Resolve Strategic: Labor 39, Coalition 28, Greens 13 in Victoria

Resolve Strategic’s bi-monthly Victorian poll records a narrowing in Labor’s still overwhelming lead.

The Age today brings us one of Resolve Strategic’s bi-monthly results on state voting intention in Victoria (click on the “VIC” button near the top of the page), which combine results from the state over two of its regular monthly national polls for an overall sample of 1047. This one has Labor down two points on the primary vote from the June result to 39%, with the Coalition up two to 28%, the Greens down two to 13% (they were up five last time, and down three the time before), a generic independent category up one to 13% and “others” up one to 7%. This implies a two-party result of something approaching 60-40 in favour of Labor, and compares with election results of Labor 36.7%, Coalition 34.5% and Greens 11.5% on the primary vote and 55.0-45.0 on two-party preferred. However, there seems reason to believe this pollster has developed a fairly meaty house bias in favour of Labor.

In other findings, Daniel Andrews’ lead over John Pesutto as preferred premier has narrowed from 49-26 to 44-29. The text of the report (which is not yet available on the website) says Andrews’ “personal likeability ratings – positive views minus negative views” have “tumbled over the winter recess” to a net rating of minus seven, with Pesutto on minus ten. There are two further attitudinal questions, which I’m not sure encompassed both months’ samples or just the most recent. The cancellation of the Commonwealth Games has 35% in favour and 39% opposed, although this provides no indication of how many of those in favour are nonetheless aggrieved with the government for taking the event on in the first place. The ban on gas connections for new homes and developments finds only 30% in favour and 44% opposed.

Other notable state electoral developments:

• I have a guide up for next Saturday’s Warrandyte by-election, and will be running my live results feature on the night beyond. Notwithstanding Labor’s forfeit, the by-election has attracted a big field of twelve candidates, but there is no indication that I am aware of that any of them are likely to trouble Liberal candidate Nicole Werner.

• The state parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (minus its former chair) has been conducting its inquiry into last November’s state election, with hearings held last week examining the question of group voting tickets at upper house elections, which only Victoria now retains following their recent abolition in Western Australia. Labor assistant state secretary Cameron Petrie told the inquiry the party was open to abolishing them “in principle”, but Daniel Andrews does not seem enthused, saying critics of the system (or seemingly any other) were “quite heavily motivated by wanting to get more of their people elected”. However, he “did indicate rules could be changed around the conduct of individuals doing deals”, no doubt in reference to the activities of Glenn Druery, which received elevated publicity during the election campaign when a video recording of his discussions was provided to the media.

Monday miscellany: seat entitlements, Voice and China polling, by-election latest (open thread)

Confirmation that New South Wales and Victoria will each lose a lower house seat, with Western Australia to gain one.

I don’t believe there will be any voting intention polling this week, apart from the usual Roy Morgan – and if you’re really desperate, Kevin Bonham has discovered a trove of its federal polling in a dark corner of its website. Other than that, there’s the following:

• The regular mid-term calculation of population-based state and territory seat entitlements for the House of Representatives was conducted last week, and it confirmed what anyone with a calculator could have worked out in advance, namely that New South Wales and Victoria will each lose a seat, Western Australia will gain one, and the size of the chamber will go from 151 to 150 (assuming the government doesn’t go the nuclear option of seeking to increase the size of parliament, which is under active consideration by the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters). Antony Green has detailed blog posts on the looming redistributions for New South Wales, suggesting Sydney’s North Shore as the area most likely to have a seat abolished), Victoria, which is harder to call. Western Australia’s existing fifteen seats all have similar current enrolments, making it difficult to identify exactly where the sixteenth will be created, except that it is likely to be in an outer suburban growth area.

Michael McKenna of The Australian reports that Queensland Senator Gerard Rennick, who is appealing his recent Liberal National Party preselection defeat, has offered legal advice that Peter Dutton was wrongly told by party headquarters that he could not vote unless he attended the ballot, where other party notables were allowed to cast votes in absentia. Rennick lost the final round of the ballot to party treasurer Stuart Fraser by 131 votes to 128. The party’s disputes committee is likely to make a recommendation this week as to whether the preselection should be held again, which a party source is quoted describing as a “real possibility”.

Phillip Coorey of the Financial Review reports that a comprehensive internal poll conducted by Labor earlier this month from a sample of 14,300 found 48% in favour of an Indigenous Voice and 47% opposed, with yes leading in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. Further, yes voters were more likely to be firmly resolved in their choice, with 40% saying they would definitely vote yes compared with 30% for a definite no.

• A survey encompassing 24 countries by the Pew Research Centre found Australia tying with Japan for having the least favourable attitudes towards China, with 87% expressing an unfavourable view.

• Labor has formally decided against fielding a candidate in Victoria’s Warrandyte by-election on August 26. The three official nominees thus far are Liberal candidate Nicole Werner, Greg Cheesman of the Freedom Party and Cary De Wit of the Democratic Labour Party. Endorsed Greens candidate Tomas Lightbody’s paperwork is evidently still on its way.

• In other by-election news, I can offer the following contribution to the debate as to how Labor in Western Australia should feel about the result in Rockingham on Saturday: they scored 67.6% of the two-party preferred vote in ordinary election day booths, which was hardly different from their 68.8% in the corresponding booths at last year’s federal election. This means Labor almost matched a result it achieved in the context of an election where the statewide two-party result was 55-45 in its favour.

Polls: Essential Research, WA Voice results, Ukraine support (open thread)

Essential Research records Anthony Albanese’s softest personal ratings since the election, plus more results from Utting Research’s eyebrow-raising poll from Western Australia.

Three batches of poll results, plus relevant news on the Indigenous Voice referendum and Victoria’s Warrandyte state by-election:

• The Guardian reports the latest fortnightly Essential Research poll has Anthony Albanese’s approval rating below half for the first time since the election, dropping six points in its monthly reading to 48%, with disapproval up six to 41%. Peter Dutton is up one on approval to 37% and down two on disapproval to 43%. The report does not provide the poll’s voting intention numbers, which should be with us later today. In other findings, 41% approved and 36% disapproved of the Victorian government’s cancellation of the Commonwealth Games, with support at 44% from the poll’s modest sample of Victorian respondents. The poll had a sample of 1150 and was presumably conducted as per usual from Wednesday to Sunday. UPDATE: The voting intention numbers are Labor 31% (down one), Coalition 32% (steady), Greens 14% (steady) and One Nation 7% (down one), with undecided up one to 6%. This is the first time the Coalition has led on the primary vote in this series since the election, and the 2PP+ lead of Labor 50% (down one) to Coalition 45% (up one), with undecided on 6% (up one), is equal narrowest. Full report here.

• The West Australian today brings further results from the Utting Research poll that credited the state Liberals with a 54-46 lead, finding 58% planning to vote no on the Indigenous Voice compared with 29% for yes and 13% undecided. With the latter excluded, the result is exactly two-thirds yes and one-third no. Since other recent polling from Western Australia has tended to suggest only a modest leaning towards no, it’s tempting to regard this as evidence that the poll struck a heavily conservative rogue sample, and to interpret the voting intention numbers accordingly. The poll further records 54% saying the state’s Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act had made them less likely to vote for the Voice, compared with 16% for more likely, 23% for neither and 7% for unsure.

• The Age/Herald had yet more results from last week’s Resolve Strategic poll on Sunday, showing 31% in favour of increased support for Ukraine, 45% support for retaining it at its current level and only 9% support for decreasing or withdrawing support.

Tom McIlroy of the Financial Review reports 60,000 Indigenous voters have been added to the electoral roll since the end of last year, increasing the enrolment rate from 84.5% to 94.1%. This followed “sustained work” by the Australian Electoral Commission encompassing “special enrolment strategies, direct enrolment rules for remote communities, and changes to allow voters to enrol a Medicare card”. As noted here previously, the Indigenous enrolment surge has led to a proposed redistribution for the Northern Territory parliament being scrapped and started again.

Tom Cowie of The Age reports Labor “looks increasingly unlikely to field a contender” at the Victorian state by-election for Warrandyte on August 26. The Greens have endorsed Manningham deputy mayor Tomas Lightbody. Other candidates include independent Maya Tesa, a past Liberal Democrats candidate who polled 7.0% as an independent at the Aston by-election on April 1.

Fadden and other by-elections

All the news that’s fit to print about tomorrow’s Fadden by-election, plus timetable details for the Warrandyte by-election in Victoria.

The Fadden by-election is upon us tomorrow, and the Poll Bludger’s results page stands ready for action, to provide live updates of results down to booth level in tabular and map form (the latter viewable by clicking the “activate” button at the bottom of the page) together with projections, probability estimates and data on preference flows.

News from the front:

• Queensland Labor Senator Murray Watt candidly stated yesterday that his party had “zero chance” of overcoming the 10.6% margin, and no word coming out of the Coalition camp has indicated otherwise.

Paul Karp of The Guardian reports that the Liberal National Party has been concerned enough about the Aston precedent to have sent a six-figure sum on digital, billboard and television advertising, whereas Labor has conducted a digital-only campaign costing about $30,000, much of it targeting outgoing member Stuart Robert over robodebt.

• The Australian Electoral Commission has expressed concern about low turnout for early voting, with only 16,000 votes cast as of Monday compared with 22,000 at the same stage at the 2022 election. Kos Samaras of RedBridge Group told the Age/Herald that a low turnout would likely hamper Labor, as the effect would be concentrated among younger voters.

Maggie Perry of 6News has helpfully assembled a table summarising how-to-vote card recommendations, the most significant feature of which is an active recommendation by One Nation that LNP candidate Cameron Caldwell go well ahead of Labor’s Letitia Del Fabbro.

In other by-election news, the timetable for Warrandyte has been revealed, with the closure of nominations and ballot paper draw set for Thursday, August 10, early voting to open on Monday, August 14, and polling day on Saturday, August 24. The big question of whether Labor will be taking the field remains unanswered. The other by-election on the horizon, for Mark McGowan’s seat of Rockingham in Western Australia, will be held a fortnight from tomorrow.

Weekend miscellany: by-elections, Voice polling, Gerard Rennick’s preselection defeat (open thread)

Victoria’s Warrandyte by-election set for August 26; more evidence the Indigenous Voice has little chance of prevailing in Queensland; and controversial incumbent Gerard Rennick dumped from the LNP’s Senate ticket.

Less than a week to go until the Fadden by-election, though I’m afraid there’s no specific news of consequence to relate concerning it. Last week I suggested that Newspoll quarterly breakdowns and a Resolve Strategic poll might be imminent, which still holds a week later. We should also be seeing proposed new state electoral boundaries for Western Australia at some point over the coming fortnight. Other than that:

• Victoria’s long-awaited Warrandyte by-election has been set for August 26. Labor sources cited by Rachel Baxendale of The Australian say the party is “highly unlikely to run”, although The Age reports Labor MPs are “privately pressuring the party to contest”, backed by “a fair bit of pressure coming from the branches”.

• The Financial Review has published further results from this week’s Queensland state poll from Freshwater Strategy showing 50% opposition to the Indigenous Voice with only 36% in support and 14% undecided, breaking out to 58-42 with the latter excluded. The results in Brisbane were 40% supportive and 47% opposed, compared with 31% and 53% in the rest of the state.

• Right-wing Queensland Senator Gerard Rennick has been dumped from the Liberal National Party’s ticket for the next election after a vote at the party’s state conference, despite backing from Peter Dutton. His third position, which did not avail Amanda Stoker when she held it at last year’s election, will instead go to Stuart Fraser, who reportedly won the final round of the vote by 134 to 131. Fraser is the LNP’s treasurer and director of a private investment fund, also noted for his involvement with the Tattersalls Club and the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane. The Guardian reports Fraser survived the final exclusion by four votes ahead of Nelson Savanh of strategic communications firm Michelson Alexander, then narrowly prevailed as moderate support coalesced behind him. Another contestant for the position, Sophia Li, a former adviser to Shadow Defence Industry Minister Luke Howarth, takes the fourth position, while former state Hinchinbrook MP and Newman government minister Andrew Cripps is fifth.

Paul Sakkal of the Sydney Morning Herald reports on the prospect of Matt Kean, senior minister in the recently ousted state government and noted factional moderate, running at the next federal election in Bradfield should Paul Fletcher choose to retire, or alternatively against teal independent Kylea Tink in North Sydney. Dominic Perrottet was said to be resisting overtures to run in North Sydney or challenge Alex Hawke for preselection in Mitchell, and was likely to quit politics. There was “no indication” Gladys Berejiklian or Mike Baird might run, despite reported urgings from senior Liberals. Berowra MP Julian Leeser might be challenged by conservatives displeased with his support for the Indigenous Voice, but was “likely to survive”. Such questions may be settled later rather than sooner after a vote for the party’s state presidency was won by former Mackellar MP Jason Falinski, who is reportedly dubious about Peter Dutton’s determination to have all candidates preselected by October.

By-election latest: Fadden, Rockingham, Warrandyte

Candidates confirmed and ballot papers drawn for Fadden and Rockingham, and Liberal preselection determined for Warrandyte.

Candidates were announced and ballot paper orders drawn for two of the three looming by-elections, an occasion I have marked with guides to the two in question — the federal by-election for Fadden on July 15, and the Western Australian state by-election for Rockingham on July 29. As well as providing a dedicated comments thread for discussion of the by-election, this post offers a summary of the most recent developments from all three, the most notable of which are for the Victorian state by-election for Warrandyte, for which a date is yet to be determined:

• A Liberal preselection held on Sunday to choose a candidate for the Warrandyte state by-election in Victoria was won by Nicole Ta-Ei Werner, who ran unsuccessfully for the party in Box Hill at the November state election. Werner is the daughter of Malaysian Chinese migrants and a former youth pastor with Pentecostal church Planetshakers, who now works as the business development for Empower Australia, a food relief centre run by the church. She prevailed in the preselection vote amid a field of nine, which after progressive rounds winnowed the field down to Werner, Institute of Public Affairs director John Roskam, and 22-year-old law student Antonietta di Cosmo. Werner and Roskam were at this point tied for second, which was resolved with a special round of voting that determined the result for Werner. The majority of Roskam’s backers then fell in behind Werner, who defeated di Cosmo in the final round with 55 votes to 50 (with “some members leaving early”, according to The Age). Labor sources cited by The Age on Monday said Labor would decide if it would field a candidate by the end of the week, but I have yet to hear any further.

• Nine candidates have nominated for Rockingham, the Liberal candidate being Peter Hudson, a 21-year-old resources sector recruitment consultant who ran for the party in Brand at last year’s federal election, and was the only nominee for preselection. Also in the field is Rockingham deputy mayor Hayley Edwards, who was mentioned as a potential candidate for Labor but will instead run as an independent.

• With a crowded field of 13 candidates, Labor has had rather the better of the ballot paper draw in Fadden, their candidate Letitia Del Fabbro placed at the top while Cameron Caldwell of the Liberal National Party is second last.

Miscellany: seat entitlements, electoral reforms, by-elections latest and more (open thread)

Winners in losers in the carve-up of House of Reps seats between the states, Gerard Rennick’s Senate preselection under challenge, latest by-election developments, and more.

Recent electoral developments at the federal level:

• The population statistics that will be used next month to calculate state and territory House of Representation seat entitlements have been published, and as Antony Green reports, they establish that New South Wales and Victoria will each lose a seat, putting them at 46 and 38 respectively; Western Australia will gain one, putting it at 16; and the others will remain unchanged at Queensland 30, South Australia 10, Tasmania five, the ACT three and the Northern Territory two. The vagaries of rounding mean the total size of the House will be down one to 150. Redistributions will duly be required in three states – Antony Green has a further post looking at the specifics in Western Australia, where the new seat seems likely to be in the eastern suburbs of Perth.

Matthew Killoran of the Courier-Mail reports a view that right-wing Liberal National Party Senator Gerard Rennick will “narrowly see off” challenges to his third position on the Queensland Senate ticket from Nelson Savanh, who works with strategic communications firm Michelson Alexander and appears to be an ideological moderate, and Stuart Fraser, director of a private investment fund.

Jamie Walker of The Australian reports speculation that Pauline Hanson will shortly retire from politics, with her Senate vacancy to be filled by her chief-of-staff, James Ashby, who first came to public attention when he brought sexual harassment allegations against Peter Slipper, then the Speaker and Ashby’s boss, in 2012. Hanson spoke to The Australian of her frustration at being sidelined by a Labor government that prefers to negotiate with Jacqui Lambie and David Pocock to pass contested legislation through the Senate.

• The Guardian has launched an Indigenous Voice poll tracker. Meanwhile, academic Murray Goot has things to say about Newspoll’s recent result and The Australian’s presentation of it.

Paul Sakkal of the Age/Herald reports the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters will shortly recommend donation and spending caps and bans on false information in political advertisements, which have the broad support of the government and the relevant minister, Special Minister of State Don Farrell. Labor’s new draft national platform says it will work towards reducing reliance on donations and move to an expanded public funding system, much of the impetus coming from Clive Palmer’s extravagant electoral spending. Donation caps are opposed by Climate 200 and the Australia Institute, which argue that donor-funded campaigns provide the only opportunity for new entrants to take on incumbents. Donation caps at state level of $6700 a year in New South Wales and $4000 in Victoria were seen as inhibiting teal independent efforts to replicate their successes at federal elections.

• This week’s federal voting intention numbers from Roy Morgan have Labor’s two-party lead out from 55.5-44.5 to 56-44, from primary votes of Labor 35%, Coalition 33.5% and Greens 13.0%.

State by-elections latest:

• The Victorian Liberals will choose their candidate for the Warrandyte by-election on Sunday. Rachel Baxendale of The Australian reports the outcome is “far from clear”, with 22-year-old law student Antonietta Di Cosmo di Cosmo reckoned as good a chance as any out of the field of nine candidates. Conservative allies of Deakin MP Michael Sukkar are reportedly split between former Institute of Public Affairs executive director John Roskam and former Pentecostal pastor Nicole Ta-Ei Werner, while the opposing factional claim is divided between KPMG director Sarah Overton, tech business founder Jason McClintock and former Matthew Guy staffer Jemma Townson. Meanwhile, The Age reports Labor MPs are pressing for the party to field a candidate. Confirmation of a date for the by-election is still a while off, with outgoing member Ryan Smith not to formally resign until July 7.

• In Western Australia, Josh Zimmerman of The West Australian reports Labor’s administrative committee has confirmed party staffer Magenta Marshall as its candidate to succeed Mark McGowan in Rockingham on July 29. Rather surprisingly, the Liberals have committed to field a candidate in a seat McGowan won in 2021 by 37.7%.

Resolve Strategic: Labor 41, Coalition 26, Greens 15 in Victoria

A new poll adds to an ever-mounting accumulation of bad news for the Liberals in Victoria.

The Age has a poll of Victorian state voting intention from Resolve Strategic that records a deterioration in Coalition support from an already dismal starting point in the last such poll two months ago, despite the government bringing down a seemingly tough budget in the interim. Labor is on 41%, down one on the previous poll, as compared with 36.6% at the election; the Coalition on 26%, down four, as compared with 34.4%; the Greens on 15%, up five (which in turn was down three on the February poll), compared with 11.5%; a generic category for independents on 12%, unchanged on the previous poll, compared with 5.6% at the election; and 6% for others, up one, as compared with 11.9%. Based on an educated guess of preference flows, this would come out as a Labor lead of between 62-38 and 63-37, where the previous poll would have been around 59-41 and the result at the election was an even 55-45.

The poll credits Daniel Andrews with a lead over John Pesutto of 49-26 as preferred premier, out from 49-28 two months ago. It also gauged opinion on two contentious budget measures: “an increase in the payroll tax paid by some businesses and high-fee independent schools”, which found 40% in favour and 27% opposed, and “an increase in land tax by around $1300 a year for property investors with average landholdings of $650,000”, for which 34% were in favour and 38% opposed. The poll had a sample of 1006 and combined results of the pollster’s last two monthly national surveys, conducted from May 10 to 14 and June 7 to 11. Since the budget fell between these dates, the questions relevant to it presumably had around half the total sample size.

Further evidence of Labor’s ongoing dominance was provided recently by Kos Samaras of RedBridge Group, whose polling of 1003 respondents in the Greater Melbourne area in late May had Labor on 44%, Liberal on 31% and the Greens on 12%. By my reckoning, this compares with results at the election of around Labor 40%, Liberal 31% and Greens 13%.

In other Victorian electoral news, the Victorian Electoral Commission has published exhaustive preference counts down to the final two candidates in 39 seats where they were technically unnecessary, since the winning candidate crossed the 50% threshold at an earlier point in the count. Most of the electoral commissions conduct exhaustive counts for informational purposes, but the VEC has not traditionally done so. I believe an exception was made on this occasion to address conspiracy theories about Daniel Andrews’ seat of Mulgrave, propagated in part by a Liberal candidate with a penchant for Trumpian rhetoric. Michael Piastrino in fact failed to make the final count, having been outpolled by independent candidate Ian Cook. Information earlier published by the VEC established that 22,976 ballot papers (60.2%) had Andrews ahead of Piastrino, with 15,191; we now know that 23,070 (60.8%) had Andrews ahead of Ian Cook on 14,854.