Polls are polls, and elections are elections, but what can we read into the latest round of polls from the three main pollsters?
Newspoll from 7–10 February 2019 showed no change at 53 per cent to the Labor Party, 47 per cent to the Liberal–National Party on a two-party preferred basis. Essential from 6–11 February 2019 showed a widening gap of a 55/45 per cent lead to the ALP, but the poll that had the media in a lather is the recent Ipsos poll. From 12–15 February 2019, it showed a 51/49 per cent lead to the ALP, a drop of 3 per cent in support for the ALP, when compared to December 2018.
This is still an election-winning lead for the ALP, and would result in the loss of eight seats for the LNP, if a uniform swing was maintained during the election. The final seat count under this scenario, with all other things being equal, would have the ALP winning 79 seats, the LNP winning 65 seats, with seven seats on the crossbenches.
The Newspoll and Essential results showed the continuation of the trends from 2018, whereas Ipsos shows a narrowing and, like sporting commentators attempting to make a one-sided game seem more fascinating to their audience, the media focus has been on the Ipsos result, and feeding into the narrative: the LNP is ‘back in the game’.
It’s difficult to see how the LNP is still showing poll numbers of 49 per cent in two-party preferred terms: they’ve been a seriously underperforming government since 2013, and has a number of unresolved issues, such as the banking Royal Commission.
It’s quite possible the Ipsos poll is an outlier and we should wait to see further evidence to see if Prime Minister Scott Morrison is making the impression the media wants us to believe.
There has been a slight narrowing of 1 percentage point since September 2018 (from 54/46 per cent to 53/47 per cent), but polling from all pollsters is fluctuating between 55/45 and 52/48 per cent, and a clear trend hasn’t been set yet.
We’ve previously outlined how Morrison’s performance towards the end of 2018 was poor and how little is known about his background before politics, and how his actual entry into Parliament was one of the more unsavoury moments in Liberal Party history.
Did you miss the recent New Politics monthly podcast? Presented by Eddy Jokovich and David Lewis – we fill in all the gaps left behind by the mainstream media. Listen in!
Recently, Ministers from the LNP have constantly misrepresented the Medical Evacuation Bill, pushing out the message that “rapists, paedophiles and murders” would now start filtered through from Manus Island and Nauru (no evidence has been provided for this), and claiming that advice from Border Force and the Australian Federal Police demanded that the asylum seeker facilities on Christmas Island would need to be re-opened at the cost of $500 million over four years.
Again, no evidence or specific costing was provided for this and, again, the cloak of secrecy was provided where the Government claimed they could not divulge information relating to national security, or ‘on-water’ matters.
In other words, the Government is asking the electorate to take them on their word. Based on the LNP’s previous performances on immigration and asylum seeker issues, not much more needs to be added here.
Of course, the mainstream media will beat up the Ipsos poll as an indication the ALP has taken a hit because of the Medical Evacuation Bill that was passed last week in Parliament, but there is usually a lag between issues of the day in politics, and the way the polls are affected in any meaningful way.
Our Mediapoll analysis suggests the current polling is 52.7 per cent for the ALP to 47.3 per cent to the LNP.
Let’s way for a few more polls to see if the LNP is making some type of comeback but, until then, it’s just a lot of speculation and hot air coming from a media that is desperate to see a Coalition victory in the 2019 election.