ReachTEL: 50-50 in New South Wales

Six months out from a state election, the first New South Wales poll in a surprisingly long time produces a tied result.

Today’s Sun-Herald has a ReachTEL poll of state voting intention in New South Wales, showing the Coalition and Labor level on two-party preferred. After exclusion of the 5.9% undecided, the primary votes are Coalition 37.3%, Labor 33.5%, Greens 10.8%, Shooters Fishers and Farmers 6.5% and One Nation 4.5%. Gladys Berejiklian and Luke Foley were also level on the question of preferred premier, remembering that ReachTEL’s forced response approach to this question tends to produce unusual results. The poll was conducted on Thursday from a sample of 1627. Given a state election is six months away, this was the first published state poll from New South Wales in a surprisingly long time, the last having been another ReachTEL poll from March that had the Coalition leading 52-48. That poll had both major parties higher on the primary vote, with the Coalition on 44.7% and Labor on 34.6%.

BludgerTrack: 54.9-45.1 to Labor

Labor remains deep in landslide territory on the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, despite the moderating impact of this week’s Ipsos poll.

Ipsos provided the one new poll for the week in its monthly outing for the Fairfax papers, and it raised a few eyebrows with its weak primary vote for Labor and extraordinarily strong result for the Greens, the latter exacerbating a long established peculiarity of this pollster. The poll’s addition to the BludgerTrack aggregate takes a certain amount of edge off the recent blowout to Labor, while still finding them on course for a victory of historic dimensions. The BludgerTrack seat projection has Labor down three on last week’s result, with Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia each moving one seat in the Coalition’s favour. The methodological caveats about BludgerTrack from last week’s post continue to apply, as does the fact that I won’t be updating the leadership ratings until the model has a solid enough base of Morrison-era data to work from. Other than that, full results from the link below.

Ipsos: 53-47 to Labor

The latest monthly Ipsos poll suggests a steadying for the Coalition after recent abysmal results, although it does so from an unusual set of primary vote numbers.

The latest Ipsos poll for the Fairfax papers is the Coalition’s least bad result of the Scott Morrison prime ministership so far, recording the Labor two-party lead at 53-47, an improvement on the 55-45 blowout the pollster recorded as Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership entered its final week (which was the one poll suggesting a significant weakening in Coalition voting intention in the period up to the spill). Ipsos’ primary vote numbers are still idiosyncratic, with an already over-inflated Greens gaining two points to 15%, while Labor slumps four to 31% and the Coalition gains one to 34%. No conventional leadership ratings that I can see yet, but ratings of the two leaders across a range of eleven attributes finds Morrison scoring better than Bill Shorten on every question other than “has the confidence of his/her party” and “has a firm grasp of social policy”. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Saturday from a sample of 1200; more detail presumably to follow.

UPDATE: As related by the Financial Review, the poll has Scott Morrison debuting with 46% approval and 36% disapproval, while Bill Shorten is up three on approval to 44% and down four on disapproval to 48%. Morrison holds a 47-37 lead as preferred prime minister, little different from Turnbull’s 48-36 lead in the last poll.

US mid-term elections minus seven-and-a-half weeks

Two years after Donald Trump’s shocking upset in November 2016, the Democrats are likely to win the House at November 6 mid-term elections – but the Senate is tougher. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian’s work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

Seats in the United States House of Representatives are assigned to states on the basis of population. All 435 House seats are up for election on November 6. Owing to natural clustering of Democratic voters and Republican gerrymandering, FiveThirtyEight’s House models say Democrats probably need to win the popular vote by six to seven points to take control. Polls show the Democrats currently lead in the race for Congress by 9.1 points.  In 2016, Republicans won the House by 241 seats to 194, on a vote margin of just 1.1% (49.1% to 48.0%).  FiveThirtyEight’s default “Classic” model gives Democrats an 83% chance of winning the House.

One-third of the 100 Senators are up for election every two years.  Each state has two Senators, elected for six-year terms. Thirty-five of the 100 Senate seats are up for election on November 6, including two Senate by-elections in Mississippi and Minnesota. Twenty-six of these seats are currently held by Democrats and just nine by Republicans. Democrats will be defending five states that voted for Trump by at least 18 points. Republicans currently hold the Senate by a 51-49 margin, including two independents who caucus with Democrats.

Continue reading “US mid-term elections minus seven-and-a-half weeks”

BludgerTrack: 56.0-44.0 to Labor

BludgerTrack catches up with Newspoll, as the second round of post-coup polls proves hardly better for the Coalition than the first.

First up, note that developments in Wentworth, including Dave Sharma’s Liberal preselection win overnight, are being tracked in the post below.

There have now been four polls since the leadership change, two apiece by Newspoll and Essential Research, the first pair conducted in the immediate aftermath, the second a fortnight hence and released earlier this week. Essential recorded a slight softening in the post-coup blowout, but Newspoll did not. BludgerTrack is now reflecting the Newspolls in having Labor leading 56.0-44.0, translating into a 97-49 lead on the seat projection that I don’t advise waiting up for.

In any case, BludgerTrack is in methodological limbo at the moment, as its smoothing method is not designed for convulsions such as the one that set in three weeks ago. Whereas the smoothing parameter is normally determined by something called the Aikake information criterion, this has lately been causing a problem in producing a very low value for the Coalition and a very high one for Labor. The effect of this has been that the current reading of the Coalition primary vote has reflected the sudden change in fortunes, but Labor’s has not.

As a result, I have junked my usual method for the major parties and simply applied arbitrary low values that get them to the ballpark of where their latest poll results have been. The sizeable increase in the Labor primary vote this week is only because I have moved them from a high to a low smoothing parameter – the latest polls have in fact had them down slightly. When enough data is available from the Morrison era for it to work, I will start up a new series using only post-leadership change data.

Also in limbo for now are the leadership ratings measures. For Scott Morrison’s net approval and Morrison-versus-Shorten preferred prime minister trends, there will not be enough data for a couple of months. There’s nothing to stop me maintaining Bill Shorten’s net approval rating, but keeping it going in the absence of the Turnbull measures will require a bit of code tinkering I haven’t got around to yet.

Full results featuring state breakdowns:

Wentworth by-election: October 20

The Liberals will this evening preselect their candidate for the Wentworth by-election, the date for which has now been confirmed.

Friday, September 14

A marathon Liberal preselection that concluded at 1am has turned up something of an upset, with preselectors comprehensively defying Scott Morrison’s edict that the position should go to a woman. The ultimate winner was Dave Sharma, who defeated Richard Shields in the final round by 119 votes to 83. Morrison’s favoured candidate, Katherine O’Regan, crashed out early, managing only fifth place. The other leading woman candidate, Mary Lou Jarvis, was next to go, leaving Sharma, Shields and Peter King standing at the penultimate round. It would seem O’Regan was deserted in droves in favour of Sharma after the latter received the endorsement of John Howard and Malcolm Turnbull.

Thursday, September 13

The Wentworth by-election date was set yesterday for October 20, with rolls closing Monday week, and nominations closing the following Thursday and being declared on the Friday. The most high-profile potential independent, Kerryn Phelps, is reportedly waiting on this evening’s Liberal preselection before deciding if she will run. This is reckoned likely to be won by Katherine O’Regan, in part due to a consensus that the seat should go to a woman. Andrew Clennell of The Australian reports O’Regan is supported by moderate faction powerbroker Michael Photios, and “could get as many as 80 votes in the 120-vote local component of the 206-vote ballot”. O’Regan owns a consultancy firm, KTO, is a former deputy mayor of Woollahra council, and has been a staffer to state minister Robyn Parker and federal minister Warwick Smith.

Also said to be an outside chance is Mary Lou Jarvis, a Woollahra councillor Mary Lou Jarvis who has backing from the Right. Dave Sharma, the former Australian ambassador to Israel initially identified as the front-runner, has so far resisted pressure to withdraw, but Clennell reports one of his main backers, North Sydney MP Trent Zimmerman, has switched his support to O’Regan. Also in the field are Richard Shields, former deputy state party director and Insurance Council of Australia manager; Maxine Szramka, a rheumatologist; Michael Feneley, cardiologist and twice unsuccessful candidate for Kingsford Smith; Carrington Brigham, a digital communications specialist; and Peter King, the barrister who held the seat for a term from 2001 before being elbowed aside by Malcolm Turnbull, whom he then proceeded to run against unsuccessfully as an independent.

Following the poll circulated a few days ago by Andrew Bragg, Peter King has been circulating a poll of his own, conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 400. It shows Labor beating the Liberals 53-47 on a generic ballot, from primary votes of Liberal 36%, Labor 29%, independents 18% and Greens 16%. However, this becomes 50-50 when Peter King is specified as Liberal candidate, from primary votes of Liberal 35%, Labor 25%, Greens 17% and independents 13%.