In what’s otherwise likely to be a barren week for polling, with most of the players having held their fire ahead of the budget, Roy Morgan published a result on Tuesday showing a narrowing in Labor’s two-party lead to 55.5-44.5 from 58-42 a week previously. The primary votes were Coalition 33% (up two), Labor 35.5% (down two), Greens 12.5% (up half), One Nation 3.5% (up half) and United Australia Party 1% (steady).
The state two-party breakdowns had Labor leading 53-47 in New South Wales (in from 57.5-42.5, a swing of around 5%), 60-40 in Victoria (in from 64-36, a swing of around 7%), 57-43 in Western Australia (in from 59-41, a swing of around 12.5%), 63.5-36.5 in South Australia (out from 60.5-39.5, a swing of around 13%) and 53-47 from the small sample in Tasmania (a swing to the Liberals of 3%). The Coalition leads 51-49 in Queensland, in from 54.5-45.5 for a swing of around 7.5%. The poll was conducted last Monday to Sunday from a sample of 1404.
UPDATE: Now Morgan has an SMS poll of 1067 respondents conducted Wednesday and Thursday showing Josh Frydenberg leading Scott Morrison 46% to 28.5% as preferred Liberal leader, out from 38.5% to 31% in mid-February.
In further polling news, Ipsos has announced it will be conducting polling for the Financial Review during the federal election campaign using a mix of phone and online polling. Ipsos conducted polling for the full gamut of the Fairfax/Nine newspaper stable in the previous term, which includes the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, which now bring us monthly polling from Resolve Strategic. Unlike Resolve Strategic, it is a member of the Australian Polling Council and observes the body’s transparency standards. Ipsos was the one pollster that had an accurate read on the Labor primary vote before the last election, but this did not flow into superior performance on two-party preferred since it was balanced by exaggerated results for the Greens.
On the election timing front, the Financial Review has a headline that reads “Why the federal election will likely be May 21”, whereas news.com.au has one that says “May 14 most likely date”. The reasoning behind the former is that the Coalition’s standing in the polls means Scott Morrison will take every week he can get; the latter invokes the opinion of Labor strategists along with the fact that the Electoral Commission has booked out halls for that date, though I personally wouldn’t read much into the latter.
Scott Morrison said on Wednesday he will not be visiting the Governor-General this weekend as he has “a lot to do”, which just about rules out May 7 unless he calls it on Monday. Laura Tingle suggested this wouldn’t happen on the ABC’s 7:30 last night, as the government wants to get “some advertising out in the ether” and the Liberal Party still lacks candidates in key seats due to its legal tangles in New South Wales. Tingle concluded that “most people think that it will now be May 14”, with the announcement to be made late next week.