Patriot games

Evidence a large majority opposes changing the date of Australia Day, even without the IPA’s thumb on the scales.

First up, please note that immediately below this post is a new entry on developments in Queensland, which include one and possibly two looming state by-elections. With that out of the way, a brief collection of polling and preselection news:

• In the wake of a contentious poll on the subject for the Institute of Public Affairs, The West Australian has published a WA-only survey on attitudes towards celebrating Australia Day on January 26, conducted by Perth market research firm Painted Dog Research. This found 65% support for maintaining the current date with 21% opposed, breaking down to 55-26 among those aged 18 to 39, 67-20 among those 40 to 59, and 78-14 among those 60 and over. Although substantial, the headline figure is narrower than the 71-11 margin recorded by the Dynata poll for the IPA, which primed respondents with two leading questions on being proud of Australia. This poll was conducted from 842 respondents drawn from an online panel, with no field work dates provided.

• Cory Bernardi has followed through on his announcement last year that he would resign to the Senate, which means his South Australian seat returns to a nominee of the Liberal Party, for which he won the seat from the top of the ticket at the 2016 double dissolution. The Australian ($) reports the matter will be decided on February 1, from a field including Morry Bailes, managing partner at Tindall Gask Bentley Lawyers and former president of the Law Council of Australia; state upper house MP Andrew McLachlan; and Michael van Dissel, former state party treasurer. Bailes has the support of conservatives including Mathias Cormann and South Australian federal MPs Tony Pasin and Nicolle Flint, which is presumably good to have.

• Heavy duty psephological pundit Mark the Ballot examines the deficiencies of polling before the May federal election, to the extent that the industry’s lack of transparency makes the matter knowable. The thrust of the analysis is that the pollsters’ models were “not complex enough to adequately overcome the sampling frame problems”, the latter reflecting the fact that surveying methods in the modern age cannot plausibly claim to produce genuinely random samples of the voting population. As well as the models by which the pollsters convert their data into vote shares, this lack of “complexity” may equally arise from herding, the unacknowledged use of smoothing techniques such as rolling averages, and over-use of the same respondents in online panels.

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.

2,257 comments on “Patriot games”

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  1. Seems as though the spoils have been divided in The Nationals:

    Discussions have taken place behind closed doors in attempts to limit the disruption within the Nationals should Senator McKenzie be forced out, which would see her current roles shared among her colleagues.

    Under a potential agreement, Queensland MP David Littleproud would become Nationals deputy leader – potentially running in a ballot uncontested – with Victorian MP Darren Chester returning to cabinet and Resources Minister Matt Canavan replacing her as Senate leader.

  2. CC

    ‘If Labor is to really succeed, it needs to be vastly more professional in the way it educates voters…’

    One of my perpetual beefs as a candidate was that we weren’t given the information we needed to explain policies. Often we received briefing materials days after a policy had been announced. More commonly, we’d get a list of ‘talking points’, which basically consisted of one stock answer on the topic – nowhere near enough information to get you through a normal conversation, let alone a media interview or someone genuinely interested in the policy field.

    It’s one of the reasons I used to come here – there were posters here who were capable of analysing and explaining policies, which helped me get my head around them to ‘sell’ them in the field.

    ‘To which I add, you don’t get very far from sending volunteers out doorknocking.’

    Doorknocking isn’t a policy selling exercise. It does swing votes.

    I had one election where I decided to concentrate on doorknocking one area. At the nearest booth, Labor’s vote increased by 6%, whilst at neighbouring booths it decreased by similar amounts.

    Interestingly, I didn’t have to speak to people to have an effect. Several people approached me at the booth to tell me that they hadn’t been home when I called, but the fact that I had left an impression.

  3. Lizzie (herself quoting someone):

    Ms Arndt, in a lengthy interview with New Matilda,acknowledged she is not a psychologist or clinical psychologist, despite hundreds of representations to the contrary, nor has she ever been registered as either, anywhere in Australia. Ms Arndt also confirmed she is not a doctor, and has never obtained a PhD.

    Another interesting case is Bernard Salt: promoted in ‘The Australian’ and elsewhere as ‘Australia’s greatest demographer’ but apparently not a demographer (and hence excused from any requirement for numeracy…)

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