BludgerTrack: 53.3-46.7 to Labor

A solid move to Labor in this week’s reading of the poll aggregate, although its concentration in Victoria means it makes no difference to the seat projection.

New results this week from Newspoll, Essential Research and YouGov cause the BludgerTrack two-party reading to bounce back in favour for Labor, who did particularly well this week out of Essential. There was also a new set of Queensland numbers from Galaxy, which, together with the similar poll last week from Western Australia, means the model has fairly robust data to work off at present from each of the four largest states. Last week I warned against reading too much into a slump in the Greens’ national vote and a swing to the Coalition in Victoria, and that’s borne out on both fronts this week: the Greens are the big mover on the primary vote, such that Labor’s two-party gain comes largely in the form of preferences from them, and the pendulum now leans back the other way in Victoria, albeit that it’s still Labor’s weakest state in swing terms.

Despite the Labor surge, there’s no change on the seat projection, which is down to the fact that the Coalition did relatively well out of the Galaxy result from the crucial state of Queensland. This results in them picking up a seat there against the overall trend, cancelling out the solitary gain Labor made from its big two-party improvement in the strategic wasteland of Victoria. The Coalition are also up a seat in Western Australia and down one in New South Wales.

Newspoll and Essential both provided new sets of leadership numbers, which have yielded some slight change in what has been a remarkably static picture since the wake of last year’s election. The change is that both leaders have recorded an uptick on net approval, although Malcolm Turnbull has slightly widened his lead as preferred prime minister.

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.

716 comments on “BludgerTrack: 53.3-46.7 to Labor”

  1. Will it carry as much weight as individual messages people have taken the effort to write themselves?

    Why not do both. The point of a standardised protest form is that its liable to be actually counted. Yes I know it doesn’t have to be counted, but there is a chance that if there were enough of them it might. Or at least anecdotal reports saying “3 out of ten returned surveys had this kind of form”. Its worth a try.

    The main reason why I think its a good idea though is to give an outlet to those who want to protest the illegitimacy of the whole exercise and try to steer them away from an outright boycott.

  2. Though, as has been commented before, the only person likely to see it is the person opening the envelopes, before they have to throw it away.

    C@, see above (or below depending on how messed up things are on your browser).

  3. TPOF @ #515 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 8:07 pm

    I heard Tim Wilson briefly on the Karvelas drive program regarding the silent electoral roll. From what he was saying – and it makes sense – the AEC is not handing rolls over to anyone. Instead, the ABS will contract the AEC to conduct the mail out. So, for practical purposes the AEC will conduct the survey, but as an agent of the ABS and governed by the sort of laws that would apply if the ABS was doing it itself.

    In every way, the legal structure of this unscientific survey is inconsistent with the practical process of undertaking it. I’ll be genuinely interested to see the extent to which the High Court takes into account the patent fictionality of the legal process although it is quite possible that might not be relevant if the real issue is whether the Minister’s direction to the ABS was invalid.

    Freedom Boy trying to sabotage the farce? Surely the only way the HC would allow such a transparent fiction to go undenounced would be if they found as you say that the Minister’s direction is invalid at the start and so didn’t need to consider it.

  4. Bemused: Never pain, just amusement at how someone so certain of their own infallibility could so clearly prove themselves to be just plain stupid.

  5. cud chewer @ #554 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 8:49 pm

    Will it carry as much weight as individual messages people have taken the effort to write themselves?

    Why not do both. The point of a standardised protest form is that its liable to be actually counted. Yes I know it doesn’t have to be counted, but there is a chance that if there were enough of them it might. Or at least anecdotal reports saying “3 out of ten returned surveys had this kind of form”. Its worth a try.

    The main reason why I think its a good idea though is to give an outlet to those who want to protest the illegitimacy of the whole exercise and try to steer them away from an outright boycott.

    Good luck with the logistics of having standardised forms widely distributed and used.

    Scrutineers will observe comments and convey the message.

  6. TPOF,

    I heard Tim Wilson briefly on the Karvelas drive program regarding the silent electoral roll. From what he was saying – and it makes sense – the AEC is not handing rolls over to anyone. Instead, the ABS will contract the AEC to conduct the mail out. So, for practical purposes the AEC will conduct the survey, but as an agent of the ABS and governed by the sort of laws that would apply if the ABS was doing it itself.

    I can easily see this arrangement being used as evidence before the High Court.

  7. ratsak

    In the Guardian report on the High Court proceedings

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/aug/11/high-court-to-hear-challenge-to-marriage-equality-postal-plebiscite-in-september

    the following was noted:

    “The challenges will argue the government cannot appropriate $122m for the postal survey as either ordinary government business, or as “unforeseen circumstances”.

    Submissions to the court say the government first sought legal advice on a postal vote as long ago as March, months before the May budget, and has not passed legislation to appropriate money for the postal vote.”

    If this contingency plan had started being developed as far back as March, the ‘unforeseen’ argument is blown completely out of the water. If the High Court follows the same approach as with the Malaysian people swap and goes behind Cormann’s direction to see if the necessary circumstances in which he could exercise his powers existed, the government will be in real trouble.

    The more evidence that exists that this survey option was in the government’s back pocket for months the more likely it is the High Court will find that the Minister is improperly using the emergency funding power to avoid the Constitutional requirement that the executive not spend money without it being voted by the Parliament.

    This requirement that Parliament approve expenditure is a fundamental element of what is now the Westminster system of government, and not just an aberrant irrelevancy that accidentally found its way into the Constitution.

  8. Scrutineers? Will there be scrutineering? Most likely not. There are no candidates that could appoint such persons. If the ABS is conducting the count, how will this be done? Manually, as in elections, or using scanners??

  9. Good luck with the logistics of having standardised forms widely distributed and used.

    A simple pdf file you can print yourself, distributed by email or social media.

  10. briefly @ #563 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 9:04 pm

    Scrutineers? Will there be scrutineering? Most likely not. There are no candidates that could appoint such persons. If the ABS is conducting the count, how will this be done? Manually, as in elections, or using scanners??

    I would expect the yes and no cases would want to appoint scrutineers.
    Unless teh count is observed, it will be just another point to cast doubt on the whole process.

  11. cud chewer @ #564 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 9:05 pm

    Good luck with the logistics of having standardised forms widely distributed and used.

    A simple pdf file you can print yourself, distributed by email or social media.

    Anyone is perfectly free to do that. There could well be a cacophony of such messages as opinions of an appropriate message will vary.

  12. Today’s Mumble:

    All else being equal, I’d say that voluntary voting makes a referendum’s success more likely.

    This time there is no official government position — but there is a Labor one, and Bill Shorten should perhaps exercise caution, because if he starts getting on people’s goat they might vote to shut him up. Same-sex marriage advocates will need to be careful not to condescend.

    Most Australians are aware that Malcolm Turnbull didn’t want this, so you’d think there’d be little point punishing him. On the other hand, the fact that it is going ahead is symptomatic of weakness inside the party, which might be deserving of censure.

    Maybe the brightest ray of hope for same sex-marriage supporters lies with Abbott, whose behaviour, in his desire to return to the top job, gets more absurd and delusional by the month. This week he rushed out to a press conference, evidently seeing this as an opportunity to showcase to his colleagues his supposed ferocious campaigning skills. Remember how I destroyed the Labor government, he seems to be saying, remember my “cut through.” Don’t you miss me?

    If Abbott continues pushing himself to the front and centre of the campaign it may well impress the roughly 10 per cent of the electorate who remain his fans (and who will be voting “no” anyway) but the large bulk of the country will simply be reminded daily of why they couldn’t stand him in the first place. If this plebiscite becomes in any way about Abbott’s return to the top job, that can only help the “yes” case.

    http://insidestory.org.au/same-sex-marriages-secret-weapon/

    I note Abbott has dragged out Howard to be his wingman on SSM. Talk about a duopoly of has-beens.

  13. Further, as all the publicly available evidence shows that Morrison’s direction to the ABS is the most thinly veiled fiction, I would not be surprised if some members of the High Court went so far as to find the Ministers (Morrison and Cormann) have acted in bad faith. The more I think about this case, the more I think the survey is cactus on both administrative law grounds and overlapping Constitutional grounds.

  14. briefly:

    Good point re scrutineers. Given this postal vote isn’t being conducted by the AEC and its electoral laws is there a legislative mandate for scrutineers?

  15. Anyone is perfectly free to do that. There could well be a cacophony of such messages as opinions of an appropriate message will vary.

    Of course. This is why I would like to see the yes campaign and especially the likes of Marriage Equality being the lead actor in such a protest. Sadly it can’t be Labor.

  16. Scrutineers are appointed on behalf of candidates. There are neither candidates nor “cases”. There is no-one with any standing to appoint scrutineers.

  17. confessions

    Something to make J Edgar Tuber’s head explode?

    His aka is ‘Adolph Kipfler’ . Sadly however rather than head explosion he would be over the moon. as in “Without me look what would be happening here”.

  18. The other dark horse in all of this is whether the ABS is free to run a scientific weighted survey.

    I heard on the radio that the survey they held regarding the national anthem was a properly weighted survey.

    I’ve also seen there is nothing in the instructions given to the ABS that would prevent it from doing this. Indeed, you’d expect the professional statisticians to feel it is their job to provide accuracy. And they’ve had plenty of experienced in doing this.

    Now, there’s a bunch of questions that arise like for instance would they release the raw figures alongside the weighted result. But its not beyond possibility that we might end up seeing this.

  19. TPOF @ #559 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 9:03 pm

    The more evidence that exists that this survey option was in the government’s back pocket for months the more likely it is the High Court will find that the Minister is improperly using the emergency funding power to avoid the Constitutional requirement that the executive not spend money without it being voted by the Parliament.

    This requirement that Parliament approve expenditure is a fundamental element of what is now the Westminster system of government, and not just an aberrant irrelevancy that accidentally found its way into the Constitution.

    Absolutely. 100%. Ken Oath.

    Who gave em the legal opinion? Brandis?

    It was screaming for the HC to kill it the second it was announced, and every bit of info that drips out just confirms it.

    The primacy of the Legislature is everything. I doesn’t surprise me at all that these petite dictator cocks think they can get away with just about anything. I’m even less surprised the stupid turds stuff it up.

  20. briefly @ #573 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 9:13 pm

    Scrutineers are appointed on behalf of candidates. There are neither candidates nor “cases”. There is no-one with any standing to appoint scrutineers.

    We shall have to wait and see.
    It first has to jump the hurdle of the HC.
    But I think there would be considerable protest if it was proposed to conduct the count without scrutineers or ‘observers’.

  21. Fess

    I’ve always felt that Mumble’s judgement is highly suspect. I could be wrong, but my feeling about Shorten after the incredibly strong position taken yesterday is that the more strongly and unambiguously he pursues the ME yes vote, the more admired he will become and the more points he will pick up from the uncommitted voter.

    Many people, even Labor voters still have the image of him as a grey ex-union leader who will try and stake out as many positions as possible and stand for nothing. Taking this stand on this issue – from the front – will be perceived as real leadership, something that the public see as sorely lacking. The strong stand he has taken shows that he is not frightened to put offside those on his own side (like GG) who oppose ME. It will be perceived as real courage by the punter in the street, not as something irritable that will get the goat of the uninterested voter.

    Only a prediction, and therefore not a certainty, but this campaign should be the watershed in changing the public perception of Shorten – especially when contrasted with the other two key players in the leadership field, Turnbull and Abbott.

  22. For those interested in the HC challenge Katherine Murphy and Gabi Chan spoke to Ivan Hinton-Teoh from lobby group just.equal who are one of the parties behind the HC challenge.

    He speaks about the preparations and how they explored many options they thought the Government may pursue which is why they were able to mount the challenge so quickly.

    They also explore various scenarios of what could happen.

    An interesting listen.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/audio/2017/aug/11/the-postal-plebiscite-on-marriage-equality-will-it-happen-should-you-vote-in-it-if-it-does-australian-politics-live-podcast

  23. cud chewer @ #575 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 9:15 pm

    The other dark horse in all of this is whether the ABS is free to run a scientific weighted survey.

    I heard on the radio that the survey they held regarding the national anthem was a properly weighted survey.

    I’ve also seen there is nothing in the instructions given to the ABS that would prevent it from doing this. Indeed, you’d expect the professional statisticians to feel it is their job to provide accuracy.

    Now, there’s a bunch of questions that arise like for instance would they release the raw figures alongside the weighted result. But its not beyond possibility that we might end up seeing this.

    You can’t weight a sample that is a self selected sub-set of the whole population.

  24. ‘Fess,
    After reading that analysis by Mumble I thought to myself, ‘Has it occurred to him that people may vote based upon whether they want to legitimise Same Sex Marriage or not!?! Not whether they want to give Bill Shorten a serve!’

  25. You can weight a sample if the survey form includes demographic questions. There’s nothing stopping the ABS doing that. In fact it would be entirely in character.

  26. For the encouragement of the bludgers…I have just received a txt from one of the senior members of my wider family….normally reticent about politics:

    “I just watched Shorten’s speech again. It’s up there as one of the best speeches ever. I will support him forever after this. Do you know how to write to him?”

    This is from a mother, an Aunt and a sister in a family with LGBTIQ members. She has been very hurt, is impassioned…and blames Turnbull.

  27. TPOF

    With a non compulsory vote it becomes like the US. A matter of who can get their base out. For most people the issue is pretty 4th order stuff be they for or against. The “It will cause the end of civilisation as we know it” brigade seem to be better at getting their troops out.

  28. ‘Most Australians are aware that Malcolm Turnbull didn’t want this, so you’d think there’d be little point punishing him. On the other hand, the fact that it is going ahead is symptomatic of weakness inside the party, which might be deserving of censure.’

    Seriously, mumble? It’s all the Liberal parties fault, and Turnbull is blameless?

    Most Australians would think that something going ahead that Malcolm Turnbull didn’t want to go ahead made the whole concept of Malcolm Turnbull pretty meaningless.

    …regardless, the whole “get the ABS to be responsible for this to avoid the Constitutional problems raised by getting the AEC to run it” has Malcolm all over it.

  29. TPOF:

    Yes I did think that too, however he is obviously referencing the disengaged voters. Problem is with a voluntary vote they will just sit it out and not be bothered.

    Another reason I can’t fathom ME supporters boycotting the plebiscite!

  30. confessions
    briefly:

    What happens with postal ballots in a normal AEC election? What role to scrutineers play?

    The ballots are checked, counted and recorded separately and are subject to scrutiny.

  31. TPOF,
    As I said earlier, if Bill Shorten could change the opinion, overnight, of Justice Michael Kirby, from boycott the poll to take part, then it says a lot about the man to me.

  32. C@t:

    I do like the idea that Abbott could be the poster child for the yes vote getting up! And most esp if he drags Howard along with him, seeing as he is responsible for this mess in the first place. 😀

  33. Bemused

    “But I think there would be considerable protest if it was proposed to conduct the count without scrutineers or ‘observers’.”

    —————————————-

    The proposed process is unique in the history of the Australian Commonwealth. It is a plebiscite that is not properly a plebiscite and a survey that is not properly a survey. The government is actually making it up on the run.

    They cannot use the legal powers of the AEC because this is not being run by the AEC and the opposition of the Senate means that it is stuck with a gaggle of other laws for other purposes (some of which were quoted by Trumble yesterday in question time) to build the barest ill-fitting legal framework for the process.

    So the question of having ‘observers’ or ‘scrutineers’ is a long way off. I don’t think they have even worked out how to count the returns yet!

  34. poroti:

    Given your comment about bases, what do you make of Mumble’s assessment that in a voluntary vote scenario the yes vote has more chance of success?

  35. The survey cannot be weighted after the event. Whose “return” should be set aside? Who did not make a “return” and should have been included anyway?

  36. confessions @ #590 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 9:27 pm

    C@t:

    I do like the idea that Abbott could be the poster child for the yes vote getting up! And most esp if he drags Howard along with him, seeing as he is responsible for this mess in the first place. 😀

    They must have delusional thoughts that they will be able to make this vote akin to ‘Republic 2.0’.

    I think, yet again, Howard will exit, Stage Right, with his tail between his legs, a la 2007. : )

    Hopefully it will also humiliate into pathetic insignificance, for once and for all, Tony Abbott.

    Wouldn’t that be the sweetest victory of all? : )

  37. I think Howard is looking to stave off his unintended legacy in this debate.

    That Parliament can define marriage in any way it sees fit.

  38. briefly:

    There is obviously a lot of stuff that needs to be sorted with this plebiscite. Frankly I’m not hopeful it will be a proper process, but I do not for one second think that is a reason to boycott it. I’m all in regardless of the procedural limitations.

  39. zoomster @ #586 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 9:25 pm

    ‘Most Australians are aware that Malcolm Turnbull didn’t want this, so you’d think there’d be little point punishing him. On the other hand, the fact that it is going ahead is symptomatic of weakness inside the party, which might be deserving of censure.’

    Seriously, mumble? It’s all the Liberal parties fault, and Turnbull is blameless?

    Most Australians would think that something going ahead that Malcolm Turnbull didn’t want to go ahead made the whole concept of Malcolm Turnbull pretty meaningless.

    …regardless, the whole “get the ABS to be responsible for this to avoid the Constitutional problems raised by getting the AEC to run it” has Malcolm all over it.

    I wonder if Mumble has teenage or 20 something kids? Or anyone in his extended family who is LGBTI? Maybe knows someone in any of these groups?

    I’ll wager not if he thinks Shorten is going to harm the cause and turn people off by getting out and advocating.

    Most people in or close to people in these groups are tired of waiting and disgusted by the farce inflicted in my experience. Maybe old fogeys like Mumble don’t see it as important, but there is a large group that do. Shorten is going after these voters. Directly. He’s not hoping to catch em as Greens prefs, he wants them in his boat, registered, engaged, volunteering, campaigning. If he turns off a few fogeys to build a coalition of new Labor voters to keep him in power for a decade he’ll be happy with that deal.

  40. Oh yeah. I have depressing news. I found out today I share a birthday with…Eric Abetz! He is exactly 1 year older than me. : (

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