Essential Research, JWS Research and more

Election timing, electoral law reform, preselections and yet more COVID-19 polling.

Two bits of polling news to report, neither of which are from Resolve Strategic, which had hitherto been appearing in the Age/Herald on the third Wednesday of each month. That leaves:

• Essential Research’s fortnightly report does not include the monthly leadership ratings, which are the series’ main point of interest outside of its quarterly dump of voting intention numbers. However, it does feature the regular ratings on governments’ COVID-19 responses, which finds the federal government’s good rating up three from its nadir a fortnight ago to 41% and its bad rating steady on 35%. The New South Wales government’s good rating is at a new low of 42%, which is down five on a fortnight ago and compares with 69% eight weeks ago. Victoria’s is up two to 56% and Queensland’s is up six to 66%; from their particularly small sample sizes, Western Australia is up five to 87% and South Australia is down five to 68%. The poll also finds 75% support and only 10% opposition to mandatory vaccinations, with no distinctions to speak of by party support. Also featured are further questions on COVID-19 that tend to the personal rather than the political, and questions prompted by the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report last week.

• JWS Research has released its occasional True Issues survey, in which the federal government’s performance index score (by which 50% would indicate an even balance of positive and negative responses) is down six points since February to 52%. Fifty-seven per cent now rate Australia’s COVID-19 response as very good or good in comparison with the rest of the world, down from 79%. For the federal government specifically, the drop is from 56% to 38%; for state governments in aggregate, it’s down from 64% to 53%. A question on issue salience, in which respondents were asked to list three issues of particular importance, finds “hospitals, health care and ageing” reigning supreme on 59%, up from 45% in February, with economy and finances a distant second on an abnormally low 21%.

Other news:

Phillip Coorey of the Financial Review on “a school of thought that it would be better to not wait for another budget and go in March instead”:

Waiting until May and launching an election campaign with a budget that would be a sea of red ink does not have the same appeal as 2019, when the budget predicted a return to surplus and contained generous tax cuts. The March theory is based on the hope that there is some semblance of normality in society following the Christmas break, due to vaccination levels being high enough and nobody in hard lockdown.

• Graeme Orr of the University of Queensland law department pokes many a hole in the government’s legislation whose intention is to give the existing major parties dibs on the words Liberal and Labor, and notes the proposed hike in the minimum membership requirement for party registration from 500 to 1500 is rough on regionally focused parties but little obstacle to parties formed by “wealthy interests”.

Paul Sakkal of The Age reports the Liberal preselection for Casey, which will be vacated with Tony Smith’s retirement, has attracted a field of six: Roshena Campbell, barrister, Melbourne councillor and wife of Herald Sun journalist James Campbell; Grant Hutchison, managing partner of local law firm Hutchinson Legal; Aaron Violi, former staffer to Senator James Patterson and current executive with a company that provides online ordering services to restaurants; Andrew Asten, principal of Boston Consulting Group and former ministerial chief-of-staff to Alan Tudge; Donalea Patman, founder of For the Love of Wildlife, which campaigns against hunting in Africa; and Ranjana Srivastava, an oncologist. The report relates that Campbell and Violi are aligned with state Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien and party president Robert Clark, while Hutchison and Asten are in the rival Josh Frydenberg/Michael Sukkar camp.

Charlie Peel of The Australian reports there are three candidates for Liberal National Party preselection to succeed George Christensen in Dawson: Whitsunday mayor Andrew Wilcox, former Mackay councillor Chris Bonanno and “the relatively unknown Chas Pasquale”.

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.

1,297 comments on “Essential Research, JWS Research and more”

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  1. “So, how would David Elliot or Stuart Ayres handle covid?”

    Could not possibly be worse. As much as I have come to despise Berejiklian, and there are multiple reasons for that, I believe she is having a breakdown before our eyes. Maybe the best thing for her is to be relieved of her duties and be placed in the hands of the professionals. There are aspects of her life that have become painful to witness lately. Parasites like Coorey aren’t helping. Her or us.

  2. I can tell you a surgeon who made those comments would be suspended by most decent public or private hospitals. The medical board probably wouldn’t do much. They would say it was a hospital matter firstly.

  3. Fargo is the best TV show ever made. Love the way it went backwards, all the way to the Kansas City mob wars of the 1950s in series 4. The violence is indescribable but it is referred to as a black comedy. If there was a better villain than the Billy Bob Thornton character in series one then it could only be bulimic VM Varga in series 3. Disgusting but you can’t take your eyes off it.

    It took me a while to realise that the unfortunate protaginist Nygaard in series 1 was the same guy who played the narrator and secondary character in the UK Office. Cracked me up when Billy Bob’s Malvo killed Nygaard’s tormentor. Nygaard says “I didn’t say yes to killing him!”. Billy Bob – “You didn’t say no”. The story goes that Billy Bob is closely related to Mr Ed.

    The great news is that there will be a season 5. The movie was pretty good, too. Had to be with with Frances McDormand in it.


  4. Steve777says:
    Thursday, August 19, 2021 at 7:44 pm
    Josh:millions of dollars are going out the door, mostly to people who won’t donate to the Liberals, mostly to people who don’t live in marginal electorates and much of it to people would never vote for us.

    Does he understand the meaning of Australian government? It is a government that serves Australian people whether they vote for you or not.

  5. Kansas City Mob also prominent in Ozark, which is OK but not as good. Excruciating scene where Darlene blows the son of mob boss’s todger off. Had to hurt.

  6. D&M:

    Also, why are Singapore doing so well?

    As far as I know there is only one current Prime Minister who is also a Senior Wrangler* and it isn’t Scott Morrison

    *for 1973

  7. Quasar @ Thursday, August 19, 2021 at 10:51 pm

    Thanks for the article. Will have to check out the paper. Immediate thoughts are that the assumption of 65% efficacy in preventing onward transmission of delta in the Doherty modelling may be blown out of the water. This was my concern all along. Even with boosters, unvaccinated people e.g. children are exposed.

    Oh Dear.

  8. Clearly those commenting on AHPRA, the various health practitioner national boards. (which do not deal with notifications/”complaints”, aside from some tiny boards (that is a task delegated to the state or territory board of the national board in those jurisdictions that are not co-regulatory jurisdictions) supported by AHPRA (Ahpra makes recommendations to the board/s, it does not make decisions), panel hearings, tribunal’s etc. Have no damn idea what they are talking about at all.
    AHPRA is not a commonwealth law.. its a similar law enacted in each state and territory.. its like a fucked up version of federation.. and an excellent representation of.. i could go on and on.. (btw, Charlie Teo?? Be real, the fellow tried to start his own version of AHPRA a few years back, hes a show pony)

  9. In the case of these Victorian practitioners. Put simply..
    – Ahpra recieves the notification and seeks a response from the practitioners.
    – everything would be put on hold at ahpra pending police investigation, unless the Victorian Board of the Medical Board took immediate action to temporarily suspend their registration pending the outcome for the investigation (highly unlikely, too political, only ever done in extremely serious cases that pose immediate risk, somewhat disturbing if it occurred in this case).
    – temporarily suspended or not, ahpra will draft a recommendation for the Victorian board of the medical board of australia to consider
    – that could be NFA, a caution, a reprimand, an undertaking.. most of which could be displayed on the public register or not depending on what the board decides. (Board reprimand before the morning coffee, and caution or NFA after).
    – and so on
    The organisation itself has referred to itself as a “multi-headed hydra”.. its fun

  10. Flanner.
    My typing skills arent the best. I frequently make grammatical errors.
    I did fail English at high school. It is to be expected that my phrasing, spelling and gramma are off

  11. Preprint:
    https://www.ndm.ox.ac.uk/files/coronavirus/covid-19-infection-survey/finalfinalcombinedve20210816.pdf

    I found some hot takes:

    https://www.sciencemediacentre.org/expert-reaction-to-preprint-looking-at-the-impact-of-the-delta-variant-on-vaccine-effectiveness/

    My initial non-expert thoughts are: Cohort study (with all the relevant potential biases of course). Random population sample looking for PCR-positive so including asymptomatic transmission (good). Capturing Delta dominant transmission time period (double good)

    Good: Vaccine effectiveness not too shabby despite attenuating. Pfizer attenuating more from a higher peak efficacy than AZ. About the same as natural immunity. Moderna single dose (too early for full course) efficacy in line with Pfizer or even superior. Summary is vaccines work, but may need a boost.

    Bad: “despite two vaccinations with BNT162b2 or ChAdOx1 in the Delta-dominant period, with similar average Ct values to those infected without vaccination, and much more similar percentages reporting symptoms, driven by Ct” Although a surrogate outcome for onward transmission once infected, similar Ct is not a nice signal.

    We would need rhwombat for expert commentary however.

  12. Griff
    I saw that today. Looks like the vaccines don’t stop you catching and spreading the virus. You just get a milder version of it. So it won’t be eradicated by these two vaccines.

  13. Quasar @10:51

    Thanks. At least we are starting to see what looks like usable numbers. Confirms my suspicion that we need boosters. Also confirms that not supervising that limo driver was a monumental mistake. Had we kept Delta out we’d now be talking about never taking a risk before everyone has had a booster.

    Griff @11:03

    Yep, but its not exactly panic stations yet. The modelling is still in the ballpark. More reason to hit the big red button and get cases back down to zero, because the time to “open up” might not be till mid next year.

    Gladys is being exceptionally foolish thinking that we can keep a mockdown long enough to slide into post-vaccine nirvana.

  14. Dio

    I don’t read that. What I read is that the vaccines do reduce re-transmission to a large degree, but that the degree to which they work falls off faster than some had expected.

  15. Griff

    The most recent edition of New Scientist had a round up of what we know about vaccines. In the section for Moderna it noted that Moderna appears to hold up well with time. I’m not sure where that’s sourced.

  16. Revealed: freedom plan for fully vaccinated
    Bars, restaurants and gyms would reopen to the fully inoculated once NSW vaccination coverage reaches 70 per cent, under a proposal drawn up by ministers.

  17. Griff

    Btw, time and again, the modellers and experts point to the 20 and 30 somethings as being the major vector. Not only do they see a lot of person to person contact, but they are highly mobile physically (much more so than children). We must ensure a very high rate of vaccination in this age group.

    Best way to do it – deny them entry to social venues if unvaccinated. Again, another example of where political considerations are going to get in the way of expert advice.

  18. steve

    In a way that’s a good thing in terms of setting a precedent. But I suspect its not been properly modelled. My gut feeling is we need 80 percent vaccination (in real terms) plus the entry to only fully vaccinated rule. However, telegraphing this now might encourage even higher takeup in the 20 and 30 somethings.

  19. Almost 90,000 extra trips were taken on Sydney’s public transport on Wednesday compared to the same time last month, despite pleas for people to stay home as cases continue to climb one week before the lockdown is scheduled to end.

    As mobility across Sydney increases on transport and roads, Premier Gladys Berejiklian gave her strongest indication yet that NSW’s strategy is now focused on being the first state to accept life with COVID-19.

    Looks like Sydneysiders want to live with it.

  20. cud chewer,

    The premises are:
    A. the vaccine reduces the likelihood of infection, and
    B. the vaccine decreases onward transmission when infected

    Doherty modelling is that vaccines are 65% effective for passing on the virus once you are infected (premise B). This is based on earlier evidence from a letter that is primarily alpha variant data and partially vaccinated people. It is extrapolated. I called it into question at the time of release.

    I am comfortable with premise A based on the new preprint of UK surveillance. Boosters may be needed but that’s fine. It is premise B that is the issue. PCR positive cases in this paper have similar viral loads f0r delta. Moreover, this is different to alpha where they saw attenuation in viral load (similar to past evidence). The implication may be that vaccination may have NO effect on onward transmission i.e. 0% effectiveness, not 65%. Doherty model assumption wrong.

    Of course it may not be that extreme. But this may be the reason for the surge we are seeing in the US among unvaccinated. The increased transmissibility of delta in vaccinated people.

  21. N @ Friday, August 20, 2021 at 1:07 am

    Agreed! We are in the middle of the Second Act.

    Although opening up for vaccinated people when only 70% of the eligible population is vaccinated will turn the Third Act into a monster. Echos of King Lear.

  22. Betoota Advocate 19th
    “Afghan President ‘Pulls A Scomo’ And Flees On An Aeroplane While His Nation Burns To The Ground”

  23. The waning efficacy of vaccines as shown in the preprint that Griff linked yesterday relate to Scomo. It shows in >>initially larger effectiveness with BNT162b2 [Pfizer] than ChAdOx1 (AZ], which then become more similar by ~4-5 months due to more rapid waning of effectiveness with BNT162b2<< and is illustrated in the graph posted yesterday by Bushfire Bill. The time elapsed since our purported 'leader' publicized his 2nd Pfizer shot (14th March) is now 5 months. This is when the graphed data starts to show, and predict onward, increasing reduction of efficacy for Pfizer relative to AZ. Expect an interest in booster shots ?

  24. Would someone with knowledge kindly help me understand the correct way to use “blockquote”?

    I have figured out how to indent the text I am quoting with the bold vertical line, but all text I type in response further indents itself with an second bold vertical line.

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