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. The New York Times
    @nytimes
    · 7h
    A new study of nearly 65,000 people in South Korea found that children between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread the coronavirus just as much as adults, suggesting that school reopenings will trigger more outbreaks https://nyti.ms/30nLc3v

  2. Josh Bornstein
    @JoshBBornstein
    ·
    1h
    I’m hosting an online discussion next Tuesday 1pm about what the pandemic has taught us about the labour market . My guests are ⁦
    @SarahJKaine
    ⁩, ⁦
    @TimothyJKennedy
    ⁩ & ⁦
    @ClareONeilMP
    ⁩ . Registration deets here:
    Broken work place, broken society:What the pandemic response has told us about the Australian…
    The patience and determination of Australia’s front-line workers has been an inspiring reality of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet the pandemic has exposed much that is broken in the Australian work place…
    australiaathome.com.au
    Josh Bornstein Retweeted
    Sally McManus
    @sallymcmanus
    ·
    2h
    This is why we need paid pandemic leave for all workers. We need to do everything to support people to not go to work when they are sick and to get tested.
    Quote Tweet

    casey briggs
    @CaseyBriggs
    · 3h
    Andrews: 80 per cent of Victoria’s new cases since mid-May have been driven by transmission in workplaces

  3. Bingo

    wbbaboon
    @wbbab00n
    ·
    1h
    Replying to
    @CaseyBriggs
    NSW government making a massive mistake sitting round blaming Victoria and not acting. When situation is reversed re Vic and NSW in a few weeks time they’ll only have themselves to blame. Blinded by ideology. Virus does not respect political viewpoints and will make them pay.
    Greg W
    @shiraz_vision
    ·
    2h
    Replying to
    @CaseyBriggs
    and
    @PatsKarvelas
    Victoria was 17 on the 23rd of Jun – BEWARE

  4. GG

    Of course.

    Morrison reckons its safer for one to go to rugby and sit amongst strangers, than to sit in parliament with familiar colleagues.

    You know it makes sense

  5. I see Cat and Confessions are blaming the Greens for not being on Insiders.

    Apparently “irrelevance”.

    No Independent or Centre Alliance either.

    It’s a huge failure of our media to not provide access to their platform in an era of 24 hour news programmes. That’s called cancel culture.

  6. I wonder how NSW will react when they suddenly find that the case load of contact tracing has increased exponentially.
    During the first wave most infected people were returned travellers and although there was some delay in tracing them they had gone into lockdown thus decreasing the number of contacts.
    People being diagnosed now in both Vic and NSW would have been out and about in workplaces, public areas restaurants, pubs and the list is endless. The number of close contacts for a young person who has been socialising and working would be very high with most of those also having a significant contact list as well.
    People seem to think that the many tasks associated with managing an infectious outbreak are cut and dried. There is also some dumbing down of the education and knowledge required to perform these tasks. Our health system has been degraded to such an extent that qualified staff and the infrastructure required to manage a mass health event no longer exists.

    This is just another example of a government and a society that doesn’t place any value on having some surge capacity to manage these events because it is uneconomical.

  7. Victoria

    Yes. Reality has finally sunk into holdouts that think you can have an economy open without having proper precautions.

    South Korea showed mask wearing means you can keep the economy open. That includes dancing and singing. There karaoke venues are still open. They are having debate about it though as sharing microphones in a small and I emphasise small rooms while singing is seen as not helpful. Apparently it’s people taking off masks when in the karaoke rooms that’s the problem.

    We don’t want to go the US route. However South Korea has shown you keep the virus suppressed and open up the economy much more with having mandatory mask wearing.

  8. So now we have research that shows kids are little humans and they to spread the virus.
    And we now accept masks stop droplets.
    Who would have thought.
    Why the bullshit?

  9. Victoria
    Kids going back to school tomorrow will just increase people moving around and help with spread.
    I also think a ban on all alcohol except at home would be a good move. Anything that reduces inhibitions and is likely to add to breaches of restrictions is not helpful.
    Unpopular decisions need to be made not pandering to a lobby group who want profit over public good.

  10. FredNK

    We are supposed to be a democracy. Giving a platform to Pauline Hanson but not to Centre Alliance Independents and the Greens is a huge problem for our democracy.

    That’s bigger than your BS about the Greens being a Liberal stalking horse. Great conspiracy theory you have going.

  11. Up here, kids are going back to school tomorrow, but they won’t be going back.

    All schools are closed until at least Xmas, so it’s just home schooling and internet classes.

  12. Blobbit

    Schools reopening is about more than the kids being transmission vectors.

    It’s all the adults involved. From cleaners to teachers in classrooms.

    Trump has taken another hit to his popularity in insisting schools reopen

  13. “guytaursays:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 3:36 pm
    Blobbit

    Schools reopening is about more than the kids being transmission vectors.”

    Sure. Not disputing that. If that’s the issue then argue that – not misread a study and extrapolate beyond what it can prove.

    It’s as bad as the people arguing the BLM protests are to blame.

  14. Blobbit

    There is a lot of misinformation going around.

    A fair response from you. As I posted above. See South Korea.

    We know they like us have had an outbreak. Their outbreak response was good despite the conservative homophobia in their society spreading stigma and slowing down the will of citizens to cooperate with contact and tracing. Edit: In the second outbreak.

    Misinformation and shaming exercises have been proven to be the biggest obstacles to effective responses to viruses.

    It’s why I have contempt for politician’s like Tim Smith and Pauline Hanson who are far too willing to jump on the misinformation bandwagon.

  15. “steve davissays:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 3:55 pm
    Must be due a Newspoll tonight?”

    Reckon they’ll get a response of 124%?

  16. Victoria @ #1306 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 2:28 pm

    Bingo

    wbbaboon
    @wbbab00n
    ·
    1h
    Replying to
    @CaseyBriggs
    NSW government making a massive mistake sitting round blaming Victoria and not acting. When situation is reversed re Vic and NSW in a few weeks time they’ll only have themselves to blame. Blinded by ideology. Virus does not respect political viewpoints and will make them pay.
    Greg W
    @shiraz_vision
    ·
    2h
    Replying to
    @CaseyBriggs
    and
    @PatsKarvelas
    Victoria was 17 on the 23rd of Jun – BEWARE

    I’m going to sound like Cud Chewer here, and I wish it was Cud saying it, but I told you so.

    Gladys Berejiklian should have closed the border with Victoria much sooner than she did eventually. Like maybe when all the other states and territories did initially so there could have been a unified response. At the very least when she heard about the virus getting away from the Quarantine hotels, which was well before the Towers closures but even at any of those times would have been better than what she did.

    Now we are just waiting and watching the COVID-19 seeds spread around and take root. It is now one suburb away from the CBD.

    Honestly, she’s not as good at managing this stuff as what people claim on her behalf.

  17. There seems to be a pattern. Contemporary neo-right leaders see national leadership as a part time job.

    Trump, Johnson, Bolsonaro and Morrison all seem to take a lot of time off work!!

  18. “Angus M-a-c-i-n-n-i-s
    @AequoEtBono
    ·
    19m
    And yet we get lots of stories about police fining people for driving cross-town to buy chicken, but not many about WorkSafe Victoria issuing prohibition or improvement notices #auslaw
    Quote Tweet

    casey briggs
    @CaseyBriggs
    · 5h
    Andrews: 80 per cent of Victoria’s new cases since mid-May have been driven by transmission in workplaces”

    Thought this was a worthwhile perspective.

  19. “Gladys Berejiklian should have closed the border with Victoria much sooner than she did eventually”

    And yet Andrews does nothing wrong.

    Maybe Victoria should have closed its border sooner, or acted on the low levels of ongoing community transmission.

    (My view – both states and leaders have been less than stellar, and both have had some bad luck)

  20. Blobbit @ #1347 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 4:23 pm

    “Gladys Berejiklian should have closed the border with Victoria much sooner than she did eventually”

    And yet Andrews does nothing wrong.

    (My view – both states and leaders have been less than stellar, and both have had some bad luck)

    Sunday afternoon commentary is so easy.

    Andrews, Gladys and Morrison have to make judgements based on the information in front of them.

    You can only blubber at the mouth afterwards.

  21. Rakali @ #1346 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 4:19 pm

    There seems to be a pattern. Contemporary neo-right leaders see national leadership as a part time job.

    Trump, Johnson, Bolsonaro and Morrison all seem to take a lot of time off work!!

    …because it’s all about the social media image, staged events and announceables and the projection of competence absent criticism from their political opponents.

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