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.

Essential Research 2PP+: Labor 50, Coalition 45 (open thread)

Essential Research spices up an uneventful set of voting intention numbers with a finding that nearly one in ten respondents choose the red pill.

The fortnightly Essential Research poll gives Labor its best result on voting intention in two months, their primary vote up two to 33%, the Coalition steady on 32%, the Greens up one to 14% and One Nation down two to 6%, with the undecided component down one to 5%. Their lead on the 2PP+ measure is out from 49-45 to 50-45. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1125.

Also featured are questions on COVID-19, including a finding that 52% consider Australia well prepared for future pandemics compared with 38% for not well prepared, and an unexpected foray on the “nature of reality”, which finds precisely equal proportions of Coalition, Labor and Greens voters alert to the fact that we are “living in a simulation”. The 301 Victorian respondents were asked to rate Daniel Andrews’ contribution to Victoria, with 37% opting for very good or quite good compared with 40% for very poor or quite poor.

Daniel Andrews quits

A short sharp race for the premiership of Victoria to follow Daniel Andrews’ retirement, followed in a few months by a by-election for his seat of Mulgrave.

A fraction shy of a decade since returning Labor to power in Victoria after its only term in the wilderness this century, Daniel Andrews has called it a day, effective 5pm tomorrow. This will result in a by-election for his loseable south-eastern suburbs seat of Mulgrave and the choice of a new Premier at a caucus meeting to be held at midday tomorrow. (UPDATE: It is noted that party rules require a three-day nominations period.) Deputy Premier Jacinta Allan has long been the heir presumptive, reflecting the dominance of her and Andrews’ Socialist Left faction, although her CV carries the unfortunate entry of “Minister for Commonwealth Games Delivery June 2022 – July 2023”. However, the Financial Review reported in May that Ben Carroll of the Right had been “canvassing support in the event of an early exit” by Andrews.

The party has a strong incentive to fall behind a consensus choice, since party rules require a ballot of the membership unless 80% of caucus supports the winning candidate in a contested vote. Making Carroll deputy would restore factional balance to the leadership positions, but the Herald Sun reported in June that Mary-Anne Thomas, Gabrielle Williams and Lily D’Ambrosio of the Left might also be in contention. However, the latter’s stocks may have declined in light of recent branch-stacking controversies.

UPDATE: The Australian reports today’s caucus meeting is likely to choose an acting leader from among those who are not planning to nominate for the leadership in the three days available for them to do so, but the Financial Review hears different, saying the meeting is likely to hand the role to Jacinta Allan. An acting leader could be in place for some time if the leadership is contested, which would require a second contender to have their nomination endorsed by 20 per cent of the party room. There would follow a two-week campaign period before ballot papers were sent out to party members, whose votes would account for 50% of the result alongside the result of a party room vote.

The question would appear to be whether Ben Carroll of the Right, who is said to be canvassing support, goes the distance against Allan. Labor sources cited by The Age say the leadership is “Allan’s to lose”, but the Right could play hardball in forcing a vote if it is not assured of the deputy position. Anthony Carbines and Natalie Hutchins are mentioned as potential Right contenders along with Carroll, but Mary-Anne Thomas and Gabrielle Williams of the Left are also said to be interested. Carbines, Williams and Thomas, together with Colin Brooks, are further listed by The Australian as “possible but unlikely” contenders for the leadership.

Essential Research 2PP+: Labor 49, Coalition 45 (open thread)

Unsurprising results on federal voting intention and the Indigenous Voice from Essential Research, while RedBridge finds the Coalition making no headway in Victoria.

The latest fortnightly Essential Research poll finds both major parties unchanged on the primary vote, Labor at 31% and the Coalition at 32%, with the Greens down two to 13%, One Nation up one to 8% and 6% undecided. The pollster’s 2PP+ measure has Labor down two to 49% and the Coalition up two to 45% – the narrowest result this term – with undecided likewise at 6%. A result on the Indigenous Voice maintains the remorseless trend, with no up three to 51% (hard no up one to 42%, soft no up one to 8%) and and yes down one to 41% (hard yes down two to 28%, soft yes steady at 12%).

Regarding the government’s latest package of workplace laws, the poll finds 79% are in favour of criminalising wage theft, with only 6% opposed; 66% support “closing loopholes so that employers can’t use labour hire workers to undercut full time workers”, with 12% opposed; and 54% support “ensure that gig workers who work through digital platforms have minimum rights and entitlements”, with 15% opposed. Forty-nine per cent favoured “businesses maximising profits for shareholders” as the cause of rising living costs over 32% for the alternative cause of wage and salary increases for workers, and 42% felt workplace power tilted too much in favour of employers compared with 12% for workers. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1135.

Also doing the rounds is a Victorian state poll from RedBridge Group that shows primary vote shares much as they were at the November election, with Labor on 37%, the Coalition on 34% and the Greens on 13% (36.7%, 34.5% and 11.5% respectively at the election). However, Labor is credited with a wider two-party preferred lead of 56.5-43.5, compared with 55.0-45.0 at the election. The poll was conducted August 31 to September 14 from a substantial sample of 3001, allowing for credible breakdowns by gender, age, region, education, income and home ownership in the pollster’s report.

Warrandyte by-election live

Live coverage of the count for the Victorian state by-election for Warrandyte.

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

Live commentary

End of Saturday night. By-elections with major party forfeits are always hard to read, particularly when, as in this case, the absent major party had accounted for nearly a third of the vote last time. Even so, the 8.9% hike in the Liberal primary vote seems respectable enough, having been scored from a field of twelve candidates compared with six last time. The Greens, who often struggle at by-elections, can likewise take something out of a 7.4% gain despite competition from the Victorian Socialists, who are on 3.9%. The only smaller party in the field both times was Family First, who struggled against a bigger field and a religious Liberal candidate. The DLP would owe a fair bit of their 5.7% to the name “Labour”, and Sustainable Australia some of their 2.7% to the donkey vote. The Freedom Party’s 2.2% was a bit below their average at the state election, and five independents managed less than 7% between them, more than half of which went to former Liberal Democrat Maya Tesa.

9.53pm. Sure enough, about 7000 early votes have just reported on the primary vote. These are very strong for the Liberals — about as much so as the postals, in swing terms. Presumably the corresponding TCP result will be along a bit later, and that will be it for the evening.

9.34pm. All election day booths are now in on primary and TCP, although there may be a large dump of early votes still to come this evening.

8.40pm. The preference flows table on my results page is back in business. It now shows the Liberals getting more than half, but I suspect that’s inflated by it being dominated by postals.

8.37pm. Out of 11 booths, seven are in on primaries and four are TCP. My projections are doing what they’re supposed to do, in that they’re remaining fairly steady while the raw totals fluctuate — raw TCP has blown out to 74.5-25.5 because the postals have now reported and dominate the total, but that will come down when we get the TCP results from the three booths that have so far only reported on primaries.

8.18pm. Now we’ve got five booths in on primaries and three on TCP. The Liberals are on 60.9% of the primary vote, but I’m projecting that to come down to 57% as the count becomes less dominated by postals. I’m less clear on how sticky the nearly 70-30 result on TCP will be, because it hasn’t been reported on postals yet. I’d be interested to know what the 42 absent votes are.

8.15pm. On the booth that’s in on the TCP, the Greens received 55.2% of minor party and independent preferences — which is what the preference flows table should be showing.

8.12pm. So now I’ve rubbed out the contents of the preference flows table.

8.09pm. Projection error rectified. However, the “preference flows” table is not behaving as it should.

8.04pm. Two booths in, one on primary votes only, the other on both primary and two-party. My projection has gone awry, and should not be allowing for the remotest possibility of Liberal defeat. Even so, the Liberals are doing less well on polling booth swings than on postals.

7.48pm. Results at last — and very curiously, it’s a huge batch of 5580 postals (primary votes only), on which the Liberal vote is up 13.8%. More than enough for my system to call it.

7.09pm. On what basis I’m not sure, but Simon Love of Sky News tweets: “Early pre-poll and postals strong so far – Lib primary vote up”.

7.04pm. Still nothing. The VEC results page confirms there will indeed by a Liberal-versus-Greens TCP count.

6.34pm. Results are only being refreshed every 15 minutes. Another update came through just now, but still nothing.

6.06pm. I’m assuming the TCP count will be between Liberal and the Greens, but won’t actually know until some numbers come through.

6pm. Polls have closed. Given the large field of candidates and the lack of small rural booths, I don’t imagine we will be seeing any results for at least a quarter of an hour.

Overview

Today is the day of Victoria’s Warrandyte by-election, occasioned by the resignation of Liberal member Ryan Smith. As detailed in my by-election guide, this seems likely to result in an easy win for Liberal candidate Nicole Werner, with Labor forfeiting and no obviously threatening independent or minor party challenger emerging. As usual, this site will feature a results page including projections and tabular and mapped displays of results at booth level, to be updated live from the close of voting at 6pm, together with live commentary to be added to this post.

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.