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Labor maintains large Newspoll lead, but support for Voice slumps

  • Written by Adrian Beaumont, Election Analyst (Psephologist) at The Conversation; and Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, The University of Melbourne
Labor maintains large Newspoll lead, but support for Voice slumps

A federal Newspoll, conducted May 31 to June 3 from a sample of 1,549, gave Labor a 55-45 lead, unchanged from the last Newspoll, three weeks ago. Primary votes were 38% Labor (steady), 34% Coalition (steady), 12% Greens (up one), 6% One Nation (down one) and 10% for all Others (steady).

The gain for the Greens at the expense of One Nation should have contributed to Labor’s two party vote, and implies that Labor was unlucky not to gain on Newspoll’s two party estimate; rounding explains this.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s ratings were 55% satisfied (down two) and 37% dissatisfied (down one), for a net approval of +18, down one point. Opposition Leader Peter Dutton’s net approval was up one point to -14. Albanese led Dutton by 55-28 as better PM (56-29 three weeks ago). Newspoll figures are from The Poll Bludger[1].

Support for the Indigenous Voice to parliament[2] slumped to a 46-43 lead for “yes” with 11% undecided, from a 53-39 lead in early April. This is the lowest lead for the Voice in any national poll so far. The question wording was changed to reflect the question that will be asked at the referendum.

In early May, I wrote that just one of 25 constitutional referendums held by Labor governments have succeeded in carrying the required four of six states as well as a national majority, and that early polling is not predictive, with support often collapsing in the lead-up to the vote.

Read more: While the Voice has a large poll lead now, history of past referendums indicates it may struggle[3]

The remainder of this article covers additional federal polls, WA Premier Mark McGowan’s resignation, the US debt limit compromise bill that passed Congress last week, and state polls from Victoria, NSW and Tasmania.

Essential poll: 52-43 to Labor including undecided

In last week’s Essential poll[4], conducted May 24-28 from a sample of 1,138, Labor led by 52-43 including undecided (53-42 the previous fortnight). Primary votes were 34% Labor (down one), 31% Coalition (steady), 15% Greens (up one), 6% One Nation (up one), 2% UAP (up one), 7% for all Others (down one) and 5% undecided (steady).

Asked about the government’s proposed $10 billion for housing development, 41% thought the $10 billion about the right amount, 30% too little and 9% too much. On sports betting advertising, 43% thought it should be banned at all times, 26% allowed but not during sports events and 16% always allowed.

Freshwater poll only gives Labor a 52-48 lead

The Poll Bludger[5] reported on May 22 that a Freshwater poll for The Financial Review, conducted May 15-17 from a sample of 1,005, gave Labor a 52-48 lead, a two-point gain for the Coalition since December. Primary votes were 37% Coalition (steady), 34% Labor (down three), 12% Greens (steady) and 17% for all Others (up three).

Albanese’s approval was 42% (down six) and his disapproval 37% (up seven), for a net approval of +5, down 13 points. Dutton’s net approval was down three to -12. Albanese led as preferred PM by 51-33, from 55-29 in December.

On a two-answer basis, support for the Indigenous Voice to parliament narrowed to 55-45 from 65-35 in December. Initial views were 48% “yes” (down two), 39% “no” (up 13) and 13% undecided (down 11). An April Freshwater[6] poll had given “yes” an overall 56-44 lead.

Just 9% thought the May 9 budget would put downward pressure on interest rates and inflation, while 52% thought the opposite. By 70-13, voters supported Dutton’s call to curtail sport gambling ads.

The Poll Bludger also reported that a Redbridge poll of Victorian federal voting intentions gave Labor 41% of the primary vote (32.9% at the May 2022 election), the Coalition 34% (33.1%) and the Greens 12% (13.7%). A Painted Dog WA poll for The West Australian gave Albanese a net +23 approval while Dutton was at net -32.

Opposition to Voice drops in Morgan poll

A Morgan SMS poll[7], conducted May 26-29 from a sample of 1,833, had support for an Indigenous Voice to parliament at 46% (steady since mid-April), opposition at 36% (down three) and 18% undecided (up three). Excluding undecided, “yes” led by 56-44, a two-point gain for “yes”.

Morgan’s weekly voting intentions[8] poll gave Labor a 55.5-44.5 lead last week, unchanged on the previous week but a 1.5-point gain for the Coalition since three weeks ago. Primary votes were 36% Labor, 33.5% Coalition, 11.5% Greens and 19% for all Others. This poll was taken May 22-28 from a sample[9] of 1,389.

WA Premier Mark McGowan resigns

Labor Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan announced his resignation[10] as premier and member for Rockingham last Monday. At the March 2021 WA state election, McGowan led Labor to the biggest landslide win in Australian state or federal political history.

Labor won 59.9% of the primary vote at that election[11] and won the two party vote by 69.7-30.3 over the Liberals and Nationals. They won 53 of the 59 lower house seats and 22 of the 36 upper house seats – the first WA Labor upper house majority.

Labor reformed the upper house[12] in September 2021 to remove the heavy malapportionment towards the non-Perth regions of WA and abolish the group ticket voting system. At the next election, all 37 upper house seats will be elected by a statewide vote.

US debt limit deal passes Congress

I covered the passage of the US debt limit deal between President Joe Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy through Congress last week for The Poll Bludger[13]. The House passed it by 314-117 with a 78% “yes” vote from Democrats and 68% from Republicans, while the Senate passed it by 63-36 with 90% “yes” from Democrats but just 35% from Republicans.

My tactical analysis of the deal was harsh on McCarthy, saying he was more like a pussycat than a tiger. Upcoming elections in New Zealand and Spain were also covered, with both currently looking good for the right. In a previous post[14] for The Poll Bludger, I covered recent election results in Thailand, Greece and Northern Ireland councils.

Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and US President Joe Biden struck a deal on the debt ceiling. Alex Brandon/AP/AAP

Morgan Victorian poll: 61.5-38.5 to Labor

A Victorian SMS Morgan state[15] poll, conducted May 17-22 from a sample of 2,095, gave Labor a 61.5-38.5 lead over the Coalition (55.0-45.0 at the November 2022 election). Primary votes were 42% Labor, 28.5% Coalition, 12.5% Greens and 17% for all Others.

By 52.5-47.5 voters approved of Labor Premier Daniel Andrews’ performance (57.5-42.5 in a November Morgan poll). Liberal leader John Pesutto was at 53.5-46.5 disapproval. Andrews led Pesutto as better premier by 64-36. Respondents were asked why they approved or disapproved, with many who disapproved of Pesutto citing his handling of the Moira Deeming affair.

NSW Resolve poll: Labor honeymoon after election win

A New South Wales state Resolve poll[16] for The Sydney Morning Herald, presumably conducted with the federal Resolve polls in April and May from a sample of about 1,100, gave Labor 44% of the primary vote (37.0% at the March 25 election), the Coalition 31% (35.4%), the Greens 9% (9.7%) and all Others 15% (17.9%).

Two party estimates are not generally provided by Resolve, but Labor is far ahead. Incumbent Chris Minns led new Liberal leader Mark Speakman as preferred premier by 42-12.

Tasmanian EMRS poll: Liberals slump but Labor doesn’t benefit

A Tasmanian state EMRS[17] poll, conducted May 15-19 from a sample of 1,000, gave the Liberals 36% of the vote (down six since February), Labor 31% (up one), the Greens 15% (up two) and all Others 18% (up three). Tasmania uses a proportional system for its lower house, so a two party estimate is not applicable.

Labor’s Rebecca White led incumbent Liberal Jeremy Rockliff as preferred premier by 40-38, reversing a 44-36 Rockliff lead in February. This poll was taken after two Liberal MPs defected to the crossbench[18] over the proposed new AFL stadium, causing the Liberal government to lose its majority.


  1. ^ The Poll Bludger (
  2. ^ Voice to parliament (
  3. ^ While the Voice has a large poll lead now, history of past referendums indicates it may struggle (
  4. ^ Essential poll (
  5. ^ Poll Bludger (
  6. ^ April Freshwater (
  7. ^ Morgan SMS poll (
  8. ^ weekly voting intentions (
  9. ^ sample (
  10. ^ announced his resignation (
  11. ^ that election (
  12. ^ reformed the upper house (
  13. ^ The Poll Bludger (
  14. ^ previous post (
  15. ^ SMS Morgan state (
  16. ^ Resolve poll (
  17. ^ Tasmanian state EMRS (
  18. ^ defected to the crossbench (

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