Something for everybody

Great polling for Labor in Victoria, catastrophic polling for Labor in Victoria, and a mixed bag of federal seat polling — but seemingly a very clear picture in Western Australia.

Scattered accounts of opinion polling ahead of what looks like being a lean week for it, with both Newspoll and Essential Research entering an off-week in their respective cycles:

• Some seriously mixed signals coming out of Victoria, starting with Roy Morgan, who have published results of an SMS poll conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday from a sample of 2325 that records a 70-30 favourable split for Daniel Andrews’ performance as Premier. Respondents also split 63-37 against allowing restaurants, hotels and cafes to provide table service, 54-46 against ending the rule limiting travel to within 5 kilometres of a person’s home, 63-37 against an end to the 9pm curfew, although there is a 59-41 split in favour of allowing Melbourne residents to visit the homes of immediate family members, and a 76-24 split in favour of state government compensation for businesses forced to close.

• The contrast is provided by a Herald Sun report in Liberal internal polling by MediaReach of five marginal Victorian state seats, showing devastating swings against Labor. The Liberals are credited with leads of 70.6-29.4 in Bayswater (50.4-49.6 to Labor at the 2018 election), 68.0-32.0 in Hawthorn (50.4-49.6 to Labor), 54.5-45.5 in Monbulk (58.6-41.4), 54.9-45.1 in Mount Waverley (51.8-48.2) and 57.9-42.1 in South Barwon (54.6-45.4). Daniel Andrews is nonetheless said to have preferred premier leads over Michael O’Brien of 46-37 in South Barwon, 43-37 in Mount Waverley and 39-29 in Monbulk, with O’Brien leading 46-33 in Hawthorn and 37-33 in Bayswater. The polling was conducted on Tuesday from samples of between 523 and 694.

• Labor-linked firm Redbridge Group has published polling from three Labor-held federal seats, which collectively suggest Labor has gone backwards since last year’s election. Including results for a follow-up prompt for the initially undecided, and applying preference flows from the last election, I estimate the two-party results at 54-46 to the LNP in Lilley, where Labor’s margin is 0.6%; 54.7-45.3 to Liberal in Hunter, where the margin is 3.0%; but 53-47 to Labor in Corangamite, improving on their existing 1.1% margin. Whereas One Nation came close to making the final two-party preference count in Hunter last year, this poll has them a distant third with 9.5%. The poll also presented respondents in Hunter with Liberal as the Coalition response option, whereas the seat was contested by the Nationals at the election. The poll was conducted from August 20-22 from samples of 1000 to 1200 per electorate. Pollster Kos Samaras notes on Twitter that their state-level polling is “not reporting the same trends”, and suggests the firm will publish polling over the coming days casting doubt over the aforementioned MediaReach findings from Victoria.

The West Australian published further results on Monday from last week’s Painted Dog Research poll, which credited Mark McGowan with a 91% approval rating, this time on Liberal leader Liza Harvey. Harvey was found to have an approval rating of just 10%, down nine since June, with disapproval unchanged at 37%. The balance included 36% neither satisifed nor dissatisfied and 10% for don’t know – I’m not sure where that leaves the 7% balance. The poll was conducted last week from a sample of 837.

• I took part in a podcast this week with Ben Raue at The Tally Room, together with former Australian Electoral Commission official Michael Maley, in which a highly wonk-ish discussion was had about electoral redistributions.

More affairs of state

More evidence of a tight contest looming in Queensland while Mark McGowan reigns supreme in Western Australia; and a parliamentary committee in Victoria kicks the upper house electoral reform can down the road.

Not every state this time, but half:

Victoria

The Victorian parliament’s electoral matters committee has tabled the report of its inquiry into the 2018 state election, of which the greatest item of interest is a full chapter devoted to reform of the upper house electoral system. Together with Western Australia, Victoria is the last hold-out of the group voting ticket system that is electing ever-increasing numbers of preference-harvesting micro-party candidates. This reached a new height at the 2018 election, at which parties other than the Coalition, Labor and the Greens won 10 out of the 40 seats in the Legislative Council, including two elected with less than 1% of the vote. However, the report recommended only that a further parliamentary inquiry be held into the matter. The report also recommends no change to the two-week period for pre-polling, which the Liberals and Nationals called to be shortened.

Queensland

Polling of the marginal state seats of Currumbin, Mansfield and Aspley by YouGov for the Australian Conservation Foundation shows a combined two-party result of 52-48 for Labor, compared with an almost exact 50-50 for these three seats in 2017. The primary votes are Labor 37%, LNP 37%, Greens 10%, One Nation 4% and 10% don’t know, compared with 2017 election results of Labor 41.2%, LNP 38.4%, Greens 10.6% and One Nation 8.5%. The poll was conducted from August 17-19 and targeted 200 respondents in each of the three electorates.

Western Australia

A poll for The West Australian by Painted Dog Research showed Mark McGowan with an approval rating at 91%, up four from an already stratospheric result in June. Support for the state’s border closure was at 92%, up from 89% in May. The poll was conducted from a sample of 837, with field work dates not provided.

Northern Territory

As related in the dedicated post, the CLP sneaked home in an eighth seat in the Northern Territory election as the count concluded last night, producing a final result of Labor 14, CLP eight, Territory Alliance one and independents two.

Affairs of state

One finely crafted electoral news item for every state (and territory) that is or might ever conceivably have been part of our great nation.

A bone for every dog in the federation kennel:

New South Wales

Gladys Berejiklian has backed a move for the Liberal Party to desist from endorsing or financially supporting candidates in local government elections, reportedly to distance the state government from adverse findings arising from Independent Commission Against Corruption investigations into a number of councils. Many in the party are displeased with the idea, including a source cited by Linda Silmalis of the Daily Telegraph, who predicted “world war three” because many MPs relied on councillors to organise their numbers at preselections.

Victoria

The second biggest story in the politics of Victoria over the past fortnight has been the expose of the activities of Liberal Party operator Marcus Bastiaan by the Nine newspaper-and-television news complex, a neat counterpoint to its similar revelations involving Labor powerbroker Adem Somyurek in June. The revelations have been embarrassing or worse for federal MPs Michael Sukkar and Kevin Andrews, with the former appearing to have directed the latter’s electorate office staff to spend work time on party factional activities.

Together with then state party president Michael Kroger, Bastiaan was instrumental in establishing a conservative ascendancy with help from Bastiaan’s recruitment of members from Mormon churches and the Indian community. Having installed ally Nick Demiris as campaign director, Bastiaan’s fingerprints were on the party’s stridently conservative campaign at the 2018 state election, which yielded the loss of 11 lower house Coalition seats. Religious conservatives led by Karina Okotel, now a federal party vice-president, then split from the Bastiaan network, complaining their numbers had been used to buttress more secular conservatives.

The Age’s report noted that “in the days leading up to the publication of this investigation, News Corporation mastheads have run stories attacking factional opponents of Mr Bastiaan and Mr Sukkar”. Presumably related to this was a report on Okotel’s own party activities in The Australian last weekend, which was long on emotive adjectives but short on tangible allegations of wrongdoing, beyond her having formed an alliance with factional moderates after the split.

Continue reading “Affairs of state”

Nothing succeeds like secession

A new poll finds a certain amount of support for Western Australia to go it alone, as the Federal Court finds facts in Clive Palmer’s constitutional challenge against the state’s border closures.

The West Australian has a poll today from Painted Dog Research showing 34% out of 837 respondents from the state favour secession for Western Australia. However, the utility of this finding is limited by the report’s failure to offer any insight as to how many of the other 66% were actively opposed and how many uncommitted, if indeed the latter was provided as an option. The poll also finds “close to three-quarters” think the federal government has put the needs of the eastern states ahead of Western Australia during the pandemic. I wouldn’t normally consider such a poll front page news, but it’s past time for a new general discussion thread, so here it is.

There is also the following:

• Since Tuesday’s post from Adrian Beaumont on the extraordinary finding of a Reid Research poll of voting intention in New Zealand, the other regular pollster in the country, Colmar Brunton, has produced a somewhat more modest result: Labour 53%, National 32%, Greens 5%, ACT New Zealand 4.8% and New Zealand First 2%. It also finds Jacinda Ardern with a 54-20 lead over the new National leader, Judith Collins, as preferred prime minister. There’s an interesting discussion on polling in the country, the record of which is apparently very good, on Radio New Zealand’s The Detail program.

• As noted in my popular dedicated post on the subject, elections will be held today for two seats in Tasmania’s Legislative Council. One of these at least, for the Launceston region seat of Rosevears, includes both Liberal and Labor candidates, and might be seen as some sort of barometer for the state’s new-ish Premier, Peter Gutwein, who has been recording exceptionally strong poll ratings amid the COVID-19 crisis. Live coverage of the count will, as ever, commence here at 6pm.

Polls: federal Morgan, YouGov on COVID-19, WA miscellany

Morgan finds the federal Coalition keeping its nose in front; YouGov records a thumbs-up for COVID-19 restrictions; and some striking (if somewhat dated) measures of Mark McGowan’s ascendancy in the west.

Three bits of polling news from around the place, including some rare intelligence from Western Australia, which has still only had one public poll of voting intention in the three-and-a-half years since the 2017 election:

• Roy Morgan made one of its occasional random drops of the federal voting intention polling it conducts weekly, crediting the Coalition with a lead of 51.5-48.5, out from 50.5-49.5 when it last published figures a month ago. On the primary vote, the Coalition is up a point to 43.5%, Labor is down one to 33.5%, the Greens are up half to 11.0% and One Nation is down 1.5% to 2.5%. Also included are state two-party breakdowns with the Coalition leading 52.5-47.5 in New South Wales, 58-42 in Queensland, 53.5-46.5 in Western Australia and 53-47 in South Australia, and Labor leading 53.5-46.5 in Victoria and 58-42 in Tasmania. The poll was conducted online and by phone from a sample of 2589 respondents over the weekends of July 11-12 and July 18-19.

• Today’s News Corp tabloids ($) have results of a national YouGov survey of 2307 respondents concerning COVID-19, of which the most interesting finding is that only 6% consider current restrictions too tough, compared with 33% for too lenient and 60% for about right. Despite variable national experience of COVID-19 at the present time, results were fairly consistent across the states, with Victoria only slightly outperforming the national “too tough” response at 11%. The poll was conducted from July 15-20.

• The West Australian reported that polling conducted for “a prominent business group” by Utting Research, which has conducted much of Labor’s internal polling over the years, producing the remarkable finding that Mark McGowan’s state Labor government held a 66-34 lead. The poll was conducted back in May, but there is little reason to think the McGowan balloon would have burst since then. The poll recorded approval ratings of 86% for Mark McGowan, 64% for Scott Morrison but only 25% for state Liberal leader Liza Harvey, though the latter would have a much higher uncommitted rating.

• Staying on the subject of WA polling that’s perhaps not as fresh as it might be, Painted Dog Research published leadership ratings early last month that escaped this site’s notice at the time. These showed Mark McGowan with a satisfaction rating of 87% (including 63% very satisfied) with only 4% dissatisfied (2% very dissatisfied); Scott Morrison on 67% satisfied (33% very) and 19% dissatisfied (7% very); Anthony Albanese on 27% satisfied (7% very) and 29% unsatisfied (12% very); and Liza Harvey on 19% satisfied (4% very) and 37% dissatisfied (17% very) (UPDATE: For what it’s worth, this is metropolitan only). The poll was conducted June 5-7 from a sample of 800. The West Australian reported at the time that it understood Labor internal polling showed similar results.

Newspoll state leaders and coronavirus polling

Persistent high ratings all round for state Premiers and the Prime Minister amid the coronavirus crisis, but signs the current Victorian outbreak may have cost Daniel Andrews some shine.

Courtesy of The Australian, Newspoll offers a repeat of an exercise conducted two months ago in which a large national sample is polled to produce state-level results on the popularity of premiers as well as the Prime Minister, both generally and in their dealings with the coronavirus. While the results are positive all round, they find Daniel Andrews falling from a top tier that continues to include Peter Gutwein, Mark McGowan and Steven Marshall, bringing him about level with Gladys Berejiklian but still clear of Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Andrews was down eight on approval to 67% and up ten on disapproval to 27%, while Berejiklian was down one to 68% and up three to 26%. Allowing for small sample sizes in the smaller states, Peter Gutwein took the lead (up six on approval to 90% and down three on disapproval to 8%) from Mark McGowan (down one to 88% and up three on 9%). Despite continuing to trail the pack, Palaszczuk recorded the best improvement with a four point increase in approval to 59% and a four point drop on disapproval to 35%.

However, Palaszczuk remains the only Premier with a weaker net approval rating in their state than Scott Morrison, who according to the poll has strengthened in Queensland (by five on approval to 72%, and down four on disapproval to 24%) but weakened everywhere else (approval down six to 61% and disapproval up five to 35% in New South Wales; down seven to 65% and up four to 30% in Victoria; down three to 67% and up two to 29% in South Australia; down three to 70% and up three to 26% in Western Australia; down four to 60% and up six to 37% in Tasmania).

Andrews’ deterioration on approval is more than matched on the question of handling of coronavirus, on which he now trails out of the Premiers with 72% for well (down 13 points) and 25% for badly (up 14). This pushes him behind Berejiklian (up two to 79% and down two to 16%), Palaszczuk (up four to 76% and down one to 22%) and Marshall (up five to 87% and down two to 9%). Still clear of the field are McGowan and Gutwein, who are tied at 93% well (down one for McGowan, up four for Gutwein) and 5% badly (up one and down three). Scott Morrison’s ratings on this score are little changed, and remarkably consistent from state to state — Queensland and South Australia are his best with 84% well and 14% poorly apiece, but his weakest result, in New South Wales, is still 79% well and 18% badly.

The poll was conducted from a national sample of 2949, ranging from 526 in Victoria to 309 in Tasmania.