BludgerTrack leadership trends

A small measure of historical perspective for this week’s leadership polling, on which Scott Morrison lost his lead as preferred prime minister from both Newspoll and Essential Research.

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.

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.

2,599 comments on “BludgerTrack leadership trends”

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  1. Jason Hope@JaseyHope

    I love how amidst the latest @senbmckenzie ‘pork barrelling’ claims the media jumps straight to Ros Kelly @AustralianLabor & forgets all about the last National member to be pulled up for this very thing in 2004.

    In a 51-minute spending spree in the hours before the government went into caretaker mode in 2004, the parliamentary secretary responsible for the program, De-Anne Kelly, approved 16 grants worth $3.349 million.

  2. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    David Crowe reckons Australians are losing their patience with Morrison over climate change.
    Former News Corp executive Bruce Dover writes about James Murdoch proving a “Prince Harry” moment for the Murdoch family. He concludes with, “If only James had prevailed in the dynastic competition with his eldest brother, the editorial line adopted by the myriad entities that still compromise the Murdoch empire might be very different.”
    Alexandra Smith reports that Bega MP Andrew Constance is pleading for cash donations and government hand-outs to start flowing to devastated bushfire communities. He says aid is coming too slowly.
    Tony Akhurst opines that the fires could melt the PM’s anti-establishment vote back into the earth.
    Financial counselling representative Elizabeth Minter tells us how some of the most predatory companies thrive in times of disaster. She singles out insurance claims management services (not the insurers) and payday loan companies.
    In a long assessment Zoe Samios contends that while some readers may share the views of denialist columnists, businesses including advertising clients of News Corp are now being hurt financially by perceptions the company has not evolved with the times.
    Samantha Dick writes that as Australia burns, speculation is growing that the sheer scale of the disaster might be the push News Corp needs to renounce denialism and change its partisan coverage of climate change.
    Professor of Politics John Keane has penned an essay on bushfires, Scott Morrison and the decline of democracy.
    And she writes that Australia’s media regulator has raised concerns about the disclosure of commercial deals on television and radio after finding eight out of 10 Australians are worried about the influence of advertisers on news.
    Investment in large-scale clean energy projects plunged 56 per cent in Australia last year, dropping to their lowest level since 2016 amid renewed uncertainty over the industry’s future. Thanks for this go to the cabal of Coalition troglodytes wielding their influence.
    At least 80% of the Blue Mountains world heritage area and more than 50% of the Gondwana world heritage rainforests have burned in Australia’s ongoing bushfire crisis.
    The hopeless Bridget McKenzie is still defending her sports cash splash in marginal seats.
    The SMH editorial piles into McKenzie and her sports grants.
    Katie Burgess reports that a former director of public prosecutions says McKenzie’s misuse of sports grants highlights the need for a federal integrity commission.
    Labor MP Graham Perrett has complained about the politicisation of the Coalition’s controversial $100m community sport infrastructure grant program after he was excluded from the announcement of a local grant he’d lobbied for while his Liberal opponent was invited for a photo opportunity.
    Michael Pascoe says that Minister McKenzie spits in the face of decency, ethics and every decent Australian. Ouch!
    Nine Media’s staff reporters have put together a piece explain what real action against climate change is.
    The Business Council of Australia is having trouble holding on to some of its big members as a result of its stance on climate change.
    According to Tony Burke arguing against the science of climate change is similar to not accepting the merit of vaccinations.
    Peter Hannam writes that record levels of renewable energy have driven the first drop in Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions since 2015 but if maintained the rate of decline would mean the country’s Paris pledge would be met 68 years late.
    Associate Professor in Disaster and Emergency Response Erin Smith explains why to improve firefighters’ mental health, we can’t wait for them to reach out – we need to ‘reach in’.
    Euan Black sees no end – and little hope – in sight for retailing’s massive bloodbath.
    Adelaide’s In Daily reveals that when the State Government selected KordaMentha to overhaul Adelaide’s central health system, it chose the only tender applicant that offered no economic benefit to South Australia, InDaily can reveal.
    The business model for most electricity suppliers is becoming outdated with advancements in smart technology, writes Paul Budde.,13494
    NSW’s ICAC has written to Berejiklian government ministers requiring them to disclose details about how they interact with paid political lobbyists. Stand by for some weasel words!
    According to Mike Foley Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are likely to rise if there is a break in the intense drought in eastern Australia, sinking the Morrison government’s goal of lowering emissions in the short term.
    Tennis Australia CEO and Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley has defended his decision to start qualifying rounds on Tuesday when Melbourne was blanketed with thick smoke.
    Our government’s military spending and waste of money are under scrutiny at a time when our bushfire crisis requires financial resources, writes Tarric Brooker pointing at the EA-18G Growler as a prime example,,13492
    Hockey’s welcome to stay in Trump’s America AFAIAC!
    Westpac has been linked to an international paedophilia case following the arrest of a notorious Australian sex offender who is suspected of using the bank’s transfer system to pay for live-streamed child abuse videos in south-east Asia.
    Washington: The White House violated federal law by withholding security aid approved by lawmakers for Ukraine, a nonpartisan congressional watchdog said yesterday, in a blow for US Trump as the Senate prepared to hold a trial on whether to remove him from office.
    Right on cue as the impeachment proceedings kick off Ukrainian authorities have announced a probe into possible surveillance of US ambassador Marie Yovanovitch before she was dismissed from her post by the Trump administration.
    The Guardian says that the Republican campaign against Sanders would be gruesome. The likely result would look like Labour’s defeat under Corbyn.
    Simply by defying the tabloids, Meghan has already beaten them writes Zoe Williams.

    Cartoon Corner

    Mark David
    David Pope

    Andrew Dyson

    Matt Golding

    Johannes Leak just won’t let up!

    From the US

  3. It’s the net approval chart I find more interesting.
    Morrison’s loss of approval is dramatic, and he did it himself via the choices he made. They’d be called unforced errors if this was a sporting match.

    Unlike J Gillard’s loss of support, which was a product of a vicious campaign run by Abbott with help from a partisan media, he owns it.

    Can he turn it around?
    He genuinely lacks any ability to empathise with people’s circumstances. Like the ability to lead, which he also lacks, these can’t be learnt.
    I seriously doubt he perceives the nature of the problem.

    Recognising it’s terminal, Rupert will probably push for him to be replaced. But how, and by whom?

  4. Tinman
    What makes a population ‘indigenous’ and what makes them ‘pakeha’?
    Norfolk was uninhabited when Cook arrived.
    But there was a stone alter and other concrete evidence of prior polynesian habitation.
    Norfolk has both Pitcairn and non-Pitcairn polynesian inhabitants.
    Most Norfolk Island residents have no polynesian antecedants.
    Many former Norfolk Island residents live on the mainland, New Zealand or elsewhere.

    Norfolk would be an interesting and very useful geo strategic addition to the Chinese Sphere of Pacific Influence.

  5. Senate trial opens with ‘Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye’

    ‘Impeaching Donald John Trump for High Crimes and Misdemeanors’

    Senator Chuck Grassley, opened the session, and lead impeachment manager, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff read the Resolution declaring the managers and authorizing the conveyance of the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate.

    “President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States,” Chairman Schiff read.

  6. Tinman

    I suppose we can say that the cigar smoking Hockey was the ideal Australian Ambassador in the time of Trump, because he has fitted so easily into that glittering artificial scene that only cares for the rich.

  7. The drip-drip-drip of incriminating Trump evidence is torture for Senate Republicans

    It was not known before the president was impeached whether he knowingly broke the law by withholding $400 million in aid to Ukraine. The White House claimed to be withholding the money to encourage Ukraine’s anti-corruption efforts. But thanks to lawsuits by the Center for Public Integrity and Just Security, we know—after Trump’s impeachment—he did break the law and he knew at the time.

    The US Government Accountability Office confirmed this morning that’s what the president did.

  8. Bill Barr urged to ‘retain a criminal defense attorney’ after Lev Parnas bombshells

    Parnas has not only discussed President Donald Trump and Giuliani’s roles in the Ukraine scandal, but also, Attorney General William Barr’s. And according to former federal prosecutor Gene Rossi, Barr would do well to consult a defense attorney.

    On Twitter, Rossi posted, “Based on the allegation of Lev Parnas, our esteemed Attorney General should probably retain a criminal defense attorney. What a conspiracy to bribe mess. Is our country’s AG the second coming of disgraced former AG John Mitchell? Crazy times.”

  9. ‘They’re going to go down’: Rick Wilson hilariously torches McConnell’s attempt to save vulnerable Republicans

    The ex-Republican compared the GOP majority’s attempt to cover for President Donald Trump to a weekend bender gone horribly wrong.

    “On Friday night, it’s a lot of fun and you’re having a great time,” Wilson said. “On Saturday, you’re starting to feel it, and on Sunday there’s a dead hooker in the trunk.”

    Wilson said the majority leader was tossing campaign cash to wobbly senators to ensure their loyalty to the president, but he said that scheme wouldn’t work forever — and might doom everyone who takes part in it.

  10. Okay, I’ll admit it, as someone who doesn’t do empathy very well (the product of early life trauma which emotionally scarred me for life due to my empathy tendrils being burnt horrifically), I think I can empathise ( 😀 ) with Scott Morrison’s condition and say that he finds it almost impossible to ‘do’ empathy because to do so is kind of like regrowing an arm and we all know it might be possible for some lower order animals but it hasn’t been done yet by humans.

    I admit, I have taught myself how to feel for people, and I can genuinely do it if I put my mind to it and can naturally empathise in real time if I try really, really hard. But sometimes it kind of switches off mid stream and it disappears again.

    Of course I love my children more than anything on earth, but I will admit that expressing it warmly is a struggle. They understand.

    I say all this, not by way of wanting sympathy, but as a way of explaining to you what I think is also going on in Scott Morrison’s head and why he has hired an ‘Empathy Coach’. For whatever reason, he just can’t do empathy naturally, and like the former child actor he is, his first thoughts go to learning how to fake it.

    As I commented above, I also think that with all the best training in the world this new ‘ability’ will abandon him at certain times in the future, when he least expects it or wants it. A leopard can’t change his spots, they can only be painted over to make him look like a pussycat to unwary prey. 🙂

  11. Morning all. Thanks BK. Despite all the money donated and promised by government, the actual amounts getting through to people are small, slow and requiring separate applications to multiple agencies. This couple got $1280 eight weeks after losing their home. At $150 per week that is less than Newstart.

    So the assistance and recovery are being managed just as badly as the fire fighting. Why did anyone expect any better of Scomo? He should give them all caps and let someone competent sort it out. Lying is his only talent.

  12. Tom Nichols‏Verified account @RadioFreeTom

    All of this, because 63 million Americans thought it would be a hoot to elect a reality TV star

  13. ‘lizzie says:
    Friday, January 17, 2020 at 7:57 am


    I suppose we can say that the cigar smoking Hockey was the ideal Australian Ambassador in the time of Trump, because he has fitted so easily into that glittering artificial scene that only cares for the rich.’

    He had some important wins, including getting an exemption from Trump’s swingeing tariffs on steel imports.

    Anothery is that Australia was largely exempted from Trump’s sweeping attacks on US allies. In the context of Indo-Pacific security and Australia’s ongoing security dependence on the US, this matters.

    His big loss what the US/China deal which will do Australia some real economic damage.

    As is normal with the Coalition hypocrites, this ideological anti-leaner used a mountain of taxpayer money to fund his childcare costs.

  14. Morrison would have us believe that it is just hysterical greenies, schoolchildren and silly lefties who are protesting against his actions. Here is a retired landscape architect who has been protesting for years.

    You are deaf to the pleas of fire management experts, climate scientists, moderates, conservationists and ordinary folks. In a desperate attempt get you and your colleagues to grasp the seriousness of the situation the planet is facing, I even decided that non-violent civil disobedience was the only option left to me. I paddled onto Newcastle Harbour, the largest coal port in the world, with hundreds of kayakers in a symbolic closure of the port for one day. I sat down on the floor of Parliament House as part of the People’s Parliament for action on climate change. Your party chose to trivialise the issue and to brand me as a criminal who needed to be handed increased penalties, including prison sentences.

  15. Frednk: ‘Thanks to the anti Labor parties, This is what the last election delivered.

    Investment in large-scale clean energy projects plunged 56 per cent in Australia last year, dropping to their lowest level since 2016 amid renewed uncertainty in the industry’s future.’

    I guess we will have another day of antiLabor posters blaming Labor for that uncertainty.

    What gets me, is they profess a care for the environment, yet spend all their time attacking Labor and giving the LNP a free ride to wreck the environment.

  16. @PaulBongiorno
    If you need convincing watch @abc730 on Australia’s need to have its own fire fighting aircraft. Scotty from marketing cannot bull shit his way out of this dereliction of duty to keep Australians safe.

  17. @StrayMutts
    I have an early press release from Denial Central

    “The Liberal Party is pleased to announce it rained overnight

    As such, the climate crisis has been averted and we take full credit

    All previous statements and promises are withdrawn

    And thank you for believing we gave a fuck”

  18. Clive Palmer sues to block funding for resort timeshare class action
    A company owned by Clive Palmer has filed a lawsuit seeking to thwart a class action brought by villa owners in the billionaire’s now abandoned Palmer Coolum Resort.

  19. Boerwar

    Hockey ‘wins’ . I think those successes is down to Australia’s policy of “yes sir ,no sir, three bags full sir” to the US .

  20. Dutton must be having trouble rounding up a few leaky fishing boats to be “intercepted” by the border force, otherwise he would be pulling this trick to take attention away from Morrison’s ineptitude.

    On the other hand of course he may be quite happy to see Morrison self immolate in a political sense.

  21. C@tmomma @ #16 Friday, January 17th, 2020 – 8:18 am

    Okay, can someone out there tell me why a short post gets through but a slightly longer one doesn’t?

    Occasionally, after assembling an item from disparate sources and clicking “SUBMIT” then trundling off to make fresh coffee, I return to find that I have been logged out and the post has disappeared. 😵

    That then becomes a reminder to “CTL A – CTL C” prior to “Submit” but unfortunately one tends to forget. Windows 10 has a multiple clipboard function which may need to be turned on. I use “Comfort Clipboard Manager” instead which performs the same function but looks prettier.

    Toward the end of the last thread there were some problems – very slow refresh – and I believe the thread threw back to a previous thread (just an opinion).

    D & M offered some thoughts to the effect that posts were appearing, disappearing and some were out of time order. I have not noticed this but others may have done.

    Currently all is well chez KayJay after having my NBN non functional for some hours during the night. ☮ ☕milk and 4 sugar thanks Muriel. 😍

  22. ‘poroti says:
    Friday, January 17, 2020 at 8:33 am


    Hockey ‘wins’ . I think those successes is down to Australia’s policy of “yes sir ,no sir, three bags full sir” to the US .’

    Apart from the (serious) losses we are going to incur as a direct result of the US/China Trade Agreement, Hockey was doing what ambassadors are supposed to do: get done what their democratically-elected governments want them to get done.

    By that measure, Ambassador Hockey was an effective ambassador.

    I don’t like him. I don’t admire him. I don’t respect the policies he was delivering on. But he was an effective ambassador. Part of the ambassadorial technique involved schmoozing sleazebags. Hockey appears to have been a natural at this.

  23. KayJay,
    Having Copied my post (smart thinking after first cup of tea 🙂 ), then resubmitted it about 5 times now, still nada. Short posts, not a problem. I have even logged out then in again. Attempted to post longer screed. Nyet.

    Incredibly frustrating.

  24. C@t

    I did all that first thing, and couldn’t even post a short note. Meanwhile, as the page refreshes, I am glimpsing other people’s posts which are not appearing when it settles.

  25. It isn’t just our government that is having accountability issues when it comes to government funding.

    The Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan agency that reports to Congress, found that the Trump administration broke a law that governs how the White House disburses money approved by Congress by withholding $214 million worth of equipment, training and other support to help Ukraine in its battle against Russian-backed forces.

    The Pentagon aid was overwhelmingly approved by bipartisan majorities in Congress.

    The GAO report came as the Senate opened the impeachment trial of President Trump.

    “Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law,” the decision says. “OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act.”

  26. Morning all

    from what I gleaned on CFA app. Zoomsters part of world is now on watch and act. After having emergency warning to leave last night.

  27. Has anyone heard from Zoomster?

    The fires near her were flaring up again last night. She thought she might have to leave.

  28. C@tmomma (Block)
    Friday, January 17th, 2020 – 8:50 am
    Comment #34

    lizzie (Block)
    Friday, January 17th, 2020 – 8:55 am
    Comment #35

    BUM. Maybe clearing browsing data will help – don’t hold breath.

    Chrome seems to be working OK for me. Good luck.

  29. C@tmomma (Block)
    Friday, January 17th, 2020 – 8:50 am
    Comment #34

    lizzie (Block)
    Friday, January 17th, 2020 – 8:55 am
    Comment #35

    BUM. Maybe clearing browsing data will help – don’t hold breath.

    This is the second attempt at posting this item. Damn. The first one disappeared.

  30. Out of luck: John Keane on bushfires, Scott Morrison and the decline of democracy

    Whether a semantic shift of this kind will happen, or whether the ailing carbon democracy can be transformed peacefully into a more robust and resilient monitory democracy, is another matter. Let’s suppose it doesn’t happen. What then will life in Australia be like during the next couple of years? The Morrison government will act as if it’s business as usual. Using government handouts, army troops and media messaging, it will do all it can to win the next election and to normalise the abnormal. Clampdowns on environmental boycotts and public assemblies will tighten. Opposition leaders will tag along. They’ll mostly stick to the script that in this hellish moment their job is to be constructive and practical and not to stir up trouble by commenting unhelpfully on the overall performance of the prime minister and his government. The political class will play the role of amnesiacs (who today remembers the near-total levelling and military evacuation of the city of Darwin, half a century ago, by Cyclone Tracy?). It will bend over backwards to appeal to the fabled ‘quiet’ and ‘hardworking’ and ‘optimistic’ Australians. The politicians might succeed. Fiction would then become fact. Citizens would choose to be complacent subjects. Gripped by anxiety, with temperatures rising and fires burning before their eyes, Australians would stop caring about their far blue horizons, brown ragged mountains and emerald jewel seas. The catastrophe would then be complete, leaving poor Dorothea Mackellar to mourn her sunburnt country, awash in floods of angered tears.

  31. It’s hilarious the same-same shit that was being sprouted yesterday by Green’s supporters basically defending McKenzie.

    With Kelly, the perception was that she hadn’t done the right thing.
    What happened?
    She lost her position as a Minister.

    Now we have McKenzie, where there is a suggestion of illegality and some how she should maintain her position.

    It’s amazing how far Ministerial Standards have fallen.

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