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. All the prattle about Sir Moron and Mr Shorten are just noise to me, I can’t vote for either them. I can however vote for the candidates in my local electorate. I don’t personally like the Labor candidate in my electorate but I do like Labors policies, so to get what I’d like too see happen I’ve gotta swallow my pride and vote for a candidate I honestly don’t like. I think you could call this a case of brain ruling over heart. I bet I’m not the only one that wrestles with this conundrum.

  2. Let’s just hope Scomo doesn’t start public jogging. Or worse, wearing budgie smugglers in public.

    I think that would seal the election.

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