Highlights of days three and four

Pre-election High Court action, reports of a Labor surge in the Melbourne seat of Dunkley, Labor’s candidate crisis in Fremantle, and a closer look at Labor’s now-finalised Senate tickets.

Noteworthy developments since my last federal election post 24 hours ago:

• Ahead of the High Court’s ruling on Senator Bob Day’s challenge to the constitutionality of Senate electoral reform, to be delivered at 10am today, Jeremy Gans at the University of Melbourne portends its rejection. Gans notes the court has failed to issue orders in advance of written reasons, as it likely would have done if its ruling was anything the Australian Electoral Commission needed to know about.

• Another, less publicised election-related High Court challenge met an unsuccessful conclusion last night, with the rejection of a bid to keep the electoral roll open beyond its scheduled close of 8pm on Monday. The challenge sought to build on the High Court’s ruling during the 2010 campaign which invalidated Howard-era amendments that closed the roll to new enrolments on the evening the writs were issued, and to updating of addresses three days subsequently.

• A report by Rick Wallace of The Australian talks up Labor’s prospects in the Liberal-held outer Melbourne seat of Dunkley. The seat is being vacated with the retirement of Liberal member Bruce Billson, who narrowly retained it through the Rudd-Gillard years and bequeaths a 5.6% margin to the new Liberal candidate, Chris Crewther. According to Labor sources cited in the report, “one recent sample of a tracking poll in the southeast Melbourne seat had the ALP in front 52-48 per cent after preferences” – though based on what I know of tracking polling, the sample in question would have been about 200. Nonetheless, the Prime Minister is taking the seat seriously enough that he campaigned there yesterday. Notwithstanding Labor’s apparently strong show in this seat, the report also relates that concerns remain about the Melbourne seats of Chisholm and Bruce, where Labor is losing sitting members with the retirements of Anna Burke and Alan Griffin.

• The Australian’s report also says the Nationals are “increasingly optimistic” that their candidate for the seat of Murray, state upper house MP Damian Drum, will win the rural seat of Murray, which is being vacated with the retirement of Liberal member Sharman Stone. However, Labor is said to be dangling a carrot before the Liberals by offering to direct preferences to their candidate ahead of Drum, in exchange for the Liberals dropping their plans to preference the Greens ahead of Labor in the inner northern Melbourne seat of Wills.

• Labor has a new candidate for Fremantle following the disendorsement of Maritime Union of Australia organiser Chris Brown, who failed to disclose past convictions on his candidate nomination form. The national executive convened yesterday to replace him with Josh Wilson, deputy mayor of Fremantle and a staffer for the seat’s outgoing member, Melissa Parke. Brown won the initial preselection through the support of the Left unions on the party’s state executive, despite Wilson defeating him by a 155-110 margin in the ballot of the local membership. On Tuesday it emerged that Brown had spent convictions dating from his late teenage years for assaulting a police officer and driving under the influence. Brown claims to have raised the matter with party officials in April, only to be told spent convictions did not have to be disclosed (although the question on the nomination form is whether the prospective candidate has “ever been found guilty of any offence”). He also claimed his contact with the police officer arose accidentally while he was defending himself from an unprovoked attack by three assailants, and said the court had recognised mitigating circumstances when it gave him a good behaviour bond. I had a lot more to say about this in a paywalled article in Crikey today. One of the issues dealt with was the notion that Labor’s troubles might cause the seat to fall to the Greens, despite their modest 11.9% share of the vote in 2013. While the Greens were sufficiently strong in the immediate vicinity of Fremantle to win the state seat at a by-election in 2009, support for the party is a good deal lower on those parts of the federal electorate not covered by the state seat. This is indicated by the map below, which shows federal boundaries in red and state boundaries in blue, with numbers indicating polling booth locations and the Greens primary vote.


• Labor’s national executive has signed off on its Senate preselections today, capping a process that has produced two particularly contentious outcomes: the return of Don Farrell in second position in South Australia, and the sixth placing given to incumbent Lisa Singh in Tasmania. In turn:

New South Wales: 1. Sam Dastyari (Right), factional powerbroker and former general secretary of the state party branch, who filled the casual vacancy created when his predecessor as general secretary, Matt Thistlethwaite, moved to the lower house seat of Kingsford Smith at the 2013 election; 2. Jenny McAllister (Left), former party national president and technical director of a civil engineering firm, who came to the Senate in May last year in place of John Faulkner; 3. Deborah O’Neill (Right), member for the Central Coast seat of Robertson from 2010 until her defeat in 2013, who filled Bob Carr’s Senate vacancy in November 2013; 4. Doug Cameron (Left), former Australian Manufacturing Workers Union national secretary who was elected from number two in 2007 and 2013; 5. Tara Moriarty (Right), state secretary of United Voice.

Victoria: 1. Kim Carr (Left), leading figure in the Victorian Left, elected from number two in 1993 and 1998, and number one in 2004 and 2010; 2. Stephen Conroy (Right), an ally of Bill Shorten’s in the dominant sub-faction of the Victorian Right, who filled a casual vacancy in 1996, held top position in 1998, then second position in 2004 and 2010; 3. Jacinta Collins (Right), a former official with the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association who entered the Senate in 1995, lost her seat from the number three position at the 2004 election after the party’s preference deal with Family First backfired (ironically, given her renown as a social conservative), won it back from top position in 2007, and held second position in 2013; 4. Gavin Marshall (Left), former Electrical Trades Union official who entered the Senate in 2002, and had top position in 2013; 5. Jennifer Yang (unaligned), scientist and former mayor of Manningham who unsuccessfully sought preselection for the lower house seat of Chisholm, and ran for the state seat of Mount Waverley in 2014; 6. Louise Persse (Left, I assume), former national secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union.

Queensland: 1. Murray Watt (Left), Maurice Blackburn lawyer and state member for Everton from 2009 until his defeat in the cleanout of 2012, who last year defeated incumbent Jan McLucas to win the Left’s endorsement for top position on the half-Senate ticket; 2. Anthony Chisholm (Right), former party state secretary who last year won Right endorsement to succeed Joe Ludwig after he announced he would not seek another term; 3. Claire Moore (Left), who was first elected in 2001 and held second position on the ticket in 2001, 2007 and 2013; 4. Chris Ketter (Right), former state secretary of the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association, who was first elected from top of the ticket in 2013; 5. Jane Casey, who I can’t tell you much about, except that she’s fron Mackay.

Western Australia: 1. Sue Lines (Left), former assistant national secretary of United Voice, who filled Chris Evans’ Senate vacancy in May 2013; 2. Glenn Sterle (Right), former Transport Workers Union organiser, elected from number two in 2004 and 2010; 3. Pat Dodson (unaligned), indigenous leader and former Roman Catholic priest, anointed by Bill Shorten to fill Joe Bullock’s Senate vacancy in March, which he eventually filled a fortnight ago; 4. Louise Pratt (Left), state upper house member from 2001 and 2007, elected to the Senate from top of the ticket in 2007, then relegated to what proved to be the losing proposition of number two in 2013; 5. Mark Reed (Left), director of campaigns and communications at United Voice.

South Australia: 1. Penny Wong (Left), the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, first elected from top of the ticket in 2001, relegated to number two in 2007, and promoted to number one only after a backlash against Don Farrell’s initial preselection win in 2013; 2. Don Farrell (Right), former state secretary and national president of the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Union, elected to the Senate from number one in 2007, then voluntarily bumped to number two in 2013 (see above), from which he was unexpectedly defeated; 3. Alex Gallacher (Right), former state secretary of the Transport Workers Union, elected from top of the ticket in 2010; 4. Anne McEwen (Left), former state secretary of the Australian Services Union, elected from number on 2004, re-elected from number two in 2010, and now shunted to number four to accommodate Farrell; 5. Michael Allison (not known), network controller for SA Power Networks and delegate for the Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union.

Tasmania: 1. Anne Urquhart (Left), former state secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, first elected from number two in 2010; 2. Helen Polley (Right), former staffer to Premiers Jim Bacon and Paul Lennon, first elected from number two in 2004, re-elected from number two in 2010; 3. Carol Brown (Left), who filled a casual vacancy in August 2005, was elected from number two in 2007, and re-elected from number one in 2013; 4. Catryna Bilyk (Right), a former state political staffer, elected from number three in 2007 and number two in 2013; 5. John Short (Left), state secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union; 6. Lisa Singh (Left), elected to the state lower house in Denison at the 2006 election, defeated in 2010, and elected to the Senate from third position in 2013, then contentiously dumped to fourth position at the half-Senate preselection in June last year.

Australian Capital Territory: 1. Katy Gallagher (Left), the territory’s Chief Minister from 2011 until her resignation in 2014, when she resigned pending her transfer to Senate in March 2015 on the retirement of Kate Lundy.

Northern Territory: 1. Nova Peris, former Olympic hockey player and sprinter, who was installed as candidate at the 2013 on the insistence of then Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the expense of the incumbent, Trish Crossin.

Day two: Essential, Lonergan, BludgerTrack and more

Individual polls continue to record a statistical dead heat on two-party preferred, but the BludgerTrack poll aggregate detects a subtle shift in favour of the Coalition since the release of the budget.

First up, the latest dispatches from the front:

• The preference deal with the Greens being pursued by the Victorian Liberals at the behest of the party’s state president, Michael Kroger, is meeting resistance from other branches of the party. Rick Wallace of The Australian today cites unidentified Liberal sources expressing displeasure at the idea, and gets Tasmanian Senator Eric Abetz to reiterate that the “very strong view” of his own state division was that the Greens should be put last. The party’s federal director, Tony Nutt, issued a statement yesterday stressing that no decision had been made.

• Labor hit a spot of bother today in the Townsville electorate of Herbert, which it has never quite been able to pick off since it fell to the Liberals in the 1996 landslide. Bill Shorten’s Queensland road trip brought him to the electorate today, but a doorstop he conducted together with the Labor candidate, Cathy O’Toole, was dominated by O’Toole’s involving in a protest at Liberal member Ewen Jones’s electorate office in February pleading for “a more humane policy for refugees”.

• Apropos Dennis Jensen’s announcement he will run as an independent in Tangney, the Australian Parliamentary Library reviews “the electoral fortunes of MPs who left major parties and contested the next election as Independents”, going back to 1949. Out of 17 identified examples, 12 failed to win their seats (several of whom left office under a cloud); three won re-election but were then defeated at the next election subsequently; and another won re-election and then retired at the election subsequently. Only Bob Katter went on to lasting electoral success.

Now to polling. BludgerTrack has been updated with the latest Essential Research, along with state data from Ipsos, Essential and ReachTEL. The Coalition is now credited with a lead of 50.5-49.5, which is full point better than the pre-budget reading from last week. That translates into a net gain of three since last week on the seat projection, with two gains in New South Wales and one each in Victoria and the Northern Territory balanced by a loss in Queensland. At some point in the not distant future, I’ll start including state-level primary vote breakdowns and two-party results from respondent-allocated trends as well as previous election preferences, but for the time being the display looks like so:


Two new polls were released yesterday, and I have a bit left to say about one from the day before:

• Essential Research’s fortnightly rolling average has the Labor lead down from 52-48 to 51-49, with the Coalition up a point on the primary vote to 42%, Labor steady on 38% and the Greens steady on 10%. The poll also records 20% approval and 29% disapproval of the budget, with 35% opting for neither and 15% for don’t know. Twenty-one per cent felt the budget had made them more confident in the government, compared with 32% for less confident and 35% for makes no difference. However, most of the specific measures were well supported; 69% for internships for the young unemployed versus 14% opposed; 72% for the higher tax on cigarettes, versus 21% against; 62% for capping super tax concessions, versus 21% against; and 50% in favour of company tax cuts, versus 34% against. Opinion was evenly divided on the tax cut for those on more than $80,000, at 43% for and 44% against, and there was a predictable result for “cuts of $1.2 billion to aged care providers”. A bonus survey question provided exclusively to SBS recorded a view that the budget would make it harder for young people looking to buy their first home and gain a higher education, migrant families seeking education jobs, and people saving for their retirement – but there was a relatively good result for “young people trying to find a job”, presumably reflecting the internships scheme. The poll also recorded 48% opposition to bringing asylum seekers from Manus Island to Australia with 30% in support, and 39% holding the view that conditions in detention centres were poor, versus 32% for good.

• The Guardian Australia yesterday published a poll by Lonergan Research showing 50-50 on two-party preferred, from primary votes of Coalition 42%, Labor 35% and Greens 12%. It also found only 12% felt they would be better off because of the budget compared with 38% for worse off, and that 29% said it made them more likely to vote for the Coalition compared with 47% for less likely. The poll was automated phone survey of 1841 respondents conducted Friday to Sunday.

• I hadn’t mentioned the budget response results from Newspoll, which are worth a closer look. Among other things, there are breakdowns by income cohort, which you don’t often see in published polling. Those on higher incomes ($100,000 and lower) were more disposed to have an overall favourable view than those on lower incomes ($50,000 or less), but not by a great order of magnitude: 39% good and 22% in the former case, 31% good and 22% bad in the latter. However, bigger disparities were recorded on personal impact, with 11% of low-income earners expecting to be better off and 45% expecting to be worse off, compared with 29% and 27% for higher income earners. There are also interesting differences by age, with the most favourable responses coming from the young and the least favourable from the middle-aged, with the older cohort landing in between. Charts below put all this into the context of the regular post-budget Newspoll questions going back to 1988 (although there’s a slight change this year and that there are no longer neutral as distinct from uncommitted response options), and show the historic relationship between the “own financial position” and “economic impact” questions, with this year’s question identified in red. On pretty much every measure, this was an average response to a budget, although the plus 5% net rating for economic impact compares slightly unfavourably with an average of plus 10.9%. Its also a weaker than usual result for a Coalition budget, which have had historically better results (part of which is to do with the Howard government holding the reins in the pre-GFC boom years).


Highlights of day one

Reports this morning of a looming preference switch by the Victorian Liberals in favour of the Greens, and a line-ball internal poll in the new Perth seat of Burt.

UPDATE: Essential Research has the Labor lead down from 52-48 to 51-49, with the Coalition up two on the primary vote to 42%, Labor steady on 38% and the Greens steady on 10%. One of many questions on the budget records 20% approval overall and 29% disapproval, with 35% for neither and 15% for don’t know. All the others, together with questions on detention centres, can be seen on the full release. We also have a poll today in The Guardian for Lonergan, conducted Friday to Sunday from a sample of 1841, which reaches 50-50 on two-party preferred from primary votes of Coalition 42%, Labor 35% and Greens 12%.

In response to Radio National Drive host Patricia Karvelas’s desire to refer to yesterday as day one of the election campaign, a listener helpfully offered that the actual day of the announcement, Sunday, might be deemed “day zero”. That works for me, so there’s your headline. However you care to number it, here are some highlights:

Andrew Probyn of The West Australian reports a Liberal Party internal poll derived from “15-minute interviews with 600 people on April 30 and May 1” recorded a dead heat on two-party preferred in the new electorate of Burt in southern Perth. The report also cites optimism from Liberal insiders about Cowan and Hasluck, where “the advantage of incumbency and strong local campaigns” are expected to make the difference.

• In other internal polling news, Mark Riley of Seven News reported on Thursday that Liberal polling conducted on April 29 showed the party trailing 53.1-46.9 in Eden-Monaro, but leading 50.3-49.7 in Reid, 50.9-49.1 in Banks, 50.2-49.8 in Gilmore, 51.6-48.5 in Bennelong, 51.2-48.8 in Lindsay and 58.8-41.2 in Hughes, with Barnaby Joyce holding a 53.1-46.9 lead over Tony Windsor in New England. The report copped a more than usually vehement response from Liberal pollster Mark Textor, who denied any such polling had been conducted by his own firm, Crosby Textor. Riley said in his report that the polling was “delivered to New South Wales Liberal executives by campaign guru Lynton Crosby yesterday and leaked to Seven News”, to which Textor retorted that Crosby was out of the country. Riley responded that he had “at no stage said it was your polling”, and insisted it had been distributed to prominent members of the party. In his report the following evening, Riley said “Liberal-National director Tony Nutt said it wasn’t commissioned by the party and rejected the numbers”.

Ellen Whinnett of the Herald Sun reports the Liberals are “on the brink” of a deal in which they will direct preferences to the Greens in Batman and Wills, while the Greens run open tickets in marginal seats in the Melbourne suburbs. The former half of the bargain returns to the Liberals’ usual practice before 2013, but for the Greens to fail to direct preferences in marginal seats is a little more unusual. However, the impact of the former will be far the greater. When the Liberals flipped their preference recommendation in 2013, the Greens’ share of their preferences in the Melbourne electorate slumped from 80.0% to 33.7%. This would have gouged about 10% of Adam Bandt’s two-party vote against Labor, but the improvment of his position on the primary vote was sufficient to exactly cancel it out. In Batman and Wills, the Greens’ share of Liberal preferences in 2013 was 32.6% and 28.7% respectively. If that changed to 80% with no alteration to the primary vote, David Feeney’s 10.6% winning margin over Greens candidate Alex Bhathal, who opposes him again this time, would reduce to zero, while Labor would hold on to a 3.5% margin in Wills. By contrast, the Greens running an open ticket appears to reduce Labor’s share of their preferences by only 3%. The Greens vote in Labor’s Victorian targets of Deakin, La Trobe and Corangamite was in each case a fraction above 10%, so the difference is likely to be 0.3% to 0.4%.

• Crikey founder and shareholder activist Stephen Mayne has announced he is running against Kevin Andrews as “a pro-Turnbull, liberal-minded independent” in the eastern Melbourne seat of Menzies. Andrews is currently embroiled in a branch-stacking scandal that has resulted in the resignation of his electorate officer, Ananija Ananievski, involving elderly Macedonian immigrants who were reportedly unaware of their party membership. In an article in Crikey yesterday (paywalled), Mayne wrote that Georgina Downer, a lawyer, former diplomat and daughter of former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, was “hoping Kevin Andrews is removed and she can be slotted in as a last-minute replacement before nominations close on June 1”. Downer was an unsuccessful candidate for the recent preselection to succeed Andrew Robb in the seat of Goldstein, which was won by former Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson.

• Liberal MP Dennis Jensen, who was disendorsed as the party’s candidate for his Perth seat of Tangney in favour of former party state director Ben Morton, announced yesterday he would run in the seat as an independent. He declined to resign from the Liberal Party in doing so, but state director Andrew Cox said yesterday that he had cancelled his membership in announcing his intention to run against an endorsed candidate of the party. Jensen foreshadowed yesterday’s actions in a speech to parliament last week, in which he called Morton “the Liberal branch stackers’ and powerbrokers’ candidate”, criticised the government’s record on tax reform, called for a royal commission into the banks, and spruiked himself as “a candidate who has deep Liberal values, but who will fight for constituents first and foremost; a free thinker who will be their voice in parliament without fear or favour”. Andrew Probyn of The West Australian noted a fortnight ago that running at the election would mean Jensen continued to draw a salary up until the day before the election, which would earn him around $35,000.

• The state council of the Liberal Party in Western Australia determined the order of the double dissolution Senate ticket on the weekend, and delivered a defeat to former Defence Minister David Johnston by relegating him to the highly loseable sixth position on the ticket. The order of the ticket will run Mathias Cormann, Michaelia Cash, Dean Smith, Linda Reynolds, Chris Back, David Johnston. All are incumbents, reflecting the party’s consistent success in winning three seats at half-Senate elections, and the difficulty it faces accommodating all of them at a double dissolution election that is more likely to net them only five. Many in the party had hoped that Johnston, who was dumped as Defence Minister in December 2014, would lighten the burden by retiring, but he failed to oblige. Johnston was more gracious in the face of disappointment than some, conceding he was “in the twilight of my career”, and telling the ABC: “The Liberal Party has been very, very good to me and I’ve had 14 years in Parliament which has been a fabulous adventure.” The state council’s decision reportedly ran ran contrary to the recommendation of its four-person selection committee, which proposed that Johnston take fourth place and Back take sixth. Joe Spagnolo of the Sunday Times reports one of the members of the selection committee, party state president Norman Moore, stormed out of a state executive meeting last week and threatened to resign as it became apparent the recommendation would not be supported, before apologising for what he conceded was a “dummy spit”.

Mark Coultan of The Australian (paywalled, I’m guessing) reports that the Liberal member for Barton, Nick Varvaris, has finally decided after much prevarication that he will seek re-election in the seat he won from Labor in 2013. Varvaris has been poleaxed by the latest redistribution, which has turned his 0.3% margin into a notional Labor margin of 5.2% by adding territory around Marrickville. Mark Coultan also reports the Liberals are still yet to endorse candidates in the competitive seats of Paterson and Kingsford Smith, but are likely to do so this weekend.

Jared Owens of The Australian has a useful article (probably paywalled) on the state of the parties’ double dissolution Senate tickets. While many remain to be finalised, Coalition tickets are now set in Victoria (incumbents Mitch Fifield, Scott Ryan, James Paterson and Bridget McKenzie, followed by newcomer Jane Hume, who recently suffered a surprise defeat to Paterson in her bid to fill Michael Ronaldson’s vacancy), Queensland (Ian Macdonald, George Brandis, Matt Canavan, James McGrath, Barry O’Sullivan and Joanna Lindgren, all of whom are incumbents) and South Australia (Simon Birmingham, Cory Bernardi, Anne Ruston, David Fawcett and Sean Edwards, all incumbents). Labor’s ticket in Queensland will be headed by two newcomers in former state MP Murray Watt and former party state secretary Anthony Chisholm, who are repectively of the Left and the Right. Behind them are incumbents Claire Moore and Chris Ketter, with another newcomer in Jane Casey in fifth place.

Stay tuned for the regular Tuesday poll release early this afternoon from Essential Research, which will probably be followed by a bit of a lull after the weekend storm. A full update of BludgerTrack, incorporating the latest state breakdowns, should follow a few hours after.

It’s on: Newspoll, Ipsos, Galaxy

The official start of the election campaign has been marked by three new polls confirming the impression of a very tight race.

As the campaign for a July 2 double dissolution election officially begins, three big polling guns have sounded:

• In The Australian, Newspoll records a 51-49 lead to Labor, unchanged on the last result three weeks ago, from primary votes of Coalition 41% (steady), Labor 37% (up one) and Greens 11% (steady). Malcolm Turnbull is on 38% approval (up two) and 49% disapproval (steady), with Bill Shorten respectively on 33% (up two) and 52% (steady). Turnbull’s lead as preferred prime minister is 49-27, little changed on the 47-28 result last time. The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of about 1739. Hat tip: James J in comments.

• In the Fairfax papers, Ipsos goes the other way, with a 51-49 lead to the Coalition after a 50-50 result three weeks ago. The Coalition is up two on the primary vote to 44%, with Labor and the Greens steady on 33% and 14%. Despite that, there’s been a big improvement in Bill Shorten’s personal ratings, his approval up five to 38% and disapproval down six to 49%. Turnbull’s ratings, which have been markedly better from Ipsos than Newspoll, have him down three on approval to 48%, and up two on disapproval to 40%. The poll also found the budget to be deemed fair by 37% and unfair by 43%, which compares with 52% and 33% after last year’s budget, and 33% and 63% after the disaster the year before (when the series was conducted by Nielsen rather than Ipsos). Fifty-three per cent of respondents expected the Coalition would win the election, compared with 24% for Labor.

• News Corp’s Sunday tabloids also had a Galaxy poll overnight that had the result at 50-50, from primary votes of Coalition 42%, Labor 36% and Greens 11%. While the Newspoll and Galaxy result both come from the same firm and involved a combination of online and phone polling, the phone polling for the Galaxy result was, I believe, live interview rather than automated. The Galaxy also found low recognition of Scott Morrison as Treasurer (48%) and Chris Bowen as Shadow Treasurer (18%), and had a few attidinal questions whose wording Labor wouldn’t have minded: “Do you consider it fair or unfair that only workers earning more than $80,000 a year got a tax cut in the budget?”, recording 28% for fair and 62% for unfair, and “do you support or oppose Labor’s plan to leave the deficit levy in place so that workers earning over $180,000 a year pay more tax?”, which got 63% for support and 21% for oppose. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Friday from a sample of 1270.

I’ll be running all that through the Bludgermator a little later to produce BludgerTrack projections, so watch this space.

UPDATE: BludgerTrack has had a feel of the four new opinion polls and found them to be, if not exactly budget bouncy, then tending to ameliorate what was probably an excessively favourable reading for Labor last week. The Coalition is now credited with having its nose in front on two-party preferred, assisted by a ReachTEL result that was better for them than the headline figure of 50-50 made it appear. That was based on respondent-allocated preferences, but on 2013 election preferences it comes out as 51.6-48.4. I don’t have any state data from the latest round of polls, so the state relativities are unchanged from last week’s result. The seat projection has the Coalition clearly back in majority government territory after making one gain apiece in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania. Note that primary vote and two-party charts are now featured below going back to the start of the year, with a further two-party chart continuing to show progress since the start of the term. Three polls have provided new leadership ratings, including the Morgan poll together with Newspoll and Ipsos. The trend results suggest Malcolm Turnbull’s downward plunge might at least be levelling off, but an improvement for Bill Shorten that can be traced back to the start of the year is, if anything, gaining momentum.