Morgan marginal seats polling

Yesterday’s Queensland marginal seat polling from Roy Morgan turns out to have been a teaser for today’s full suite, which also targets four seats each from New South Wales and Western Australia as well as one each from Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. With samples of 200 each, the electorate-level results are of little utility, but where results from four seats are available from a particular state we can combine them to get a meaningful picture from a margin-of-error of about 3.5 per cent. The swing of 4.8 per cent to the Liberal National Party in Queensland has not been borne out elsewhere: the four New South Wales seats collectively show a 1.0 per cent swing to Labor, while Western Australia produces an essentially status quo result with a 0.2 per cent swing to the Liberals. The single-seat polling for the other three states is less useful, but for what it’s worth the result from Hindmarsh in South Australia sits well with this morning’s Advertiser poll. Taken in their entirety, the results point to no swing at all from 2007.

Macarthur 50.1 38.5 -11.6
Robertson 50.1 48.5 -1.6
Eden-Monaro 52.3 59 6.7
Macquarie 50.1 60.5 10.4
Hasluck 51 50 -1.0
Brand 56.1 54.5 -1.6
Perth 58.1 57 -1.1
Fremantle 59.15 62 2.9
Flynn 52.3 45 -7.3
Longman 51.7 43.5 -8.2
Dawson 52.4 49 -3.4
Leichhardt 54.1 54 -0.1
Corangamite (Vic) 50.85 55.5 4.7
Hindmarsh (SA) 55.05 56.5 1.5
Bass (Tas) 51 62.5 11.5

Swings (Queensland) and roundabouts (Hindmarsh)

Roy Morgan has again rained on Julia Gillard’s poll parade, with a poll of 800 voters in four Queensland marginals showing Labor no better placed than they were said to be before Kevin Rudd’s demise. The four seats targeted are outer suburban Longman and regional Flynn, Dawson and Leichhardt, and if by some coincidence the figures for each are accurate – which is unlikely, as the margin of error on each 200-sample poll is about 7 per cent – Labor stands to lose all except the latter with respective swings of 7.3 per cent, 8.2 per cent and 3.4 per cent, with no change recorded in Longman. However, it would be more instructive to combine the results and think in terms of a collective swing of a bit below 5 per cent and a margin of error of 3.5 per cent. If consistent across Queensland, this would cost Labor eight seats held actually and two held notionally. Helpfully, three of these seats were covered in Newspoll’s marginal seat survey of Tuesday before last, conducted during Kevin Rudd’s last weekend as Prime Minister, the exception being Leichhardt. This showed a 6 per cent swing from a margin of error of 4 per cent. Presumably Morgan will offer a face-to-face poll from last weekend tomorrow, the first such poll conducted on Gillard’s watch.

There is better news for Labor from The Advertiser, which has Labor leading 56-44 in the Adelaide seat of Hindmarsh, held for Labor on a margin of 5.1 per cent. The survey involved 633 respondents and would have a margin of error of a little below 4 per cent, although this presumes a random sample which The Advertiser probably lacks the expertise to obtain.

Federal preselection news:

• The Socialist Left faction of the Victorian ALP, which dominates the local branches, has chosen ACTU industrial officer Cath Bowtell as its candidate for the federal preselection for Melbourne, to be vacated on the retirement of Lindsay Tanner. The faction’s secretary, Andrew Giles, had been favoured by some for the position, but agreed to stand aside in favour of Bowtell, whose endorsement is now considered a fait accompli. The preselection will be conducted locally on Sunday and finalised by the party’s public office selection committee on Tuesday.

• Queensland’s troubled Liberal National Party has picked a new candidate for the Brisbane seat of Moreton, which Labor’s Graham Perrett won from sitting Liberal Gary Hardgrave in 2007, after the original nominee, Michael Palmer (20-year-old son of mining magnate Clive), withdrew citing health concerns. The winner was Malcolm Cole, former Courier-Mail journalist and staffer to former Senator Santo Santoro, who defeated local businessman Steve Smith.

• It’s been noted lately that the New South Wales Liberals are dragging their heels getting candidates in place in important electorates: Lindsay, Parramatta and Greenway. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, these will be resolved over the next fortnight. The Penrith Press reports two candidates have nominated in Lindsay: marketing manager Fiona Scott and casual teacher Margaret Grand.

State preselection news from New South Wales:

• The Nationals’ ground-breaking “open primary” preselection for Tamworth was conducted last weekend, delivering victory to local businessman Kevin Anderson. The ballot was open to anyone registered in the electorate, attracting 4293 voters. Anderson won 2110 vote (49.4 per cent) to 1100 (25.7 per cent) for James Treloar, 648 (15.2 per cent) for Russell Webb and 414 (9.7 per cent) for Mark Rodda, with the distribution of Rodda’s preferences electing Anderson. A similar effort by the Victorian ALP in the Liberal-held state seat of Kilsyth in April only attracted 170, although the only procedural difference was a requirement that participants register online. The winner on that occasion was former electorate officer Vicky Setches with 75 per cent of the vote.

• The Sydney Morning Herald reports the Liberal preselection for the safe Liberal NSW state seat of Baulkham Hills, to be vacated at the election by retiring Wayne Merton, has been postponed after originally being scheduled for tomorrow. The preselection is the latest front in the war between state upper house MP David Clarke and federal Mitchell MP Alex Hawke, former allies in the Right. At issue is the validity of the membership of 14 Clarke supporters who attempted to join at an infamous Baulkham Hills Young Liberals meeting in Hawke’s electorate office last year, which ended with Hawke calling the police. The Hawke forces are backing state Civil Contractors Federation chief executive David Elliott, who unsuccessfully challenged Clarke for his upper house preselection earlier this year. Clarke supports Damien Tudehope, solicitor and Australian Family Association spokesman Damien Tudehope. Also in the field is Hills Shire deputy mayor Mike Thomas. It appears the preselection will be postponed until the federal election is out of the way, in the likely event that it is called shortly.

• Greens state upper house MP Sylvia Hale, who earlier made what most presumed to be a retirement announcement when she said she would not seek re-election, has announced she will seek to run in the highly winnable lower house seat of Marrickville. She must first win next week’s preselection vote against Marrickville deputy mayor Fiona Byrne, the candidate from 2007.

• Crikey’s Tips and Rumours reports Peter Fraser, former chief-of-staff to John Brogden, might emerge as a starter in the endlessly confusing preselection to choose a successor to Peter Debnam in Vaucluse. The remainder of the field is summarised as “Left numbers woman Gabrielle Upton, independent restaurateur Peter Doyle, Woollahra mayor Andrew Petrie, Turnbull branch fixture Mary Lou Jarvis and Sydney gymnasium tycoon and right-winger Peter Cavanagh”.

Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor in Victoria

The latest bi-monthly state Newspoll for Victoria shows a dramatic surge for the Greens, up four points to 18 per cent, bringing down the primary vote for both Labor (down three points to 34 per cent, apparently their worst result since 1996) and the Coalition (down two to 36 per cent). After distribution of preferences, and obviously presuming Greens preferences play out the same way as last time, Labor continues to hold a 51-49 lead on the primary vote, down from 52-48 last time. John Brumby’s lead as preferred premier is down only slightly on last time, from 49-29 to 47-31.

Newspoll: 61-39 to Coalition in NSW

The latest bi-monthly state Newspoll for New South Wales has the Labor government digging further below what previously looked to be rock bottom. Their primary vote is down six points to a record low 25 per cent, with the Coalition up four to 46 per cent and the Greens up two to 16 per cent. Kristina Keneally’s approval rating is nonetheless steady on 47 per cent, such that she would have kept her mantle of Australia’s most popular leader if it hadn’t been for the events of last week. However, she is also up six points on disapproval to 37 per cent. Barry O’Farrell’s approval rating is up three points to 44 per cent and his disapproval is down one to 33 per cent. Keneally’s lead as preferred premier has narrowed from 45-30 to 44-36. The Coalition’s two-party lead has widened from 55-45 to 61-39, though as always it should be noted that the primary vote on its own means at least as much under optional preferential voting.

Westpoll: 54.5-45.5 to federal Coalition in WA

The West Australian has published another small-sample Patterson Market Research-Westpoll survey (401 respondents) to follow on the poll of June 12, which had the federal Coalition with a gaping two-party lead in WA of 62-38. The newer poll paints a much rosier picture for Labor, who are up 8 per cent on the primary vote to 36 per cent and have narrowed the two-party deficit to 54.5-45.5. This would mean a 1.2 per cent swing to the Coalition, which would only threaten Labor in Hasluck and leave them well clear in their other three seats. In contrast to every other poll since the leadership change, this one shows Labor’s gains coming at the expense of the Coalition, who are down seven points on the primary vote to 49 per cent. The Greens are steady on 9 per cent, but the result in the earlier poll did not square with last week’s Newspoll quarterly geographic breakdown which had it at 16 per cent. The Nielsen survey of late last week included a sub-sample of 100 Western Australian voters, which had the Coalition on 50 per cent, Labor on 42 per cent and the Greens on 5 per cent.

UPDATE: Roy Morgan throws a curve ball: a phone poll of 600 respondents conducted between Friday and Monday which has the Coalition leading 51.5-48.5 on two-party, and 45.5 per cent to 38.5 per cent on the primary vote (with the Greens on 9 per cent). It should be stressed that this is a phone poll as distinct from the weekend face-to-face surveys Morgan usually publishes on Fridays, which are the most Labor-leaning in the business. The results of this poll and the one from Friday should thus not be compared, though the Morgan press release does just that. The last Morgan phone poll was conducted May 26-67, and had Labor at 37.5 per cent on primary, the Coalition on 43 per cent and the Greens on 11.5 per cent, with two-party on 50-50. The margin of error on the poll is about 4 per cent. For those confused by this apparently aberrant result, Possum offers the clarification that “exogenous shocks have a large random component to the resultant impulse response function”.

UPDATE 2: Julia Gillard’s atheism having emerged as an issue, I thought I’d crunch some Australian Election Study survey data on church attendance and voting behaviour, as there have been suggestions Labor will suffer the loss of Christian voters attracted by Kevin Rudd. Defining church attenders as those who go at least once a year and everyone else as non-attenders, 2007 was unusual out of elections going back to 1993 for the narrow gap between the Coalition church attender vote and the total Coalition vote – 2.6 per cent, whereas in other years it had ranged from 5.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent. However, the Labor vote was unexceptional: 1.0 per cent lower for church-attenders than the Labor vote overall, in keeping with an overall range from 3.9 per cent lower to 0.3 per cent higher.

Newspoll: 53-47 to Labor

Julia Gillard’s first Newspoll confirms the trend of other polls, with Labor’s primary vote storming back seven points to 42 per cent, but the yield coming mostly from the Greens (down five to 10 per cent). The Coalition vote is steady on 40 per cent. This results in a relatively modest shift on the two-party preferred vote, with the Labor lead increasing from 52-48 to 53-47, but it makes that vote share a lot less dependent on hypothetical and probably over-generous preference estimates. Julia Gillard leads as preferred prime minister 53 per cent to 29 per cent, compared with Kevin Rudd’s final figures of 46 per cent and 37 per cent. Tony Abbott can at least take heart from a return to a net positive personal rating, with approval up four to 42 per cent and disapproval down eight to 41 per cent.

Preselection news:

Melissa Fyfe of The Age reports from “senior party sources” that Labor polling in Melbourne showed the Greens running neck and neck with Lindsay Tanner. On the question of Tanner’s successor as Labor candidate, Andrew Crook from Crikey reports there is “little standing in the way” of Andrew Giles, chief-of-staff to state minister Lily D’Ambrosio. Giles is secretary of the Socialist Left faction, which dominates local branches. However, Melissa Fyfe’s sources say they are hoping to find someone with a higher profile. Other possible contenders are ACTU industrial officer Cath Bowtell, who according to Crook is “said to be owed a shot at pre-selection after being turned down for the ACTU presidency in favour of Ged Kearney”, and refugee activist Paris Aristotle. UPDATE: VexNews reports the Socialist Left has endorsed Cath Bowtell, with Andrew Giles agreeing not to run, and that Bowtell’s endorsement by the party is now a fait accompli.

• Scott Buchholz, chief-of-staff to Senator Barnaby Joyce, has won Liberal National Party preselection for the new Queensland seat of Wright, after initial nominee Hajnal Ban was forced out. Most prominent among his defeated rivals was former Blair MP Cameron Thompson.

UPDATE: Essential Research has done what it needed to do by dividing its results between this week’s polling and last week’s, and it confirms the overall picture. Kevin Rudd was on a gentle recovery trend in his last days – his final poll shows Labor improving from 51-49 to 52-48, with Labor’s primary vote up three to 38 per cent and the Coalition’s down one to 40 per cent – followed by a fillip on the primary vote under Julia Gillard. Interestingly, the Greens vote fell solidly over both periods, from 14 per cent to 11 per cent and then to 9 per cent. Labor’s primary vote under Gillard has gone from 38 per cent to 42 per cent, with the Coalition’s down one to 39 per cent. Forty-seven per cent approve of the leadership change compared with 40 per cent opposed, with an even split as to whether respondents declared themselves more (26 per cent) or less (24 per cent) likely to vote Labor now. Gillard leads Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister 49 per cent to 29 per cent, but Newspoll’s resounding improvement in Abbott’s ratings is also reflected in Essential, with his approval up five to 40 per cent and disapproval down 11 to 39 per cent. Again, respondents would prefer a full term (41 per cent) to an early election (28 per cent). There are further questions on parental leave, the mining tax and future economic conditions.

UPDATE 2: Excellent post by Possum analysing polling trends of the late Rudd epoch.