Roy Morgan Research
May 20, 2022

ALP retains lead over the L-NP in the final week and set to win the Federal Election

Topic: Federal Poll
Finding No: 8981
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The ALP has retained its lead over the L-NP in the final week of the election campaign and is set to win tomorrow’s Federal Election with a two-party preferred vote of ALP 53% cf. L-NP 47% - a swing of 4.5% points to the ALP since the 2019 Federal Election.

Roy Morgan continued interviewing throughout this week but there has been no evidence of a swing to the L-NP seen in previous weeks continuing during the final week of the campaign. In addition, of the 17.2 million Australians on the electoral roll, the AEC figures show that there are already over 7.3 million (42.7%) who have voted at a pre-poll location or who have requested or returned a postal vote.

L-NP’s primary vote is too low to win this year’s Federal Election

This week’s final Roy Morgan Poll showed support for the L-NP Coalition at only 34% of the primary vote – far too low for the party to have a chance of forming Government after the Federal Election.

At the 2019 Federal Election the Coalition received 41.4% of the primary vote to win a narrow majority. In the lead-up to the 2019 Federal Election the Roy Morgan Poll showed the Coalition with 39% of the primary vote – a full 5% points higher than now.

ALP primary support is also low at only 34%, however the ALP can rely on a strong preference flow from the Greens, primary support of 13%, to win enough seats to either form Government with a small majority, or to do a deal in a hung parliament to gain the extra 1-2 seats needed for a majority.

At the 2019 Federal Election Greens preferences flowed 82% ALP cf. 18% L-NP which with a Greens primary vote of 13% splits: ALP 10.5% cf. L-NP 2.5% - an 8% points advantage for the ALP.

Support for minor parties and independents set to hit modern day record high

This Federal Election is set to be remembered by the very high support for minor parties such as the Greens, One Nation, Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party and independents like the so-called ‘Teal Independents’ challenging the Liberals in some of their safest seats – particularly in Sydney and Melbourne.

The final Roy Morgan Poll showed support for minor parties and independents at 32% of electors including the Greens on 13%, One Nation on 4%, United Australia Party on 1%, Other Parties on 5% and independents on 9%.

The unprecedented support for minor parties and independents is up from 25.3% in 2019 and up even more significantly from 2007 when only 14.5% of electors opted for a minor party or independent when the ALP last won an election from opposition.

The increase in support for the minor parties and independents can be put down to the deep dissatisfaction with both major parties. Not since 1906 have the two major parties both failed to secure 40% of the primary vote at a Federal Election – but that long streak is set to be broken this year.

Driving the support away from the major parties is the lack of a charismatic leader of the opposition set to sweep the ALP into power. On the three occasions the ALP has won a Federal Election from opposition they had a leader with charisma – Gough Whitlam in 1972 was a tall and imposing figure with a ‘gift of the gab’, in 1983 Bob Hawke was everyone’s favourite political figure, a likeable larrikin who played by his own rules, and in 2007 Kevin Rudd was the fresh-faced leader who provided a clear alternative to the aging Howard Government of the time and won a ‘Rudd-slide’ that year.

There is no comparable figure leading the ALP this year. Anthony Albanese has maintained a ‘small target’ strategy over the last three years, and while this is set to prove effective in winning the Federal Election, it also runs the risk of a hung parliament and the ALP relying on the support of the Greens and other independents to govern – as was the case in 2010.

High support for minor parties and independents makes preference flow uncertain

The high support for the minor parties and independents makes predicting the preference flows of these voters and forecasting a national two-party preferred result even harder than usual. The final Roy Morgan Poll illustrates this difficulty.

Directing preferences from minor party and independent voters by how people voted at the 2019 Federal Election produces a two-party preferred vote of ALP 53% cf. L-NP 47%; however, directing preferences by respondent answers produces a far more favourable result for the ALP with a two-party preferred result of ALP 56.5% cf. L-NP 43.5%.

This difference of over 3% points could well be the difference between an ALP government with a hung parliament or a clear ALP majority in parliament.

Roy Morgan has analysed how voters behave on opinion poll surveys and when there is a clear belief one party is going to win – people are more likely to say they will also vote for that party. We saw this clearly in 2019 when a special Roy Morgan SMS Poll in the week of the election showed 66% of electors predicted the ALP would win the 2019 Federal Election compared to only 34% who said the Coalition would win.

There were even larger majorities of ALP supporters (81%) and Greens supporters (84%) who thought the ALP would win compared to only 47% of L-NP supporters. A slim majority of 53% of L-NP supporters said the Coalition would win – and they did.

‘Shy Tories’ can cause the vote of right-wing parties and unpopular leaders to be under-estimated

The so-called ‘Shy Tory’ effect is where people being interviewed (phone or face-to-face) don’t want to admit they are voting for the party that is ‘on the nose’ – usually the right-wing party such as the Conservatives in the UK, Republicans in the USA or the Coalition in Australia.

Although this will only have a small impact on the overall picture, when the result is close a variation of 1-2% points on voting intention can make all the difference in whether a party can win a majority of seats or has to govern in a hung parliament with a minority.

In this year’s Federal Election the unpopularity of Prime Minister Scott Morrison is widely known – particularly for women. Roy Morgan’s polling on ‘Trust’ and ‘Distrust’ in politicians shows PM Morrison is by far Australia’s most distrusted politician. The other most ‘distrusted’ politicians are senior cabinet colleagues Defence Minister Peter Dutton and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.

In contrast, the politicians with the highest ‘net trust’ are ALP Senate Leader Labor Penny Wong and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese.

The high distrust of Morrison, Joyce and Dutton is a big negative for the Coalition, but it can also cause some voters who do plan to vote for the Liberal or National parties to ‘shy away’ from admitting that during a telephone interview.

For many years during the 1950s and 1960s the Roy Morgan Gallup Poll encountered this issue when interviewing electors in relation to the DLP – Democratic Labor Party. The eventual solution, suggested by Professor Colin Hughes (who became the first Australian Electoral Commissioner in 1984), was to provide people being interviewed with a ‘secret ballot’.

After Roy Morgan allowed people being interviewed to ‘cast their ballot’ during the interview in the same way as they did at the ballot box on election day – the estimated support for the DLP doubled immediately, and the Roy Morgan Gallup Poll correctly predicted their support at subsequent elections.

Tomorrow’s Federal Election should see Anthony Albanese-led ALP emerge with a majority of seats in the Federal Parliament. However, due to the high vote for minor parties and independents, and the close margins between an ALP majority and an ALP-leaning hung Parliament, it’s entirely possible the final result will not be definitively confirmed on the night.

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Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size Percentage Estimate
40% – 60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2

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