A particularly random assortment of federal election developments:
• A third and final leaders’ debate will be held next Wednesday by the Seven Network, starting at 9:10pm (when Big Brother ends, in case you were wondering), to be moderated by Mark Riley. The second will be on the Nine Network at 8:30pm on Sunday.
• The Australia Institute has published a uComms poll crediting independent Zoe Daniel with a 62-38 lead over Liberal member Tim Wilson in Goldstein, with Wilson even trailing Labor candidate Martyn Abbott 53-47 on two-party preferred. Including results of a forced-response follow-up for the 6.3% undecided, the primary votes are Tim Wilson 34.5%, Zoe Daniel 34.3% and Martyn Abbott 14.3%, with the Greens on 8.9%, the United Australia Party on 3.2%, the Liberal Democrats on 1.9% and One Nation on 1.8%. Further questions find support finely balanced on who Daniel should support in a hung parliament should it come to that, and Scott Morrison viewed less favourably than Josh Frydenberg but more favourably than Peter Dutton. The poll was conducted last Wednesday from a sample of 855. An unidentified Liberal spokesperson cited by Phillip Coorey in the Financial Review described the result as “absurdly low” for Wilson.
• The Age/Herald had a follow-up result from the recent Resolve Strategic poll showing Labor’s carbon emissions policy, once explained, was supported by 45% and opposed by 30%.
• David Penberthy of The Australian reports that Rachel Swift and James Stevens, respectively the party’s candidate for Boothby and member Sturt, could emerge as the Liberal candidate for the looming state by-election for the safe Adelaide seat of Bragg if defeated on May 21.
• I noted the other day that Labor had made an exception to its general rule of putting the United Australia Party second last after One Nation on its how-to-vote cards in the seat of Dawson. This turns out to apply across central Queensland, where the party would evidently like it to be known that it is not directing preferences to the Greens. Other curiosities among Labor how-to-vote cards include the Liberal Democrats being put ahead of the Greens in Paterson, perhaps reflecting similar sensitivities in the Hunter region, and the Nationals going ahead of the Greens in the regional Western Australian seat of Durack. I’ll have more on preferences in Crikey later today.
• The ABC’s Media Watch had an item on Monday on the hot topic of the accuracy of opinion polling. It quoted my own assessment of the polling situation from the start of the campaign in Crikey, since which time the consensus has moved from Labor winning three seats in Western Australia to possibly two.
• Matthew Denholm of The Australian reports the Australian Electoral Commission will provide telephone voting, using a system in place for blind and low vision voters, for those who test positive to COVID-19 – currently amounting to about 40,000 a day – between the close of postal vote applications on May 18 and polling day on May 21.
• Ben Raue at The Tally Room offers instructive charts recording the rise of pre-poll voting over the past two decades and changes in vote types since the onset of COVID.