An audience of undecided voters offers a fairly even verdict following last night’s leaders debate, plus sundry other pieces of polling news and campaign detritus.
Polling and other horse race news:
• The 100 undecided voters selected to attend last night’s Sky News People’s forum included 40 who rated Anthony Albanese the winner compared with 35 for Scott Morrison, leaving 25 undecided.
• A uComms poll conducted for independent Kooyong candidate Monique Ryan credits her with a credulity-straining 59-41 lead over Liberal incumbent Josh Frydenberg. A report in the Herald-Sun relates that primary votes of 35.5% for Frydenberg, 31.8% for Ryan, 12.8% for Labor and 11.7% for the Greens, but there would also have been an undcided component. The poll was conducted last Tuesday from a sample of 847. Conversely, Greg Brown of The Australian reports the Liberals concede a more modest drop in Frydenberg’s primary vote from 47% to 44% over the past three months.
• The Guardian reports a Community Engagement poll for Climate 200 in North Sydney found independent Kylea Tink, whose campaign Climate 200 is supporting, with 19.4% of the primary vote to Liberal member Trent Zimmerman’s 37.1%, with Labor on 17.3%, the Greens on 8.7%, the United Australia Party on 5.6% and others on 3.8%, with 8.2% undecided. Respondents were more likely to rank climate change and environment as their most important issue than the economy, at 27.2% and 19.7%, with trust in politics not far behind at 16.2%. The poll was conducted by phone on April 11 and 12 from a sample of 1114.
• The Age/Herald has further results on issue salience from its Resolve Strategic poll, showing cost of living the most salient issue for those under 55 and health and aged care leading for those older.
• I had a piece in Crikey yesterday on the recent history of the gender gap as recorded by opinion polls, and the threat posed to the government by the loss of support by women. Right on cue, Peter Lewis of Essential Research writes in The Guardian today that Scott Morrison’s “low standing with female voters … could well determine the outcome of this election”. It is noted that the gender breakdowns from Essential’s current poll have Morrison at 50% approval and 44% disapproval among men, but 39% approval and 51% disapproval among women. There is also a ten-point gap in its latest numbers for the Coalition primary vote.
• Michelle Grattan in The Conversation relates detail on focus group research conducted in Wentworth by Landscape Research, which finds participants tended to rate the government highly on management of the economy and the pandemic, but took a dim view of Scott Morrison and favoured a leadership change to Josh Frydenberg.
Nice-looking things on other websites:
• The University of Queensland offers an attractive Election Ad Data Dashboard that tracks the various parties’ spending on advertising on Facebook and Instagram. Through this medium at least, Labor has thus far led the field with 44.5% of spending since the start of the campaign compared with 26.5% for the Coalition, 12% for the United Australia Party and 10.2% for independents, the latter being concentrated in Kooyong, North Sydney, Wentworth and Mackellar. The $15,000 spend on Josh Frydenberg’s campaign in Kooyong is around triple that of any other Liberal seat. The Financial Review quotes Glenn Kefford of the UQ political science department saying Labor’s 2019 election post-morten was “damning of the digital operation and made it clear that they needed to win the share of voice online if they were going to be successful”.
• Simon Jackman of the University of Sydney is tracking the betting markets in great detail, and translating the odds into “implied probabilities of winning” that currently have it at around 55-45 in favour of Labor. Alternatively, the poll-based Buckley’s & None forecast model rates Labor a 67.2% change for a majority with the Coalition at only 11.1%.
• In a piece for The Conversation, Poll Bludger contributor Adrian Beaumont offers a colour-coded interactive map showing where he considers the swing most likely to be on, based on various demographic considerations.
• A report in The Guardian identifying electorates targeted with the most in “election campaign promises and discretionary grants” since the start of the year had Bass leading the field, with the marginal Labor-held New South Wales seats of Gilmore, Dobell and Hunter high on the list, alongside the seemingly safe Liberal seats of Canning, Durack and Forrest in Western Australia.
• The Liberal candidate for Warringah, Katherine Deves, is standing firm against calls for her to withdraw after her social media accounts turned up considerably more radical commentary on transgender issues than suggested by the initial promotion of her as a campaigner for strict definitions of sex in women’s sport. In this she has the support of Scott Morrison, who decried “those who are seeking to cancel Katherine simply because she has a different view to them on the issue of women and girls in sport” (though Samantha Maiden of News Corp notes she has gone rather quiet of her own accord), together with many of the party’s conservatives. Those who have called for her to withdraw include North Sydney MP Trent Zimmerman, New South Wales Treasurer Matt Kean and state North Shore MP Felicity Wilson. A Liberal source quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald dismissed the notion the party had been unaware of her record when it fast-tracked her for preselection last month with the support of Scott Morrison. Barring action by noon today, Deves will appear as the Liberal candidate on the ballot paper.
• An increasingly assertive Australian Electoral Commission has expressed concern about the parties’ practice of sending out postal vote applications and advised voters against making use of them, and establishing a disinformation register responding to conspiracy theories about voter fraud, a number of which are being peddled by One Nation and the United Australia Party.
• Perth’s centrality to Labor’s election hopes has been emphasised by Anthony Albanese’s announcement that the party’s national campaign launch will be held in the city on Sunday, May 1.
• David Speirs, factionally unaligned Environment Minister in the Marshall government, is the new South Australian Opposition Leader after winning 18 votes in a Liberal party room ballot ahead of moderate Josh Teague on five and conservative Nick McBride seemingly only securing his own vote. Liberal veteran Vickie Chapman has announced she will resign from parliament by the end of May, which will result in a by-election for her safe seat of Bragg.