Poll wrap: Labor’s Newspoll lead falls to 51-49 on dubious assumptions as Palmer and Coalition do a deal



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Three weeks before the election, the UAP has been included in the party readout for the first time.
AAP/Glenn Hunt

Adrian Beaumont, University of Melbourne

With 19 days to go until election day, this week’s Newspoll, conducted April 26-28 from a sample of 2,140, gave Labor just a 51-49 lead, a one-point gain for the Coalition since last fortnight. Primary votes were 38% Coalition (down one), 37% Labor (down two), 9% Greens (steady), 5% for Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party (UAP) and 4% One Nation (steady).

Three weeks before the election, the UAP has been included in the party readout for the first time. Prior to this change, the tables show that the UAP had 2% support in the post-budget Newspoll and 3% last fortnight – they were previously published as Others. According to pollster David Briggs (paywalled), both UAP and One Nation preferences are assumed to flow at 60% to the Coalition.

Given results at the WA and Queensland 2017 elections and at the Longman 2018 federal byelection, where One Nation preferences flowed at over 60% to the Coalition, this assumption is justified for One Nation, and was the standard assumption from early 2018.

However, the UAP has no electoral record. At the 2013 election that Palmer contested under the Palmer United Party, PUP preferences split 53.7-46.3 to the Coalition. At that election, PUP recommended preferences to the Coalition in all House seats, the same situation as now, and the Labor government was on the nose.

45% were satisfied with Scott Morrison’s performance (steady) and 46% were dissatisfied (up two), for a net approval of -1. Bill Shorten’s net approval was up two points to -12, his best net approval since May 2016. Morrison led Shorten by 45-37 as better PM (46-35 last fortnight).

Morrison was trusted to keep campaign promises over Shorten by 41-38. In some evidence for UAP preferences splitting to the Coalition, UAP voters favoured Morrison on this question by 53-13, though this is from a subsample of about 100 UAP voters.

The change in party readout and the preference assumptions for UAP explain the narrowing in this poll from 52-48 to 51-49. But there has been a clear overall narrowing trend this year from the last three Newspolls of 2018, which were all 55-45 to Labor. Morrison’s relatively good ratings and greater distance from the events of last August are assisting the Coalition.

The Poll Bludger’s BludgerTrack currently has Labor winning 87 of the 151 seats on a 52.4-47.6 two party vote. The Coalition’s primary vote in Newspoll is 4% down from 2016, but preference changes since 2016 could assist the Coalition, and that is reflected in Newspoll. However, Ipsos polls have shown no difference between last election and respondent allocated preferences since Morrison became PM.




Read more:
Post-budget poll wrap: Coalition gets a bounce in Newspoll, but not in Ipsos or Essential


In economic news, the ABS reported on April 24 that there was zero inflation in the March quarter. While this was bad for the overall economy, it is good for consumers worried about the cost of living. Lower oil prices in late 2018 meant petrol prices fell in January, but have since increased.

YouGov Galaxy poll: 52-48 to Labor

A YouGov Galaxy poll for the Sunday News Ltd tabloids, conducted April 23-25 from a sample of 1,012, gave Labor a 52-48 lead, a one-point gain for the Coalition since late March. Primary votes were 37% Coalition (up two), 37% Labor (steady), 9% Greens (down one), 4% One Nation (down four), 4% UAP (steady) and 9% for all Others (up three). YouGov Galaxy also conducts Newspoll.

Voters were asked if they were impressed or unimpressed with the campaign performances of six party leaders, and all performed poorly. Morrison was the best with a 54-38 unimpressed score, Shorten had a 60-31 rating, Nationals leader Michael McCormack a 38-8 rating, Greens leader Richard Di Natale had a 44-13 unimpressed score, Pauline Hanson a 67-20 rating and Clive Palmer a horrible 69-17 unimpressed rating.

The many don’t knows for Di Natale and McCormack reflect that most people don’t know very much about them. While ratings for Morrison and Shorten would be based to some extent on their campaign performance, those for Hanson and Palmer are much more likely based on voters’ opinions of them before the campaign.

Palmer’s preference deal with the Coalition

Under a preference deal between Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party (UAP) and the Coalition, Palmer would direct preferences to the Coalition in House seats in return for Coalition preferences in the Senate. It is important to note that voters make the choices in both houses now, and can ignore preference recommendations.




Read more:
Grattan on Friday: All is forgiven in the Liberal embrace of Palmer


In 2013, Palmer recommended preferences to the Coalition in all seats, and they flowed to the Coalition by a 53.7-46.3 margin; his party won 5.5% of the national vote in the House. While this split was not more pro-Coalition, analyst Peter Brent suggests that Palmer voters were more inclined to preference Labor, and the preference recommendations had some impact.

If the UAP won 4% of the national vote and their preference recommendations convinced 10% of their voters who would otherwise preference Labor to preference the Coalition, the Coalition’s national two party vote would by 0.4% higher than otherwise.

However, this analysis ignores the risk of doing a deal with someone as disliked by the general public as Palmer. In a January Herbert seat Newspoll, 65% had a negative view of Palmer, and just 24% a positive view.




Read more:
Poll wrap: Coalition gains in first Newspoll of 2019, but big swings to Labor in Victorian seats; NSW is tied


So while a preference deal with Palmer could earn the Coalition some more preferences, it could also damage their overall primary vote, hurting them more than helping. Labor will attack Palmer over the sacked Queensland Nickel workers, and that could impact the Coalition’s support among people with a lower level of educational attainment.

Does early voting make a difference to the results?

Pre-poll voting booths for the election are open from today. Under Australia’s compulsory voting, people are required to vote, and those who vote early are unlikely to have voted differently if they voted on election day unless there was a dramatic late-campaign development. So there is likely to be little overall impact of early voting on the results. In voluntary voting systems like the US, early voting gives people who need to work on election day a greater opportunity to vote.




Read more:
Three weeks of early voting has a significant effect on democracy. Here’s why


If one party was trending up in the polls as election day approached, early voters will decide their vote earlier, and so the trend will also be reflected in early votes.

While early voting overall has little impact, the types of people who vote early can differ markedly from the election day vote. Big pre-poll booths will not report until very late on election night, and the results could change significantly depending on those booths – as happened in the October Wentworth byelection.




Read more:
Wentworth byelection called too early for Phelps as Liberals recover in late counting


The Conversation


Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Election tightens in Newspoll – Labor lead narrows to 51-49%


Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

The Coalition has made up ground in Newspoll, now trailing Labor by just 49-51%, compared with 48-52% a fortnight ago.

The tightening of the May 18 race, coming after Scott Morrison was seen to out-campaign Bill Shorten early on, will boost Coalition morale as pre-polling begins on Monday.

But both sides have lost support on their primary votes in the Newspoll, published in the Australian, while Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party is polling 5%, becoming the leading minor party behind the Greens.

Labor is down 2 points to 37%; the Coalition has fallen a point to 38%. The Greens remain on 9% and One Nation is static on 4%.

Shorten’s personal ratings are encouraging for him – he has had a 2 point rise to 39% in his satisfaction rating and reduced the gap on the better prime minister measure.

While Morrison still has a substantial lead as better PM, Shorten has increased his rating by 2 points to 37% and Morrison has fallen a point to 45%.

Morrison’s approval stayed on 45% while his disapproval was 46%, up 2 points, in the poll of 2136 voters taken Friday to Sunday.

Morrison and Shorten have arrived in Perth for Monday evening’s debate, their first face-to-face encounter of the campaign, which has under three weeks to run.

In a day of mega spending, Shorten on Sunday promised A$4 billion over three years to provide 887,000 families with relief on their child care costs; $2.4 billion over the forward estimates for a pensioner and seniors dental plan, and $537 million over the forward estimates to lift the pay of child care workers.




Read more:
Shorten promises $4 billion for child care, benefitting 887,000 families


Under Labor’s dental plan, age pensioners and those holding a Commonwealth seniors’ health card would be entitled to up to $1000 worth of free essential dental care every two years. Some three million people would be eligible under the plan, which would expand Medicare.

Shorten told a rally of volunteers in Melbourne: “Under a Labor government, after May 18 if you’re a pensioner or a seniors health care card holder your dental work will be backed by Medicare for the rest of your life. This is the fair go in action”.

Shorten said an ALP government over the next eight years would boost the average wage of child care workers by about $11,300. This would be on top of any rise in the award rate.

It would be “a 20% pay rise for the early educators because we value early education,” he said.

“This is an investment in quality early education, for good jobs and a strong economy of the future.

“And this is an investment in pay equity for a female-dominated industry. A fair reward for a workforce that has about 96% women, has been undervalued and underpaid for too long.”

Labor says the pay rise would not increase child care fees because the government would fully fund it.

In an initiative on cyber security the government is announcing it would to invest $156 million “to protect older Australians, small businesses and national security assets from the risk of cyber-attacks”.

A range of measures to combat cyber crime would include developing “a comprehensive online cyber security training program providing practical cyber advice for small businesses, older Australians and Australian families”.

The government says cybercrime costs the economy more than $1 billion a year.

In the vulnerable state of Victoria, the government is sandbagging the Liberal heartland seats of Higgins and Kooyong with a promise of $260 million to eliminate a level crossing on busy Glenferrie road in the suburb of Kooyong.

The project would take the train line under the road. The crossing is technically in Higgins but right on the border of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s seat of Kooyong. Frydenberg is being targeted by GetUp and various candidates especially on climate change.

In another Victorian seat, Flinders, Health Minister Greg Hunt has been dealt a blow by the decision of Liberal defector Julia Banks to preference Labor ahead of him.

Coalition campaign spokesman Simon Birmingham on Sunday accused her of walking away from her principles. “You’ve really got to wonder about the various positions of Julia Banks, who was until not that long ago urging people to vote Liberal and now is suggesting she will preference Labor. […] I think it shows gross inconsistency on her part”.




Read more:
View from The Hill: Palmer flypaper sticky for both sides


Clive Palmer on Monday is due to formally announce his preference deal with the Liberal party.

The debate about the debates has continued with Morrison wanting the third debate to be hosted by the ABC next week, on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday nights.The Conversation

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Poll wrap: Palmer’s party has good support in Newspoll seat polls, but is it realistic?



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Support for Clive Palmer’s UAP in recent polls is likely overstated.
AAP/Dave Hunt

Adrian Beaumont, University of Melbourne

With 23 days to go until the May 18 election, Newspoll had seat polls of Herbert, Lindsay, Deakin and Pearce. All four polls were conducted April 20 from samples of 500-620. Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party (UAP) had the support of 5% in Deakin, 7% in Lindsay, 8% in Pearce and 14% in Herbert.

Seat polls are notoriously unreliable. In addition, the UAP has clearly been added to the party readout in these seats. Pollsters regularly ask for Labor, the Coalition, the Greens and One Nation. All other voters are grouped as “Others”, although a follow-up question can be asked – if Other, which other?

The strongest indication that UAP support is overstated in these seat polls is that the all Others vote is unrealistically low in three of the four seats polled. In Herbert, Pearce and Deakin, all Others are at just 2%, while they are 8% in Lindsay. It is likely that many of those who will vote for Others at the election said they would vote for the UAP as that party was in the readout.

Herbert was tied at 59-50, unchanged from the 2016 election. In Lindsay, Labor was ahead by 51-49, also unchanged. The Liberals led by 51-49 in Deakin, but this was a solid swing to Labor from 56.4-43.6 to the Liberals at the 2016 election. In Pearce, there was a 50-50 tie (53.6-46.4 to Liberals at the 2016 election).

Primary votes in Herbert were 31% LNP, 29% Labor, 14% UAP, 10% Katter’s Australian Party, 9% One Nation and 5% Greens. In Deakin, primary votes were 46% Liberals, 39% Labor, 8% Greens and 5% UAP. In Pearce, primary votes were 40% Liberals, 36% Labor, 8% Greens, 8% UAP and 6% One Nation. In Lindsay, primary votes were 41% Liberals, 40% Labor, 7% UAP and 4% Greens.

Relative to the national swing, Labor is expected to struggle in the Townsville-based seat of Herbert due to the Adani coal mine issue. In Lindsay, the retirement of Labor MP Emma Husar in controversial circumstances may have made it vulnerable.

Bad ReachTEL seat polls for Labor in Bass and Corangamite

There were two ReachTEL seat polls conducted last week from samples of 780-850. In the Labor-held Tasmanian seat of Bass, the Liberals had a 54-46 lead. In the Victorian seat of Corangamite, which is on no margin following a redistribution, the Liberals led by 52-48. The Bass poll was conducted for the Australian Forest Products Association, and the Corangamite poll for The Geelong Advertiser.

Bass and Tasmania have an older demographic than Australia overall. I wrote last week that, according to Newspoll data, those aged 50 or over are best for the Coalition. Corangamite also has an older demographic than the country overall.




Read more:
Poll wrap: Labor maintains its lead in Newspoll, while One Nation drops; NSW upper house finalised


Labor won Bass by 56.1-43.9 at the 2016 election, a 10.1% swing to Labor. But at the 2013 election, Bass was the best of the five Tasmanian seats for the Liberals, and this also occurred at the March 2018 state election. Labor’s big 2016 swing may have been caused by the unpopularity of hard-right Liberal MP Andrew Nikolic. In the July 2018 federal byelections, Labor had an underwhelming victory in Bass’s neigbouring seat, Braddon.

While seat polls are unreliable, the Corangamite and Bass polls are evidence that, as reported by The Poll Bludger originally from The Australian Financial Review, Scott Morrison appears to have a greater appeal to blue-collar and outer suburban voters than Malcolm Turnbull, and this has helped the Coalition in seats like Bass and Corangamite.

One Nation to contest 59 of the 151 House seats

Nominations for the election were declared this week. Labor, the Coalition, the Greens and the UAP will contest all 151 House seats. One Nation will contest 59 seats, with Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party running in 48 seats, Animal Justice in 46 and the Christian Democrats in 42.

Until now, national pollsters have assumed One Nation was running in all seats for their polls. With One Nation only running in 39% of seats, most pollsters will reduce their national vote. This reduction may assist the Coalition on primary votes.

In the Senate, a quota for election is one-seventh of the vote, or 14.3%. Labor, the Greens and the Coalition are likely to be in the mix for the final seats in every state. It is possible that the small right-wing parties, such as Anning’s party, the UAP, the Australian Conservatives and Christian Democrats, could cause seats that should go to the right to go to the left instead if they do not tightly preference each other, One Nation and the Coalition.

Voters are told to number six boxes above the line for a formal vote, though only one number is actually required. At the NSW state election, left-wing micro-party voters preferenced more than right-wing micro-party voters, resulting in Animal Justice easily winning the final upper house seat.




Read more:
Poll wrap: Labor maintains its lead in Newspoll, while One Nation drops; NSW upper house finalised


At the federal election, it will be clear that left-wing micro-party supporters need to preference Labor and the Greens in their top six. It will be clear for right-wing micro supporters to preference the Coalition in the top six, but it is not likely to be clear which other right-wing party to preference.The Conversation

Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Poll wrap: Labor maintains its lead in Newspoll, while One Nation drops; NSW upper house finalised



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With the election season now under way, Labor has retained its lead over the Coalition in the latest Newspoll, though Bill Shorten’s approval rating has not improved.
Lukas Coch/AAP

Adrian Beaumont, University of Melbourne

With five weeks until the May 18 election, this week’s Newspoll, conducted April 11-14 from a sample of 1,700 people, gave Labor a 52-48 lead, unchanged since last week. Primary votes were 39% Coalition (up one), 39% Labor (up two), 9% Greens (steady) and 4% One Nation (down two) – One Nation’s lowest primary vote since November 2016.

While the two-party figure was unchanged, this poll is better for Labor than last week’s Newspoll, with Labor gaining two points in primary votes from One Nation’s drop. If we assess this poll as total right-wing vs total left-wing vote, the left (Labor and Greens) gained two points to stand at 48%, while the right (Coalition and One Nation) lost one point to fall to 43%. Analyst Kevin Bonham said this Newspoll was probably rounded towards the Coalition.

One Nation’s drop is likely the result of increased polarisation between the major parties. If One Nation had been affected by the NRA donations scandal, it would have shown up in last week’s polls.

Nominations for the federal election will be declared on April 24. It is unlikely that One Nation will contest the vast majority of lower house seats. Polling conducted after April 24 is likely to greatly reduce One Nation’s vote as they will no longer be an option for most Australians in the lower house. This reduction of One Nation’s vote may assist the Coalition on primary votes.

In the Newspoll, 45% of respondents were satisfied with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s performance (steady), and 44% were dissatisfied (up one), for a net approval of +1. Labor leader Bill Shorten’s net approval was steady at -14. Morrison led Shorten by an unchanged 46-35 as better PM.

Since Malcolm Turnbull was ousted as prime minister in August 2018, the Coalition has recovered from a 56-44 deficit in Newspoll to 52-48 this week, due partly to the time that’s passed since the spill and partly to the relative popularity of Morrison.

Now that the election campaign is formally under way, some attention will shift to the opposition’s policies and proposals. The danger for Labor is the Coalition can scare voters about its economic policies, but the potential reward is that Labor can appeal to voters who are frustrated by the Coalition’s perceived inaction on climate change and low wage growth.




Read more:
Post-budget poll wrap: Coalition gets a bounce in Newspoll, but not in Ipsos or Essential


Large difference in voting intentions by age group

Every three months, Newspoll aggregates all the polls it conducted from that time period to get voting intention breakdowns by state, age, gender and region (the five capital cities vs the rest of Australia). For January to March, the overall result was 53-47 to Labor, a point better for Labor than the last two Newspolls.

This three-month Newspoll showed a large difference in voting intentions by age group. Among those aged 18-34, Labor had 46% of the primary vote, the Coalition 28%, the Greens 14% and One Nation 4%. Among those aged 35-49, it was Labor 39%, Coalition 35%, Greens 9% and One Nation 7%. And among those aged 50 or over, the Coalition had 44%, Labor 35%, One Nation 6% and Greens 5%.

It is still important to poll well with this oldest demographic. According to the 2016 census, those aged 18-34 represent 30.3% of the eligible voting age population and those aged 35-49 represent 26.0%. The share of the voting-age population aged 50 or over, however, is 43.7%.

Results by gender were similar. Men gave Labor 40% of the primary vote, the Coalition 37%, the Greens 7% and One Nation 6%. With women, Labor had 39%, the Coalition 37%, the Greens 10% and One Nation 6%. After preferences, Labor would be doing about one point better with women than men.

The best source for state voting intentions is The Poll Bludger’s BludgerTrack. Perhaps reflecting the Coalition’s victory in the recent NSW election, federal Labor’s lead over the Coalition in that state has been reduced to just 50.1-49.9 from about 54-46 in the last few weeks. This is about a 0.6% swing in Labor’s favour from 2016.

Labor has maintained a larger lead in most other states, however. In Victoria, Labor leads by 55.1-44.9, a 3.2% swing to Labor since 2016. In Queensland, Labor leads by 52.0-48.0, a 6.1% swing to Labor. In SA, Labor leads by 55.7-44.3, a 3.4% swing to Labor.

In WA, the Coalition still leads by 51.0-49.0, but this is a 3.6% swing in Labor’s favour from 2016.

Nationally, BludgerTrack gives Labor a 52.5-47.5 lead, a 2.8% swing to Labor.

One Nation wins two seats in the NSW upper house

In the March 23 NSW election, 21 members of the upper house were elected by statewide proportional representation, with a quota of 1/22 of the vote, or 4.55%.

The Coalition won 7.66 quotas, Labor 6.53, the Greens 2.14, One Nation 1.52, the Shooters, Fishers & Farmers 1.22, the Christian Democrats 0.50, the Liberal Democrats 0.48, Animal Justice 0.43 and Keep Sydney Open 0.40.

The Coalition was certain to win an eighth seat, and Labor and One Nation were best placed for two other seats. On preferences, Animal Justice overtook the Liberal Democrats, Christian Democrats and One Nation to win the second-to-last seat, with One Nation’s second candidate, Rod Roberts, defeating the Christian Democrats for the final seat.

It is the first time since 1981 that the Christian Democrats have failed to win a seat in the NSW upper house. David Leyonhjelm, who resigned from the Senate to run as the lead Liberal Democrat candidate in NSW, did not win.

The Coalition now holds 17 of the 42 total upper house seats (down three), Labor 14 (up two), the Greens four (down one), the Shooters two (steady), One Nation two (up two), Animal Justice two (up one) and the Christian Democrats one (down one). One Green member, Justin Field, resigned from the party, and is now an independent.

Overall, the right now holds 22 of the 42 seats. On legislation opposed by the left-wing parties, the Coalition will require support from One Nation, the Shooters and Christian Democrats.




Read more:
Coalition wins a third term in NSW with few seats changing hands


Brexit likely delayed until at least October 31

The European Union leaders have decided to delay Brexit until at least October 31. Without a majority for any plausible Brexit option, the House of Commons could only vote to delay Brexit to prevent a no-deal departure from the EU, but this delay will likely not appeal to the general public or “leave” voters.

Two new polls have the Conservatives slumping to just 28-29% of the UK vote, 4-7 points behind Labour.The Conversation

Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Labor maintains 52-48% lead in Newspoll as vote polarises


Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

Labor has retained a two-party 52-48% lead in the latest Newspoll, taken after Scott Morrison called the election last Thursday.

Both Labor and the Coalition increased their primary votes and are now equal on 39%. Labor was up 2 points and the Coalition rose a point, compared with the previous poll published a week ago.

The Newspoll, in Monday’s Australian, shows signs of the vote polarising as the campaign formally starts for the May 18 election.

One Nation – which has had a spate of bad publicity since revelations about its canvassing of the US gun lobby – has fallen 2 points to 4%, and support for “others” was down a point to 9%. The Greens are stable on 9%.

Morrison has maintained an 11-point lead over Bill Shorten as better prime minister. There was virtually no change in the leaders’ approval ratings.

The results represent a 2.4% swing against the Coalition from the last election – which, if uniform, would elect a Shorten government.

The total vote for independents and minor parties including the Greens was 22%, compared with a peak of 29% in mid 2017. The April 11-14 poll surveyed 1697 voters.

join The Conversation in Melbourne

Speaking in Brisbane on Sunday, Morrison pushed the theme that Labor could not “manage money”, declaring that “if you can’t manage money, then you can’t run the country”.

“If you can’t manage money, you can’t run health system. If you can’t manage money, you can’t run an education system. If you can’t manage money, you can’t create jobs for young people.

“If you can’t manage money, you can’t combat youth suicide. You can’t go out there and change the lives for Australians living with disabilities. You can’t go out there and stand with parents while they are working to try and change the life of their kids who are struggling with eating disorder.

“You can’t go out there and actually make the environment the beautiful thing we want it to be for everybody in this country,” Morrison said.

Addressing a rally of volunteers in Sydney, Shorten said the election was “a choice between better hospitals and better schools – or bigger tax loopholes for the top end of town”.

Labor would make multinationals pay their fair share of tax, end the intergenerational bias in the tax system, and close the unfair, unsustainable loopholes the top end of town used, he said.

“And I have to say this: if you are getting a tax credit when you haven’t paid any income tax, this is a gift. […] It is a gift lifted from the taxes paid by working class and middle class people in Australia today.

“It is a gift that is eating our budget. It’s now costing our nation over $6 billion this year, and pretty soon will cost $8 billion.

“And if all of this talk of billions is too much, perhaps think of it in the following way:

“Two minutes’ worth of the gift, the money that flows out of this one loophole, two minutes out of 365 days, could pay for someone’s knee replacement surgery.

“Ten minutes worth of the gift is enough to employ a nurse, full-time, for a year.

“In one hour, this loophole alone could pay for a hospital bed, for a whole year.”The Conversation

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Post-budget poll wrap: Coalition gets a bounce in Newspoll, but not in Ipsos or Essential


Adrian Beaumont, University of Melbourne

Six weeks before an expected May 18 election, this week’s Newspoll, conducted April 4-7 from a sample of 1,800, gave Labor a 52-48 lead. That’s a two-point gain for the Coalition since the last Newspoll, conducted four weeks ago, owing to the NSW election and the budget. This Newspoll has the narrowest Labor lead since Scott Morrison replaced Malcolm Turnbull.

An Ipsos poll for Nine newspapers, conducted April 3-6 from a sample of 1,200, gave Labor a 53-47 lead, a two-point gain for Labor since mid-February. While Ipsos was better for Labor, the February Ipsos was the infamous 51-49 after the Medevac bill passed.




Read more:
Poll wrap: Labor’s lead narrows to just 51-49 in Ipsos, but is it an outlier?


Primary votes in Newspoll were 38% Coalition (up two), 37% Labor (down two), 9% Greens (steady) and 6% One Nation (down one). In Ipsos, primary votes were 37% Coalition (down one), 34% Labor (up one), 13% Greens (steady) and 5% One Nation (steady). Rounding probably assisted the Coalition on two party in February, and assisted Labor this time. As usual, the Greens vote in Ipsos is too high, and Labor’s too low.

Respondent allocated preferences in Ipsos were also 53-47 to Labor, and there has been no difference between respondent and previous election methods in Ipsos since Morrison replaced Turnbull. Under Turnbull, respondent preferences were usually better for the Coalition.

In Newspoll, 45% were satisfied with Morrison’s performance (up two), and 43% were dissatisfied (down two), for a net approval of +2, Morrison’s best since October. Bill Shorten’s net approval rose one point to -14, his best since January. Morrison led Shorten by 46-35 as better PM (43-36 four weeks ago).

In Ipsos, Morrison’s approval and disapproval were both down a point, to 48% and 39% respectively. Shorten’s net approval fell three points to -15. Morrison led Shorten by 46-35 as better PM (48-38 in February).

There are three questions Newspoll has asked after every budget since 1988: whether the budget was good or bad for the economy, good or bad for you personally, and whether the opposition would have delivered a better budget.

44% thought the budget good for the economy and just 18% bad; the +26 net score is the best for a budget since 2008. 34% thought they would be better off, and 19% worse off; the net +15 score is the best since 2007. In better news for Labor, by 45-37 voters thought Labor would not have delivered a better budget; this -8 score is the third best for Labor under a Coalition government, just one point less than in 2014 and 2018.




Read more:
Infographic: Budget 2019 at a glance


In Ipsos, by 41-29 voters thought the budget was fair, the +12 net is the best since 2015. 38% thought they would be better off and 24% worse off, the +14 net is the same as in 2018. By 42-25, voters thought Labor had better policies on climate change than the Coalition.

The 2018 budget was also well received, and the Coalition had its best polling of the current term during the period surrounding that budget. Six of the eight Newspolls conducted from late April 2018 to August gave Labor just a 51-49 lead, before the Coalition crashed to a 56-44 deficit after Turnbull’s ousting.

While last week appealed to the Coalition’s perceived strength on overall economic management, wage growth and climate change, which are perceived as weaknesses for the Coalition, are likely to be important during the election campaign. Attacks on Labor’s economic policies, such as their plan to abolish franking credit cash refunds, give the Coalition its best chance to win.

After revelations that One Nation solicited donations from the US National Rifle Association, some would have expected their vote to crash, but it has held up well.

In economic news, on March 21 the ABS announced that 4,600 jobs were added in February, well down from the over 39,000 added in January. While the unemployment rate decreased 0.1% to 4.9%, this was a result of lower workforce participation.

The Westpac March consumer confidence index, taken in the week the weak GDP report was released, fell 4.8 points from February to 98.8. House prices have continued to fall.

Essential: 52-48 to Labor

This week’s Essential poll, conducted April 4-7 from a sample of 1,069, gave Labor a 52-48 lead, unchanged from last fortnight. Primary votes were 38% Coalition (down one), 35% Labor (down one), 11% Greens (up one) and 5% One Nation (down two). Essential has tended to be worse for Labor than Newspoll since Morrison became PM.

By 51-27, voters approved of the budget; the +24 net is higher than the +16 net in 2018 or +8 net in 2017. Over 75% agreed with the infrastructure spending program and tax rebates for workers earning up to $90,000. By 26-20, voters thought the budget was good for them personally, a reversal from last fortnight’s pre-budget poll, when voters thought the budget would be bad for them personally by 34-19.

The Coalition was trusted over Labor to manage the economy overall by 44-29, but Labor was ahead by 45-31 on managing the economy in the interests of working people.

I wrote on my personal website about last fortnight’s Essential poll that gave Labor a 52-48 lead. Questions about views of world leaders had Theresa May’s ratings tanking since these questions were last asked in July 2018.

In pre-budget polling, a YouGov Galaxy poll for the News Ltd tabloids gave Labor a 53-47 lead. State breakdowns of primary votes suggested that the NSW election defeat had an impact on federal Labor’s NSW vote.

NSW election upper house late counting

With 68% of enrolled voters in the NSW upper house check counted, the Coalition has 7.9 quotas, Labor 6.5, the Greens 2.1, One Nation 1.5, the Shooters 1.1, the Christian Democrats 0.5, the Liberal Democrats 0.5, Keep Sydney Open 0.4 and Animal Justice 0.4.

Out of the 21 seats up for election, eight Coalition, six Labor, two Greens, one One Nation and one Shooter are certain to win. By also using the now complete initial count, analyst Kevin Bonham currently thinks two seats will go to Labor and One Nation, and the final seat is in doubt between the Liberal Democrats, Christian Democrats, Keep Sydney Open and Animal Justice.




Read more:
Coalition wins a third term in NSW with few seats changing hands


European leaders’ summit on April 10 to decide on Brexit

On April 12, the UK is currently scheduled to leave the European Union, with or without a deal. With no deal likely by then, an April 10 European leaders’ summit will decide whether to grant the UK a long extension to Brexit.

I wrote about this summit for The Poll Bludger on April 6, and on March 30, I wrote about the 58-vote Commons defeat of Theresa May’s Brexit deal.The Conversation

Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Coalition narrows gap to trail 48-52% in post-budget Newspoll


Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

The government has narrowed the gap in the post-budget Newspoll, now trailing 48-52% in two-party terms, compared with the 46-54% margin a month ago.

As Scott Morrison readies to call the election, with speculation he will announce next weekend for May 18, he has also increased his lead over Bill Shorten as better prime minister in Newspoll, published in Monday’s Australian. Morrison’s rating has risen by 3 points to 46% and Shorten’s has declined by a point to 35%, with the gap now 11 points.

The Coalition’s primary vote is up 2 points to 38% in the poll, while Labor is down 2 points to 37%.

Meanwhile in an Ipsos poll in Nine newspapers, Labor leads 53-47% in two-party terms, an improvement for the opposition from the last poll in February when the gap was 51-49% in the ALP’s favour.

Morrison leads Shorten 46-35% as preferred prime minister in the Ipsos poll, which was taken after the budget and largely after Shorten’s reply.

Both polls showed the budget, which contained tax cuts and forecast a surplus for next financial year, has been received favourably by voters.

Newspoll found people ranked it the best budget in a decade and the most likely to give cost of living relief and improve their personal circumstances since the Howard government’s last budget in 2007.

In the Ipsos poll, 38% thought they would be better off as a result of the budget compared with 24% who believed they would be worse off. The budget also scored positively on the measure of fairness, Ipsos found: 41% thought it fair, compared to 29% who believed it was unfair.

While the election is considered most likely to be on May 18, after the government let the option of May 11 pass, May 25 is still an option.

The government says May 11 would have maximised the complication of the public holidays (Easter, Anzac Day). But more importantly, delaying the start of the formal campaign gives the Coalition extra time to run its taxpayer-funded advertising, as well as to tie up loose ends before the caretaker period and bed down its arrangements.

Morrison could have called the election at the weekend for May 18 but that would have cut off the government’s access to publicly-funded advertising.

But the downside is that it has to endure the unpredictability of Senate estimates hearings this week.

The ALP will have its campaign headquarters at Parramatta up and running on Monday. Shorten will be in Brisbane on Monday and spend much of the week talking about health in the wake of his promise last week of $2.3 billion to slash out-of-pocket costs for cancer sufferers.

Shorten said the government was buying time “to pump up their own tyres” with advertising. “If they’ve got some spare money in Treasury, they should be spending on services for kids with cancer”.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese said the only reason Morrison had not called the election already was so the government could continue its rollout of taxpayer-funded advertising.

“They are spending around about $680,000 a day on advertising,” he said on Sky.

He said Morrison should either immediately call the election or commit to stopping all taxpayer-funded advertising now “because this is an outrageous abuse during what we all know is the caretaker period in reality”.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg would not give a figure for the spending this week but told the ABC “money is being spent in accordance with approved processes and that’s all transparent […] all of that information will be available”.

Morrison said Shorten’s impatience about the election not being called was “born of arrogance”.

“The election will be called in April and the election will be held in May. We’re not doing this with any haste and we’re not doing it with any delay. There have always been three dates, the 11th, the 18th and 25th.”

The Ipsos poll showed Labor with a strong margin on climate change. Asked whether Labor or the Coalition had the best policy on climate change 42% said Labor, and 25% said the Coalition. But about a third did not know.

Labor released its climate policy early last week, including an ambitious target of electric cars forming 50% of all new car sales by 2030. The government has been raising scares and deriding the electric car policy. Morrison said on Sunday: “Bill Shorten wants to end the weekend, when it comes to his policy on electric vehicles, where you’ve got Australians who love being out there in their four wheel drives. He wants to say ‘see ya later’ to the SUV when it comes to the choices of Australians”.




Read more:
Shorten’s climate policy would hit more big polluters harder and set electric car target


Nine has reported Liberal sources saying internal Liberal Party polling is “diabolically bad” for Tony Abbott in Warringah, with Abbott facing a 12% swing. The challenge to Abbott is coming from independent Zali Steggall.The Conversation

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Poll wrap: Labor gains in Newspoll after weak economic report; Labor barely ahead in NSW



File 20190312 86717 nfzbgs.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
The Coalition government has had another rocky fortnight, and the polls show it is behind on a two-party preferred basis.
AAP/Dean Lewins

Adrian Beaumont, University of Melbourne

About two months from the expected May election date, this week’s Newspoll, conducted March 7-10 from a sample of 1,610, gave Labor a 54-46 lead, a one-point gain for Labor since last fortnight. Primary votes were 39% Labor (steady), 36% Coalition (down one), 9% Greens (steady) and 7% One Nation (up two).

This Newspoll is the Coalition’s 50th successive Newspoll loss. The closest they have come to breaking that losing streak was a run of four consecutive 51-49 results from July to early August 2018 before Malcolm Turnbull was dumped. This Newspoll reverses the gains the Coalition had made to close the gap to 53-47 from 55-45 in November and December.

Despite the Coalition’s woes on voting intentions, Scott Morrison remains relatively popular. 43% were satisfied with his performance (up one), and 45% were dissatisfied (down three), for a net approval of -2. Bill Shorten’s net approval was up three points to -15. Morrison led Shorten as better PM by 43-36 (44-35 last fortnight).

I believe Morrison’s relative popularity is because he has not yet proposed something that would make him unpopular, in the way Tony Abbott did with the May 2014 budget, and his January 2015 knighting of Prince Philip. Turnbull was very unpopular with the hard right, and their hatred of him damaged his overall ratings.

During the election campaign, Labor will attempt to tie Morrison to unpopular Coalition policies, and this could impact his ratings.

The last fortnight has not been good for the Coalition with the retirements of Christopher Pyne and Steve Ciobo, infighting within the Nationals, and Turnbull and Julie Bishop saying they could have beaten Shorten if they were the leader.

While these events may have had an impact, I believe the Coalition’s biggest problem is weak economic data. On March 6, the ABS reported that Australia’s GDP grew 0.2% in the December quarter after the September quarter GDP was up 0.3%. In per capita terms, GDP growth was negative in both the September and December quarters, meaning Australia has had its first per capita GDP recession since 2006.

In the December quarter, wages grew by 0.5%, matching the rate of inflation in that quarter. The Coalition already has a problem with well-educated voters owing to their perceived lack of climate change policies and the removal of Turnbull – see my personal website for where I thought Morrison could have problems. With good wages growth and a strong economy, the Coalition may have been able to compensate with less educated voters.




Read more:
Poll wrap: Newspoll steady at 53-47 despite boats, and Abbott and Dutton trailing in their seats


With neither a strong economy nor good wages growth, I believe the Coalition’s only realistic chance of re-election is a massive scare campaign against Labor’s economic policies, such as the proposal to abolish franking credit cash refunds.

Essential: 53-47 to Labor

This week’s Essential poll, conducted March 6-11 from a sample of 1,080, gave Labor a 53-47 lead, a one-point gain for Labor that validates Newspoll’s movement. Primary votes were 38% Labor (up one), 37% Coalition (down one), 8% Greens (down one) and 7% One Nation (up one). According to The Poll Bludger, this is the worst result for the Greens from any pollster since September 2016.

Morrison’s net approval was +2, down two points since January. Shorten’s net approval was -6, up six points. Morrison led Shorten by 44-31 as better PM (42-30 in January).

62% thought climate change is happening and is caused by human activity (down one since October). 51% thought Australia is not doing enough to address climate change (down two since December). By 52-48, voters thought the reopening of Christmas Island reflected genuine concern about boats arriving, rather than a political ploy; there was no undecided option in this question.

On issue questions, the Liberals led Labor by 19 points on border protection, 16 points on national security and 15 points on economic management. Labor was 18 points ahead on the important issue of safeguarding fair wages and conditions, and had 7-9 point leads on climate change, the environment, health, education and housing affordability.

NSW Newspoll: 50-50 tie, ReachTEL: 51-49 to Labor, plus seat polls

The New South Wales election will be held on March 23. A Newspoll, conducted March 8-11 from a sample of 1,003, had a 50-50 tie, unchanged since late January. A uComms/ReachTEL poll for The Sun-Herald, conducted March 7 from a sample of 1,019, gave Labor a 51-49 lead, unchanged since the last NSW ReachTEL poll in late November.

Primary votes in ReachTEL were 28.7% Liberals (down 3.4%), 7.0% Nationals (up 2.6%), 34.1% Labor (steady), 9.6% Greens (steady), 5.6% One Nation (down 1.9%), 4.6% Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (up 1.3%), 5.8% for all Others (steady) and 4.7% undecided (up 1.6%). After excluding undecided, The Poll Bludger has primary votes of 37.5% Coalition, 35.8% Labor, 10.1% Greens, 5.9% One Nation and 4.8% Shooters.

The drop for the Liberals but gain for the Nationals suggests that the Coalition could perform relatively badly in Sydney, but better in the country. According to the ABC’s Antony Green, the Shooters will be contesting 25 of the 93 lower house seats, and One Nation just 12, so both parties’ support will be overstated in this statewide poll.

In Newspoll, primary votes were 40% Coalition (up one), 36% Labor (steady) and 10% Greens (steady). In the January NSW Newspoll, One Nation had 6%, but they have been excluded from the current poll as they are not contesting many seats. The exclusion of One Nation probably assisted the Coalition.




Read more:
Poll wrap: Coalition gains in first Newspoll of 2019, but big swings to Labor in Victorian seats; NSW is tied


44% were satisfied with Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s performance in Newspoll (up three), and 38% were dissatisfied (down five), for a net approval of +6. Opposition Leader Michael Daley’s net approval improved seven points to -1. Berejiklian led Daley by 41-34 as better Premier (44-31 in January).

Daley led Berejiklian as better Premier in ReachTEL by 53.3-46.7 (54.2-45.8 in November). ReachTEL’s forced choice better PM/Premier questions are usually better for opposition leaders than other polls. Voters opposed the government’s plans for Sydney sports stadiums by 52-37. By 48-43, voters thought that Labor was not ready to govern.

There were two YouGov Galaxy seat polls for The Daily Telegraph conducted February 28. East Hills was tied at 50-50 (50.4-49.6 to Liberal in 2015). Ryde had a 53-47 Liberal lead (61.5-38.5 to Liberal in 2015). Last week, there was also a national Greenpeace ReachTEL poll that gave Labor a 53-47 lead by respondent preferences. You can read more about these polls on my personal website.

The Daily Telegraph has seat polls of Lismore and Barwon conducted last week from samples of 500-600 by YouGov Galaxy. In Barwon, the Nationals lead the Shooters by just 51-49; the Nationals won 62.9% vs Labor in 2015.

In Lismore, Labor leads the Nationals by 51-49 (50.2-49.8 to Nationals in 2015). Primary votes were 35% Nationals (42.5% in 2015), 28% Greens (26.4%) and 27% Labor (25.6%). Even though NSW uses optional preferential voting, primary votes changes suggest an easier win for one of the left parties than 51-49. Seat polls have been very unreliable at past elections.

Key Brexit Commons votes this week

From March 12-14, the UK House of Commons will vote on PM Theresa May’s Brexit deal, whether the UK should leave without a deal, on delaying Brexit beyond the scheduled March 29 exit date, and on an amendment that would lead to a second referednum. Votes will occur in the early morning March 13-15 Melbourne time.

You can read my preview of these votes on The Poll Bludger. On February 28, I had a more general article about Brexit published by The Poll Bludger, which explained Labour’s recent slump in the UK polls.The Conversation

Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

ALP widens Newspoll lead to 54-46%, as Liberals choose conservative successor to Bishop



File 20190310 86703 1369l09.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
The latest Newspoll comes as the Liberals in Curtin on Sunday selected.
Celia Hammond as the candidate for Julie Bishop’s safe.
Western Australian seat.
University of Notre Dame

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

The ALP has increased its two-party lead to 54-46%, in the 50th consecutive Newspoll the Coalition had lost.

The worsening Coalition performance, from 47-53% in the last three Newspolls, comes after last week’s sluggish economic figures and amid more bickering on the conservative side of politics, including pot shots from former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and leadership instability in the Nationals.

The Coalition primary vote was one point down to 36%; the Labor vote was steady on 39%. One Nation was up 2 to 7% and the Greens remained on 9%. The poll was taken Thursday to Sunday.

The two-party swing is 4.4%; the government would be defeated with a loss of some 18 seats if the swing was on a uniform basis.

Scott Morrison continues to lead Bill Shorten as better prime minister in the poll, published in Monday’s Australian, but the gap has narrowed by 2 points to a margin of 43-36%.

In relative terms, there was little change in the leaders’ approval ratings.

Morrison had a 4 point boost in his net rating, with satisfaction in his performance rising a point to 43% and dissatisfaction falling 3 points to 45%.

Shorten had a one point increase in his satisfaction rating to 36%, and a 2 point fall in dissatisfaction to 51%.

The latest Newspoll comes as the Liberals in Curtin on Sunday selected Celia Hammond, 50, a conservative, as the candidate for the safe Western Australian seat, being vacated at the election by former foreign minister Julie Bishop.

The result is a rebuff to Bishop, who on Saturday had indicated she wanted a moderate to succeed her, saying “I find most electorates tend to elect someone who reflects their views, and so with Curtin it is
seen as a moderate electorate”.

Bishop had been known to favour foreign affairs expert Erin Watson-Lynn, although she had distanced herself from the contest. Bishop immediately tweeted her congratulations to Hammond.

The preselection of Hammond, former vice-chancellor of Notre Dame University, is a victory for Senate leader and WA Liberal power broker Mathias Cormann and other conservatives in the state party.

Hammond beat Anna Dartnell, a resources executive, 51-28 with the other three candidates receiving only one vote each.

A centre-right independent, Louise Stewart, described as a “multimillionaire businesswomen”, has announced she will run for Curtin. She said voters in the seat were unhappy at how the Liberals had treated Bishop.

A poll released on Sunday by The Australia Institute, a progressive think tank, which asked people which current and former ministers they had heard of, found Bishop the best known.

In the poll of more than 1500 people, 82% had heard of her, followed by 77% for Morrison, 73% for Barnaby Joyce, former Nationals leader, and 68% for Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.

Only 39% had heard of Treasurer Joish Frydenberg, while just 28% had heard of Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Michael McCormack.

McCormack’s leadership is currently under pressure, with Joyce attempting a comeback and some Nationals believing there should be a change even before the election.

One of the arguments being run against McCormack is that he is not cutting through to voters. Some Queensland Nationals are also agitated that the government has not announced financial support for a coal-fired power project.

McCormack stirred fresh controversy at the weekend when, attacking Labor’s 45% emissions reduction target, he said it would mean “forget night footy, forget night cricket, and you’ll have pensioners turning off their power because they won’t be able to afford it, and they will be shivering all winter, and they’ll be melting all summer”.

Linda Reynolds, recently promoted to cabinet, stumbled badly on Sunday in an interview on Sky when she rejected a quote about flexible wages, thinking it was from Shorten, only to embrace it when told it had been said by Cormann.

She was also confused on what the government’s policy was on underwriting coal-fired projects.

Meanwhile in the NSW election campaign, the state government is trying to minimise the degree to which the unpopularity of the federal government rubs off on it.

Morrison was present at the campaign launch of Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Sunday but was not a speaker. This contrasted with the launch of NSW Labor leader Michael Daley, also on Sunday, where Shorten gave an address.

Morrison said later: “It’s an all-state affair today, neither the former prime minister John Howard or I spoke”.The Conversation

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Poll wrap: Newspoll steady at 53-47 despite boats, and Abbott and Dutton trailing in their seats



File 20190226 150712 e0grr4.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
A fierce battle over the medevac legislation has not affected the polls, which continue to show Labor with an election-winning lead.
AAP/Mick Tsikas

Adrian Beaumont, University of Melbourne

This week’s Newspoll, conducted February 21-24 from a sample of 1,590, gave Labor a 53-47 lead, unchanged on last fortnight. Primary votes were also unchanged, with Labor on 39%, the Coalition 37%, the Greens 9% and One Nation 5%.

This Newspoll contradicts last week’s Ipsos, which had the gap closing to just 51-49. The better news for the Coalition is that this is the third Newspoll in a row with Labor’s lead at 53-47; the last three Newspolls of 2018 all had a 55-45 Labor lead.

The Ipsos poll last week will be regarded as an outlier, but another explanation is that the Coalition undid its effective boats campaign with revelations of scandals regarding Helloworld.

I wrote last Friday that the September 11 terrorist attacks had far more impact on the 2001 election than the Tampa incident, implying that the new boats campaign is unlikely to damage Labor.




Read more:
2001 polls in review: September 11 influenced election outcome far more than Tampa incident


In the latest Newspoll, 42% were satisfied with Scott Morrison’s performance (down one), and 48% were dissatisfied (up three), for a net approval of -6. Bill Shorten’s net approval fell three points to -18, his worst since September. Morrison’s better PM lead was unchanged at 44-35.

The electorate was more polarised on best leader to handle issue questions, and this assisted Morrison. Morrison led Shorten by 52-34 on the economy (48-33 last fortnight). He led by 50-28 on national security (47-27 in October). He led by 51-31 on asylum seekers (47-29 in October).

Newspoll used to ask for party best able to handle issues, rather than leader, but have not done so for a long time. I believe Labor would be more competitive on these issues than Shorten, as Morrison’s incumbency advantage would have less impact on such a question. The issues asked about are also strong for the Coalition. Shorten would do better on the environment, health and education.

I wrote last fortnight that the Coalition’s better polling this year is probably due to a greater distance from the events of last August and the relative popularity of Morrison. While Morrison’s ratings slipped this week, his net approval is still in the negative single digits rather than double digits. The difficulty for Morrison is that his party’s policies are generally disliked.




Read more:
Poll wrap: Labor maintains Newspoll lead but Morrison’s ratings up, and Abbott behind in Warringah


In economic data news, the ABS reported on February 20 that wages grew 0.5% in the December quarter. Inflation in that quarter was also 0.5%, so there was no real wage growth. In the full year 2018, wages grew 2.3% and inflation 1.8%, so real wages improved 0.5%. I believe the continued slow wage growth will be of crucial importance at the election, and is likely to assist Labor.

In better economic news for the government, the ABS reported on February 21 that more than 39,000 jobs were added in January, with the unemployment rate steady at 5.0%. While other data has suggested a weakening economy, the jobs figures remain strong. Economists say the jobs figures are a lagging indicator of economic performance.

Essential: 52-48 to Labor

This week’s Essential poll, conducted February 20-25 from a sample of 1,085, gave Labor a 52-48 lead, a three-point gain for the Coalition since last fortnight. Primary votes were 38% Coalition (up four), 37% Labor (down one), 9% Greens (down one) and 6% One Nation (down one).

Labor’s two party vote in the four Essential polls this year has been 53-52-55-52, strongly implying that last fortnight’s 55-45 poll was an outlier. Since Morrison became PM, Essential has tended to be worse for Labor than Newspoll.

On the medevac bill, 38% thought it struck a balance between strong borders and humane treatment of asylum seekers, 30% thought it would weaken Australia’s borders, and 15% thought it did not go far enough towards humane treatment. 27% said this bill would have a strong influence on their vote, including 57% of those who said it would weaken our borders.

On tax policy, 53% supported closing tax concessions and loopholes, and inserting the money into schools, hospitals, etc, while 27% supported cutting corporate taxes and maintaining concessions for investors and retirees.

By double digit margins, Labor was regarded as having the better tax policy for first-time home buyers, pensioners and workers earning under $150,000 per year. By even wider margins, the Coalition was regarded as having better tax policies for those earning over $150,000 per year, self-funded retirees and property investors.

Seat polls of Dickson, Warringah and Flinders

The Guardian has reported GetUp ReachTEL seat polls of the NSW seat of Warringah and the Queensland seat of Dickson, both conducted February 21. In Warringah, Tony Abbott trailed independent Zali Steggall 57-43, a three-point gain for Steggall since last fortnight. In Dickson, incumbent Peter Dutton trailed Labor’s Ali France 52-48. After a redistribution, Dutton holds Dickson by a 52.0-48.0 margin.

In the Victorian seat of Flinders, a GetUp ReachTEL poll, conducted February 13 from a sample of 622, gave Labor a 52-48 lead over incumbent Liberal Greg Hunt, a one-point gain for Labor since a January ReachTEL. Primary votes were 40.7% Hunt, 31.1% Labor, 17.0% for independent Julia Banks and 5.8% Greens. A Banks vs Hunt two candidate result was also provided, with Banks leading 56-44, but on primary votes Labor is a clear second.

As analyst Kevin Bonham has written, seat polls are often reported without important details like primary votes, fieldwork dates or sample size. It would be good if the commissioning source released full details of all seat polls. Seat polls have been very unreliable at previous elections.The Conversation

Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.