After wildly divergent results from Nielsen and Newspoll, it’s far from clear which of the two was the rogue, or if both were. For the time being, the BludgerTrack poll aggregate splits the difference.
The enterprise of poll aggregation has been thrown into a spin after one major pollster, Nielsen, reported a 53-47 lead to the Coalition last week, and another, Newspoll, reported a 54-46 lead to Labor this week – leaving a 1% gap between the outer edges of the two error margins (UPDATE: Nielsen was actually 52-48, so scratch that about the gap between the error margins). BludgerTrack plots a course through the middle, with some residual influence of scattered results from Morgan and Essential, to give Labor a 50.7-49.3 lead after a dead heat last week. However, that only converts to a two-seat Labor gain on the seat projection, with one seat added from the New South Wales tally and another from Queensland, leaving the Coalition one seat shy of an absolute majority. Labor’s primary vote gain comes mostly at the expense of the Greens, who lose a bit of air after inflating over previous weeks, while the Palmer United Party maintains a slow downward trajectory to record its weakest result since the election.
The dire result for the Coalition from Newspoll was reflected in the leadership ratings, which have caused Tony Abbott’s trend on net satisfaction to point downwards again after levelling off in the early new year period. The trendlines on preferred prime minister had likewise flattened out over the past month or two, with Tony Abbott record a lead of slightly below double figures, but it now looks to be narrowing again, at least for the time being. The one constant is Bill Shorten’s net satisfaction, the only measure in the Newspoll numbers that is not off trend. Shorten is accordingly down to a new low, as he has been with every update so far this year. He has, however, been spared the ignominy of crossing paths with Abbott, which he came within 0.3% of doing last week.