Labor and Albanese recover in Newspoll as Dutton falls, but the Voice's slump continues
The prime minister’s approval ratings have turned around from the last Newspoll - but the “yes” campaign for the Voice referendum continues to struggle.

A national Newspoll, conducted September 18–22 from a sample of 1,239, gave Labor a 54–46 lead, a one-point gain for Labor since the previous Newspoll, three weeks ago. Primary votes were 36% Labor (up one), 36% Coalition (down one), 11% Greens (down two), 6% One Nation (down one) and 11% for all Others (up three).

While Labor’s primary vote improved at the Coalition’s expense, the drop for the Greens should have cost Labor preferences. Rounding appears to have contributed to Labor’s gain after preferences.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s ratings were 47% satisfied (up one) and 44% dissatisfied (down three), for a net approval of +3, up four points. He returns to net positive approval after falling into net negative for the first time this term in the previous Newspoll.

Here is a graph of Albanese’s net approval in Newspoll.

Liberal leader Peter Dutton’s net approval fell nine points to -20. This is his worst net approval, beating a -19 net approval in April. Albanese led as better PM by 50–30 (50–31 three weeks ago).

While Labor and Albanese improved and Dutton fell, the Voice’s slump continued, with “no” now ahead by 56–36, out from a 53–38 “no” lead in early September. Newspoll figures are from The Poll Bludger.

This Newspoll is the second to be conducted by Pyxis after it was previously conducted by YouGov.

The referendum on the Indigenous Voice to parliament will be held on October 14. I have updated the 2023 Voice polls graph with Newspoll and Redbridge (see below).

Since June, every pollster has released worse results for “yes” in their most recent poll than in their prior poll. The history of Labor-initiated referendums shows they have been defeated heavily when held as standalone referendums, with closer losses when held with a general election.

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

It’s clear from the polling that it was a blunder to hold this referendum as a standalone vote rather than with a general election.

Voting in the referendum is compulsory, but not everyone will vote. A question on likelihood to vote in The Australian’s report found 91% of “yes” supporters and 90% of “no” supporters would either definitely or very likely vote.

There is a large gap in “yes” support by educational attainment, with university-educated people voting “yes” by 54–40, while those with TAFE/college are voting “no” by 59–34 and those without tertiary education are “no” by 66–25.

Dutton’s negativity on the Voice may be affecting his ratings, and Labor may be benefiting from better perceptions on the economy. Morgan’s consumer confidence index has been below 80 for a record 29 successive weeks or almost seven months, but it was barely below 80 at 79.8 last week.

In last fortnight’s federal Resolve poll, the Liberals extended their lead over Labor on economic management from 33–32 in August to 36–30. For the first time this term, the Liberals led on keeping the cost of living low, by 28–27, reversing a Labor lead of 30–26 in August.

Referendum court case, Morgan and Redbridge polls

United Australia Party Senator Ralph Babet challenged the Australian Electoral Commission’s decision, based on longstanding legal advice, to count ticks as formal “yes” votes but crosses as informal. The federal court last Wednesday ruled in the AEC’s favour. With “no” so far ahead in the national Voice polls, it’s very unlikely this issue will affect the result.

A national Morgan poll, conducted September 11–17 from a sample of 1,234, gave Labor a 54–46 lead, a 1.5-point gain for Labor since the previous week. Primary votes have not been provided.

The Daily Telegraph reported Sunday that a Redbridge national Voice poll, taken “last week”, gave “no” a 62–38 lead, a slight widening from a 61–39 “no” lead in early September.

Victorian Redbridge poll: Labor far ahead

A Victorian state Redbridge poll, conducted August 31 to September 14 from a large sample of 3,001, gave Labor a 56.5–43.5 lead, from primary votes of 37% Labor, 34% Coalition, 13% Greens and 16% for all Others. There are detailed breakdowns by gender, age, region, education level, household income and home ownership status.

This is the first Victorian Redbridge poll. The last Victorian Resolve poll, conducted in July and August, also gave Labor a large lead.

The Conversation

Adrian Beaumont does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


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