State of the Polls – Old School
Posted by Possum Comitatus on May 4, 2008
It’s been an awfully long time since we last had a good look at the broad state of the political polling like primary votes, satisfaction ratings and their trends rather than the simple headline TPP and Brendan Nelson’s limbo with preferred PM ratings.
So to start off, some music to listen to as we go through the poll roll – the Halo Friendlies doing “Sellout”… quite apt for the poor old Nightwatchman of late.
Looking first at the primary votes of the two majors, we’ll plot how Newspoll, Morgan Phone Poll, Morgan Face-to-Face and the Phone Poll Average have been going since the election. The time scale at the bottom of all these graphs is “Week in Term” meaning week one was the first week after the election, week 2 the 2nd week and so on and so forth. To help convert the weeks in term into dates, this little table might come in handy:
|Week Ending||Week into term|
|22 December 2007||4|
|29 December 2007||5|
|5 January 2008||6|
|12 January 2008||7|
|19 January 2008||8|
|26 January 2008||9|
|2 February 2008||10|
|9 February 2008||11|
|16 February 2008||12|
|23 February 2008||13|
|1 March 2008||14|
|8 March 2008||15|
|15 March 2008||16|
|22 March 2008||17|
|29 March 2008||18|
|5 April 2008||19|
|12 April 2008||20|
|19 April 2008||21|
|26 April 2008||22|
|3 May 2008||23|
|10 May 2008||24|
|17 May 2008||25|
|24 May 2008||26|
|31 May 2008||27|
|7 June 2008||28|
|14 June 2008||29|
|21 June 2008||30|
For the ALP we get:
The Morgan face to face poll went wandering out to the fringes of plausibility here for a bit but has lately started coming back to earth – essentially repeating what it did last year. What’s worth noting here is that the two phone polls have pretty much been moving in sync, with the old pattern of Morgan usually being a few points higher for the ALP than Newspoll coming through just like it did last year. Since the end of February there appears to have been a slight growth in the primary vote for Labor which, as we’ll see a little later on, is consistent with the way the uncommitted voters are splitting over other metrics like satisfaction and preferred PM ratings.
Next up, the Coalition primary vote:
Again, the Morgan Face-to-Face poll is the odd one out, being a fair bit more volatile than the phone polls, but also lately showing the highest primary vote for the Coalition. The minor party vote in Morgan’s face to face seems to be a good chunk less than the phone polls are measuring – one would think it’s a bit of a methodological issue going on there.
Using the phone poll average as the comparison between the two parties we end up with:
We can see some slow, consistent movement to the ALP in primaries over time, but only partially at the expense of the Coalition vote – with the rest coming from a decreasing minors vote.
Moving on to the TPP vote estimates – we’ll again compare the pollsters for the two majors.
Apologies for that dogs breakfast – blame the pollsters!
Worth a giggle is the Morgan face to face poll showing an ALP TPP of 65%. Were an election held where that result came about, the ALP would have 139 of the 150 seats in Parliament
The ALP TPP vote seems to have been slightly growing over the last few months yet without being able to say so with any level of statistical significance.
So now we’ve done the primaries and the TPPs we can have a squiz at the Votegap – which is the difference between the vote levels of each party.
This must be more than just a little bit disturbing for the Coalition. As time goes by, the difference between the vote levels of the ALP and the Coalition in both primary votes and TPP share is increasing. That suggests that ALP support is not only coming from minor parties, but directly from the Coalition as well. The ALP seems to be incrementally grinding away into the Coalition base vote – which is exactly what happened in QLD state politics. If a party starts losing its base they are in deep shit.
One blessing for the Coalition is that there aren’t yet enough observations in the data to be able to say this with any real level of statistical certainty – but if it keeps happening like it is at the moment, by the time we get enough observations it will probably be too late for the Opposition to be able to recover before the next election which will put them in a dire position for the election following that – especially in terms of resources.
We’ll keep an eye on the Votegap measures over the next year and see if that longer term trend to the ALP continues – however slowly. If it does, Australian federal politics will change fundamentally.
Moving on to the more qualitative metrics, we’ll start off having a squiz at Nelsons limbo dance with the preferred PM ratings:
This has just about been done to death in the MSM so we’ll leave it pretty much alone except to say that as the uncommitteds have started to crystalise out and get an opinion, they’ve clearly decided that they don’t much think Nelson is up to the job.
That uncommitted pattern is also something worth looking at in the satisfaction ratings:
As Rudds uncommitteds have been crystallising out, they’ve been roughly breaking even since February, moving in equal proportions to satisfied and dissatisfied with his performance. Nelson on the other hand had a big chunk of uncommitteds move in February straight into the dissatisfied column that has remained at a pretty consistent level since March. Since the end of March, the uncommitteds that are crystallising out have actually been moving to the “satisfied with Nelsons performance” column which is pretty interesting considering the beating he’s been getting of late.
The size of Nelsons uncommitted number is also large at over 1 in 4 voters.
So that’s where we are all currently at in the polling. Anyone have any theories or insights over how the data is playing out with the politics?
This entry was posted on May 4, 2008 at 2:29 pm and is filed under Polling, Voting behaviour. Tagged: morgan, Nelson, newspoll, preferred PM, Rudd, satisfaction ratings. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.