Coalition still well ahead in NSW poll, Newspoll premiers’ ratings, and WA upper house electoral reforms


AAP/Bianca de Marchi

Adrian Beaumont, The University of MelbourneA New South Wales state Resolve poll for The Sydney Morning Herald gave the Coalition 41% of the primary vote (down two since July), Labor 30% (up two), the Greens 11% (down one), the Shooters 2% (up one) and independents 10% (steady).

Resolve does not provide two party estimates, but analyst Kevin Bonham estimated 53-47 to the Coalition, a two-point gain for Labor since July. I previously covered issues with the independent vote in Resolve and the lack of two party estimates.




Read more:
Coalition gains in federal Resolve poll, but Labor increases lead in Victoria


Incumbent Liberal Gladys Berejiklian led Labor’s Chris Minns by 48-21 as preferred premier (55-16 in July). This poll would have been conducted concurrently with the August and September federal polls from a sample of about 1,100. The federal Resolve polls in those months have had a strong lean to the Coalition compared with other polls (see below).

By 65-17, voters supported “the plan to ease restrictions in mid-October with 70% vaccination rates”. The SMH article implies the Coalition’s position was stronger in September than August, as vaccination uptake makes reopening soon realistic.

The same situation applies to the federal government. Once lockdowns are over, the economy is likely to rebound quickly, and this will assist the Coalition in an election in the first half of next year.

Newspoll: Andrews has best approval out of Vic, Qld and NSW premiers

The Poll Bludger reported that Newspoll asked for premiers’ ratings in last weekend’s poll from a larger than usual national sample of 2,144.

The states considered were NSW, Victoria and Queensland. Victorian Labor premier Daniel Andrews had a 64-35 satisfied rating (net +29). Queensland Labor premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had a 57-38 satisfied rating (net +19). Berejiklian had a 56-40 satisfied rating (net +16).

On handling COVID, Palaszczuk scored far better than her overall rating at 67-31 good, while Andrews and Berejiklian scored nearly the same (63-35 good for Andrews, 56-41 good for Berejiklian).

Nationally, Scott Morrison had a -4 net approval in Newspoll; he was at +15 in Queensland, -3 in NSW and -16 in Victoria.

Nationally, Morrison had a 49-48 poor rating for his handling of COVID, unchanged from six weeks ago. By 53-42, voters expressed more concern with relaxing restrictions too fast than too slowly (62-34 in January).

WA upper house electoral reform: group ticket voting and malapportionment to be scrapped

The massive WA Labor landslide at the March state election gave them large majorities in both chambers of the WA parliament – the first ever Labor majority in the upper house.




Read more:
Coalition and Morrison gain in Newspoll, and the new Resolve poll


Labor set up a committee to look at reforming the upper house’s electoral system. There are two current major problems: malapportionment and group ticket voting (GTV). The Mining & Pastoral region and Agricultural region elect one-third of the upper house on just 10% of the state’s population. GTV allowed Daylight Saving to win a seat in March on just 98 primary votes.

Labor will adopt the committee’s proposals to change to a statewide election of 37 members, up from the current 36. GTV will be replaced by optional above-the-line voting, in which a single “1” above the line will stay within the party it is cast for. Voters can number “2”, “3”, etc, above the line to continue directing preferences after their original party is excluded.

This system is the same as is currently used in elections for the NSW and SA upper houses. However, these states elect half their upper house at each election (21 seats up each election in NSW and 11 in SA). The WA proposal is for all 37 seats to be elected at once, so the quota will be just 2.63%.

With optional preferential voting, parties will be able to win seats from much lower vote shares than 2.63%. It’s likely to lead to cluttered ballot papers at the next election.

ABC election analyst Antony Green has much more on the WA reforms. I hope the Victorian government scraps GTV before the 2022 state election – Victoria is now the last Australian jurisdiction with GTV.

Other state developments: NT, Victoria and Tasmania

The Labor Northern Territory government gained Daly at a September 11 byelection by a 56.0-44.0 margin over the CLP, a 7.2% swing to Labor. Bonham said this is the first time a government gained from an opposition at a byelection anywhere in Australia since Benalla (Victoria state) in 2000.

Matthew Guy ousted Michael O’Brien as Victorian Liberal leader at a leadership spill on September 7. Guy led the Liberals to a landslide defeat at the November 2018 state election.

A Tasmanian EMRS poll, conducted August 7-9 from a sample of 1,000, gave the Liberals 49% (steady since the May election), Labor 28% (steady) and the Greens 13% (up one). Incumbent Peter Gutwein led Labor’s Rebecca White as preferred premier by 59-29 (61-26 in EMRS’ last state poll in February).

Coalition leads on estimated preference flows in federal Resolve poll

A federal Resolve poll for Nine newapapers, conducted September 15-19 from a sample of 1,606, gave the Coalition 39% of the primary vote (down one since August), Labor 31% (down one), the Greens 10% (down two), One Nation 4% (up two), Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party 3% and independents 9% (down one).

No two-party estimate was given, but Bonham estimated 51-49 to the Coalition, a one-point gain for the Coalition.

There’s divergence in voting intentions between Resolve and Newspoll, which was 53-47 to Labor. But there’s been movement in all recent polls to the Coalition, which was up one in Newspoll and up two in Morgan to a 52.5-47.5 Labor lead.

49% gave Morrison a good rating for his performance in recent weeks, and 45% a poor rating, for a net +4 rating, up five since August. Albanese’s net approval was up three to -16. Morrison led as preferred PM by 45-26 (46-23 in August).

The Liberals and Morrison led Labor and Albanese by 42-24 on economic management (44-19 in August). On COVID, the Liberals led by 37-24 (37-22 last time).

Canadian election called two years early gives nearly status quo result

I live blogged the results of the Canadian election that PM Justin Trudeau called two years early for The Poll Bludger. At the 2019 election, Trudeau’s centre-left Liberals won 157 of the 338 seats and the Conservatives 121, despite a 1.2% lead for the Conservatives in vote shares. In 2021, the results are nearly the same.

The German election will be held Sunday, with polls closing at 2am Monday AEST. Parties need to either win at least 5% nationally or three of the 299 single-member seats to qualify for a proportional seat allocation. The Guardian’s poll aggregate
suggests the overall left parties have a narrow lead over the overall right. I will be live blogging 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.

Coalition gains a point in Newspoll, but Morrison slides back into net negative ratings


AAP/Joel Carrett

Adrian Beaumont, The University of MelbourneThis week’s Newspoll, conducted September 15-18 from a sample a little over 1,500, gave Labor a 53-47 lead, a one-point gain for the Coalition since the last Newspoll, three weeks ago. Primary votes were 38% Labor (down two), 37% Coalition (up one), 10% Greens (steady) and 3% One Nation (steady).

50% (up three) were dissatisfied with Scott Morrison’s performance, and 46% (down three) were satisfied, for a net approval of -4. Morrison dropped into net negative ratings six weeks ago, but recovered to +2 in the last Newspoll. This is his worst net approval in Newspoll since the start of the pandemic.




Read more:
First negative Newspoll rating for Morrison since start of pandemic; 47% of unvaccinated would take Pfizer but not AstraZeneca


Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s ratings also slumped, with his net approval falling four points to -11, his worst since becoming opposition leader. Morrison led Albanese by 47-35 as better PM (50-34 previously). Newspoll figures are from The Poll Bludger.

The vote for all Others in this poll was 12% (up one). It’s plausible Clive Palmer and Craig Kelly’s campaign promoting United Australia Party has lured some anti-lockdown voters. At the 2019 election, UAP preferences split 65-35 to the Coalition.

If the proportion of the Others vote supporting UAP is higher than usual, this would explain why the Coalition’s two party figure in Newspoll was a point higher than would be expected from primary votes according to analyst Kevin Bonham.

There’s good news for the Coalition in other polling on voting intentions and COVID handling. The Morgan poll last week had the Coalition up two for a 52.5-47.5 Labor lead. The Essential poll had the federal government’s COVID rating up to 43-35 good from 39-36 in late August.

The Guardian’s datablog has 37.2% of the population (not 16+) fully vaccinated, up from 27.2% three weeks ago. We rank 33 of 38 OECD countries in share of population fully vaccinated (35th three weeks ago). The Age shows 46.7% of 16+ are fully vaccinated and 71.7% have received at least one dose.

Employment and GDP reports from the ABS suggest that the economy was in good shape before the Sydney and Melbourne lockdowns began. Once these cities reopen, the economy is likely to recover rapidly, boosting the Coalition’s chances.

It is too soon to know whether there has been any impact from the decision to enter into the so-called AUKUS pact with the US and UK. A snap Morgan poll found voters approved by 57-43, but Morgan’s SMS polls have not been reliable, and this poll was taken before more negative publicity about the deal.

Two Essential polls

In the mid-September Essential poll, the federal government’s rating on response to COVID rose to 43-35 good from 39-36 in late August and 41-35 in mid-August. The Victorian government’s “good” rating was up six to 50%, after falling 12 in late August, and the NSW government was up six to 46% after dropping two.

41% thought states with low or no COVID should be able to keep their borders closed for as long as they think it necessary, 37% until 80% of the 16+ population is fully vaccinated, and 23% until 80% of the total population is fully vaccinated.

39% thought restrictions for fully vaccinated people should be relaxed immediately, 44% thought they should be relaxed when everyone has the opportunity to be vaccinated and 17% thought vaccinated people should not be treated differently to unvaccinated.

In the late August Essential poll, 50% approved of Morrison’s performance (steady since early August) and 41% disapproved (up one), for a net approval of +9. Albanese’s net approval increased five points to +1. Morrison led as better PM by 47-26 (45-26 previously).

56% of NSW respondents thought the lockdown restrictions in their area were about right, 28% too strong and 16% too weak. In Victoria, these figures were 57% about right, 35% too strong and 8% too weak.

61% said fewer than 100 COVID deaths a year in Australia was acceptable to “live with”, 25% between 100 and 1,000 deaths a year and 19% between 1,000 and 3,000. Before COVID in 2019, there were over 169,000 deaths from all causes in Australia.

Coalition gains two points in mid-September Morgan poll

A Morgan poll, conducted September 4-5 and 11-12 from a sample of over 2,700, gave Labor a 52.5-47.5 lead, a 2% gain for the Coalition since late August. Primary votes were 38.5% Coalition (up 1%), 35% Labor (down 3.5%), 13% Greens (up 1.5%) and 3% One Nation (steady). The late August Morgan poll had Labor’s lead up 0.5% from mid-August.

A separate SMS Morgan poll, conducted last Thursday from a sample of over 1,700, had voters approving 57-43 of the government entering the AUKUS pact.

Late August YouGov COVID poll

A YouGov poll for the News Corp papers, conducted August 20-25 from a sample of over 3,000, was reported by The Poll Bludger. By 41-37, respondents thought lockdowns should be ended when “everyone has the opportunity to be fully vaccinated”. WA respondents were most pro-lockdown, while NSW and Victorian respondents were least so.

66% supported proof of vaccination being required to participate in a range of public activities, 63% supported only opening state borders for the vaccinated, and 68% the same for international borders. Just 23% were opposed to employers being able to demand their staff be vaccinated, with 69% support for this in public facing jobs and 45% support in all industries.

Given a choice between “lockdowns should be ended immediately”, “lockdowns must be part of Australia’s future until COVID is eliminated” and “vaccination is the pathway to ending lockdowns”, 64% selected the third option, 22% the second and 14% the first.

Participation down in August jobs report

The ABS reported last Thursday that the unemployment rate in August dropped 0.1% from July to 4.5%. However, this was because the participation rate fell 0.8% to 65.2%. The employment population ratio – the percentage of eligible Australians employed – fell 0.7% to 62.2%.

The ABS reported on September 1 that GDP in the June quarter increased 0.7% from the March quarter, and a massive 9.6% since June 2020 as the economy rapidly rebounded from the 7.0% COVID-caused crash in the June 2020 quarter.

With Sydney and Melbourne in lockdown for most of the September quarter period, it is very likely GDP will contract. But once restrictions are eased, economic activity is likely to rebound quickly, and this will assist the Coalition.

Canadian and German elections

The Canadian election is Tuesday AEST, with most polls closing at 11:30am AEST. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau called this election two years early, hoping to win a majority for his centre-left Liberals. But the Liberals’ position deteriorated quickly.

However, the rise for the right populist People’s Party has hurt the Conservatives. According to the CBC Poll Tracker, the Liberals are likely to again win the most seats, but be short of a majority under Canada’s first past the post system.

The German election is next Sunday September 26, with polls closing at 2am Monday AEST. In the Politico poll aggregate, the centre-left SPD leads the conservative CDU/CSU, which has been in government since 2005 under retiring chancellor Angela Merkel. Overall left parties hold a narrow lead over overall right parties.

I will be live blogging both these elections for The Poll Bludger. I live blogged last week’s California recall election, in which the Democratic governor easily defeated Recall.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.

Coalition gains in federal Resolve poll, but Labor increases lead in Victoria


AAP/Mick Tsikas

Adrian Beaumont, The University of MelbourneA Resolve poll for Nine newspapers, conducted August 17-21 from a sample of 1,607, gave the Coalition 40% of the primary vote (up two since August), Labor 32% (down three), the Greens 12% (steady), One Nation 2% (down two) and independents 10% (up three).

Resolve is not publishing a two party estimate, but analyst Kevin Bonham
estimated a 50-50 tie, a two-point gain for the Coalition since July. Given the continuing COVID lockdowns in NSW and Victoria, this poll is bad for Labor.

The last Newspoll in early August was 53-47 to Labor, and the last Morgan, in early to mid-August, was 54-46. Either there has been a shift back to the Coalition in the last week or so, or this poll is an outlier. There should be a Newspoll on Sunday night.

A plausible reason for a Coalition rebound is that the vaccination rollout pace has increased, particularly in NSW. In the UK, once there was some good news on vaccinations early this year, the Conservatives went from a near-tie to a high single digit lead that they have not yielded. The Coalition is also pushing for an end to the lockdowns once vaccination rates are above 70%.

Criticisms of Resolve poll

The Resolve poll can be criticised for only giving primary votes and not a two party estimate. While two party figures can be calculated from the primary votes by analysts, the media will focus on the primary votes. Australia uses preferential voting, not first past the post. Resolve should conform to our electoral system.

Another criticism is the very high vote for independents (10% in this poll). At the 2019 federal election, independents won 3.4% of the vote. With Resolve offering independent as an option in all seats, voters who are unsure who they will vote for are likely to park their votes with independents.




Read more:
Craig Kelly’s move to Palmer’s United Australia Party shows the need for urgent electoral law reform


Other results from this poll

46% thought Scott Morrison’s performance in recent weeks was good and 46% poor. After rounding, his net rating was -1, unchanged since July. Anthony Albanese’s net rating dropped three points to -19. Morrison led Albanese by 46-23 as preferred PM (45-24 in July).

The Liberals and Morrison led Labor and Albanese by 44-19 on economic management (41-25 in July). On COVID, the Liberals led by 37-22 (37-25 previously). This is the biggest Liberal lead on the economy since May.

By 62-24, voters wanted political leaders to stick to a national cabinet deal to ease COVID restrictions once vaccinations reach 70% and 80% targets of all Australians aged over 16. By 54-27, voters did not think we would be able to completely suppress the virus again. 12% (down nine since July and down 17 since May) said they were unlikely to get vaccinated.

Essential and Morgan polls

In last week’s Essential poll, 8% (down three since early August) said they’d never get vaccinated, and a further 24% (down one) said they’d get vaccinated, but not straight away. By 75-10, voters supported mandatory vaccination for workers in occupations with high COVID transmission risks, such as hospitals and education.

The federal government had a 41-35 good rating for its response to COVID, up from 38-35 good in early August, but down from 58-18 in late May, before any lockdowns.

The NSW government’s response was rated good by 42%, down five from early August and 27 since early June. Despite the current lockdown, the Victorian government’s good rating rose two points to 56%. Queensland and WA have been rewarded for keeping COVID out, with Queensland’s good rating up six to 66% and WA’s up five to 87%.

A Morgan poll, conducted August 7-8 and 14-15 from a sample of over 2,700, gave Labor a 54-46 lead, a 0.5% gain for Labor since late July. Primary votes were 37.5% Coalition (up 0.5%), 37.5% Labor (up 0.5%), 12.5% Greens (steady) and 3.5% One Nation (up 0.5%).

Victorian Labor increases lead in Resolve poll

In a Victorian state Resolve poll for The Age, Labor had 40% of the primary vote (up three since June), the Coalition 35% (down one), the Greens 10% (up one) and independents 9% (down three). Bonham estimated a 56-44 Labor lead after preferences, a two-point gain for Labor.

This poll would have been conducted with the federal July and August Resolve polls from a sample of 1,106. Incumbent Daniel Andrews led Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien by 50-24 as preferred premier (49-23 in June).

Labor’s increased lead in Victoria comes despite strict lockdowns that have still failed to contain the current Delta outbreak of COVID. It appears voters will support lockdowns until we reach the 70% fully vaccinated target.

However, the 62-24 national support for easing restrictions once vaccination targets are met indicates the federal government is on a winner with this strategy.




Read more:
View from The Hill: Achieving vaccine targets could be followed by a (pre-election) health ‘pinch point’


Biden’s ratings slump after Afghanistan withdrawal

I wrote for The Poll Bludger on Monday that US President Joe Biden’s ratings have slumped after the Afghanistan withdrawal. In the FiveThirtyEight aggregate, his ratings are now 47.6% approve, 46.9% disapprove (net just +0.7%). Biden had a +10 net rating in late July and +6 before Afghanistan.

Also covered: Canadian PM Justin Trudeau calls an election for September 20, two years early. And the Social Democrats surge in Germany, ahead of the September 26 election.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.

Australia’s top economists oppose the next increases in compulsory super: new poll



Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND

Peter Martin, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University

The five consecutive hikes in compulsory super contributions due to start next July should be deferred or abandoned in the view of the overwhelming majority of the leading Australian economists surveyed by the Economic Society of Australia and The Conversation.

Two thirds – 29 of the 44 surveyed – want the increases deferred or abandoned. Only 13 think they should proceed as planned.

An even larger majority, including some economists who want the increases to proceed, believe they will hit wage growth. Several are concerned they will hit employment.

Compulsory superannuation contributions are paid by employers.

But ahead of the most recent increase in compulsory super, from 9% of salaries to 9.5% in 2013 and 2014, the then Labor superannuation minister Bill Shorten said the increase would cost employers nothing because it would be taken from wage rises.


Source: Australian Tax Office

“A portion of what would have been employees’ increases will go into compulsory savings,” he said.

That conventional wisdom has since been challenged in work funded by the superannuation industry and has been examined extensively in the retirement income review at present with the government.

The two most recent increases in compulsory superannuation in 2013 and 2014 were small by design – 0.25% of salary each.

The next five increases, originally due to due to begin in 2015 but postponed to start in July 2021, are much bigger – 0.5% of salary each – at a time when wage growth is much smaller.

In 2012 Shorten was expecting wage increases of 3-4% and “assuming that a quarter of a per cent of that 3% to 4% may well go into your compulsory savings”.

Wage growth has since slipped to 1.8%, the lowest on record. If the best part of 0.5% is taken out of that each year for the next five years it is unlikely to climb.


Wage growth has slipped to 1.8%

Wage Price Index annual growth, public and private, all industries, seasonally adjusted.
ABS 6345.0

The 44 members of the Economic Society’s 57-member panel who responded include Australia’s preeminent experts in the fields of microeconomics, macroeconomics economic modelling, labour markets and public policy.

Among them are former and current government advisers and a former head of the Australian Fair Pay Commission and member of the Reserve Bank board and a former member of the Fair Work Commission’s minimum wage panel.




Read more:
5 questions about superannuation the government’s new inquiry will need to ask


Each was asked whether the legislated increases in compulsory super contributions should proceed as planned, be deferred or be abandoned.

Only 13 of the 44 thought the increases should proceed as planned. 29 thought they should be deferred or abandoned, nine of them preferring they be abandoned altogether.


Charts showing that of 44 economists asked

Economists Society of Australia/The Conversation, CC BY-ND

Those who thought they should be deferred argued that now is “not a time to encourage saving”. In the current circumstances we should be “far more worried about spending power today than in the golden years of present-day workers”.

Economist Saul Eslake said he had changed his mind. The latest evidence (which will be updated in the retirement income review) suggests that the current 9.5% so-called super guarantee will be enough to provide most people with an adequate income in retirement .

“In saying that I acknowledge that there is still a significant problem with regard to the adequacy of superannuation savings for women relative to men, but I don’t see how raising the super rate for everyone to 12% solves that problem,” he said.

“Not a time to encourage saving”

Economic modeller Janine Dixon said it was not clear that the optimal contribution was 12% rather than 9.5%. The increase would force some households into greater debt. While this would pose a risk to economic stability at any time, Australia could “not afford to let the household sector weaken further at present”.

Economist Geoffrey Kingston said anyone who felt 9.5% was not enough remained “free to make voluntary contributions”.

Among those believing the increases should proceed as planned were two former politicians, Labor’s Craig Emerson and former Liberal leader John Hewson.

Emerson said 9.5% was “considered inadequate by the burgeoning retiree population”. Without an increase, that population “would successfully demand increased pension levels from the Commonwealth”.

Opponents more confident

Hewson said compulsory super had become a fundamental part of an effective retirement incomes strategy and, COVID and economic collapse notwithstanding, we should “finish the job”.

Sue Richardson, a former member of the Fair Work Commission’s wage panel, believed any deferral might lead to another deferral and be “hard to recoup”.

The economists were asked to rate their confidence in their responses on a scale of 1 to 10.

Unweighted for confidence, 20.5% of those surveyed wanted to abandon the increases altogether. When weighted for confidence, that proportion climbed to 21.6%. The proportion that wanted the increases either deferred or abandoned climbed to 67.1%


Weighted responses to the question,

Economists Society of Australia/The Conversation, CC BY-ND

Asked whether the increases were likely to be largely paid for via slower wage growth than otherwise, 30 of the 44 economists agreed. Only eight disagreed.

Economist Nigel Stapledon said this “should not be controversial”.

Private sector economist Michael Knox said: “unless one lives in an unreal world, increases in superannuation guarantees are funded by employers out of the total wage the worker might otherwise receive”.

Super and wages come from the same pool

Several enterprise bargains explicitly make a trade-off between wages and superannuation, providing for wage increases that will be 0.5 points higher should compulsory super contributions not climb by 0.5 points.

Economist Alison Booth said if employers weren’t able to trim wage rises to pay for the scheduled increases in super contributions, they might “attempt to adjust on other margins”.

In a recession, when workers lack bargaining strength, “employers could coerce them to accept other adjustments to their contracts”.


Responses from 44 economists to the proposition:

Economists Society of Australia/The Conversation, CC BY-ND

Two of the eight economists who disagreed with the proposition that the increases in compulsory super would come at the expense of wages thought that employers wouldn’t grant wage rises anyway. Increases in super contributions might be one way for employees to get something.

A concern among both those who agreed and disagreed was that if the increase didn’t come at the expense of wages, it would push up the cost of hiring and come at the expense of jobs.

“Inflation is very likely to be very, very low and wages to be sticky,” said government advisor Matthew Butlin.

A drag on jobs if not wages

“Higher superannuation payments in an environment where wages are unlikely to rise and cannot fall will raise real labour costs and reduce the incentive to employ.”

Economic modeller Janine Dixon said that while over time the increase in contributions would probably come from wages, the immediate impact would be to increase the cost of hiring, “which is an unacceptably large risk in the present climate”.

When adjusted for confidence, the proportion of those surveyed expecting the increases to largely paid for via slower wage growth climbed from 68.2% to 71%. The proportion disagreeing fell from 18.2% to 17.8%.


Weighted responses to the proposition:

Economists Society of Australia/The Conversation, CC BY-ND

Individual responses

The Conversation

Peter Martin, Visiting Fellow, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University

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

Poll wrap: Labor’s Newspoll lead falls to 51-49 on dubious assumptions as Palmer and Coalition do a deal



File 20190429 194633 1mrxn05.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Three weeks before the election, the UAP has been included in the party readout for the first time.
AAP/Glenn Hunt

Adrian Beaumont, University of Melbourne

With 19 days to go until election day, this week’s Newspoll, conducted April 26-28 from a sample of 2,140, gave Labor just a 51-49 lead, a one-point gain for the Coalition since last fortnight. Primary votes were 38% Coalition (down one), 37% Labor (down two), 9% Greens (steady), 5% for Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party (UAP) and 4% One Nation (steady).

Three weeks before the election, the UAP has been included in the party readout for the first time. Prior to this change, the tables show that the UAP had 2% support in the post-budget Newspoll and 3% last fortnight – they were previously published as Others. According to pollster David Briggs (paywalled), both UAP and One Nation preferences are assumed to flow at 60% to the Coalition.

Given results at the WA and Queensland 2017 elections and at the Longman 2018 federal byelection, where One Nation preferences flowed at over 60% to the Coalition, this assumption is justified for One Nation, and was the standard assumption from early 2018.

However, the UAP has no electoral record. At the 2013 election that Palmer contested under the Palmer United Party, PUP preferences split 53.7-46.3 to the Coalition. At that election, PUP recommended preferences to the Coalition in all House seats, the same situation as now, and the Labor government was on the nose.

45% were satisfied with Scott Morrison’s performance (steady) and 46% were dissatisfied (up two), for a net approval of -1. Bill Shorten’s net approval was up two points to -12, his best net approval since May 2016. Morrison led Shorten by 45-37 as better PM (46-35 last fortnight).

Morrison was trusted to keep campaign promises over Shorten by 41-38. In some evidence for UAP preferences splitting to the Coalition, UAP voters favoured Morrison on this question by 53-13, though this is from a subsample of about 100 UAP voters.

The change in party readout and the preference assumptions for UAP explain the narrowing in this poll from 52-48 to 51-49. But there has been a clear overall narrowing trend this year from the last three Newspolls of 2018, which were all 55-45 to Labor. Morrison’s relatively good ratings and greater distance from the events of last August are assisting the Coalition.

The Poll Bludger’s BludgerTrack currently has Labor winning 87 of the 151 seats on a 52.4-47.6 two party vote. The Coalition’s primary vote in Newspoll is 4% down from 2016, but preference changes since 2016 could assist the Coalition, and that is reflected in Newspoll. However, Ipsos polls have shown no difference between last election and respondent allocated preferences since Morrison became PM.




Read more:
Post-budget poll wrap: Coalition gets a bounce in Newspoll, but not in Ipsos or Essential


In economic news, the ABS reported on April 24 that there was zero inflation in the March quarter. While this was bad for the overall economy, it is good for consumers worried about the cost of living. Lower oil prices in late 2018 meant petrol prices fell in January, but have since increased.

YouGov Galaxy poll: 52-48 to Labor

A YouGov Galaxy poll for the Sunday News Ltd tabloids, conducted April 23-25 from a sample of 1,012, gave Labor a 52-48 lead, a one-point gain for the Coalition since late March. Primary votes were 37% Coalition (up two), 37% Labor (steady), 9% Greens (down one), 4% One Nation (down four), 4% UAP (steady) and 9% for all Others (up three). YouGov Galaxy also conducts Newspoll.

Voters were asked if they were impressed or unimpressed with the campaign performances of six party leaders, and all performed poorly. Morrison was the best with a 54-38 unimpressed score, Shorten had a 60-31 rating, Nationals leader Michael McCormack a 38-8 rating, Greens leader Richard Di Natale had a 44-13 unimpressed score, Pauline Hanson a 67-20 rating and Clive Palmer a horrible 69-17 unimpressed rating.

The many don’t knows for Di Natale and McCormack reflect that most people don’t know very much about them. While ratings for Morrison and Shorten would be based to some extent on their campaign performance, those for Hanson and Palmer are much more likely based on voters’ opinions of them before the campaign.

Palmer’s preference deal with the Coalition

Under a preference deal between Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party (UAP) and the Coalition, Palmer would direct preferences to the Coalition in House seats in return for Coalition preferences in the Senate. It is important to note that voters make the choices in both houses now, and can ignore preference recommendations.




Read more:
Grattan on Friday: All is forgiven in the Liberal embrace of Palmer


In 2013, Palmer recommended preferences to the Coalition in all seats, and they flowed to the Coalition by a 53.7-46.3 margin; his party won 5.5% of the national vote in the House. While this split was not more pro-Coalition, analyst Peter Brent suggests that Palmer voters were more inclined to preference Labor, and the preference recommendations had some impact.

If the UAP won 4% of the national vote and their preference recommendations convinced 10% of their voters who would otherwise preference Labor to preference the Coalition, the Coalition’s national two party vote would by 0.4% higher than otherwise.

However, this analysis ignores the risk of doing a deal with someone as disliked by the general public as Palmer. In a January Herbert seat Newspoll, 65% had a negative view of Palmer, and just 24% a positive view.




Read more:
Poll wrap: Coalition gains in first Newspoll of 2019, but big swings to Labor in Victorian seats; NSW is tied


So while a preference deal with Palmer could earn the Coalition some more preferences, it could also damage their overall primary vote, hurting them more than helping. Labor will attack Palmer over the sacked Queensland Nickel workers, and that could impact the Coalition’s support among people with a lower level of educational attainment.

Does early voting make a difference to the results?

Pre-poll voting booths for the election are open from today. Under Australia’s compulsory voting, people are required to vote, and those who vote early are unlikely to have voted differently if they voted on election day unless there was a dramatic late-campaign development. So there is likely to be little overall impact of early voting on the results. In voluntary voting systems like the US, early voting gives people who need to work on election day a greater opportunity to vote.




Read more:
Three weeks of early voting has a significant effect on democracy. Here’s why


If one party was trending up in the polls as election day approached, early voters will decide their vote earlier, and so the trend will also be reflected in early votes.

While early voting overall has little impact, the types of people who vote early can differ markedly from the election day vote. Big pre-poll booths will not report until very late on election night, and the results could change significantly depending on those booths – as happened in the October Wentworth byelection.




Read more:
Wentworth byelection called too early for Phelps as Liberals recover in late counting


The Conversation


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

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

Election tightens in Newspoll – Labor lead narrows to 51-49%


Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

The Coalition has made up ground in Newspoll, now trailing Labor by just 49-51%, compared with 48-52% a fortnight ago.

The tightening of the May 18 race, coming after Scott Morrison was seen to out-campaign Bill Shorten early on, will boost Coalition morale as pre-polling begins on Monday.

But both sides have lost support on their primary votes in the Newspoll, published in the Australian, while Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party is polling 5%, becoming the leading minor party behind the Greens.

Labor is down 2 points to 37%; the Coalition has fallen a point to 38%. The Greens remain on 9% and One Nation is static on 4%.

Shorten’s personal ratings are encouraging for him – he has had a 2 point rise to 39% in his satisfaction rating and reduced the gap on the better prime minister measure.

While Morrison still has a substantial lead as better PM, Shorten has increased his rating by 2 points to 37% and Morrison has fallen a point to 45%.

Morrison’s approval stayed on 45% while his disapproval was 46%, up 2 points, in the poll of 2136 voters taken Friday to Sunday.

Morrison and Shorten have arrived in Perth for Monday evening’s debate, their first face-to-face encounter of the campaign, which has under three weeks to run.

In a day of mega spending, Shorten on Sunday promised A$4 billion over three years to provide 887,000 families with relief on their child care costs; $2.4 billion over the forward estimates for a pensioner and seniors dental plan, and $537 million over the forward estimates to lift the pay of child care workers.




Read more:
Shorten promises $4 billion for child care, benefitting 887,000 families


Under Labor’s dental plan, age pensioners and those holding a Commonwealth seniors’ health card would be entitled to up to $1000 worth of free essential dental care every two years. Some three million people would be eligible under the plan, which would expand Medicare.

Shorten told a rally of volunteers in Melbourne: “Under a Labor government, after May 18 if you’re a pensioner or a seniors health care card holder your dental work will be backed by Medicare for the rest of your life. This is the fair go in action”.

Shorten said an ALP government over the next eight years would boost the average wage of child care workers by about $11,300. This would be on top of any rise in the award rate.

It would be “a 20% pay rise for the early educators because we value early education,” he said.

“This is an investment in quality early education, for good jobs and a strong economy of the future.

“And this is an investment in pay equity for a female-dominated industry. A fair reward for a workforce that has about 96% women, has been undervalued and underpaid for too long.”

Labor says the pay rise would not increase child care fees because the government would fully fund it.

In an initiative on cyber security the government is announcing it would to invest $156 million “to protect older Australians, small businesses and national security assets from the risk of cyber-attacks”.

A range of measures to combat cyber crime would include developing “a comprehensive online cyber security training program providing practical cyber advice for small businesses, older Australians and Australian families”.

The government says cybercrime costs the economy more than $1 billion a year.

In the vulnerable state of Victoria, the government is sandbagging the Liberal heartland seats of Higgins and Kooyong with a promise of $260 million to eliminate a level crossing on busy Glenferrie road in the suburb of Kooyong.

The project would take the train line under the road. The crossing is technically in Higgins but right on the border of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s seat of Kooyong. Frydenberg is being targeted by GetUp and various candidates especially on climate change.

In another Victorian seat, Flinders, Health Minister Greg Hunt has been dealt a blow by the decision of Liberal defector Julia Banks to preference Labor ahead of him.

Coalition campaign spokesman Simon Birmingham on Sunday accused her of walking away from her principles. “You’ve really got to wonder about the various positions of Julia Banks, who was until not that long ago urging people to vote Liberal and now is suggesting she will preference Labor. […] I think it shows gross inconsistency on her part”.




Read more:
View from The Hill: Palmer flypaper sticky for both sides


Clive Palmer on Monday is due to formally announce his preference deal with the Liberal party.

The debate about the debates has continued with Morrison wanting the third debate to be hosted by the ABC next week, on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday nights.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.

Post-budget poll wrap: Coalition gets a bounce in Newspoll, but not in Ipsos or Essential


Adrian Beaumont, University of Melbourne

Six weeks before an expected May 18 election, this week’s Newspoll, conducted April 4-7 from a sample of 1,800, gave Labor a 52-48 lead. That’s a two-point gain for the Coalition since the last Newspoll, conducted four weeks ago, owing to the NSW election and the budget. This Newspoll has the narrowest Labor lead since Scott Morrison replaced Malcolm Turnbull.

An Ipsos poll for Nine newspapers, conducted April 3-6 from a sample of 1,200, gave Labor a 53-47 lead, a two-point gain for Labor since mid-February. While Ipsos was better for Labor, the February Ipsos was the infamous 51-49 after the Medevac bill passed.




Read more:
Poll wrap: Labor’s lead narrows to just 51-49 in Ipsos, but is it an outlier?


Primary votes in Newspoll were 38% Coalition (up two), 37% Labor (down two), 9% Greens (steady) and 6% One Nation (down one). In Ipsos, primary votes were 37% Coalition (down one), 34% Labor (up one), 13% Greens (steady) and 5% One Nation (steady). Rounding probably assisted the Coalition on two party in February, and assisted Labor this time. As usual, the Greens vote in Ipsos is too high, and Labor’s too low.

Respondent allocated preferences in Ipsos were also 53-47 to Labor, and there has been no difference between respondent and previous election methods in Ipsos since Morrison replaced Turnbull. Under Turnbull, respondent preferences were usually better for the Coalition.

In Newspoll, 45% were satisfied with Morrison’s performance (up two), and 43% were dissatisfied (down two), for a net approval of +2, Morrison’s best since October. Bill Shorten’s net approval rose one point to -14, his best since January. Morrison led Shorten by 46-35 as better PM (43-36 four weeks ago).

In Ipsos, Morrison’s approval and disapproval were both down a point, to 48% and 39% respectively. Shorten’s net approval fell three points to -15. Morrison led Shorten by 46-35 as better PM (48-38 in February).

There are three questions Newspoll has asked after every budget since 1988: whether the budget was good or bad for the economy, good or bad for you personally, and whether the opposition would have delivered a better budget.

44% thought the budget good for the economy and just 18% bad; the +26 net score is the best for a budget since 2008. 34% thought they would be better off, and 19% worse off; the net +15 score is the best since 2007. In better news for Labor, by 45-37 voters thought Labor would not have delivered a better budget; this -8 score is the third best for Labor under a Coalition government, just one point less than in 2014 and 2018.




Read more:
Infographic: Budget 2019 at a glance


In Ipsos, by 41-29 voters thought the budget was fair, the +12 net is the best since 2015. 38% thought they would be better off and 24% worse off, the +14 net is the same as in 2018. By 42-25, voters thought Labor had better policies on climate change than the Coalition.

The 2018 budget was also well received, and the Coalition had its best polling of the current term during the period surrounding that budget. Six of the eight Newspolls conducted from late April 2018 to August gave Labor just a 51-49 lead, before the Coalition crashed to a 56-44 deficit after Turnbull’s ousting.

While last week appealed to the Coalition’s perceived strength on overall economic management, wage growth and climate change, which are perceived as weaknesses for the Coalition, are likely to be important during the election campaign. Attacks on Labor’s economic policies, such as their plan to abolish franking credit cash refunds, give the Coalition its best chance to win.

After revelations that One Nation solicited donations from the US National Rifle Association, some would have expected their vote to crash, but it has held up well.

In economic news, on March 21 the ABS announced that 4,600 jobs were added in February, well down from the over 39,000 added in January. While the unemployment rate decreased 0.1% to 4.9%, this was a result of lower workforce participation.

The Westpac March consumer confidence index, taken in the week the weak GDP report was released, fell 4.8 points from February to 98.8. House prices have continued to fall.

Essential: 52-48 to Labor

This week’s Essential poll, conducted April 4-7 from a sample of 1,069, gave Labor a 52-48 lead, unchanged from last fortnight. Primary votes were 38% Coalition (down one), 35% Labor (down one), 11% Greens (up one) and 5% One Nation (down two). Essential has tended to be worse for Labor than Newspoll since Morrison became PM.

By 51-27, voters approved of the budget; the +24 net is higher than the +16 net in 2018 or +8 net in 2017. Over 75% agreed with the infrastructure spending program and tax rebates for workers earning up to $90,000. By 26-20, voters thought the budget was good for them personally, a reversal from last fortnight’s pre-budget poll, when voters thought the budget would be bad for them personally by 34-19.

The Coalition was trusted over Labor to manage the economy overall by 44-29, but Labor was ahead by 45-31 on managing the economy in the interests of working people.

I wrote on my personal website about last fortnight’s Essential poll that gave Labor a 52-48 lead. Questions about views of world leaders had Theresa May’s ratings tanking since these questions were last asked in July 2018.

In pre-budget polling, a YouGov Galaxy poll for the News Ltd tabloids gave Labor a 53-47 lead. State breakdowns of primary votes suggested that the NSW election defeat had an impact on federal Labor’s NSW vote.

NSW election upper house late counting

With 68% of enrolled voters in the NSW upper house check counted, the Coalition has 7.9 quotas, Labor 6.5, the Greens 2.1, One Nation 1.5, the Shooters 1.1, the Christian Democrats 0.5, the Liberal Democrats 0.5, Keep Sydney Open 0.4 and Animal Justice 0.4.

Out of the 21 seats up for election, eight Coalition, six Labor, two Greens, one One Nation and one Shooter are certain to win. By also using the now complete initial count, analyst Kevin Bonham currently thinks two seats will go to Labor and One Nation, and the final seat is in doubt between the Liberal Democrats, Christian Democrats, Keep Sydney Open and Animal Justice.




Read more:
Coalition wins a third term in NSW with few seats changing hands


European leaders’ summit on April 10 to decide on Brexit

On April 12, the UK is currently scheduled to leave the European Union, with or without a deal. With no deal likely by then, an April 10 European leaders’ summit will decide whether to grant the UK a long extension to Brexit.

I wrote about this summit for The Poll Bludger on April 6, and on March 30, I wrote about the 58-vote Commons defeat of Theresa May’s Brexit deal.The Conversation

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

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

Coalition narrows gap to trail 48-52% in post-budget Newspoll


Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

The government has narrowed the gap in the post-budget Newspoll, now trailing 48-52% in two-party terms, compared with the 46-54% margin a month ago.

As Scott Morrison readies to call the election, with speculation he will announce next weekend for May 18, he has also increased his lead over Bill Shorten as better prime minister in Newspoll, published in Monday’s Australian. Morrison’s rating has risen by 3 points to 46% and Shorten’s has declined by a point to 35%, with the gap now 11 points.

The Coalition’s primary vote is up 2 points to 38% in the poll, while Labor is down 2 points to 37%.

Meanwhile in an Ipsos poll in Nine newspapers, Labor leads 53-47% in two-party terms, an improvement for the opposition from the last poll in February when the gap was 51-49% in the ALP’s favour.

Morrison leads Shorten 46-35% as preferred prime minister in the Ipsos poll, which was taken after the budget and largely after Shorten’s reply.

Both polls showed the budget, which contained tax cuts and forecast a surplus for next financial year, has been received favourably by voters.

Newspoll found people ranked it the best budget in a decade and the most likely to give cost of living relief and improve their personal circumstances since the Howard government’s last budget in 2007.

In the Ipsos poll, 38% thought they would be better off as a result of the budget compared with 24% who believed they would be worse off. The budget also scored positively on the measure of fairness, Ipsos found: 41% thought it fair, compared to 29% who believed it was unfair.

While the election is considered most likely to be on May 18, after the government let the option of May 11 pass, May 25 is still an option.

The government says May 11 would have maximised the complication of the public holidays (Easter, Anzac Day). But more importantly, delaying the start of the formal campaign gives the Coalition extra time to run its taxpayer-funded advertising, as well as to tie up loose ends before the caretaker period and bed down its arrangements.

Morrison could have called the election at the weekend for May 18 but that would have cut off the government’s access to publicly-funded advertising.

But the downside is that it has to endure the unpredictability of Senate estimates hearings this week.

The ALP will have its campaign headquarters at Parramatta up and running on Monday. Shorten will be in Brisbane on Monday and spend much of the week talking about health in the wake of his promise last week of $2.3 billion to slash out-of-pocket costs for cancer sufferers.

Shorten said the government was buying time “to pump up their own tyres” with advertising. “If they’ve got some spare money in Treasury, they should be spending on services for kids with cancer”.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese said the only reason Morrison had not called the election already was so the government could continue its rollout of taxpayer-funded advertising.

“They are spending around about $680,000 a day on advertising,” he said on Sky.

He said Morrison should either immediately call the election or commit to stopping all taxpayer-funded advertising now “because this is an outrageous abuse during what we all know is the caretaker period in reality”.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg would not give a figure for the spending this week but told the ABC “money is being spent in accordance with approved processes and that’s all transparent […] all of that information will be available”.

Morrison said Shorten’s impatience about the election not being called was “born of arrogance”.

“The election will be called in April and the election will be held in May. We’re not doing this with any haste and we’re not doing it with any delay. There have always been three dates, the 11th, the 18th and 25th.”

The Ipsos poll showed Labor with a strong margin on climate change. Asked whether Labor or the Coalition had the best policy on climate change 42% said Labor, and 25% said the Coalition. But about a third did not know.

Labor released its climate policy early last week, including an ambitious target of electric cars forming 50% of all new car sales by 2030. The government has been raising scares and deriding the electric car policy. Morrison said on Sunday: “Bill Shorten wants to end the weekend, when it comes to his policy on electric vehicles, where you’ve got Australians who love being out there in their four wheel drives. He wants to say ‘see ya later’ to the SUV when it comes to the choices of Australians”.




Read more:
Shorten’s climate policy would hit more big polluters harder and set electric car target


Nine has reported Liberal sources saying internal Liberal Party polling is “diabolically bad” for Tony Abbott in Warringah, with Abbott facing a 12% swing. The challenge to Abbott is coming from independent Zali Steggall.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.

Poll wrap: Labor gains in Newspoll after weak economic report; Labor barely ahead in NSW



File 20190312 86717 nfzbgs.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
The Coalition government has had another rocky fortnight, and the polls show it is behind on a two-party preferred basis.
AAP/Dean Lewins

Adrian Beaumont, University of Melbourne

About two months from the expected May election date, this week’s Newspoll, conducted March 7-10 from a sample of 1,610, gave Labor a 54-46 lead, a one-point gain for Labor since last fortnight. Primary votes were 39% Labor (steady), 36% Coalition (down one), 9% Greens (steady) and 7% One Nation (up two).

This Newspoll is the Coalition’s 50th successive Newspoll loss. The closest they have come to breaking that losing streak was a run of four consecutive 51-49 results from July to early August 2018 before Malcolm Turnbull was dumped. This Newspoll reverses the gains the Coalition had made to close the gap to 53-47 from 55-45 in November and December.

Despite the Coalition’s woes on voting intentions, Scott Morrison remains relatively popular. 43% were satisfied with his performance (up one), and 45% were dissatisfied (down three), for a net approval of -2. Bill Shorten’s net approval was up three points to -15. Morrison led Shorten as better PM by 43-36 (44-35 last fortnight).

I believe Morrison’s relative popularity is because he has not yet proposed something that would make him unpopular, in the way Tony Abbott did with the May 2014 budget, and his January 2015 knighting of Prince Philip. Turnbull was very unpopular with the hard right, and their hatred of him damaged his overall ratings.

During the election campaign, Labor will attempt to tie Morrison to unpopular Coalition policies, and this could impact his ratings.

The last fortnight has not been good for the Coalition with the retirements of Christopher Pyne and Steve Ciobo, infighting within the Nationals, and Turnbull and Julie Bishop saying they could have beaten Shorten if they were the leader.

While these events may have had an impact, I believe the Coalition’s biggest problem is weak economic data. On March 6, the ABS reported that Australia’s GDP grew 0.2% in the December quarter after the September quarter GDP was up 0.3%. In per capita terms, GDP growth was negative in both the September and December quarters, meaning Australia has had its first per capita GDP recession since 2006.

In the December quarter, wages grew by 0.5%, matching the rate of inflation in that quarter. The Coalition already has a problem with well-educated voters owing to their perceived lack of climate change policies and the removal of Turnbull – see my personal website for where I thought Morrison could have problems. With good wages growth and a strong economy, the Coalition may have been able to compensate with less educated voters.




Read more:
Poll wrap: Newspoll steady at 53-47 despite boats, and Abbott and Dutton trailing in their seats


With neither a strong economy nor good wages growth, I believe the Coalition’s only realistic chance of re-election is a massive scare campaign against Labor’s economic policies, such as the proposal to abolish franking credit cash refunds.

Essential: 53-47 to Labor

This week’s Essential poll, conducted March 6-11 from a sample of 1,080, gave Labor a 53-47 lead, a one-point gain for Labor that validates Newspoll’s movement. Primary votes were 38% Labor (up one), 37% Coalition (down one), 8% Greens (down one) and 7% One Nation (up one). According to The Poll Bludger, this is the worst result for the Greens from any pollster since September 2016.

Morrison’s net approval was +2, down two points since January. Shorten’s net approval was -6, up six points. Morrison led Shorten by 44-31 as better PM (42-30 in January).

62% thought climate change is happening and is caused by human activity (down one since October). 51% thought Australia is not doing enough to address climate change (down two since December). By 52-48, voters thought the reopening of Christmas Island reflected genuine concern about boats arriving, rather than a political ploy; there was no undecided option in this question.

On issue questions, the Liberals led Labor by 19 points on border protection, 16 points on national security and 15 points on economic management. Labor was 18 points ahead on the important issue of safeguarding fair wages and conditions, and had 7-9 point leads on climate change, the environment, health, education and housing affordability.

NSW Newspoll: 50-50 tie, ReachTEL: 51-49 to Labor, plus seat polls

The New South Wales election will be held on March 23. A Newspoll, conducted March 8-11 from a sample of 1,003, had a 50-50 tie, unchanged since late January. A uComms/ReachTEL poll for The Sun-Herald, conducted March 7 from a sample of 1,019, gave Labor a 51-49 lead, unchanged since the last NSW ReachTEL poll in late November.

Primary votes in ReachTEL were 28.7% Liberals (down 3.4%), 7.0% Nationals (up 2.6%), 34.1% Labor (steady), 9.6% Greens (steady), 5.6% One Nation (down 1.9%), 4.6% Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (up 1.3%), 5.8% for all Others (steady) and 4.7% undecided (up 1.6%). After excluding undecided, The Poll Bludger has primary votes of 37.5% Coalition, 35.8% Labor, 10.1% Greens, 5.9% One Nation and 4.8% Shooters.

The drop for the Liberals but gain for the Nationals suggests that the Coalition could perform relatively badly in Sydney, but better in the country. According to the ABC’s Antony Green, the Shooters will be contesting 25 of the 93 lower house seats, and One Nation just 12, so both parties’ support will be overstated in this statewide poll.

In Newspoll, primary votes were 40% Coalition (up one), 36% Labor (steady) and 10% Greens (steady). In the January NSW Newspoll, One Nation had 6%, but they have been excluded from the current poll as they are not contesting many seats. The exclusion of One Nation probably assisted the Coalition.




Read more:
Poll wrap: Coalition gains in first Newspoll of 2019, but big swings to Labor in Victorian seats; NSW is tied


44% were satisfied with Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s performance in Newspoll (up three), and 38% were dissatisfied (down five), for a net approval of +6. Opposition Leader Michael Daley’s net approval improved seven points to -1. Berejiklian led Daley by 41-34 as better Premier (44-31 in January).

Daley led Berejiklian as better Premier in ReachTEL by 53.3-46.7 (54.2-45.8 in November). ReachTEL’s forced choice better PM/Premier questions are usually better for opposition leaders than other polls. Voters opposed the government’s plans for Sydney sports stadiums by 52-37. By 48-43, voters thought that Labor was not ready to govern.

There were two YouGov Galaxy seat polls for The Daily Telegraph conducted February 28. East Hills was tied at 50-50 (50.4-49.6 to Liberal in 2015). Ryde had a 53-47 Liberal lead (61.5-38.5 to Liberal in 2015). Last week, there was also a national Greenpeace ReachTEL poll that gave Labor a 53-47 lead by respondent preferences. You can read more about these polls on my personal website.

The Daily Telegraph has seat polls of Lismore and Barwon conducted last week from samples of 500-600 by YouGov Galaxy. In Barwon, the Nationals lead the Shooters by just 51-49; the Nationals won 62.9% vs Labor in 2015.

In Lismore, Labor leads the Nationals by 51-49 (50.2-49.8 to Nationals in 2015). Primary votes were 35% Nationals (42.5% in 2015), 28% Greens (26.4%) and 27% Labor (25.6%). Even though NSW uses optional preferential voting, primary votes changes suggest an easier win for one of the left parties than 51-49. Seat polls have been very unreliable at past elections.

Key Brexit Commons votes this week

From March 12-14, the UK House of Commons will vote on PM Theresa May’s Brexit deal, whether the UK should leave without a deal, on delaying Brexit beyond the scheduled March 29 exit date, and on an amendment that would lead to a second referednum. Votes will occur in the early morning March 13-15 Melbourne time.

You can read my preview of these votes on The Poll Bludger. On February 28, I had a more general article about Brexit published by The Poll Bludger, which explained Labour’s recent slump in the UK polls.The Conversation

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

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

Poll wrap: Labor’s lead narrows to just 51-49 in Ipsos, but is it an outlier?



File 20190217 56240 1toyo4n.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
The latest Ipsos poll has the gap between Labor and the Coalition narrowing to 51-49, but it may be an outlier.
AAP/James Ross/Grant Wells

Adrian Beaumont, University of Melbourne

An Ipsos poll conducted for Nine newspapers – previously Fairfax papers – gave Labor just a 51-49 lead, a three-point gain for the Coalition since the last Ipsos poll in mid-December. Primary votes were 38% Coalition (up two), 33% Labor (down four), 13% Greens (steady) and 16% for all Others (up two). The poll was conducted February 12-15 from a sample of 1,200.

This is the narrowest lead for Labor in any national poll since Scott Morrison replaced Malcolm Turnbull. The movement towards the Coalition will be attributed to Labor’s support for the Medevac bill, which saw the Coalition defeated in the House of Representatives on February 12.

Ipsos has a reputation for being volatile, and it always has the Greens too high. Both the volatility and the high Greens vote may be explained by Ipsos being the only live phone pollster in Australia – Newspoll, Essential and ReachTEL use either robopolling, online methods or a combination.

49% approved of Morrison’s performance (up two), and 40% disapproved (up one), for a net approval of +9. Bill Shorten’s net approval was down three points to -12. Morrison led Shorten by 48-38 as better PM (46-37 in December). Ipsos gives incumbent PMs far better ratings than Newspoll.

Labor’s Chris Bowen was preferred as Treasurer over incumbent Josh Frydenberg by a narrow 31-30 margin – a strong result for Bowen on an issue that is usually perceived to favour the Coalition. Voters trusted Labor by a 49-34 margin over the Liberals to respond to the banking royal commission. Labor’s proposal to abolish franking credit cash refunds was opposed by 43-40; last week’s Newspoll had opposition at 44-35.




Read more:
Poll wrap: Labor maintains Newspoll lead but Morrison’s ratings up, and Abbott behind in Warringah


While the Medevac bill could have assisted the Coalition, a Queensland YouGov Galaxy poll, conducted February 13-14 – at about the same time as Ipsos – gave federal Labor a 52-48 lead.

At the 2016 election, the Coalition’s Queensland two party vote was 3.7% higher than its national vote, and in 2013 the difference was 3.5%. Even in 2007, when Queenslander Kevin Rudd was very popular, the Coalition still performed 2.3% better in Queensland than nationally.

If the Queensland Galaxy result is correct, Labor is very likely ahead nationally by at least 55-45, in contrast to Ipsos. YouGov Galaxy is the pollster that conducts Newspoll.

While the Queensland Galaxy suggests that Ipsos is an outlier, we cannot know until we get more polls. Next Sunday night’s Newspoll release will be keenly anticipated.

Queensland Galaxy: 52-48 to federal Labor

A Queensland Galaxy poll for The Courier Mail, conducted February 13-14 from a sample of 810, gave federal Labor a 52-48 lead, a two-point gain for Labor since November. Primary votes were 35% LNP (down three), 34% Labor (steady), 10% Greens (up one), 8% One Nation (down one) and 5% for Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party (up four).

The Coalition holds eight Queensland seats by margins of 4% or less. This poll implies a 6% swing to Labor in Queensland since the 2016 election.

The Coalition led Labor by 44-29 on best plan for border security and asylum seekers. This question did not ask about the medevac bill. It is a general question on an issue where the Coalition is perceived to have an advantage.

In the state politics part of this poll, primary votes were 35% Labor (down one since November), 35% LNP (up one), 11% Greens (steady), 8% One Nation (down two) and 4% Katter’s Australian Party (steady). No two party estimate was given, but Labor was ahead by 52-48 or 53-47.

48% approved of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s performance (steady) and 38% disapproved (up one), for a net approval of +10. Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington’s net approval fell ten points to -4. Palasczuk had a 47-27 lead as better Premier (43-26 in November).

At the November 2017 Queensland election, One Nation contested 61 of the 93 seats and won 13.7% of the statewide vote – their vote would probably have been about 18% had they contested every seat.




Read more:
Labor wins a majority in Queensland as polling in Victoria shows a tie


In both the state and federal polls, One Nation is down to 8% in Queensland. I believe One Nation has been identified as a right-wing party, not a populist party. Under Turnbull, there was space to the Coalition’s right, but with Morrison that space has been reduced.

National Essential: 55-45 to Labor

Last week’s national Essential poll, conducted February 6-11 from a sample of 1,067, gave Labor a 55-45 lead, a three-point gain for Labor since Essential’s late January poll. Primary votes were 38% Labor (up two), 34% Coalition (down four), 10% Greens (steady), 7% One Nation (steady) and 11% for all Others (up two). This poll was taken before the medevac bill passed the House.

28% thought the banking royal commission would lead to significant changes in the way banks operate, 47% thought it would lead to minor changes and 25% no real difference.

Showing disillusion with both sides of politics, 27% trusted Labor to implement the royal commission’s recommendations, 23% the Liberals and 35% thought there was no difference, with another 15% undecided.

By 59-11, voters agreed that Morrison should not end parliament before it deals with the royal commission’s recommendations. By 55-15, they agreed that the banks have more power than politicians, and will find a way to block meaningful reform.

Newspoll economy questions

In additional questions from last week’s Newspoll, Morrison led Shorten by 48-33 on more capable of handling the economy (50-32 in October). In general, incumbents benefit from this type of question, and the economy is perceived as a strength for the Coalition. The 15-point gap is narrower than any Turnbull lead over Shorten on this question in the six times it was polled while Turnbull was PM.

33% thought the government should prioritise increased funding of government services, 30% paying down government debt and 27% cuts to personal income tax.

The Westpac February consumer confidence rebounded to 103.8, up from 99.6 in January – the first month since late 2017 the index had fallen below 100. While Australian economic data for December has been weak, stocks have continued to rise.

NSW Essential: 51-49 to Labor

The New South Wales election will be held on March 23. An Essential poll, conducted February 6-11 from a small sample of 544, gave Labor a 51-49 lead. Primary votes were 39% Coalition, 36% Labor, 9% Greens and 8% One Nation. Premier Gladys Berejiklian had a 35% positive rating, 25% negative. Opposition Leader Michael Daley had a 27% positive rating, 20% negative.The Conversation

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

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