Morgan: 57-43

Roy Morgan’s latest face-to-face survey of 1799 voters has Labor’s lead up to 57-43 from 55-45 a fortnight ago. Labor is up 1.5 per cent on the primary vote to 47 per cent, and the Coalition down 2 per cent to 37.5 per cent.

Other stuff:

• I appeared yesterday before the Perth hearing of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters’ inquiry into the federal election, where I argued the increasingly problematic STV Senate system should be replaced by good old-fashioned list system PR with seats allocated using the New Zealand-style Sainte-Laguë formula. Not a chance in hell of this happening of course, but as Homer Simpson would say, at least I’m out there doin’ stuff. Perhaps I would have done better to have fallen in behind the Greens’ Commonwealth Electoral (Above-the-Line Voting) Amendment Bill 2008, which I hadn’t given due consideration as I wrongly believed it required full numbering of above-the-line preferences. When told it was optional preferential, I instead argued it would amount to a New South Wales-style de facto “largest remainder” system, with the potential to produce disproportional results: for example, parties which get 1.5 and 0.6 quotas on the primary vote could win one seat each despite the former party having won well over twice as many votes (as Antony Green puts it, methods like Sainte-Laguë ensure that “each MP represents roughly the same number of voters”). However, I now see it requires that a minimum of four boxes be numbered, which might solve or at least alleviate this difficulty – although there remains the likely problem of a higher informal vote. I remain open to persuasion on any of these points, and might yet make a supplementary submission.

• The Electoral Commission of Queensland has finalised its boundaries for the state redistribution. The new electorates which were named Macrossan, Samsonvale and Dalby in the original proposal will instead be named Dalrymple, Pine Rivers and Condamine.

Christian Kerr of The Australian reckons blogs, and “polling blogs” in particular, contain “paranoia about certain journalists, certain newspapers (and) certain pollsters”. What a thing to say …

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

339 comments on “Morgan: 57-43”

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  1. A Coalition primary vote below 40% is absurd and should be disregarded. Face-to-face surveys also have dubious accuracy.

    Must be why Gary Morgan sacked most of his staff!

  2. A-C, of course had it been the other way around it would be the most accurate poll in the land.
    Although I must be consistent here and say I don’t put a great deal of weight in Morgan polls, no matter which way they go.

  3. “Christian Kerr of The Australian reckons blogs, and “polling blogs” in particular, contain “paranoia about certain journalists, certain newspapers (and) certain pollsters”. What a thing to say.”
    Hey, Christian I think A-C and myself have just become exhibits a) and b) in your argument.

  4. By all the MOEs!

    Let’s face it. Christian Kerr is everything we bloggers are not. He has a broad appreciation of things, is nuanced, tolerant, wise, correct, balanced, factual, original, humble and not paranoid about anything. He is balanced about catholics, Zionists and US conspirators. He doesn’t repeat his assertions. He is not smug. He gathers evidence and analyzes it. He does not share space with others of similar views because that would be like living in an echo chamber. He is not righteously indignant, does not sneer and does not use the tone of an undergraduate.

    Golly, maybe if we all try very hard to improve ourselves we could aspire to be just like Christian and write for a balanced and factual newspaper like the Australian.

    Bags I write the next Australian editorial promoting the slaughterhouse invasion of some country or other that has definitely got WMDs and is going to wipe us all out. I’ll get the subbie to call it ‘Shock and Awe a Must!’ Plenty of fact, balance and nuance in that.

  5. [Hey, Christian I think A-C and myself have just become exhibits a) and b) in your argument.]

    It’s not an argument, just an observation. Arguments require more thinking than that.

  6. There is a salutary admonition to all who like weblogging (myself included), and it is contained in these sentences of Christian Kerr’s piece:

    “Like minded people like to associate and engage with each other. Yet if they engage to celebrate ideas but scorn any notions contrary to their group think, what is the point of their activity”.

    Thanks William for providing the link.

  7. [“Like minded people like to associate and engage with each other. Yet if they engage to celebrate ideas but scorn any notions contrary to their group think, what is the point of their activity”.]

    What is the point of engaging with people SIMPLY to argue for the sake of arguing?

    Plus there are contrary voices who contribute to this blog, but they usually have very badly thought out arguments (such as ESJ’s “if I can think of something then it is true, and about to occur” theory of economics).

  8. William

    I do not hav access to all info & data re vote systems proposed , however initial thoughts on NZ system seem that efectively members ar elected based on quotient formula , (with members guaranteed intially of electon being those that actualty won an ‘electorate’)

    This seems a basic change to our method where prefs hav a part
    There 5% threshold seems critically linked to actualy winning an ‘electorate’

    I’m not in favour of quotient method if as seems case in NZ , th quotiient calcs were based Nationally rather than by State , however if proposed quotient calc for ‘oz’ was based per each of 8 state/Teritories , then this queryof mine does not apply Believe esential we maintain ‘State’ criteria of Senate representation to protect smaller population States

    Other disquiet with qotient method is it treats all ‘votes’ as ‘absolute numbers’ of a final voters one and only vote choise , for mathematical allocation of efectively all members election , but very particulaly in regard to ‘electing’ members from th residual votes left over (after allowing for those votes that actualy elected a member via member wining an ‘electorate’)

    Rather I prefer curent pref system so that ‘democraticaly’ voters “overall prefered” choice gets last quota & th seat , however thats to say some fine tuning is not necessary

    For these reasons as well I find optional pref system flawed at lower house level as it encourages a reasonable dominant Party to promote to its ‘voters ‘to vote ‘ONE only” , which efectively converts optional pref voting to ‘first past post ‘voting system at cynical discretion of pollies , and it creates a scambled eggs of conflicting votes by th same Partys voters from one area to another ( asper Antony’s analysis of 2006 NSW Electon , or alternatively encourages US style promotion to voters not to use optional options or to do so (togeether with ‘power’ of which Party hs financia reserves o so influence 9compulsory overcomes these disadvantages)

    ps/ Also would not be in favor of any Senator being able to get elected below curent ‘oz’ thresholds (would otherwise turn our sysem into US ‘pork barrelling’ antics by pollies Mention this as not sure whether a reducton was separatly proposed

  9. Christian Kerr of The Australian reckons blogs, and “polling blogs” in particular, contain “paranoia about certain journalists, certain newspapers (and) certain pollsters”. What a thing to say.

    Well, he is kinda right. One of the main functions of such blogs is providing an outlet for (legitimate) alternative views to those allowed in the MSM, and holding it to account for its failings and biases in political reporting and analysis. For example, their woeful election coverage in last year’s federal election.

    Always found Mr Kerr a mixed bag. Sometimes he is quite insightful and unbiased, at other times just a knee-jerk ideologue.

  10. Kerr says:”Nuance is gone. Instead, you enter the echo chamber where assertions are endlessly repeated”

    Growler thinks Ackerman on the Heiner matter, Bolt on Climate Change and Shanahan on Liberal the silver lining in every Newpoll.

    Kerr says: “That’s what I find frustrating in the blogosphere. Too theoretical, little of no memory, little demonstrated experience. Plenty of self-righteousness though.”

    Growler thinks Glenn Milne, Greg Sheridan and Christian Kerr.

    Then I laugh and I laugh and I laugh.

  11. William and Ron

    One of the things that has always perplexed me is how minor parties can get a fair trot without all their voters being concentrated geographically. I suppose the recent classic is that the Greens often get the same or more votes than the Nats in the lower house and hardly ever get a proportionate representation in the lower house. The older example would have been the DLP which also did not get representation in lower houses.

    On the other hand, having a politician tied to a single member electorate, with an electorate office, tends to mean that the politicians ‘work’ an electorate, listen to people, get complained to, try to do small things for them such as overcoming small bureaucratic hurdles, and so on. If internal communications in parties is working well, and the members are being involved in telling Cabinet what is happening in their electorates, I think that that this function is very valuable for democracies and good governance.

  12. Ron, don’t worry about a quotient for the Senate being national. It would require a change to the constitution to do that. Any quotient adopted would have to be state based.

  13. Antony, after briefly skimming through the transcript of your JSCEM appearance, am I right that you support the Greens’ bill? Do you have concerns about its impact on the informal vote?

  14. Christian Kerr is right as far as he goes. He fails to acknowledge that the MSM is guilty of exactly the same sins, they just do it in front of a wider audience.

  15. “These journos obviously consider that bloggers matter enough to write about…” And they obviously read the blogs.

  16. Credit where credit is due. I think we can thank Swan for this very welcome buckling by the banks. Even though he is all bluff.

  17. [Credit where credit is due. I think we can thank Swan for this very welcome buckling by the banks. Even though he is all bluff.]

    No way! Everyone knows these interest rate cuts are all due to the brilliant managing of the economy by the Libs up until this year… unless we hit a recession, and then it’s all Rudd’s fault.

  18. William, you might have noticed the Liberals on the committee were in favour of fully optional preferential voting, though perhaps others in the party are not aware that Mr Morrison is so firmly of that view.

    There are ‘detail’ issues that have to be dealt with in introducing what the Greens are proposing. I made one recommendation on that in referring to minimum numbers of candidates being nominated, and also changing the formula for transfer value to exclude exhausted preferences first, as applies in NSW and the ACT. But I think it fairly clear that the Labor, Liberal, National and Green Parties have had enough of the current ticket voting system and are determined to find an alternative.

    If the Upper House proposal has a minimum number of preferences, my immediate recommendation is the minimum number of preferences also be applied to the lower house or you will get problems with informal votes.

    In theory, if you have optional preferential voting it should be fully optional. However, fully optional preferential voting in a 6 member Senate could produce a candidate elected well short of a quota, and the solution is to increase the number of preferences. Your balancing two principles, optionality and ensuring a candidate reaches a quota. A certain blogger on this site would recommend adopting the Meeks method, or his modified version of it, to overcome exhausted preferences, but I doubt the Committee would recommend such a radical departure.

    I also wouldn’t use the NZ Saint-Laugue or any other divisor method. That would require ditching quotas and preferences altogether. The last time a divisor method was put up, the original pure D’Hondt system for the ACT, Senators displayed they could not understand an electoral system that did not have quotas or preferences, and this resulted in the dogs breakfast modified’D’Hondt system that was an adminstrative nightmare no one could understand.

  19. So what you’re saying, Antony, is that the dog’s breakfast was a result of disregarding the rule that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

  20. Antony

    thanks for that , risls of me dashing off posts , however from that it does to me raise spectre of ‘quotients’ by State becoming a referndum by Party with excess
    votes resilting in last seat (or last 2) per Teritory or State

    Now whlst I do not hav access to computer modelling or necessary datsto run a series of ‘tests’ of varying Senate results resulting from varying (and often ‘quirky) voting numbers per Party by State , suspect with high Labor Greeens & Libs vote in a State that last seat could end up with a Party clearly not prefferred voters choise , indeed potentuialy th antitisus thereof

    Another unintended efect could also be in a State like Q’ld where dominent ‘consevative Party’ is ‘Nats’ not Libss , where Labor Liberals Greens & Nats ar competing efectively for final seat (or 2)

    Whilst all of above points would not make it a ‘first past post’ mehod , it could still hav some of adverse elements of that system , and am not in favor of qotients for these reasons (although would prefer some detailed modelling on many combinatons in my pocket to suport my views but don’t hav them)

    As I’ve argued against even more firmly ‘optional pref’ system earlier0 , wondering wht some tinkering with curent system would not be more preferred , particuly as it does result in th most contensious spot/seat (th last one) being determined generally on will of people’s “leanings” at th worst

  21. J-D – The Modified D’Hondt system invented in the committee stage of the Senate debate was an utterly impossible counting method, and came about because the very simple D’Hondt method designed to elect 17 ACT MLAs at large did not have a quota and did not have preferences, and the Senators couldn’t make head nor tail of it as a result.

    It produced a very funny carton by Geoff Pryor of the Canberra times. There is the old story about a camel being a horse designed by a committee. And then there is the biblical story about passing a camel through the eye of a needle. Pryor drew a cartoon of the Senate trying to shove a camel labelled ‘Modified D’Hondt’ through the slot of a ballot box.

  22. I’m surprised Christian Kerr has time to know whats even said on polling blogs about the media and his paper in particular. After all – isn’t he busy in his full time job doing investigative journalism? Unless of course he regards reading blogs like Poll Bludger as research and worth reporting on, in which case he seems to be paranoid about his own job??? What a confused man! 🙂

    Seriously I would have thought the only thing Oz journalists should be afraid of is falling circulation, in the oft chance that people have realised there are many blogs on political and economic matter these days written by people better qualified on the topics than most journalists.

    Also I noticed we’ve had a Victorian real estate agent jailed today and two ANZ executives sacked. Lets call it a good start. So with justice having a better than average day, I wish you all a happy weekend.

  23. Yes, Antony, I know, my point was that a system without quotas and preferences is not intrinsically more complex–in fact, it’s intrinsically less complex–so the Senators’ problems with it were a result of their inability to come to grips with the unfamiliar.

  24. Christian Kerr is of course right that many people at this blog and elsewhere have a phobic loathing of The Australian. Now I don’t say The Australian hasn’t earned that hatred by its shameless campaigning for Howard last year, and particularly for its deliberate misrepresentation of its own poll data, but Kerr is right that bloggers who go on and on and ON about it are being rather childish. The simple solution is to join the 99.36% of Australians who don’t bother reading it. (Aust pop = 21,370,000. The Aust circulation = 136,000, or 0.64%)

  25. Adam,

    Offtopic question:

    What’s your take on the leaking of internal ALP polling currently being discussed in the latest WA Election thread ?

  26. William, I wasn’t very much involved with putting the Greens proposal together (and would have suggested something very slightly different). However, I prefer it to D’Hondt.

    D’ Hond’t may be fair within an election, but it allows no opportunity for parties to grow. Since there are no preferences, any party that is clearly not going to get someone up at that election will be seen, including by its supporters, as undermining their nearets allies. There is no capacity for a party to run once getting 2% of the vote, and then build up election after election until they win.

    It’s true this has rarely happened in Australia, but I think it is important to leave the door open for it.

    From a Greens perspective D’Hondt now looks fine. If my understanding is correct we’d have nine current senators (5 from 07, 4 from 04) if it had been applied in the last two elections and everyone had voted for the party they gave their first preference.

    However, everywhere outside Tasmania (and maybe WA) we would have been seen as such spoilers for the Democrats and ALP in 93-01 that we would never have been able to establish ourselves as a party.

    The Greens proposal, along with several alternatives, avoids this problem, allowing genuine parties to run while clearing out those who are just there to funnel preferences.

    From now on I suspect the Greens would benefit from your proposal more than our own, but from the point of view of democracy I’m not keen to kick the ladder we have just climed away so no one else can get up it.

  27. PS I still think your idea would probably be better than what we’ve got, but the net gain is small.

    Antony is probably right that the modified D’Hondt disaster was a result of the senators not understanding D’Hondt, but its also possible it was an effort to avoid the problem I’ve described – which it pretty much did, at the cost of many other things.

    BTW I used to work with someone who had been one of the bureaucrats responsible for the modified D’Hondt system. He took a certain pride in having created “the worst electoral system in the world”, and was quite dissappointed when I told him I had encountered a worse one.

  28. Stephen, I am in fact advocating Sainte-Laguë rather than D’Hondt, and it sounds to me like that’s what your discussing – unless I’m doing it wrong, Bob Brown would have been the only Green elected under D’Hondt last year (and Nick Xenophon would have been the only other non-major member). It sounds to me though that I would have done better to have advocated the Greens option combined with a number-at-least-four-boxes form of OPV for the lower house to minimise informal voting, which I gather is Antony’s view (he must get sick of being right).

  29. William, when I appeared before the Committee, I pointed out that a ‘1’ vote works in NSW because there are 21 members and even with a high exhausted rate, the end result is still relatively proportional. Certainly more proportional than a full preferential system, though a divisor system such as Sainte-Lague would be fairer than the de-facto highest remainder system that NSW has become.

    But because the Senate only has 6 vacancies, applying the NSW system might deliver the last seat to someone with a very low vote if the race for the final seat is relatively close between several parties. That’s why deviating from the principal of optional preferences by specifying a minimum number of preferences may be valuable in that it ensures that there are more preferences around to resolve the final vacancies on preferences.

    Advocating four preferences all round might be easy. Four preferences above the line, four preferences below the line, and four preferences in the lower house. It doesn’t have a principle behind it, like full optional or full compulsory, but it is a sytem that could be explained to voters, and wouldn’t result in there being no preferences at the end of a Senate count.

  30. I preferred Christian when he was Hillary Bray.

    His career as a political advisor was such a great success that Hill, Vanstone and Olsen all found diplomatic posts overseas to avoid him. 😛

  31. I told you the journos read us. 😉

    They reckon we don’t like Bolt! Well, if we don’t like Bolt, what about Milne and Akerman? At least Bolt is entertaining.

  32. Ronster

    Unless you are in a different time zone a few months ahead of me, Obama is not POTUS and didn’t let anyone do anything.

    McCain is up to his armpits in the Georgia stuff-up.

    In the current crisis, President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia fell into a Soviet trap by moving troops into the disputed territory of South Ossetia and raining artillery and rocket fire on the South Ossetian capital city of Tskhinvali, with a still undetermined loss of civilian life. As in 1956, the Soviets responded with overwhelming force and additional loss of life. Once again the United States could offer only words, not concrete aid to the Georgians..

    It is difficult to believe that like the Hungarians in 1956, the Georgians in 2008 could have taken such rash action without believing that they could expect support from the United States. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice denies that the Bush administration denies was the agent provocateur in Georgia. To the contrary, a State Department source said that she explicitly warned President Saakashvili in July to avoid provoking Russia.

    If this information is correct, then, by inference, John McCain emerges as the most likely suspect as agent provocateur.

    With John McCain as Agent Provocateur?
    Is Georgia 2008 a Repeat of Hungary 1956?

  33. If you are going for OPV for the senate should it be a minimum of six boxes as people are electing 6 senators for their state, or 2 for the territories.

    May be easier, six senators, tick 6 boxes?

    I think Christian had his tongue firmly in cheek when he wrote the last line.

    “two crucial elements missing from the world of the blogs. They are balance and fact.”

  34. Greeting fellow players in the echo-chamber orchestra.

    Apologies for being on topic, but can anyone grasp the logic of this statement on Morgan’s page:

    “Kevin Rudd has enjoyed a bounce in support as the Beijing Olympics begin…”

    Surely he’s not suggesting a link?

  35. Frank, I have no idea, but cynics might observe that releasing “private polling” showing that you are not doing as well as everyone thinks you are is a good way of preventing complaceny and stopping your core vote leaking to the Greens. But of course I would never suggest that the WA ALP would do such a thing.

  36. [Christian Kerr is of course right that many people at this blog and elsewhere have a phobic loathing of The Australian. ]

    I don’t loathe it, I think it is hilarious, which makes it entertaining.

    [With John McCain as Agent Provocateur?]

    He may be, but he just can’t remember.

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