Morgan: 56-44 to Labor

More of the same from Morgan, plus further poll findings from Utting Research’s WA poll and a monster YouGov survey on carbon emissions.

The fortnightly Roy Morgan federal poll had Labor leading 56-44, in from 56.5-43.5 last time. The primary votes were Coalition 33.5% (down half), Labor 37% (down half), Greens 11.5% (steady), One Nation 3% (down half) and United Australia Party 1% (steady).

The state breakdowns have Labor leading 56.6-43.5 in New South Wales (out from 56-44, a swing of around 9%), 60-40 in Victoria (in from 63.5-36.5, a swing of around 7%), 53-47 in Western Australia (out from 52-48, a swing of around 8.5%), 54.5-45.5 in South Australia (out from 52.5-47.5, a swing of around 4%) and 66.5-33.5 from the small sample in Tasmania (a swing of 10.5%), with the Coalition leading 52-48 in Queensland (a swing to Labor of around 6.5%).

The poll was conducted Thursday, March 3 to Sunday, March 13 from a sample of 1947.

Other poll snippets:

• The West Australian has continued to eke out results of its Utting Research poll, encompassing 750 respondents in the seats of Tangney, Hasluck, Pearce and Swan, from which the voting intention findings were covered here. Leadership ratings from the poll show Scott Morrison on 42% approval and 43% disapproval, which is broadly similar to other polling; Anthony Albanese on 28% approval and 45% disapproval, which is quite a bit worse (the most recent Newspoll breakdown from the state had it at 28% and 45%); and Mark McGowan on 67% approval and 24% disapproval. Further findings from the poll reported yesterday showed 31% saying they were worried about the COVID situation in WA, with 31% not worried; 34% confident hospitals can handle the pressure, with 38% not confident; 49% rating petrol prices will be an issue for them at the federal election, with 41% saying they will not be; and 49% holding that Australia should do more to help Ukraine, with 23% thinking otherwise.

• My own poll trend calculations provide the basis of this review of the situation by CGM Communications, which feature more up-to-date state trend measures than those presently to be found on my BludgerTrack display.

• A YouGov survey of 15,000 respondents, commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation, found 29% support for the government’s position on net zero carbon emissions by 2050, 41% believed it did not go far enough and 12% felt it went too far. The sample size allowed for breakdowns by electorate, which can be explored in detail on the Age/Herald site

Essential Research and Roy Morgan polls (and Resolve Strategic too)

One pollster moves closer to the pack by recording movement to Labor, while another remains consistent in projecting a Labor landslide.

Two new polls that have come down the chute overnight:

• Essential Research’s voting intention numbers, which will now be reportedly every fortnight, have Labor up three to 38%, the Coalition down two to 35%, the Greens steady on 9%, One Nation up one to 5%, the United Australia Party up one to 3% and undecided down two to 6%. The pollster’s “2PP+” measure has Labor up two to 49%, the Coalition down one to 45% and undecided down one to 6%. The poll also features the monthly leadership ratings, which have Scott Morrison down two on approval to 44% and up three on disapproval to 49%, whereas Anthony Albanese is up three on approval to 42% and steady on 39% disapproval. Morrison leads 40-35 on preferred prime minister, in from 42-34 a month ago. These results, together with breakdowns by state, age cohort, gender and more besides, can be found on the pollster’s website. I note that One Nation’s increase to their equal highest level for the past term is driven by a six-point increase in Queensland to 10%, though I’d want to see that repeated before reading anything into it.

The report in The Guardian features results from the survey’s attitudinal questions. Several of these relate to the particularly pertinent question of Australia’s relationship with China, and like just about everything else from these polls, the results are not encouraging for the government: 37% said they had more trust in Labor to manage the relationship compared with 28% for the Coalition and 34% for unsure. Sixty-one per cent regard the relationship as “a complex dynamic to be managed”, with only 26% preferring an alternative characterisation as “a threat to be confronted”.

The Essential poll was conducted online from Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1089. Further results from the poll, including the regular series on federal and state government COVID-19 management, will presumably be along with the full report later today.

• Also out is the latest fortnightly result from Roy Morgan, which seems to have introduced a longer delay between its field work and the release of the results for whatever reason. The latest numbers are even worse for the Coalition than the last: they are steady on 33% of the primary vote, with Labor up one to 38.5%, the Greens steady on 11.5%, One Nation up half to 4%, the United Australia Party down half to 1.5% and independents steady on 8%. The respondent-allocated two-party measure, which for this pollster at least is consistenly more favourable for Labor than the previous election preferences method would be, has Labor’s lead out from 56.5-43.6 to 57-43.

State two-party breakdowns are provided, showing Labor leading 59-41 in New South Wales (out from 54-46 for a swing of about 11.5%), 57.5-42.5 in Victoria (in from 59-41, a swing of about 4.5%), 51.5-48.5 in Queensland (unchanged, a swing of about 10%), 53.5-46.5 in Western Australia (in from 55.5-44.5, a swing of about 9%), 59.5-40.5 in South Australia (in from 64-36, a swing of about 9%) and 65-35 in Tasmania (out from 61.5-38.5, a swing of about 9%). The poll was conducted online and by phone from January 31 to February 13 from a sample of 2796.

I have updated the BludgerTrack poll (though I’m going to hold off updating the state-level trends for a bit for commercial reasons), which now shows Labor’s lead exceeding 56-44 and the two leaders’ net satisfaction ratings crossing paths, putting Albanese ahead for the first time since the onset of the pandemic. If that’s still not enough fresh content for you, note my newly published South Australian election guide and the introductory blog post and thread below, if you have any thoughts you would like to share concerning a campaign now officially in its first week.

UPDATE (Resolve Strategic): Now we have the monthly Resolve Strategic poll for the Age/Herald, which records the Coalition down one to 33%, Labor steady at 35%, the Greens down one to 10% and One Nation steady on 3%, independents down one to 10% and “others” up three to 9%.

Resolve Strategic doesn’t publish two-party numbers, but this comes out at a Labor lead of about 53-47 based on previous election preferences. The state breakdowns imply about 52-48 to Labor in New South Wales, 53.5-46.5 in Victoria and 50-50 in Queensland, for respective swings to Labor of about 4%, 0.5% and 8.5%. Contra Essential Research, One Nation is down four points in Queensland to 9%.

Scott Morrison’s personal ratings have significantly deteriorated, his approval down three to 38% and disapproval up six to 56%, while Anthony Albanese is respectively up two to 36% and up one to 42%. Morrison’s lead as preferred prime minister has nonetheless widened slightly, from 38-31 to 39-30. The poll was conducted Tuesday to Sunday from a sample of 1604.

Morgan: 55.5-44.5 to Labor

Roy Morgan’s fortnightly poll gives the Coalition further cause for alarm, although the headline figure may have been juiced a little by an excessive preference flow to Labor.

The latest fortnightly federal poll from Roy Morgan records Labor’s lead increasing from 54-46 in the previous poll to 55.5-44.5, from primary votes of 35.5% of both the Coalition (down one) and Labor (up one), 12% for the Greens (up half) and 3.5% for One Nation (steady). It has been noted that the two-party result, which is based on respondent-allocated preferences, credits Labor with nearly 70% of all minor party and independent preferences compared with 60% at the 2019 election. This has to some extent been a feature of Morgan’s polling throughout the current term, though never quite to this degree before. Given the size of the non-major party vote in the poll, the effect of such distinctions is considerable, adding around two-and-a-half points to Labor’s two-party result compared with the 2019 election and more than one point compared with the previous poll a fortnight ago.

State breakdowns credit Labor with two-party leads in all six states, a first for the sixteen Morgan polls published this term (the first of which was in July last year). Labor’s two-party results are 55.5% in New South Wales (up two points on last time for a swing of nearly 8%), 58% in Victoria (up three, a swing of about 5%), 51.5-48.5 in Queensland (up four-and-a-half points, a swing of around 10%), 53.5% in Western Australia (steady, a swing of around 9%), 55.5% in South Australia (down two, a swing of around 5%) and 53% from the particularly small sample size in Tasmania (down five, a 3% swing to the Liberals). The poll was conducted over the previous two weekends from a sample of 2795.

Also, it’s been pointed out to me that the new Essential Research website includes the voting intention numbers from the last two polls, although it seems the existing policy of unloading these results once a quarter will otherwise be maintained. After excluding the 7% undecided, the latest result is Coalition 39.4%, Labor 38.3%, Greens 10.6%, One Nation 4.3% and United Australia Party 2.1%. The pollster’s “2PP+” measure has it at Labor 48, Coalition 45 and undecided 7; applying 2019 preference flows, I make it around 52-48 to Labor.

The display also features a lot of previously unavailable results from early last year, plus results throughout the term for the United Australia Party (whose much-touted recent surge doesn’t amount to much if this pollster is to be believed). This provides a lot of new grist for the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, which you can peruse here. The changes recorded in the “since previous” column show the effect of the three voting intention polls since Newspoll, which included a relatively strong result for the Coalition from Resolve Strategic, a slightly above par one from Essential Research, and a weak one from Roy Morgan.

Morgan poll, Essential Research voting intention and more

Two more weak sets of voting intention numbers for the government, plus the latest on voter identification and looming New South Wales state by-elections.

Two new bits of federal polling news:

• Roy Morgan’s fortnightly poll has Labor’s two-party lead out from 53-47 to 54-46, from primary votes of Coalition 36.5% (down one), Labor 35% (down one), Greens 13.5% (up two) and One Nation 3.5% (up half). The state breakdowns have Labor leading in New South Wales with 55.5% of the two-party vote (up two on the last poll for a swing of about 7.5% compared with the 2019 election), in Victoria with 56.5% (up half a point for a swing of about 3.5%), in Western Australia with 55% (steady, a swing of about 10.5%) and in Tasmania from a very small sample with 58% (up five, a swing of about 2%). The Coalition leads with 51.5% in both Queensland (down three-and-a-half points, a swing to Labor of about 7%) and, anomalously, South Australia (up six, a swing to the Coalition of about 2%). The poll was conducted over the past two weeks from a sample of 2778.

• Essential Research has at last come good with its occasional dump of voting intention data, providing results from its last nine fortnightly surveys. If the 6% undecided are removed from the equation, and the results are rounded to the nearest half a point, the primary votes convert to Coalition 39.5%, Labor 38.5%, Greens 10.5% and One Nation 3%. If preference flows from 2019 are used, this comes out at around 52-48 in favour of Labor. The pollster’s “2PP+” measure has Labor on 49% and 45%, without allocating the 6% undecided. These numbers are Labor’s strongest over the period covered by the release, which goes back to the start of July.

I’ll finally get around to adding all of this, together with this week’s Resolve Strategic poll, to the BludgerTrack aggregate later today. Also:

• The new voter identification bill was introduced to parliament yesterday and can be viewed here. The Guardian reports Centre Alliance Senator Stirling Griff is “generally supportive”, which could give the government the vote it needs to get it through the Senate together with those of the two One Nation Senators. The report also says Pauline Hanson is claiming credit for the measure, saying she had made it a condition for her party’s support for government legislation lowering the threshold for political campaigners to lodge financial statements conditional. Antony Green’s account of the issue is naturally definitive; Peter Brent also offers his thoughts at Inside Story.

• Julie Owens, who has held the seat of Parramatta for Labor since 2004, has announced she will retire at the election. Joanne Vella of the Parramatta Advertiser reports that Julia Finn, who holds the state seat of Granville, is not ruling out seeking the nomination, potentially setting up yet another state by-election. Durga Owen, criminal lawyer and Western Sydney University lecturer, has confirmed her intention to run.

• Vince Connelly, Liberal member for the soon-to-be-abolished seat of Stirling and unsuccessful preselection candidate for the safe seat of Moore, has confirmed his intention to run for the far less attractive prospect of Cowan, held for Labor by Anne Aly on a post-redistribution margin of 0.9%.

• The Victorian state redistribution has been finalised, and you can read all about it here. I haven’t had time to look at it in any depth, but you can join in a discussion about it on the Victorian Resolve Strategic poll thread that went up yesterday.

New South Wales by-election latest:

• Andrew Constance has announced he will not resign from his New South Wales state seat of Bega until November 26, which, as Antony Green notes, means the by-election for the seat is unlikely to be held this year, and certainly not on December 4, which has been mooted as the date for a “super Saturday” of by-elections coinciding with the state’s local government elections. Indeed, it does not seem that any of the members who have announced their imminent departures has actually formally resigned yet.

• A third contender has emerged for the Liberal preselection in Willoughby to succeed Gladys Berejiklian in Kellie Sloane, former host of the Today Show and Seven Sunrise. The other two contenders are Willoughby mayor Gail Giles-Gidney and Menzies Research Centre executive general manager Tim James, although a senior Liberal quoted by James O’Doherty of the Daily Telegraph describes the latter as “not a viable option” since he could potentially lose the seat.

UK Batley and Spen by-election minus one day

Conservatives likely to gain a second seat at a by-election. Also covered: French regional elections and a massive stuff-up on preferential voting in New York City.


5:30pm If the expected loss had occurred, many in Labour would have been calling for Keir Starmer’s head. So Starmer and his allies will be jubilant at this result.

4:58pm Labour HOLD Batley and Spen. Vote shares were 35.3% Labour (down 7.4%), 34.4% Tory (down 1.6%) and 21.9% for the Workers’ Party’s Galloway. This result is very contrary to expectations of a Tory gain. While Galloway was expected to help the Tories by taking away from Labour, some people who may have voted Tory probably voted Galloway as he was another anti-establishment candidate. Also, the Tory lead in national polls has fallen from low double digits to high single digits. Maybe this reflects the vaccination surge for the Tories finally wearing off, plus the Matt Hancock scandal.

11:55am I need to leave soon, so I won’t be able to post the result until I get back later this afternoon. But local council by-election results look dire for Labour – you can read about them on the Britain Elects Twitter account.

11:50am Friday George Galloway stood in Batley and Spen for the Workers’ Party on a platform to the left of Labour. A tweet from a Daily Mirror correspondent says his party expects Galloway to come second, driving Labour into third.

9:15am Even though preferences were entirely optional at this NYC election, just 29.3% of all votes cast for candidates other than Adams and Garcia exhausted. That’s far less than in NSW for eg the Upper Hunter by-election, when over 60% of all minor candidates’ preferences exhausted.

9am Thursday Garcia trails Adams by almost 15,000 votes (51.1-48.9) in the corrected NYC preferential vote with over 125,000 postals still to be added that are expected to favour Garcia. Garcia edged out Wiley by just 0.1% at the second last count.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

Polls for the UK Labour-held Batley and Spen by-election close at 7am AEST Friday. This seat voted 60% Leave at the Brexit referendum. The 2019 results were 42.7% Labour (down 12.7% since 2017), 36.0% Conservative (down 2.8%), 12.2% for an independent, 4.7% Lib Dem (up 2.4%) and 3.2% Brexit party. A Survation poll two weeks ago gave the Conservatives a 47-41 lead over Labour.

If the Conservatives win Batley and Spen, it would be their second gain at a by-election this term, following their early May triumph in Hartlepool. Except for 1961, when the Conservatives gained after the winning Labour candidate was disqualified, this would be the first time since 1929 that an incumbent government gained two seats at by-elections.

I believe Labour is in trouble in its seats that voted for Brexit because of education polarisation. I wrote in May for The Conversation that whites without a university education are deserting left-leaning parties in Australia, the US and the UK.

While the Conservatives have been winning in Brexit voting Labour seats, they were rebuffed at the Chesham and Amersham by-election last fortnight. The Lib Dems won 56.7% (up a massive 30.4%), the Conservatives 35.5% (down 19.9%), the Greens 3.9% (down 1.6%) and Labour a pathetic 1.6% (down 11.2%). This seat was 55% Remain.

This by-election was the 15th largest “two party” swing in UK by-elections. The Lib Dems and their Liberal predecessors have benefited in seven of the larger swings, with some others having MPs who switched parties before resigning and recontesting. However, Labour’s vote share appears to be their lowest at a by-election they contested.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock resigned on Saturday after pictures of him kissing his female aide were published by The Sun on Friday. Hancock’s major problem was not infidelity to his wife, but that he had advocated social distancing during COVID, but was not distancing from his aide. A national poll taken on Monday gave the Conservatives a seven point lead, down from 11 the previous week.

French regional elections and polling for 2022 presidential election

French regional elections were held in two rounds on June 20 and 27. The Guardian reported that results were disappointing for both Marine le Pen’s far-right National Rally, and incumbent president Emmanuel Macron’s centrist La République en Marche. Neither party won any regions, as the centre-left Socialists and centre-right Républicains dominated. Turnout was low, with 66% of registered voters abstaining.

The first round of the French presidential election will be held in April 2022. If no candidate wins at least 50%, a runoff between the top two is held a fortnight after the first round.

For the first round, le Pen is just ahead of Macron, by about 27% to 26%, with both well ahead of other candidates who are under 18%. In the second round, Macron is leading le Pen by about 53.5-46.5. That’s well down from Macron’s crushing 66.1-33.9 margin in 2017, though polls understated Macron’s vote then.

Preferential voting comes to New York City!

The Democratic mayoral primary for NYC occurred on June 22 using preferential voting for the first time. As NYC is heavily Democratic, the Democratic nominee is almost certain to win the November general election.

Black former policeman Eric Adams led on first preferences with 31.7%, followed by left-wing activist Maya Wiley with 22.3%, former NYC sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia with 19.5% and 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang with 11.7%.

These primary votes reflected the election night count. Over 140,000 votes were added and preferences were distributed on Tuesday (US time), and Garcia was just ahead of Wiley at the penultimate count, before losing to Adams by 51.1-48.9. The nearly 16,000 Adams margin excluded over 124,000 postal votes that are expected to favour Garcia.

But late on Tuesday, the NYC Board of Elections yanked these results. Analyst Dave Wasserman said something was wrong with the 140,000 additional votes, which had low vote shares for the four major candidates – they’re mostly test votes that hadn’t been removed. Maybe we’ll get clearer results Thursday AEST, but currently this NYC election is a massive stuff-up. This will provide ammunition for Trump’s baseless fraud claims.

I will update this article in the next two days to follow developments in NYC and Batley and Spen.

Palace intrigue

A thread for discussion of today’s release of correspondence between Sir John Kerr and Buckingham Palace before the dismissal of the Whitlam government in 1975.

At 11am today, the Australian public will finally be privy to a long-delayed footnote to the 1975 constitutional crisis when a reluctant National Archives releases material that will include correspondence between Sir John Kerr and Buckingham Palace from immediately before the dismissal of the Whitlam government on November 11. This follows a long campaign by Monash University historian Professor Jenny Hocking, whose efforts established the existence of the material and a stipulation by the Palace after Kerr’s death in 1991 that it should not be unveiled until 2027, and perhaps not even then. It had hitherto been the position of the National Archives that the material constituted personal communication, which Hocking succeeded in having the High Court overturn in a 6-1 ruling in May.

Happy trails

As the election campaign enters a hiatus, a look at where the leaders have been and why.

As the Easter/Anzac Day suspension of hostilities begins, it may be instructive to look at where the leaders have travelled during the campaign’s preliminary phase. Featured over the fold is a display listing the electorates that have been targeted, as best as I can tell, and a very brief summary of what they were up to while they were there. Certain entries are in italics where it is seems clear that the area was not targeted for its electoral sensitivity, such as Bill Shorten’s visit to Melbourne’s West Gate Tunnel project to get some good vision presenting him as a champion of infrastructure, which happened to place him in the unloseable Labor seat of Gellibrand. There are also a few entries that clearly targeted more than one electorate, in which case the margin for the secondary elected is listed on a second line.

What stands out is that Scott Morrison has hit a number of Labor-held seats, consistent with the optimistic impression the Liberals are presenting about their prospects – an assessment which, on this evidence, does not look to be fully shared by Labor. The only activity of Shorten’s that had Labor territory as its primary target was his visit to the Northern Territory on Thursday. Of equal interest to Shorten’s pattern of travel is the clarity of Labor’s early campaign theme of health policy, in contrast of the grab bag of messages promoted by Scott Morrison.

Continue reading “Happy trails”

Election minus five weeks

Candidates on both sides of the aisle drop out of contention, Peter Dutton suffers a self-inflicted wound in Dickson, and Shooters Fishers and Farmers rein in their expectations.

Two days in the campaign, and already much to relate:

• Labor’s audacious gambit of running former Fremantle MP Melissa Parke in Curtin has proved short-lived, after a controversy brewed over comments she had made critical of Israel. Parke announced her withdrawal after the Herald Sun presented the Labor campaign with claims she had told a meeting of WA Labor for Palestine that she could “remember vividly” – presumably not from first-hand experience – a pregnant refugee being ordered to drink bleach at a Gaza checkpoint. Parke is also said to have spoken of Israel’s “influence in our political system and foreign policy”, no doubt bringing to the party hierarchy’s mind the turmoil that has lately engulfed the British Labour Party in relation to such matters. In her statement last night, Parke said her views were “well known, but I don’t want them to be a running distraction from electing a Labor government”. James Campbell of the Herald Sun notes the forum was also attended by Parkes’ successor in Fremantle, Josh Wilson.

• Meanwhile, Liberal Party vetting processes have caused the withdrawal on Section 44 grounds of three candidates in who-cares seats in Melbourne. They are Cooper candidate Helen Jackson, who dug her heels in when told her no-chance candidacy required her to abandon her job at Australia Post, so that the integrity of executive-legislative relations might be preserved; Lalor candidate Kate Oski, who is in danger of being Polish; and Wills candidate Vaishali Ghosh, who was, as The Age put it in a report I hope no one from overseas reads, “forced to step aside over her Indian heritage”.

• Peter Dutton has been under fire for his rhetorical overreach against Ali France, the Labor candidate in his marginal seat of Dickson. Dutton accused France, who had her leg amputated after being hit by a car in 2011, of “using her disability as an excuse” for not moving into the electorate. France lives a short distance outside it, and points to the $100,000 of her compensation money she has spent making her existing home fully wheelchair accessible. Labor has taken the opportunity to point to Dutton’s failed attempt from 2009 to move to the safer seat of McPherson on the Gold Coast, where he owns a $2.3 million beachside holiday home, and by all accounts spends a great deal of his time. Dutton refused to apologise for the comments yesterday, while Scott Morrison baselessly asserted that they were taken out of context.

Greg Brown of The Australian reports Robert Borsak, leader of Shooters Fishers and Farmers and one of the party’s state upper house MPs, concedes the party is struggling to recruit candidates, and will not repeat its state election feat of winning seats in the lower house. Nonetheless, it has Orange deputy mayor Sam Romano lined up as its candidate for Calare and plans to run in Eden-Monaro, Parkes and possibly New England. This follows suggestions the party might pose a threat to the Nationals in Parkes and Farrer, which largely correspond with the state seats of Barwon and Murray, which the party won at last month’s state election. Calare encompasses Orange, which Shooters have held since a November 2016 by-election.

• “I don’t trust our polling at all”, says “a senior federal Liberal MP” cited by John Ferguson in The Australian, apropos the party’s prospects in Victoria. It is not clear if the source was being optimistic or pessimistic, but the report identifies a range of opinion within the Liberal camp extending from only two or three losses in Victoria – likewise identified as a “worst case scenario” by Labor sources – to as many as seven.