BludgerTrack: 50.8-49.2 to Coalition

Powered mostly by Nielsen, but with other stronger polling for Labor also in the mix, the weekly BludgerTrack poll aggregate records its first significant shift since the election.

Supplemented with a bumper crop of new results, from Newspoll, Nielsen, ReachTEL and Essential Research, plus a brace of new state-level data, this week’s BludgerTrack poll aggregate records its first big move since the election. As shown on the sidebar, Labor is up nearly 2% on two-party preferred in just one week, driven by a significant increase in the their primary vote. The Nielsen poll of course has been a major contributor, but the 50.8-49.2 two-party split lands right on the ReachTEL result and isn’t far different from Newspoll once accounting for its preference distribution method that was probably slightly unflattering to Labor. On the seat projection, Labor gains five seats in Queensland on last week together with three in New South Wales, one in Victoria, two in Western Australia and one in the territories, which can only mean Solomon. The odd man out is South Australia, where Labor’s state-level data for this week was notably soft, although only small sample sizes were involved. Here Labor has actually gone from a projected gain of a seat to a projected loss.

Elsewhere around the site, there’s updates on Queensland’s two looming by-elections, at federal level in Griffith and state level in Redcliffe, and posts on new state polling in Victoria and Queensland. Further to which, two electoral reform news nuggets:

• A package of electoral reforms before the Queensland parliament may offer a litmus test for the federal government’s future plans, particularly after its position in the Senate strengthens in the middle of next year. Most pointedly, the bill contains a provision to require voter identification at the polling booth, having been foreshadowed by Liberal federal director Brian Loughnane’s post-election complaint that “you can’t go and hire a video without a card that requires a photo ID, but you can turn up to present to vote and just assert who you are”. This is perhaps the first entry into Australian politics of what has emerged as a flashpoint issue in the United States, where Republicans have invoked the ease with which malefactors can impersonate others in the absence of identity requirements, and Democrats have responded with complaints of “voter suppression laws” designed to create obstacles for the poor and minority groups in the name of a problem which appears barely to exist in practice.

Despite the Queensland government’s penchant for radicalism, the measures proposed in its bill come with a very substantial safety net, in that voters who find themselves unable to provide identification can lodge a signed declaration vote. The vote is later admitted to the count if election officials deem the vote to be bona fide, which they can presumably do by checking the signature against the voter’s enrolment form. The measure nonetheless promises to make life a lot more complicated on polling day, and to impose a further burden on the Electoral Commission as it conducts an already torturously cumbersome vote counting process. More on this from Peter Brent of Mumble, and a report on community radio current affairs program The Wire which features the redoubtable Graeme Orr.

Other measures in the Queensland bill include the abolition of caps on donations and campaign spending which the previous government introduced before the last election, setting the Newman government on a different course from the O’Farrell government which further tightened donation rules and spending caps in 2011. The bill likewise abolishes the increase in public funding which was introduced to compensate political parties for donation caps, and reinstates the old dollars-per-vote public funding model while setting the minimum vote threshold at 10% rather than the more familiar 4%. The threshold for disclosure of political donations, which Coalition governments would prefer be at least ten times the level favoured by Labor, will revert to the CPI-indexed $12,400 established at federal level by the Howard government, after the Bligh government slashed it to $1000. The bill has been referred to the parliament’s legal affairs and community safety committee, which is scheduled to report by February 24.

• As to what the new federal government might have planned, that should become clearer with the looming establishment of the new Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters and the commencement of its inquiry into the conduct of the recent election. The committee will consist of five government members including the chair, four opposition members including the deputy chair, and one from the Greens. Andrew Crook of Crikey reports the chair and deputy are likely to be Alex Hawke and Alan Griffin, while Lee Rhiannon will take the Greens’ position.

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.

760 comments on “BludgerTrack: 50.8-49.2 to Coalition”

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  1. Qantas is just another airline, of which there are dozens available. Would we expect the Commonwealth to buy into a bus company or an operator of cruise liners? Qantas has not turned a profit or paid a dividend for years. There is no case for private investors to buy into it. I can’t see what case exists for the Commonwealth to borrow funds and then put them into Qantas when the main beneficiaries of such a buy-in will be existing private shareholders.

  2. Further to my comment @ 747, the LNP are not changing when postal votes have to be received by – 6pm on the 10th day after polling day (s125(2)(d)). If there is a large take up rate for postal votes now that anyone can get one, possibly by applying online, it could change the dynamics of the campaign period quite a bit. I suspect the take up will grow over time.

    Presumably you will be able to vote on the day after polling day with knowledge of how ordinary votes went and still get your vote in on time – does anyone know if this happens currently with postal votes? It seems a bit odd but that’s how it appears to work unless I am missing something – there doesn’t seem to be a legal requirement to cast your postal vote before polling day and anyway, how could it be enforced?

    More postal votes will also increase the significance of earlier parts of the campaign period when a lot of people will begin casting theirs. Late swings will have less of an effect.

  3. From the AFR…what Hockey proposes:

    Share purchase or placement by the Future Fund (FFS!!!) or the Government

    “Kangaroo” preference share giving Government power over share register changes

    Government debt guarantee

    Standby credit facility from Government

    These moves amount to financial rescue of Qantas shareholders by means of a quasi nationalisation. Taxpayers will be supporting the credit of a loss-making, heavily-indebted airline on the strength of it being a “national carrier”. In the absence of other moves to allow Qantas to become profitable and attract new private capital, this can only be a really bad idea.

  4. Actually, strike that bit about being able to postal vote after polling day, I am obviously missing something as the ECQ site clearly says you have to post it before polling day.

  5. Actually, strike 754 too. The ECQ site says that you must complete your postal vote by 6:00pm on polling day, not that you must send it back before polling day. It does seem odd because it seems there would be no way to practically stop people voting on Sunday or afterwards if they realise they’ve forgotten or something.

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