Making sense of the polls

Making sense of the polls

Narrow Liberal win likely in Canning

The Canning by-election will be held next Saturday 19 September. Two polls have been released this week. A Galaxy robopoll of 557 respondents, conducted last Thursday night, gives the Liberals a 52-48 lead from primary votes of 44% for the Liberals, 36% for Labor, 9% for the Greens, 3% each for Palmer United and the Christians, and 5% for all Others. This poll used the previous election method to allocate preferences with a minor adjustment for respondent allocation.

An Ipsos live interview poll of 1003 respondents, conducted Thursday to Saturday, also has the Liberals ahead by 52-48 using national 2013 preference flows, rather than Canning-specific flows. Primary votes in Ipsos were similar to Galaxy, with 45% for the Liberals, 36% Labor, 9% Greens and 2% Palmer United. According to Kevin Bonham, these primaries would be 54-46 to Liberal had Canning-specific flows been used.

ReachTEL polls have suggested a substantial Labor-favouring change in preference allocations since the last election, but Ipsos had the Liberals ahead by 53-47 on respondent-allocated preferences, 1% higher for the Liberals than the national preference flow headline figure, and only 1% below the Canning-specific 2013 flow.

In other results from Ipsos, Abbott had a net approval rating in Canning of -15, with 39% approving and 54% disapproving, and Shorten had a net approval rating of -16. The China Free Trade Agrement was supported by 43% and opposed by 37%.

Based on these two polls, it is likely that the Liberals will hold Canning, but with a margin much reduced from the 62-38 victory that they had at the 2013 election.

This by-election will not affect the result of the next election, but it is likely to influence the party leadership. A close result or a loss in Canning could encourage the Liberals to replace Abbott with a more popular alternative such as Malcolm Turnbull. As a result, it may be in Labor’s long-term interests to underperform in Canning so that Abbott remains leader. However, a very poor Labor performance would put pressure on Shorten.

An Ipsos national poll was expected this week, but it has evidently been replaced with the Canning poll.

Socialist Jeremy Corbyn wins UK Labour leadership election crushingly

I had a preview of the UK Labour leadership election in my “International electoral events” article. The results were announced on Saturday night Australian Eastern time and Corbyn won 59.5% of the primary vote, compared to 19.0% for Andy Burnham, 17.0% for Yvette Cooper and 4.5% for Liz Kendall; preferences were clearly not required.

Corbyn won 49.6% of the vote of Labour members, 86% of those who paid three UK pounds to register and 58% of union-affiliated supporters. Members made up the clear majority of all votes, and Corbyn’s lead was boosted by his absolute dominance of the registered supporters. However, he would have won even if the vote had been restricted to only Labour members.

As I said in my preview article, I think Corbyn’s leadership will be a disaster for UK Labour. This is not because I believe that Corbyn is too left-wing for the general electorate, but because I think that Labour will be perceived as having no economic credibility, some of which is necessary to be trusted to run the country. It is also likely that swinging voters will be scared of voting for a Labour party led by Corbyn.

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