Newspoll: 52-48 to Labor

Newspoll finds Labor retaining the clear two-party preferred lead it opened a fortnight ago, and an even balance of opinion on the realism of renewable energy targets.

Courtesy of The Australian, the latest fortnightly Newspoll finds Labor maintaining its two-party lead of 52-48, although the primary vote has Labor down a point to 36% and the Coalition up one to 39% – reflecting the fact that the Coalition clearly had rounding going in its favour in the earlier poll. The Greens and “others” are steady at 10% and 15%. There is little change on personal ratings, with Malcolm Turnbull down one on approval to 31% and up one on disapproval to 56%, while Bill Shorten is down one to 35% and steady on 51%, and Turnbull’s lead as preferred prime minister increases from 44-33 to 45-30. The poll also finds 39% agreeing that renewable energy targets are unrealistic versus 36% for disagree. The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1622.

UPDATE (Essential Research): The latest result of the Essential Research fortnightly rolling average has Labor recovering its 52-48 lead on two-party preferred, after slipping to 51-49 last week. On the primary vote, the Coalition is down two points to 38%, Labor is steady at 36%, the Greens are up two to 10%, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation is steady at 6% and the Nick Xenophon Team is steady at 3%. The poll also features Essential’s monthly reading of leadership ratings, which has Malcolm Turnbull up three on approval to 38% and down two on disapproval to 41%; Bill Shorten up one to 37% and down one to 40%; and Turnbull’s lead as preferred prime minister at 41-28, down from 41-26. The other questions follow up on the recent controversy generated over the pollster’s finding that half of respondents would favour a ban on Muslims migrating to Australia, and demonstrates the importance of how questions are framed. In particular, 53% professed themselves concerned at the number of Muslims in Australia with 42% not concerned, but 56% said prospective migrants families should not be rejected on the basis of religion with 24% taking the other view. The poll also found 61% taking a positive view of multiculturalism with 23% for negative. A question on renewable energy had 60% identifying it as “the solution to our energy needs”, with only 16% opting for the alternative, “a threat to future energy supply”.

BludgerTrack: 52.0-48.0 to Labor

The Track is back, as Essential Research moves a point in favour of the Coalition.

The only new poll this week was the usual fortnightly rolling average result from Essential Research, which moved a point in favour of the Coalition on two-party preferrred, leaving Labor’s lead at 51-49. On the primary vote, the Coalition was up one to 40%, Labor steady on 36%, the Greens down one to 8%, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation steady at 6% and the Nick Xenophon Team steady at 3%. However, the big news so far as this post is concerned is the post-election return of BludgerTrack, which opens its account with 17 data points to work from – three from Newspoll, and 14 from Essential Research.


Each pollster is bias-adjusted based on the difference between the election result and a trend measure of their voting intention numbers at that time, with the results halved to account for the likelihood that they will tweak their methodology rather than persist in their existing errors. On this basis, the adjustments for Newspoll are +0.0% for the Coalition, 0.2% for Labor and +0.0% for the Greens, while those for Essential Research are respectively -0.7%, +0.5% and -0.1%. For the time being, results are being weighted according to a formula that gives each pollster equal weight over the full course of the present term, so that the more prolific a pollster is, the less weight its polls will be given. On this basis, the weighting for a single Essential poll is currently 0.071, while a Newspoll gets one-third.

This means the dominant data point so far as the current reading is concerned is last week’s Newspoll, which was published as 52-48 to Labor, but came out at 52.7-47.3 after 2016 election preferences were applied to the bias-adjusted primary vote. This is why the current BludgerTrack reading is a little more favourable to Labor than you might expect, given the run of recent polling. Preferences are allocated according to the results of the July election, there presently being no other option, but I will eventually move to a method that splits the difference between previous election preferences and a trend measure of respondent-allocated preferences, if and when Ispos and ReachTEL provide enough such data to make it worthwhile. Such an approach would have been almost perfectly accurate at the recent election, although the previous election method has generally performed better in the past. The leadership results go back to the start of Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership in mid-September last year – note that no change is recorded in the “last week” column at this point, owing to the lack of new results this week.

Further poll stuff:

• After numerous polls finding the public favouring a referendum to solve the same-sex marriage question, a follow-up result from last week’s Newspoll found 48% favouring a “politicians decide&148; options versus 39% for a plebiscite in February. This week’s Essential Research gave respondents an option between “the government should agree to a vote in parliament” and “the Labor Party, Greens and Xenophon Team should agree to a plebiscite”, with respective results of 53% and 24%.

• Both pollsters also asked how they would vote in a referendum, with Newspoll finding 62% to 32% in favour of yes, and Essential coming in at 58% to 28%. Essential also found 49% believed such a vote should be binding on parliament, with 26% preferring the alternative option of leaving parliamentarians with a free vote.

• Essential posed a series of questions on the National Broadband Network, which found 42% favouring “the Labor plan” and 27% “the Liberal government’s plan”; only 22% saying the NBN would “adequately meet Australia‚Äôs future Internet requirements”, with 47% saying it wouldn’t; and 88% agreeing the internet was “becoming an essential service”, with only 7% disagreeing.

• Fifty per cent rated the level of immigration to Australia over the past 10 years as too high, 12% as too low and 28% as about right, while 44% opposed the recently announced increase in the annual refugee intake, with 39% supportive. Relatedly, Essential recently released widely publicised results on Muslim immigration and Pauline Hanson from its survey of July 27 to August 1. This found 49% supporting a ban on Muslim immigration versus 40% opposed, and strong majorities supporting the propositions that Hanson was “speaking for a lot of ordinary Australians” (62% to 30%) and “talks about issues other politicians too scared to tackle” (65% to 28%).

Newspoll quarterly breakdowns: August-September 2016

Aggregated Newspoll breakdowns find nothing too remarkable going on beneath the surface of the three polls it has published since the election.

The Australian has published the regular Newspoll breakdowns by state, gender, age and capitals/non-capitals, aggregating all the polling the organisation has conducted since the election – a smaller than usual amount, since the pollster took the better part of two months to resume post-election. The results suggest a bit of slippage for the Coalition since the election in South Australia, but essentially no change in the other four mainland states. This is an opportune moment for me to apologise for not having reactivated BludgerTrack over the past week as promised, but the availability of this new data means the delay is probably for the best. It will positively definitely happen later this week.

Newspoll: 52-48 to Labor

The latest fortnightly result from Newspoll registers the best two-party result for Labor since Malcolm Turnbull became prime minister.

The latest fortnightly Newspoll, courtesy of The Australian, finds Labor opening up a 52-48 lead after a 50-50 result a fortnight ago, with the Coalition down three on the primary vote to 38%, Labor up one to 37%, and the Greens up one to 10%. On personal ratings, Malcolm Turnbull is down two on approval to 32% and up two on disapproval to 55%, while Bill Shorten is up one to 36% and down one to 51%. However, preferred prime minister is little changed, with Turnbull’s lead shifting from 43-31 to 44-33.

UPDATE (Essential Research): Bit of movement in the Essential Research fortnightly rolling average, with the Coalition up two on the primary vote to 39%, Labor down one to 36%, the Greens down one to 9%, One Nation steady on 6% and the Nick Xenophon Team down to 3%. Despite the apparent move in the Coalition’s favour, Labor’s two-party lead remains at 52-48. Other findings:

• An occasional series of questions on leaders’ attributes reflects a slight deterioration in Malcolm Turnbull’s standing since it was last asked in May, with arrogant up five points, narrow-minded up four and visionary down five. Nearly every one of Bill Shorten’s 15 indicators are up slightly, positive and negative alike, which presumably reflects his higher profile after an election campaign. The biggest mover is “aggressive”, up six to a still modest 36%.

• A series of questions on “leader trust to handle issues” finds Bill Shorten favoured in almost every case, reflecting the fact that that issues identified are mostly on turf favourable to Labor. A curious is exception is “regulating the banking and finance sector”, on which Turnbull led 33% to 29%.

• The poll also finds strong support for voluntary euthanasia, which is supported by 68% “when a person has a disease that cannot be cured and is living in severe pain” and opposed by 13%.

• Strong opposition to liberalising of cross-media ownership laws was recorded, with 61% disapproving and 18% approving.

• Respondents were asked to evaluate the level of importance of five issues, which found climate change, a royal commission into the banking and finance industry and a treaty with indigenous Australians rated of high importance, and votes on same-sex marriage and a republic substantially less so.

• Fifty-eight per cent said they would support recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the constitution, with 15% opposed.

Newspoll: 50-50

On both voting intention and leadership ratings, the results of the second Newspoll since the election are all but identical to the first.

Courtesy of The Australian, the second fortnightly result from Newspoll since its post-election return is identical to the first so far as voting intention is concerned, with primary votes of Coalition 41%, Labor 36% and Greens 9%, and a dead heat on two-party preferred. There is also next to no change on leaders’ ratings, with Malcolm Turnbull steady on approval at 34% and up one on disapproval to 53%, while Bill Shorten is down one to 35% and up two to 52%. Turnbull’s lead as preferred prime minister has nudged from 43-32 to 43-31. The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1680.

UPDATE (Essential Research): The latest reading of the Essential Research fortnightly rolling average has the Coalition down a point to 38%, Labor and the Greens steady at 38% and 37%, the Nick Xenophon Team up one to 4%, and the new response option of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation opening its account on 5%. Two-party preferred is unchanged, with Labor leading 52-48. Also featured are Essential’s monthly leadership ratings, which have Malcolm Turnbull down three on approval to 35% and steady on disapproval at 43%, Bill Shorten down one to 36% and steady on 41%, and Turnbull’s lead as preferred prime minister up from 40-30 to 41-26. Further questions find majorities in favour of bans on political donations from companies, trade unions and professional associations, with 50% saying they should be allowed and 35% disallowed from individual Australian voters. A question on whether the words “offend or insult” should be removed from racial vilification law found 45% supportive and 35% opposed. Further questions relate to illegal drugs, with 47% supportive of the decriminalisation of cannabis and 39% opposed, but heavy majorities against decriminalisation of ecstasy, amphetamines, cocaine or heroin.

Essential Research: 52-48 to Labor

The Coalition drops a point on the Essential Research rolling average, while further questions record an across-the-board drop in confidence in a range of public institutions since last year.

The latest Essential Research fortnightly rolling aggregate result has Labor’s lead back to 52-48 after two weeks at 51-49, with the Coalition down a point on the primary vote to 39%, Labor steady on 37%, the Greens steady on 10% and the Nick Xenophon Team down one to 3%. Other questions find an across-the-board decline in trust towards a range of institutions since the question was last posed in October. At the top of the list are state and federal police, followed by the High Court and the ABC, while political parties take the wooden spoon, followed by business groups, state and federal parliaments, religious organisations and trade unions. A series of indicators involving personal wellbeing were reported as having improved over the past 50 years, while job security and political leadership had become much worse. A question on trust in handling personal information found either a lot of trust or some trust for security agencies (51%), the Australian Bureau of Statistics (46%) and banks (45%), compared with 20% for social media sites.