Newspoll: 55-45 to Labor (open thread)

A steady lead for Labor, a softening of approval for Anthony Albanese, and solid support for an Indigenous voice to parliament.

The Australian reports the first Newspoll for the year has Labor’s two-party lead unchanged at 55-45, from primary votes of Labor 38% (down one), Coalition 34% (down one), Greens 11% (steady) and One Nation 6% (steady). Anthony Albanese is down five on approval to 57% and up four on disapproval to 33%, while Peter Dutton is steady at 36% and up one to 46%. Albanese’s lead as preferred prime minister narrows from 59-24 to 56-26.

There were further questions on the Indigenous voice to parliament, which found 56% in support (28% strongly and 28% partly) and 37% opposed (23% strongly and 14% partly). Extensive further detail on why respondents felt the way the did. The most favoured among listed of reasons for those opposed was that “it won’t help the issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians”. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Thursday from a sample of 1512.

Roy Morgan and Ipsos Indigenous voice poll (open thread)

A bit more detail than usual from Roy Morgan this week, plus a small-sample Ipsos poll suggesting Indigeous Australians are overwhelmingly on board with the voice to parliament.

I note that the front page of the Roy Morgan website has some detail on the federal voting intention numbers in which its weekly update video typically provides on the two-party preferred, though I’m not sure if this is new or unusual. The latest result has Labor leading 57-43, in from 59-41 last week; the primary votes are Labor 37.5%, Coalition 33.5%, Greens 11.5% and others 17.5%; and the field work dates were January 23 to 29. However, no detail on sample size or survey method is provided.

Other than that, an Ipsos poll of 300 Indigenous Australians released by pro-Indigenous voice group Uluru Dialogue last week found 80% support for the proposal, including 57% who were very sure and 21% who were fairly sure, with only 10% opposed.

Supplementary elections, by-elections and no polls (open thread)

Minor electoral events from Victoria and Northern Territory in lieu of new polling news to report.

We continue to await the return of Newspoll for the year, which I imagine might be forthcoming ahead of the return of parliament next week. With Essential Research having an off week in the fortnightly cycle, this leaves me with nothing to report on the poll front. Two bits of electoral news worth noting are that the Liberals won the supplementary election for the Victorian state seat of Narracan as expected on Saturday, confirming lower house numbers of 56 for Labor, 19 for the Liberals, nine for the Nationals and four for the Greens; and that Northern Territory Chief Minister Natasha Fyles has announced that the by-election for the seat of Arafura, following the death of Labor member Lawrence Costa on December 17, will be held on March 18. With that, over to you.

Resolve Strategic and Essential Research polls (open thread)

Labor continues to record commanding leads in recent federal polls, although one records a dip in Anthony Albanese’s personal ratings.

As I ought to have reported yesterday, the Age/Herald has the first federal poll of the year from Resolve Strategic, which credits Labor with a primary vote lead of 42% (unchanged on last month) to 29% (down one), with the Greens on 11% (steady), One Nation on 6% (up two), the United Australia Party on 2% (steady) and independents on 8% (steady). Resolve Strategic does not provide two-party preferred results, but applying preference flows from last year’s election suggests a crushing Labor lead of around 60-40. Limited state breakdowns suggest Labor leads of around 60-40 in Victoria and 57.5-42.5 in New South Wales and Queensland. Anthony Albanese’s combined very good and good rating is at 60% compared with 25% for poor and very poor, while Peter Dutton is respectively at 28% and 46%, with Albanese leading 55-20 on preferred prime minister. The poll was conducted last Tuesday to Sunday from a sample of 1606.

The poll also has a suite of questions relevant to Australia Day, which find 47% support for the federal government’s policy of allowing councils to choose days other than Australia Day for citizenship ceremonies with 19% opposed; 40% in favour of a republic (up five since September) with 30% opposed (down seven); and a 31% positive rating for King Charles III’s performance, with 12% negative and 57% neutral or unsure.

Also from Resolve Strategic is a set of results in the Indigenous voice that combines its December and January poll for an overall sample of 3618. Following on from similar findings in YouGov’s New South Wales poll last week, the poll finds support for a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous voice has fallen from 53% to 47% since August and September, with opposition up a point to 30% and undecided up four to 23%. Support is at 72% among Greens voters, 61% among Labor voters and 27% among Coalition voters. When the uncommitted were forced to choose, the result came in at 60% for yes and 40% for no, in from 64% to 36% in August and September. Only 13% felt confident they could explain the proposal, with 63% saying they would struggle to and 23% saying they had never heard of it. The narrowest results at state level were 56% yes and 44% no in both Queensland and South Australia.

The first fortnightly Essential Research poll of the year includes federal voting intention figures if you know where to look, which alongside a 5% uncommitted component have primary votes of Labor 34% (down one on early December), Coalition 31% (up one), Greens 14% (up one) and others 16% (down one), with the pollster’s “2PP+” scores at 53% for Labor (up two), 42% for the Coalition (down two) and 5% uncommitted (steady). It nonetheless records a significant fall in Anthony Albanese’s still strong personal ratings, which are at 55% approval (down five) and 31% disapproval (up four).

Further questions found 33% support for both a separate day to recognise Indigenous Australians (down four on last year) with another 33% opposed (up four) and 26% believing such a day should replace Australia Day (up six). Eighty-two per cent rated Australia a better place to live than most other countries and 77% expressing pride in Australia, although 47% also agreed Australia needed to be a better global citizen with 16% disagreeing. Forty-two per cent agreed things were better for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia than ten years ago, compared with 38% for about the same and 10% for worse. The polling was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1050.

Roy Morgan also has an SMS poll of 1231 respondents conducted Friday to Monday, which finds 64% favour the name of Australia Day being retained against 36% who would prefer that it be called “Invasion Day”, and the two-party preferred federal voting intention result in its weekly video has Labor leading 59-41, in from 59.5-40.5 last week. The BludgerTrack trend results on the sidebar and full display include the Resolve Strategic and Essential Research results, but don’t make use of Roy Morgan.

YouGov Indigenous voice poll: yes 46, no 30 in NSW (open thread)

A new poll finds plurality but not majority support for a yes vote on the Indigenous voice, with many undecided.

Today’s Daily Telegraph has a YouGov poll showing 46% support for a yes vote in a referendum on an indigenous voice compared with 30% for no, with 24% undecided. Support was at 61% among Labor voters, 31% among Coalition voters and 72% among the small sample of Greens voters. Sixty-eight per cent rated that the government had done a poor job of explaining how the voice would work, with no detail provided on other responses. The poll was conducted online “last week” from a sample of 1069. UPDATE: The poll was limited to New South Wales.

Other than that, the only bit of recent polling I’m aware of is the return of Roy Morgan’s weekly update video and its regular serving of thin gruel on federal voting intention. This records Labor’s two-party lead at 59.5-40.5, out from 58.5-41.5 before the summer break, and a notably wide gap from a series that had found Labor with relatively modest leads for much of last year.

Also:

• Following the death on Tuesday of New South Wales Liberal Senator Jim Molan, reports suggest the front-runner to succeed him is fellow conservative Dallas McInerney, chief executive of Catholic Schools NSW. However, Max Maddison of The Australian reports some moderates believe the faction should try to poach the seat for one of their own, the chief contenders being defeated Wentworth MP Dave Sharma, unsuccessful Gilmore candidate Andrew Constance and thwarted Warringah preselection hopeful Jane Buncle. Tony Abbott has ruled out a suggestion by former Victorian state party president Michael Kroger that the position should go to him, although Dennis Shanahan of The Australian today reports that would be open to a lower house seat if it had “overwhelming support” in the party.

Matthew Knott of the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Thursday that moderates were urging Marise Payne to create a second New South Wales Senate vacancy by retiring shortly after the March state election, potentially to be succeeded by Fiona Martin, who lost her seat of Reid at the federal election last year; Gisele Kapterian, former staffer to Julie Bishop and Michaelia Cash; or Maria Kovacic, state party president and unsuccessful federal candidate for Parramatta. Dennis Shanahan of The Australian reported today that Payne has “told colleagues she does not intend to retire”.

Lydia Lynch of The Australian reported yesterday on a “push within Queensland’s Liberal National Party to bring former Senator Amanda Stoker back into the fold”, with the suggestion that she might topple lower-profile incumbent Paul Scarr to gain the top position on the Senate ticket at the next election. With the second place on the ticket reserved for the Nationals, and no suggestion in the report that a position might become available in the lower house, the only other possibility would be for her to again take third place. This was a losing proposition for her at last year’s election and would also require her to depose an incumbent, in this case ideological fringe dweller Gerard Rennick.

Coronial inquest

A precis of the Liberal Party’s Review of the 2022 Election, one of two major party federal election post-mortems published last month.

Both major parties published reviews of their federal election campaigns last month, the Liberal Party’s being conducted by former federal director Brian Loughnane and current Victorian Senator Jane Hume, and Labor’s being the work of Greg Combet, Lenda Oshalem, Linda White and Craig Emerson, the first two being listed as chairs and the latter two as panel members. To the best of my recollection, the publication of such reviews started to become standard some time in the noughties, although it was then generally made explicit that parts of the reports – presumably the most interesting bits – were redacted for internal viewing only. This post offers a summary of what the Liberal Party’s report had to say, and will be followed by a similar effort on the Labor report when I can find an idle moment for it.

In contrast to suggestions that Liberal internal polling had performed poorly during the Victorian state campaign, the report states that the party got its money’s worth out of its “benchmark” polling during the campaign, which it notes did not employ robo-polling. This polling showed the Coalition two-party preferred “improved at least 3-4% over the campaign period in the key seats polled”, although there wasn’t much evidence of this in published polling. Further detail that is provided tells a familiar story of weak support for the Liberals among young women, compounded at this election by a heavy swing among middle-aged women.

On this basis, the review reaches the uncontroversial conclusion that a perceived unresponsiveness to issues important to women was “not sufficiently and effectively addressed”. As is often the case with these reviews though, it does a more convincing job of identifying problems than solutions. The report rejects following Labor’s example by introducing quotas, calling only for “targets” for parliamentary representation and party membership with no mechanism for meeting them. It notes the difficulty of a membership becoming ever less representative of the electorate as it declines in numbers, a problem with deep causes that the listed recommendations are unlikely to overcome.

What remained of the party membership was said to have been further demoralised by widespread denial of rank-and-file preselection ballots. Delays to the process arising from factional disputes discouraged strong potential candidates from nominating and in some cases caused the wrong ones to be chosen, which was “a particularly problem in New South Wales”. State party administrations in general are said to have become dominated by factional warlords who had failed to build networks in the community. Once again though, the scope of the recommendations offered is limited: the federal executive is advised to set preselection timelines to be followed by the state divisions, and to implement a code of conduct for those involved in party affairs, “collegial and professional standards” having been found wanting in some quarters. The report rejects the notion of a US-style primary system, as advocated recently by Dominic Perrottet.

While Scott Morrison’s unpopularity is noted, the report to some extent paints the government as a victim of the pandemic, which allowed it little leeway to pay due regard to “political management” and elevated the profile of Labor Premiers to the Coalition’s disadvantage. This was accompanied by a failure to “define Labor and its leader before the campaign”, causing Anthony Albanese to appear as a “low-risk alternate Prime Minister”.

Perhaps constrained by a lack of authority to address policy issues, the report has little more to offer on the teal independent challenge than suggesting a well-resourced campaign of personal attacks might make the problem go away, notwithstanding the abject failure of such efforts during the campaign and the enthusiastic co-operation they received from News Corp (here some credit is due to The Australian columnist Katrina Grace Kelly, who in the wake of the Victorian result wondered if “sections of the electorate now conflate the party with sections of the media, which they regard as toxic, and perhaps they are voting to reject both this type of media as well as the party they think it represents”).

Other points of note: waiting until late in the campaign to announce major policies encouraged a perception that the government lacked a fourth-term agenda; the government’s initial support of Clive Palmer’s High Court action on border closures was an unforced error contributing to the party’s Western Australian debacle; and the party needs to pay closer attention to emerging social media platforms.

Morning Consult: PM approval ratings (open thread)

The only bit of new polling data I can identify from the past few weeks suggests Anthony Albanese has more than maintained his strong personal ratings over the New Year period.

Having waited rather too long for a new blog post topic to fall into my lap, here’s one that falls back on the regularly updated tracking poll of Anthony Albanese’s approval ratings maintained by US pollster Morning Consult, which maintains the exercise for twenty leaders internationally. While these numbers have been basically steady since June, they suggest that Albanese ended the year on something of a high, with his approval registering at either 59% or 60% after easing to 55% in November, and his disapproval down since that time from 32% to 28%.

As for when the polling treadmill will crank back into action, I note that the Age/Herald had a Resolve Strategic poll in the third week of last year, although that may have reflected the imminence of a federal election. Newspoll and Essential Research took a fortnight longer to resume regular transmission.

New year miscellany (open thread)

Two minor bits of federal polling news, a change in party representation in the House of Representatives, and looming electoral events in the Northern Territory and Victoria.

‘Tis the season to be silly, but there is at least the following to relate:

• Roy Morgan published an SMS poll a fortnight ago that found 53% would vote yes in a referendum on an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice to parliament, with 30% for no and 17% for undecided. A yes majority was recorded in five of six states, the exception being Queensland with 44% for yes and 38% for no. The poll was conducted December 9 to 12 from a sample of 1499.

• The Age/Herald reported last Wednesday on a quarterly analysis of Resolve Strategic polling, though since the pollster provides breakdowns for the three largest states with each poll result, this was less illuminating than the similar exercise performed for Newspoll. However, it did provide results for Western Australia, showing Labor up a point from its strong performance at the election to 38% and the Coalition down a further five to 30%.

• Calare MP Andrew Gee has quit the Nationals to sit as an independent over the party leadership’s opposition to an indigenous voice to parliament. This reduces the Coalition to 57 seats in the House of Representatives and increases the cross bench from 16 to 17, with Labor still on 77.

• A by-election looms for the Northern Territory seat of Arafura, which covers the Tiwi Islands along with mainland territory around West Arnhem, following the death last month of Lawrence Costa, the Labor member since 2016. A defeat would not imperil Natasha Fyles’ government, with Labor holding 14 out of the Legislative Assembly’s 25 seats, not including Blain MP Mark Turner who was expelled from caucus in February 2021.

• The Narracan supplementary election will be held on January 28, finally bringing resolution to the Victorian state election. The election for the seat was not conducted on November 26 after Nationals candidate Shaun Gilchrist died in the period between the close of nominations and election day.

• The Victorian Election Commission has announced it will conduct full preference counts through to the final counts in February, having previously only conducted the counts to the point needed to determine the winning candidate.