The polls have always held a sort of weird fascination for me. Whether they are right or wrong doesn’t bother me much. What I am after is their confirmation of the truth I’m writing about.
There is not an area in public life, be it sport, leadership, commerce, or whatever, where performance is not a key indicator of one’s success or otherwise.
Using that criteria, you would think the Collation wouldn’t have a hope in hell of winning the next election.
Under Abbott, Turnbull and now Morrison, they, by any standard, have governed abysmally. So much so that they really don’t deserve to win.
It would be fair to say that a vote for the Coalition would be a reward for governance that doesn’t even approach mediocrity.
One then has to ask how come they are still favourites to win. Why is it so, one might ask?
Since the last debacle, those who conduct these polls have tweaked their differing methodologies to see if they can’t resurrect their combined reputations.
I propose looking at the last poll last year and then coming forward to reach the present.
January 2021: Essential published their first poll for the year on leadership. It showed that “Morrison’s lead as preferred prime minister goes from 50-24 to 51-25.”
The accompanying survey showed a remarkable increase in the view that Australia was doing enough to address climate change. One year ago, 19% thought that enough was being done to battle climate change (now 35%) and a corresponding decline in the view that not enough is being done (from 62% to 42%), with the “doing too much” response up two to 10%. Despite this, 58% of respondents believed climate change related to human activity (up two on a year ago), against 32% who considered it part of normal climatic fluctuation.
On Saturday, January 31, Newspoll released its first poll for the year, showing that the two major parties were 50/50. On personal ratings, Morrison is on 63 and Albanese on 43.
One of the oddities of political polling is trying to understand how 50% of the voting public would willingly return a party that has governed so abysmally.
On February 3, Essential showed that on a “2pp+: Labor was on 47 and the Coalition 44.”
In the same month, the BludgerTrack poll aggregate has been updated with the results. Currently, it records a slight Coalition lead of 50.4-49.6 and the beginning trend of a prolonged decline in Morrison’s net approval since its blowout in late March.
On Wednesday, February 17, 2021, the fortnightly Essential poll, which includes the pollster’s more-or-less monthly reading of the leadership ratings, recorded a four-point increase in Scott Morrison’s approval rating to 65% and a two-point drop in disapproval to 28%. Anthony Albanese is respectively down two to 40% and steady on 33%. Morrison’s lead as preferred prime minister increases slightly, from 51-25 to 52-24.
Some countries (no names mentioned) make a habit of institutionalising mediocre minds.
Sunday, February 21, sees another poll from Newspoll. Bowe records that:
“It maintains its sedentary ways, which repeats the previous result three weeks ago to record a dead heat on two-party preferred. Labor is up a point on the primary vote to 37%, while the Coalition on 42%, the Greens on 10% and One Nation on 3% are all unchanged. Despite a seemingly tough week for Scott Morrison, he gains one on approval to 64% and drops one on disapproval to 32% and widens his lead as preferred prime minister from 57-29 to 61-26, as Anthony Albanese drops three on approval to 38% and rises two on disapproval to 45%.”
For more in-depth analysis, go to The Poll Bludger.
“Labor was credited with a bare lead of 50.5-49.5, from primary votes of Coalition 40%, Labor 34.5%, the Greens 13% and One Nation 3.5%… The poll was conducted over the previous two weekends online and by phone from a sample of 2824.”
Note: Roy Morgan uses face to face, internet and landline for its polling but not always at the same time.
So, we now have three pollsters in sync with each other. Is this an accurate picture of where the Nation is at politically?
Labor has just put its nose in front ahead 50.2-49.8.
Then on Wednesday, March 7, William Bowe had this to say:
“The conventional wisdom that the election would be held in the second half of this year, most likely around September, was disturbed by an Age/Herald report last week that the Prime Minister had ‘told colleagues to plan for two federal budgets before the Coalition government heads to the polls’.”
Then we had a new pollster hit the headlines. With a solid performance, YouGov was the only pollster that had published polling appear during the WA campaign. It should also be noted that the observation of local journalist Gareth Parker on ABC’s Insiders that Labor didn’t believe the strength of its internal polling, which proved in the event to be accurate.
We should all watch YouGov from now on. So far, it has achieved a satisfactory result in Queensland and an excellent one in Western Australia. It also has no priors to speak of.
Come March 14 Labor reports its best result for the year. Following a 50/50 result three weeks ago, Newspoll had Labor on 52 and the Coalition on 48. The Greens are steady at 10% and One Nation on 3%.
Wednesday, March 19, sees figures from both Roy Morgan and Essential. Roy Morgan shows Labor with a 50.5-49.5 lead on two-party preferred, unchanged from the last poll a month ago. The Essential survey is a research one and only touches on leadership and women.
Following are some results on the question of rape.
Thirty-seven per cent agree with Scott Morrison’s contention that an inquiry into the Christian Porter matter would “say the rule of law and our police are not competent to deal with these issues,” with 33% disagreeing.
Sixty-seven per cent felt it was “time women were believed when they say they have been assaulted,” but 62% also felt that “because the charge of rape is so serious, the burden of proof needs to be high” – a difficult circle to square.
Fifty-five per cent said there should be some form of independent investigation compared with 45%, who wanted an alternative proposition that “the police have said they will not be pressing charges and that should be the end of the matter.”
There wasn’t a question on his fitness to serve as a minister.
The BludgerTrack publishes a periodical aggregate. This one gives it to Labor which is now credited with a 51.2-48.8 lead on two-party preferred, following a dead heat when the numbers were last updated three weeks ago.
The Poll Bludger attempts to identify where women might have changed or affected Labor’s turn around along the way.
“The gender breakdowns notably fail to play to the script: Labor is credited with 51-49 leads among both men and women, which represents a four-point movement to Labor among men and no change among women. There is also nothing remarkable to note in Scott Morrison’s personal ratings, with deteriorations of 7% in his net rating among men and 8% among women.”
At the end of March, The Essential Report is trying to do the same. However, the real kicker is the accompanying gender breakdowns, which have Morrison steady at 65% approval and up two on disapproval to 30% among men, but down ten on support to 49% and up ten on disapproval to 40% among women.
However, on March 28, Newspoll records a 52/48 score to Labor. For the first time:
“Scott Morrison’s personal ratings have taken a hit: he’s down seven points on approval to 55% and up six on disapproval to 40%, comfortably his worst numbers since the onset of COVID-19. Anthony Albanese is up a point on approval to 43% and steady on disapproval at 41%, and his deficit on preferred prime minister has been cut from 56-30 to 52-32.”
This was the time of Lamingtons, upskirt photography and watches with unique timelines. Now the female factor had been recognised.
Then on Tuesday, April 20, another pollster enters the field:
“The Age/Herald have published their first poll of federal voting intention since the 2019 election. Dispensing with the services of Ipsos (who happened to be the least wrong pollster at the election), they have appointed Resolve Strategic, which is run by Jim Reed, who once worked for Coalition pollsters Crosby Textor.”
They come up with 38/33 to the Coalition until the preferences are added, for which they don’t give any criteria for how they are arrived at, then the result is 50/50. After all, that, are you any the wiser. Does it confirm any of my writing?
All I can say is that the Coalition are favourites to win the next election, but Labor is in with a show. Does any of The Poll Bludger‘s excellent analysis of the polls confirm anything that I write? Sadly, it doesn’t.
For a more in-depth analysis of what I have written, go to The Poll Bludger.
My thought for the day
The American conservative political strategy of painting everything as black as possible and then pretending it’s everyone’s fault, but theirs rings true. It seems Australians are falling for it. I thought we were brighter than that.
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