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Labor retains narrow lead

The Labor Party remains ahead of the Coalition in week six of the Federal Election campaign, according to the third Fairfax Ipsos Election Poll released today.

The national poll of 1,437 respondents, interviewed from Tuesday 14 June – Thursday 16 June 2016, shows the Labor Party with 51% of the two-party vote (unchanged since 31 May – 2 June), ahead of the Coalition 49% (unchanged since 31 May – 2 June), based on stated preferences.

The two-party vote, based on 2013 election preferences also shows the Labor Party ahead on 51%
(unchanged since 31 May – 2 June), leading the Coalition on 49% (unchanged since 31 May – 2 June). This indicates a -4.5% swing against the Coalition Government since the September 2013 Federal election.

“First preference votes put the Coalition on 39%, down 3 points since 31 May – 2 June, and the Labor Party on 33%, also down 3 points since 31 May – 2 June. The Greens’ share of the vote is stable at 14% which is up 1 point since 31 May – 2 June,” Ipsos Director Jessica Elgood said.

“Other parties are on 14%, up 4 points since 31 May – 2 June, suggesting that the campaign period isproviding a greater platform for minor parties, such as the Nick Xenophon Team and also for Independents. Given how close the two party preferred figures are between the major parties, this rise in the share of the primary vote going to minor parties is likely to be decisive in the outcome.”

Nine per cent of respondents are undecided. This is a fall of three points since the last poll (31 May – 2 June), and reflects that we are approaching the end of the campaign. Those undecided are excluded from the two-party stated preference figures.

Key findings

  • Leaders’ approval ratings: Malcolm Turnbull’s approval at 47% (up 2 points since 31 May – 2
    June), disapproval at 42% (unchanged since 31 May – 2 June), net approval of +5 (up 2 points since 31 May – 2 June). Bill Shorten’s approval rating at 43% (up 2 points since 31 May – 2 June), disapproval rating at 47% (unchanged since 31 May – 2 June), net approval at -4 (up 2 points since 31 May – 2 June).
  • Preferred Prime Minister: 48% would prefer Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister (down 1 point since 31 May – 2 June); 34% would prefer Bill Shorten (up 3 points since 31 May – 2 June).
  • Best party on issues: The Coalition is seen at being best at handling the economy (58%), interest rates (51%) and asylum seekers (47%); Labor is seen at being best at handling health and hospitals (50%), education (51%) and the environment (46%).
  • Who will win the election: 54% believe that the Coalition will win the Federal Election (down 1 point since 31 May – 2 June).

Leaders’ approval and preferred Prime Minister

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s approval rating is 47% (up 2 points since 31 May – 2 June), and his
disapproval rating is 42% (unchanged since 31 May – 2 June). This gives a net approval of +5 (up 2 points since 31 May – 2 June).

Turnbull’s figures remain most critical in his home state of NSW, with an approval rating of -2 (44% approve, 46% disapprove in NSW), unchanged since the last poll (31 May – 2 June).

The table below shows that this is a relatively poor position compared to the majority of other Prime Ministers at the same point in a Federal Election campaign.

Comparing PM approval ratings during Federal election campaigns:

Q2. How strongly do you approve or disapprove of the performance of … as Prime Minister?
Howard
26-28 Oct
2001
Howard
30 Sep – 2 Oct
2004
Howard
12-14 Nov
2007
Gillard
10-12 Aug
2010
Rudd
18-22 Aug
2013
Turnbull
14 – 16 June
2016
Approve 60 57 51 54 43 47
Disapprove
33 38 43 36 51 42
Net Approve
+27 +19 +8 +18 -8 +5

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s approval rating is 43% (up 2 points since 31 May – 2 June). His disapproval rating is 47% (unchanged since 31 May – 2 June). This gives a net approval of -4 (up 2 points since 31 May – 2 June).

While still on balance negative, this is a stronger position than that of Tony Abbott at the same point in the 2013 Federal Election campaign.

Comparing Opposition Leader approval ratings during Federal election campaigns:

Q3. How strongly do you approve or disapprove of the performance of … as Leader of the Opposition?
Beazley
26-28 Oct
2001
Latham
30 Sep – 2 Oct
2004
Rudd
12-14 Nov
2007
Abbott
10-12 Aug
2010
Abbott
18-22 Aug
2013
Shorten
14 – 16 June
2016
Approve 50 53 60 45 44 43
Disapprove
41 37 29 48 52 47
Net Approve
+9 +16 +31 -3 -7 -4

Malcolm Turnbull remains the referred Prime Minister, at 48%, a fall of 1 point since 31 May – 2 June. One third (34%) favour Bill Shorten as Prime Minister (a significant rise of 3 points since 31 May – 2 June). This gives him a lead of +14 to Malcolm Turnbull, down from +18 in the last poll (31 May – 2 June).

Comparing preferred PM figures during Federal election campaigns:

Q.4 Who is your preferred Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull or Bill Shorten?
PM Howard/OP Beazley
26-28 Oct
2001
PM Howard/OP Latham
130 Sep – 2 Oct
2004
PM Howard/OP Rudd
12-14 Nov
2007
PM Gillard/OP Abbott
10-12 Aug
2010
PM Rudd/OP Abbott
18-22 Aug
2013
PM Turnbull/OP Shorten
14-16 June
2016
PM 52 52 43 52 48 48
Opposition Leader
38 40 49 38 45 34

Best party on issues

When asked which of the major parties would be best at handling a range of key policy areas, health and hospitals (50%), education (51%) and the environment (46%) are seen as issues where Labor leads, and the economy (58%), interest rates (51%) and asylum seekers (47%) are those where the Coalition is seen as having the best solutions.

Q.ELECT4-9 I am going to read out a number of issues. Which of the major parties, the Labor Party of the Liberal-National Coalition, do you think would be best for handling … ?
Health and Hospitals Education The economy The environment Interest rates Asylum seekers
The Labor Party
50 51 29 46 28 32
The Coalition
35 37 58 28 51 47
Other Party
2 2 2 12 2 7
Don’t know or refused
13 10 11 14 19 15

Who will win?

A majority (54%) of the public still believes the Coalition will win this election; a quarter (26%) believes that Labor will win.

The gap between the parties is narrowing; the lead to the Coalition was +37 at the outset of the campaign; this has now fallen to +28.

Q. ELECT2 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
Coalition 42 49 67 22 22 81 53 57 55 54
Labor 31 36 20 64 64 12 24 20 22 26
Other/Don’t know 27 15 13 14 14 8 24 23 24 19

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

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

Poll Profile

Fieldwork dates: 14-16 June 2016
Sample size: 1,437 respondents
Sample: National, aged 18+. 32% of sample comprised mobile phone numbers.
Method: Telephone, using random digit dialling.
Statistical reliability: ±2.6% 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.