BludgerTrack: 52.4-47.6 to Labor

The BludgerTrack poll aggregate maintains a mild improving trend for Labor, albeit that it does so on the strength of a single opinion poll for the week.

The only new poll this week has been another 52-48 result from Essential Research, but it’s been enough to make a measurable difference to the BludgerTrack poll aggregate. In particular, it’s brought it into line with the poll aggregations of Kevin Bonham, Mark the Ballot and Phantom Trend, which as of last week were between 0.4% and 0.6% better for Labor than BludgerTrack. That distinction has been all but erased by a 0.3% movement on two-party preferred, which shows up in the seat projection as extra seats for Labor in Victoria and Queensland. There are no new numbers for leadership ratings this week.

Other news:

• Overwhelming support for constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians was recorded by a Newspoll survey published in The Weekend Australian on Saturday, with 63% in favour and only 19% opposed.

• The Canberra Times has reported results of ReachTEL poll of 1446 respondents, conducted for Unions ACT, which includes a question on voting intention for the next territory election, to be held in October next year. After exclusion of the undecided, it has Labor on 41.5%, Liberal on 35.7% and the Greens on 16.5%, which is rather bad news for the Liberals given the results in 2012 were 38.9% for both Labor and Liberal and 10.7% for the Greens.

• Antony Green has weighed in on the stalled Senate reform process with two pieces, one considering the lessons to be drawn from New South Wales, where a system much like that proposed by the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters is already in place for the state upper house, and another on the likely impact of the proposal for the various parties. The basic thesis of the latter is that the Senate would remain outside the control of any one party in all but exceptional circumstances, since this is a legacy of the increase in the size of parliament in 1984 and the routine of half-Senate elections for six rather than five members per state. However, the balance of power would more often be held exclusively by the Greens, unless the change caused the currently disparate micro-party vote to consolidate by some manner of merged entity. Putting his wonk hat on, Antony recommends adjusting the quota for election at each step of the count in the former article, rather than leaving it fixed at the number of votes divided by the number of seats plus one.

• A Liberal Party preselection ballot for Indi will be held on Sunday. Sophie Mirabella is again hoping to contest the seat she lost to independent Cathy McGowan in September 2013, but faces opposition from Kevin Ekendahl, a Wodonga businessman who has previously been a candidate for Melbourne Ports, and Andrew Walpole, an anaesthetist.

• The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters has set the ball rolling on two inquiries, the more interesting of which will consider “current rules and practices in relation to campaign activities in the vicinity of polling places”. The other is on the delivery of electoral and civics education, in schools and at Parliament House.

• My subscriber-only contributions to Crikey over the past week have included one on the Northern Territory redistribution, a subject made more interesting than usual by claims of political interference and the resignation of a Country Liberal Party MP whose seat was abolished, and one on Bill Shorten coming out for fixed four-year terms.

UPDATE (Morgan state SMS polls): Morgan has published its monthly SMS polls of state voting intention, from samples ranging from 1270 in New South Wales to 333 in Tasmania. They record a small amount of Mike Baird’s post-election spike coming off, but with the Coalition still recording a 57-43 lead (down from 58.5=41.5 last month); the Victorian Newspoll result more-or-less corroborated with a Labor lead of 56.5-43.5 (steady); Labor moving into the lead in Queensland but still looking a bit shaky (51.5-48.5, after they trailed 52-48 last month); the Barnett government taking a 52.5-47.5 lead in Western Australia, after trailing 51-49 last time; the Liberals 51-49 ahead in South Australia, up from 50.5-49.5 (remembering the Liberals did in fact win the two-party vote 53-47 at last year’s election, but still lost); and primary votes of 42.5% (up 1.5%) for the Liberals, 33% (up 2.5%) for Labor and 20% (up 0.5%) for the Greens, which as ever feels too low for the Liberals.

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.

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