A new federal poll from Resolve Strategic plus a data dump from Essential Research equals a lot to discuss.
First up, the Age/Herald bring us the forth instalment in its monthly Resolve Strategic poll series, which has so far come along reliably in the small hours of the third Wednesday each month, with either New South Wales or Victorian state numbers following the next day (this month is the turn of New South Wales – note that half the surveying in the poll due tomorrow will have been conducted pre-lockdown). The voting intention numbers have not changed significantly on last month, with the Coalition down two to 38%, Labor down one to 35%, the Greens up two to 12% and One Nation up one to 4%. This series seeks to make a virtue out of not publishing two-party preferred results, but applying 2019 election flows gives Labor a lead of around 51.5-48.5, out from 50.5-49.5 last time.
There seems to be a fair bit of noise in the state sub-samples, with Queensland recording no improvement for Labor on the 2019 election along with an unlikely surge for One Nation, which is at odds with both the recent Newspoll quarterly breakdowns and the previous two Resolve Strategic results. From slightly more robust sub-sample sizes, New South Wales and Victoria both record swings to Labor of around 2.5%; at the other end of the reliability scale, the swing to Labor in Western Australia is in double digits for the second month in a row, whereas Newspoll had it approaching 9%.
Scott Morrison records net neutral personal ratings, with approval and disapproval both at 46%, which is his worst result from any pollster since March last year. Anthony Albanese is down one on approval to 30% and up two on disapproval to 46%. Both leaders consistently perform worse in this series than they do in Newspoll and Essential Research, perhaps because respondents are asked to rate the leaders’ performances “in recent weeks”. Morrison’s lead as preferred prime minister is at 45-24, little changed from 46-23 last time. Labor’s weakness in the Queensland voting intention result is reflected in Albanese’s ratings from that state (in which he happened to spend most of last week) of 22% approval and 53% disapproval.
The poll continues to find only modest gender gaps on voting intention and prime ministerial approval, but suddenly has rather a wide one for Albanese’s personal ratings, with Albanese down five on approval among men to 28% and up six on disapproval to 51%, while respectively increasing by two to 31% and falling by two to 41% among women. The full display of results is available here; it includes 12 hand-picked qualitative assessments from respondents to the poll, of which four mention the vaccine rollout and two mention Barnaby Joyce. The poll was conducted last Tuesday to Saturday from a sample of 1607.
Also out today was the usual fortnightly Essential Research poll, which less usually included one of its occasional dumps of voting intention data, in this case for 12 polls going back to February. Its “2PP+” measure, which includes an undecided component that consistently comes in at 7% or 8%, has credited Labor with leads of two to four points for the last six fortnights. The most recent result has it at 47-45, from primary votes that come in at Coalition 40%, Labor 39%, Greens 11% and One Nation 4% if the 8% undecided are excluded. If previous election preferences are applied to these numbers, Labor’s two-party lead comes in at upwards of 52-48.
All of this provides a lot of new grist for the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, but it’s done very little to change either its recent trajectory or its current reading, which has Labor leading 52-48 on two-party preferred. The Resolve Strategic leadership ratings add further emphasis to established trends, which saw Morrison taking a hit when sexual misconduct stories hit the news in April, briefly recovering and then heading south again as the politics of the pandemic turned against him, while Albanese has maintained a slower and steadier decline.
The Essential poll also includes its occasional question on leaders attributes, although it seems to have dropped its practice of extending this to the Opposition Leader and has become less consistent in the attributes it includes. The biggest move since mid-March is a 15% drop in “good in a crisis” to 49%; on other measures, relating to honesty, vision, being in touch, accepting responsibility and being in control of his team, Morrison has deteriorated by six to nine points. A new result for “plays politics” yields an unflattering result of 73%, but there’s no way of knowing at this point how unusual this is for a political leader.
The poll also finds approval of the government’s handling of COVID-19 has not deteriorated further since the slump recorded a fortnight ago, with its good rating up two to 46% and poor up one to 31%. State government ratings are also fairly stable this time: over three surveys, the New South Wales government’s good rating has gone from 69% to 57% to 54%; Victoria’s has gone from 48% to 50% to 49%; and Queensland’s has gone from 65% to 61% to 62%. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1100.
In a similar vein, the Australia Institute has released polling tracking how the federal and state tiers are perceived to have handled COVID-19 since last August, which records a steadily growing gap in the states’ favour that has reached 42% to 24% in the latest survey. Breakdowns for the four largest states find Western Australia to be the big outlier at 61% to 11% in favour of the state government, with Victoria recording the narrowest gap at 34% to 25%. Fully 77% of respondents supported state border closures with only 18% opposed.