One fascinating figure is missing from today’s Newspoll – the margin of error.
As a quick glance at the table tells you, the two-party preferred Newspoll has been remarkably steady until this blowout.
Forty-seven to 53 per cent is a significant gap in electoral terms. As been observed today it’s very similar to the 2004 federal election outcome, but with the parties’ standing reversed.
But, of course, none of these are steady figures. Throw in the margin of error and today’s result could be the same as the last Newspoll. Or, perhaps, with margin of error added, that same last Newspoll could be closer to today’s.
In other words, the election remains too close to call — particularly since the nation is focussed more on the short-term issues of vaccine rollouts and lockdowns than the bigger picture, longer-term matters that come into play when elections are actually called.
The fortnightly Essential poll is due tomorrow. While it won’t give us an apples with apples comparison, by combining the two we’ll get a clearer snapshot of this moment in time — for that is what polls only ever are.
The most interesting takeaway from this Newspoll is in the primary vote. The margin of error might be missing, but here we get a really interesting figure, Labor’s 39 per cent primary vote.
Even with the margin of error applied, it’s still substantially higher than Labor’s performance in the 2019 election.
It’s further confirmation of the drift to Labor shown in the Newspoll quarterly aggregates a week ago, an improvement in the party’s support and a strengthening of its base that makes it less dependent on preferences.
If there’s a figure in this Newspoll that will be worrying the government, it’s that.
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