Weekend miscellany: redistribution and preselection latest (open thread)

Back to the drawing board for the Liberals in Tangney, Labor preselection jockeying in Queensland, and a confirmed date for proposed new federal boundaries for Western Australia.

The week after the federal budget was as always a big one for federal opinion polling, which means it will be followed by a trough next week. Happily, an important milestone on the road to the federal election is looming into view:

The Guardian relates that the proposed redistribution for Western Australia will be published on Friday, with those for New South Wales and Victoria “expected in the first two weeks of June, or perhaps slightly earlier”.

• Mark Wales, the preselected Liberal candidate for the crucial Perth seat of Tangney, has stood aside due to a health issue within his family. The West Australian reports the party’s state council passed a motion that the second-placed candidate in last month’s preselection vote will get the nod if no new candidates nominate by the May 29 deadline, that being Howard Ong, an IT consultant and former Australian Christian Lobby activist.

• The Australian’s Feeding the Chooks column reports that state Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard has withdrawn her preselection challenge against Shayne Neumann in the federal seat of Blair. Anthony Albanese threw his weight behind Neumann amid concern over the security of Labor’s hold on a seat Neumann has held since 2007, and which he retained by a 5.2% margin in 2022.

• Feeding the Chooks further reports that Katie Havelberg, policy adviser at Queensland Health and president of Professionals Australia, will join Renée Coffey, chief executive of a foundation that helps children whose parents have a mental illness, in contesting Labor preselection in Griffith, the inner Brisbane seat that Max Chandler-Mather won for the Greens in 2022. Potential nominees in the seat of Brisbane, which Stephen Bates gained for the Greens from the LNP in 2022, include Tracey Price, the party’s unsuccessful candidate for the lord mayoralty in election in March, and candidate from 2022, Deloitte Australia director Madonna Jarrett.

More post-budget polling: Freshwater Strategic, Roy Morgan, Essential Research (open thread)

Three more polls add to a general impression of a budget with popular measures individually but concern about its impact on inflation and interest rates.

The post-budget polling avalanche rumbles on:

• Yesterday’s Financial Review had a Freshwater Strategy poll with two-party preferred at 50-50, unchanged on mid-April, from primary votes of Labor 32% (up one), Coalition 40% (steady) and Greens 14% (up one). Anthony Albanese is down one on approval to 37% and steady on 45% disapproval, while Peter Dutton is down a point on both to 31% and 40% respectively. Albanese’s lead as preferred prime minister is out from 45-39 to 46-37. Twenty-four per cent said the budget would make them better off, 23% worse off and 46% no difference, but 39% felt it would have an upward impact on interest rates compared with only 11% for downward and 28% for no effect. Nonetheless, questions on which parties were better placed to handle various areas of policy found Labor doing better on the whole than last month, having widened their lead on welfare and benefits and narrowed deficits on economic management, crime and social order and immigration and asylum. The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1056.

The Guardian reports the fortnightly Essential Research poll has Labor and the Coalition unchanged at 31% and 34% of the primary vote respectively, but with the Greens down to 10%, One Nation up one to 8% and 6% undecided. The pollster’s 2PP+ measure is unchanged with the Coalition leading 47% to 46% and the remainder undecided. Last time it was noted here that the 2PP+ implied an unusually strong flow of respondent-allocated preferences to the Coalition – this remains the case this time in lesser degree, my own estimate of two-party preferred based on 2022 election preference flows being 51-49 in favour of Labor. All the major initiatives in the budget recorded strong support, but only 27% thought it would make a meaningful difference to the cost of living. Sixty per cent felt only low and middle-income households should get the $300 energy rebate, with only 35% favouring it going to all households as per the government’s approach. The poll had a sample of 1149 and was presumably conducted Wednesday to Sunday – there will be more detail in the full release later today.

• After four successive weeks at 52-48, the regular Roy Morgan poll has Labor’s two-party lead narrowing to 50.5-49.5, from primary votes of Labor 30.5% (down one-and-a-half), Coalition 37% (steady), Greens 14.5% (up one) and One Nation 5.5% (steady). The poll was conducted Monday to Sunday from a sample of 1674.

Post-budget polling: Newspoll and Resolve Strategic (open thread)

Labor up in Newspoll and down in Resolve Strategic amid a likewise mixed picture on response to the budget.

The post-budget Newspoll in The Australian offers good news for Labor on voting intention, despite recorded an at best subdued reaction to the budget. Labor holds a two-party lead of 52-48, out from 51-48 in the last poll four weeks ago, from primary votes of Labor 34% (up one), Coalition 37% (down one) and Greens 13% (steady). Anthony Albanese also records his best personal numbers since before the referendum, with approval up three to 47% and disapproval down three to 47%, and widens his lead over Peter Dutton as preferred prime minister from 48-35 to 52-33. Peter Dutton is up two on approval to 38% and down one on disapproval to 50%

The less happy news for Labor comes with responses to the budget, which 39% think will worsen inflation compared with only 15% who think it will be favourable. An even 27% think the budget will be good for the economy, which is in fact the equal worst result since the Abbott government’s first budget in 2014. However, the result is better on anticipated impact on personal finances, presumably reflecting response to the tax cut changes: 27% expect it will improve them compared with 29% for worse, which is substantially better than the minus 16% and minus 35% net ratings recorded in the May 2023 and October 2022 budgets. No detail yet as to field dates or sample size. UPDATE: Thursday to Saturday from a sample of 1280.

In Nine Newspapers, Resolve Strategic has its worst result for Labor this term, with the qualification that it was a markedly pro-Labor series until the end of last year, and has since been closer to the pack. Labor is down a point from a month ago to 29%, the Coalition is steady on 36%, the Greens are down one to 12%, One Nation is up two 7% and the United Australia Party is steady on 2%. The pollster does not produce a two-party preferred result, and calculating one is complicated by its large 12% reading for a generic “independent” option. My own favoured method of estimating the result from preference flows at the last election, which rolls independents together an “others” category, has Labor barely ahead 50.2-49.8. Anthony Albanese also takes a knock on his personal ratings, with his combined very good and good rating down four points to 39%, with poor and very poor up four to 49%. Peter Dutton is respectively at 39%, down one, and 42%, steady. However, Albanese’s lead as preferred prime minister is little changed at 40-32, in from 41-32.

Other than that, the budget seems to have been reasonably well received by respondents, with 40% rating it good for their household, 41% good for the country, 38% good for the economy and 34% good for fighting inflation, with respective poor ratings of 21%, 21%, 21% and 27%. Questions about five specific budget items found strong support for all of them, including 68% support for the stage three tax cut changes with only 8% opposed, and 62% for Future Made in Australia with only 10% opposed. However, 60% felt the government was handling immigration in an “unplanned and unmanaged way”, compared with only 20% for planned and managed. Sixty-six felt immigration numbers too high last year, 23% about right and only 2% too low, but expectations for next year were less unfavourable at 50%, 35% and 4% respectively. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1602.

YouGov: 50-50 (open thread)

Labor takes a knock in a federal poll conducted in the days leading up to the budget.

Ahead of a looming avalanche of post-budget opinion polls, YouGov gets in with a poll whose field work period starting last Friday and ending on the day the budget was delivered on Tuesday. The result is the weakest for Labor out of ten polls since the series began in September, recording a dead heat on two-party preferred, erasing a 52-48 lead four weeks ago. The primary votes are Labor 30% (down three), Coalition 38% (up two), Greens 13% (steady) and One Nation 8% (steady). Anthony Albanese’s approval rating is unchanged at 41% with disapproval up one to 53%, while Peter Dutton is up four on approval to 42% and down one on disapproval to 48%. Albanese’s lead as preferred prime minister is in from 46-34 to 44-37.

The poll also features a question on issue salience which evidently allowed respondents to choose multiple issues they felt the government should focus on. This found housing affordability (up four to 36%) taking the lead over living standards (down three to 34%) since the question was last posed in November. Climate change was down seven points to 13%. A question on national direction finds wrong direction favoured over right direction by 61% to 39%. The sample for the poll was 1506.

Budget eve miscellany (open thread)

Labor maintains a 52-48 lead in the only poll to have emerged in the pre-budget lull.

As noted in the previous post, budget week means a calm before the following week’s storm in federal opinion polling. However, there is the following:

• The weekly Roy Morgan poll has Labor leading 52-48 for the fourth week in a row, though the stability is down to variable respondent-allocated preference flows, as the latest result has Labor up two points on the primary vote to 32% with the Coalition steady on 37%, the Greens up half a point to 13.5% and One Nation down half a point to 5.5%. The poll was conducted Monday to Sunday from a sample of 1654.

• The latest SECNewgate Mood of the Nation issue salience survey records 21% of respondents mentioning crime when asked without prompting about “the main issues facing Australians that are most important to you right now”, compared with 10% in the February survey, with cost of living continuing to dominate with 69% followed by housing affordability on 36%. A forced response question on national direction finds wrong direction favoured over right direction by 63% to 37%, out from 44% to 56% in February. Thirty-one per cent rate the federal government’s performance excellent, very good or good, down from 34% in February, while fair, poor or very poor is up two to 66%.

Preselection news:

• High-profile former state MP Kate Jones is reportedly in contention to take second position on Labor’s Queensland Senate ticket, which represents a vacancy because the party failed to win a second seat in 2019. Jones served in cabinet in the Bligh and Palaszczuk governments and held the seat of Ashgrove and its successor Cooper from 2006 to 2020, outside of an interruption when she lost it to Campbell Newman in 2012 before recovering it in 2015. She stepped aside from a position at a lobbying firm in March amid an ongoing controversy over the state government’s relationship with lobbyists, and is now an Australian Rugby League commissioner and executive director at the Tech Council of Australia. The idea is being promoted by Gary Bullock, Left faction figurehead and state secretary of the United Workers Union, and would disturb an arrangement in which the top position has gone to a candidate of the Left, in this case incumbent Nita Green, and the second to the Right faction Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association. The Australian reports Jenny Hill, former mayor of Townsville and a member of the Right, will also nominate, and that she may be joined by factional colleague Corinne Mulholland, former candidate for Petrie and now in-house lobbyist for Star casinos.

InDaily reports there are two contenders in the mix for Liberal preselection in the South Australian seat of Mayo, which Rebekha Sharkie of the Centre Alliance has held since 2018. “Outspoken” Adelaide councillor Henry Davis has confirmed his interest, but a party source is quoted saying both moderate and conservative factions were looking for someone “more competitive”. That might mean Rowan Mumford, conservative-aligned state party president and unsuccessful candidate for Kavel at the March 2022 state election.

The Australian’s Feeding the Chooks column reports Labor’s candidate to recover the Brisbane seat of Griffith, which Terri Butler lost to Max Chandler-Mather of the Greens in 2022, is likely to be Renée Coffey, chief executive of Kookaburra Kids, a foundation that helps children whose parents have a mental illness. Coffey is reportedly aligned with the Old Guard faction, which was once counted as a subset of the Right but now lines up with a dominant Left.

Friday miscellany: YouGov on Palestine, redistribution latest and more (open thread)

Don’t know emerges as the big winner in a poll on recognition of a Palestinian state; preliminary observations on a redistribution of the two Northern Territory seats; and some other stuff.

Next week being budget week, we’re likely to see little in the way of polling beyond the usual Roy Morgan, followed by a deluge the week after as the main players to take the field to gauge the public’s response. For now, there’s the following:

• YouGov has published a further result from its April 19-23 survey showing 35% support for Australia recognising Palestine as an independent state with 27% opposed and 44% unsure, with Greens supporters the most enthusiastic and One Nation supporters the least.

• The Australian Electoral Commission, which hitherto offered only the second quarter as the time when the proposed redistributions for New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia would be published, is now saying “late May/early June”. I’ve also noticed for the first time that a redistribution process for the Northern Territory began in late February. With 81,170 voters presently enrolled in Lingiari and 72,748 in Solomon, this is likely to involve a transfer of voters in Palmerston from the latter to the former. This will be welcome for Labor, as the loss of this conservative-voting area will boost their 0.9% margin in Lingiari while reducing their 9.4% margin in Solomon.

• The Liberals have announced Brendan Small, managing director of a local cleaning products firm, as candidate for the New South Wales Central Coast seat of Dobell, held for Labor by Emma McBride on a margin of 6.5%.

• Weeks after I’d forgotten about it, an advisory from the AEC that they are about to archive their Cook by-election media feed prompted me to update my own results page with what are the definitive final results. Liberal candidate Simon Kennedy scored 62.7% of the primary vote, winning at the final count ahead of the Greens with 71.3%.

• The Nationals have preselected Brendan Moylan, a Moree solicitor, as their candidate for the New South Wales state by-election for Northern Tablelands, the date for which the government appears in no hurry to announce. The by-election will choose a successor to Nationals member Adam Marshall, who was re-elected last year with 71.6% of the primary vote and is abandoning state politics at the age of 39, with media reports suggesting he hopes to succeed Barnaby Joyce in New England.

Polls: Essential Research and Roy Morgan (open thread)

Two new federal polls have similar stories to tell on the primary vote, but differ sharply on preference flows.

The fortnightly Essential Research poll has Labor steady on 31%, the Coalition down a point to 34%, the Greens up two to 13% and One Nation down two to 7%, with undecided up three to 7%. The pollster’s 2PP+ measure has the Coalition maintaining a narrow lead of 47% (down two) to 46% (down one), although these respondent-allocated numbers appear to flatter them — excluding the undecided from the primary votes and applying preference flows from 2022, I get 52.5-47.5 to Labor. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1150.

Further questions relate to expectations for next week’s federal budget, which are not high; concern about crime and safety, including a finding that 59% favour a “focus on enforcement measures” against 41% for the alternative of a “focus on preventative measures”. Strong support was recorded for every one of a range of measures to address family violence and improve safety online, and 70% favoured the eSafety Commissioner’s view that social media platforms needed to remove “dangerous content” over 30% for a view attributed to Elon Musk that doing so was “an attempt to censor the internet and restrict free speech”.

The weekly Roy Morgan poll has Labor’s lead steady at 52-48, though here it seems to be Labor getting the better end of respondent-allocated preferences: on the primary vote, Labor was down one-and-a-half points to 30%, the Coalition was up half to 37%, the Greens were down one to 13% and One Nation was up half to 6%. Based on 2022 preferences, this comes out to around 51-49 in Labor’s favour. The poll was conducted Monday to Sunday from a sample of 1666.

Nine Newspapers reports quarterly state-level and demographic aggregates from the Resolve Strategic polls from February through to April, the interest of which is limited by the fact that the pollster published breakdowns for the three largest states with the monthly polls. However, we do learn that the poll has Labor at 32% of the primary vote in Western Australia, which compares with 34% for the December quarter and 36.9% at the 2022 election. I hope to be able to provide the remainder of this result later today (UPDATE: The Coalition is on 35%, compared with 34.8% at the election, the Greens 13%, compared with 12.5%, and One Nation 6%, compared with 4.0%). The sample here was a modest 352, with a duly wide margin of error.

Finally, the results of Saturday’s Legislative Council elections in Tasmania were resolved yesterday, with the Greens gaining their first ever seat in the chamber following the retirement of an independent incumbent in the seat of Hobart; Labor losing its northern neighbour Elwick to an independent; and the Liberals retaining the seat of Prosser beyond Hobart’s outskirts. Read all about it at the dedicated post.

Friday miscellany: Morgan poll and sundry preselections (open thread)

Labor fills a Victorian Senate vacancy, while the Liberals choose an ACT Senate candidate and confirm Nicolle Flint’s comeback bid in Boothby.

There’s quite a bit going on in Bludgerdom at the moment, so before we proceed, some plugs for the posts below this one:

• First and foremost, the site’s thirty-seventh bi-monthly donation drive is in progress, so if you’ve ever felt this corner of cyberspace was deserving of support, there is no time like the present.

• There is a guest post from Adrian Beaumont covering today’s British local elections and various other items of news from what passes for the democratic world these days.

• I have a post up on tomorrow’s Tasmanian periodic Legislative Council elections (or to be precise, two periodic elections and one by-election), which aren’t always interesting but are this year, as the post seeks to explain.

• Still another new post looks at a New South Wales state poll that as far as I can tell has gone unreported by the paper that commissioned it.

On with the show:

• The weekly Roy Morgan poll has Labor with an unchanged two-party lead of 52-48, from primary votes of Labor 31.5% (up one), Coalition 36.5% (up one), Greens 14% (down two) and One Nation 5.5% (steady). The poll was conducted Monday to Sunday from a sample of 1719.

• As intimated by earlier reports, Labor has chosen Lisa Darmanin, public sector branch secretary of the Australian Services Union, to fill the Victorian Senate vacancy created by the death in February of Linda White, who shared Darmanian’s background in the union.

• The Canberra Times reports a Liberal preselection to choose its Australian Capital Territory Senate candidate was won by Jacob Vadakkedathu, director of a management consultancy. Vadakkedathu prevailed in the final round over Kasey Lam-Evans by 163 votes to 121, after former ministerial adviser Jerry Nockles and former territory parliamentarian Giulia Jones dropped out in earlier rounds.

• The Liberals have confirmed former Liberal member Nicolle Flint’s comeback bid in the Adelaide seat of Boothby, which she held from 2016 until she stood aside at the 2022 election, at which it was won for Labor by Louise Miller-Frost. Also confirmed as Liberal candidates are Amy Grantham in Adelaide, who also ran in 2022, and Tea Tree Gully councillor Irena Zagladov in Makin.

• In her weekly column for Nine Newspapers, Niki Savva reports a uComms poll conducted for Climate 200 in mid-March credited independent Nicolette Boele with a 53-47 lead over Liberal member Paul Fletcher in the northern Sydney seat of Bradfield. Boele came within 4.2% of winning the seat in 2022. However, the situation in this seat is likely to be substantially complicated by a looming redistribution that will cost New South Wales a seat, which will very likely result in the abolition if not of Bradfield then of one of its near neighbours.