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Preferred leaders - the quants

There have been some quantitative surveys on this subject conducted by Newspoll and AC Nielsen, but they both stop short of testing potential leaders beyond Kevin Rudd. Our poll tests 6 leaders or potential leaders on each side and asks readers to rank them in order of preference.

(And yes, I did test Barnaby Joyce as a Liberal contender, and despite what some respondents thought, he is potentially eligible as the LNP is a division of the federal Liberal Party).

We also tested the various potential combinations of Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott against each other as leaders of the government and the opposition.

And the winner is? Well, while Turnbull gets the popular vote, in reality it is Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott. What the polling says is that despite relative popularity, when it comes to the home crowd advantage, Labor voters want no-one but Gillard, and Liberal voters are definitely stuck on Tony.

This is how the story runs:

Julia Gillard's approval abruptly disappeared during February. Just as abruptly as Abbott's improved.

Gillard_Approve

Jan-13

Feb-13

 

Strongly approve

26%

14%

-12%

Approve

10%

17%

7%

Neither approve nor disapprove

0%

9%

8%

Disapprove

10%

10%

0%

Strongly disapprove

41%

51%

10%

Unsure

13%

0%

-13%

Grand Total

100%

100%

0%

Total approve

36%

31%

-6%

Total disapprove

50%

60%

10%

Net approve

-14%

-30%

-16%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abbott_Approve

Jan-13

Feb-13

 

Strongly approve

22%

22%

0%

Approve

11%

23%

12%

Neither approve nor disapprove

0%

8%

7%

Disapprove

43%

10%

-33%

Strongly disapprove

9%

36%

28%

Unsure

15%

0%

-15%

Grand Total

100%

100%

0%

Total approve

33%

45%

12%

Total disapprove

52%

47%

-5%

Net approve

-18%

-1%

17%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preferred_PM

Jan-13

Feb-13

 

Julia Gillard

49%

41%

 

Tony Abbott

45%

54%

 

Unsure

6%

5%

 

Grand Total

100%

100%

 

Interesting factors in our poll are that in the case of both the “Unsure” category vanished – no-one had any trouble making up their mind. This resulted in a polarisation of the sample with the biggest increase in disapprovals for Abbott and Gillard being those who “strongly disapproved”. “Strong approval” for Gillard also decreased, while “approval” for Abbott increased.

However, the qual shows that while Abbott is preferred and would win, respondents are unenthusiastic about both.

So how do the “dream” candidates fair?

To be consistent I asked for personal approvals, rather than voting intention, so one needs to be careful translating these figures into votes, but Rudd fairs a little better against Abbott than Gillard.

 

 

 

 

Change

Kevin Rudd

43%

Julia Gillard

41%

2%

Tony Abbott

53%

Tony Abbott

54%

-1%

Unsure

4%

Unsure

5%

-1%

Grand Total

100%

Grand Total

100%

0%

But not hugely.

Where the huge differences occur are if one substitutes Malcolm Turnbull as Liberal leader.

While Gillard does better than Rudd against Turnbull, Turnbull is overwhelmingly more popular than either.

Julia Gillard

34%

Kevin Rudd

28%

6%

Malcolm Turnbull

62%

Malcolm Turnbull

65%

-3%

Unsure

4%

Unsure

7%

-3%

Grand Total

100%

Grand Total

100%

0%

The reason that Rudd does worse than Gillard over the sample is because Labor and Greens voters prefer her to him. The fact that some polls have him doing better than her in Western Sydney and Queensland reflects this trend. These voters are not the sort of Labor voters we are picking up, and they are certainly not Greens voters. Liberal voters despise both Rudd and Gillard almost evenly.

This is quite a different scenario from two years ago when I polled on similar questions.

At that stage voters were saying they liked the idea of Malcolm Turnbull, but they also liked the idea of Kevin Rudd, and they liked that idea better. Rudd has passed the peak of his popularity, and as experience last time he was PM showed, he goes downhill pretty quickly.

Given that both Gillard and Rudd lose for Labor, what can they do?

We asked respondents to nominate their preferred Labor and Liberal leaders from a list of 6.

The first preference results for both were:

Labor 1

Total

Liberal 1

Total

Bill Shorten

5%

Andrew Robb

1%

Greg Combet

8%

Barnaby Joyce

3%

Julia Gillard

30%

Joe Hockey

4%

Kevin Rudd

21%

Julie Bishop

2%

Simon Crean

18%

Malcolm Turnbull

51%

Stephen Smith

19%

Tony Abbott

40%

Grand Total

100%

Grand Total

100%

Neither Julia nor Tony look comfortable on this. However, that is only half the story. When you dissect by voting intention Gillard and Abbott are the home crowd favourites.

Labor 1

ALP

Liberal 1

LP

Bill Shorten

2%

Andrew Robb

1%

Greg Combet

8%

Barnaby Joyce

1%

Julia Gillard

63%

Joe Hockey

4%

Kevin Rudd

20%

Julie Bishop

2%

Simon Crean

2%

Malcolm Turnbull

20%

Stephen Smith

5%

Tony Abbott

73%

Grand Total

100%

Grand Total

100%

So both would appear locked in. But what if they weren’t and Labor moved to try to save itself, or at least put a tourniquet on it’s right arm, and the Liberals decided that they needed someone other than Abbott?

The following tables are generated by taking the top three picks from each side and adding their scores together – a rough proxy for what might happen in a preferential ballot.

 

Stephen Smith

64%

Malcolm Turnbull

70%

Greg Combet

55%

Joe Hockey

67%

Simon Crean

47%

Tony Abbott

56%

Kevin Rudd

47%

Julie Bishop

47%

Bill Shorten

44%

Andrew Robb

35%

Julia Gillard

42%

Barnaby Joyce

24%

Smith is the consensus choice on the left, but Combet is in a creditable position, and would be more factionally acceptable. Turnbull is still the runaway winner on the right, followed by Hockey. Perhaps this represents a dislike in our group for the sort of conservative politics they associate with Abbott, or it might be a preference for more avuncular types.

 

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Comments   

 
0 #1 Turnbull for PMTim Goodwill 2013-09-05 05:29
Its not too late, we CAN get what we want. Defer your Liberal vote. Vote Turnbull PM 2016. voteturnbull2016.com