The national momentum is clearly with Labor with their third consecutive week of increase in two party preferred, but there is no national trend, and the lack of narrative is leading to chaotic behaviour and unhappy voters.
1048 panel members participated this week. Although most have started to familiarise themselves with their candidates, some of them are still insisting they are voting for parties that won’t be on their ballot paper (at both House and Senate level). These have been re-coded to either a previous voting intention (if applicable) or not sure to try and lift the accuracy in the results, and should be resolved in the coming survey where respondents will be given a pick list of the actual candidates in their seat. Also, informal votes have fallen below a statistically significant level (possibly because informal voters have lost interest in continuing to do surveys) and have been merged in with ‘Not sure’.
Last week we said that the bounce to the Greens at the expense of Labor, almost wholly attributable to Labor’s gas exploration policy announcement, was soft, and those votes would come back… and they have. Indeed many seem to have completely forgotten that they indicated a protest Greens vote last week. (That’s happened a lot in the Project. It’s why we dropped the ‘Last time you said you were voting for …’ question in wave 3 – too many respondents were arguing with us they never said they would vote for that party!) The rest of the vote is fairly stable, with just the undecided voters slowly sorting themselves out.
Yes! There are more Clive voters. Still not enough for us to move him out of the ‘Other’ column. I note today’s Essential Poll also hasn’t pulled him out of the ‘other’s, and Ipsos did but put UAP at only 3%, while Newspoll had UAP falling a point from their (still somewhat unbelievable) 5% to 4%. The voters that shifted to UAP this week almost universally did so because they didn’t want to vote for the major parties, and the party of their real choice wasn’t on the ballot. Except for one, an elderly Greens voter in SA, who switched because of Clive’s policy to increase the pension by $150 a week.
The UAP rise does however account for most of the ‘other’ rise this week. But, as we can see from the vote retention graph, that other rise isn’t coming from the major parties who have a very solid vote retention at this point. The only significant movement going on now is people bouncing around between Independent and minor parties, or movement to the majors – but, a late shift is likely given the lack of firm decision by many and that lack of narrative to focus voters minds on what this election is about.
Remember, to read the vote retention heat map, read across the row to see where a party has gained votes since the last survey, down the column to see where they have lost votes to. The percentage is the proportion of last week’s vote lost, the diagonal line is how much of last week’s vote each party retained.
This week we prompted voters with state specific Senate questions because there are some very unusual Senate contests and quite a few below the line campaigns. It proved to be very illuminating. The sample is too small as a fraction of the panel to be indicative of the actual senate vote, so no pretty graphs, but the following observations are based on both numbers and comments on Senate vote.
NEW SOUTH WALES
- Senate votes are largely reflective of House vote intention, with Labor slightly ahead of the Coalition.
- Mehreen Faruqi should be returned for The Greens.
- A notable below the line vote was recorded for Jim Molan, and the final seat contest looks to be between the number 3 candidates for Labor and the Coalition, Molan, ICAN’s Rod Bower, and the Australian Conservatives Sophie York.
- A very significant swing to Labor should see them get their top 3 candidates up with no trouble.
- Liberals should get 2, but may need preferences to get the second over the line if the minor right continue to gain momentum.
- Janet Rice from The Greens may have a nervous night.
- A significant vote intention for both Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party and the Australian Conservatives should see Bruce Stevens and Kevin Bailey competing for the last spot. No other parties (other than the Greens) are in the ballpark of viable.
- An earlier quick jump up for Ricky Muir of Shooters, Fishers and Farmers was not continued this week. Both he and Derryn Hinch look to be well out of the running unless something changes soon.
- A highly contested race on the right has bludgeoned the LNP, who may struggle to get Susan McDonald up. However, she is registering some below the line votes from people wanting to vote for a woman.
- Larissa Waters should be ok for The Greens.
- The top two contenders for the final spot (presuming Susan McDonald is elected) are Australian Conservative’s Lyle Shelton and PHON’s Malcolm Roberts. KAP are a few points behind them, Fraser Anning on single digits, and Clive Palmer on barely there.
- The Queensland Senate race is not one where voters don’t have a lot of options. As noted above, the UAP vote is almost entirely an anti-major party vote where there’s nothing better to vote for, so while 1% currently being recorded may not be what is recorded in two weeks, there’s no great reason to think it will be more than the long list of competitors he has to beat.
- A more moderate swing to the Labor Party, although you do need to take into account the separate Nationals ticket. It should be comfortably 2 Lib, 2 ALP.
- Jordan Steele-John should be comfortably returned for The Greens
- Final seat between Labor’s third candidate and The National’s lead candidate, but things could shift a bit – quite a few undecideds.
- We’re picking up a swing to the Liberal Party in SA that should see their top two easily returned, plus a below the line vote for Lucy Gichui who a couple of voters think has been wronged by the party.
- Labor should also get their top two, but a number indicated voting below the line because they don’t like Alex Gallacher.
- Sarah Hanson Young should be easily returned for The Greens.
- Centre Alliance’s Skye Kakoschke-Moore
- The Nationals running a separate ticket has dramatically reduced the Liberal Senate vote. They’ll get 2, but which two I don’t know.
- Labor should easily get two and possibly 3.
- Nick McKim should be returned for The Greens.
- Independent Craig Garland is our hot tip to snag the final seat.
ACT and NT numbers are a little small, but a notable level of support for the Independent Anthony Pesec – probably not enough for a surprise win.
THE FIRST DEBATE
We asked a series of questions about the first leaders’ debate held in Perth on Monday, April 29 and broadcast on 7TWO.
A high proportion of our panel watched it in comparison to what viewer figures would indicate is the norm (yes, I love you political nerds). Most of those watched it alone.
Considerably more saw news coverage of it, but less than half discussed it with anyone. However, it didn’t change hearts and minds. As an event largely for the faithful like most campaign set pieces, it either had no impact or just reinforced existing vote intention.
Thanks as always to our participants.