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”

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  1. I persist with minority government. Shorten says he’s pragmatic and used to fighting his way out of corners. He insists there will be no coalitionism with the Greens, no multi-party committees to develop a new climate change policy, which is what Richard Di Natale has already signalled he wants.

    Shorten, who at key moments during this period in opposition has insisted Labor stay the course on climate change when the inclination elsewhere was to reposition, contends the Greens “stuffed up climate change in the 43rd parliament [in 2009] by their terms” and he doesn’t intend to repeat that experience. It’s not clear what the next experience will be, but the Labor leader wants it known that it won’t be that.

    He has spent two terms being collaborative, and when necessary, taking political risks, trusting his ability to read the play. This has become his mode of leadership. It’s too late now to shape shift, even if that was a temptation.

    There might be safer ways to get there, but Shorten can only visualise one pathway. “When the caravan stops, and all this fuss stops, I have to live with myself.”

    Shorten tells me he’s forged his own path to becoming a Labor prime minister, and whether he gets there or not is ultimately down to Australian voters, but there’s only one way to finish this adventure. “We need to be bold,” he says.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/apr/27/we-need-to-be-bold-bill-shorten-keeps-his-eyes-on-the-prize?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

  2. @guytaur

    I think Larissa Waters could get re-elected if the Greens vote in Queensland is higher enough (it was 10% at the last state election). Even if Clive Palmer gets elected to the Senate in Queensland, since that will be likely off the expense of an LNP candidate.

  3. C@t, being a rusted on Labor supporter as you are, this wouldn’t be something you’d want. Labor having to negotiate with a heap of different far right Senators would be a nightmare for them to have to deal with.

    Nah those crazies are a lot more sensible than the greens, practically and strategically, doing deals would be easier and any concessions would be towards the centre not towards the kill all jobs tomorrow far left of the greens.

  4. I am – Tasmanian; in the senate every time i start the other way around ie i put Eric Abetz last then start with my number 1 one vote Labor most likely next Wilkie, Greens etc

    I can only hope!

  5. BK – if I was in Mayo, I would do the same. For this election I’ve been redistributed from Adelaide to Sturt. I suspect the Libs will win Sturt quite easily due to misinformation about the franking credit changes and the inability of Labor to communicate clearly who will be impacted, and who won’t be.

  6. To be fair – these anecdotes kind of reflect the questions myself and others have asked in bemusement about why everyone thinks the race has suddenly changed?

    The MSM needs a horse race to maintain interest and as much of the campaigners activities are about creating a narrative as anything else.

    Don’t get me wrong things could legitimately tighten, we’ll no doubt see where polling sits soon.

  7. Can anyone nominate a state that won’t go 3-3 on the left-right split?

    The only one I can see is Victoria, if Hinch doesn’t get to quota then the last one might go back to Labor.

    But anywhere else? Surely it will be as follows:

    WA – 2 Lib/nat, 2 Lab, 1 Gr, 1 ON
    Qld – 2 LNP, 2 Lab, 1 Gr, Clive the Hutt (or is there a risk of Palmer and Roberts both getting a seat)?
    Tas – 2 Lib, 2 Lab, 1 Gr, Lambie
    SA – 2 Lib, 2 Lab, 1 Gr, 1 Centre Alliance
    Vic – 2 Lib/nat, 2 Lab, 1 Gr, Hinch

    Who will get the RW 3rd quota in NSW?

    The only positive of Clive’s resurrection is that he may get enough votes to push out Malcolm Roberts from the last Qld senate seat.

  8. I’m not a religous person by any stretch of the imagination but I would like to see Fr Rod Bower get up in the Senate in NSW. I’m going to vote below the line and it’s a toss up between him and the ALP for my number one.

  9. “Firefox, if The Greens drop their ‘my way or the highway’ intransigence when it comes to post-election negotiations, then that will be a better reason to vote for The Greens more highly than other Progressive parties in the Senate. Until then, not so much. The AJP for a start are much more willing to negotiate in good faith. And that’s what I want. Adults around the negotiating table.”

    If you think the Greens have a “my way or the highway” approach (which we don’t, by the way), then just wait until Penny Wong has to try and negotiate with far right nutters like Hanson or Bernardi. Uhhg no! We must save Penny from being sent insane from having to deal with those nutters. You may not agree with everything we Greens do but if you’re honest you’ll admit that we do offer Labor the best chance of having a productive Senate to work with.

  10. Cat

    In all your posts about the Greens you ignore that is exactly what the Greens are saying.

    My suspicion is you think the Greens idea of unrealistic is in fantasy land.
    If you do you haven’t been paying attention to what’s been happening in the UK.

    Science got the models way too conservative and the Paris targets are not enough. Business is starting to talk about a Carbon bubble with property to be hit hard as a result.

    That’s the GFC but worldwide not just the US with the property hit.

    This means not only not opening new coal mines but closing existing ones a lot faster than foreseen.

    It’s not a pretty picture.

  11. Confessions says:
    Saturday, April 27, 2019 at 7:24 am

    Sky News AustraliaVerified account @SkyNewsAust
    22h22 hours ago
    .@J_C_Campbell on @LiberalAus and @CliveFPalmer preference deal:

    ‘It’s not an unambiguous win, it’s more like a patch-up job. The reason it’s had to do this deal with Clive Palmer is that it’s got a primary vote problem.’

    MORE: http://bit.ly/2UEWoDK #amagenda

    Sky News AustraliaVerified account @SkyNewsAust
    22h22 hours ago
    .@J_C_Campbell: I suspect @CliveFPalmer is going to do better in Victoria than other states outside Qld and that’s because @PaulineHansonOz doesn’t rate here. The vote that would otherwise drift to Hanson is more likely to go to Palmer.

    MORE: http://bit.ly/2UEWoDK #amagenda

    ???
    So, Clive will do better in Vic because they don’t like Hansen and so the Hansen vote will flow to Clive.

  12. J341983 @ #56 Saturday, April 27th, 2019 – 8:40 am

    To be fair – these anecdotes kind of reflect the questions myself and others have asked in bemusement about why everyone thinks the race has suddenly changed?

    The MSM needs a horse race to maintain interest and as much of the campaigners activities are about creating a narrative as anything else.

    Don’t get me wrong things could legitimately tighten, we’ll no doubt see where polling sits soon.

    They have a vested interest in there being a contest.

  13. Firefox

    The ACT Lib senator has spent the past couple of days doorknocking in Warringah with Abbott. Not a good look imho. Noticeably Sussan Ley was there which is strange given the independent down there in her seat is suddenly looking competitive.

    Expat

    I can see QLD going 2 left – 4 right.

  14. Barney in Da Lat @ #61 Saturday, April 27th, 2019 – 8:44 am

    Confessions says:
    Saturday, April 27, 2019 at 7:24 am

    Sky News AustraliaVerified account @SkyNewsAust
    22h22 hours ago
    .@J_C_Campbell on @LiberalAus and @CliveFPalmer preference deal:

    ‘It’s not an unambiguous win, it’s more like a patch-up job. The reason it’s had to do this deal with Clive Palmer is that it’s got a primary vote problem.’

    MORE: http://bit.ly/2UEWoDK #amagenda

    Sky News AustraliaVerified account @SkyNewsAust
    22h22 hours ago
    .@J_C_Campbell: I suspect @CliveFPalmer is going to do better in Victoria than other states outside Qld and that’s because @PaulineHansonOz doesn’t rate here. The vote that would otherwise drift to Hanson is more likely to go to Palmer.

    MORE: http://bit.ly/2UEWoDK #amagenda

    ???
    So, Clive will do better in Vic because they don’t like Hansen and so the Hansen vote will flow to Clive.

    I like Campbell as a journo. But, like in the State Election where he reported the seats along the Frankston line being toss of the coin only to end up with double seat margins for Labor, James might be sipping the Koolaid provided by his Liberal contacts.

  15. “The AJP for a start are much more willing to negotiate in good faith. And that’s what I want. Adults around the negotiating table.”

    AJP will be getting my second preference just as I did recently in NSW. Labor will be around 4th or 5th just after a couple of other left wing minors. Very unlikely that AJP or any other left wing minor party will be able to win a Senate spot though. The left wing vote isn’t anywhere near as fragmented as the right’s is.

  16. From the Guardian piece above:

    Shorten says he’s pragmatic and used to fighting his way out of corners. He insists there will be no coalitionism with the Greens, no multi-party committees to develop a new climate change policy, which is what Richard Di Natale has already signalled he wants.

    How could a multi-party committee possibly create a new climate change policy, when the Coalition and their friends are so much against it?

  17. The resurrection of Clive theme is based on four seat polls. Nothing more, nothing less. Whether this is real or not will only be confirmed post election.
    Huge gamble by Morrison to jump into the bath tub with Clive.

    Clive and his candidates are walking political time bombs.

    BTW, Surely all this talk about a deal with Clive being close to finalising is bullshit. With pre polling to start on Monday I would h@ve thought how to vote cards would have been printed and ready to go for some time.

  18. doyley @ #75 Saturday, April 27th, 2019 – 8:54 am

    The resurrection of Clive theme is based on four seat polls. Nothing more, nothing less. Whether this is real or not will only be confirmed post election.
    Huge gamble by Morrison to jump into the bath tub with Clive.

    Clive and his candidates are walking political time bombs.

    BTW, Surely all this talk about a deal with Clive being close to finalising is bullshit. With pre polling to start on Monday I would h@ve thought how to vote cards would have been printed and ready to go for some time.

    Wouldn’t be much room for water in that bathtub!

  19. C@tmomma says:
    Saturday, April 27, 2019 at 8:12 am

    Labor 1
    HEMP 2
    in the Senate for me, as per usual.

    Numbers 4 through 6 I am yet to decide on.

    You do realise your vote will exhaust after HEMP. 🙂

  20. doyley

    More printing? The expense will mean nothing to Clive. 🙁

    A fat man (let’s be frank) throwing money about, boasting and telling porkies is such a familiar Trumpian figure. Does anyone believe he’s real?

  21. Huge gamble by Morrison to jump into the bath tub with Clive.

    Clive and his candidates are walking political time bombs.

    I know it is counter intuitive but any LNP / Palmer deal is bad for Palmer, takes him out of the protest vote as even detached people know it is an effective LNP vote. People who don’t want to vote LNP will know they can’t protest with Palmer.

    Probably one nation benefits.

  22. GG,

    Morrison asked Barnaby to organise the water but sadly Barnaby could not oblige.

    So into the bath tub sans water go Scott and Clive !

  23. Saw a man in a dinosaur costume holding a “Craig Kelly” sign yesterday in the CBD. We haven’t heard about seats like Hughes. Any chance he might go the way of the dinosaur?

  24. lizzie says:
    Saturday, April 27, 2019 at 8:51 am

    From the Guardian piece above:

    Shorten says he’s pragmatic and used to fighting his way out of corners. He insists there will be no coalitionism with the Greens, no multi-party committees to develop a new climate change policy, which is what Richard Di Natale has already signalled he wants.

    How could a multi-party committee possibly create a new climate change policy, when the Coalition and their friends are so much against it?

    I think he’s talking about what happened under Gillard where all the players supporting the Labor Government sat down to come up with a climate change policy.

  25. The Liberals pre-selected in Curtin a big C Conservative as a final kick to Julie Bishop. That has opened the door to a socially progressive, millionaire mum, Peppy Grove, MLC old girl, (IE “one of us”) independent to take it away from them.

  26. Barney

    That’s assuming more of a coalition, which Bill hasn’t supported.

    I never think that setting out “must haves” in advance of negotiations is very smart.

  27. A new poll.

    A majority of Americans say they oppose calls for Congress to launch impeachment proceedings against President Trump in the wake of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the president sought to interfere with the probe, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

    Thirty-seven percent of Americans favor starting the process that could lead to impeachment, a slight dip over the past month, while 56 percent say they oppose the idea, about the same as a month ago.

    A 58 percent majority of Americans say the Mueller report has not changed their impression of the Trump administration. Among those whose views have changed, 23 percent say they view the administration more negatively while 11 percent view it more positively.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/majority-of-americans-oppose-impeachment-but-majority-also-says-trump-lied-to-public/2019/04/26/116869ca-66d8-11e9-a1b6-b29b90efa879_story.html?utm_term=.a476082a4066

  28. Ello Bastids

    Its over, Morrison on the Wombat Trail in Dubbo? Its save the furniture time for the libs.

    Have a nice Election
    Bye

  29. Prediction: newspoll tomorrow night will show a fall for Shorten as preferred PM & a rise for Morrison. This is the narrative the media is working for, so they’ll get it.

    I hope it won’t make a ha’porth of difference.

  30. Firefox
    You sound considerably less shrill than you have shown yourself after being assigned to PB.
    It would help if you desist with the very LNP “adults around table” metaphor if you are expecting to successfully court Labor leaning voters.
    After a few more elections you’ll get the gist of it.
    I sometimes wonder if you have any insight into the left leaning progressive Labor types and their views.
    Congratulations on your feet levitating closer to the ground.

  31. One day soon Labor right types like WWP and C@t will be seen for what they are, far more extreme than the Greens and anyone else who wants immediate, decisive action on climate change. They smugly think they are near the “centre”, but all they’re at the centre of is the ever shrinking group of ostriches who still think things like minor changes to the electricity or employment market are somehow more important than averting catastrophe.

    Mind you if Labor’s policy was more focused on urgent action they’d piously be lecturing us all about how that is the only reasonable position.

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