Essential Research: 51-49 to Labor

Essential Research at long last emerges from the voting intention wilderness, although its results going forward will be carefully rationed.

Another pollster returns from the naughty corner today to chance its arm at voting intention, which now makes three if you count the erratically published Roy Morgan series (which I incline not to myself). That pollster is Essential Research, which has remained prodigious with attitudinal polling since the May 2019 federal election, and has maintained its monthly leadership ratings, while offering no clue as to its voting intention numbers beyond the inclusion of raw figures in reporting its sub-samples.

Unhappily for we salivating dogs in the psephoblogosphere, these figures will only be published on a quarterly basis. This appears to mean that every sixth or seventh fortnightly Essential Research release will provide the fortnightly voting intention results of the preceding period. This, the pollster says, will “mitigate the tendency to report on minor movements as some sort of political horse race”. This latest release confuses the issue by providing weekly numbers through June, but I believe this is an artefact of a temporary move to weekly polling to track reactions to COVID-19.

Essential will also make a point of not excluding the undecided from its headline results, arguing the conventional practice entails a “lack of nuance”, though no doubt rivals will accuse the pollster of hedging its bets. The pollster still follows the conventional practice of prodding the initially undecided with a follow-up that asks who they are leaning towards. A proportion of these persist in declining a response, but remain in the sample with responses included for the other survey questions.

The latest primary vote numbers show the Coalition on 38% (up one), Labor on 35% (up one), the Greens on 9% (down one), One Nation on 4% (steady) and others on 6% (steady). If the undecided were excluded, the results would be Coalition 41.3%, Labor 38.0%, Greens 9.8% and One Nation 4.3%, and 51-49 to Labor on two-party preferred (for the sake of consistency with other pollsters, it’s the latter figure that I will continue to use in my headlines). Compared with the 2019 election result, this leaves Labor up nearly five points but the Coalition hardly changed, with the slack taken up from smaller parties and independents.

Labor with 47% of the decided two-party vote (up one on a fortnight ago) to the Coalition’s 45% (steady), leaving an outstanding 8% potentially to be called on to fill the gap between the reported numbers and an actual result. The pollster’s two-party numbers look to be consistent with a 2019 election preferences allocation, although the report is not specific as to whether this method or respondent allocation was used. In his piece in The Guardian, Peter Lewis of Essential Research explains: “We will now be asking participants who vote for a minor party to indicate a preferred major party. Only when they do not provide a preference will we allocate based on previous flows.“

These results are obviously a lot better for Labor than what has come through from Newspoll and Morgan, and are clearly an established peculiarity of the series. Where headline results over the past two months have shown Labor matching or exceeding their primary vote at the election despite the inclusion of a 7% to 9% undecided component, the Coalition have been coming in two to four points lower. The Greens are reckoned to be about where they were and the election and One Nation a little higher, though the latter is complicated by their tendency to only run in selected seats.

Also featured in the latest poll:

• The federal government’s ratings for COVID-19 response are unchanged at 64% good and 16% poor, and the combined response for state governments has shifted only negligibly, with good and poor both up a point to 65% to 18% respectively.

• The small-sample results for individual state governments show the Victorian government up four points on both good and poor, to 53% and 30% respectively. This still leaves it with the weakest figures out of the mainland state governments, with the Western Australian government recovering its title of strongest performer (up five to 82%) from South Australia (down three to 76%).

• On JobKeeper and JobSeeker, 69% supported businesses being retested for eligibility, with 9% opposed; 66% supported continuing payments for six months, with 12% opposed; 54% supported reducing the amount of the payments, with 21% opposed; but only 29% supported excluding casual workers, with 40% opposed.

• Forty-three per cent rated themselves very concerned about COVID-19, up seven on a fortnight ago, with quite concerned down four to 44%, not that concerned down three to 9% and not at all concerned up one to 4%.

• Fifty-six per cent favour a “suppression strategy” and 44% an “elimination strategy”.

• Sixty-eight per cent support mandatory face masks. with 13% opposed; 19% believe them very effective, 46% quite effective, 20% not that effective and 5% not effective at all.

The poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1058.

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.

1,645 comments on “Essential Research: 51-49 to Labor”

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  1. Point of order though: Palmer was a National Party campaign director and media spokesperson, but surely never Bjelke-Petersen’s chief-of-staff, an actual job involving real work.

  2. GA…I was not aware of this… However, Porter, son of Chilla Porter, was a run-0ff-t0-
    Canberra politician when he felt he was too big and important for local WA politics.. It was one of the minor disappointments in the 2019 election that he did not lose his seat……Still, hope spring eternal with hitching his start to Palmer, he might just get the bullet……

  3. Can the federal government ever step in and say Andrews government is killing the country and take it over? Or can the governor dismiss it?

    I’m not saying they should but if it gets worse I’m wondering if there is a kill mode.

  4. Diogenes @ #1453 Friday, July 31st, 2020 – 8:01 pm

    Can the federal government ever step in and say Andrews government is killing the country and take it over? Or can the governor dismiss it?

    I’m not saying they should but if it gets worse I’m wondering if there is a kill mode.

    I always observed that the more you read, the less you know or understand.

    Perhaps some thinking is in order.

  5. https://whbl.com/2020/07/30/surveillance-scheme-hunts-for-covid-traces-in-israels-sewers/

    The project, similar to those undertaken in other countries, was carried out by wastewater management technology firm Kando and researchers from Israeli educational institutions including Ben Gurion University and the Technion in Haifa.

    The research pointed to wastewater as a means of detecting outbreaks of the disease early as well as the ability to narrow hotspots down to specific streets, Kando said on Thursday.

    Early studies by scientists in The Netherlands, France, Australia and elsewhere suggest sewage sampling for signs of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus could help assess the number of infections in a geographic area, without having to test every person.

    Samples of wastewater from the Paris sewage system have been showing traces of COVID-19 again since the end of June, having vanished when France imposed a lockdown.

    For the Israeli pilot study, the coastal city of Ashkelon, with 150,000 residents, was chosen as it was thought to have a low number of cases. But researchers discovered significant remnants of the coronavirus in municipal wastewater, Kando said.

    The results suggest that tracking coronavirus remnants in the sewer network can be a more efficient gauge of the extent of outbreaks than testing individuals, especially given the asymptomatic nature of many suffering from COVID-19, it said.

    Which goes along with the other testing done last year with Italy/Spain.

    And some states in USA (at least on university scale) are testing for COVID19.

  6. GG

    You said that when I pointed out Victoria was about to lose control of the virus. And we all know how that turned out.

  7. Talking Points Memo
    @TPM
    ·
    15h
    Obama calls for ditching the filibuster if it’s used to block measures to expand the right to vote: “If all of this takes eliminating the filibuster, another Jim Crow relic, in order to secure the God-given rights of every American, then that’s what we should do.”

    https://twitter.com/TPM/status/1288911474669256704

    Hope this rubs off on Dems, should they win the presidency and both houses. I agree with everything here, including the DC and Puerto Rico part. (And yes, it would be nice if this was said 12 years ago but better late than never.)

    (EDIT: there’s a video embedded in the linked tweet that I am referring from)

  8. Why can the GG kill a Federal parliament but no one kill a state government?

    Pretty sure the state governors fill that role…

  9. A proclamation to dissolve parliament must be counter-signed by a minister. Hence “Kerr’s cur”. I guess a Governor who had taken leave of his or her senses could bring about an election by installing the Opposition Leader as Premier with a view to providing such advice, but as such would be a violation of anyone’s contemporary understanding of what constitutes the Governor’s reserve powers, I also suspect the courts might have something to say about such a move.

  10. What I think is that South Australians have handled this thing well. Life is back to nearly normal for a lot of us.
    There is a fear in the front and back of everybodies minds that this thing will reappear here and doom us all though.
    Nicola Spurrier has been a tower of strength and I hope she keeps it up.

  11. William Bowe @ #1466 Friday, July 31st, 2020 – 8:15 pm

    A proclamation to dissolve parliament must be counter-signed by a minister. Hence “Kerr’s cur”. I guess a Governor who had taken leave of his or her senses could bring about an election by installing the Opposition Leader as Premier with a view to providing such advice, but as such would be a violation of anyone’s contemporary understanding of what constitutes the Governor’s reserve powers, I also suspect the courts might have something to say about any such move.

    https://twitter.com/i/status/1289138136413622272

  12. I misread Dio’s post. I thought he was asking why the GG can’t exercise his powers on state governments. Which, now I reflect upon it, was a silly assumption – of course he knows.

  13. Diogenes:

    Friday, July 31, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    [‘Can the federal government ever step in and say Andrews government is killing the country and take it over? Or can the governor dismiss it?’]

    Given the intervention of Game, Kerr – highly unlikely.

  14. Bushfire Bill @ #1402 Friday, July 31st, 2020 – 4:46 pm

    You really don’t want to understand what Rhowombat was saying about about aerosol transmission, do you?

    What Wombat was saying about aerosol transmission was that a Lancet article stated there was “no evidence” it caused infections. Therefore walking down a crowded street packed with tourists from China bore no risk of getting infected, as I had said I would not be doing (along with 90% of Chinese customers – a fact which is completely ignored by the other side of this debate. Were those people, mostly of Chinese ethnicity, racists too?)

    No, what RHWombat was saying that their was no evidence of aerosol infection, so the risk of infection in this way seemed to be extremely low in comparison to surface contamination and near droplet exposure. So precautions against these sources of infection should be the priority.

    Therefore, he reasoned, I must be using aerosol transmission as an excuse to exhibit racism, not as a precaution against infection.

    Well your example was stupid, as once the virus arrived in Australia there could be no way of telling who was infected or not, so any precautions would be needed whenever you went out in public, irrespective of the location.

    The behaviour of the Chinese community is completely unsurprising, but what you fail to recognise or acknowledge is that they would have been modifying their behaviours elsewhere as well. Here in Makassar the local Government’s first action was to shut all schools. Immediately numbers in shopping malls and on the streets dropped markedly and that was without any further restrictions being put in place. This sort of reaction would not surprise me in most parts of east Asia.

    I don’t care what the Lancet said, or rather implied. “No evidence” does NOT mean “Not possible”. I understand the difference. What it really means to me is “More investigation required”.

    I was correct. Aerosol transmission turns out to be as near to a real thing as it can be, absent an actual photograph of a cell at the instant of aerosol infection.

    He never denied the possibility, just that the risk seemed extremely low, you were both right and that you see this as a point of differentiation highlights how much you misunderstood the point he was making.

    It is, and was, perfectly appropriate for me to adopt the side of caution, as I did, without being publicly labelled as a “racist yabberer” for doing so.

    Take the contrary case: what if I was wrong? What harm would have I done to anyone by being over-cautious?

    You don’t do your case any good at all by persisting in trying to (unsuccessfully) trip me up with semantics and fake Socratic method Barney.

    No one has criticised you for using protection and it is good that you have taken those precautions.

    But someone who wears a cloth mask, and practices social distancing and good personal hygiene is at no more risk of catching the virus as you are.

  15. Can illegal action be ratified after the event by parliament? Say a GG says I am using the reserve powers and I have detained the PM because she is insane, an election is called and the new PM passes a bill confirming the GG’s actions where entirely lawful? Is this allowable under the Constitution?

  16. bill

    South Australians have handled this thing well. Life is back to nearly normal for a lot of us.
    There is a fear in the front and back of everybodies minds that this thing will reappear here and doom us all though.

    A fear I have noticed in all places that have “eliminated” The Plague. More than made up for, IMHO, by life being so normal. Can youse guys upgrade your rabbit proof fence to a Vic/NSW proof fence ? 🙂

  17. I wouldn’t pat us (SA) too hard on the back. Distance gives us an advantage in quarantining the virus. Also, it takes just one outbreak to suddenly change that. Until the pandemic is sufficiently dealt with globally, all celebrations are premature.

  18. poroti @ #1474 Friday, July 31st, 2020 – 8:27 pm

    bill

    South Australians have handled this thing well. Life is back to nearly normal for a lot of us.
    There is a fear in the front and back of everybodies minds that this thing will reappear here and doom us all though.

    A fear I have noticed in all places that have “eliminated” The Plague. More than made up for, IMHO, by life being so normal. Can youse guys upgrade your rabbit proof fence to a Vic/NSW proof fence ? 🙂

    Cue, Jaws music!

  19. Can illegal action be ratified after the event by parliament? Say a GG says I am using the reserve powers and I have detained the PM because she is insane, an election is called and the new PM passes a bill confirming the GG’s actions where entirely lawful? Is this allowable under the Constitution?

    My first question here is to wonder how the GG would detain the PM — presumably by issuing orders to the armed forces. But as with dissolving parliament, such orders would have to be counter-signed by a minister. If such an action wasn’t legal in the first place, I would imagine that only constitutional change could make it so.

  20. Greensborough Growler

    Y’all just enjoy life with the plague y’hear.Jaws music will be a playin’ in the background all the time in non plague States.

  21. I’m not sure how instigating open riot (sacking a state government with a large parliamentary Government in favour of a federal Government with a very small majority where the state in question did not vote in favour of would certainly be a way to do that) with no real plan to do anything different from the sacked Government is going to help.

    I mean Nate’s handwringing is one thing but this is quite another.

  22. Viruses do what viruses do. The chain of transmission needs to be broken. So Victoria has to go for a hard lock down. The more interactions between people the greater the spread.

  23. Greensborough Growler
    Except for those holed up in #plaguesafe states like Sandgropia. Odds of infection of teh plague pretty same same…………………so far.

  24. guytaur @ #1435 Friday, July 31st, 2020 – 5:25 pm

    Briefly is going to be upset. On the ABC Newsradio (I think that’s where I heard it). Jacinda Ardern Is in talks with the Greens about a coalition.
    This with Labour in position to win outright.

    Ardern wants to strengthen her majority.

    If you listen to Briefly that will see her defeated.

    It appears that you think New Zealand is part of Australia.

  25. The GG hasthe right to choose anyone they like as their advisors. (Section 62 of the constitution)Federally they can be from people outside parliament with the proviso that they must enter parliament within 3 months. (Section 64) Therefore the GG could choose me as the PM as long as I agree to lock up Morrison.
    Not sure of the Victorian constitution but it is likely to be similar and Dangerous Dan could indeed be dismissed and replaced by someone who knew what they were doing.

  26. People don’t seem to realize how extensive this virus is in Melbourne. They are picking up a portion each day. But I believe that those getting tested each week are often the same people doing it weekly/fortnightly. Suburbs should be door knocked and tested. The Security gaurds/uber drivers spread this far and wide.

  27. I know it’s not a popular an overly opinion here amongst some but there are also social consequences to any Government position. I think it’s very cute to pretend that extreme actions don’t aggravate an equally extreme response.

    If people aren’t following current directives I doubt compliance is going to be much higher if you make the directives harsher.

  28. McGowan displays court document filed by Porter that clearly states “The Attorney-General intervenes in support of the position of the plaintiffs” (i.e. Porter intervening in support of Palmer).

    Constitutional law expert says Commonwealth intervention to assist the court in such cases is normal but Porter chose to support Palmer when he could have equally supported WA or taken no position.

    Looks like a big political miscalculation by Porter/Morrison?

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-31/clive-palmer-wa-border-legal-bid-backed-by-attorney-general/12511212

  29. WB:

    [‘But as with dissolving parliament, such orders would have to be counter-signed by a minister.’]

    Yes/no -there being few precedents. When Kerr sacked Whitlam, it was countersigned by Fraser, not a minister; similarly when Game sacked Lang.

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