The latest fortnightly Essential Research poll includes one of the pollster’s quarterly dumps of its accumulated voting intention results, amounting to six new data points going back to early November. The latest of these, based on its most recent survey of 1092 respondents, is even more eye-catching than Newspoll in recording a Labor lead. The results bear the usual idiosyncrasies of Essential’s post-2019 election voting intention practices, in that the undecided are not excluded from the published figures on either primary vote and two-party preferred, and the latter is determined by using respondent-allocated preferences for minor party and independent voters who indicate a preference and previous election flows for those who don’t.
Had the undecided been excluded, the latest results would have been Coalition 40.2%, Labor 38.0%, Greens 10.9% and One Nation 3.3%, with Labor leading 51.6-48.4 on two-party preferred. However, the other five sets of results published for November through to mid-January show that the pollster has a quality (I believe it should be regarded as such) that Newspoll lacks, namely the normal variability that random samples of around 1000 respondents should naturally produce. So the mid-January result with the undecided excluded showed a quite different result, with the Coalition leading 51.6-48.4.
Over the longer term, the pollster finds the two parties to be evenly matched, which suggests the series is a little more favourable to Labor than Newspoll, but not greatly so. For the results in detail, observe the pollster’s full report or my BludgerTrack poll aggregate facility, which is updated with the new data on both the poll tracker and poll data table.
The poll also tackles the question of an early election, which respondents were dubious about, with 58% agreeing it would “just be opportunism for the Prime Minister to call an early election” compared with 42% who favour the alternative that an election would be “good for Australia, because a lot has changed since the last election”. I’m not completely sure myself what was gained here by not just asking respondents straight up if they wanted an early election or not.
Also featured are results on COVID-19, which find the federal government continuing to score high marks for its response, with 67% rating it good (steady since late November) and poor by 14% (down one). The small sample results for the state governments are likewise consistently high, with changes since November landing within their wide margins of error. New South Wales is down five to 71%, Victoria is up one to 61% (it was mostly in the high forties from the onset of the outbreak in July through to an upswing in November) and Queensland is up six to 78%, while the particularly small samples for Western Australia and South Australia produce results of 80% in each case, respectively down three (this was conducted before Perth’s lockdown began on Monday) and up ten.
The poll also finds 44% would favour their state governments being in charge of vaccine rollouts compared with 38% for the federal government, and most express confidence the rollout will be conducted efficiently and safely.