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Federal Politics 2013-

Jun 19, 2014

BludgerTrack: 53.5-46.5 to Labor

In lieu of any substantial shifts on voting intention to report this week, a closer look at Palmer United's recent dip in the polls.

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The latest batch of polling from Newspoll, Morgan and Essential has had the effect of confirming the shift recorded in last week’s BludgerTrack result, in which a Morgan phone poll drove a slight weakening in Labor’s post-budget lead. Consequently, there are only very slight shifts in this week’s primary vote and two-party preferred totals, with the latter moving to the Coalition by 0.3%. On the seat projection, the Coalition gains one seat each in Queensland (which has swung implausibly heavily over recent weeks) and Western Australia, but drops one in Tasmania off a particularly bad showing in this week’s Morgan breakdowns. Newspoll has furnished the leadership ratings with a new set of data, resulting in both leaders copping substantial hits on net approval. Bill Shorten is back to where he was prior to a post-budget bounce, and there is also a substantial move in Tony Abbott’s favour on preferred prime minister, although this largely represents a correction after the post-budget results caused the trend line to overshoot the individual data points.

The biggest of last week’s shifts to have been confirmed by the latest result is a two-point drop for Palmer United, which had risen from a base of around 4% before the Western Australian Senate election to over 7% in the upheaval following the budget. It would have dropped still further if I had included the 3% rating the party recorded in this week’s Newspoll, according to The Australian’s report. However, Palmer United results are not featured in Newspoll’s reporting, and taking advantage of sporadic information that appears in newspaper reports runs the risk of introducing a bias, in that the numbers are more likely to be provided in some circumstances than others. I have thus maintained my usual practice of deriving a Palmer United result from Newspoll by calculating a trend result of the party’s share of the total “others” vote from all other pollsters, and applying that share to Newspoll’s “others” result. So far as this week’s Newspoll result is concerned, this has the unfortunate effect of giving Palmer United a vote share over double that reported by The Australian.

There are other reasons why Palmer United’s recent form is of interest, so I provide below a close-up of the party’s polling trend with the most recent Newspoll excluded. While the trend line commences its descent in the middle of May, observation of the individual data points clearly indicates that the party was still at its record peak until the very end of June, but that it slipped substantially thereafter. Mike Willesee’s report on the party for the Seven Network’s Sunday Night, which aired on June 8, may have had something to do with this.

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