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”

  1. ” New South Wales health authorities asked all passengers to go into self-isolation. It was announced on 24 March that one passenger had died and 133 on the ship had tested positive for the coronavirus.

    As of 30 March, at least 440 passengers had tested positive for the virus. 211 were in New South Wales, 71 in South Australia, 70 in Queensland, 43 in Western Australia, 22 in the Australian Capital Territory, 18 in Victoria, three in Tasmania and two in the Northern Territory. By 31 March, five of them had died, one in the Australian Capital Territory, two in Tasmania, one in New South Wales and one in Queensland. By 2 April, cases in New South Wales had risen to 337 passengers and 3 crew members, and total passenger cases had risen to at least 576, excluding passengers who left Australia without being tested.”

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

    So why isn’t Gladys Berejiklian being attacked day in day out in the Daily Telecrap? Why not NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard? Or the guy who makes such a big deal of ”border protection” Peter Dutton?Where are the shills here and elsewhere in the webisphere demanding their immediate resignation?

    Now the resignation of the NSW Premier or Health Minister at this time would not help anyone. I don’t call for it. We in NSW will get a say in a few years. On the other hand there may be a case for the immediate resignation of the malevelovent, racist and incompetent Dutton. He’s been pretty invisible lately, not that I want to see him. Were he to leave, however, he’d only be replaced by someone just as bad if not worse. There are plenty to choose from in the “Liberal” Party.

  2. “Shitposting = Historyintime ”

    Thanks C@t, I had to look that term up so I have learned something.

    However, I can’t agree that considering Dan Andrews has failed completely on the single most important matter of his administration is ‘shitposting’. If it was an LNP State, the Left would be unbelievably vociferous in assigning responsibility to the Premier. But Dan Andrews is exempt. Why is that?

  3. Steve777says:
    Friday, July 31, 2020 at 11:10 pm

    So why isn’t Gladys Berejiklian being attacked day in day out in the Daily Telecrap. Why not NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard? Or the guy who makes such a big deal of ”border protection” Peter Dutton. Where are the shills here and elsewhere in the webisphere demanding their immediate resignation?
    _____________________
    You mean like every day on PB? Where’s the guy who labelled the NSW Minister “Health Hazard”??

  4. Taylormade

    “Fancy a wager on Andrews sticking around until the next election ?”

    Fancy a wager you posting anything positive re Labor?

  5. I think it was pretty well understood even before COVID-19 that Andrews wasn’t planning on sticking around much longer. Premiers who want more than five years in the job are a rarity these days.

  6. Of course Andrews wasn’t going to stick around. He has a life pension to look forward enjoying at the age of 49. I bet 2021 was supposed to be the Grand Tour of Europe……

  7. You’re talking to Lars, BB, not Player One.

    The names blur after a while William. I can usually ID the poster from the language they use. Made a mistake this time. My bad.

    Lars and P1 are only here to destabilize your blog William. P1 makes unsubstantiated allegations, then dismisses defences as humbug and pettiness. Lars steps in when he reckons things need a nudge along.

    How you can think they actually add anything is beyond me. They rarely post an argument supported by even the pretence of facts, insult other commenters, squeal when they cop a bit back, and generally cause surfeit, cloyment and revolt.

    And they never deliver the goods. It’s all drive-by insults and feigned offence.

  8. ”Both games of footy tonight were less interesting than a Tasmanian Upper House election.“

    I rate “footy” and Tasmanian Upper House elections about equally interesting, together with Bulgarian clog dancing.

  9. Historyintime

    Considering that a health crises is like a national issue, a national state of emergency should have been called.

    But you like to point fingers at Dan Andrews, just like fingers were pointed at Bushfires.

    Pointing fingers is very easy and no brainer to do, it’s less work. But everyone else suffers.

  10. Taylormade

    I’m in WA….have no real knowledge of how things are among the people of the Great State of Victoria. I imagine they’re very frustrated and annoyed. Perhaps once the COVID cases have been repressed Andrews will resign. I have no idea if that’s likely if not.

    I live in a COVID-free community – at least for the time being. I reckon the feeling when we look to the East is along the lines of “there but for the grace of god go we”. Very tough on Victorians. You have our support and best hopes.

    I have been a voice against the politicisation of COVID all along. Partisan dispute and jeering makes it very difficult to secure public cooperation …and that is what we need most of all.

    Such a pity things have fucked up. We were all very close….but the genie is out of the bottle now. Very sad for many.

  11. You think you can keep infected VICS out of WA? We’re moving in lock, stock and barrel. We’re gonna be in the pool. We’re gonna be in the clubhouse. We’re gonna be all over that shuffleboard court. And I dare you to keep me out!

  12. William Bowe says:
    Friday, July 31, 2020 at 11:24 pm
    There’s a poll in The West Australian that shows support for secession at 34%. Doesn’t say how many were opposed and how many uncommitted.

    If the HC were to find against WA I think that number would jump into the 80s.

  13. Bushfire Bill

    “Lars and P1 are only here to destabilize your blog William”

    Let them go, we know their game.

    I find the best response is to ignore.

    Don’t reply, yes I’m guilty!

  14. nath

    I think its time we all went our separate ways.
    ———-
    I forget who, but someone determined the ideal size for a nation In terms of cohesion and democratic effectiveness is in the order of 5 to 7 million people. Australia is well above that. So it should break up into about 5 countries who could then form an Oceanic Union with NZ and others, e.g. Fiji

  15. They rarely post an argument supported by even the pretence of facts, insult other commenters, squeal when they cop a bit back, and generally cause surfeit, cloyment and revolt.

    I was down the pub the other day and you would not believe the shit I was getting for my surfeit of cloyment and revolt.
    True as.
    (sorry BB)

  16. Historyintime @ #1603 Friday, July 31st, 2020 – 11:11 pm

    “Shitposting = Historyintime ”

    Thanks C@t, I had to look that term up so I have learned something.

    However, I can’t agree that considering Dan Andrews has failed completely on the single most important matter of his administration is ‘shitposting’. If it was an LNP State, the Left would be unbelievably vociferous in assigning responsibility to the Premier. But Dan Andrews is exempt. Why is that?

    Because I don’t think that I, or anyone else on this blog, should be judge, jury and executioner. The good people of Victoria will pass their judgement at the next election.

    However, if your contention is that the Liberal Party in Victoria could have done a better job than Dan Andrews and Labor, then I have a bridge, a rickety one with holes big enough to fall through, that I will sell you for a million dollars.

  17. @Nath

    “You think you can keep infected VICS out of WA? We’re moving in lock, stock and barrel. We’re gonna be in the pool. We’re gonna be in the clubhouse. We’re gonna be all over that shuffleboard court. And I dare you to keep me out!”

    Time for bed!

  18. If Palmer wins I think the public would insist on legislation requiring Palmer to forfeit his mineral assets in WA as partial restitution.

  19. “There’s a poll in The West Australian that shows support for secession at 34%. Doesn’t say how many were opposed and how many uncommitted.”

    I remember being taught in UWA economics how badly us Sandgropers were done by Federation. There was certainly something to it in the time of high tariffs. Still is, no reason for WA to support Victorians, South Australians and Tasmanians.

  20. There’s a poll in The West Australian that shows support for secession at 34%. Doesn’t say how many were opposed and how many uncommitted.

    Beginning of the end for ScoMo. Something’s changed in the last couple of days.

    Palmer’s not doing him any favours by suing the states. Trump’s stopped about an inch short of calling us a shithole country. There are too many Yes Men in the office, nodding their heads. The Karens and the Coronettes are copping the blame for Victoria. Unemployment is about to hit the fan. And Aged Care. And Social Security. Dan Andrews ain’t going anywhere. And the Surplus fantasy is finally dead. It’s unattainable now. Not worth promising, unless he thinks he can sell 50 years of misery and austerity. No he can’t.

    Morrison’s inner phony and inner swiftness is shining through. And the Libs know a shifty phony when they see one.

  21. Non @11:25
    ”I live in a COVID-free community – at least for the time bring. I reckon the feeling when we look to the East is along the lines of “there but for the grace of god go we”. Very tough on Victorians. You have our support and best hopes.”

    From Sydney, I add my best hopes, for what they’re worth. The Virus escaped its Pandoras Box in Victoria but we don’t seem to be doing things any better here. For four weeks, Sydney has been dancing on the edge of the precipice, defying gravity – so far.

    ”I have been a voice against the politicisation of COVID all along. Partisan dispute and jeering makes it very difficult to secure public cooperation …and that is what we need most of all.“

    We’re all in this together – not hearing that much now. After early stumbles, the Morrison Government has handled the crisis fairly well. Unlike the Trump administration, and unlike their approach to global heating, they are listening to experts. However, we can depend upon them, with their Thatcherite world view, to botch the recovery as the Virus recedes. This is where Labor will need to go hard.

  22. Fiscal equalisation is one of the very great advantages of the Federation. The States Grants mechanism supported WA for about 70 years. Other States have also been recipients fiscal transfers that have enabled the equal development of our economy and society. We should be very proud of this. It means the whole will always be greater than the sum of the parts. These days WA contributes significantly more to the National kitty than has been advanced to it over the decades. This is a very good thing. We will never be alone, come what may.

  23. “However, if your contention is that the Liberal Party in Victoria could have done a better job than Dan Andrews and Labor, then I have a bridge, a rickety one with holes big enough to fall through, that I will sell you for a million dollars.”

    My contention is that a different ALP Premier, rather than Dan Andrews, would have done a better job, reflecting both a different character for the entire administration and different on the day decisions. I have no specific evidence for this but the very poor results in train indicate that it would not have been that hard to do a better job.

  24. Fulvio @11:32
    ”I always knew that rabbit proof fence would come in handy sometime.“

    Maybe the WA Parliament could pass emergency legislation to declare Clive Palmer and other pests to be a rabbit.

  25. I’m WA born and bred but I consider myself an Australian. The only people seriously advocating secession are right wing loons. Remember at a recent Liberal state conference they voted to axamine secession options. That should be enough to show who is behind it. Local media also promote it occasionally, they thrive on controversy so have to create it.

  26. If the Libs return to type and go to austerity that will be the end of what Thatchers mission was. The end of “society”. Their ideology should be dead and buried like Joshies surpluses. Time will tell.

  27. It is easy to critise Andrews but the problem was that we were too slow to place restrictions on inbound travel enforce quarantine and testing then we were too keen to reopen the economy despite the evidence that outbreaks would happen.

    There was always some talk that Andrews wouldn’t context the next election but i don’t think he will simply walk away because he strikes me as the type that likes a challenge but he is lucky he isn’t facing a Kennett or Bracks.

  28. Two points I’d like to make on the ongoing Victorian situation

    It has been reported that members of the surge workforce bought in to manage the aged care homes have now tested positive. This to me highlights that maybe not all spread in Victoria is can be laid at the feet of the quarantine hotels. A large number of healthcare workers have tested positive, some people want to say they all got infected in the community. This is obviously not the case, some of this spread is coming from the health care facilities.

    The other point is in relation to Dan Andrews. It is very easy to sit at a keyboard and cast blame but Andrews should be being acknowledged positively for the sheer tenacity he has shown in serving his state. I wonder how many people can say they have ever had to manage a long running ever evolving set of crisis as this. To front up,day after day, make decisions, engender calm and confidence, put up with the rabid press pack, day after day for 7 months is a huge effort.

  29. Somewhere in this thread the nathylated claim was made that there are more new cases in Victoria than in all of Europe. This is a false claim, as reports about the UK and Spain alone demonstrate….

    https://www.bbc.com/news/live/world-53605329

    https://www.bbc.com/news/health-53609354

    Spain has recorded its biggest daily rise in cases since lockdown was lifted last month. Authorities confirmed 1,525 cases on Friday….

    …..Coronavirus infections are rising in England, Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures suggest.
    A sample of households in England, excluding care homes and hospitals, were swabbed to test for current infection…..

    ….The ONS says daily cases have risen from an estimated 3,200 to 4,200 since last week….

    Friday saw a record daily global increase in cases of the virus. The one-day total reached 292,527 according to the World Health Organization (WHO)

  30. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said the coronavirus is so contagious it won’t likely ever completely go away.

    “I do not believe it would disappear because it’s such a highly transmissible virus,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a House Select Subcommittee hearing on containing the coronavirus outbreak. While the virus will not disappear, Fauci has previously said it’s possible world leaders and public health officials could work to bring the pandemic down to “low levels.”

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/31/coronavirus-live-updates.html

    This would mean that travel restrictions, enforced quarantine orders and isolation measures will become permanent features of civilisation….

    Aviation, tourism, international sport, social, cultural and educational exchange and assembly, and trade over long distances will be limited indefinitely. This would be a profound change in modern life, in which mobility has become a staple expectation.

  31. Merck aims to start ‘large pivotal’ studies on treatment in September

    Merck has scheduled “very large pivotal” studies for its oral coronavirus treatment in collaboration with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics as early as September, Dr. Roger Perlmutter, president of Merck Research Laboratories, said on the company’s second-quarter earnings call. The experimental oral therapeutic, known as MK-4482, that would fight against Covid-19 is currently in phase two trials.

    He said the goal of future studies will be to prove the drug can reduce the duration of Covid-19 symptoms and, more importantly, keep people from developing serious illness that could send them to the hospital or intensive-care unit. The drug, if approved, would join Gilead’s remdesivir in helping critically ill coronavirus patients.

    “The good news about MK-4482 is that because it’s an oral drug given in capsules, it can be easily administered from the time that people have symptoms,” Perlmutter said. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/31/coronavirus-live-updates.html

  32. William Bowe @ #1598 Friday, July 31st, 2020 – 11:03 pm

    You’re talking to Lars, BB, not Player One. Which leaves me unsure as to whether my injunction at 10:34pm applies in this case. As a general principle though, you could do worse than to cultivate an ability to get over things, and not allow tedious personal spats to grind on for months on end because you and your antagonist (Player One is fully as bad as you on this score) insist on having the last word.

    Is “LOL” a word? 🙂

  33. https://apple.news/AWUWp70jNRUWsPPCBSkyaxw

    “More than 200 people have died of coronavirus in Australia as the death toll continues to accelerate.

    Key points:
    Victoria experienced Australia’s darkest month in July with 95 coronavirus fatalities,
    Australia recorded no deaths between May 23 and June 24 before outbreaks in Victoria,
    The Ruby Princess cluster remains Australia’s deadliest, followed by the Newmarch House cluster”

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