Essential Facts For Reading Our Poll

Aug 11, 2010

The Essential Report has been drawing a bit of comment in recent days, notably for failing to chart a perceived collapse in Labor support in week two of the campaign.

We were in the firing line on the Insiders on Saturday, where George Megalogenis noted that ,as an online poll, we have a different methodology to the major poll, so should not be treated with the same level of credence.

It is true that the Essential Poll uses a different model to the established pollsters – unlike phone-polling, we draw on a community panel of about 100,00 votes established by Your Source.

So why are the Essential numbers different to the phone pollsters? Comments »

The Punch: Even with a strong economy, jobs are a top concern

Jul 20, 2010

First published on The Punch 20/7/2010

With the major parties flexing their muscles on border protection, the Australian public has sent Canberra a message that it is the protection of Australian jobs that is the real security issue for them.

In what looms as the sleeper issue for the 2010 election campaign, a quarter of all voters placed “Australian jobs and the protection of local industries” as key election issue, behind only economic management and health.

As the latest Essential Report shows that economic protectionism towers over headline-grabbing issues like climate change, asylum seekers, housing affordability, industrial laws and population growth as a priority election issue.

Q. Which are the three most important issues in deciding how you would vote at a Federal election?

Essential Report

Essential Report

What is striking about the high rating for protecting Australian industries is that it comes at a time of relatively low unemployment and a period where there has been little or no media attention on Australian jobs being sent offshore.

Instead the issue is emerging from the grass roots, the thousands of Australians in manufacturing industries – and a growing number of workers in white-collar industries like the banking sector – who see their jobs under threat from lower wage economies.

And while our leaders can crow about “turning back the boats”, 25 years of economic deregulation makes it very hard to turn back the corporate people smugglers.

It is an issue where the Liberal Party, with its knee jerk support for big business, pledges to cut government spending and reductions to the size of the public sector is struggling to gain any traction.  While it leads on issues like managing the economy and asylum seekers, when it comes to Australian jobs, people trust the ALP to the tune of 42 per cent to 28 per cent. Comments »

The Punch: Leadership change should spark primary rethink

Jun 29, 2010

First Published on The Punch 29th June 2010

The Australian public’s reaction to last week’s execution of their Prime Minister came in two courses. The first: “Don’t break the eggs!”  The second: “Nice omelette!”

By chance, I was observing focus groups on the night Rudd was rolled and the general feeling was one of surprise, anger, even outage, “it’s our job to throw out a leader, not their’s”, a sense that something fundamentally undemocratic was occurring.

But more remarkable than this emotional reaction, was the fact that it was so fleeting, having vented people who ready to move on and embrace our first female Prime Minister.

This strange dynamic is backed in this week’s Essential Report, which finds 40 per cent of voters disapprove of the takeover, yet finds just 24 per cent say they are less likely to vote Labor because of it. Comments »

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 »

Polling to the People

May 18, 2010

The Essential Report is fast becoming one of the nation’s most-quoted polls – after all it’s regular, it’s insightful and it’s free.

The fact that EMC has been able to produce and promote the poll highlights much that is good with the capacity of new media to create and share information.

So how do we get to give away so much polling every week?

Well it starts with relationships. Your Source are one of the companies who pioneered the development of online panels. They have built up a panel of more than 70,000 participants, who receive incentives (redeemable credits to shop at Myer) and work a weekly national omnibus, mainly for commercial clients. Comments »