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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    You can read about the frog’s demise, but I also found this rather stunning. Barnaby’s favourite pastimes are bushwalking and botany. Who knew?

    Mr Joyce said he was often viewed as an “environmental evil” by his critics, a label he rejected.

    “I’ve never said pull down every tree and kill every animal you come across,” Mr Joyce said.

    “My favourite past times are bushwalking and botany, I’m not a philistine in these areas. In so much I do in politics, people see me in a binary view – I’m either good or bad.

  2. E.G. Theodore

    I wasn’t ignoring you- I was otherwise occupied.

    The current Defence Aid to the Civil Community (DACC) is fine. The States ask the ADF for the support they need and it gets supplied. The media hype, apparently deliberate non-reporting of the ADF involvement since September and lack of knowledge of the system were the only issues.

    No Premier has complained that requested support wasn’t provided.

    The calling out of the Reserves in this situation appears to be Unconstitutional and the Federal Government has admitted it is pushing the limits very hard.

    We are never going to have a National Guard type arrangement.

  3. Its coming whether drivers like it or not:

    Subaru has committed to electrifying its entire line-up

    The Japanese brand has committed to a massive change that is sure to have a knock-on effect in Australia and change the cars we drive forever.

    The Japanese car maker has revealed its entire line-up will be either electric or hybrid powered by the middle of the next decade. And in the meantime the brand plans for at least 40 per cent of its sales to be electric or hybrid cars by the end of this decade.

  4. Late last year, AMP started to contact former clients to alert them AMP owed them the money it took in fees while providing no service.

    However, instead of asking customers where they would like the money sent, AMP opened a new super account in their name.

    “As your account with us is closed and we can’t pay super benefits directly to you, we’ve paid this amount into a new AMP Eligible Rollover Fund [ERF] account that was opened in your name,” it told them.

  5. Wilderness Society
    We write recovery plans for our endangered species but most are never implemented or enforced. Some-like for the koala-never even get written. Year after year, Australia’s environment ministers have ignored their obligations under environment law. #auspol

    The parliament worked to hold Ros Kelly to account for the rorting. They held an inquiry and sought to censure her and eventually she resigned. But Kelly wasn’t just sports minister at the time, she was also environment minister. And way back in 1992, she established the Endangered Species Protection Act, an act that defined some clear environmental obligations for the federal government.

    The environmental framework Kelly put in place was based on the Endangered Species Act that the United States had put in place in 1973. The US legislation has demonstrably improved the prospects for so many species. For instance, the bald eagle was once on the brink of extinction, now it is not even endangered. In Australia, there has been no equivalent recovery of our species; the list grows longer and our species move closer to extinction.

  6. Quoll,

    The reality is that voter turnout increases with age.

    In 2016 66% of eligible 18 year olds voted.
    That increased to 80% at 22yo, and was basically a flat line at 80% through to 30yo.
    There is a steady increase to about 90% at 40yo.

    The SSM enrollment hasn’t changed this, it just means lower turnout, not higher participation.

    There really needs to be some thought and work put into “getting out the vote” in the under 30 demographic.

  7. “There really needs to be some thought and work put into “getting out the vote” in the under 30 demographic.”


    And while at it, there are a fair number of 20 somethings that need disabusing of bad ideas.

  8. ‘bakunin says:
    Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 5:08 pm


    If only Keating and his myrmidons weren’t in the trall of the fossil-fuel cartels…’

    Goodness me. Still Killing Keating? Whatever happened to Assassinating Albo? Now that you have Morrison in, isn’t that the most important job? Assassinating Albanese and Sinking Labor in 2022?

  9. The main problem with the 20s peeps is that so very many of them are nihilists.
    Getting a nihilist fired up to vote for, or against, anyone or anything is quite hard.

  10. Lizzie


    Generalisations are a bad idea. I know when speaking election tactics people think they count. Yet in the US Obama voters voted for Trump.
    There are Trump voters that favour Sanders.

    A lot of those generalisations are excuses to avoid having to understand that populist means popular with voters. The Left needs to harness some popularity.

    That does not mean becoming communists. It does mean look at what made Whitlam popular.

    Rudd was popular for being progressive and a real alternative to the LNP with. commitment to change.
    Ditto Andrews and every succesful Labor win from opposition.
    Labor never won by being a light version of the LNP.

  11. lizzie in terms of bang for buck there are two sizeable chunks of voters worth chasing..

    A: 20 somethings that would vote Labor and just need to vote

    B: 20 somethings that share/accept bad ideas and woild be fairly easy to educate – often through peer pressure.

  12. More victims from Canberra’s devastating hail storm:

    Canberra hailstorm leaves more than 300 bats dead in Commonwealth Park
    (Canberra Times headline)

  13. ‘bakunin says:
    Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 5:17 pm


    I’ve never said anything negative about Albo – that is just you projecting your hatred of the Left.’

    Why go back to Killing Keating? He’s politically dead. You guys have Killed Bill. That should be really satisfying for you guys seeing as how that helped Sleazy get up instead. So, the logical thing is for you guys to start Assassinating Albanese and Sinking Labor.

    When you aren’t protesting. Tomorrow is a good time for protesting, BTW. Off you go!

  14. Boerwar says:
    Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 5:12 pm
    I wonder how OldMother Milne and Old Father Brown feel about being slagged for being… their age?


  15. citizen
    I spoke this morning to one of the peeps who was responsible for holding many of those bats while they were euthanazed by vets.
    Terrible experience.

  16. Oh dear, I thought Darren Chester was supposed to be one of the ‘better’ ones.

    I am utterly fed up with hearing more lies from LNP members. On ABC news breakfast Darren Chester just implied it’s Labor’s fault Hazelwood Power Plant is closing (owned by indep. French owned comp) & also agreed with Scomo fires in Gippsland not a sign of climate change.

  17. Peg
    Who’s wrathful about climate protestors?
    Off you go.
    Now that the dead have been buried.
    Off you go.
    It’s the right time to go to a Greens protest.
    Wally himself might even turn up.

  18. Not just students: Australia’s young and old push for action at the #ClimateStrike

    “This time, office workers, tradies, artists, grandparents, doctors and baby boomers joined in the mass demonstrations calling for urgent action on global warming.
    Thousands of people aged 50 years and older turned up en masse to show their support.”

    The existential threat of global heating is radicalising a new cohort of activists, both young and old, people who have never taken part in protests before.

  19. Rick
    What a joke! Credlin interviewing #ScottyFromMarketting “Yes PM! Your so right PM! Labor Labor Labor”….What a farce! As per usual #ScottyFromMarketting picks an easy interview. Chris Kenny now Credlin. May as well have Frydenburg interview him!

  20. @MartinRolfe2
    · 6h
    Morrison’s good mate of 20yrs Greg Storey runs Lilli Pilli footy. He got $200k from his PM bud. He also got $300k to sit on some Govt board that only sits 4 times a year. So Greg Storey, PM “Bestie”, cops half a mil just ‘Cos’? And it’s not even queried? #auspol #sackmorrison

  21. Boerwar says:
    Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 5:59 pm
    ‘Pegasus says:
    Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 5:46 pm

    Not just students: Australia’s young and old push for action at the #ClimateStrike

    “This time, office workers, tradies, artists, grandparents, doctors and baby boomers joined in the mass demonstrations calling for urgent action on global warming.’

    Whoa! Who let the OK Boomers in?

  22. Boerwar
    I did not know about Tony Blah but I did see BoJo last night piling on the ‘charm’ to a gathering of African leaders. Back to Africa must be the pom Establishment’s great hope for ‘Britannic’ glory days to ride again.

  23. A Nationals MP has called for Kean to be stripped of his environment portfolio.
    Sleazy’s rabble are hard at it. The fires are not even out yet and they are baying for blood – each other’s.

  24. lizzie says:
    Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 5:56 pm
    · 6h
    Morrison’s good mate of 20yrs Greg Storey runs Lilli Pilli footy. He got $200k from his PM bud. He also got $300k to sit on some Govt board that only sits 4 times a year. So Greg Storey, PM “Bestie”, cops half a mil just ‘Cos’? And it’s not even queried? #auspol #sackmorrison

    There seems to be a pattern here. Morrison’s Shirelive received $110,000 from the $31 million Safer Communities Grant fund last November. Perhaps these grants are the ‘prosperity gospel’ in action!

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