There’s a new Morgan poll
out, and it puts the federal ALP in a commanding position: 54% to 46%
after preferences, a swing of 2% since the previous poll and almost 7%
since the 2004 election. That’s an unbelievable result, all the more so
since the latest Newspoll showed a swing in the opposite direction and a 52-48 lead for the Coalition.

But before dismissing Morgan’s polls as worthless, have a look at the analysis by Bryan Palmer at his OzPolitics blog.
Palmer has done linear regressions on 14 months’ worth of Morgan
and Newspoll figures since the last election, and the result is rather
surprising.

The two trend lines are some distance apart – Morgan’s figures on
average have Labor 2% better than Newspoll – but their slope is almost
identical. In other words, when you look at the underlying trend, they
both show the same movement away from the Coalition – a total swing of
just under 6%. Moreover, there is no support for the view that Morgan’s
results are significantly more erratic; r-squared, the measure of
correlation, was 0.46 for Newspoll and 0.42 for Morgan.

(Palmer hasn’t done a regression on the ACNielsen figures, but the raw
numbers are plotted on his graph and it would appear from them that the
anti-government trend is somewhat stronger.)

So the charge that Morgan is pro-Labor seems not unfounded, but if
you’re just looking at swing rather than absolute levels of support
then its numbers are no more far-fetched than Newspoll’s. I confess
that I still won’t put a lot of faith in them, but there’s some support
for the idea that, despite last week’s Newspoll, the general movement
is towards Labor.

Peter Fray

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