Miscellany: Freshwater Strategy polling, by-election latest and more (open thread)

An unorthodox set of voting intention numbers from Freshwater Strategy, more signs of a narrowing on the Indigenous Voice, and the closure of nominations for the Liberal National Party preselection in Fadden.

The Financial Review had a set of federal voting intention numbers on Friday from Freshwater Strategy, which were highly distinctive in having Labor leading by only 52-48, compared with 54-46 from the last such poll in December. The primary votes were Labor 34% (down three), Coalition 37% (steady), Greens 12% (steady) and 17% for the rest. Anthony Albanese was on 42% approval (down six) and 37% disapproval (up seven), a substantially narrower net positive rating than recorded by other pollsters, while Peter Dutton had less anomalous numbers of 30% (up one) and 42% (up four). A preferred prime minister question had Albanese with an usually narrow lead of 51-33, in from 55-29. The poll was conducted Monday to Wednesday from a sample of 1005.

Further findings from the poll:

• Support for the Indigenous Voice was down two since December to 48% while opposition was up ten to 39%, including a 20-point increase among Coalition voters and a seven point increase among Labor and Greens voters. This converted to 55-45 after exclusion of the undecided, in from 65-35.

• Only nine per cent felt the budget would put downward pressure on inflation and interest rates, compared with 52% who thought the opposite and 23% who said it would have no effect. Forty-eight per cent felt the country was heading in the wrong direction, up six, compared with 37% for right direction, down seven.

• Seventy per cent supported Peter Dutton’s call for sport gambling ads to be curtailed, with 13% opposed, and 59% supported his proposal to allow the unemployed to earn $150 a fortnight more without affecting their JobSeeker rate.

By-election latest:

Amy Remeikis of The Guardian reports five candidates have emerged for Liberal National Party preselection in Fadden, with nominations having closed last Friday and a ballot of eligible local members to be conducted this Friday. The Gold Coast Bulletin identifies four of them: Gold Coast councillor Cameron Caldwell, who is widely rated the front-runner; Dinesh Palipana, emergency doctor at Gold Coast University Hospital and the state’s first quadriplegic medical graduate; Fran Ward, founder of a charity supporting distressed farmers; and Owen Carterer, who would appear to have a low profile. “Long-term members” were backing Caldwell, but Palipana had support from “Young LNP party members linked to state MP Sam O’Connor”, though critics were arguing he would do better to run at the state election.

• The Age/Herald reported a spokesperson for Scott Morrison saying his departure from parliament was “not imminent”, and would certainly not be soon enough to allow for joint by-elections in Fadden and his seat of Cook. However, it could “possibly come at the end of the year”.

Other news from around the place:

David Penberthy of The Australian reported last week that bitterly fought Liberal Senate preselection looms in South Australia, the flashpoint being the position of Senator Alex Antic. Together with like-minded Queensland Senator Gerard Rennick, Antic withdrew parliamentary support from the Morrison government in protest against mandatory vaccinations, and has lately courted far right sentiment by mocking Volodomyr Zelenskyy in parliament and following it up with a theatrically disingenuous apology. Antic was elected from third position on the ticket in 2019, behind Anne Ruston and David Fawcett. As religious conservatives make headway in a push to take control of a party that took a distinctly moderate turn under Steven Marshall’s one-term state government, there are said to be some hoping Antic might be pushed to the top of the ticket (though an unidentified and presumably conservative party figure is quoted denying it), and others hoping he might be dumped altogether.

Sumeyya Ilanbey of The Age reports Victorian Liberal state president Greg Mirabella told state council yesterday that an external report into the Aston by-election found defeated candidate Roshena Campbell had “the highest recognition and positivity among Liberal names, even when compared with outgoing federal Liberal MP Alan Tudge”. This would not seem to sit will with a view that has taken hold in the party that Campbell’s lack of local connection to the seat explained the result, as reflected in Peter Dutton’s determination that a local should succeed Stuart Robert in Fadden.

• RedBridge Group has results from polling of Victorian voters on federal voting intention, which after exclusion of the undecided finds Labor on 41% (32.9% at the election), the Coalition on 34% (33.1%) and the Greens on 12% (13.7%). The pollster’s high-profile director of strategy and analytics, Kos Samaras, argues the Liberals’ dismal levels of support in the state among non-religous voters, Indian Australians and Buddhists in general puts it in an unwinnable position.

• In his column in the Age/Herald on Saturday, George Megalogenis wrote that “private polling for the Yes campaign is more encouraging” than this week’s Resolve Strategic result of 53-47 (although Kos Samaras of RedBridge argues social desirability bias effects in polling on such questions means proponents should not feel comfortable of even a national majority unless polling has it clear of 55-45). However, Megalogenis says “Queensland is now assumed as lost, with Western Australia doubtful”, with “Tasmania as the potential swing state”.

The West Australian provides a sketchy report of polling by Painted Dog Research gauging the opinions of 1409 voters in Western Australia on Anthony Albanese, Peter Dutton and Jim Chalmers. Albanese recorded an approval rating of “just under half”, with 26% dissatisfied, with Peter Dutton apparently scoring a parlous 16% approval and 48% disapproval. “About a third” approved of Jim Chalmers’ performance as Treasurer, while “just under a quarter disapproved”.

• The Age/Herald yesterday reported results on issue salience from last week’s Resolve Strategic poll, finding the cost of living with a huge lead as the highest priority issue, identified as such by 48% compared with 11% for health care, 10% for the environment and climate change and 8% for management of the economy. Cost of living has ascended to its present level from 16% last January and 25% at the time of the federal election in May.

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.

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