ANU post-election survey and Essential Research poll

Comprehensive new research suggests a telling shift from the “others” column to the Coalition through the campaign period, while Labor were either consistently overrated by pollsters or fell off a cliff at the end.

Some particularly interesting post-election research has emerged in the shape of a paper from Nicholas Biddle at the Australian National University’s Centre for Social Research and Methods. This draws from the centre’s regular online panel surveys on social attitudes, which encompasses a question on voting intention for reasons unrelated to prediction of election results. The study compares results for 1692 respondents who completed both its pre- and post-election surveys, which were respectively conducted from April 8 to 26 (encompassing the start of the campaign on April 11) and June 3 to 17 (commencing a fortnight after the election). Respondents were excluded altogether if they were either ineligible to vote or failed to answer the voting intention question.

The results are, to a point, consistent with the possibility that pollsters were confounded by a last minute shift to the Coalition, particularly among those who had earlier been in the “others” column. The changes can be summarised as follows, keeping in mind that a “don’t know” response for the April survey was at 2.9%, and 6.5% in the June survey said they did not vote. Since the disparity leaves a net 3.6% of the total vote unaccounted for, the shifts identified below will err on the low side.

The Coalition vote increased an estimated 2.6% from the time of the April survey, suggesting the polls were right to be recording them at around 38% at that time, if not later. However, no movement at all was recorded in the Labor vote, suggesting they were always about four points short of the 37% most polls were crediting them with. The exception here was Ipsos, which had Labor at 33% or 34% in all four of the polls from the start of the year. The Greens fell very slightly, suggesting a poll rounding to whole numbers should have had them at 11% early in the campaign. Newspoll consistently had it at 9%, Ipsos at 13% or 14%, and Essential fluctuated between 9% and 12%.

The biggest move was the 5.9% drop in support for “others”, although a fair bit of this wound up in the “did not vote” column. Even so, it can conservatively be said that pollsters in April should have been rating “others” at around four points higher than their actual election result of 15%, when they were actually coming in only one point higher. This three point gap is reflected in the size of the overestimation of support for Labor.

The results also point to a remarkably high degree of churn — an estimated 28.5% did not stick with the voting intention expressed in April, albeit that a little more than a fifth of this subset did so by not voting at all. The sub-sample of vote changers is small, but it offers little to suggest voters shifted from Labor to the Coalition in particularly large numbers. The Coalition recorded the lowest rate of defection, although the difference with Labor was not statistically significant (I presume it’s normal for major party supporters to be more constant than minor). Conversely, 49.4% of those who left the “others” column went to the Coalition (which comes with a 9% margin of error), and most of the remainder did not vote.

The survey also features statistical analysis to determine the demographic characteristics of vote changers. These find that older voters were generally less likely to be vote changers, and that young vote changers tended not to do so in favour of the Coalition, presumably switching for the most part between Labor and the Greens. Also particularly unlikely to budge were Coalition voters who lived in areas of socio-economic advantage. Those at the other end of this scale, regardless of party support, were most volatile.

Also out this week was the regular fortnightly Essential Research survey, which is still yet to resume its voting intention series but will do so soon. A question on the anticipated impact of government policies over the next three years produces encouraging numbers for the government, with 41% positive and 23% negative. A question on racist sentiments finds 36% agreeing that Australia is a racist country, and 50% saying it is less racist than it was in the past. Breakdowns record no significant differences between those of migrant and non-migrant backgrounds, although the former may include too many of British origin for the results to be particularly revealing.

A question on political interest finds only 15% professing no interest in federal politics, with 53% saying they follow it closely or “enough to know what’s happening”. A big question though is whether polling has gone astray because too many such people are included in their samples. The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1075 respondents drawn from an online panel.

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.

1,483 comments on “ANU post-election survey and Essential Research poll”

  1. Victoria says:
    Saturday, September 7, 2019 at 8:23 am

    …”Both Qld and NSW are currently dealing with serious bushfires. It is only the beginning of spring. Not good. Not good at all”…

    Early spring is bushfire season in Queensland.
    By the beginning of October, the entire coastal region will receive 1 – 3 inches of rain per week, climate change not withstanding.

    Bushfires, at least in places where people actually live, are still something of a rarity in summer.

  2. Not sure

    Well I guess the statements by authorities that this is the earliest start to bushfire season in history doesn’t hold any sway……

  3. The NZ deportations link above confirms my suspicion that non-anglos are the main target. Seems we are back to the future of the White Australia policy.

  4. As per ABC report

    Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Deputy Commissioner Mark Roche said Queensland had already started its fire season, with several fires coming close to homes and killing wildlife in the south-east last week.

    “The bushfire season has started early and we expect it will go later as well,” he said.

  5. Not Sure @ #1101 Sunday, September 8th, 2019 – 9:06 am

    Victoria says:
    Saturday, September 7, 2019 at 8:23 am

    …”Both Qld and NSW are currently dealing with serious bushfires. It is only the beginning of spring. Not good. Not good at all”…

    Early spring is bushfire season in Queensland.
    By the beginning of October, the entire coastal region will receive 1 – 3 inches of rain per week, climate change not withstanding.

    Bushfires, at least in places where people actually live, are still something of a rarity in summer.

    I wouldn’t be so sure.

  6. Cormann is just an expressionless robot. He repeats all the standard texts use during the election and always returns to Labor, Labor, we have a plan.

  7. Victoria @ #1102 Sunday, September 8th, 2019 – 9:14 am

    As per ABC report

    Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Deputy Commissioner Mark Roche said Queensland had already started its fire season, with several fires coming close to homes and killing wildlife in the south-east last week.

    “The bushfire season has started early and we expect it will go later as well,” he said.

    Increasing amounts of vegetation and wildlife being wiped out thanks to climate warming yet the LibNats and Labor are unmoved re their addiction to their coal-related donors.

    The question is why do 75% of voters keep voting for them… ?

  8. Victoria,

    With Queensland it would depend on what region you are talking about.
    The north is coming towards the end of the dry season, so bushfires would not be unusual, whilst in the South of the State, the dry season is not as evident, with rainfall more consistent throughout the winter.

  9. Really there is nothing racist about criminal deportations. It is based on criminal record and is codified in law.

    Personally, I am against ANY criminal deportations as it is further punishment beyond jail. They will be recidivist in a a new environment. If they have done the time, paid their debt to (our) society, they should be released into their community.

    But we now have a vindictive mindset, News Limited would take up any number of these cases, and that would be the end of that.

  10. GG

    They’ve invented a new syndrome to describe what’s wrong with a lot of PB posters; “Climate Change Distress and Anxiety Syndrome”.

    Yep, if only they could be more like you and assume that everything was going to be OK because there is an omnipotent sky fairy who will fix things.

  11. Greensborough Growler @ #1083 Sunday, September 8th, 2019 – 8:26 am

    They’ve invented a new syndrome to describe what’s wrong with a lot of PB posters; “Climate Change Distress and Anxiety Syndrome”.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-08/how-eternalism-can-help-with-climate-change-distress-and-anxiety/11477560

    You know, apart from it being a badly written article, more clichéed than meaningful, it does raise the issue of what anxiety is for. I’m a bit anxious about bushfires, for example. So I’ve got a plan, and a little list. I’ve got a little list. When I gave anaesthetics, I used to get a bit anxious. So I’d work out a plan, and a little list. Of things that might go wrong, like the patient dying. Right there in front of you. Dead. So I’d get a little anxious. And make a little list. And get ready.

    I think I’d even go so far as to change your opening sentence. It would go ‘They’ve invented a new syndrome to describe what’s *RIGHT* with a lot of PB posters ….”

    Failing that, it’s psilocybes for breakfast, for the ultimate relief from existential distress. You aren’t you. You’re just a projection.

  12. zoomster @ #1088 Sunday, September 8th, 2019 – 8:34 am

    mundo

    Well, recognising the realities of the situation is important if you want to change it.

    If you work off false premises – which, in the last election cycle, included inaccurate polling – you can’t.

    Well as far as the last election goes, I got it right. No false premise. Just Blind Freddie and me tuned in to the zeitgeist.

    Email text to my mum on polling day morning…..’I’m not feeling at all confident mum..’
    All the times I was shouted down here for calling the campaign as Blind Freddie and I saw it……

  13. mundo @ #1118 Sunday, September 8th, 2019 – 9:40 am

    laughtong @ #1108 Sunday, September 8th, 2019 – 9:20 am

    I think this and the drug testing may be the over reach that kills this government as surely as work choices killed Howard and co.

    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/scott-morrison-eyes-long-term-cashless-debit-card-roll-out-20190907-p52oxb.html

    Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, in Australia…the punters love this ‘tough love’ shit….

    Until it affects them or a loved one – and with an extension of the card to age pensions that could be many many people. They would like to do it – just do they have the nerve?

  14. zoomster @ #1089 Sunday, September 8th, 2019 – 8:45 am

    mundo

    Don’t know where you get the idea Abbott had wide community support.

    This chart, for example, shows that Rudd/Gillard constantly outpolled him.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_2010_Australian_federal_election

    Polling always favours the incumbent. A lot of people voted for Abbott’s mob. A real lot.
    What was that margin again?
    I call that wide community support. Dumb. But there you have it.

  15. Quasar:

    [‘Listened to a disturbing program about Judge Sandy Street ‘s treatment of asylum seekers on RN this morning. For those of us who care about justice and human rights, it is deeply distressing.’]

    Yes, most disturbing. And moreover, the only way he can be removed from the bench is by an Act of Parliament, as there’s no federal judicial commission. I wonder how Jessie Street would’ve felt about her grandson’s lack of adherence to the principals of procedural fairness, delivering judgments ex tempore and failing to provide his written reasons within the appeal period?

  16. Guess the source of this quotation:

    ‘Tony Abbott was a shocking PM and now it’s clear what kind of person he really is. It says everything about the modern Liberal Party that someone who praises a dictator spruiking race-based immigration policies and climate denialism became their leader. ‘

  17. adrian @ #1124 Sunday, September 8th, 2019 – 9:56 am

    Guess the source of this quotation:

    ‘Tony Abbott was a shocking PM and now it’s clear what kind of person he really is. It says everything about the modern Liberal Party that someone who praises a dictator spruiking race-based immigration policies and climate denialism became their leader. ‘

    Malcolm Fraser?

  18. .

    laughtong @ #1120 Sunday, September 8th, 2019 – 9:43 am

    Until it affects them or a loved one – and with an extension of the card to age pensions that could be many many people. They would like to do it – just do they have the nerve?

    Yes, I keep telling my partner that this is likely to be in place before we are eligible for the pension. Basically, it will be put in place for new pensioners as soon as the Baby Boomers move past the pension eligibility age.

    But we will have our revenge on the Baby Boomers, because the step after that is going to be the introduction of Solyent Green.

    Eat the rich! 🙂

  19. I had Insiders on record this morning and I lasted 10 seconds into Cormann’s predictable oft-repeated drivel before fast forwarding all the way through. They may as well interview a lamp post!

  20. BK

    The Libs say that Cormann is a brilliant negotiator. I think he just wears the Senators down with his incessant repetition until they give in just to keep their sanity.

  21. lizzie
    If I were in a negotiation position with Cormann my stock point would be to tell him that he’s welcome to come back again when he’s got something new to say.

  22. No, it’s from someone implacably opposed to the ALP agenda, according to some posters here.

    Suffice to say it’s unlikely you’d hear such straight talk from a current ALP pollie.

  23. mundo

    Right. But your contention was that it’s the leader who is important in deciding elections, and that if the leader doesn’t have the list of qualities you stated, the party is doomed.

    Both the polling and the actual election results show that that isn’t necessarily correct.

  24. lizzie:

    [‘Lambie says now that she should have struck a harder bargain over the tax cuts.’]

    I wonder whether she’ll do a “Harradine” as regards her crucial vote re. drug testing?

  25. …as for the last election, you were right for the wrong reasons. Which is why you were being howled down. Your expertise hasn’t improved since.

  26. This has been a problem for years, but things are getting more serious due to the drying climate here.

    Denmark, on Western Australia’s south coast, is described as “one of the wettest places in WA”, but it is running out of water, prompting desperate action to keep the tourist town from running dry.

    Water Corp — the State Government-owned main supplier of water in WA — will spend up to $32 million building a pipeline stretching more than 60 kilometres between Denmark and its neighbouring regional city, Albany, to shore up supply into the future.

    The town’s residents will also face tighter water restrictions as of October 1 and it is expected water will be trucked into the town by the end of summer.

    Denmark is a tourist town known for its surf, forests and rainy weather, receiving on average more than 1,000 millimetres of rainfall a year.

    Faced with declining rainfall and four consecutive years of some of the driest conditions on record, the town’s drinking water supply, which is collected purely from rainfall, is running short.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-08/pipeline-to-safeguard-denmark-water-supply/11485178

  27. zoomster @ #1138 Sunday, September 8th, 2019 – 10:20 am

    mundo

    Right. But your contention was that it’s the leader who is important in deciding elections, and that if the leader doesn’t have the list of qualities you stated, the party is doomed.

    Both the polling and the actual election results show that that isn’t necessarily correct.

    Ok.
    I hope Bill regains the leadership sometime between now and 2022.
    You know it makes sense.

  28. I think Cormann highlights the difference between public and private persona.

    If you listen to Wong talk about her interactions, away from the spot lights, with him, it seems she is talking about a complete different person to what we see.

  29. Good Morning

    I see the usual suspects are howling at the moon again as they double down on why Labor loses elections ignoring elections where Labor won.

    Instead its all lets continue to rely on the focus groups and pandering to the right that has continually seen Labor lose elections. Its always you can’t be too progressive you will never win. Its always the media’s fault. Its the Greens fault or some such excuse.

    Yet when Labor is seen by voters to be actually progressive they win elections. Like in the ACT. Like in Tasmania. Like in Victoria. Like in Western Australia.

    The cry is always you can’t be progressive thats too extreme. This while we have a government that if it is not fascist is not far off it.
    Labor needs to get it through its collective political head that if you want a right wing government people will always always vote for the genuine article.

    Cat and AE

    No thats not an inner city bubble view.
    Thats a swing swinging voters comment. Why vote for someone who is not going to fight for the values they say they believe in?

    Edit: A good case in point. Ever since Kenneally started fighting on Asylum Seeker issues instead of being me too not a sliver of difference in light Labor has been making progress.

  30. I didnt watch but listened to a small snippet. They just spew so much crud, rapidly woven together to make a firewall of sound that Fran had no hope (or skill or intention?) of breaking down into its constituent lies and irrelevancies.

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