The latest Morgan face-to-face poll, combining the results of the last two weekends’ polling, adds to a picture of Labor’s slight gains over the previous month or two being reversed. The Coalition has picked up two points on the primary vote directly at Labor’s expense, with the Coalition on 49.5 per cent and Labor on 32.5 per cent. The Greens are down a point to 12 per cent. On respondent-allocated preferences, the Coalition lead is up from 56.5-43.5 to 58.5-41.5; on the previous election measure it’s up from 53.5-46.5 to 55.5-44.5.
I’ve had quite a lot to say about the persistent gap between Morgan’s two two-party preferred measure, which is a fairly recent phenomenon. The chart below shows how Labor’s share of respondent-allocated preferences has tracked in the three poll series that publish results for both measures, namely Morgan’s frequent face-to-face polls, their less frequent phone polls, and the monthly Nielsen results. All three began the year more or less in the territory of the 2010 election result, which delivered Labor 65.8 per cent of all non-major party preferences.
Up to a month ago, all three seemed to agree that this had declined by about 10 per cent. Since then, we’ve seen individual Nielsen and Morgan phone poll results (which may prove to be aberrations) showing a revesal of that trend, while Morgan face-to-face has the Labor share lower than ever. Morgan face-to-face has also been consistent in giving Labor the lowest share of the three series throughout this year. I should note as always that the previous election measure has a better track record for predicting the election result in any case.
In other poll news, a fortnightly Port Macquarie-based publication called The Port Paper has published results from an automated phone poll conducted by ReachTEL in Rob Oakeshott’s electorate of Lyne showing support for Rob Oakeshott at just 14.8 per cent, against 55.3 per cent for the Coalition and 17 per cent for Labor. This has raised eyebrows on a number of counts. Firstly, the question on voting intention was the last of three put to respondents, after attitudinal questions on carbon tax and pokies reforms (both of which were strongly opposed), which is commonly recognised in the polling caper as the wrong way to get an accurate response. Secondly, the principals behind The Port Paper are very strongly associated with the Nationals. And thirdly, Bernard Keane in Crikey today relates that ReachTEL “proudly announced it was an associate member of Clubs Qld, which has this year been campaigning aggressively against the Andrew Wilkie-led poker machine reform push. The Port Paper story fails to disclose that.”
The Port Paper also published a poll from the corresponding state electorate of Port Macquarie before the election in March, and while it was not brilliantly accurate, its errors were not in a direction that would inspire doubts about its motives. The vote for soon-to-be-defeated independent incumbent Peter Besseling was about right (34 per cent, compared with 36.5 per cent at the election), but the Nationals were too low (40 per cent against 52.2 per cent) and Labor too high (14 per cent against 5.7 per cent).