French legislative runoff elections live

Live commentary Monday morning. Also: two UK by-elections next Thursday, and Biden’s ratings are worse than Trump’s at the same point.

Live Commentary

8:30am Final French legislative results have a slightly bigger gain for National Rally than NUPES.

7:51am With nearly all seats in, Ensemble has 249, NUPES 135, National Rally 88, UDC 68 and left-wing overseas MPs 18. Ensemble and UDC will combined hold a majority of seats.

7:20am With 515 of 577 seats in, Ensemble has 219, NUPES 115, National Rally 86, UDC 66 and there are 18 overseas left-wing MPs.

6:49am There was also a Spanish regional election in Andalusia on Sunday. With 93% counted, the conservative Popular Party has increased from 26 seats at the 2018 election to 57 seats and an outright majority, so they won’t need the far-right VOX to govern.

6:42am While Ensemble has lost its majority, the far-right as well as the left are making big gains. Final results projections have 89 for National Rally and 149 for NUPES.

6:21am Going into this election, Ensemble held 347 seats, NUPES 58, UDC 120 and National Rally just seven. So National Rally has increased its seats already ten-fold.

6:11am Monday With 404 of the 577 seats in, Macron’s Ensemble has won 177, the far-right National Rally 73, the left-wing NUPES 69 and the conservative UDC 60. The last seats will be from urban France, and should favour the left and Ensemble. There are alsi 18 for left-wing overseas MPs.

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 first round of the French legislative elections occurred last Sunday. President Emmanuel Macron’s Ensemble alliance won 25.75% of the overall vote, with the left-wing NUPES alliance led by the far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon just behind with 25.66%. The far-right Marine Le Pen’s National Rally had 18.7% and a conservative alliance (UDC) 11.3%.

To win outright in the first round, a candidate needed at least 50% of valid votes and at least 25% of registered voters. With just a 47.5% national turnout, only five of the 577 seats were decided in the first round – four NUPES and one Ensemble. Runoff elections are today, with all polls closed by 4am Monday AEST.

To qualify for the runoff, a candidate had to either make the top two in a seat, or receive at least 12.5% of registered voters for that seat. With low turnout, the second requirement would be difficult for third and lower candidates, and the vast majority of seats will be contested between the top two first round candidates.

Polls suggest that, while Ensemble will fall from its current 347 seats, they will go close to winning an overall majority (289 seats). If Ensemble falls short, they could ally with UDC. NUPES will increase from its current 58 seats to be easily the largest opposition party with around 170 seats.

June 23 UK by-elections: Wakefield and Tiverton & Honiton

UK parliamentary by-elections will occur next Thursday in two Conservative-held seats. Both seats were vacated owing to misbehaviour by the incumbent MPs, with the Wakefield MP resigning after a conviction for child sexual assault, while the Tiverton & Honiton MP was caught watching porn in parliament.

Wakefield was held by Labour from 1932 until the Conservatives won it in 2019, while T&H has been Conservative-held since its creation in 1997. Labour will be the main challenger in Wakefield and the Lib Dems in T&H. Two polls in Wakefield have Labour winning by 20 and 23 points; I have not seen any polls in T&H.

If Labour wins Wakefield, I believe it would be their first gain at a by-election since Corby in November 2012. In a sign that by-election results are overread by the political class, the Conservatives regained Corby at the 2015 general election, and have held it since.

Boris Johnson won a confidence vote among Conservative MPs on June 6, but losses in both by-elections could put him back in danger. Labour nationally holds a high single digit lead, but I think this is because of inflation. UK inflation rose by 2.5% alone in April for a 12-month rate of 9.0%.

Biden’s ratings are worse than Trump at this point

In the FiveThirtyEight poll aggregate, US President Joe Biden’s ratings are currently 54.2% disapprove, 39.8% approve (net -14.4). He currently has the worst ratings of any polled president at this point in their presidencies, and that includes Donald Trump. Inflation is a major problem in the US too.

Last Tuesday, Republicans won a federal by-election in the heavily Hispanic Rio Grande Valley in Texas; it’s the first time Republicans have won a seat in this region since 2010.

US redistricting after the 2020 Census is nearly finished. There are 203 Republican-leaning Congressional Districts out of 429 completed CDs, 196 Democratic-leaning and 40 competitive, with changes from the previous maps of Democrats up six, competitive down six and Republicans steady. The final remaining state is Louisiana (six CDs), which will probably b 5-1 Republican.

A few months ago, Democrats were doing much better, but were undermined when their New York gerrymander was rejected by state courts, while a Republican gerrymander of Florida was sustained.

Callide by-election live

Live coverage of the count for the Queensland state by-election for the seat of Callide, held by the LNP on a margin of 8.8%.

Click here for full Callide by-election results updated live.

8.53pm. All four pre-poll booths are now in, and they’re a clean sweep of bad results for Labor, so clearly there was a different dynamic between election day and pre-poll booths: on the former, the primary vote swings against the LNP and Labor are 10.8% and 3.4%; on the latter, 4.3% and 8.1%. The result now looks more like a typical anti-government by-election swing.

8.06pm. Three out of four pre-poll booths are now in on the primary vote, and they have all made things look worse for Labor, such that I’m now projecting swings against them of nearly 5% on the primary vote and 4% on TCP.

7.36pm. The first pre-poll booth is in, from Chinchilla, and its 2461 votes have swung quite heavily away from Labor. Whereas previously I was suggesting that Labor was not suffering much of a swing, it’s now a more substantial 4.2%.

7.21pm. The large Calliope booth has significantly lifted Labor’s raw primary vote, but reduced its projection: their primary vote there is down 12.6%, which will feed into a substantial swing to the LNP on the TCP.

7.02pm. So what we have here is pretty much a status quo result in which the entry of One Nation has drawn about 16% of the vote almost entirely off the LNP. To the extent that Labor might think about the result at all, they would probably be pretty happy to have almost held their ground at a mid-term by-election where they faced competition from One Nation that wasn’t there last time.

7.01pm. Now my probability is saying what I believe it should be saying, which is that the LNP will definitely win. It assumes LNP-versus-Labor at the final count, which seems very likely now — they are ahead on raw votes and well ahead on my projection/

6.56pm. My TCP projection is now working off preference flow projections. My win probability seems to be stuck on 83.6%, which is making me thing something is amiss with it.

6.46pm. One Nation’s primary vote lead has almost disappeared as larger centres start to report, and my projection puts Labor ahead of them.

6.41pm. My TCP projections are still based off preference estimates — they will kick over to using a projection based on actual preference flows probably when the next TCP booth result comes in.

6.37pm. There are two booths in from very near Gin Gin, Bullyard and Wallaville, which are the closest things we have to results representative of larger population centres. Wallaville has the LNP well down on the primary vote, to the extent that my projected final result for them has been dragged down from near 50% to 44%.

6.36pm. With six booths in on the primary vote and two on the TCP, nothing to add that hasn’t been said previously. The larger centres in this electorate are Biloela, Chinchilla, Calliope and Gin Gin, and the chance that they may behave differently from the rural booths is such that you wouldn’t quite call it yet, although there’s no reason so far to think things aren’t playing to script. Probably the main point of interest is who out of Labor and One Nation comes second.

6.26pm. The first TCP result is in, from Jimbour — only now can I confirm that the count being conducted is between the LNP and Labor.

6.25pm. Five booths now, with the picture as described in the previous update essentially unchanged. One Nation well ahead of Labor on the raw primary vote, but I am projecting a close race between them. I am also projecting an LNP primary vote just shy of 50%, which doesn’t suggest they are in serious difficulty. Early days still though, and different parts of the seat may produce different dynamics.

6.20pm. We have 257 primary votes in from the Brigalow and Jimbour booths, which show both parties down on the primary vote in the face of competition of One Nation, which is about as you would expect. One Nation currently leads Labor 35 votes to 18, but that may be a function of these being deeply rural booths.

6pm. Polls have closed. With a lot of small booths and not too many candidates to complicate the counting process, results should soon be coming in a pretty fair clip, the first primary votes reporting perhaps within half an hour.

4.30pm. Today is the day of the Queensland state by-election for Callide, held to choose a replacement for Liberal National Party member Colin Boyce following his move to Canberra as the new member for Flynn. This is a rural conservative seat and an historic stronghold for the Nationals, though such contests can be dicey for the party if an independent challenger or One Nation builds a head of steam. No independent has emerged, but One Nation are fielding a candidate who polled 25.6% when she ran in 2017 and came within 6.1% after preferences, though she only managed 12.2% as candidate for Flynn at the recent federal election. A little surprisingly, Labor have entered the field in a seat where they will need a swing of 15.8%.

Live commentary of the count will proceed here from the closure of the polls at 6pm. You can find my live results page here and my by-election guide here. I’m assuming for now that the Electoral Commission will be conducting a two-candidate count between the LNP and Labor, but it may well be One Nation that makes the final count. The same presumably cannot be said of Katter’s Australian Party, Legalise Cannabis or Animal Justice, who are also in the field.

Late counting: more Senate buttons pressed

Pauline Hanson returned in Queensland, leaving on the Victorian and New South Wales results to be confirmed.

Saturday, June 18

Some discussion on Twitter in the wake of the Queensland result inspired me to consider the possibility that right-wing preference flows might yet deprive Labor of a third seat in Western Australia, a result that would appreciably weaken the new government’s hand in the Senate.

The answer is that they could if preferences indeed behave as they did in Queensland, which I have illustrated with one of two new sheets on my Senate projection spreadsheet, identified as “WA — Qld prefs”. This is because a strong flow of preferences to One Nation would give them an even chance of passing the third Liberal to make it to the final count, at which point One Nation would take the last seat on Liberal preferences. However, since One Nation got less than half the vote share in WA that they did in Queensland, it seems intuitively likely that they will also get a weaker flow. I have also included the same exercise using preference flows from South Australia, identified as “WA — SA prefs”, where the parties’ vote shares more closely resembled Western Australia. This too suggests One Nation has a strong chance of making the final count, but in this case they would fall well short of taking the seat from Labor.

It should be noted here that there is a dramatic difference between the strong preference flow to One Nation upon the LNP’s exclusion in the Queensland example and the weak flow upon the Liberals’ exclusion in South Australia — partly for the reason just noted, but also because the Liberal how-to-vote card in South Australia did not recommend a preference to One Nation, whereas the LNP card had them second. Western Australia is an intermediate case in this respect, since the Liberal card directed preferences to One Nation in nine seats but not in the other six. But in the event that minor party preferences flowed to One Nation only as strongly as they did in South Australia — and assuming this was still enough to put them ahead of the Liberals and into the final count — the flow to One Nation upon the Liberals’ exclusion would have to be fully as strong as in Queensland for them to then overhaul Labor, which hardly seems likely.

Friday, June 17

The fifth Senate button press has just been conducted in Queensland, and it’s the first that relates to a result that I considered in any way in doubt. As I thought highly probable but not quite certain, Pauline Hanson has held her seat at the expense of Amanda Stoker, the incumbent third candidate on the Liberal National Party ticket. The other seats have gone two LNP (James McGrath and Matt Canavan), two Labor (Murray Watt and Anthony Chisholm) and one Greens (Penny Allman-Payne). I’ll have more to offer on this when the preference distribution and ballot paper data are published.

Most interesting of those still to come is Victoria, where the last seat promises to be a very tight race between the incumbent third Liberal, Greg Mirabella, and Ralph Babet of the United Australia Party (a lot more on that here), which the AEC announces will happen at 10am on Monday. New South Wales, which looks certain to be three Coalition, two Labor and one Greens, will be conducted half-an-hour earlier. Still no word yet on Western Australia, which looks like Labor three, Coalition two and Greens one. No word yet on when those might be expected.

UPDATE: The Queensland Senate distribution is now up on the AEC site. It turned out that Amanda Stoker was not seriously in contention: when the exclusion of Legalise Cannabis left three remaining candidates chasing two seats, Stoker held 10.3% of the vote against 14.2% for Pauline Hanson and 13.9% for Labor’s Anthony Chisholm, who were duly elected in that order. Hanson substantially outperformed my projection based on 2019 preference flows, which only got her to 12.1% compared with 14.2% for Chisholm, with Stoker on 10.9%. This is perhaps consistent with what was seen in South Australia, where preferences among right-wing minor parties were tighter this time with less leakage to the Coalition. As noted in the previous post, this suggests Ralph Babet has a solid chance of poaching the last seat in Victoria from Greg Mirabella, contrary to what my model was suggesting.

Essential Research: Albanese approval bounce, economic conditions, republic (open thread)

Essential Research records a surge in approval for Anthony Albanese in one of the few items of polling to have come down the chute since the election.

The Guardian reports on the latest fortnightly Essential Research poll, which it seems won’t be treating us to voting intention for the time being. However, it does provide us with leadership ratings, which record a bounce for Anthony Albanese impressive even by the standards of post-election honeymoon polling: his approval rating is now at 59%, up from 42% in the final pre-election poll, while his disapproval rating has plunged from 41% to 18%. However, nothing is reported on ratings for Peter Dutton or a preferred prime minister result.

The poll also finds an eight point increase since pre-election on the question of whether Australia is headed in the right direction to 48%, with the negative response down from 42% to 27%. It apparently shows “about a third” expect economic conditions will improve over the next year, which is up five points though I’m not sure when the previous question was asked, with 40% expecting things to get worse, with expectations evenly balanced with respect to personal finances. Thirty-five per cent thought the new government would be better for their personal finances compared with 18% for one led by Peter Dutton. Asked whether Australia should become a republic with an Australian head of state, 44% said yes and 34% no, the latter being six points higher than when the question was last asked in March last year.

More detail from the poll will become available when the full report is published later today. I am unable to offer any insight as to when Newspoll will be back, when Essential Research will resume voting intention polling, or what the enigmatic Roy Morgan organisation might do. However, I can relate that Ipsos’s and Resolve Strategic’s contracts ended with the election, though that’s not to say they won’t show up again in some form at some point.

Late counting: first Senate buttons pressed

Final resolutions of the ACT and NT Senate counts imminent, as the AEC also gets to work sorting out the final two-party preferred result.

Thursday, June 16

UPDATE: Tasmanian Senate result confirmed.

The next cab off the rank for the Senate is Tasmania at 3pm today, which should confirm a result of two each for Liberal and Labor and one each for the Greens and the Jacqui Lambie Network. Yesterday’s result in South Australia (see below) did not surprise, but my analysis of the ballot paper data has: the United Australia Party did a lot better on preferences than in 2019, sufficient to suggest that their candidate in Victoria, Ralph Babet, is well in the hunt for a final seat that I had hitherto thought most likely to go to the third Liberal, Greg Mirabella.

On this spreadsheet you will find my determination of how the various minor players’ preferences split between Labor, Liberal, Greens and UAP for the Senate in South Australia at both this election and in 2019. Most notably, the UAP only got 30.2% of One Nation preferences ahead of the other three in 2019, but this time they got 58.3%. The same pattern is evident in lesser degree among most other parties, particularly on the right. The one glaring exception is the Liberal Democrats, the results for which show how important ballot paper order is for this particular party. In 2019 they were well to the right of the ballot paper, polled 0.67%, and sent only 35.4% to the Liberals on four-party preferred. This time they drew the column A, got 2.20% and sent 61.2% to the Liberals, who were right nearby in column C.

To get a sense of what this might mean for Victoria, my Senate projection spreadsheet now contains a new sheet called “Vic 2”, which as much as possible replaces the preference data from Victoria in 2019 with the new results in South Australia. Note that I have left the distribution for the LDP undisturbed rather than swing it dramatically to the Liberals as per the South Australian result. If Antony Green is correct in his assessment that “lockdowns and changes in party registration rules” might mean more LDP preferences for the UAP at the expense of the Liberals, this assessment will actually be conservative with respect to their chances of overhauling Mirabella.

Whereas the existing projection gives the UAP only a 0.2% boost over the Coalition when One Nation preferences are distributed, the new one makes it 2.1% in “Scenario 1”, where Legalise Cannabis are excluded before One Nation, those two parties being closely matched at the previous exclusion. Competition from Legalise Cannabis for One Nation preferences in “Scenario 2” reduces this to 1.6%, but the difference comes back to them when Legalise Cannabis is excluded in later counts.

There are, in effect, three scenarios laid out here, depending on who drops out at close exclusions in the final stages. As noted, one involves Legalise Cannabis dropping out before One Nation, another vice-versa. On the first of these, I now have Mirabella dropping out before both UAP and Labor, and his preferences then deciding the result for the UAP. The second sets up another tight exclusion at the next round, with either Legalise Cannabis or the third Labor candidate going out next.

The former case, Scenario 2a, is essentially the same as Scenario 1, the only difference being the order of exclusion between Legalise Cannabis and One Nation. But in Scenario 2b, Labor’s exclusion unlocks what seems to me a surprisingly strong flow of preferences to the Liberals, precious few for the UAP, and not enough for Legalise Cannabis. On this scenario, Mirabella makes it over the line — just.

Wednesday, June 15

As noted below, the button will be pressed on the South Australian Senate result at 3pm today.

UPDATE: The result in South Australia, as expected, was 1. Simon Birmingham (Liberal), 2. Penny Wong (Labor), 3. Andrew McLachlan (Liberal), 4. Don Farrell (Labor), 5. Barbara Pocock (Greens), 6. Kerrynne Liddle (Liberal). The full preference distribution is here. Liddle ended short of a full quota at the final count with 140,008 votes (12.4%), ahead of Jennifer Game of One Nation on 107,672 (9.5%). At the previous count, third Labor candidate Trimann Gill was excluded with 89,740 (8.0%) to Game’s 97,755 (8.7%) and Liddle’s 107,705 (9.5%), though Liddle would have won at the final count either way.

The AEC now announces the button will be pressed at 3pm on Tasmania, which I consider a foregone conclusion of two each for Liberal and Labor and one each for the Greens and the Jacqui Lambie Network.

Tuesday, June 14

The Australian Electoral Commission has announced the buttons will be pushed on the Senate counts today for the Australian Capital Territory at 10am and the Northern Territory at 11am. There seems little doubt about the former result and none about the latter, but it will be interesting to see exactly how minor party and independent preferences flow through to what I am presuming will be a win for independent David Pocock over Liberal incumbent Zed Seselja in the ACT. It also seems likely that the resolution in South Australia and Tasmania is not far off.

For the lower house, the AEC is now conducting Coalition-versus-Labor counts in the 26 seats where the two-candidate preferred counts include independents or minor parties, a process that is a little over 10% complete. This will finally provide us with a definitive two-party preferred and swing results for the election as a whole. The count so far has been systematically favourably for the Coalition because they are starting with declaration votes, and in particular with postal votes, which account for over 80% of those counted so far. It is for this reason that they point to a collective swing to the Coalition of around 9%, which will assuredly not be the case after the ordinary votes are added.

My displays of the lower house results can be found here, but for the two-party preferred results you will need the AEC site.

UPDATE: Counts for the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory resolved as anticipated. The preference distributions will be published later today. The button will be pressed on South Australia at 3pm local time tomorrow. Liberal candidate Andrew Constance has requested a recount after his defeat by 373 votes in Gilmore.

UPDATE 2: The distributions have been posted for both the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. The ACT result was not close: at the final distribution, David Pocock had 103,618 votes (36.3%) and Zed Seselja had 81,485 (28.6%).

UPDATE 3: I had made the following calculations using the ballot paper data of how the various candidates’ preferences were apportioned between a) Labor, Liberal and David Pocock, b) Liberal and David Pocock, and c) Labor and Liberal. Since Labor polled almost exactly a quota, the question of preferences either to them or from them was academic so far as the count was concerned, but instructive with respect to voter behaviour.

Rich Liberal, poor Liberal

A beginner’s guide to debate on the conservative side of politics about how the Liberal Party should react to its election defeat, and in particular the loss of its traditional strongholds to the teal independents.

In the wake of the Morrison government’s defeat, a culture war has broken out within the Liberal Party between those who consider recovering the teal independent seats a necessary precondition for a return to power and those who believe they should be abandoned to the political left so the party might pursue different constituencies in seats that have been swinging away from Labor, notably Hunter, Werriwa, McEwen and Gorton. Support for the latter notion has been provided by former Morrison government adviser Mark Briers, who says the party “must move our party’s focus, talent and resources away from Camberwell and Malvern towards Craigieburn and Melton”, and right-wing Victorian Liberal MP Tim Smith, who says his party should “stop obsessing with the woke concerns and obsessions with the inner-urban elites”, and “take the focus off Kew” – his own seat, until November at least – “and focus on Cranbourne”.

Repudiating his soon-to-be-former colleague, former Victorian Liberal leader Michael O’Brien told The Australian there was “no path to 45 seats” at the November state election “that doesn’t run through Malvern, Kew and Hawthorn”, the latter of which was unexpectedly lost to Labor in 2018. Similarly, federal MP Paul Fletcher – who has an interest in the matter as member for the Sydney seat of Bradfield, one of only two out of the ten wealthiest electorates that remain with the Liberal Party – wrote in The Australian on Saturday that he has not heard notions to the contrary “seriously advanced by fellow Liberals”, by which I think he means he has not heard it advanced by serious fellow Liberals. However, his prescriptions for accomplishing took pains to avoid seriously criticising his own party and offered no suggestion of any policy reorientation.

Scott Morrison, who clearly isn’t kept awake at night by jibes about him being “from marketing”, proposes a middle course, seemingly based on the notion that brand damage from the Nationals had a lot to do with his government’s defeat. As reported by Sharri Markson of The Australian, Morrison proposes the solution of a re-forged coalition in which a Queensland-style Liberal National Party serves as the main brand, allied to a distinct “new progressive Liberal movement” to run in the kinds of seats lost to the teal independents.

The loss of those seats has prompted much talk about the demise of the socio-economic cleavage that has historically defined the Australian party system, including a claim in a Financial Review headline that “for the first time Labor voters earn more than Coalition voters” – later amended to “Labor electorates earn more than Coalition seats” after it was pointed out that the initial claim was wrong. The issue with such analyses is known as the ecological fallacy, whereby inferences about individual behaviour are drawn from aggregate-level data — in this case the notion that because the electorates held by the Coalition have declined in income, it follows that their support base has as well.

YouGov data scientist Shaun Ratcliff addressed this issue by drawing on the surveying for the pollster’s multi-level regression and post-stratification poll, which reached 18,923 respondents three to five weeks out from election day. Ratcliff found that while the traditional income cleavage was reduced at this election, it certainly did not disappear. Among home-owners on $150,000 a year or more, 44% voted Coalition, 31% Labor and 10% Greens; among those on $50,000 a year or less who did not own homes, 40% voted Labor, 27% Greens and just 16% voted Coalition. While the effect was somewhat weaker among those under 35, Ratcliff provides a series of charts illustrating the clear tendency of wealthier voters to favour the Coalition over Labor and “others” (Greens support did not appear contingent on income).

This was also true within the teal independent seats, with Kooyong and Goldstein in particular having experienced an influx of apartment-dwelling “young middle-income professionals”, as noted by Remy Vega in The Australian. Data from the YouGov poll suggests the Liberal vote in the twenty seats targeted by Climate 200 was around seven points lower among those on $50,000 or less than among those on higher incomes. More broadly, Ratcliff notes that “renters also swung away from the Liberal and National Party more than homeowners and the young more than the old”.

Sticky wicket (open thread)

Schemes hatched by WA Liberals seeking a quick path out of the wilderness; a new Tasmanian state poll; nothing doing on the federal poll front.

I was hoping Newspoll might be back in the game three weeks after election day, but it seems normal service is yet to resume. Presumably Essential Research will have numbers of some sort tomorrow, but it remains to be seen if they will encompass voting intention. I hope to have more to offer shortly on whether other pollsters are still in the game in the immediate term, or whether they have pulled stumps for the time being. That just leaves me with the following miscellany to relate by way of a new open thread post:

Joe Spagnolo of the Sunday Times reported yesterday on a plan within the Western Australian Liberals to have former test cricketer and national team coach Justin Langer lead the party into the next state election in 2025. The suggestion is that the current leader, David Honey, might be persuaded to relinquish his seat of Cottesloe, one of only two lower house seats the party retained at the 2021 election. It is an any case “widely accepted that Dr Honey won’t lead the WA Liberals to the next election”, with Vasse MP Libby Mettams “his likely replacement” – indeed his only possible replacement out of the existing ranks of the Liberals’ lower house contingent.

Katina Curtis and Shane Wright of the Sydney Morning Herald have taken the trouble to compile the results of the 75,368 telephone votes cast by those in COVID-19 isolation, finding that Labor, Greens or independents candidates out-performed on them on two-candidate preferred relative to the overall results in all but eight lower house seats. Kevin Bonham is quoted in the article noting that infections are more prevalent of left-leaning demographics, namely the young and those employed in exposed occupations, though I also tend to think there may be a greater tendency for those on the right of politics to keep their illnesses to themselves.

• One bit of poll news at least: the latest quarterly Tasmanian state poll from EMRS has been published, the first since Jeremy Rockliff succeeded Peter Gutwein as Premier. It finds the Liberals down two points since March to 39%, Labor down one to 30%, the Greens up one to 13% and others up two to 18%. Rockliff leads Labor’s Rebecca White 47-34 as preferred premier, compared with Gutwein’s lead of 52-33 in March. The poll was conducted May 27 to June 2 through telephone interviews from a sample of 1000.

Lydia Lynch of The Australian reports that Julie-Ann Campbell, Queensland Labor’s outgoing state secretary and now associate partner with consultancy firm EY, is “expected to run for federal politics” – specifically for the seat of Moreton, which Graham Perrett has held for Labor since 2007.

There’s a fair bit going on at the site at the moment, so here’s a quick run-through the subjects of recent posts with on-topic discussion threads, as opposed to the open thread on this post:

• The future direction of the Liberal Party, with debate raging as to whether it should focus on recovering blue-ribbon seats from the teal independents or cutting them loose and pursuing a new course through suburban and regional seats traditionally held by Labor;

• The three state by-elections looming in the Queensland seat of Callide, the South Australian seat of Bragg and the Western Australian seat of North West Central;

• The ongoing count from the federal election, which remains of interest in relation to several Senate contests, with the pressing of the button looking reasonably imminent in South Australia and the two territories.

By-elections three

A quick run through the three state by-elections shortly to be held in Liberal and Nationals seats in Labor-run states.

There are now three state by-elections on the way, one imminent, another three weeks away, and a third on a date yet to be determined. I have election guides for the first two of these, linked two below. In turn:

Callide. A by-election will be held for this rural seat in Queensland on Saturday to replace Liberal National Party member Colin Boyce, who has now gone federal as the member for the corresponding seat of Flynn. Labor has not gone the usual path of forfeiting a seat in which it has never been competitive, at least notionally setting up a contest between LNP candidate Bryson Head and Labor’s Bronwyn Dendle. However, there seems at least as much chance that final count will be between the LNP and One Nation, whose candidate Sharon Lohse achieved as much when she ran in 2017. Lohse was also the party’s candidate in Flynn at the recent federal election. For whatever reason, the party sat it out in the seat at the 2020 state election. Also in the field are Legalise Cannabis, Katter’s Australian Party and Animal Justice – but not the Greens, who tend not to trouble the scoreboard much in this part of the world.

Bragg. This blue-ribbon Adelaide seat goes to the polls on July 2 to choose a successor to former Deputy Premier Vickie Chapman, who displeased her party by pulling the plug on her political career shortly after the March election defeat. Here too Labor is gamely taking the field in a seat it has never held, but given the Liberals’ form in comparable seats at the federal election and its all-time low margin of 8.2% after the state election, it’s easier here to see why they might think it worth a roll of the dice. The Liberals could have had particular trouble if disgruntled political staffer Chelsey Potter had followed through on her threat to don the teal independent mantle, but it seems she was persuaded not to. The by-election thus pits Liberal candidate Jack Batty, who until recently worked at the High Commission in London, against Labor’s Alice Rolls, head of policy and strategy at the Australian Pro Bono Centre. The Greens and Family First have also announced candidates; nominations close on Friday.

North West Central. One of only six seats out of the 59 in Western Australia’s lower house not held by Labor, North West Central is shortly to be vacated with the retirement of Nationals member Vince Catania. Catania began his political career with Labor as a member of the Legislative Council in 2005, transferred to the Legislative Assembly in 2008, defected to the Nationals the following year and comfortably retained it through to 2021, when he held out by 1.7% against a swing of 8.4%, one of the lowest in the state. Although anything would seem possible given the loss of Catania’s personal vote, which is of particular significance in a seat where only 8000 voters were cast at the last election, the consensus seems to be that Labor will not field a candidate as it fears a backlash over its one-vote one-value reform to the Legislative Council, expects the seat to be abolished at the next redistribution and already has more MPs than it knows what to do with. The seat could potentially develop into a contest between the Nationals and the Liberals, but the odds on the latter would presumably be rather long.