I wouldn’t normally lead with a Morgan poll so soon after a Newspoll result, but today of course is a special occasion (for future generations who might happen to be reading this, Tony Abbott today beat off a spill motion by the unconvincing margin of 61 to 39). After conducting an unusual poll last time in which the field work period was extended and the surveying limited to a single weekend, this is back to the usual Roy Morgan practice of combining face-to-face and SMS polling from two weeks, with field work conducted only on Saturdays and Sundays, with a sample of around 3000 (2939 to be precise about it). So the poll was half conducted in the knowledge that a spill was imminent, and half not.

On the primary vote, there has been a straight two-point shift from the Coalition to Labor since the previous poll, which was conducted from January 23-27, with Australia Day and the Prince Philip knighthood having landed on January 26. This puts Labor on 41.5% and the Coalition on 35.5%, with the Greens steady on 12% and Palmer United down one to 2%. A slightly better flow of preferences for the Coalition blunts the impact a little on the headline respondent-allocated two-party figure, on which Labor’s lead is up from 56.5-43.5 to 57.5 to 42.5. The move is a little bigger on previous election preferences, from 55.5-44.5 to 57-43. Tomorrow’s Essential Research should complete the cycle of pre-spill opinion polling, and I’m well and truly back in my old routine of updating BludgerTrack overnight on Wednesday/Thursday.

UPDATE (Essential Research): Essential Research’s reputation for stability emerges unharmed with another 54-46 reading this week, with the Coalition up a point to 39%, Labor steady on 41%, the Greens up one to 10% and Palmer United steady on 3%. It’s a different story on the monthly reading of Tony Abbott’s leadership ratings, with approval down eight to 27% and disapproval up nine to 62%. However, Bill Shorten’s position has also sharply worsened, with approval down six to 33% and disapproval up five to 38%. Given this is nowhere reflected in other polling, one might surmise that Essential has hit bad samples for Labor over consecutive weeks. Shorten’s lead as preferred prime minister is nonetheless out from 37-35 to 39-31.

Other questions find 59% approval for the government dropping its paid parental leave scheme versus 25% for disapprove; 59% support for same-sex marriage, up four since December, with 28% opposed, down four; 26% saying support for same-sex marriage might favourably influence vote choice, 19% saying it would do so unfavourably, and 48% saying it would make no difference; 44% favouring a negative response to government retention of personal data and information against 38% for a positive one; and a suite of questions on privatisation that do a fair bit to explain what happened to Campbell Newman.

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