Steady performance by Morrison - Fairfax Ipsos poll

The Labor Party retains its lead over the Coalition in the September 2018 Fairfax Ipsos Poll.

Steady performance by Morrison - Fairfax Ipsos poll

The national poll of 1,200 respondents, interviewed from 12-15 September 2018, shows the Labor party on 53% (down two points since August), with the Coalition on 47% (up two points since August), based on 2016 election preferences.

“These figures indicates a -3.4% swing against the Coalition Government since the July 2016 Federal election,” Ipsos Director Jessica Elgood said.

“The two-party stated preference vote also shows the Labor party on 53%, down two points since August, and the Coalition on 47%, up two points since August.”

First preference votes put Labor on 31% (down four points since August) and the Coalition on 34% (up one point since August). The Greens are on 15% (up two points since August), One Nation is on 7% (unchanged since August), the Nick Xenophon Team is unchanged on 2% and others are on 11% (up two points since August).

Four per cent of respondents are undecided. 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 46%, and disapproval is 36%. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s approval rating is 44% (up three points since August), and disapproval at 48% (down four points since August).
  • Preferred Prime Minister: 47% prefer Scott Morrison as the Prime Minister (down one point since August, when asked about Malcolm Turnbull); 37% prefer Bill Shorten (up one point since August).
  • Leader attributes: Scott Morrison is ahead of Bill Shorten on seven of the 11 attributes measured. Mr Shorten is ahead on ‘having the confidence of his party’, ‘having a firm grasp of social policy’ and being ‘easily influenced by minority groups’. Mr Morrison is perceived as ‘having a firm grasp of economic policy’ (66%), being ‘competent’ (64%), ‘open to ideas’ (60%) and having ‘the ability to make things happen’ (54%). Mr Shorten is perceived as ‘having the confidence of his party’ (70%), being ‘open to ideas’ (60%), ‘having a firm grasp of social policy’ (57%) and being ‘competent’ (57%).

Leaders’ approval and preferred Prime Minister

Scott Morrison’s first approval rating puts him at 46% - the same figure as achieved by Malcolm Turnbull in the August Fairfax Ipsos Poll. His disapproval rating is 36%, and currently 18% are yet to make up their mind on the new Prime Minister saying they ‘neither approve nor disapprove’ or ‘don’t know’. This gives him a positive net approval of +10.

Bill Shorten’s approval rating has marginally improved, with approval at 44% (up three points since August) and his disapproval rating is 48% (down four points since August). This gives a net approval of -4 (up seven points since August). This is the Opposition Leader’s highest net approval rating since June 2016.

As Liberal leader, Scott Morrison remains the preferred Prime Minister, with 47% (down one point since Malcolm Turnbull’s last figures in August), and 37% would prefer Bill Shorten as PM (up one point since August). This is Bill Shorten’s highest preferred Prime Minister figure since August 2015.

Leader attributes

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

Of the eleven attributes, Scott Morrison leads on seven (those emboldened in the table below). In contrast, Mr Shorten leads on only three attributes.

  MORRISON SHORTEN
% saying attribute applies    
Has a firm grasp of economic policy 66 47
Competent 64 57
Open to ideas 60 60
Has the ability to make things happen 54 46
Has a clear vision for Australia’s future 51 47
Strong leader 51 43
Has a firm grasp of foreign policy 50 44
Has the confidence of his party 49 70
Trustworthy 49 39
Has a firm grasp of social policy 49 57
Is easily influenced by minority groups 38 50

 

Scott Morrison’s ratings reflect the Australian public’s preference for him as the Prime Minister, rather than Bill Shorten. Not surprisingly given Mr Morrison’s previous position as Treasurer, the public see him as ‘having a firm grasp of economic policy’ (66%). They also see him as ‘competent’ (64%), ‘open to ideas’ (60%), and having ‘the ability to make things happen’ (54%). His attributes rate similarly to those of Malcolm Turnbull (when last polled in June 2018), except for Mr Morrison’s ‘firm grasp of foreign policy’ (50%), compared to 64% who said this about Mr Turnbull.

While Mr Morrison’s ratings are better than those of the Opposition Leader, his figures are consistently lower than those of Malcolm Turnbull when newly elected as Prime Minister.

Liberal leader trends

  Malcolm Turnbull Scott Morrison  
% saying attribute applies Feb 2015 Oct 2015 April 2016 June 2018 Sep 2018 Change
Has a firm grasp of economic policy 70 80 66 67 66 -1
Competent 74 83 70 67 64 -3
Open to ideas 69 75 63 61 60 -1
Has the ability to make things happen 56 74 49 54 54 0
Has a clear vision for Australia’s future 58 70 51 52 51 -1
Strong leader 60 75 55 49 51 +2
Has a firm grasp of foreign policy - 65 61 64 50 -14
Has the confidence of his party 52 67 50 55 49 -6
Trustworthy 55 58 51 48 49 +1
Has a firm grasp of social policy 64 60 47 44 49 +5
Is easily influenced by minority groups 23 27 34 38 38 0

 

Bill Shorten’s attribute ratings continue to lag behind those of the incumbent Liberal Prime Minister. However, despite this comparison his ratings have remained either static or have marginally improved. In particular, he is more likely than in June to be seen to be ‘able to make things happen’ (46%, up six points), as ‘having the confidence of his party’ (70%, up five points) and being ‘competent’ (57%, up four points).

Labor leader trends

  Bill Shorten  
% saying attribute applies July 2014 Nov 2014 July 2015 Oct 2015 April 2016 June 2018 Sep 2018 Change
Has the confidence of his party 63 71 56 58 58 65 70 +5
Open to ideas 58 68 68 58 59 60 60 0
Has a firm grasp of social policy 58 62 59 55 54 59 57 -2
Competent 57 58 52 51 49 53 57 +4
Is easily influenced by minority groups 42 44 46 51 50 49 50 +1
Has a firm grasp of economic policy 45 43 43 39 38 48 47 -1
Has a clear vision for Australia’s future 38 43 36 37 34 44 47 +3
Has the ability to make things happen 36 36 35 33 32 40 46 +6
Has a firm grasp of foreign policy 38 42 39 36 36 45 44 -1
Strong leader 40 43 34 30 30 41 43 +2
Trustworthy 45 44 39 36 36 39 39 0

 

Poll Profile

Fieldwork dates: 12-15 September 2018

Sample size: 1,200 respondents

Sample: National, aged 18+, 50% of sample comprised mobile phone numbers.

Method: Telephone, using random digit dialling.

Statistical reliability: ±2.9% is the maximum margin of sampling error that might apply to this sample

Analysis: The data has been weighted to reflect the population distribution.