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. Disposable masks are being distributed to vulnerable communities etc. And reusable masks are being organised for distribution in next few days

  2. Victoria, there is a federal minister, Richard Colbeck, a department who sets prescriptive policy and an Aged Care Quality Authority – all within Greg Hunt’s portfolio.

    Yet they have allowed this high risk work practice to continue in the face of a pandemic.

  3. The Sparrow Project
    UPDATE: A leaked DHS briefing memo highlights that the recent deployments of a multi-agency federal “police” force to Portland stems directly from Donald Trump’s June 26 Executive Order “Protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues and Combating Recent Criminal Activity”

    The Sparrow Project
    Replying to
    UPDATE: The New York Times highlights a previously unseen detail in the DHS briefing memo: the federal officers deployed to Portland do not have protest response training. It is hard not to see this as a recipe for escalation.

  4. @BB:

    “ The man himself moves awkwardly, and in jerks. He never looks you in the face, and keeps strange hours.

    Sensationally, a few weeks ago a discarded carapace was found in a nearby rubbish bin. As if … something… had grown too big for… something else.

    He is clearly an intergalactic space cockroach. True story.”


    Have we stumbled onto the truth behind #Engadinemaccas?

  5. mundo

    Thick and insulting. Sounds like boarding school porridge.


    You must have been to a posh boarding school.

    At my boarding school we had thick, insulting and weevils! 🙂

  6. Donald J. Drumpf
    Many people are saying if you watch this new #TrumpThreatensAmerica ad from @MeidasTouch
    with the sound off you’d think the footage came from a shithole country!

    LOL LOL.

  7. For those bludgers still wondering about the #Engadinemaccas meme, this is a potted history AND a casus belli to perpetuate it:


    ps. There is no way that the particulars of the meme are true: the Space Cockroach that is SfM wouldn’t have even known about the existence of the Sharkies in 1997: if he had been travelling back from a footy match it would undoubtably been a game of rugger-bugger somewhere.

  8. The SMH editorial only makes sense when you swap “elimination” and “suppression”.

    ‘‘When you can’t guarantee that 100 per cent compliance, 24 hours a day, seven days a week … we can’t claim to go towards elimination, so we have to go towards suppression,’’ she said. It was ‘‘very unrealistic’’ to expect to eliminate the virus in a state the size of NSW or Victoria.

    ‘‘Elimination’’ is not an end goal that, once reached, can be considered a job well done. It’s a significant step, but one that requires constant vigilance and a continued need to do exactly what it took to get to that point – widespread testing, contact tracing possible infections and isolating those who are infected.

  9. “ Shall we ever see Morrison wearing a mask? Just asking.”

    You have it all wrong Lizzie: that space cockroach has been wearing a Scotty mask since at least 1997.

  10. David Crowe
    No, there’s not. The House of Representatives passed a motion in March to authorise non-standard ways of meeting.
    Quote Tweet

    Mike Cannon-Brookes ‍Billed cap
    · 46m
    Is there any legal reason Parliament can’t meet over Zoom, like the rest of us are doing? ‍♂️

  11. Just had an hour long conversation with my son (53) who is about to become unemployed in a fortnight. No severance pay – his contract will simply end. I may have to send him food parcels!!

  12. Lizzie

    Happened to OH month ago. He has applied for job seeker whilst looking for work.
    He just turned 55. Their age doesnt make it easy

  13. steve davis says:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 11:21 am

    Standby for the backlash over mandatory masks in Melbourne. At the moment its probably 1% who wear them. Its going to be carnage.
    Not sure what part of Melbourne you are referring too but it would be a lot higher than 1% then you add the Muslims ladies that already wear face coverings and Asians that wear face masks.

  14. Victoria

    All his ‘professional’ skills now require a degree before being considered for employment. He’s still at the stage of hoping to get back into similar work. I tried not to be discouraging, but to introduce other ideas.

  15. Holdenhillbilly

    The amount is still dependent on the previous months earnings apparently.
    My OH has applied for job seeker and based on previous earnings will get approx $820.00 a fortnight.
    I have no clue how this is calculated.

  16. Victoria says:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 1:12 pm
    David Crowe
    No, there’s not. The House of Representatives passed a motion in March to authorise non-standard ways of meeting.
    Quote Tweet

    Mike Cannon-Brookes ‍Billed cap
    · 46m
    Is there any legal reason Parliament can’t meet over Zoom, like the rest of us are doing? ‍♂️

    According to Anne Twomey, Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Sydney, in March:

    A virtual Australian parliament is possible – and may be needed – during the coronavirus pandemic


  17. Lizzie

    He should look into doing some further training etc.

    My OH is applying for any job he thinks he can do.

    Meanwhile he is keeping himself very busy remodelling my sister’s bathroom as a gift to her. She is one whose partner passed away a few years ago.

  18. One of my workplaces decided to “restructure” while many employees are still on JobKeeper – causing a serious amount of stress as it’s not clear they’re able to do so while they are being given JobKeeper. This is a workplace that is unable to open due to restrictions and faces significant issues even if restrictions are lifted. Everyone is aware of that but the way the news was relayed, trying to avoid as much discussion as possible, has upset many.

    I am yet to hear back as to whether I am not considered employed as they haven’t communicated with me in months (I am casual there and not eligible for JobKeeper as I have another part time job which is very secure) but was hoping to start back when it was possible. It is a similar case for many others in my situation, it being work that fits well the gaps between other part time work, study and caring duties that many young people and people with young families face.

    It’s further insult to injury as this is with the background of (still unresolved) industrial disputes.

    It’s challenging because on the one side I acknowledge being the employer in this situation is an unenviable one to hold – there’s no easy solutions facing that industry. However, there does not seem to be equal consideration for those affected by their decisions. While I am personally financially fine, a phone call to at least inform me of the situation rather than hearing about it from colleagues seems to be a small thing to ask.

  19. The Cane Toads are trying to annex Sudetenland…

    “Queensland state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is asking NSW to move the “border” south to ease congestion at checkpoints where local streets have become choked with traffic as motorists face long delays.

    Palaszczuk says she will send a request on Monday to her NSW counterpart Gladys Berejiklian to push the checkpoints south.

    Her plea follows Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate last week pushing for the NSW-Queensland border checkpoint being relocated to Banora Point, inside the NSW border, to stop “diabolical” wait times.

    “I’ve got a letter that we’ve been working on over the weekend and I’ll be sending that on Monday,” Palaszczuk told reporters.

    “You know, we will do whatever it is necessary but we have previously requested at an operational level, if it could be moved to the Tweed River.

    “That is purely a matter now for the New South Wales premier … I’m not going to comment any further until I’ve been able to send that letter and have a discussion.”

    Guardian blog

  20. Bugler

    My youngest works in events. She is on jobkeeper. She doesn’t see her workplace making it to the end of year.

    Not unless there is a vaccine or effective treatment.

  21. Lizzie
    The first thing he needs to do is obtain the degree you say his line of work requires or he will need to look for something different because he will be applying for roles against people with that degree.

  22. _sprocket:

    And casting some doubt on the accuracy of the Qld Newspoll, they manage to get 124% response rate to this question…

    That is one strange pie chart. What on earth is supposed to be the difference between “not satisfied” and “dissatisfied”? Looks like the 24% “not satisfied” data point was transposed in from a seperate poll.

  23. Victoria,

    Hence why I’ve always found the “snapback” philosophy pretty patronising. Or at least giving a false impression of the reality. Sugar coating the situation only means you can’t prepare for your future if you’re still hanging on the hope you’ll go back to your old job.

  24. Asha Leu @ #1292 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 1:45 pm


    And casting some doubt on the accuracy of the Qld Newspoll, they manage to get 124% response rate to this question…

    That is one strange pie chart. What on earth is supposed to be the difference between “not satisfied” and “dissatisfied”? Looks like the 24% “not satisfied” data point was transposed in from a seperate poll.

    Might have been the non-respondents.

  25. Mexicanbeemer

    He understands that but the degree would have to be IT or web design and I think he’d rather look in a different direction. He lives in regional Vic.

  26. sprocket_ says:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 1:38 pm
    The Cane Toads are trying to annex Sudetenland…

    NSW would be a somewhat smaller place if the legal borders were moved to where the practical borders are:

    Queensland to annex much of the Northern Rivers area;
    Victoria to annex much of the Riverina;
    SA to annex Broken Hill (they’re on SA time anyway).

  27. If Labor was in government the coalition would have new examples every other day of a Jobkeeper rort!!. They’d never shut up about the waste and incompetence.

    Not our Anthony though.
    Anthony is better than that.

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