SHORTEN FORGES AHEAD AS PREFERRED PM

Labor remains narrowly ahead of the Coalition in the latest Fairfax Ipsos Poll.

The national poll of 1,401 respondents, interviewed from Thursday 4 to Saturday 6 December 2014, shows Labor with 52% of the two-party preferred vote (up 1 since November), ahead of the Coalition on 48% (down 1 since November), based on 2013 election preferences. This indicates a 5.5% swing against the Abbott Government since the September 2013 Federal election.

The two-party stated preference vote shows Labor on 53% (unchanged since November), leading the Coalition on 47% (also unchanged since November).

First preference votes put the Coalition on 40% (down 2 since November) and Labor on 37% (unchanged since November). The Greens continue to lead the minor parties with 12% (unchanged since November). The Palmer United Party is on 2% (down 1 since November), and others are on 9% (up 2 since November).

Five per cent of respondents are undecided. These are excluded from the two-party stated preference figures.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s approval rating is 38% (down 4 since November). His disapproval rating is 57% (up 8 since November). This gives a net approval of -19 (down 12 since November)⌃.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s approval rating is 46% (up 3 since November). His disapproval rating is 41% (up 1 since November). This gives a net approval of +5 (up 2 since November).

Bill Shorten has moved ahead as the preferred Prime Minister, at 47%, an increase of 6 points since November. Two in five (39%) favour Tony Abbott as Prime Minister (a fall of 2 points since November).

The table below* shows the attribute scores for Abbott and Shorten, and how these compare historically for PMs and Opposition Leaders.

Of the eleven attributes, Bill Shorten has a statistically significant lead on six; being viewed as more competent (58%), having the confidence of his party (71%), being open to ideas (68%), being trustworthy (44%), and having a firm grasp of social policy (62%). He is also seen as being more easily influenced by minority groups (44%).

June 1995 June 2007 April 2013 July 2013 July 2014 Nov 2014
% saying attribute applies to leader Keating Howard Howard Rudd Gillard Abbott Rudd Abbott Abbott Shorten Abbott Shorten
(PM) (OL) (PM) (OL) (PM) (OL) (PM) (OL) (PM) (OL) (PM) (OL)
Competent 62 68 73 74 53 60 65 55 52 57 50 58
Strong leader 67 44 77 60 49 52 57 48 47 40 42 43
Has the confidence of her/his party 65 56 76 79 28 76 50 79 64 63 53 71
Open to ideas 30 72 41 78 58 52 61 46 38 58 39 68
Trustworthy 45 51 66 54 36 47 45 40 35 45 36 44
Has a clear vision for Australia’s future 53 52 59 61 47 53 59 48 54 38 49 43
Is easily influenced by minority groups 27 30 22 34 50 23 40 28 28 42 29 44
Has a firm grasp of economic policy 53 65 78 52 46 53 59 49 45 45 46 43
Has a firm grasp of foreign policy 47 48 63 51 56 47 73 39 43 38 45 42
Has a firm grasp of social policy 39 55 43 68 53 45 61 47 34 58 31 62
Has the ability to make things happen 68 42 77 53 52 57 62 49 58 36 48 36

 

Percentages in bold indicate a statistically significant difference in perception of the leaders.

In contrast, Tony Abbott has a statistically significant lead on only two attributes; having a clear vision for Australia’s future (49%) and having the ability to make things happen (48%). Despite being rated more highly than Bill Shorten for these attributes, his figures are historically low. From the trend data, no Prime Minister has received such a low figure for being able to make things happen, and his rating for having a clear vision for Australia’s future is on par with the figures for Julia Gillard in April 2013.

Tony Abbott is seen as having the confidence of his party (53%), being competent (50%), having a clear vision for Australia’s future (49%) and having the ability to make things happen (48%). However, of the eleven attributes tested, his ratings are at their lowest ever for five of these attributes.

Bill Shorten is seen as having the confidence of his party (71%), being open to ideas (68%), and having a firm grasp of social policy (62%). His ratings show positive increases for eight of the eleven attributes.

Poll Profile
Fieldwork dates:        4-6 December 2014

Sample size:             1, 401 respondents

Sample:                     National, aged 18+. 31% 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 has been weighted by age, gender and location (metro/non-metro) to reflect the population distribution

Compared to the Fairfax Ipsos Poll taken in 30 Oct-1 Nov 2014, the changes in Tony Abbott’s approval and disapproval ratings are all statistically significant at the 5% level. 

* April 2013 poll: 11-13 April 2013, n=1,400 interviews, nationwide, aged 18+

July 2013 poll: 11-13 July 2013, n=1,008 interviews, nationwide, aged 18+

July 2014 poll: 17-19 July 2014, n=1,000 interviews, nationwide, aged 18+

Nov 2014 poll: 4-6 December 2014, n=1,401 interviews, nationwide, aged 18+