Essential Research: leadership ratings and vaccine rollout polling

Scott Morrison’s personal ratings continue tracking downwards as vaccine rollout problems take their toll.

The latest fortnightly Essential Research poll includes the regular monthly leadership ratings, their principal item of interest in between their quarterly dumps of voting intention numbers. The pollster included a bonus result for Scott Morrison’s leadership ratings in the last fortnightly poll by way of discerning any emergent gender gap in light of recent events. The results chart a steady decline for Scott Morrison, from 62% a month ago to 57% a fortnight ago to 54% now, and a corresponding rise in disapproval from 29% to 35% to 37%. While he remains well in positive territory, a distinct downturn can be observed in the BludgerTrack polling trend. The gender gap that opened a fortnight ago, which you can read about here, has neither narrowed nor widened.

Anthony Albanese records his weakest personal ratings in a while, with approval down two to 39% and disapproval up two to 34%. GhostWhoVotes, who monitors these things, points out that breakdowns by voting intention have him down five on approval among Labor voters to 55% and up six on disapproval to 22% – this is from a sub-sample of 483 and a margin of error of about 4.5%, so make of it what you will. In any case, he has taken a reasonable bite out of Morrison’s lead as preferred prime minister, which narrows from 52-26 to 47-28.

The remainder of the survey is mostly about COVID-19 and the vaccine rollout, including the regular question on the quality of the federal and state governments’ responses. The federal government’s good rating is down eight points to 62% and its poor rating is up five to 17%, though this isn’t a whole lot different to the situation before the government’s numbers surged in mid-November for whatever reason. The ratings for the five mainland state governments are down as well, by two in the case of New South Wales to 73%, four for Victoria to 58%, three for Queensland to 72%, seven for Western Australia to 84% and ten for South Australia to 75% (with progressively increasing caution required for small sub-sample sizes). As with the federal results though, these numbers don’t look that remarkable when compared with their form over the longer term.

Respondents were also asked how confident they would have been about COVID-19 management “if a Labor government under Anthony Albanese had been in power”, with an uninspiring 44% rating themselves confident and 37% not so. Fifty-two per cent felt the vaccine rollout was proceeding too slowly, with 19% happy with the situation and 20% signing on to the seemingly odd proposition that it was happening too fast. For those in the former category, 42% held the federal government mostly responsible, 7% state governments, 24% international supply chains and 18% “unavoidable delays in the production of vaccines”.

There are a whole bunch of further questions on the vaccine rollout, interstate travel and the end of the JobKeeper and JobSeeker supplements, plus one on paid parental leave, which you can read about in the full release.

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.

1,179 comments on “Essential Research: leadership ratings and vaccine rollout polling”

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  1. Yes you have elucidated many of the transmission variables E.G. Theodore. I would hypothesise that electrostatic charge may come into play as well prior to and at the point of impact. I don’t have any papers to hand though.

  2. BB did not understand what RHW was saying despite numerous attempts at explanation

    Hardly anyone here knows what Dr Wombat is saying, but I’ll grant you a few like to pretend they do.

  3. It was bugging me that I couldn’t find anything on electrostatics and COVID-19 aerosols. Here is an opinion piece on electrostatic surface interactions i.e. adsorption:

    But not much out there at first glance. Interesting. Especially as we consider aerosolisation from surfaces a transmission vector e.g. the concerns regarding doffing of PPE. See this paper:

    OK, that is enough aerosol talk from me 🙂

  4. Griff:

    I would hypothesise that electrostatic charge may come into play as well prior to and at the point of impact. I don’t have any papers to hand though.

    I believe interaction between electrostatic charge and humidity has likely got something (perhaps quite a lot) to do with it, and in particular seasonality.

  5. All very good but the conclusion of the article is that while droplets and formites might have some role the dominant form of transmission is aerosol and the silly NSW policy makers chose not to accept this.

    This raises the question of how many of the 2,500 cases community transmitted cases in NSW have been due to aerosol transmission. (While trying to ignore the conundrum of droplet aerosols).

    It is likely that the Maronite Church cluster was aerosol induced before the ban on singing

    There may have been a few health professionals infected by aerosol producing procedures, which no one denies is a transmission source but I can’t remember any. The Concord/Liverpool hospital cluster had an interesting backstory but was not due to a procedure.

    The last case, 16 days ago was infected in the quarantine hotel, likely due to aerosols but he was the first case among the nearly 3,000 overseas acquired.

    No one has been infected in a restaurant or walking down Dixon St.

    In other words show me the NSW money

  6. Griff
    The train article conclusion is:
    During disease outbreaks, when traveling on public transportation in confined spaces such as trains, measures should be taken to reduce the risk of transmission, including increasing seat distance, reducing passenger density, and use of personal hygiene protection.

    What a pity the NSW government didn’t follow this advice (wtf?)

  7. E.G. Theodore – agreed, humidity and to a lesser extent temperature definitely interact with electrostatic change. I wouldn’t mind more evidence on it.

    OC – I’m afraid I am not following you. You need special data from NSW? Let it rip and we will get plenty! As I said earlier, exhalation particles come as a size distribution. You say droplet, I say aerosol. I think I shall leave it there.

  8. Yeah you say aerosol, I say droplet let’s call the whole thing off.

    BUT one point is that the GP professor said, without anything that looked like scientific evidence, WTTE that while droplets and formites may have a role it really is all about big particle aerosols

    Which once again shows that PBers has been bored to death for 15 months by anoraks shouting at each other about something which really is semantics

    Just remind me, how many cases of transmission occurred on NSW public transport while the silly government made masks recommended but not mandated?

  9. a r

    “Roughly the same could have been said about lithium batteries 10-20 years ago.”

    Except that lithium batteries had room for improvement which could be addressed with design/materials. Hydrogen has fundamental physical barriers that limit its efficiency when stored.

  10. OC,

    OK I shall do your homework task. A quick google search gave me this:

    So far as I remember, physical chemistry is the same in NSW as the rest of the world.

    So, your concern is TG’s assertion that aerosols are the primary mode of transmission for COVID-19. Would you accept that aerosols and droplets combined are the primary mode over fomites (that do not re-aerosolise)? If so, I say semantics. If not, then we shall need to agree to disagree.

  11. I think that one was still considered not certain but it was the only suspicious case on NSW public transport out of the 2,500 community transmissions

  12. Anyone with half a brain know that ventilating things well is a good idea.

    Political leadership is:
    P – what’s the strongest standard for hotel ventilation? (in turnovers/hour, aren’t hospitals 17 or something?)
    S – 4/hour
    P – triple it


  13. Griff

    What’s interesting to me is that we get articles in the Lancet that are polemic, precisely because of the attitude of a lot of otherwise scientifically minded people that goes “prove that its aerosol, otherwise its not”. That’s hardly scientific. So it doesn’t surprise me that a lot of scientists are pretty mad about this. And Wombat can deflect all he likes about their motivation. There’s good reason to get mad.

    My take on the physics and science of this basically hasn’t changed. The virus spreads mostly in the form of a distribution of particles of various sizes. The distinction between “droplet” and aerosol isn’t that important and in fact a lot of the particles that are technically “droplet” will actually drift a long distance and not immediately fall to the ground. We’re talking 20-50 micron. Of course the finest particles – the aerosols will drift long distances. This is just simple physics.

    And humans generate aerosols in ordinary breathing. That fact has been known for a long time.

    So when certain learned fools came out early in the epidemic and told us you can’t catch if you step back 1.5 metres (or 2 metres depending on your jurisdiction) I though yeah, that’s not science, that’s policy.

    The decision not to allow at-risk workers P95 masks however was just plain idiotic. And I also recall back in the early days of the pandemic being told that masks make matters worse, and that banning travel makes matters worse for that matter. I can even recall Norman Swan reciting this accepted wisdom back early last year.

    I’m not a virologist, but I do read stuff written by virologists and the message I get is “its all about dose”. That’s why dilution matters and why airflow matters. And its absolutely no surprise you’re safer outdoors because you get more air movement thus more dilution, thus lower dose. I’m reminded of the panic over beaches early in the pandemic. I thought to myself, that’s silly. Lots of airflow, lots of UV. And at the same time people were still able to gather in closed spaces at far higher risk levels yet the so-called experts in the ICEG refused to talk about ventilation.

    Our “social distancing” has worked. No doubt about that. Which says a lot of infections happen at short range. That doesn’t surprise me at all. Again, its dose. But what does piss me off is the attitude of certain parties who first of all vociferously denied that there were any provable instances of infections that could only be by aerosol and then later moved to the position of “well there are very few that can be absolutely proven, so therefore the majority of infections must be larger droplets”. Well that might be so. It might also be so that the majority of infections are in fact from the finer droplets/aerosols but the net result is indistinguishable. In other words, all infections could be from aerosols, yet it can still be a fact that the vast majority of infections are relatively short range. After all, dilution, dose.

    We just don’t know. But we’ve known from very early on that infections can occur over distance in confined spaces with poor ventilation. Yet thanks to the miserable old farts with big egos (and often political motivations) we’ve been slow to catch on and respond.

    So, Collignon, the guy who wasn’t afraid to polemicize himself. And writing articles telling us things like New Zealand would get stuck at 10-20 infections per day. And writing articles that lock downs can never eliminate the virus from the population. Hello, Victoria? Lets face it, dangerous notions that had we listened to we’d have been in deep shit. People like this who just can’t admit when they are wrong. Aerosols don’t exist. So rather than accepting the simple explanation (lots of air flow dilutes the virus) you get mad theories about how bringing outside air in brings in magical disinfecting properties. As they say, clinging to the indefensible eventually sends you mad.

    Now all we have to do is to get a healthy discussion about herd immunity and the need to rapidly switch to the variant-resistant vaccines as soon as they are available. To me, that’s what matters now.

  14. Apparently the 48 year old deceased NSW woman was diabetic (hence 1b) and assessment last Friday by her medical team led to recommendation to get vaccinated with (apparently) AZ-Oxon.

    48 years old and female would normally mean Pfizer-BionTech, unless known reaction to some PEGylated medication. Is treatment with PEGylated medication likely with diabetes? (maybe: e.g. 2021 “Efficacy and safety of PEGylated exenatide injection (PB-119) in treatment-naive type 2 diabetes”)

    So what’s going on?
    – they assessed that risk from COVID19 is high enough to justify AZ-Oxon against the recommendation?
    – they assessed patient worried and unable to cope without treatment?
    – they wanted to use Pfizer-BionTech but couldn’t get it?

    Why is serious diabetes 1b rather than 1a?

  15. Griff

    Electrostatics might be at play with certain surfaces but I suspect that the really high viral load fomites come from people touching their eyes/nose/mouth and then touching a surface. I agree with good hygene but I also have the suspicion that spread by fomites isn’t that common, unless its something like a workplace with a lot of shared contact points.

    I also notice a lot of cleaners, especially food courts and public transport going around wiping everything in a hurry with the SAME rag.. yikes..

    Also, there’s been no discussion of the relative merits of different disinfectants. There’s one in particular – a brand called Zoono that for example Transport for London uses, which sticks to surfaces and continues to kill biota for up to a month after application.

  16. Griff

    Oh one other thought too. I noted that Collignon in defending his behaviour today at one stage talked about humidity being a factor. Well, yes it is. Apparently when its drier, covid is more likely to spread. Gee I wonder why. Could it be because in dry conditions larger droplets quickly become finer droplets? I wonder if anyone has asked him that?

  17. Chewer:

    So rather than accepting the simple explanation (lots of air flow dilutes the virus) you get mad theories about how bringing outside air in brings in magical disinfecting properties.

    Recent hospitals like the RAH use lots of outside air, not just (or even) recirculating air at 150MPH!

    So it’s not magical disinfecting properties but ejecting the bad stuff and bringing in the good stuff

    Hospitals from pre-antibiotic era (the thin white line) were well externally ventilated – it just made sense.

  18. EGT

    Which leaves John Hunter in a dilemma because its wards were designed for open ventilation but then they decided to move to air conditioning. I was there one day some years ago before they switched in a ward seeing a friend and it just happened to be a 40+ degree day. Its not surprising they got aircon, but I wonder if it has special features.

  19. Chewer

    RAH air handling

    About 100 of these (the big ones? – PeterMac is slightly older and has 300 smaller units):

    (could be one of the othe form factors), Plus filter plenums, maybe with:

    And about 300 of these:

    Plus windows that open in patient rooms – so they’ve worked it out properly

    Chilling the floor? (dunno)

  20. From the UK4’s Spectator: “ It’s not been a good week for the government, what with the intensifying row about David Cameron’s lobbying of ministers on behalf of Greensill Capital. The press is now in a feeding frenzy, not just over what the former prime minister did and didn’t do, or indeed over what the government is now doing to investigate his actions. There’s also the widening out of the story to civil servants, making this a running sore for ministers.

    And yet that running sore doesn’t seem to be having any political impact. Today a poll from YouGov puts the Conservatives a whopping 14 points ahead of Labour, on 43 per cent. We discuss this on our latest Coffee House Shots podcast and agree that even though this is just one poll, it adds to the sense that Sir Keir Starmer is really struggling to achieve [credibility, relevance (?) and so] cut-through on anything at the moment, even when the Conservatives really do have big questions.

    What’s the cause of this? On Coffee House, Nick Tyrone wonders if it is because the party has the unenviable task of trying to woo a lot of different groups of voters, all of whom have competing interests and concerns. There’s also an anxiety among many shadow ministers that the party is being tossed around too much by tides on social media rather than charting courses that make long-term sense. Either way, as Katy says here, if this poll translates into poor performance in next month’s local elections, then jitters about Starmer’s leadership are going to grow.”

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