Nuclear fallout (open thread)

Polling on nuclear energy from Resolve Strategic and Freshwater Strategy, the seat of Macnamara from RedBridge Group, and the relative merits of capitalism and socialism from YouGov, along with the usual weekly voting intention numbers from Roy Morgan.

Some data relating to the Coalition’s nuclear energy plans, along with a couple of other things, has helped filled the void in what loomed as a quiet week on the polling front:

• Nine Newspapers had a fresh Resolve Strategic poll focused entirely on the Coalition’s nuclear energy proposal, with no voting intention numbers provided. While this found 41% support for use of nuclear power with 37% opposed, it also found (following a lengthy explanation) 43% preferring “Labor’s plan to use 100% renewables (supported by gas for the next decade or two)” against 33% for “the Coalition’s plan to use nuclear power and some gas to support the renewables”. Nuclear was also the second least favoured energy source out of a list of eleven options, behind coal, with rooftop solar and hydro-electric power most favoured. The poll was conducted from Thursday, a day after Peter Dutton’s announcement, to Sunday, from a sample of 1003.

• Further data on nuclear energy, albeit not from the wake of Peter Dutton’s announcement, is provided by Freshwater Strategy, which has consistently asked respondents if they support or oppose seven designated energy sources in their polling going back to May last year. The last three monthly results have been the most positive for nuclear to date, the latest finding 37% in favour and 32% opposed, but like Resolve Strategic it finds nuclear consistently rated second lowest after coal. The Australian reported on Saturday that Freshwater Strategy conducted further polling for the Coalition focusing on the electorates proposed as sites for the plants, with 59% of those in Maranoa in favour and 33% opposed, 55% in Gippsland in favour with 40% opposed, 52% in O’Connor in favour with 38% opposed, and 51% in Grey in favour with 45% opposed, with tighter but still net favourable results in Calare, Flynn and Hunter.

• The weekly Roy Morgan poll has Labor leading 51-49, after a tied result last week, from primary votes of Labor 31.5% (up two), Coalition 37% (down one), Greens 13% (down half) and One Nation 6% (up one). The poll was conducted Monday to Sunday from a sample of 1696, thus partly before Peter Dutton’s announcement and part after, with its movements well within the boundaries of this pollster’s usual volatility.

• RedBridge Group has a small sample poll from the Melbourne seat of Macnamara, where Labor, Liberal and the Greens polled almost exactly equal shares of the vote in 2022, with Labor rather than the Greens winning after the latter very narrowly went under at the last exclusion. The good news for Labor is that the poll, which was conducted June 13 to 20, finds the Greens at 21% compared with their 29.7% at the election. The bad news is a two-party swing to the Liberals that reduces their margin from 12.2% at the election to 5% in the poll, with Labor’s primary vote down from 31.7% to 30% and the Liberals up from 29.0% to 36%. However, the poll’s sample of 401 puts the margin of error at around 5%.

• YouGov has published a finding from its last federal poll, conducted three weeks ago, suggesting no particular enthusiasm for capitalism over socialism, with 31% of respondents rating themselves between six and ten on a scale running from zero for socialism to ten for capitalism and 27% placing themselves from zero to four, with 42% for the “neutral” option of five. Socialism was favoured by fully 41% of the 18-to-34 age cohort, compared with 23% for capitalism. The poll was conducted May 31 to June 4 from a sample of 1500.

UK general election minus ten days

Labour remains over 20 points ahead with Reform surging. Also covered: the French parliamentary elections on June 30 and July 7, the US election and the final European parliament results.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is a paid election analyst for The Conversation. His work for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

The UK general election will be held on July 4. The Guardian’s aggregate of national polls has Labour on 41.9% (down 1.0 since last Monday’s article), the Conservatives on 21.4% (down 0.9), the far-right Reform on 15.0% (up 1.4), the Liberal Democrats on 10.9% (up 0.6) and the Greens on 5.7% (steady).

Most individual polls have Reform between 16% and 19%, within a few points of overtaking the Conservatives for second place. The most spectacular poll in the last week was a People Polling poll that had Labour on 35%, Reform on 24% and the Conservatives on 15%. While other polls have had Reform just ahead or tied with the Conservatives, no other poll has been close to People Polling’s numbers.

The Electoral Calculus site has lower vote shares for Labour and the Conservatives than The Guardian (39.5% Labour, 19.9% Conservative) and higher Reform and Lib Dem votes (17.8% Reform, 11.6% Lib Dems). But with first past the post, the forecast is for Labour to win 457 of the 650 House of Commons seats, to 76 for the Conservatives, 66 for the Lib Dems, 22 for the Scottish National Party, just three for Reform and two for the Greens.

Labour remains ahead of the SNP in Scottish polls, which represents a big swing to Labour and against the SNP since the 2019 election in Scotland. If replicated at the election, Labour will make large seat gains in Scotland, where they won just one of 59 seats in 2019.

There are two recent seat polls of Clacton, which Reform leader Nigel Farage is contesting. Both polls have Farage easily winning, with a 15-point lead in Survation and a 27-point lead in JL Partners. The Conservatives won 71.9% in Clacton in 2019, but are in the 20s in these two polls, with Farage in the 40s. A seat poll in PM Rishi Sunak’s seat has Sunak leading Labour by 39-28 with 18% for Reform, so Sunak should hold his seat.

French election: Far-right National Rally likely to win most seats

The French parliamentary election will be held on June 30 (first round) and July 7 (runoffs). In first round polls, the far-right National Rally (RN) and its allies are in the mid-30s, the left-wing alliance of four parties (NFP) is in the high-20s, President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Ensemble is just over 20% and the conservative Republicans are on about 8%.

This means that Ensemble are likely to be eliminated from the runoffs in the large majority of the 577 seats, which will be RN vs NFP contests. Seat forecasts suggest RN will win about 250 seats, short of the 289 needed for a majority. A poll of hypothetical runoff contests had RN beating NFP by 41-33 but losing to Ensemble by 40-37, implying that if Ensemble could make the final two, RN would do much worse.

US: Biden closes on Trump ahead of debate

The US general election will be held on November 5. There will be a debate hosted by CNN between Joe Biden and Donald Trump this Thursday (Friday at 11am AEST). Biden has moved ahead of Trump by 0.3% in the last week in the FiveThirtyEight national aggregate, reversing a one-point Trump lead previously. Biden has also gained in the key states that will decide the Electoral College, with Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania effectively tied. Biden needs to win all three of these states for a 270-268 EC win.

Near-final European parliament election result

There were 720 total seats for the European parliament election that was held June 6-9 by proportional representation in the various countries, up 15 seats from the post-Brexit European parliament. The conservative European People’s Party won 189 seats (up two since 2019 adjusted for Brexit), the centre-left Socialists and Democrats 136 (down 12), the right-wing European Conservatives and Reformists 83 (up 21), the liberal Renew 74 (down 23), the far-right Identity and Democracy 58 (down 18), the Greens 51 (down 16), the far-left 39 (down one) and all Others 90 (up 54). The Others group includes far-right parties that were expelled or resigned from other groups, such as Germany’s Alternative for Germany and Hungary’s governing Fidesz.

Weekend miscellany: Bullwinkel, Bradfield and Bennelong (open thread)

An alliterative trio of seats faces redistribution-related preselection complications.

The site has been grappling with a few technical issues over the past day or so, which are hopefully now resolved. Perhaps this was the reason yesterday’s post following the count for the New South Wales state by-election for Northern Tablelands, which as expected was a lay-down misere for the Nationals, attracted a grand total of zero comments. Or perhaps not. Looking ahead, I believe we have a quiet week coming up on the polling front, unless The Australian treats us to quarterly Newspoll aggregates with state and demographic breakdowns, which are about due. Other than that, there is likely to be only the weekly Roy Morgan until the three-weekly YouGov poll, which past form suggests should be with us on Friday.

Much of this week’s preselection news relates directly or indirectly to the federal redistributions, which I discussed with Ben Raue of The Tally Room in a podcast you can access at the bottom of this post:

The West Australian reports former state Nationals leader Mia Davies has confirmed approaches from “senior Nationals in the eastern states” to run in the proposed new seat of Bullwinkel, which partly corresponds with the state seat of Central Wheatbelt that she he has held since 2013. The idea has been talked up by party leader David Littleproud, and not ruled out by Davies. Davies led the Nationals from the defeat of the Barnett government in March 2017 and held the title of Opposition Leader after the party emerged from the 2021 election landslide with more seats than the Liberals, before stepping aside in January 2023 and announcing she would not contest the next election. She became a figure of controversy within the party when she called for Barnaby Joyce to resign in 2018 over sexual harassment allegations.

Paul Sakkal of the Sydney Morning Herald reports “teal sources not permitted to speak on the record” say Nicolette Boele, who was gearing up for a second run as an independent in Bradfield, remains keen despite expectations Kylea Tink will seek to move there with the mooted abolition of her seat of North Sydney. Boele came within 4.2% of unseating Liberal member Paul Fletcher in 2022. Reports last week suggested former state Treasurer Matt Kean, who announced his impending departure from state parliament on Tuesday, might challenge Fletcher for Liberal preselection, but Sakkal reports party sources saying he will only seek the seat if Fletcher retires. Alexandra Smith of the Sydney Morning Herald reports any path to preselection for Kean in Bradfield would be complicated by the fact that the redistribution leaves his “Liberal branch enemies” within the redrawn seat.

Aaron Patrick of the Financial Review reports Hunters Hill mayor Zac Miles has been lobbying for the NSW Liberal Party to reopen the preselection process for Bennelong, after the proposed new boundaries made it more favourable to the party by adding territory from abolished North Sydney. Such a move would come at the expense of Scott Yung, a tutoring business owner who came with 1.8% of deposing Chris Minns from his seat of Kogarah at the state election in 2019, who was preselected unopposed last October. A source is also quoted saying Gisele Kapterian, who had been preselected for North Sydney, also canvassed for support for Bennelong, but has decided not to proceed.

Annika Smethurst of The Age reports on resistance in local Labor branches to a Socialist Left faction fait accompli that appears set to deliver preselection for the outer northern Melbourne seat of Calwell, which will be vacated with the retirement of Maria Vamvakinou, to Basem Abdo, a communications specialist born in Kuwait of Palestinian parents. Sensitivities are heightened by the fact that members only had preselection rights restored to them a year ago after a three-year takeover of the state branch by the national executive following branck-stacking scandals, with some reportedly threatening to back a “Dai Le-style campaign”.

Blake Antrobus of news.com.au reports Queensland Liberal Senator Gerard Rennick has failed in his court bid against his preselection defeat last year, the court having ruled that the Liberal National Party was within its rights to set a 60-day time frame for lodging an appeal which Rennick failed to meet.

Northern Tablelands by-election live

Live coverage of the count for the New South Wales state by-election for Northern Tablelands.

Click here for full display of Northern Tablelands by-election results.

6.50pm. There being nothing to discuss as regards the result, a technical point worth observing is that the New South Wales Electoral Commission uniquely publishes full ballot paper data, which enables a meaningful Nationals-versus-Greens based on comparison with the general election, despite the Greens having finished third behind Labor. This currently records a swing against the Nationals of around 2%.

6.31pm. Six booths in on the primary, three on TCP, and my system is well and truly calling it. Shooters still second, but these are rural booths.

6.23pm. There are two booths in, with the Nationals as expected on around three-quarters of the primary vote. Only 216, but my system is projecting that Shooters rather than Greens will finish second.

6.10pm. Polls have closed for the New South Wales state by-election for New England region seat of Northern Tablelands, which shows no sign of being anything other than a walkover for Nationals candidate Brendan Moylan in his bid to succeed Adam Marshall. His competition consists of Shooters Fishers and Farmers, the Greens and two independents. You can follow the results through the above link, including swing and probability calculations and detailed results tables and maps. The New South Wales Electoral Commission is conducting a two-candidate count between the Nationals and Greens – the above display is geared for Nationals versus Shooters, which I’m presently scrambling to fix.

Resolve Strategic: Labor 32, Coalition 35, Greens 11 in New South Wales

Another poll suggests Labor has gone backwards in New South Wales since last year’s election win, plus updates on two looming state by-elections.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Resolve Monitor display of Resolve Strategic polling has been updated with the latest bi-monthly state voting intention results for New South Wales, which have Labor down a point from March-April to 32%, the Coalition down one to 35%, the Greens down one to 11%, independents up one to 15% and others up two to 7%. This suggests a Labor lead of around 52-48 on two-party preferred, which is slightly wider than the 50.5-49.5 I estimated from the recent RedBridge Group state poll, but still a swing to the Coalition of upwards of 2% from the March 2023 election. Chris Minns holds a 38-13 lead over Mark Speakman as preferred premier, out from 37-16, with an already hefty uncommitted component out from 47% to 49%. The poll was compiled from two sets of Resolve Strategic’s monthly national surveys, with a sample of 1000.

UPDATE: The Sydney Morning Herald now has a report on the poll, which further relates that 50% support the government’s policy of higher density housing around train stations with 31% opposed.

In other New South Wales state electoral news, two by-elections are looming, one imminently, the other on a date to be determined. The former is for the New England region seat of Northern Tablelands, to be held on Saturday following the retirement of Nationals member Adam Marshall. Marshall was elected four times from 2013 to 2023 with primary vote shares of between 63.3% and 73.5%. With his designated Nationals successor Brendan Moylan facing only low-key competition among a field of five, there is little reason to expect much different this time. If you’re still interested to learn more after that sales pitch, you are directed to my guide to the by-election, and are invited to follow my coverage of the count on Saturday night, which I can relate that no other media outlet is bothering with.

The second by-election is that resulting from Tuesday’s announcement by former Treasurer Matt Kean that he will call time on his state parliamentary career, resulting in a vacancy in his blue-ribbon northern Sydney seat of Hornsby. This follows suggestions last week that Kean might challenge Paul Fletcher for preselection in Bradfield, where the teal threat has seemingly intensified following last week’s publication of proposed new electoral boundaries. However, Kean has scotched the idea, with Paul Sakkal of Sydney Morning Herald reporting Liberal sources saying he would only pursue the seat if Fletcher retired. James O’Doherty of the Daily Telegraph reports two names have been suggested as Kean’s successor in Hornsby: deputy Liberal leader Natalie Ward, who failed in a bid to move from the upper house to the lower before last year’s election by seeking preselection in Davidson, and James Wallace, Corrs Chambers Westgarth lawyer and moderate factional ally of Kean. However, both are said not to be planning on contesting.

Polls: Essential Research and Roy Morgan (open thread)

The government rises in one poll and comes down hard in another. Results also on carbon emission targets, Gaza and vaping.

The fortnightly Essential Research poll goes against the recent grain in recording a four-point drop for the Coalition to 32%, with Labor down one to 31%, the Greens steady on 13% and One Nation up three to 8%, and the undecided component up two to 6%. The pollster’s 2PP+ measure, which has consistently been very close throughout the year, finds Labor moving into the lead for the first time since early April by holding steady at 48% while the Coalition falls two to 46%.

Further questions record 31% support and 36% opposition to Peter Dutton’s new position on carbon emissions, with respondents told this would breach a Paris climate agreement backed by 190 other countries. There is also a 52-48 split in favour of sticking to the 2030 target over an alternative that encapsulates Peter Dutton’s position thus: “Australia should abandon the 2030 target because it’s unachievable and hurting the economy and instead focus on the 2050 target”. However, there is a 63-37 split in favour of developing renewable as the means to the end of the 2050 target over sticking with fossil fuels and waiting until nuclear is developed in 15 to 20 years.

Questions on Israel and Gaza find 52% satisfied with the Australian government’s response, although twice as many think it too supportive of Israel than too harsh, at 32% and 16% respectively. There is a four-point drop in support for Israel’s action since April to 15%, with opposition up six to 38% and a two-point increase in support for a temporary ceasefire to 21%. A question on the government’s plan to make vapes available only through pharmacies by prescription finds 56% in favour and 22% opposed. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1160.

After two improved results for Labor, the weekly Roy Morgan poll records a sharp reversal, recording a tie on two-party preferred after Labor led 53.5-46.5 last week. On the primary vote, Labor is down a point to 29.5%, the Coalition is up three to 38%, the Greens are down two to 13.5% and One Nation is down half a point to 5%. The poll was conducted Monday to Sunday from a sample of 1724.

Nine Newspapers has also published further findings from the Resolve Strategic poll which put support for the government’s 43% carbon reduction target for 2030 as a stepping stone to net zero by 2050 at 33%, with a further 19% favouring a more ambitious approach. Only 17% supported Peter Dutton’s approach of abandoning the 2030 target, with a further 13% rejecting emissions targets altogether.

UK general election minus 17 days

Labour is still over 20 points ahead in UK national polls. Also covered: the French parliamentary elections on June 30 and July 7, Mexican final results and a South African government formed.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is a paid election analyst for The Conversation. His work for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

The UK general election will be held on July 4. The Guardian’s aggregate of UK national polls has Labour on 42.9% (down 1.1 since my June 9 article), the Conservatives on 22.3% (down 1.1), the far-right Reform on 13.6% (up 1.7), the Liberal Democrats on 10.3% (up 0.6) and the Greens on 5.7% (steady).

In the last two weeks, there has been movement to Reform and to a lesser extent the Lib Dems, and against both Labour and the Conservatives. A recent YouGov poll had Reform in second, one point ahead of the Conservatives, but this has not been repeated in other polls.

Owing to first past the post, these vote shares would mean a massive Labour landslide if they occur at the election, with the Electoral Calculus site on Friday giving Labour 461 of the 650 House of Commons seats, the Conservatives 80, Lib Dems 63 and Scottish National Party 20. Labour is still ahead of the SNP in Scottish polls, which would mean a big swing in Scotland to Labour and against the SNP, and a large seat gain for Scottish Labour.

Snap French parliamentary election likely disaster for Macron

On June 9, French president Emmanuel Macron announced a snap election for the lower house of parliament after dismal European election results for his Ensemble party. This election comes two years into a five-year term.

The 577 MPs are elected in two rounds using a single-member system. The first round will be held June 30, and candidates that finish top two in a seat, or win at least 12.5% of registered voters can continue (this is a high barrier because it factors in turnout). Candidates can withdraw before the July 7 runoffs, at which FPTP applies. The vast majority of seats won’t be decided until the runoffs.

At the 2022 parliamentary election, Ensemble won 245 of the 577 seats, below the 289 needed for a majority. The left-wing NUPES alliance won 131 seats, the far-right National Rally (RN) 89 and the conservative Republicans 64.

Left-wing parties have formed the New Popular Front (NFP) and will run one candidate in each seat. Polls suggest RN is in the low 30s, the NFP in the mid to high 20s, Ensemble below 20%, the Republicans about 8% and another far-right party has about 4%.

If these polls are replicated in the first round, Ensemble won’t make the top two in the large majority of seats, with the majority of runoffs between RN and NFP candidates. Some pollsters have seat projections that suggest RN would be close to a majority. Ensemble is likely to be drastically reduced from its current 248 seats, a disaster for Macron.

Mexican election: landslide for the left in legislature

I previously covered the June 2 Mexican election, in which left-wing candidate Claudia Sheinbaum won the presidency by 61.2-28.1 with invalid votes excluded. For the Chamber of Deputies, 300 seats were elected by FPTP and the remaining 200 by proportional representation. In the Senate, 96 seats (three for each of the 32 states) were elected by giving the strongest party in a state two seats and the runner-up one, with the remaining 32 allocated by PR.

In the Chamber, the left-wing coalition won the FPTP seats by 256-42, on vote shares of 56.8-31.6. They won overall by 373-102 with 24 for a centre-left party. In the Senate, the left won the state seats by 64-30, and won overall by 83-40 with five for the centre-left. The left exceeded the two-thirds majority needed to change the Constitution in the Chamber, but were two seats short in the Senate. At the previous presidential election in 2018, the left won 308 Chamber seats and 69 Senate seats.

South Africa: ANC and DA agree to form coalition

I previously covered the May 29 South African election, in which the African National Congress (ANC) lost the majority it had won at every election since 1994. On Friday, the ANC and pro-business Democratic Alliance (DA) agreed to form a governing coalition, and the ANC’s Cyril Ramaphosa was re-elected president. At the election, the ANC won 159 of the 400 seats and the DA 87, so the coalition will have 246 seats, easily surpassing the 201 needed for a majority.

Polls: Resolve Strategic and Freshwater Strategy (open thread)

Two federal pollsters continue to suggest a tight race on two-party preferred, but find perceptions of Peter Dutton improving and Anthony Albanese deteriorating.

Two federal polls are out this evening, one from Resolve Strategic in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, one from Freshwater Strategy in the Financial Review, both of which report more-or-less monthly, and both of which are little changed on last time. However, Resolve Strategic has a headline-grabber with Labor’s primary vote falling to 28%, and both record movements on leadership ratings that are discouraging for Anthony Albanese and encouraging for Peter Dutton.

Resolve Strategic’s primary vote results are Labor 28%, down one; Coalition 36%, steady; Greens 14%, up two; One Nation 6%, down one; and a notably popular generic independent category 11%, down one. The pollster does not publish two-party preferred, and how one infers it based on preference flows from the last election depends a fair bit on how one deals with that 11%. My favoured method involves lumping independents and others into a single category, since Resolve Strategic’s independent total is double a 2022 election result that was dominated by teals and thus flowed to Labor fairly strongly over the Coalition, whereas it seems likely to me that much of the 11% is a none-of-the-above effect. On this basis, I get Labor ahead 50.7-49.3, a swing to the Coalition of 1.4%.

Leadership ratings are notable in having Peter Dutton leading Anthony Albanese 36-35, a distinct change from last month’s 40-32 that has apparently had little impact on voting intention. Albanese’s combined very good and rating is 37%, down two, and his combined very poor and poor rating is 51%, up two. Peter Dutton records his first net positive rating from this pollster, his very good plus good rating being 42%, up three, while very poor plus poor is 40%, down two. The poll was conducted Tuesday to Sunday from a sample of 1607.

Freshwater Strategy has both major parties unchanged on the primary vote, with Labor at 32% and the Coalition at 40%, with the Greens down a point to 13%, with two-party preferred at an unchanged 50-50. Anthony Albanese’s lead over Peter Dutton is slashed from 46-37 to 43-41, and he is down three on approval to 34% and up one on disapproval to 46%. Dutton is up four on approval to 35% and steady on 40% disapproval. The poll was conducted Friday to Sunday from a sample of 1060. Both polls have best-party-to-handle questions that record movement across the board to the Coalition: Resolve Strategic has the Coalition’s lead on economic management out from nine points to sixteen, and Freshwater Strategy has Labor’s lead on the environment and climate change in from thirteen to five.

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