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Newspoll and ReachTEL: 52-48 to Coalition

ReachTEL has opened the election campaign polling account in very short order, while Newspoll has published a poll following its normal Friday-to-Sunday schedule. The two concur on two-party preferred, with the latter finding Kevin Rudd taking a hit on his personal ratings.

As we enter the first full day of the September 7 federal election campaign:

• Newspoll, conducted between Friday and Sunday, has the Coalition’s lead unchanged on its poll of a fortnight ago at 52-48, from primary votes of 44% for the Coalition (down one), 37% for Labor (steady) and 9% for the Greens (down one). Equally worrying for Labor is a significant drop in Kevin Rudd’s personal ratings, his approval down four points to 38% and disapproval up six to 47%. However, he still leads Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister 47-33, down only slightly from 50-34 a fortnight ago. Abbott has had remarkably constant personal ratings from Newspoll since Rudd’s return: after three successive polls at 35% approval and 56% disapproval, this time he’s down one to 34% and steady at 56%. Full tables from GhostWhoVotes.

• More current still is the result from ReachTEL, which conducted an automated phone poll of 2949 respondents for the Seven Network in the immediate aftermath of yesterday’s election announcement. This too showed the Coalition leading 52-48 on two-party preferred, compared with 51-49 in the ReachTEL poll of a week ago, from primary votes of 37.5% for Labor, 45.7% for the Coalition and 8.2% for the Greens. ReachTEL continues to find Tony Abbott doing well on preferred prime minister, this time leading 50.9-49.1, which is bafflingly at odds with other pollsters (notwithstanding the methodological difference that the survey is only deemed completed if all questions put to respondents are answered, hence the totals adding up to 100). On the question of effective management of the economy, 60.7% favoured the Coalition compared with 39.3% for Labor. While the sample on the poll is certainly impressive, it’s considered better practice to conduct polls over longer periods.

• The BludgerTrack poll aggregate has been updated with these two poll results and some further state-level data that has become available to me, and while the 50-50 starting point from last week slightly blunts the impact of two new 52-48 data points, there has nonetheless been a weighty shift to the Coalition on the implied win probability calculations. On the seat projections, the latest numbers find air going out of the Labor balloon in Queensland (down four seats), together with one-seat shifts to the Coalition in New South Wales and Tasmania. However, the projection of a second gain for Labor in Western Australia, which I looked askance at when it emerged in last week’s result, has stuck. I will resist the temptation to link this to unpopular recent actions of a state government which is flexing its muscles during the early stages of a four year electoral cycle, at least for the time being.

Tomorrow will presumably bring us the regular weekly Essential Research online poll and the Morgan “multi-mode” result, at around 2pm and 6pm EST respectively. The Poll Bludger’s regular guide to the 150 electorates will, I hope, be in action by the end of the week.

UPDATE (Essential Research): Essential Research has two-party preferred steady at 51-49 to the Coalition, from primary votes of 38% for the Labor (down one), 43% for the Coalition (down one) and 9% for the Greens (steady). The survey finds only 44% saying they will definitely not change their mind, with 30% deeming it unlikely and 21% “quite possible”. Respondents were also asked to nominate the leader they most trusted on a range of issues, with Tony Abbott holding modest leads on economic management, controlling interests rates and national security and asylum seeker issues, and Kevin Rudd with double-digit leads on education, health, environment and industrial relations. Kevin Rudd was thought too harsh on asylum seekers by 20%, too soft by 24% and about right by 40%, compared with 21%, 20% and 31% for Tony Abbott.

UPDATE 2 (Morgan): Morgan has Labor down half a point on the primary vote to 38%, the Coalition up 1.5% to 43%, and the Greens up one to 9.5%. With preferences distributed as per the result at the 2010 election, the Coalition has opened up a 50.5-49.5 lead, reversing the result from last week. On the respondent-allocated preferences measure Morgan uses for its headline figure, the result if 50-50 after Labor led 52-48 in the last poll.

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