The big issue

Issue polling, Tasmanian polling, election timing and preselection latest.

Note posts below this on latest developments in the Western Australian campaign and a new state poll from South Australia. In other polling news, we have the latest from a regular series on issue salience and a state poll from Tasmania that I don’t quite feel warrants a post of its own:

• The latest True Issues survey of issue salience from JWS Research records a slight moderation of the coronavirus-driven peculiarities of the mid-year results, in that 42% now rate health among the top three issues (down from 47% in June, but still well up on 24% in February) and 19% do so for environment (up three on last time, but still well down on 26% in February. However, a spike in concern about the economy (steady at 32%, compared with 18% in February) and employment and wages (up two to 30%, compared with 21% in February) has not abated. Nineteen per cent rate the federal government’s response to COVID-19 as very good and 37% as good, but state governments collectively fare better at 29% and 35%. Positive ratings are markedly lower in Victoria for both the federal and state governments. Plenty more detail here from the poll, which was conducted from February 18 to 22 from a sample of 1000.

• The latest quarterly EMRS poll of state voting intention in Tasmania is little changed on the previous result in November, with the incumbent Liberals steady on 52%, Labor up two to 27% and the Greens up one to 14%, with the only complication to a static picture being a four point drop for “others” to 7%. Peter Gutwein’s lead over Labor’s Rebecca White as preferred premier is unchanged at 52-27. The poll was conducted by phone from Monday, February 15 to Tuesday, February 23, from a sample of 1000. Much analysis as always from Kevin Bonham.

Other relevant developments:

• The conventional wisdom that the election would be held in the second half of this year, most likely around September, was disturbed by an Age/Herald report last week that the Prime Minister had “told colleagues to plan for two federal budgets before the Coalition government heads to the polls”.

Sarah Elks of The Australian reports Warren Entsch, who has held the far north Queensland seat of Leichhardt for the Liberals and the Liberal National Party outside of a one-term time-out from 2007 to 2010, has gone back on his decision to retire. The 70-year-old announced this term would be his last on the night of the 2019 election, but now feels it “incumbent on me during these uncertain times to continue to support our community and its residents”.

The Advertiser reports the Prime Minister has told South Australian factional leaders they are expected to preselect a woman to succeed Nicolle Flint in Boothby. This presumably reduces the chances of the position going to state Environment Minister David Speirs, who said last week he was “pondering” a run. The Advertiser suggests the front runners are Rachel Swift, a factional moderate and infectious diseases expert who currently has the unwinnable fourth position on the Senate ticket, and Leah Blyth, a conservative and head of student services at Adelaide University. Another woman mentioned as a possibility by Tom Richardson of InDaily was Marion Themeliotis, Onkaparinga councillor and staffer to state Davenport MP Steve Murray.

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.

2,316 comments on “The big issue”

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  1. This guy was a truly great, ‘Quiet Australian’. May he Rest in Peace. Mesothelioma claims another one:

    Jaycar founder and managing director Gary Johnston has died after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, a type of cancer, two weeks ago.

    The 71-year-old multimillionaire founded the electronics retailer in 1981 and it has grown to 146 stores in Australia and New Zealand.

    I still remember tagging along with my husband to the York Street, Sydney store and how delighted he was that a store finally sold all the electronic bits and pieces (MOSFETS!) and ancillary items he required, to build computers, fix radios and TVs and guitars. All at a reasonable price. He was like a kid in a candy store. I still go to Jaycar to this day.


    Yeah we had a small electronics store that sold all sorts down on a side street, say 8 hours to KUL and 12 hours to AMS and then 2+ hours by train away, the nearest regional centre town which was somewhat bigger had a Tandy, very much like Jaycar if not Repco or more corporate Dick Smith Electronics, including the second Apple computers (running CP/M, the office equipment store on the Main Street sold IBM, typewriters to PCs, running DOS).

    If what you we’re looking for they didn’t have out came the catalogs, or even use of Compu$erve forums for imports sometimes from as far away as (recently folded) Fry’s Electronics in CA USA.

    When I went to SFO/ SJC for work always tried to fly for a Sat arrival, so on Sun there was time to have a look around, Fry’s (even Radio Shack) included.

    I hear some people have this fascination with Bunnings …

  3. You may have heard about the ridiculous attempt by the New South Wales Government to bill other States for the cost of their hotel quarantine system.

    WA will not be paying.

    New South Wales wants everyone to think that they’re the only State doing their bit to bring Aussies home.

  4. I hear some people have this fascination with Bunnings …

    Yep, it was Jaycar all the way at our house too. And the catalogue was our bible.

  5. Lou Ottens, inventor of the cassette tape, dies aged 94

    Dutch engineer was also instrumental in development of first CD in his work at Philips

    “Nothing can match the sound of the CD,” he had told the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. “It is absolutely noise and rumble-free. That never worked with tape … I have made a lot of record players and I know that the distortion with vinyl is much higher. I think people mainly hear what they want to hear.”

  6. Equally applicable here.

    John Oliver: US unemployment chaos is ‘the result of deliberate choices’

    Economists generally agree that unemployment insurance is “one of the most effective policies to aid recovery”, Oliver explained, “which does make sense because when you give the unemployed money, they tend not to hoard it offshore in the Caymans; they spend it on shit they need”.

  7. Dio, sprocket and others

    Just flicking through the last few pages before going to work and saw the posts on psilocybin and mental health. There was a paper that came across my desk, last week I think, that used an interesting method to show that this was most likely a placebo effect. The journal article is here:

    Trouble with illicit substances is that they get far more press than conventional drugs. Take the case of fenfluramine vs cannabidiol. Both work, but the former showed far better efficacy than the latter in Dravet patients (severe childhood epilepsy) yet received about 0.1% of the press coverage.

  8. I assume that by electing the climate inactivist Cormann as its head, the OECD has signalled quite clearly that it does not see climate change as a pressing issue for the world.

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