Miscellany: issues polling, drug law reform, Eden-Monaro wash-up, NZ poll

Concern about the state of the economy pushes climate change down the issue agenda batting order; evidence of a trend in favour of legalisation of cannabis; and New Zealand Labour still on track for a landslide in September.

Beneath this post is the latest offering from Adrian Beaumont on the polling picture in the United States ahead of the November presidential election. Closer to home, a few items of poll-related news:

• Pollster JWS Research has published results of its occasional True Issues survey, in which respondents are prompted to identify the five most important issues from a list of 20. The key changes since the last survey in February are a 17% increase for the economy and finances to 52% and an 11% drop in environment and climate change to 31%. The result for health issues has in fact changed little over recent surveys, although it has gained the top spot in the latest survey with a three point increase to 56%, overtaking cost of living which is down six to 53%. Interestingly, defence, security and terrorism is up six to 26%, which I take to reflect growing nervousness about China. Various other questions on COVID-19 are also featured, including findings that satisfaction with federal and state government performance is at record highs, with both scoring 19% for very good and 39% for good. The report notes that strongest results for state governments were recorded in Western Australia (83% combined very good and good) and the weakest were in Victoria (57%), although this is going off small sub-samples. The poll was conducted July 1 to 5 from a sample of 1000, just as the breakout in Victoria was beginning to gather pace.

• The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has published the National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2019, in which 22,274 respondents were surveyed by Roy Morgan between April and September 2019 about their use of and attitudes towards illegal drugs. On the latter count, it found a plurality in favour of legalising cannabis for the first time, with 41% supportive and 37% opposed, with support having risen from 21% since 2007. It also found 57% support for allowing pill testing with 27% opposed.

Kevin Bonham offers an interesting look at the unweighted data on voting intention that Essential Research effectively provides in its otherwise voting intention-less poll results, by way of identifying the size of the subsamples in its survey question breakdowns (for example, in the latest polls you can see from the “base” rows in the tables breaking down responses by voting intention that the sample included 299 Labor voters, 420 for the Coalition and 108 for the Greens). Notwithstanding the lack of weighting, the results paint an intuitively plausible picture of collapsing government support at the time of the bushfires, a reset when COVID-19 first reared its head, and an ongoing surge in Coalition support on the back of its support packages and the largely successful efforts to suppress the virus. These movements are considerably more variable than anything recorded by Newspoll, which has maintained the unnatural stability that was its hallmark before the 2019 election, despite its methodological overhaul.

Some wash-up from the Eden-Monaro by-election:

• John Black, former Labor Senator and now executive director of Australian Development Strategies, offered an ecological analysis of voting patterns in the Eden-Monaro by-election in The Australian on Monday. This pointed to a strong age-related effect in which older areas swung Labor and younger areas swung Liberal. Labor-swinging areas were also low-income with large accommodation and food industry workforces, while Liberal-swinging areas were white-collar and with high levels of employment in public administration. None of this would surprise students of the electorate and the result, given the Liberal swing in Queanbeyan and the Labor swing along the coast.

• Counting in the by-election is nearly complete, with today being the last day that postal votes received will be entered in the count. The latest results are continuing to be updated as they come through on my live results page. With probably a couple of dozen postals to be entered in the count, Labor holds a lead of 764. Of remaining interest will be the distribution of preferences, presumably to be conducted early next week, which will offer some insight into exactly how many Nationals and Shooters preferences flowed to Labor – contentious subjects both on the conservative side of politics.

Meanwhile across the pond:

• Roy Morgan published a New Zealand voting intention poll this week that was shortly overtaken by events, with the conservative opposition National Party experiencing its second leadership change in two months earlier in the week. The poll had Labor down two points from the previous poll in May to 54.5%, National up half a point to 27%, the Greens up two to 9%, Act New Zealand up 1.5% to a new peak of 5%, and New Zealand First apparently headed towards extinction with a one point drop to 1.5%. The poll was conducted by phone from a sample of 879, but all we are told of the field work period is that it was conducted during June.

• Concurrent with the New Zealand election on September 19 will be a non-binding referendum on cannabis legalisation. Poll results on this question are all over the shop: one poll last month, by Colmar Brunton, had 40% for and 49% against, while another, by Horizon Research, had 56% for and 43% against.

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.

1,562 comments on “Miscellany: issues polling, drug law reform, Eden-Monaro wash-up, NZ poll”

  1. United States :

    Coronavirus Cases:
    3,833,271

    Deaths:
    142,877

    – 63,259 new cases and 813 new deaths in the United States

    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/

    Dr. Dena Grayson @DrDenaGrayson

    ⚠️The US had 65,000 new #coronavirus cases and 872 deaths today—57,000 #COVID19 patients now hospitalized, but several states not/under reporting.

    This week, the US had 461,000 new cases and 19 states set records.

  2. Masks are not $10 each, we have purchased ours. Yes they were cheaper last week but even now it is $60 for 100 on ebay.

    You can build you own cloths masks. I like this one for it’s simplicity.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moCPdB8s6E4

    You do feel self conscious, it is a change of culture. It will start with people like me thinking stuff this, it works. I think we are about to see a big shift in culture.

  3. As usual Scott Morrison takes his sweet frickin time

    Karen Percy
    @PercyKaren
    ·
    4m
    Transient/ casualised workers at private sector aged care facilities part of the reason for the spread of covid-19. Health Min Mikakos and Fed govt putting in place measures to stop staff working at multiple facilities. $1500 payment so staff can isolate if they have no leave.
    Heidi Murphy Retweeted
    Laurel Irving
    @laurelirving7
    ·
    5m
    Finally a plan to reduce staff movement between aged care homes. Fed Govt will provide funding to homes, so workers can be paid to work at only one facility. Several cases where a worker has caused #covid

  4. mundo says:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 10:07 am
    sonar @ #1141 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 10:05 am

    Abbott would lose if he ran.
    Ya reckon.

    ———————–

    It would be funny if Abbott did decide to be the candidate , and Turnbull decided to run against Abbott

  5. steve,

    I’m guessing we’ll have a surge of self indulgent wankers proclaiming their inalienable right to infect others and causing unnecessary scenes at shops and in public when service is refused.

    Tim Smith and the IPA crew will no doubt fund a High Court Challenge.

    I feel for the workers in retail outlets.

  6. Refer Boerwars post at 8:32

    poroti @ #1161 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 10:23 am

    For those jumping on P1 it is quite simple. There is not enough data points to get an accurate R number. What was the average daily temperature in July ? Would just using the first 3 days provide an accurate number ? Possible but most like not.

    Player One @ #1187 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 11:08 am

    Barney in Tanjung Bunga @ #1176 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 10:55 am

    I think the CMO has a little bit more data than you to work with.

    You think there are cases that have not been publicly reported?

    He would have access to all the detailed contact tracing data which would in fact allow a very direct estimate of R. Your failure to acknowledges this is an indication that your argument is being made in bad faith.

  7. GG
    It is a cultural shift, introduce it gently, and that is what is happening. R has got to come down. Stage four lock-downs or masks, which would you take if you had an option.

  8. this is an indication that your argument is being made in bad faith

    Woah. What’s with the ‘bad faith’ accusations here?

    The argument is reasonable – the calculation of R is necessarily complex, and coming up with a figure for NSW on such low numbers is going to come up with something that is quite unreliable.

    Using a dodgy number pulled out of any such exercise seems unwise, and I agree with those who suggest that someone in the CMO’s position should have both known better and avoided doing so. If there is a point to make that NSW behaviour risks leading to a bigger outbreak, make that point, don’t try to dress up dodgy numbers to serve as ‘evidence’.

  9. ajm @ #1214 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 11:40 am

    He would have access to all the detailed contact tracing data which would in fact allow a very direct estimate of R. Your failure to acknowledges this is an indication that your argument is being made in bad faith.

    This data is also public, and (if you bother to look) most of the recent cases in Victoria are still under investigation, so it is simply absurd to pretend you can calculate an accurate R value from them.

    Or, do you also believe the CMO has a secret source for such data? The Covid-19 App, perhaps?

  10. Jackol @ #1218 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 11:46 am

    this is an indication that your argument is being made in bad faith

    Woah. What’s with the ‘bad faith’ accusations here?

    The argument is reasonable – the calculation of R is necessarily complex, and coming up with a figure for NSW on such low numbers is going to come up with something that is quite unreliable.

    Using a dodgy number pulled out of any such exercise seems unwise, and I agree with those who suggest that someone in the CMO’s position should have both known better and avoided doing so. If there is a point to make that NSW behaviour risks leading to a bigger outbreak, make that point, don’t try to dress up dodgy numbers to serve as ‘evidence’.

    Contract tracing gives direct data as to how many people have been infected from each already infected person. This is not difficult to understand, so arguments against the estimates given are obviously fake.

  11. frednk @ #1215 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 11:42 am

    GG
    It is a cultural shift, introduce it gently, and that is what is happening. R has got to come down. Stage four lock-downs or masks, which would you take if you had an option.

    If the State government are saying it has to happen, it has to happen. I will willingly comply. But, I haven’t worn a mask before today.

  12. Player One @ #1219 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 11:50 am

    ajm @ #1214 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 11:40 am

    He would have access to all the detailed contact tracing data which would in fact allow a very direct estimate of R. Your failure to acknowledges this is an indication that your argument is being made in bad faith.

    This data is also public, and (if you bother to look) most of the recent cases in Victoria are still under investigation, so it is simply absurd to pretend you can calculate an accurate R value from them.

    Or, do you also believe the CMO has a secret source for such data? The Covid-19 App, perhaps?

    He has the detailed case data which would not be released for privacy reasons. Your statement is once again an obfuscation. I’ve made my point and will not engage in meaningless attrition as you appear to be doing.

  13. Greensborough Growlersays:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 11:56 am
    frednk @ #1215 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 11:42 am

    GG
    It is a cultural shift, introduce it gently, and that is what is happening. R has got to come down. Stage four lock-downs or masks, which would you take if you had an option.

    If the State government are saying it has to happen, it has to happen. I will willingly comply. But, I haven’t worn a mask before today.
    __________________
    Yawn!

  14. are obviously fake

    Oh rubbish. To start with they aren’t able to accurately trace every infection. Secondly the numbers – when you’re talking about 3 traced one day, 5 the next, 2 the day after are inherently noisy with large sampling errors, and they can only make guestimates as to what the actual infection rates are.

    They can’t even particularly accurately determine how many cases there are in any given day let alone which ones they’ve accurately contact traced.

    With this disease, in particular, they still don’t know how many people get infected but never show any symptoms and are never picked up by their systems – they may never infect anyone else, but being completely invisible to the methods being used (and the possible methods of working this out, such as antibody tests, are still proving very hard to get a grip on real numbers with lots of variability in accuracy, and as far as I know are still not being used systematically here) means that there’s an awful lot of error and uncertainty.

    Someone in the CMO’s position should not be sounding off with numbers in an authoritative way when they’re clearly based on a lot of guesswork and error-filled data.


  15. Jackol says:

    If there is a point to make that NSW behaviour risks leading to a bigger outbreak, make that point, don’t try to dress up dodgy numbers to serve as ‘evidence’.

    What he probable did was read the value for R written on his printout, and i will bet whoever put the maths together had a better grip on the calculation of R from incomplete information than you or I have.

  16. Paul Kelly’s comments re R were presumably based on available data, but Vic and, increasingly, NSW have a lot of cases “under investigation”, so the data have a lot of holes in them.

    Kelly was presumably comparing the rapid burgeoning of NSW cases from a single source -the Crossroads Hotel – with cases popping up all over the joint in Vic. But, as more connections are identified by Vic investigators, the R there will rise.

    This makes sense to me, but it’s also quite reasonable to
    question it in light of the data gaps.

    And it’s never reasonable to call someone a d—head, unless, in one particular and special poster’s case, they are looking in the mirror at the time.


  17. Greensborough Growler says:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 11:56 am

    frednk @ #1215 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 11:42 am

    If the State government are saying it has to happen, it has to happen. I will willingly comply. But, I haven’t worn a mask before today.

    I haven’t been out. But I have organized my masks., it was pretty obvious it was coming.

  18. frednk @ #1229 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 12:02 pm


    Greensborough Growler says:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 11:56 am

    frednk @ #1215 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 11:42 am

    If the State government are saying it has to happen, it has to happen. I will willingly comply. But, I haven’t worn a mask before today.

    I haven’t been out. But I have organized my masks., it was pretty obvious it was coming.

    There were rumours on Friday that we might be going to stage 5 today. But, that doesn’t seem to be happening just yet.

  19. R naught
    This factor is only a measure of the rate an infection will spread. It has NOTHING to do with how many are infected.
    It is calculated on how infectious a disease is, how long you shed the infection and how many contacts an infected person would have.
    In both NSW and Victoris the disease and how long you spread it are both the same, they are based on modelling of the disease. It is why knowing that it is also airborne is so important.
    The reason the R is different is because in Victoria they have limited the number of contacts the disease can spread to with lockdowns and physical distancing. In NSW you can go to the pub and the football.

    Today Victoria has introduced mandatory masks this will further lower Victoria’s score compared to NSW

  20. Continued spread in NSW. Numbers still low, but I see no mechanism by which this is going to be contained under the current protocols.

    Berejiklian and Morrison have got their wish. Hope they’re prepared to own the consequences.

  21. ajm @ #1222 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 11:57 am

    He has the detailed case data which would not be released for privacy reasons. Your statement is once again an obfuscation. I’ve made my point and will not engage in meaningless attrition as you appear to be doing.

    So you believe he has detailed contract tracing data for the over 1000 Victorian cases just from the last few days?

    Very efficient! You wonder why we even needed the Covid-19 app!

  22. Greensborough Growler @ #1230 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 12:07 pm

    frednk @ #1229 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 12:02 pm


    Greensborough Growler says:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 11:56 am

    frednk @ #1215 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 11:42 am

    If the State government are saying it has to happen, it has to happen. I will willingly comply. But, I haven’t worn a mask before today.

    I haven’t been out. But I have organized my masks., it was pretty obvious it was coming.

    There were rumours on Friday that we might be going to stage 5 today. But, that doesn’t seem to be happening just yet.

    I am not overally happy to have to wear a mask just out walking the dog. Easy to keep a distance. I am prepared though and will wear one. Not so easy for hubby if he goes out – I will have to put it on him and if it comes off he would struggle to get it back on with a tremor in the left hand and poor fine motor control. He has been trying wearing one for the last week.

  23. Spray @ #1232 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 12:11 pm

    Continued spread in NSW. Numbers still low, but I see no mechanism by which this is going to be contained under the current protocols.

    Berejiklian and Morrison have got their wish. Hope they’re prepared to own the consequences.

    Doesn’t matter what Gladys or morrison do or say when you have idots happy to flout the rules.

  24. C@tmomma
    Thank you for the link, after reading it I actually spent a couple of hours catching up on some other reading around the latest research.
    I am hoping my kids will help me choose a new laptop. I need to replace the iPad that got lost in transit between apple and Telstra when it was sent for repairs in March. I want a laptop this time so I can easily do links which is not something I have ever managed on the iPad.

  25. GladysB is about to get blow back from the AHA after this mealy mouthed non-lockdown announcement..

    “People are urged to avoid non-essential travel and gatherings. Of particular concern is transmission in venues such as hotels and restaurants, the gym and social gatherings. We are calling on people across the state to take extra care and follow these steps:

    • Don’t leave home at all if you have any symptoms, except to get tested

    • At all times stay 1.5 m from other people

    • Don’t go anywhere there is crowding

    • Get tested, even if you have the mildest of symptoms

    • Clean your hands regularly with soap and running water for 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand rub

    • Cough and sneeze into your elbow

    • Don’t host, or go to, a gathering of more than 10 people at home

    • Don’t go to the gym unless the equipment is thoroughly cleaned before and after customer use by supervising staff or yourself, and there is good spacing between machines and customers

    • All venues must have a COVID Safe plan, and ensure physical distancing between customers and staff, good hand hygiene, and check that no staff come to work with symptoms

    • Consider use masks in situations where you are unable to social distance

  26. You cannot tell from the number of infections per day what today’s R value is. At a very basic level today’s numbers reflect the R value that was over a week ago. The CMO is not using those numbers to calculate the R value. We may be able to tell from the infection numbers if the CMO is right in a few weeks time. This does not mean that the CMO cannot calculate a value that is useful and meaningful.

  27. Victoria was bubbling along with 10 to 20 new cases a day about a month ago, June 15-24, similar to current NSW numbers. Like NSW, this followed a long run of mostly single digit numbers with the occasional zero.

    https://covidlive.com.au/report/daily-cases/vic

    For Victoria, the inflexion point was around June 25, climbing into the several dozens then the hundreds.

    If NSW follows a similar trajectory it will be nothing to do with Dan Andrews.

  28. This is outrageous – another Ruby Princess – casualised workforce spreading disease due to the zero hours contract rorts, moving from 1 aged care centre to the next. And not reporting any illness for fear of getting no more work.

    Finger pointing in all directions about to commence, but the non-unionisation of whole swags of the workforce, and the consequent ignoring of OH&S and basic conditions is to blame.

    Federal government to pay aged care homes to minimise staff movement
    By Paul Sakkal
    The Federal Government will provide funding to aged care facilities to minimise the movement of staff across multiple facilities in order to slow the spread of the virus.

    Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos says the “transient” and casualised workforce had been working at multiple facilities.

    The funding, which will support the homes to maintain a consistent workforce, also ensures workers will not be financially disadvantaged by the inability to work at several sites, according to Ms Mikakos.

    Additional infection control training will be conducted for aged care workers and visitation will be limited to carers only.

    Testing will be conducted for aged care staff showing no symptoms.

    “The Commonwealth now is going to work with us around these issues to ensure that we can get educated workers routinely tested for coronavirus … to make sure that we are locating cases identified cases,” Ms Mikakos said.

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