Four polls: one from Nielsen, conducted on the two nights after the budget (Wednesday and Thursday) from a sample of 1200; one from Galaxy, conducted on Thursday evening and during the day yesterday from a sample of 600; a Morgan phone poll conducted on Wednesday and Thursday evening from a sample of 571; and a Morgan face-to-face poll conducted last weekend from a sample of 1004. Galaxy only canvassed opinion on the budget; Nielsen and the Morgan phone poll canvassed the budget and voting intention; the Morgan face-to-face poll, obviously, missed the budget and only looked at voting intention.
First on voting intention. Nielsen and the Morgan phone poll are in agreement on two-party preferred, which amounts to a combined sample of 1771 putting the result at 58-42 to the Coalition. On the primary vote, Nielsen has Labor up a point on the previous poll six weeks ago to 28%, the Coalition up two to 49% and the Greens down one to 12%. Even allowing for the small sample and high margin of error, the state breakdowns offer the truly extraordinary result of a Labor primary vote in Queensland of 19%, compared with a previous worst of 21% in July last year (and perhaps suggesting a honeymoon for the state government has added a bit of fuel to federal Labor’s recent poll collapse). Remarkably, the poll still has Labor ahead 54-46 in Victoria.
Morgan’s phone poll has the primary votes at 29% for Labor, 50.5% for the Coalition and 10% for the Greens. The face-to-face poll has Labor’s primary vote at 29.5%, down half a point on their previous worst-ever result in the last poll of April 21/22 (there was evidently no polling conducted on the weekend of April 28/29). The Coalition was also down two points, to 45.5%, and with the Greens steady at 12%, the slack has been taken up by “others”. At 13%, the latter figure is at levels unseen since One Nation and the Democrats were substantial concerns, although other, more reliable polls aren’t replicating this. Records have also been set on the two-party preferred figures: the 60.5-39.5 respondent-allocated result is Labor’s worst ever, but the gap between this figure and the 55.5-44.5 previous-election result is also at an all-time high, the previous highest being two polls ago in early April.
Regarding the budget:
• Nielsen and Galaxy both asked respondents if it would leave them better or worse, producing results of 27% better off and 43% worse off in Nielsen’s case, and 23% and 46% in Galaxy’s.
• Morgan has 19% rating the budget good, 43% average and 25% bad; 29.5% believing the surplus would eventuate and 60% believing it wouldn’t; and 49% considering a surplus important and 47.5% believing otherwise. The latter result is remarkably different to what Essential Research elicited a month ago when it framed the question thus: “Do you think it is more important for the Government to return the budget to surplus by 2012/13 as planned – which may mean cutting services and raising taxes – OR should they delay the return to surplus and maintain services and invest in infrastructure?” That produced respective results of 12% and 73%.
• Galaxy asked if respondents believed the Coalition would have done better, which is the one question that allows ready comparison with the three questions Newspoll has been asking after each budget since the late 1980s (Newspoll also asks about impact on personal finances, but it explicitly offers respondents an “unchanged” option which invariably proves very popular). The results were 29% yes and 43% no, which is a surprisingly positive result for the government (or, more likely, a negative one for the opposition) – better for them than Newspoll’s 2010 and 2011 results, and close to Newspoll’s long-term averages of 29.5% and 47.6%.
• Galaxy also found only 17% anticipating that carbon tax compensation would be adequate against 62% who said it would not be.
So much for the good news for Julia Gillard. Personal ratings from Nielsen show up the following:
• Kevin Rudd’s lead as preferred Labor leader has further blown out, to 62-30 in a head-to-head contest with Gillard from 58-34 when the question was last asked immediately before the leadership challenge.
• With other leadership options included, the results are 42% for Rudd, 19% for Gillard, 12% for Stephen Smith, 9% for Simon Crean, 8% for Bill Shorten and 4% for Greg Combet.
• Tony Abbott’s lead as preferred prime minister has blown out from 48-45 to 50-42, returning him to where he was in September.
• Abbott has also scored his best personal ratings since July last year, his approval up five points on the previous poll to 44% and disapproval down four to 52%.
• Gillard has at least not gone backwards on her own personal ratings, although the starting point was quite dismal enough: 35% approval (down one) and 60% disapproval (up one).
UPDATE: Essential Research is at 57-43, down from 58-42 last week, from primary votes of 50% for the Coalition (steady), 30% for Labor (up one) and 11% for the Greens (steady). Also featured are the monthly personal ratings, which are little changed on April (contra Nielsen, Tony Abbott’s net rating has actually deteriorated from minus 12 to minus 17), and responses to the budget. The most interesting of the latter questions is on the impact of the budget on you personally, working people, businesses and the economy overall, for which the respective net ratings are minus 11, plus 7, minus 33 and minus 6. All of the eight specific features of the budget canvassed produced net positive ratings, from plus 5 for reduced defence spending to plus 79 for increased spending on dental health. There was a statistical tie (34% to 33%) on the question of whether Wayne Swan or Joe Hockey was most trusted to handle the economy.