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. Player One @ #1450 Sunday, September 8th, 2019 – 8:18 pm

    Mavis Davis @ #1443 Sunday, September 8th, 2019 – 8:13 pm

    Yes, but it wasn’t the weather: it was most assuredly one Bill Shorten, lacking charismatic authority.

    You think Bill Shorten was the only reason Labor lost?

    I have a bridge you may be interested in purchasing.

    He was the reason because he failed to lead with decisiveness and strength by allowing Labor donors to promote poor policy.

  2. Player One:

    [‘I have a bridge you may be interested in purchasing.’]

    You’re naughty but I think I like you. I’m taking a Pepys.

  3. Oakeshott Country says:
    Sunday, September 8, 2019 at 8:24 pm
    Will the Truth and Reconciliation Commission be meeting at Iguana Joe’s?
    If so I think it will beimportant that the chief witnesses have reserved seats
    ____________________________________________
    nath is negotiating naming rights with Crown Casino. No doubt there will be a range of platinum, gold and silver packages for observers wishing to see the inside skinny on various factional episodes.

  4. Who will be the first to call for a Littlefinger restoration? Labor is notorious for not being able to hack a few bad polls and fragging the leader as soon as they have a bad run in the polls.

  5. Lars! thank god you’ve turned up. I thought I was going to die of boredom with this lot.

    I’m hoping for a Littlefinger restoration. Mainly because it will make my campaign more relevant. It’s a bit mean of me picking on the NDIS Shadow after all. Plus it should be good for a laugh or two.

  6. Shorten should imitate his hero on Elba. He should proceed to Tasmania, with a small following of Shortcons. Tasmania should be pacified before he proceeds by boat to land at a Victorian coast. On the road he will be met by former members of his Old Guard sent to stop him. He will turn them, march on Melbourne before beginning the great trek inland towards Canberra.

    ?imwidth=810&impolicy=wan_v3

  7. If the Newspoll lead to Govt blows out it will fuel an insurgency against Albanese and I’d suspect Fitzgibbon and Shorten to be clubhouse leaders in a campaign.

  8. I see the Wrecking Crew have moved in with their styrofoam balls.

    * yawn*

    Best to get out of the way of circle jerks. It gets messy as they work each other up.

  9. C@tmomma
    says:
    Sunday, September 8, 2019 at 9:02 pm
    I see the Wrecking Crew have moved in with their styrofoam balls.
    * yawn*
    Best to get out of the way of circle jerks. It gets messy as they work each other up.
    _____________________________
    stop it. you’re turning me on.

  10. Is there nobody Lindsey Graham won’t suck up to for the purpose of political expediency?

    Jake TapperVerified account@jaketapper
    12h12 hours ago
    Wilders is a notorious Dutch politician, an anti-Muslim bigot who has proposed banning the Quran and new mosques and imposing a tax on Muslim women who wear headscarves. He posted this photo but now it’s been deleted.

    :large

  11. I think Wilders would find many Australian politicians willing to be in a photo with him, not just One Nation and other far right ratbags, but some from the “Liberal” party.

  12. Is Bill Shorten Lazarus with a quadruple bypass? Labor’s John Howard? I don’t think so, but Bill Shorten probably does. We’ll see how things develop. At this stage, Albanese seems to be a placeholder, like so many Labor Opposition leaders in NSW and Federally. But it’s early days yet. There is no Messiah.

  13. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/politics/slide-puts-albanese-into-negative-territory/news-story/14b53108007fe9046e2caa9a9ae2b4d6

    Labor leader Anthony Albanese has suffered a collapse in voter support, with his approval rating heading into negative territory for the first time since becoming leader three months ago.

    It comes as popular support for both the Coalition and Labor strengthened, with the primary vote for the major parties higher than that recorded at the May 18 election.

    ………………

    The two-party-preferred vote remains unchanged at 51-49 in favour of the Coalition, which a month ago peaked at 53-47 after passing its income tax cuts.

    In a possible sign that the political contest has polarised since the election, support for independents and minor parties other than the Greens and One Nation has fallen away, dropping from 9 per cent in the Newspoll conducted three weeks ago to 5 per cent in the latest survey.

  14. You’ll like this Dio
    We were interviewing for a non-accredited gen surg trainee:
    Me: What are you interests outside medicine
    Candidate: musicals
    (Me thinking – what a pity a surgical career ended before it starts)
    Young Surgeon on committee: What is your favourite musical?
    Candidate: Cats
    Surgeon: no, what do you really like?
    Candidate: Sound of Music
    Surgeon: Good response

    The world has changed since I was a lad

  15. Mumble on Albo. I agree with S777 that he’s a stop gap leader.

    What does it all mean for Labor and its new leader? The expert consensus seems to be that there’s about a fifty–fifty chance of a recession before the next election. Either way, this will be a nine-year-old government by then, not overly blessed with vigour or imagination, never greatly loved, facing a Senate that might be more cooperative than its recent predecessors but is still hard going.

    As long as Labor doesn’t do too much dumb stuff, it should be odds-on to take office in 2022. Albanese’s biggest challenge is remaining leader until then. Morrison’s miracle win has elevated him to political maestro status. He can’t be beaten, they’ll say, no matter how bad things get; he’s a fighter, best with his back against the wall, he always comes back. And the spectacular 2019 opinion poll fail will see any Labor leads adjusted down.

    Shorten lasted two terms thanks to Kevin Rudd’s 2013 leadership rules. Given how that ended, and how the prime ministerial turnstile proved no barrier to the Coalition’s re-election, many in caucus will conclude that stability at the top is overrated. And Kevin’s rules can be overturned by a party-room vote (or, more likely, the threat of one, with the incumbent being prevailed on to stand down and allow another to run uncontested).

    They might even, as in the summer of 2003, decide that the situation is so hopeless, their everyman opponent so clever, that it wouldn’t hurt to try something really stupid.

    Albanese, while not without presentational problems, is infinitely more articulate than Shorten, and seems smarter than most of his colleagues when it comes to the dynamics of elections. He’ll no doubt let through to the keeper, with good humour, the occasional strategic advice from a former prime minister.

    But he’s in for the fight of his life to still be leader in 2022.

    https://insidestory.org.au/ghosts-of-governments-past/

  16. Albo’s not the Messiah, nor is Bill Shorten.

    Whoever the next Labor leader is, and the one after that, the media and Big Money will immediately set out to tear them down. Should a future Labor leader defeat the entrenched crony capitalist right wing regime, the attacks by most of the media and 95% of the money will redouble. This is what Labor is up against. A possible exception might be a Tony Blair type figure at a time when the Coalition has dissolved into a rabble, a scenario that is eminently plausible. I would vote for “Tony Blair” as the least worst alternative.

    The “Liberal” party contains the seeds a a future authoritarian hard right regime. I am not confident about Australia’s future.

  17. I came across this quote today, that I think sums up the Labor v Greens ‘debate’ that goes on endlessly here. Those who think labor needs to support coal mining and illegal treatment of refugees for political expediency vrs those of us who don’t.

    “Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ But conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but because conscience tells one it is right.” Martin Luther King

    The greens are labor’s conscience and that is why labor hates the greens so much.

    at present albo is asking “”is it safe?”

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