Essential Research: 53-47 to Labor

Essential Research supports Newspoll’s finding that concern is growing about immigration, but not its finding that the Coalition’s electoral position has improved.

As reported by The Guardian, the latest fortnightly Essential Research poll brings no change on two-party preferred, with Labor maintaining its 53-47 lead. As always, primary votes will be with us later today. The poll also contains a suite of findings on immigration, which concur with Newspoll in finding the existing level is perceived as too high. Sixty-four per cent rated there had been too much immigration over the past decade, compared with 50% when the question was last asked in October 2016, and 54% considered the rate of population growth too fast, up from 45% in 2013. Forty-seven per cent wanted fewer short-term working visas, which 63% believed undermined the capacity of Australians to find work, and 62% agreed with the proposition that immigration should be wound back until the necessary infrastructure is in place. Nonetheless, 55% supported the proposition that “multiculturalism and cultural diversity has enriched the social and economic lives of all Australians”, and 61% felt immigration had made a positive contribution overall.

UPDATE: Full report here. Coalition down one to 37%, Labor down one to 36%, Greens up one to 11%, One Nation up one to 8%.

Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor

A fortnight on from the Malcolm Turnbull’s unfortunate Newspoll milestone, Newspoll itself suggests the embarrassment has done him little harm.

The latest Newspoll has Labor’s lead down from 53-47 to 51-49, which is the Coalition’s best result since the start of what is now Malcolm Turnbull’s run of 31 successive Newspoll defeats. This doesn’t reflect much activity on the primary vote, on which the Coalition and Labor are both steady at 38% and 37%, with the Greens down one to 9% and One Nation steady on 7%.

There is also encouragement for Malcolm Turnbull on leadership ratings, with his approval up four to 36% and disapproval down four to 53%, although Bill Shorten also improves by two on approval to 34% and three on disapproval to 53%. Turnbull maintains only a very modest lead as preferred prime minister, of 38-35, out from 38-36 last time. The poll also finds strong support for a reduction in immigration levels, with 56% rating the present level too high, 28% about right, and only 10% too low.

A point that should be noted about the Coalition’s apparent improvement in Newspoll is that at least part of it would seem to be down to an adjustment in their preference allocations, from a model based purely on results from the 2016 election to one which gives the Coalition a stronger flow of One Nation preferences, presumably based on the experience of the Queensland and Western Australian state elections. The chart below compares the published two-party results from Newspoll with how the raw primary numbers convert using a) a 50-50 split in One Nation preferences, as they were in 2016; and b) a 60-40 split in the Coalition’s favour, which seems more likely based on state election experience.

It will be noted that Newspoll (the grey line) closely tracked the 50-50 model (the blue line) until December last year, when it snapped to the 60-40 model (the orange line). Also noteworthy is the overshoot of the grey line for the very latest result, which reflects the fact that the Coalition may have been a little lucky with rounding this week. As Kevin Bonham notes, a calculation from the published, rounded primary vote totals using the 50-50 preferences model yields a 52.4-47.6 lead for Labor – a result that would have generated considerably less buzz than this, the “best Coalition result in 18 months”.

Next federal election pendulum (provisional)

A pendulum for the next federal election, assuming new draft boundaries in Victoria, South Australia and the ACT are adopted as is.

Following the recent publication of draft new boundaries for Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, we now have some idea of what the state of play will be going into the next election, albeit that said boundaries are now subject to a process of public submissions and possible revision. The only jurisdictions that will retain their boundaries from the 2016 election will be New South Wales and Western Australia, redistributions for Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory having been done and dusted since the last election.

The next election will be for a House of Representatives of 151 seats, ending a period with 150 seats that began in 2001. This is down to rounding in the formula by which states’ populations are converted into seat entitlements, which on this occasion caused Victoria to gain a thirty-seventh seat and the Australian Capital Territory to tip over to a third, balanced only by the loss of a seat for South Australia, which has now gone from thirteen to ten since the parliament was enlarged to roughly its present size in 1984.

The changes have been generally favourable to Labor, most noticeably in that the new seat in Victoria is a Labor lock on the western edge of Melbourne, and a third Australian Capital Territory seat amounts to three safe seats for Labor where formerly there were two. The ACT previously tipped over for a third seat at the 1996 election, but the electorate of Namadji proved short-lived, with the territory reverting to two seats in 1998, and remaining just below the threshold ever since. The Victorian redistribution has also made Dunkley in south-eastern Melbourne a notionally Labor seat, and has brought Corangamite, now to be called Cox, right down to the wire. Antony Green’s and Ben Raue’s estimates have it fractionally inside the Coalition column; mine has it fractionally tipping over to Labor.

The table at the bottom is a pendulum-style listing of the new margins, based on my own determinations for the finalisised and draft redistributions. The outer columns record the margin changes in the redistributions, where applicable (plus or minus Coalition or Labor depending on which side of the pendulum they land). Since I have Cox/Corangamite in the Labor column, I get 77 seats in the Coalition column, including three they don’t hold (Mayo, held by Rebekha Sharkie of the Nick Xenophon Team, and Indi and Kennedy, held by independents Cathy McGowan and Bob Katter), and 74 in the Labor column, including two they don’t hold (Andrew Wilkie’s seat of Clark, as Denison will now be called, and Adam Bandt’s seat of Melbourne).

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Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor in Victoria

As the November state election looms closer into view, Newspoll finds next to nothing in it.

The Australian today brings us a Victorian state voting intention result from Newspoll, which is not one of the usual results accumulated through polling conducted over a period of two months, but a one-shot poll of 1023 respondents conducted from Friday to Monday. It records Labor with a two-party lead of 51-49, which is down from 52-48 at both the election and the previous poll conducted through February and March. On the primary vote, Labor is up one to 38%, the Coalition is up two to 41% and the Greens are steady on 11%, with One Nation down one to 5% and all others down two to 5%.

Both leaders suffer spikes in their disapproval ratings: Daniel Andrews tips over to a negative net approval rating, with approval down three to 43% and disapproval up six to 47%, and Matthew Guy is down four on approval to 32% and up eight on disapproval to 45%. Andrews’ lead as preferred premier is at 41-34, narrowing from 41-30 last time. As it did last time, the poll asks about the better party to handle energy supply and law order, which respectively find Labor’s lead narrowing from 44-34 to 42-40, and its deficit widening from 42-37 to 46-37. The poll also finds 69% of respondents saying the government should do more to reduce gang violence, up four from last month, while only 23% think it is doing enough, down two points.

Last month, The Age published results of ReachTEL polling of the crucial “sandbelt” seats of Bentleigh, Mordialloc, Carrum and Frankston, targeting around 735 respondents each, which found Labor leading in all of them: by 53-47 in the case of the first three, and by 51-49 in Frankston. The poll was conducted for Environment Victoria, an “independent not-for-profit advocacy group”.

Below you will find a poll aggregation chart I have put together, combining four results from Newspoll (from whom we heard nothing in 2016), three apiece from Galaxy and ReachTEL, twelve from Roy Morgan and twenty-one from Essential Research. ReachTEL, Morgan and Essential are bias-adjusted to make more like Newspoll and Galaxy. On the current reading of the trend, Labor leads 51.6-48.4, from primary votes of Labor 37.7%, Coalition 40.3% and Greens 11.3%.

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BludgerTrack: 52.0-48.0 to Labor

In the week of the magic number thirty Newspoll, some polling-related consolation for Malcolm Turnbull.

After Malcolm Turnbull’s worst week for polling news since the election, the BludgerTrack poll aggregate finds Labor’s lead at its narrowest in some time. The three results out this week included a Newspoll that had the Coalition ahead of Labor on the primary vote, something they have only managed a handful of times in the past year; a high-end-of-average result from Ipsos that included a 50-50 respondent-allocated two-party result, indicating a strong flow of preferences to the Coalition, which factors into the BludgerTrack preference model; and a par for the course result from Essential Research. Equally importantly, these new results displace a particularly bad data point from the Coalition from ReachTEL on March 28.

On the seat projection, the Coalition is up one each in New South Wales and Victoria, and two in Western Australia. While Western Australia continues to record the largest swing, BludgerTrack’s recent double-digit blowout appears to have been a burst of statistical noise. A precis of the results can be seen on the sidebar, but the real deal is the link through the image below:

South Australian draft federal redistribution

Port Adelaide nominated for the chop in draft federal boundaries for South Australia, which bring the state down from 11 seats to 10.

The Australian Electoral Commission has published draft boundaries for the South Australian redistribution, which brings the state’s representation down from 11 seats to 10. The seat mooted for abolition is Port Adelaide; Wakefield is to be renamed Spence. At the bottom is a table featuring my estimates of party vote shares and two-party margins (Labor versus Liberal only).

Adelaide. Drifts westwards into the void created by the abolition of Port Adelaide, turning a tight Labor seat into a reasonably safe one.

Barker. Gains Barossa Valley territory around Kapunda.

Boothby. Drawn northwards into Glenelg through knock-on effects from Port Adelaide abolition, without much change to the margin.

Grey. Expends to the northern edge of Adelaide, gaining Clare Valley, with next to no impact on the margin.

Hindmarsh. Takes the bulk of Port Adelaide, turning the seat from marginal to safe Labor.

Kingston. Loses coast at southern end around Aldinga Beach, gains suburbia at northern end around Aberfoyle Park. Slightly advantageous to Liberal, but not enough to make them competitive on recent form.

Makin. Expands west to take over some Port Adelaide territory, notably Parafield Gardens.

Mayo. Not abolished, as some expected; gains the Aldinga Beach coastal area lost by Kingston.

Spence (Wakefield). Greatly strengthened for Labor through loss of Clare Valley and Barossa Valley to Grey and Barker respectively, and gain of suburbs around Paralowie from Port Adelaide.

Sturt. Gains Norwood at western end from Adelaide, with little impact on margin.

LIB change ALP change XEN change LIB 2pp vs ALP change
Adelaide 34.4% -2.1% 42.8% 6.9% 12.5% -0.3% 41.1% -4.3%
Barker 47.3% 0.8% 15.9% 0.7% 29.0% -0.1% 64.4% -0.8%
Boothby 44.4% 3.2% 27.7% 3.2% 18.3% -2.4% 52.8% -0.7%
Grey 44.7% 1.9% 22.4% 0.8% 27.2% -0.6% 58.6% -0.1%
Hindmarsh 33.5% -6.8% 43.4% 9.4% 16.4% 1.4% 41.8% -7.6%
Kingston 27.2% 3.9% 50.0% 0.6% 17.7% 0.5% 36.5% 3.5%
Makin 28.6% 0.0% 46.3% 4.5% 16.2% -0.4% 39.2% -1.2%
Mayo 37.7% -0.1% 16.4% 2.9% 33.8% -1.1% 53.3% -2.1%
Port Adelaide Abolished
Spence/Wakefield 20.4% -6.0% 49.4% 9.6% 20.1% -0.4% 32.1% -6.9%
Sturt 47.4% 3.0% 23.5% 1.3% 19.7% -1.4% 55.7% -0.1%