This week’s reading of the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, which has new results from Newspoll and Essential Research to play with, smooths away last week’s movement to the Coalition to the extent of suggesting that Labor would more likely emerge at the head of the projected minority government. Labor makes three gains on the seat projection, including one seat each in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. A drop in the Greens vote is partly down to an unusually strong result in the last Ipsos poll washing out of the system, but there have also been some slightly softer numbers for them in polls released over the last fortnight. The model doesn’t quite yet know how to deal with the new-look Galaxy-conducted Newspoll, which has come in at the high end for Labor on the primary vote in its two polls so far, in contrast with the habits of the Newspoll of old. As a result, it’s not being weighted too heavily just at the moment. Hopefully new results from more established poll series with better-understood biases will help clear the air over the coming weeks. Newspoll’s leadership numbers have caused a further loss of skin for Bill Shorten, putting Tony Abbott with his nose back in front on preferred prime minister.
The sudden death of Liberal MP Don Randall on Tuesday will presumably mean a by-election will be held in his outer southern Perth seat of Canning at some point, perhaps in September or October, assuming there’s no early general election on the boil. Mandurah mayor Marina Vergone has been mentioned to me as a potential contestant for Liberal preselection, but all such talk at this stage is in the realm of speculation. Randall’s margin at the 2013 election was 11.8%, but a fair chunk of that appears to have been his personal vote the Liberal two-party vote in the electorate’s booths was 7% lower at the March 2013 state election than at the federal election, compared with a 1% differential statewide. I had a paywalled article on the subject in Crikey yesterday.
Michael Owen of The Australian reports Labor’s state executive in South Australia has initiated proceedings for federal preselections in the state’s three potentially winnable Liberal-held seats, together with all those held by Labor, where the incumbents are expected to be uncontested. Steve Georganas is the reported front-runner in Hindmarsh, which he held from 2004 until 2013 when he was unseated by current Liberal member Matt Williams, who sits on a margin of 1.9%. Potential nominees for Boothby and Sturt, respectively held for the Liberals by Andrew Southcott on a 7.1% margin and Christopher Pyne on a 10.1% margin, are respectively said to include Mark Ward, a high school teacher and Mitcham councillor who was narrowly unsuccessful in the Davenport state by-election in January, and Jo Chapley, an in-house legal counsel for Foodland supermarkets who performed strongly against Opposition Leader Steven Marshall in his seat of Dunstan at the March 2014 state election.
The Australian last week published the regular annual Newspoll survey on expectations in respondents’ standard of living over the six months to come, and found 13% expecting them to improve, down three points on an improved result last year, a steady 22% expecting them to get worse, and 64% expecting them to stay the same, up four points.
As well as the aforementioned Canning by-election article, my paywalled contributions to Crikey over the past fortnight considered the possibility of a double dissolution, moves at the state conference of Queensland’s Liberal National Party to strengthen state executive powers to reject preselection applications and disendorse troublesome candidates, and the inconsistency of the Greens’ poll results.