Sunday, May 28, 2023

Holding The Ball: Polling And The Proposed Stadium

Summary: There is adequate evidence of strong overall opposition to the Macquarie Point stadium proposal, but most of the individual polls being cited are unsound.


A proposed stadium at Macquarie Point has now become a major Tasmanian political issue.  The proposed stadium, intended as part of a deal for Tasmania to finally get an AFL team, has been so divisive that two Liberal backbenchers quit the party citing concerns over the stadium approval process, taking the Rockliff Liberal Government into minority.  Unless approved or killed off by then, the stadium is highly likely to feature as an issue at the next state election.  

The stadium becomes the latest in a long line of Tasmanian contentious development proposals - the Bell Bay pulp mill, the kunanyi/Mt Wellington cable car and the Ralphs Bay canal estate proposal being some prior examples.  Typically these have in common that they greatly polarise the community for a long time and suck a lot of oxygen out of other political issues, but also that virtually none of them end up going ahead.  Something else they have in common (and share with some other long-running controversies such as old-growth logging) is that they inspire a lot of mostly terrible polling.   On this site I previously published reviews of polling about the cable car and polling about the pulp mill showing that the great majority of polls on both these issues were biased and/or of poor quality.  

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

EMRS: Liberals Crash But Labor Doesn't Pick Up The Pieces

EMRS Lib 36 (-6) ALP 31 (+1) GRN 15 (+2) IND/OTHER 18 (+3)
Election held now would deliver a very hung parliament
Rebecca White retakes Better Premier lead, most probably as a result of disapproval of Jeremy Rockliff's performance

An eagerly awaited EMRS poll is up and as you would have been nuts to not expect, the Rockliff Liberal Government has been harshly whacked over its recent collapse into minority and its pursuit of a controversial AFL stadium.  After over a year in which basically nothing happened in this quarterly series the Government has slumped six points to 36%.  I have this as the Liberal Party's third-lowest primary since February 2011 (when it was also at 36), beating only a 35 and a 34 polled during 2017, a time when the poll had serious issues that it later addressed with overestimating the Green vote.

For a long time I have been wondering what it would take to lift the Labor Opposition above the low 30s and put it on to numbers where it could at least push for being the largest party in the parliament, if not for majority.  Surely this would be it?  According to this poll, no!  Remarkably the poll finds Labor up just one point to a feeble 31% with the slack being picked up by Greens (up two) and independents/others (up three).  So is the latter a boost in support for the recent defectors Lara Alexander and John Tucker?  The seat by seat breakdown is extremely granular because EMRS in its dashboard presents the numbers as a share of the overall state vote (and the sample size is tiny anyway) but the combined Ind/Other share hasn't moved upwards in either the Bass or the Lyons sample (a lot of the gain was in Clark).  

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

2023 Fadden By-Election

FADDEN (LNP Qld 10.63%)
July 15 by-election
Cause of by-election: Resignation of Stuart Robert (MP since 2007)
LNP should retain seat easily

Welcome to my brief guide to the second by-election of the Albanese government's first term, for the northern Gold Coast seat of Fadden.  Fadden has been vacated by former Minister Stuart Robert, an endlessly controversial MP and close ally of former Prime Minister Scott Morrison (whose career as member for Cook is widely believed to be approaching its end as well).  

Fadden was created in 1977 and was initially very slightly Coalition-leaning compared to the national average, running at just over 1 point above the national 2PP in 1977, 1980 and 1983.  On this basis Labor won it in 1983 but an adverse redistribution made it notionally Liberal and the one term ALP incumbent, David Beddall, decamped to Rankin.  The seat was won back by the Liberals in 1984 and remained fairly marginal through the Hawke/Keating years but was won with a large swing in 1996 (partly fuelled by a further redistribution) and since then has generally favoured the Coalition by between 10 and 13% compared to the national 2PP.  In this time only in 1998 did the 2PP go below 60% to Coalition so it is now a very solid LNP seat with a serious claim to be one of the most electorally boring seats in the nation.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Tasmania Update: Stadium To Be Project Of State Significance

A brief update on today's developments following the announcement of a deal between the Rockliff Liberal Government and former members Lara Alexander and John Tucker, who quit the party just over a week ago and now sit as independents.

The essence of the deal is that in return for the independents' support on supply and confidence, the government has agreed to make the proposed Macquarie Point stadium a Project of State Significance rather than a Major Project.  This means both Houses of Parliament will need to approve the commencement of assessment. Both Houses will also need to approve any variation from the final decision of the assessment process.  Earlier I had thought that both Houses needed to give the project final approval but on reading the legislation this appears to be not the case if the government accepts the outcome of the POSS process without amendment.)

Saturday, May 13, 2023

New South Wales 2023: Final Results, Poll Accuracy And 2PP Pendulum

It's been a long time coming because of other work but here finally is my wrapup piece for the 2023 New South Wales lower house election.  The twelve-year old Coalition led by its fourth Premier Dominic Perrottet was sent packing by the Labor opposition under its fifth leader Chris Minns, but optional preferencing and some luck in the close seats cushioned the blow and the Coalition managed to retain 36 seats.  Labor after looking almost sure to get a majority on counting night (more of that later) ended up with just 45 but no trouble at all forming government given that the crossbench held three Greens and nine independents.  The result snapped a 15-election streak at state and federal level since the last case of a non-majority outcome.

Vote Share, 2PP and Preference Change

The election saw a further slight fall in the major party primary votes.  The primary votes were 36.97% Labor, 35.37% Coalition, 9.70% Greens, 8.76% independents, with the rest led by 2.23% Sustainable Australia, 1.8% One Nation, 1.56% Shooters Fishers and Farmers and 1.28% Legalise Cannabis.  The 2PP was 54.27% to Labor, a swing of 6.29%.  

There was a slight increase in preferencing at this election with 35.2% of non-major party (or minor Coalition partner in three-cornered seats) preferences reaching Labor on a 2PP basis (+2.2%), 16.1% reaching Coalition (+2.1%) and 48.7% (-4.3%) exhausting.  However these figures include many Independent and Green preferences that were not actually distributed in many seats.  The Greens' share of all non-major votes dropped slightly from 38% to 35%.  

Friday, May 12, 2023

Tasmanian Government To Lose Majority (Or Something)

On what could be a fast-moving day, it's been announced that Liberal backbenchers Lara Alexander and John Tucker will quit the Liberal Party and move to the crossbenches, taking the Rockliff Liberal Government into minority.  The primary trigger point (see detailed statement) is the proposed Macquarie Point AFL stadium, with both claiming there has been inadequate transparency from Cabinet, but there are other things going on as well.  Alexander's camp was criticising the government during the 2021 campaign over her inability to speak out as a new candidate, and she later controversially hosted an event for opposition to gay conversion therapy bans.  Tucker says he has been in talks about leaving since March and has also cited dissatisfaction over Marinus Link and the Battery of the Nation.  Alexander has complained about the Premier supporting a yes vote on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Legislative Council 2023: Launceston, Murchison and Rumney Live

Launceston: CALLED (6:51 pm) Rosemary Armitage (IND) re-elected overwhelmingly
Murchison: CALLED (6:32 pm) Ruth Forrest (IND) re-elected overwhelmingly
Rumney: CALLED (7:17 pm) Sarah Lovell (ALP) re-elected overwhelmingly


Updates (Scrolls to top)

Tuesday: All over and Lovell was indeed taken to preferences to an extremely token degree, finishing exactly six votes shy of 50%.

Wednesday: With Lovell now eight votes below majority, the TEC has thrown Pickin's preferences to establish for sure that she wins.  Notably the Liberals came third on this split getting only 27% of the Shooter preferences (Mulder 41 Lovell 32).