After three new polls this week from Newspoll, Morgan and Essential Research the BludgerTrack poll aggregate comes in at 53.6-46.4 to Labor, with Labor picking up one each on the seat projection in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania. However, the movement is partly down to a methodological tweak involving Morgan, for which bias adjustments are now based only on the pollster’s track record within a year of the poll in question, and not as before over the entirety of the term. The same change was made for ReachTEL a couple of weeks ago. Over the long term, the effect of these changes is neutral but in the short term they’re favourable to Labor, as both these poll series appear to have leaned less to Labor lately than they did earlier in the term. Newspoll and Essential also reported leadership ratings this week, which have had the effect of furthering Tony Abbott’s decline, while also stymieing Bill Shorten’s gains over the previous fortnight.
Two further snippets of recent attitudinal polling:
The Guardian relates a Lonergan Research poll had a 57-43 split in favour of taking in more refugees in response to the Syria crisis, although there was a 54-46 split in favour of Operation Sovereign Borders, namely boat tow-backs and related policies. The results suggest these were forced choice questions, in which the only alternative to jumping off the fence was to hang up on the call which Kevin Bonham has his doubts about. The poll encompassed 1109 respondents and was conducted on Tuesday night.
The Australia Institute has conducted online polling (note the self-selecting kind) on extra funding for ABC regional news services, which was found to have 59% nationally and 64% in rural and remote areas. Further polling on the same question specifically targeted the electorates of Eden-Monaro, New England, Wide Bay, Sturt, North Sydney and Wentworth.
The loudest of hosannas are in order for David Barry’s election results resource, which features in the most streamlined, intuitive and accessible fashion imaginable aggregate and seat-level results for all House of Representatives elections since federation, including preference distributions and preference flow data; facilities to explore data as bar charts, line charts and scatterplots; and interactive results maps which, on top of anything else, mark the first time all historical federal electoral boundaries have been brought together in one place.
A Liberal National Party preselection process is under way to choose a successor to Bruce Scott in the remote Queensland seat of Maranoa. The Chronicle reports that David Littleproud, a manager of a Suncorp bank branch in Warwick, and Cameron O’Neil, a Maranoa councillor who works for the Queensland Disaster Management Committee, are joint favourites, while the Warwick Daily News narrows it down to just Littleproud as favourite. Other nominees are Lachlan Douglas, southern Queensland regional manager for Rabobank; Alison Krieg, a grazier from Blackall; and Rick Gurnett, a grazier from Charleville. Maranoa mayor Robert Loughnan was named earlier, but would seem to have dropped out of contention. The preselection will be conducted by a postal ballot, with the winner to be announced on October 23.
Liberal MP Andrew Southcott last week announced he would bow out at the next election, after 19 years as member for the Adelaide seat of Boothby. Labor came close to toppling Southcott at its high-water marks of 2007 and 2010, but the 2013 landslide boosted his margin from 0.6% to 7.1%. Southcott is 47 years old, and speculation about his motives in pulling the plug have rested on two factors: his recent failure to win the Speakership, and the threat posed to his seat by the Nick Xenophon Team, notwithstanding that it is yet to announce a candidate. It is expected that the Liberals will be keen to field a female candidate. Sources quoted by The Advertiser suggest potential contenders include Carolyn Habib, a youth worker and former Marion councillor who ran unsuccessfully in the marginal seat of Elder at the March 2014 state election; and Nicolle Flint, a columnist for The Advertiser; and Caitlin Keage, a staffer to Senator Simon Birmingham. Labor has already preselected Mark Ward, a teacher at Urrbrae Agricultural High School, Mitcham councillor and narrowly unsuccessful candidate at the Davenport state by-election in January.
Mark Kenny of Fairfax reports numbers from the Tasmanian Labor Senate preselection that has seen incumbent Lisa Singh dumped from third position in favour of John Short, state secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union. Singh outpolled Short in the rank-and-file half of the vote, which respectively gave 221, 123 and 110 to the incumbents, Ann Urquhart, Helen Polley and Lisa Singh, with Short on 74 and another 14 voters scattered among various also-rans. However, Short closed the gap when the half of the vote determined by unions and conference delegates was added to the total, by 158 votes to 154.