The Easter weekend has meant the only poll this week has been the usual weekly reading from Essential Research, which records a tie on two-party preferred for the fourth week in a row. Both major parties are steady on the primary vote – the Coalition on 43%, Labor on 38% – while the Greens are down a point to 9%. There is accordingly not much change on the surface of the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, which records a gentle move to the Coalition that yields nothing on the seat projection. However, there’s a lot going on under the BludgerTrack bonnet, as I’m now doing it in R rather than SAS/STAT, and relying a lot less on Excel to plug the gaps. Now that I’ve wrapped my head around R, I can probe a lot more deeply into the data with a lot less effort – commencing with the observation that the Coalition’s two-party vote would be around 0.5% higher if I was using a trend of respondent-allocated preference to determine the result, rather than 2013 election preferences. I’ve also done my regular quarterly BludgerTrack breakdowns, featuring state-level primary votes based on results from Morgan, Ipsos, Essential and ReachTEL, together with the breakdowns published this week by Newspoll.
• The Essential poll found 44% would approve of a double dissolution election if the Senate blocked the Australian Building and Construction Commission bill, with disapproval at only 23%. Respondents also showed good sense when asked the main reason why Prime Minister might wish to do such a thing: 25% opted for clearing independents from the Senate, 30% for getting an election in before he loses further support, and only 14% for actually getting the ABCC restored. Other questions recorded an unsurprising weight of support for income tax cuts (62% more important, 61% better for the economy) over company tax cuts (16% and 19% respectively). Results for a series of questions on which party was best to manage various aspects of economic policy were also much as expected, though slightly more favourable to the Coalition than when the questions were last posed a few weeks before the 2014 budget. A semi-regular inquiry into the attributes of the Labor and Liberal parties allows an opportunity for comparison with a poll conducted in November, shortly before the recent improvement in Labor’s fortunes. Labor’s movements are perhaps a little surprising, with extreme up and moderate down, and “looks after the interests of working people” down as well. The Liberals are down vision, leadership and clarity, and up on division.
• The Herald-Sun has a report on ReachTEL poll commissioned by the progressive Australia Institute think tank in the regional Victorian seat of Indi, which Sophie Mirabella hopes to recover for the Liberals after her defeat by independent Cathy McGowan in 2013. The news is not good for Mirabella, with McGowan recording a lead on the primary vote of 37.3% to 26.9%, while the Nationals are a distant third on 10.6%. The report says a 56-44 two-candidate preferred result from the poll allocated all Nationals preferences to Mirabella, a decision that was perhaps made in ignorance of the level of support McGowan received from Nationals voters in 2013. The primary votes as reported would more likely pan out to around 60-40.
• Andrew Burrell of The Australian reports the Liberal preselection for the new Western Australian seat of Burt is a tight tussle between Matt O’Sullivan, who runs mining magnate Andrew Forrest’s GenerationOne indigenous employment scheme, and Liz Storer, a Gosnells councillor. Storer is supported by the state branch’s increasingly assertive Christian Right, and in particular by its leading powerbroker in Perth’s southern suburbs, state upper house MP Nick Goiran.
• The Weekly Times reports that Damian Drum, state upper house member for Northern Victoria region and one-time coach of the Fremantle Dockers AFL club, will nominate for Nationals preselection in the seat of Murray, following the weekend’s retirement announcement from Liberal incumbent Sharman Stone. The front-runner for Liberal preselection looks to be Donald McGauchie, former policy adviser to the then Victorian premier, Ted Baillieu.