2PP Aggregate: 52.3 to Labor (-0.4 since last week, -1.4 in four weeks)
This week's federal polling sees the Coalition's gradual recovery in recent weeks continue, with some of the government's best results since before the Budget.
This week's polls
This week Newspoll recorded a 2PP result of 52:48 (-2) to Labor, this being the closest Newspoll has had the two parties in any poll since April. Morgan recorded 54:46 (unchanged) to Labor by last-election preferences (56:44 respondent-allocated), which is worth about 52.5 once Morgan's house effect is considered. Essential recorded its third straight 51:49. Essential and Newspoll more or less concurred on personal net ratings for Tony Abbott (-17 and -18 respectively), for Bill Shorten (-6 and -8) and on Tony Abbott reclaiming the preferred prime minister "lead" (by 4 points and 1 point). As always noted, preferred prime minister is an indicator that is blatantly skewed towards incumbents and so Abbott's lead has little meaning except that the Coalition is less badly behind than a few weeks ago. Shorten's ratings continue to bob around with little apparent meaning but it is vaguely notable that his dissatisfaction score of 44 is his second-worst thus far.
All up my aggregate sees the Coalition up to 47.7% 2PP, not too far now from the 49-ish position it was in for about five months before the Budget. That said, half of this week's gain comes from the last remaining influence of pre-MH17 polling falling out of the system.
The Newspoll result is being reported as a major shift (since the Coalition's primary vote has a 4 in front of it!) but really it is not, and the surprise if anything is that some of the statistically inconclusive two-point move in this fortnight's poll had not already happened in the last one. Newspoll also came with a special finding that 31% of voters expect their standard of living to worsen in the next six months, compared to 12% expecting improvement.
Essential continues to be Coalition-friendly compared to the rest of the aggregate and it has now fallen on the Coalition side of the trend in 14 of the last 15 weeks, six of the last eight by more than a point. Its average lean for the term is still well less than a point so I have not seen any need to make any changes, but it's significant that Essential has been running ahead of the trend back to the government and is not purely lagging.
Here's the smoothed 2PP tracking graph showing the Coalition's very gradual recovery to date:
It's still not clear whether the voting intention change following the MH-17 disaster represents a bounce caused by that disaster (that could revert to bad results for the Coalition soon) or has just added something to a trend towards recovery that would have happened anyway. In terms of the Coalition's long-term prospects, I think this is actually quite a significant question.
And that's about all for this week (or at least all I have time for writing from the FIDE elections in Norway) except a nostalgic note that the last ever Nielsen will fall out of the aggregate dataset this weekend.