Slicing and dicing

Hope at last that some good might come out of the Australian polling industry’s chastening experience at the May federal election.

Hopes that the Australian polling industry might again have something to offer soon have been been raised by YouGov’s announcement on Thursday that it is overhauling its polling methodology, and pursuing the establishment of a local industry body along the lines of the British Polling Council.

On the first point, the pollster says it will “transition to the standard YouGov methodology for national and statewide polling”. This means an end to the mix of online and automated phone polling associated with Galaxy Research, the established local outfit that has been conducting Newspoll since 2015, and which YouGov bought out at the end of 2017. In line with its modus operandi internationally, YouGov will move entirely to online polling, enabling it to adopt a more detailed scheme of demographic weightings that will encompass variables “such as education and more sophisticated regional segments”.

We may already have received a taste of this with the recent YouGov Galaxy poll from Queensland, which was conducted entirely online and supplemented the traditional weighting model of “age interlocked with gender and region” with variables for education and voting at the previous election. This looks much like the pollster’s approach with its British polling, but with education taking the place of a “social grade” variable that holds those with managerial or supervisory jobs distinct from the rest of the workforce.

The notion of an Australian Polling Council offers the exciting prospect of industry standards that will require the publication of sample weightings and full demographic and regional breakdowns from each poll, such as can be seen in this recent YouGov poll of voting intention in Britain. The YouGov announcement says that “several other companies have agreed in principle to establish this council and an announcement will be made in due course”.

Also of note recently:

• The first batch of submissions to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters inquiry into the recent federal election has been published. This does not include the Labor submission, but The Guardian reports it calls for the committee to investigate the impact on election campaigning of social media platforms, its specific concern being with the widespread circulation of claims through Facebook that it had “secret plans to introduce a death tax”.

The Australian reports the Nationals federal council has endorsed a proposal floated a fortnight ago to all but purge the Senate of minor parties by breaking each state into six provinces that would each return a single Senator at a normal half-Seante election.

• The challenges to the election results in the Melbourne seats of Chisholm and Kooyong have been referred for trial in the Federal Court, which will likely take about three months to reach a determination.

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.

2,017 comments on “Slicing and dicing”

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  1. The Liberals were able to do was use Bob Brown’s Audi convoy to spin a line that Labor would’ve been beholden to Green demands to shut down all mining everywhere. Or that Labor and the Greens were in cahoots in an inner city conspiracy against regional Queensland. And it was disastrously successful.

    It was Bob Brown and his vanity convoy that made this all possible.

    Not really. If the Liberals run a smear campaign and Labor responds to it ineffectively there are two groups that might be blamed and neither of them is called the Greens.

  2. Looks like Trump did ask the Ukraine President to look into Biden’s son but based on what has been released its pretty minor stuff compared to the Russian stuff.

  3. President Trump told his Ukrainian counterpart to work with the U.S. attorney general to investigate the conduct of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and offered to meet with the foreign leader at the White House after he promised to conduct such an inquiry, according to a newly-released transcript of the call.

    Those statements and others in a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were so concerning that the intelligence community inspector general thought them a possible violation of campaign finance law. In late August, intelligence officials referred the matter to the Justice Department as a possible crime, but prosecutors concluded last week that the conduct was not criminal, according to senior Justice Department officials.

  4. Chris HayesVerified account@chrislhayes
    3m3 minutes ago
    Among many other *extremely* troubling details, the call notes show the president’s brain is so addled by right-wing media consumption he’s brow beating Ukraine’s President to….find the DNC server !?!

  5. Fessy
    It is an interesting conversation and as someone in the comments wrote it felt like a follow up to an earlier call. I’m more bothered by Trump openly attacking a senior official to another leader than the part about Biden which comes during a passage on alleged conversation and while the others names will face a few questions but the conversation seems to be led by the Ukraine President with Trump being an opportunist and i don’t think Merkel or Macron will like the first part.

    It doesn’t strike me as impeachable and if anything the Ukraine President comes off as a fan boy, looks like Scotty has competition.

  6. guytaur says:
    Wednesday, September 25, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    Greta Thunberg was talking to you too.
    So was Sir David Attenborough
    You cannot be for the environment and for coal.

    The voters know it.

    Voters in the resource seats chose jobs ahead of the environment. This is undeniable. This will get worse. I used to think that nature was campaigning against the Liberals. But this was an error. Nature is campaigning against Labor and the Greens and for the Liberals.

    The Liberals message is they will do ‘whatever it takes’ to create jobs, including trashing the environment if necessary. This resonates with voters who have high anxiety about their jobs and incomes. Every time voters see stories or hear news about environmental stress, they know there is an implicit threat to the economy and therefore to their economic security. The Liberals have positioned themselves as the Defenders of the Economy. As the environment worsens, their role as Defenders will become more valuable to them. They will attract more votes rather than fewer votes. The stampede we saw in Queensland will be repeated and accentuated.

    This is escapist. But it is working for the Liberals. It will get better and better for them.

  7. @nath:

    “Albanese should be doing more of this. He should go to China and establish some credibility there as a leader that wont talk to China through the U.S.A. It’s not only good foreign policy it’s also good politics as it might appeal to voters of Chinese descent here. I think Albanese should establish a Shadow minister exclusively dealing with China and Chinese diaspora issues. It’s about time we recognised the importance of China to us now and in the future.”

    Agreed. And the designated China Shadow could do a lot worse than starting by reading THIS:

    In fact it should be compulsory reading for all our MPs and commentators.

  8. @ar:

    “Not really. If the Liberals run a smear campaign and Labor responds to it ineffectively there are two groups that might be blamed and neither of them is called the Greens.”

    A lie is half way around the world before the truth gets out of bed. The LNP is simply a propaganda unit for vested interests. It receives enough money from big business to run its own media ads and social media campaigns. To buy workers on the ground for each electorate. On top of that its mates in the concentrated media space give it in effect over $100 million of free advertising every year dressed up as journalism and ‘comment’.

    That said, I’ll give you this. Every effective scare campaign has to have at its core a kernel of truth. Labor WAS going to take some goodies off some retirees. ScoMo could rift that into a general ‘retiree tax’. Labor was going to curtail some investment property tax concessions. Hence the ‘property tax’. Labor was proposing that polluting businesses purchase carbon credits. Which would have been passed on to some degree to consumers. Behold the ‘environment tax’. What Labor did give the LNP propagandists the basic ammunition to create a confected yet lethal ‘wall of sound’. Once that was established, then anything could be thrown into the mix. ‘Death tax’ anyone?

    In Queensland, the point hat you were responding to is entirely correct. However, the perception of Labor being beholden to the Greens who were in turn perceived to be hostile to mining and pretty much all regional economic activity because Adani had been turned into such a Totem issue by the Greens themselves; well that issue sat on top of the issues I identified above. In other words the Adani issue and the Greens behaviour didn’t cost Labor the election,. But it did cost it then two seats it lost and a likley gain of several seats on tip of that. Enough to push ScoMo into minority government at the very least.

  9. Nath:

    I would like to protest against the increasing trend to use the word protect instead of protest

    At least you’re protesting “against” something; the more worrying trend is the American style “I would like to protest the increasing trend…”

  10. Dandy Murray:

    Any truth to the rumour Paul Erdos refused to believe the correct solution to the Monty Hall problem? (until he constructed a simulator and ran it through a few hundred thousand times).

  11. When the problem transcends politics, politics no longer matters.

    Transcendental meditations will only get one so far! After that, there’s politics, as Marcus Aurelius well understood.

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