Election minus three-and-a-half weeks

It’s been a slow start to the federal election campaign so far as polling is concerned, but there are a few dribs and drabs around the place if you look hard enough.

First, I invite you to bask in the eye-wateringly detailed feast of psephological goodness that is my Senate election guide, subject of the post immediately below this one. Second, I understand we may yet see results from an Essential Research poll conducted over the weekend, but apparently not quite yet. Third, we reach an important milestone in the campaign today with the declaration of candidates and ballot papers draws, nominations having closed yesterday.

With all that out of the way, I offer the following assembly of polling snippets and horse race prognostication, in keeping with my performance indicator of having at least one new post up on every day of the campaign, except maybe on Saturdays.

• The unpredictable Roy Morgan has released the results of its weekend face-to-face polling – probably a more fraught exercise than usual over Easter – which finds Labor with a two-party lead of 51-49, from primary votes of Coalition 39%, Labor 35.5%, Greens 9.5%, One Nation 4.5% and, contrary to its strong showing in the marginal seat Newspolls published yesterday, United Australia Party 2.0%. The published release compares with those of “the prior surveying period of April 6/7 & 13/14, 2019”, though the last results it actually published covered only the first half of that period. Either way, the result in the earlier poll was 52.5-47.5 to Labor. The sample of this latest poll was a rather modest 707.

• Roy Morgan also appears to be doing separate polling for the Australian Futures Project which I must find out more about, since all I can tell you is that News Corp’s Annika Smedhurst has published results from it on two successive Sundays. I didn’t bother with its findings last week because they related only to issue salience and didn’t show up anything you couldn’t have guessed, and the most recent results have only just come to my attention. These do actually cover voting intention, and record a 52-48 lead to Labor on two-party preferred. Beyond that though, there are no primary votes and nothing on sample size or survey methodology, with other details in the report relating only to the undecided rate. I can’t find the report online, but Smedhurst has posted an image of it on Twitter.

• Polling conducted by the Liberals for Telereach in the the north-western Tasmanian seat of Braddon, and published by local newspaper the Burnie Advocate, finds Scott Morrison with a 44% approval rating and 43% disapproval rating in the electorate, whereas Bill Shorten has 31% approval and 59% disapproval. Though perhaps the past tense would be more appropriate – the poll was conducted on April 3, from a sample of 626. Some may ask why the Liberals would provide data on leadership ratings but not voting intention. I do not know the answer.

• Journalists continue to receive wildly different impressions of the situation in Victoria depending on whom they talk to. The Financial Review yesterday reported Scott Morrison was starting to find favour among “blue-collar and outer-suburban voters”, turning around what was a “horrendous” situation two months ago, with Labor consistently around 7% ahead statewide. They still expect to lose Chisholm and Dunkley, but believe they may hold not just La Trobe but also Corangamite, albeit that skepticism was expressed about the 54-46 result in the Geelong Advertiser’s ReachTEL poll. The obverse of this would seem to be that things remain radically bad for the Liberals nearer the city, to the extent that they are only “narrowly ahead” in Kooyong and Higgins.

• On the ABC’s Insiders on Sunday, Patricia Karvelas said she had spoken to Nationals who believed George Christensen was “gone” in Dawson, while fellow panellist Andrew Probyn said both sides did not know what to expect given the wild card of preferences from One Nation, who did not field a candidate in 2016 and are now expected to poll up to 20%.

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.

855 comments on “Election minus three-and-a-half weeks”

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  1. Thanks to William for running this fine resource.

    And to the assortment of weird and unusual characters who make this their home.

    This continues to look like a tightish election with Labor the favourites. There’s always so much noise in a campaign and then in hindsight it always looks so obvious.

  2. This needs a bigger protest than one Adani mine. What were they thinking?

    Tim Buckley

    So @billshortenmp & @Mark_Butler_MP announce that the tax haven based multinational gas cartel running gas will get a new $1.5bn capital subsidy to build pipelines to export even more LNG. This subsidy goes to a royalty evading industry that also pays next to no corporate tax!

  3. “All Israelis were deeply moved when President Trump made his historic decision to recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” Netanyahu said in a video released by his office Tuesday.

    “Therefore, after the Passover holiday I intend to bring to the government a resolution calling for a new community on the Golan Heights, named after President Donald J. Trump.”


  4. Here’s the rationale for the gas pipelines. Manufacturing jobs on the east coast.

    Industrial energy users have seized on Labor’s pledge to channel $1.5 billion of funding towards pipelines to unlock gas resources in the Northern Territory and inland Queensland as a potential lifeline that could save thousands of jobs among manufacturers on the east coast.

    A Bill Shorten-led Labor government would repurpose the Coalition government’s $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) for projects including gas projects that would have national economic significance.

    Some funding would help fast-track development of gas resources lying in the Galilee and Bowen Basins in Queensland, and in the Beetaloo Basin in the NT.

    Gas could flow from the Galilee Basin in just two to three years, said Antoon Boey, manager of corporate development at Jemena, which opened an $800 million gas pipeline from the NT to Queensland early this year and is considering a major expansion.

    The Energy Users’ Association of Australia, a group that includes BlueScope and Incitec Pivot and which last week called for the next federal government to prioritise sorting the east coast gas crisis, said ideas that accelerate gas into the east coast are “a great step forward”.

    “Bringing on new supplies of gas along with supporting new participants will help increase competition and lower costs which are some of the steps we need to take to resolve the current east coast gas crisis,” said EUAA chief executive officer Andrew Richards.


  5. Wow, I guess that’s why NT Labor reversed the decision to ban gas extraction. This project by federal Labor and the NT must have been under development for at least a year!

  6. Also today is the Prince Edward Island election where a meteoric rise in the Green Party vote and collapse of the governing Liberals vote may see the Progressive Conservatives form minority or majority government with 35% of the vote (with slightly less votes for each of the Greens and Liberals respectively).

    Also due on the same day is the result of the MMP referendum, with one poll anticipating a slight majority voting against moving to MMP. Interestingly the legislation setting up the referendum required the No vote option to be placed above the Yes vote option on the ballot paper. A simple way to avoid that would have been to just ask the voters to write yes or no in the allotted space.

  7. Yes Lizzie what the hell are Labor thinking

    How many millions have Lab and Lib received in donations from fossil fuel companies?

    Next school students strike for climate action May 3rd

    Wonder who will break it to them that the major parties don’t give a shit about them or their concerns for livable plant

  8. We have had P1 banging on about gas instead of renewables forever. He is full of shit; renewables are cheaper and we can design an electrical network that does not require gas.

    There is however a reason why P1 has been banging on thus; gas produces the same amount of electricity for about 1/2 the CO2 emmissions. The reason why if you asked me 10 years ago I would have agreed with P1.

    Getting Gas into the system reduces CO2 emissions because it replaces coal in situations where there are only two options.

    As for the tax haven bit; yes what we have done is bloody crazy.

  9. The SmearStralian is now praising Clive Palmer as Scotty’s saviour. Any port in a storm.

    But the memo of ‘be nice to Clive’ hasn’t filtered out West yet..

    “Clive Palmer has been described as an “unsavoury character” by a Liberal MP as the party looks to secure a preference deal with the billionaire’s party in a bid to save key WA seats.

    Liberal member for O’Connor Rick Wilson last night told The West Australian that Mr Palmer was not a good look for the party.

    But he said the Greens were a far greater threat and so Mr Palmer’s UAP should be placed above them on any how to vote cards.

    “While Mr Palmer may be an unsavoury character, his anti-China rhetoric is much less of a threat than the Greens are in my electorate of O’Connor,” Mr Wilson said. “He is not the most desirable character.”


  10. Morning all

    Clive Palmer has yet to pay millions of dollars in work entitlements. How any reasonable person would give him a vote is beyond me

  11. I’ll agree this is a miracle, but kudos to the medics who kept her muscles from deteriorating.

    Dr Ahmad Ryll, a neurology specialist who treated Ms Abdulla, said the mother-of-one was fed through a tube and underwent regular physical therapy during the coma, to keep her muscles from deteriorating.


  12. Just flicked on tv and had Alan Jones and one other as a guest…….he is very offended by a getup ad that ridicules Tony Abbott, then goes on to say everyone should have free speech ie g ablett

    I need to make sure i do not have that channel on

  13. Morning all, as we wake up again in this wide, brown, corrupt land. I confess some personal learning distracted me from the news this morning. It seems Casa Socrates will soon (May to July?) receive NBN, after a mere ten years of waiting. We already have ADSL, and our street has the good fortune to be upgraded to HFC (Hybrid Fibre Coaxial).

    WTF? We have already paid for ADSL2+. Will HFC be any better on a reliable basis? I sometimes work from home and this will be hopeless. It seems we will be forced to pay a premium price for a mediocre product, and we are effectively subsidising everyone else. Curse you Truffles! Curse you ScumMo! I have run road pothole repair programs that were better managed tha; this national disgrace.

  14. An observation I found interesting.
    At the Hawks Geelong game on Monday, supporters from both teams booed Gary Ablett junior everytime he went near the ball. Turns out people not impressed that Ablett liked Israel Folau homophobic tweets.
    This is quite a profound social change.
    A champion football player being called out by his own supporters.
    Of course, Ablett wormed his way out of it by saying something about admiring people for strong religious beliefs.
    Times have definitely changed. Thank goodness for that

  15. Meanwhile Michael West tweeted last night that one beneficiary of Watergate was a Baron who is related to Royal family.
    I think the Oz are now reporting on it

  16. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Wow! John Hewson does not hold back on lambasting conservative governments’ and commentators’ cheap political shots that are working against the national interest.
    Nicole Hasham explains how we got to where we are with MDB water buybacks.
    Cabinet ministers could be put on the stand in a major judicial inquiry on water buy backs to be proposed by Bill Shorten today. Labor has provocatively accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of leading a “cover up”.
    Michelle Grattan says Joyce could be facing waves at a judicial inquiry after the election.
    According to the AFR the Coalition has failed to shut down further controversy over water buybacks by referring the matter to the federal Auditor-General.
    A puzzled Michael Koziol tries o get inside Joyce’s head over the Karvelas interview.
    Paula Matthewson says that Barnaby Joyce could be the final nail in Scott Morrison’s coffin.
    Proving that some children (and politicians) should be seen and not heard, Barnaby Joyce has weighed into a Twitter battle, and walked away without any clothes. Or dignity.
    Gary Maddox looks at the “shit fight” going on in Gilmore.
    Business and economics professor Jon Mangan writes that house prices and demographics make death duties an idea whose time has come.
    Discontent with Nationals in regional areas could spell trouble for Coalition at the federal election.
    Who is behind Advance Australia and Captain GetUp?
    The AFR says that small business groups, economists and banks warned Prime Minister Scott Morrison that without serious industrial relations reform, lower power prices and enhanced access to finance, his “ambitious” target to create 250,000 small businesses over the next five years is unlikely to succeed.
    Dana McCauley writes that business leaders are urging Shorten to state his position on the Adani coal mine, amid conflicting statements by Labor candidates in marginal seats in Queensland and Melbourne.
    And she reports that Shorten has promised to give Australia’s 2.6 million casual workers an easier pathway to full time employment if he is elected prime minister. Some employers are wary of this.
    Also Labor’s policy on visa workers id concerning employers. I wonder how this restaurant owner who is whingeing about labour availability has been developing young staff.
    Ross Gittins put it to us that our present badly organised system is driven mainly by doctors’ – particularly specialists’ – desire to protect and increase their incomes, whichever side of politics is in office, federal or state, spends most of its time between elections trying to hold back the growth in health spending.
    Victoria’s shadow water minister has called for water restrictions to be reintroduced in Melbourne, arguing urban residents are being shielded from the effects of drought as the city experiences its driest start to the year on record.
    Some economists expect inflation figures to be low enough to encourage an interest rate cut but there will be some surprise price spikes.
    Chris Uhlmann says that this election is a contest, not a coronation.
    A takeover involving the two largest listed auto dealerships has put the spotlight on the damaging fallout from the Hayne inquiry as Australia is in the midst of the worst downturn in new car sales since the global financial crisis.
    John Collett report that changes to come into effect from the middle of the year will lead to an estimated three million low-balance superannuation accounts being consolidated, saving members up to $2.6 billion each year in fees and life insurance premiums.
    Doug Dingwall reports that the ACT has lost one in 10 of its federal public service jobs since the Coalition came to power, as regional cities in Victoria and NSW amassed bureaucrats.
    Environmental groups are calling for a change in the federal environment department’s leadership after Adani concerns.
    Elizabeth Knight explains how nervous banks might be shamed into backing a fund they don’t like.
    Jacinda Ardern’s office said New Zealand “has not yet seen any intelligence upon which such an assessment might be based” as the Sri Lankan extremist group called the bombers its “fighters”.
    Adele Ferguson explains why department stores or on the nose.
    Stephen Bartholomeusz goes into the details of what effect Trump’s intervention over Iran’s oil supply is doing to prices.
    Nicholas Gordon writes that the system is so stacked against pedestrians in Sydney that a $75 fine won’t stop them breaking the law.
    Sally Whyte reports that Home Affairs has paid an employee for 10 days of higher duties on the same day a case was lodged in the Federal Court on her behalf by the Community and Public Sector Union.
    Isabelle lane writes that a third of all food produced globally goes uneaten, but experts say supermarkets and shoppers can play a major role in ending the waste.
    The number of NSW public school students who do not identify with a religion surged by 13 per cent in the three years to 2018, making non-believers the fastest-growing group, ahead of Islam and Hinduism. This is fuelling a push to scrap scripture lessons.
    The head of an armed group stopping migrants who cross the US-Mexico border illegally allegedly boasted of training volunteers to kill former president Barack Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, an FBI agent says. That’s America!
    Theresa May has been criticised for allowing Donald Trump to make a state visit in June for D-day commemorations, with MPs orchestrating a campaign to stop the US president addressing parliament.
    Ant the UK Guardian says that Trump is no respecter of democracy or Britain. He should be held at a distance, not given dinner with the Queen.
    On the basis of this story Nicola Gobbo has eared a nomination for “Arsehole of the Week”.

    Cartoon Corner

    Yesterday it was an ON water matter and today David Rowe gives us an IN water matter.
    Oh dear! An Alan Moir beauty.
    Mark David has three shots at Joyce today.
    Cathy Wilcox serves it up to Barnaby.
    Fiona Katauskas with some political miracles.
    Peter Broelman follows the MDB money.
    Even Zanetti’s having a shot at Joyce.
    Michael Leunig and betting on elections.
    Andrew Dyson seems to think he knows why health costs are rising.
    Jim Morin and the other inferno.
    Sean Leahy and music festivals.
    Jon Kudelka with a Palmer billboard.

    From the US


  17. Vic,
    It’s a shame that Gary Ablett Jr liked that Insta post by Israel Folau but I at least have a degree of sympathy (nowhere near 100%, to be sure!) for him because I just think about what he must have lived through growing up with his father and it seems as though he has found solace and a safe harbour in his religion.

    I don’t condone what he did by liking the post by Folau, I just condemn him less.

  18. Michael West
    good to see the Oz on board
    Quote Tweet

    Anthony Klan
    · 10h
    We reveal 4 directors of the Cayman Islands company at the heart of the scandal. Plus that an “A.Taylor” was director there until FY13 at the very least.

  19. C@t

    I don’t. Gary Ablett is self absorbed. If he took the time to think about it, he wouldn’t have done it. Unless he is okay with people expressing their displeasure at his stupidity and selfishness

  20. The Voter Choice Project poll mentioned by William was in the Canberra Times last night.

    They said Labor 52.8 leading Coalition 47.2

    APRIL 23 2019 – 6:27PM
    Labor leading coalition, research shows

    New research shows Labor remains on track to win the federal election as the coalition tries to defuse concerns about a controversial $80 million water buyback.

    The latest Voter Choice Project results published on Tuesday have Labor leading the coalition 52.8 to 47.2 per cent in two-party terms.

    The coalition’s primary vote stood at 35.3 per cent, three points ahead of Labor, with the Greens polling 10.6 per cent and independents 7.8 per cent.

    Notably, 54 per cent of the sample rated the government as having done a very bad or bad job, and 58 per cent said the country was on the wrong track.


  21. It is interesting to read the Chris Ulmann story re “ contest not coronation”.

    The whole national MSM focus is on what Shorten and Morrison are doing and saying each day and nothing else. All noise and coloured lights.

    In reality labor is running at least two other national campaigns. The first is the one Tanya Plibersek is engaging across the country and then there is the “ Bill Bus “ touring the country with Kristina Keneally front and centre.

    Meanwhile, on the liberal side Morrison is on his own and this was made very clear when Howard had to be dragged out yesterday in Reid.

    Forget about the duck floating on the pond and concentrate on all the paddling going on below the water.

  22. If Palmer gets back in, it says nothing for voters’ ability to discriminate.

    Paul Bongiorno
    23m23 minutes ago

    Clive Palmer’s old party voted to scrap the “carbon tax” netted him millions in savings – doing nothing on climate. It didn’t save the jobs of the Townsville refinery workers or taxpayers who stepped in to help them.

  23. Victoria @ #26 Wednesday, April 24th, 2019 – 7:43 am


    I don’t. Gary Ablett is self absorbed. If he took the time to think about it, he wouldn’t have done it. Unless he is okay with people expressing their displeasure at his stupidity and selfishness

    He should be. That’s their Free Speech. I mean, my best and oldest friend IS a Gay Man and I grew up spending a lot of my teenage years going to gay discos in Oxford Street, Paddington in Sydney, when your gay male friend had to know the doorman to get you to be admitted as a woman. Plus I used to be picked up after school by a couple of Lesbian truck drivers, who drove nights, and minded until my parents got home from work. So I absolutely abhor Homophobia. I was just trying to acknowledge that I understood why Gary Ablett Jr likely found solace in religion.

    It doesn’t make what he did right. Absolutely.

  24. Re Israel Folau’s tweet. That’s more or less what I was taught in Catholic School, what was taught from pulpits, Sunday schools and scripture classes in mainstream churches when I was young, what is taught by Evangelical churches now and so presumably what the Prime Minister believes, although lately he’s been pretending to be inclusive.

    How many people actually believe it is another thing, I suspect very few otherwise lots of Christian adherents would be paralysed by fear. Be that as it may, Folau seems to have got into a lot of trouble for expressing his religious beliefs. I am not comfortable with that.

  25. On the Ablet-Folau issue:

    1. Someone described Folua’s conviction about the fate of homosexuals as his being as certain of their fate as the hero that pushes a pedestrian out of the way of an out of control truck barrelling towards that pedestrian.
    2. If religion and it’s beliefs give the holder comfort, then that’s good I suppose.
    3. If those beliefs(strong as they are or as comforting as they are) cause harm, possibly fatal harm to vulnerable people, then the ‘believers’ should keep schtum.

  26. Ven I live in a small town in Groom which would have been badly affected by one of the inland railway options as the line would have gone right through the middle of our town. Currently there are only a few freight trains that go through but there would have been a great many more if this option had been chosen.

    There was a lot of talk about this rail line some time ago but even then very little real information about what was going on was available to the ordinary person. Nobody could really find out what the state of play was and who wanted what and what the problems were. And there has been zero or zilch talk for some time now. Nothing in the local newsletter.

    Everyone knows that the Wagners use their influence to get what they want but it is seen as a good thing mostly and rich people and movers and shakers like the Wagners apparently have the right to get what they want.

    Farmers are divided; there are new people moving here including young farmers and lifestyle people who are trying to make these old towns livable but the old guard still hold sway.

    There was clear messaging from the rusted on Labor haters on Monday with the local shop prominently displaying the Courier Mail with the headline about the Hippies coming on the counter leaving no space for purchases.

    And a few of the locals – rather large people – taking up the tables outside the shop so customers had to walk on the road to get into the shop. All local got a hello as they walked past but the tourists and the known lefties were just stared at.

    I can’t talk to these people about anything because they yell at me that Labor hates farmers and small business. The local member John McVeigh is conflicted and doesn’t have any Liberal branding on his website but is targeting Labor for their retiree tax and baracking for the Coalition plan for pumped hydro .

  27. Socrates:

    We have FTTN on the NBN and it is nowhere near as good as what we had with ADSL2+. Although at least the monthly cost has decreased.

    I hope for your sake HFC is better.

  28. Facepalm:

    “The Guardian can confirm reports that former vice president Joe Biden will launch his 2020 campaign this week.

    Sources close to Biden said he will make his announcement in a video to be released on Thursday and plans to hold an event in Pittsburgh on Monday.

    Biden was initially expected to kick off his campaign on Wednesday before delaying his launch. Early polling shows Biden in the top tier of the Democratic field but in close competition with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for frontrunner status.”

  29. The RWNJ sector seem somewhat conflicted over Palmer.

    On one hand, Murdoch’s Oz has been hurling insults at Palmer over a long period. Yesterday one of the shock jocks did the same.

    Now they see polling where he might have an influence on voting in marginal electorates. Surprise, surprise his preferences might help the Coalition. He might be a good guy after all!

  30. If Labor can only pick up Dunkley (already notionally Labor) and Chisholm in Victoria while losing Lindsay, Herbert, Braddon and Bass, prospects don’t look good for overall electoral success nationwide. They’ll probably only break even, at best, in NSW and Queensland, and, they might pick up one or two in WA while the Coalition regain Indi and Wentworth.

    Shorten should have resigned two years ago to give someone else a chance. Real electoral poison.

  31. Is it possible to have an IQ below zero ? FMD.
    Kerrie Yaxley

    Pauline Hanson on @TheTodayShow, denying human involvement in climate change.

    “what happened to the dinosaurs? How did they die off? Humans didn’t create it.” 2/2

    5:37 AM – Apr 23, 2019
    Twitter Ads info and privacy
    154 people are talking about this

  32. Folau has not got in trouble for expressing his religious beliefs. In the last year something like 40 of his 50 instagram posts have been about his religious beliefs. Only one of them got him into strife.

  33. Someone should explain to Pauline Hanson that if you put heat into something, it cooks it. Like fish and chips.

    Or like the planet, when you put too much CO2 into the atmosphere.

  34. Good to see Michael West, some media, Greens and CA are keeping up the pressure on Barny and Taylor re Watergate. As it seems the faux opposition are too gutless and pathetic to pursue it.

  35. poroti @ #42 Wednesday, April 24th, 2019 – 6:11 am

    Is it possible to have an IQ below zero ? FMD.
    Kerrie Yaxley

    Pauline Hanson on @TheTodayShow, denying human involvement in climate change.

    “what happened to the dinosaurs? How did they die off? Humans didn’t create it.” 2/2

    5:37 AM – Apr 23, 2019
    Twitter Ads info and privacy
    154 people are talking about this

    Wasn’t she booted from Ch7’s breakfast show for unAustralian, racist views? Why would Ch9 want to embrace someone like that?

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