Plugging all the new polling data of late into our trend system, we find that the medium term deterioration in the Labor government’s two party preferred vote has stabilised out around the 46% mark over the last 6 weeks. A lot of day to day stuff came and went, from budgets to boat people, from carbon pricing to the usual day to day gibberish – none of it made a jot of difference.
An interesting pattern that has developed this year is how the Coalition has increased their lead over the ALP in relatively short bursts, followed by a small contraction or consolidation in the Coalition vote, before going on to enjoy another burst of support. It’s almost as if each time the government loses some political “event”, a chunk of their support moves across to the Coalition – but without the opposite ever occurring – where government “wins” fail to achieve any growth in their political standing.
In one respect, it’s as if the government has been saddled with all downside risk in the electorate and no corresponding upside. Lose an event and their support shrinks – win an event and their support doesn’t move in any significantly beneficial manner for them.
On the primary vote trends, the same basic pattern has been occurring as with the two party preferred, but with the added component of a slightly fading Greens vote (click to expand the charts).
Finally, the net approval ratings of Gillard and Abbott by gender make for some interesting food for thought. Here we’ll use Nielsen data.
Back when Gillard became PM, she held high approval ratings and high voting intention numbers among women, while Abbott held moderate approval ratings among men and enjoyed a relatively small but significant lead on voting intention among men. Over the last year, Abbott has increased his male voting intention figures while his male net approval rates split fairly evenly. However, Gillard’s support among women has dropped significantly in both voting intention and net approval – effectively creating the difference between the ~53/47 two party preferred lead to Labor we saw back in July last year vs. the 54/46 results favouring the Coalition we see today. If we compare the aggregate poll results between July 2010 and May of this year, they tell the story.
Gillard lost her strong gender advantage among women while Abbott’s gender advantage among men grew significantly.