The Sydney Morning Herald reports the latest Nielsen survey has robbed a Morgan phone poll conducted a fortnight ago of its distinction as the only poll showing the Coalition’s lead reaching the heights of 59-41. Nielsen has the Labor primary vote at just 27 per cent – “the lowest level ever for a major party in the poll’s history of almost four decades” – with the Coalition at 49 per cent. No result has been provided for the Greens at this stage. Last month’s Nielsen poll had the Coalition lead at 56-44, with primary votes of 31 per cent for Labor, 47 per cent for the Coalition and 12 per cent for the Greens. More detail presumably to follow.

UPDATE: In anticipation of a Morgan face-to-face poll which didn’t arrive, I prepared a chart earlier today showing how both Morgan face-to-face and Essential had converged upon the Newspoll trend over the last year or two after traditionally having been more favourable to Labor. I did this by producing quarterly averages for each agency’s polling going back to the start of 2009. I didn’t bother to include Nielsen as it reports far less frequently and is thus more prone to variability. But Nielsen’s habits relative to other pollsters would seem to have become a live issue as of half an hour ago, so now I have. And as you can see, Nielsen seems to have gone very sour for Labor of late: whereas the other pollsters have been broadly consistent around 54-46, the last three Nielsen results have been 56-44, 56-44 again and now 59-41. “Morgan (RA)” and “Morgan (PE)” refer to their respondent-allocated and previous-election methods of allocating minor party/independent preferences, which tells a story of its own.

UPDATE 2: GhostWhoVotes reports the poll has a dizzying 60 per cent now favouring Kevin Rudd for Labor leader against just 31 per cent for Julia Gillard. We are also informed the Greens primary vote is on 12 per cent, up two from last time.

UPDATE 3: It now emerges that Tony Abbott is equal with Julia Gillard as preferred prime minister on 46 per cent, the first time Abbott has achieved this. Julia Gillard’s approval rating is down six to 37 per cent and her disapproval up seven to 59 per cent, while Tony Abbott is up one on approval to 46 per cent and steady on disapproval at 50 per cent. These all entail remarkably low undecided results: perhaps this is a feature of Nielsen I’ve just never noticed before.

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