Weekend miscellany: federal preselection news (open thread)

The race for the new WA seat of Bullwinkel takes shape, five Liberal candidates line up to succeed a retiring member in the SA seat of Grey, plus more Victorian redistribution aftermath.

Federal polls may be coming down the line shortly from Resolve Strategic in the Age/Herald and Freshwater Strategy in the Financial Review. Until then:

The West Australian reports three potential contenders for Liberal preselection in the new seat of Bullwinkel in Perth’s eastern hinterland, which by my reckoning has a notional Labor margin of 2.9%: Matt Moran, an Afghanistan veteran and former Ten Network reporter who ran unsuccessfully for the Curtin preselection in February; Holly Ludeman, a veterinarian and activist in the campaign against a ban on live sheep exports; and Jonathan Crabtree, a commercial and estate planning lawyer who led the Senate ticket of Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives in 2019. The paper earlier reported that Labor preselection would be contested by Kyle McGinn, a former Maritime Union of Australia organiser who has served in the state Legislative Council for Mining and Pastoral region since 2017, and there are suggestions the Nationals candidate will be former state party leader Mia Davies.

InDaily reports five candidates for Liberal preselection in the regional South Australian seat of Grey, which will be vacated with the retirement of Rowan Ramsey, its member since 2007: Dean Johnson, mayor of Kimba and president of the Local Government Association; Tom Venning, Barunga Grains farming manager; Rikki Lambert, former chief-of-staff to Family First senator Bob Day; Matt Sampson, a Whyalla police officer; and Suzanne Waters, who ran in the seat for the United Australia Party in 2022.

Nine Newspapers reports on expectations that Michelle Ananda-Rajah will run in Liberal-held Deakin or Menzies with the proposed abolition of her existing seat of Higgins, which she gained for Labor from the Liberals for the first time in the seat’s history in 2022.

• Labor has announced candidates in its Coalition-held targets in Brisbane: disability advocate Ali France in Peter Dutton’s seat of Dickson, where she also ran in 2019 and 2022; Rebecca Hack, a former school principal now of the Queensland Teachers Union, in the Greens-held seat of Ryan; and Rowan Holzberger, electorate officer to Senator Murray Watt and candidate from 2022, again to run in Forde.

Newspoll quarterly breakdowns: April to June (open thread)

Newspoll’s quarterly breakdowns record Labor sloping downwards in four states while recovering in a fifth. Also: the aftermath of Fatima Payman’s resignation from the ALP.

The Australian today publishes Newspoll’s quarterly state and demographic breakdowns, the latter encompassing gender, age, education, income, working status, language, religion and housing tenure. This encompasses four Newspoll surveys conducted from mid-April to late June, with a combined sample of 4957, breaking down to 1567 for New South Wales down to 368 for South Australia.

The results show Labor deteriorating by a point on two-party preferred in four of the five mainland states, with the Coalition leading for the first time this term in New South Wales, by 51-49; increasing its lead in Queensland to 54-46; and continuing to trail in Victoria, by 54-46, and South Australia, by 53-47. Conversely, the volatile small sample result for Western Australia has Labor back in front by 52-48, after a 54-46 Labor lead in the last quarter of 2023 became a Coalition lead of 51-49 in January-to-March.

A few other bits and pieces from the past fortnight:

• The resignation of Western Australian Senator Fatima Payman from the ALP this week was the party’s first defection since it came to office, reducing its numbers in the 76-seat chamber to 25, with the Coalition on 31 (down one since the election with the resignation of Victorian Senator David Van in June 2023), Greens 11 (down one since February 2023 with Victorian Senator Lidia Thorpe’s resignation), One Nation two, Jacqui Lambie Network one (down one since March with Tasmanian Senator Tammy Tyrell’s resignation), United Australia Party one and five independents (the four aforementioned plus ACT Senator David Pocock).

Nine Newspapers reports an alliance of Muslim groups that has been in talks with Glenn Druery “plans to run candidates against half-a-dozen Labor MPs in the lower house and in the Senate”. Alexi Demetriadi of The Australian reports target seats include Tony Burke’s seat of Watson, Jason Clare’s seat of Blaxland, and Wills in Lalor in Melbourne. The groups in question include The Muslim Vote, modelled on a similar enterprise in the UK that contributed to the loss of four Labour seats to independents yesterday in areas with large Muslim populations. The BBC reporting Labour’s vote share fell 23 points in seats where Muslims accounted for more than 20% of the population. Fatima Payman said she had met with the group last month, but said yesterday she did not intend to collaborate with them.

Sean Ford of the Burnie Advocate reports Burnie deputy mayor Giovanna Simpson has nominated for Liberal preselection in Braddon, which will be vacated after incumbent Gavin Pearce announced his retirement a fortnight ago. Simpson ran in Braddon at the state election and polled 2.6%, the highest out of the non-incumbent candidates on the Liberal ticket.

Polls: Essential Research and Roy Morgan (open thread)

Some of Anthony Albanese’s worst personal numbers to date from Essential Research, though both it and Roy Morgan continue to record a close race on two-party preferred.

The fortnightly Essential Research poll continues to find little separating the two major parties on the pollster’s 2PP+ measure, with the Coalition up a point on last time to 47% and Labor down two to 46%, with the remainder undecided. Labor is down a point on the primary vote to 30% while the Coalition is up one to 33%, with the Greens down one to 12%, One Nation down one to 7%, others up one to 10%, the United Australia Party steady on 1% and undecided up one to 7%.

The monthly personal ratings record a three-point drop in Anthony Albanese’s approval rating to 40% with disapproval up to 49%, his worst net result and disapproval result from this pollster so far. Peter Dutton is unchanged at 41% approval and 42% disapproval. There are also questions on the leaders’ attributes which find the biggest distinction between the two being a 74-26 split against the notion that Albanese is aggressive, compared with 50-50 for Dutton. No doubt relatedly, there is a 52-48 break in favour of Dutton as decisive – probably the most positive result for either out of eight qualities canvassed – which comes at 58-42 against for Albanese.

There are also bad signs for the government on a semi-regular national mood question, which finds a five-point increase on last month to 54% for those rating Australia as on the wrong track, with right track down four to 30%. However, a series of questions on the Coalition’s nuclear energy policy produces broadly negative results: 48% rate Dutton’s plan as “serious” compared with 52% for an alternative of “just an attempt to extend the life of gas and limit investment in large-scale renewables”, and 38% rate nuclear energy as the most expensive out of nuclear, renewables and fossil fuels, up two since April, with renewables down five to 45%. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1141.

The weekly Roy Morgan poll finds Labor’s two-party lead unchanged at 51-49, from primary votes of Labor 31.5% (steady), Coalition 36.5% (down half), Greens 13% (steady) and One Nation 4.5% (down one-and-a-half). The accompanying release notes that a preference determination based on flows at the 2022 election rather than respondent allocation produces a lead to Labor of 52.5-47.5. The poll was conducted Monday to Friday from a sample of 1708.

Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor (open thread)

Newspoll finds the Coalition down three points on the primary vote and Peter Dutton up five on disapproval, although the two-party result remains tight.

The Australian reports the latest Newspoll finds Labor recovering a 51-49 lead on two-party preferred, after the last result three weeks ago recorded a draw. However, both sides are down on the primary vote, Labor by a point to 32% and the Coalition by three to 36%, with the Greens up two to 13%, One Nation steady on 7% and others up two to 12%. Anthony Albanese is down one on approval to 42% and up three on disapproval to 53%, while Peter Dutton is down one to 38% and up five to 54%. Albanese’s lead as preferred prime minister is 46-38, unchanged from last time. The poll also finds 42% support for Peter Dutton’s proposal of building nuclear power plants in seven locations announced last week, with 45% opposed. The poll was conducted Monday to Friday from a sample of 1260.

Donation drive

Time for the EOFY edition of the Poll Bludger’s bi-monthly request to the site’s valued readers for contributions, which can be made through the “become a supporter” buttons that you can find at the top of the site and the bottom of each post. This also doubles as an opportunity to relate what the site has been update lately, and will be up to in the months to come.

So far as donations are concerned, this has been a particularly lean period since a helpful little flurry at the time of the Dunkley by-election at the end of April, last month especially having been something approaching an all-time low. While events such as last week’s Northern Tablelands by-election in New South Wales inevitably failed to generate much excitement, getting the live results feature up and running was no less laborious for the fact that very few were interested.

I also had to grapple simultaneously with the thankless task of stitching the site back together after a back-end meltdown caused by an errant WordPress plug-in (the one that results in numbered navigation links appearing at the top and bottom of comments threads). Further labours will be forthcoming in the months ahead to deal with the Northern Territory election on August 24, the Australian Capital Territory election on October 19, and the Queensland election on October 26.

Western Australian election minus eight months

A small sample WA state poll offers limited but very good news for the Labor government. Also featured: 3500 words of minute detail on six months’ worth of preselections for next year’s election.

State polls from Western Australia these days are few and far between (and rarer still in South Australia, but that’s another story), so I consider it worth observing that The West Australian today reports on a small-sample private poll for the northern suburbs seat of Hillarys by Utting Research, whose principal is former Labor pollster John Utting – and beg the reader’s indulgence for the over-analysis to follow.

Keeping in mind its sample of 350 and error margin of over 5%, its result of 61-39 in favour of Labor suggests a swing to the Liberals of 8% – impressive in normal contexts, but not where the statewide result from the previous election was 70-30. As the report in The West Australian observes, a uniform swing of that size would bag the Liberals only four extra seats on top of their existing three (the two they won in 2021 and the third gained with North West Central MP Merome Beard’s defection from the Nationals, which will only be retained if she can defeat Nationals leader Shane Love in the new seat of Mid West). To this could presumably be added a Nationals gain from Labor in Warren-Blackwood, getting them to four if they win Mid West and three if they don’t. Barring losses to independents or minor parties, Labor would continue to reign supreme with 49 seats out of 59.

The poll nonetheless shows a dive in the Labor vote primary vote to 45%, compared with my own post-redistribution reckoning of 61.3% in 2021. However, none of this goes to the Liberals, who are at 27% as compared with 26.8%. The Greens are at 15%, after managing only 5.2% in 2021. Roger Cook is at 41% approval and 36% approval; the poll didn’t bother with Libby Mettam and skipped straight to Basil Zempilas, on 38% approval and 40% disapproval but with a remarkable 95% name recognition. The news was less happy for federal Labor – whereas 52% expressed approval of the Cook government and 37% disapproval, the result for the Albanese government was almost exactly reversed at 36% and 53%. The poll was conducted June 3 to 14 for the Home Builders Action Group.

Another benefit from the poll is in providing me with an opportunity to unload the gigantic volume of state preselection news I have accumulated since the last such post six month ago. To make things semi-digestible, seats are gathered below by upper house region for the metropolitan seats:

Continue reading “Western Australian election minus eight months”

Nuclear fallout (open thread)

Polling on nuclear energy from Resolve Strategic and Freshwater Strategy, the seat of Macnamara from RedBridge Group, and the relative merits of capitalism and socialism from YouGov, along with the usual weekly voting intention numbers from Roy Morgan.

Some data relating to the Coalition’s nuclear energy plans, along with a couple of other things, has helped filled the void in what loomed as a quiet week on the polling front:

• Nine Newspapers had a fresh Resolve Strategic poll focused entirely on the Coalition’s nuclear energy proposal, with no voting intention numbers provided. While this found 41% support for use of nuclear power with 37% opposed, it also found (following a lengthy explanation) 43% preferring “Labor’s plan to use 100% renewables (supported by gas for the next decade or two)” against 33% for “the Coalition’s plan to use nuclear power and some gas to support the renewables”. Nuclear was also the second least favoured energy source out of a list of eleven options, behind coal, with rooftop solar and hydro-electric power most favoured. The poll was conducted from Thursday, a day after Peter Dutton’s announcement, to Sunday, from a sample of 1003.

• Further data on nuclear energy, albeit not from the wake of Peter Dutton’s announcement, is provided by Freshwater Strategy, which has consistently asked respondents if they support or oppose seven designated energy sources in their polling going back to May last year. The last three monthly results have been the most positive for nuclear to date, the latest finding 37% in favour and 32% opposed, but like Resolve Strategic it finds nuclear consistently rated second lowest after coal. The Australian reported on Saturday that Freshwater Strategy conducted further polling for the Coalition focusing on the electorates proposed as sites for the plants, with 59% of those in Maranoa in favour and 33% opposed, 55% in Gippsland in favour with 40% opposed, 52% in O’Connor in favour with 38% opposed, and 51% in Grey in favour with 45% opposed, with tighter but still net favourable results in Calare, Flynn and Hunter.

• The weekly Roy Morgan poll has Labor leading 51-49, after a tied result last week, from primary votes of Labor 31.5% (up two), Coalition 37% (down one), Greens 13% (down half) and One Nation 6% (up one). The poll was conducted Monday to Sunday from a sample of 1696, thus partly before Peter Dutton’s announcement and part after, with its movements well within the boundaries of this pollster’s usual volatility.

• RedBridge Group has a small sample poll from the Melbourne seat of Macnamara, where Labor, Liberal and the Greens polled almost exactly equal shares of the vote in 2022, with Labor rather than the Greens winning after the latter very narrowly went under at the last exclusion. The good news for Labor is that the poll, which was conducted June 13 to 20, finds the Greens at 21% compared with their 29.7% at the election. The bad news is a two-party swing to the Liberals that reduces their margin from 12.2% at the election to 5% in the poll, with Labor’s primary vote down from 31.7% to 30% and the Liberals up from 29.0% to 36%. However, the poll’s sample of 401 puts the margin of error at around 5%.

• YouGov has published a finding from its last federal poll, conducted three weeks ago, suggesting no particular enthusiasm for capitalism over socialism, with 31% of respondents rating themselves between six and ten on a scale running from zero for socialism to ten for capitalism and 27% placing themselves from zero to four, with 42% for the “neutral” option of five. Socialism was favoured by fully 41% of the 18-to-34 age cohort, compared with 23% for capitalism. The poll was conducted May 31 to June 4 from a sample of 1500.

Weekend miscellany: Bullwinkel, Bradfield and Bennelong (open thread)

An alliterative trio of seats faces redistribution-related preselection complications.

The site has been grappling with a few technical issues over the past day or so, which are hopefully now resolved. Perhaps this was the reason yesterday’s post following the count for the New South Wales state by-election for Northern Tablelands, which as expected was a lay-down misere for the Nationals, attracted a grand total of zero comments. Or perhaps not. Looking ahead, I believe we have a quiet week coming up on the polling front, unless The Australian treats us to quarterly Newspoll aggregates with state and demographic breakdowns, which are about due. Other than that, there is likely to be only the weekly Roy Morgan until the three-weekly YouGov poll, which past form suggests should be with us on Friday.

Much of this week’s preselection news relates directly or indirectly to the federal redistributions, which I discussed with Ben Raue of The Tally Room in a podcast you can access at the bottom of this post:

The West Australian reports former state Nationals leader Mia Davies has confirmed approaches from “senior Nationals in the eastern states” to run in the proposed new seat of Bullwinkel, which partly corresponds with the state seat of Central Wheatbelt that she he has held since 2013. The idea has been talked up by party leader David Littleproud, and not ruled out by Davies. Davies led the Nationals from the defeat of the Barnett government in March 2017 and held the title of Opposition Leader after the party emerged from the 2021 election landslide with more seats than the Liberals, before stepping aside in January 2023 and announcing she would not contest the next election. She became a figure of controversy within the party when she called for Barnaby Joyce to resign in 2018 over sexual harassment allegations.

Paul Sakkal of the Sydney Morning Herald reports “teal sources not permitted to speak on the record” say Nicolette Boele, who was gearing up for a second run as an independent in Bradfield, remains keen despite expectations Kylea Tink will seek to move there with the mooted abolition of her seat of North Sydney. Boele came within 4.2% of unseating Liberal member Paul Fletcher in 2022. Reports last week suggested former state Treasurer Matt Kean, who announced his impending departure from state parliament on Tuesday, might challenge Fletcher for Liberal preselection, but Sakkal reports party sources saying he will only seek the seat if Fletcher retires. Alexandra Smith of the Sydney Morning Herald reports any path to preselection for Kean in Bradfield would be complicated by the fact that the redistribution leaves his “Liberal branch enemies” within the redrawn seat.

Aaron Patrick of the Financial Review reports Hunters Hill mayor Zac Miles has been lobbying for the NSW Liberal Party to reopen the preselection process for Bennelong, after the proposed new boundaries made it more favourable to the party by adding territory from abolished North Sydney. Such a move would come at the expense of Scott Yung, a tutoring business owner who came with 1.8% of deposing Chris Minns from his seat of Kogarah at the state election in 2019, who was preselected unopposed last October. A source is also quoted saying Gisele Kapterian, who had been preselected for North Sydney, also canvassed for support for Bennelong, but has decided not to proceed.

Annika Smethurst of The Age reports on resistance in local Labor branches to a Socialist Left faction fait accompli that appears set to deliver preselection for the outer northern Melbourne seat of Calwell, which will be vacated with the retirement of Maria Vamvakinou, to Basem Abdo, a communications specialist born in Kuwait of Palestinian parents. Sensitivities are heightened by the fact that members only had preselection rights restored to them a year ago after a three-year takeover of the state branch by the national executive following branck-stacking scandals, with some reportedly threatening to back a “Dai Le-style campaign”.

Blake Antrobus of news.com.au reports Queensland Liberal Senator Gerard Rennick has failed in his court bid against his preselection defeat last year, the court having ruled that the Liberal National Party was within its rights to set a 60-day time frame for lodging an appeal which Rennick failed to meet.

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