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. Zerlo @ #1396 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 3:39 pm

    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.

    That Christianity that the PM has seems to be very much like Trumps. I kind of hope their is a real hell and it is as bad as its previews suggest it is because those two deserve eternity in acute and agonising pain.

  2. Well WWP, according to Behrouz Boochani the ALP is more hypocritical than the Liberals on this topic, the former pretends to care but has exactly the same policy as the Liberals. Conservative Team B & Conservative Team A.

  3. C@tmomma @ #1349 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 2:29 pm

    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.

    Plus having no other agenda than holding the top job.

  4. Bill: “Why are assassins given their middle names? John Wilkes booth, Lee Harvey Oswald etc”

    But not, for some reason, Sirhan Bishara Sirhan.

    Perhaps white privilege or unconscious bias ?

  5. 7 yrs today Rudd the rat established the indefinite offshore detention solution.

    He’s probably sitting in the rocking chair tonight telling himself over and over he was right.

  6. poroti (Block)
    Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 5:10 pm
    Comment #1383
    Meanwhiles those stupid people in NZ who went for elimination rather than suppression continue to suffer the consequences of their decision this weekend …………..

    Good luck to them. I’m happy for them and for the courageous St. Ardern.

  7. After checking out today’s posts, it’s disappointing to see that a poster refers to others as an “idiot”, a “dickhead.” And, unless he starts early, he’s not even on the piss.

  8. Mavis @ #1409 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 6:27 pm

    After checking out today’s posts, it’s disappointing to see that a poster refers to others as an “idiot”, a “dickhead.” And, unless he starts early, he’s not even on the piss.

    Have you collected the ink for the inkwells or have you come to the fray totally unprepared again?

  9. Mavis says:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 6:27 pm
    After checking out today’s posts, it’s disappointing to see that a poster refers to others as an “idiot”, a “dickhead.” And, unless he starts early, he’s not even on the piss.
    __________________
    I agree and that same poster was occasionally funny years ago – sadly its just abuse now.

  10. SMH headlines at the moment – so far the media spotlight is on people’s behaviour with NSW ministers issuing warnings. At what stage will the spotlight turn to the NSW government?

    Cases spread beyond Casula, prompting NSW advice to limit unnecessary travel
    Transport Minister says residents should reconsider the need to travel as NSW records a further 18 COVID-19 cases.

    NSW warns of ‘inherent risk’ on public transport as 18 coronavirus cases detected
    NSW residents are being urged to get tested even if they have the mildest of symptoms.
    Residents are being urged to ‘redouble efforts’ to stop the virus spreading by avoiding non-essential travel even as schools prepare to restart.

    Sydneysiders ignore NSW Health warnings to avoid crowds
    1 hour agoby Sarah Keoghan

  11. Mavis @ #1409 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 6:27 pm

    After checking out today’s posts, it’s disappointing to see that a poster refers to others as an “idiot”, a “dickhead.” And, unless he starts early, he’s not even on the piss.

    If you think that’s bad, wait till the evening shift arrives. It will go downhill fast 🙁

  12. Rex Douglas says:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    7 yrs today Rudd the rat established the indefinite offshore detention solution.

    He’s probably sitting in the rocking chair tonight telling himself over and over he was right.

    Noting, nothing, justifies what the Greens have done to encourage this situation to continue. Political games have consequences.

    Unfortunately while the Greens and the Liberals think is a good fun wedge it will continue.

  13. RD:’7 yrs today Rudd the rat established the indefinite offshore detention solution’.

    And, who for the last (nearly) 7 years, have been continuing it?

  14. Player One says:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 6:36 pm
    Mavis @ #1409 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 6:27 pm

    After checking out today’s posts, it’s disappointing to see that a poster refers to others as an “idiot”, a “dickhead.” And, unless he starts early, he’s not even on the piss.
    If you think that’s bad, wait till the evening shift arrives. It will go downhill fast
    ________________
    Most likely with about 8-10 paragraphs of mansplaining.

  15. frednk @ #1416 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 6:36 pm

    Rex Douglas says:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    7 yrs today Rudd the rat established the indefinite offshore detention solution.

    He’s probably sitting in the rocking chair tonight telling himself over and over he was right.

    Noting, nothing, justifies what the Greens have done to encourage this situation to continue. Political games have consequences.

    Unfortunately while the Greens and the Liberals think is a good fun wedge it will continue.

    So, you would rather the program have been a black ops program …?

  16. PeeBee says:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 6:37 pm
    RD:’7 yrs today Rudd the rat established the indefinite offshore detention solution’.

    And, who for the last (nearly) 7 years, have been continuing it?
    _____________________________________
    Thats the glory of the 2 party Conservative A (Liberal) and Conservative B (Labor) duopoly for you!

  17. Just watched an excellent movie: The Professor and the Madman about the assemblage of the Oxford English Dictionary under Dr. James Murray. What a treat.

  18. Player One:

    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    [‘If you think that’s bad, wait till the evening shift arrives. It will go downhill fast ‘]

    I think the morning shift is worse than the night watch, the latter at least has an excuse.

  19. Bill Shorten never had a bad word to say about the offshore detention solution the whole 6 yrs he was LOTO.
    The system was never pursued by Labor out of fear of Dutton at the despatch box. Shayne Neumann did his best weekend at Bernies act for 6 yrs.

  20. Zerlo: “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.”

    The situation of the Biloela family is an interesting case study.

    They appear to have always had a rather weak case for claiming refugee status, with all members except the toddler now having had their cases rejected by the Department, the AAT and the Federal Court. According to reports, the stumbling block is the father’s claims to have been a conscripted member of the LTTE, which appears to have been contradicted by the fact that he made trips out of Sri Lanka on private business both during and after the civil war, which allegedly would not have been allowed if the Sri Lankan Government had perceived him to have been a strongly active member of the LTTE.

    But, on the basis of the close ties they seem to have established with the Biloela community, they would appear to have a strong case for humanitarian settlement. Many people in broadly similar situations have been given such consideration in the past, but usually on the condition that they first return home and apply from there.

    I wonder if such an offer has been made to the Biloela family, and if not, why not: it would surely be strongly in the interests of the Government to settle the whole business in that way.

    And, if such an offer has been or will be made at some point, I certainly hope it will be considered. Some of the people advising the family seem to have a pretty strong agenda about asylum seekers, so perhaps they are keen to tough the whole thing out. But I don’t think the Government is going to back down and grant refugee status, so the stalemate will continue.

    I note that, after making a lot of noise about the family a few months back, Kristina Keneally has now gone quiet on the subject. Which is also interesting: it was a bit surprising to see Labor going against the decisions of the AAT and the Federal Court, so perhaps they’ve decided to cool it.

    Anyway, it’s an odd business. It’s the sort of situation that would have been quickly resolved in the past by Labor or Liberal governments.

  21. Rex Douglas says:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 6:45 pm
    Bill Shorten never had a bad word to say about the offshore detention solution the whole 6 yrs he was LOTO.

    Another pitiful falsehood from the editors of Rexology.

  22. I had genuinely hoped that this god awful pandemic might at least help us pave a way to a more modern and flexible parliament. Shameful that as people and businesses across the nation work to find a way to adapt, our parliament cannot find any imagination at all.— Kate Ellis (@KateEllis22) July 18, 2020

    I’m thinking both major parties are absolutely fine with not having to sit.

    Scotty from marketing can go to the footy

    Albanese can think up more ways to seduce the Qld/NSW yokels

  23. The LibHeavy and their surrogates, the Greens, have made a political fortune from the exploitation of refugees. They continue the trade, counting their windfalls.

  24. Rex Douglas: “7 yrs today Rudd the rat established the indefinite offshore detention solution.
    He’s probably sitting in the rocking chair tonight telling himself over and over he was right.”

    Au contraire: Rudd has subsequently indicated that, when he said that the people in offshore detention would never be able to settle in Australia, he perhaps really only meant for 12 months.

    Although, really, I defy anyone to explain what this statement actually meant.

    https://www.abc.net.au/austory/statement-from-former-prime-minister-kevin-rudd/10956810

  25. “Albanese can think up more ways to seduce the Qld/NSW yokels”

    Is this how the Greens try to connect with the 90% of Australians outside of their 10% upper middle class / professional, inner city enclaves?

    Wasn’t it Adam Bandt who had as a slogan – “For the many not the few”…

  26. Mavis @ #1436 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 6:57 pm

    Greensborough Growler:

    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    [‘The only real advice you can give is how to tickle the till, apparently.’]

    You can be cruel, GG. There were bills to be paid; staff to be paid. As a mortage-broker, you’d be aware of that? Perhaps you don’t, cobber?

    More excuses than a pregnant nun! There’s always a different way to criminality. But that would involve character.

  27. Blobbit: “I wish I could troll(1) people as well as some here.
    (1) is the traditional sense of troll, one who starts a flame war.”

    Try posting something like the following:

    “The Ruby Princess debacle would never have happened in Victoria because Dan Andrews would have stopped it while sitting at his computer.”

    or

    “Things are looking pretty bad in NSW. If the daily number of new cases continues at the current rate, in three weeks time they might have as many as Victoria has managed in the past 24 hours.”

    (Not that I’d ever dream of posting such things myself. :-))

  28. Credit to Linda Burney – she is a non stop media machine – seems to average 40 press releases or appearances every month. Others on the Labor front bench do as little as 5 press releases a month.

  29. Blobbit:

    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 6:49 pm.

    [‘(1) is the traditional sense of troll, one who starts a flame war.’]

    In the evening, you know you love them.

  30. “shellbellsays:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 6:57 pm
    Blobbit

    It would be a terrible waste if you did troll”

    Gotta have a hobby and all that. Not sure how the Uber Psephologist would feel if I had two accounts so I could abuse myself, as part of an elaborate troll.

  31. An observation on the cancelling of Parliament next sitting.

    What is lacking is not technology, but trust. The Opposition don’t trust the government, and the minors in the Senate don’t trust anyone. The Libs don’t trust the Nats, and nobody trusts Morrison.

    Holding the government to account can be manipulated in a virtual environment. Also the alliance building, and deal brokering is best done face to face. Then there is the gladhanding from lobbyists. And the stunts from the minors.

    I recall the reason why electronic voting failed to get up. The MPs on both sides used the 4 minute bell ringing in divisions to F2F caucus, lobby, shore up numbers, scheme – speed dating style. Why take the risk of losing this?

    The voting On Bills is the easiest part, and largely inconsequential given the current numbers.

  32. Albo has ground to make up among the yokels in WA too. The Western Yokel – also known as the Shrewd Yokel or the Silent Yokel – is related to the Eastern Wattle Yokels with whom they share some habits, especially an aversion to the Southern (Chattering) Blowhards and their relatives, the Green-Crested Frauds.

  33. Andrews and Berejiklian plan to take over Australia as a part of their anti-refugee jihad. They will then marry and force everyone to both lock down and go to the pub AT THE SAME TIME to spread the virus as much as possible.

    All this while adopting Morrison as their ward.

  34. It was interesting during the Prime Minister question session in the UK Parliament some months ago where it was just PM Johnson and Sir Keir and a few others with Johnson answering questions remotely many of them from Scottish members whose accents were on the thicker of thick.

  35. Blobbit: “Andrews and Berejiklian plan to take over Australia as a part of their anti-refugee jihad. They will then marry and force everyone to both lock down and go to the pub AT THE SAME TIME to spread the virus as much as possible.”

    Nice try, but you left out the bit about compulsory Morris dancing at the weddings.

  36. With virtual Question Time, how would the Speaker deal with traditions such as:

    – props
    – points of order
    – sledging
    – Dorothy Dixers

  37. If Parliament were to become a zoom studio then the single member 100,000-voter constituency set up might be brought into question. Really, if constituencies were very small – say 5,000 voters each – the chamber would be very different. It would never have to actually assemble in 3-D, but could meet more or less any time. Sessions could be almost permanent. That would change parliamentary action very profoundly. It would also change politics, making it more local and diverse. Just about anyone could run a campaign aimed at winning support from, say, 2,500 voters.

    This would also mean that representatives from remote seats/states would have a much easier time serving their voters.

    If the House has, say, 3,000 members, there would also have to be around 1,500 Senators. The Parliament could be truly local and granular in its composition.

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