To round off a day when too many polls are barely enough, a Morgan telephone poll shows the election announcement has boosted Coalition support.

On the Wednesday and Thursday after the election was called and the Government promised $34 billion in tax cuts, primary support for the Government was 39.5% with Labor on 45%. With preferences distributed as they were at the 2004 Federal election, the two party preferred vote split Labor’s way 55.5 to 44.5%.

Last weekend (October 13/14), before the election date was set, face-to-face Morgan polling showed Coalition support was 39.5% while Labor’s primary vote was 49.5%. The 2PP here split Labor’s way 57/43%.

Amongst the minor parties, support for The Greens is 9% (up 2% from the weekend’s facetoface survey), Family First 1.5% (up 1%), One Nation 1% (up 0.5%), Australian Democrats 0.5% (down 0.5%), with other parties and independents on 3.5% (up 1.5%).

Significantly, a reduced majority of electors (55.5%, down 6.5%) think Labor will win the next Federal election, while 31.5% (up 6%) think the Coalition will win and 13% (up 0.5%) can’t say.

Now, 53% (down 4.5%) think Australia is heading in the “right direction”, while 31.5% (up 2.5%) think Australia is heading in the “wrong direction” – 15.5% (up 2%) are undecided.

17.5% (down 5%) of all electors say Australia is “heading in the right direction” yet say they would vote Labor if an election were held today – the soft Labor voters who may decide the election.

Pollster Gary Morgan says “The number of electors who think the Coalition will win the upcoming Federal election has jumped 6% to 31.5% since the announcement of the election and tax cuts, however, a majority of electors (55.5%, down 6.5%) still think the ALP will be successful.

“The Government will be hoping that this momentum continues to build in the lead up to the election as they continue to promote their credentials as superior economic managers.”

This latest face to face Morgan Poll on Federal voting intention was conducted on the weekend of October 13/14, 2007, with an Australia wide cross section of 850 electors. The latest telephone Morgan Poll on Federal voting intention was conducted on the nights of October 17/18, 2007, with an Australia wide cross section of 598 electors.

Peter Brent from Mumble Elections writes:

All of a sudden, the contest gets interesting. Nielsen this morning moved towards the government by two percent two party preferred and Galaxy by three.

Taken together, the two polls have the government’s primary vote up by two and a half points, Labor’s static and Greens down a point.

The poll-mix usually crunches polls over the most recent fortnight, but for the graph below the most recent two party preferred numbers are taken from today’s two polls, the only ones taken since the campaign was called. They come to 53.5 to 46.5 in Labor’s favour.

That’s still a landslide in anyone’s language, but desperate governments can’t be choosers.

So is this the beginning of a comeback? If it follows the 2004 campaign pattern it is. In this scenario, voters are finally responding to non-hypothetical survey questions and are focussing on real issues.

Or is it a wee correction, simply a function of polls being taken hours after the launch of a big tax policy? Paul Keating got a similar jump in the first week of his 1996 campaign, and we know how that story ended.

So will it be 1996 or 2004? Only the future polls will tell.

The Morgan polling arrived too late to be used in today’s poll mix.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey