Newspoll: 51-49 to Coalition

Anthony Albanese’s personal ratings take a hit, but no change on the voting intention headline in the third poll since the great federal election miss.

As related by The Australian, the third Newspoll since the fall is unchanged on the second, conducted three weeks ago, in showing the Coalition with a two-party lead of 51-49. The primary votes are Coalition 43% (41.4% at the election), Labor 35% (33.4%), Greens 12% (10.4%) and One Nation 5% (3.1%, although they did not contest every seat at the election). All four are up a point compared with the previous poll, reflected in a four point drop in “others” to 5%. I’m struggling to identify the last time Newspoll had the Greens at 12% – certainly not at any point in the last term (UPDATE: It was in March 2016).

Scott Morrison is up a point on approval to 49%, after dropping three points last time, and his disapproval is up three to 39%, which is still three down on the first poll after the election. Anthony Albanese records a net negative rating for the first time, being down six on approval to 35% (after gaining two last time), and up six on disapproval to 40% (after dropping two last time). Morrison’s preferred prime minister lead is reportedly at 20%, compared with 18% last time, although the exact numbers are not yet provided (UPDATE: Morrison’s lead has increased from 48-30 to 48-28).

The poll comes with a glimmer of improved transparency, in that we are told exactly how many respondents came from its online survey (956) and automated phone poll (705) components. It was conducted from Thursday to Sunday.

ANU post-election survey and Essential Research poll

Comprehensive new research suggests a telling shift from the “others” column to the Coalition through the campaign period, while Labor were either consistently overrated by pollsters or fell off a cliff at the end.

Some particularly interesting post-election research has emerged in the shape of a paper from Nicholas Biddle at the Australian National University’s Centre for Social Research and Methods. This draws from the centre’s regular online panel surveys on social attitudes, which encompasses a question on voting intention for reasons unrelated to prediction of election results. The study compares results for 1692 respondents who completed both its pre- and post-election surveys, which were respectively conducted from April 8 to 26 (encompassing the start of the campaign on April 11) and June 3 to 17 (commencing a fortnight after the election). Respondents were excluded altogether if they were either ineligible to vote or failed to answer the voting intention question.

The results are, to a point, consistent with the possibility that pollsters were confounded by a last minute shift to the Coalition, particularly among those who had earlier been in the “others” column. The changes can be summarised as follows, keeping in mind that a “don’t know” response for the April survey was at 2.9%, and 6.5% in the June survey said they did not vote. Since the disparity leaves a net 3.6% of the total vote unaccounted for, the shifts identified below will err on the low side.

The Coalition vote increased an estimated 2.6% from the time of the April survey, suggesting the polls were right to be recording them at around 38% at that time, if not later. However, no movement at all was recorded in the Labor vote, suggesting they were always about four points short of the 37% most polls were crediting them with. The exception here was Ipsos, which had Labor at 33% or 34% in all four of the polls from the start of the year. The Greens fell very slightly, suggesting a poll rounding to whole numbers should have had them at 11% early in the campaign. Newspoll consistently had it at 9%, Ipsos at 13% or 14%, and Essential fluctuated between 9% and 12%.

The biggest move was the 5.9% drop in support for “others”, although a fair bit of this wound up in the “did not vote” column. Even so, it can conservatively be said that pollsters in April should have been rating “others” at around four points higher than their actual election result of 15%, when they were actually coming in only one point higher. This three point gap is reflected in the size of the overestimation of support for Labor.

The results also point to a remarkably high degree of churn — an estimated 28.5% did not stick with the voting intention expressed in April, albeit that a little more than a fifth of this subset did so by not voting at all. The sub-sample of vote changers is small, but it offers little to suggest voters shifted from Labor to the Coalition in particularly large numbers. The Coalition recorded the lowest rate of defection, although the difference with Labor was not statistically significant (I presume it’s normal for major party supporters to be more constant than minor). Conversely, 49.4% of those who left the “others” column went to the Coalition (which comes with a 9% margin of error), and most of the remainder did not vote.

The survey also features statistical analysis to determine the demographic characteristics of vote changers. These find that older voters were generally less likely to be vote changers, and that young vote changers tended not to do so in favour of the Coalition, presumably switching for the most part between Labor and the Greens. Also particularly unlikely to budge were Coalition voters who lived in areas of socio-economic advantage. Those at the other end of this scale, regardless of party support, were most volatile.

Also out this week was the regular fortnightly Essential Research survey, which is still yet to resume its voting intention series but will do so soon. A question on the anticipated impact of government policies over the next three years produces encouraging numbers for the government, with 41% positive and 23% negative. A question on racist sentiments finds 36% agreeing that Australia is a racist country, and 50% saying it is less racist than it was in the past. Breakdowns record no significant differences between those of migrant and non-migrant backgrounds, although the former may include too many of British origin for the results to be particularly revealing.

A question on political interest finds only 15% professing no interest in federal politics, with 53% saying they follow it closely or “enough to know what’s happening”. A big question though is whether polling has gone astray because too many such people are included in their samples. The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1075 respondents drawn from an online panel.

YouGov Galaxy: 55-45 to federal Coalition in Queensland

A Queensland-only federal poll from YouGov Galaxy splits the difference between the actual election result and the pre-election polling that singularly failed to predict it.

The Courier-Mail/Sunday Mail has followed up yesterday’s YouGov Galaxy state results, which were covered here, with the federal voting intention findings from the same poll. This records the Coalition with a 55-45 lead in the state, from primary votes of Coalition 40%, Labor 29%, One Nation 13% and Greens 12%. However, Scott Morrison records a commanding 46-23 over Anthony Albanese as preferred prime minister.

According to taste, you can interpret the voting intention results as:

• An improvement for Labor on the election result, at which the Coalition recorded a thumping 58.6-41.4 two-party preferred win in the state, from primary votes of Coalition 43.7%, Labor 26.7%, Greens 10.3% and One Nation 8.9%;

• A surge to the Coalition compared with the last YouGov Galaxy poll from Queensland, which was conducted a week-and-a-half before the May 18 election and proved, like all pre-election polling from the state, to be very badly astray. That poll had the Coalition leading 51-49, from primary votes of Coalition 38%, Labor 33%, Greens 9% and One Nation 9%.

The latter result, which was similar to Newspoll state breakdowns of the time, is worth revisiting, as it more-or-less accurately predicted the vote shares for the minor parties (albeit a shade too low for the Greens), and may have done well enough for the major parties among women – but it very clearly dropped the ball among Queensland men, who plainly didn’t come close to the dead even two-party split attributed to them by the poll.

So much trouble in the world

Upheaval in conservative politics in New South Wales over abortion law; a pickle for Labor in Tasmania over a vacancy in state parliament; and suggestions of a looming state by-election in Victoria.

In New South Wales:

A row over a bill to decriminalise abortion is prompting murmurings about Gladys Berejiklian’s leadership just five months after she led the Coalition to an impressive election victory, with tremors that are being felt federally. The bill was introduced by independent MP Alex Greenwich, but its sponsors included the Berejiklian government’s Health Minister, Brad Hazzard. It was headed last week for passage through both houses of parliament, before Berejiklian bowed to conservative outrage by pushing back the final vote in the upper house by nearly a month. Claiming credit for this concession is Barnaby Joyce, whose high-profile interventions have angered his state Nationals colleagues, most of whom support the bill (prompting Mark Latham, who now holds a crucial upper house vote as a member of One Nation, to tar the party with the cultural Marxist brush). Following suggestions the party room had discussed expelling him from the party, Joyce said he would go of his own accord if four of them publicly called for him to do so. It doesn’t appear that is going to happen, but if it did, the government would be reduced from 77 seats in the House of Representatives out of 151, costing it its absolute majority on the floor.

In Tasmania:

Labor MP Scott Bacon’s decision to end his state parliamentary career, citing family reasons, represents an unwelcome turn of events for an already understaffed state opposition, owing to the manner in which parliamentary vacancies are filled under Hare-Clark. This will involve a “recount” (as officially known, though “countback” is the generally preferred term for such procedures) of the votes that got Bacon elected to his seat in Denison (which is now called Clark), either as first or subsequent preferences. The procedure is open to any unsuccessful candidates from the previous election who care to nominate, among whom is Madeleine Ogilvie, a former incumbent who was defeated in 2018 – possibly because progressive sentiment had been alienated by her social conservatism.

The problem for Labor is that Ogilvie has since parted company with the party, to the extent of running as an independent for an upper house seat in May. If she wins the recount, and no reconciliation with the party is forthcoming, there will be nothing to stop her sitting as an independent, reducing Labor from ten seats to nine in a chamber of 25. As explained by Kevin Bonham, we can see from the 2018 results that this will produce a “first preference” count in which 33.1% of the vote goes to Madeleine Ogilvie and 28.4% to Tim Cox, a former ABC Radio presenter who ran unsuccessfully, and has confirmed he will nominate for the recount. More than half the remainder went to candidates who are not in contention because they’re already in parliament, so it will assuredly be one or the other.

In Victoria:

John Ferguson of The Australian reports the Liberals have been conducting internal polling for former party leader Matthew Guy’s seat of Bulleen, prompting speculation he will shortly quit parliament. The Liberals retained the seat with a 5.8% margin even amid the debacle of last November’s election, and the polling is “believed to show the Liberal brand holding up”.

Essential Research: leadership ratings, US and China, abortion law

Higher disapproval ratings for both leaders in the latest Essential poll, which also records lukewarm feelings towards the United States and cooler ones for China.

The latest fortnightly Essential Research poll again comes up empty on voting intention, but it does offer the pollster’s third set of leadership ratings since the election. As with Newspoll, these record a drop in Scott Morrison’s net approval rating, owing to a three point rise in disapproval to 37%, while his approval holds steady at 48%. However, Essential parts company with Newspoll in finding Anthony Albanese up on disapproval as well, by five points to 29%, with approval down one to 38%. Morrison’s lead as preferred prime minister narrows slightly, from 44-26 to 44-28.

Further questions suggest the public leans positive on most aspects of the “influence of the United States of America” (defence, trade, cultural and business), excepting a neutral result (42% positive, 40% negative) for influence on Australian politics. The same exercise for China finds positive results for trade, neutral results for culture and business, and negative ones for defence and politics. Asked which of the two we would most benefit from strengthening ties with, 38% of respondents favoured the US and 28% China.

The small sample of respondents from New South Wales were also asked about the proposed removal of abortion from the criminal code, which was supported by an overwhelming 71% compared with 17% opposed. The poll has a sample of 1096 and was conducted online from Thursday to Sunday.

Note also the post below this one, being the latest Brexit update from Adrian Beaumont.

Newspoll: 51-49 to Coalition

The second federal poll since the election finds the Coalition back where it started after an apparent post-election bounce in the previous poll three weeks ago.

Newspoll’s first result in three weeks, and second since the election, turns up a surprise in recording a shrinking in the Coalition’s lead from 53-47 to 51-49 – which, if meaningful, would mean an end to the honeymoon period and a return to where things stood at election time. On the primary vote, the Coalition is on 42%, down two points on the last poll and up 0.6% on the election result; Labor is on 34%, up one point and 0.7%; the Greens are on 11%, steady and up 0.6%; and One Nation are on 4%, up one point and 0.9%.

Leadership ratings are likewise consistent with the fading of a post-election sugar hit, with Scott Morrison down three on approval to 48% and up six on disapproval to 42%. Anthony Albanese’s ratings also seem to be trending from mediocre to respectable, with his approval up two to 41% and disapproval down to 34%, leaving him shading Morrison by a point on net approval. However, this hasn’t translated to preferred prime minister for some reason, on which Morrison holds a healthy lead of 48-30, out from 48-31 last time.

The poll was conducted by online and automated phone surveying from a sample of 1623, from Thursday to Sunday. Full report from The Australian here. As before, we remain in the dark as to how the pollster’s methods have been adjusted since the election failure, if at all. However, the size of the movements, and the lack of anything obvious to explain them, suggests the poll has not been subjected to the smoothing method that Newspoll must have been using before the election to give it its uncanny and, as it turned out, misleading consistency.