The Sunday after Super Saturday

A good night for Bill Shorten as Labor lands a surprisingly emphatic win in Longman, and does enough to get home in Braddon.

While Labor’s by-election performances were nothing special in historical terms, it was undeniably a good night for the party, thanks largely to an unexpectedly clear win in Longman. Five campaign opinion polls had Labor slightly behind in the seat, before the election eve Newspoll found them edging to a 51-49 lead. Labor actually appears headed for a winning margin of around 4%, bolstering a fragile 0.8% margin with a swing of 3.4%. The big surprise was the near double-digit fall in the Liberal National Party primary vote, which leaves them struggling to crack 30%. This is well below the 34% attributed to them by Newspoll, to say nothing of a series of ReachTEL results that had them approaching 40%.

The LNP slump rendered redundant what everyone imagined would be the decisive factor, namely the flow of One Nation preferences. Despite this, One Nation were the other big winner in Longman, adding around 7% to their 9.4% vote from 2016. This indeed flowed a lot more strongly to the LNP than in 2016, reflecting the party’s how-to-vote card recommendation and the fact that they clearly picked up much of the LNP’s lost support. After receiving 56.5% of One Nation preferences in 2016, Labor looks to have scored only a third this time.

The Braddon result was less good for Labor, notwithstanding that they have clearly won, and that this looked in doubt throughout the campaign. The main change from the 2016 result is that independent Craig Garland scored a creditable 11.0% (although it may come down a little in late counting), chipping a few percent away from each of Labor, Liberal and the Greens. Rebekha Sharkie’s win in Mayo was of about the anticipated scale: her present lead over Georgina Downer after preferences is 8.6%, compared with her 5.0% margin in 2016. Sharkie’s primary vote performance was even more robust, up from 34.9% to around 45%. This bespeaks one poor aspect of the by-elections for Labor – after playing dead at two successive elections, its vote in Mayo has fallen all the way to 6.0%.

In the two WA seats, Josh Wilson did notably better in Fremantle than Patrick Gorman did in Perth, although neither was in the least bit troubled. Wilson gained 11.6% to gain a clear majority on the primary vote, with the Greens treading water at 17% and the Liberal Democrats garnering enough stray Liberals to land in the low teens. Despite the 42.3% Liberal vote from 2016 being up for grabs (compared with 36.9% in Fremantle), Labor only made a negligible gain on the primary vote in Perth, with the Greens also only up slightly. The rest spread among a large field of 15 candidates, with independent Paul Collins the strongest performer among claimants to the Liberal vote. Turnout was notably subdued in Perth and Fremantle, and looks likely to settle at around 70%.

If you click on the image below, you will find an accounting of the swings in Braddon and Longman and, in the former case, an projection of the final result. Since the swing on votes counted in Braddon thus far is exactly zero, it concludes Labor’s existing margin of 2.2% will be maintained. Also featured are regional breakdowns for Braddon and Longman, with the former broken into the larger towns (Burnie, Devonport and Ulverstone) and the remainder, and the latter into Bribie Island area and the remainder. This doesn’t turn up anything particularly interesting: especially in Longman, the swings were remarkably uniform. Craig Garland’s vote was a little lower in the larger towns, but there was otherwise little distinction to speak of in Braddon.

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.

813 comments on “The Sunday after Super Saturday”

  1. Greensborough Growler @ #597 Sunday, July 29th, 2018 – 6:05 pm

    ajm @ #592 Sunday, July 29th, 2018 – 6:03 pm

    Greensborough Growler @ #582 Sunday, July 29th, 2018 – 5:47 pm

    ratsak @ #557 Sunday, July 29th, 2018 – 4:51 pm

    frednk,

    Actually, you’re not what KB is talking about (unless I’m misreading you and you were a Lib voter up until 2001).

    In the context of the Greens it would be more like a ‘Doctor’s Wives’ Liberal who would never dream of voting for those Union Thugs in Labor deciding to vote Green, and then having made that leap deciding preferencing Labor above the Libs is ok (because preferences aren’t really ‘voting’)

    I’ve always seen a lot of the vote of minors like the Greens as a “parked” vote. People are sitting on the bridge, thinking of which side of the river to be on. As I always point out with 80% of preferences from the Greens going to Labor, they are really just preference collectors for Labor. With the further segmentation of the electorate and the the rise of micro parties and ON Kevin Bonham seems to be identifying a cohort that is using there preference flow to change sides.

    There is also the possibility of (say) a young finance professional brought up in a Labor household who votes Green to satisfy his/her conscience and then preferences the Libs because that is where their economic interest lies.

    Indeed! But, that does not seem to be overly the case atm.

    I have always been amazed that as many as 20% of Green voters preference the Liberals. I think a significant number of them could be in this category (along with the doctors’s wives et al).

  2. From Mark Kenny’s article:

    Labor’s campaign alchemised the government’s ideological adherence to big business tax cuts as a supposed jobs and wealth creator, turning it instead into the political equivalent of arsenic.

    The adherence is not ideological (for the most part) – it is based in corruption. This needs to be called out more and more.

  3. @ ajm

    As a finance professional let me reassure you we don’t vote as a bloc. Our voting behavior reflects the same variation as the general public.

  4. I read some of the Adelaide Hills facebook page and there was a lot of dislike and opposition to Georgina, but very little hate. Downer the father seems to expect that we not only vote for his daughter but like her as well. Does he want a lèse-majesté law for his family or the Liberal Party as a whole?

  5. The Coalition bed wetters are starting to leak to the media..

    “It’s a byelection true, but it was also real voters putting real votes in real ballot boxes,” one shocked MP said.

    He said the message from voters was clearly that the company tax cuts for the top end was “unwinnable”, and that this was particularly the case for electors in the mid-to-low incomes range.

    “I can’t see how we can win that argument or why we would even try after this,” the MP said.

    “It’s clear that voters don’t share the view that companies with the capacity to hire lawyers and accountants to minimise their tax need an extra cut, especially if they are banks.”

    Among the seats nominated by Nationals as being susceptible to a Longman-style exodus of LNP supporters is neigbouring Dickson, held by the Minister for Home Affairs, Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton.

    The conservative Mr Dutton is one of the most senior ministers in the Turnbull cabinet and is the man most often touted as a potential successor to Mr Turnbull as leader.

    However, LNP sources say his seat, secured in 2016 by a wafer-thin margin, is at least as vulnerable to a voter backlash against company tax cuts such as that which contributed to the 29.2 per cent slump in the primary vote for the LNP’s Trevor Ruthenberg.

    Another LNP source listed several Coalition-held seats in Queensland with sizeable “blue-collar” populations in which the corporate tax cut message had become a powerful negative for the government.

    These are Flynn (Ken O’Dowd, 6.5 per cent), Capricornia (Michelle Landry 0.6 per cent), Dawson (George Christensen 7.6 per cent), Petrie, (Luke Howarth 1.6 per cent) and Dickson (Mr Dutton 1.6 per cent), although some margins have changed slightly after an electoral redistribution.

    Another two Nationals-held seats from New South Wales were also nominated as under threat over the “all or nothing” policy of company tax cuts.

    These are Page (Kevin Hogan 2.3 per cent) and Cowper (Luke Hartsuyker 4.6 per cent).

    Cowper is regarded as especially at risk as Mr Hartsuyker is expected to announce his intention to retire from politics as early as today. Nationals say that could leave the longstanding Nationals stronghold open to an independent challenge from the former MP for the area, Rob Oakeshott”

    https://www.canberratimes.com.au/politics/federal/government-s-queensland-mps-say-company-tax-cuts-should-be-junked-20180729-p4zuao.html

  6. Mark Kenney states the obvious:

    Yet the Liberals’ glee at messing with Shorten’s head overlooked a critical factor: when your opponents are better organised, and their candidates more presentable, best not to give them two-and half months to doorknock the electorate.

  7. Cowper is regarded as especially at risk as Mr Hartsuyker is expected to announce his intention to retire from politics as early as today. Nationals say that could leave the longstanding Nationals stronghold open to an independent challenge from the former MP for the area, Rob Oakeshott”

    Wouldn’t it also be contested by both Nats and Libs if there is no sitting member? Further fracturing the coalition vote.

    🙂

  8. After months of intense surgical fire under a Turnbull government strategy dubbed “Kill Bill”, what’s the outcome? Still Bill.

    Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, the great persister, has once again been underestimated by the government, by many commentators, and more than a few doubting Thomases on his own side.

    Pretty good words from Mark Kenny, who sounds as if he might even have some part of a grudging regard for Bill Shorten.

    Shorten has shown over and over again that, while he may not be God’s gift to oratory, or be blessed by riches or by particular good looks, while he may be somewhat of a walking “Dad Joke”, and even may well have Questions To Answer, when the questions are asked and the delivery of the goods is required he seems to have the right stuff, for the right occasion, at the right time.

  9. grimace @ #605 Sunday, July 29th, 2018 – 6:13 pm

    @ ajm

    As a finance professional let me reassure you we don’t vote as a bloc. Our voting behavior reflects the same variation as the general public.

    No contest with that. I was just referring to a possible particular application of Kevin Bonham’s idea that voting for a minor party give people “permission” to break away from their traditional voting pattern after giving first preference to a minor party. All the previous examples had been of traditional coalition voters effectively ending up preferencing Labor but I think there may be some (probably smaller) traffic the other way

  10. @ajm

    What the L/NP have been stupid enough to do with PHON, and to a lesser extent by not running in Perth, is to break the very solid link between sense of identity and voting behavior. Once you’ve broken that link results like Longman become more likely.

  11. I wish people would stop referring to people like Dutton as “conservative”.

    I would regard him as “reactionary”. Others would go further and label him “fascist”.

    Neither of these labels is consistent with the word “conservative”. I know his like are called conservative in the USA but that doesn’t make the label any less misleading.

  12. Queensland LNP MP Andrew Laming, said the result in Longman and the other marginal seat contested on Super Saturday (Braddon) was disappointing but he said there was an upside.

    “The best thing about an otherwise sorry weekend is that we now know, thank goodness, that we are facing Bill Shorten,” Dr Laming said.

    He said the prospect of a Labor leadership change had many government MPs concerned because it would have pitted a fresh leader against Mr Turnbull in the general election.

    Dr Laming remains upbeat about the result in Longman, arguing that its history as a Coalition seat was more a factor of the star power of its previous MPs, Wyatt Roy and, before him, Mal Brough.

    What is Laming a doctor of? Stupid?

  13. ratsak @ #1644 Sunday, July 29th, 2018 – 6:31 pm

    Queensland LNP MP Andrew Laming, said the result in Longman and the other marginal seat contested on Super Saturday (Braddon) was disappointing but he said there was an upside.

    “The best thing about an otherwise sorry weekend is that we now know, thank goodness, that we are facing Bill Shorten,” Dr Laming said.

    He said the prospect of a Labor leadership change had many government MPs concerned because it would have pitted a fresh leader against Mr Turnbull in the general election.

    Dr Laming remains upbeat about the result in Longman, arguing that its history as a Coalition seat was more a factor of the star power of its previous MPs, Wyatt Roy and, before him, Mal Brough.

    What is Laming a doctor of? Stupid?

    Medical specialist. But LNP head office had to step in to save his preselection recently. He’s a RWNJ.

  14. ratsak @ #615 Sunday, July 29th, 2018 – 6:31 pm

    Queensland LNP MP Andrew Laming, said the result in Longman and the other marginal seat contested on Super Saturday (Braddon) was disappointing but he said there was an upside.

    “The best thing about an otherwise sorry weekend is that we now know, thank goodness, that we are facing Bill Shorten,” Dr Laming said.

    He said the prospect of a Labor leadership change had many government MPs concerned because it would have pitted a fresh leader against Mr Turnbull in the general election.

    Dr Laming remains upbeat about the result in Longman, arguing that its history as a Coalition seat was more a factor of the star power of its previous MPs, Wyatt Roy and, before him, Mal Brough.

    What is Laming a doctor of? Stupid?

    Just another Laming overjoyed with the option of jumping off a cliff!

  15. What is Laming a doctor of? Stupid?

    I believe he’s an ophthalmologist. I’d suggest he needs to work on his own vision not others!

  16. Seven news just now reporting huge fall out in the government from last night, and division among senior figures about what to do with the company tax cuts. Certainly sounds like they may be ditched. I don’t see that stopping Labor campaigning on them come the election given how hard the government has pushed them. Very interesting to watch this all play out, but I suspect Labor will very much regain momentum now.

    By the way, anyone know if we are expecting a Newspoll tonight?

  17. posts about dog training & political acumen have bred & trained working dogs most of my life, most important lesson is to leave what they are doing &( come behind) when called. our pm could not master that so he was unable to tell tony to (come behind, he should have said put up or shut up, my way or the highway . one of them would have fallen perhaps both & AUSTRALIA would of found its way a lot easier

  18. lizzie @ #576 Sunday, July 29th, 2018 – 5:46 pm

    Commentators have mentioned “the Labor machine” with a slight curl of the lip, as if it’s NOT FAIR that Labor supporters work with energy and enthusiasm.

    From previous comments, I understand that LNP has to buy some “volunteers”. Tough.

    They are simply jealous of an organised organisation, lashing out at something they are unable to copy.

  19. ajm: “I think there may be some (probably smaller) traffic the other way”. Maybe small these days, but the first yuuuge example of the “gateway drug” phenomenon was the DLP. People from traditional Catholic Labor-voting families voted 1 DLP and then, following the DLP’s HTV, 2 Liberal, and after a few elections some took the plunge and voted 1 Liberal.

  20. Confessions @ #1651 Sunday, July 29th, 2018 – 6:37 pm

    What is Laming a doctor of? Stupid?

    I believe he’s an ophthalmologist. I’d suggest he needs to work on his own vision not others!

    Ophthalmic surgeon. No doubt made his fortune from the previous excessive Medicare rebates for cataract operation. Classic leaner on the public purse

  21. ajm:

    Before he went into parliament he was working as a staffer in either Wooldridge’s or BBishop’s ministerial office. Can’t remember which one.

  22. Dumping the tax cuts is the stupidest thing the L/NP could do. It would allow Labor to unleash the mother of all scare campaigns. We’d see Mediscare on steroids and it would be brutally effective because it would reinforce what people already believe.

  23. Great stinging criticism of Turnbull by Jericho today in The Guardian.

    And while I am here, I have spent the last 20minutes searching for Downer rebukes of the hate directed to Julia Gillard. None found. Almost like they didn’t say anything about it.

  24. grimace @ #1659 Sunday, July 29th, 2018 – 6:49 pm

    Dumping the tax cuts is the stupidest thing the L/NP could do. It would allow Labor to unleash the mother of all scare campaigns. We’d see Mediscare on steroids and it would be brutally effective because it would reinforce what people already believe.

    Damned if they do, damned if they don’t !

    Don’t you just love it!

  25. “The adherence is not ideological (for the most part) – it is based in corruption. This needs to be called out more and more.”

    I think it is ideological for the most part. The right wing support of free markets, small Government and low taxes. The tax cuts are just the first half. The cuts come after the election if the Coalition wins. Even if they don’t, they are trying to constrain future Governments.

    It ties in with their big business mates, for whom it’s self-interest. They don’t want to pay tax or be regulated (they only like free markets if they work in their company’s or industry’s favour).

    As for the ‘C’ word, I don’t think that’s the motivation. In my opinion, that’s more likely to be found on the edges, especially where it involves another ‘C’ word (Coal).

  26. Dumping the tax cuts is the stupidest thing the L/NP could do.
    Stupidest thing they could do after continuing to try and get them through Parliament that is.

    They’ve wedged emselves good and proper. Only realistic option they have is to put it to a vote in the Senate and pray the hold outs on the cross bench continue to knock them back. Labor will still hit them with the ‘they’re not dead, they’ll be back after the election’ line and it will hurt a bit, but they can simply say the Parliament has spoken and move onto some other topic that isn’t quite so toxic.

  27. Steve777 @ #1665 Sunday, July 29th, 2018 – 6:56 pm

    “The adherence is not ideological (for the most part) – it is based in corruption. This needs to be called out more and more.”

    I think it is ideological for the most part. The right wing support of free markets, small Government and low taxes. The tax cuts are just the first half. The cuts come after the election if the Coalition wins. Even if they don’t, they are trying to constrain future Governments.

    It ties in with their big business mates, for whom it’s self-interest. They don’t want to pay tax or be regulated (they only like free markets if they work in their company’s or industry’s favour).

    As for the ‘C’ word, I don’t think that’s the motivation. In my opinion, that’s more likely to be found on the edges, especially where it involves another ‘C’ word (Coal).

    I wish I could be so sanguine about it. But I’m getting to the stage where the ideological explanation just doesn’t work for me

  28. The good news is that the Tories cannot win an election carrying their current suite of policies, there is no way the electorate will buy it.

  29. Dr Laming remains upbeat about the result in Longman, arguing that its history as a Coalition seat was more a factor of the star power of its previous MPs, Wyatt Roy and, before him, Mal Brough.

    Wyatt Roy and Mal Brough had star power???

  30. Oh, and as I said last week, the Catholic Schools have come out again and campaigned directly for Labor. That means Conski 2.0 wasn’t the Triumph for Trumble the media fluffers assured it was last year. You can bet in light of yesterday Captain Catholic et al will be making that an internal party issue. They know how much it has meant to them politically in the past to have the Catholic Schools shitting on Labor. They won’t be in any mood to be on the receiving end.

    And the Hungarian National’s efforts to jerry-rig the NEG con is going to fall apart under it’s own internal contradictions. As of about 8:00pm last night Ana and Dan had precisely zero political imperative to bend over for Trumble on this. They and the ACT will make demands that Josh can’t get through the party room. And the climate loons won’t have any reason to hold fire on Trumble who has all the appeal of syphilis to their base and in their electorates.

    Fun times ahead.

  31. “Bracing for possible internal blowback because of the poor result, senior Liberals pointed out on Sunday that the home affairs minister had been prominent in the Longman campaign. “Dutton was all over Longman, he had more involvement than any other minister,” one senior government figure noted.”

    Lol! suck on that daS Uberpotatofuhrer. 🙂

  32. @ ratsak

    Labor will still hit them with the ‘they’re not dead, they’ll be back after the election’ line and it will hurt a bit, but they can simply say the Parliament has spoken and move onto some other topic that isn’t quite so toxic.

    All Labor will need to do then is roll out the infamous clip of Abbot before the 2013 election.

    You were right in your first sentence. Well and truly wedged.

  33. Rat.Hot off the presses :

    Catholic school leaders are considering a national strategy to repeat a critical intervention in the Longman byelection campaign, flexing their muscle as they demand a better school funding deal from the Turnbull government.

    Catholic education authorities believe their move on Friday to alert 2000 parents to the funding problems helped tip the balance in the Queensland seat, setting a template that could be taken to the general election.

    https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/politics/federal/catholic-schools-consider-a-repeat-of-longman-intervention-20180729-p4zuae.html

  34. imacca @ #647 Sunday, July 29th, 2018 – 5:12 pm

    “Bracing for possible internal blowback because of the poor result, senior Liberals pointed out on Sunday that the home affairs minister had been prominent in the Longman campaign. “Dutton was all over Longman, he had more involvement than any other minister,” one senior government figure noted.”

    Lol! suck on that daS Uberpotatofuhrer. 🙂

    Sounds like Liberals are looking to blame Dutton for their Longman disaster. They can’t very well hide him away in a general election campaign if he has to fight for his own seat!

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