Essential Research: 53-47 to Coalition

The new government has its first poll, sort of. Also featured: an overview of in-doubt seats from the real election, of which I count four (two House, two Senate).

The new government’s first opinion poll is testament either to a striking weakness in its honeymoon effect, the fact that it’s only partly a post-election poll, or the observed tendency towards constancy in results from the pollster in question. That pollster is Essential Research, and its poll is its routine fortnightly average of federal voting intention conducted online from samples of about 1000 respondents each week. The latest result was thus half-conducted over the period of the election itself, such that one might dispute its provenance as a post-election poll (which you can pile on top of general doubts about the value of any polling conducted immediately after a change of government). For what it’s worth, the poll has the Coalition on 44% of the primary vote (45.7% at the election on current figures), Labor on 36% (33.5%) and the Greens on 9% (8.4%). The published 53-47 two-party preferred (the current election result being 53.4-46.6) is weaker for Labor than the primary vote shifts suggest it should be, which may be because they are still using preference allocations from the 2010 election.

Further questions, which unlike voting intention were derived from this week’s sample only, have 38% rating the election of micro-parties to the Senate as “good for democracy” against 25% for bad, although I’d like to see more specific questions in relation to this topic. Forty-four per cent believe the lack of a Coalition Senate majority will make for better government against 30% for worse. Respondents were asked about various aspects they might expect to get better or worse under the new government, including the surprising finding that cost of living and interest rates are expected to be worse. A finding on the state of the economy is an instructive insight into the influence of partisan considerations on such polling. Overall, 40% describe the state of the economy as good and 25% as poor, compared with 36% and 30% when the question was last asked in mid-July. Tellingly, the good rating among Coalition voters is up 14 points to 32% while poor is down ten points to 35%, while Labor voters are down nine points on good to 50% and up four points on poor to 18%.

As to proper election results, this site continues to follow close counts in dedicated posts as linked to on the sidebar. As far as I’m concerned, there are four seats which are still in serious doubt – two in the House, and two in the Senate. The 1550 votes in Indi are too few to reverse Sophie Mirabella’s 405-vote deficit against Cathy McGowan, while the 849-vote lead of Labor’s Julie Owens in Parramatta is enough to withstand anything the outstanding 3258 votes might conceivably throw at it. That leaves:

Fairfax. Continuing an ongoing trend, Clive Palmer’s lead shrank yesterday from 502 to 362. This resulted from a heavy flow of postals against him (758-465) being greater than an advantage on absents (722-569 in his favour on yesterday’s batch), both of which reflect the earlier trend of postal and absent counting. The number of outstanding absents and postals has diminished to around 1000 each, which leaves the ball in the court of about 2500 outstanding pre-polls, which have so far gone nearly 57-43 against Palmer. If all existing trends continue over the remainder of the count, Palmer will land a few dozen votes short. He will then perhaps take the matter to the Court of Disputed Returns, his current Federal Court injunction to have counting stopped presumably being doomed to failure. Palmer has been invoking an anomaly in the count, much remarked upon on this site, in which the Coolum Beach pre-poll voting centre result had a more-than-plausible number of votes for LNP candidate Ted O’Brien and a mismatch with the number of votes recorded for House and Senate. However, much as Palmer might wish to invoke a ballot box-stuffing operation at once brilliantly efficient in execution and bone-headedly stupid in conception, the AEC’s explanation that the Coolum Beach and Nambour PPVC results had been entered the wrong way around is likely to stand up in court. It is a duly troubling prospect that Palmer’s Senate representatives may emerge as important players in the looming round of electoral reform.

McEwen. After late counting initially flowed heavily against him, Labor member Rob Mitchell has rallied with a strong performance on absents and late-arriving postals. He now leads by 192 votes, which will widen if the tide continues to flow his way. However, it remains to be seen what as many as 5000 pre-polls hold in store. The first batch favoured Mitchell 497-458, but the remainder might come from less favourable areas.

Western Australian Senate. The most excellent Senate modelling of PB regular Truth Seeker illustrates the delicate balance of the count here, and the stars that need to remain aligned if Wayne Dropulich of the Australian Sports Party is indeed to find his way to the Senate off 0.2% of the vote. Key to the outcome is Dropulich remaining ahead of the Rise Up Australia party after distribution of preferences from Australian Voice, after which his snowball builds all the way to a quota. This might yet be undone by a gentle trend towards RUA on late counting, together with the unknown quantity of below-the-line votes. Should Dropulich fall short, not only will his own seat instead go to Zhenya Wong of the Palmer United Party, but the complexion of the race for the final seat between Scott Ludlam of the Greens and Labor’s Louise Pratt will change. This is because the comfortable win presently projected for Ludlam is achieved off Palmer preferences, which won’t be available to him if the votes are used to elect Wong. Truth Seeker’s projection is that Pratt will “almost certainly” defeat Ludlam on a scenario in which Wong is elected.

Tasmanian Senate. The issue here can be neatly observed on the ABC results calculator, the crucible of the outcome being the second last count (Count 24). Here the calculator, which treats all votes as below-the-line, has the Liberal Democrats leading Palmer United Party candidate Jacqui Lambie by 29,705 votes to 28,608. Since Palmer preferences favour the Liberals over the Liberal Democrats, their candidate’s exclusion then delivers victory to the third Liberal, Sally Chandler. However, if that gap of 1097 should close, the Liberal Democrats will be excluded instead, and most of the votes then distributed will flow to Lambie and secure election for another PUP Senator. The size of the gap might make that appear unlikely, but Tasmania has an unusually high rate of below-the-line voting, and one might surmise that it will favour the greatly more visible PUP over the Liberal Democrats. UPDATE: Looks like I wasn’t taking the Sex Party challenge with due seriousness – they win the last seat that might otherwise go to Liberal or the Palmer United Party if they stay ahead of Labor at Count 21, as they get Palmer preferences ahead of the Liberals. The current count has them doing this by the grand total of 14,275 to 14,274.

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.

1,075 comments on “Essential Research: 53-47 to Coalition”

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  1. [Do you have an intelligent contribution to make on this subject, or just leftover sexist jokes from Young Lib dinners]

    You certainly could not accuse Liberal supporters of being overly concerned about the fact there is 1 woman in cabinet. It is a great shame that to my knowledge not one man has seen fit to comment on the matter and to suggest the Liberal party has an issue that needs addressing.

    The fact remains that our parliament shockingly under-represents women. The issue at play is not Labor quotas it is the fact that women are under-represented in the single most important representative body in the nation.

  2. 1004

    The most effective way to get proportionate representation of women in Parliament, short of reserved seats, is proportional representation.

  3. It’s interesting to speculate who would have got into Cabinet if Abbott had decided that he just had to have two women. Who is there of Cabinet calibre? Ley, Payne, Cash, F-Wells? Nope, putting any of them in Cabinet would have been obvious tokenism. Fiona Nash actually is Cabinet material, but she’s a Nat.

  4. [The most effective way to get proportionate representation of women in Parliament, short of reserved seats, is proportional representation.]

    No such drastic measures are necessary. In the ALP there is now a positive bias in favour of preselecting women, particularly for difficult seats, because they are proven to be better vote-winners.

  5. 1010

    The proportion of Women in the Cabinet had been increasing over time, for decades, as they increased in proportion of the Parliament. That was until the current round.

  6. Howard 30 in 13 years
    Hawke/keating 27 in 11 years
    Rudd/Gillard 15 in 6 years

    We have certainly made great strides in the last 30 years. Puts the state of women in the current Liberal party into some perspective. To have so few women of merit must be a concern to someone there i’m sure.

  7. The trouble Abbott is in is that if he appoints a women to Cabinet to replace anyone he has to sack in the next couple of years, that new woman is automatically devalued, because the question will always arise whether they are the “token” appointment.

    Turnbull would never have arranged a Ministry like Abbott’s….

  8. So it would appear that Abetz and Bishop among others are lying when they are saying the cabinet is merit-based?

    Or is it spin? Bit hard to tell these days.

  9. Basically it says the Liberals had the iniative but believed it was a solved problem, that merit based selections would take care of things and … that’s when it went downhill.

  10. Sean

    The outrage is does Tone have the best possible frontbench or is it basically his factional mates being awarded fr putting him in the leadership.

    As i have said before if Tone does a good job i will be the first to say so but that frontbench can be improved.

  11. 1023

    Interesting article.

    It talks a bit about Menzies supporting women being in work but does not mention that married women were bared from permanent jobs and promotion until just after his departure in 1966.

  12. I think Sean Tisme’s little list has been proven comprehensively useless in so many ways :P. The current Liberal government – not just cabinet – is anomalous even w.r.t. to their own history. Bucking the trend in the wrong direction and they had warning of it for some time and did nothing.

  13. Even Tony is disappointed with his cabinet Tisme. What i want to know is who picked it? Who actually wielded the power if Tones didn’t?

    Or was he disappointed that there are so few women of merit willing to join the Liberal party? Or disappointed that so few women of merit seem to be able to get anywhere? But given that it’s all about merit, i mean Erica and Bronwyn said it was and we know they wouldn’t bullshit us, it must be that women of merit have no place in the modern day Liberal party.

    I’d be disappointed too.

  14. Good Morning.

    Well this is the day that officially the rubber hits the road.

    The fight of the light against the dark. Only way I can put it when things like science are put in the dark.

    The LNP are determined that Australia will be a colony dependent on others as they continue the lets be a quarry mentality.

    Its no wonder they want to end car subsidies. The quicker to end manufacturing.

    The first battle amazingly is going to be the carbon price repeal. Abbott is going for the first rejection quickly as he has vowed that yes the legislation will be there day one of parliament.

  15. Truss is mostly unknown in country areas.

    Truss is unknown pretty much everywhere. I wonder what percentage of Australians will be able to name the Deputy PM after today’s swearing in.

  16. Tisme @ top of page.

    That was gold.

    Didn’t the parliament look great. Ruddy looking sensational in the PM chair, Turnbull as leader of the opposition (you could just cry) and Gillard as Deputy.

    WOW didn’t Julia look hot back then, hubba hubba secksey. Man if becoming a Labor leader does that to you, you can have it! 😈

  17. It’s true that Howard had more women in Cabinet than did Hawke-Keating, just as Hawke-Keating had more than than Fraser, and Fraser has more than Whitlam. And Rudd-Gillard had more than Howard. In other words, since 1975 there has been a steady increase in women in Cabinet, reflecting the increasing number of women in Parliament.

    The point however is that Abbott has put that rise into reverse. There is now only one woman in Cabinet, for the first time since (I think) 1997.

    And Abbott is right to say that this was done “on merit”, because there actually are no other Lib women who are ready to be Cabinet members. This is a reflection of (a) Abbott’s refusal to promote new talent over the past six years, and (b) of the poor calibre of recent new Liberal MPs generally, which I’ve noted before.

  18. I’m actually surprised at all the fuss over the lack of women in the Liberal Party cabinet.

    Hello, the Monkey is PM, what did you expect?

    Abbott reckons women belong barefoot inside the house, where they can’t flirt with other men 😯

  19. There’s a professsor on Faine talking on our voting. Faine is putting to him all Palmer’s and other criticisms and he’s very quickly and effectively disposing of each one.

  20. I hope Palmer does win Fairfax. The Greens cover themselves with such glory over the fact that they have finally been able to win a seat, in Loon City.

    Here’s Palmer, winning a seat at first attempt. Love it 🙂

    *stay loony 😀

  21. The deluded world of a National MP.

    First, this article about the imminent sacking of 1100 – 1200 Centrelink Call Centre workers, which will have quite an effect on regional centres across Australia including Coffs Harbour in Luke Hartsuyker’s electorate of Cowper.

    Then Hartsuyker’s meaningless gibbering about his plans to lure another government office to Coffs to add to the exisiting, soon to be slashed, Centrelink Call Centre. As is usual with Pruneface, he is totally oblivious to what is happening around him. As usual with Nationals it is promise the world, deliver nothing.

    Coffs Harbour, along with other towns, will soon be trying to cope with a few hundred unemployed people, the resultant loss of income to the local economy and all the other flow-on problems. And those call centres, with their newly depleted staffing levels, will be struggling to cope with the increased demand on their services from all hose who will be looking for help after Abbott and Co finish their sacking and slashing.

  22. Kezza @ 825

    Thank you for the free character assassination but it was not me who wrote

    [Since I was right abut him not seeking psot-election leadership, and many here were wRONg – I rather fancy my chances over yours on this one too.]

    And no I do not regret at all what I have said about Gillard she was not up to the job of PM. I am female but not a feminist. I believe we need the best person for the job and Rudd picking up seven or more seats that we were not predicted to get displays that he did his job.

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