Time for a polling trends update.

First up, the broad sweep. Plugging all the latest polling data fit to print into our system, this is how the two party preferred Pollytrend has changed.

We see a relatively sharp downturn for the government starting in late February, bottoming out around the second week of March, before recovering even more sharply over the last few weeks to end up within half a point of where they were before this rollercoaster began. Beware noisy commentators declaring that Event X was responsible – this upturn has been in the making for two weeks now.

In fact, here’s an image I posted a while back on Twitter that traced the polling up until mid March – you can see what looks to be the turning point happening at the time. We’ll run it next to the current chart to highlight the change:

BTW – you can follow me on Twitter here if you’re silly enough. I publish a fair bit of politics stuff through Twitter that isn’t large enough to turn into articles.

No one particular poll was responsible for the trends, as all the pollsters we use (Newspoll, Nielsen, Essential Report, Morgan Phone Poll and Galaxy when they publish) have generally moved together over the last 6 weeks or so.

If we take a deeper squiz at just the recovery period, Abbott peaked the vote for the Coalition between the 5th and the 13th of March. If we look at the polls that were both in the field during that period and have produced a subsequent poll after that Abbott peak – we end up with 3 separate pollsters: Newspoll, Essential and Morgan Phone. Nielsen falls outside of this as their previous poll was in February and their latest on the 12th March, even though the Nieslen results are still a component of our trend measures.

Seeing how the polls from these three companies changed over the period and the trend measures for each metric, we get:

The Greens vote is the only one where there was any serious disagreement among the pollsters in terms of direction, with Newspoll showing a drop while Morgan showed a small jump. The major party votes though have all moved together with our trends showing the ALP primary increasing by nearly 2 points over the period, the Coalition primary dropping by just over 2 points and that all washing out into an approximate 2 point two party preferred increase to the government.

The trend lines for the primaries are in the sidebar to the right as well as the current point estimates.

So this movement we’ve seen of late isn’t “noise” unless all the polls have miraculously been noisy in the same direction at the same time in similar magnitudes for the last 6 weeks – which is a long stretch by any definition. What we’ve seen is real movement, albeit a bit of a rollercoaster.

Newspoll will release their quarterly breakdown pretty soon (today’s Newspoll should be the last before the release), so when they do we can combine those results with other polling and give us an election simulation and update the state swing numbers.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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