Labor regains lead in Newspoll after tie, but Freshwater has a 50–50 tie

A national Newspoll, conducted December 11–15 from a sample of 1,219, gave Labor a 52–48 lead, a two-point gain for Labor since the previous Newspoll three weeks ago that had a 50–50 tie. Primary votes were 36% Coalition (down two), 33% Labor (up two), 13% Greens (steady), 7% One Nation (up one) and 11% for all Others (down one).

Anthony Albanese’s ratings were 50% dissatisfied (down three) and 42% satisfied (up two), for a net approval of -8, up five points. Peter Dutton’s net approval improved four points to -9. Albanese led Dutton as better PM by an unchanged 46–35.

The graph below shows Albanese’s net approval in Newspoll since late 2022. While his net approval in this Newspoll is a recovery, he’s still well below net zero.

Albanese net approval in Newspoll.

In my coverage of the previous Newspoll, I said other polls conducted at about the same time had narrow Labor leads, with Morgan giving the Coalition a 50.5–49.5 lead.

The polling now suggests Labor’s lead is increasing slightly. This may be explained by an improvement in economic sentiment. Morgan’s consumer confidence index was up 4.4 points last week to 80.8, the highest it has been since February.

Freshwater poll tied at 50–50

A national Freshwater poll for The Financial Review, conducted December 15–17 from a sample of 1,109, had a 50–50 tie, a one-point gain for the Coalition since September. Primary votes were 39% Coalition (up two), 31% Labor (down two), 13% Greens (steady) and 16% for all Others (steady).

The Poll Bludger said Freshwater polls have been two or three points worse for Labor than the nearest Newspoll. This poll is better for Labor if Freshwater’s pro-Coalition lean is accounted for.

Albanese’s net approval was down two to -5, while Dutton’s was up eight to -2. Albanese led Dutton by 43–39 as preferred PM (46–37 in September). The Liberals had a net +3 approval, while Labor’s was -3 and the Greens were -16. Jacinta Price’s net approval was +7, Penny Wong’s was +5 and Barnaby Joyce’s was -17.

On issue salience, there was a six-point drop in cost of living to 71% and an eight-point rise in immigration to 13% (but this is only the eighth most important issue). The Coalition led Labor by five points on cost of living, up from one point in September. On immigration, the Coalition led by 13 points, up from five.

YouGov poll: Greens gain at Labor’s expense

A YouGov national poll, conducted December 1–5 from a sample of 1,555, gave Labor a 51–49 lead, unchanged since the previous YouGov poll in mid-November. Primary votes were 37% Coalition (up one), 29% Labor (down two), 15% Greens (up two), 7% One Nation (steady) and 12% for all Others (down one).

The Poll Bludger said this is Labor’s lowest primary vote in any poll since the last election. If repeated at an election, it would be Labor’s lowest since the first federal election in 1901.

Albanese’s net approval slumped nine points to -16, while Dutton’s net approval was down two to -9. Albanese led Dutton by 46–36 as preferred PM, with this ten-point margin down from 14 previously.

Essential poll: Labor’s lead increases

In last week’s federal Essential poll, conducted December 6–10 from a sample of 1,102, Labor led by 49–46 including undecided, out from 48–47 three weeks ago. Primary votes were 34% Coalition (steady), 31% Labor (steady), 13% Greens (steady), 6% One Nation (down one), 2% UAP (up one), 9% for all Others (up one) and 5% undecided (down one).

Voters were asked to rate Albanese and Dutton from zero to ten. Ratings of 0–3 were counted as negative, 4–6 as neutral and 7–10 as positive. Albanese was at 37–32 negative (35–33 in November). Dutton was at 37–28 negative (35–32 previously).

Big businesses and the government were thought to have too much power, while individuals, workers and small business were thought to not have enough. The most important issues voters wanted the government to address were energy prices, housing affordability and grocery prices.

Trust in various institutions has taken a double digit hit across the board since this question was last asked in September 2022.

Asked whether 2023 had been a good or bad year for various entities, the only one voter thought had had a better 2023 than 2022 were large companies and corporations (up ten points on net good to +36). There was a 22-point slump in “your personal financial situation” to -27 and a 14-point slump in the Australian economy to -41.

On what happened in 2023 relative to expectations at the beginning of the year, 49% said it had been worse than expected, 34% as expected and 13% better than expected. For 2024, 32% said it would be worse than 2023, 30% no different and 24% better.

The polls paint a mixed picture for both the government and the opposition.
Mick Tsikas/AAP

Redbridge poll, Morgan poll and additional Resolve questions

A federal Redbridge poll conducted December 6–11 from a sample of 2,010, gave Labor a 52.8–47.2 lead, a 0.7-point gain for the Coalition since the previous Redbridge poll in early November. Primary votes were 35% Coalition (steady), 33% Labor (down one), 13% Greens (down one) and 19% for all Others (up two).

By 53–33, voters thought Labor was not focused on the right priorities (50–36 in November). By 47–33, they thought the Coalition was not ready for government (50–30 previously).

In last week’s federal Morgan poll, conducted December 4–10 from a sample of 1,719, Labor led by 51–49, unchanged since the previous week. Primary votes were 37% Coalition (down 0.5), 30.5% Labor (down two), 14% Greens (up 1.5), 5% One Nation (steady), 7.5% independents (down one) and 6% others (up two).

I covered a federal Resolve poll two weeks ago that still gave Labor a large lead. Voters were told net migration to Australia was about 160,000 per year before COVID, but fell to negligible levels during the pandemic. To make up for this, it increased to 184,000 last year and was over 400,000 this year.

On this level of immigration, 62% thought it too high, 23% about right and 3% too low. On next year’s expected 260,000 net migration, 55% said too high, 25% about right and 5% too low. By 57–16, voters thought the government was handling immigration in an unplanned and unmanaged way rather than a carefully planned and managed way.

Victorian Resolve poll: Labor far ahead

A Victorian state Resolve poll for The Age, conducted with the federal November and December Resolve polls from a sample of 1,093, gave Labor 37% of the primary vote (down two since October), the Coalition 31% (down one), the Greens 11% (down one), independents 14% (up four) and others 6% (down one).

Resolve doesn’t give a two party estimate until near elections, but analyst Kevin Bonham estimated a Labor lead by 56.5–43.5, a one-point gain for the Coalition since October. Resolve’s federal polls have been far better for Labor than other polls.

New Labor Premier Jacinta Allan’s lead as preferred premier over Liberal leader John Pesutto narrowed to 34–22 from 38–19 in October. By 57–22, voters thought students should attend school and protest outside school time, rather than miss school for rallies.

Annastacia Palaszczuk resigns

On December 10, Queensland Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced she would resign as premier at the end of last week, and as Member for Inala by the end of this year. A byelection will be needed in Inala, which Palaszczuk won by 78.2–21.8 against the Liberal Nationals in 2020.

Steven Miles replaced Palaszczuk as Labor leader and premier last Friday after he was elected unopposed by Labor MPs.

Palaszczuk has been premier since leading Labor to a surprise victory at the 2015 state election, but she has become increasingly unpopular. I wrote two weeks ago that Labor is likely to lose the next election due in October 2024.

WA Redbridge poll: Labor has huge lead

The next Western Australian state election is in March 2025. A Redbridge poll was reported by The Poll Bludger on Saturday. It gave Labor a 59.4–40.6 lead, from primary votes of 44% Labor, 29% Liberals, 4% Nationals, 11% Greens, 3% One Nation and 9% for all Others. This would be a 10% swing to the Liberals from the record 2021 Labor landslide, but it’s still a huge lead for Labor.

The federal WA Redbridge poll gave Labor a 55.2–44.8 lead, unchanged from the 2922 federal WA result of 55.0–45.0 to Labor. The sample size was 1,200.

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