Victorian state draft redistribution

Following on promptly from finalised federal boundaries, the draft of a significantly revised state electoral map for Victoria.

In addition to yesterday’s finalisation of the state’s federal boundaries, covered in the post below, today saw the publication of a new draft state boundaries for Victoria. The current boundaries have been in effect for two terms, in which time Melbourne in particular has experienced very substantial growth, resulting in extensive changes in the proposed boundaries. The changes have occurred mostly within Melbourne, with three new seats appearing in the western suburbs and the northern and south-eastern fringes, and another three disappearing in the relatively stagnant suburbs of middle eastern and south-eastern Melbourne.

Over the fold at the bottom of this post is a display of my effort to calculate new party vote shares for the new boundaries, an endeavour complicated on this occasion by the fact that fewer than half the votes in 2018 were cast in election day polling booths, those being the only ones for which the data offers any sense of where in the electorate they were cast. The primary votes display should be straightforward enough, but two-candidate preferred is complicated by the fact that many of the results mash together counts from different electorates that involved candidates of different parties. UPDATE: Antony Green has two-party preferred estimates here.

There are six seats that I’m designating as new and a corresponding number as abolished. The former include three that are safe for Labor (Greenvale, Kalkallo and Laverton), one that is marginal Labor (Pakenham) and two that are marginal Liberal (Berwick and Glen Waverley). Three of the abolished seats are Labor (safe Keysborough and Yuroke and marginal Mount Waverley) and the other three Liberal (Ferntree Gully, Forest Hill and Gembrook, all highly marginal). Four seats change party designation, with Bass and Bayswater going from Labor to notional Liberal and Hastings and Ripon vice-versa. As explained below, Greens-held Prahran should probably be considered Labor-held on the new boundaries. All told, the results in 2018 on these boundaries would have been Labor 57 (up two), Coalition 26 (down one), Greens two (down one) and independents three.

Major changes:

• Growth on Melbourne’s northern fringe results in a new safe seat for Labor, with Yuroke divided into the new seats of Greenvale (margin 22.1%) and Kalkallo (20.0%).

• Similarly, growth in Melbourne’s south-eastern fringe is accommodated with the effective replacement of Gembrook, which had a Liberal margin of 0.8% at the election, by two new seats: Berwick, with a Liberal margin of 1.6%, and Pakenham, with a Labor margin of 3.3%. The suburb of Berwick formerly provided the seat of Narre Warren South with a Liberal-leaning eastern end, the loss of which boosts Labor’s margin in the seat from 6.9% to 11.1%.

• In addition to the area gained from abolished Gembrook, which includes the northern end of the town of Pakenham, the Pakenham electorate takes the southern part of the town of Pakenham from Bass. The removal of this territory from Bass weakens Labor in a seat they gained with a 2.4% margin in 2018, resulting in a notional Liberal margin of 1.9%.

• The new seat in western Melbourne, Laverton, is inevitably safe for Labor, with a notional margin of 23.6%. Its eastern end was formerly in Footscray, its west in Tarneit.

• Labor loses a safe seat in Melbourne’s south-east with the abolition of Keysborough, which is absorbed by its Labor-held neighbours.

• Eastern Melbourne loses two seats, one through the abolition of Ferntree Gully and its absorption by neighbouring Bayswater and Rowville. Ferntree Gully was held by the Liberals by 1.6% in 2018, but the changes convert Labor’s 0.4% margin in Bayswater to a notional Liberal margin of 1.2%, while Rowville remains secure for the Liberals.

• Eastern Melbourne’s other loss comes through the replacement of Mount Waverley and Forest Hill by a single new seat of Glen Waverley. I give Glen Waverley a Liberal margin of 0.8%, whereas Labor won Mount Waverley by 1.8% and Liberal won Forest Hill by 1.2%, so this technically amounts to another loss for Labor. The western parts of Mount Waverley and Forest Hill are absorbed by Box Hill and Ashwood, the latter being essentially a renamed Burwood in which I calculate a Labor margin of 2.5%, down from 3.3%.

• Prahran and Albert Park are to undergo very significant change through a territory swap that will shift St Kilda to Prahran and part of South Yarra to Albert Park. This makes the Liberals a lot less competitive in Prahran (down 5.2% on the primary vote for mine) and widens the gap between Labor and the Greens from 0.9%, which the Greens were just barely able to close on minor party preferences, to 5.3%. However, the next election will be a different ball game in St Kilda, with Labor losing the advantage of a sitting member. The exchange of South Yarra for St Kilda boosts the Liberals by around 3% in Albert Park, where Labor’s margin in 2019 was 13.1%.

• Brunswick is drawn deeper into the inner city environs of Carlton North and Fitzroy North, boosting the Greens margin over Labor from 0.6% to 2.1%.

• Ripon, which the Liberals won by 15 votes in 2018, has a notional Labor margin of 2.6% after gaining Ballarat suburbia around Alfredton from the electorate previously known as Wendouree, which now gains the colourful new name of Eureka. Eureka in turn absorbs the parts of Ballarat that were formerly in Buninyong, which in turn gains rural territory from Polwarth. This boosts Labor’s margin in Wendouree/Eureka from 10.3% to 13.2% and cuts it in Buninyong from 12.2% to 7.0%.

• Other electorates with new names are Point Cook, which is essentially a renamed Altona with a Labor margin of 12.5% rather than 14.6%; and Morang, which is very much the old electorate of Mill Park and remains extremely safe for Labor.

• Smaller changes to significant seats include Hastings’ gain of coastal townships around Balnarring from Nepean, which turns the 1.1% Liberal margin into a notional Labor margin of 0.3%; Eildon’s gain of the Melbourne fringe suburb of Hurstbridge from Yuroke, which cuts the Liberal margin from 2.4% to 0.2%; Croydon’s gain of territory from northern Bayswater, which cuts the Liberal margin there from 2.1% to 0.5%; and changes to Ringwood that boost Labor’s margin from 2.8% to 3.5%.
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Essential Research and Redbridge Group Victorian poll

One pollster records nervous attitudes towards China, another a modest lead for the Labor government in Victoria.

The fortnightly Essential Research poll offers questions on foreign relations that include the finding that 51% believe Australia should become less close to China, down three points since December, with 24% believing relations should stay the same and only 12% believing they should get closer. By contrast, respondents were positive about relations with, in ascending order of enthusiasm, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Further questions record a surge for the influence of the United States since May last year and the intervening presidential election result.

An occasionally recurring question on climate change also found 56% believing it to be caused by human activity against 27% for normal fluctuation, suggesting a slight shift to skepticism since a few years ago. Forty-five per cent rate that Australia is not doing enough on climate change compared with 30% for enough and 12% for too much. Assessments on this question appear to have become more lenient since the onset of COVID-19, prior to which “not doing enough” was at upwards of 60%. A series of related questions record enthusiasm for renewable energy and a zero emissions target. The poll was conducted online from Wednesday to Sunday with a sample of 1087.

We also had a Victorian state poll yesterday in the Herald-Sun from Redbridge Group, which is run by former Labor operatives Simon Welsh and Kosmos Samaras. The primary votes are solidly better for the Coalition than last week’s Resolve Strategic poll in The Age, showing them with a lead of 41% to 37%, but Labor is nonetheless credited with a lead of 52.4-47.6 on two-party preferred, reflecting a Greens vote of 12% compared with Resolve Strategic’s 9%. These come with regional breakdowns that can be viewed here.

The poll also has a preferred premier question had Daniel Andrews at 42.4%, Michael O’Brien on 23.1% and neither on 28.2%; Andrews leads James Merlino 67.5% to 32.5% in a head-to-head question on preferred Labor leader, and O’Brien trails his predecessor Matthew Guy by 63-37. The poll was conducted June 12 to 15 from a sample of 1484.

Resolve Strategic: Labor 37, Coalition 36, Greens 9 in Victoria

A poll finds Victorian Labor still in an election-winning position in spite of everything, despite being well down from the heights of its 2018 election result.

The Age has published the first of what will apparently be bi-monthly polls of Victorian voting intention that combine the results from two of the pollster’s regular monthly surveys. Since a New South Wales poll was published last month, we can presumably expect them to alternate. The poll credits Labor with 37% of the primary vote, down from the 42.9% it scored at the 2018 election, but little of the dividend has gone to the Coalition, whose 36% is barely changed from its disastrous election result of 35.2%. The Greens also fail to match their election result, polling 9% compared with 10.7%.

The real winner is “independents”, a rather nebulous category given few voters will presently know which independent candidate they have in mind, if indeed there are any on offer at all. The poll finds support for independents at 12%, compared with 6.1% at the election, but presumably many of these respondents will ultimately be compelled towards other options. Resolve Strategic does not provide two-party results, but on a typical distribution of preferences (80% of the Greens vote to Labor and the rest splitting evenly) this would produce a result of 53-47 in Labor’s favour for a swing of about 4% to the Coalition.

Leadership ratings are provided for Daniel Andrews and his stand-in James Merlino as well as Liberal leader Michael O’Brien, using a three point positive-neutral-negative scale. Andrews records a positive rating of 42%, a neutral rating of 23% and a negative rating of 32% — not bad, but less good than Gladys Berejiklian, who last month scored 51%, 26% and 17% respectively. Merlino scores 30%, 30% and 15%, while O’Brien gets 14% 30% and 22%, with fully 33% professing themselves “unfamiliar”. Andrews records a 49-23 lead over O’Brien as preferred premier. (Also in today’s Age: “Federal push for state Liberal spill”, although I’m not seeing it online).

The results come with breakdowns by gender, which are rather eye-catching with respect to voting intention: the Coalition appears to be doing dismally among women, scoring 33% to Labor’s 39% and the Greens’ 11%, but is on 40% among men compared with Labor’s 34% and the Greens’ 7%. Daniel Andrews records a 52-18 lead over Michael O’Brien as preferred premier among women, compared with 47-29 among men.

Also included are responses to statements on “the recent COVID outbreak and lockdown in Victoria”, which I’m going to assume was limited to the current month’s survey and thus derive from a sample of about 550. This finds 63% agreeing the government “should have prepared better, e.g. QR codes, support or vaccines”, with 34% disagreeing (although I tend to think the examples provided in the question might have primed an affirmative response). Forty-six per cent agreed the government had been too quick to lock down large parts of the state with 36% disagreeing, which is the least favourable response to any such question I’ve yet seen. Nonetheless, 46% rated that the government had handled the outbreak well, with 34% disagreeing.

The sample for the poll was 1103, of which about half would have come from the survey conducted Tuesday to Saturday and the other half a month prior.

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.