YouGov: 51-49 to Labor (open thread)

Labor keeps its nose in front on two-party preferred in the final YouGov poll for the year, but the good news for them ends there.

The final poll of the year from YouGov, which will return next year as a regular three-weekly series, finds Labor with a steady 51-49 lead on two-party preferred based on preference flows from the previous election, despite recording their lowest primary vote of any poll since the election. Labor is down two points on the last poll to 29%, their day saved to some extent by a two point rise for the Greens to 15%. The Coalition is up one to 37%, while One Nation is steady on 7%. Anthony Albanese is down four on approval to 39% and up five on disapproval to 55%, while Peter Dutton is down one to 39% and up one to 48%. Albanese’s lead as preferred prime minister is in from 48-34 to 46-36. The poll was conducted Friday to Tuesday from a sample of 1555.

I have recently started adding YouGov and RedBridge Group polling to the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, which doesn’t seem to have caught all the way up with the recent slide in Labor’s fortunes. In the case of the earlier three YouGov polls (though not yet the latest one), the poll data feature incorporates an array of unpublished breakdowns by state and various demographic indicators.

Resolve Strategic: Labor 35, Coalition 34, Greens 12 (open thread)

The Coalition primary vote lifts off the canvas in what remains the strongest federal polling series for Labor.

The monthly Resolve Strategic poll in the Age/Herald has the Coalition up four points on the primary vote to 34% without taking a bite out of Labor’s 35%, the balance coming from drops of one point for the Greens to 12%, two for One Nation to 5% and one for the United Australia Party to 1%. The pollster does not provide two-party preferred numbers but I get it to 54.6-45.4 to Labor – a seemingly solid result for Labor, but just shading the June poll as its weakest since the election, in line with the broader trend when Resolve’s skew to Labor relative to other pollsters is accounted for.

Anthony Albanese is down three on approval to 36% and up two on disapproval to 48%, while Peter Dutton is respectively down one to 34% and up two to 42%. Preferred prime minister is little changed at 42-28 in Albanese’s favour, compared with 40-27 last month. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1605, and will presumably be followed over the next few days by a bi-monthly read of Victorian voting intention combining results from this poll and last month’s.

Also out yesterday was the weekly Roy Morgan poll has Labor’s lead back to 51-49 after moving three points in their favour to 52.5-45 last week. The primary votes are Labor 32.5% (up half a point), Coalition 37.5% (up two-and-a-half), Greens 12.5% (down one) and One Nation 5% (steady). The poll was conducted last Monday to Sunday from a sample of 1730.

Friday miscellany: Senate preselections and more (open thread)

Success for Dave Sharma and failure for Greg Mirabella in bids for Liberal parliamentary comebacks.

A few pieces of state news before we move on to the hard stuff. The finalisation of Western Australia’s state redistribution is covered in the post above, and a new state poll from Tasmania gets the once-over in a the post below. In Victoria, the results from the Mulgrave state by-election were finalised earlier this week, and they defied Liberal claims on the night that they had improved on their state election performance to the extent of finishing second. In fact, independent Ian Cook amassed 9,122 votes (25.3%) at the second-last exclusion to take the silver ahead of Liberal candidate Courtney Mann on 8,964 (24.9%), the final score being 20,363 (56.5%) for Labor’s Eden Foster and 15,681 for Cook (43.5%), a swing to Cook of 4.3%.

On with the show:

• Sunday’s preselection to fill the New South Wales Liberal Senate vacancy created by Marise Payne’s retirement delivered an upset win for Dave Sharma, who held Wentworth from 2019 until his defeat in 2022 at the hands of teal independent Allegra Spender. Sharma won the party ballot at the final count with 295 votes against 206 for the widely touted favourite, former state government minister and federal Gilmore candidate Andrew Constance. The favoured candidate of Peter Dutton, arch-conservative former ACT Senator Zed Seselja, dropped out at the second last round with 155 votes to Sharma’s 177 and Constance’s 169, at which point his supporters seemingly fell in heavily behind Sharma. Earlier exclusions with non-trivial vote shares were, in reverse order, Jess Collins, James Brown, Monica Tudehope and Pallavai Sinha.

Sue Bailey of The Mercury reports Clarence mayor Brendan Blomeley has failed in his conservative-backed to topple moderate incumbent Richard Colbeck from the business end of the Tasmanian Liberal Senate ticket, on which Colbeck will have second position behind conservative incumbent Claire Chandler, reversing the order from 2019. The third position, which has not availed the Liberals since 2004, goes to Jacki Martin, an electorate officer to Senator Wendy Askew.

• A Victorian Liberal preselection ballot on Sunday chose Kyle Hoppitt, former Baptist preacher and director of JAK Audio Visual, as third candidate on the party’s Senate ticket. The result was a snub to Greg Mirabella, who stood aside as the party’s state president to run. Mirabella served in the Senate from November 2021 until mid-2022, having failed to win re-election from the number three position at the May 2022 election. The Age reports Hoppitt prevailed with 187 votes to 173 for Mirabella, who lost conservative support as state president for acquiescing in the expulsion of factional powerbroker Ivan Stratov by the party’s administrative committee. Neither federal Liberal leader Peter Dutton, who backed Mirabella, nor state Liberal leader John Pesutto, who favoured Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Karyn Sobels, succeeded in getting their preferred candidate up.

• Pat Dodson, Labor Senator for Western Australia, has announced he will retire from the Senate on January 26 due to health issues. The West Australian reports Varun Ghosh, Right-aligned barrister for Francis Burt Chambers and the son of first-generation Indian immigrants, is the front-runner for the vacancy.

Noel Towell of The Age reports the Liberals have preselected candidates for Higgins and Chisholm, the two Melbourne seats the party lost to Labor at the 2022 election. Katie Allen will again contest Higgins after winning a ballot ahead of Port Phillip mayor Marcus Pearl. Allen she served from 2019 until her defeat at the hands of Michelle Ananda-Rajah, who became the seat’s first ever Labor member. The candidate for Chisholm will be Monash councillor Theo Zographos, who was preselected unopposed.

• Roy Morgan has an online poll of 1006 respondents exploring the half-formed opinions of Australians concerning the Middle East crisis.

• The Australian Electoral Commission scored the strongest ratings of any government agency in an annual public survey conducted by the Australian Public Service Commission, with 87% saying they trusted it (either strongly, somewhat or somewhere in between) and 91% professing satisfaction with it.

On for young and old

A new study probes deeply into younger voters’ overwhelming preference for parties of the left, and whether it portends a progressive tide over the coming decades.

Courtesy of Shaun Ratcliff, University of Sydney and YouGov alumnus now at Accent Research, a study on political attitudes and voting behaviour across the generations offers a detailed look at the exacerbating tendency of younger voters to favour the left and its future implications. This scaled new heights at the 2022 election, for which survey research cited in the report shows gaps between Gen-Z (born 1996 and after) and baby boomers (born 1946 to 1965) of 23 points in support for the Coalition, four points in support for Labor and 26 points in support for the Greens.

What this means for the future depends in large part on whether the gap bespeaks life-cycle effects, in which conservatism is encouraged by personal and economic circumstances that tend to apply later in life (notably home ownership and family formation), or cohort effects, in which variations in political attitudes reflect divergent historical experiences. Contrary to common belief (Ratcliff notes it being expressed by former Liberal Senator George Brandis), it is plainly not the case that life-cycle effects consistently manifest as stronger support for the left among the young, as the current tendency to that effect has only been evident since the 1990s. However, proponents can argue that the gap at least partly reflects the fact that emerging generations are reaching life-cycle milestones later in the game.

For conservatives, the life-cycle thesis holds out hope that younger voters will adopt the attitudes currently associated with baby boomers in due course. The implications of cohort effects are more troubling, at least for conservatism as presently understood, as they are less likely to change over time. The manifestations of cohort effects tested by Ratcliff’s study are possession of a university degree (22.1% among boomers, 40.2% among the millennial cohort born 1981 to 1995), non-identification with a formal religion (54.7% among Gen-Z, 31.3% among boomers), LGBTQ+ identification (17% among Gen-Z, 4% among boomers) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identification (5.4% among Gen-Z and 1.8% among boomers, which is presumably not entirely down to health outcomes).

Ratcliff’s analysis reaches something of a split decision: life-cycle and cohort effects each explain five to six points of difference in Coalition support between boomers and Gen-Z, and eight points each for the Greens. However, life-cycle effects do little to explain the smaller but still substantial gaps between boomers and millennials, whereas cohort effects explain three points in the difference for the Coalition and six points for the Greens.

In any case, progressives should be warned against triumphalism, at least with respect to the immediate future. As the greying of the population continues to play out, the 70-plus cohort is increasing as a share of the overall voting population – a point illustrated in a Grattan Institute report noting its 13% increase between the 2016 and 2019 elections.

Polls: Essential, Morgan and ANU Indigenous Voice survey (open thread)

Two new voting intention polls have Labor keeping its nose in front, while the Australian National University unveils an extensive post-referendum survey on the Indigenous Voice.

Essential Research’s fortnightly poll records little change on federal voting intention, with the Coalition steady on 34%, Labor down one to 31%, the Greens up one to 13%, One Nation steady on 7% and the undecided component up one to 6%. The pollster’s 2PP+ reading has the Coalition as close as it has been this term to taking the lead, with Labor down a point to 48% and the Coalition steady on 47%, the remaining 6% being in the undecided category. Monthly leadership ratings have Anthony Albanese in net negative territory for the first time since the election, his approval down four to 42% and disapproval up four to 47%. Peter Dutton is up three on approval to 39% and down one on disapproval to 42%.

A monthly “national mood” reading records a deterioriation after five months of stability, with 51% now rating the country on the wrong track (up three) compared with 30% for the right track (down four). The Coalition is credited with an edge as best party to manage the economy (33% to Labor’s 25%), reduce cost of living pressures (28% to 25%) and keep prices down (ditto), though Labor leads 37% to 19% on supporting higher wages. Forty-four per cent consider social and economic equality is decreasing (one would more naturally say inequality was increasing), with only 16% holding the opposite view. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1151.

Also out yesterday was the weekly Roy Morgan poll, one of Labor’s better recent results with a two-party lead of 52.5-47.5, reversing a Coalition lead of 50.5-49.5 last week. The primary votes are Labor 32% (up two-and-a-half), Coalition 35% (down two-and-a-half), Greens 13.5% (steady) and One Nation 5% (down one-and-a-half). The poll was conducted last Monday to Sunday from a sample of 1379. The Australian also published further results yesterday from the recent Newspoll showing only 16% consider themselves better off than they were two years ago, compared with 50% for worse off. The 18-to-34 cohort offered the most favourable response, with 29% for better off and 37% for worse off.

The Australian National University’s Centre for Social Research and Methods also treats us to a 93-page report on the October 14 Indigenous Voice referendum, based on a survey of 4219 respondents from October 17 to 29. I haven’t absorbed this one yet, but the report is here.

JSCEM post-election report: territory Senators, expansion of parliament and more

The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters concludes its inquiry into the 2022 election with a second tranche of recommendations, few of which find bipartisan support.

The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters has completed its inquiry into the 2022 federal election with a final report that addresses matters not covered in an interim report in June, and expands on some of its conclusions relating to campaign finance, truth-in-advertising laws and Indigenous enrolment. Highlights and observations:

• The most interesting recommendation is that Senate representation for the two territories should be doubled from two seats to four. In terms of representation per capita, this would elevate the Australian Capital Territory from the fourth-best represented jurisdiction to third, overtaking South Australia, without disturbing the Northern Territory’s second place behind Tasmania. The justification for having the territories at the top end of the scale is the federal parliament’s power to overrule territory legislation, as was done in past times in relation to euthanasia and same-sex civil union laws. The report quotes Kevin Bonham identifying the realpolitik of the situation in pointing to the high probability that four ACT seats would go three left and one right (it does not seem to have been suggested that the four Senators should be worked into the system of six-year staggered terms applying to the rest of the Senate, in which case only two would be elected at a time, except at double dissolutions). Naturally, the Coalition’s dissenting report gives this recommendation the thumbs down.

• A section curiously named “Proportional Representation – ‘One Vote, One Value'” ends with a recommendation about the tangentially related matter of the size of parliament, which it says should be considered by a separate stand-alone inquiry. Whereas folk wisdom would have it that parliament is a sty with too many snots in the trough, the committee prefers to think that “an increase in the number of electors in a division over time incrementally reduces the value of each elector’s vote and capacity to engage in the political process”. A bigger parliament would count as “one vote, one value” to the extent of ameliorating the over-representation of Tasmania (which has five seats due to the constitutional minimum for the original states) and the Northern Territory (which has two because that’s the way it goes). Here too the Coalition is opposed, noting the lack of a government mandate and the existence of a “cost-of-living crisis”.

• The committee has at last recommended ending the practice of parties mailing out postal vote applications with their own offices as the return address, allowing them to harvest data before passing the applications on to the Electoral Commission. This has long been held in low regard by everyone but the major parties, but the committee had always found spurious reasons for continuing it. To its great discredit, the Coalition dissenting report objects that the practice is in fact “an extremely useful part of supporting voter turnout”, for which one naively hopes it will cop a bollocking over the coming days in more consequential media outlets than this one.

• The majority report recommends removing the archaic three-day blackout on television and radio at the end of the campaign — but only as an extension of the truth-in-advertising laws recommended by the interim report, presumably on the basis that these would substitute for the blackout’s aim of scotching last-minute misinformation campaigns. The Coalition opposes the former by virtue of opposing the latter.

• Specifically with a view to improving Indigenous enrolment, it is recommended that voters be allowed to enrol at polling booths on election day, as can be done at state level in New South Wales and Victoria. The Coalition dissenting report opposes the idea without troubling to point out any problems with it.

• It is recommended that telephone voting, which is currently provided for blind and low-vision voters, be expanded to encompass those with disabilities or who are located overseas or in remote communities. The Coalition dissenting report seems surprisingly animated in its opposition, arguing the system is insecure and expanding it would impose undue burdens on the AEC.

• In revisiting the recommendations of the interim report, it is recommended that registered charities be exempt from a proposal for caps on donations to anyone involving themselves in the election campaign process. The Coalition protests that this would create “an uneven regulatory playing field” and “a partisan approach to electoral reform”, which I take as an acknowledgement that charities’ campaigns tend to be unhelpful to it.

• The Coalition’s dissenting report says the redistribution process that starts with the determination of state and territory seat entitlements should start three months rather than a year into the parliamentary term, which sounds like a good idea to me but apparently did not find further support.

Newspoll: 50-50 (open thread)

Newspoll becomes the second pollster after Roy Morgan to record a disappearance in the lead Labor had enjoyed since the May 2022 election.

The Australian reports the latest Newspoll offers further evidence of an end to Labor’s period of federal polling dominance, recording a dead heat on two-party preferred, in from 52-48 in Labor’s favour three weeks ago. Labor has slumped by four points on the primary vote to 31%, with the Coalition up a point to 38%, the Greens up one to 13% and One Nation steady on 6%. Movements on leaders’ ratings are milder, with Anthony Albanese actually recording a marginal improvement in his lead over Peter Dutton as preferred prime minister, from 46-36 to 46-35. Albanese is down two on approval to 40% and up one on disapproval to 53%, with Peter Dutton unchanged at 37% and 50%. The poll was presumably conducted from Monday to Friday, from a sample of 1216.

Midweek miscellany: Morgan poll, redistributions, Liberal Senate preselections (open thread)

Morgan finds the Coalition with its nose in front; latest redistribution machinations; and Liberal Senate preselections in NSW and Tasmania.

The only new poll for the week is the the weekly Roy Morgan federal poll, which for the second time in recent months credits the Coalition with a two-party preferred lead. In this case it’s by the barest margin of 50.5-49.5, compared with 50-50 last week. The poll is also the first for the term with Labor’s primary vote below 30%, having fallen half a point from last week to 29.5%, with the Coalition up half to 37% and the Greens up half to 13.5%. The poll was conducted Monday to Sunday from a sample of 1401.


• The Age/Herald had further results from last week’s Resolve Strategic poll on Sunday, showing 48% support for constitutional recognition of Indigenous people as the first inhabitants of Australia, an even 40% for and against a legislated voice, 33% support for a Commonwealth treaty with 37% opposed, and 35% support for the Makarrata Commission for truth-telling with 31% opposed.

Public suggestions have been published for the Western Australian federal redistribution, with both major parties’ new submissions concurring with the conventional wisdom that the state’s new seat will need to be in Perth’s eastern suburbs. Labor proposes a seat called Farmer in honour of local football legend Graham “Polly” Farmer taking out a large part of the current seat of Hasluck, which would deeper into suburbia in the west. The Liberals propose a seat of Court in honour of two of the party’s past premiers, which would likewise take a large chunk of Hasluck, but extend instead beyond the metropolitan area in the conservative territory of the Avon Valley. The deadline for submission for Victoria’s federal redistribution is on Friday, to be published next Wednesday. The finalisation of Western Australia’s state redistribution is also due “no later” than December 1.

• Two Liberal Senate preselections will be held on the weekend, one being to fill the vacancy created by Marise Payne’s retirement in New South Wales. Moderate-aligned former state government minister Andrew Constance is routinely invoked as the front-runner, but Peter Dutton is supporting conservative former ACT Senator Zed Seselja, and Monica Tudehope, former deputy chief-of-staff to Dominic Perrottet and daughter of Finance Minister Damien Tudehope, has support from Business Council of Australia chief executive Bran Black. Also in the field are former parliamentarians Dave Sharma and Lou Amato, NSW RSL president James Brown, and Lowy Institute research fellow Jess Collins.

• A vote of 67 preselectors on Saturday will determine the Tasmanian Liberals’ Senate ticket, in which conservative-backed Clarence mayor Brendan Blomeley hopes to wrest the second position from moderate incumbent Richard Colbeck. Conservative incumbent Claire Chandler appears assured of top position, with another conservative, Simon Behrakis, a possibility for the usually unfruitful third position. UPDATE: Informed local observer Kevin Bonham notes in comments that Simon Behrakis has filled a vacancy in state parliament, and is presumably no longer in the running.