This week’s Newspoll finds Labor making a minor gain on two-party preferred, from 54-46 to 53-47. It comes despite a three-point improvement on the primary vote to 37%, with the Coalition and the Greens steady on 47% and 9%, and the balance coming off others. The disparity is down to a set of numbers last time which suggested the rounding to two-party preferred had favoured Labor. The personal ratings are the first in a while where Kevin Rudd’s position hasn’t deteriorated, although this may be due to a bad sample for Labor last week. His approval rating is up one to 36% and his disapproval down two to 52%, while Tony Abbott continues improving steadily with approval up one to 42% and disapproval down two to 49%. Rudd’s lead as preferred prime minister has increased slightly, from 43-41 to 44-40. The sample is back to its normal size of a little over 1100, after being bumped up to over 1600 last week to allow for fortnightly aggregated state-level results from decent sample sizes.

The weekly Morgan multi-mode poll has the Coalition leading 52.5-47.5 on previous election preferences and 51.5-48.5 on respondent-allocated, up half a point on both measures. On the primary vote, Labor is down two points to 34.5%, the Coalition is up half a point to 45% and the Greens are up 1.5% to 11%. Full details including state breakdowns here. Here too the poll is back to a normal sample size, of 3419, after blowing out to 4515 for some reason last week.

The addition of Newspoll and Morgan to BludgerTrack finds two-party preferred moving 0.2% in the Coalition’s direction, but Labor gaining one on the seat projection. This is down to the confounding pattern of strong numbers for Labor in state breakdowns for Queensland, the latest examples being a 37% primary vote from last week’s Newspoll aggregate, 39% from Saturday’s Nielsen and 36% from today’s Morgan, compared with 33.6% at the 2010 election. This is flatly contradicted by all seat-level polling, most notably Saturday’s large-sample Newspoll of the eight most marginal Liberal National Party seats, which had the Labor primary vote down 4.5% from 2010. Due to the probability that seats selected for such polling will not be representative of the state at large, the model can only use the statewide results. So while the BludgerTrack vote and seat numbers look broadly in line with expectations in the other states, I suggest the projection of a three-seat gain in Queensland be treated with considerable caution.

Finally, Adelaide’s Sunday Mail brought us a Galaxy poll of 586 respondents in Hindmarsh, Labor’s most marginal seat in South Australia, which had the result at 50-50, a swing to the Liberals of 6%. I’m not sure if this was a live interview poll like Galaxy normally does, or an automated one such as they did last week for the first time with marginal seat polling in Sydney and Victoria. UPDATE: The poll was automated. The primary votes were 41% for Labor (44.7% at the 2010 election), 44% for the Liberals (38.6%) and 10% for the Greens (12.2%).

UPDATE: Essential Research is still at 50-50, but Labor is down two on the primary vote to 38% with the Greens surging three points to 11%, and the Coalition down one to 43%. The poll also finds 60% of Coalition supporters saying they will “definitely not change my mind” against only 46% for Labor, while 17% of respondents rating it “quite possible I will change my mind” against 11% of Coalition. Since I started paying attention a few years ago, I have never seen the Coalition fail to do better than Labor on this measure. I’m not sure whether this is a Coalition/Labor thing, or if it’s to do with the fact that every election I’ve been observing has been a bad one for Labor. Kevin Rudd’s net approval has moved into negative territory since a fortnight ago, his approval down four to 41% and disapproval up two to 45%. Tony Abbott is steady on approval at 37% and up one on disapproval to 52%. Rudd’s lead as preferred prime minister has narrowed from 47-35 to 43-34. Two points of encouragement for Labor: their parental leave scheme is favoured over the Coalition’s by 35% to 24%, and respondents were slightly more inclined to believe Labor rather than the Coalition would be able to pay for its commitments without spending cuts (41% thinking it very unlikely the Coalition could do so against 35% for Labor).

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