Capping off the week with another New South Wales Liberal preselection tangle and three fresh poll results:
UPDATE (Resolve Strategic poll): Make that four, because it seems I missed the latest Resolve Strategic federal voting intention results from the Age/Herald, which are a stinker for the Coalition: Labor is up three to 42%, the Coalition down two to 28%, the Greens down one to 12% and One Nation up one to 6%. This puts Labor solidly north of 60% on two-party by my reckoning, and has caused an observable uptick for them on the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, as seen on the sidebar. Peter Dutton’s personal ratings take a particularly striking turn for the worse, with a six point drop in his combined very good and good rating to 26% and a ten point spike on poor and very poor to 54%, the latter encompassing an eleven point increase in very poor to 34%. Anthony Albanese’s lead as preferred prime minister is out from 51-22 to 55-21, and he’s up one on approval to 56% and down two on disapproval to 29%. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1609.
• The Liberals have opened nominations for a preselection to fill the party’s vacant New South Wales Senate seat following the death of Jim Molan in January, which will be held in late May. Max Maddison of The Australian reports moderates are dividing between state party president Maria Kovacic and former Bega MP and unsuccessful Gilmore candidate Andrew Constance. In the former’s favour is a view that the position should go to a woman, with Salesforce executive director Gisele Kapterian rated another moderate option if conservative opposition to Kovacic looks decisive. Factional lines are blurred to the extent that Kovacic has support from the centre right, while Constance is supported by Catholic Schools NSW chief executive Dallas McInerney, a conservative who was widely identified as the favourite for the position before he announced he would not run. Constance will reportedly establish an electorate office on the South Coast if successful as a springboard for another bid for Gilmore in 2025. A late potential contender is Katherine Deves, whose conservative positions on transgender issues made national headlines during her unsuccessful run for Warringah last year. However, Deves says she would stand aside if Warren Mundine, who along with Senator Jacinta Price has been the leading Aboriginal campaigner against the Indigenous Voice, responds to conservative entreaties to throw his hat into the ring.
• The Lowy Institute has published results from its third annual Being Chinese in Australia survey, conducted online from a sample of 1200 “Australian citizens, permanent residents or long-term visa holders who self-identified as having Chinese ancestry”, between September 27 to December 10. Among its findings were that 60% expressed confidence in Anthony Albanese to do the right thing in world affairs, compared with 29% for not much or none, while Peter Dutton respectively rated 25% and 56%. The sample was more favourable on this score towards Xi Jinping (42% confident, 47% not confident) and Vladimir Putin (29% and 58%) than the Australian public at large, and less favourable towards Joe Biden (34% and 55%) and Voldymyr Zelenskyy (32% and 51%). Asked the same question in relation to countries, the sample broke favourably by 75-25 for Australia, 61-40 for China, 54-46 for Taiwan, 53-47 for the United States and 51-49 for Japan.
Presumably reflecting the change of government, those rating Australia-China relations as a “critical threat to the vital interests of Australia in the next ten years” fell from 51% to 37%, while concern over military conflict between the United States and China was little changed at 36%. Only 15% professed themselves very concerned about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, compared with 69% for a similar question in another survey targeting the population at large. Twenty-seven per cent said AUKUS would make Australia more safe compared with 26% for less safe, and 52% and 7% respectively for the Australian population at large. Notable changes from last year’s results were an increase in agreement that “democracy is preferable to any other kind of government”, from 34% to 48%, and more favourable results on questions regarding whether Australia was a good place to live, or if respondents had personally been vilified because of their heritage. There was a drop in those saying Australian media reporting about China was too negative from 57% to 42%, with as many deeming if fair and balanced and 13% thinking it too positive.
• Roy Morgan has published results from an SMS survey conducted from 1181 respondents to Friday to Tuesday which found 46% saying they would vote yes to an Indigenous Voice with no at 39%, compared with 53% and 30% when it last conducted the exercise in December. The pollster’s weekly federal voting intention numbers have Labor’s two-party lead steady at 56-44, from primary votes of Labor 37%, Coalition 33% and Greens 12%.