Labor gains momentum

52% believe Labor will win the Federal Election

Labor gains momentum

The Labor Party’s lead over the Coalition has been maintained in the mid-Federal Election campaign, according to today’s May 2019 Ipsos Poll.

The national poll of 1,207 respondents (who are all enrolled to vote), interviewed from 1-4 May 2019, shows the Labor party on 52% (down one point since April 2019), with the Coalition on 48% (up one point since April), based on 2016 election preferences.

“This indicates a 2.4% swing against the Coalition Government since the July 2016 Federal election. This is the seventeenth consecutive poll where Labor has led the Coalition in the two party preferred preference flow vote figures, that is, since November 2016,” Ipsos Director Jessica Elgood said.

The two-party stated preference vote also shows the Labor party on 52% (down one point since April) and the Coalition on 48% (up one point since April).

The Coalition’s first preference vote is 36% (down one point since April), with Labor on 33% (down one point since April). The Greens’ primary vote is 14% (up one point since April), One Nation is on 5% (unchanged since April), the Centre Alliance is on 1% (unchanged since April), the United Australia Party is on 3% and others are on 8% (down two points since April).

Seven per cent of respondents are undecided (down two points since April). These are excluded from the two-party stated preference figures and from the primary vote figures.

Key findings

  • Leaders’ approval ratings: Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s approval rating is 47% (down one point since April), and his disapproval rating is 44% (up five points since April). Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s approval rating is 40% (up four points since April), and his disapproval rating is 51% (unchanged since April).
  • Preferred Prime Minister: 45% prefer Scott Morrison as the Prime Minister (down one point since April); 40% prefer Bill Shorten (up five points since April).
  • Leader attributes: Scott Morrison leads on four of the five attributes measured: competency (59%), having a firm grasp of economic policy (57%), having a clear vision for Australia’s future (50%) and being trustworthy (44%). Bill Shorten leads on one of the five attributes measured: having the confidence of his party (70%).
  • Who’s going to win: 52% believe Labor will win this election; a third (33%) believe the Coalition will win.

Leaders’ approval and preferred Prime Minister

Scott Morrison’s approval rating is 47% (down one point since April), and his disapproval rating is 44% (up five points since April). The proportion that say they ‘neither approve nor disapprove’ or ‘don’t know’ (9%) has decreased (down four points since April).

Bill Shorten’s approval rating has increased, with approval at 40% (up four points since April). His disapproval rating is unchanged, at 51%. This gives a net approval of -11 (up four points since April).

When asked to consider their preferred Prime Minister, the gap between Morrison and Shorten has narrowed. While Scott Morrison remains the preferred Prime Minister, with 45% (down one point since April), those preferring Bill Shorten as PM have increased by five points to 40%. This is Shorten’s strongest performance since August 2015 (the last poll undertaken when Tony Abbott was PM).

This reflects the Ipsos focus group discussions where voters found it difficult to determine which of the two party leaders was preferable as Prime Minister.

Leader attributes

The tables below show the leadership attribute scores for Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten, and how these compare historically for Prime Ministers and Opposition Leaders.

Of the five attributes, Scott Morrison leads on four (those emboldened in the table below). In contrast, Shorten leads on only one attribute – having the confidence of his party. Scott Morrison’s ratings reflect the Australian public’s preference for him as the Prime Minister, having marginally better ratings on most measures than Bill Shorten.

% saying attribute applies Morrison Shorten
Competent 59 54
Has a firm grasp of economic policy 57 39
Has the confidence of his party 53 70
Has a clear vision for Australia’s future 50 47
Trustworthy 44 39

 

While Morrison’s ratings are better than those of Shorten, his figures are lower than when last measured in September 2018 when he was newly elected as party leader – except for his rating on having the confidence of the party, which has improved by four points (to 53%). On all aspects measured, except having the confidence of his party, Morrison’s ratings are lower than those achieved by Malcolm Turnbull.

Shorten’s attribute ratings continue to lag behind those of the incumbent Liberal Prime Minister, and are broadly consistent with the figures measured in September 2018 – being unchanged in how the public rate him in terms of having the confidence of his party (70%), having a clear vision for Australia (47%), and being seen as trustworthy (39%).

Those who believe Shorten has a firm grasp of economic policy has dropped by eight points to 39%, suggesting his failure to recall Labor policy regarding taxation on superannuation had a negative impact. This reconfirms the views of the voters participating in the focus groups who – irrespective of which party they had voted for in the past – questioned Labor’s competency in managing the economy, and were concerned that they spent more when in office than the Coalition.

The focus groups also suggest that voters are not particularly impressed by either Morrison or Shorten. Morrison was described as a ‘non-person’ or an ‘average Joe’, was criticised for being arrogant and lacking in confidence when it came to decision-making. Shorten was considered experienced and calm by some, but others were concerned by his connection with the Unions, and his role in the Labor leadership changes with Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.

Attributes trend data

Attributes data 1995 - 2014

Attributes trend data - 2015 to May 2019

Who is going to win?

A slim majority (52%) of the public believe Labor will win this election; a third (33%) believe the Coalition will win; and 15% mention another party or say they don’t know.

Q. Regardless of who you will vote for, who do you think will win the next Federal election?
  30 Sep-
1 Oct
1998*
7-8
Nov
2001*
5-7
Oct
2004*
19-21
Nov
2007*
17-19
Aug
2010*
4-5
Sep
2013*
5-7
May
2016
17-19
May
2016
31
May - 2 June
2016
14-16
June
2016
1-4
May
2019
Coalition 42 49 67 22 22 81 53 57 55 54 33
Labor 31 36 20 64 64 12 24 20 22 26 52
Other/Don’t know 27 15 13 14 14 8 24 23 24 19 15

*Final Nielsen Polls before the 1998, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016 elections

The public’s expectation of who will win the next Federal election has been correct for each of the last seven Federal elections.

Only half (50%) of those planning to vote for the Coalition believe it will win. In contrast, 72% of Labor voters think their party is going to win the Federal Election.

Poll Profile

Fieldwork dates: 1-4 May 2019

Sample size: 1,207 respondents

Sample: National, aged 18+, 46% of sample comprised mobile phone numbers.

Method: Telephone, using random digit dialling.

Statistical reliability: ±2.8% is the maximum margin of sampling error that might apply to this sample

Analysis: The data is based on all those enrolled to vote. The data has been weighted to reflect the population distribution.