Difference of personality in politics, or none at all?

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This week’s polling by the Resolve Political Monitor (RPM) for the Herald has cast a spotlight on one of the most vexed areas of election analysis: the personal approval enjoyed by individual politicians, from the best performers to the worst.

After the Coalition’s victory in the 2019 election, which confounded most polling, questions were raised about the efficacy of such analysis and the Herald decided a new approach was necessary. While poll after poll indicated a Labor victory, there were persistent rumblings about the personal approval of then opposition leader Bill Shorten.

Voters will often tell pollsters that personality, especially that of potential prime ministers, doesn’t matter as much to them as policies. The 2019 Australian Election Study by the Australian National University found only 7 per cent of voters named party leaders as considerations in their voting…

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