A few of you have asked about polling comparisons between the early stages of the Latham and Abbott leaderships. While there’s certainly some similarities in the way that each leader had an impact on the polling metrics in their first few poll outings, there’s some considerable differences between the two when it comes to the size of each leaders satisfaction, dissatisfaction, preferred PM and two party preferred vote.

To start with, we’ll run through the two party preferred and preferred PM. Fortuitously, we can use the same bottom axis here as both Latham and Abbott gained the leadership in December – 2003 for Latham and 2009 for Abbott. To keep everything consistent, we’ll just use Newspoll data for the whole post (click to expand).

lathamabbotttpp lathamabbottbetterpm

Both leaders increased the size of the two party preferred vote for the opposition, but Latham was coming off a much higher base level. Similarly, on the preferred PM metric both leaders increased their ratings, but Latham was always on a higher base and a higher level of uncommitteds than Tone.

If we move on to the satisfaction ratings, things start to get quite different.

lathamabbottsats Lathamabbottdissats

What’s interesting here is the way the initial uncommitteds on Latham broke towards him with the satisfaction ratings, while the initial uncommitteds on Abbott broke against him – heading mostly into the dissatisfied column. We can see the stark differences in both the levels of satisfaction/dissatisfaction involved as well as the dynamic of the uncommitteds breaking, if we look at the net satisfaction comparison.


So while Abbott and Latham have some similarities in their early polling performance, Abbott was literally miles behind where Latham was at a comparable time.