YouGov Galaxy: 55-45 to federal Coalition in Queensland

A Queensland-only federal poll from YouGov Galaxy splits the difference between the actual election result and the pre-election polling that singularly failed to predict it.

The Courier-Mail/Sunday Mail has followed up yesterday’s YouGov Galaxy state results, which were covered here, with the federal voting intention findings from the same poll. This records the Coalition with a 55-45 lead in the state, from primary votes of Coalition 40%, Labor 29%, One Nation 13% and Greens 12%. However, Scott Morrison records a commanding 46-23 over Anthony Albanese as preferred prime minister.

According to taste, you can interpret the voting intention results as:

• An improvement for Labor on the election result, at which the Coalition recorded a thumping 58.6-41.4 two-party preferred win in the state, from primary votes of Coalition 43.7%, Labor 26.7%, Greens 10.3% and One Nation 8.9%;

• A surge to the Coalition compared with the last YouGov Galaxy poll from Queensland, which was conducted a week-and-a-half before the May 18 election and proved, like all pre-election polling from the state, to be very badly astray. That poll had the Coalition leading 51-49, from primary votes of Coalition 38%, Labor 33%, Greens 9% and One Nation 9%.

The latter result, which was similar to Newspoll state breakdowns of the time, is worth revisiting, as it more-or-less accurately predicted the vote shares for the minor parties (albeit a shade too low for the Greens), and may have done well enough for the major parties among women – but it very clearly dropped the ball among Queensland men, who plainly didn’t come close to the dead even two-party split attributed to them by the poll.

So much trouble in the world

Upheaval in conservative politics in New South Wales over abortion law; a pickle for Labor in Tasmania over a vacancy in state parliament; and suggestions of a looming state by-election in Victoria.

In New South Wales:

A row over a bill to decriminalise abortion is prompting murmurings about Gladys Berejiklian’s leadership just five months after she led the Coalition to an impressive election victory, with tremors that are being felt federally. The bill was introduced by independent MP Alex Greenwich, but its sponsors included the Berejiklian government’s Health Minister, Brad Hazzard. It was headed last week for passage through both houses of parliament, before Berejiklian bowed to conservative outrage by pushing back the final vote in the upper house by nearly a month. Claiming credit for this concession is Barnaby Joyce, whose high-profile interventions have angered his state Nationals colleagues, most of whom support the bill (prompting Mark Latham, who now holds a crucial upper house vote as a member of One Nation, to tar the party with the cultural Marxist brush). Following suggestions the party room had discussed expelling him from the party, Joyce said he would go of his own accord if four of them publicly called for him to do so. It doesn’t appear that is going to happen, but if it did, the government would be reduced from 77 seats in the House of Representatives out of 151, costing it its absolute majority on the floor.

In Tasmania:

Labor MP Scott Bacon’s decision to end his state parliamentary career, citing family reasons, represents an unwelcome turn of events for an already understaffed state opposition, owing to the manner in which parliamentary vacancies are filled under Hare-Clark. This will involve a “recount” (as officially known, though “countback” is the generally preferred term for such procedures) of the votes that got Bacon elected to his seat in Denison (which is now called Clark), either as first or subsequent preferences. The procedure is open to any unsuccessful candidates from the previous election who care to nominate, among whom is Madeleine Ogilvie, a former incumbent who was defeated in 2018 – possibly because progressive sentiment had been alienated by her social conservatism.

The problem for Labor is that Ogilvie has since parted company with the party, to the extent of running as an independent for an upper house seat in May. If she wins the recount, and no reconciliation with the party is forthcoming, there will be nothing to stop her sitting as an independent, reducing Labor from ten seats to nine in a chamber of 25. As explained by Kevin Bonham, we can see from the 2018 results that this will produce a “first preference” count in which 33.1% of the vote goes to Madeleine Ogilvie and 28.4% to Tim Cox, a former ABC Radio presenter who ran unsuccessfully, and has confirmed he will nominate for the recount. More than half the remainder went to candidates who are not in contention because they’re already in parliament, so it will assuredly be one or the other.

In Victoria:

John Ferguson of The Australian reports the Liberals have been conducting internal polling for former party leader Matthew Guy’s seat of Bulleen, prompting speculation he will shortly quit parliament. The Liberals retained the seat with a 5.8% margin even amid the debacle of last November’s election, and the polling is “believed to show the Liberal brand holding up”.

Essential Research: leadership ratings, US and China, abortion law

Higher disapproval ratings for both leaders in the latest Essential poll, which also records lukewarm feelings towards the United States and cooler ones for China.

The latest fortnightly Essential Research poll again comes up empty on voting intention, but it does offer the pollster’s third set of leadership ratings since the election. As with Newspoll, these record a drop in Scott Morrison’s net approval rating, owing to a three point rise in disapproval to 37%, while his approval holds steady at 48%. However, Essential parts company with Newspoll in finding Anthony Albanese up on disapproval as well, by five points to 29%, with approval down one to 38%. Morrison’s lead as preferred prime minister narrows slightly, from 44-26 to 44-28.

Further questions suggest the public leans positive on most aspects of the “influence of the United States of America” (defence, trade, cultural and business), excepting a neutral result (42% positive, 40% negative) for influence on Australian politics. The same exercise for China finds positive results for trade, neutral results for culture and business, and negative ones for defence and politics. Asked which of the two we would most benefit from strengthening ties with, 38% of respondents favoured the US and 28% China.

The small sample of respondents from New South Wales were also asked about the proposed removal of abortion from the criminal code, which was supported by an overwhelming 71% compared with 17% opposed. The poll has a sample of 1096 and was conducted online from Thursday to Sunday.

Note also the post below this one, being the latest Brexit update from Adrian Beaumont.

Newspoll: 51-49 to Coalition

The second federal poll since the election finds the Coalition back where it started after an apparent post-election bounce in the previous poll three weeks ago.

Newspoll’s first result in three weeks, and second since the election, turns up a surprise in recording a shrinking in the Coalition’s lead from 53-47 to 51-49 – which, if meaningful, would mean an end to the honeymoon period and a return to where things stood at election time. On the primary vote, the Coalition is on 42%, down two points on the last poll and up 0.6% on the election result; Labor is on 34%, up one point and 0.7%; the Greens are on 11%, steady and up 0.6%; and One Nation are on 4%, up one point and 0.9%.

Leadership ratings are likewise consistent with the fading of a post-election sugar hit, with Scott Morrison down three on approval to 48% and up six on disapproval to 42%. Anthony Albanese’s ratings also seem to be trending from mediocre to respectable, with his approval up two to 41% and disapproval down to 34%, leaving him shading Morrison by a point on net approval. However, this hasn’t translated to preferred prime minister for some reason, on which Morrison holds a healthy lead of 48-30, out from 48-31 last time.

The poll was conducted by online and automated phone surveying from a sample of 1623, from Thursday to Sunday. Full report from The Australian here. As before, we remain in the dark as to how the pollster’s methods have been adjusted since the election failure, if at all. However, the size of the movements, and the lack of anything obvious to explain them, suggests the poll has not been subjected to the smoothing method that Newspoll must have been using before the election to give it its uncanny and, as it turned out, misleading consistency.

Various stuff that’s happening

Sarah Henderson reportedly struggling in her Senate preselection comeback bid, plus yet more on the great pollster failure, and other things besides.

Newspoll’s no-show this week suggests last fortnight’s poll may not have portended a return to the familiar schedule. Amid a general post-election psephological malaise, there is at least the following to relate:

• The great pollster failure was the subject of a two-parter by Bernard Keane in Crikey yesterday, one part examining the methodological nuts and bolts, the other the influence of polling on journalism and political culture.

Richard Willingham of the ABC reports former Corangamite MP Sarah Henderson is having a harder-than-expected time securing Liberal preselection to replace Mitch Fifield in the Senate, despite backing from Scott Morrison, Josh Frydenberg and Michael Kroger. According to the report, some of Henderson’s backers concede that Greg Mirabella, former state party vice-president and the husband of Sophie Mirabella, may have the edge.

• The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters has invited submissions for its regular inquiry into the 2019 election, which will be accepted until Friday, September 2019. Queensland LNP Senator James McGrath continues to chair the committee, which consists of five Coalition, two Labor and one Greens member.

Daniella White of the Canberra Times reports Labor is struggling to find candidates for next October’s Australian Capital Territory election, said by “some insiders” to reflect pessimism about the government’s chances of extending its reign to a sixth term.

• The Federation Press has published a second edition of the most heavily thumbed tome in my psephological library, Graeme Orr’s The Law of Politics: Election, Parties and Money in Australia. A good deal of water has passed under the bridge since the first edition in 2010, most notably in relation to Section 44, which now accounts for the better part of half a chapter.

Essential Research: Newstart, robodebt, social media

More evidence that voters favour social democratic policy options, right up until polling day.

The fortnightly Essential Research poll, which is still yet to resume results for voting intention, focuses largely on questions around social security. Among its findings are that the Newstart rate is deemed too low by 58%, about right by 30% and too high by 5%. Forty-four per cent expressed strong support for an increase from $280 per week to $355, a further 31% said they somewhat supported it, and only 18% said they were opposed, 7% strongly.

I don’t normally make anything out of breakdowns published in average sample polls, but it’s interesting to note that the “too low” response increases progressively across the three age cohorts to peak at 66% among the 55-and-over. There was also a relationship between age and correct answers to a question in which respondents were asked to identify the weekly Newstart payment, the overall result for which was 40%, up from 27% when it was previously asked last June. Only 29% of Coalition voters expressed strong support for an increase compared with 55% for Labor supporters, but the difference was narrower when combined with the “somewhat” response, at 84% to 68%.

On the Centrelink “robodebt” debt recovery program, 58% supported calls for it to be shut down compared with 32% opposed. Twenty-two per cent said they had heard a lot about the program and 30% a little, while 18% said they had not heard any details and 30% that they were not aware of it at all.

The one question not relating to social security covers social media companies’ collection of personal information, with 80% expressing concern about the matter and the same number wanting tighter regulation. The affirmative response for both questions progressively increased across the three age cohorts.

Also noteworthy from the poll is that Essential Research has taken to publishing “base” figures for each cohort in the breakdown, which evidently reflect their proportion of the total after weightings are applied. This is at least a step in the direction of the transparency that is the norm in British and American polling, in that it tell us how Essential is modelling the overall population, even if it doesn’t divulge how much each cohort’s responses are being weighted to produce those totals.

The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from an online sample of 1102 respondents.