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Making sense of the polls

Qld ReachTEL: One Nation prefs help LNP to 52-48 lead; 57.5% nationally have returned SSM form

A Queensland ReachTEL poll, presumably conducted 28 September from a sample of 4000, gave the Liberal National Party (LNP) a 52-48 lead by respondent allocated preferences, a one point gain for the LNP since a June ReachTEL. The next Queensland election must be held by early 2018.

Primary votes, including 7.7% undecided, were 32.1% Labor, 30.6% LNP, 18.1% One Nation and 7.5% Greens. ReachTEL asks the undecided a forced choice party preference question, but this is often omitted from media reports. If undecided are excluded, primary votes become 34.8% Labor, 33.2% LNP, 19.6% One Nation and 8.1% Greens.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was tied with opposition leader Tim Nicholls as better Premier 50-50. ReachTEL uses a forced choice question for its better PM/Premier question, and this method is usually better for opposition leaders than other polls.

Palasczuk had a 32% favourable rating, 34% unfavourable and 32% neutral. Nicholls’ ratings were 25% favourable, 29% unfavourable, 40% neutral. Pauline Hanson’s ratings were 36% favourable, 42% unfavourable, 21% neutral.

This ReachTEL poll contrasts with a Newspoll, conducted in July and August, that gave Labor a 53-47 lead. An early August Galaxy poll gave Labor a 51-49 lead. Both these polls assumed One Nation preferences would flow to the LNP at a 55% rate, but ReachTEL is finding a stronger flow to the LNP.

Kevin Bonham explains the difference between Newspoll/Galaxy and ReachTEL. Some of the difference is due to a lower Labor primary vote, and higher One Nation vote in ReachTEL, but the impact of respondent allocated preferences in ReachTEL is the largest explanation for the difference.

If this ReachTEL poll is correct, Labor could regret changing the Queensland system to compulsory preferential voting from the previous optional preferential. This change was made before the rise of One Nation, in an attempt to win more Greens preferences in south-east Queensland.

In my opinion, Labor should adopt a left-wing economic populist stance to counter the anti-immigrant far-right populism being espoused by One Nation. Many people voting for One Nation are doing so out of frustration with a perceived establishment consensus. A more economically left-wing Labor could win back some of these voters.

Little change in Qld Federal draft redistribution

As there had been seven years since the last Queensland Federal redistribution, a new redistribution has been carried out for Queensland’s 30 Federal House seats. According to Antony Green, 12 of the 30 seats were unchanged, and there were minor changes to the rest. No seats changed parties on the boundaries following the redistribution. This redistribution is still a draft, and will be finalised following a period for discussion of potential objections.

The biggest changes to marginal seats are in Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s Dickson (from a 1.6% to a 2.0% margin), and in Labor-held Griffith (1.6% to 1.2%). Overall, the LNP holds 21 of the 30 Queensland Federal seats, Labor 8, and one for Bob Katter.

Same sex marriage plebiscite turnout data and polling

Every Tuesday before 5pm, the Bureau of Statistics will report an estimate of the number of forms returned for the same sex marriage plebiscite. These reports will continue until 7 November, the final date for return. There will be no Yes/No breakdown until the result is declared on 15 November.

As of last Friday 29 September, the ABS estimates it has received 9.2 million forms (57.5% of the electorate). This does not include forms in the post that have not yet been delivered. As the large majority of those who are going to vote will have already voted, the final turnout may be about 70%, not as high as the 80% in most polls.

In the Sky News ReachTEL poll below, 64% said they had returned their SSM ballot paper and voted Yes, while 15.5% had voted No. Another 6% each planned to vote Yes and No.

In a separate ReachTEL poll of 1000 respondents conducted for the Yes campaign, 72% said they had already voted or intended to vote. Of these, Yes led by 61-39.

The Sky News poll is particularly good news for Yes, but the Yes campaign poll still shows a clear Yes win. ReachTEL is a robopollster, and has shown worse results for Yes than other polls.

ReachTEL 53-47 to Federal Labor

A Sky News ReachTEL, presumably conducted late last week from a sample of almost 5000, gave Labor a 53-47 lead, a one point gain for Labor since a late August ReachTEL. ReachTEL is using respondent allocated preferences, and this poll is Labor’s best since the May budget from any pollster using this method. Primary votes have not been provided.

In a forced choice question, 53% thought Labor best to manage the energy crisis and rising power prices, with 47% backing the Coalition. By 41-36, voters would support more coal seam gas mining if it reduces gas prices.

YouGov primary votes: 34% Coalition, 33% Labor, 11% Greens, 9% One Nation

This week’s YouGov, conducted 28 September to 1 October from a sample of 951, gave the Coalition 34% of the primary vote (steady since last fortnight), Labor 33% (down 2), 11% Greens (steady), 9% One Nation (steady), 4% Nick Xenophon Team (up 1) and 4% Christian parties (up 1). Last fortnight, Labor’s primary jumped 3 points, but this week they are back to the normal low YouGov level.

Primary votes would normally imply a Labor lead of about 53-47, but this poll has the Coalition ahead 51-49 by respondent allocated preferences, a one point gain for the Coalition. Christian parties are not included in other polls, and are probably Coalition voters. If we add Christians to Coalition, the Coalition would lead Labor 38-33 on primary votes, explaining some of YouGov’s two party skew to the Coalition.

By 42-31, voters thought Abbott should quieten down and not be so critical of Turnbull. By 40-34, they thought Abbott was wrong to associate his headbutt in Hobart with the Yes campaign. 70% said they had seen Yes campaign ads, while 61% had seen No ads. By 59-19, voters thought there should be a royal commission into the banks.

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