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. Dutton always aiming in the wrong direction. Chuckle.

    So I guess Dutton’s extra officers at airports with their MK18 short-barrelled rifles are not really much good for this actual, real life threat
    Quote Tweet

    Hugh Riminton
    · 4h
    First Suspected Case Of #Coronavirus In Australia After Man Returns From China

  2. More muck racking by Kate McClymont – why does she persecute the poor guy?

    This pack of lies concentrates on an interesting side story in the Obeid saga.
    John Abi-Saab came from the same village as Eddie. He was Mayor of Hastings (Wauchope) which, although he claimed to be An Independent, would have required the support of The National Party Grandees. With a loan guaranteed by Eddie he bought a large swathe of land just south of Lake Cathie with grand plans including having the Pacific Highway taking a more coastal route and a Gondola ride to the top of Middle Brother. Not surprisingly this failed and Abi-Saab left the district. The next we heard was 18 months later when he became the Labor mayor of Strathfield. At the end of his term he was found to have corruptly bribed his successor to get a development through.
    The Obeids are now selling off the land to their associates at apparently inflated prices.

  3. lizzie @ #2509 Tuesday, January 21st, 2020 – 6:44 pm

    Dutton always aiming in the wrong direction. Chuckle.

    So I guess Dutton’s extra officers at airports with their MK18 short-barrelled rifles are not really much good for this actual, real life threat
    Quote Tweet

    Hugh Riminton
    · 4h
    First Suspected Case Of #Coronavirus In Australia After Man Returns From China

    Well, they weren’t Muslims. So…no wuckas. 😐

  4. citizen @ #2505 Tuesday, January 21st, 2020 – 6:32 pm

    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!

    What comes around, goes around Evo Land, when it comes to the $$, that is.

  5. Oakeshott Country says:
    Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 7:00 pm
    More muck racking by Kate McClymont – why does she persecute the poor guy?
    I agree and if I say so myself so would bob sprocket.

    The SMH just is determined to denigrate the memory of our much lamented former Labor Government. So many achievements that they left behind to better the State.

    People are so ungrateful – don’t they remember wonderful things like pokies in hotels or the cancelled Metro compensation?

  6. Been looking at the BHP Quarterly Report out today, and looking at the prices this minerals behemoth is actually getting. Are the prices rising or falling? Who is correct? Matt Canavan, or the market.

    Metallurgical Coal – average price $US per tonne

    Dec Half 19 – $140.94
    Dec Half 18 – $179.82
    Fall of 22%

    Energy Coal average price $US per tonne

    Dec Half 19 – $58.55
    Dec Half 18 – $84.15
    Fall of 30%

    BHP doesn’t bullshit the prices it gets for the minerals mined, when reporting to the ASX. Matt Canavan talks a big game, but year on year a 30% decline in thermal coal – is like the canary in the colmine.

  7. sprocket_ says:
    Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 7:24 pm

    The spittoons in Macquarie St are regarded more highly than you are. Why do you bother?
    Lol Bob Sprocket, but you have so much Labor insider knowledge you can share? You seem so shy in discussing the topic?

  8. This is not the first time that the Obeids have manipulated the Port Macquarie property market.
    About 20 years ago they were recorded as buying a unit for double the going price (of course as Bob and Andrew Eastwood know this was never declared on the pecuniary Interests register and the actual price paid is unknown). For decades real estate agents would tell Sydney people with a large amount of Super that they were getting a bargain compared to Port Macquarie’s record price. I am not sure if this was an example of money laundering, a ponzi or both.

  9. Bucephalus says:
    Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 5:21 pm

    Why are you racist?


    Nobody is quicker than a true racist to accuse others of racism.

  10. nath says:
    Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 7:28 pm
    What are xxx’s links to the Obeid faction?


    I’m more interested in Nath’s links to the Australian Nazi party

  11. Very dangerous’ storms lash southeast Queensland
    Two “very dangerous” storms are sweeping across Brisbane and the Gold and Sunshine coasts, leaving 18,000 homes without power.

    More insurance claims coming. The paperwork backlog is going to be enormous.

  12. The NSW Government unhappy with Greg the Lyin’ Hunt…

    #EXCLUSIVE: It seemed like a simple request – the state government asking its federal counterparts to let GPs who’s surgeries were affected by the bushfires temporarily operate out of local hospitals.

    It’s a request that’s been flatly denied. @cokeefe9 #AusPol #9News

  13. Obeid hasn’t been a Minister since 2003. He hasn’t been in Parliament since 2011.

    Meanwhile, we have a corrupt Government in Canberra now.

  14. Obeid’s legacy is the longest period of opposition for NSW Labor in 110 years.

    His continuing interaction with justice over the next 5 years is likely to remind the NSW electorate of the depth of corruption in NSW Labor and continue its decline into the future.

    Truth and Reconciliation Commission NOW!

  15. According to the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), 13,750 bushfire insurance claims have been lodged since Nov 8th upto Jan 16th, with losses estimated at $1.34 billion. The numbers are expected to increase as access to fire damaged regions opens and damage assessments continue.

  16. Lars – are you putting in a bid to become the blog’s most boring poster?

    Well, I suppose it’s an improvement on your usual sycophancy.

  17. For a couple of years before the fire here we had a koala turn up for a few days every three weeks or so but we hadn’t seen him until this afternoon he turned up just looking quite a bit darker in colour.
    We are so pleased for him. He’s quite amenable to being stroked.

  18. Now what was the cost of Labor’s Climate Change policy again?

    Yes, I’m reminded of all those media interviews where Shorten (and certain other shadow Ministers) kept getting asked the same line over and over – what’s the cost of your climate policy?

    To which the only semi-scripted response was to call out the cost of doing nothing. Now, that’s a legitimate response. The problem was that first of all, the media learnt nothing. Secondly, Labor (as an organisation) didn’t seem to have war gamed its prosecution of its climate change policies. Thirdly and most importantly, there was an even better response…

    Imagine Shorten instead replying “Actually, you’re assuming that there is a net cost in responding to climate change. In reality, what Labor is proposing to do is to bring forward new technology that will make us all wealthier. Rather than there being a cost, renewable energy will enable new industries and create new jobs. So, why do you persist with the idea that moving into the future is a bad thing, and should be delayed, like the Liberals want to do?”

    Imagine if Labor had sought to overturn the orthodoxy. Imagine if Labor had actually started out with this message two years before the election and taken the idea of future jobs and prosperity to town hall meetings and Facebook ads? Imagine if Labor had actually gone and invited journalists to dinner, sat them down with experts, and educated them? There’s a thousand things Labor could have been doing better. Instead, Labor capitulates to ignorance. On this and so many other issues, like for instance the NBN. Had Labor prosecuted the NBN before the 2016 election, pointed out that the Liberals were spending tens of billions on a temporary network and actually had this reflected back on Turnbull’s credibility, that might have all the difference. But I digress. Labor just needs to up its game, be more professional and realise it just has to get inside the head of voters – rather than expecting voters to love them.

  19. Bucephalus (thank you for your answer):

    The current Defence Aid to the Civil Community (DACC) is fine.

    I think you mean it’s worked fine in this case, which is largely true (as one would expect)

    By “mess” I was not referring to the current situation in isolation, but rather to the framework in which it operates. If legal advice needs to be sought in an emergency that is at least evidence of risk. Fragility would be another term

    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.

    Quite so. That’s a risk, even if it worked in this case.

    Intuitively, the determinant of constitutionality should be whether it’s a proper purpose (the basal assumption is that “non defence” purposes are are always suspicious and tend to be improper). Here there was a clear national need, and deploying the only national resource available is thus in some sense proper (it is the best one can do).

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

    The attraction of the National Guard is that they (now) have their own Federally provided equipment (for example the ANG has all sorts of planes). This means they can train and (for bushfires and similar) deploy without reference to the Federal government (but in coordination with USAF etc).

    There has been a problem in fragmentation of equipment. For example NSW has some of its own, but it’s not enough. It needs to be pooled to address the fragmentation but not in such a way that Canberra is responsible for everything. The National Guard arrangements achieve that hybrid structure to at least some extent. It may of course be possible to do better.

    A second advantage is that state based organisations can more naturally pursue “non-defence” purposes. This is because they are in fact prohibited from pursuing “defence” purposes (the defence power is reserved to the Commonwealth).

  20. Cud

    Lots of people both Labor and Green attacking Morrison on twitter.

    There may even be some Liberals too.

    The hashtag CrimeMinister seems to be getting a work out.
    Associate the Liberals with corruption and they are done.
    It’s one lesson NSW has taught Labor.

  21. Talking to a friend today. Politically aware, follows current affairs. Critical of Morrison not responding to the fire experts. Had no idea that Labor had a plan for water bombers etc. Stunned when I told her.

    How sad is that?

  22. William in today’s Crikey on whether the sports rorts had any effect on the coalition’s vote in the election.

    At first glance, it might be thought that the sports grant pork-barrel landed a few successes, with the average Coalition swing of 2.8% out of the top 20 comparing with a national result of 1.2%.

    However, this is inflated by a couple of outliers: the north coast New South Wales seat of Page, where Nationals member Kevin Hogan enjoyed the second biggest Coalition swing in the state after Joel Fitzgibbon’s near-death experience in Hunter, and the north Queensland seat of Dawson, where George Christensen defied every political maxim going to pick up the second biggest swing in the country.

    In country seats especially, electoral effects of sports club grants should be highly localised — and the deeper one burrows into the data, the harder it gets to discern any such effect.

    When polling booth and sport grants data are aggregated into 2288 local regions designated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there turns out to be no correlation whatsoever between the amount of funding they received and how much they swung to or against the Coalition.

  23. Evidently the bushfires are a Green Swan event, riffing on Talebs Black Swan events.

    “ The BIS uses the “green swan” concept as climate-change alternative to the term “black swan”, used to to describe unexpected and extreme occurrences that have major effects, which could be anything from terrorist attacks to disruptive technologies or a natural disaster.”

  24. In genuinely shocking news…

    A bloke I was chatting to at a “Thank You Firies” barbeque on Sunday – fit as a fiddle, alert and looking absolutely in the pink – has collapsed yesterday, been rushed to hospital, and today was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.

    Just like that. Overnight. No warning.

    Reading up on the disease, these kinds of dramatic onsets are the norm.

    Seriously, I was only thinking to myself today how well he looked when we were talking.

    And now, this… like a thief in the night. I was a tad jealous of his apparent glowing good health, actually.

  25. @ProfTerryhughes tweets

    To glibly claim that “adaptation is easier” flies in the face of reality. Look at the damage already from just 1C of global average warming

    @fitzhunter tweets

    A valuable contribution to the climate change conversation by @Matt_Warren_Oz @FinancialReview

    When Fitzhunter is barracking coal in exactly the same way as coal hugger Morrison Labor has a major political problem.

  26. Guytaur. You really DO need to drop that “coal hugger” turn of phrase.

    Completely unhelpful. You just get people’s backs up for no gain or progress in the discussion.

    I know you like to label people, but unless you’re looking to just aggravate people, you should quit it.

  27. The thunderous sound you hear is millions of people banging their heads against a wall as they listen to Morrison.

    In an interview with Sky News, Mr Morrison said hazard reduction was as “important as emissions reduction and I think many would argue even more so because it has an even more direct, practical impact on the safety of a person going into a bushfire season”.

    He said a royal commission into the fires should take no more than six months and begin with a speedy audit of measures recommended by the dozens of previous inquiries into Australian bushfires.

    But any new inquiry should look into Australia’s performance at adapting to hotter summers, including whether the country should adopt national targets for hazard reduction burning, he said.

    “There are clear rules and transparency arrangements, we report all the time of what our emissions reductions are,” Mr Morrison said. “But across the country there is not a national system of reporting to track how hazard reduction is progressing.”

    In relation to hazard reduction measures, Mr Morrison mentioned native vegetation laws – though he did not suggest changes to those laws – and grazing in national parks.

  28. BB

    Labor does not need coal huggers in its party like Fitzgibbon. Yes thats calling it as I see it and if you find that insulting that says a lot about the position Fitzgibbon is promoting.

  29. @byHeatherLong tweets

    This is telling:
    Pretty much every other leader at #Davos came to talk about cooperation and addressing climate change.

    Trump is talking about how great his economy is. He’s talking solely about America and himself.


  30. OC
    “The Obeids are now selling off the land to their associates at apparently inflated prices.”

    What is the point of having profits of crime legislation if they are not used in cases like this?


    Obeid has been acknowledged in several court cases as still virtually running NSW Labor government, including dictating who the premier was, for almost a decade after the 2003 date you mentioned. I grumbled about him on this blog over a decade ago, and was told by the Labor apartchiks nothing to see here, and that his extraordinary unexplained wealth was because he was a “good investor”. NSW Labor corruption has cost the party dearly at state and federal elections ever since, so I have little time for it, or those who still cover for it, under the delusion that nobody will notice. Next you will tell me Kaila Murnain will be our next female PM.

  31. Re Citizen @10:12.
    The hunt is no doubt on for an available right wing, climate-denying retired judge to head up the bushfire Royal Commission. Maybe Dyson Heydon fits the bill – being right wing and anti union, he probably doesn’t believe in global heating.

    Then there are the terms of reference, which be carefully drawn up to avoid any reference to the climate. And the recommendations. The interview hints at what is wanted. Don’t start an enquiry unless you know the result.

  32. BK

    Glad to hear your koala came back. We also had a heat distressed koala turn up near our place in the past fortnight. We put a big bowl (bird bath) of water in the garden for it, which it gleefully drunk and paddled in to cool down on a very hot day, and it has been coming back every few days ever since.

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