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Flying blind (open thread) – The Poll Bludger

A Labor-eye-view of the election result from the party’s national secretary; the AEC’s response to social media misinformation; but nothing doing on the polling front, apart from some numbers on media trust.

Despite the polls not having failed as such, in that they uniformly picked the right winner, it seems we’re having another post-election voting intention polling drought just like we did in 2019. This is unfortunate from my perspective, as it would be interesting to compare Labor’s strength during its honeymoon period with that of newly elected governments past. It also means I have to work harder on material for regular open thread posts. Here’s what I’ve got this time:

• The Reuters Institute last week published its international Digital News Report 2022, the Australian segment of which was conducted by the University of Canberra, which asked questions on media consumption and trust. Respondents were asked to rank their trust in various media brands on a scale of one to ten. Typically for such surveys, this found the highest level of trust in public broadcasters, with ABC News ranking first and SBS News ranking second; television networks and broadsheet newspapers in the middle; and tabloid newspapers, specifically the Herald Sun and the Daily Telegraph, ranking last. The survey was conducted online in January and February from a sample of 2038.

• In an address to the National Press Club last week, Labor national secretary Paul Erickson dated a shift in voter sentiment in Labor’s favor from the announcement of the Solomon Islands’ pact with China on April 1. Erickson said voters were struck by the contrast between the Coalition’s “immature” warmongering rhetoric and attempts to associate Labor with the Chinese Communist Party and Labor’s promise to “restore Australia’s place as the partner of choice” for Pacific Islands countries. He further noted that the rot set in for Scott Morrison amid COVID outbreaks in mid-2021, when Labor internal polling showed his net competence score fall by 14 points in two weeks over late June and early July. The Coalition was also damaged by cabinet ministers’ partisan attacks on state governments in Western Australia and Victoria, and it was rated lower by voters on housing and wages.

• Saturday’s Financial Review reported on the Australian Electoral Commission’s efforts to confront online disinformation about the election process head on, through the work of its election integrity assurance taskforce and a media unit that abandoned bureaucratic formality in engaging with social media on social media’s terms. Electoral commissioner Tom Rogers claimed they had a “70 to 80 per cent success rate in changing minds”, and that Twitter had been “a bit self-correcting as a result”: “Someone would say something and you’d see people say, ‘hang on, that doesn’t sound right, I heard the AEC say this or that’”.

• Tom Rogers also foreshadows possible changes to electoral laws to allow for faster counting of postal votes after election day by streamlining the existing process whereby ballots are sorted at a central location and then sent to the voter’s electorate before they are counted.

• Nominations for the South Australian state by-election for Bragg on July 2 closed on Thursday, drawing a field of six candidates who are listed on my by-election guide.

Other recent posts on the site:

• A post on the Queensland Senate result, which was confirmed on Thursday. The buttons will be pressed today on the results for New South Wales at 9:30am and, most interestingly, Victoria at 10am. That will just leave Western Australia – the post just linked to considers at length the remote possibility that Labor might not win a third seat, as is being generally assumed.

• Courtesy of Adrian Beaumont, a preview and live commentary of France’s legislative elections, plus news on British by-elections and American opinion polling.

• A post on Saturday’s Callide state by-election in Queensland, a safe conservative seat which the Liberal National Party has retained with a swing in its favor of 6.5% against Labor.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics. View all posts by William Bowe

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