With the current Coalition leadership shenanigans dominating the media space today, it might be worth having a look at the recent history of Liberal Party leadership polling – especially since we’ll inevitably get a new round of such polling pretty soon.
We have two pollsters that have asked questions about the Liberal leadership recently, Essential Report and Newspoll. Starting off with Essential which asked the questions in both July and August of this year:
The cross tabs for July said:
Only 28% of Coalition voters thought Malcolm Turnbull is best person to be Leader of the Opposition while 56% nominated someone other than Malcolm Turnbull. 23% of Coalition voters favoured Joe Hockey, 9% Tony Abbott and 8% Julie Bishop.
Meanwhile, the cross-tabs for August said:
Malcolm Turnbull has the most support amongst Coalition voters – 26% of these voters think Turnbull is the best leader of the Liberal Party. 22% of these same voters prefer Hockey and 11% prefer Abbott.
Unfortunately, no cross-tabs on support levels of Labor voters were provided. However, considering that Coalition voters favoured Turnbull over Hockey while the broad public preferred Hockey over Turnbull – we can deduce that ALP voters more likely than not favoured Hockey over Turnbull by a fairly substantial margin for the “total” results to end up where they were.
Newspoll also asked this question, and we can go back a fair way here:
What’s interesting here is that Turnbull had nearly always been trumped in support by Costello, but when Hockey was thrown into the mix Turnbull came in as 3rd most preferred Liberal Party leader. The big question is where those Costello supporters in the public fall when reduced to a Hockey/Turnbull head to head.
Newspoll also broke their July 2009 question by demographics:
While Turnbull and Hockey were roughly the same in terms of their Liberal Party voter support level in the latest Newspoll on the leadership, Hockey was far more likely to be preferred by Labor Party voters. Before we get some folks chiming in here saying how they vote Labor and they’d answer this question by naming whatever Liberal Party leader they believe the ALP would find it easiest to beat – not everyone is as politically Machiavellian as you lot!
So saying though, there could well be a few percent of that sort of sneakiness in the answers – but either way it appears that from all the polling we do have, that Hockey is a more preferred leader of the Liberal Party than Turnbull by Labor voters, while for Coalition voters, Turnbull is probably slightly ahead (and their could be incumbency effects there as well). However, when looking at the broad public, Hockey has the edge in popularity over the current leader of the Opposition.