Another Tuesday, another Newspoll in The Oz — this time with the primaries running 47/37 to Labor (the Coalition up one from last fortnight), washing out into a two party preferred of 58/42 — steady from last Newspoll. This runs off a sample of 1203 for a margin of error around the 2.8% mark.

The big news out of this poll is the confirmation that Turnbull has gone inverted on the satisfaction ratings — meaning more people are now dissatisfied with his performance than satisfied. Last poll we couldn’t really tell because a 3 point gap between satisfied and dissatisfied was well within the sampling error of the poll — this time the gap is 9 points on the headline and nearly 11 points once the undecideds are removed.

Yet the question remains, does the slide look like stopping anytime soon?

This appears to be one of those “Holy cascading waterfalls of public disapproval Batman!” type events.

If we head on over to the historical satisfaction ratings of Opposition Leaders ,the only previous example that seems remotely comparable to Turnbull’s performance in the metrics is that of his Lordship, Alexander Downer.


Also worth mentioning is that Turnbull’s problem isn’t his low satisfaction rating — Brendan Nelson achieved only two Newspoll results with a higher satisfaction number than Turnbull’s current 37; 38 at the end of April 2008, and 40 in February of 2008.

Turnbull’s problem is his high dissatisfaction ratings running in conjunction with his comparatively low undecided numbers — everyone knows who he is, and too many people don’t like him. Turnbull’s current dissatisfaction rating of 46 was only surpassed twice by Nelson — the two Newspolls of August 2008 where Nelson achieved (if that’s the appropriate word) 48. A quick look at the satisfaction breakdowns tells the story:

Turnbull has never actually managed to achieve a statistically significant increase in his satisfaction rating, nor a statistically significant decrease in his dissatisfaction rating since he became leader. From the moment he ascended the throne, public opinion has run in only one direction — against him.

Peter Fray

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