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. Why would Andrews be sacked? We have had much worse PM/Premiers who have served out their terms. It’s not the responsibility of the GG/G’s to sack poor performing governments. That responsibility lies with all of us.

  2. Queensland Liberal National Party president David Hutchinson has bowed to internal pressure and stood down from the role just months out from the state election.

    The controversial party president announced on Friday night that he was resigning after months of criticism over his links to party rival Clive Palmer.

    Mr Hutchinson had already quit his job as a property development manager for the billionaire, who employed him last year in the wake of the federal election, The Australian revealed in January.

    It came hours after Mr Palmer formally announced his United Australia Party would contest the October state election.

  3. When Kerr sacked Whitlam, it was countersigned by Fraser, not a minister; similarly when Game sacked Lang.

    It wasn’t Whitlam’s dismissal that was countersigned by Fraser, but the proclamation dissolving parliament, which Fraser signed after being sworn in as PM. Strictly speaking, “minister” should read “member of the Executive Council”.

  4. Bertram Stevens was appointed as Premier on the dismissal of Lang and he immediately advised Game to dissolve the LA.
    The Governor of NSW can appoint whoever they like to the executive council. There is nothing in the constitution to say they need the confidence of the house (of course getting legislation through the house is another matter)

  5. It appears that in The Court Of Barney, the jury is still out.

    He never denied the possibility, just that the risk seemed extremely low…

    .., and based on that, he labelled me as a racist.

    The risk actually appears to be extremely HIGH. Ask anyone from the Ruby or Diamond Princess, anyone who caught the virus because they sat next to or at a table near to an infectious person, or were downwind in confined air-conditioned premises. There are probably hundreds of thousands, if not millions who have caught the virus this way: by aerosol. The millions of the infected didn’t all get it by picking their noses before they washed their hands, or got coughed on from two feet away.

    Minimising what Wombat (and, to their discredit, others) said with weasel words like “risk seemed extremely low” is the worst form of smarmy insinuation. Life’s too short to be parsing half-arsed technobabble in The Lancet before acting, especially when it likely changes daily, as more evidence is gathered.

    I was not prepared to take the risk. What is so hard to understand about that, Barney? Why can’t you just accept my position as a personal choice without trying to find some kind of fault in it?

    On a general note, I am not anti-Science in the slightest. I am, if anything, pro- Science. But Science doesn’t have a great track record with coronavirus either.

    For example, masks were “out” once. Now they are mandatory. Why? Part of the reason was logistics: not enough to go around. Medics first. But we weren’t told that. We were told “there is no evidence” etc.

    We were also told “Just wash your hands” and we’d be right. Wrong. You can breathe-in the virus. Not from 1.5 metres, but potentially from 5 or 6 metres. You can get infected through your tear ducts. That’s why emergency doctors and nurses wear full face PPE.

    The bottom line is: we’re all guessing, at least at this stage. This includes the medical profession. If anything is clear, it is this: doctors are not far ahead of the public in knowing what is happening. This is not to detract from the medical profession’s vital role in saving lives in the Emergency wards, but you don’t need to do too much reading or viewing to realise that there’s a lot being done based on guesswork, rather than intimate knowledge of what make this virus so vicious. It’s less than a year old, after all, one single sample from a Barcelona sewer notwithstanding.

    It will not cure one sick person, or prevent another from being infected to call them names or judge their (or your own) politics, ideology, race or religion in isolation from other factors.

    In this context, erring on the side of caution, without having to put up with being mischeviously accused of being a racist or heckled as an ignoramus, is practically a Public Health or community duty. If more people had isolated like I have been fortunate enough to be able to do, then the coronavirus problem we have now in the community would be much less than it is.

  6. Davidwh says:
    Friday, July 31, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    Why would Andrews be sacked? We have had much worse PM/Premiers who have served out their terms. It’s not the responsibility of the GG/G’s to sack poor performing governments. That responsibility lies with all of us.
    ______________
    Well Banana man, you don’t get a say and it’s not your responsibility. This is for Victorians to say. The bearers of civilization on this continent of morons.

  7. The Victorian Constitution is more prescriptive in relation to choosing ministers, as well a 3 month rule, there are caps of 22 ministers in total, 6 in the Legislative Council and 17 in the Legislative Assembly.

  8. Bugler says:
    Friday, July 31, 2020 at 9:26 pm

    Nath,

    So you advocate a constitutional crisis as a means to increase compliance to public health directives as well?
    _______
    Whatever happens it has to be extreme to stop what is going on.

  9. Bushfire Bill @ #1505 Friday, July 31st, 2020 – 9:22 pm

    In this context, erring on the side of caution, without having to put up with being mischeviously accused of being a racist or heckled as an ignoramus, is practically a Public Health or community duty. If more people had isolated like I have been fortunate enough to be able to do, then the coronavirus problem we have now in the community would be much less than it is.

    Oh, FFS BB! You got caught out posting racist memes. Nobody much cares any more, except for you.

    Leave it alone, grow up, and move on.

  10. If BB was Hemingway. He never wrote what he didn’t have to. More you say, the less people hear.
    ‘His face was as long as a morning without breakfast’

  11. nath

    What you are offering is pure distraction, compare it to the Nazi Shock Troops in multiple Cities in USA as a distraction to the failure of Trump.

    Fools the lot of you.

  12. The 3 month rule for Commonwealth ministers does not apply to Members of the Federal Executive Council who are not ministers, with the requirement that ministers be members of the Federal Executive Council to reciprocated.

  13. You only have to take one look at the eejit who is LOTO in Victoria (God forbid you should ever be forced to listen to him) to know that there is no way any Vice Regal personage is going to relieve Dan Andrews from his duties as Premier of Victoria. Not now. Not ever.

    The Age and Sky News may prosecute their warped vendettas. Morrison can stab his fellow National Cabinet member in the back. What else is new when it comes to Morrison’s use of the shiv? But nothing and no-one will install Michael O’Brien as Premier. Things are too serious for clowns like him.

  14. Davidwh

    I was more thinking if Victoria was having a thousand deaths a day and Andrews did nothing. Surely there would be some mechanism other than a vote of no confidence to save the population.
    Could the PM send in the troops or enact some emergency powers?

  15. Bugler says:
    Friday, July 31, 2020 at 9:45 pm

    Nath,

    So you think the public would accept an extreme response?
    ______________
    I understand Dio’s frustration but this is all too speculative and not ever going to happen.

  16. Putting aside the issue of trashing our system of government, now doesn’t seem the right time to send a army of Victorians out into the streets protesting the sacking of properly elected government.

  17. As an aside, I am curious whether the 1/4 of people didn’t respond to having their door knocked on by police or whether 1/4 were actually not home or somewhere in between.

    I recall when the towers were locked down there were reports of people not opening doors/responding to the police and DHS when they came by out of fear and anger – not because they weren’t home (as they had no option not to be).

  18. guytaur….the NZ Greens do not make their political living by undermining NZ Labour. This is in contrast to Australia, where the Greenist rump gnaw on their antagonism 24/7.

    The reformist plurality in NZ is strong. In Australia it’s fucked up. This is directly attributable to Greenist campaigns against Labor – campaigns that have run without abatement for 25 dismal years.

    Fuck the Greenists.

  19. Dio I understand your concern but I just can’t see the mechanism to achieve that without fundamentally changing our structure of government.

  20. Oh, FFS BB! You got caught out posting racist memes. Nobody much cares any more, except for you.

    No, Player1. You dined out here on that theme so much you’ve started to half believe it. But that still doesn’t make it true.

    You make a kind of “living” here on this blog casting aspersions and repeating tropes and opinions you heard someone else say at dinner parties, but they’re no less laughable for that.

    You think you can say what you want and then, when the object of your bullshit objects, tell them to “get over it”. Or that “nobody cares”. You don’t have that privilege.

  21. Suppression was always going to be unstable. The government that needs to be sacked is the government that thought the suppression was a good idea. The smarmy little government that did everything it could to get things to open up early. The smarmy little government that is trying to force WA to open the borders.

    Sixty billion pissed down the drain so we can start this all again.

    And if it is not eliminated this time, another 60 billion will be pissed down the drain, followed by another and another.

  22. Bushfire Bill says:
    Friday, July 31, 2020 at 9:54 pm
    Oh, FFS BB! You got caught out posting racist memes. Nobody much cares any more, except for you.
    No, Player1. You dined out here on that theme so much you’ve started to half believe it. But that still doesn’t make it true.

    You make a kind of “living” here on this blog casting aspersions and repeating tropes and opinions you heard someone else say at dinner parties, but they’re no less laughable for that.

    You think you can say what you want and then, when the object of your bullshit objects, tell them to “get over it”. Or that “nobody cares”. You don’t have that privilege.
    ______________________________________
    Oh dear anger and mansplaining! Not a very pleasant combination.

  23. Nath,

    Given I live quite close to one of the worst affected facilities and know people who have been redeployed to respond to the situation there; am an essential worker working with people who are very vulnerable in this environment; have friends who have been isolated most of this year; and, worst of all, am living with my sister who has recently become cultishly obsessed with making sourdough, I am also frustrated. I don’t see this “pile on Andrews” mentality in the least bit productive, given it is 99% 20:20 hindsight from 600km+ distance.

  24. Bushfire Bill @ #1529 Friday, July 31st, 2020 – 9:54 pm

    Oh, FFS BB! You got caught out posting racist memes. Nobody much cares any more, except for you.

    No, Player1. You dined out here on that theme so much you’ve started to half believe it. But that still doesn’t make it true.

    You make a kind of “living” here on this blog casting aspersions and repeating tropes and opinions you heard someone else say at dinner parties, but they’re no less laughable for that.

    You think you can say what you want and then, when the object of your bullshit objects, tell them to “get over it”. Or that “nobody cares”. You don’t have that privilege.

    Do you want me to repost your original posts? I still have them.

  25. If you are going to spend 60 billion dollars you do not do half a job. That is what the Liberals have offered. Half a swag of money and half a job.

  26. David
    I’m definitely not advocating it but I just wondered if a mechanism existed.

    I don’t think Andrews is any worse than the other premiers. He was unlucky and definitely a few organisations stuffed up. I think Sutton has a lot to answer for.

  27. The previous incidents of vice regal intervention:
    1. There was evidence that Lang had acted illegally by declaring a moratorium on the debt to English bond holders and then refusing to reimburse the Lyons Government which had paid the interest
    2. There was evidence that the Whitlam Government might not be able to obtain supply

    Is a government apparently unable to take appropriate action during a pandemic a cause for Vice regal intervention? The other two incidents look comparatively minor

  28. fred

    Completely agree. I think most people now realise elimination is the best strategy. As you say, half arsed measures just prolong the agony.

  29. Bugler says:
    I don’t see this “pile on Andrews” mentality in the least bit productive, given it is 99% 20:20 hindsight from 600km+ distance.
    ______________
    The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am.

    Andrews, who was an electorate officer after finishing at Uni, has been an extremely well paid since the age of 30. He will retire a multi-millionaire. Not many with a major in Classics can say the same. We should expect better from our ‘superannuated glitterati”.

  30. Oakeshott Country @ #1381 Friday, July 31st, 2020 – 6:18 pm

    RHWombat
    If you are about and can ignore the gnats, RGHC are trying to finish a history for there 80th anniversary and with the death of Charles George this has now fallen on me. Neither of us will get a mention but Smiling Death deserves a chapter – can we discuss? Any primary sources would be a godsend

    G’day OC. I’d be delighted. WB might be able to forward a contact email, or you could look me up in healthpages.wiki or Linkedin.

  31. If Brendan Murphy was anything more than a mouth piece for the federal government it is Brendan Murphy that has a lot to answer for, Sutton was always for elimination.

    If the environment is such that R is less than one then mistakes don’t matter so much, outcome is determined. It is when the environment is such that any escape results in rapid spread you have problems. Morrison worked hard to create that environment. It is Morrison that should be condemned and anybody else who suggested an unstable system can be managed.

  32. If Brendan Murphy was anything more than a mouth piece for the federal government it is Brendan Murphy that has a lot to answer for, Sutton was always for elimination.

    If the environment is such that R is less than one then mistakes don’t matter so much, outcome is determined. It is when the environment is such that any escape results in rapid spread you have problems. Morrison worked hard to create that environment. It is Morrison that should be condemned and anybody else who suggested an unstable system can be managed.

  33. RHW
    It’ll be great fun, the Commissioning committee wants an anecdotal history rather than the academic one Charles was working on.
    I’ll ask WB as I have looked in vain before.
    William – can you send me RHW’s email?
    Many thanks

  34. Bushfire Bill @ #1536 Friday, July 31st, 2020 – 9:59 pm

    Go ahead P1. Seeing as you claim to not care yet keep careful records. Something rather creepy there.

    William says not, and to be honest, I’m not sorry. They were disturbing enough the first time around. And I’m sure that anyone who wants to find them can easily do so.

    For instance, they might try googling “making their dicks bigger by pureeing tiger balls”. Surely there can’t be too many matches for that particular gem?

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