Monday, June 18, 2018

Federal Newspoll Records Page

Introduction (June 2018)

This weekend, the Coalition government under PM Malcolm Turnbull trailed on two-party preferred vote for a 34th consecutive Newspoll, an all-time outright record.

As there has been so much interest in federal Newspoll records this year I thought I would start a Newspoll records page, a resource page which I will update and expand as time permits.  Some of the material has previously been published on the Newspoll Wikipedia page, which I fixed up after finding it contained a large number of errors caused by confusion between satisfaction scores and Better Prime Minister.

Suggestions for new categories are welcome, as are corrections.

This may seem like a very nerdy cricket-statsy kind of page full of numbers without much connection to what they mean.  If there is a conclusion I wish to be drawn from all this it is that drawing predictive conclusions from record feats in Newspoll is difficult.  The records are awash with cases of impressive results polled by leaders who turned out to be flops, and poor results polled by leaders who were unexpected winners.  As I commence this page (June 2018) it's especially important to note that changes in Newspoll methods have made long runs of similar results more likely, and dramatic poll-to-poll swings less so.  (This made PM Turnbull's choice of consecutive 2PP losses as a metric to justify removing PM Abbott especially unwise.)  As a result there are three currently ongoing record streaks, probably the most important of which favours Labor while two others favour the Coalition.  


The first Newspoll was released in November 1985.  In the early days Newspoll's regular federal series polled just primary votes for the parties and the satisfaction ratings of the leaders individually.  Better Prime Minister (often called "preferred prime minister" was polled in the leadup to the 1987 and 1990 elections, and then continuously from July 1991 (except possibly for three polls in July-August 1994, for which data are not on the old Newspoll site.)

Two-party preferred (2PP) estimates were published during campaigns from 1993 onwards, and then continuously from Nov-Dec 2002 onwards.  For other Newspolls it is possible to construct 2PP estimates using the primaries and the preference flows from previous elections, but because of rounding issues these are not necessarily exactly the same as the numbers Newspoll would have got. At least two sets of estimates for the early days exist, one by me (which hasn't been published in full yet), and one slightly different set by Peter Brent (which occurs on his Old Mumble site, but with a formatting error that causes some figures not to line up correctly.) 

The frequency of Newspoll releases has varied over time, and also varies through each year because of the Christmas-New Year break.  See How Often Have Federal Newspolls Been Released? for more information on this.  It means that records for winning and losing streaks often don't compare like with like.

Newspoll was historically a live-interview telephone pollster calling only landlines.  From July 2015 The Australian, which owns the Newspoll brand, contracted the administration of the brand to Galaxy Research.  At the same time there were major changes in the conduct of the poll, including an increase in sample size and a switch to a hybrid interview method using robopoll (automated) landline polling and also using online polling to reach voters who do not have landlines.  The poll also became much less "bouncy" (even after considering sample size), and no explanation for this (also a property of Galaxy's previous federal polling) has been publicly available.

In late 2017 Galaxy Research was acquired by YouGov (becoming YouGov Galaxy) but continued to administer Newspoll by the same methods.  A significant preferencing method change commenced just before the acquisition was announced, but I do not believe it was connected with the acquisition. 

For its 2PP calculations, Newspoll has generally employed the usually very accurate method of last-election preferences.  During 2004 it employed respondent preferences, resulting in a serious failure at the 2004 election at which it had the 2PP at 50-50 in its final poll.  YouGov Galaxy now employs an undisclosed mixture of previous federal and state election preference flows in estimating the 2PP, which produced a sharp change from November 2017 onwards when One Nation flows were adjusted to resemble those seen in recent state elections.


Within this page, I make use of both published 2PP figures and derived last-election 2PP estimates.  I also overwrite the 2004 respondent-preference figures with derived preferences.  Over time I intend to upload a full set of my derived 2PP estimates.

Where a record relies in part or in full on derived 2PP estimates, that result appears in italics.

Streaks that have not yet ended are shown with an asterisk.

There is no set number of results to be included for each category.  The general standard is three plus as many more as I consider worth including.

I do not have exact polling dates for all polls in the last few years readily to hand.  There may be some slight date errors (a day or two) with these but they will be checked and corrected over time.  For early polls taken over multiple weekends in a month I have in some cases for now just listed the month.

Records up to date as of the Newspoll released 28 July 2019

On to the records ...

2PP Winning And Losing Streaks

Most 2PP Wins In A Row (Government)

53 Labor (Rudd) Jan 2008-April 2010
37 Coalition (Howard) March 1996-Aug 1997
19 Coalition (Howard) Dec 2002-Sep 2003

Most 2PP Losses In A Row (Government)

56 Coalition (Turnbull (38)/Morrison (18) vs Shorten) Sep 2016 - May 2019 (At the end of this streak the Coalition won the election.)
33 Labor (Gillard vs Abbott) April 2011-September 2012
30 Coalition (Abbott vs Shorten) May 2014 - September 2015
27 Coalition (Howard vs Beazley(1)/Rudd (26)) Nov 2006-Nov 2007
25 Labor (Hawke(20)/Keating(5) vs Hewson) May 1990-Mar 1992

Most 2PP Losses In A Row (Opposition Leader)

37 Beazley (Labor) vs Howard March 1996-Aug 1997
29 Turnbull (Coalition) vs Rudd, Oct 2008-Nov 2009
19 Crean (Labor) vs Howard Dec 2002-Sep 2003
16 Nelson (Coalition) vs Rudd, Jan-Sep 2008

(Note: Beazley's losing streak is 28 polls if using the Peter Brent 2PP estimates, which give the 9-11 May 1997 poll as 50-50, whereas my estimate is 51-49 to Coalition.  There is no right or wrong answer here as there is a subjective issue with dealing with the preferences of One Nation, which did not contest the 1996 election.)

Highs and Lows: Voting Intention

Highest 2PPs (Government) 

63 Labor (Rudd), 29 Feb-2 Mar 2008
61 Labor (Rudd), 18-20 Apr 2008
60 Coalition (Howard), 12-14 April 1996
59 has occurred seven times, all within the first year or so of the Howard and Rudd governments.

Lowest 2PPs (Government)

40 Coalition (Howard), 25-7 May 2007
40 Labor (Keating), 20-22 Aug 1993
41 Coalition (Howard) 13-5 Apr 2007, 11-13 May 2007 and 31 Aug-2 Sep 2007
41 Labor (Gillard), 2-4 Sep 2011 and 27-29 Apr 2012

Highest Primaries (Coalition)

55 (Howard - Government) 12-14 Apr 1996, 10-12 May 1996, 24-6 May 1996
54 (Hewson - Opposition) 20-22 Aug 1993
54 (Howard - Government) 29-31 March 1996

Highest Primaries (Labor)

54 (Hawke - Government) 12-14 June 1986
53 (Hawke - Government) 5-7 June 1986
52 (Rudd - Opposition) 16-8 March 2007 and 25-7 March 2007

Lowest Primaries (Coalition)

31 (Nelson - Opposition) 29 Feb-2 Mar 2008
33 (Nelson - Opposition) 13-15 June 2008
33 (Morrison - Government) 24-26 August 2018
34 (Howard - Government) 26-8 June 1998
34 (Nelson - Opposition) 18-20 Apr 2008
34 (Turnbull - Opposition) 16-18 Oct 2009
34 (Turnbull - Government) Feb 23-26 2017 and Nov 9-12 2017
34 (Morrison-Government) 6-9 Sept 2018 and 22-25 Nov 2018

Lowest Primaries (Labor)

26 (Gillard - Government) 16-18 Sep 2011
27 (Gillard - Government) 8-10 July 2011, 19-21 Aug 2011, 2-4 Sep 2011, 27-29 Apr 2012
The worst Labor primary in opposition is 33, on 23-25 Nov 2001 (Crean), 11-13 Apr 2003 (Crean), 3-5 Dec 2004 (Latham) and 25-28 July 2019 (Albanese)

Highest Primaries For Each Minor Party

Nationals: 9% (31 Mar - 2 Apr 2000) Note: Nationals primary released separately from Nov 1999 on.
Greens: 16% (29-30 May 2010)
Democrats: 17% (16-18 March 1990)
One Nation: 13% (26-28 June 1998)

The highest combined vote for parties excluding Labor and the Coalition is 29%, which occurred four times in 2017: Feb 1-4, Feb 22-25, Apr 19-22, July 5-8.

Leadership Satisfactions

Highest peak satisfaction rating (PM - only highest rating for each leader is shown)

71 Kevin Rudd (Labor), 18-20 April 2008
67 John Howard (Coalition), 10-12 May 1996
62 Bob Hawke (Labor), 24-26 Jan 1986

Highest peak satisfaction rating (Opposition Leader - only highest rating for each leader is shown)

68 Kevin Rudd (Labor), 16-18 Feb 2007 and 11-13 May 2007
66 Mark Latham (Labor), 19-21 March 2004
55 John Hewson (Coalition), 17-19 Jan 1992

Lowest career-low satisfaction rating (PM - only lowest rating for each leader is shown)

17 Paul Keating (Labor), 20-22 Aug 1993
23 Julia Gillard (Labor), 2-4 Sep 2011
24 Tony Abbott (Coalition), 6-8 Feb 2015

Lowest career-low satisfaction rating (Opposition Leader - only lowest rating for each leader is shown)

20 Alexander Downer (Coalition), 2-4 Dec 1994 and 16-18 Dec 1994
22 Andrew Peacock (Coalition), 19-21 May 1989
22 John Hewson (Coalition), 11-13 March 1994
22 Simon Crean (Labor), 28-30 Nov 2003

Leadership Dissatisfactions

Highest peak dissatisfaction rating (PM - only highest rating for each leader is shown)

75 Paul Keating (Labor), 3-5 Sep 1993
68 Tony Abbott (Coalition), 6-8 Feb 2015 and 20-22 Feb 2015
68 Julia Gillard (Labor), 2-4 Sep 2011

Highest peak dissatisfaction rating (Opposition Leader - only highest rating for each leader is shown)

69 Alexander Downer (Coalition), 2-4 Dec 1994
67 Andrew Peacock (Coalition), 16-18 March 1990
64 John Hewson (Coalition), 11-13 March 1994

Lowest career-low dissatisfaction rating (PM - only lowest rating for each leader is shown)

(This record and the next are invariably recorded early in a leader's career.)

11 Kevin Rudd (Labor), 18-20 Jan 2008
12 John Howard (Coalition), 15-17 March 1996
22 Malcolm Turnbull (Coalition), 20-22 Nov 2015

Lowest career-low dissatisfaction rating (Opposition Leader - only lowest rating for each leader is shown)

10 Kevin Rudd (Labor), 8-10 Dec 2006
12 Alexander Downer (Coalition), 27-29 May 1994
15 John Hewson (Coalition), 20-22 April 1990
15 Kim Beazley (Labor), 12-14 April 1996

Net Satisfaction

Highest peak netsat  (PM - only highest rating for each leader is shown)

+57 Kevin Rudd (Labor), 29 Feb-2 Mar 2008
+53 John Howard (Coalition), 10-12 May 1996
+38 Malcolm Turnbull (Coalition), 20-22 Nov 2015

Highest peak netsat (Opposition Leader - only highest rating for each leader is shown)

+55 Kevin Rudd (Labor), 16-18 Feb 2007
+51 Mark Latham (Labor), 19-21 Mar 2004
+34 Alexander Downer (Coalition), 8-10 July 1994

Lowest career-low netsat  (PM - only lowest rating for each leader is shown)

-57 Paul Keating (Labor), 20-22 Aug 1993 and 3-5 Sep 1993
-45 Julia Gillard (Labor), 2-4 Sep 2011
-44 Tony Abbott (Coalition), 5-7 Feb 2015

Lowest career-low netsat (Opposition Leader - only lowest rating for each leader is shown)

-49 Alexander Downer (Coalition) 2-4 Dec 1994
-44 Andrew Peacock (Coalition), 16-18 Mar 1990
-42 John Hewson (Coalition), 11-13 Mar 1994

Most consecutive positive netsats (PM)

102 John Howard (Coalition), Aug 2001-Sep 2005
53 Kevin Rudd (Labor), Jan 2008-Apr 2010
28 John Howard (Coalition), March 1996-May 1997
16 Bob Hawke (Labor), April 1987-December 1987

Most consecutive positive netsats (LO)

42 Kim Beazley (Labor), July 1998-Feb 2000
26 Kevin Rudd (Labor), Dec 2006-Nov 2007
25 Kim Beazley (Labor), March 1996-April 1997
25 Mark Latham (Labor), Dec 2003-Nov 2004

Most consecutive negative netsats (PM)

109 Paul Keating (Labor), Jan 1992-Feb 1996 (entire career)
52 Julia Gillard (Labor), March 2011-June 2013
49 Malcolm Turnbull (Coalition), March 2016 - August 2018
36 Tony Abbott (Coalition), Dec 2013-Sep 2015

Most consecutive negative netsats (LO)

88 Bill Shorten (Labor) Feb 2015 - May 2019
65 Tony Abbott (Coalition) Nov 2010-Sep 2013
56 John Hewson (Coalition) April 1992-May 1994
49 John Howard (Coalition) Nov 1985-May 1989

Better Prime Minister

Better Prime Minister correlates with voting intention but also skews towards incumbent PMs.  Historically, the incument PM leads as Better PM about 76% of the time.

Largest leads (PM - only largest lead involving each opponent pair is shown)

+66 Rudd (Labor) vs Nelson, 29 Feb-2 Mar 2008
+51 Howard (Coalition) vs Crean, 28-30 Nov 2003
+51 Rudd (Labor) vs Turnbull, 27-29 Nov 2004
+49 Turnbull (Coalition) vs Shorten, 20-22 Nov 2015

Largest deficits (PM  - only largest deficit involving each opponent pair is shown)

-20 Keating (Labor) vs Downer, 8-10 July 1994
-18 Abbott (Coalition) vs Shorten, 5-8 Feb 2015
-16 Keating (Labor) vs Hewson, 20-22 Aug 1993
-13 Howard (Coalition) vs Rudd, 16-18 Mar 2007 and 19-21 Oct 2007

Most consecutive wins vs same opponent (PM)

58 Turnbull (Coalition) vs Shorten, Sep 2015 - Aug 2018
47 Howard (Coalition) vs Crean Dec 2001-Nov 2003
46 Howard (Coalition) vs Beazley, Jan 2005-Nov 2006

Considering all opponents, John Howard recorded 139 consecutive wins from June 2001 to Feb 2007.

Most consecutive wins vs same opponent (LO)

23 Rudd (Labor) vs Howard, Feb-Nov 2007
10 Abbott (Coalition) vs Gillard, June-Nov 2011
9 Hewson (Coalition) vs Keating, May-Aug 1992
8 Shorten (Labor) vs Abbott, Nov 2014-Apr 2015

Poll To Poll Change

Largest 2PP swing to government (Excludes cases where an election was held between polls)

+8 to Labor (Keating), 6-8 Nov 1992
+6 to Coalition (Howard), 28-30 May 2004 (+7 by respondent preferences) - rogue poll
+6 to Coalition (Howard), 21-23 Sep 2001
+6 to Labor (Rudd), 29 Feb - 2 Mar 2008
+6 to Labor (Gillard replaced by Rudd), 27-29 June 2013

Largest 2PP swing to opposition

-8 against Labor (Keating), 20-22 Aug 1993
-8 against Labor (Keating), 23-25 Sep 1994
-7 against Labor (Hawke), 19-21 Sep 1986
-7 against Labor (Hawke), 19-21 May 1989
-7 against Labor (Keating), 10-12 Feb 1995
-7 against Labor (Rudd), 30 Oct-1 Nov 2009

There were three six-point swings against the Howard Coalition government.

Largest netsat gain by PM 

+24 Howard (Coalition), 10-12 May 1996
+20 Howard (Coalition), 31 Aug-2 Sep 2001
+19 Hawke (Labor), Feb 1991
+18 Howard (Coalition), 21-3 Sep 2001
+18 Howard (Coalition), 18-20 October 2002

Largest netsat loss by PM

-24 Howard (Coalition), 22-4 Feb 2002
-23 Gillard (Labor), 4-6 March 2011
-20 Hawke (Labor), Feb 1988
-20 Keating (Labor), 20-22 August 1993
-20 Rudd (Labor), 30 April - 2 May 2010

Largest netsat gain by LO

+23 Hewson (Coalition), 22-4 Nov 1991
+23 Beazley (Labor), 19-21 Oct 2001
+18 Abbott (Coalition), 10-2 Sep 2010, immediately following election
+16 Hewson (Coalition), July 1991

Largest netsat loss by LO

-40 Turnbull (Coalition), 26-8 June 2009
-36 Downer (Coalition), 5-7 Aug 1994
-31 Latham (Labor), 2-4 April 2004
-25 Howard (Coalition), 29 Nov-1 Dec 1985

There are no others of -20 or worse but several in the upper teens.

Largest Better PM margin increase by PM vs same opponent

See this poll roundup for detailed discussion of this record.

+17 Howard (Coalition) vs Beazley, 10-12 Mar 2006
+15 Keating (Labor) vs Hewson, 19-21 Mar 1993, following election victory
+15 Howard (Coalition) vs Beazley, 16-18 Oct 1998, following election victory
+15 Howard (Coalition) vs Latham, 19-21 Nov 2014, following election victory
+15 Rudd (Labor) vs Turnbull, 26-8 June 2009

Largest Better PM margin decrease by PM vs same opponent

-23 Keating (Labor) vs Hewson, 20-22 Aug 1993
-18 Howard (Coalition) vs Crean, 22-24 Feb 2002
-14 Howard (Coalition) vs Beazley, 17-19 Oct 1997
-14 Howard (Coalition) vs Beazley, 19-21 Oct 2001
-14 Rudd (Labor) vs Abbott, 23-5 July 2010

(primary vote changes to be added eventually)

1 comment:

  1. Just before my eyes glazed over, I noticed this:

    Largest defecits (PM...)
    -20 Keating (Labor) vs Downer, 8-10 July 1994

    Comparing that with the other references to Downer (several negative records) it shows how transient some of these opinions are. Of course it might also show how ambivalent many of us felt about PK I suppose.