Joshing around (open thread)

Josh Frydenberg and his well-wishers start plans for his comeback; strong support for political truth-in-advertising laws; research on social media advertising expenditure; and new election result analysis toys.

Still nothing from Newspoll; the fortnightly Essential Research should be along this week, but may not tell us anything too exciting if it’s still holding off on resuming voting intention; and who knows what Roy Morgan might do.

Recent news items relevant to the federal sphere and within the ambit of this site:

John Ferguson of The Australian reports on Liberal plans to get Josh Frydenberg back into federal parliament, which one party source rates as “only a matter of how and when”. However, finding a vehicle for his return is a problem with no obvious solution. While some are reportedly urging him to win back Kooyong, another Liberal is quoted saying an infestation of sandals and tofu in Hawthorn means the seat is now forever lost. Another idea is for him to win Higgins back from Labor, supposedly an easier task since Labor will receive weaker preference flows than an independent. There is also the difficulty that the local party is dominated by a moderate faction of which Frydenberg does not form part, despite efforts to cultivate an impression to the contrary as he struggled to fight off Monique Ryan. Suggestions he might try his hand on the metropolitan fringes at La Trobe and Monash are running into concerns that he might go the way of Kristina Keneally. Yet another source says he might sit out two terms, the idea being that conditions are likely to remain unfavourable for the party in 2025.

• The Australia Institute has published results from a poll of 1424 respondents conducted by Dynata from the day of the election on May 21 through to 25 which found 86% agreed that truth in political advertising laws should be in place by the time of the next election, with little demographic or partisan variation. Sixty-five per cent said they had been exposed to advertising they knew to be misleading at least once a week during the campaign.

• A further study by the Australia Institute found that Labor led the field on social media advertising with expenditure of more than $5 million, after its 2019 post-election review found its social media strategy had been lacking. The Coalition collectively spent around $3.5 million and the United Australia Party $1.7 million.

Election analysis tools:

• Jim Reed of Resolve Strategic has developed a three-pronged “pendulum” to deal with the limitations of the traditional Mackerras model, which entirely assumes two-party competition. Labor, the Coalition and “others” each get a two-sided prong, with margins against the other two recorded on opposite sides.

• David Barry again provides Senate preference calculators that work off the ballot paper data to allow you to observe how each parties’ preferences divided among the various other parties, which you can narrow down according to taste. The deluxe model involves a downloadable app that you can then populate with data files, but there is now a no-frills online version that is limited to above-the-line votes.

• Andrew Conway has a site that allows you to do all sorts of things with the Senate results once you have climbed its learning curve, such as conduct a double dissolution-style count in which twelve (or any other number you care to nominate) rather than six candidates are elected in each state (on a relevant state page, click the “recount” link, enter 12 in the vacancies box towards the bottom, and click “recount”. Its tools can be used not only on each Senate election going back to 2013, but also on New South Wales local government elections at which councillors were elected under the Senate-style single transferable vote system last December.

• Mitch Gooding offers a tool that allows you to replicate how you filled out your Senate paper and calculates exactly how your vote was chopped up and distributed through various exclusions in the count and which candidates it helped elect, if any.

Morgan: 53-47 to Labor (open thread)

The first published voting intention poll since the election credits both major parties with higher primary votes than they recorded last month, for one reason or another.

Roy Morgan has published the first poll of voting intention since the election, though in its typically unpredictable way it makes clear from an accompanying chart that it has continued conducting polling on a weekly basis. The primary votes from the poll are Labor 36%, which compares with 32.6% at the election and 34% in both Morgan’s poll last week and its pre-election poll; Coalition 37%, respectively compared with 35.7%, 37% and 34%; Greens 11%, respectively compared with 12.3%, 12.5% and 13%; One Nation 4%, respectively compared with 5.0%, 3.5% and 4%; and United Australia Party 0.5%, respectively compared with 4.1%, 1% and 1%. The two-party preferred result from the poll is 53-47 in favour of Labor, compared with about 52-48 at the election, 54-46 in last week’s poll and 53-47 in the final pre-election Morgan poll.

The two-party state breakdowns have the Coalition with an unlikely 53.5-46.5 lead in New South Wales, after losing there by 51.4-48.6 at the election; Labor with a scarcely more plausible 60.5-39.5 lead in Victoria, which they won by about 54-46 (here the two-party election count is not quite finalised); 50-50 in Queensland, where the Coalition won 54-46; Labor ahead by 50.5-49.5 in Western Australia, where they won 55-45 at the election; Labor ahead by 60.5-39.5 in South Australia, where they won 54-46; and Labor ahead 63-37 in Tasmania, where they won 54.3-45.7. It should be noted that sample sizes for the small states especially low, and margins of error correspondingly high. The poll was conducted online and by phone last Monday to Sunday from a sample of 1401.

This post is intended as the open thread for general political discussion – if you have something more in-depth to offer on the results of the recent election, you might like to chime in on my new post looking at the Australian National University’s new study of surveys conducted early in the campaign and immediately after the election, or the ongoing discussion of the Senate results.

Flying blind (open thread)

A Labor-eye-view of the election result from the party’s national secretary; the AEC’s response to social media misinformation; but nothing doing on the polling front, apart from some numbers on media trust.

Despite the polls not having failed as such, in that they uniformly picked the right winner, it seems we’re having another post-election voting intention polling drought just like we did in 2019. This is unfortunate from my perspective, as it would be interesting to compare Labor’s strength during its honeymoon period with that of newly elected governments past. It also means I have to work harder on material for regular open thread posts. Here’s what I’ve got this time:

• The Reuters Institute last week published its international Digital News Report 2022, the Australian segment of which was conducted by the University of Canberra, which asked questions on media consumption and trust. Respondents were asked to rank their trust in various media brands on a scale of one to ten. Typically for such surveys, this found the highest level of trust in public broadcasters, with ABC News ranking first and SBS News ranking second; television networks and broadsheet newspapers in the middle; and tabloid newspapers, specifically the Herald Sun and the Daily Telegraph, ranking last. The survey was conducted online in January and February from a sample of 2038.

• In an address to the National Press Club last week, Labor national secretary Paul Erickson dated a shift in voter sentiment in Labor’s favour from the announcement of the Solomon Islands’ pact with China on April 1. Erickson said voters were struck by the contrast between the Coalition’s “immature” warmongering rhetoric and attempts to associate Labor with the Chinese Communist Party and Labor’s promise to “restore Australia’s place as the partner of choice” for Pacific Islands countries. He further noted that the rot set in for Scott Morrison amid COVID outbreaks in mid-2021, when Labor internal polling showed his net competence score fall by 14 points in two weeks over late June and early July. The Coalition was also damaged by cabinet ministers’ partisan attacks on state governments in Western Australia and Victoria, and it was rated lower by voters on housing and wages.

• Saturday’s Financial Review reported on the Australian Electoral Commission’s efforts to confront online disinformation about the election process head on, through the work of its election integrity assurance taskforce and a media unit that abandoned bureaucratic formality in engaging with social media on social media’s terms. Electoral commissioner Tom Rogers claimed they had a “70 to 80 per cent success rate in changing minds”, and that Twitter had been “a bit self-correcting as a result”: “Someone would say something and you’d see people say, ‘hang on, that doesn’t sound right, I heard the AEC say this or that’”.

• Tom Rogers also foreshadows possible changes to electoral laws to allow for faster counting of postal votes after election day by streamlining the existing process whereby ballots are sorted at a central location and then sent to the voter’s electorate before they are counted.

• Nominations for the South Australian state by-election for Bragg on July 2 closed on Thursday, drawing a field of six candidates who are listed on my by-election guide.

Other recent posts on the site:

• A post on the Queensland Senate result, which was confirmed on Thursday. The buttons will be pressed today on the results for New South Wales at 9:30am and, most interestingly, Victoria at 10am. That will just leave Western Australia – the post just linked to considers at length the remote possibility that Labor might not win a third seat, as is being generally assumed.

• Courtesy of Adrian Beaumont, a preview and live commentary of France’s legislative elections, plus news on British by-elections and American opinion polling.

• A post on Saturday’s Callide state by-election in Queensland, a safe conservative seat which the Liberal National Party has retained with a swing in its favour of 6.5% against Labor.

Essential Research: Albanese approval bounce, economic conditions, republic (open thread)

Essential Research records a surge in approval for Anthony Albanese in one of the few items of polling to have come down the chute since the election.

The Guardian reports on the latest fortnightly Essential Research poll, which it seems won’t be treating us to voting intention for the time being. However, it does provide us with leadership ratings, which record a bounce for Anthony Albanese impressive even by the standards of post-election honeymoon polling: his approval rating is now at 59%, up from 42% in the final pre-election poll, while his disapproval rating has plunged from 41% to 18%. However, nothing is reported on ratings for Peter Dutton or a preferred prime minister result.

The poll also finds an eight point increase since pre-election on the question of whether Australia is headed in the right direction to 48%, with the negative response down from 42% to 27%. It apparently shows “about a third” expect economic conditions will improve over the next year, which is up five points though I’m not sure when the previous question was asked, with 40% expecting things to get worse, with expectations evenly balanced with respect to personal finances. Thirty-five per cent thought the new government would be better for their personal finances compared with 18% for one led by Peter Dutton. Asked whether Australia should become a republic with an Australian head of state, 44% said yes and 34% no, the latter being six points higher than when the question was last asked in March last year.

More detail from the poll will become available when the full report is published later today (UPDATE: Full report here). I am unable to offer any insight as to when Newspoll will be back, when Essential Research will resume voting intention polling, or what the enigmatic Roy Morgan organisation might do. However, I can relate that Ipsos’s and Resolve Strategic’s contracts ended with the election, though that’s not to say they won’t show up again in some form at some point.

Rich Liberal, poor Liberal

A beginner’s guide to debate on the conservative side of politics about how the Liberal Party should react to its election defeat, and in particular the loss of its traditional strongholds to the teal independents.

In the wake of the Morrison government’s defeat, a culture war has broken out within the Liberal Party between those who consider recovering the teal independent seats a necessary precondition for a return to power and those who believe they should be abandoned to the political left so the party might pursue different constituencies in seats that have been swinging away from Labor, notably Hunter, Werriwa, McEwen and Gorton. Support for the latter notion has been provided by former Morrison government adviser Mark Briers, who says the party “must move our party’s focus, talent and resources away from Camberwell and Malvern towards Craigieburn and Melton”, and right-wing Victorian Liberal MP Tim Smith, who says his party should “stop obsessing with the woke concerns and obsessions with the inner-urban elites”, and “take the focus off Kew” – his own seat, until November at least – “and focus on Cranbourne”.

Repudiating his soon-to-be-former colleague, former Victorian Liberal leader Michael O’Brien told The Australian there was “no path to 45 seats” at the November state election “that doesn’t run through Malvern, Kew and Hawthorn”, the latter of which was unexpectedly lost to Labor in 2018. Similarly, federal MP Paul Fletcher – who has an interest in the matter as member for the Sydney seat of Bradfield, one of only two out of the ten wealthiest electorates that remain with the Liberal Party – wrote in The Australian on Saturday that he has not heard notions to the contrary “seriously advanced by fellow Liberals”, by which I think he means he has not heard it advanced by serious fellow Liberals. However, his prescriptions for accomplishing took pains to avoid seriously criticising his own party and offered no suggestion of any policy reorientation.

Scott Morrison, who clearly isn’t kept awake at night by jibes about him being “from marketing”, proposes a middle course, seemingly based on the notion that brand damage from the Nationals had a lot to do with his government’s defeat. As reported by Sharri Markson of The Australian, Morrison proposes the solution of a re-forged coalition in which a Queensland-style Liberal National Party serves as the main brand, allied to a distinct “new progressive Liberal movement” to run in the kinds of seats lost to the teal independents.

The loss of those seats has prompted much talk about the demise of the socio-economic cleavage that has historically defined the Australian party system, including a claim in a Financial Review headline that “for the first time Labor voters earn more than Coalition voters” – later amended to “Labor electorates earn more than Coalition seats” after it was pointed out that the initial claim was wrong. The issue with such analyses is known as the ecological fallacy, whereby inferences about individual behaviour are drawn from aggregate-level data — in this case the notion that because the electorates held by the Coalition have declined in income, it follows that their support base has as well.

YouGov data scientist Shaun Ratcliff addressed this issue by drawing on the surveying for the pollster’s multi-level regression and post-stratification poll, which reached 18,923 respondents three to five weeks out from election day. Ratcliff found that while the traditional income cleavage was reduced at this election, it certainly did not disappear. Among home-owners on $150,000 a year or more, 44% voted Coalition, 31% Labor and 10% Greens; among those on $50,000 a year or less who did not own homes, 40% voted Labor, 27% Greens and just 16% voted Coalition. While the effect was somewhat weaker among those under 35, Ratcliff provides a series of charts illustrating the clear tendency of wealthier voters to favour the Coalition over Labor and “others” (Greens support did not appear contingent on income).

This was also true within the teal independent seats, with Kooyong and Goldstein in particular having experienced an influx of apartment-dwelling “young middle-income professionals”, as noted by Remy Vega in The Australian. Data from the YouGov poll suggests the Liberal vote in the twenty seats targeted by Climate 200 was around seven points lower among those on $50,000 or less than among those on higher incomes. More broadly, Ratcliff notes that “renters also swung away from the Liberal and National Party more than homeowners and the young more than the old”.

Sticky wicket (open thread)

Schemes hatched by WA Liberals seeking a quick path out of the wilderness; a new Tasmanian state poll; nothing doing on the federal poll front.

I was hoping Newspoll might be back in the game three weeks after election day, but it seems normal service is yet to resume. Presumably Essential Research will have numbers of some sort tomorrow, but it remains to be seen if they will encompass voting intention. I hope to have more to offer shortly on whether other pollsters are still in the game in the immediate term, or whether they have pulled stumps for the time being. That just leaves me with the following miscellany to relate by way of a new open thread post:

Joe Spagnolo of the Sunday Times reported yesterday on a plan within the Western Australian Liberals to have former test cricketer and national team coach Justin Langer lead the party into the next state election in 2025. The suggestion is that the current leader, David Honey, might be persuaded to relinquish his seat of Cottesloe, one of only two lower house seats the party retained at the 2021 election. It is an any case “widely accepted that Dr Honey won’t lead the WA Liberals to the next election”, with Vasse MP Libby Mettams “his likely replacement” – indeed his only possible replacement out of the existing ranks of the Liberals’ lower house contingent.

Katina Curtis and Shane Wright of the Sydney Morning Herald have taken the trouble to compile the results of the 75,368 telephone votes cast by those in COVID-19 isolation, finding that Labor, Greens or independents candidates out-performed on them on two-candidate preferred relative to the overall results in all but eight lower house seats. Kevin Bonham is quoted in the article noting that infections are more prevalent of left-leaning demographics, namely the young and those employed in exposed occupations, though I also tend to think there may be a greater tendency for those on the right of politics to keep their illnesses to themselves.

• One bit of poll news at least: the latest quarterly Tasmanian state poll from EMRS has been published, the first since Jeremy Rockliff succeeded Peter Gutwein as Premier. It finds the Liberals down two points since March to 39%, Labor down one to 30%, the Greens up one to 13% and others up two to 18%. Rockliff leads Labor’s Rebecca White 47-34 as preferred premier, compared with Gutwein’s lead of 52-33 in March. The poll was conducted May 27 to June 2 through telephone interviews from a sample of 1000.

Lydia Lynch of The Australian reports that Julie-Ann Campbell, Queensland Labor’s outgoing state secretary and now associate partner with consultancy firm EY, is “expected to run for federal politics” – specifically for the seat of Moreton, which Graham Perrett has held for Labor since 2007.

There’s a fair bit going on at the site at the moment, so here’s a quick run-through the subjects of recent posts with on-topic discussion threads, as opposed to the open thread on this post:

• The future direction of the Liberal Party, with debate raging as to whether it should focus on recovering blue-ribbon seats from the teal independents or cutting them loose and pursuing a new course through suburban and regional seats traditionally held by Labor;

• The three state by-elections looming in the Queensland seat of Callide, the South Australian seat of Bragg and the Western Australian seat of North West Central;

• The ongoing count from the federal election, which remains of interest in relation to several Senate contests, with the pressing of the button looking reasonably imminent in South Australia and the two territories.

SEC Newgate post-election poll (open thread)

A post-election survey finds Labor recovered support among middle-aged men, while women drove the surge to the Greens and independents.

The local branch of international communications firm SEC Newgate has published a post-election survey as part of a regular monthly series that had hitherto escaped my notice. Among its findings are that 28% of Labor voters at the election had voted for a different party or candidate in 2019, and that the party had “regained some traction with its traditional base”, particularly among middle-aged men. Conversely, the flight to the Greens and independents was driven overwhelmingly by women.

The survey also found 54% felt Australia was headed in the right direction post-election, up from 47% in April, and 52% felt the success of independents was good for Australia. Labor was considered the best party to handle housing by 42% to 25%, although its policy for partial government investment in private homes had only 38% support. The Coalition’s policy to allow first home buyers to draw on their superannuation was supported and opposed by 40% apiece, but its “downsizer” reforms were supported by 52% and opposed by 18%. Fifty-nine per cent supported an indigenous voice to parliament, with only 16% opposed. The survey was conducted May 23 to 27 from a sample of 1403.

Note also the post below dealing with the election result in the two Northern Territory seats, in what will be the first of a number of “call of the board” posts. It also marks a new leaf I’m at least planning on turning over in which I will increase the frequency of specialised posts with on-topic discussion threads, distinct from the usual poll-driven open threads like this one. We’ll see if I’m actually able to devote enough energy to the blog to make this viable long term. In any case, the open thread posts will henceforth be designated as such in their titles, as per the above.

Cabinet and counter-cabinet

As the dust settles (for the most part) on the election count, both sides get their line-ups in order.

There is a post below from Adrian Beaumont on the unfolding drama in British politics and another one here relating the last scraps of counting for House of Representatives seats. As for this post:

• Both sides now have their front benches in place, the announcement of the Albanese government’s front bench last Monday resulting in promotion to cabinet rank for Murray Watt and and Clare O’Neil, respective beneficiaries of Left and Right vacancies caused by the electoral defeats of Terri Butler and Kristina Keneally. Anne Aly of the Left and Anika Wells and Kristy McBain of the Right have been promoted to the outer ministry, filling vacancies created by the promotion of Watt and O’Neil and the relegation of Shayne Neumann to the back bench as his Left faction sought to achieve gender balance.

• Peter Dutton’s shadow ministry was unveiled yesterday. The Nationals’ relative electoral success resulted in them gaining a sixth position in cabinet, their new entrants being Susan McDonald in resources and northern Australia, Perin Davey in water and Kevin Hogan in trade and tourism. Seven Liberals won promotion to shadow cabinet: Jane Hume in finance and public service, Andrew Hastie in defence, Julian Leeser in attorney-general and indigenous Australians, Jonathan Duniam in environment, fisheries and forestry, Ted O’Brien in climate change and energy, Michael Sukkar in social services and NDIS and Sarah Henderson in communications. Angus Taylor was rewarded for his record of integrity with Treasury and Alan Tudge is definitely in education now. Stuart Robert (Liberal) and Andrew Gee (Nationals) have been demoted to the outer shadow ministry, Alex Hawke, Linda Reynolds and Melissa Price (Liberal) and Keith Pitt (Nationals) are relegated to the back bench, and Marise Payne is now shadow cabinet secretary after apparently having “asked not to be considered for a prominent role”. Others formerly present and now absent: Scott Morrison, Josh Frydenberg, Ken Wyatt and Greg Hunt.

The Australian reports Scott Morrison is “expected to weigh up his future in the coming months, but is understood to be in no immediate rush to quit politics”.

UPDATE: A discussion of various matters relating to the election between me and Ben Raue of The Tally Room: