BludgerTrack: 54.9-45.1 to Labor

The poll aggregate finds the year ending with a further surge to Labor, with probably only next week’s Essential Research poll still to come.

The addition of this week’s Newspoll to the BludgerTrack poll aggregate has prompted a solid increase in Labor’s already commanding lead, amounting to 0.6% on two-party preferred and three on the seat projection. The latter gains amount to one apiece in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia. Full results as always on the link below.

Holiday reading:

• Democracy 2025, a collaboration between the Museum of Australian Democracy, the University of Canberra and the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, has produced a report entitled Trust and Democracy in Australia, based on an online survey of 1000 respondents conducted by Ipsos in late July. It finds only 41% of respondents expressing satisfaction with the way democracy works in Australia, which presumably hasn’t improved any in the wake of Malcolm Turnbull’s demise. This is a remarkable 31% lower than in 2013, though not much different from when the previous result in 2016. The results were also fairly consistent across age cohorts, contrary to an expectation that it may have been driven by the young. Compared with the 2014 survey, respondents were a lot less likely to think the media had too much power, and more likely to complain that politicians didn’t deal with “the issues that really matter”. Presented with various reform options, far the most popular with campaign spending and donation caps.

• The Electoral Regulation Research Network has published a research paper on the implications of the dramatic increase of “convenience voting”, i.e. pre-poll and postal voting.

Victorian election upper house finale

Seventeen days on, the precise configuration of a bewildering Victorian upper house election result will be determined later today.

UPDATE: Results confirmed in the following table. See region entries below for more detail.

The Victorian state election is to reach its final resolution this afternoon when the proverbial button is pressed on the Legislative Council counts. The broad outline of the result is clear in that Labor stands to win probably 17 seats (UPDATE: actually eighteen), up from 14 in 2014, but this will not make their life any less complicated owing to the poor show by the Greens, who went in with five seats and will come with one, or two if they’re lucky. The Coalition, which went in with 16 seats and held 21 seats and a majority when it gained office in 2010, will emerge with a miserable showing of perhaps ten seats (UPDATE: make that eleven). In the middle: a giant herd of micro-party members, the precise identify of which remains to be discerned.

Picking winners from the primary vote tallies and some help from Antony Green’s calculators is less straightforward than it has been in the past, owing to an increase in the below-the-line voting rate from around 5% to 10%. Seemingly assured of victory are three candidates of Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party, who stand to triple the Greens’ representation, and may win four; and one each from Shooters Fishers and Farmers, Transport Matters, Sustainable Australia, the Liberal Democrats and Animal Justice. On top of that, Fiona Patten of the Reason Party will win if the Justice Party can’t get a fourth seat, and either Transport Matters or the Liberal Democrats will make it to two.

The following review of the situation owes a very great deal to Kevin Bonham, who has been covering the late counting in exhaustive detail.

Eastern Metropolitan

With Greens incumbent Samantha Dunn out of contention, this looks to be a matter of two seats apiece for Labor (Shaun Leane re-elected, Sonja Terpstra gaining a second seat) and Liberal (Mary Wooldridge and Bruce Atkinson re-elected) and the last seat going to a micro-party snowballer – which appears all but certain to be Rodney Barton from Transport Matters.

UPDATE: This has gone expected.

Northern Metropolitan

The one region where the Greens have scored a full quota – a feat that has eluded the Liberals, although they appear set to retain a seat all the same. Labor’s Jenny Mikakos and Nazih Elasmar will retain their seats, leaving one spare for a minor player. That could either involve Fiona Patten of the Reason Party being re-elected, or the seat instead going to Carmela Dagiandis of Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party. As Kevin Bonham explains, Patten is depending on preferences from Victorian Socialists, and will only get them if Ratnam reaches a quota before they are excluded.

UPDATE: Patten wins.

Southern Metropolitan

This is the one looming Greens defeat that clearly reflects the injustice of the electoral system, rather than the party’s slide in support in the suburbs. Labor’s Nina Taylor looks set to pick up a second seat at the expense of Greens incumbent Sue Pennicuik, joining a re-elected Philip Dalidakis. Of the three Liberal incumbents, David Davis and Georgie Crozier will be re-elected, but Margaret Fitzherbert appears set to lose her seat to Clifford Hayes of Sustainable Australia.

UPDATE: Confirmed.

South-Eastern Metropolitan

On the left, Labor will gain a third seat from the Greens, with incumbents Gavin Jennings and Adem Somyurek to be joined by newcomer Tien Dung Kieu, and Greens member Nina Springle losing out. On the right, only lead Liberal candidate Gordon Rich-Phillips stands to be re-elected, with second-placed veteran Inga Peulich set to lose to either Ali Khan of Transport Matters or David Limbrick of the Liberal Democrats.

UPDATE: It’s David Limbrick of the Liberal Democrats.

Western Metropolitan

Huong Truong of the Greens appeared to have some chance of clinging on her seat here in a favourable trend in late counting emerged, but it hasn’t. The result here in 2014 was Labor two and one apiece for Liberal, the Greens and the DLP; this time Labor will gain a seat from the Greens, with incumbent Cesar Melham to be joined by newcomers Ingrid Stitt and Kaushaliya Virjibhai Vaghela; Catherine Cumming of Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party will take the micro-party seat off the DLP; and lead candidate Bernie Finn will remain the only Liberal.

UPDATE: All correct.

Eastern Victoria

This will likely be a status quo result of Labor two (Jane Garrett making her move from the lower house, Harriet Shing winning re-election), Coalition two (Edward O’Donohue of Liberal and Melina Bath of the Nationals, both incumbents) and Shooters Fishers and Farmers (Jeff Bourman) one. The ABC projection has the Shooters seat instead going to the Aussie Battler Party, but its assumptions involve ideal scenarios for the small players, and the realities of below-the-line voting are likely to thwart them.

UPDATE: And so it has proved.

Northern Victoria

With the Coalition, Labor and the Greens accounting for barely more than two-thirds between them, this region looks set to elect two micro-party candidates, who look like being Tim Quilty of the Liberal Democrats and Tania Maxwell of Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party. The other three seats are likely to go two Labor (Mark Gepp and Jaclyn Symes re-elected) and one Liberal (Wendy Lovell re-elected), although there’s an outside chance it will be the other way around, in which case the Luke O’Sullivan of the Nationals will retain his seat.

UPDATE: No late save for Luke O’Sullivan of the Nationals, with Labor gaining a second seat.

Western Victoria

This too looks likely to end with two micro-party winners. The result in 2014 was two apiece for Labor and Liberal and one for Vote 1 Local Jobs; now the Liberals look all but certain to drop a seat, with Stuart Grimley of Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party and Andy Meddick of Animal Justice taking the last places. Jaala Pulford and Gayle Tierney will be re-elected for Labor; Beverley MacArthur will enter parliament as the head candidate on the Liberal ticket, with second-placed incumbent Joshua Morris losing out.

UPDATE: Confirmed.

Newspoll: 55-45 to Labor

No Christmas cheer for the Coalition from the final Newspoll for 2018.

The Australian reports Newspoll has closed its 2018 account with another crushing 55-45 lead for Labor, from primary votes of Coalition 35% (up one), Labor 41% (up one), Greens 9% (steady) and One Nation 7% (down one). Scott Morrison edges to net negative territory on his personal ratings, being down one on approval to 42% and up three on disapproval to 45%. Bill Shorten is respectively down one to 36% and up one to 51%. Morrison’s lead as preferred prime minister is 44-36, narrowing from 46-34. The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1731.

BludgerTrack: 54.3-45.7 to Labor

Nothing much doing on the poll aggregate, but two ReachTEL seat polls provide further evidence of the Coalition’s low ebb in Victoria.

The BludgerTrack poll aggregate shifts negligibly in favour of the Coalition, who have picked up one on the seat aggregate in South Australia. I won’t be bothering with the leadership ratings until the new year recess, as some fairly heavy reupholstering is required to integrate Scott Morrison’s data into the code.

Two ReachTEL electorate polls have lately emerged from Victoria, recording swings approaching or exceeding double digits against the Liberals – with the caveat that both appear to have identified the names of the parties rather than the candidates.

• In Corangamite, held for the Liberals by Sarah Henderson on a post-redistribution margin of exactly nothing, a poll for the Geelong Advertiser gives Labor what I calculate to be a lead of 59-41, based on 2016 election preferences. The Advertiser’s report has it at 52.1-47.9, but this credits Labor with no preferences whatsoever from “other/independent”, when they in fact scored slightly over half of them in 2016. After excluding the 4.6% undecided from the poll, the primary votes are Labor 42.8%, Liberal 33.7% and Greens 11.7%. I don’t know exactly when the poll was conducted, but the sample was 856.

• The Herald Sun reported last week that a poll for the CFMEU found Kelly O’Dwyer, who holds Higgins on a post-redistribution margin of 10.3%, trailing Labor by 53-47. Primary votes of Liberal 38.6%, Labor 32.5% and Greens 18.8% are provided, which I presume does not exclude an undecided component.

Victorian election endgame

A week and a half on, the finishing touches are being applied to Victoria’s rather extraordinary election result.

Saturday morning

Late excitement in Ripon, where contested ballots during a recount appear to have worn away to nothing. The VEC’s communications on the recount have been a bit confusing, but the buzz on social media suggests the Liberals have achieved the tiniest of leads, with the result perhaps to be decided by a single digit margin. The recount is to resume this morning, and is proceeding slowly as every dubious ballot is scrutinised in minute detail.

Thursday morning

My results platform is now fully updated with the latest results, and hopefully more or less works. Many more preference counts have been conducted, but not in the one contest that remains of potential interest, namely Melton.

UPDATE: By latest results, I mean the latest VEC feed. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been reconciled with the preference counts yet.

Tuesday evening

The Victorian Electoral Commission is now a fair way through the preference distributions, and it seems the numbers in the new parliament will be Labor 56, Coalition 26 (Liberal 20 and Nationals six), Greens three and independents three. The one remaining chance for a boilover is Melton, which will presumably be retained by Labor, but they have only 34.9% of the primary vote with the remainder scattered among the field of eleven other candidates. Then is the upper house, which I’m afraid I haven’t been able to give its due over the last week and a bit, but do stay tuned.

Notable results from the resolution of the count:

• Sam Hibbins retained Prahran for the Greens by a 7.4% margin over the Liberals, which he was able to do because he again squeaked ahead of Labor at the last exclusion. At that point in the count, Liberal candidate Katie Allen was on 14,824 (36.7%), Hibbins was on 12,911 (32.0%) and Labor’s Neil Pharaoh was on 12,647 (31.3%). The 264 votes separating Hibbins and Pharaoh compares with 31 votes when the exact same candidates faced the exact same situation in 2014. The difference on that occasion was that Pharaoh landed only 277 votes clear of Liberal incumbent Clem Newton-Brown on the final count – here as in so many other places, the Liberals were not a feature this time.

• Labor won the western Victorian seat of Ripon by just 31 votes, Sarah De Santis finishing with 20,030 (50.04%) over Liberal incumbent Louise Staley on 19,999 (49.96%).

• The vague prospect of an independent win in Benambra did not eventuate, with Liberal incumbent Bill Tilley emerging with a winning margin of 2.4%. Independent Jacqui Hawkins reduced Labor to third place, at which point Tilley was on 19,517 (47.1%), Hawkins was on 11,778 (28.4%) and the Labor candidate was on 10,110 (24.4%). That left Hawkins needing 88% of preferences, and she managed 78%.

In the seats that were being followed closely on the earlier post, Liberal member David Southwick made it home in Caulfield by 205 votes (0.3%); Labor’s Jackson Taylor prevailed over Liberal incumbent Heidi Victoria in Bayswater by 296 votes (0.4%); Labor’s John Ormond Kennedy was a 329 vote (0.4%) winner over Liberal member John Pesutto in Hawthorn; Tim Read of the Greens won Brunswick from Labor by 504 votes (0.6%); and Labor’s Chris Brayne finished 767 votes clear (0.9%) of the Liberals in Nepean.

Essential Research: 54-46 to Labor

Reasonably good personal ratings are the only consolation Scott Morrison can take from another diabolical poll result.

The Guardian reports the Coalition’s recovery in Essential Research a fortnight ago has proved shortlived – Labor has gained two points on two-party preferred to lead 54-46, returning to where they were the poll before last. Both major parties are up on the primary vote, Labor by four points to 39% and the Coalition by one to 38%. We will have to wait on the full report later today for the minor parties. The monthly personal ratings have Scott Morrison up one on approval to 42% and down three on disapproval to 34%, while Bill Shorten is down three to 35% and down one to 43%. Morrison leads 40-29 as preferred prime minister, barely changed on 41-29 last time.

Also featured are questions on Labor’s dividend imputation policies and negative gearing policies. The former had the support of 39% and the opposition of 30%. On restricting negative gearing to new homes, 24% said it would reduce house prices; 21% said it would increase them; and 27% believed it would make no difference. Thirty-seven per cent believed it would lead to higher rents, 14% to lower rents and 24% make no difference. The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1032.

UPDATE: Full report here. Greens down one to 10%, One Nation down one to 6%.