Thursday, October 27, 2016

Wilderness Society Tasmanian ReachTEL

Yesterday the Tasmanian Government announced a substantial restructure of the government business entity Forestry Tasmania, which recently announced another financial loss.  FT will be renamed "Sustainable Timbers Tasmania" in what might be seen as furthering a pitch for certification and a positive image, but can also be seen as a deliberate trolling riposte to the rampant misuse of the word "sustainable" by environmentalists in recent decades. (If the latter then I strongly approve.)

The business will be downsized (again) and attempts will be made to bring forward logging in land originally reserved under the now defunct "forests peace deal".  The latter change came as a complete and not entirely welcome surprise to some within the industry.  The changes are being seen as making the forests industry a major issue at the 2018 state election. If passed, they will do nothing to end the great Tasmanian sport of Ritual Forest Conflict between pro- and anti-forestry campaigners, and will provide the government with ample fodder for trying to wedge the ALP based on its record when in government. But first we will have to see if the government can get the reopening of deferred land through a now finely balanced Legislative Council, or if this is yet another episode of forestry-related culture-warring for show but not for result.

Yesterday morning the Wilderness Society put out a press release spruiking a poll (PDF link) it had conducted on Monday night.  I must commend the Society for promptly releasing the full results including all questions asked.  One really cannot ask for more from a commissioning agency.  However, it does appear that the Society has gone off half-cocked and been outmaneuvered as a result.  The poll was released on the morning of Resources Minister Guy Barnett's announcement of the planned restructure, which goes further than the poll design seemed to anticipate.  Also, as usual with commissioned issue polls, the issue questions have major design problems, and the interpreter can hence make of the results pretty much anything they like.

At least, however, the poll gives us some fresh Tasmanian voting intention data!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Poll Roundup: The Turnbull Slide Continues

2PP Aggregate: 51.8 to ALP (-0.1 since last week)
Labor would probably win election "held now" with a small majority

Almost four months since its re-election, the Turnbull coalition government continues to poll ordinarily.  It has still not led in a single poll by anyone, and only now are there some signs that Labor's lead might be stabilising.  With a new bad news cycle hitting the government, oh, about twice a day on average lately, there might even be relief it is not worse ... yet.  An implicit stoush between PM Turnbull and Tony Abbott over the history of rapid-fire shotgun negotiations might have looked like fodder for further movement, but Newspoll suggests it was seen as just beltway stuff.

Most of our polling still comes just from Essential and Newspoll though this week a third player, Morgan, dipped a very tentative toe in the water with one of its irregular phone polls.  The only voting intention result released was 55:45 to ALP, easily Labor's biggest lead from anyone so far.  Given the small sample size and the lack of adequate documentation of 2PP method or primary votes, this only counted for 10% of a normal poll in my aggregate, but even that made some difference.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

ACT Election Live and Post-Count Comments

Labor minority government returned - ALP 12 Liberal 11 Green 2.  
This was also the interim outcome

Postcount Comments

(NB Through the week I will be posting comments here only in the evening, because of work commitments)

What happens now is that votes are gradually entered into the computer and a series of interim preference distributions are released, leading up to the final "button press" which is expected to happen next Saturday.  As we get closer to the full count these should become more accurate as an indication of what will happen, but for the time being it is useful to keep an eye on differences between the current primary count (which is based on more votes) and the primary count for the interim distributions, and also to bear in mind that the counting of postal votes may favour the Liberals.

Saturday: It's over!  In Brindabella Nicole Lawder (Lib) has won the final seat from Labor's Angie Drake by 553 votes.  Drake outlasted Steven Bailey by 307 votes at the second-last exclusion, but had Bailey survived that exclusion he would have lost anyway, probably by more than Drake did.  In Ginninderra the Ginninderra Effect has indeed struck again - Labor with 2.74 quotas at the final exclusion have won three seats while the Greens with 0.78 at the same point have missed out.  This is because two of the Labor candidates had a very evenly split share of their party's votes, and indeed it wasn't all that close between them and the Greens (701 votes for Tara Cheyne over Esguerra with Gordon Ramsay actually ahead of Cheyne at that point).  In Murrumbidgee the Greens are up by 800.  The other two electorates were decided by thousands.

How To Best Use Your Vote In ACT (and Tasmanian) Elections

This is a quick note because there are some incorrect myths doing the rounds about how people should vote in the ACT election today.  I was asked to write this piece because there have been some claims that voters who vote for independents should refuse to preference anyone but independents.  A claim to this effect was recently published in the Canberra Times in an otherwise generally good article.  It happens that the same advice I'm giving here for the ACT also applies to Tasmanian lower house elections, because both use the Hare-Clark system, albeit with some minor differences.

My basic recommendation for both ACT and Tasmanian elections is simple: If you want to make your vote as powerful as possible, number every square.  Don't even leave the final box blank.  If you don't feel you can number all the squares, you should number as many as you can.

This is the key incorrect claim from the Canberra Times article:

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Recent NSW State Polling

The purposes of this post are: firstly, to add some context to the dramatic findings of a recent NSW state Newspoll, and secondly, to link to the full results of some late August NSW state union polling that may be of some interest to somebody out there.  I have actually had the latter for a few weeks but because I have been overseas and then very busy it has taken this long to do anything with it.

Newspoll record?  Well, not really ...

The recent Newspoll has found that Mike Baird's status as Australia's most popular Premier by far has come to a sudden halt after nearly two years of stellar ratings.  This finding was also foreshadowed by a slightly earlier Fairfax ReachTEL which showed Luke Foley ahead of Baird as Preferred Premier.   The latter result, while still striking, was not quite the sensation it appeared to be: the forced-choice method used by ReachTEL does not advantage incumbents in the way that the method used by Newspoll, Galaxy, Ipsos and Essential does.  So an Opposition Leader being preferred Premier in a ReachTEL poll usually just means the two-party race is close and the Premier is a little bit under the weather.                                    

The Newspoll found Mike Baird's net satisfaction rating has crashed from +39 (61-22) in January to -7 (39-46) now.   The Australian listed this at the top of a list of the greatest netsat falls by a Premier in Newspoll history.  In a poll-to-poll sense this is true, but it is a misleading statistic as the intervals between two consecutive Newspolls in a given state historically have been anything from a few days in some cases to four years in others.  In this case, eight and a half months is an unusually long interval, especially when the old Newspoll often routinely polled at intervals of two months.