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. Lars Von Trier:

    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    __________________

    [‘I agree and that same poster was occasionally funny years ago – sadly its just abuse now.’]

    Lars, I’m now about as sharp as a bowl; others my age having difficulty with coming to terms.

  2. Speeches could be posted online rather than delivered live. Votes would be registered electronically. Bills and motions would be available for real-time viewing and Hansard would be available at the same time. Parliamentary committees could run at the same time and be viewable/retrievable using iview-like archiving.

    Stunt politics, such as that run by the Greens and PHON would be much more difficult to stage.

  3. William

    Time to shut this blog down now with the ongoing abuse etc for a few days until people calm down

    Do it please or I’ll arrange for it to be closed with my connections to WordPress

  4. Steven: “Time to shut this blog down now with the ongoing abuse etc for a few days until people calm down. Do it please or I’ll arrange for it to be closed with my connections to WordPress”

    Cancel culture comes for PB. Who’d have thought?

  5. Constituency work could be run from team-based offices…so a local MP office might serve 10 or 20 Members. MPs could cluster on party lines as they saw fit and have some shared secretarial/policy services.

  6. sprocket_ @ #1451 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 5:16 pm

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

    – props
    – points of order
    – sledging
    – Dorothy Dixers

    You could still bring props.
    POOs could be dealt with by using the ‘raised hand’ function in Zoom.
    The sledging could be easily dealt with my muting people.
    DDs would be just like any other question that the Speaker has on the daily order.

  7. TheWesternYokel:

    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 7:25 pm

    [‘I think Zoom Parliament could be good for democracy.’]

    The problem is though, how do you debate thereof? Morrison wants to open the borders but concomitantly wants to close down the parliament.

  8. Steven @ #1456 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 7:37 pm

    William

    Time to shut this blog down now with the ongoing abuse etc for a few days until people calm down

    Do it please or I’ll arrange for it to be closed with my connections to WordPress

    Nice knowing you Steven.

    WB loves people that threaten him.

    Historically, they are the only posters that ever get banned.

  9. GG

    Mr Bowe is in considerable trouble with this blog

    Kicked off Crikey dot com for similar reasons

    Draw your own conclusions

  10. Mavis….in my yokel’s imagination, as the pandemic drives institutional adaptation, the Parliament will have to change too…

  11. One good thing about a Zoom QT is that it’s highly unlikely to be televised, so the proceedings would probably settle down and be less the bloviating theatre that it is now.

  12. One thing 20 years of internet forum posting had taught me (looking at you USENET alt hierarchy) is that there’s a big percentage of the population who don’t get sarcasm / self deprecating humour.

  13. Steven:

    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 7:37 pm

    [‘Time to shut this blog down now with the ongoing abuse etc for a few days until people calm down

    Do it please or I’ll arrange for it to be closed with my connections to WordPress’]

    Please stop being silly, officious.

  14. “Steve777says:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 7:46 pm
    ”Compulsory MORRISON dancing”

    There’s no dancing in NSW. Gladys forbids it”

    As does Dan – dictators all

  15. Steven says:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 7:37 pm
    William

    Time to shut this blog down now with the ongoing abuse etc for a few days until people calm down

    Do it please or I’ll arrange for it to be closed with my connections to WordPress

    —————–

    LOL Steven

  16. Confessions says:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 7:46 pm
    One good thing about a Zoom QT is that it’s highly unlikely to be televised, so the proceedings would probably settle down and be less the bloviating theatre that it is now.

    Yes…there would be a lot less grandstanding….speeches could be lodged by any member….no time limits…QT would not be a totally facile, ridiculous spectacle and questions could be lodged by any member…one each a day, perhaps….There’d be no point in asking Dorothies….

  17. In the grand scheme of things, this place is benign compared to other corners of the internet.

    WordPress isn’t shutting this blog down.

  18. TheWesternYokel @ #1475 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 5:51 pm

    Confessions says:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 7:46 pm
    One good thing about a Zoom QT is that it’s highly unlikely to be televised, so the proceedings would probably settle down and be less the bloviating theatre that it is now.

    Yes…there would be a lot less grandstanding….speeches could be lodged by any member….no time limits…QT would not be a totally facile, ridiculous spectacle and questions could be lodged by any member…one each a day, perhaps….There’d be no point in asking Dorothies….

    And to keep the traditions, the incoming Speaker would have to be dragged to his/her…..computer monitor!

  19. TheWesternYokel:

    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 7:46 pm

    [‘Mavis….in my yokel’s imagination, as the pandemic drives institutional adaptation, the Parliament will have to change too…’]

    Perhaps. My view is that Morrison would do anything to avoid scrutiny, dear “briefly.”

  20. Time to shut this blog down now with the ongoing abuse etc for a few days until people calm down

    Do it please or I’ll arrange for it to be closed with my connections to WordPress

    Lol. Good luck with that.

  21. A much larger Parliament with far more opportunity for participation by members would lessen the power of the PM…which would probably be a good thing. They could not foreclose on debates. They could not use QT to frustrate opposition business. Private member’s business could get a better run.

  22. Confessions says:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 7:54 pm
    TheWesternYokel @ #1475 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 5:51 pm

    Confessions says:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 7:46 pm
    One good thing about a Zoom QT is that it’s highly unlikely to be televised, so the proceedings would probably settle down and be less the bloviating theatre that it is now.

    Yes…there would be a lot less grandstanding….speeches could be lodged by any member….no time limits…QT would not be a totally facile, ridiculous spectacle and questions could be lodged by any member…one each a day, perhaps….There’d be no point in asking Dorothies….
    And to keep the traditions, the incoming Speaker would have to be dragged to his/her…..computer monitor!

    The could be re-booted daily….or put into sleep mode…

  23. “steve davissays:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 7:57 pm
    The smackdown from William as expected”

    Or was it….if Twitter can be hacked

  24. Steven @ #1473 Sunday, July 19th, 2020 – 7:45 pm

    Kicked off Crikey dot com for similar reasons

    Actually that was probably more because the constant petty bickering that goes on here:

    1. Generated too much load on their server for little to no corresponding revenue; and
    2. Was not a good look

    …and possibly the way that their developers would be constantly badmouthed (not without cause, mind you) by some people whenever they changed something also didn’t help.

    Draw your own conclusions

    I conclude that since the blog isn’t hosted on wordpress.com there’s not a damn thing WordPress can do about it and you were talking nonsense.

  25. Yokel, I have been banging that drum for years. A lot of unintended consequences would come from holding zoom parliaments with MPs in their local libraries…. most of them very positive.

  26. I really wish the idea of an irony/playing the fool font had caught on.

    I miss WAIS and gopher some days. Navigator destroyed the Internet, it was never the same after Mosaic.

  27. If the comments threads had anything to do with Crikey’s decision to cut me loose, they never told me about it. The only reason given was that ad revenues had fallen 90% (and they haven’t stopped there, I might add).

  28. “nathsays:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 8:02 pm
    The real question is who is Steven”

    I would have thought you’d say he was Shorten….

  29. “William Bowesays:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 8:04 pm
    If…”

    From memory they culled a whole lot of blogs at that point. Kind of lost interest in Crikey after that.

    I fondly remember the old Croakey blog and Plane Talking.

  30. a r:

    [‘Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 8:00 pm’]

    [‘I conclude that since the blog isn’t hosted on wordpress.com there’s not a damn thing WordPress can do about it and you were talking nonsense.’]

    I don’t about the technical issue but Steven’s made his mark but it’s unimpressive. And so, it’s good night from him and goodnight from me.

  31. From memory they culled a whole lot of blogs at that point. Kind of lost interest in Crikey after that.

    Lots of blogs were dropped from Crikey a few years ago. Crikey seems to have exited the blog business.

  32. Hmmm. Apparently Brad Hazzard didn’t get the memo …

    Mr Hazzard said the growing rates of community transmission in Victoria were behind the need for stricter border restrictions, “making it harder to get a permit and easier to cancel them”.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-19/new-covid-19-border-zone-introduced-between-nsw-and-victoria/12471204

    If Victoria’s R value is indeed 1 (as the CMO claimed yesterday) then community transmission in Victoria is not growing – that is what an R of 1 means. 🙁

  33. Simon Katich says:
    Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 8:02 pm
    Yokel, I have been banging that drum for years. A lot of unintended consequences would come from holding zoom parliaments with MPs in their local libraries…. most of them very positive.

    It is well worth thinking about

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