Puneet Varma

Historical rankings of Prime Ministers of Australia

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Historical rankings of Prime Ministers of Australia

Historical rankings of Prime Ministers of Australia are surveys conducted to construct rankings of the success and popularity of the individuals who have served as Prime Minister of Australia.

Contents

The Age ranking

John Curtin has been regarded as Australia's greatest Prime Minister in a 2004 survey by The Age, followed by Sir Robert Menzies and then Bob Hawke. The lowest ranked Prime Minister was William McMahon though only Prime Ministers since 1939 were considered for listing. The three caretaker Prime Ministers (Arthur Fadden, Frank Forde, and John McEwen) were excluded.

This study was conducted prior to the electoral defeat of the Howard Government in 2007. As such, it does not take into account opinions of decisions made by Howard towards the end of his premiership, nor does it include his successors as Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull.

Rankings by highest approval rating

It is possible to compare the highest approval ratings achieved by Prime Ministers in various opinion polls.

Nielsen Poll

According to the Nielsen Poll (available since 1972), Bob Hawke had the highest approval rating in November 1984, with 75%, and the lowest was William McMahon, with a 34% approval rating.

Highest Nielsen Poll ratings for each Prime Minister since 1972:

  1. Bob Hawke – 75% (November 1984)
  2. Kevin Rudd – 74% (March 2009)
  3. John Howard – 67% (January 2005)
  4. Gough Whitlam – 62% (February 1973)
  5. Malcolm Fraser – 56% (April 1976 and May 1978)
  6. Julia Gillard – 56% (July 2010)
  7. Tony Abbott – 47% (November 2013)
  8. Paul Keating – 40% (November 1994)
  9. William McMahon – 34% (November 1972)

William McMahon ended 1971 with an approval rating of 36.4%. By the end of 1972, his popularity had sunk to 34%, and he was defeated by Gough Whitlam in the 1972 election.

Highest Satisfaction Rating

According to Newspoll (available since 1985), the highest satisfaction rating of any Prime Minister was Kevin Rudd's at 71% in August 2008, while Paul Keating has had the lowest high-mark satisfaction rating at 43%.

Voters are asked the question: 'Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way -name- is doing his/her job as Prime Minister?'

  1. Kevin Rudd – 71% (18–20 April 2008)
  2. John Howard – 67% (10–12 May 1996)
  3. Bob Hawke – 62% (24–26 January 1987)
  4. Malcolm Turnbull – 60% As of 19–22 November 2015)
  5. Julia Gillard – 50% (18–20 February 2011)
  6. Tony Abbott – 47% (25–27 October 2013)
  7. Paul Keating – 43% (2–18 April 1993, 16–18 September 1994 & 18–20 November 1994)

Lowest Satisfaction Rating

Since Newspoll began in 1985, the lowest satisfaction rating of any Prime Minister is by far Paul Keating's at 17% in August 1993, with an 6% difference between Keating and the nearest low rating of Julia Gillard at 23% in September 2011.

  1. Paul Keating – 17% (20–22 August 1993)
  2. Julia Gillard – 23% (2–4 September 2011)
  3. Tony Abbott – 24% (6–8 February 2015)
  4. Bob Hawke – 27% (29 November - 8 December 1991)
  5. John Howard – 28% (26–29 June 1998 & 9–11 March 2001)
  6. Malcolm Turnbull – 29% (20–23 October 2016 & 23-26 February 2016)
  7. Kevin Rudd – 32% (30 August - 1 September 2013)

JWS research

John Scales, of JWS research, in May 2011 polled 2141 people in the 10 most marginal Labor seats and the 10 most marginal Coalition seats.

Asked "which, of the past five, had been the best government for Australia ?", responses were as follows:

  • 50 per cent nominated the Howard government (1996-2007)
  • 13 per cent for the Keating government (1991-1996)
  • 13 per cent for the Hawke government (1983-1991)
  • 12 per cent for the Rudd government (2007-2010)
  • 4 per cent nominated the Gillard government (2010-2013)
  • 8 per cent responded as "unsure"
  • In all, 50 per cent of all respondents nominated a Liberal Party government, with 42 per cent nominating the Labor Party. At the time of the survey, the federal government was led by the Labor Party.

    References

    Historical rankings of Prime Ministers of Australia Wikipedia


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