A small sample Morgan phone poll of 552, conducted 24-26 October, has Julie Bishop leading Malcolm Turnbull as preferred Coalition leader. Bishop has 34% (up 10 since May), to 25% for Turnbull (down 16), 14% for Abbott (up 7) and 6% for Barnaby Joyce (steady). Coalition voters put Turnbull ahead with 35%, to 25% for Bishop, 16% Abbott and 10% Joyce.
I believe this is the first preferred Coalition leader poll for at least six years that has not had Turnbull in first place.
Morgan always gives Shorten dreadful preferred Labor leader ratings, and this poll follows that trend. Tanya Plibersek leads with 25% (up 3 since May), with Anthony Albanese on 24% (up 4), and Shorten on only 14% (steady). Among Labor voters, Shorten is barely ahead with 29%, to 28% for Plibersek and 21% for Albanese.
A separate release has Turnbull’s approval at 31% (down 14 since May) and his disapproval at 53% (up 12), for a net approval of -22. As this tweet from poll watcher GhostWhoVotes shows, Turnbull’s ratings have crashed with his own party. Shorten’s net approval was down 3 points from May to -15.
No voting intention figures were released with this poll.
Essential at 52-48 to Labor
This week’s Essential, conducted over the last two weeks from a sample of 1790, has primary votes of Coalition 38%, Labor 37%, Greens 10%, One Nation 6% and Nick Xenophon Team 2%. Additional questions are based on one week’s data.
55% approved of the government’s changes to paid parental leave (PPL) so that women who receive PPL from their employer lose some or all of their taxpayer funded PPL. 32% disapproved of these changes; in May, it was 56-27 approve. 49% approved of Turnbull replacing Abbott, and 29% disapproved; this was 58-24 in September 2015, when Abbott was dumped.
Attribute questions were asked about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, finding very negative scores for Trump on virtually all attributes. Clinton was seen as far better than Trump, though she did poorly on honest and trustworthy, big problems in Americans’ perception of her.
Just 6% thought Australia’s gun laws were too strong, with 44% for not strong enough and 45% for about right.
44% supported phasing out live exports to other countries, and 29% were opposed. 30% thought Australia should not export live animals at all, 50% thought we should only export to countries that guarantee humane treatment, and just 9% thought we should export to any country that wants them.
Bob Day’s Senate resignation does not affect Senate numbers
Family First Senator Bob Day resigned from the Senate today. Family First will appoint a replacement, and that replacement will be confirmed by the SA Parliament. This process should be completed by 21 November, in time for the last two parliamentary weeks of the year.
In next week’s sitting, there will be 75 Senators, rather than the normal 76. As tied votes fail in the Senate, the government normally requires 39 Senate votes to pass its agenda. However, with an odd number of Senators, 38 votes will be enough for a one vote majority.
The government still needs 8 of 10 non-Greens crossbenchers to support legislation that Labor and the Greens oppose. If Day is counted with the Coalition, they needed the same 8 of 10 before his resignation.
Update: It appears that an argument can be made that Day may not have been validly elected, due to holding an indirect pecuniary interest in a contract with the Commonwealth (see tweet below). This means that the High Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, will decide Day’s replacement. This will cause a significant delay in replacing Day.
Update 2 Tuesday night: If Bob Day’s election is ruled invalid, a Senate recount would be held to determine his replacement. Using data for all ballot papers that was released by the electoral commission, Grahame (@angrygoat on Twitter) has calculated that Family First’s No. 2, Lucy Gichuhi, would win the recount and replace Day.
However, there is a question over Gichuhi’s eligibility: whether she renounced her Kenyan citizenship prior to the election. If Gichuhi is also ineligible, there would be no further Family First candidates, and Day’s seat would be won by Labor’s Anne McEwen, defeating One Nation.