Before the recent Northern Territory elections, an internal Labor Party poll was released by UMR, who are also the Australian Republican Movement’s preferred pollster.
A comparison between Morgan, Newspoll and UMR will show why.
The trend lines in these three polls below are over different periods, but the common period in recent years is sufficient to make comparisons. The UMR results are well above the other polls.
As stressed below, the finding to look at is support for a republic.
Readers may recall that when we were celebrating the tenth anniversary of the referendum, a UMR poll was released arguing that support for a republic had jumped to an unbelievable 59%.
This was taken up by many in the media and went around the world.
We argued then that this went against polling trends over time and across polls and that it should have been dismissed as a rogue poll. It clearly was.
As to the NT poll, UMR said this indicated that the election results would “go down to the wire”. This was because of what was described as a last-minute “safety” swing to the Labor Party, according to a report by Penny Timms on the ABC on 23 August, 2012.
The poll had been carried out in four key Darwin seats, Fannie Bay, Fong Lim, Johnston and Sanderson. UMR said this poll suggested Labor was in front on a two-party preferred basis by 52 per cent to 48 per cent, with a 2.4 per cent swing to the government compared with previous election results in the four seats.
UMR’s spokesman Bruce Dier attributed the result to voters playing it safe and sticking with the government they know.
"The protest vote, if you like, is actually going to the Greens and to others, and then coming back to Labor, or three-quarters are coming back to Labor through preferences," he said.The results also show Labor ahead with both mortgage holders and renters in the four seats, despite recent concerns over cost of living pressures.
However the Country Liberals won the election with 16 seats to Labor’s 8, and with 1 independent.
…UMR predicts high republic support…
In March of this year the UMR has found 48% support for a republic, 14% higher than Morgan.
A glance at the above images will show that UMR is consistently well above Morgan and Newspoll. The polls are obviously not all right.
Incidentally, the crucial finding in the poll is the one indicating support for a republic. Experince teaches that the undecided tend to vote No.
In 1999, some polls overestimated the Yes vote – the questions were not exactly the same, and people probably realise the seriousness of their decision in the polling booth.
Although the UMR is online, it should not be confused with self-selected polls which are not scientific. Having regard to the trends across the polls and over time, we can make a reasonable prediction about the level of support which could be expected in a referendum.
At best this would be lucky to reach the low thirties nationally, with even lower levels being recorded in the states outside of the Canberra-Sydney-Melbourne triangle.
In other words, support for an Australian politicians' has collapsed. It is difficult to see why it should rise again.