Essential Research: leadership and COVID-19 approval ratings

A narrowing lead for Scott Morrison as preferred prime minister punctuates an otherwise stable picture in Essential Research’s latest set of leadership and COVID-19 performance ratings.

The Guardian reports the latest fortnightly Essential Research poll includes its monthly leadership ratings, which find Scott Morrison’s lead over Anthony Albanese as preferred prime minister is now at 49-26, in from 55-22 last time and the narrowest it has been since early February. However, movements on leaders’ ratings are apparently more modest: Morrison is down two on approval to 64%, with his disapproval rating yet to be disclosed (UPDATE: Up five to 28%, so perhaps not as modest as that), while Albanese is steady on approval at 44% and down one on disapproval to 29%.

Fifty-nine per cent now express approval for the federal government’s handling of the pandemic, down two on a fortnight ago. The poll was conducted before Sunday’s announcement of extended restrictions in Victoria, but the small-sample breakdown for that state finds approval of the state government’s performance up three to 50%, compared with falls of two points in New South Wales to 57% and six points in Queensland to 66%. The WA government is up three to a new high of 87%, although at this point sample sizes get very small indeed: as with much else in this poll, we will have to wait for the publication of the full report this afternoon for numbers from South Australia. The latter figure aside, the following chart shows how the various governments’ favourable ratings on this measure have progressed since March:

Concerning COVID-19 outbreaks in aged care facilities, 41% now blame the providers, down a point on a fortnight ago, with 31% blaming the federal government, up three, and 28% blaming state and territory governments, down two. The poll finds 36% support for increasing the Medicare levy from 2% to 2.65% to fund improvements to aged care, with 32% opposed and 32% uncommitted.

Forty-nine per cent favoured a proposition that Google and Facebook should have to pay for news content, compared with 38% for the alternative that “it is not up to the tech giants to support media companies” (as per the wording in The Guardian’s report). The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1076.

UPDATE: Full report here.

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.

1,463 comments on “Essential Research: leadership and COVID-19 approval ratings”

  1. Victoria
    In this case the real offender have been Costello’s papers but it doesn’t change the fact that Murdoch’s influence has been overrated by the left for years.

  2. If Labor plays it right in NSW , they should support Liberal party who has less seats then they do

    which will give the Liberal and national party a dilemma , if there is a early state election

    If the nationals are still determine to give farmers the right to get rid of Koalas ,and the Liberal party do not , where are the preferences going to go

  3. Alex Hart
    It’s understood the Premier
    has called the Dep Premier
    to a meeting today to explain the Nationals decision… #nswpol

  4. I would bet that gladys doesn’t treat Barilaro with the respect his position deserves. Not saying i respect him. But you usually see stuff like this play out in the media when people don’t get enough inclusion in decisions. I wonder how well the cabinent really functions or if Gladys is really heave handed and top down in her approach. Kind of like how Rudd had his gang of 4 that do everything. And Scomo has his cabinet of 1.

  5. caf @ #1145 Thursday, September 10th, 2020 – 1:45 pm

    I’d say Gladys needs to play really hard ball and call the Nats bluff. Otherwise, she might be finished.

    Correct. An ultimatum to Barilaro along the lines of “confirm your party members in Cabinet will be voting with the Government, or I will be requesting the Governor dismiss them as ministers immediately” seems to be called for.

    I’d say Albo needs to play really hard ball and call the Scrooter’s bluff. Otherwise, he might be finished.

  6. Ah yes Scrott weeping over the women’s predicament re her father’s funeral . Gotta love those faux compassionate christian types. Remember the good old days.

    Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison says the Federal Government should not be paying for asylum seekers to be flown to Sydney for the funerals of people killed in the Christmas Island shipwreck.

    He says he is very sensitive to what he calls the terrible tragedy on Christmas Island, but he says enough is enough.
    Mr Morrison says despite running the risk of being seen as heartless, he thinks the expense is unreasonable.
    “They need to understand the value of taxpayers’ dollars in this area.”

  7. 70% of Victorians approve of the way Premier Andrews is handling is job, but 76% say the Victorian Government should compensate small business. The third Roy Morgan Snap SMS survey on Victoria’s Stage 4 restrictions shows 70% approval of Premier… #vicpol— Roy Morgan (@roymorganonline) September 9, 2020

    At least Victorians are all in this together. #IStandWithDanAndrews— Ged Kearney (@gedkearney) September 10, 2020

    Good one Ged.

  8. Interesting that Queensland ALP Ministers are pulling the pin so very close to the election. One could repeat the claims made against Federal LNP Ministers before the last election of rats leaving the sinking ship. I wonder how bad the internal polling is?

    Or, one could just point out that it’s not unusual for politicians to decide they’ve had enough.

  9. Looks like Gladys is in the mood for a fight.

    “We are equal partners, we are not a junior partner, and we will fight for the regions,” Barilaro said.

    The crisis is likely to develop further as Barilaro has been summoned to a meeting with the premier on Thursday afternoon. It is understood he will be told that by moving to the crossbench he and his party cannot occupy ministries or leadership positions.

  10. Not rally new news.

    At least 25 companies have paid bonuses worth a combined $24.3 million to their executives after claiming JobKeeper subsidies, an analysis of the financial reports of 290 entities on the ASX 300 has found.

    Key points:
    Not all the bonuses were paid in cash, some were paid in shares
    The Business Council of Australia says companies should not be paying bonuses if they are receiving JobKeeper
    Governance firm Ownership Matters has criticised the lack of transparency around the JobKeeper program
    Of those 25 companies, the entity that received the most in Jobkeeper subsidies is Star Entertainment Group, which operates Star Casino.

    It received $64 million in JobKeeper payments and also paid chief executive Matt Bekier a bonus of $830,000.

  11. Andrew Leigh, the shadow assistant minister for Treasury, said when he drew attention to the issue in Federal Parliament last week, he did not think it would be so widespread.

    “I’m shocked,” he told the ABC.

    “I thought it would have been a number of isolated examples, but it seems to be extraordinarily widespread.

    “It’s disappointing because I think there’s an implied social contract that if your firm is getting taxpayer assistance it shouldn’t be paying bonuses to executives.”

  12. Shellbell says:
    Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 8:58 am

    You are an excruciating poster to deal with. Anyway. Here we go.

    [So you deliberately read the article with your chin protruding to have found it presumptuous and insulting?] Obviously no. Obviously I am dealing with one statement which is obviously provocative.
    The use of “smug” was certainly provocative, your reaction is sufficient proof. It is not presumptuous (the inference is inevitable) and only insulting because it’s apt.


    [Duckett is simply arguing that NSW is sitting on a time-bomb. Sure, it has handled sitting on the time bomb well (where was the insult you saw) but it is still sitting on a time bomb. Do you think that presumptuous?]

    Poor attempt at rewriting his article. He could have made the point without the accompanying bullshit.
    What? Either I made a poor attempt to rewrite or I managed to capture the essence of the article in 2 lines without the unidentified side serve of bs.

    [The longer NSW fails to attempt to eliminate the virus but live with it the slower the whole of Australia will take to reach a COVID normal.]

    Kind of vain if not smug to assert this is possible where it has been achieved virtually nowhere which is not completely isolated and assert it will be achieved by reference to one or two items.
    Either the assertion of elimination is realistic or it is foolish. If foolish it would be “in vain’ but neither vain nor smug, seemingly your trigger word.


    Does the Victoria government assert it is going for elimination?

    [So long as nsw and it’s public smugly sit on their hands (as you seem intent to do) and not learn the Victorian lesson Australia sits on a time bomb just waiting for a super-spreader event.]

    So you can copy Duckett. Well done.
    It depends what is meant by elimination.

    Victoria is aiming for zero community transmission. That is, like NZ, the only cases of C19 will be those imported one way or another. Whether you think NZ Or NT are “virtually nowhere” or “completely isolated” [both of which accusations I would dispute] or you are ignorant of elimination in those places as defined I am not sure.

  13. We were in Concord Hospital A&E for about 8 hours on Thursday 3/9 and noticed there is little room for social distancing around the nursing station . We were masked and sanitised at the time and have not been phoned by tracers, so assume we are in the clear , but can see how easily the virus could spread as it must be so difficult for nurses to constantly be on their guard. It’s good to see more masks worn when grocery shopping…it all improved once the staff started wearing them and now about half of the customers do which is great.

  14. poroti:

    An ‘on this day

    1897 George Smith, a London taxi driver, became the first person to be convicted of drink-driving after crashing his electric cab into a building. He was fined 20 shillings;

    So electric cars caused drunk driving!

    Don’t tell Craig Kelly

  15. Paul Meek
    Ray Hadley as a character witness for the PM, saying he’s “incapable of bullying”. While I go retrieve my eyes from the roll they just did to the back of my head, I’ll trust Annastacia’s account of the phone call

  16. Rex Douglas says:
    Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    Lack of fuel load burn offs and idiots lightning fires is causing Global Warming? Since when?

  17. I am a serious journalist at a serious newspaper and I spent all day on Twitter checking out every detail of Cath Andrews’ account because she blocked a couple of my stablemates. Really and truly— Ken McAlpine (@KenMcAlpine) September 9, 2020


  18. I still remember when Turnbull took over from Abbott as prime minister people were saying politics will be back to a competent federal government nothing could be worser then Abbott.

    Since Turnbull and now Morrison the federal government is more incompetent than it was under Abbott

  19. If the Liberals are unable to constitute an effective government in NSW they really should resign. The electorate should have the opportunity to decide whether and how to change the composition of the Parliament so a stable government can be commissioned.

  20. I wonder if the journos’ will camp outside the premiers office in anticipation of the meeting with Barilaro today? kinda like when things get crazy around PH during the coups.
    BTW. kinda hoping for xmas we get dutton. Nice cherry on top for 2020 to really the worst.

  21. Somebody commented earlier that Abbott was the worst Prime Minister we have had. I disagree, our current Prime Minister is far worse. The secrecy is higher, the walking out when questions are uncomfortable happens more often. At least with Abbott what you saw was what you got. Currently no one really knows what has happened or will happen, you can’t trust a thing that our leader says. It is made worse in that it is all wrapped up in a , I’m a good Christian working hard for the nation pretence.
    In my opinion Morrison is the worst type of hypocrit.

  22. Scott @ #1182 Thursday, September 10th, 2020 – 2:54 pm

    I still remember when Turnbull took over from Abbott as prime minister people were saying politics will be back to a competent federal government nothing could be worser then Abbott.

    Since Turnbull and now Morrison the federal government is more incompetent than it was under Abbott

    Morrison isn’t very good at hiding his deficiencies is he …?

    Clearly he doesn’t like other political leaders out-shining him – leaves him looking as a VERY insecure personality.

    That insecure personality also shows up in the way he blusters in pressers for but cuts and runs halfway through.

    The guy isn’t a strong leader once you look past the facade. Someone like Keating would’ve completely expose him I reckon.

  23. D says:
    Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    Why should the state government compensate small businesses?
    Support yes, but compo??
    For what exactly!
    Trying to bring the pandemic under control?
    Small business has been denied the opportunity to trade and by extension met its financial obligations so there could be a case for compensation just as the left wants pandemic leave for much the same reason.

    This is not the time for the left to hate small business.

  24. The Nationals cannot have their cake and eat it. They cannot renounce their solidarity with the Liberals and still retain their ministerial posts. They should be sacked by Berejiklian. Really, she has no choice. She will have to sack them even if this imperils her government. Alternatively, if she regards the mutiny by the Nationals as a matter of confidence she should resign or call an election.

    If an election were called voters could choose between Labor and the Liberals as the only choices able to offer stable government.

    If the Liberals and Nationals were to run against each other in National-held NSW seats, presumably this would generate tensions in the coalition in other places, including in Canberra. Maybe the Nationals are willing to risk the stability of the Federal coalition to get their own way. If the Federal coalition were to founder an election would surely be on the cards, notwithstanding that no-one really wants one.

    If the Nationals push hard enough they will soon find that voters outside rural NSW do not care very much at all about their grievances, especially if they include having the right to kill koalas.

  25. Shellbell says:
    Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 1:25 pm
    Wouldn’t a vote of no confidence trigger an election?

    The Nationals are unlikely to support a motion of no confidence as they would probably lose seats to the Shooters in an ensuing election.

  26. In Rexology, Labor are never fit to govern. This is a rule in that parlour game. Never mind that the Liberals cannot muster a majority. The electorate may have to make their own decisions based on what they know of the choices….choices with which they will have to live.

  27. Samantha Maiden
    Interesting to note two things from this convo. Apparently what really
    off was when PM said “I’m not proposing to take this to media”. She clearly didn’t believe him and went off during call before marching into Parliament and warning she wouldn’t be bullied by him
    Quote Tweet

    Samantha Maiden
    · 3h
    BREAKING: New details of PM’s explosive phone call with @AnnastaciaMP over borders.

  28. The United Trump Constitution consists of 33 amendments:
    1st Amendment – Donald Trump.
    2nd Amendment – Donald Trump.
    3rd Amendment – Donald Trump.
    4th – 33rd Amendments – Donald Trump.

  29. Citizen

    Yes I agree although I am not sure why S&F would do better than 2019.

    What I am also curious about is what happens in a fixed term environment when there is a no confidence vote.

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