The first Newspoll of the year has caused Labor to take a knock on the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, helped along a little by a softer result from Morgan. Newspoll has also driven up the Greens, whose breakthrough into double figures softens a shift from Labor to Coalition on the primary vote to a 0.8% movement on two-party preferred. That translates into a solid six-point change on the seat projection, which is now back to hung parliament territory. Taking into account Labor’s still solid lead on the two-party result, this demonstrates the height of the bar the BludgerTrack model sets for Labor in making it to an absolute majority, mostly on account of sophomore surge effects in the decisive marginal seats. On the state breakdowns, the Coalition recovers one seat each in Victoria and Tasmania and four in Queensland. The latter is down to the publication of a Galaxy poll of federal voting intention in Queensland from yesterday’s Courier-Mail, which I have thus far failed to comment on. The poll of 800 respondents showed the Coalition with a 52-48 lead a swing of 5% to Labor from the election, and 4% on the previous such poll in November from primary votes of 41% for the Coalition (down five on the November poll), 33% for Labor (up three), 7% for the Greens (steady), 4% for Katter’s Australian Party (up one) and 11% for the Palmer United Party (up three). It was evident that BludgerTrack had wandered off the reservation for a while there so far as its Queensland projection was concerned, and the addition of this substantial new data point from a high-quality pollster has returned it to where it probably should have been all along.
There are also two new results to feed into the leadership ratings, one being the regular findings from Newspoll and the other the monthly result from Essential Research. Both have landed in exactly the same place after bias adjustments were added, and the effect has been to maintain the downward momentum for Bill Shorten that emerged when the last numbers were added from Essential Research a month ago. Tony Abbott on the other hand has been in a gentler pattern of decline after the steep fall that followed the Coalition’s polling slip in November, and has a stable lead of slightly below double figures as preferred prime minister. Some good analysis of the leadership ratings is available at the bottom of this post by Kevin Bonham, who previously noted that Shorten’s early ratings were on the mediocre side for a leader new to the job, and now finds similarities with Brendan Nelson and Simon Crean at comparable stages of the game.
As always, full results on the sidebar.