Essential Research: leadership ratings and COVID management

Downward trends continue for federal leaders’ ratings and perceptions of COVID-19 management at both federal and state level.

The latest fortnightly Essential Research poll includes the pollster’s monthly leadership ratings, which finds Scott Morrison’s approval down one to 57% and disapproval up four to 36%, while Anthony Albanese is respectively steady on 39% and up one to 36%. Morrison’s lead as preferred prime minister is at 48-28, narrowing from 50-24 last time. The pollster’s regular question on the handling of COVID-19 gives the federal government its weakest result since the beginnings of the series in March last year, with its good rating down five to 53% and its poor rating up six to 24%.

The trends for the leadership ratings are COVID-19 questions are worth noting: the former can be found at BludgerTrack, which no longer registers a recovery for Morrison after his slump in May, but also now records Anthony Albanese in net negative territory for the first time; the latter is shown in the chart of the Essential Research series below.

However, it’s not just the federal government that Essential Research finds to be down from its earlier peaks on COVID-19 management: the Victorian government’s good rating is down 15% amid the state’s latest lockdown to 48% (the federal government is also down 15% in the state, to 42%), and recent results for the other state governments are all down around six points from where they were at the start of the year, ranging from 65% for Queensland to 75% for Western Australia.

The poll also finds 40% view the federal government less favourably than they did a year ago, compared with 25% for more favourably and 35% for the same; 43% of the view that the vaccine rollout is being conducted efficiently (unchanged since April), 67% that is is being done safely (up four) and 54% that it will be effective at stopping the virus (up two); and 55% agreeing the Victorian government is raising valid concerns about the federal government’s vaccine rollout performance compared with 45% for the alternative option that it is seeking to shift the blame.

The poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1104. This being Essential’s first result since the launch of the Australian Polling Council code of conduct, it comes with a separate disclosure statement containing detail of the poll’s response options for voting intention, from which we learn that state and Senate voting intention questions were included even if we may never see the results, and that the poll is weighted for age, gender, location and party identification (a somewhat contentious practice in the latter case).

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.

1,336 comments on “Essential Research: leadership ratings and COVID management”

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  1. The real heat is not on Manchin yet.

    That comes after the pretence of seeking votes from the GOP so the public knows the Democrats tried.

    Then Biden’s jobs plan goes to reconciliation. That’s when the real heat gets applied. Meanwhile he is busy with the Senate appointing lifetime judges with with diverse backgrounds with actual qualifications.

    He has let himself the out of reform mirroring what President Biden said on the filibuster. So he is still opposing scrapping the filibuster for his Senate seat and potential run for Governor.
    But he will fold on reform so the Democrats can get their voters rights act passed.

    With early mail in voting gerrymanders don’t apply as much.
    It’s a dangerous time for Trump’s Republican Party as court cases and investigations roll on.

  2. Simon Katich @ #1300 Friday, June 11th, 2021 – 9:38 pm

    Paddy Palin and his pals scampered all over the budawangs and beyond on Dunlop volleys, stubby shorts and not much else.

    I still do – and started rock climbing in volleys in the days before specialised rock shoes. They are still good for walk-ins, river crossings and washing down sleeping bags. They are a bit too bendy for crampons.

  3. Never got the filibuster. An opposition can effectively block a vote.

    That being said, the way we do things here, where a Government majority of 1 can shut down discussion, can do with some improvement.

  4. Boerwar 9.13pm
    “Most of the ‘scrutiny’ for BRS has been hagiography by politicians seeking to ride his VC to votes.”
    Absolutely spot on.

  5. Simon Katich @ #825 Friday, June 11th, 2021 – 9:37 pm

    I think Manchin likes the Lewis laws but not the HR1 for the people legislation.

    Yep. People that have studied both bills have said that For the People contains many concessions for groups like the NAACP who supported the Democrats in 2020 but whose provisions do not attract the support of Moderate Democrats or Conservative Democrats and that Joe Manchin is merely the bomb catcher for up to 10 Democratic Senators who have so far remained silent but who also do not agree with everything in the For the People Act. Also Joe Biden may even be one of those who supports John Lewis but not For the People.

  6. Tom the first and best @ #819 Friday, June 11th, 2021 – 9:22 pm

    Manchin opposing the John Lewis Voting Rights Bill will, unless he changes course, cost the Democrats more seats than if they were to retain the West Virginia US Senate seat he currently holds because of it (which they won`t anyway).

    Same with DC statehood.

    He doesn’t oppose the John Lewis Voting Rights Bill.

  7. Cud Chewer @ #809 Friday, June 11th, 2021 – 9:12 pm


    If the Democrats don’t do something about the filibuster they’re going to suffer the same attacks – “useless, ineffective”… Manchin needs to give up and at least concede reform of the filibuster. Otherwise the Dems are going to lose big time in the midterms owing to people getting disillusioned and not showing up. There are other Senate spots the Dems can win.

    Joe Manchin makes a sensible point that if the Dems give the filibuster the nuclear bomb treatment then, when and if the Repugs get back into the Majority without a filibuster, it will be open slather for whatever THEY want.

  8. Kakuru @ #805 Friday, June 11th, 2021 – 9:07 pm

    Roy Orbison
    “The second part is totally false as it is well documented that Manchin is retiring at the next election.”

    I wasn’t aware of this. (Not saying you’re wrong, BTW; I just haven’t heard that this decision is definite.)

    It’s not yet definite. He’s considering a run for Governor of West Virginia. Which is also factoring into his thinking while he’s still in the Senate.

    I’ve also heard he really wants the Democrats to get around to finalising an Infrastructure Bill so he can go around West Virginia cutting ribbons. 🙂

  9. guytaur,
    I think they want to try, and likely fail, to get the For the People Act through first, before the John Lewis Voting Rights Bill. It is said that Chuck Schumer is doing it this way to prove to the Progressive Coalition in NY, that will be voting in his Primary, as he’s up for challenge in 2022, that he tried to get their wishlist done.

  10. Cat

    The article is pretty comprehensive on how it’s likely to happen.
    To get the filibuster reform rejection of voting rights day after day will convince the Manchin faction it’s time to go for reform of the filibuster.

    Keeping their word of keeping the filibuster but giving the Democrats the votes to get their legislation through.

  11. Q: Joe Manchin makes a sensible point that if the Dems give the filibuster the nuclear bomb treatment then, when and if the Repugs get back into the Majority without a filibuster, it will be open slather for whatever THEY want.

    What will stop the Repugs doing it any way, regardless of whether the Dems do it or not?
    When you gat power you use all of it, ever lever at your disposal mercilessly….for it is fleeting. The Dems (and ALP) are always too polite.

  12. @kylegriffin1 tweets
    Pew Research global poll:

    Biden’s election as president has led to a dramatic shift in America’s international image.

    Looking at 12 nations surveyed both this year and in 2020, a median of 75% express confidence in Biden, compared with 17% for Trump last year.

  13. A quick question to the esteemed Bludger community; Who or when was the last ex-police officer our Minister responsible for The Australian Defence Force? Dual ex-police officer/ADF position holders do not count.

    Ta in advance.

  14. Taylor

    The GOP have to get elected to do what they want. Without voter supression they have the proverbial snowballs chance in hell.

    So scrapping the filibuster and restoring the voters right act means the GOP has to reform to win a majority and not continue with its chasing a hard right minority

  15. Torchbearer,
    The only thing holding the Republican Party back would be their equivalent fear of what the Democrats would pass when it was their turn again!
    Honestly, I think that they will end up with the Standing Filibuster again.

  16. Also, before I fade out for the day, I have just read in the Washington Post that the bipartisan group working on an Infrastructure Bill appears to have come to a $1 Trillion compromise agreement, which includes broadband, as well as roads, bridges and water pipes. Hallelujah!
    Looks like Joe Manchin will get his ribbons to cut after all.

  17. “Joe Manchin makes a sensible point that if the Dems give the filibuster the nuclear bomb treatment then, when and if the Repugs get back into the Majority without a filibuster, it will be open slather for whatever THEY want.”

    Yes, and the Repugs use this same argument, which is why it smells.

  18. guytaur

    Precisely. What matters now above all else, is clobbering the voter suppression. If this means neutering the filibuster then so be it.

  19. 39,135 mosques
    In of 2014 there were 39,135 mosques in China, 25,000 of these are in Xinjiang, a north-west autonomous region, having a high density of one mosque per 500 muslims. In China, mosques are called Qīng Zhēn Sì (清真寺, “Pure truth temple”), a name which was also used by Chinese Jews for synagogues.

  20. Shellbell:

    [regarding Geoffrey Edelsten]

    Hair never went grey and enjoyed love.

    Regarding love I think you mean big tits.

    And asphyxiation resulting from same would have been a cause of death satisfying to all interests.

  21. Zoidlord:

    In of (sic) 2014 there were 39,135 mosques in China, 25,000 of these are in Xinjiang,

    How many in 2021?

  22. E. G. Theodore says:
    Saturday, June 12, 2021 at 1:28 am

    I’m not Zoidlord, arsewipe, for the fucking last fucking time.

    But atm I can’t find exact amount because the western media (from the likes of ASPI, Adrian Zenz) are lying.
    But I know for a fact that Muslims are not suppressed or destroyed (I Spoke to a Muslim Minority in China and This is What She Had to Say):

    China has always claimed that they haven’t done anything to Muslims:

    China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin called the report “nothing but slanderous rumours”, and said the ASPI had received foreign funds to “support its concoction of lies against China”.

    “It we look at the numbers, there are more than 24,000 mosques in Xinjiang, which is over 10 times more than in the US,” Mr Wang said.

    “It means there is a mosque for every 530 Muslims in Xinjiang, which is more mosques per capita than [in] many Muslim countries.”


    Western Media using dodgy satellite imagery to use their case.

    – satellite imagery we all know fully well that satellite imagery isn’t always accurate – especially in terms of military operations.


    Satellite images taken in 2002 of Iraqi truck convoys suspected of carrying chemical weapons were instrumental in shifting the view of U.S. intelligence from a suspicion that prewar Iraq might have possessed chemical weapons to a belief that it did, USA Today reported today. To date, though, no stockpiles of chemical weapons have been found in Iraq (see GSN, Jan. 28).

    In March 2002, a U.S. spy satellite photographed trailer trucks outside a military bunker in western Iraq. Over the next two months, seven other convoys were spotted, according to four high-ranking U.S. intelligence officials. The eight convoys raised suspicion because they appeared to have extra security and because they appeared to be accompanied by what were believed to be decontamination tankers, USA Today reported.

  24. Standard kit for kiwi climbers in the 70’s was a Japara (oiled canvas) jacket over a “Swandown” (thick wool) shirt (vast choice of either red or blue – both with black “tartan” stripes), over woolen long johns ( electric blue or hot pink) with big canvas gaiters.

    ….also required for shopping trips in Invercargill in mid-Summer….

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