Strong personal ratings for Turnbull as Shorten languishes – Fairfax Ipsos Poll

The Coalition has pulled ahead of the Labor, according to the October Fairfax Ipsos Poll.

The national poll of 1,403 respondents, interviewed from 15-17 October 2015, showed the Coalition with 53% of the two-party preferred vote (up 7 points since August), ahead of the Labor Party on 47% (down 7 points since August), based on 2013 election preferences.

“This indicates a 0.5% swing against the Coalition Government since the September 2013 Federal election,” Ipsos Director Jessica Elgood said.

“The two-party stated preference vote shows the Coalition on 54%, up 10 points since August, leading the Labor Party on 46%, which was down 10 points since August.”

First preference votes put the Coalition on 45% (up 7 points since August) and the Labor Party on 30% (down 6 points since August). The Greens continue to lead the minor parties with 14% (down 2 points since August). The Palmer United Party is on 1% (down 1 point since August), and others are on 9% (unchanged since August).

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

Key findings

  • Malcolm Turnbull’s approval rating is 68%, disapproval at 17%, net approval at +51
  • Bill Shorten’s approval rating is at 32% (down 7 points since August), disapproval at 56% (up 7 points since August), net approval at -24 (down 14 points since August)
  • 67% prefer Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister; 21% prefer Bill Shorten (down 24 points since August)
  • Of 11 attributes, Malcolm Turnbull has a statistically significant lead on all 10 of the positive attributes. The only attribute where he polls less than Shorten is in being ‘easily influenced by minority groups’, with 27% compared to Shorten 51%
  • A majority (54%) supports the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, and a third (33%) are opposed to it, giving a balance of support of +21.

Leaders’ approval and preferred Prime Minister

Malcolm Turnbull’s first approval rating as Prime Minister is 68%; his disapproval rating is 17%. This gives a net approval of +51. This is in stark contrast to the last measurement for Tony Abbott (in August), with an approval figure of 35%, disapproval of 59%, giving a net approval figure of -24.

When compared against the first approval ratings for each of the previous five Prime Ministers, this is a strong result – with only Kevin Rudd achieving similarly high figures.

Q.2 How strongly do you approve or disapprove of the performance of … as Prime Minister?
% May 1996 May 2008 July 2010 July 2013 Nov 2013 Oct 2015
John Howard Kevin Rudd Julia Gillard Kevin Rudd Tony Abbott Malcolm Turnbull
APPROVAL 61 69 54 51 47 68
DISAPPROVAL 18 22 32 43 46 17

(This data is taken from the first Fairfax poll taken after each Prime Minister took office)

Bill Shorten’s approval rating is at 32% (down 7 points since August). His disapproval rating is 56% (up 7 points since August). This gives a net approval of -24 (down 14 points since August).

Malcolm Turnbull is the preferred Prime Minister, at 67%; in contrast to Abbott’s August figure of 39%. 21% favour Bill Shorten as Prime Minister (a fall of 24 points since August). Again, only Kevin Rudd achieved a higher rating as preferred Prime Minister when he took office.

Q.4 Who is your preferred Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull or Bill Shorten?
% PRIME MINISTER OPPOSITION LEADER
May 1996 John Howard 61% Kim Beazley 25%
May 2008 Kevin Rudd 70% Brendan Nelson 17%
July 2010 Julia Gillard 56% Tony Abbott 35%
July 2013 Kevin Rudd 55% Tony Abbott 41%
Nov 2013 Tony Abbott 49% Bill Shorten 41%
Oct 2015 Malcolm Turnbull 67% Bill Shorten 21%

(This data is taken from the first Fairfax poll taken after each Prime Minister took office)

Leader Characteristics
The tables below show the attribute scores for Turnbull and Shorten, and how these compare historically for Prime Ministers and Opposition Leaders.

Of the 11 attributes, Malcolm Turnbull has a statistically significant lead on all 10 of the positive attributes. The only attribute where he polls less than Shorten is in being ‘easily influenced by minority groups’, with 27% compared to Shorten 51%.

TURNBULL SHORTEN
% saying attribute applies
Competent 83 51
Has a firm grasp of economic policy 80 39
Open to ideas 75 58
Strong leader 75 30
Has the ability to make things happen 74 33
Has a clear vision for Australia’s future 70 37
Has the confidence of his party 67 58
Has a firm grasp of foreign policy 65 36
Has a firm grasp of social policy 60 55
Trustworthy 58 36
Is easily influenced by minority groups 27 51

  
Turnbull’s ratings for all but one of the attributes has improved since last measured in February 2015. The only aspect where he is not rated more highly than eight months ago is his grasp of social policy, with a 60% score (down 4 points).

MR TURNBULL – TRENDS
% saying attribute applies Feb 2015 Oct 2015 Change
Competent 74 83 +9
Has a firm grasp of economic policy 70 80 +10
Open to ideas 69 75 +6
Strong leader 60 75 +15
Has the ability to make things happen 56 74 +18
Has a clear vision for Australia’s future 58 70 +12
Has the confidence of his party 52 67 +15
Has a firm grasp of foreign policy 65
Has a firm grasp of social policy 64 60 -4
Trustworthy 55 58 +3
Is easily influenced by minority groups 23 27 +4

  
In contrast, Bill Shorten is generally less positively rated than when last measured in July
2015. His figures for most attributes are relatively static, or slightly lower. Notably, he is
seen as being more ‘easily influenced by minority groups’ 51% (up 5 points), and less ‘open
to ideas’ 58% (down 10 points).

MR SHORTEN – TRENDS
% saying attribute applies Jul 2014 Nov 2014 Jul 2015 Oct 2015 Change
Open to ideas 58 68 68 58 -10
Has the confidence of his party 63 71 56 58 +2
Has a firm grasp of social policy 58 62 59 55 -4
Competent 57 58 52 51 -1
Is easily influenced by minority groups 42 44 46 51 +5
Has a firm grasp of economic policy 45 43 43 39 -4
Has a clear vision for Australia’s future 38 43 36 37 +1
Trustworthy 45 44 39 36 -3
Has a firm grasp of foreign policy 38 42 39 36 -3
Has the ability to make things happen 36 36 35 33 -2
Strong leader 40 43 34 30 -4

  
When compared to other Prime Ministers (see table above), Turnbull’s ratings for being
competent (83%), open to ideas (75%), having a clear vision for Australia (70%), and having
a firm grasp of economic policy (80%) are historically high.

Chinese Australian Free Trade Agreement

A majority of Australians (54%) support the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, and a third (33%) are opposed to it.

Support is significantly higher among men, graduates, those currently saying they will vote for the Coalition, and those on household incomes above $40,000 per annum.

Poll Profile

Fieldwork dates: 15-17 October 2015
Sample size: 1,403 respondents
Sample: National, aged 18+. 30% 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/nonmetro) to reflect the population distribution