Polling Improves Coalition’s Position But Still Leaves Them Struggling
Two new polls tell different stories, one favouring the Coalition but the other not.
First, Newspoll shows the Coalition’s TPP as up by two percentage points with Labor’s down the same two points compared with the March 7-10 poll. Hence the Coalition is up from 46 to 48 while Labor’s is down from 54 to 52 now. Also, while the primary votes ( before taking account of preferences from other parties) for the Coalition have improved (from 36 to 38), Labor’s have fallen (from 39 to 37). These send out a hopeful signal to the Coalition.
Newspoll also shows an improvement of two percentage points in Morrison’s net satisfaction rate (from 43/45 to 45/43) and, although Shorten’s also increased that was only by one point (36/51 to 37/51). As to who is regarded as better PM, Morrison improved from 43 to 46 while Shorten fell from 36 to 35.
The National Political Editor of The Australian describes this as a “bounce” for the Coalition (see Benson Says Newspoll Gives Coalition a Bounce) although it is still well below even the 50.4% vote it reached in the double dissolution election in 2016 when Turnbull was leader. That election gave the Coalition only a one seat majority in the Lower House of 150 and it had a swing against it of 3.5%. In the Senate the Coalition had 30 seats, Labor 26 and others had a record 20. In other words, the Coalition needs to do much more than catch up to Labor if it is to be able to at least control a Lower House which will have several independents as well.
Second, an Ipsos poll run by the Sydney Morning Herald ( the timing is presumably designed to display competition) shows that on a TPP basis the Coalition has fallen since its last poll in February 12-15 from 49 to 47. By contrast, over the same period Labor has increased from 51 to 53. Ipsos also shows a reduced net satisfaction rate for Morrison (from 49/40 to 48/39).
The Newspoll is generally regarded as a more accurate and reliable poll and Ipsos operates less frequently than Newspoll. It’s result is also questionable on this occasion given that its poll reported 41% believed the budget was a “fair” one and only 29% thought it wasn’t. More generally, the Budget appears to have been well received and it would be unlikely to have caused a fall for the Coalition. In fact, Labor would seem to have been more likely to have had a fall given the announcement of a policy requiring half of motor vehicles to become electrified by 2030 (there are now less than 1%) and the failure to provide details of how the proposal will proceed and what it will cost. These and other developments suggest that the Ipsos poll is not an accurate reflection of the views of the electorate.
As pointed out in my previous Commentary (see in particular Coalition’s Budget & Labor’s Reply on 6 April), while Labor has announced many policies there has been little back up so far on the costs whereas the Coalition has published a comprehensive budget and Labor has had access to the Parliamentary Budget Office which should have allowed it to publish estimates of the costs of major items of spending and major tax changes. Given the general dissatisfaction with the plethora of announcements on new policies, it would not be surprising if an increasing proportion of the electorate now wants more back-up.
I refer again to Terry McCrann’s piece of April 6 arguing that “Labour has a two-stage strategy to destroy Australia”. He lists policies announced by Labor which call on the Coalition to publicly attack and demand costs if it is to have a chance of winning the election.