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. @clymer tweets

    “If billionaires can pay off their yachts, students should be able to pay off their loans.”

    — @amyklobuchar

    #DemDebate

  2. Makes us so proud to be the leaders in Rejection?

    Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

    These flyers depict Australia’s policy on Illegal Immigration. Much can be learned!



  3. Re Porter.

    The Liberals won a mandate to continue to be Right Wing Fuck Wits.

    They regularly sprout their desire to remove barriers for business, irrespective of the impact on the Society in general.

    There can be no surprise at their level of Fuckwittery, especially when they seem to believe that a fair and functioning Society can coexist with unrestrained capitalism.

  4. beguiledagain says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 10:50 am

    I made no value judgement on those spending programs in that post. I view each of them very differently.

    I’m not sure what you have against the rule of law, protecting the environment or defending the nation but it sounds like you don’t like Australia very much.

    Can’t say I come here looking to have my sense of personal self worth reinforced.

  5. Bucephalus:

    I note that in any discussion of the increasing share of national income as profits, the fact that almost all Australians have benefited from this phenomenon through their superannuation funds being owners is actively ignored.

    Super is usually included as part of the wages share, as it should be (there is of course a debate as to exactly how to do this)

    Whether it is included or not in the figures Nicholas quoted is unknown, because this blog is more into “the vibe” rather than data.

  6. Bucephalus:

    I note that in any discussion of the increasing share of national income as profits, the fact that almost all Australians have benefited from this phenomenon through their superannuation funds being owners is actively ignored.

    Super is usually included as part of the wages share, as it should be (there is of course a debate as to exactly how to do this)

    Whether it is included or not in the figures Nicholas quoted is unknown, because this blog is more into “the vibe” rather than data.

  7. guytaur says: Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 11:07 am

    Buce

    Noted that you are on the side of racist Trump.

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

    Even on Fox :

    Fox News host jokes about Sarah Sanders’ exit: It’s hard being ‘mouthpiece for a racist, traitorous Nazi president’

    Fox News host Jesse Watters on Wednesday joked that President Donald Trump is a “racist, traitorous Nazi president.”

    Watters marked the last day of Sarah Sanders’ tenure as White House press secretary by recalling that she had been a favorite target of activists.

    “You are supposed to chase Sarah Sanders out of the restaurant, remember that?” Watters asked Fox News host Martha MacCallum. “They have to dehumanize Sarah Sanders, they have to isolate her, make her feel like not a real person because, remember, she is the mouthpiece for the racist, traitorous Nazi president. He cages kids, sexually assaults people, he is a madman.”

    Watters also accused members of the media of being “hypocritical” for attending Sanders’ farewell dinner.

    https://www.rawstory.com/2019/06/fox-news-host-laughs-off-sarah-sanders-exit-its-hard-being-mouthpiece-for-a-racist-traitorous-nazi-president/

  8. Barney

    As I respect your intelligence, I dare to correct you. It’s SPOUT, as in fountain of knowledge, not Sprout as in vegetables. 🙂

  9. @JoltAction tweets

    .@ewarren “Right now our economy is doing great for a thinner and thinner slice at the top. It’s not doing great for the rest of Americans. It’s corruption plain and simple—and we need to address it head on and make big, structural change to fight it.” #DemDebate

  10. Trump and his cronies are making swaddles of cash with the children in cages. The race of these children are merely a by product.
    Anyhoo, there is going to be serious blowback when the venality of this shit show is exposed

  11. Those numbers on how many people followed minor parties how to vote cards should be bookmarked for the next time somebody has the vapours about X preferencing Y over Z.

  12. lizzie says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 11:16 am

    Barney

    As I respect your intelligence, I dare to correct you. It’s SPOUT, as in fountain of knowledge, not Sprout as in vegetables.

    Thank you for your correction.

    I won’t even try and hide behind the spell checker defence as I’ve been saying sprout all my life and this is probably the first time I’ve actually written the word. 😆

  13. @Yamiche tweets

    Q: Is Medicare for all the plan you would pursue?

    Warren: “Yes, I’m with Bernie.”

    I’m sure Bernie Sanders will appreciate that moment as he pushes to be seen as the progressive wing leader of the Dems.

  14. $6 billion in taxpayer loans for farmers and managed by Joyce!
    How good is that?
    $7 billion in taxpayer funds in drought aid and managed by the Nats.
    How good is that?
    $2 billion diesel fuel rebates.
    How good is that?
    $2 billion in northern aid for farmers whose animals drowned.
    How good is that?
    Depreciation allowances speeded up to no time at all.
    How good is that?
    Income averaging a nice little tax break.
    How good is that?
    Failure to counter cost shifting by o/s Big Ag corporations.
    How good is that?
    Systematically abusing backpacker and other o/s Labor hire arrangements.
    How good is that?
    Drain the rivers for personal profit.
    How good is that?
    Ask Bucephalus, Rex and Nath and they would all say heartily: ‘Very good indeed.’
    Do the right thing by Democracy Busters R Us and please ignore ALL of the above while talking about Setka and about Folau and Christians.

  15. Boerwar

    And it goes to show how lame Labors campaign was.
    They had so much ,material to work with, and we heard nothing as to how corrupt the coalition were and are.
    You gotta wonder why

  16. @ewarren tweets

    Yes, I would support government-run insurance. Health care is a basic human right, and we fight for basic human rights. We need #MedicareForAll. #DemDebate

  17. Barney

    That’s interesting. The tendency seems to be to leave out the ‘r’ in Oz lingo. Bought for brought, for example, and yee for year.

  18. Samuel Clark@sclark_melbs

    The Attorney-General @cporterwa has just withdrawn from Sunday’s interview with @InsidersABC #auspol

    Scaredy-cat. 😆

  19. Dole bludgers who refuse to take jobs at farms will have their Centrelink payments slashed as part of a national push to help Aussie farmers prepare for the upcoming harvest season.

    The Federal Government is preparing to penalise layabouts who turn down short-term harvest work and will step-up penalties for those who have no excuse for doing so.

    The worst offenders could have their dole money withdrawn for four weeks.

    If this crackdown fails to attract enough workers, Prime Minister Scott Morrison will consider increasing the numbers by changing working holiday visas to push visitors onto farms.

    “Where we cannot find Australians to do the work, we cannot allow the fruit to rot,” Mr Morrison said.

    “We will back our farmers and make arrangements through our Pacific Island worker and migration program to get the job done.”

    https://thewest.com.au/countryman/horticulture/pick-fruit-or-lose-welfare-pm-says-ng-b881241502z?utm_campaign=share-icons&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&tid=1561595315026

  20. @lizzie

    The whole boat turn-back and offshore detention policies of the last twenty years, was a cynical attempt to appeal to voters who have nostalgia for the White Australia Policy. A future government needs to make an official apology for the policy and all those affected by it, among the first things it does.

  21. lizzie says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 11:30 am

    Barney

    That’s interesting. The tendency seems to be to leave out the ‘r’ in Oz lingo. Bought for brought, for example, and yee for year.

    I should have known better as I’ve always known and said “waterspout.” 🙂

  22. Re the bludger farmers. Why should we prop up what is obviously a failing business model ? Get a model that works or eff off. Until then stop using and abusing cheap labour .

  23. Confessions @ #24 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 8:37 am

    Paul KrugmanVerified account@paulkrugman
    5h5 hours ago
    Great graphics. US Democrats have gone from being a center-right to a center-left party; the GOP from a right-wing party to an extreme right-wing party, closer to Germany’s neo-Nazis than to the global center.

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/06/26/opinion/sunday/republican-platform-far-right.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

    Pity that Australia does not show up in these graphics.
    Would love to see the drunken walk taken by both our major political parties over the past two decades or so.

  24. Maybe Insiders could invite a Labor person on to critique government policy, without trying to turn it around and make it all about Labor policy.

    That would be a nice change.

  25. Oakeshott Country says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 8:59 am
    “Goward raises the point that if we abhor Folau’s message must we also abhor the bible that he quotes”

    Seems a fair point – when is it being banned for this thing people call hate speech and when do the book burnings start? Will it be applied to the Torah and Koran as well?

  26. Buce

    You lost the Marriage Debate. Whining now that the same arguments are not working won’t help you.

    We are not a fascist state and we have limits on hate speech.

  27. citizen says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 9:00 am

    “Reading the quotes in the article, it seems Porter is intent on launching a full scale attack on employees, especially those on lower salaries.”

    I read the article and could not find any evidence to support your claim. The opposite in fact:

    “Mr Porter said he would seek submissions over the next six to nine months, vowing only to make changes that were “evidence based” and would benefit both workers and employers.”

    “Asked if the nation would see a return to the WorkChoices era, Mr Porter said he had “no interest in treating the industrial relations system as a contest” and that his reforms would benefit both employers and employees.”

  28. In the March quarter of 2018, labour income (in wages, salaries, and superannuation contributions) accounted for 47.1% of total GDP. That is down over 11 percentage points from the peak labour share (over 58%) recorded in the same quarter of 1975. The loss of that share of GDP, given total output today, is equivalent to a redirection of some $210 billion in annual income – and the research symposium showed that almost all of that income was captured in the form of higher company profits (especially in the financial sector). If it were divided equally amongst all employed Australians, that lost income share translates into foregone income of close to $17,000 per worker.

    https://www.futurework.org.au/infographic_the_shrinking_labour_share_of_gdp_and_average_wages

    Superannuation is included in the wages share of national income.

    The wages share has fallen from 58 to 47 percent since 1975 – a staggering expropriation of wealth.

  29. Victoria says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 9:03 am

    “Funny that. I didn’t hear anything from Morrison and co during election campaign about IR laws.”

    So, governments aren’t allowed to do anything at all that wasn’t detailed in an election campaign?

  30. lizzie says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 9:07 am
    “The arrogant Coalition seems to believe it has a ‘mandate’ for every nasty little brainfart they have kept secret during the election. Memories of Abbott “No cuts…” promises.”

    So a government can’t do anything that wasn’t detailed in an election campaign? Since when?

    Shame about the ABC and SBS shutting down. I miss them.

  31. Go for it BW.
    I applaud your joust with the debate-poisoners you have mentioned.
    They, of course, come back with the pathetic rejoinder that they are “open minded” whereas as you, clearly, to them, are a closed minded git.
    I prefer to scroll past their attempts to claim debating points as they are just spoilers…………………..Stick at it lad!

  32. Mexicanbeemer says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 9:18 am

    A Self Managed Super Fund is managed by the Members who are also trustees either personally or as directors of a trustee company but that doesn’t mean they are Self-Funded. You can have a SMSF and get the Age Pension – that is not Self-Funded.

    Self-Funded Retirees are ones who do not get any Age Pension either because they don;t qualify or they don’t wish to receive it. You can be in an Industry Fund or a Retail Fund or have a State or Commonwealth Fund and not be eligible for the Age Pension and you are therefore a Self-Funded Retiree.

  33. Tricot @ #143 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 12:04 pm

    Go for it BW.
    I applaud your joust with the debate-poisoners you have mentioned.
    They, of course, come back with the pathetic rejoinder that they are “open minded” whereas as you, clearly, to them, are a closed minded git.
    I prefer to scroll past their attempts to claim debating points as they are just spoilers…………………..Stick at it lad!

    tut tut…

  34. Bucephalus

    Shame about the ABC and SBS shutting down. I miss them.

    They haven’t been shut down, only emasculated. I also blame the management for trying to spread too far in competition with other platforms.

  35. Bucephalus @ #140 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 12:00 pm

    Victoria says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 9:03 am

    “Funny that. I didn’t hear anything from Morrison and co during election campaign about IR laws.”

    So, governments aren’t allowed to do anything at all that wasn’t detailed in an election campaign?

    Be careful what you wish for. One day a Labor government will use that argument back at your kind. 🙂

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