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. Confessions says:
    Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    I gave my views about Setka a couple of years ago when his appalling behaviour started coming to public attention. This caused some PBers to have a go at me for being anti-union and anti-worker. Whatever. Those people can eat their words now.
    —————————————–

    Was probably Bemused. He would always attack my posts on Setka and the bullying allegations against Marshall on Jane Garrett or whenever i mentioned the bullying and sexual harassment of women in the Vic fire services.

  2. Nuclear power requires vast amounts of concrete, steel and water, as well as the costs of nuclear fuel mining. It also only replaces grid electricity (and small subset of, mainly military, shipping energy), a sector in which renewable energy has shown the biggest uptake and is increasingly taking over. Nuclear doesn`t currently do anything, on any scale, that renewables can`t on a similar scale with existing/nearly here technology. The main applications for which further work is required for renewable energy are transport which, aside from potentially some shipping (which comes with its own issues), are unsuited for nuclear (cars, trucks, buses and planes are not nuclear viable).

  3. lefty e:

    [‘By the way, Pezzullo is getting too big for his boots and wants chopping down to size. RInging up Senators? Learn your place mate. You’re a public servant.’]

    I’m confident that the dressing down that Dutton imposed on Pezzullo will have the desired effect. Then again…?

  4. The main applications for which further work is required for renewable energy are transport which, aside from potentially some shipping (which comes with its own issues), are unsuited for nuclear (cars, trucks, buses and planes are not nuclear viable).

    Not electric cars, buses and trucks that recharge from the grid.

    Anyways, the data on the viability of nuclear power in Australia is all there in the excellent RC into the Nuclear Fuel Cycle.
    https://yoursay.sa.gov.au/pages/nuclear-fuel-cycle-royal-commission-report-release/

  5. Can’t we just bypass the 20th century technology, ie Nuclear and Coal, and go straight to the 21st century modalities of Pumped Hydro and Renewables!?!

  6. By our economy I assume you mean the global economy because we can’t isolate ourselves from it to anything but a very minor extent.

    And yes the global economy is that fucked up that a significant increase in energy costs would cause a significant fall in global living standards with devastating consequences in the developing world.

    Nuclear Power is a smokescreen because it would allow for significant cuts in co2 emissions without forcing wholesale deindustrialization of the global economy, which of course is the enviromental movements goal, so broadly speaking they are opposed to it.

  7. Lucky Creed @ #1294 Tuesday, June 11th, 2019 – 6:12 pm

    Of the options we currently have that can serve as substitutes in a number of different roles currently served by fossil fuels nuclear power is by far the best and offers the potential for significant emissions reduction without causing a major fall in living standards.

    By the time nuclear plants are built (10-15 years minimum – and at a huge cost) cheap renewable technologies will have made it utterly redundant. A bonehead fucking stupid idea. Thankfully no-one is taking it seriously.

  8. Morrison’s been very quiet of late, most likely on the advice of Howard. So what we’ll see is a lot of nefarious moves by him, such as the sudden arrival of Chinese navy vessels arriving at GI without notice.
    This man is a dangerous, behind the scenes’ operator, just like Dutton.

  9. There is a reasonable case for enacting tax cuts for low to middle income earners only. It would stimulate economic activity. On the other hand, so would increased government spending on job creation, services, and infrastructure. Personally I would prefer to see well-targeted spending increases, particularly on a Job Guarantee. But the main thing is to block any tax cuts that would worsen inequality of wealth and income. If tax cuts are allowed, they have to be neutral in terms of their impacts on the wealth and income distributions.

  10. if WB is around how did the gig last night at Rosie O’Grady’s go, what were your key words of wisdom and what was the mood / thinking of the extroverts in the room (was at 191 booked when I realised I’d be stuck at work) who were determined to share?

  11. I got through it okay WWP, despite a cold that has considerably worsened after my exposure to the elements last night. The attendance would have been rather less than 191 though. I didn’t have much to say though that would been news to regular PB readers, except perhaps that I feel all but certain that Labor will win the next state election.

  12. Heard some polling and I’m leaning to a Warren / Harris ticket. Biden support soft and transferable, Saunders support low, soft and more transferable than I’d thought.

  13. I got through it okay WWP, despite a cold that has considerably worsened after my exposure to the elements last night. The attendance would have been rather less than 191 though. I didn’t have much to say though that would been news to regular PB readers, except perhaps that I feel all but certain that Labor will win the next state election.

    Thanks WB, there is a slow burner cold / flu that lasts weeks up and down the Terrace, doesn’t hit quite hard enough with some for time off but we’ve spent weeks at our desks unproductive and sobbing quietly as various deadlines come and go.

    As a branch member I’m both relieved and distressed that you think Labor will win the next election. They are a terribly conservative labor Govt and seem to be going slow on everything, happy to contract the economy in a recession, ignore climate change and the reality of cheap renewables, go so very slow on the construction of long promised trainlines that I’m not sure I believe them any more. But i guess if you are sure of reelection being an awful do nothing neocon lite Govt for the first four years might make your second four years look good.

    The terrace with the thick deep blue blood seems to think it is an awful govt that would go, but for the nature and quality of its opponent. But then again that same blue blood pool openly stated that the LNP were so terrible they could not possibly win the last federal election and they won in a canter.

  14. The best ticket would be Sanders / Warren in 2020.

    Sanders would crush Trump.

    AOC should primary Chuck Schumer in 2022 and become a Senator.

    In 2028 she would be ready for the presidency.

  15. mundo @ #1286 Tuesday, June 11th, 2019 – 7:51 pm

    Oh dear, poor Albo, been hauled in to give a grovelling explanation to headmistress Sales….Labor never learns..
    Nervous, jittery, stumbling over words, earnest, eager to gain headmistress Sales’ approval….FMD
    Imagine Keating or Hawke showing up for one of these gigs….

    Albanese should have told the ABC to shove it. Scrotty would have.

    Okay, so I just listened to this interview, and may I say, mundo’s assessment is bullshit. Unsurprisingly, as it is becoming clearer by the day.

    Leigh Sales was actually respectfully allowing Albanese to answer her questions in full before she asked another one and his responses were forthright and clear with no prevarication that I could detect and definitely no stumbling over words, no nervousness or jitteryness. I did detect a man attempting to find his ‘leaders voice’ and I am sure that he will settle into that in time.

    What I am also sure about is that Scott Morrison doesn’t tell Leigh Sales ‘to shove it’.

    Wishing to give this mundo character the benefit of the doubt, unlike that which he has given me, I went back with an open mind to listen to the interview. Thankfully my initial opinion of him has been justified as a result. He’s a jerk. I don’t think I’ll be giving him the benefit of the doubt again.

  16. meher baba says:
    Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    briefly and Boerwar and the other bores on PB can rant and rail against the Greens all they wish.

    Labor …..lost because their political positioning was confusing and, to the extent that it was understood, unpopular with the aspirational voters in the marginals.

    In Perth Labor lost ground in the marginals among voters from financially-stressed households. The term ‘aspirational’ is entirely without content. Some voters moved towards Labor during the campaign. More voters moved away from Labor. These voters were/are concerned about household incomes. They are concerned about the availability of work and the cost of living.

    This applied in Pearce, Stirling, Hasluck, Swan and Canning. There was considerable motion in voting intention during the post-budget and campaign period.

  17. The best ticket would be Sanders / Warren in 2020.

    I honestly don’t think any ticket with Sanders in the lead is going to win, he burned far too many democrats last time. Trump will start a war or open concentration camps to kill PoC even faster than they are doing it now and his base will be on fire and out for him, and he will beat Sanders easily.

    The real fire, the real numbers and the real passion in the democratic base are women of color, she isn’t even running but they might need a Abrams / Harris ticket to really be sure. Yes it is ageist and sexist but a double old white ticket is suicide even as impressive as Warren is, and she is impressive she is amazing. I’m not even sure a Warren / Sanders ticket has a shot, but it has to have a better shot than the reverse.

    And I should learn how to spell these clowns names.

  18. @Dan Until ten to fifteen years time when your fantasy as to renewable energy has failed to materialize and we are still exporting and burning shit loads of coal.

  19. People like Dan are either pig ignorant or simply telling lies, I will give him the benefit of the doubt and run with the former.

  20. Henry @ #1330 Tuesday, June 11th, 2019 – 10:37 pm

    Biden and somebody.
    Perhaps Harris or warren. Maybe Beto.
    But it has to be joe if the dems want to beat the orange man.

    Beto is being encouraged to drop out of the Presidential race and run again for the Senate in Texas against John Cornyn who a lot of Texans aren’t happy with.

    I think it would be a good idea to flip a Senate seat and Beto would get valuable experience that would stand him in good stead down the track.

  21. Labor …..lost because their political positioning was confusing and, to the extent that it was understood, unpopular with the aspirational voters in the marginals.

    Not sure I agree with briefly either, it is far to rational, Labor lost because it is very very hard to fight a campaign that is free from policy and prepared to lie and scare people without conscience and have 80%+ of the media back up the lies and policy free vacuum.

    All the evidence points to labor lossing in the VERY last week, with the very last 8% of undecideds who broke on the very little information, zero policy understanding, and a lot of knowledge of the LNP lies. There may also have been a ‘shy tory’ effect where people knew the LNP govt was so bad and so corrupt that they wouldn’t tell pollsters they’d vote for them, but then were quite happy to do so.

    I think any analysis of the ‘impact of Labor policy’ misses EVERY single important point coming out of the election, as it only applies in a tiny tiny tiny politically active and aware and prepared to change vote group.

    I think vast bulk of Australian voters who ‘swing’ do so on a basis completely free from policy. The ‘how unpopular is bill’ sense that pervaded the left wing media, ABC, guardian even SBS ‘because it was fact’ almost certainly shifted more votes than any given ALP policy.

    The lie that negative gearing wasn’t grandfathered, and the lie it was being removed entirely also probably shifted more votes than any single actual ALP policy. The half-hearted half arsed slight trimming at the edges of the franking credits rort probably was the ALP policy that shifted most current and future pensioner voters away from ALP (through a combination of the rich guys who fought it bringing along idiots who didn’t even benefit from it and an effective abuse of parlimentary committee by an immoral LNP) but then again in this cohort the death tax lie may well have been more effective in moving votes than the actual franking credit policy.

    It is, objectively, an absurd dumb outcome that cannot be analysed rationally as a decision between competing policies or visions. As a nation we deserve to spend 50 billion taken from health and aged care on nuclear and coal plants, because our vote was that stupid. It was brexit stupid and Trump stupid. Just really really dumb.

    Finally I think with such a dumb, information poor, time poor electorate Labor consistently undervalues leadership. Time and time again we see the electorate reward strong confident leadership. Strong confident leadership without substance gets reward. But yet Labor runs an election campaign of cringe, compromise and cowardice. Oh those of us engaged enough to go and see Bill in a townhall saw some courage, and even a bit of passion, we saw a lot of skill handling a crowd. Most of Australia didn’t see any courage, any leadership, any strength or any confidence. It was a ‘tinker softly at the edges’ campaign of very very soft change. ‘Fairness’ might have done it with a strong enough salesman but it clearly didn’t.

    I also think the greens, like the media, who can only focus on Labor and attack Labor, ‘hold them to account’, and often rightly try to hold Labor to account, do massively more to help the LNP and entrench Australia’s right wing than they do to shift the overton window or win hearts and minds. but the hearts and minds they have won feel so very very smug, it is reward enough on its own.

  22. Biden

    Biden will lose to Trump and even if he wins he’ll be beaten in four years time by a smart, focused, calculating Trump type. He is a moron, he keeps saying and doing stupid things. Yeah he is better than Trump, but he speaks to the kind of lack of courage and absence of leadership that Labor in Australia love to follow.

  23. Beto running for the Senate again is Texas is probably a good idea, to maximise Democratic chances in Texas (both in the Senate and other races).

    If the Democrats win Texas, that is almost certainly game over for Trump. Winning Texas regularly, should the Democrats hypothetically do that, also means that the Democrats get more Electoral College and House of Reps malapportionment reduction from expanding the House of Reps and that reduces their chances of loosing the Electoral College and/or the House of Reps despite winning the popular vote. The only catch is if the Republicans successfully try and chop off the most Democratic leaning bit of Texas as a rear-guard action, using an untested provision in Texas`s original admission to the Union in 1845 to allow it to unilaterally create 4 additional states from within Texas without further Congressional approval.

  24. Heard on the terrace was an opinion column in the west if I remember correctly from back in they day when I lived in wa.
    HOTT

    Might still be, i need a two hour shower if I read the filth in the front 9/10 of the West, so I don’t. If you can flip over to the sports pages quick enough then so long as you have a good tub of hand sanitiser at your desk and enjoy some pretty silly one-eye sports opinion, one can duck into a bit of sports at the back.

  25. TTFAB,
    You’d have to think that a new Civil War would break out if Texas tried to split itself into 4 new states! Can’t they just do voter suppression instead like other Repugs?

  26. lizzie says:
    Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 4:20 pm
    Yesterday. No mention of this by the govt?

    SBS News
    @SBSNews

    A refugee on Manus Island has set himself on fire, marking the latest in a rapidly rising number of suicide and self-harm attempts at the former site of the Australian-run detention centre

    The use of exemplary cruelty is a characteristic of tyrannies. The Liberals will feel proud of their decadence. It’s well worth remembering that the hell-holes that comprise Australia’s gulag would not exist were it not for the collusion between the Liberals and the Greens, who both seek to profit from the degradation of the powerless and the dehumanised.

  27. WWP, you would have enjoyed the presentations at Rosie O’Gradie’s last night. My remarks were lifted from Karen Luscombe’s Remarks, based on the research conducted during the pre-election and campaign periods.

  28. WWP, you would have enjoyed the presentations at Rosie O’Gradie’s last night. My remarks were lifted from Karen Luscombe’s Remarks, based on the research conducted during the pre-election and campaign periods.

    Cool.

  29. ” Albanese should have told the ABC to shove it. Scrotty would have.

    Okay, so I just listened to this interview, and may I say, mundo’s assessment is bullshit. Unsurprisingly, as it is becoming clearer by the day.”

    Watched that……….mundo’ assessment complete bollocks.

    Also, watched Qanda last night. Barry Marshal very good, worth seeing on iview if you haven’t already. 🙂

  30. “Labor lost because it is very very hard to fight a campaign that is free from policy and prepared to lie and scare people without conscience and have 80%+ of the media back up the lies and policy free vacuum. ”

    Agree…that was a significant factor but not the only one. And, regardless its something the ALP is going to have to work out a way to deal with.

  31. Boerwar says:
    Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    $600 million of taxpayer funds or taxpayer subsidized funds buys you a lot of lies.
    The lies were good. No doubt about that.
    Shorten was a rapist. Labor were baby murderers. Labor was intending to settle a muslim family next door. Labor was going to add a trillion to your taxes. Labor was going to institute death duties. Labor was going to force you into electric utes. Labor was going to allow Adani to operate. Labor was a Greens front. Labor was a neo Liberal front. Labor was going to bugger up a strong economy. Labor was going to destroy jobs. Labor was going to wreck the economy by going too far on climate change. Labor was going to wreck the economy by not going far enough on climate change.
    Everyone was having a go at the lying. Everyone.
    The $600 million made sure that the lies reached everyone. Dozens and dozens of times.

    ——————————————

    Kee-rect. Let’s stop arguing about what happened.

    The “unloseable election” was STOLEN. It was stolen by the Coalition, Clive Palmer, Pauline Hanson, Crosby-Textor, Cambridge Analytica and a compliant mainstream and social media. A greedy, gullible electorate was easy pickings for that mendacious gang who used those lies to get people to vote against their best interests. Kansas, anyone.

    The Greens were not helpful, but their role was not significant.

    Forget Bill Shorten, Rex. Even Jesus Christ would not have been able to counter the farrago of lies and misrepresentations. And of course it didn’t help that this came on top of six solid years of demonizing the alternate Prime Minister. Bill Shorten may not have won in these circumstances, but he can hold his head up high for running a responsible campaign for the adults in the room.

    End of story.

  32. https://www.pollbludger.net/2019/06/09/election-plus-three-weeks/comment-page-27/#comment-3201080

    I doubt a new civil war would brake out. It would certainly be tested in the Supreme Court, where Republican appointed justices hold a majority until further notice.

    Texas has long done voter suppression (it is a Southern state after all), it has demographics similar to California but decades of being Republican. Other state Republicans don`t have access to the additional state option.

    I suspect that a state along the Rio Grande (the river that is also the Mexican border) would be their first choice, as it is heavily Democratic and not the richest part of Texas.

    Some background information from 2009:
    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/messing-with-texas/

  33. beguiledagain @ #1343 Tuesday, June 11th, 2019 – 10:58 pm

    Boerwar says:
    Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    $600 million of taxpayer funds or taxpayer subsidized funds buys you a lot of lies. ….
    . Dozens and dozens of times.

    ——————————————

    Kee-rect. Let’s stop arguing about what happened.

    The “unloseable election” was STOLEN. It was stolen by the Coalition, Clive Palmer, Pauline Hanson, Crosby-Textor, Cambridge Analytica and a compliant mainstream and social media.
    ..

    Yes, yes and yes. To both comments.

  34. The “unloseable election” was STOLEN. It was stolen by the Coalition, Clive Palmer, Pauline Hanson, Crosby-Textor, Cambridge Analytica and a compliant mainstream and social media.
    _____________________________
    Let’s not forget the Greens, Bob Brown, the convoy, Murdoch, the AFP, Leigh Sales and Fran Kelly, just to name a few.

  35. Texas subdivision would however have 2 major benefits:

    It would reduce malapportionment in the U.S. Senate, at least for Texans who are the second worst represented by the Senate, after California.

    It would reduce the number of media regions in state-wide offices, making it easier for less moneyed candidates to win.

    The same arguments apply to splitting California up, it shouldn`t really have been admitted so big without a similar provision to Texas, which is the most in need of subdivision.

  36. imacca,
    Thank you for making me feel that I am neither paranoid, nor simply a flag-waver for Labor.

    TTFAB,
    Thank you for that link wrt Texas. I will read it in the morning.

    beguiled again,
    Thank you for your perspicacity. 🙂

  37. The “unloseable election” was STOLEN.

    “Bought” would be a better word. Palmer alone spent something like 4x Labor’s entire campaign budget on advertising.

  38. TTFAB,
    I will just say that there are other US States, such as North and South Dakota, that should be combined into one. But we both know it will never happen. 🙂

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