Welcome to the first instalment of the newer and notionally shorter approach to federal polling roundups on this site (see admin note at bottom of article). The previous instalment Turnbull PM: Not Likely Any Time Soon followed federal polling over the last four weeks. In this time the Coalition showed modest signs of recovery - perhaps by a humble point - from the 46:54-ish 2PP results recorded in the aftermath of one of the worst received federal Budgets ever.
Polling this week has scotched that and left it unclear whether the Government's polling has even recovered at all, eight weeks on from the Budget. This week's 2PP results were 54:46 to Labor from Newspoll (down one, but from an off-trend base, so effectively more bad news), 56:44 (+1.5) from Morgan by last-election preferences (the respondent-allocated figure was down one to 56.5) and 53:47 from Essential (unchanged). These three have added half a point on to Labor's aggregated lead and even the smoothed tracking graph now hints at movement back towards the ALP:
It might be just a wobble though, especially if last week's carbon tax shenanigans had anything to do with it (which is far from necessarily the case.) In any case two months on from the Budget, voting intention has clearly not changed very much.
While his disapproval rating came down an insignificant two points this week to 60, Tony Abbott's latest Newspoll netsat of -29 marked his fifth consecutive fortnight at below -25. That's still not that spectacular; Julia Gillard notched up fourteen such results in a row from the start of 2012, as did Paul Keating in late 1993. In 1992 Keating had twelve such results on end in the lead-up to an election that he won (or more accurately, the other lot lost). But it does make an interesting comparison with Abbott's Liberal predecessor, John Winston Howard. Howard has a well-deserved reputation for recovering from bad 2PP polling and bad personal ratings, but when Howard did receive really bad personal ratings they were only fleeting. In eleven years of highs and lows as PM, Howard was never worse than -25 for more than three Newspolls in a row.
There is not that much to say about Bill Shorten's netsat of -9 or Shorten's 5-point lead (down 5) over Abbott as Better Prime Minister. Things are so much not about the Labor leader at the moment that his ratings may as well have been created by a random-number generator.
Essential last week returned a -24 reading for Abbott (34-58, the disapproval score up one since June) which was only a point higher than the worst netsat Essential ever recorded for Abbott as Opposition Leader (33-58 in November 2012). It is again some effort to acknowledge that the Opposition Leader actually exists, but for the record Shorten's Essential netsat was -3 (-1 in a month) and he led Abbott by 3 (+1 in a month) as preferred prime minister.
The other poll of interest this week, largely for the wrong reasons, was a very dubious NTEU-commissioned UMR mega-robopoll. You can read my view of it in a separate article called Uneducated Preferencing. The more I've thought about this poll the less I've trusted it, and it has just belatedly become the second poll this year (both of them UMR-connected as it happens) to receive the prestigious Wirrah Award for Fishy Polling, this time for a combination of dubious preference allocation methods and some seemingly too-lopsided-to-be-true results.
Election tragics will receive some momentary excitement this week from the Stafford state by-election in Queensland. Some interest has been added by the introduction of voter ID requirements and some low-level dirt about the Labor candidate, but the LNP faces an exceedingly difficult task in trying to hold on to what was a strong ALP seat for decades until the 2012 debacle. No reliable polling for the seat has been seen for some time. At this stage I don't intend to put a thread up for it and will probably be commenting on Poll Bludger instead.
Admin note: as the poll on the sidebar indicated, most readers (57% to 27% with 16% neutral) appear to prefer more and shorter federal polling roundups as opposed to a string of updates tacked onto the bottom over a month or so (a la the previous instalment) For the time being I'll be trialling the more-frequent format and reviewing success (or otherwise) based on visitor numbers. Articles won't be deliberately shorter than they need to be to cover everything of interest, but I'll aim to cut off the update process and put a new one up when there is something new going on. Generally this will happen in the week of each Newspoll, and also in weeks where there are other major polls, subject to me being available. Weeks with only Essential and/or Morgan will not generally get their own article; results for them will just be tacked onto the previous roundup.