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. The North Korean leader said he and the US President have an “excellent relationship.”

    Yep. Trump uses Kim to further his conditioning of the American electorate to his Authoritarian leanings. Kim does what he wants, ignores Trump but allows himself to be used.
    #winning

  2. Boerwar @ #1347 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 6:38 pm

    The real problem with the magnificent french reactor fleet (and their significant savings on CO2) is not whether a tiny proportion of them has to close down for a tiny proportion of the year for sound environmental reasons like not cooking carp in the Rhine.
    The real problem is the massive decommissioning costs. They are old.
    That, and replacing them with what.

    You can argue against nuclear, but please do so on the correct grounds. Nuclear power is the cheapest form of energy around – even when you include decommissioning costs.

  3. C@tmomma says:
    Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 6:41 pm
    poroti @ #1350 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 6:39 pm

    C@t

    It may well be. Good spotting !
    It’s a bromance. So, y’know.
    _____________________________
    It’s like your 60th post today so y’know give someone else a go and don’t be a hog!

  4. p1
    Which would be why the private sector is abandoning investment in nuclear power.
    BTW, did you include Chernobyl and Fukushima in your calculations?
    If so, what figures did you use?

  5. The capital costs of decommissioning the entire french nuclear fleet will be around $40-100 billion.
    The cost of replacing them will be around $120-360 billion.
    Definitely do-able for the french.

  6. Boerwar @ #1356 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 6:49 pm

    Which would be why the private sector is abandoning investment in nuclear power.

    If true (which it is not), that would be to do with profit, and public perception, not cost.

    BTW, did you include Chernobyl and Fukushima in your calculations?
    If so, what figures did you use?

    Did you include species extinction from global warming in yours?
    If so, what figures did you use?

  7. Rex Douglas @ #1289 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 3:08 pm

    briefly @ #1286 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 2:59 pm

    George Mega is tempted to think that things are already set up Labor to win next time.

    Of course, this is nonsense. The Liberals are the usual winners in federal elections. The economy and the environment are both getting worse at the same time. The Liberals will use this against Labor while the Greens and the Lib-clones will help them. This is the basic pattern of play in Australian politics.

    Albanese and Labor are a shoe-in if the economy tanks and the extreme weather continues.

    The shonky salesman PM will be run out of office just like Can-DO Campbell was shown the door in Qld.

    This is probably the first and last time that I will say his in relation to a Rex Douglas post – totally agree and perfectly put.

  8. C@tmomma @ #1323 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 5:49 pm

    It’s actually quite smart. If the Coalition can’t pass it as one then they have to come to Labor and deal with them on their terms. Other than that, the Crossbench can own it. All of it.

    Is it? I mean, I’m not sure how they count things in Parliament but I’d think that if there’s a vote and the Coalition votes for something, the crossbench opposes, and Labor abstains then the motion carries?

    If so then not getting behind “we oppose this” means the entire package passes. Labor can own it because they failed to actually oppose it.

    And also, wtf? Has Labor learned nothing whatsoever from the election? And Brexit? Sitting on the fence like a coward isn’t clever strategy, it’s a surefire way to lose. My hope was that such tendencies would go with Shorten.

  9. I am absolutely certain that Xi and Donald would be taking Birmingham’s exhortations on agricultural trade as seriously as Ms Crabbe took them this morning.
    The China-US trade in Ag commodities is a major chip on the table.
    Despite Morrison’s incipient megalomania on the world stage, Australia will be taking hind tit from both China (which is still pissed off cos Huawei) and the US because, when its own national interest is at stake, the US (especially under Trump) treats its allies like shit.

  10. ‘Player One says:
    Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Boerwar @ #1360 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 7:09 pm

    OK, so you tacitly admit that you did not include Fukushima and Chernobyl in your costs.

    Ok, so you tacitly admit you did not include species extinction from global warming in your costs.’

    Goodness me. I had forgotten how you operate. Memo to self: do not engage P1 under any circumstances.

  11. Boerwar @ #1358 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 6:53 pm

    The capital costs of decommissioning the entire french nuclear fleet will be around $40-100 billion.
    The cost of replacing them will be around $120-360 billion.
    Definitely do-able for the french.

    Such folly. The same amount of money would work wonders if spent on renewables instead.

  12. Is it? I mean, I’m not sure how they count things in Parliament but I’d think that if there’s a vote and the Coalition votes for something, the crossbench opposes, and Labor abstains then the motion carries?

    I thought the case being put was, if Labor oppose initially, then it’s up to the Coalition to negotiate with the Crossbench to pass the whole thing. If so, and the Crossbench negotiate a few trinkets in exchange for their votes for all of it then Labor can say, don’t look at us, we wanted to pass Stage 1 and 2 but we thought Stage 3 was an expensive bridge too far.

  13. BW
    I’m reading Midnight in Chernobyl. The scariest thing isn’t the explosion and radiation leakage; it’s that we just can’t trust a state not to lie about nuclear accidents. Russia was worse than other countries but how much would you trust the US etc? There were numerous warning signs that were all covered up and ignored.

  14. Having watched portions of the first, and the bulk of the second 20-strong Democratic challenger debate, I must say the forthcoming primaries and main event in the USA is worth savouring. And a plethora of polls – see for example https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/latest_polls/

    For me, Biden is the lead, with a ‘diverse’ running mate. Kamala Harris did come across as that ‘attack dog’ prepared to shred the Emporer’s clothes. Dotard’s photo ops with murdering friends are hardly the foreign policy successes. And Xi and the comrades have his number, and will have him squirming all the way till November 2020.

  15. “Three senior officials told @politico that Trump is trying to enlist the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Australia and Turkey in opposing commitments to stand by the Paris climate agreement made at previous G-20 summits”

    I can see Morrison saluting. Axis of Assholes.

  16. C@tmomma @ #1375 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 5:29 pm

    Confessions @ #1357 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 6:50 pm

    Imagine the Republican apoplexy were it Obama inviting Kim to the White House.

    Which is exactly the point. They don’t care what they get apoplectic about. They just get apoplectic because. Democrats.

    Romney made a half hearted attempt to bring Trump to heel over his cozying up to MBS at the G20. The trouble is this kind of ‘lion on twitter, mouse in Congress’ schtick from Republicans only works once. The last time he criticised Trump in the media he rolled over when he took his seat. You’re either true to your values and beliefs, or you’re a party zombie.

  17. Player One says:
    Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    Boerwar @ #1347 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 6:38 pm

    The real problem with the magnificent french reactor fleet (and their significant savings on CO2) is not whether a tiny proportion of them has to close down for a tiny proportion of the year for sound environmental reasons like not cooking carp in the Rhine.
    The real problem is the massive decommissioning costs. They are old.
    That, and replacing them with what.

    You can argue against http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/economic-aspects/economics-of-nuclear-power.aspx, but please do so on the correct grounds. Nuclear power is the cheapest form of energy around – even when you include decommissioning costs.

    Absolute, ignorant baloney.
    Here is an attempt to run your argument:
    http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/economic-aspects/economics-of-nuclear-power.aspx

    A gallant effort for sure, didn’t even come out cheaper than coal and renewables are now cheaper than that.

    Do note, de-commissioning cost was not included.
    Long term storage cost of spent fuel are not included.
    And a portion of the cleanup cost and cost of abandoned real estate, already incurred not included.

    Of all the cons and all the wanks efforts such as this top the charts; and you sir are miss informed.

  18. frednk @ #1384 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 8:26 pm

    Now I know P1 that science is no longer popular, but here is an analysis not done by nuclear spivs.

    https://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear-power/cost-nuclear-power

    I have no problem with an ideological opposition to nuclear power. Just don’t try and make the case that we should replace existing nuclear power with renewables on some kind of economic basis, or that we should not build new nuclear if it prevents us burning more coal. These arguments just don’t stack up.

  19. frednk @ #1387 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 8:38 pm

    I note the wikipedia article has the cost of the Fukushima cleanup at $100 billion. The Japan Center for Economic Research, said the cleanup costs could mount to some $470 billion to $660 billion. 100 billion is probable a little low.

    Is that cheaper or more expensive than the cost of species extinction? I’ve never been quite clear on this.

  20. P1 I was being polite; sorry.

    Read note 5. “marginal cost of operating fully depreciated coal and nuclear facilities, inclusive of decommissioning costs for nuclear facilities.”

    So you exclude the capital cost and include the decommissioning costs. As I said as wanks and cons go it is top of the charts.


  21. Player One says:
    Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 8:44 pm
    ..

    Is that cheaper or more expensive than the cost of species extinction? I’ve never been quite clear on this.

    That is a different question. It could be argued that returning land to the wild as they have done at Chernobyl is a net benefit for wild animals, for sure.

  22. Player One says:
    Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 8:49 pm

    frednk @ #1390 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 8:44 pm

    So you exclude the capital cost and include the decommissioning costs.

    Which is, of course, the correct thing to do for existing nuclear plants.

    Of cause; silly me. New levels of cons and wankery to be admired.

  23. Confessions says:
    Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    Oh dear the electricity wars have returned.

    Definitely need a new poll!

    We may see pro nuclear excluding capital costs; but at least the numbers arn’t random.

  24. ‘Diogenes says:
    Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    BW
    I’m reading Midnight in Chernobyl. The scariest thing isn’t the explosion and radiation leakage; it’s that we just can’t trust a state not to lie about nuclear accidents. Russia was worse than other countries but how much would you trust the US etc? There were numerous warning signs that were all covered up and ignored.’

    Yep.

    Whatever else they shared, Chernobyl and Fukushima shared this: the lies of state leaders killed first responders.


  25. Player One says:
    Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    frednk @ #1394 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 8:54 pm

    Of cause; silly me. New levels of cons and wankery to be admired.

    Those pesky facts, eh? They really do get in the way of a good argument!

    Any argument that excludes capital costs; no matter the excuse is not a good argument.
    Facts so twisted I actually find it amusing.
    Shall we compare the fuel cost for solar and nuclear?

  26. The cost of the Fukushima cleanup keeps doubling.
    The estimates of third parties has consistently been around twice that of the Japanese Government/Tepco.
    The estimates of third parties keep being overtaken by events.
    The upper level of third party estimates is now in the order of $340 billion.
    There are two immediate issues.
    The first is that they cannot stop underground water from moving through the radiation field and becoming dangerously irradiated. This is then collected and put into a magnificent and ever-growing array of tanks.
    The second is that they still don’t know what is going on under the melted cores.
    Every time they send in a new autonomous vehicle to try and find out what is happening, it sort of melts.

Leave a Reply

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