YouGov: 50-50 (open thread)

Labor takes a knock in a federal poll conducted in the days leading up to the budget.

Ahead of a looming avalanche of post-budget opinion polls, YouGov gets in with a poll whose field work period starting last Friday and ending on the day the budget was delivered on Tuesday. The result is the weakest for Labor out of ten polls since the series began in September, recording a dead heat on two-party preferred, erasing a 52-48 lead four weeks ago. The primary votes are Labor 30% (down three), Coalition 38% (up two), Greens 13% (steady) and One Nation 8% (steady). Anthony Albanese’s approval rating is unchanged at 41% with disapproval up one to 53%, while Peter Dutton is up four on approval to 42% and down one on disapproval to 48%. Albanese’s lead as preferred prime minister is in from 46-34 to 44-37.

The poll also features a question on issue salience which evidently allowed respondents to choose multiple issues they felt the government should focus on. This found housing affordability (up four to 36%) taking the lead over living standards (down three to 34%) since the question was last posed in November. Climate change was down seven points to 13%. A question on national direction finds wrong direction favoured over right direction by 61% to 39%. The sample for the poll was 1506.

Budget eve miscellany (open thread)

Labor maintains a 52-48 lead in the only poll to have emerged in the pre-budget lull.

As noted in the previous post, budget week means a calm before the following week’s storm in federal opinion polling. However, there is the following:

• The weekly Roy Morgan poll has Labor leading 52-48 for the fourth week in a row, though the stability is down to variable respondent-allocated preference flows, as the latest result has Labor up two points on the primary vote to 32% with the Coalition steady on 37%, the Greens up half a point to 13.5% and One Nation down half a point to 5.5%. The poll was conducted Monday to Sunday from a sample of 1654.

• The latest SECNewgate Mood of the Nation issue salience survey records 21% of respondents mentioning crime when asked without prompting about “the main issues facing Australians that are most important to you right now”, compared with 10% in the February survey, with cost of living continuing to dominate with 69% followed by housing affordability on 36%. A forced response question on national direction finds wrong direction favoured over right direction by 63% to 37%, out from 44% to 56% in February. Thirty-one per cent rate the federal government’s performance excellent, very good or good, down from 34% in February, while fair, poor or very poor is up two to 66%.

Preselection news:

• High-profile former state MP Kate Jones is reportedly in contention to take second position on Labor’s Queensland Senate ticket, which represents a vacancy because the party failed to win a second seat in 2019. Jones served in cabinet in the Bligh and Palaszczuk governments and held the seat of Ashgrove and its successor Cooper from 2006 to 2020, outside of an interruption when she lost it to Campbell Newman in 2012 before recovering it in 2015. She stepped aside from a position at a lobbying firm in March amid an ongoing controversy over the state government’s relationship with lobbyists, and is now an Australian Rugby League commissioner and executive director at the Tech Council of Australia. The idea is being promoted by Gary Bullock, Left faction figurehead and state secretary of the United Workers Union, and would disturb an arrangement in which the top position has gone to a candidate of the Left, in this case incumbent Nita Green, and the second to the Right faction Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association. The Australian reports Jenny Hill, former mayor of Townsville and a member of the Right, will also nominate, and that she may be joined by factional colleague Corinne Mulholland, former candidate for Petrie and now in-house lobbyist for Star casinos.

InDaily reports there are two contenders in the mix for Liberal preselection in the South Australian seat of Mayo, which Rebekha Sharkie of the Centre Alliance has held since 2018. “Outspoken” Adelaide councillor Henry Davis has confirmed his interest, but a party source is quoted saying both moderate and conservative factions were looking for someone “more competitive”. That might mean Rowan Mumford, conservative-aligned state party president and unsuccessful candidate for Kavel at the March 2022 state election.

The Australian’s Feeding the Chooks column reports Labor’s candidate to recover the Brisbane seat of Griffith, which Terri Butler lost to Max Chandler-Mather of the Greens in 2022, is likely to be Renée Coffey, chief executive of Kookaburra Kids, a foundation that helps children whose parents have a mental illness. Coffey is reportedly aligned with the Old Guard faction, which was once counted as a subset of the Right but now lines up with a dominant Left.

Friday miscellany: YouGov on Palestine, redistribution latest and more (open thread)

Don’t know emerges as the big winner in a poll on recognition of a Palestinian state; preliminary observations on a redistribution of the two Northern Territory seats; and some other stuff.

Next week being budget week, we’re likely to see little in the way of polling beyond the usual Roy Morgan, followed by a deluge the week after as the main players to take the field to gauge the public’s response. For now, there’s the following:

• YouGov has published a further result from its April 19-23 survey showing 35% support for Australia recognising Palestine as an independent state with 27% opposed and 44% unsure, with Greens supporters the most enthusiastic and One Nation supporters the least.

• The Australian Electoral Commission, which hitherto offered only the second quarter as the time when the proposed redistributions for New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia would be published, is now saying “late May/early June”. I’ve also noticed for the first time that a redistribution process for the Northern Territory began in late February. With 81,170 voters presently enrolled in Lingiari and 72,748 in Solomon, this is likely to involve a transfer of voters in Palmerston from the latter to the former. This will be welcome for Labor, as the loss of this conservative-voting area will boost their 0.9% margin in Lingiari while reducing their 9.4% margin in Solomon.

• The Liberals have announced Brendan Small, managing director of a local cleaning products firm, as candidate for the New South Wales Central Coast seat of Dobell, held for Labor by Emma McBride on a margin of 6.5%.

• Weeks after I’d forgotten about it, an advisory from the AEC that they are about to archive their Cook by-election media feed prompted me to update my own results page with what are the definitive final results. Liberal candidate Simon Kennedy scored 62.7% of the primary vote, winning at the final count ahead of the Greens with 71.3%.

• The Nationals have preselected Brendan Moylan, a Moree solicitor, as their candidate for the New South Wales state by-election for Northern Tablelands, the date for which the government appears in no hurry to announce. The by-election will choose a successor to Nationals member Adam Marshall, who was re-elected last year with 71.6% of the primary vote and is abandoning state politics at the age of 39, with media reports suggesting he hopes to succeed Barnaby Joyce in New England.

Polls: Essential Research and Roy Morgan (open thread)

Two new federal polls have similar stories to tell on the primary vote, but differ sharply on preference flows.

The fortnightly Essential Research poll has Labor steady on 31%, the Coalition down a point to 34%, the Greens up two to 13% and One Nation down two to 7%, with undecided up three to 7%. The pollster’s 2PP+ measure has the Coalition maintaining a narrow lead of 47% (down two) to 46% (down one), although these respondent-allocated numbers appear to flatter them — excluding the undecided from the primary votes and applying preference flows from 2022, I get 52.5-47.5 to Labor. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1150.

Further questions relate to expectations for next week’s federal budget, which are not high; concern about crime and safety, including a finding that 59% favour a “focus on enforcement measures” against 41% for the alternative of a “focus on preventative measures”. Strong support was recorded for every one of a range of measures to address family violence and improve safety online, and 70% favoured the eSafety Commissioner’s view that social media platforms needed to remove “dangerous content” over 30% for a view attributed to Elon Musk that doing so was “an attempt to censor the internet and restrict free speech”.

The weekly Roy Morgan poll has Labor’s lead steady at 52-48, though here it seems to be Labor getting the better end of respondent-allocated preferences: on the primary vote, Labor was down one-and-a-half points to 30%, the Coalition was up half to 37%, the Greens were down one to 13% and One Nation was up half to 6%. Based on 2022 preferences, this comes out to around 51-49 in Labor’s favour. The poll was conducted Monday to Sunday from a sample of 1666.

Nine Newspapers reports quarterly state-level and demographic aggregates from the Resolve Strategic polls from February through to April, the interest of which is limited by the fact that the pollster published breakdowns for the three largest states with the monthly polls. However, we do learn that the poll has Labor at 32% of the primary vote in Western Australia, which compares with 34% for the December quarter and 36.9% at the 2022 election. I hope to be able to provide the remainder of this result later today (UPDATE: The Coalition is on 35%, compared with 34.8% at the election, the Greens 13%, compared with 12.5%, and One Nation 6%, compared with 4.0%). The sample here was a modest 352, with a duly wide margin of error.

Finally, the results of Saturday’s Legislative Council elections in Tasmania were resolved yesterday, with the Greens gaining their first ever seat in the chamber following the retirement of an independent incumbent in the seat of Hobart; Labor losing its northern neighbour Elwick to an independent; and the Liberals retaining the seat of Prosser beyond Hobart’s outskirts. Read all about it at the dedicated post.

Friday miscellany: Morgan poll and sundry preselections (open thread)

Labor fills a Victorian Senate vacancy, while the Liberals choose an ACT Senate candidate and confirm Nicolle Flint’s comeback bid in Boothby.

There’s quite a bit going on in Bludgerdom at the moment, so before we proceed, some plugs for the posts below this one:

• First and foremost, the site’s thirty-seventh bi-monthly donation drive is in progress, so if you’ve ever felt this corner of cyberspace was deserving of support, there is no time like the present.

• There is a guest post from Adrian Beaumont covering today’s British local elections and various other items of news from what passes for the democratic world these days.

• I have a post up on tomorrow’s Tasmanian periodic Legislative Council elections (or to be precise, two periodic elections and one by-election), which aren’t always interesting but are this year, as the post seeks to explain.

• Still another new post looks at a New South Wales state poll that as far as I can tell has gone unreported by the paper that commissioned it.

On with the show:

• The weekly Roy Morgan poll has Labor with an unchanged two-party lead of 52-48, from primary votes of Labor 31.5% (up one), Coalition 36.5% (up one), Greens 14% (down two) and One Nation 5.5% (steady). The poll was conducted Monday to Sunday from a sample of 1719.

• As intimated by earlier reports, Labor has chosen Lisa Darmanin, public sector branch secretary of the Australian Services Union, to fill the Victorian Senate vacancy created by the death in February of Linda White, who shared Darmanian’s background in the union.

• The Canberra Times reports a Liberal preselection to choose its Australian Capital Territory Senate candidate was won by Jacob Vadakkedathu, director of a management consultancy. Vadakkedathu prevailed in the final round over Kasey Lam-Evans by 163 votes to 121, after former ministerial adviser Jerry Nockles and former territory parliamentarian Giulia Jones dropped out in earlier rounds.

• The Liberals have confirmed former Liberal member Nicolle Flint’s comeback bid in the Adelaide seat of Boothby, which she held from 2016 until she stood aside at the 2022 election, at which it was won for Labor by Louise Miller-Frost. Also confirmed as Liberal candidates are Amy Grantham in Adelaide, who also ran in 2022, and Tea Tree Gully councillor Irena Zagladov in Makin.

• In her weekly column for Nine Newspapers, Niki Savva reports a uComms poll conducted for Climate 200 in mid-March credited independent Nicolette Boele with a 53-47 lead over Liberal member Paul Fletcher in the northern Sydney seat of Bradfield. Boele came within 4.2% of winning the seat in 2022. However, the situation in this seat is likely to be substantially complicated by a looming redistribution that will cost New South Wales a seat, which will very likely result in the abolition if not of Bradfield then of one of its near neighbours.

Tasmanian upper house elections: Hobart, Prosser, Elwick

A minor sequel for Tasmania’s recent state election tomorrow, as former Greens and Labor leaders seek berths in the upper house.

Live commentary


4.30pm. The TEC has now declared all three results, with the others confirmed as expected. Cassy O’Connor did it very easily in Hobart, winning over independent John Kelly in the final round with a provisional 11,194 (59.67%) to 7,567 (40.33%). The result in Prosser was perhaps a little closer than I would have anticipated, Kerry Vincent winning for the Liberals with 11,186 (52.93%) to 9,949 (47.07%) for Labor’s Bryan Green.

Noon. The Tasmanian Electoral Commission is today conducting provisional preference distributions to establish what the final results are likely to be, the first of which has made it clear that independent Bec Thomas will win Elwick with a provisional lead at the final count over Labor candidate Tessa McLaughlin of 9758 (53.34%) to 8537 (46.66%). Barring a surprise result in Prosser, this means Labor will be reduced from four seats in the chamber to three. If the general assumption holds that Cassy O’Connor will win Hobart and Kerry Vincent will win Prosser, the overall make-up of the chamber will go from Liberal four, Labor four and independents seven to Liberal four, Labor three, Greens one and independents seven (with Elwick an independent gain and Hobart going from independent to Greens).

End of Saturday night

The counts as they presently stand are unlikely to be disturbed much by late counting, which will presumably amount to no more than 1000 postals per electorate plus very small numbers of provisionals and absents. That means the decisive unknown quantity in each case is preference flows:

Elwick. With independent Bec Thomas on 34.0% and Labor’s Tessa McLaughlin on 28.9%, this almost certainly comes down to whether Labor gets the 57-43 preference split they will need from independent Fabiano Cangelosi on 19.0% and Janet Shelley of the Greens on 18.2%, whose preferences are exceedingly unlikely to favour each other to the extent needed to put them in contention. This is very much an unknown quantity: Labor usually gets the lion’s share of Greens preferences even against independents, but independents typically favour each other.

Hobart. Cassy O’Connor of the Greens has 37.2% with independent John Kelly second on 22.1% and Labor’s John Kamara third on 18.2%. All other candidates being independents, there seems no chance of Kamara moving into second. With full preferences, Kelly would need a split of about 68.5-31.5 to close the gap, but the hurdle is in fact slightly higher because a certain number of votes will exhaust, since voters are required to number no more than three boxes. With Labor preferences in fact likely to favour O’Connor, her victory seems assured.

Prosser. Liberal candidate Kerry Vincent is on 38.7% to Labor candidate Bryan Green’s 28.5%, which would leave Green needing a 66-34 even without allowing for exhaustion (although in a five-horse race this is unlikely to amount to much), and no particularly reason to think he will manage even more than half.

Continue reading “Tasmanian upper house elections: Hobart, Prosser, Elwick”

Resolve Strategic: Labor 33, Coalition 36, Greens 12 in NSW

The second New South Wales state poll for the year suggests Labor is still in front, but has gone backwards from the result that failed to win it a majority last March.

The bi-monthly Resolve Strategic poll has not been reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, but the results appear on the Political Monitor poll display feature of the paper’s website. It finds both major parties down since the previous poll, in which the Coalition opened up a primary vote for the first time since the March 2023 election, with Labor down a point to 33% and the Coalition down two to 36%. The Greens are steady on 12%, with the generic independent category up two to 14% and others steady on 5%. This suggests a two-party preferred lead to Labor of around 52-48, compared with an election result of 54.3-45.7. Chris Minns is credited with a 37-16 lead over Mark Speakman as preferred premier, out from 35-16 last time. The result was derived from the national Resolve Strategic polls conducted March 21 to 24 and April 17 to 21, from a sample of 1000.

In other New South Wales state politics news, a by-election looms for a date yet to be determined in the rural seat of Northern Tablelands following the resignation of Nationals MP Adam Marshall, who cited the “demanding and all-consuming role”. However, the Sydney Morning Herald notes suggestions the 39-year-old Marshall may be planning to succeed Barnaby Joyce in the corresponding federal seat of New England.

Donation drive

It’s time (past time, actually) for the Poll Bludger’s bi-monthly (in the once every two months sense of that ambiguous term) undignified hustle for donations. After what I must confess was a pretty good month on the donations front in March, thanks to the Dunkley by-election, the month of the Cook by-election proved quite a bit less productive. So if you’re an occasional donor (and with due regard to the fact that I say this quite often), now would be an opportune time to exercise your valued generosity.

These posts are also a good opportunity to call attention to looming electoral events, starting with this Saturday’s periodic Tasmanian Legislative Council elections, which will elect three of that chamber’s 15 members. These are often sedate affairs, but this year’s round is unusually interesting: former Greens leader Cassy O’Connor will seek to win the party’s first ever seat in the chamber for the seat of Hobart, and former Labor leader Bryan Green is on the comeback trail in the seat of Prosser, where he faces competition from the Liberals.

Beyond that, we can start to look at the end of an election drought that was relieved only by the surprise early Tasmanian election on March 24, with the Northern Territory going to the polls on August 24, the Australian Capital Territory doing so on October 19, and then Queensland’s big day a week later on October 26.