The March survey is a complex one. Launched the before the terrorist attack in Christchurch, purely by chance, Wave 10 happened to capture a time series of before Christchurch, the immediate impact, Anning’s comments, Eggboy, Waleed Aly’s comment and his interview with the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and the spat between David Kosh and Pauline Hanson, through to where we were ten days later in an arguably pathetic* debate about where One Nation should be on a coloured bit of paper thrust into the hands of voters as they walk into polling booths. I will return to this survey for deeper analysis post election, for now, the numbers and some initial observations. The Independent Candidates and Education Short Survey results will be posted separately later in the week.
First an observation: in times of fear, the electorate usually swings right. West Wing fans may recall the Mommy Problem from Season 7, Episode 2 (sorry I don’t have a video clip for you):
JOSH LYMAN: “…When voters want a national daddy – someone to be tough and strong and defend the country – they vote Republican. When they want a mommy – someone to give them jobs, health care, the policy equivalent of matzah ball soup – they vote Democratic.”
Yeah, its simplistic and nothing about voter behaviour is ever simple, but it’s also a truism. The first 400 odd responses received prior to the Christchurch attack were on target for a minor narrowing of less than 1 point 2PP.
The final figure for March is a 5.1% shift to the Coalition in the 2PPH6 (primary vote up 3.5%). It isn’t all Christchurch though, so hold your horses. There is obviously a lot of movement to generate that kind of shift.
Remember, to read the vote retention heat map, read across the row to see where a party has gained votes this month, down the column to see where they have lost votes to. The percentage is the proportion of last month’s vote lost, the diagonal line is how much of last month’s vote each party retained.
The biggest drain on the Labor vote continues to be the Franking Credits issue as was the case last month, mostly trading votes with the Greens and Independents and losing a few on the way, and almost all of the votes lost to the undecided column being related to the issue. Those going from Green to Labor are largely strategic votes or cranky at internal issues in the Greens; those going from Labor to Greens or Independents (other than those reacting to Franking Credits) are largely cranky at Labor’s weak stance on climate change and refugees.
Sometimes it’s just not possible to pull apart the complex issues that voters are weighing simultaneously.
I really don’t know who I am voting for but I’ve had conversations with people about franking and negative gearing and I now am swinging back to the left again over these issues. Also I don’t think Scott Morrison is very believable over the Christchurch massacre, unlike the NZ prime minister.
But we are increasingly seeing people put candidates before party, talking about the attributes of their particular candidates… which makes any kind of trend almost impossible to divine. With the result in NSW this past Saturday, that may make sense – if people are voting for candidates, not parties, then there is no consistent trend (sorry Antony Green, you may have another long night ahead in May…).
So where were the Christchurch effects? The shift from Labor to Liberal (0.7 of the first preference vote) was exclusively people who voted Liberal in 2016. So while only a couple mentioned Christchurch, it’s fair to say these votes were scared home.
Similarly, while the movement from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation to Australian Conservatives, and from Australian Conservatives to the Coalition, continued as we have discussed previously, there were no voters moving back from Australian Conservatives to PHON. This abrupt stop is a significant thing, and it would seem that these voters are being scared home too.
The most significant impact of the Christchurch massacre by far has been to harden the resolve of people *not* to vote for a party or person, rather than vote for them.
The tragedy in Christchurch showed how much anger there is from far right nut cases. I am steering far away from people like this.
Morrison’s dog whistling and his totally hypocritical response to the Christchurch massacre. He is one of those inciting fear and hatred. The children’s protest was wonderful. These events just reinforced my decision to work against re-election of this appalling government.
After Fraser Anning’s dreadful press release on the day of the Christchurch massacre, I’ll be placing the National Conservatives last in the unlikely event that they field a candidate in my HoR electorate.
There are also some that shifted to Pauline Hanson and Fraser Anning, feeling that they were under an unreasonable attack. (This is cut down from quite a lengthy comment, but I felt it valuable to include to demonstrate the passion and pain of those voters who are struggling with this – this is a Liberal voter who has switched to vote for PHON.)
I’ve changed my vote due to how Mr Morrison handled things in relation to Senator Anning and Senator Hanson. I am disappointed… There was NO hate speech from Senator anning nor Senator Hanson. They stated “Facts”. Facts are not hate speech. I am appalled in how Mr Morrison handled the situation. I do not condone what happened in New Zealand and my heart goes out to all those who were affected & their families. But what Senator Hanson and Senator Anning gave were facts … facts do not lie and again they are not hate speech. Mr Morrison should have backed Senator Hanson and come half way at least with acknowledging Senator Anning. A use of different words of course but he should not have shunned them. It was wrong and for that, I don’t feel I can trust Mr Morrison or the Liberals. I feel unsafe with everything Mr Morrison has said as of late. Which is a huge deal for me as I was at one point a strong follower of his and backed him up. A huge disappointment. I’m hurt.
Will racism become a defining issue of the 2019 election? Maybe, maybe not. Things are far too raw yet to know how it will shake out. But we will give the final word to a panel member who may have succinctly nailed why much of what has happened in Australia since Christchurch just isn’t sitting well with people.
I’m a New Zealander, and I’m heartbroken. ScoMo is saying all the right things but I think he sees it as political capital.
Thanks as always to all our participants.
There are no ‘preference deals’ in federal politics anymore. I would strongly encourage journalists (and really everyone) to please start calling them ‘how to vote deals’ as they are only an agreement to value signal on a piece of marketing. They have no force and effect beyond that. But as they are called ‘preference deals’, voters get confused and think they are binding, that if they vote for x, their preferences will go to y, regardless of what they write on their own ballot paper. We saw it a lot in the Wentworth by-election.
It’s pathetic because if it’s value signalling you want to do, One Nation shouldn’t be last, they should be somewhere in the middle of the pack. There are many more considerably racist, bigoted and hateful parties registered with the Australian Electoral Commission, without the complement of completely valid policies that One Nation offers (not saying I endorse them, only that they are valid and acceptable positions to hold). Kudos to Waleed Aly for saying ‘below Labor and the Greens’ rather than ‘last’, but the question is a waste of airtime in a period where there are so many serious issues to deal with. Not least of all because the politicians of neither party get to make the decisions on preferences and HTVs.