Federal election minus 30 days

An audience of undecided voters offers a fairly even verdict following last night’s leaders debate, plus sundry other pieces of polling news and campaign detritus.

Polling and other horse race news:

• The 100 undecided voters selected to attend last night’s Sky News People’s forum included 40 who rated Anthony Albanese the winner compared with 35 for Scott Morrison, leaving 25 undecided.

• A uComms poll conducted for independent Kooyong candidate Monique Ryan credits her with a credulity-straining 59-41 lead over Liberal incumbent Josh Frydenberg. A report in the Herald-Sun relates that primary votes of 35.5% for Frydenberg, 31.8% for Ryan, 12.8% for Labor and 11.7% for the Greens, but there would also have been an undcided component. The poll was conducted last Tuesday from a sample of 847. Conversely, Greg Brown of The Australian reports the Liberals concede a more modest drop in Frydenberg’s primary vote from 47% to 44% over the past three months.

The Guardian reports a Community Engagement poll for Climate 200 in North Sydney found independent Kylea Tink, whose campaign Climate 200 is supporting, with 19.4% of the primary vote to Liberal member Trent Zimmerman’s 37.1%, with Labor on 17.3%, the Greens on 8.7%, the United Australia Party on 5.6% and others on 3.8%, with 8.2% undecided. Respondents were more likely to rank climate change and environment as their most important issue than the economy, at 27.2% and 19.7%, with trust in politics not far behind at 16.2%. The poll was conducted by phone on April 11 and 12 from a sample of 1114.

• The Age/Herald has further results on issue salience from its Resolve Strategic poll, showing cost of living the most salient issue for those under 55 and health and aged care leading for those older.

• I had a piece in Crikey yesterday on the recent history of the gender gap as recorded by opinion polls, and the threat posed to the government by the loss of support by women. Right on cue, Peter Lewis of Essential Research writes in The Guardian today that Scott Morrison’s “low standing with female voters … could well determine the outcome of this election”. It is noted that the gender breakdowns from Essential’s current poll have Morrison at 50% approval and 44% disapproval among men, but 39% approval and 51% disapproval among women. There is also a ten-point gap in its latest numbers for the Coalition primary vote.

Michelle Grattan in The Conversation relates detail on focus group research conducted in Wentworth by Landscape Research, which finds participants tended to rate the government highly on management of the economy and the pandemic, but took a dim view of Scott Morrison and favoured a leadership change to Josh Frydenberg.

Nice-looking things on other websites:

• The University of Queensland offers an attractive Election Ad Data Dashboard that tracks the various parties’ spending on advertising on Facebook and Instagram. Through this medium at least, Labor has thus far led the field with 44.5% of spending since the start of the campaign compared with 26.5% for the Coalition, 12% for the United Australia Party and 10.2% for independents, the latter being concentrated in Kooyong, North Sydney, Wentworth and Mackellar. The $15,000 spend on Josh Frydenberg’s campaign in Kooyong is around triple that of any other Liberal seat. The Financial Review quotes Glenn Kefford of the UQ political science department saying Labor’s 2019 election post-morten was “damning of the digital operation and made it clear that they needed to win the share of voice online if they were going to be successful”.

• Simon Jackman of the University of Sydney is tracking the betting markets in great detail, and translating the odds into “implied probabilities of winning” that currently have it at around 55-45 in favour of Labor. Alternatively, the poll-based Buckley’s & None forecast model rates Labor a 67.2% change for a majority with the Coalition at only 11.1%.

• In a piece for The Conversation, Poll Bludger contributor Adrian Beaumont offers a colour-coded interactive map showing where he considers the swing most likely to be on, based on various demographic considerations.

• A report in The Guardian identifying electorates targeted with the most in “election campaign promises and discretionary grants” since the start of the year had Bass leading the field, with the marginal Labor-held New South Wales seats of Gilmore, Dobell and Hunter high on the list, alongside the seemingly safe Liberal seats of Canning, Durack and Forrest in Western Australia.

Everything else:

• The Liberal candidate for Warringah, Katherine Deves, is standing firm against calls for her to withdraw after her social media accounts turned up considerably more radical commentary on transgender issues than suggested by the initial promotion of her as a campaigner for strict definitions of sex in women’s sport. In this she has the support of Scott Morrison, who decried “those who are seeking to cancel Katherine simply because she has a different view to them on the issue of women and girls in sport” (though Samantha Maiden of News Corp notes she has gone rather quiet of her own accord), together with many of the party’s conservatives. Those who have called for her to withdraw include North Sydney MP Trent Zimmerman, New South Wales Treasurer Matt Kean and state North Shore MP Felicity Wilson. A Liberal source quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald dismissed the notion the party had been unaware of her record when it fast-tracked her for preselection last month with the support of Scott Morrison. Barring action by noon today, Deves will appear as the Liberal candidate on the ballot paper.

• An increasingly assertive Australian Electoral Commission has expressed concern about the parties’ practice of sending out postal vote applications and advised voters against making use of them, and establishing a disinformation register responding to conspiracy theories about voter fraud, a number of which are being peddled by One Nation and the United Australia Party.

• Perth’s centrality to Labor’s election hopes has been emphasised by Anthony Albanese’s announcement that the party’s national campaign launch will be held in the city on Sunday, May 1.


• David Speirs, factionally unaligned Environment Minister in the Marshall government, is the new South Australian Opposition Leader after winning 18 votes in a Liberal party room ballot ahead of moderate Josh Teague on five and conservative Nick McBride seemingly only securing his own vote. Liberal veteran Vickie Chapman has announced she will resign from parliament by the end of May, which will result in a by-election for her safe seat of Bragg.

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.

1,162 comments on “Federal election minus 30 days”

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  1. It’s good that Albanese has got it earlier in the campaign rather than later. It was always high odds, so good to get it out the way and to do so at a time when he’s back on top of Morrison. Well on top.

  2. Lars Von Trier says:
    Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 6:55 pm

    Thank you JayC that’s very kind (and courageous) of you to say.
    What am I? chopped liver?

  3. “It is a little left dominated, well, quite.”

    Not really it is dominated by labor centrists who are committed to ‘slightly less shit than the LNP’ which is a long long way to the right.

  4. Other frontbenchers will just come to the forefront during this inconvenience. It only will affect in-person appearances anyway. Ads can still run and remote interviews with Albanese can still be organised (if he’s feeling well enough of course.)

    And, the less said about that extremely stupid and offensive comment earlier that Albanese should have just ignored it and pushed on (and risk spreading the disease), the better.

  5. nath @ Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 6:56 pm
    “Lars Von Trier says:
    Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 6:55 pm

    Thank you JayC that’s very kind (and courageous) of you to say.
    What am I? chopped liver?”

    LOL! I was about to post that nath would be mortified at being left out 🙂

  6. Yes, I have friends who have Covid atm. Triple Vaxxed but still looking rather poorly and sounding rather breathless when they speak to me. Well, the one who can get out of bed.

  7. Pi:

    [‘Re: Albanese and covid. Albanese gets to recharge for a few days after kicking Morrison all up and down the street, and now Chalmers, Wong, Clare, Keneally, and Plibersek get to get on the front foot.’]

    Sharp observation. Although the emphasis should be on the leader,
    a short time out to regroup to allow the Shadows to ply their wares should have the desired effect, taking into account how bereft the Morrison Government’s ministers are.

  8. nath, I’m coming down to Melbourne in a couple of weeks. Want to catch up?

    That’s something that will horrify the community on here.

  9. Usual caveat of it’s only what punters think will happen in the election, but Sportsbet has Labor at $1.70 and Coalition at $2.10. Very good week for Albanese and Labor, pretty bad on multiple fronts for Morrison and the Coalition.

  10. “I know the greens have to talk themselves up the system really gives them little choice but this is a huge free kick to Labor. ”


    I think it’s done to counter the false narrative that the Greens aren’t in a position to win seats.

  11. “Not really it is dominated by labor centrists who are committed to ‘slightly less shit than the LNP’ which is a long long way to the right.”



  12. Lars, you have asked several times what the government could have done to avoid the SI outcome.

    Here are some thoughts. And yes, my career has been diverse, this is based on experience, but a while back.

    Foreign influence is generally via soft diplomacy or cheque book diplomacy. I’m simplifying, but these are two key approaches.

    While I thought it wise at the time. The merging of DFAT and AusAID is the key failure in my view.

    Howard very successfully used AusAID to influence hearts and minds (full of lefties, who make good soft influencers). He did so in Indonesia to reduce refugee vessels, as an example, by providing stable employment for vessel captains.

    DFAT are good negotiators. I have great respect after watching how the work. But they are ruthless. It’s all about a posting and very cut throat. But I watched them negotiate some great outcomes in Timor and Indonesia.

    When AusAID and DFAT were merged, it became just DFAT with a cheque book. The soft diplomacy of AusAID was quickly lost. Which lost the inter personal benefits of soft diplomacy.

    Cuts to the foreign fisheries agency in SI, and the cheque book part of DFAT being cut. Plus ignoring climate change, which is like ignoring a war to the pacific, sealed the loss of trust and influence.

    So here we are. How could this have been less likely? Don’t cut aid budgets and keep the cheque book and negotiators separate.

    And to be clear. I actually thought the DFAT AusAID merger was wise at the time. I was wrong. I missed the organisational culture issues that resulted. But we all learn.

  13. Mavis, Pi
    Thinking tactically, the ALP should go high energy whilst Albo rests. If only to try and wear scott morrison down. I wonder who would look after the Campaign if scott goes down?

  14. Marles and Chalmers doing exactly what Albo and Chalmers been doing for a week….ALP wont miss a beat.

    Unlike the Libs, we have Chalmers, Marles, Clare, Wong, Plibersek, Burke, Butler and Bowen to step into the breach….talented and capable. (I didnt mention Shorten for fear of triggering a relapse of Nathanshortenitis)

  15. Ven says:
    Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 6:58 pm
    Albanese got COVID. (hand wringing emoji). Is Albanese not very careful to avoid getting it? Is it over for ALP?
    I think it will be ok ven.

    I can’t decide is it Carter/Reagan 1980 or Bush/Kerry 2004. In other words is Albo Reagan or Kerry in this scenario?

  16. Wat

    Labor’s way is one soldier down and another is ready and willing to march in to the fray!

    If Morisson goes down, Frydenberg and Dutton are busy defending their seats and everyone else is in “Witness Protection”.

  17. Just had a small wager on Higgins l liked the guys analysis re green candidate
    Was paying $6.40 on betfair
    I can handle 1 more green in parly for the win

  18. So far:

    – Keneally
    – Bowen
    – Tony Burke
    – Dan Andrews
    – Albo

    All have Covid – but Morrison said the pandemic is over? Who to believe?

    As other have said, Week 3 of a 6 week campaign could be a good one to put the feet up and let Morrison be the focus..

  19. Lars Von Trier says:
    Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 7:02 pm

    nath, I’m coming down to Melbourne in a couple of weeks. Want to catch up?

    That’s something that will horrify the community on here.
    Let’s meet up at the Melbourne Club with Kroges!

  20. nath says:
    Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 7:09 pm
    Lars Von Trier says:
    Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 7:02 pm

    nath, I’m coming down to Melbourne in a couple of weeks. Want to catch up?

    That’s something that will horrify the community on here.
    Let’s meet up at the Melbourne Club with Kroges!
    Excellent – we can review the on-line strategy over suitable French

  21. nathsays:
    Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 6:56 pm
    Lars Von Trier says:
    Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 6:55 pm

    Thank you JayC that’s very kind (and courageous) of you to say.
    What am I? chopped liver?

    You and I don’t seem to matter in the eyes of JayC. 🙂

  22. JayC says:
    Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 7:05 pm
    Good post. The bureaucratic is always a factor but often overlooked.

  23. Senior shadow ministers including Richard Marles, Penny Wong, Jim Chalmers and Mark Butler will play a more prominent role if Mr Albanese is sidelined, taking on the job of being the leading spokesperson for the party on a particular day, depending on what the issue might be.

    Mr Albanese, if he is well enough to do so, will conduct campaign events via video conference and potentially also press conferences. And it is also possible that a senior MP, perhaps Mr Marles as deputy, could take over the leader’s campaign plane and take the travelling media pack with him, too.

    As one MP put it, “we have been working through every contingency for a while now, like we did for budget week”.

    “Morrison has had it [COVID] but Albo hasn’t, so it’s another wild card in the campaign for us.”

    With the Prime Minister lagging behind the opposition leader in all the opinion polls, every possible advantage – such as Mr Albanese being unable to campaign for a week – will be welcomed by Mr Morrison. </I?


  24. “I think it’s done to counter the false narrative that the Greens aren’t in a position to win seats.”

    I agree competely and would do the same thing if I was a member of the relevant greens braintrust.

    And that brains trust has to sort between commites greens votes and mild protest votes in the very narrow range of seats that fit into the narrow demographic profile targetted by the greens.

    It just eliminates the protest vote from that particular part of the base.

    If there was polling that showed my seat might elect a green, or worse have some kind of three cornered contest where the ALP, green or LNP might emerge victorious from an unfortunate exclusion, it would all but rule out a protest green preference vote, in my particular case.

  25. JayC

    I agree with much (not all) of your comment, it’s a fun blog, challenging and almost always interesting. It’s quite the community too regardless of the differences and there’s far more goodwill than bad will IMHO.

  26. Parramatta news, I haven’t seen too many corflutes up as yet apart from the United Australia Party. I guess most of the action is happening in the Northern section of the seat considering the Labor and Liberal candidate backgrounds and past booth trends.

  27. What Albanese sidelined will do is put focus on those who support him – and showcase their abilities

    Compare to the other side with Joyce, Dutton, Birmingham, Frydenberg and Payne

    I would suggest Labor has a distinct advantage

    Plus, if polling reflects poorly Dutton and Frydenbdrg are about the leadership (given they retain their seats which is not a given) and the questioning appears obvious

    They will be queried on the Morrison legacy, a legacy which is dividing the Party as we speak

    In regards China, the rhetoric and threats of the Australlian government were always going to see retaliation

    China has responded that threats of War made by Australia are inappropriate

    And China has responded to Trump and his ally, Morrison, invoking an “easy to win” Trade War

    What are the views of India (with a population near that of China) Indonesia, the Phillipines and the other Nations in our Region?

    Are they threatening War with China?

    And entering into a Trade War (so who is their largest trading partner?)

    Compared to parts of Europe and the Middle East, the South Eastern Asian Region enjoys stability (given the disputes over seas but these disputes are not restricted to our Region alone)

    There is a far, far wider World than Australia (not that you would know it from the Australlian media)

    As with your fence with your neighbor falling into disrepair, you negotiate and resolve – or seek arbitration to resolve the issues

    You may not always agree and you may reserve your position but you resolve

    And just to add, I saw the Barry footage today

    Absolutly correct including politicians as Ambassodors in place of career politicians

    A scathing assessment of the current government and needs to be highlighted

  28. The more time Morrison is in the spotlight the less the public like him. The six week campaign might very well work against him.

  29. Each of Chalmers, Marles, Clare, Wong, Plibersek, Burke, Butler and Bowen can pile the pressure on every day Albanese is out of public action. They can spend the week smoking out – or forcing into the garage – the ministers whom they shadow.

  30. mrmoney at 7.07pm

    Higgins is what I’m talking about in terms of Greens taking seats off Liberals.

    I have no idea about the Higgins situation, but if the Greens have a better position to take the seat from the Liberals than Labor, I’m OK with that.

    See Firefox, I can be magnanimous!

  31. “It just eliminates the protest vote from that particular part of the base. ”


    I’d say that a protest vote that ends up electing a Greens MP would be the most effective form of protest vote possible. What better way to send a message that cannot be ignored?

  32. Compare to the other side with Joyce, Dutton, Birmingham, Frydenberg and Payne

    All of whom have not been sighted this campaign. In the case of Barnaby, mercifully absent!

  33. I walked in the door tonight to be confronted by a Liberal TV ad with a quick succession of bar charts. Too rapid to take in but I remember Oz is 2.1 and other countries seem to be more; while the blue column is longer than the red column for health or something. I don’t recall any graphs on taxpayers’ money wasted on a myriad of rorts and mismanagement.

    Morrison seems to like big colourful bar charts – no matter that they represent claims which are meaningless or downright misleading.

  34. Albanese getting COVID will actually be a plus for the ALP I think as it will show the electorate what a competent team Labor has with Chalmers, Wong, Butler etc. sharing the spotlight to good effect. This will contrast well with the megalomaniacal Morrison who is singularly driving the LNP campaign onto the rocks with religious zeal.

  35. Morrison’s Captain’s Pick following his bastardry towards the NSW Liberal Party having consequences for Domicron…

    The NSW Coalition’s shaky grasp on government is under threat as a key independent warns he will no longer guarantee supply and confidence if Premier Dominic Perrottet continues to make damaging statements about transgender children and sport.

    Sydney MP Alex Greenwich has confirmed that he would withdraw his support for the government if Perrottet’s rhetoric about children’s sport continues.

    Fellow independent Greg Piper has not yet decided to end his deal with the government to ensure supply and confidence, but said he was “appalled” by Perrottet’s comments and would consider his options.


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