The Age/Herald has published its latest monthly federal voting intention poll from Resolve Strategic, with better results for Labor than the last two: the Coalition is down two to 37%, Labor is up three to 34%, the Greens are up one to 11% and One Nation is down one to 3%. This comes out at roughly 51-49 in favour of Labor on 2019 election preferences. The breakdowns provided for the three largest states have it at about 50-50 in New South Wales and Queensland and 52-48 to Labor in Victoria. Scott Morrison’s personal ratings show a combined very good and good result of 47% (down two) and a combined poor and very poor result of 43% (down two), while Anthony Albanese is respectively on 30% (down one) and 41% (down five). Morrison’s lead as preferred prime minister is little changed at 44-26, compared with 45-26 last time.
Also out yesterday was the regular fortnightly Essential Research poll, which includes approval ratings for the state Premiers, based on small sub-samples from the relevant states – although these have been juiced up in this survey for Western Australia and South Australia. This provides the first numbers first published for Dominic Perrottet, at 47% approval and 28% disapproval from a sample of 352. Daniel Andrews is at 52% approval and 40% disapproval from a sample of 275; Annastacia Palaszczuk is at 66% approval and 27% disapproval from a sample of 217; Mark McGowan is at 82% approval and 13% disapproval from a sample of 441; and Steven Marshall is at 61% approval and 27% disapproval from a sample of 443.
The regular question on the federal government’s handling of COVID-19 records one-point increases in both the good and poor ratings, to 46% and 31% respectively. The good ratings for the state governments are 57% for New South Wales (up two), 43% for Victoria (down three), 59% for Queensland (down nine), 78% for Western Australia (down two) and 66% for South Australia (down one), from the same sample sizes as noted in the previous paragraph. The poll also records what is no doubt a pandemic-induced slump in the view that immigration is too high, at 37% compared with 56% in January 2019, although too low is only up from 12% to 16%. There are further questions on immigration, as well as climate policy, in the full release. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1781.
Also out recently are two localised polls from Redbridge Group, one targeting the Perth seat of Swan, which the Liberals hold on a post-redistribution margin of 3.2%. Consistent with other polling showing a swing to Labor approaching 10% in the state, the poll has Labor on 43% (33.2% in 2019), Liberal on 32% (44.7%), the Greens on 10% (12.3%), the United Australia Party on 6% (1.8%) and “a local independent” on 9%, if responses to a forced-response follow-up for the undecided are included. A very great deal of further detail from the poll is available in the full release, including state voting intention results that suggests Mark McGowan’s government is at least as popular now as when it annihiliated the opposition in March. The poll was conducted by automoted phone polling from October 9 to 12 from a sample of 814.
The other Redbridge poll targeted the three Sydney electorates of Banks, Lindsay and Macquarie, and it has the striking finding that the United Australia Party is on 19%, with Liberal on 32%, Labor on 31% and the Greens on 9%. The pollster reports this as converting to 53-47 to Labor, though I am unclear as to how this was determined as there does not appear to be a full release of results as there is with the Swan poll. The combined result in these seats at the 2019 election was Liberal 47.3%, Labor 36.8%, Greens 6.6% and United Australia Party 3.1%, with the Liberals on 53.7% and Labor on 46.3% two-party preferred.
The other big electoral story of the hour was yesterday’s revelation that the federal government will shortly introduce a voter identification bill to parliament, which has naturally caused the spectre of Republican-style voter suppression to be invoked. However, the bill seems to follow the model followed by the Newman government in Queensland at the 2015 election, which was promptly repealed by the new Labor government, and I have always been of the heretical view that this did little harm and perhaps even a degree of good with respect to public confidence.
According to The Guardian, acceptable forms of identification will include “passports, drivers licences, proof of age cards, and student cards, as well as government-issued documents including Medicare and pensioners cards, and recent documents from financial institutions and utility companies”. Furthermore, those without identification will still be able to cast a declaration vote, to be admitted to the count once it is established that the voter’s name has not already been marked off. Nonetheless, Antony Green notes that the relative ease with which this was administered in Queensland was aided by its lack of an upper house, whereas it is likely to mean delays in counting when two ballot papers are involved.
Both Labor and the Greens immediately announced their opposition to the bill. One Nation, however, will presumably be on board, having earlier introduced voter identification legislation of their own in response to delusions endemic on their end of the ideological spectrum. That means the government will need to win over one or more of Jacqui Lambie, Rex Patrick and Stirling Griff.