Victorian poll, Queensland election, Groom by-election

A good poll result from Labor in Victoria, an even better election result for Labor in Queensland, and only four candidates come forward for the Groom by-election.

The Herald-Sun reported on Monday on a “privately conducted” Victorian state poll by YouGov that showed Labor maintaining a commanding 55-45 lead on two-party preferred, from primary votes of Labor 44%, Coalition 40% and Greens 11%. This compares with 57.3-42.7 at Labor’s landslide win in 2018, when the primary votes were Labor 42.9%, Coalition 35.2% and Greens 10.7%. Personal ratings are good for Daniel Andrews (65% approval and 32% disapproval) and disastrous for Liberal leader Michael O’Brien (26% approval and 53% disapproval).

The poll nonetheless found that 55% thought it fair to hold Daniel Andrews responsible for the second COVID-19 wave, compared with 40% for not fair. Fifty per cent believed Andrews had been honest and transparent about the hotel quarantine failure against 43% for not honest and transparent; 53% said Victoria was heading in the right direction versus 39% who said it is “time for change”. The poll was conducted from October 29 to November from a sample of 1241.

UPDATE: Now a Roy Morgan poll gives Labor a lead of 58.5-41.5, up from 51.5-48.5 a month ago, from primary votes of Labor 45% (up five), Coalition 34.5% (down 5.5) and Greens 11% (up two). Daniel Andrews’ approval rating split is out from 59-41 to 71-29. The poll was conducted by SMS on Monday and Tuesday from a sample of 818.

In real election news, the Electoral Commission of Queensland has been completing preference distributions for the October 31 state election, and while the numbers haven’t been officially published, Antony Green relates that luck has favoured Labor in the final preference distributions in Bundaberg and Nicklin. These seats have been gained from the LNP with respective margins of 11 and 79 votes, pending LNP requests for recounts.

Confirmation of these results would leave Labor with 52 seats in a parliament of 93, a net gain of four compared with the 2017 result. South Brisbane was lost to the Greens (6.0% margin, 9.5% swing), while five were gained from the LNP Bundaberg (by a 0.0% margin with a 4.2% swing), Nicklin (a 0.1% margin and a 5.4% swing), Caloundra (a 2.5% margin and a 5.9% swing), Hervey Bay (a 2.2% margin and an 11.3% swing) and Pumicestone (a 5.1% margin and a 6.0% swing). These are Labor’s first ever wins in Nicklin and Caloundra, both of which are on the Sunshine Coast.

The LNP is duly reduced from 38 seats to 33, unless you count their recovery of Whitsunday after its previous member was expelled from the party mid-term. Their one piece of good news from late counting was that they managed to retain the Gold Coast seat of Currumbin by 310 votes, a 0.3% margin against a swing to Labor of 3.0% (David Crisafulli will be chosen as the party’s new leader unopposed at a party room meeting today). South Brisbane increases the Greens from one to two, with the party having easily its 2017 gain of Maiwar from the LNP, while Katter’s Australian Party and One Nation achieved status quo results of three seats and one respectively, as did independents with Sandy Bolton comfortably retaining Noosa.

Official results are naturally available from the ECQ; the numbers on my live results facility are emphatically not official, in that I have preserved them as they were a week ago before the ECQ removed the indicative two-candidate preferred counts. This means both the booth-level two-candidate preferred results and preference flow by candidate breakdowns are preserved, albeit in not entirely complete form.

Finally, while the attention of most of us has been firmly elsewhere, the process for the November 28 Groom by-election has continued chugging along, with nominations having been declared last Friday. The by-election has attracted a remarkably thin field of four candidates, which somewhat to my surprise includes one from Labor: Chris Meibusch, a community lawyer and unsuccessful candidate for the Toowoomba mayoralty in March. The preselection of LNP candidate Garth Hamilton was related here. The other two candidates are from the Liberal Democrats and Sustainable Australia – as well as there being no One Nation presence, this must be the first time a while that the Greens have left a federal contest uncontested.

Ipsos state polling and Groom preselection

The LNP settles on a candidate for the Groom by-election, as what doesn’t kill Gladys Berejiklian and Daniel Andrews only makes them stronger.

Ipsos has made its first entry into the Australian polling game since the 2019 election (at which it was probably the best performer of the lot, at least to the extent that it was the only one to accurately read the Labor primary vote), courtesy of New South Wales and Victorian state polls for Nine Newspapers. Unhappily though, neither features results on voting intention, though the question was clearly asked because responses are broken down by party support. In turn:

• Further evidence that Gladys Berejiklian’s travails have harmed her not at all in the view of the public, with the poll in the Sydney Morning Herald showing her with 64% approval and 16% disapproval. This compares with 22% approval and 25% disapproval for Labor’s Jodi McKay, who evidently remains a largely unknown quantity, with Berejiklian leading McKay 58-19 as preferred premier. Interestingly and unusually, opinion was also gauged on all-too-high-profile Nationals leader John Barilaro, who recorded 18% approval and 35% disapproval. Thirty-six per cent believed Berejiklian knew either a great deal or a fair amount about Daryl Maguire’s “alleged corrupt activitity”, with the same amount thinking she knew “not very much”, and 11% of trusting souls that she knew nothing at all. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Friday by phone (which I believe means live interviews, based on Ipsos’s past form) from a sample of 863.

• In Victoria, and courtesy of The Age, Ipsos records 52% approval for Daniel Andrews and 33% disapproval. Still more strikingly, Liberal leader Michael O’Brien records what may prove to be terminal ratings of 15% approval and 39% disapproval, with Andrews leading scarcely less handily than Berejiklian as preferred premier at 53-18. The poll also records 49% satisfaction and 40% dissatisfaction with the state government’s handling of the pandemic, compared with 16% and 44% for the state opposition (not featured, but probably related: opinion on the response of the news media). The state’s chief health officer, Brett Sutton, has 57% approval and 20% disapproval. The poll also finds 50% attribute responsibility for the state’s outbreak to the state government hotel quarantine program and 40% to individuals not taking the risk seriously enough, and 72% support for compulsory mask wearing, 61% for bans on regional travel and 56% for the newly relaxed 25 kilometre travel restriction. This poll was conducted Monday to Wednesday and has a sample of 858; oddly, this one was conducted online rather than by phone.

In other news, the Queensland Liberal National Party’s preselection for the November 28 federal by-election in Groom, which was the subject of my previous post on federal matters, was won by mining engineer Garth Hamilton. Party hardheads are presumably relieved that arch-conservative David van Gend was headed off in the final round of the count, by what the Toowoomba Chronicle reports was a “very close” result, although Hamilton too is seen as part of the right. Van Gend led after leading in the first round thanks to “an automatic 100 votes from the Christian lobby”, according to an LNP source quoted by the Chronicle, from a total of 290 attendees. Support then consolidated behind Hamilton with the elimination in turn of Daniel Cassidy, Andrew Meara, Sara Hales, Rebecca Vonhoff and Bryce Camm.

Two polls and a by-election date

Daniel Andrews continues to keep his head above water, despite waning patience with Victoria’s lockdown measures.

Opinion poll and by-election developments:

• Roy Morgan has published another of its SMS polls from Victoria, which records little change on state voting intention from a fortnight ago: Labor leads 51.5-48.5 on two-party preferred, as they did last time, from primary votes of Labor 40% (up one), Coalition 36% (down one) and Greens 9% (down one). Daniel Andrews records a 59-41 approval/disapproval split, in from 61-39 last time. However, support for existing lockdown measures is fast dissipating: there is now a 73-27 split in favour of allowing visits to immediate family members (out from 59-41 last time and 55-45 three weeks previously); 62-38 in favour of allowing table service (56-44 in favour last time and 63-37 against the time before); and 72-28 in favour of relaxing the five kilometre rule (61-39 in favour last time, 50-50 the time before). The poll was conducted Monday and Tuesday from a sample of 899 for voting intention and 1163 for the lockdown questions.

• The Australian had results from a further question on the weekend’s Newspoll yesterday, which found 54% were more concerned about moving too quickly to relax lockdowns and restrictions, down two from mid-September, and 43% were more concerned about moving too slowly at the expense of the economy, jobs and mental wellbeing (up four).

• The date for the Groom by-election has been set at November 28.

Victorian COVID-19 polling, etc.

A new poll suggests Victorians remain sympathetic to Daniel Andrews, despite waning patience with COVID-19 restrictions.

It’s time for a new general discussion thread, but do take note of the other important new posts below this one before diving in:

• New state polling from Western Australia suggests there will be little left of the parliamentary Liberal Party after the election there in March;

• Guest contributor Adrian Beaumont offers his weekly situation report on the ever-eventful US election campaign;

• I launch my Queensland election guide, and in doing so provide a thread for discussion of that state’s October 31 election;

• I humbly plead for donations, as I do every two months.

Other than that, there is one further poll to report on in the shape of a Roy Morgan SMS poll from Victoria, following on from a similar efforts two and three weeks ago. This finds the Labor state government’s two-party lead unchanged at 51.5-48.5, but Daniel Andrews is down nine on approval to 61% and up nine on disapproval to 39%. There has also been movement in sentiment against existing COVID-19 restrictions, with a 61-39 split in favour of lifting the five kilometre rule (50-50 last time), 59-41 in favour of visits to immediate family members (55-45 in favour last time) and 56-44 in favour of a resumption of table service (63-37 against last time). The poll was conducted Monday and Tuesday from a sample of 2223.

Newspoll and Essential Research coronavirus polling

Among many other findings relating to COVID-19, the strongest evidence yet that Victorians are unswayed by news media narratives concerning their state government.

The Australian today reports Newspoll findings on COVID-19 and leadership approval from Victoria and Queensland, which were targeted with expanded samples (608 and 603 respectively) in the poll whose main results were published yesterday:

• Daniel Andrews is up five points on approval from late July to 62% and down two on approval to 35%, whereas Scott Morrison is down six on approval to 62% and up seven on disapproval to 33%. Andrews is reckoned to be doing very well in handling COVID-19 by 31% (up four), fairly well by 31% (down three), fairly badly by 13% (down five) and very badly by 22% (up four), while Morrison is on 26% for very well (down five), 45% for fairly well (down one), 15% for fairly badly (up three) and 10% for very badly (up one).

• Annastacia Palaszczuk’s ratings are only modestly changed, with approval down one to 63% and disapproval up four to 33% as compared with the poll in late July, while Scott Morrison is down five to 67% and up four to 28% as compared with the poll in late June. Both leaders’ COVID-19 ratings are a little weaker than they were in late July: Palaszczuk records 32% for very well (down five), 36% for fairly well (down eight), 16% for fairly badly (up eight) and 13% for very badly (up seven), while Morrison has 34% for very well (down six), 43% for fairly well (up three), 13% for fairly badly (up two) and 7% for very badly (up one).

• The national sample was asked about the restrictions in Victoria and Queensland, which naturally required lengthy explanation (the framing of which seems reasonable enough). For Victoria, the results were 25% too strict, 61% about right and 10% too lenient; for Queensland, 37% too strict, 53% about right and 7% too lenient.

• The balance of concern is nonetheless moving away from “moving too quickly to relax restrictions”, down 20 points since mid-July to 56%, to “moving too slowly to relax restrictions and harming economy, jobs and mental wellbeing”, up 19 points to 39%.

Today also brings the fortnightly Essential Research poll, as related by The Guardian with the full report to follow later today:

• Respondents were in favour of both Scott Morrison’s handling of COVID-19 (a 61% approval rating, up two on a fortnight ago) and Queensland state border closures he wants lifted (66% support, including 70% among Queensland respondents). Forty-seven per cent of Victorian respondents approved of the state government’s COVID-19 management, unchanged from a fortnight ago, while the rating for the New South Wales government was up seven to 67%.

• Thirty-three per cent of respondents felt tax cuts for high income earners should be brought forward from 2022, as the government has signalled it will do, while 38% believe they should be scrapped and 29% believe the government should stick to the original timetable. Twenty-one per cent believe they would be an effective economic stimulus, compared with 41% for moderately effective and 38% for not effective.

• Asked which technology they preferred for future energy generation, 70% favoured renewables and 15% gas and coal.

The poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1081.

UPDATE: Full Essential Research poll here.

Miscellany: Groom by-election, Victoria poll, perceptions of US

A by-election looms in an uncompetitive seat; a poll shows Labor maintaining a lead in Victoria in spite of everything; and regard for the United States and its President falls still further.

First up, note the new-ish posts below on a YouGov poll for South Australia and Adrian Beaumont’s latest on the US race.

• A federal by-election looms for the seat of the Queensland Groom, centred on Toowoomba. This follows yesterday’s announcement by Liberal-aligned LNP member John McVeigh, the member since 2016 and previously state member for Toowoomba South from 2012,. that he will retire due to his wife’s illness. With Labor having polled 18.7% of the primary vote in the seat at the 2019 election, it seems a fairly safe bet that they will be sitting this one out. To the extent that the seat has been interesting it has been as a battleground between the Liberals and the Nationals, most recently when McVeigh’s predecessor, Ian Macfarlane, had his bid to defect from the former to the latter blocked by the Liberal National Party administration in 2015. John McVeigh’s father, Tom McVeigh, held the seat for the National/Country Party from 1972 to 1988 (it was known until 1984 as Darling Downs), but it passed to the Liberal control at the by-election following his retirement.

• Roy Morgan has an SMS poll of state voting intention in Victoria, and while the methodology may be dubious, it delivers a rebuke to the news media orthodoxy in crediting Daniel Andrews’ Labor government with a two-party lead of 51.5-48.5. The primary votes are Labor 37%, Coalition 38.5% and Greens 12.5%. The results at the 2018 election were Labor 42.9%, Coalition 35.2% and Greens 10.7%, with Labor winning the two-party vote 57.3-42.7. The poll was conducted Tuesday to Thursday from a sample of 1147.

• An international poll by the Pew Research Centre finds 94% of Australians believe their country has handled the pandemic well and 6% badly, whereas 85% think the United States has handled it badly and 14% well, while the respective numbers for China are 25% and 73%. Twenty-three per cent have confidence in Donald Trump to do the right think for world affairs, down from 35% last year, equaling a previous low recorded for George W. Bush in 2008. Only 33% of Australians have a favourable view of the United States, down from 50% last year, a change similar to that for all other nations surveyed.