BludgerTrack: 52.1-47.9 to Labor

Little change this week to a poll aggregate that now comes with the added bonus of One Nation. Also featured: South Australian and Northern Territory redistribution news.

Results from Newspoll and Essential Research have elicited next to no change on BludgerTrack, at least so far as the results are concerned – negligible movement all round on voting intention, although what’s there is enough for the Coalition to claw back a seat in Queensland on the projection. Newspoll provides a set of leadership numbers as always, and here too their effect is negligible.


What is new on BludgerTrack is that it’s now tracking One Nation, although the only hard data here is that Essential Research has been providing since the start of September. Polls that don’t report One Nation still have some influence on them through their “others” results, and the estimated results for them show up as data points on the chart. I’ve implemented a bit of a cheat to get the One Nation trendline started from the beginning by using their national Senate vote of 4.3% as a post-election starting point. However, the “since election” reading on the tables goes off the national House of Representatives result of 1.3%, which is unflattering to them as they only fielded 15 candidates.

Two bits of electoral boundaries news to relate:

• The redistribution of the two federal seats in the Northern Territory has been finalised, with no changes made to September’s draft proposal. Three thousand voters have been transferred from growing Solomon (covering Darwin and Palmerston) to stagnant Lingiari (covering the remainder of the territory), in an area encompassing Yarrawonga, Farrar, Johnston and Zuccoli at the eastern edge of Palmerston, together with the Litchfield Shire areas around Knuckey Lagoon east of Darwin. To the very limited extent that this will have an electoral effect, it will be to strengthen Labor in Solomon and weaken them in Lingiari, the area transferred being conservative-leaning.

• The South Australian state redistribution has been finalised, with a large number of changes made to the draft published in August. These are largely to the benefit of the Liberals, who stand aggrieved by their failure to win government in 2014 despite winning the two-party vote by 53-47. The draft redrew the Labor marginals of Elder and Mawson to make them notionally Liberal. However, they did the opposite in Fisher, a normally conservative-leaning seat that Labor managed to win at a by-election in December 2014 after the death of independent member Bob Such. This seat has been renamed Hurtle Vale, and pushed southwards into the Labor-voting Morphett Vale area.

The new set of changes adds a further two seats to the Liberal column, most notably Colton, where Labor cops a transfer of 8000 voters from Glenelg North and West Beach (currently in Morphett), turning the Labor margin of 2% into a Liberal margin of 3.7%. The other seat is Newland, where there was so little in it that a further 200 voters in Humbug Scrub have been enough to nudge it to the Liberal side of the pendulum. There has also been a further boost to the Liberal margin in Elder, where gains around Lower Mitcham in the east (currently in Waite) push the margin out from 1.1% to 4.3%.

The Liberals has also benefited in Adelaide, where the reversal of a proposal to move Walkerville out of the electorate leaves the margin at 2.0%, compared with 2.5% at the election and 0.6% in the draft; and in the Labor-held seat of Lee, where an extra 4000 voters from Colton reduce the Labor margin from 4.6% to 2.6%.

Newspoll: 52-48 to Labor

What will presumably be the last Newspoll of the year adds to impression given by other pollsters of slight movement to the Coalition as the year draws to an end.

More evidence that the Coalition is ending the year in a very slightly better position than it’s been in over the past few months, this time courtesy of Newspoll in The Australian, which records Labor’s lead narrowing to 52-48 from 53-47 a fortnight ago. The Coalition now leads 39% to 36% on the primary vote, after a 38% draw in the last poll, with the Greens steady at 10%. Malcolm Turnbull is down two points on approval to 32% and up one on disapproval to 55%, while Bill Shorten is respectively down two to 34% and steady at 51%. Turnbull holds a 41-32 lead as preferred prime minister, compared with 43-33 in the last poll. The accompanying report has further results on the salience of jobs, asylum seekers and same-sex marriage as political issues. The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1629.

UPDATE (Essential Research): After a week at 51-49, Essential Research moves back a point in favour of Labor, who now lead 52-48. The most interesting aspect of the primary vote is that One Nation have gained a point to reach a new high of 8%, with the Coalition down one to 38%, and Labor, the Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team steady at 36%, 9% and 3%. The most interesting of the supplementary questions records approval ratings for senior government ministers, which finds Julie Bishop to be by far the government’s most popular figure, with 52% approval and 23% disapproval. Christopher Pyne, Barnaby Joyce, Greg Hunt, Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison more or less break even, but George Brandis has a net rating of minus 8%, and Hunt records a particularly high “don’t know” rating.

A “party trust to handle issues” question records a slight deterioration across the board for the Coalition since August, the biggest mover being “controlling interest rates”, on which their lead has narrowed from 12% to 7%. On a series of “party best at looking after the economy” questions, the Coalition has an 11% lead over Labor on “handling the economy overall”, but a less helpful 33% lead on “representing the interests of the large corporate and financial interests”, with nothing separating the parties on “handling the economy in a way that best helps the middle class” and “handling the economy in a way that helps you and people like you the most”. Also canvassed: voluntary euthanasia, Gonski funding, climate change, and where we go when we die.

BludgerTrack: 52.2-47.8 to Labor

Movement back to the Coalition on BludgerTrack this week, as Ipsos and Essential deliver the government relatively encouraging results.

The return of Ipsos this week threw a spanner in the BludgerTrack works, since its results were starkly divergent from the trend of the other two pollsters, to an extent that went well beyond the pollster’s observed peculiarities before the election. In particular, the primary vote for Labor was four points below anything recorded by Newspoll or Essential since the election; the Coalition were about two points below its recent form; and the Greens came in about six points on the high side. My general strategy for bias adjustment had been to use half measures of the difference between election result and trend measurements for the relevant pollster, but that wasn’t remotely adequate to cover the peculiarity of this Ipsos result. So, for the time being at least, I’m incorporating Ipsos in a way that is all-but-neutral to the overall calculation, but in which the trendlines will be affected by the movement in Ipsos results (or will be, when there is more than one Ipsos result to go off).

Despite the Ipsos numbers having little impact on this week’s result, there has been a fairly solid move back to the Coalition on the voting intention reading, which partly reflects the recent trend of Essential Research, which has had Labor’s lead over the past fortnight narrowing from 53-47 to 51-49. On the BludgerTrack seat projection, this translates into gains for the Coalition of two seats in Western Australia, and one apiece in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Here the Ipsos numbers did play a role, since its state breakdowns were particularly strong for the Coalition in Western Australia and South Australia. Ipsos also makes as much difference as it would always have done to the leadership ratings, the model for which begins with the Malcolm Turnbull prime ministership. Reflecting to the overall strength of the Ipsos result for the Coalition, Malcolm Turnbull records a solid recovery on net approval, to the extent of almost closing the gap on Bill Shorten, and widened his lead as preferred prime minister.


Ipsos: 51-49 to Labor

The first Fairfax-Ipsos poll since the election comes in slightly lower for Labor than Newspoll’s and Essential Research’s recent form.

We finally have a new player in the post-election opinion poll game, with Ipsos making its return for the Fairfax papers. It’s come in slightly lower for Labor than Newspoll and Essential Research, recording a 51-49 lead, although I don’t know at this stage if that’s previous election or respondent-allocated preferences (UPDATE: It’s both), since Ipsos provides both. The primary votes retain Ipsos’s pre-election peculiarity in coming in high for the Greens, at 16% compared with 10.2% at the election, and others, at 18% compared with 13%. That only leaves room for 36% for the Coalition and 30% for Labor, compared with 42.0% and 34.7% at the election. We are told that Malcolm Turnbull now has equal approval and disapproval ratings, and that Bill Shorten’s net rating is minus eight, though not the exact numbers (UPDATE: 45% apiece for Turnbull; 37% and 53% for Shorten, which I’d call a net rating of minus sixteen). Turnbull’s lead as preferred prime minister is 51-30, which unlike the other measures is better for him than pre-election. The poll was conducted Thursday to Saturday from a sample of 1403.

UPDATE (Essential Research): The Coalition has picked up a point in the Essential Research survey for the second week in a row, so that the pollster concurs with Ipsos in recording a Labor lead of 51-49. The primary votes are Coalition 39% (up one), Labor 36% (down one), Greens 9% (down one), One Nation 7% (up one) and Nick Xenophon Team 3% (steady). Other questions find 79% saying social class exists in Australia, versus 10% who say it doesn’t; 51% rating themselves middle class, 31% working class and 3% upper class; 52% perceiving the Liberal Party as mainly representing an upper class few purport to be a part of, compared with 17% for middle class and 3% for working class; 41% saying Labor mainly represents the working class, versus 16% for the middle class and 7% for the upper class; 31% saying One Nation mainly represented the working class, versus 7% for the middle class and 3% for the upper class; and a general recognition that the Greens didn’t reflect class one way or the other. A question gauging the importance of a range of issue priorities suggests that national security and the budget deficit rate less strongly now than they did in August.

BludgerTrack: 53.0-47.0 to Labor

The BludgerTrack poll aggregate continues to drift minimally in Labor’s favour.

Two new polls this week, from Newspoll and Essential Research (expect the post-election pollster duopoly to be broken over the next few days), produce an incremental move to Labor on the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, sufficient to gain them a seat in Western Australia on the seat projection. Newspoll as always provided a new set of leadership ratings, which likewise failed to make much difference.


• A production error resulted in me neglecting to mention the Essential Research numbers earlier this week. There was a move back to the Coalition on two-party preferred, putting Labor’s two party lead at 52-48, with primary votes at Coalition 38% (up one), Labor 37% (steady), Greens 10% (down one), One Nation 6% (steady) and Nick Xenophon Team 3% (steady). Essential have surpassed themselves with their supplementary questions this week, by recording strikingly high levels of agreement with a series of pointedly Trumpian statements about the present state of our own nation. This included an 83-9 split in favour of “the government should bring manufacturing jobs to Australia”, 75-14 for “if people who are not Australian citizens commit a crime they should be deported”, 77-13 for “we should do more to stop people entering our country illegally”, 52-32 for “I would like to see Australia more like it was in the past” and 60-26 for “no matter who is in power the system is rigged against ordinary people”. There was a 46-40 split in favour of “racial equality has gone too far”, and 40-48 against “gender equality has gone too far” (no gender breakdown on the latter unfortunately). Other findings: 64-17 in favour of cutting back on 457 visas, 45-44 in favour of taxes to make junk food more expensive, 51-39 for a 20% levy on soft drinks, and 56-16 for resettling refugees on Nauru and Manus Island to the US.

• Possum Comitatus relates that union-commissioned polling in Queensland finds One Nation support “in the teens”, and that the support is driven not by “the things One Nation gets headlines and TV grabs for”, but rather by those who “think, in the general case, that the world is fucked and not operating as it was promised”. For what it’s worth, Campbell Newman rates that a shy Hansonite effect is causing polls to rate One Nation several points too low; that the party will win a bag of seats at the next state election; and that the Liberal National Party should be laying the groundwork to enter into a coalition with them. I had a fair to say on such matters in a paywalled article for Crikey yesterday.

Newspoll: 53-47 to Labor

Malcolm Turnbull’s personal ratings bounce back from recent lows, amid an otherwise stable set of readings from Newspoll.

Via James J, tomorrow’s Australian brings us another result showing Labor leading 53-47 on two-party preferred, from primary votes of Coalition 38% (down one), Labor 38% (steady) and Greens 10% (steady). For some reason, Malcolm Turnbull’s personal ratings have recorded an uptick, with approval up four to 34% and disapproval down four to 54%, but lead as preferred prime minister is unchanged, shifting from 42-32 to 43-33. Bill Shorten’s ratings are unchanged at 36% approval and 51% disapproval. The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1846.