To set the ball rolling on a new prime ministership, a walk through some highlights of Malcolm Turnbull’s polling record:
• On five occasions, pollsters asked how respondents would vote if Malcolm Turnbull were prime minister, by way of contrast with the headline results. On each occasion, the two-party vote for the Coalition under Turnbull was substantially higher – by 4% in an Essential Research poll in June 2011; by 7% and 8% in ReachTEL and AMR Research polls shortly after Kevin Rudd resumed the prime ministership in July 2013; and by 6% and 9% in Galaxy and ReachTEL polls immediately after the first Liberal Party spill vote in February (compared with 4% and 6% if Julie Bishop had been leader).
• The chart below shows trends in preferred Liberal leader polling during the period of Tony Abbott’s party leadership, encompassing 35 results from Morgan, Essential Research, ReachTEL, Ipsos and Nielsen. There has been some variability in the options available in these polls, but all featured Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott, Julie Bishop and Joe Hockey, with the exception of the two most recent Morgan results, which dropped Joe Hockey. Scott Morrison only became a regular in the middle of last year.
• The next chart records Malcolm Turnbull’s approval and disapproval trends in Newspoll while he was Opposition Leader. Unfortunately, the trend smooths out the dislocation that occurred following “Utegate” in June 2009, which you can get a clear sense of if you view the individual poll results marked by the circles. More recently, there have been three occasions when pollsters have gauged personal ratings for Turnbull. In January 2014, UMR Research respectively had his approval at 42% and disapproval at 30%. Essential Research recorded 44% approval and 31% disapproval in June 2014, which improved to 47% and 24% last month.