Morgan has cheekily come in a week early, giving us the first week of what is usually a two week Face to Face poll with the primaries running 51 (down 1) /32.5 (down 2) to Labor, washing out into a two party preferred of 61/39 the same way – a half a point increase to Labor. The Greens are on 9.5 (up 2) while the broad “Others” are sitting on 7 (up 1). This comes from a sample of 1050 giving us an MoE that maxes out around the 3% mark. This poll was taken over the period of October 31 to November 1 – the same period as the now infamous Newspoll that has caused so much hyperventilation by the usual suspects over the last week.
If we plug this Morgan result in with the other ultra-regular polls of Newspoll and Essential Report, we now come up to date as of November 1st.
Outliers are simply part of life for a pollster – they happen and there’s absolutely nothing they can really do about the odd one popping up. So the first thing to point out is that if the last Newspoll was an outlier – the probability of which has just increased – there is no Newspoll conspiracy here. We actually expect pollsters to give us a WTF moment every now and again.
What catches my eye about these three pollsters is the way the ALP primary vote most likely did actually drop a tad between the 25th of October and the 1st November. Both Essential and Morgan had the Labor primary dropping a point over that period – after having tracked each other virtually identically over the period since late September. Newspoll showed a drop too, but it looks like it overshot the true underlying movement of the public by 3 or 4 points. The direction of the change was consistent with the other 2 pollsters, only the magnitude of the size of the change differed.
The Coalition primary however is where it get’s interesting, with both Essential and Morgan showing a slight drop (1 point for Essential, 2 points for Morgan) while Newspoll gave them a 7 point increase. Not only did the magnitude of the Newspoll change differ from the Morgan and Essential, but the direction of the change differed as well. One thing the pollsters did all pretty much agree on though was the Greens vote:
So if Newspoll was an outlier, it all came down to a direct substitution between ALP and Coalition supporters on measuring the vote estimates – with the Greens vote effectively staying consistent across all three pollsters. However, the satisfaction ratings and preferred PM figures didnt move in Newspoll as much as a 7 point change in the primary would ordinarily suggest. If it was just sampling error responsible, we’d have expected those non-vote metrics to move more since effectively all that would be happening is a larger proportion of Coalition voters was sampled by chance.
So it’s probably something more complicated – some form of non-sampling error. However we know that Newspoll runs a kick arse sampling frame so it’s not some structural problem, but rather most likely a human issue, or more particularly, a respondent issue. That gets us into navel gazing areas of what makes a significant number of ordinarily Labor voting people keep their preferred PM and satisfaction ratings the same as if they were voting Labor, but tell the pollster instead that they’re actually intending to vote for the Coalition? That seems to be what happened to Newspoll.
The alternative is that Newspoll picked up a change of voter sentiment earlier than the other two polls. If that was the case, we’ll know on Monday with Essential Report.