With Labor gaining in polls, is too much Barnaby Joyce hurting the Coalition?

Thursday, Oct 28, 2021, 02:59 AM | Source: The Conversation

Adrian Beaumont

AAP/Mick Tsikas

A federal Resolve poll for Nine newspapers, conducted October 21-24 from a sample of 1,603, gave the Coalition 37% of the primary vote (down two since September), Labor 34% (up three), the Greens 11% (up one), One Nation 3% (down one) and independents 9% (steady).

As usual with Resolve, no two-party estimate was given, and independents are likely to be greatly overstated owing to people who are unsure who to vote for parking their votes. I have previously criticised Resolve for these issues.

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

Analyst Kevin Bonham estimated a two-party preferred of 52-48 to Labor, a three point gain for Labor since September.

In my Newspoll article on Monday, I was sceptical of Newspoll having Labor ahead by 54-46, given that the end of lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne was expected to help the Coalition. But since then, there’s also been poll movement to Labor in Resolve, Essential and Morgan.

The Resolve poll report made much of the Nationals’ vote falling two points to 3%, while the Liberal vote was up one to 35%, with rounding explaining the Coalition’s two-point slide. The drop for the Nationals has been attributed to their negotiations with the Liberals over Australia having a zero carbon emissions target by 2050.

I am dubious that average voters have been following the negotiations at all closely. However, a big negative for the Coalition is the prominent role played by deputy PM and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce.

In a July Resolve poll, Joyce had dismal ratings of 45% negative, 16% positive (net -29). It is likely that the more Joyce is in the limelight, the worse the Coalition will perform.

It seems the more visible Barnaby Joyce is, the weaker the Coalitions polling is. AAP/Lukas Coch

Other Resolve questions

47% (down two since September) rated Scott Morrison’s performance good in recent weeks, and 43% (down two) rated it poor, for an unchanged net approval of +4. Anthony Albanese’s net approval was up six points to -10. Morrison led as preferred PM by 44-26 (45-26 in September).

8% said they were prepared to accept a significant personal cost to reduce Australia’s emissions and 43% a small personal cost. 8% said they wouldn’t pay but others should, and 27% wouldn’t pay and didn’t think others should either.

7% of respondents thought the general public was doing more than its fair share at combatting climate change, 38% its fair share and 34% less. But when asked about how respondents rated their personal contribution, 13% said more, 57% fair share and just 15% less.

By 62-11, voters supported net zero emissions by 2050, and by 57-13 they supported a more ambitious target by 2030. Support for both measures increased two to five points from September.

Despite the slump for the Coalition in voting intentions, the Liberals and Morrison extended their lead over Labor and Albanese to 45-23 on economic management (42-24 in September). The Liberals also led on COVID by 40-22 (37-24 previously).

Essential and Morgan voting intentions

Essential occasionally releases voting intentions for all polls it conducted during the last few months. The Guardian reported Thursday that Labor led by 53-47 in this week’s Essential, its best position for this reporting period. The Coalition’s best was a 50-50 tie in September. Clive Palmer’s UAP was at 5% in the latest poll, ahead of One Nation’s 3%.

A Morgan poll, conducted October 16-17 and 23-24 from a sample of nearly 2,800, gave Labor a 54-46 lead, a one point gain for Labor since early October. Primary votes were 36.5% Coalition (down one), 35% Labor (down one), 13.5% Greens (up two), 3.5% One Nation (up 0.5) and 11.5% for all Others (down 0.5).

Essential: premiers’ ratings

This week’s Essential poll used an expanded sample size of about 440 in both SA and WA to enable ratings for those state premiers to be based on a good sample.

WA Labor Premier Mark McGowan came top with an 82-13 approval rating. He was followed by Queensland Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (66-27), SA Liberal Premier Steven Marshall (61-27), new NSW Liberal Premier Dominic Perrottet (47-28) and Victorian Labor Premier Daniel Andrews (52-40).

WA Premier Mark McGowan continues to enjoy very high approval ratings. AAP/Richard Wainwright

By 46-31, voters gave the federal government a good rating on handling COVID (45-30 last fortnight). The NSW government’s good rating was up two to 57%, but the Victorian government was down three to 43% and for some reason the Queensland government tumbled nine points to 59% good.

37% thought immigration levels over the past ten years have been too high, 16% too low and 36% about right (56-12 for too high in January 2019). 35% thought setting a more ambitious emissions reduction target would have the most positive long-term effect on jobs, 29% a net zero target by 2050 and 14% not setting any targets.

Read more: Grattan on Friday: Can Barnaby Joyce sell his supporters the net zero he's previously trashed?

UAP at 19% in poll of three western Sydney seats

Redbridge conducted polls of the federal NSW seats of Banks, Lindsay and Macquarie from an overall sample of 1,201 during the week of September 13. Across the three seats, primary votes were 32% Liberal, 31% Labor, 19% UAP and 9% Greens.

The pollster gave the two party as 53-47 to Labor, but the Liberals would be doing better than that on these primary votes. The Poll Bludger said UAP had just 3.1% across these three seats in 2019, with the Liberals winning by a combined 53.7-46.3.

Core inflation highest since December 2015

In the ABS September quarter inflation report released Wednesday, headline inflation was 0.8% for the September quarter and 3.0% for the year to September. Owing to a rebound in the September quarter 2020 following COVID-caused deflation in the June quarter 2020, headline annual inflation was down 0.2% as last year’s September quarter disappeared from the calculation.

The ABS also reports trimmed mean and weighted median inflation, and both these measures of core inflation increased by 0.7% in the September quarter, and increased to 2.1% in the year to September from 1.6% in the year to June. Both measures are at their highest since December 2015.

Labor still well ahead in Victoria

A Victorian state Resolve poll for The Age gave Labor 38% of the primary vote (down two since August), the Coalition 34% (down one), the Greens 10% (steady) and independents 11% (up two). The Poll Bludger estimated 55-45 to Labor, a one point gain for the Coalition.

Andrews led Liberal leader Matthew Guy as preferred premier by 45-32, but this is a large improvement for Guy on the previous Liberal leader Michael O'Brien, who trailed Andrews by 24-50. This poll was conducted with the federal Resolve polls in the past two months from a sample of 1,105.

At least 57% said they always complied with four health measures, but it is likely non-compliance is higher as people don’t want to admit this to a pollster. By 63-20, voters supported the Victorian government’s vaccine mandates.

Two more NSW byelections

I previously discussed upcoming NSW byelections in Willoughby, Bega and Monaro.

There are likely to be two more in Strathfield and Holsworthy. In Strathfield (Labor by 5.0%), former Labor leader Jodi McKay is resigning. In Holsworthy (Liberal by 3.3%), incumbent Liberal Melanie Gibbons will contest Liberal preselection for the federal seat of Hughes, held by Liberal turned UAP Craig Kelly.

No byelection dates have been set yet, and the Bega and Holsworthy byelections would not be held until much later as current incumbents are contesting federal preselections. Bega Liberal Andrew Constance is contesting federal Labor-held Gilmore.

The Conversation

Adrian Beaumont does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

University of Melbourne Researchers