The Daily Telegraph today reports a ReachTEL poll for The Australia Institute showing a lineball result in Wentworth, for which an October 6 by-election is anticipated after Malcolm Turnbull resigns on Friday. However, the poll presented respondents with a speculative list of candidates including two unconfirmed independents: Kerryn Phelps, Sydney councillor and former Australian Medical Association president; and Alex Greenwich, independent member for Sydney and a protege of his predecessor, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore. Both were credited with 11% of the primary vote, with Liberal on 39% (down from 62.3% at the election), Labor on 29% (up from 17.7%) and the Greens on 9% (down from 14.9%). The poll was conducted on Monday from a sample of 886. UPDATE: This is not exactly correct. See bottom of post for further elaboration.
I have just published a preliminary Wentworth by-election guide, which will be fleshed out as details on the candidates are available. As noted here yesterday, news reports suggest the Liberal preselection frontrunner is Dave Sharma, former ambassador to Israel. However, he faces some high-profile opponents, with the field also including Christine Foster, Sydney councillor and sister of Tony Abbott; Andrew Bragg, a director at the Business Council of Australia and former leader of the Yes same-sex marriage survey campaign; Katherine O’Regan, a Woollahra councillor; and Peter King, tha barrister who held the seat from 2001 until Turnbull defeated him for preselection in 2004. Labor has preselected Tim Murray, managing partner of investment research firm J Capital, who is fluent in Mandarin and has won praise from Alex Turnbull, son of the former Prime Minister.
UPDATE: It turns out the Daily Telegraph was jumbling together results from separate poll questions, one specifying Kerryn Phelps and Alex Greenwich as response options, the other being a party-based options with the usual subjects. It’s from the latter that the 50-50 result derives, from primary votes of Liberal 39.6%, Labor 29.9%, Greens 15.2%, One Nation 2.3% and others 6.8%, after exclusion of the 6.3% undecided. The other set of primary vote figures are Liberal 34.6%, Labor 20.3%, Kerryn Phelps 11.8%, Alex Greenwich 11.2%, Greens 8.9%, others 11.3%. Also featured are a series of questions on climate policy, some of which are a bit dubious, but it does find 66.6% favouring an emissions target in the National Energy Guarantee, with 23.5% opposed; 50.9% saying Scott Morrison’s lump of coal routine makes them less likely to vote Liberal, compared with 21.7% for more likely; and 68.6% saying Morrison will do less to tackle climate change than Malcolm Turnbull, compared with 10.3% for more.