Election minus three weeks

A Senate poll, and reporting on the Coalition’s struggles to identify a pathway to victory.

Now that the public holiday period is past, hopefully the floodgates will open on opinion polling very shortly. Certainly we can expect a Newspoll, presumably tomorrow evening, and surely an Essential Research to boot.

What we have for now is the rarity of a Senate poll, courtesy of the Australia Institute. This is part of a quarterly online survey conducted through Dynata, on this occasion targeted 1945 respondents. Nationally, the poll has the Coalition on 30% (35.2% in 2016), Labor on 34% (29.8%), the Greens on 10% (8.7%), One Nation on 7% (4.3%). The United Australia Party is only credited with 3%, though that may be because it hasn’t captured a recent surge in support. Based on these numbers, the Australia Institute’s overall assessment is that the Coalition will win 14 to 17 seats (plus 16 ongoing), Labor will win 15 (13 ongoing), the Greens five to six (three ongoing), One Nation one to four (one ongoing), the Centre Alliance zero or one (two ongoing). Derryn Hinch isn’t predicted to win, with only 3% support in Victoria (I wouldn’t be too sure about that myself, given the small sample here), and Jacqui Lambie is only a maybe (ditto). Cory Bernardi, we’re stuck with.

Latest horse race calling in the news media:

• Despite its cheerful headline (“Written-off Liberal back in the fight”), a report on Liberal internal polling in Victoria by John Ferguson of The Weekend Australian is almost all bad news for the Liberals, with a party source quoted saying “not much has changed since the start of the campaign”. The best news the report has to offer the Liberals is that Sarah Henderson only trails in Corangamite by “about three percentage points” (the recent ReachTEL poll showing the Liberals with a 54-46 lead was “highly unlikely to be right”), and that the Liberals believe themselves to be in front in Deakin. Elsewhere, the report restates the now established wisdom that Labor will win Dunkley, which neither leader has bothered to visit; says the Liberals will “struggle to hold” Chisholm, which is at the more favourable end of recent assessments for them; and implies they are behind in La Trobe, and perhaps also Casey. Furthermore, there is “increasing concern” about Greg Hunt in Flinders, and double-digit inner city swings that place Higgins “in doubt”. Josh Frydenberg is reckoned likely to surivive in Kooyong, but clearly not very convincingly.

Aaron Patrick of the Financial Review reports the Coalition’s strategic reading of the situation as follows. Chisholm (Liberal 2.9%, Victoria), Dunkley (notional Labor 1.0%, Victoria), Forde (LNP 0.6%, Queensland) and Gilmore (Liberal 0.7%, NSW) are conceded as likely losses. Seats that are “must wins”, in the sense of being gained from Labor or independents, are Labor-held Herbert (Queensland, 0.0%), Lindsay (New South Wales, 1.1%), Bass (Tasmania, 5.4%) and Solomon (Northern Territory, 6.1%). This gets them to 76, if they can hold all the seats on a “must retain” list consisting of Corangamite (notional Labor 0.0%, Victoria), La Trobe (Liberal 3.2%, Victoria), Petrie (LNP 1.7%, Queensland), Dickson (LNP 1.7%, Queensland), Reid (Liberal 4.7%, NSW), Robertson (Liberal 1.1%, NSW), Flynn (LNP 1.0%, Queensland), Banks (Liberal 1.4%, NSW) and Capricornia (LNP 0.6%, Queensland).

Eryk Bagshaw of the Sydney Morning Herald reports the Nationals have “all but given up hope” of holding off Rob Oakeshott in Cowper. In neighbouring Page, internal polling is said to show Nationals incumbent Kevin Hogan with a lead of 52-48 “in a worst case scenario”. Remarkably though, Hogan “has left the door open to sitting on the crossbench if Bill Shorten wins”.

• Going back nearly a week, Annika Smethurst in the Sunday Telegraph reported that “Labor and Coalition strategists admit the opening days of the federal election have hardly shifted a vote”. Both sides also agree that, thanks to his attack on Labor opponent Ali France in the first week of the campaign, Peter Dutton is “in serious strife” in Dickson.

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.

685 comments on “Election minus three weeks”

  1. I was out door knocking in Pearce today and it was another good day for the red shirts. We were warmly received by most and got many assurances of “don’t worry, I’m voting Labor” or “we’re rusted on Labor in this house”.

    I also learned something i didn’t know and had one of my assumptions about the voting behaviour of Indian people busted. I assumed that they would be on the main conservative voters, however, today I learned that as a group they overwhelmingly vote Labor.

  2. BK:

    OMG, the first four words of the byline had me throwing up a little in my mouth.

    With Christianity under siege…

    Who does he think he’s kidding?

    Time for some common sense on christianity under siege. Honestly these reactionary culture warriors have lost their mojo. Even Republicans have realised the futility of playing that particular card.


  3. And this is just re-writing history.

    Western intellectual prejudice will respond positively to only one type of public Christian: the social-justice variety. The secular Left believes in radical wealth redistribution and in the evils of capitalism. It is happy to claim Christians as allies in these specific battles, so long as the Christians involved do not make any other claims or ever talk seriously about God.

    Wasn’t Jesus supposedly the ultimate social justice warrior? Or perhaps Greg Sheridan believes in a different Jesus? Supply-side Jesus, helpfully encapsulated once again by Bill Maher who has explored all this previously because conservative reactionary re-writing of the bible to suit their own agenda has already been tried and tested and found to have failed in America.


  4. Poll Bludger Federal Election Seat Count Sweep
    Welcome to the Poll Bludger Federal Election Seat Count Sweep. Life has calmed down for me and its time for a much delayed update to the Sweep.

    If you would like to join email your prediction for the number of seats that Labor will win to sjapplin@hotmail.com. Your email will be deleted after your prediction is recorded with my apologies in advance to anyone inadvertently caught by the spam filter. I’ll try to keep track of any predictions posted in the thread if you’d prefer not to email me, without a guarantee it’ll be included. I have a full-time job and a young family to keep me occupied.

    The rules of the competition are:
    • Your seat count prediction must be an integer
    • All forms of cheating and capitalising on insider knowledge are encouraged
    • Your first prediction is final

    The prize is gloating rights.

    Toorak Toff __________71
    Bennelong Lurker__________82
    Player One__________83
    Edward Boyce__________84
    Steve davis__________85
    Outside Left__________86
    A Different Michael__________87
    Kambah Mick__________87
    The Silver Bodgie__________87
    Lord Haw Haw of Arabia__________87
    A R__________88
    A R__________88
    Douglas and Milko__________89
    Left E__________89
    John Reidy__________89
    Harry “Snapper” Organs__________90
    Mavis Smith__________94
    Jack Aranda__________94
    Alpha Zero__________96
    Libertarian Unionist__________97
    Dan Gulberry__________98
    Asha Leu__________99
    Fozzie Logic__________102

  5. Can’t link the ABC article but loved this quote “One Hobart local confronted him on the street and said she thought Mr Shorten was a “prick”.
    After being informed she was talking to the Labor leader, she corrected her stance to say she was confused with the other fellow.”

  6. McCormack, Dubbo. “People can always trust the National Party to do the right thing on water.”
    like saying Dracula is minding the blood bank

  7. grimace –

    I’m at risk of perpetuating yet another cultural stereotype but … are you sure the Indian households you were speaking to were really committed to Labor, or were they simply being polite and wanted to avoid a possible confrontation? I think the virtue of “speaking your mind and damn the consequences” is Euro-centric (Anglo-centric?), while others – particularly Asian cultures – prefer harmony. But hey – Euro-centric cultures don’t have to be the only ones that are riven by the conflict between desire for individual expression and liberty, and the need for communal nurturing and protection 🙂 Ethnic communities in Oz are surely just as confused as everyone else!

    Having said that, you might be onto something grimace, given your outer suburban bailiwick: the issue of exploitation of casual workers by franchise operators I think would most severely affect recent young arrivals from the subcontinent. Even if you’re comfortably off – and eligible to vote – it would be galling to see your compatriots taken for a ride by unscrupulous operators. You could also clearly see which party clearly don’t have an issue with this, and which party – via the unions – are trying to put a stop to it.

  8. grimace….I was on the morning shift in Pearce….good results, though less emphatically Labor-positive than I had been led to expect….good persuasion conversations, but lengthy too. UV out in strength, candidate in good form…

    Great afternoon shift in Moore…lots of fun…surprisingly good

  9. I should preface this comment by saying, obviously, I’m not on Twitter, and never have been, so I’m sure this is just stating the blindingly obvious. Still.

    The responses to Albo’s tweet linked above are … well, unsurprising. I comment only that it is striking how tribal it is, and how the set of talking points is very small and repeated seemingly ceaselessly. It could be a genuine cross section of some twitter community response, but it does seem more likely that there are core groups of keyboard warriors who coalesce on particular lines to run (against the ALP in this case, and pointing out ‘hypocrisy’ in that the ALP were seeking Palmer preferences – whoever that clown was in the ALP who contacted Palmer deserves a severe bollocking – and/or trotting out Nath lines about Shorten, and/or going on about ‘extreme Greens’) and run it and run it and run it. And I would imagine it works the other way too.

    I do despair sometimes, and I realize that’s kind of the point. Social media really is where politics – being the art of negotiation and compromise – goes to die.

  10. Hey grimace, if you’re around, put me down for 83 seats (to Labor)

    Gonna go for a 2007 redux. No evidence or gut feeling, just feel like taking that punt.

  11. William

    Well are there 2 Mike Bowers ….. CPG photographer and some other Mike Bowers on Shorten’s team?

    Or is the Mike Bowers (photographer and Insiders personality) in the photo and my eyes just can’t tell.

  12. EGT, your last comment was pinged by the spam filter, suggesting to me that it may have acquired human intelligence.

    Not a fan, thereof???

  13. I will be on the doors tomorrow morning in Pearce…prepolling in Cowan and Moore thru the next 3 weeks and canvassing in Stirling too…everything is up for grabs…voters will listen to Labor, but we’re not home yet

  14. @ Ophuph Hucksake

    We’re told to take people on face value with what they tell us.

    Best I can tell the Indian people I spoke to were being genuine. It’s pretty obvious when someone is not interested and people generally are quick to send you on your way if they are not interested.

    Remember, to be citizens they’ve been here quite a while and would have picked up local habits and customs like being more open with their feelings.

  15. It really does look as if the Libs / the Australian have decided to use Newspoll to promote Clive and sideline the Onanists. Shows a stunning amount of collusion between a political party and a press organ in this country!

  16. Jackol:

    I find twitter to be the absolute worst of the worse when it comes to social media, unless you follow bona fide, genuine, ‘verified account’ users who invariably are professionals operating under their own names and bios. I rarely read comments posted under official videos or tweets by aforementioned verified account holders, whether they be on twitter or Facebook. Life is too short.

    I am not on twitter, but follow various journos and MPs (federal and state), as well as international leaders and for now, some of the 2020 Dem candidates. My observation is that any comments posted under Facebook or Instagram posts by these people always attract tribal responses.

  17. I feel so boring:

    Never been banned.

    Never fallen afoul of a spam filter.

    Only been warned a few times, and only blocked by a couple of precious petals.

    Bemused, meanwhile, has been banned TWICE.

    What gives? What do you have to do to become an official arsehole ’round here?

  18. Anyone who has ever watched Talking Pictures on Insiders would know who Mike Bowers is, and would therefore know that he was not in that picture he took of Shorten and his team on the campaign trail.

    Perhaps psyclaw has never heard of Mike Bowers or has never watched Insiders? Who knows? But in any case, my interest in, and/or attention to whatever occupies the obsessions of psyclaw’s mind ceased many years ago.


  19. Or to put it another way, the Liberal/NewsCorpse axis has decided that since the Libs can’t deal with One Nation any more (they’re poison) they will use Clive to peel votes off One Nation and send the preferences to the Libs. It’s entirely bonkers of course. But I never said they were smart.

  20. Dr Steven Hail of the University of Adelaide states the top ten economic issues that Australia faces:

    On May 18th, the fate of Australia’s democracy will be decided for another three years. It was to be hoped that those looking for our votes would have engaged with the major issues of the moment, offering us policy options reflecting our values and with a solid basis in evidence. From an economist’s point of view, and in no particular order, here are ten things I would have liked to see them discuss.

    1) Household debt – Australian households are carrying debts to the tune of 190% of their disposable incomes and about 125% of the country’s gross domestic product. This is the result of many years of insufficient support for the economy from the government budget, compensated for by financial deregulation, easy credit for households, and a reliance on an increasingly inflated and consequently fragile property market.

    2) Household saving – Households are saving about 2.5% of their disposable incomes, down from above 10% in the period after the Global Financial Crisis hit the economy, and almost as low as it was during the later credit binge years of the Howard government. Compulsory super has done nothing at all to boost our saving.

    3) Property prices – Property prices are falling in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, and have much further to go. The 30% or so of people in mortgage distress are especially vulnerable should they fall into negative equity on their homes, especially if an economic downturn causes them to lose their jobs.

    4) The continuing failure of monetary policy – The Reserve Bank of Australia has for many years had the responsibility of setting interest rates to hold the rate of consumer price inflation in the range of 2-3% per year. They have failed to hit this target range for almost the whole of the last four years, despite reducing the cash rate to a historic low of 1.5% in August 2016 and leaving it there. With quarterly inflation of 0% in the most recent quarter, many of the same economists who have been predicting rising inflation and rising interest rates for years have now started talking about a further cut in the cash rate, and even of Japanese-style quantitative easing. Zero inflation is not a good sign – it is a signal of economic weakness, despite continuing high export prices and booming commodity exports.

    5) Unemployment and underemployment – The official unemployment rate of 5% may not seem that high, but in modern Australia it is no longer a useful measure of the impact of unemployment on Australia workers. The underutilisation rate of 13.2% is a more realistic figure, as it includes people who have some (often precarious) work, but who are looking for more hours. Worse still, the underutilisation rates for 15-24 year-olds is nearly 30%, and for 15-19 year-olds almost 40%. There is an underutilisation, and especially a youth underutilisation, crisis in this country, which goes unreported and is consequently largely ignored. What a waste.

    6) Inequality and poverty – According to the Standardized World Income Inequality Database (SWIID), income inequality has been increasing almost continuously in Australia since the mid-1970s, which not entirely incidentally is the last time there was genuinely full employment in this country. Australia remains far less unequal than the USA today, but we have more inequality in our distribution than the USA did in the 1970s. The days when Australia could be described as having a Scandinavian-style distribution of income are 40 years in the past. This country may still be lucky in many ways, but it is no longer the country of the fair go, if you are on the bottom of the pile.

    7) Newstart payments – The conditional Newstart allowance sits at about $40 a day. It is not an unconditional welfare payment, remember. You might be on a work for the dole project, and you will be on a job plan, requiring you to keep applying for jobs. You won’t have enough money to escape poverty. Newstart is a poverty-level payment, and indeed two thirds of the unemployed and underemployed live in relative poverty.

    8) Climate change – The policy of the Australian Government relating to climate change is essentially not to have a policy. They don’t take seriously the huge costs of coping with and mitigating the effects of climate change later, if we continue to fail to act today. The ALP, on the other hand, appears to be on the side of science and taking serious action, but then does the bare minimum to be consistent with this impression. The debate, in so far as it exists at all, is between those who would do next to nothing and those who would do the least they can do to pacify their supporters. There is no grand vision of a clean, green economic future from either party.

    9) The budget surplus fetish – A government budget deficit is a non-government surplus. The government’s debt is just the net supply of Australian dollars to the rest of us. The government cannot run out of dollars. The role of taxation is to limit total spending in the economy to help control inflation, while influencing the distribution of income and discouraging harmful activities, like CO2 emissions. The limit on government spending is set not by government solvency, but by inflation. Everyone in Australia, in 2019, should have heard that to repair household balance sheets and to build an equitable and sustainable economy, politicians should stop using the misleading ‘government as household’ metaphor, start explaining the difference between a currency issuer and currency users, and take responsibility for providing excellent public goods and maintaining the economy at full employment.

    10) A Federal Job Guarantee – To stabilise the economy, manage inflation, eliminate most of the poverty which currently exists, build and maintain healthy local communities , set the appropriate government deficit, and improve the well-being of the unemployed, the underemployed, the insecurely employed and their families, we should commit to the permanent elimination of involuntary unemployment. We should restore Australia to full employment, combining economic justice with environmental justice. Our politicians should at least be discussing this policy proposal, which has been available to them now for at least 20 years.

    Your list might differ from mine, but perhaps you have the same impression of the campaign. Mr Morrison, Mr Shorten and their colleagues are failing to address many of the things which really matter for the future of Australia. They are obsessed with political point scoring, avoiding tactical mistakes, and seizing on any mistakes their rivals make. They are failing us.


  21. Yes. I agree that the UAP deal is a sign of weakness not a game changer.

    The primary vote is not shifting from ONP to the LNP cleanly but splitting with UAP getting a good whack of that vote. As I’ve mentioned here, there was no way for the LNP to enter into an agreement with ONP, the only way to recover those preferences was the UAP.

  22. William

    Well I took it to mean that “an” MB was in the photo. Probably because the question was also asked “is that WS in the background”.

    MB as the actual photographer did not cross my mind, even when I was replying to your castigation.

    Now it is obviously obvious.

    But if you look at it again you may even see that the words above and the phrasing looks like a description of the photo, not partly about the contents (WS) and partly about the photographer.

  23. Bushfire Bill
    Saturday, April 27, 2019 at 9:04 pm
    I feel so boring:
    Never been banned.
    Don’t worry, your comments on a ‘Chinese invasion’ would have probably got you fired from any media organisation, university or government position.

  24. Don’t people get why Morrison and the Liberals are preferencing UAP (and PHON wherever they get significant support)? It is to poison the Senate well for what they fully expect will be an incoming Shorten Labor Government. They know they’ve lost: this is all about throwing a far-RWNJ spanner into the Senate works to make governing as hard as possible for Bill Shorten.

  25. You’ll have to ask the spam filter.

    Lady Gaga – Bad Romance

    Psephologically significant? In light of the surge in youngsters’ enrolment?

    Perhaps you’ll have to tell the spam filter?

  26. Grimace
    I note on the list that A_Earlwood is being a tad fanciful and quite frankly, ridiculous. I mean ‘no way jose’… he’s dreamin’!
    Put me down for 126 please.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *