Weekend miscellany: Morgan, Victorian Labor and latest New Zealand poll

Polls show a tight race in Australia and a rather less tight one in New Zealand; meanwhile, Victorian Labor’s factional players wonder what to do next.

Assorted developments from here and the near abroad:

• Roy Morgan has made one of its arbitrarily timed drops of its federal voting intention polling, which it conducts weekly but usually keeps to itself. This one has the Coalition with a 50.5-49.5 two-party lead, which based on the accompanying chart would appear to be its lowest point since the government’s coronavirus bounce. The primary votes are Coalition 42.5%, Labor 34.5%, Greens 10.5% and One Nation 4%. The poll was conducted online and by phone over the last two weekends from a sample of 2593.

Greg Brown of The Australian ($) reports the alliance in Victorian Labor between the Industrial Left and much of the Right is set to survive the demise of Adem Somyurek, who was generally credited with welding it together. This is due to a shared concern to prevent the Socialist Left gaining advantage from the present disarray, and the Industrial Left’s determination to secure the new federal seat shortly to be created in Victoria. However, the report quotes an unidentified Labor skeptic saying such manoeuvres are redundant since the national executive’s three-year takeover of the state branch means they are “not going to have a vote in anything”.

• In a review of Victorian Labor’s increasingly complicated factional terrain, Aaron Patrick of the Financial Review ($) notes party convention dictates that the national executive allocates seats to each faction after disruptive redistributions, to whom it then falls to fill them through internal ballots. However, a less messy option under the circumstances would simply be to guarantee the preselections of all sitting members. The most likely beneficiary would be Senator Kim Carr, who at 64 and after nearly three decades in the Senate would otherwise have to reckon with “a younger generation of left-wing faction operators who want to replace him”.

• With New Zealand’s election less than three months, I will henceforth be making note here of poll results from that country, which come by at a rate of one or two a month. The latest is from Colmar Brunton for 1 News, one of three poll series that reports with any regularity, together with Reid Research for Newshub and Roy Morgan for reasons of its own. After all three showed an astonishing blowout in favour of Jacinda Ardern’s Labour government last month, the latest result finds a substantial correction with Labour down nine to 50% and National down up by the same amount to 38%. Between the two polls, the National Party ditched its leader and Health Minister David Clark blotted the government’s coronavirus copybook by humiliating the country’s chief medical officer at a press conference. With minor parties needing to either clear a 5% national vote threshold or win a constituency seat to qualify for a share of seats proportionate to their vote, the poll finds the Greens up one to 6%, ACT New Zealand up a point to 3% and New Zealand First down one to 2%. ACT New Zealand should be safe thanks to party leader David Seymour’s hold on the seat of Epsom, but New Zealand First would rely on the long shot of one-time Labour MP Shane Jones poaching the seat of Northland, which party leader Winston Peters failed to carry in 2017.

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.

986 comments on “Weekend miscellany: Morgan, Victorian Labor and latest New Zealand poll”

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  1. Wow its not like Sky after Dark to claim falsities and spread stupid, unsubstantiated rumours about minorities in Australian society.

  2. sprocket_ says:
    Sunday, June 28, 2020 at 8:55 pm
    It appears 60minutes is a nothing burger, rehashing what is already been in the news about Moselmane.

    The only useful revelation would be who tipped off the 60 min crew to be outside Moselmane’s house at 6am in the morning.
    V.good Bob Sprocket – a good start!

  3. But you read the article:

    “When it’s just one result, you always want more data, more studies, more samples to confirm it and rule out a laboratory error or a methodological problem,” he said.

    There was the potential for a false positive due to the virus’ similarities with other respiratory infections.

    “But it’s definitely interesting, it’s suggestive,” Villalbi said.

  4. Zerlo that sample has never been subsequently confirmed as far as I know. The full article suggested caution. Reports after that one show more conclusively that Covid was in Spain as early as December 2019.

    The most likely source of Covid-19 remains Wuhan.

  5. 60 minutes could have dragged in Clive Hamilton and ran with some of his stuff. The ALP got off lightly. Apart from Dastyari they made no further links.

  6. Victoria says:
    Sunday, June 28, 2020 at 9:05 pm
    I haven’t watched 60 mins. But if a nothingburger why do Labor want this MP out of parliament?
    Good question – perhaps Bob Sprocket could explain ?

  7. Vic, my ‘nothing burger’ comment relates to the alleged ‘new sensational revelations’ on tonight’s 60mins. There was literally, nothing beyond what was in the 9fax newspapers earlier this week.

    As for Masemone and his staffer, I can only speculate that the authorities have briefed Labor HQ, and out of an abundance of caution – he is suspended from the ALP whilst the matter plays out in the courts.

  8. NE Qld says:
    Sunday, June 28, 2020 at 9:05 pm
    Lars, why do you call Sprocket_ …. Bob Sprocket? It is very unnerving.
    It’s his first name.

  9. I thought it was one of Mr Bowe’s ironclad rules that we don’t use people’s names, if we know them from outside of PB?

  10. Fucking hell! Stop the press! The Chinese try to infiltrate political parties. Who would ever thought it? Countries around the world have virtually given their whole manufacturing base and sold out their workers to the Chinese.Where was the fucking media then?

  11. This is typical of the feedback online re the 60 minutes item..

    “What a beatup of a story by #60mins. Nothing new. Hastily cobbled-together show to lure us into thinking they are holders of the facts.”

  12. C@tmomma says:
    Sunday, June 28, 2020 at 9:17 pm
    I thought it was one of Mr Bowe’s ironclad rules that we don’t use people’s names, if we know them from outside of PB?
    Seriously look at Bob Sprocket’s picture c@t.

  13. To call S. A. D. arselickers is being kind. Fox in USA even worse. One can only hope their owner goes under. Like so many Corporates, in debt up to the limit with no intention of repaying. Minimise tax. Contribute nothing to our Society. And come with the begging bowl and threats when times are tough.

  14. Pre-print “Sentinel surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater anticipates the occurrence of COVID-19 cases” :
    This work is from University of Barcelona (often considered the best in Spain).


    SARS-CoV-2 was detected in Barcelona sewage long before the declaration
    of the first COVID-19 case, indicating that the infection was present in the
    population before the first imported case was reported. Sentinel surveillance of
    SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater would enable adoption of immediate measures in the
    event of future COVID-19 waves.

    Note that the suggestion that the virus was in Spain rather earlier than the first imported cases were detected in fact comes from another pre-print “Excess cases of influenza suggest an earlier start to the coronavirus epidemic in Spain than official figures tell us: an analysis of primary care electronic medical records from over 6 million people from Catalonia”:

    Objectives: There is uncertainty about when the first cases of COVID-19 appeared in Spain, as asymptomatic patients can transmit the virus. We aimed to determine whether influenza diagnoses masked early COVID-19 cases and, if so, estimate numbers of undetected COVID-19 cases in a large database of primary-care records covering >6 million people in Catalonia.
    Design: Time-series study of influenza and COVID-19 cases, using all influenza seasons from autumn-winter 2010-2011 to autumn-winter 2019-2020.
    Setting: Primary care, Catalonia, Spain.
    Participants: People registered in one of the contributing primary-care practices, covering >6 million people and >85% of the population.
    Main outcome measures: Weekly new cases of influenza and COVID-19 diagnosed in primary care.
    Analyses: Daily counts of both cases were computed using the total cases recorded over the previous 7 days to avoid weekly effects on recording practice. Epidemic curves were characterised for the 2010-2011 to 2019-2020 influenza seasons. Influenza seasons with a similar epidemic curve and peak case number as the 2019-2020 season were used to model predictions for 2019-2020. ARIMA models were fitted to the included influenza seasons, overall and stratified by age, to estimate expected case numbers. Daily excess influenza cases were defined as the number of observed minus expected cases.
    Results: Four influenza season curves (2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2013-2014, and 2016-2017) were used to estimate the number of expected cases of influenza in 2019-2020. Between 4 February 2020 and 20 March 20202, 8,017 (95% CI: 1,841 to 14,718) excess influenza cases were identified. This excess was highest in the 15-64 age group.
    Conclusions: COVID-19 cases may have been present in the Catalan population when the first imported case was reported on 25 February 2020. COVID-19 carriers may have been misclassified as influenza diagnoses in primary care, boosting community transmission before public health measures were taken. In future, the surveillance of excess influenza cases using widely available primary-care electronic medical records could help detect new outbreaks of COVID-19 or other influenza-like illness-causing pathogens. Earlier detection would allow public health responses to be initiated earlier than during the current crisis.

  15. @Bushfire Bill

    Just a rather large correction on your claim that COVID19 was from China.

    You’re links are linking to Chinese propaganda sites, but it is quiet easy to search properly, with ease.

    Firstly, Briefly stated above that the virus was out and about in Spain in 2018, not 2019.

    continuo @ #884 Sunday, June 28th, 2020 – 4:55 pm

    On a COVID note, apparently Spanish authorities have been conducting tests on their archive of sewage samples. Their analysis indicates the virus was in circulation in Spain in 2018

    Even the Chinese government shit sheet didn’t claim “2018”.

    Secondly, the original somewhat selectively-quoted report of the Barcelona sewage assay, from the web site of the University of Barcelona, quotes no earlier date for the detection of the virus in Spain than “March 2019”. The only mention of “2018” is as follows:

    These results encouraged the researchers to analyse some frozen samples between January 2018 and December 2019, with the shocking results of the presence of SARS-CoV-2 genome in March 2019, before any notification of COVID-19 cases in the world. “All samples were negatives regarding the SARS-CoV-2 genome presence except for March 12, 2019, in which the levels of SARS-CoV-2 were low but were positive, using two different targets”, says the researcher.


    As can be seen, while samples going back to 2018 and forward another 21 months to December 2019 were assayed, only samples from one single day in mid-March 2019 – none before and none after – tested “positive”, and then weakly so.

    The virus is known for its virulence and contagiousness. It spreads rapidly and at exponential rates until checked by lockdown measures. If it was around in Spain for another year after March 2019, without those lockdown measures in place, millions would have already been dead in Europe well before 2020.

    The story that, somehow, COVID-19 originated in and then “bubbled along” in or near Barcelona, Spain, under the radar for 12 months – with such a small number of cases that they were mistaken for flu – is therefore extremely doubtful. Time and time again, in country after country, single cases have ramped up into the thousands within weeks, not years.

    The most likely explanation is that the Barcelona researchers got a false positive, or that some other type of coronavirus was mistaken for SARS-CoV-2 in what was, after all, 2 year-old frozen shit. This is a virus that can be killed off with 20 seconds of hand washing, or about the same time’s worth of ethanol exposure. Keeping it intact over 2 years in a harsh sewage environment may be a big ask.

    To claim that a single 2 year-old frozen sample out of 500 such samples is any kind of proof of a non-China origin requires (much) more work, given the overwhelming contradictory evidence, including that provided (at least originally, until the story got propagandized) by the Chinese themselves.

    Whatever the case, the lack of a spread of epidemic proportions in Europe circa 2019 – or anywhere else – kills the “originated in Spain in 2018-19” theory pretty much stone dead.

  16. EGT, nothing you cite puts the origin of the virus back to 2018, or even 2019 in Spain. The earliest seems to be February 2020.

    It’s obvious that some cases could be mistaken for flu, and probably were. But there’s a big chasm between that and 14 months worth of untrammelled, non-locked down, exponential growth from 2018 onwards – which obviously did not happen.

    Suggesting that the virus was dormant for all that time, based on one sample out of hundreds assayed, flies in the face of everything else we know about the virulance of the disease. It just doesn’t lie dormant for that long. When three weeks is enough to see hundreds of cases arising from a single carrier, a year is an eternity.

  17. “Good morning Telstra Health, how may I help you?”
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    “Have you tried turning it off and on again?”
    “We are currently experiencing technical difficulties.”
    “Please call again later and don’t forget to try turning it off and on again.”
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