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. Victoria

    I wasn’t aware of that. Shows how newsworthy it is.

    But if they’re this desperate, Josh is cooked (Fryd, specifically).

  2. So if Scotty loses the election and Mr Potatoe head junior {Frytheburg] gets beaten by Ryan, who do they put up at leader of the Opposition. Mr Potatoe Head, Uncle Angas ? I can’t think of one palatable option. Bring back the Abbott via a safe seat shuffle ? Please God no.

  3. Hugh Riminton
    Our last Defence Force Chief from the @Australian_Navy was Admiral Chris Barrie. Today, he savaged the China – #SolomonIslands security deal: “I think, frankly, it’s a failure of Australian Government policy.” #auspol #ausvotes @10NewsFirst https://t.co/ZAda7cEKSA

  4. Sandman says:
    Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 11:41 pm
    So if Scotty loses the election and Mr Potatoe head junior {Frytheburg] gets beaten by Ryan, who do they put up at leader of the Opposition. Mr Potatoe Head, Uncle Angas ? I can’t think of one palatable option.
    Robert Stuart. No wait is it Stuart Robert ? Anyway that bloke with the big phone bills.

  5. hazza4257 says:
    Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 11:46 pm
    Murray Watt really is an impressive, articulate guy
    He was Anna Bligh’s COS for a while then a State MP. Knows his stuff very well.

  6. Ronni salt
    In the last few weeks, Scott Morrison has discovered a sudden new passion for women’s sport.

    In light of his new interest, I performed a Hansard search of the amount of times since entering federal parliament, he has discussed the issue of women’s sport in parliament.

    #Deves https://t.co/LnyJEW7dql

  7. Yes Michael Organ is the Greens candidate for Riverina. He has retired to a township called Murrumburrah (near Harden) in the Riverina. Hopefully Organ can help grind the useless Elvis imposter’s ludicrous margin down a peg or two.

  8. I can already see the headlines next week: either “is Marles fit to be DPM?” or “Marles should replace Albo”

    Never mind the current DPM! We’ve been instructed not to report on him because he reflects badly on the Coalition.

  9. Upnorth @ Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 7:45 pm

    “Melbournes’ famous Mercury infested Gummie Shark Fish n Chips with a couple of bottles of Château Mouton Rothschild to wash it down.”

    That would be a travesty! Fish and Chips are best suited to Champagne. Lars to bring the Dom would be politically apt 😉

  10. William (or anyone else), help me to understand something.

    In Bludgertrack’s “Poll Data” we only get Newspoll state-by-state breakdowns occasionally. Are the only quarterly, for example (meaning the last one was 12 March, so next one after election)?

  11. Upnorth

    It’s a pity Watt looks and sounds a bit square. Could be a future leader if parachuted into the lower house. “A Queenslander for PM” would be a huge asset to Labor. Not that there are many safe Queensland seats to stick him in!

  12. Here we go again.

    That OZ reporter putting up a headline ascribing words and policy approaches which MARLES has not said in any shape or form, then go digging through his book, previous statements and twist them around to give the impression that he has no problem with China building military bases in the Pacific.

    “Let China move in and build Pacific bases: ALP deputy Richard Marles ” screams the headline from moron Sharri Markson “investigative journalist”.

    Marles dismissing fears about China setting up military bases is very different to “ Letting China in to build military bases” but why ruin a good dirt campaign with the truth ?

    No substance behind it at all. Don’t bother reading it. I’m sorry I did.

  13. Upcoming headlines in The Australian

    “Each way Albanese flip flops on having COVID.”

    “Sniffly Albo hides from the campaign.”

    “Albo the preferred candidate of China (virus).”

    “Disgrace! Albanese skips ANZAC day service.”

  14. Sandman, yeah I dunno what happens if the critically endangered species known as Lib moderates are wiped out. That Morrison won in 2019 shows the Australian electorate doesn’t require high standards to attain office. That said, I think in the long run the LNP are facing a demographic cliff, young voters under 25 are close to universally against them and they are not responding to changing attitudes. A Federal ICAC might kill them, maybe it might regenerate them into a more honest movement or create a new one. I can’t see how the LNP as it is now will be electable in even 10 years time. Although I must be biased because I can’t see how they’re even remotely seen as electable now.

  15. I think Albo’s week in iso will be a bit of a non-event really. As someone said, the Anzac Day long weekend will take up a chunk of it.

    will be interesting to see who steps up to take his place. If it’s Marles, Marles and more Marles I’ll be deeply disappointed and frankly surprised at the campaign team’s judgement.

  16. Very hard to win corrupt Governments over if China are prepared to bribe poor nations,. May not stop with the Solomon Islands the rest will start demanding more more or threaten to go to China. We are going to have to get tough maybe allow China to handle a few Pacific island coups so the people understand what China are about, China won’t help at all, just sit back and send more money to corrupt officials. All the talk of Government failure to stop the China deal fail to understand greed and corruption.

  17. ‘Boris Johnson set to face Commons inquiry as No 10 pulls amendment’

    ‘Dramatic Downing Street U-turn comes as two more Tory MPs call for PM to quit from floor of Commons … Boris Johnson is expected to face a Commons inquiry over whether he lied to parliament, after Downing Street dramatically pulled an amendment aimed at forcing Conservative MPs to delay the new Partygate investigation … Two more Tory MPs called for Johnson to quit from the floor of the Commons, including the influential Brexiter Steve Baker.“The prime minister now should be long gone,” the former minister said. “Really, the prime minister should just know the gig’s up.”


  18. I have to begrudgingly agree with steelydan. We can’t enter a bidding war with China to keep a bunch of micro nations on our side. Yes we have been a bad pacific ally of late but it wouldn’t have mattered IMO.

    Do we just assume their governments are all corrupt? I try not to but it wouldn’t surprise me.

  19. The median age of the electorate will continue to increase thanks to a combination of sub replacement fertility rates and medical science finding new ways to allow us to stagger on for a few years longer than nature intended

    Over sixties will continue to grow as a proportion of the electorate so I think the demographic cliff is a myth if anything Labor will have to improve it’s vote share among older voters to win elections.

  20. Sandmansays:
    Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 11:41 pm
    So if Scotty loses the election and Mr Potatoe head junior {Frytheburg] gets beaten by Ryan, who do they put up at leader of the Opposition. Mr Potatoe Head, Uncle Angas ? I can’t think of one palatable option. Bring back the Abbott via a safe seat shuffle ? Please God no.

    I was about to say that Birmingham would be the only rational option – not that he’s particularly good, but he’s the best of a bad bunch. But he’s a senator, so that’s out.

    I’m honestly stumped to identify another Liberal MP who would have enough presence if Morrison resigned and both Frydenberg and Dutton lost… in terms of MPs that people would be able to recognise, you might have Angus Taylor, Sussan Ley, and maybe Tim Wilson at a stretch. I can’t imagine any of them doing even a half-decent job of being leader of the opposition.

    I don’t think they’d bring back Abbott – too much bad blood around for that. But they might try for Berejiklian, perhaps.

  21. Re: Solomon Islands, we could have tried to do more by sending our most senior officials to communicate our views, though I agree we were never going to win in any bidding war with China. It was bound to happen that they’d buy the support of one or more countries regardless of how much money we send to the Pacific, it’s just unfortunate for the LNP that it’s happened under their watch. We now have a second superpower we have to try and placate whilst trying to not piss off the other.

  22. Not to be outdone by the OZ, The Daily Toilet paper came up with this dirt story

    ‘The official Facebook page of a Labor branch in the heart of Anthony Albanese’s electorate of Grayndler has been caught out posting anti-Semitic, misogynist, and offensive memes about prominent Liberal party figures”.

    This involves the Balmain branch which has independent control of Facebook page and does not have State or Federal Labor Party endorsement, yet the Toilet Paper is trying to use it smear Albanese, adding a picture of him back-grounded by those offensive images to beef up the story.


    In fact, Mr Albanese home branch is in the suburb of Marrickville, where he lives.
    A spokesman for NSW Labor said, “This is not an official Australian Labor Party page and its content is not authorised or endorsed by Labor” and that the images “should not have been posted” but anything labelling Albo guilty by paper thin association works for RWNJs.

    Who reads the Toilet Paper anyway ? Conservative echo chamber tragics.

  23. Voodoo Blues

    What makes you think older demographics will continue to be strong coalition supporters?

    I read a really interesting study a while ago (sadly unable to locate it). It showed that, while young people have always tended to switch from Dems to Republicans as they age, they’re increasingly sticking with the Dems. In other words, the number who switch sides is declining and this is a massive problem for the Republicans.

    The biggest structural problem for the Republicans is their social conservatism. Young people have a wide range of economic views (if any) but most are decidedly progressive-leaning on sexuality, abortion, euthanasia etc.

    The Libs have realised this is a threat to them but simultaneously seem to be stacking branches with religious conservatives
    – so maybe I’m giving them more credit than they deserve.

  24. GlenOsays:
    Friday, April 22, 2022 at 12:52 am

    What about Ms Cash – She would have to switch to the HOR but wouldn’t it be a hoot having this at the ballot box every day at question time

  25. In Bludgertrack’s “Poll Data” we only get Newspoll state-by-state breakdowns occasionally. Are the only quarterly, for example (meaning the last one was 12 March, so next one after election)?

    They’re usually quarterly, but I’m sure we’ll see one before the election — maybe even more than one if they have indeed gone weekly.

  26. Michaelia seems a bit cooked. She is like a real life Mad as Hell character. Good enough to be the chief LNP cheerleader for the WA campaign apparently.

  27. Sandmansays:
    Friday, April 22, 2022 at 1:09 am
    What about Ms Cash – She would have to switch to the HOR but wouldn’t it be a hoot having this at the ballot box every day at question time
    If we’re allowing switch from senate to house, then Birmingham is back on the table. Maybe have Cash as deputy, for laughs, though.

  28. Anyone got access to The West? We might have to start calling it The Pest

    From Painted Dog Research, whose accuracy we have no idea about because they’ve never done a voting intention poll. Albanese 38% satisfied, 38% dissatisfied. Morrison 26% and 55%. Albanese leads 54-46 on economic management. On “which is your least desired outcome”: 39% Coalition majority, 22% Labor majority, 39% hung parliament. Either this is grossly inaccurate — which I wouldn’t rule out — or The West’s persuasive power is nil. Here’s another fun fact about The West for you — they didn’t run a story about the Solomon Islands yesterday. Eastern states news, it seems.

  29. @Hazza4257

    I don’t know that they will, but they always have, and still do, and so I am working on the assumption that the trend will continue, maybe not quite as strong as it is now, maybe stronger who knows?

    But the idea that the Tories are on borrowed because they poll poorly amongst under twenty fives , seems to have some obvious weaknesses.

    One thing we can be almost certain of is the electorate will be getting older not younger and so the influence of the old on our politics will grow.

  30. Thank you William! I was hoping you were awake and would pull through.

    I’ll take that poll with a grain of salt. Looks like a slightly Labor-friendly sample, in which case 38-38 for Albo is a worry.

    The West has always struck me as being far less partial and tabloid-y than Murdoch’s eastern counterparts, but it’s been shit the last fortnight. Maybe I just haven’t been paying attention.

  31. The under 25’s will become your over 60’s in time. There isn’t any appetite for status quo politics among younger voters now.

  32. Infrequent poster, often reader here, re. Katter.

    An interesting story I heard during med school when I was doing a placement in Cherbourg, an Indigenous town about 30 minutes from Kingaroy in Qld – Joh country.

    It began life, named Berambah (the Western Wind), and was a site for many of those relocated in the stolen generations. It had paternalistic overseers and residents had very little control over their lives, finances and towns. Even people who went to fight in WWI returned to find themselves not able to access their military pay on returning home.

    It was only in the ’80s (from memory) that Cherbourg finally became allowed to govern itself at a local council level.

    The person pushing for that within the Joh government was none other than Katter himself.

    This is to say nothing of his identifying as Indigenous as I can’t comment on that, but for all his bizarre behaviours (and I will never forgive him for backing Fraser Anning’s maiden speech even if they eventually went their separate ways) he has always been passionate on Indigenous issues.

  33. Seems to me the only certainty about an ageing population is that tweaking superannuation and/or pensions will become even more politically risky.

    Surely the biggest things favouring the Libs among older Aussies currently are social conservatism and fear of communism.

    Beyond that, general fear/skepticism of change? I suppose that’s something oldies will always have, which naturally favours conservatives.

  34. MPs approve unopposed motion to set up inquiry into claims PM misled MPs over Partygate

    ‘Nigel Evans, the deputy Speaker, calls the vote. There are no objections, and so the motion goes through on the nod’


    No.10 told the Tory MPs there was ‘no need’ for them to vote one way or t’other on the motion so no surprise it went through without a division being necessary

  35. Hazza, I think younger people fairly think they’ve been given a raw deal. Insane house prices, with additional student debt which doesn’t correspond to wages. It’s rubbish and no-one seems to care much to address it.

  36. hazza4257 says:
    Friday, April 22, 2022 at 12:08 am

    It’s a pity Watt looks and sounds a bit square. Could be a future leader if parachuted into the lower house. “A Queenslander for PM” would be a huge asset to Labor. Not that there are many safe Queensland seats to stick him in!
    Murray is a committed leftie. Would be difficult to be PM from QLD coming from that group. If Albo gets up he will be one of the few leftie PMs we had. I think Gillard about the only other.

    Gouge was above factions but it was Cairns and the left that tried to get rid of him.

  37. JM from QLD says:
    Friday, April 22, 2022 at 2:02 am
    Infrequent poster, often reader here, re. Katter.

    An interesting story I heard during med school when I was doing a placement in Cherbourg, an Indigenous town about 30 minutes from Kingaroy in Qld – Joh country.
    Hi JM. Good to see you post mate. Katter actually did some good stuff for a Tory Government. His Aboriginal Lands Act is still mostly in force. But it was a very low bar.

    He has a good following in Kennedy with the indigenous vote.

    He and Albo do get on well. Albo delivered the “Cloncurry Bypass”. Not big in the scheme of things but bloody important for that Community. Bob has always thanked him.

    If this is Bobs last roll of the Dice he might just support Albo in hung Parliament.

    Speaker Katter?????

    Would be like the prodigal son. The Katters were Labor until the split in ‘57. His old man was a Nat. Bob was a Nat when he nearly lost Flinders (state seat) to Cloncurry Grazier, Noel Robertson who ran for the ALP in 1989.

    Bob got Kennedy as a Nat but quickly fell out.

    Bobs relative by marriage is Mark O’Brien who ran for the ALP in Warrego if I am correct.

    This is Labors birthplace. All through that Country. Winton, Barcaldine and then up north through the then sheep country and the Gold mines at Charters Towers and Ravenswood finally to Townsville where a Tree of Knowledge also grew and the fledgling party came into existence.

    Night all.

  38. JM

    Thanks for the Katter story. I believe he also had a lot to do with aboriginal land rights, or rather title rights.

    To fight for indigenous self governance is a virtuous position, even more so in Queensland in the 80s.

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