I had a vague hope that last fortnight’s sooner-than-expected Newspoll portended a return to a (usually) fortnightly rather than three-weekly schedule, but apparently not. Essential Research should be along this evening though, hopefully including its monthly leadership ratings. Then there’s this:
• Roy Morgan has published results of an SMS poll conducted on Friday and Saturday from a sample of 1423, which asked if respondents were still up for the COVID-19 vaccine in light of recent developments (only 17% were not, increasing to 24% when those who would only settle for Pfizer were included) and, most interestingly, if they approved of Scott Morrison’s handling of “all COVID-19 related issues”. In the absence of a non-response option, the latter question recorded 49% approval and 51% disapproval. I’m aware of two past polls that specifically asked about leaders’ rather than governments’ handling of COVID-19, both from Newspoll – one in April and one in July – from which the weakest result was 61% approval and 36% disapproval for Daniel Andrews in the July poll.
• Sarah Elks of The Australian reports that Andrew Laming has declined Scott Morrison’s invitation to sit out the preselection for his Brisbane seat of Bowman, and is “collecting evidence in an effort to disprove a series of allegations against him”. The report notes he has an incentive in a $105,600 reward available to to MPs who “retire involuntarily”, which would not be granted if he went gracefully. Laming will also need to pass muster with the Liberal National Party’s “candidate suitability panel” if his nomination is to proceed to the stage where local party members have a say.
• In a piece for The Conversation, Benjamin Reilly of the University of Western Australia evaluates the likely impact of optional preferential voting, as mooted by the Coalition members of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters. The conclusion is that Labor would only have won about half of the 36 seats it won on preferences at the 2013, 2016 and 2019 elections after trailing on the primary vote, and that few if any members of the House of Representatives front bench would have got their foot in the door.
• I have a guide up for the Upper Hunter state by-election in New South Wales on May 22, though it’s still at a preliminary stage since most of the candidates haven’t been announced, together with a Tasmanian state election guide that has lately been supplemented with a page for the Legislative Council contests.