Essential Research: PM favourability and China relationship (open thread)

Another poll finding little change in perceptions of the Prime Minister, despite a deteriorating view of the national direction.

The latest Essential Research survey has its monthly favourability trend ratings for Anthony Albanese which, as distinct from its straightforward approval/disapproval question, asks respondents to rate his performance on a scale of one to ten. This finds 46% giving him from seven to ten, up one on a month ago; 26% from four to six, down two; and 23% from zero to three, up three. On the question of national direction, 44% rate that Australia is on the right track, down two on a month ago and four on two months ago, compared with 36% for the wrong track, up two on a month ago and seven on two months ago.

Other questions relate to Australia’s relationship with China, which 46% expect to be better under the Labor government compared with only 9% for worse. Asked whether they wanted the government to look for opportunities to rebuild relations with China, take a more confrontational approach or maintain the current course, 54% opted for the first (up two from May), 13% the second (down six) and 12% the third (steady). Forty-four per cent think the AUKUS submarine partnership will make Australia more secure compared with 16% for less secure and 39% for about the same.

The poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1042. Note that progressively updated coverage of the Victorian election count continues on the post below.

Victorian election: late counting

Progressively updated coverage of late counting from the Victorian state election.

Click here for full Victorian election results updated live.

Wednesday night

It is now acknowledged that John Pesutto has won Hawthorn for the Liberals, and Mornington continues to drift away from the only other teal independent in the hunt, Kate Lardner. In the latter case, today’s early votes broke 902-726 to Liberal candidate Chris Crewther, who now leads by 353. In Pakenham, the two-party votes were added for the early voting batch that appeared in the primary votes count only yesterday, and it broke to the Liberals less heavily than I had anticipated — 1135-907, turning a Labor leading of eight votes into a Liberal lead of 220. There’s evidently a complex mix in the race for the final seat in South-Eastern Metropolitan region, because the ABC’s projection now has it going to Legalise Cannabis, overtaking the Liberal Democrats who in turn overtook the second Liberal yesterday.

Tuesday night

I had a paywalled piece in Crikey today noting where the result for Labor in swing terms was particularly good (the same Chinese-heavy eastern suburbs that turned against the Liberals at the federal election) and particularly poor (the party’s northern and western Melbourne heartlands, which likewise were relatively soft for the party at the federal election). I also joined Ben Raue of The Tally Room to discuss the results on his podcast.

Turning to the count: it was a better day for the Liberals in Bass, where Aaron Brown went from 225 behind to 53 ahead after early votes broke 835-663 his way, and Mornington, where Chris Crewther’s lead went from 177 to 337 on a 747-588 break in early votes. The Liberals also got a strong batch of early votes in Pakenham, and while they are yet to be added to the two-party count, the primary vote results have boosted my Liberal two-party projection there from 50.0% to 50.8% and left my system not far off calling it for them. My system also no longer rates Benambra as in doubt.

Labor’s one good show was in Hastings, where the latest early votes batch broke 747-660 to Paul Mercurio, boosting his lead from 470 to 557. The fresh two-candidate preferred counts in Albert Park, Brighton, Melton, Point Cook, and Werribee yesterday caused by projections in those seats to go haywire yesterday, but this is fixed now.

While I still haven’t taken a serious look at the upper house count, I note that the ABC’s projection now has Adem Somyurek taking the last seat in Northern Metropolitan for the DLP ahead of Fiona Patten of Reason, though I have a notion that Somyurek may do less than brilliantly on below-the line votes. David Limbrick of the Liberal Democrats also has his nose in front of the second Liberal now in South-Eastern Metropolitan.

Monday night

There was no significant progress today, which was spent mostly on rechecking. That will continue today, but more interesting will be the addition of as-yet-uncounted early votes that were cast outside the home district. As noted below, new indicative two-candidate preferred counts are being conducted in five seats where the wrong two candidates were picked for the count on election nights, but in no case is the result in doubt. Happily, the Victorian Electoral Commission has a page on its website where such news is related in detail on a daily basis.

Sunday night

I spent yesterday fixing bugs in my results system, and now this is done to a reasonably satisfactory level, it should resume updating promptly, at least when I have an internet connection. Most of today’s activity will involve rechecking, but fresh two-candidate counts will be conducted in seats where the initial counts picked the wrong candidates – Albert Park, Brighton, Melton, Point Cook, and Werribee – although in no case is the result in doubt.

My system is giving away 45 seats to Labor and has them ahead in a further 11, which would result in the extraordinary achivement of an increased majority if it stuck. Seats my system is not yet calling but almost certainly soon will are Bayswater, Footscray, Pascoe Vale, Glen Waverley and Yan Yean, which get Labor to 50; Caulfield, Polwarth and Rowville, which get the Liberals to 12; and Mildura and Shepparton, which get the Nationals to not far behind the Liberals on nine. I still have nothing to offer on the upper house result, but that will hopefully change over the next day or two.

Bass. Labor’s Jordan Crugnale needed an 0.8% swing to retain her seat after the redistribution, and after looking gone on election night, a 5.0% swing in her favour on early votes puts it at 1.4%. However, the early vote count of 15427 formal votes is nearly 6000 shy of the number cast, which presumably means one of the three centres hasn’t reported yet. If the outstanding centre is more conservative than the other two, the swing on early votes — which is not broken down between individual voting centres, as would be the case at a federal election — will drop considerably when it reports, perhaps taking Crugnale’s lead with it.

Benambra. The ABC has Liberal member Bill Tilley marked down as holding off two-time independent challenger Jacqui Hawkins, but my more conservative system only gets his probability to 85.9%. He leads by 1.1% on the raw two-candidate preferred count, which is all you’ll get from the ABC — I’m still using a method that presumes to project a final result, which narrows it to 0.8%. Booth and early votes came in about where Hawkins needed to knock off his 2.6% margin, but he’s picked up a 5.3% swing on 2354 postals, about as many of which are still to come.

Croydon. Liberal member David Hodgett had a slight swing against him on ordinary and early votes in a seat where he was defending a 1.0% margin, but the first half of around 8000 postal votes have swung 4.4% his way and he will more than likely get home.

Hastings. Paul Mercurio looks likely to gain a seat for Labor that had no margin at all after the redistribution, and which was being vacated with the retirement of Liberal member Neale Burgess. Ordinary, postal and early votes have all swung slightly his way, leaving him 470 votes ahead with most of the outstanding vote consisting of around 3000 postals and 2000 absents.

Hawthorn. My projection has John Pesutto’s current lead of 0.7% (480 votes) narrowing to 0.3% at the last, mostly because the Liberals did poorly on absent votes in 2018 (36.5% by my post-redistribution reckoning, compared with 44.7% all told), of which I would expect about 2000. However, his primary vote is up 6.1% on the 3055 postal votes counted, compared with about 3% down on ordinary and early votes, and my projection method doesn’t presume that offers any guide to the 4000 or so outstanding. If it does, he will get home fairly comfortably.

Mornington. The teals could emerge empty-handed after a promising start in Mornington fell foul of a 2635-1553 break in favour of Liberal candidate Chris Crewther on postals, leaving him 177 votes ahead with about 3800 further postals still to come. On the other, the Liberals did poorly in 2022 on absent votes, of which there should be about 2000.

Northcote. The Greens’ lower house performance failed to match expectations set to at least some extent by a media determined to hype any anti-Labor narrative to hand, most notably in their likely failure to win Northcote. The first 1651 postals have broken 1027-624 to Labor, a swing in their favour of 5.7% with about 3500 still to come, but the Greens handily won absents in 2018, of which there should be about 3000.

Pakenham. Labor had a notional 2.2% margin in this essentially new seat, and their candidate Emma Vulin ended Sunday with a lead of eight votes over Liberal rival David Farrelly. Labor lost the first 2121 postals by only 1104-1017, a swing of 4.8% in their favour. The question is likely whether an advantage to Farrelly on 3500 or so remaining postals outweights absents, which on my post-redistribution calculation favoured Labor 1230-828 last time.

Preston. Labor’s 1306 vote lead on the two-candidate preferred count will assuredly be enough to see off the Greens. But at Inside Story, Tim Colebatch offers a “scoop”: the final count will in fact be between Labor and independent Gaetano Greco, and it’s not inconceivable he will win. Labor is on 38.1% of the primary vote to Greco’s 14.9%, raising the question of how many voters for sundry left-wing concerns (Greens, Victorian Socialists, Animal Justice and Reason Australia) moved promptly to Labor after their first preference over Greco, a “long-time Darebin councillor and Labor activist”.

Ripon. Liberal member Louise Staley needed a 2.8% swing here post-redistribution, currently has only 0.7%. Labor’s raw lead is 1358, but there are around 8000 early votes outstanding and Staley won the first batch of postals 1814-1272 with about 4500 still to come.

Morning Consult: Albanese approval 56, disapproval 31 (open thread)

Six months along, only minor signs of erosion in Anthony Albanese’s honeymoon poll ratings.

I have nothing much to offer in the way of new material for an open thread post, for reasons I hope you’ll understand. My standby on such occasions is the regularly updated tracking poll of Anthony Albanese’s personal ratings from US pollster Morning Consult, which currently has him at 56% approval and 31% disapproval. This leaves his approval about where it was mid-year, with his disapproval having climbed a few points.

Victorian election live

Live coverage of the count for the Victorian state election. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Click here for full Victorian election results updated live.

End of evening update (WB)

My results system will continue ticking over through late counting, but until I iron out a few bugs that seem to be having the effect of overrating Greens and independents’ chances in tight races, I recommend favouring the ABC’s projections over mine to the extent of inconsistencies. So while the Greens have easily won Richmond, it seems unlikely they will add further to their existing three seats; and it is unclear that any independents will win, with incumbents losing to the Nationals in Mildura and Shepparton, teals being only possibilities in Hawthorn and Mornington, and a number of hyped independent challengers in Labor seats having made only the faintest of impressions.

I haven’t had time to look at the Legislative Council at all, but the preliminary projections of the ABC suggest the Greens are returning as a force in the chamber, up from one seat to four, with Labor on 15 and having myriad possibilities of assembling the required 21 votes out of 40 from another sprawling cross-bench.

Live Commentary

11:32pm There’s a lot of counting to go in the upper house, but the current results look promising for a progressive upper house.  It’s 15 Labor out of 40, 15 Coalition, four Greens, two Legalise Cannabis, one Animal Justice, one Fiona Patten, one Shooter and one One Nation.  If this holds up (I’m not confident given group voting tickets), then the left side will have 23 of the 40 upper house seats and the right 17.  And with that, it’s time for bed for me.  William Bowe will resume coverage of the Victorian election.

11:16pm I’ve done a short article for The Conversation on the results so far.  The Coalition would have been thrashed given the 54.3-45.7 current statewide numbers, but furthermore they’ve lost seats in net terms to Labor, rather than gaining.  The swing to the Coalition was inefficiently distributed, being wasted on safe Labor seats, while some swings to Labor were on Coalition marginal seats.

9:53pm The ABC has Labor losing Morwell and Nepean to the Coalition, but gaining Bayswater, Glen Waverley, Hastings and Polwarth.  If that holds, Labor would be up two in Labor vs Coalition seats.

9:40pm Labor has clearly won a majority, but I’m not sure yet how large the Greens surge will be.  Early votes are now being reported in some seats, and look better for Labor in swing terms than Election Day votes.

9:13pm Greens leading in seven seats now, but in Albert Park they’ve fallen behind the Libs on primary vote, and this will be a Labor vs Lib contest with Labor winning.  Greens gains have been called in Northcote, Richmond and Footscray, while Preston is close between Labor and the Greens with Labor just ahead.

8:31pm There are two Lib-held seats where Labor is currently leading: Bayswater and Glen Waverley.

8:28pm While the Greens are currently winning Albert Park, the final primary vote projections show the Libs getting into second, in which case it’ll be Labor vs Lib with Labor winning.

8:22pm With 33% counted in Hawthorn, teal ind Lowe is leading the Libs by 52.3-47.7 on projected 2CP.  She has climbed into second ahead of Labor and projections suggest she’ll stay second.

7:58pm Greens now winning EIGHT lower house seats.  But with 9.3% counted statewide, swing against Labor down to 3.1% two party, and they’re winning this count by 54.5-45.5 — exactly what Newspoll said.

7:52pm Daniel Andrews will easily win Mulgrave.  The Libs have made their first gain from Labor in Nepean, with a 6.3% swing.

7:45pm Some bug in the PB results now, but before they went offline the Greens were winning SEVEN lower house seats, which would be a great result for them and up from their current three.

7:35pm With 4.1% statewide counted, two party swing against Labor drops to 3.8%, and they’re now up 53.8-46.2 statewide.  They’re leading or have won 47 lower house seats, enough for a majority.  The Coalition is leading in 24 seats and the Greens in five.

7:29pm Now down to a 9.6% swing to the Libs in Yan Yean, with Labor winning by 57.6-42.4 with 6.3% in.

7:28pm With 5.5% counted in Yan Yean, there’s a massive 14.5% swing to the Libs, with Labor still winning by 52.7-47.3.

7:24pm With 2.7% counted, overall swing against Labor reduces to 5.2%, and they lead by 52.3-47.7.

7:16pm Overall swing against Labor increases to 7.3% two party with 2.0% counted.  Only ahead by 50.2-49.8 now, which would see them lose their lower house majority.

7:08pm Teal Independent Melissa Lowe currently winning Hawthorn 54-46 over Libs.  Problem is she’s currently third behind the Libs and Labor.

7:06pm Back to a projected lead of 51.9-48.1 to the Greens in Footscray with 1.8% in.

7:04pm First booth in Footscray is a strong swing to the Greens, who would gain this seat from Labor if that holds up.

6:59pm PB results now projecting a 5.0% overall two party swing against Labor, though that would still be a 52.6-47.4 win for Labor; this might not be enough for a majority.

6:44pm With 1.5% counted in Euroa, the PB projected swing so far is 1.7% to Labor.  It’s a safe Nat seat, but not a good early sign for the Coalition

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is a paid election analyst for The Conversation. His work for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

William Bowe is working for Channel Nine, and has asked me to provide live commentary on the Victorian election. Once a result for the lower house is clear, I will need to write an article for The Conversation. The rest of this intro post is from my article for The Conversation on the large final Newspoll lead for Labor.

There are 88 single-member lower house seats with members elected by preferential voting, and 40 upper house seats in eight five-member electorates. The election in the lower house seat of Narracan has been postponed owing to a candidate’s death.

As at Friday, ABC election analyst Antony Green said 43.4% of all Victorian enrolled voters had voted early in-person, and a further 13.3% had applied for a postal vote. With a likely final turnout of around 90%, that means over 63% have already voted. Early voting has increased since 2018.

The early voting will slow election night counts as early vote centres will likely take until late at night to report their counts. The Poll Bludger said Friday that some postal votes will also be counted on election night. Counting could also be slow owing to the large numbers of candidates.

In the upper house, with eight five-member electorates, a quota is one-sixth of the vote, or 16.7%. It’s probably not safe to call for anyone not elected on quota on election night as small changes in vote share can give a different result under group voting tickets (GVT).

The ABC will have projections of upper house results using its calculator. But this calculator assumes that all votes are above the line ticket votes. If a party that needs help from other parties’ GVTs is beating a bigger party by a narrow margin, that lead would likely disappear once below the line votes are factored in.

Introductory note by William Bowe.

The VEC is conducting non-standard two-party preferred counts in the following seats: Labor versus Greens in Albert Park, Bruswick, Footscray, Melbourne, Northcote, Pascoe Vale, Preston and Richmond; Liberal versus independent in Benambra, Brighton, Hawthorn, Kew, Mornington and Shepparton; Labor versus independent in Melton, Point Cook and Werribee; independent versus Nationals in Mildura; Greens versus Liberal in Prahran.

At first, the projections in the live results will assume the VEC has picked the two candidates correctly. As it becomes apparent in which seats it has not done so, which these days is just about inevitable in at least some cases, I will have to make a manual adjustment so that preference estimates are used to calculate a two-candidate preferred result (such estimates are also used until a respectable amount of the two-candidate preferred votes are reported). To illustrate this point: until I make such an adjustment, the system will give Labor no chance of retaining Hawthorn, since the count there is between the Liberal and an independent.

The results maps that can be accessed by clicking the button at the bottom of each electorate page indicate the locations of polling booths with white dots when no results are in; colour-coded dots when primary vote results only are available; and, when the booth’s two-candidate result has been reported, colour-coded numbers showing the percentage result for the party that won the booth.

Newspoll: 54.5-45.5 to Labor in Victoria

Newspoll finds no sign of any campaign narrowing for Labor in its Victorian election eve poll.

The Australian reports the Victorian election eve Newspoll has Labor leading 54.5-45.5, little changed from its 54-46 result three weeks ago, but less commanding than its 57.3-42.7 result at the 2018 election. The primary votes are Labor 38% (up one, compared with 42.9% in 2018), Coalition 35% (down two, compared with 35.2%) and Greens 12% (down one, compared with 10.7%). Daniel Andrews is down five on approval to 46% and up four on disapproval to 48%, while Matthew Guy has “gone from a net approval rating of -20 three weeks ago to -25”, with exact numbers not provided. Andrews’ lead as preferred premier has narrowed from 52-33 to 51-35. The poll was conducted Monday to Thursday from a sample of 1226.

Donation drive

This site ordinarily runs donation drive posts every two months, but the occasion of tomorrow’s Victorian state election demands a special edition. In particular, you may feel a contribution is in order due to the effort and, to a not completely trivial extent, expense involved in publishing my live results system, about which you can read more in the post below. Donations can be made through the “become a supporter” buttons at the top of the page and at the bottom of each post.

Victorian election minus one day

A quick overview of what to expect tomorrow night and in the days to follow.

I’ll publish a round-up of late horse race news tomorrow evening, but for this post I will focus on the details of tomorrow evening – in particular my live results system, which I’m confident will survive the rigours of an especially challenging election after performing well enough during the Victorian Electoral Commission’s test the other night. For those unfamiliar with it, you can see the results from the federal election here – it features projections, probability estimates, easily navigable booth results tables which I’m pretty sure will be the only place you’ll find swings at booth level, and mapped results displays if you click the button at the bottom of the page.

Given the inordinately large number of candidates, peaking at fifteen in Point Cook and Werribee (with Daniel Andrews’ seat of Mulgrave just behind on fourteen), the progress of much of the counting tomorrow night could be very slow. The VEC is also unusually leisurely in updating its results feed only every five minutes, though I personally don’t mind this – it’s about as much time as needed to absorb each new update.

In addition to the election day booth votes, for which primary vote and two-candidate preferred counts plus first preferences for the upper house will be counted on the night, counting of pre-polls and postals for the lower house will begin tomorrow evening, with the upper house to follow over the next two days. Out-of-district pre-polls and absent votes will start entering the count on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

Victorian election minus two days

Media reports suggest Labor will be pushed to the precipice of minority government, or perhaps over the edge, although a Morgan SMS poll suggests otherwise.

Relevant news coverage of the past few days:

• Today’s Herald Sun reports pollster Redbridge Group believes “Labor will be reduced to minority government with 43 seats out of 88”, though this is based on “extensive polling and hundreds of focus groups in key seats across the state over the past two years” rather than anything specific. A “best-case scenario” is nonetheless conceded in which Labor wins 48 seats. Labor is predicted to lose Bayswater, Bass, Nepean and Pakenham to the Liberals, with Ashwood, Box Hill and Ringwood “under serious threat” and Eltham, Monbulk, Cranbourne and Eureka “considered to be in play”. Richmond and Northcote are rated as Greens gains, possibly to be joined by Albert Park, Footscray and “even” Pascoe Vale, the latter being the view of “party insiders”. Melton, Point Cook and Werribee “could” be won by independents, Ian Birchall in Melton seemingly being the best chance. Labor is “not expected to retain” Hawthorn, which I take to imply uncertainty as to whether it will be lost to Liberal John Pesutto or independent Melissa Lowe.

• Similarly, The Australian reports strategists from both parties consider seven to eight losses an “optimistic Labor prediction”, although the contention there are “up to ten in the party’s doubtful column” still suggests a bare Labor majority. The Liberals are still hopeful of a “train wreck” scenario for Labor in which the undecided break their way, but concede it to be unlikely. It is “understood the Liberal Party’s poll track has the two-party preferred vote locked at 50 per cent” across 20 target seats, implying it is likely to win a good many of them.

Roy Morgan has an SMS poll showing Labor leading 55-45, in from 57-43 in a similar poll a fortnight ago, from primary votes of Labor 38% (down two), Coalition 32.5% (up three-and-a-half), Greens 12.5% (up one), “teal independents” 4.5% (steady), and 12.5% scattered among the remainder. There were also forced response questions for Daniel Andrews’ personal approval, breaking 57.5-42.5 his way, and preferred premier, breaking 65-35 in favour of Andrews over Matthew Guy.

• An audience of 100 ostensibly undecided voters recruited by Q&A Market Research for Tuesday night’s leaders debate in Box Hill came down 38 for Daniel Andrews, 34 for Matthew Guy and 28 undecided.

The Age had further results from the Resolve Strategic poll on Tuesday, including issue salience responses that closely tracked a similar recent question from RedBridge Group in having the cost of living well in front on 27%, followed by health and environment on 12% each. Respondents were also asked how they viewed twelve election policies announced during the campaign and found net positive responses for all of them, with little separating the Coalition’s promise of $2 public transport fares (65% for, 10% against) and Labor’s investment in renewable energy under the State Energy Commission (64% for, 14% against). The least popular policies were banning gas exploration (34% for, 24% against) and raising the age of criminal responsibility from twelve to fourteen (37% for, 28% against). I am advised that the voting intention results to one decimal place shown on Wikipedia are sourced from the company itself. For what such distinctions may be worth to you, the 53-47 headline was rounded from 52.7-47.3.