Polls: leadership ratings, WA border closure, Australia Day

Scott Morrison’s ratings continue to head in the wrong direction, all and sundry sinking on COVID-19 management, WA voters supportive of the protracted border closure, and the regular annual Australia Day barrage.

Nothing on voting intention, but there’s a bunch of polls around the place, the most useful from my perspective being the first fortnightly Essential Research survey of the year, as it includes the pollster’s monthly leadership ratings. Scott Morrison is at 46% on both approval and disapproval, respectively steady and up two since last month, which is the first time he has failed to record a net positive result since immediately before the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. Anthony Albanese is likewise equal on approval and disapproval, in his case at 39%, with approval down one and disapproval up three. Morrison’s lead as preferred prime minister is at 42-34, in from 42-31 last month and likewise his weakest result since March 2020.

There’s more bad news for Morrison on COVID-19 management, with the federal government recording a net negative result for the first time, its positive rating down six to 35% and negative up six to 38%. There has also been a sharp decline in the positive ratings for every state government except Victoria, most noticeably in the case of Western Australia, where the positive rating is down twelve to a new low of 66%. This remains nineteen points higher than nearest rival Victoria, up four points to 47%. New South Wales is down seventeen to 37%, now the lowest of the five, with Queensland down eleven to 46% and South Australia down fourteen to 43%. The results for the smaller states especially should, as always, be treated with caution here, but the near-uniformity of the sharp downward turn is impressive.

Respondents were also asked if various matters related to COVID-19 were likely to influence their chances of voting Coalition, an exercise I’m dubious about since it’s clear that many party loyalists respond without regard to the fact that their vote choice isn’t in doubt. For what it’s worth, 37% rated themselves less likely on account of Scott Morrison’s recent performance and 19% more likely; 30% and 15% ditto because of recent case numbers; 38% and 12% because of the shortage of rapid antigen tests (note the perversity of being more likely to vote Coalition on this basis); 22% and 19% because of reduced border restrictions; and, in the one net positive result, 23% and 27% for the Novak Djokovic affair.

The poll also finds 37% believe the choices of those who wish not to be vaccinated should be respected versus 63% who don’t, of whom 41% consider the unvaccinated ill-informed and 22% selfish. It was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1062.

Various other polling around the place:

• A poll by Painted Dog Research for The West Australian recorded a 71-29 split in favour of the McGowan government’s indefinite postponement of the reopening of the state’s border. Respondents were also offered a poorly framed question as to whether they “agree the McGowan government could have done more to prepare to open up on February 5”, to which 51% agreed and 29% at least purported to disagree, notwithstanding the obvious absurdity of such a position. The poll had a sample of 637 Western Australian respondents; no field work date was provided, though obviously it was done after Thursday’s announcement.

• YouGov has conducted a poll for the News Corp tabloids that covers an extensive range of issues, but not voting intention, results for which are seemingly being published bit by bit (the full questionnaire is here). There have been two reports from this that I’m aware of, one dealing with state government COVID-19 management. Thirty-five per cent of New South Wales respondents rated their government’s performance positively, 28% neutrally and 34% negatively; Victorians, 42%, 21% and 36%; Queenslanders, 61%, 20% and 19%; Western Australians, 85% positively, 6% neutrally and 8% negatively; South Australians, 48%, 29% and 21%; and Tasmanians, 65%, 21% and 11%. Another report related results on election issue salience, in which respondents were asked to pick two issues out of eight, with 58% choosing cost of living, ahead of 37% for health care, 34% for the economy and 32% for climate change. The poll was conducted December 27 to January 10 from an overall sample of 2297, with state sub-samples ranging from 257 in Tasmania to 507 in New South Wales.

The Conversation reports on a Deakin Contemporary History Survey of “a representative, random sample of more than 5,000 Australians” finding that 60% overall believe the current date of Australia Day should be maintained, but with a clear age effect in which 53% of those born 1986 or later felt otherwise, with 46% favouring no change.

• According to an AAP report, a CoreData survey of 1292 respondents finds more than 80% of those under 26 and more than 70% of those aged 27 to 41 “support moving the date for the sake of improving relations with the Indigenous population” – a formulation that presumably elicits a more favourable response – which plummeted to “just over 30%” among the 56 to 75 cohort and 25% of those over 75. All that’s revealed of those of in the middle is that “the majority still supported keeping the holiday on its current date”.

• A Roy Morgan SMS poll of 1372 respondents posed the not-all-that-useful-to-my-mind question as to whether as to whether January 26 should be identified as Australia Day or Invasion Day, breaking 65-35 in favour of the former. Cross-tabs here if you’re interested.

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.

1,878 comments on “Polls: leadership ratings, WA border closure, Australia Day”

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  1. I spent today pulling the last dandelions of the season out of my backyard. By hand. There’s nothing more effective than eliminating the buggers entirely. 😀

  2. C@tmomma @ #1794 Sunday, January 30th, 2022 – 9:25 pm

    Rossmcg @ #1787 Sunday, January 30th, 2022 – 8:58 pm

    Now he’s “saved koalas” and “saved the reef” perhaps Morrison could do something for little penguins
    Rising sea temperatures might have to be addressed though

    Howard tried to save the Orangutans. He still lost. 🙂

    Well Howard did save the Liberal Party – same thing isn’t it?

  3. The Greens will destroy several Australian rural commodity industries by banning glyphosate.
    The victims of this will NOT be the wealthy inner urbsters.

    Around 500 million people go hungry at any one time in the world.
    The single biggest determinant of how many people go hungry is the price of international agricultural commodities.
    The more grain exporting countries grow, the cheaper the grain is.
    Glyphosate is a major determinant of grain surpluses.
    The cheaper the grain, the less people in the world are hungry.
    Not to worry.
    As with so many of their policies, the Greens are banning glyphosate for the good of the peoples.

  4. #Newspoll Federal Primary Votes: L/NP 34 (-2) ALP 41 (+3) GRN 11 (+1) ON 3 (0) #auspol

    Coalition primary under 35, as leaked earlier

  5. Welp. Looks like it’s going to be a May election.

    #Newspoll Federal 2 Party Preferred: L/NP 44 (-3) ALP 56 (+3) #auspol

  6. I stopped using glyphosate because it kills the frogs. The silent spring was too much for me. Yes it is convenient but you really don’t need it for planting pastures.

  7. Drongo

    Some of the local Parks people here regard RoundUp as one of the best things to happen for the environment – blackberries etc are a constant battle, but at least they can keep it in some control.

    It’s basically essential if one wants to control/eradicate introduced weeds.

  8. Asha says:
    Sunday, January 30, 2022 at 9:35 pm

    Welp. Looks like it’s going to be a May election.

    #Newspoll Federal 2 Party Preferred: L/NP 44 (-3) ALP 56 (+3) #auspol

    My money is still on September, Morrison is mad enough to do it.

  9. frednk says:
    Sunday, January 30, 2022 at 9:35 pm

    I stopped using glyphosate because it kills the frogs. The silent spring was too much for me. Yes it is convenient but you really don’t need it for planting pastures.
    Bah! who needs Amphibians in the ecosystem!

  10. This might be the first time Morrison is seen a real electoral liability for the LNP. The Bushfires weren’t a few months out from an election and he’d only just won them the unwinnable election.

    As I said… how confident is Scott he’s going to get through three sitting weeks with those numbers?

  11. C@

    I’d need a name!!

    Yes, I’ve eliminated some weeds by hand – Patterson’s, Bathurst burr (still find a plant occasionally) and it’s my preferred way of dealing with dock weeds.

  12. Remember a few weeks ago, when Lars confidently predicted Scomo was about to go see the Governor-General to capitalise on his big win in the Djokovic case?

  13. We have plenty of frogs here. Our background noise is a mix of croaking and birdsong.

    The couple of square metres I spray with RoundUp isn’t going to hurt the ecosystem here.

  14. Well, the brouhaha that the Morrison and Murdoch empires tried to create over Grace Tame’s side eye and Albanese’s non-handshake, has backfired spectacularly!

  15. sprocket_ says:
    Sunday, January 30, 2022 at 9:39 pm

    nath vainly attempting distraction from dreadfull polling of the incumbent government on a pseph site
    Dam. I’ve been caught out with my Glysophate distraction! I would have gotten away with it too if it wasn’t for these meddling kids.

  16. Tomorrow’s going to be a big day for Morrison. He’s mobilised the 3rd Armoured Photographers and all level four and above SkyNews opinionistas have had their leave cancelled. It’s so desperate that even Alan Jones might be put back into uniform. Still waiting to hear from Jesus to see if he still wants Scotty in the job.


  17. Bit hard to run a presidential campaign with this starting point…

    #Newspoll Morrison: Approve 39 (-5) Disapprove 58 (+6) #auspol

  18. Quick, lets cook up a Barra curry to feed to a crock, dressed as a bollywood dancer while holding an unconscious Koala

    Never did think I would see a Labor primary with a 4 in front.

    Worst since 2018? So pre the SfM ascendancy to the Throne

  19. nath says:
    Sunday, January 30, 2022 at 9:38 pm
    Bah! who needs Amphibians in the ecosystem!

    We all have our likes and dislikes. I like my ducks, the yobbos can go to hell, hate my foxes, love the eagles ( one pair) what is a few lambs to be able to watch those majestic birds being attacked by magpies. And a spring night is not complete without the frogs.

  20. z
    I belong to several local parkcare groups. One of my volunteer jobs is removing weeds from conservation areas. We use several techniques – hand pulling, the mattock, cut and daub. Whatever works most efficiently.
    But without spraying glyphosate we might just as well walk away from the conservation areas. Biodiversity would be smashed.
    What truly amazes me about the Greens is how far they have moved from understanding, or even caring for, the conservation of biodiversity.

  21. zoomster @ #1831 Sunday, January 30th, 2022 – 9:39 pm


    I’d need a name!!

    Yes, I’ve eliminated some weeds by hand – Patterson’s, Bathurst burr (still find a plant occasionally) and it’s my preferred way of dealing with dock weeds.

    Joseph Solomon, zoom.

    I thought I’d eliminated all our Blackberry, by hand and with a weeding fork. They’re mighty persistent buggers though. 🙂

    I did just about totally weed everything from the rock face on the side of the road up to my area and have been rewarded with a thriving colony of Flannel Flowers where there were none before. My crowning achievement that I see every time I drive home. 🙂

  22. Dr Bonham..

    #Newspoll No federal government has polled a 44 or worse 2PP this close to an election and survived. (That doesn’t mean it is impossible.) The closest were Howard 01 and Morrison 19, who each did so about eight months out.

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