Essential: the polling slide that evicted Rudd from the Lodge

Jun 25, 2010

First Published on Crikey Thursday 24th June

Essential Reports polls taken over the last 2 years show how Kevin Rudd’s approval ratings have declined since he almost unprecedented figures he achieved following his election through to early last year. Up to March last year approval hovered around the high 60% level into the low 70%.  Is net approval (i.e. approve minus disapprove) was around the mid 40% level.

Throughout 2009 and early 2010 his approval went into steady decline but still remained in positive territory. At the end of March he recorded 53% approval and 36% disapproval. However, the most dramatic shift occurred in April and May when his approval first entered negative territory with 41% approve and 47% disapprove. The decline appeared to be accelerating.

Some of the reasons for this sudden decline can be found in how the personal perceptions of Kevin Rudd changed from 2009 to May this year.  His attribute ratings showed significant falls in the percentage of people who considered him to be a capable leader (72% to 55%), good in a crisis (60%-44%) and trustworthy (51%-41%). Meanwhile his ratings for “out of touch with ordinary people” increased from 41% to 55%. It indicates a significant loss of confidence in his performance as Prime Minister.

Last week’s Essential Report showed only weak support for Kevin Rudd to lead the Labor Party to the next election – 40% thought the Labor Party would have better chance of winning the election if they changed leader and 37% thought Kevin Rudd was the best person to lead the labor Party. Even among Labor voters only 66% supported Kevin Rudd as leader and 23% though they should change. Comments »

Online Research is Getting a Bum Wrap

Jun 22, 2010

When it comes to research, online polling has an image problem. Federal Labor minister Craig Emerson was at it again this morning, saying the Essential Report was not a representative sample.

Part of the problem with online polling, is that it is often confused with the self-selecting web-based surveys that many news sites run – these, of course, are not scientific.

But evidence is emerging that professionally sourced and managed online panels are every bit as representative and accurate as the traditional method of telephone polling.

It has been estimated that more than 50% of all market and social research in Australia is conducted on line – it is relied on by major companies (and Governments!!) to make key decisions about their products, services, marketing. If it wasn’t reliable and valid they would be putting their businesses at considerable risk. Comments »

The real leadership story: Abbott remains unelectable

Jun 22, 2010

First published in The Punch 21st June 2010

This is the week when another round of disastrous opinion polls was meant to spark a mass uprising within the Labor Caucus, as members convinced they were facing one-term oblivion hitched their wagon to Julia Gillard.

Everything was in place, a bunch of unsourced comment pieces predicting a move on the PM, an early Newspoll published in Monday’s Australian. And then? Well apart from a slight narrowing in preferred PM, no real movement in the polls.

Entering the spirit of leadership speculation, Essential Research asked our own series of leadership questions. What emerges is a completely different story – the failure of Tony Abbott to convince voters he is the man to lead the Coalition to the election. Now before you all start flaming me (again) for being a Left-ist agent of the evil ALP, let’s have a look at the questions we asked. Comments »

Federal politics – voting intention

Jun 21, 2010

Q. If there was a Federal election held today, to which party would you probably give your first preference?

Q. If you ‘don’t know’ on the above question, which party are you currently leaning to?

1,842 sample size

First preference/leaning to 6 months ago 4 weeks ago 2 weeks ago Last week This week

Liberal 34% 39% 38% 38% 37%
National 3% 2% 3% 3% 3%
Total Lib/Nat 37% 41% 40% 41% 40%
Labor 47% 40% 37% 35% 38%
Greens 8% 10% 12% 14% 11%
Family First 2% 2% 3% 2% 3%
Other/Independent 6% 7% 7% 8% 8%
2PP 6 months ago 4 weeks ago 2 weeks ago Last week This week

Total Lib/Nat 43% 48% 48% 49% 48%
Labor 57% 52% 52% 51% 52%

NB.  The data in the above tables comprise 2-week averages derived the first preference/leaning to voting questions.  Respondents who select ‘don’t know’ are not included in the results.

* Sample is the aggregation of two weeks’ polling data. Comments »

Changing Leaders – Tony Abbott

Jun 21, 2010

Q. Do you think Tony Abbott is the best person to lead the Liberal Party to the next election or would the Liberal Party have a better chance of winning the next election if they changed leaders?

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat
Tony Abbott is the best person to lead the Liberal Party to the next election 29% 14% 62%
The Liberal Party would have a better chance of winning the next election if they changed leaders 47% 65% 25%
Don’t know 24% 21% 13%

47% of respondents thought the Liberal Party would have a better chance of winning the next election if they changed leader – 29% thought Tony Abbott was the best person to be leader.

Liberal/National voters supported Tony Abbott as leader by 62% to 25%. 79% of Greens voters and 49% of other/independent voters thought the Liberal Party should change their leader. Men (34%) and those aged 65+ (34%) were the strongest supporters of Tony Abbott remaining as leader. Comments »

Best Leader – Rudd/Abbott

Jun 21, 2010

Q. Who do you think would make the better Prime Minister out of Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott?

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat 22 Mar 10
Kevin Rudd 47% 90% 9% 50%
Tony Abbott 30% 3% 80% 30%
Don’t know 23% 7% 11% 19%

47% believe that Kevin Rudd would make the best Prime Minister and 30% preferred Tony Abbott. This is little changed since the last time this question was asked when Kevin Rudd was preferred 50% to 30%.

Men preferred Kevin Rudd by 45% to 38%, whereas women were much less likely to prefer Tony Abbott (Rudd 49%, Abbott 23%).  Greens voters preferred Kevin Rudd 64% to 9%. Comments »

Best Leader – Rudd/Gillard

Jun 21, 2010

Q7. Who do you think would make the better Prime Minister out of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard?

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat 15 Feb 10
Kevin Rudd 36% 56% 26% 45%
Julia Gillard 33% 30% 36% 26%
Don’t know 31% 14% 38% 29%

Respondents were fairly evenly split over whether Kevin Rudd (36%) or Julia Gillard (33%) would make the better Prime Minister. This is a substantial change since this question was last asked in February – Julia Gillard up 7% and Kevin Rudd down 9%.

Labor voters preferred Kevin Rudd (56% to 30%) and Liberal voters preferred Julia Gillard (36% to 26%). Greens voters preferred Julia Gillard by 62% to 18%.

Men show greater support for Kevin Rudd (40%/33%) whereas women were evenly divided (32%/34%). Comments »

Best Leader – Gillard/Abbott

Jun 21, 2010

Q. Who do you think would make the better Prime Minister out of Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard?

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat
Tony Abbott 32% 6% 76%
Julia Gillard 50% 85% 16%
Don’t know 18% 9% 8%

50% believe that Julia Gillard would make the better Prime Minister and 32% prefer Tony Abbott.

There were major differences by gender – men preferred Julia Gillard by a margin of 7% (47%/40%) whereas the margin among women was 28% (53%/25%). Greens voters preferred Julia Gillard 83% to 8%. Comments »

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