May 6, 2022

Editorial

Commentary

Where the parties stand now compared to 2019

Polling averages heading into the election

In the latest PRIA regular newsletter on election developments they analyse the 2019 and 2022 polling trends.

Our adjusted-average for Ipsos/Essential Research and Newspoll-YouGov polling shows the differentiated trends between 2022 and 2019. In the lead up to the 2019 election, the Coalition made steady ground on Labor, particularly after the election was called.

Morrison’s attack campaign on Labor’s complex and broad policy suite showed significant cut-through with voters.

In 2022, the LNP have started the race from slightly further behind than in 2019, over a reference period beginning 13th of February. However, the Coalition have have failed to make significant inroads into Labor’s advantage. Morrison led his party from an 8.0% polling deficit at the start of the reference period to 4.3% by the 2019 election announcement (April 11th), a 3.7% inroad.

In this campaign, Labor have fared better despite an overall fall in the polls. A 9.3% gap in mid-February only fell 1.7% by the date the election was called (April 10th 2022), to hold a 7.7% advantage.

Although the polling trends in the week of the 17th continued the benefit the LNP, the past fortnight has been less favourable. The ALP has recorded a slight uptick in the polls, a result rarely seen in the 2019 race. The Coalition has made a 1.0% indent in Labor’s polling advantage in the three weeks following the 2022 election announcement, down on a 2.3% gain in 2019.

While the LNP are steadily making inroads into Labor’s advantage, the ALP’s recent rise in the polls and the wider overall gap, relative to 2019, suggest the Coalition has a much thinner road to victory in 2022.

Preferred Prime Minister polls tightening

Our adjusted polling average also shows a tightening in the preferred prime minister race. The 2019 election saw Morrison come in with a significant advantage over Shorten, that didn’t significantly narrow between September 2018 and May 2019. The rise of both leaders’ results reflected the waning number of undecided voters as the election drew nearer. However, this cycle Albanese has been steadily gaining ground on Morrison.

Albanese’s progress largely mirrors the 2019 increase that Shorten enjoyed as some undecided voters flocked to him. What’s different in the 2022 election is that Morrison is not seeing that same shift of undecided voters towards him. In fact, Morrison, having started with a significantly stronger lead than he had over Shorten in 2018, now faces a much closer race for preferred Prime Minister in April 2022.

Over the past week, polling has shown an improvement in preferred PM for Albanese. However, this does not fully recover the ground the ALP leader has lost since his peak in March. Morrison has also seen a rise in preferred PM polling, albeit a slighter rise than Albanese. Morrison’s lead over Albanese (5.0%) is slimmer than his lead over Shorten in 2019 (7.0%).

As we enter May, there are significantly more undecided voters than this time in 2019. 20% of voters remain unsure about who would make a better PM in 2022, compared with 15.0% in 2019.

Produced for the Public Relation Institute of Australia for its members.