Resolve Strategic: Coalition 35, Labor 34, Greens 11

The first campaign poll shows the scars of Labor’s troubled first week, but still suggests they lead on two-party preferred.

The Age/Herald has the first poll conducted during the campaign period, from Resolve Strategic, which finds the Coalition up a point on the primary vote to 35%, Labor down four to 34%, the Greens steady on 11%, One Nation up two to 4% (the accompanying report notes that part of the increase is down to rounding) and the United Australia Party up one to 4%. Resolve Strategic does not provide two-party results, but this pans out at 52-48 to Labor when preference flows from 2019 applied.

With Resolve Strategic providing state breakdowns only for New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, the damage is distinctly concentrated in its “rest of Australia”, with the Coalition up six to 36% and Labor down fully ten points to 37%, although it was more the previous result that was the anomaly than this one. Similarly, dramatic change on the gender breakdowns reflects an unusual result last time when the Coalition did better among women than men. I would estimate the current poll’s two-party results as 50.6-49.4 to the Coalition among men and 54.2-45.8 to Labor among women.

On personal ratings, positive movement for Scott Morrison (up five on approval to 44% and down six on disapproval to 47%) is greater than negative movement for Anthony Albanese (down three on approval to 35% and up two on disapproval to 44%). Resolve Strategic’s leadership rating questions unusually ask how the leader has performed “in recent weeks”. Scott Morrison has opened up a 38-30 lead as preferred prime minister after trailing 37-36 last time.

The accompanying report reveals that 27% rate themselves uncommitted, up from 21% a fortnight ago. Many of these would presumably have ended up being allocated through a follow-up question asking to which party they were leaning (Resolve Strategic’s non-membership of the Australian Polling Council, which imposes transparency standards on its members, means this cannot be known for sure). (UPDATE: It’s been pointed out to me that this refers to the pollster’s “how firm are you with your vote” question, which directs respondents to identify as either committed or uncommitted. Resolve Strategic does not provide respondents with an option to identify as uncommitted and have their result counted in the survey, which critics say inflates the non-major party results.) The poll was conducted Monday to Saturday from a sample of 1404.

Federal election minus 35 days

The campaign’s first leaders debate locked in, plus various electorate-level brush fires and candidate announcements.

As the campaign enters a lull over the Easter extended weekend, there is at least the following to report:

• The first leaders’ debate of the campaign will be held on Wednesday, to be hosted in Brisbane by Kieran Gilbert of Sky News and with the leaders to face questions from 100 undecided voters.

Stephen Lunn of The Australian reports the Australian Electoral Commission will be operating 550 pre-poll booths at this election, up from 515 in 2019. The period for pre-poll voting has been reduced since the last election from three weeks to two.

• Liberal Ben Small has had to resign from his Western Australian Senate seat after becoming aware he was a dual citizen of New Zealand, where his father was born, which somehow escaped the notice of all concerned when he filled Mathias Cormann’s vacancy in November 2020. His term was shortly to expire in any case, and he will return if elected from third on the party’s Senate ticket at the election.

Paul Starick of The Advertiser reports that Liz Habermann, who came close to winning the regional seat of Flinders from the Liberals at last month’s South Australian state election, will shortly announce her candidacy for the corresponding federal seat of Grey, held for the Liberals by Rowan Ramsey.

The Age reports Zoe Daniel, the former ABC journalist challenging Liberal MP Tim Wilson as an independent in Goldstein, has apologised over an article she wrote in 2017 in which she said then US President Donald Trump was “satisfying his wealthy Jewish donors” when he declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel. The electorate’s 6.8% Jewish population as of the 2016 census was the third highest in the country, behind Wentworth and neighbouring Macnamara.

• A spokesperson for the Law Society of New South Wales told the Daily Telegraph that Sarah Richards, the Liberal candidate for the marginal Labor seat of Macquarie in outer Sydney, may have broken the law in describing herself as a qualified solicitor on her LinkedIn profile. Richards holds a law degree, but ceased to be a practising solicitor in 2007.

Federal election minus 37 days

Miscellaneous federal election news, including focus group findings from the Financial Review and sundry developments at local level.

Market research:

• My first of what will be regular contributions to Crikey each Wednesday through the campaign makes the case for taking opinion polling seriously again, though you may think that I would say that.

• Today’s Financial Review reports focus groups of undecided voters in Sydney and Melbourne found Scott Morrison to be “smirking, unkempt, immature and dishonest”, to which women added “annoying and patronising”. However, he was also considered a hard worker and “good orator”, and marked up for his response to the Ukraine war. Anthony Albanese was “dull, uninspiring and too negative”, and his failure to have made a clear impression meant Labor had failed to fully shake off perceptions it planned to abolish franking credits and introduce a death tax. The focus groups were conducted for the paper by Ipsos on Tuesday – there is no indication that Albanese’s stumbles over unemployment and the cash rate the previous day were raised.

Miranda Ward of the Financial Review reports Nielsen Ad Intel data shows the United Australia Party has spent $3.49 million in media advertising this month, compared with $472,247 by Labor, $103,265 by Liberal and $42,991 by the Greens.

Candidate news:

• George Christensen’s plan to run for One Nation proved to be a damp squib for everyone but his accountant, the big idea being to run for the inconsequential third position on the party’s Senate ticket. This will entitle him to six months’ worth of their salary, or over $100,000, as part of a “resettlement allowance” paid to defeated but not retiring incumbents. According to Andrew Tillett of the Financial Review, Christensen’s claim that he would have been entitled to it anyway on the grounds that he was effectively knocked back for Liberal National Party preselection does not square with the rules set out by the Remuneration Tribunal.

• Fairfield deputy mayor Dai Le will run as an independent in Fowler, seeking to capitalise on discontent over Labor’s preselection of Kristina Keneally over a member of the seat’s substantial Vietnamese community. Le came within 2.1% of gaining the state seat of Cabramatta for the Liberals in the party’s 2011 landslide and polled 25.9% as an independent there in 2019. Her campaign is backed by Fairfield mayor Frank Carbone, who had earlier floated the possibility of running himself.

On the ground:

David Crowe of the Age/Herald reports Scott Morrison will be in northern Tasmania today dispensing $219.5 million from a forestry industry fund, with a view to shoring up the Liberal-held marginals of Bass and Braddon and perhaps snaring Labor-held Lyons.

• Barnaby Joyce was in the Northern Territory on Tuesday to target its two Labor-held seats, promoting the budget’s $1.5 billion of spending on new port facilities in Darwin and promising to spend $440 million on logistics hubs elsewhere in the territory, respectively of interest to Solomon and Lingiari. According to David Crowe of the Age/Herald, this points to Coalition hopes it can “gain ground in the regions despite poor polling in the cities”.

• Katherine Deves, who is running for the Liberals against independent Zali Steggall in Warringah, was found to have deleted social media posts relating to trans rights issues, one of which referred to “vulnerable children surgically mutilated and sterilised in furtherance of an unattainable ideal”. This was evidently thought to have exceeded her brief as a campaigner for strict definitions of biological sex in women’s sport, but even here Scott Morrison now appears less keen than he did when he rated it a point in her favour after rubber-stamping her preselection last week.

Morgan: 57-43 to Labor

Mixed messages for Labor from Roy Morgan, as betting markets tighten and George Christensen goes troppo.

Roy Morgan seems to have moved to weekly reporting of its federal voting intention numbers, with a poll published last night showing Labor’s two-party lead in from 58-42 to 57-43 through a survey period that ran from last Monday to Sunday. However, this masks a three-and-a-half point drop in Labor’s primary vote to 36%, which only does minor damage on two-party preferred because the Coalition is also down, by half a point to 32.5%, and Labor has done even better than usual this time on Morgan’s respondent-allocated preference flow. If preferences from 2019 were applied to these figures, the result would come out to about 55-45, in from amount 56.5-43.5 last time. For the minor parties, the Greens and One Nation are each up one-and-a-half, to 12.5% and 5% respectively – respectively their equal best and actual best results for the term – and the United Australia Party is up half a point to 1.5%.

The state breakdowns have Labor leading 55-45 in New South Wales (unchanged on last week, a swing of around 7.5%), 58-42 in Victoria (in from 60.5-39.5, a swing of around 5%), 50.5-49.5 in Queensland (unchanged, a swing of around 9%), 63.5-36.5 in Western Australia (out from 59-41, a swing of fully 19%), 53-47 in South Australia (in from 56-44, a swing of around 2.5%) and 69-31 in Tasmania. The sample size for the poll was 1384.


The Australian that Dawson MP George Christensen, having parted company with the Liberal National Party last week ahead of his presumed retirement at the election, will today announce he will run as a candidate for One Nation at the election, though it is not yet clear if it will be for his existing seat. The report also reveals One Nation will run in all 151 lower house seats, whereas it only did so in 59 seats in 2019.

• Labor’s awkward start to the campaign has caused betting markets to tighten significantly: Sportsbet is now offering $1.63 on Labor, out from $1.45 at the start of the campaign, while the Coalition is in from $3.20 to $2.30.

• Australian Development Strategies, run by former Labor Senator John Black, has a map showing federal electorates’ concentrations of 35-to-49 year olds in the highest income quartile, whom he classifies as “maturing traditional swinging voters and aspirational voters in the ages at which they traditionally begin to move their vote from Labor to the Coalition”. We’ll see about that, but in any case it’s a nice and easily navigable map of federal electoral boundaries.