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. confessions
    TPOF:

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

    I can see why supporters of ME are affronted. The process is extra-Constitutional, inherently discriminatory on its own terms and a licence to defile LGBTIQ people. I can see why they would want to refuse.

    I can recall, once upon a time, being put in the position of having to negotiate to obtain that which was mine by right. I was very indignant about that. It took me a year or two to settle down.

    I completely get it.

    But as Shorten says, if we must use unjust means to fight injustice, then we will..and we will behave ourselves properly while we do it.

  2. You should see how many same sex couples have been coming out ; ) to support Labor up our way recently! They know who can form a government and actually get things done for them. And it ain’t The Greens. Plus, Penny Wong is an icon. : )

  3. poroti

    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.

    ———————————————————-

    I beg to differ on two points. First, this is a postal survey, not a turn up at the polling place type of election as in the USA or, for example, the Brexit referendum. The dynamics are totally different.

    Secondly, while I agree that the majority of voters are not particularly seized of the issue itself, I suspect the annoyance that it has dragged on for so long and taken up so much public policy oxygen is a big issue for many of these people. It’s the fault of Turnbull and the Coalition that it is still there and I think there is a big likelihood that these otherwise uninterested voters could be encouraged to vote yes both to punish him and to ensure the matter is finally and conclusively dealt with.

    If pro-ME politicians and activists can convince these people that the only way to see the issue off once and for all is for all of them to vote ‘yes’ and leave the Coalition hold-outs with no twig to clutch on to, then we could see a much higher turnout, and consequent ‘yes’ vote than anyone would anticipate. History suggests that the naysayers are in the box seat, but the last few years have seen history (and conventional wisdom) completely upended.

  4. poroti,

    It may well be a matter of “getting the base out to vote”. But..

    First of all I would love to see the ABS act professionally and do what they have long experience at. That’s asking more than a yes/no question. Asking for demographic info and then preparing a valid, properly weighted result. That’s be an outcome that Abbott and friends wasn’t expecting.

    Its also possible that even if the ABS does not conduct a proper scientific survey that a third party could commission a professional polling firm to go out and ask people..

    “have you received a survey form”
    “have your responded”
    “how did you respond”
    “age, gender etc”

    With that information and a decent sample, it would be possible to reverse engineer an accurate result.
    For instance if the ABS survey were non scientific and it came up with a “no”, such a poll could then demonstrate convincingly what the real answer should have been had the ABS survey been truly representative.

    It would be also devastating for the bastards behind this.

  5. cud chewer @ #586 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 9:23 pm

    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.

    You are missing the point I suspect.
    When yo do a sample survey to try to infer something about the entire population, weighting is an adjustment to compensate for an imperfectly representative sample.

    This ‘thing’, whatever it is, is not a sample to be used to infer something about the population. The outcome will be a simple count of valid votes cast. Weighting just does not enter into it.

  6. C@tmomma @ #594 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 9:31 pm

    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? : )

    If it doesn’t finish Trumble off as well it won’t have been the success it should be.

  7. I wouldn’t get so cock-sure of a “Yes” result for the survey, if it goes ahead.

    I’ve been speaking to people today – young and old(er) – who claim not to be homophobic, but who also claim to believe the survey is about political correctness, freedom, tradition, proxy politics…anything but about gay marriage.

    Abbott’s ploy is simple: “You might find it hard to say you’re ‘anti-gay’, but if you vote ‘No’ because you’re sick of political correctness, and sick of politicians deciding your opinions for you, then use that excuse.”

    This is how he turned the Republic Referendum to a “no” vote. And he can do it again.

    “Don’t trust politicians. Don’t vote one way because you feel bullied into voting the other way. Show Parliament who’s boss. Get rid of this tinpot issue and start concentrating on the real things wrong with Australia.”

    It’s a case study in deflection, and a licence to express your inner homophobia disguised as noble patriotism.

  8. The outcome will be a simple count of valid votes cast

    That assumes the ABS does a simple non scientific, no weighted count. They can. But there is actually nothing in the written instructions to the ABS that says that they have to do that kind of survey.

    All you can be certain of is that you can’t do a representative-sample sized survey (say 60,000). The ABS will have to send out forms to everyone (on the roll). However, they do have the freedom to the proceed scientifically.

  9. BB. Absolutely. Tony is very clever.

    And incidentally the third party polling, the kind that actually asks people if they have filled in a form and what they responded with. That will almost certainly happen.

  10. TPOF @ #594 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 9:28 pm

    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!

    So they run it by ‘Rafferty’s Rules’?
    I suggest a lot of the process will be modelled on AEC processes rather than made up on the run.

    But who knows? We are all guessing with some guesses marginally more educated than others.

  11. confessions
    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.

    My LGBTIQ family are fairly sanguine about it so far. They know we’re with them. Courage is no stranger. They know where to look to find their strength.

  12. Bushfire Bill @ #608 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 9:43 pm

    I wouldn’t get so cock-sure of a “Yes” result for the survey, if it goes ahead.

    I’ve been speaking to people today – young and old(er) – who claim not to be homophobic, but who also claim to believe the survey is about political correctness, freedom, tradition, proxy politics…anything but about gay marriage.

    Abbott’s ploy is simple: “You might find it hard to say you’re ‘anti-gay’, but if you vote ‘No’ because you’re sick of political correctness, and sick of politicians deciding your opinions for you, then use that excuse.”

    This is how he turned the Republic Referendum to a “no” vote. And he can do it again.

    “Don’t trust politicians. Don’t vote one way because you feel bullied into voting the other way. Show Parliament who’s boss. Get rid of this tinpot issue and start concentrating on the real things wrong with Australia.”

    It’s a case study in deflection, and a licence to express your inner homophobia disguised as noble patriotism.

    I’m actually more cock-sure that the HC will can the whole shebang.

    But that doesn’t mean that Shorten won’t make a whole lot of new friends, Abbott won’t reconnected with his old ones, and Trumble won’t be friendless by the time they do.

  13. Bushfire Bill

    That was always my biggest concern about the plebiscite. The good thing here is that these people who would have been forced to the ballot box in a compulsory plebiscite are less likely to make the effort if they don’t have to. And even if many of them do, the statistical validity of this whole process is already shot and can be disregarded.

    Which is why Shorten has taken the position he has. With a plebiscite, the conservative rump of the Coalition had a position where a ‘no’ vote killed ME, while they reserved the right to still vote against in Parliament in the face of a ‘yes’ vote. Now Shorten has manoeuvred the situation so that a ‘yes’ vote puts the pressure on the Government, while he can maintain his 100 day promise in the face of a ‘no’ vote, based on the moral and technical illegitimacy of this ‘survey’.

    I think, should this beast not be strangled at birth by the HC, that there is real scope for ME advocates to enthuse potential ‘yes’ voters to make the effort to return their papers with less potential to enthuse ‘no’ voters to turn their predilections into actual visits to the red letter box.

  14. cud chewer @ #612 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 9:44 pm

    The outcome will be a simple count of valid votes cast

    That assumes the ABS does a simple non scientific, no weighted count. They can. But there is actually nothing in the written instructions to the ABS that says that they have to do that kind of survey.

    All you can be certain of is that you can’t do a representative-sample sized survey (say 60,000). The ABS will have to send out forms to everyone (on the roll). However, they do have the freedom to the proceed scientifically.

    Get it out of your head that it is a sample survey.
    It is not.
    It is a count of those members of the eligible population who choose to participate. Pure and simple.
    Weighting is just not applicable.

    And as I understand it, ABS is only nominally going to conduct it, the AEC will.

    The Govt is simply using the ABS as a vehicle to receive funds and then pass them to the AEC by way of contracting the AEC to run it. This is yet another reason why I expect AEC processes will be followed where ever possible.

  15. [confessions
    Barney:

    Howard’s interest in this strikes me more as wanting to uphold his legacy on this matter than anything else.]

    But the thing is ‘fess that only Howard’s other amendment, not recognising SSM legally performed overseas had any real effect.

    If you removed Howard’s definition of marriage from the Act and reverted back to what it was before, SSM would still be illegal.

    The High Court clearly says this in their ruling against the ACT legislation.

    In not striking down the Howard Amendments they say that Parliament has the Right to define marriage.

    That is why I say the real legacy of Howard’s Amendments is that it showed the way and cleared a path for marriage equality to become a reality in the future.

    A successfully “no” vote is certainly his desire but his legacy is that a successful “yes” vote could lead to a rapid transition to ME that he unintentionally facilitated.

  16. bemused @ #581 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 9:20 pm

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

    Actually this can be done just as easily as with any other unrepresentative subset using much the same methods that pollsters use all the time.

    This is a useful process if you want to estimate how the vote would look if everyone was forced to vote and did vote and on the assumption that compulsion to vote did not change anyone’s vote. However, I don’t see it happening because it would be far too controversial to present a weighted outcome. Querying and conspiracy theories about the weighting would never end.

    By the way there are significant legal barriers to the AEC effectively running the show as you suggest in a later post. I suggest anyone interested follow Michael Maley (@MichaelMaley7) on Twitter as he has been the primary source for a lot of this stuff.

  17. BB: It’s a case study in deflection, and a licence to express your inner homophobia disguised as noble patriotism.

    Agree. It’s a standard right wing ploy. Just as xenophobes have a licence to express their inner racism as concern over “border protection”.

  18. Kevin, I’m not saying the ABS will attempt a fully scientific survey. I’m saying they can and there’s nothing that I know of that would prevent them from doing so.

    I also think that if they did a fully scientific weighted survey, they would be forced to release the “raw” numbers along with the weighted result. Such an outcome wouldn’t bode well for the antis.

    And even if the ABS doesn’t do a fully scientific survey there is a very good chance that third party polling will reveal roughly what the difference would have been between the two.

  19. It’s not clear that “returns” to the ABS should be or could be regarded as “votes”. This is not an election. It’s not a plebiscite. It’s a survey of a subset of the population – those enrolled to vote. Those surveyed will not be “casting ballots”. But only those who are enrolled will be sent a “return” and whether they or someone else returns it to the ABS will be uncheckable. There is no mechanism for ensuring that “returns” will be secret. It’s not obvious their counting can be subject to scrutiny.

    This is an electoral process to be carried out by non-electoral means. It’s very shoddy.

  20. Barney:

    You may be right. Someone said last night that the atmospherics surrounding the Howard amendment were to do with same sex couples accessing their partner superannuation and that was the motivation for changing the Act. I’ ve no doubt that Howard, Abbott, Minchin and co knew what they were doing at the time, and were trying to ward off ME here despite international movements to the contrary in other western nations. A disgrace regardless, and I’m very disappointed although not surprised that Howard would deign to show his face in this debate now.

  21. briefly, the very fact that it IS a survey and will come to be understood as one, will beg the question of why there aren’t the accompanying demographic questions. Let alone the fact that the ABS staff being professionals and having a lot of experience at generating weighted surveys (including the census itself) would be pushing for that too.

  22. Kevin Bonham @ #624 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 10:08 pm

    bemused @ #581 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 9:20 pm

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

    Actually this can be done just as easily as with any other unrepresentative subset using much the same methods that pollsters use all the time.

    This is a useful process if you want to estimate how the vote would look if everyone was forced to vote and did vote and on the assumption that compulsion to vote did not change anyone’s vote. However, I don’t see it happening because it would be far too controversial to present a weighted outcome. Querying and conspiracy theories about the weighting would never end.

    By the way there are significant legal barriers to the AEC effectively running the show as you suggest in a later post. I suggest anyone interested follow Michael Maley (@MichaelMaley7) on Twitter as he has been the primary source for a lot of this stuff.

    But what would be the point other than academic interest?

    Surely such weighting would not be used to modify the result of what is intended to be a plebiscite of sorts?

    What I said about the AEC running it is what I have read, seen on TV or heard on radio. The ABS would be nominally running it and simply engage the AEC to do the actual work. The rationale being that the Govt can provide additional funding to the ABS, but not directly to the AEC. And yes, I can see a court might get stroppy about that.

  23. confessions Howard changing the Marriage Act had a lot to do with denying gay people who had married overseas recognition for immigration reasons. I talked to a same-sex immigration consultant about this at the time.

  24. Kevin Bonham
    bemused @ #581 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 9:20 pm

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

    Actually this can be done just as easily as with any other unrepresentative subset using much the same methods that pollsters use all the time.

    It could be done, but it may require individuals to be identified, at least in principle; illustrating that returns are not “votes” and the process is an electoral hoax.

  25. I’d imagine that the AEC is being subcontracted to properly address the forms. But the ABS would be in control of what goes on the forms..

    And as I said, even if the ABS did do a proper survey with demographic questions on the form it would almost certainly be required to issue the “raw” count alongside the weighted result.

    And if the ABS doesn’t do a scientific survey its more likely than not that someone else will do a survey that asks people how they actually voted on the ABS survey and then properly weights the result. Meaning in the public domain you’d end up with two figures in competition.

    The actual count of yes/no and the result as Kevin says. What the count would have been had everyone filled in the form.

    All this will do is further de-legitimise the count, especially if it says “no”.

    And as Bill says, no matter what the result Labor will introduce its ME bill in due course. Having more information about the real result will help Labor in doing this.

  26. cud chewer @ #629 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 10:15 pm

    briefly, the very fact that it IS a survey and will come to be understood as one, will beg the question of why there aren’t the accompanying demographic questions. Let alone the fact that the ABS staff being professionals and having a lot of experience at generating weighted surveys (including the census itself) would be pushing for that too.

    As the entire voting population is entitled to participate, it is hardly a survey in the normal sense.

    My guess is that most people see it as a plebiscite of sorts and in no way a survey or opinion poll based on a sample. They will want the ballot papers counted as if it were a referendum or plebiscite.

  27. The ABS cant exercise powers it does not have…and the AEC cannot spend money is does not have. It is no solution to give money to the ABS to serve as a proxy for the AEC. The AEC just cannot delegate its powers and the ABS cannot exercise them as if it were the AEC. The Statistician is not the Electoral Commissioner.

  28. Player One

    cud chewer @ #610 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 9:46 pm

    BB. Absolutely. Tony is very clever.

    I don’t think he’s clever … but if there’s one thing he excels at, its ‘NO!’

    A ‘yes’ outcome is by no means a foregone conclusion.
    —————————————–

    Indeed. In fact, moment by moment I am becoming more convinced that the High Court will kill it stone dead. If it doesn’t, though, I think it is more likely than not that there will be a ‘yes’ outcome for the reasons I gave in my response to Bushfire Bill. But Abbott is the master of ‘no’ and if anyone is capable of finding negative nastiness that resonates with the ugliest demons of our nation, it is Abbott.

  29. briefly @ #632 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 10:18 pm

    Kevin Bonham
    bemused @ #581 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 9:20 pm

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

    Actually this can be done just as easily as with any other unrepresentative subset using much the same methods that pollsters use all the time.

    It could be done, but it may require individuals to be identified, at least in principle; illustrating that returns are not “votes” and the process is an electoral hoax.

    oh you can engage in any hypothetical manipulations you like. But they will be essentially meaningless.

  30. As the entire voting population is entitled to participate, it is hardly a survey in the normal sense.

    Its still a survey, just a survey with a ridiculously large sample. Whether its scientific or not is another matter.

  31. bemused @ #639 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 10:26 pm

    briefly @ #632 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 10:18 pm

    Kevin Bonham
    bemused @ #581 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 9:20 pm

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

    Actually this can be done just as easily as with any other unrepresentative subset using much the same methods that pollsters use all the time.

    It could be done, but it may require individuals to be identified, at least in principle; illustrating that returns are not “votes” and the process is an electoral hoax.

    oh you can engage in any hypothetical manipulations you like. But they will be essentially meaningless.

  32. I think that its the intention that people see it as a “vote”. However the media I believe will increasingly refer to it correctly as a survey because that’s what the ABS calls it.

  33. My guess is that most people see it as a plebiscite of sorts and in no way a survey or opinion poll based on a sample. They will want the ballot papers counted as if it were a referendum or plebiscite.

    Yes. The problem is the ABS is not authorised to carry out plebiscites. It’s powers are statistical, not electoral.

  34. Just as Abbott can distill a simple message, so should the ‘Yes’ campaign.

    Such as – “Vote Yes if you want to get rid of Tony Abbott”.

  35. briefly

    The ABS cant exercise powers it does not have…and the AEC cannot spend money is does not have. It is no solution to give money to the ABS to serve as a proxy for the AEC. The AEC just cannot delegate its powers and the ABS cannot exercise them as if it were the AEC. The Statistician is not the Electoral Commissioner.
    —————————————–

    Yes, that’s sort of what I was trying to say to Bemused. The ABS can contract the AEC to get the benefit of its knowledge, skills and experience in conducting ballots, but not its legislative powers and the practices and procedures that can only apply within the AEC’s legislative envelope.

    The ABS’s powers, on the other hand, are ill-suited to this task, even when various Criminal Code anti-fraud measures are bolted on.

  36. [cud chewer
    The outcome will be a simple count of valid votes cast

    That assumes the ABS does a simple non scientific, no weighted count. They can. But there is actually nothing in the written instructions to the ABS that says that they have to do that kind of survey.

    All you can be certain of is that you can’t do a representative-sample sized survey (say 60,000). The ABS will have to send out forms to everyone (on the roll). However, they do have the freedom to the proceed scientifically.]

    Michael Maley who Kevin mentions below, commented on Kevin’s last article that Corman’s directive didn’t specify how the survey should be conducted and as such he thought the ABS could conduct a much more scientifically rigorous survey if they chose to.

  37. briefly @ #636 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 10:24 pm

    The ABS cant exercise powers it does not have…and the AEC cannot spend money is does not have. It is no solution to give money to the ABS to serve as a proxy for the AEC. The AEC just cannot delegate its powers and the ABS cannot exercise them as if it were the AEC. The Statistician is not the Electoral Commissioner.

    So?
    What I read /heard/saw was that the ABS would get the funds because the Govt has a mechanism to do so without legislation and it would then contract the AEC to do the work, using the funds received from the Govt to pay the AEC.

  38. cud chewer
    briefly its possible to have a fully scientific survey including demographic questions and not compromise privacy.

    sure…but could it be done with these returns, which have to be sent uniquely to each eligible person at their recorded address…?

  39. oh you can engage in any hypothetical manipulations you like. But they will be essentially meaningless.

    ———————————————–

    This is a psephological site and KB is one of the few bona fide psephologists who actually post here. If he can’t engage here in ‘hypothetical manipulations’ in regard to polling and the collection of statistics, who can?

  40. I’ve been speaking to people today – young and old(er) – who claim not to be homophobic, but who also claim to believe the survey is about political correctness, freedom, tradition, proxy politics…anything but about gay marriage.

    Funny, the people I’ve spoken to about it aren’t that naive, gullible or easily led astray by Tony Abbott’s nonsense.

  41. cud chewer @ #642 Friday, August 11th, 2017 – 10:27 pm

    I think that its the intention that people see it as a “vote”. However the media I believe will increasingly refer to it correctly as a survey because that’s what the ABS calls it.

    I don’t know what the rationale is for the ABS calling it a survey. Could it be because surveys are what ABS is empowered to conduct and it is just a survey in name only?

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