Tasmanian election minus one day

Concluding developments from the Tasmanian campaign trail, plus a plug for my live results feature.

As you can hopefully glean from a quick tour of my live results facility, there will be no better place to follow the action online tomorrow night than this site (please consider a donation if you agree, as this naturally involved a great deal of work – also note my more extensive plea for cash in the post below).

Final week developments:

• Peter Gutwein has insisted he will resign as Premier if the Liberals do not retain their majority, and further promises that the Liberals will not form a government in minority under another leader, as occurred when Tony Rundle took over from Ray Groom after the Liberals lost their majority in 1996. A similar stand-off unfolded the last time a hung parliament was returned in 2010, which resulted in David Bartlett being effectively unable to deliver on his promise that Labor would not govern without a majority, with the Liberals refusing to enter an arrangement with the Greens.

Sean Ford of The Examiner reports that “a swing to Labor is being detected by party elders on both sides as the Tasmanian election campaign nears Saturday’s climax, while Matthew Denholm of The Australian reports that early Liberal hopes of “picking up a seat or two in the northern electorates” has been replaced by fears of no gains plus the loss of a seat to newly independent Sue Hickey in Clark, which would deprive the Liberals of their bare majority. The view appears to be that Labor has seized an advantage by focusing on a “health crisis”.

• Whereas the early part of the campaign was dominated by Labor’s candidate trouble, its conclusion has been all about Adam Brooks, whom the Liberals re-endorsed for another run in Braddon despite him having resigned from parliament mid-term after an adverse finding from the Integrity Commission. It has emerged that profiles using Brooks’s photo and a partial account of his personal details existed on two dating sites, which he denies any knowledge of. However, a woman has told the ABC that she dated him while under the misapprehension that he was a non-politician called Terry, and that she had sent him an image of a Victorian drivers licence identifying him as such. Brooks has come under pressure to refer the apparent identity theft to the police, which Peter Gutwein says is a matter for him.

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Essential Research 2PP+: Coalition 46, Labor 47, undecided 7

A big gender gap on an otherwise finely balanced result on voting intention from Essential Research, plus Newspoll follow-ups on leaders’ attributes and COVID-19.

The Guardian reports Essential Research has unloaded its latest quarterly-or-so dump of voting intention results, which should presumably appear in full later today. According to the pollster’s headline “2PP+” measure, which leaves a hole marked “undecided” in its two-party preferred, the Coalition and Labor are both on 46% while undecided is at 7% (presumably the failure to sum to 100 is down to rounding). We are also told that the Coalition is on 39% of the primary vote with Labor on 34%, but this too would be from a set of numbers including an undecided component of around 7%.

There is also a particularly wide gender gap in the latest results, though I’m not clear if they are basing this entirely on the latest poll result or from a quarterly accumulation like the ones familiar from Newspoll. The Coalition trails Labor by 37% to 31% on the primary vote among women, which converts to 50% to 38% on 2PP+, whereas the January result had the Coalition leading 37% to 33% on the former measure and 47% to 44% on the latter. Conversely, the Coalition leads Labor among men by 47% to 31% on primary and 55-42 on 2PP+.

This was all in addition to the usual fortnightly release from Essential Research, which offered yet more data on COVID-19. Forty-three per cent now think the vaccine rollout is being done efficiently, down from 68% in late February, while 63% think it is being done safely, down from 73%, and 52% think it will be effective at stopping the virus in the country, down from 64%. Forty-five per cent rate felt the rollout was proceeding more slowly than they would like, which is in fact a seven-point improvement on a fortnight ago: among this group, 48% felt the federal government most responsible, up six points.

There have also been two further tranches of results from Newspoll’s weekend poll, one of which related that the Morrison government’s handling of COVID-19 was rated positively by 70% (down from 82% in June) and negatively by 27% (up from 15%), and that 53% were satisfied with the vaccine rollout compared with 43% who were unsatisfied. The other set of results related perceptions of the two party leaders according to nine character traits. Compared with the last such results in August, Scott Morrison was held in slightly lower regard overall, the biggest movement being a ten point drop on “understands the major issues”. Anthony Albanese’s ratings were stable – the only one on which he scored better than Morrison was “arrogant”, a quality attributed to Morrison by 52% and to Albanese by 40%.

Tasmanian election minus five days

The only poll of the Tasmanian election campaign gives the Liberals a less than spectacular result, though not all are persuaded by it.

The Australia Institute has come good with the only published opinion poll of the Tasmanian election campaign so far, conducted last Wednesday by uComms from a sample of 1023 respondents using automated phone and SMS surveying. When the initial voting intention question and forced-response follow-up for the undecided are rolled together, the results seem at the low end for the Liberals, who are on 41.4% to 32.1% for Labor, 12.4% for the Greens, 11.0% for independents and 3.1% for others.

The high reading for independents, who accounted for 1.1% of the vote in 2018, may suggest strong support for ex-Liberal member Sue Hickey and/or Glenorchy mayor Kristie Johnston in Clark, at least among the kind of people who complete poll surveys, and perhaps also for Craig Garland in Braddon, although he will be hampered by appearing in the “ungrouped” column. Between that and the subdued Liberal vote, the poll suggests a real chance of a hung parliament in which the Liberals drop from 13 seats out of 25 to 12, without holding out much prospect of gains for Labor and the Greens. However, Kevin Bonham offers an extensive list of reasons to exercise caution in relation to the poll.

My comprehensive guide to the election remains open for business here, and I’m currently hard at work on my biggest and best ever live election results facility for the big night. Stay tuned.

Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor

Scott Morrison recovers much of the ground he lost on personal approval in the last Newspoll, which as usual records little change on voting intention.

Courtesy of The Australian, the first Newspoll in four weeks has Labor leading 51-49, down from 52-48 last time, with similarly slight movement on the primary vote, with the Coalition up a point to 41%, Labor steady on 38%, the Greens down one to 10% and One Nation up one to 3%. Scott Morrison recovers much of the ground he lost on personal ratings in the last poll, being up four on approval to 59% and down three on disapproval to 37%, while Anthony Albanese is down three to 40% and up two to 43%, though these changes do not alter the general stability of his position over the longer term. Morrison now leads 56-30 on preferred prime minister, out from 52-32 in the last poll and identical to the result in the previous poll six weeks ago. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Saturday from a sample of 1514.

Resolve Strategic: Coalition 38, Labor 33, Greens 12

An extensive look at the debut entry for what promises to be a monthly federal polling series from the Age/Herald.

The Age/Herald have published their first poll of federal voting intention since the 2019 election, dispensing with the services of Ipsos (who happened to be the least wrong pollster at the election) and enlisting Resolve Strategic, which is run by Jim Reed, who once worked for Coalition pollsters Crosby Textor. As national political editor Tory Maguire explains, the polling failure of the last election has inspired the pollster and its publisher to cast around for a fresh approach, the salient feature of which is not telling us straight what the two-party preferred is.

We do get primary votes though, and they are quite a bit different from Newspoll’s, with the Coalition on 38% rather than 40% and Labor on 33% rather than 38%. This means higher scores for minor parties, which happens to replicate a peculiarity of Ipsos. The Greens are on 12% compared with Newspoll’s 11%, but most striking is a 6% reading for One Nation compared with 2% from Newspoll. The latter result is, hopefully, a teething problem: it approximates the party’s 5.4% Senate vote in 2019, but most assuredly would not be matched in the House of Representatives since the party contests few seats there. It also seems highly unlikely that One Nation would be bearing up so well given its recent performance at state elections, with its share of the upper house vote in Western Australia having crashed from 8.2% to 1.5%.

Applying preference flows from 2019, this lands pretty much bang on 50-50 nationally, with the Coalition leading 53.4-46.6 in New South Wales (a 1.6% swing to the Coalition) and 54.3-45.7 in Queensland (a 4.1% swing to Labor), but trailing 53.8-46.2 in Victoria (a 0.7% swing to Labor) and 52.4-47.6 in Western Australia (an 8.0% swing to Labor). The New South Wales result is more favourable for the Coalition than the recent quarterly breakdown in Newspoll, which had it at 50-50, but the results for the other three states are about the same. Distinctions by gender are slight in the case of voting intention, except that the Greens are three points higher among women and One Nation are two points lower, and confounding in the case of personal ratings: Scott Morrison’s net approval is four points stronger among women than men, while Anthony Albanese’s is five points weaker.

Personal ratings are measured on a four-point scale of very good, good, poor and very poor, which is similar to Essential Research but different from Newspoll’s straightforward satisfied and unsatisfied responses. Morrison registers a combined good rating of 50% and a poor rating of 38%, a net rating of plus 12% that compares with plus 17% from a recent Essential poll and plus 15% from a not-so-recent Newspoll. Anthony Albanese scores 35% good and 41% poor, for a minus 6% rating that compares with plus 5% from Essential and plus 2% from Newspoll. Morrison is credited with a 47-25 lead as preferred prime minister, compared with 47-28 in Essential and 52-32 in Newspoll.

The poll wins points for transparency, at least by Australian standards, in providing breakdowns by state (or at least, the four biggest states), gender and age cohort. If I’m reading the small print correctly, the New South Wales and Victoria breakdowns will be published as a two-month rolling average, combining the current and previous poll. The idea seems to be that these states will have results with sample sizes robust enough to allow the Age/Herald to analyse them with a straight face: readers who choose to probe deeper into the breakdowns will be advised to exercise their own caution. (UPDATE: It seems I’ve read this wrong, and that there will actually be state voting intention results published every two months, based on the combination of two monthly polling samples). However, the results as published still leave a fair bit missing, as the poll is also weighted for education and income (and the survey includes a question on religion), for which breakdowns are not provided. There is also the rather glaring absence of any detail on field work dates: we are told only that the survey was conducted “in April”.

One of two accompanying reports by David Crowe relates the following detail absent from the published numbers:

Support for the Coalition in primary vote terms has fallen since the last election among voters who described themselves as Christian, dropping from 56 to 49 per cent. While support for Labor among this group rose from 28 to 29 per cent, the change was within the margin of error. In a more significant shift, the same cohort increased its support for independents and minor parties from 15 to 22 per cent. The Coalition has lost ground among voters across the board since the last election, with its primary vote slipping from 41 to 38 per cent, but the shift was strongest among immigrants and people from “non-Anglo-Saxon” backgrounds. Immigrants have reduced their support for the Coalition from 48 to 40 per cent since the election, while increasing their primary vote for Labor from 30 to 35 per cent. Those from “non-Anglo” backgrounds reduced their support for the Coalition from 44 to 35 per cent, while increasing their support for Labor from 31 to 36 per cent.

The other tells us the following:

The swing against the Coalition was spread evenly across most demographic groups but was more pronounced among those on higher incomes, with support falling from 49 to 43 per cent among those earning more than $100,000 a year. Labor gained support from the same workers, with its primary vote rising from 29 to 33 per cent.

There are further attitudinal results available in a nicely laid out results display page, including the finding that 44% expect the Coalition to win the next election compared with 28% for Labor. The display includes, under “comments”, sampling of qualitative responses that aim for an impressionistic view of why the ratings for each question are what they are. The poll was conducted by phone and online from a sample of 2000, compared with the Newspoll norm of around 1500. However, the phone sample of 400 appears to be a one-off of this “baseline survey”: it seems that in future the series will be a monthly online poll from a sample of 1600.