Resolve Strategic: Labor 28, Coalition 37, Greens 13 in Victoria

A poll conducted partly before the recent state budget and partly after gives Victorian Labor its worst result in many a long year.

The Age yesterday reported the bi-monthly Victorian state poll from Resolve Strategic, compiled from responses from the pollster’s last two national polls, showing a pronounced decline in the standing of the third-term Labor government. Its primary vote was down five points on the February-March poll to 28%, with the Coalition up two to 37% and the Greens steady on 13%. Much of the Labor decline was absorbed by a generic “independent” category, which bounces four points to 16%, though many of those choosing it may find themselves lacking a viable independent option at an actual election. The “others” category is down a point to 6%. Resolve Strategic does not provide two-party preferred results, and an independent score around triple that recorded in 2022 makes applying preference flows from the last election a dubious endeavour. Nonetheless, I would conservatively suggest that these numbers point to a 52-48 lead for the Coalition.

A preferred premier question finds Jacinta Allan with a lead over a seemingly beleaguered John Pesutto of 31-26, in from 34-25 last time. The poll combines 555 responses from April 17 to 21 with 550 from May 15 to 19 – those in the latter group were asked further questions about the state budget, which was brought down on May 7. Twenty-six per cent of these respondents rated that Tim Pallas was doing a good job as Treasurer compared with 38% for poor. Following a question that explained the scale of the government’s net debt, 60% expressed a preference for reducing debt by cutting spending compared with 7% for doing so by raising taxes and 14% for maintaining the current trajectory. Fifty-two per cent rated that the budget had broken promises compared with 32% for the alternative that its measures represented “practical change to suit the times and financial position”, though the question related facts that would have inclined the neutral observer to the former point of view.

RedBridge Group: 54-46 to Labor in Victoria

A new finds the Victorian Labor government slipping a little, but still well on top.

The Herald-Sun relates that a RedBridge Group poll of state voting intention in Victoria has Labor leading 54-46, in from 55.9-44.1 at the last such poll in December, from primary votes of Labor 36% (down one), Coalition 38% (up two) and Greens 10% (down three). The poll was conducted March 14 to 20 from a sample of 1559. A full report will presumably be along shortly featuring detailed demographic breakdowns. We are also likely to get later this week the regular bi-monthly Resolve Strategic result featuring state voting intention numbers combined from its latest poll and the one conducted a month ago.

UPDATE (28/3): As foreshadowed above, The Age today has the bi-monthly Resolve Strategic result, and it concurs with RedBridge Group in finding the Coalition moving into a lead on the primary vote, with Labor down two from December to 33%, the Coalition up four to 35%, the Greens up two to 13% and generic independents down two to 12%. Where last time I calculated Labor’s two-party lead approaching 57-43, now I have it at around 53.5-46.5. Jacinta Allan’s lead over John Pesutto on preferred premier has narrowed from 34-22 to 34-25. The two field work periods for the polling were February 21 to 24 and March 21 to 24 – the sample size is not disclosed, but would have been around 1000.

New Year miscellany: Dunkley by-election, preselection and polling round-up (open thread)

First reports emerge of preselection contenders for the looming Dunkley by-election, plus state polls from Victoria and Queensland and much else besides.

First up, developments ahead of the Dunkley by-election, which Rachel Baxendale of The Australian reported yesterday was “unlikely to be held before late February”:

• A Liberal preselection ballot scheduled for January 14 is expected to include Frankston mayor Nathan Conroy; Donna Hope, who as Donna Bauer held the state seat of Carrum from 2010 to 2014 and is now an electorate officer to Chris Crewther, former federal member for Dunkley and now state member for Mornington; Bec Buchanan, another staffer to Crewther and the party’s state candidate for Carrum in 2022; and Sorrento real estate agent David Burgess, who was on the party’s Legislative Council ticket for Eastern Victoria in 2022.

Paul Sakkal of The Age today reports the widower of the late Labor member Peta Murphy, Rod Glover, is being encouraged to seek preselection by “senior Labor figures”. The report describes Glover as a “respected former staffer to Kevin Rudd, university professor and public policy expert”. Also mentioned in Rachel Baxendale’s report were Madison Child, an “international relations and public policy graduate in her mid twenties who grew up in Frankston”, and has lately worked as an electorate officer to Murphy; Georgia Fowler, a local nurse who ran in Mornington at the November 2022 state election; and Joshua Sinclair, chief executive of the Committee for Frankston and Mornington Peninsula.

Other preselection news:

• Tim Wilson has confirmed he will seek Liberal preselection to recover the Melbourne seat of Goldstein following his defeat at the hands of teal independent Zoe Daniel in 2022. Paul Sakkal of The Age reports he is “unlikely to face a challenger”.

Lydia Lynch of The Australian today reports nominations for Liberal National Party preselection will close on January 15 in the inner Brisbane seat of Ryan, which the party lost to Elizabeth Watson-Brown of the Greens in 2022, and the Gold Coast seat of McPherson, which will be vacated with the retirement of Karen Andrews. The front-runner in the former case is said to be Maggie Forrest, barrister and the party’s honorary legal adviser. In addition to the previously identified Ben Naday, Leon Rebello and David Stevens in McPherson (the first two being rated the front-runners) is Adam Fitzgibbons, head of public affairs at Coles. Party insiders are said to be “increasingly concerned” about the emergence of a “McPherson Matters” group that is preparing a teal independent bid for the seat.

Lily McCaffrey of the Herald-Sun reports Emanuele Cicchiello, deputy principal Lighthouse Christian College deputy principal, has been preselected as Liberal candidate for Aston, the Melbourne seat that was lost to the party in a historic by-election result on April 1. Cicchiello ran unsuccessfully in Bruce in 2013 and has made numerous other bids for preselection.

• Rochelle Pattison, chair of Transgender Victoria and director of corporate finance firm Chimaera Capital, has nominated for Liberal preselection in Kooyong, joining an existing field consisting of Amelia Hamer, Susan Morris and Michael Flynn.

• The New South Wales Liberal Party website records two unheralded federal election candidates in Sam Kayal, a local accountant who will again run in Werriwa following an unsuccessful bid in 2022, and Katie Mullens, conservative-aligned solicitor at Barrak Lawyers who ran for the state seat of Parramatta in March and has now been preselected for the federal seat of the same name.

Polling news:

• The Courier-Mail sought to read the temperature of Queensland politics post-Annastacia Palaszczuk without breaking the budget by commissioning a uComms robopoll, crediting the Liberal National Party opposition with a two-party lead of 51-49. The only detail provided on primary votes was that the LNP was on 36.2% and Labor 34.4% – no indication was provided as to whether this was exclusive of the uncommitted, which is often not the case withuComms. Steven Miles was viewed positively by 42.7% and negatively by 27.6%, with only the positive rating of 37.8% provided for David Crisafulli. A forced response question on preferred premier had Crisafulli leading Miles by 52.2-47.8. True to the Courier-Mail style guide, the report on this unremarkable set of numbers included the words “startling”, “explosive”, “whopping” and “stunning”. The initial report on Tuesday was accompanied by a hook to a follow-up that promised to tell “who Queenslanders really wanted as Annastacia Palaszczuk’s replacement”. The answer was revealed the next day to be Steven Miles, favoured by 37.8% over Shannon Fentiman on 35.0% and Cameron Dick on 27.1%. The poll was conducted December 21 and 22 from a sample of 1911.

• RedBridge Group has a poll of Victorian state voting intention showing Labor leading 55.9-44.1, little different to the 55.0-45.0 result at the November 2022 election. The primary votes are Labor 37% (36.7% at the election), Coalition 36% (34.5%) and Greens 13% (11.5%). Extensive further results include leadership ratings inclusive of “neither approve nor disapprove” option that find Jacinta Allan viewed positively by 24%, negatively by 30% and neutrally by 32%, John Pesutto at 16% positive, 36% neutral and 29% negative, and Greens leader Samantha Ratnam at 14% positive, 29% neutral and 35% negative. The poll was conducted December 2 to 12 from a sample of 2026.

• Nine Newspapers published results from Resolve Strategic on Thursday on whether various politicians were viewed positively, neutrally, negatively or not at all, which it had held back from its last national poll nearly a month ago. Whereas a similar recent exercise by Roy Morgan simply invited respondents to identify politicians they did and didn’t trust, this one took the to-my-mind more useful approach of presenting respondents with a set list of forty names. In the federal sphere, the five most positively rated were Penny Wong (net 14%, meaning the difference between her positive and negative results), Jacqui Lambie (10%), Jacinta Price (6%), David Pocock (5%) and Tanya Plibersek (3%). The lowest were Scott Morrison (minus 35%), Lidia Thorpe (minus 29%, a particularly remarkable result given what was presumably modest name recognition), Barnaby Joyce (minus 27%), Pauline Hanson (minus 25%) and, interestingly, Bob Katter (minus 15%). Of state leaders, Chris Minns (plus 14%) and David Crisafulli (plus 9%) did notably well, and John Pesutto (minus 7%) and the since-departed Annastacia Palaszczuk (minus 17%) notably poorly. The poll was conducted November 29 to December 3 from a sample of 1605.

Resolve Strategic: Labor 37, Coalition 31, Greens 11 in Victoria

A final Victorian state poll for the year finds Labor still dominant, though a little less so than in the poll two months previously.

Bit late to the party with this one, but The Age last Saturday published the regular bi-monthly Resolve Strategic poll combining results from two sets of the pollster’s national polling. The poll had Labor on 37% of the primary vote, down two from the September-October result, with the Coalition down one to 31% and the Greens down one to 11%, while a generic independents category was up four to 14%. I would roughly estimate that to be between 56-44 and 57-43 in favour of Labor, but the estimate gets rougher as the independent and small party share gets higher (and it should as usual be noted that Resolve Strategic has become unusually strong for Labor in recent times). Jacinta Allan’s lead over John Pesutto narrowed from a debut result of 38-19 in the last poll to 34-22. The overall sample for the poll was 1042.

One other bit of electoral news since the last Victorian post was the Liberals’ selection of Richard Welch, founder of motion-tracking sports technology firm PitchVision, to fill the Legislative Council vacancy in North-Eastern Metropolitan region created by the resignation of Matthew Bach. Bach won a preselection vote on December 3 ahead of a field of nine that included former Ripon MP Louise Staley, whom The Australian reports was the third candidate eliminated, and former Forest Hill MP Neil Angus, both of whom lost their seats in 2022 after an unfavourable redistribution.

Mulgrave by-election live

Live coverage of the count for Victoria’s Mulgrave state by-election.

Click here for full display of Mulgrave by-election results.

End of Saturday night

Labor candidate Eden Foster’s 40.1% primary vote, while more than 10% down on Daniel Andrews’ share in November 2022, is enough to ensure the only remaining point of interest is who finishes second. Liberal candidate Courtney Mann leads independent Ian Cook by 21.6% to 18.9%, leaving 19.5% from various other candidates to be distributed among the three during the preference count. To close the gap, Cook’s share of the latter needs to be 13.85% higher than Mann’s, whereas at the general election he did little better than equal it (29.6% to 29.2%, the rest going to Andrews), and there’s little reason to expect different this time.

Consequently, the 56.2-43.8 split in Labor’s favour on the indicative TCP count is of only academic interest, and will probably be pulled over the next few days and a fresh Labor-versus-Liberal count conducted. Based on my own preference estimates, I’m projecting Labor to win that one by 56.5-43.5, though it seems that’s at the high end of what’s generally expected. This gives Labor 25% of preferences from Ian Cook, 80% from the Greens, 83% from Victorian Socialists, 64% from Animal Justice, 30% of Libertarians and 25% from Family First, and splits the rest evenly. To pull off a freakish win, Mann would need 74% of all preferences.

Live commentary

11.35pm. We’ve got what I take to be our final numbers for the evening, which include a third batch of early votes that were very strong for Labor — so much so that they are now performing above par on early votes, in swing terms.

10.51pm. A big missing piece of the puzzle has been added with the second batch of early votes on TCP, which had hitherto been in the count only as primary vote. What was previously listed as a 27.2% swing against Labor on TCP now registers as 9.9%. They have nonetheless slightly boosted Ian Cook’s vote against Labor on the progressive TCP count, which is unlikely to be the one that applies at the final count. Still outstanding for this evening are one booth on both primary TCP, and another just on TCP.

10.23pm. Labor have claimed victory and Liberal have conceded defeat, although the Liberals at least say they expect to finish ahead of Cook.

10.19pm. The last two updates have brought three TCP booth results, which confirm what was already known.

9.51pm. The only new result in the latest update is a TCP result from the Brandon Park booth, which slightly improved Ian Cook’s position relative to Labor. Whether that becomes the operative count is still an open question, but Labor is clearly not in danger either way.

9.34pm. The latest update brings another election day booth primary vote result, which does nothing to change the situation.

9.21pm. The latest update brings one new election day booth on the primary vote, and it must have been a good result for Labor because it’s almost cancelled out the impact of my correction to the error that was selling the Liberals short on the TCP projection (it had been splitting preferences 50-50, whereas now it’s going about 58-42 to the Liberals).

9.17pm. I note that a big new batch of pre-polls got added on the primary vote in the previous update, and they confirmed my earlier suspicions — the swing against Labor on the primary vote is now 13.4%, whereas before it was well over 20%. The 27.2% TCP swing against Labor currently indicated on early votes can thus be expected to come down dramatically when these new votes are added to the count.

9.14pm. I’ve identified the error that was inflating Labor’s projected TCP against the Liberals. The next update, which should be along in a few minutes, should bring it down to about 55-45.

9.05pm. There are now seven booths in on the primary vote, and still only two for TCP (plus postal and early votes on both counts), and the situation appears to have settled in.

8.49pm. The regular once-every-15-minutes update brings another election day booth on the primary vote and the small number of absent votes (if you’re wondering how a by-election can have absent votes, these are in fact telephone-assisted votes), neither of which much changes the situation.

8.36pm. The latest update (they happen every 15 minutes) brings a fourth booth on the primary vote and a second on TCP, together with the batches of postals and early votes that have been added to the count, which have both. Ian Cook has fallen further behind the Liberal on the primary vote. The Labor-versus-Liberal and Labor-versus-Cook two-candidate results from the 2022 election were very similar, so presumably the 6.2% lead has on the Labor-versus-Cook count will be broadly indicative regardless of what happens. I still think my projection of 7.6% is probably flattering Labor a little, but in any case it seems they are going to win fairly comfortably despite a double-digit hit on the primary vote, about half of which is going to the Liberals.

8.23pm. There is now an election day booth in on TCP, together with the early and postal results. Cook remains 2.7% behind the Liberals, and I wouldn’t care to venture how much chance he has of closing the gap on the primary vote. My system has a method for projecting this that says it won’t happen, but I’m not entirely sure how much I trust it at this stage of its development. My preference estimates suggest Labor will win by about 8% if he drops out, but the size of the primary vote swings are making me think that’s flattering to Labor. I’ll now revisit my preference estimates.

8.07pm. The postal TCP votes are added and Ian Cook no longer leads on the TCP count, suggesting he’s unlikely to beat Labor even if he finishes second. One further booth has reported on the primary vote, and the primary vote gap between Cook and Liberal has narrowed from 3.4% to 2.9%. His primary vote is similar in both size and distribution to the election. Apart from early votes, Labor are down a bit over 10% and Liberal up a bit over 5% — but the early votes are strikingly worse for Labor elsewhere. It may be that this is because they are from one particular location that’s weak for Labor, and will come more in line with the rest of the result when further votes are added.

7.55pm. The first two election day booths have closed the gap between Ian Cook and the Liberal candidate, from nearly 10% to 3.4%. We also have a TCP result on the pre-polls, which were bad for Labor on the primary vote, but are nonetheless striking in having Cook well ahead. My probability estimate is still not giving him any chance of making the final count, but given the imbalance between election day and postal/early votes, it may not be reliable.

7.40pm. My results page conked out for a few minutes after the first upload, but I’ve patched it up now. As was the case in Warrandyte, we have the slightly confounding (from my perspective) fact that postals and pre-polls have reported before any of the election day booths. Labor is on 41.3% of the primary vote, and Ian Cook appears set to finish third with 17.1% to the Liberals’ 26.9%. My projection does not get the Liberals anywhere near closing the gap on preferences, and is close to calling it for Labor.

6pm. Welcome to the Poll Bludger’s live coverage of the count for Victoria’s Mulgrave state by-election. Results are likely to be a bit slow in coming (and will only be updated every 15 minutes), given the field of ten candidates and the fact that all the booths are in urban areas. If the Warrandyte by-election in August is any guide, the first batch of results to come through may in fact be postals, which was something I had never previously encountered (and which my results system struggled with at first). The candidates chosen for the Victorian Electoral Commission for the indicative two-candidate preferred count are Labor’s Eden Foster and independent Ian Cook, so its results will be redundant if Cook performs below expectations and the Liberal candidate looks set to reach the final count instead. If my system calculates that this is likely, it will fall back on preference estimates to project a final result.

Mulgrave by-election minus one day

Slightly mixed reports on how concerned Labor are about independent Ian Cook’s chances at tomorrow’s by-election for Mulgrave, the Victorian state seat being vacated by Daniel Andrews.

Tomorrow is the day of Victoria’s Mulgrave by-election arising from Daniel Andrews’ exit from politics. While it is generally expected that Greater Dandenong mayor Eden Foster will retain the seat for Labor, independent Ian Cook is expected to at least match his feat from the November state election of outpolling the Liberals to reach the final count. In the estimation of Shannon Deery of the Herald-Sun, Cook was “seen as a bloke seeking to exact revenge on Daniel Andrews” last year, but has now “convinced some that he is genuine about representing the local community and being a fiercely independent MP”. This is said to be backed by Labor internal polling, but as Deery tells it, “no-one is seriously suggesting Labor will lose the seat”. The Sunday Herald-Sun’s Backroom Baz column came close to suggesting otherwise, invoking what was presumably the same internal polling as a cause of “mounting concern” in the Labor camp. Here too though, Labor sources familiar with the polling said Eden Foster “should get there on preferences”.

As usual, this site will feature live results and commentary from 6pm tomorrow evening. My page for the former stands ready and waiting here – I have it geared to assume the Victorian Electoral Commission will be conducting a Labor-versus-Ian Cook indicative two-candidate preferred count (a detail that flummoxed many conspiracy theorists who developed an outsized interest in the contest last November), but have no hard information on this at present. A detail worth noting is that the number of election day polling booths has been considerably pared back, from twenty (some of which were split booths in neighbouring electorates) to ten. This is a marked departure from the Warrandyte by-election in August, which utilised the same eleven booths from last November.

Mulgrave by-election minus sixteen days

A field of ten candidates for Daniel Andrews’ old seat includes the independent who outpolled the Liberals last year.

Today was the day of the ballot paper draw for the Victorian state by-election for Daniel Andrews’ old seat of Mulgrave, to be held a fortnight from Saturday on November 18, an occasion I have marked with the publication of my by-election guide. Ten candidates have nominated, a substantial field by normal standards but not a match for the thirteen challengers Andrews attracted last November.

For what it’s worth, independent Ian Cook drew highest out of the fancied contenders at number three, followed by Liberal candidate Courtney Mann at five and Labor candidate Eden Foster at eight. This will be the first outing for the Liberal Democrats under their new name of Libertarians, and their candidate has drawn top position on the ballot paper. The party under its old name could count on a major spike in its vote if the ballot paper gave it greater prominence than the other Liberal party – we will see what happens this time.

This is Victoria’s third state electoral event since Labor’s re-election in November last year, following the supplementary election for Narracan in January (required due to the death of a candidate during the campaign period before the election) and the Warrandyte by-election in August, neither of which were contested by Labor. This time both Labor and Liberal are in the field, as is independent Ian Cook, who made it to the final preference count and slightly outpolled the Liberals on the primary vote.

Ignoring Jeff Kennett’s argument that the party should give Cook a clear run, the Liberals have preselected Courtney Mann, policy adviser to state leader John Pesutto. The Donald Trump-admiring candidate from 2022, Michael Piastrino, responded to Mann’s preselection by endorsing Ian Cook, his own favoured preselection contender having been overlooked. Whoever out of the two makes the final count will need a swing of 10% to 11% to defeat Labor, whose candidate is Eden Foster, clinical psychologist and mayor of Greater Dandenong.

Resolve Strategic: Labor 39, Coalition 32, Greens 12 in Victoria

A Labor government under new management seemingly remains on top in Victoria, despite improvement for the Coalition after a dire result last time.

The Age has the regular bi-monthly Victorian state poll from Resolve Strategic, which follows the usual format of combining polling from the state over two of its monthly national surveys, despite the fact that Jacinta Allan replaced Daniel Andrews as Premier in the interim. The super-sized national poll conducted over two weeks for the Indigenous Voice has not meant a sample size different from the usual 1100. The poll credits the Coalition with a four-point recovery from its dismal low base of 28% in July and August, but still with a 39% to 32% deficit against Labor, who are unchanged. The Greens are down one to 12%, and a generic independents category is down three to 10%. The sample of 553 from last week’s polling finds Jacinta Allan leading John Pesutto 38-19, compared with 41-32 in favour of Daniel Andrews from the sample of 550 polled a month ago.