Neck and neck in June 2021

Our research might be best summed-up by saying that we wouldn’t want to be where Scott Morrison is now, but neither would we want to be where Anthony Albanese is either.

To download the research report, please click here.

Respondents were not happy about either leader, or party. Our respondents think the country is heading in the wrong direction by a net -28%, but for radically different reasons. It is negative partly because Coalition supporters support the Coalition, but not as enthusiastically its policies. And the Nationalists have moved from our last survey where they were more or less positive to being strongly negative.

There is a slight skew to the left in our sample on final voting intentions, which means that despite our best endeavours to produce balance we’ve missed slightly.

Morrison’s approval rating hasn’t shifted at all since our last poll, although there have been some internal movement, with Nationalists now being very negative on him, whereas a year ago they were positive. With only 1% unsure he has limited room to improve, although there are still 6% parked in the neutral position.

Albanese has lost significant ground since our last poll where he had a net 0% personal approval rating. Now it is -13%. Only 2% are unsure, but there is some scope to improve out of the 18% who are neutral. Dangerously 39% of Greens, whose preferences he will need, are neutral. Only 6% of Nationalists are, and he has 19% neutral amongst others and 18% neutral amongst independents.

They think Albanese has an essential goodness, but just can’t cut through.

Albanese has a slight edge over Morrison of 47% to 45%, in the personal approval category which would probably disappear if the sample was completely politically balanced.

Not long before we polled, women’s issues were to the fore, but they do not seem to have resonated beyond a rusted-on female Labor cohort. Not mentioned much by Greens, and hardly at all by anyone else. And when it is mentioned, it is part of a litany which generally covers climate change, and bushfires first. It’s at the bottom of the shopping list and often coupled to criticism of Morrison’s religious beliefs (whatever they may be thought to be). The list also includes cowardice, for example because he refused to address the rally of women, and bullying. It also includes lack of empathy, arrogance, and regarding women as inferior.

There is a sharp divide between left and right, with not a lot of cross-over in terms of what issues are seen as being important. Climate change is still the dominant issue for left wing voters, although the Labor part of that cohort is also very concerned about COVID. For right wing voters the important issues are the economy, borders, and now the Chinese threat.

Respondents tend to see the states as successes on COVID, and the Feds as a failure, but that partly reflects the fact that COVID is a left-wing concern more than a right-wing one. The issues that they concentrate on are quarantine and vaccination. When the right talk about COVID it is more likely in terms of the economy and a perceived need to open-up the economy.

The left doesn’t appear concerned about China at all, which has appeared as a major issue on the right.

There is a stark divide between what the two ends of the spectrum want in foreign affairs. Coalition voters want control over the virus, a strong economy, and are concerned about China. They cite risks as being our trade with China, and also China’s militarisation. If ALP respondents mention China they are concerned about our diplomacy and think we shouldn’t alienate China. There is some linking of Covid and the Chinese.

Corruption is also mentioned by left-wing voters, although without specific examples.

When it comes to which party voters will give their votes to both climate change and China disappear from Labor and Liberal respectively. It looks like neither side’s supporters give them particular superiority on any issue and are choosing on the basis of traditional voting habits. Greens voters are the only group to be closely associated with an issue – in this case Climate Change.

In recent elections COVID seems to have made and broken leaders. Jacinda Ardern, Mark McGowan and Peter Gutwein for instance, all scored record results, and but for COVID we might still have Donald Trump. That’s not what’s happening in Australia. COVID is not handing anyone a decisive advantage. But neither is anything else.

Share this article on your favourite social bookmarking sites:
Digg! Reddit! Del.icio.us! Google! Facebook! StumbleUpon! Twitter!