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BludgerTrack: 52.4-47.6 to Labor

A pre-budget polling slump for the Coalition expands Labor's poll aggregate lead, crediting them with an absolute majority on the seat projection.

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A barren spell for polling has ended with a vengeance over the past week, with results emerging from Newspoll, Galaxy, ReachTEL, Morgan and Essential – everyone indeed except Nielsen, who are presumably due next week. Each of the five polls sang from the same song sheet, and poll aggregation being the name of the game here, the BludgerTrack results on the sidebar do the same. On the primary vote, the Coalition maintains its downward trend while Labor perks up after a period in which it lost market share to the Greens. The Greens continue to fade after their Nielsen-driven peak of three weeks ago, but remain above the single-digit level they typically recorded throughout 2013. The big mover apart from Labor this week is Palmer United, which is at its highest level since December.

On the seat projection, Labor emerges in majority territory after gaining one each in New South Wales and Victoria and another three on an already hard-to-credit result in Queensland, for which I now have ten consecutive data points showing Labor with a two-party preferred, something it rarely enjoys in Queensland historically. Those who observe BludgerTrack closely will be aware that the “territories” result – which, it should go without saying, is based on a rather shallow pool of data – has long shown curiously strong readings for the Coalition. I’ve now addressed this with a bias correction measure, with a rather dramatic effect. This is a little crude methodologically, but I’m more confident in the result as it stands now, which closely reflects the national swing.

Of the many polls this week, only Newspoll furnishes useable results for the leadership tracking, and being the only leadership result of any kind for the past three weeks, the present BludgerTrack reading reflects it very closely. The result shows a sudden slump in Tony Abbott’s net approval, while Bill Shorten’s continues to settle in to the mediocre but by no means disastrous territory he has inhabited since the air went out of his honeymoon ratings over summer. Preferred prime minister remains on its steadily narrowing trajectory.

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