The weekly BludgerTrack poll trend continues a trend of mild recovery for the Coalition following the post-budget slump, although Bill Shorten remains well ahead as preferred prime minister.
Despite the interruption of the long weekend, two new results have been added to this week’s BludgerTrack polling aggregate: the regular weekly result from Essential Research, and the first Morgan phone poll to emerge since the election (as distinct from Morgan’s regular multi-mode poll, which had an off-week in its fortnightly publication schedule).
The fortnightly rolling average from Essential Research finds Labor gaining a point off the Coalition on both the primary vote, on which it now leads 40% to 37%, and two-party preferred, where the lead is out from 53-47 to 54-46. Other findings from Essential this week are that 43% think Australian society less fair and equal than 20 years ago compared with 28% for more, with all but a few respondents declining to sign on the idea that equality and fairness are important to Australian society. A large majority of 48% to 21% agreed the next generation will be worse off than today’s, on what basis I’d be curious to know. The poll also inquired about drone strikes, finding 45% disapproving of the United States’ use theoreof against 35% who approved. Fifty-eight per cent of respondents professed themselves concerned by the potential for Australians to be hit versus 33% not concerned, after it was put to them that “two male Australian citizens were killed in a drone strike in Yemen that targeted alleged terrorists”.
Essential is also one of two pollsters this week to bring us leadership approval ratings, this being a regular monthly feature in Essential’s case. The latest numbers for Tony Abbott have approval steady at 35% and disapproval up three to 58%; Bill Shorten up three on both approval and disapproval, to 38% and 40%; and Shorten widening the two-party preferred lead he cracked for the first time in the previous poll, from 37-36 to 40-36. The other leadership poll came from Roy Morgan courtesy of one of its increasingly infrequent small-sample phone polls, this one targeting 560 respondents from Tuesday to Thursday last week. The poll has Abbott on 34% approval and 59% disapproval, which is well in line with Essential Research and last week’s Newspoll, while Bill Shorten comes in a little below par on 35% and 45%. Shorten also holds what by recent polling standards is a narrow lead of 40-36 as preferred prime minister.
Morgan also takes a timely venture into preferred party leader polling, finding Malcolm Turnbull to be towering above Tony Abbott with a 44% for preferred Coalition leader against 15% for Abbott, 11% for Joe Hockey, 7% for Julie Bishop and 5% for Barnaby Joyce. Inflating Turnbull’s lead is a 56-1 advantage among Labor supporters, with Coalition supporters breaking 35-29 for Abbott. Bill Shorten holds a modest lead as preferred Labor with 22% against 16% for Tanya Plibersek and 15% for Anthony Albanese.
The fine print of the Morgan release also advises us that voting intention figures from the poll had the Coalition on 38.5%, Labor on 36%, the Greens on 12.5% and Palmer United on 3.5%, which is an above-average result for the Coalition on recent form, and a strikingly weak one for Palmer United. These figures have been thrown into the mix for BludgerTrack, and given the strong historic record of Morgan’s phone polling and the lack of other major data this week, they loom fairly large in the result. In particular, the recent surge to Palmer United has been blunted to the tune of 2%, which I would want to see corroborated by other polling before I read too much into it. There is also a slight easing in Labor’s lead on two-party preferred, translating into losses on the seat projection of two in Queensland and one each in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, counterbalanced by a gain in Western Australia.
The new leadership date results in Tony Abbott’s personal rating continuing to rise slowly from the canvas following its post-budget collapse, while Bill Shorten’s levels off around a net rating of zero. The substantial lead Shorten has opened as preferred prime minister is little changed.