Labor retains clear Newspoll lead with voters approving of AUKUS; Perrottet set to be next NSW premier


AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Adrian Beaumont, The University of MelbourneThis week’s Newspoll, conducted September 29 to October 3 from a sample of 1,545, gave Labor a 53-47 lead, unchanged from last fortnight’s Newspoll. Primary votes were 37% Coalition (steady), 37% Labor (down one), 11% Greens (up one), 2% One Nation (down one) and 13% for all Others (up one).

It is likely Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party makes up a sizeable fraction of the Others vote. UAP ads have been ubiquitous, and they won 3.4% at the 2019 election, more than the 3.1% for One Nation, although One Nation did not contest all seats.

49% were dissatisfied with Scott Morrison’s performance (down one), and 48% were satisfied (up two), for a net approval of -1, up three points. Anthony Albanese’s net approval improved one point to -10. Morrison led as better PM by 47-34 (47-35 last fortnight).

For the large majority of this term, each Newspoll has been conducted three weeks apart. The two-week gap this time suggests they will do more polls in the lead-up to the election, due by May 2022. Newspoll figures are from The Poll Bludger.

By 59-31, voters approved of the AUKUS agreement, though the question did not mention the time to get the new submarines. 46% thought AUKUS would make Australia more secure, 29% that it would make no difference and 14% thought it would make us less secure. By 75-15, voters thought China posed a significant threat to our national security.

Labor has had a lead of 53-47 or more in all Newspolls conducted since July, but I am sceptical this solid position for Labor will mean a victory at the election. Once vaccination targets are met and lockdowns ease in Melbourne and Sydney, the economy is likely to rapidly recover, boosting the Coalition’s chances.

Furthermore, the Resolve polls in August and September have been far better for the Coalition than Newspoll. As I wrote after the late August Newspoll disagreed with Resolve, the different message in Resolve should not be ignored.




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Coalition slumps but Morrison gains in Newspoll; electoral changes to curb micro parties


The Guardian’s datablog has 45.2% of the population (not 16+) fully vaccinated, up from 37.2% two weeks ago. We rank 33 of 38 OECD countries in share of population fully vaccinated, unchanged since last fortnight. The Age shows 56.5% of 16+ are fully vaccinated and 79.4% have received at least one dose.

Essential and Morgan polls

In last week’s Essential poll, the federal government had a 45-30 good rating on its response to COVID (43-35 in mid-September, 39-36 in late August). The NSW government’s good rating has surged 13 points since late August to 53%, while Victoria fell back to 44% good after rising six points to 50% in mid-September.

50% of Victorian respondents said they didn’t have confidence in their state’s roadmap out of lockdown, compared with 40% of NSW respondents.

A late September Morgan poll from a sample of 2,752 gave Labor a 54-46 lead, a 1.5% gain for Labor since the mid-September poll. Primary votes were 36% Coalition (down 2.5%), 36% Labor (up 1%), 12.5% Greens (down 0.5%), 3.5% One Nation (up 0.5%) and 12% for all Others (up 1.5%).

Essential vs Resolve’s issue questions

In Essential, the Liberals had a 15-point lead over Labor on national security and a 10-point lead on economic management, while Labor led by 13 points on climate change, and 18 on fair wages and workplace conditions. Since October 2019, Labor has improved five points on the economy.

Essential’s issue questions give very different outcomes from Resolve’s, where Labor led the Liberals by just one point on the environment and climate change in September. Resolve gives a “someone else” option, and people who support the Greens on this issue select “someone else”, but a large majority of them prefer Labor to the Liberals.

It is likely there is also a pro-incumbent skew in Resolve’s questions, as they use “the Liberals and Morrison” versus “Labor and Albanese”. Morrison has had large leads over Albanese as better PM, so this formulation likely skews towards the current PM.

Newspoll quarterly aggregate data: July to September

Newspoll provides state and demographic breakdowns from all its polls conducted during a three-month period. As reported by The Poll Bludger on September 27, the September quarter Newspoll data gave Labor a 52-48 lead in NSW, a two-point gain for Labor since the June quarter, and a four-point gain since the 2019 election.

In Victoria, Labor’s lead blew out five points from June to 58-42, a five point gain for Labor since the last election. In Queensland, the Coalition led by 55-45, a two-point gain for them since July, but a 3.4% swing to Labor since the election. In WA, Labor led by 54-46, which would be a swing of almost 10% to Labor since the election.

Perrottet set to become next NSW premier

Gladys Berejiklian announced she would resign as New South Wales premier on Friday, owing to ICAC investigations. Media reports, such as in The Guardian, indicate that the right-aligned treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, is set to be elected NSW Liberal leader and thus premier at a Liberal party room meeting on Tuesday under a factional deal.

Berejiklian is also resigning as Member for Willoughby (held by 21.0%), so there will be a byelection soon. There will be other byelections in Bega (Lib 6.9%), where the Liberal MP Andrew Constance has announced he will contest the federal seat of Gilmore, and in Monaro (Nat 11.6%), as Nationals leader John Barilaro is retiring. Other NSW MPs may quit in the near future, so there could be several byelections on the same date.

Nobody wins German election

At the September 26 German election, the centre-left SPD won 25.7% (up 5.2% from 2017), the conservative CDU/CSU 24.1% (down 8.8%), the Greens 14.8% (up 5.9%), the pro-business FDP 11.5% (up 0.8%), the far-right AfD 10.3% (down 2.3%) and the far-left Left 4.9% (down 4.3%).

The Left was below the 5% threshold, but won three of the 299 single-member seats to barely retain a proportional allocation of seats. Right-wing parties combined defeated the combined left by a 45.9-45.4 margin, and this is reflected in parliament where left-wing parties won 363 of the 735 seats, just short of the 368 needed for a majority.

No other party will cooperate with the AfD, but no government of the left can be formed. Protracted negotiations are likely to achieve a governing coalition. I live blogged this election for The Poll Bludger.The Conversation

Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, The University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

View from The Hill: Albanese would have no excuse for an Eden-Monaro loss after Coalition high flyers implode


Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

Anthony Albanese, who will campaign in Eden-Monaro on Thursday, has lost any possible claim to “underdog” status in the coming byelection.

The idea of Labor as underdog was always dubious in light of history, despite former member Mike Kelly’s personal vote. But the prospect of one or other of two NSW government high flyers having a tilt at the seat gave it some credibility.

Now, thanks to a rolling implosion within the Coalition parties, Labor starts as favourite to retain the seat, which it holds on a margin of less than 1%.

There’s a sting, however. If the favourite lost, defeat would carry even more serious implications for Albanese than a loss to a star candidate.

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance’s Wednesday withdrawal as a contender for Liberal preselection, a day after throwing his hat in the ring, took the Coalition parties’ shenanigans to an even higher level of farce.

The last several days have seen a political shootout between NSW Deputy Premier and Nationals leader John Barilaro and Constance. Both are damaged as well as a big blow having been dealt to the Morrison government’s aspiration to defy history (no federal government has taken a seat from an opposition at a byelection for a century).

It started with Barilaro’s plan to run for the seat, which includes his state electorate where he had a very strong vote last year.

Barilaro wanted the Liberal party to step aside for him, but that was not a goer. Then Constance, whom he hoped would support him, stayed in the frame as a potential Liberal candidate, even though it was clear the two NSW ministers couldn’t both run, especially given the state government’s narrow majority.

The Nationals put out research favouring Barilaro; the Liberals had competing research.

By Monday Barilaro had hoisted the white flag – of course citing the family.

He was furious – at federal Nationals leader Michael McCormack, for not helping him, and at Constance for impeding him.

A blistering text went to McCormack, leaked to Sky on Tuesday. On Wednesday the Daily Telegraph reported “Barilaro told a parliamentary colleague Mr Constance was a ‘c…’”.

Constance cited the story in his withdrawal.

He told a news conference: “Stuff that — I hadn’t signed up to contest federally to be called that type of smear.”

“Why would I sit here for the next five weeks defending that type of front page? You can’t.”

But he also said: “I don’t believe John means it. I had that discussion with him. We’ve cleared it up. I forgive him”.

In short, Constance was all over the place, and likely a mix of reasons caused his meltdown.

Despite a touch of wild speculation that Barilaro might rethink, he quickly dispelled any such suggestion, saying: “My decision not to seek preselection for the Eden-Monaro byelection has not changed”.

The other name on the government side who’d been mentioned, Liberal senator Jim Molan, also ruled himself out on Wednesday.

Molan never seemed likely to contest. But he issued a statement saying “no one has tried to force me to not nominate, nor was I ever intimidated by the prospect of competing in a preselection or in a campaign”.

The Liberals will be well behind Labor – which is running Bega mayor Kristy McBain – in beginning their campaigning.

Nominations for Liberal preselection close Friday and then they have to organise a rank and file ballot.

Fiona Kotvojs, who pushed Kelly close at last year’s election, is seeking endorsement.

Pru Gordon, from the National Farmers Federation, a former adviser to two trade ministers and a former official with the department of foreign affairs and trade, is also in the field. A third contender is Jerry Nockles, now at World Vision, who formerly worked for federal Liberals.

The Liberal candidate, whoever they may be, will inherit the legacy of a Coalition display of bad behaviour and self-absorption, which is not a good start when you are asking for votes in an electorate that’s faced drought and fire and now struggles to recover amid economic devastation.The Conversation

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Eden-Monaro opens wounds in Nationals, with Barilaro attack on McCormack


Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

The Eden-Monaro byelection has triggered an extraordinarily bitter attack by NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro on fellow National, deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack.

In a text message to McCormack, a furious Barilaro said, “You will never be acknowledged by me as our leader. You aren’t. You never will be”. He accused McCormack of feeling threatened by his (short-lived) bid to switch to federal politics.

After giving every indication last week he wanted to contest the byelection, Barilaro on Monday announced he would not be seeking nomination.

This followed his failure to get the Liberals to make way, allowing him to be the only Coalition candidate. But he is also blaming McCormack for undermining him.

McCormack was known to be unenthusiastic about the prospect – in the event of a win – of having the volatile Barilaro in his federal party.

This would have put more pressure on McCormack’s leadership, which pre-COVID was under strain after a failed bid to overthrow him by Barnaby Joyce.

Publicly McCormack, while careful with his words, noted that if Barilaro decided “to put his hand up, he’s got to go through the pre-selection process. That is always the case with every National Party member.”

On Tuesday NSW Liberal Transport minister, Andrew Constance, from the state seat of Bega, which takes in a substantial part of Eden-Monaro in the south, announced his bid and is certain to be the party’s candidate, although the Liberals still have a preselection open.

Constance will come to the byelection with the memory of his prominent role during the bushfires still fresh in the voters’ minds. At that time, he was sharply critical of Scott Morrison’s performance. But Morrison will be now be happy to have him as Liberal candidate, giving his local popularity.

In his vitriolic message, which was leaked to Sky, Barilaro said: “Michael. Please do not contact me. Your lack of public enthusiasm or support for my candidacy went a long way to my final decision.

“Don’t hide behind the ‘members will choose the candidate’ rubbish, as you were the only one saying such lines. Don’t you think my branches would have backed me in?

“To feel threatened by me clearly shows you have failed your team and failed as a leader.

“You will never be acknowledged by me as our leader. You aren’t. You never will be.

“The Nats had a chance to create history, to change momentum, and you had a candidate that was prepared to risk everything to make it happen.

“What did you risk? Nothing.

“Hope you are proud of yourself.”

In his Monday announcement Barilaro said: “The polling showed I could win but sometimes in this game, you let ego get in the way of good decisions and I’ve got to make the best decision for me, my family, for the people of NSW – more importantly for the people of Eden-Monaro”.

The Liberals argued Constance would have a better chance of taking the Labor seat than Balilaro, despite the fact the regional centre of Queanbeyan is in Barilaro’s state seat of Monaro, and he won every booth in his electorate at the NSW election last year.

Eden-Monaro became vacant because of the resignation of Labor’s Mike Kelly due to ill health. Labor has chosen Bega mayor Kristy McBain, who is considered a strong candidate.

The contest is seen as an important test for opposition leader Anthony Albanese.

Labor has history on its side – it is a century since a federal government took an opposition seat at a byelection.

In response to Barilaro’s attack, McCormack said he respected his “personal decision not to contest the Eden-Monaro by-election due to family reasons.

“I have always supported the democratic election processes of the National Party of Australia. I wholeheartedly endorse the right of branches to select their local candidates first and foremost.

“My support of Mr Barilaro has been long standing and I respect his position as Deputy Premier and New South Wales Nationals’ Leader.”The Conversation

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.