Election plus three weeks

A look at how the religious vote might have helped Scott Morrison to victory, plus some analysis of turnout and the rate of informal voting.

I had a paywalled Crikey article on Friday on the religion factor in the election result, drawing on results of the Australian National University’s Australian Election Study survey. Among other things, it had this to say:

The results from the 2016 survey provide some support for the notion, popular on the right of the Liberal Party, that Malcolm Turnbull brought the government to the brink of defeat by losing religious voters, who appear to have flocked back to the party under Morrison. Notably, the fact that non-religious voters trusted Turnbull a lot more than they did Abbott did not translate into extra votes for the Coalition, whereas a two-party swing to Labor of 7% was recorded among the religiously observant.

The charts below expand upon the survey data featured in the article, showing how Labor’s two-party preferred has compared over the years between those who attend religious services several times a year or more (“often”), those who do so less frequently (“sometimes”), and those who don’t do it at all (“never”).

Some other post-election observations:

Rosie Lewis of The Australian reports the looming Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters inquiry into the election will examine the three-week pre-polling period and the extent of Clive Palmer’s campaign spending. There is not, it would seem, any appetite to explore the debilitating phenomenon of fake news proliferating on social media, for which Australia arguably experienced a watershed moment during the campaign through claims Labor had a policy to introduce a “death tax”. This is explored in depth today in a report in The Guardian and an accompanying opinion piece by Lenore Taylor. That said, not all of the mendacity about death taxes was subterranean, as demonstrated by this official Liberal Party advertisement.

• As best as I can tell, all votes for the House of Representatives have been counted now. There was a fall in the official turnout rate (UPDATE: No, actually — it’s since risen to 91.9%, up from 91.0% in 2016), which, together with the fact that not all votes had been counted at the time, gave rise to a regrettable article in the Age-Herald last week. However, as Ben Raue at the Tally Room explores in depth, the turnout rate reflects the greater coverage of the electoral roll owing to the Australian Electoral Commission’s direct enrolment procedures. This appears to have succeeded to some extent in increasing the effective participation rate, namely votes cast as a proportion of the eligible population rather than those actually enrolled, which by Raue’s reckoning tracked up from 80.0% in 2010 to 83.2% – an enviable result by international standards. However, it has also means a larger share of the non-voting population is now on the roll rather than off it, and hence required to bluff their way out of a fine for not voting.

• The rate of informal voting increased from 5.0% to 5.5%, but those seeking to tie this to an outbreak of apathy are probably thinking too hard. Antony Green notes the shift was peculiar to New South Wales, and puts this down to the proximity of a state election there, maximising confusion arising from its system of optional preferential voting. The real outlier in informal voting rates of recent times was the low level recorded in 2007, which among other things causes me to wonder if there might be an inverse relationship between the informal voting rate and the level of enthusiasm for Labor.

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.

1,359 comments on “Election plus three weeks”

  1. The Greens should sideline the rest of the cross bench and wave the tax cuts through. They’re apparently just Lib-kin anyway. I wonder why they haven’t already?

  2. lizzie:

    I’ve been pretty critical of Dastyari in the past. I don’t think he was corrupt, just displayed astonishingly poor judgement, but said judgement put him in a position where the only right thing for him to do was resign. Nonetheless, I did really feel for him at times during that show – he clearly deeply regretted what happened, and completely owned his mistakes, which is something I respect. He seems like a decent, intelligent guy who just didn’t quite have the maturity required for the big leagues.

    Who knows, though. He’s still incredibly young by political standards. Ten or twenty years from now, he could have another crack. Politicians have come back from worse.

  3. Labor is better off without Dastyari there. Unlike Keneally he did not to my knowledge have testimony against Obeid.

    It’s the look of the thing. I agree with Cat about the double standard.
    However by resigning Dastyari gave Labor the high moral ground. This could be vital with these AFP raids.

  4. ” One Nation’s opposition means the government must rely on the Centre Alliance’s two senators, who have demanded the government pass measures to stop energy price rises in exchange for supporting the tax cuts.

    Maybe I’m naive, but …

    Yeah, doesn’t that just mean a new Coal-Fired Power Station?”

    Posturing, bullshit and the allocate but not actually spend routine to come.

    The thing the Libs want in place is the economic time bomb of the out there tax cuts. They are addicted to the Howard/Costello playbook with the progressive reduction of the revenue base at its core. Arseholes. 🙁

    PHON will roll over. Libs will commit to “studies” on a coal fired power plant (that will still be under way come the next election), to review the Bradfield scheme……again………. and Poorline will give them what they want on tax now.

    Center Alliance maybe more complex?? But i suspect they will roll over. Some bollocks assurances from the Libs about power prices and revisit Abbott’s “No Cuts” ?? Lol! Vast economic illiteracy and “suspension of disbelief” at play in the Federal parliament for the next three years from the RWWankers.

  5. C@t

    Thinking of what you said about S Robert, and why he gets away with so much while his fellow Libs look over and glare at the slightest transgression by Labor, I’m reminded of (I looked it up!)

    And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

    Morrison might like to contemplate that, as well.

  6. Zoidlord says:
    Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 9:05 am

    New documents show why ScoMo was sacked:
    https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2019/06/08/fresh-documents-morrisons-sacking/15599160008252

    “The Saturday Paper is not suggesting Scott Morrison was sacked due to unsatisfactory or poor performance.”

    ————————————————–
    A former director of the NSW LIBERAL party is sacked by a federal LIBERAL cabinet minister and according to the Saturday Paper it was not because of unsatisfactory or poor performance in the handling of contracts worth $184 million.

    Why is the Saturday Paper being so legally careful in the article about accountability for managing those contracts while Morrison was on a salary of $332,000.

    And how on earth can an Auditor General’s report into that affair be concealed for 13 years. Why wasn’t the media all over this one when Morrison was sacked. What happened at Senate Estimates when Tourism Australia came up for examination Most of the documents relating to this story are conveniently redacted, presumably to protect the innocent.

    Hopefully the recent AFP raids will stiffen the spine of the Canberra Press Gallery into going after Morrison relentlessly to get him to fill in the gaps in this saga. But don’t hold your breath.

    And you know what. The average voter out there who voted for this clown and his ship of fools probably couldn’t care less. It’s the Trump on 5th Avenue syndrome.

  7. That’s exactly it, though, C@t. Labor politicians tend not to be able to get away with the same sorts of indiscretions that Liberal politicians do, and therefore it is incumbent on them to be extra careful. It’s unfair, sure, but it’s also just a reality that the left in Australia has to deal with. It’s the same thing with the Murdoch press – either you whine about it, or you accept it as part of the political landscape you have to fight on. Dastyari should have known better.

    That was his true crime, in the end – not the China stuff, but throwing the Labor opposition into the thick of a big, nasty, and totally avoidable scandal, and allowing an even more avoidable rehash of the same situation to happen a year later by lying to Bill Shorten about it the first time around. He was a liability, and the damage he had caused far outweighed what good things he could bring to the party and the parliament.

    And I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want Labor to be the sort of party where people like Stuart Robert are tolerated.

  8. If you have the time and interest. Check out the Des Moines Register on YouTube. They have the speeches of the 19 candidates for the US elections

  9. In today’s political climate the “moral high ground” might give you a warm fuzzy feeling, but ultimately it means fuck all.

  10. Barney

    Labor has to fight hard and dirty because the LNP already is.

    I was just pointing out the advantage Dastyari gave the Labor party.

  11. Asha Leu,
    In short, Sam Dastyari should have been more self aware and adroit. Young Labor politics is one thing, playing in the big league is an entirely different ball game.

  12. 13 years to find the truth about Morrison’s sacking.
    The truth comes out a month after the election instead of a month before the election.
    How good is that?

  13. lizzie @ #1011 Tuesday, June 11th, 2019 – 10:34 am

    Barney

    Yet we have the CoryBarnardi types trying to impose their ‘morals’ on everyone.

    Which is exactly where Labor has to become more adept in its messaging. They need to let people know that good values aren’t the exclusive preserve of the religious, in fact, as we can see in so many instances, quite the opposite is the case. So they have to point out that it’s the good values that are important, not whether you are religious or not.

  14. guytaur @ #1002 Tuesday, June 11th, 2019 – 9:39 am

    Labor is better off without Dastyari there. Unlike Keneally he did not to my knowledge have testimony against Obeid.

    It’s the look of the thing. I agree with Cat about the double standard.
    However by resigning Dastyari gave Labor the high moral ground. This could be vital with these AFP raids.

    It’s also a good thing to have Sam Dastyari in the media on Channel 10, along with Christopher Pyne who has conveniently landed himself a seat on The Project.

  15. Apropos of nothing in particular, once in a while, when I can no longer stand the white noise from the RWNJ trolls that infest the Guardian these days, I like to drop in here and suck up some purer air.

  16. Michael Pascoe@MichaelPascoe01

    IPA boasts that one of its greatest achievements was having the price on carbon scrapped.
    Gina’s & Rupert’s little boys and girls.
    ‘Nuff said.

  17. guytaur @ #1022 Tuesday, June 11th, 2019 – 10:45 am

    Cat

    Yes agreed. Dastyari is certainly better for Labor than Richo on Sky. I know. Low bar. 🙂

    Although Richo did pick Scott Morrison’s ascending to the PM throne before a lot of people. He never said anything about it though. Maybe it’s because they’re both birds of a feather, devious political players who do, ‘whatever it takes’.

  18. Bellwether @ #1019 Tuesday, June 11th, 2019 – 10:44 am

    Apropos of nothing in particular, once in a while, when I can no longer stand the white noise from the RWNJ trolls that infest the Guardian these days, I like to drop in here and suck up some purer air.

    Enjoy it while you can. Mr Bowe will probably get a visit from the AFP himself soon enough.

  19. Another one.

    Matthew Doran
    @MattDoran91

    Greens Senator Jordon Steele-John was also contacted by Home Affairs secretary Mike Pezzullo, after he criticised him during debate on encryption laws.

    Unlike Rex Patrick, Senator Steele-John was copied in to a letter Mr Pezzullo sent to the Senate President @politicsabc #auspol

  20. Barney in Makassar @ #1011 Tuesday, June 11th, 2019 – 10:25 am

    In today’s political climate the “moral high ground” might give you a warm fuzzy feeling, but ultimately it means fuck all.

    Yeah, that. Leading by example is fine, but right now what Labor needs most is to fight back, and hard (and not against the Greens).

    If Labor really did have some MAD threat that they used to suppress the rape allegations, now’s the time to drop it. Or maybe, save it for the next election and start dropping a few strategic hints here and there. But definitely drop it instead of just threatening to drop it.

  21. I attended a meeting in Perth last night that was addressed by William Bowe and Karen Luscombe, from WA Opinion Polls. They each made presentations. Karen talked about her firm’s research in Perth marginals in the period leading up to and through the election. William talked about what actually happened in terms of vote shifting at the election, compared with previous elections, and the consequences in terms of seats won/lost.

    Karen reported that her polling caught the shifts in voting intention and identified the main issues for ‘soft’ voters – those voters who were likely to shift their intentions. By far, the most significant issues in Perth marginals were household incomes/jobs/cost of living. By far, soft voters considered the Liberals had the better policies in these areas. She also said her own polling bore an uncanny resemblance to the final Labor/Liberal PV splits, while also saying she could not see how the published national opinion polls could be right.

    So polling does work if it’s carried out properly, if the right questions are asked, if the pollsters are thorough.

  22. a r @ #1026 Tuesday, June 11th, 2019 – 10:52 am

    Barney in Makassar @ #1011 Tuesday, June 11th, 2019 – 10:25 am

    In today’s political climate the “moral high ground” might give you a warm fuzzy feeling, but ultimately it means fuck all.

    Yeah, that. Leading by example is fine, but right now what Labor needs most is to fight back, and hard (and not against the Greens).

    If Labor really did have some MAD threat that they used to suppress the rape allegations, now’s the time to drop it. Or maybe, save it for the next election and start dropping a few strategic hints here and there. But definitely drop it instead of just threatening to drop it.

    There ARE things. And they are big. However the Liberals always run straight to the lawyers and tie things up in the courts until it has little to no real effect on proceedings.

  23. Greg Jennet interviewing Paul Fletcher. I was greatly cheered by a rumour that Jennet was leaving the ABC to become Scomo’s press secretary, but it turned out to be fabricated. Sa-a-d. 🙁

  24. William made some very interesting remarks about the effect Palmer had on the result. He attributed much of the final swing against Labor to the unsettling effect of Palmer’s negative advertising.

    There was very little attention given to the Lib-kin.

  25. [‘A bond can be traded on a secondary market. Unlike a bank deposit it is not owned by a particular entity.’]

    Thanks for the explanation, frednk. I now understand.

  26. This is extraordinary, now a Commonwealth Departmental Secretary is calling up Senators asking them not to criticise? They are supposed to say nothing, stay out of the political fray, and let their minister defend them when needed. Another behavioural convention of the PS shredded.
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-11/police-raids-rex-patrick-claims-intimidation-home-affairs-boss/11196566

    Pezzulo should go for this, irrespective of Dutton’s role. He is no longer politically neutral.

  27. “So polling does work if it’s carried out properly, if the right questions are asked, if the pollsters are thorough.”

    Any discussion of how they plan to refine their methods? after this poll, they almost need to do statistically significant polling of inner city, outer metro, and regional areas and focus on shifts/swings compared to base data – with Queensland and Tassie having extra polling in regional areas. There were signficiant TPP swings to labor in some inner city and safe labor seats, but it was the outer metro areas not swingin, and Qld adn Tassie regions swing against them that killed them.

    I’m thinking sample sizes are going to have to go up a lot, and somehow they need to get the undecideds to indicate if they are likley to change their vote. Polling less often, but more thoroughly would be recomemnded if it isn’t just about having a headline and chatter for few days.

    which polling organisation will be the first to put it’s head up?- I imagine the one that first gets the LNP leading a poll, which may not have happened yet.

  28. I always thought that Palmer’s nasty ads had a universal KillBill effect but some people seemed to think they didn’t count because he didn’t gain a seat. Wrong!

  29. SF

    I think it’s going to be Essential

    Peter Lewis has already commented pretty comprehensively on their polling. Not heard much from Newspoll other than they need a better sample size. Wanting access to the electoral roll

  30. This is absurd. Australian = business interests only. Come and see the Reef before it dies???

    Hugh Riminton@hughriminton

    An ⁦@australian⁩ exclusive – green activists warning about climate change effects are killing tourism on the #GreatBarrierReef.

    Claims by environmental groups that the Great Barrier Reef is dying have pushed the north Queensland tourism industry to the point of “near recession”, with visitor numbers slumping amid negative perceptions of the natural wonder.

    Operators are reporting large falls in reef cruise bookings by local and international tourists, while Cathay Pacific recently ­announced it would drop its direct flights from Hong Kong to Cairns from October — after a quarter of a century servicing the route — because of a lack of demand.

  31. And now Jordon Steele-John confirms Pezzulo did the same to him. WTF?

    “Senator Jordon Steele-John (@Jordonsteele)

    Interesting to hear this morning that Mike Pezzullo has personally complained to @Senator_Patrick

    He did the same thing to me over my criticisms of the #AAbill and the secrecy of his department #Auspol”

    Has Pezzulo ever read the Australian PS code of ethics?

  32. The Senate president should read the Riot Act to Pezzullo for attempting to intimidate senators Patrick and Steele-John. Who the hell does this overpaid bureaucrat think he is(?). If he wants to involve himself in politics he should stand for office. Until and if he does, he should STFU.

  33. briefly
    says:
    Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 11:06 am
    William made some very interesting remarks about the effect Palmer had on the result. He attributed much of the final swing against Labor to the unsettling effect of Palmer’s negative advertising.
    There was very little attention given to the Lib-kin.
    _____________________________________
    I did hear that a deranged old man calling himself a brigadier had to be removed for advocating violence against the greens and against women.

  34. I think posters here are well into the “anger” stage of grief over the election result 3.5 weeks ago. Albo & Labor HQ have moved on to “bargaining” at least. (“See how we’ve reformed!”)

    When people finally move on to “acceptance”, they will realise this wasn’t quite Labor’s time to govern yet. Australians just don’t kick conservatives out of office before they’ve been in for three terms at least – not for over a century, anyway. It would have been historically remarkable if Labor had won this year.

    Add to that an economy which hasn’t yet been quite completely run into the ground (unemployment, inflation & interest rates all lower than in July 2016), and it was unrealistic to expect the government to have been thrown out by voters.

    But come 2022, a three-term conservative government will be asking voters for a fourth term. This is somewhat more dicey for them. And who here would be brave enough to predict the economy is not facing stormy conditions these next three years?

  35. Fess

    As alluded to by Chris Cuomo, interesting news re assassination of Kim Jong Un half brother which occurred couple of years ago.

    Allegedly he was a CIA source.

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