Cook by-election live

Live coverage of the count for the Cook by-election.

Click here for full display of Cook by-election results.

7.33pm. Most booths have reported now on both the primary and two-candidate preferred, and with the Liberal primary vote at over 60% and the two-candidate preferred over 70%, there’s not much to commentate on.

6.53pm. Four booths in on the primary vote and one in on TCP, and my Liberal win probability is as expected now at 100%. The Greens are running a clear second so the AEC got it right on the two-candidate preferred count.

6.43pm. The first result in is 262 formal votes from Miranda South, 57.6% of which have gone to the Liberals. This gets my Liberal win probability to 86%, which you can rest assured will get to 100% with a few more results in.

6.00pm. Welcome to the Poll Bludger’s coverage of the Cook by-election count. The link above is to a page featuring updated results, including full booth details in both tabular and map display (click on the button at the bottom of the page for the latter) and swing-based projections and probability estimates. The main chart displays on the top right are also be shown at the top of this post. A Liberal win here should be a formality, but for what it’s worth, the Australian Electoral Commission will be conducting its indicative two-candidate preferred count between the Liberals and the Greens. This post will offer live commentary as the results come through, the first of which I imagine will be in a bit before 7pm.

Polls: Essential Research, Morgan and more (open thread)

Essential Research finds Labor taking the lead, Roy Morgan does the opposite, YouGov has results on deportations policy, and uComms suggests no surprises at Saturday’s Cook by-election

The fortnightly Essential Research poll has Labor recovering a lead on the 2PP+ measure after a distinctly poor result last time, with Labor up four to 48% and the Coalition down four to 46%. However, Labor remains at its lowest ebb for the term of 29% on the primary vote, with the Coalition down two to 34%, the Greens up three 14%, and One Nation down one to 6%. For both measures, undecided is steady at 6%.

A regular question on the economic outlook finds an eight point drop since February in the expectation that conditions will get worse over the next twelve months to 48% and a two point rise in expectations of improvement to 21%. Further questions focus on housing, including a finding that 51% support removing “tax concessions like negative gearing and capital gains tax discounts for property investors”, with only 19% opposed, and 40% wanting lower house prices against 15% for higher and 45% for “stabilised”. The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from 1165.

The Essential poll also asked about the two specifics of the government’s deportation bill that was blocked in the Senate last week, with 51% support for one-year prison terms for non-citizens who refused to co-operate with deportation against 17% opposed, and 50% support for blacklisting countries that refuse to accept deportees from further visa applications against 14% opposed. However, a poll published yesterday by YouGov found only 31% support for the government having “the power to ban all visa applications from a particular country” when the alternative option was to “treat all visa applications on an individual merit basis regardless of country origin”, support for which was 60%. The YouGov poll was conducted March 29 to April 6 from a sample of 1517.

The weekly Roy Morgan poll contradicts Essential Research in finding the Coalition leading for first time since its first poll for the year, with a 51-49 Labor lead last week making way for a 50.5-49.5 lead to the Coalition. The primary votes are Labor 29.5% (down half), Coalition 38% (up half), Greens 13.5% (down two) and One Nation 6% (up two-and-a-half). The poll was conducted Monday to Sunday from a sample of 1731.

The Australian Institute has a uComms poll for Saturday’s Cook by-election, which unsurprisingly finds Simon Kennedy assured of retaining the seat for the Liberals. After distribution of a forced-response follow-up for the initially undecided, the primary votes are 52.8% for Kennedy, 17.3% for the Greens, 11.7% for independent Roger Woodward, 8.0% for Animal Justice, 5.7% for Sustainable Australia and 4.4% for the Libertarian Party, with Kennedy leading the Greens 65-35 on two-party preferred. There were also numerous attitudinal questions, including a finding that 51.2% rated former member Scott Morrison’s legacy as prime minister as good against 43.6% for poor. The poll was conducted March 28 from a sample of 914.

Post-Dunkley miscellany (open thread)

The Liberals prepare to choose a successor for Scott Morrison in Cook this evening, an event likely to be of greater interest than the by-election itself.

The Dunkley by-election is now out of the way – if the progress of late counting interests you, the Poll Bludger’s live results page and live commentary post will continue ticking over. Another federal by-election now looms on the horizon for a date to be confirmed, though in the probable absence of a Labor candidate it is unlikely to generate as many column inches:

• The Liberals will choose their candidate for the by-election to replace Scott Morrison in Cook this evening, with a close race expected between Carmelo Pesce, Simon Kennedy and Gwen Cherne, the latter being boosted by an endorsement from John Howard (a fourth contender, Benjamin Britton, appears less fancied). Pesce is the subject of an unhelpfully timed report in the Sydney Morning Herald today relating that he participated in a Sutherland Shire council vote on an apartment development after earlier declaring a conflict of interest with the developer.

• Canning mayor Patrick Hall has withdrawn from the Liberal Party’s preselection for the Perth seat of Tangney, saying a controversy in which he is involved would “reflect poorly on the party and the seat of Tangney”, notwithstanding that he is the innocent party to the alleged incident. This came after Jesse Jacobs, a former council colleague of Hall’s, entered the preselection race despite facing charges of stealing Hall’s election campaign signs, following an incident in which Hall personally performed a citizen’s arrest on Jacobs and his co-accused. Other nominees are Mark Wales, SAS veteran and Survivor contestant; Sean Ayres, a former staffer to defeated former member Ben Morton; Howard Ong, a Singapore-born IT consultant; Melville councillor Jennifer Spanbroek; and Bill Koul, owner of an engineering consultancy.

• Victorian Labor Senator Linda White, whose six-year term began after her election in May 2022, died on Friday at the age of 64. White was a former assistant national secretary of the Australian Services Union, and succeeded veteran Kim Carr in the Left-mandated second position on the party’s Victorian ticket.

Dunkley by-election live

Live coverage of the count for the Dunkley by-election.

Click here for full display of Dunkley by-election results.

Monday night

Labor had slightly the better of a second batch of postals, breaking 2945-2908 in their favour on two-candidate preferred, after those counted on election night went 4118-3721 to the Liberals.

Sunday night

Today’s counting consisted of rechecking and the addition of 338 formal votes from special hospital teams and electronic assisted voting. Of note in the former case was the correction in the Langwarrin booth that had inflated the Liberal swing there from 5.0% to 11.1% on two-party and from 7.6% to 13.7% on the primary vote. The latter figure was cited by News Corp’s James Campbell as evidence the Liberals had done better in the “richer, Tealier part of the electorate”. A similar argument by in a jointly written column for the Financial Review by Tim Wilson and Jason Falinksi, who lost their seats to teals in 2022, hangs on the slender thread of the Mount Eliza North booth — the one that gave the Liberals false hope when it was the first to report on Saturday, and which turns out to have had the biggest Liberal swing. Left unmentioned is that the other three election day booths in Mount Eliza, which each had two to three times more votes cast at them than Mount Eliza North, recorded below par swings of 1.0% to 1.6% (each of the electorate’s three pre-poll centres, including the one in Mount Eliza, swung by 4% to 5%). In point of fact, a geographical pattern to the results is difficult to discern.

End of Saturday night

The 3.9% two-party swing currently recorded against Labor in Dunkley can only be described as unremarkable. It is worse than the 1.3% average for first-term governments out of the twelve previous contested by-elections going back to 1983, but that includes some notable successes for governments in the first-flush of their honeymoons, including the 6.4% swing to Labor in Aston last year. All but two of the twelve were conducted in the government’s first year in office: in the two that weren’t, there were anti-government swings of 2.7% (last year’s Fadden by-election) and 6.1% (the Canning by-election in 2015, held days after Tony Abbott was deposed by Malcolm Turnbull). Another minor contingency is that Labor did badly out of the ballot paper draw, with the Liberal in first position and Labor last, whereas Peta Murphy was second behind an independent in 2022.

Evidence that by-elections caused by deaths are easier on the incumbent party than those caused by resignations seems to me rather thin. The average 4.8% swing in seats at by-elections caused by the deaths of government members calculated by The Australian is, by my reckoning, actually slightly higher than an overall 4.2% average in government-held seats over the same period. A linear regression analysis I conducted testing for death, disqualification, first-year and first-term effects going back to 1972 turned up no statistically significant evidence for any of them.

The Liberals’ 6.7% gain on the primary vote likely reflected reduced options for right-of-centre voters, with 7.9% up for grabs from the absent United Australia Party and One Nation. The other right contenders, independent Darren Bergwerf and the Libertarian Party (then the Liberal Democrats), were also in the field last time, and respectively made up a little ground and no ground. Conversely, the entry of Victorian Socialists meant there was more competition for the left-of-centre vote, although their 1.7% only partly accounted for a 3.8% drop in support for the Greens. Animal Justice gained 1.0%, and it seems likely Labor was able to hold level on the primary vote through net gains from the Greens that balanced out net losses to the Liberals.

Talk of a danger to Labor from apathy-driven low turnout does not seem to have been borne out. The votes of 74.2% of the enrolled voters have been counted, already in excess of the 72.5% at the Fadden by-election of last year, and likely to reach 81% after around 12,000 outstanding postals are processed. However, this will still leave it short of the 85.6% in Aston.

Election night commentary

Continue reading “Dunkley by-election live”

Dunkley eve miscellany (open thread)

A cliffhanger expected tomorrow in Dunkley, as Liberal preselection candidates jockey ahead of the next by-election off the rank in Cook.

Reports continue to suggest both parties expect a tight result in the Dunkley by-election, which this site will be over like a rash during counting tomorrow evening, being likely the only place that will publish results at booth level as they are reported. The Australian reports Liberal internal polling pointing to a swing of about 5%, just short of the 6.3% needed to win. Labor is reportedly concerned that its chances will be harmed by low turnout: as of Wednesday, 15.15% of enrolled voters had cast early votes, which compares with 17.93% and 17.08% at the same stage before last year’s by-elections in Aston and Fadden.

Other electoral news of the last week:

• A weekend Liberal preselection vote for the Perth seat of Curtin, which the party lost to teal independent Kate Chaney, resulted in a 192-64 vote win for Tom White, former Uber chief executive in South Korea and staffer to state MP Peter Collier, ahead of Matt Moran, an Afghanistan veteran and former Ten Network reporter now employed in government relations at naval shipbuilder Luerssen Australia.

Michelle Grattan of The Conservation quotes a Labor sources saying it is “highly unlikely” the party will contest the by-election for Scott Morrison’s seat of Cook, the date for which remains to be confirmed. Reports increasingly indicate Sutherland Shire mayor Carmelo Pesce, initially presumed the front-runner, faces stiff competition from Simon Kennedy, McKinsey partner and unsuccessful Bennelong candidate. Pesce has mostly moderate backing, including from state party leader Mark Speakman, while Simon Kennedy has mostly conservative supporters including Tony Abbott and Dominic Perrottet, although an exception appears to be moderate Senator Dave Sharma. Rounding out the field of four are Gwen Cherne, veteran family advocate commissioner, and the little-fancied Benjamin Britton, an army veteran and former United Australia Party candidate. The Sydney Morning Herald’s CBD column reports ANZ banker Alex Cooke, whose campaign slogan would have written itself, has withdrawn.

• A suggestion that Liberal moderates including powerbroker Michael Photios hope to persuade independent Wentworth MP Allegra Spender to join their party and faction in the “medium term”, potentially with an offer of a front bench position, has received short shrift from the proposed target. The Financial Review reports those concerned are “unconvinced it will be possible to wrest the once safe Sydney seat away from her”, and believe her 4% margin “has grown since she entered parliament”.

Dunkley by-election minus four days

A second poll emerges pointing to a tight race in Saturday’s Dunkley by-election.

Following an earlier poll by uComms for the Australia Institute showing Labor leading 52-48, a second Dunkley by-election poll has emerged from YouGov showing the Liberals with a lead of 51-49, accounting for an existing Labor margin of 6.3%. However, the poll is based on a very modest sample of 394, with the pollster calculating an effective margin of error of 6.1% after taking the effects of weighting into account. The primary votes are 40% for Liberal candidate Nathan Conroy, compared with a 32.5% Liberal vote in 2022; 33% for Labor candidate Jodie Belyea, compared with 40.2%; 9% for Greens candidate Alex Breskin, compared with 10.3%; 7% for independent Darren Bergwerf, who polled 3.9% when he ran in 2022; and 11% for the four other candidates. The poll was conducted from February 15 to 22.

As ever, both sides are keen to manage expectations before the event, with Phillip Coorey of the Financial Review reporting the Liberals are anticipating a swing in their favour of 3% to 4%, only slightly exceeding their 2.7% swing at the Fadden by-election last July. A separate report in the Financial Review last week said both sides were “nervous”, with Labor figures expressing concern that right-wing activist group Advance was “cutting through” with advertising targeting the government over the cost of living and the release of immigration detainees.

Essential Research 2PP+: Labor 50, Coalition 46 (open thread)

More static poll results in the wake of the tax cuts revamp, of which more than half say they know little or nothing.

The fortnightly Essential Research poll adds to an overall picture of static voting intention despite the government’s income tax overhaul, with Labor down a point on the primary vote to 31%, the Coalition recording 34% for the sixth poll in a row, the Greens up a point to 14% and One Nation steady on 7%, with undecided steady on 5%. Respondent-allocated preferences nonetheless cause Labor to perk up a little on the pollster’s 2PP+ measure, which has Labor up two to 50% and the Coalition steady on 46% (again with 5% undecided), Labor’s biggest lead on this measure since the start of October.

The poll also includes the monthly leaders’ favourability ratings, with differ from the separate approval ratings in inviting respondents to rate the leaders on a scale of zero to ten. This gives Peter Dutton his strongest result so far, with a four-point increase among those rating him seven or higher to 32% and a four-point fall in those rating him three or lower to 33%. Anthony Albanese improves slightly from December, when he recorded the weakest results of his prime ministership, with 33% rating him seven or higher (up one) and 35% three or lower (down two).

Questions on the tax cut changes confirm what was already established in finding 56% in favour and 16% opposed, while telling us something new with respect to awareness of them: only 10% consider they know a lot about the changes, with 37% for a bit, 40% for hardly anything and 13% for nothing at all. The poll also found 59% per cent for the “right to disconnect” laws working their way through parliament with only 15% opposed. Other questions cover fuel efficiency standards, party most trusted on tax, the importance of keeping election promises and the ubiquitous Taylor Swift, who scores a non-recognition rating of 3%.

The weekly Roy Morgan poll has Labor’s two-party lead in from 53-47 to 52-48, but this is due to changes in respondent-allocated preferences rather than primary votes, on which Labor gains one-and-a-half points to 34.5% – its strongest showing from Morgan since October – with the Coalition and the Greens steady on 37% and 12% and One Nation down half a point to 4.5%. The poll was conducted Monday to Sunday from a sample of 1699.

In by-election news, of which there will be a fair bit to report over the next six weeks, the ballot paper draws were conducted yesterday for Queensland’s Inala and Ipswich West by-elections on March 16, which have respectively attracted eight and four candidates. Ipswich West is a rare no-show for the Greens, who are presumably more concerned with the same day’s Brisbane City Council elections. Further crowding the calendar is a looming state election in Tasmania, which is covered in the post above.

Monday miscellany: RedBridge poll, Dunkley and teal seat polls, preselection latest (open thread)

More evidence of strong support for the stage three tax cut changes, but with Labor failing to make ground and facing a close result in Dunkley.

RedBridge Group has conducted its first federal poll for the year, and the movement it records since its last poll in early December is in favour of the Coalition, who are up three points on the primary vote to 38%. Labor and the Greens are steady at 33% and 13% with others down three to 16%, and Labor records a 51.2-48.8 lead on two-party preferred, in from 52.8-47.2. A question on negative gearing finds an even split of 39% each for and against the status quo, with the latter composed of 16% who favour removing it from new rental properties in future and 23% for removing it altogether. Further detail is forthcoming, including on field work dates and sample size.

Progressive think tank the Australia Institute has published a number of federal seat-level automated phone polls conducted by uComms, most notably for Dunkley, whose by-election is now less than three weeks away. The result is a 52-48 lead to Labor on respondent-allocated preferences, compared with a 56.3-43.7 split in favour of Labor in 2022. After distributing a forced response follow-up question for the unusually large 17% undecided component, the primary votes are Labor 40.1% (40.2% at the election), Liberal 39.3% (32.5%), Greens 8.2% (10.3%) and others 12.4% (16.9%). A question on the tax cut changes finds 66.3% in favour and 28.1% opposed, although the question offered a bit too much explanatory detail for my tastes. The poll was conducted last Monday and Tuesday from a sample of 626.

The other polls are from the teal independent seats of Kooyong, Mackellar and Wentworth, conducted last Monday from samples of 602 to 647. They show the incumbents leading in each case despite losing primary vote share to Labor, together with strong support for the tax cut changes. In Kooyong, distributing results from a forced response follow-up for the 9.7% undecided produces primary vote shares of 33.5% for Monique Ryan (the only candidate mentioned by name, down from 40.3% in 2022), 39.5% for the Liberals (42.7%), 15.7% for Labor (6.9%) and 7.5% for the Greens (6.3%). Ryan is credited with a 56-44 lead on two-candidate preferred, but preference flows from 2022 would make it more like 53.5-46.5.

In Mackellar, distribution of the 10.8% initially undecided gets incumbent Sophie Scamps to 32.2% of the primary vote (38.1%), with 39.3% for Liberal (41.4%), 14.8% for Labor (8.2%) and 6.6% for the Greens (6.1%). This comes out at 54-46 after preferences (52.5-47.5 in 2022), but I make is 52.7-47.3 using the flows from 2022. In Wentworth, Allegra Spender gets the best result out of the three, with distribution of 6.3% undecided putting her primary vote at 35.1% (35.8% in 2022), with Liberal on 39.0% (40.5%), Labor on 15.3% (10.9%) and Greens on 10.4% (8.3%). The reported two-candidate preferred is 57-43, but the preference flow in this case is weaker than it was when she won by 54.2-45.8 in 2022, the result being 59.2-40.8 based on preference flows at the election.

Federal preselection news:

Andrew Hough of The Advertiser reports South Australia’s Liberals will determine the order of their Senate ticket “within weeks”, with the moderate Anne Ruston tussling with the not-moderate Alex Antic for top place. The third incumbent, David Fawcett, a Senator since 2011 and previously member for Wakefield from 2004 to 2007, will be left to vie for the dubious third position against political staffer and factional conservative Leah Blyth.

• The Sydney Morning Herald’s CBD column reports nominations have closed for the Liberal preselection in Gilmore, and that Andrew Constance has again put his name forward, after narrowly failing to win the seat in 2022 and twice being overlooked for Senate vacancies last year. He faces competition from Paul Ell, a moderate-aligned lawyer and Shoalhaven deputy mayor who had long been mentioned as a potential candidate for the seat, having been persuaded to leave the path clear for Constance in 2022.

Hannah Cross of The West Australian reports Sean Ayres, a 26-year-old lawyer and staffer to former member Ben Morton, has emerged as a fourth Liberal preselection contender in the normally conservative Perth seat of Tangney, joining SAS veteran Mark Wales, Canning mayor and former police officer Patrick Hall and IT consultant Harold Ong.