Foreign affairs and Senate preferences

A comprehensive new survey on attitudes to foreign affairs, and deeper-than-ever dive into Senate voting and the preference question.

We’re still yet to have a new poll of federal voting intention after the election, for whatever that may still be worth, but I would imagine Newspoll will be breaking its drought to mark next week’s resumption of parliament. We do, however, have one of the Lowy Institute’s occasional surveys on attitudes to foreign affairs, the results of which are attractively presented on the organisation’s website.

The headline topic of the poll is Sino-American relations, and the results point to a sharp decline in trust towards China, which a clear majority of respondents rated the “world’s leading economic power”. Even clearer majorities, of around three-quarters, believed China was pursuing regional domination, and that Australia should do more to resist its military activities even if it affected our too-close economic relationship.

However, the poll also finds a further decline in trust in the United States, to add to the body-blow it took when Donald Trump was elected. Of particular interest here are the age breakdowns. Whereas there was little to distinguish the age cohorts in their positive view of the US on Obama’s watch, respondents in their youth and early middle-age now take a substantially more negative view than older ones.

Relatedly, the highly negative and worsening view of Trump personally, while evident across all age cohorts, is most pronounced among the young. This carries through to a head-to-head question on whether respondents should prioritise strong relations with the United States or China, with a majority of those aged 18-30 favouring China, and a large majority of the 60-plus cohort favouring the United States.

Beyond that, the survey offers no end of interesting material:

• Respondents were asked about their satisfaction with democracy – which, one often reads, is in freefall throughout the western world, particularly among the young. However, the Lowy Institute’s yearly tracking of this question going back to 2012 doesn’t show any such thing. If anything, there seems to be a slight trend in favour of the response that “democracy is preferable to any other kind of government”, which is up three on last year at 65%. While the young are less sold on this notion than the old, there has been a solid improving trend among the 18-to-30 cohort, with this year’s result up six on last year’s to 55%, a new high over the course of the series.

• Evaluations were sought on a limited sample of foreign leaders, specifically concerning whether they could be trusted in world affairs. Donald Trump ranked down alongside Vladimir Putin, while Jacinda Ardern recorded near-unanimous acclaim, with 88% expressing either a lot of or some confidence. New Zealand was rated “Australia’s best friend” out of six available options by 59%, up from six since 2017.

• Brexit was rated a bad thing for the United Kingdom by 62%, a bad thing for the European Union by 70%, and a bad thing for the West in general by 58%. The UK’s rating on a “feelings thermometer” fell six points, to 76.

• Concern about climate change maintained an upward trajectory, with 61% favouring action “even if this involves significant costs”. The long-range trend on this question going back to 2006 suggests climate change is less of a problem when Labor are in office.

• Views on immigration were less negative than last year, after a significant hardening of opinion between 2014 and 2018. However, the immigration rate was still held to be too high by 48% of all respondents, and a very large majority of older ones.

The survey was conducted online and by telephone from March 12 to 25 from a sample of 2130.

The second part of today’s lesson relates to Senate preference flows, from which we can obtain no end of information thanks to the Australian Electoral Commission’s publication of the data files containing the preference order for every single ballot paper. By contrast, we’re still waiting on the two-party preference splits the AEC eventually publishes for each party in the House of Representatives. There will be a lot of analysis of this information here over the coming weeks, but for starters I offer the following:

This shows, from left to right, the rate of voters’ adherence to their favoured party’s how-to-vote-card; the rate at which minor party voters’ preference orders favoured Labor over the Coalition or vice-versa, or neither in the event that they did not number either party (“two-party”); and a similar three-way measure that throws the Greens into the mix (“three-party”).

This shows that United Australia Party voters heavily favoured the Coalition over Labor, but not because they were following the party’s how-to-vote cards, a course followed by around 0.1% of the total electorate. One Nation preferences were only slightly less favourable to the Coalition, and even fewer of the party’s voters followed the card. Since One Nation’s preferences in the lower house split almost evenly in 2016, out of the 15 seats where they ran, it seems safe to assume a shift in One Nation preferences accounted for a substantial chunk of the two-party swing to the Coalition. I will calculate Senate preference flows from 2016 for comparison over the next few days.

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.

1,777 comments on “Foreign affairs and Senate preferences”

  1. We already knew this, but the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in the Trump family.

    President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr. retweeted, and then deleted, an alt-right commentator named Ali Alexander, stating, “Kamala Harris is implying she is descended from American Black Slaves. She’s not. She comes from Jamaican Slave Owners. That’s fine. She’s not an American Black. Period.”

    In sharing that message to his millions of followers, Trump Jr. tweeted: “Is this true? Wow.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020-democrats-rush-to-defend-kamala-harris-against-attacks-on-her-blackness/2019/06/29/5978549c-9aa3-11e9-830a-21b9b36b64ad_story.html?utm_term=.b3888447cb93

    And the Russian troll farm was activated on debate night, all pushing the same line about Harris.

    https://twitter.com/RVAwonk/status/1144451342238408704

  2. Morning all. Lizzie, Cat, thanks for the roundup. BK get well soon.

    The article on why the budget assumptions are false is good. Why would the birth rate go up when real wages are falling? People have fewer kids when money is scarce.

    Albo should go unambiguously hard on the tax cuts this week in parliament. The Liberals lied about a tax cut on 1 July and only got back in via Clive and Pauline’s preferences. No mandate for anything. A taxcut matching Labor’s proposal (only) should be supported.

  3. Lars Von Trier @ #1200 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 9:06 am

    C@tmomma says:
    Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 9:02 am
    Lars Von Trier @ #1196 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 8:40 am

    Something has to be done about the cockroaches of the sea lizzie. Thank God the Japanese are acting to deal with the plague.
    You are a cockroach of this blog. What a reprehensible attitude to whales.
    ___________________________________________
    You don’t do irony do you c@t? I for one will not rise to your provocation (and this early in the morning too)

    Prior behaviour on your part suggested my alternative explanation was plausible.

    There are also ways that you can suggest irony.
    /sarc/ being one.

  4. C@tmomma

    From your post (cartoons) —

    Going to the above address gives —

    and right clicking on the cartoon and selecting View Image Info
    gives —

    and copying the address shown highlighted into the Poll Bludger Comment Box gives —

    Examining the cartoon reminds me that I need to do some home maintenance — the Paint Can (Bollux) Bovine Faecal Brown (bullshit) perhaps not my favourite – perhaps the Cornfield Flattening Yellow would suit.

    Coffee for two please Muriel ☕☕

  5. Morrison says “We are a trading nation. One out of every five businesses…”
    That’s not a majority. What are the other 80 %?

  6. lizzie @ #1206 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 9:20 am

    Morrison says “We are a trading nation. One out of every five businesses…”
    That’s not a majority. What are the other 80 %?

    Come now my good woman. Why only last year (1952) Mr. Turnbull (I think) announced that Orstraya is now forging bravely into the past with our new mathetatics.
    As a special treat for Poll Bludgers I now proudly announce special coloured wooden blocks that will allow the advanced student to count above ten.
    Be quick – going fast! 😇😇

  7. Re. the Folau impasse, I don’t think one can go past Bertrand Russell’s view on religion:

    “My own view on religion is that of Lucretius. I regard it as a disease born of fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race.”

    And, when close to death, he is reported to have said to friend when asked if anything would change his view on religion: “Yes, evidence.”

  8. Seems like Sky After Dark is seen as the voice of the Conservative government in the media. Though we knew that already.

  9. C@tmomma @ #1189 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 8:31 am

    This is the image address for The UK Guardian cartoon:
    https://pbs.twimg.com/card_img/1145022173985345537/qeQMZ8DK?format=jpg&name=900×900

    If you could explain to me, KayJay, how you get it to work, now that I have tried imgur as well, or maybe I’m doing something wrong with it, that would be most appreciated. 🙂

    I went to the Guardian website and clicked on Cartoons and then clicked on the relevant picture.
    Right clicking and selecting Copy Image Location
    gives
    ?width=940&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=4e1300e147b5e69341cbcac896bb8e2c

    adding #image.jpg to the above
    gives

    A thousand pardons if this is boring. 😵😵

  10. KayJay @ #1221 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 10:07 am

    C@tmomma @ #1189 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 8:31 am

    This is the image address for The UK Guardian cartoon:
    https://pbs.twimg.com/card_img/1145022173985345537/qeQMZ8DK?format=jpg&name=900×900

    If you could explain to me, KayJay, how you get it to work, now that I have tried imgur as well, or maybe I’m doing something wrong with it, that would be most appreciated. 🙂

    I went to the Guardian website and clicked on Cartoons and then clicked on the relevant picture.
    Right clicking and selecting Copy Image Location
    gives
    ” rel=”nofollow”>?width=940&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=4e1300e147b5e69341cbcac896bb8e2c

    adding #image.jpg to the above
    gives
    ” rel=”nofollow”>

    A thousand pardons if this is boring. 😵😵

    Not boring because I tried that same thing yesterday and came up, literally, blank!

    I’ll give it another go now.

    Thanks, KayJay. 🙂

  11. Wacko! 😀

    I think I know what the problem was. I went to the cartoons in The Guardian and The Observer via their Twitter link and somehow, no matter what you try and do, they are disabled.

    Anyhoo, now I know what to do in the future. A thousand thank yous! KayJay 🙂

  12. Suffice it to say Trump obviously enjoyed himself at the G20 where he got to catch up with all his favourite dictators in Putin, Mohammad bin Salman and others, but still found time to offer some love for Kim.

    Trump was just as effusive when discussing Kim Jong Un, probably the most repressive ruler on the planet. Trump made clear that he is jealous of the heavily fortified demilitarized zone separating North Korea from South Korea — and preventing North Korean citizens from escaping to freedom. “When you talk about a border, that’s what they call a border,” Trump gushed. “Nobody goes through that border.” Acting as if he were asking a girl on whom he has a crush to meet him at the ice cream parlor, Trump went on Twitter to invite Kim “to meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!” The United States and North Korea have had hardly any contact since the failed Hanoi summit in February. But no matter: Trump makes clear that his one-sided bromance with Kim remains very much alive.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/06/29/trump-just-proved-he-doesnt-even-know-meaning-america/?utm_term=.da52acfc739f

    I laughed too at the reports that when asked about Putin’s observations about Western-style liberalism, Trump talked about Los Angeles and San Francisco being sad to look at. He’s truly ignorant!

  13. With Annabel in the chair, to the best of my knowlege, this morning’s “Insiders” was the first time there was an all female panel. I reckon Aunty should purloin Annika Smethurst – she’s quite impressive.

  14. Dear Abby
    A recipe check please from the cooks and chefs

    When making one’s gourmet hamburgers
    should the cardboard be combined with the beef patty or added as a separate layer or perhaps for special occasions chopped with a salad.

    From a worried homemaker expecting visitors used to only the best from MacGonicals Scottish restaurant.

  15. KayJay

    The cardboard adds bulk to the meat.Then salt and pepper heavily and cover with strong sauces. Visitors may even be fooled. 😆

  16. lizzie says:
    Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 10:33 am

    KayJay

    The cardboard adds bulk to the meat.Then salt and pepper heavily and cover with strong sauces. Visitors may even be fooled.

    Isn’t it just a more refined version of sawdust in sausages? 🙂

  17. lizzie @ #1230 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 10:33 am

    KayJay

    The cardboard adds bulk to the meat.Then salt and pepper heavily and cover with strong sauces. Visitors may even be fooled. 😆

    Thank you. I have a good suppy of barbecue sauce which I used to keep specially for coating brussels sprouts.
    Method – coat sprouts – lick delicious sauce – bin sprouts.

    Late news – Barbara from over the road told me to wise up and steam the sprouts and then eat same. I am considering trying this although I could try being difficult in the hope that Barbara will be severe with me.

    Mucho high regards 😈

  18. Kayjay, this method of meat enhancement has been practised by Kolkata street vendors since the Bengal Famine the ignoring whereof was one of the highlights of Winston Churchill’s career.

  19. Grog highlights Morrison’s arse about election campaigning.

    So where were all these Morrison mantras during the election campaign?

    The PM is now talking about changes to industrial relations – among some other rehashed ideas – but the timing’s odd

    This week, the prime minister, Scott Morrison, decided that with the election out of the way, he should now tell the country what he proposes doing for the next three years.

    It really is a lot easier to do this way, without having to go through the bother of persuading voters about your policies’ worth. Only chumps who believe in a democratic contest of ideas go in for such foolishness.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/30/so-where-were-all-these-morrison-mantras-during-the-election-campaign

  20. pritu @ #1234 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 10:48 am

    Kayjay, this method of meat enhancement has been practised by Kolkata street vendors since the Bengal Famine ignoring the ignoring whereof was one of the highlights of Winston Churchill’s career.

    Back to earth. I watched 999 emergency last night on TV. Hate crimes and racist attacks were said to have risen by up to 500%. No actual numbers given. Worse than sad world.

  21. The longer the drop the better.

    Actually no. The height of the drop has to be carefully calibrated to produce the desired result. Too short and you get a strangulation, too long and decapitation is possible.

  22. a r says:
    Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 11:03 am

    The longer the drop the better.

    Actually no. The height of the drop has to be carefully calibrated to produce the desired result. Too short and you get a strangulation, too long and decapitation is possible.

    … or broken legs etc. 🙂

  23. In his final piece for the Courier-Mail, Atkins writes in defence of Canberra, and of Queensland intellectuals.

    The way Queensland was held up as an anti-intellectual bastion of Morrison-loving conservatism was not just wrong, it was an insult to the people of a state with a rich history of literary pursuit, thoughtful inquiry and scientific achievement.

    Where is the anti-intellectualism in the literary work of David Malouf or Thea Astley? The intellectual achievements of people like former World Bank economist Jock Anderson and the global authority on genocide and colonialism, current history professor at Sydney University, Dirk Moses, are second to none.

    Nobel winner Peter Doherty has taken his medical research from the laboratories of Queensland University to the world stage.

    https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/prime-minister-scott-morrison-is-wrong-to-dismiss-our-national-capital/news-story/7c949348a09a4a2dfe78b99fac6a13c1

  24. This sums up Trump.

    Glenn Kirschner
    @glennkirschner2
    Trump acts like a child: laughing w/Putin about Russian’s cyber-attack on the US, scheduling a quick DMZ play date w/Kim Jong-un, playing footsie w/MBS, killer of a WAPO columnist. Trump belongs in this group of totalitarian toddlers – but he does not belong in the Oval Office

  25. Victoria says: Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 11:16 am

    This sums up Trump.

    Glenn Kirschner
    @glennkirschner2
    Trump acts like a child: laughing w/Putin about Russian’s cyber-attack on the US, scheduling a quick DMZ play date w/Kim Jong-un, playing footsie w/MBS, killer of a WAPO columnist. Trump belongs in this group of totalitarian toddlers – but he does not belong in the Oval Office

    ***************************************************************

  26. Trump acts like a child: laughing w/Putin about Russian’s cyber-attack on the US, scheduling a quick DMZ play date w/Kim Jong-un, playing footsie w/MBS, killer of a WAPO columnist. Trump belongs in this group of totalitarian toddlers – but he does not belong in the Oval Office

    It’s easy to blame Trump. And Trump is eminently, legitimately blameable.

    But who told these assholes that they get to participate in the first place? It used to be the case that dictators, fascists, and murderers were shunned and snubbed; not handed invites to the party. The entire international community has collectively failed to uphold the exact same standards that Trump walks all over.

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