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. In Rexology, to tell the truth about the Greens is proof you’re a demented right-winger. I make absolutely no apology for speaking the truth about the Greens. They are a destructive influence.

  2. briefly @ #1247 Sunday, September 8th, 2019 – 1:02 pm

    That’s correct, PO. The Green campaign on coal is not an environmental campaign. It is a purely political story.

    What is a purely political story is your one that assumes only the Greens are opposed to coal, or that the Greens are opposed for political purposes.

    Labor used to be opposed to coal as well, you know 🙁

  3. laughtong
    says:
    Sunday, September 8, 2019 at 1:07 pm
    Looks like ALP will oppose an expansion of the Indue card.
    __________________________
    wow. I was expecting them to roll over. some good news.

  4. G

    My point is being progressive won for Labor. It didn’t lose for Labor.
    As for the rest of your post yes you are right. I would ditch the NEG though.

    Yeah. I dont like it. However it is a fairly neutral policy that can be worked when they win government. I am coming around to it despite some rather acidic posts I have made about it in the past. And I am a little over the market mechanism / tax options. Direct investment in things that will make a big difference but things the free market arent prepared to build. Government built and owned things. Interconnectors from QLD to SA to WA (or NT ready for an Asian connection) would be one option. Add some minor changes to the energy regulatory framework once in government. Just focus on making renewables even more competitive and reliable – and a suite of policies to encourage regional investment for when coal power stations and mines start closing.

    My main point was that progressive policies like becoming a republic, changing Australia day (or the national anthem or flag) or even on the Uluru “voice, treaty, truth” are things for governing parties to address and open up discussion on and lead to referendum. They just arent for opposition parties to position on – it doesnt help the cause to politicise those issues and it doesnt help gain power.

  5. [‘It has to tell the coal workers the truth.’]

    I’m not sure that that would cut the mustard up here, guytaur, but I guess it’s worth a go.

    I’ve read that many Queenslanders north of the Brisbane line still think Joh’s the bee’s knees. If true, Labor’s got an uphill battle.

  6. SK

    Nope its not a neutral policy. Its a denial appeaser policy. Carbon Pricing is the correct policy and only the deniers will squeal about it. After a term of Labor government they won’t be able to repeal it because by then the environmental and international impacts will be too high.

    Already we seem to be willing to give China military influence in the pacific to appease a few multimillionaires and coal workers.

  7. Rex Douglas:

    [‘All the coal industry defenders and boosters are doing is effectively aligning themselves to the Trump style of politics.’]

    Wow! That’s a wide net you’re casting.

  8. guytaur @ #1262 Sunday, September 8th, 2019 – 1:26 pm

    @NickFeik tweets

    “The Acting Queensland Premier, Jackie Trad, said the severe conditions could be attributed to climate change.”

    And yet still they try to open new coalmines. The cognitive dissonance is astounding.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-08/queensland-bushfires-continue-stanthorpe-applethorpe-binna-burra/11489304 via @abcnews

    It’s the addiction to coal mining related donations that’s killing the Labor party.

  9. Wouldn’t Labor be on a winner if they just said that, instead of putting the money into the Indue card for welfare recipients, let the money that would have gone to Indue (quite a lot), instead go to mentoring and treatment for anyone with mental health or substance abuse problems and then training, in order to make them job ready? Instead of penalising the hell out of them by stigmatising them with the Indue card?

  10. Nope its not a neutral policy. Its a denial appeaser policy. Carbon Pricing is the correct policy and only the deniers will squeal about it. After a term of Labor government they won’t be able to repeal it because by then the environmental and international impacts will be too high.

    They are wreckers. They have form. My guess is if the Coalition were to lose the next election they will move further to the right. Wrecking is their game. They could easily remove a carbon price mechanism. If that is their policy post an election loss and the polls are tight then I wonder if the market will be nervous and the uncertainly in investment might continue.

    Direct government intervention in infrastructure. Build stuff. Interconnectors. Batteries. Those cant be wrecked as easily. Strongly encourage companies with ageing coal PS to close with subsidies or guarantees for replacing them with a renewable option. Reopening a demolished powerstation would be a good trick.

    I have only come around to this recently. I was all for market mechanisms or taxes. But I now think building stuff and quickly forcing stuff to close is the way to go to future proof any change.

  11. Simon Katich @ #1268 Sunday, September 8th, 2019 – 1:31 pm

    Nope its not a neutral policy. Its a denial appeaser policy. Carbon Pricing is the correct policy and only the deniers will squeal about it. After a term of Labor government they won’t be able to repeal it because by then the environmental and international impacts will be too high.

    They are wreckers. They have form. My guess is if the Coalition were to lose the next election they will move further to the right. Wrecking is their game. They could easily remove a carbon price mechanism. If that is their policy post an election loss and the polls are tight then I wonder if the market will be nervous and the uncertainly in investment might continue.

    Direct government intervention in infrastructure. Build stuff. Interconnectors. Batteries. Those cant be wrecked as easily. Strongly encourage companies with ageing coal PS to close with subsidies or guarantees for replacing them with a renewable option. Reopening a demolished powerstation would be a good trick.

    I have only come around to this recently. I was all for market mechanisms or taxes. But I now think building stuff and quickly forcing stuff to close is the way to go to future proof any change.

    I think that’s the most likely method to work, SK.

  12. SK

    You can have both a carbon price and direct government intervention.

    The nationalisation to prevent power blackouts overton window has been opened by the LNP.

    Labor just has to walk through it.

  13. Also the Danish/Finn/German/Norwegian/Polish/Swedish systems give equal priority to trades as well as academics. At least in science, researchers’ avocational activities in trade skills (wood, metal etc) fairly accurately predict their research performance – i.e. those good at making things (in wood, metal, plastics, textiles, “techno-jewellery/wearables” per Limor Fried* etc.) were also the best researchers, and in particular the best “research leaders”. I think this is because research (and in particular “research leadership”) is an entrepreneurial activity: building a significant research group capable of operating semi-independently of its host institutions(s) is much like building a growth business. In both cases what is most needed on a day to day basis is the ability to get things done. The weaker academics in contrast have an almost complete inability to get concrete things done, and are more suited to getting in the way.

    The German system (and I suspect the others) integrate trades/industry at all levels. They have the four big Societies/Institutes/Associations (Max Planck, Fraunhofer, Leibniz, Helmholtz) all of which have distinct roles within their system. See:
    https://www.research-in-germany.org/en/research-landscape/research-organisations.html

    People may recall Barry Jones and his efforts to introduce some of this: “Knowledge Nation”. This was derailed simply by name calling: “Noodle Nation”, something which would never happen in Germany. Unfortunately that where we’re at: a political system infested by second rate lawyers and dipshits from the nation’s arts faculties.

    * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limor_Fried

  14. A carbon price has already been superseded. Energy produced by renewables is cheaper than energy produced from fossil fuels. There is no reason to add anything to the cost of fossil fuel-derived energy, which was the explicit purpose of the carbon price.

    There are enormous revenues available in the global energy market to the most competitive producers. These producers are the renewable technologists. We are really just at the earliest point in the de-carbonised energy economy.

    Two things are going to happen. First, new energy supply will come from renewables, eventually displacing nearly all fossil-fuel derived energy production. It will be cheaper, cleaner and more widely distributed among the human population. But this is not enough. Energy production only accounts for 25% of global GHGs. It will be necessary to draw CO2 from the atmosphere as well to counter-act the effects of GHGs from transport usage, industrial processes, agriculture and land clearing. Absolutely certainly, CO2 will be withdrawn from the atmosphere by a variety of methodologies.

    Pleasingly, Labor are on to this.

  15. C@tmomma @ #1267 Sunday, September 8th, 2019 – 1:30 pm

    Wouldn’t Labor be on a winner if they just said that, instead of putting the money into the Indue card for welfare recipients, let the money that would have gone to Indue (quite a lot), instead go to mentoring and treatment for anyone with mental health or substance abuse problems and then training, in order to make them job ready? Instead of penalising the hell out of them by stigmatising them with the Indue card?

    I like this idea. The drug testing is a separate issue but they want to run it in an area where it is already very difficult to get into rehab. Fund the services from the money that would have gone to Indue.
    Name it the Indue card consistently so that people realise this Nat related company is making heaps from the service.

  16. You can have both a carbon price and direct government intervention.

    Yes, but can you take the carbon price to an election and win?
    Can you take nationalising parts or all of power gen and trans to an election and win?
    You dont need to take the building of an interconnector to an election to then build it after. It can just be part of a promised $Xb worth of infrastructure package.

  17. guytaur says:
    Sunday, September 8, 2019 at 1:26 pm
    @NickFeik tweets

    “The Acting Queensland Premier, Jackie Trad, said the severe conditions could be attributed to climate change.”

    And yet still they try to open new coalmines. The cognitive dissonance is astounding.

    The GHG emissions attributable to the combustion of Queensland coal – about 60% of Australian denoted emissions – represent about 0.18% of total annual GHG emissions from all sources and in all applications. Queensland coal is basically irrelevant to global heating. What is not irrelevant is the other measures Labor in Queensland and elsewhere are taking to transition our own economies away from fossil fuel-derived energy.

  18. nath says:
    Sunday, September 8, 2019 at 1:08 pm
    laughtong
    says:
    Sunday, September 8, 2019 at 1:07 pm
    Looks like ALP will oppose an expansion of the Indue card.
    __________________________
    wow. I was expecting them to roll over. some good news.

    As the Morrison government gradually moves towards extremist RW positions, it is becoming easier for Labor to oppose policies that go beyond community expectations.

  19. SK

    On Carbon Pricing Labor just needs to continue to say its serious about climate action. Then all it has to do is after the election say that means they were campaigning for the carbon price. Its the LNP playbook.

    Its not like Labor has not been on the record. All Labor has to do is start talking about electric cars or solar and wind farms to distract the media and not be specific about pricing. No one expects Labor to put itself into a straight jacket to avoid reacting to the reality of the data that is going to be revealed after funding is restored to research.

  20. On the Indue Card and drug testing

    @GeorgeBludger tweets

    The mechanism being engineered here is one where the government slowly shifts the blame on the welfare recipient, starting with alcohol, drugs, and culminating in a list of criteria that will never be met. It’s YOUR fault you can’t get a job, so tough luck sunshine. Drop dead

  21. Rex. Cummins is somethin. The best part is that the English have developed some good plans for him…. and still his bowling average is 17 this series. And he gets good batsmen out.

    He has more work to do as I dont feel Starc or Lyon are in the best form.

    I am going to try to get a screen grab of Roots concerned look as he walks off and make it my PC wallpaper.

  22. Here is the prediction. Labor will not support the adoption of an absolutely pointless, unnecessary and politically-damaging carbon tax or carbon price. To do so might be a Lib-kin dream. But it will never happen.

    Labor will do things that are purposeful and practical and Green-free.

  23. briefly

    Here is a prediction.

    Labor will act in the national interest. I can say what I think it will do in government without saying thats what it is going to campaign on.

  24. A carbon tax would be contrary to the national interest. Such a tax is no longer required. The energy market has changed very quickly and will continue to evolve without a tax.

  25. Simon Katich @ #1284 Sunday, September 8th, 2019 – 1:50 pm

    Rex. Cummins is somethin. The best part is that the English have developed some good plans for him…. and still his bowling average is 17 this series. And he gets good batsmen out.

    He has more work to do as I dont feel Starc or Lyon are in the best form.

    I am going to try to get a screen grab of Roots concerned look as he walks off and make it my PC wallpaper.

    I thought at times he could have gone around the wicket to change up the angles. Same with Lyon.

    Fingers crossed for tonight.

  26. The falls in the prices of energy derived from renewables have been very dramatic and are still accelerating. The imposition of a carbon tax would likely slow down this transformation. That is, it would be counterproductive. It will not be revisited by Labor.

  27. On Carbon Pricing Labor just needs to continue to say its serious about climate action. Then all it has to do is after the election say that means they were campaigning for the carbon price

    Dunno. There would be an uproar. Esp if the ALP went into an election with a NEG.

    Isnt the NEG capable of being a defacto carbon price with the right settings?

    Anyways, I feel the right infrastructure will go a long way to higher renewable % and keeping peeps onside with improved reliability and costs. The hard yards will be the closing down early of coal PS. Even if that happens without further government intervention (which wont always happen, some will need a push) it will lead to kickback in the electorate.

    Which is where the policy of regional investment would help. It doesnt (and shouldnt) be linked to climate emissions. It should be a standalone policy that just might cushion the electoral kickback.

    It is all moot though if we have Morrison for another 3 more years.

  28. No one on this blog has come up with one way to change a Liberal/LNP voter’s mind. briefly has been manfully attempting to get people to see the light but some people just want to live in la la land about Climate Change and Coal Mining and Australians desire to change the government to achieve what some here demand. Of Labor.

    And that’s the frustratingly ridiculous bit about this seemingly neverending story here. Everyone here essentially wants the same thing (maybe Buce doesn’t 😉 ) but, as always, the debate devolves into hair-splitting and demands that ‘Labor must do…’.

    Well, how about some ideas about how we persuade people to change their votes that won’t cost them the earth? Because that’s what’s at stake here and we all agree on that.

    Or, you can just carry on wasting time and energy spinning your wheels in the mud here getting nowhere.

    I can’t be bothered any more until people start seeing sense.

    And I absolutely agree with everything Simon Katich has suggested we should do. 🙂

  29. C@tmomma @ #1294 Sunday, September 8th, 2019 – 2:01 pm

    No one on this blog has come up with one way to change a Liberal/LNP voter’s mind. briefly has been manfully attempting to get people to see the light but some people just want to live in la la land about Climate Change and Coal Mining and Australians desire to change the government to achieve what some here demand. Of Labor.

    And that’s the frustratingly ridiculous bit about this seemingly neverending story here. Everyone here essentially wants the same thing (maybe Buce doesn’t 😉 ) but, as always, the debate devolves into hair-splitting and demands that ‘Labor must do…’.

    Well, how about some ideas about how we persuade people to change their votes that won’t cost them the earth? Because that’s what’s at stake here and we all agree on that.

    Or, you can just carry on wasting time and energy spinning your wheels in the mud here getting nowhere.

    I can’t be bothered any more until people start seeing sense.

    And I absolutely agree with everything Simon Katich has suggested we should do. 🙂

    One just needs to take the blinkers off to see the need to abandon the LibNat-Labor cartel arrangement.

  30. Cat

    I see you come into bat to defend the ravings of briefly.

    Its very simple you don’t win a battle by surrendering. Thats the very first crude base point being made here about Labor appeasing the right by green lighting a new coal mine.

  31. Julia Gillard promised not to introduce a carbon tax and then she did. Very bad move. She did it to appease the Greens. She should have told them to get lost.

    Labor will not repeat the same mistake.

  32. It doesn’t matter what the ALP does. All that matters is what the Greens are saying about Labor. The Greens are writing the story of the ALP, who are now virtually impotent. Unelectable by the centre, under criticism by the left. All is proceeding according to plan.

  33. Simon Katich:

    I have only come around to this recently. I was all for market mechanisms or taxes. But I now think building stuff and quickly forcing stuff to close is the way to go to future proof any change.

    All three are needed. Moreover, some set of principles to determine which is suited for which problems is sorely needed to replace the current situation where people simply advocate for more of whichever one of the three takes their fancy.

    John Quiggin (“Economics in Two Lessons”) has a sort of answer, but:
    a – it’s not memorable, cf. “Economics in One Lesson”
    b – it conditions the use of the non-market mechanisms (works and taxes) on “market failure” (defined fairly rigorously in relation to opportunity cost)

    The former is a huge problem for political viability: it leads to the situation we observe where government intervention is politically viable only after market failure has become endemic and so bad that “something has to be done to save capitalism from itself”. Of course ‘capitalism’ granted temporary immunity from market failure as a result of corrupt government interference is not actually capitalism (it’s sometimes called ‘crony capitalism’, also not capitalism)

    The latter is problematic becuase it is asymmetric and places markets (and in particular their failure) as a gatekeeper. Whilst Quiggin’s definition of market failure has some rigour, practical politics ignores this (it’s too complex) and degenerates into arguments about whether a given market has in fact failed. People take the usual sides with little or no regard for the particulars of the situation:
    – those from the right will claim that the market has not failed (hence contra-market intervention is never required, which just happens to be their actual predictive position)
    – those from the left will claim that the market has failed (hence contra-market intervention is always required, which just happens to be their actual predictive position)
    Very few adopt a more nuanced approach.

    What’s needed is a predictive approach that can actually generate all three policy approaches.

  34. Even the largest economy in the world can make the argument that “We could reduce our emissions to zero but if the rest of the world does nothing it wouldn’t be enough to solve the problem”. Clearly it is necessary for every nation to do everything it can. It is completely unacceptable for a high income economy such as Australia to fail to phase out its fossil fuel industries and transition workers to other livelihoods. It is immoral for Australia to shirk this task.

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