It’s not exactly news that I’ve got BludgerTrack going to the extent of running leadership trends, which I launched about a month ago, but under the circumstances (and for the want of much else to blog about, which I’ll get to shortly) I thought it worth drawing attention to again. Newspoll and Essential Research both provided new sets of numbers this week, and while some have questioned the value of polling in high summer while holidays are being had and fires are being fought, they were interesting in their consistency: Newspoll recorded a 19% drop in Scott Morrison’s net approval while Essential had it at 14%, and both found Anthony Albanese opening slight leads on preferred prime minister.
All of this comes through loud and clear in the trends you can see on the sidebar (or in closer detail at the link below). Morrison’s post-election bounce was already coming off before the fires, but the trend has now become a freefall he must hope will reverse in fairly short order. By my reckoning, out of 673 preferred prime minister results published by Newspoll as far back as 1987, the incumbent has led in 519 (77.2%) and the Opposition Leader in 140 (20.8%), with thirteen (1.9%) being tied. However, this hasn’t offered much of a guide for the leaders’ future prospects. Malcolm Turnbull had an unblemished record, as did Kevin Rudd in his first tenure (Tony Abbott took the lead in the first two polls before the 2013 election), while John Howard trailed in early 2001 and for much of the second half of his first term, as did Paul Keating more often than not before the 1993 election.