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 rusted on seem to be praying and hoping for a NSW outbreak that exceeds Victoria.
    It is sickening.
    Anything that will take the pressure off thier beloved Daniel Andrews.
    NSW has catching up to do i will tell you that much.

  2. There were 259,848 new Covid-19 cases reported to the World Health Organization in the last 24 hours, according to a WHO situation report published Saturday. The total number of cases worldwide reported to WHO is now 13.8 million.

    The rise in newly reported cases sets another record for cases reported to WHO within a 24-hour period.

    The previous record was set on Friday, with 237,743 new cases of Covid-19.

    Saturday’s report noted there were 7,360 additional Covid-19 deaths reported to WHO in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths worldwide to 593,087.

    https://edition.cnn.com/world/live-news/coronavirus-pandemic-07-19-20-intl/h_ef23491415d49c75393bdbe38343078b

    No question….the most significant event in our lifetimes….extraordinary impact experienced by the entire human population at the same time. Most likely, we are all still in the early days of this contagion.

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

    Or Daniel, Scott and Berejiklian.

    Why do some people get to have last names, but not others?

  4. Bird of paradox @ #1354 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 4:37 pm

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

    Or Daniel, Scott and Berejiklian.

    Why do some people get to have last names, but not others?

    Because I don’t want to disrespect them by mispelling.

    It’s just someting I do.

    You have a problem with that?

  5. The politically-charged bickering over new cases in Victoria and NSW is absolutely ridiculous. We are the host population for a cryptic and relatively infectious pathogen. We need to reflect on that. We need to apply some discipline to our own conduct if we wish to curtail viral spread. Bickering/denialism/ideological posturing does not advance that. Instead, it undermines our understanding and our efforts. This is spectacularly obvious from the examples of the US, UK and Brazil.

    We could say the virus is indifferent to politics. But in fact, political posturing serves the virus. Politicisation, because it undermines collaborative effort, accelerates viral spread.

  6. Bird of paradox

    Because people use the most familiar identifier for speed. It’s a long time since we called everyone Mr or Mrs …

  7. The pandemic is bigger than politics, economics, social activities and personal beliefs. It is pervasive – or potentially pervasive – wherever the human population exists. These characteristically human attributes – usually the source of our survival and reproduction as a species – create opportunities for the virus. In this respect, we are our own worst enemies. We spread the virus. It does not spread itself. We are the source of infection and illness amongst each other. This is a challenge to the common paradigm of human conduct.

    We have to change. This is the hardest thing of all. Yet we must.

  8. Someone on Twitter quoted “a specialist” saying that masks are useless unless they have more than 10 layers. That’s possible in a medical situation. I would think that a simple mask PLUS all the other precautionary actions would be OK.

  9. It is not surprising that workplaces are the main place for spread and the Commonwealth are the responsible agent for aged care so they are involved.
    It would be interesting to see a breakdown of the workforces in those places where it is spreading to see the extent of casuals, part timers and full timers.

    In aged care, especially in the cities and larger regional centres the use of agency staff is at an all time high. I know that the funding in homes can be very volatile when the client base keeps changing. This is an increasing problem because a lot of homes have become defacto palliative care places for the elderly that the hospitals don’t want clogging up their beds.

    A volatile funding base means you need to be able to surge and restrain your workforce as the funds ebb and flow. I always found that having permanent part timers on a minimum 20 hours per week allowed for flexibility and enhanced the chances you could fill roster shortfalls. It also meant you got to monitor and educate your staff, with agency staff you have to hope they have a good skill base or directly supervise them.

    A lot of larger organisations actually run their own agencies, at arms length as this gives them a ready supply of staff and the premium paid by the workers is not shown as part of the aged care budget. (they also do this with food services, laundry, management and cleaning) Some homes actually have permanent staff on zero hours contracts, looks good when the agency comes calling but enhances the potential for staff and to work across multiple sites.

    I think it is a pity that the virus had to spread through aged care before the government realised that they are responsible for this industry. Surely with all the information that came out of the aged care royal commission someone should have been aware of the heightened risk this could cause.

  10. lizzie @ #1364 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 4:47 pm

    Someone on Twitter quoted “a specialist” saying that masks are useless unless they have more than 10 layers. That’s possible in a medical situation. I would think that a simple mask PLUS all the other precautionary actions would be OK.

    It’s an easy way to mitigate the risk of transmission, so why wouldn’t a responsible leader/citizen advocate for masks ..?

  11. Taylormade @ #1354 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 4:31 pm

    The rusted on seem to be praying and hoping for a NSW outbreak that exceeds Victoria.
    It is sickening.
    Anything that will take the pressure off thier beloved Daniel Andrews.
    NSW has catching up to do i will tell you that much.

    Project away, Taylormade. I, for one, wish for no such thing for NSW. I have friends and family here. That’s why I think Gladys Berejiklian has been deficient in her handling of COVID-19. NSW was ‘the Ruby Princess’, long before Victoria had the Quarantine Hotel outbreaks. And now we have the latest snafu. I just hope it doesn’t get worse than it already is.

  12. Oh, and Taylormade, your comrade in Liberal battle, Tim Smith, could barely wipe the smile off his face when it went pear-shaped in Victoria for Daniel Andrews. Funny how you never mentioned that. Not.

  13. lizzie @ #1367 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 4:47 pm

    Someone on Twitter quoted “a specialist” saying that masks are useless unless they have more than 10 layers. That’s possible in a medical situation. I would think that a simple mask PLUS all the other precautionary actions would be OK.

    Brett Sutton, in the Victorian press update today stated that any type of material face covering was suitable, as long as it covered the mouth and nose.

  14. https://www.bbc.com/news/health-53325771

    The coronavirus that is menacing the world right now is not the same as the coronavirus that first emerged in China.
    Sars-Cov-2, the official name of the virus that causes the disease Covid-19, and continues to blaze a path of destruction across the globe, is mutating.
    But, while scientists have spotted thousands of mutations, or changes to the virus’s genetic material, only one has so far been singled out as possibly altering its behaviour.
    The crucial questions about this mutation are: does this make the virus more infectious – or lethal – in humans? And could it pose a threat to the success of a future vaccine?
    This coronavirus is actually changing very slowly compared with a virus-like flu. With relatively low levels of natural immunity in the population, no vaccine and few effective treatments, there’s no pressure on it to adapt. So far, it’s doing a good job of keeping itself in circulation as it is.

  15. Not sure this has been posted but I have given up trying to sift out the school-yard bickering on this blog so for what it’s worth….
    My reading is, that despite all the weaknesses in our system, including the new maxim that “private providers are shit”, that Morrison’s ‘closure of National borders ‘ was a joke! Tens of thousands have flown in to flood the hotels etc during the last months. Even now NSW is reducing incoming passengers to 350/day FFS.
    No wonder the system ruptured.
    https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/health/2020/07/18/how-the-second-wave-broke/159499440010121

    My read

  16. billsays: Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    Why are assassins given their middle names? John Wilkes booth, Lee Harvey Oswald etc

    ********************************************************

    One of my personal historical heroes :

    Theodore Roosevelt III (September 13, 1887 – July 12, 1944), known as Theodore Roosevelt Jr.,

    An American government, business, and military leader. He was the eldest son of President Theodore Roosevelt and First Lady Edith Roosevelt.

    Throughout World War II, Roosevelt suffered from health problems. He had arthritis, mostly from old World War I injuries, and walked with a cane. He also had heart trouble, which he kept secret from army doctors and his superiors

    Roosevelt is known for his World War II service, including the directing of troops at Utah Beach during the Normandy landings, for which he received the Medal of Honor

    On July 12, 1944, a little over one month after the landing at Utah Beach, Roosevelt died of a heart attack in France.[

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Roosevelt_Jr.

  17. billsays: Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    Why are assassins given their middle names? John Wilkes booth, Lee Harvey Oswald etc

    I suppose you could ask Scott John Morrison…

  18. Herald Sun
    @theheraldsun
    ·
    1h
    A Melbourne-based MMA fighter has hit back at the Andrews government over their face mask directive, claiming the pandemic is a “hoax”,

    Karma awaits, sir.

  19. lizzie @ #1377 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 4:57 pm

    C@t

    I’m happy with that. But I’m seeing many, many pics of Americans with masks that only cover their mouths.

    It’s obvious that they aren’t being correctly informed as to how to wear them properly. I mean, it’s simple physics, what happens when you sneeze? Stuff comes out of your mouth AND your nose. Or, from the other perspective, you breath in through your mouth but mostly your nose.

  20. American serial killer: John Wayne Gacy.

    Americans also love to do the hyphenated surname as a combination of both partners in a marriage.

  21. Meanwhiles those stupid people in NZ who went for elimination rather than suppression continue to suffer the consequences of their decision this weekend …………..

    .

  22. Twitter have posted an update on the hack of their system, some extracts…

    What happened

    At this time, we believe attackers targeted certain Twitter employees through a social engineering scheme. What does this mean? In this context, social engineering is the intentional manipulation of people into performing certain actions and divulging confidential information.
    The attackers successfully manipulated a small number of employees and used their credentials to access Twitter’s internal systems, including getting through our two-factor protections. As of now, we know that they accessed tools only available to our internal support teams to target 130 Twitter accounts. For 45 of those accounts, the attackers were able to initiate a password reset, login to the account, and send Tweets. We are continuing our forensic review of all of the accounts to confirm all actions that may have been taken. In addition, we believe they may have attempted to sell some of the usernames.
    For up to eight of the Twitter accounts involved, the attackers took the additional step of downloading the account’s information through our “Your Twitter Data” tool. This is a tool that is meant to provide an account owner with a summary of their Twitter account details and activity. We are reaching out directly to any account owner where we know this to be true. None of the eight were verified accounts.

    What the attackers accessed

    The most important question for people who use Twitter is likely — did the attackers see any of my private information? For the vast majority of people, we believe the answer is, no. For the 130 accounts that were targeted, here is what we know as of today.
    Attackers were not able to view previous account passwords, as those are not stored in plain text or available through the tools used in the attack.
    Attackers were able to view personal information including email addresses and phone numbers, which are displayed to some users of our internal support tools.
    In cases where an account was taken over by the attacker, they may have been able to view additional information. Our forensic investigation of these activities is still ongoing.
    We are actively working on communicating directly with the account-holders that were impacted.

    https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2020/an-update-on-our-security-incident.html

  23. “It’s obvious that they aren’t being correctly informed as to how to wear them properly.”

    Surely we’re beyond the point of thinking that it’s just information people lack?

  24. I was having a discussion earlier with my mum, late eighties, was a nurse also was treated for tuberculosis in her youth at a quarantine hospital. We were discussing some of the societal changes that were passed down as a result of previous infectious disease outbreaks.

    One of the points she made was how impatient we have become as a society. When the pandemic broke we were told that health advice was it would take six months to be managed. Three months in and the open up, were over it brigade started and now for over half the population we are back to square one. What happened to patience is a virtue.
    The points she made relates to common behaviours that became the norm such as not kissing children on the face or hands, making sure rooms are well aired especially if someone is ill, hot washing of all linens, good home hygiene such as regular washing and drying of all surfaces and personal hygiene.

    When this pandemic is eventually looked at through the prism of history what messages will we take from it. What messages from our past should we have remembered.

  25. “continuosays:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 4:40 pm
    The politically-charged bickering over new cases in Victoria and NSW is absolutely ridiculous.”

    Yep. Which is why the contrarian in me keeps piping up here with the “anti-Andrews” stuff. Not really because I think he’s done badly but more because of the view here that all fault lies on the conservative side.

    NSW screwed up with the Ruby Princess. Equally Victoria hasn’t done that well managing it’s outbreak.

  26. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/pandemic-surge-damages-trump-boosting-bidens-white-house/story?id=71779431

    Three and a half months ago the two candidates were virtually even in trust to handle the pandemic, Trump +2 percentage points, 45-43%. Today, with COVID-19 cases surging around the nation, Biden leads Trump on the issue by a 20-point margin, 54-34%.

    See PDF for full results, charts, and tables.

    Biden’s also advanced, nearly to par with Trump, in trust to handle the economy, after trailing in March. Biden leads Trump by 9 points on handling crime and safety, a focal point of Trump’s in recent weeks. And on race relations, Biden leads by his largest margin, 25 points, 58-33%

  27. “sprocket_says:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 5:18 pm
    The Economist is doing some useful aggregating, with latest numbers not promising for a DotardRedux…”

    Unless there’s a miracle vaccine in the next 90 days, I think Trump is screwed.

    It’s probably not so much the people dying, sad to say, but the economy tanking that’ll get him.

  28. A Melbourne-based MMA fighter has hit back at the Andrews government over their face mask directive, claiming the pandemic is a “hoax”,
    _______
    Too many hits and kicks to the head!

  29. Incompetent Chairman Dan has finally deployed police to the locked down hotels in Victoria and not the $10 a hour sleepy guards.

  30. Splashing sweat symbol
    Splashing sweat symbol
    bronwen algate
    @only2beyourself
    ·
    8h
    The Biloela family have been seperated. Our sadistic regime seperated family when mum had to be flown to Perth hospital due to medical emergency. The rest have been left on Xmas island.

  31. Comtinuo:’here’s no pressure on it to adapt. So far, it’s doing a good job of keeping itself in circulation as it is.’

    There is always pressure. The very least it would be other COVID viruses.

  32. Twitter have posted an update on the hack of their system, some extracts…

    I reckon they’re only going public because the NY Times had an insider scoop published yesterday.

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