Another brace of by-election polls records statistical dead heats in Longman and Braddon.
Today’s News Corp tabloids have YouGov/Galaxy polls with modest samples from four of the five seats facing by-elections on Saturday, conducted Tuesday to Thursday last week. These turn the knife by asking a supplementary on how respondents would vote if Anthony Albanese rather than Bill Shorten were leader, an exercise that rarely goes well for the incumbent. In roughly descending order of interest:
• In Longman, Liberal National Party candidate Trevor Ruthenberg is credited with a 51-49 lead over disqualified Labor member Susan Lamb, which turns into a 53-47 lead for Labor under the Albanese hypothetical. Primary votes are Labor 37%, LNP 34%, One Nation 18% and Greens 5% (respectively 43%, 33%, 15% and 4% under the Albanese scenario). With the One Nation primary vote so high, much depends on the flow of their preferences: respondent allocation of preferences in the poll suggest they will heavily favour the LNP, whose two-party lead compares with a 51.5-48.5 lead to Labor if the preference flows from the 2016 election are applied. Sample: 578.
• The poll in Braddon has primary votes of Labor 40%, Liberal 44%, independent Craig Garland 7% and Greens 4%, which comes in at 50-50 both on the previous election preferences and the published result. The Albanese question has Labor leading 53-47, and the respective primary votes at 44%, 42%, 6% and 4%. Sample: 504.
• Another poll showing Rebekha Sharkie well ahead in Mayo, by 59-41, from primary votes of Rebekha Sharkie 47%, Georgina Downer 35%, Labor 9% and Greens 7%. The Labor primary vote is at 12% under the Albanese scenario. This result also finds 69% of respondents area satisfied with Sharkie’s performance as member for Mayo, with only 16% dissatisfied. Sample: 540.
• Labor leads the Greens 66-34 in Fremantle, from primary votes of Labor 49% and Greens 22%. With Albanese, that becomes 68-32 and 52% to 21%. Sample: 541.
Separately, two electorate-level ReachTEL polls:
• Yesterday’s Sunday Mail had a ReachTEL poll of 770 respondents in Longman, conducted on Thursday. After exclusion of the 3.9% undecided, the poll had primary votes of LNP 39.4%, Labor 37.3%, One Nation 14.5% and Greens 4.4%. Here too, respondent allocation of preferences results in an LNP two-party lead of 51-49, which would reverse if 2016 preference flows were applied.
• A poll for the Australian Forest Products Association in Braddon had Labor leading 52-48, although I’m struggling to see how they get there from the primary votes and preference data provided. After exclusion of the 4.6% undecided, the primary votes are Liberal 42.7%, Labor 36.0%, Craig Garland 9.3% and Greens 7.0%. For Labor, this compares unfavourably with 2016 election results of Liberal 41.5%, Labor 40.1% and Greens 6.7%, which converted into a two-party result of 52.2-47.8, little different from the poll. The poll reportedly credits Labor with a 67.4% flow of respondent-allocated preferences which, while strong, is very similar to what they got at the election. The poll was conducted on Thursday from a sample of 810.