s carbon pollution reduction scheme


    And it’s worth noting that:

    The top official behind the emissions trading scheme, former public service chief Martin Parkinson, said the policy turmoil of the past decade had discouraged investment and contributed towards higher prices.


    Dr Parkinson said the higher prices were a measure of the cost of the decision by the Senate to reject the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in 2009

    Reported by David Crowe https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/power-would-have-been-cheaper-regrets-and-rancour-10-years-after-carbon-scheme-defeated-20191130-p53fmw.html

    Frankly I dislike the unproductive wars between Labor and The Greens

    But we will get nowhere until each side accepts it’s past mistakes, and one of the big ones was voting down the CPRS in 2009. Has Di Natale actually said he regrets voting it down? If so, please publish the link.

  17. If Labor really believed the CPRS was so great ten years ago they could have called a double dissolution at the time, with public support on their side, and the whole Rudd – Gillard – Rudd – Abbott fiasco would have been avoided. But the fact is there were Labor people afraid/opposed to action on climate change within Labor then so they chickened out. In doing so a generation of Labor leaders damaged their own credibility. They have sought to blame others for their woes ever since.

    The majority of the Australian electorate has been more in favour of action on climate change than Liberal or Labor for over a decade.

    The Greens have made mistakes too, and probably should have voted for the CPRS then demanded something better. But Labor can only blame itself for the DD decision, which was a disaster.

  18. Libs still spinning on their Paris goals wrt climate change.

    The federal government’s report to the United Nations on protecting the Great Barrier Reef is an “exercise in spin”, the Greens say.

    The report was handed to the United Nations on Sunday, and will be part of the World Heritage Committee’s assessment of the reef at their annual conference in June next year.

    The 68-page document highlights the challenges facing the the reef’s survival, and what actions are being taken.

    The report acknowledges climate change as the major threat to the reef, but says the federal government is on track to tackle this issue.


  19. Katharine Murphy
    @ScottMorrisonMP says the government is implementing the policies begun under
    @TurnbullMalcolm (to defend himself against the former prime minister’s critique of the Liberals on climate change). I feel certain Turnbull will have a different recollection of all that #qt

  20. The Greens can blame the ALP as much as they like but as Penny Wong pointed out to the senate at the time, the ALP has a responsibility to the workers, The greens need to accept they did not need to be so pig headed and their inability to accept the ALP’s purpose of representing the workers is why a merger between the parties will never work.

  21. Socrates says:
    Monday, December 2, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    If Labor really believed the CPRS was so great ten years ago they could have called a double dissolution at the time.

    If Labor had decided to go for it they would have been fighting the Greens and the Liberals. To say they should have gone to a DD is saying they could have fought them both and won.

    Perhaps that is the case; but to blame Labor for the Greens action is pretty unacceptable.

    Have the greens learnt from what they have done, no. their anti labor rhetoric has not stopped.

    Poor little RDN does not not like it when it is pointed out the damage the Greens have unleashed on the nation.

  22. Even back in 2009 the ALP were proficient in “new climate denialism” – namely, accepting the science but refusing to take anything other than tokenistic action. The 2009 CPRS was a tokenistic effort designed purely to create headlines saying that something has been legislated on the issue of emissions reductions. It involved paying polluters to pollute. It wouldn’t have done anything substantive. It would have hindered efforts to do something substantive because it locked in a legal framework of paying polluters to pollute. It really was worse than nothing.

    Kevin Rudd failed to use his personal popularity to push for a strong scheme that polluters hated. He is ultimately to blame for hoarding popularity instead of harnessing it to public purposes.

  23. Andrew_Earlwood says:
    Monday, December 2, 2019 at 9:03 am
    However, that’s where the historical analysis ends and dirty Dickie’s fictional history starts. What the Dick will not even countenance (one can see the Wiggle with hands over eyes and ears saying ‘lalalala – Its not true if I blind myself is it?’) is that as soon as the ‘surprise, we have a tax-not a tax’ deal’ announcement was made in 2011 the Labor-Green plurality lost 1,500,000 votes – mainly in the geographical areas needed for Labor to form government. There was NO active Labor infighting when the deal was announced. Basically none worth considering over the next 12 months. Continued poor polling – in direct response to the this dirty carbon deal – was ultimately responsible for Leadershit 2.0 – by which time the good ship SS Gillard was taking on water at Titanic rates. The rest is history.
    This was the same good ship SS Gillard that had just lost a handy majority at the 2010 election and was only hanging on due to Greens and conservative Independent support. Was it the carbon tax that led to this loss of support in 2013 or was it the refugee/boats issue?

    I think any sane reading of the 2013 AES (Australian Election Study) might lead one to conclude that it was the refugee/asylum seeker issue that was considered far more important during the campaign.

  24. Nicholas
    The Greens would call virtually anything less than 100% ending of coal and zero emissions as a token outcome and that is the problem, the Greens want, want , want but they don’t seem to understand how to get what they want without blowing everything up.

  25. Who’s the brightest?

    Sky News Australia
    Sky News host Chris Kenny says Kristina Keneally is a “failed state premier” who now runs Labor’s border security policy despite having only “five minutes’ of experience in federal parliament.

  26. nath says:
    Monday, December 2, 2019 at 2:35 pm
    I think any sane reading of the 2013 AES (Australian Election Study) might lead one to conclude that it was the refugee/asylum seeker issue that was considered far more important during the campaign.

    And the Greens were there to stuff that up also. A party with so little support has really managed to stuff a lot of things up with their sanctimonious crap, that is for sure.

    Is this what we face for the next 10 years? Looks like it, no indication that they are ready to reflect on what they have done.

  27. @jommy_tee
    Frank Spencer reacts to the gross overacting in #QT by his lookalike Attorney-General Christian Porter.

    Christian Porter is now praising arbitrary detention ‍♂️

    holding a person in custody.. indefinitely, even after they’ve served their sentence ⚠️ regardless if they earned release

    from the same Minister who also wants to pass a law, to ban unions

    you’re a fascist

  28. Whatever their faults at least the Greens have been consistent about their approach to climate change. Labor? All over the shop. ETS. No ETS. No Carbon Tax. Carbon Tax. No Carbon Tax. Just sailing blindly trying to feel for the wind. Amateurs.

  29. Mavis

    We’re already in retreat over the consistent mis-use of lead instead of led. I’m beginning to think that the computer’s automatic spellcheck has won. It is rare to see, even in published articles by supposedly reputable writers, the correct spelling of “led”. Reduced to the over 60s, perhaps?

  30. @JosieMcskimming
    I do wonder how our already overstretched fire services are going to cope with the influx of campers & holiday makers to both the north & south coasts this Xmas: 1000s of ppl who have no understanding of how to respond to a fire, wind changes, & the imminent danger.

  31. lizzie:

    Perhaps we should get with the groove and start writing as our younger brethren do when they text? Nah! I’m too old in the tooth for that. And I’m sure you’re not going to change the ways of a lifetime.

  32. PB very quiet, undoubtedly overcome by the brilliant way that ScoMo deals with questions that might embarrass his ministers, or himself. There’s nothing left to say.

  33. KayJay @ #766 Monday, December 2nd, 2019 – 12:27 pm

    bakunin @ #764 Monday, December 2nd, 2019 – 12:22 pm


    Can we expect to see spin-off TV series?
    “Master Liar” and “My Lies Rule”

    Cripes – you’re on to something here.

    “Real Liars of ……………….”

    “Nude Lying for Fun and Profit ..”

    Not to mention World Championship Wrestling Lying, just made for nighttime TV in the drowsy 80s (AKA “Time bilong masta Fox”):

    “Aaaaaand tonight ladeez an gennelmen, for your noisy stupification, we have – in the Sharkies Blue jocks, ScumMo, The Liar from the Shire, The Conqueror of Kipflers, The Official Bin Monitor for the NSW Rum Corps Police Force (sponsored by the Engadine Macca’s and the Brian Hartzer Memorial Brown Pants Fund), versus (…very suss), in the Tory Blue jocks (with sequins) Jammy Angus, The Southern Highlands Parrot Fluffing Champion, The Scourge of impudent native grasses, The ex-captain of the Cayman Islands Water Rustling Team, The Man even Dog-botherer Chris Kenny thinks is too stupid for Fox after dark (sponsored by the Cecil Rhodes Imperial And Not At All Racist Entitlement Fund, and the Louise Clegg Institute for Visiting Rolling Blackouts on the Less Deserving)!

    Loser gets to take on the Mysterious Masked Beetroot Bonker from Singed New England. Winner gets a crack at Boris de Pfeffel Fauntleroy, Lord High Liar to HM QEII. So much pale flesh exposed…

  34. Whatever their faults at least the Greens have been consistent about their approach to climate change. Labor? All over the shop. ETS. No ETS. No Carbon Tax. Carbon Tax. No Carbon Tax. Just sailing blindly trying to feel for the wind. Amateurs.

    You are eating your icecream too fast. Only one political party has brought meaningful carbon emission reduction legislation into the House. They did it twice. Once in an attempt to get broad cross party, public and business support for a huge change in the economy (CPRS). The second (Gillards suite of policies and the CPS) was after it became apparent one party were wilfully, criminally negligent morally bankrupt toadies. Both efforts deserve to be commended even if some specific criticism of the policy is warranted.

    Since 2013 the ALP have been trying to find a way to get back into power – you can go your hardest on that.

  35. Political Alert
    Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy, @Mark_Butler_MP, is in Canberra and will hold a doorstop at 3:40pm to discuss Angus Taylor’s latest failure to declare his interests #auspol

  36. What a jerk Morrison is. The questions put to crooked Taylor are legitimate, the man’s a walking disaster. And, moreover, Morrison’s adopting Trump’s attitude to any criticism:

    [‘Scott Morrison says Labor is engaged in “grubby smears and political games” in the attack on Angus Taylor because they can’t face the fact they were rejected by the voting public.

    They don’t want your higher taxes, they don’t want your job-destroying emissions reduction targets, they don’t want the fact that they blow a budget any time they see it. They were rejected and they have been sulking ever since.’]

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