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. The interesting thing Non is that Biden doesn’t need to win Florida and Georgia and Ohio would be bonuses. He is well ahead in all the states that matter hence why 538 aggregate polling currently has Biden at 75% vs Trump 25%

  2. Hammerhead says:
    Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 11:37 pm
    The interesting thing Non is that Biden doesn’t need to win Florida and Georgia and Ohio would be bonuses. He is well ahead in all the states that matter hence why 538 aggregate polling currently has Biden at 75% vs Trump 25%

    Yes….the numbers favour Biden at the moment. He appears to be building a margin of safety. If they continue to flow towards Biden and the Democrats in general then usually reliably Republican States will become vulnerable too. Very interesting to observe.

  3. After these latest bombshell revelations I’m really curious to see if Biden’s margin really starts to expand. I don’t believe that Trump’s comments about losers and suckers has yet washed through the polls so we could really see some substantial movements in the polls by Tuesday of next week.

  4. Hammerhead says:
    Friday, September 11, 2020 at 12:11 am

    After these latest bombshell revelations I’m really curious to see if Biden’s margin really starts to expand. I don’t believe that Trump’s comments about losers and suckers has yet washed through the polls so we could really see some substantial movements in the polls by Tuesday of next week.

    I think the story will tend to confirm pre-existing opinions of Trump. The Trumpy will discount them and attribute them to his ‘usual enemies’ while the Trump averse will feel more than usually vindicated by them. Trump has long ago debased the currency of his office. It has not made any real difference to his standing. The issue that’s hurting him most is the pandemic.

  5. I’m with Non-Briefly. Trump calling dead solder losers wont change one vote because we had Trump in 2016 attacking John McCain in an appalling manner.

  6. @Cat:

    “ Andrew_Earlwood,
    Would you mind terribly not to refer to Joe Biden as ‘Sleepy Joe’? It’s actually accepting the premise of the Russian disinformation campaign to keep referring to him like that.”

    I’m pretty sure Trump came up with the tag by himself.

    I reckon its a good tag, because I fear that it actually resonates with a whole bunch of people that may not be enthused to actually vote when the time comes. Why Ive feared that Biden might be a disastrous choice as candidate for the past 2+ years. I hope I’m wrong, but I wont stop calling him sleepy joe on this Australian blog …

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