A byelection is likely to be held in Wentworth in October after Malcolm Turnbull resigns. A ReachTEL Wentworth poll for the left-wing Australia Institute, conducted August 27 from a sample of 886, had a 50-50 tie between the Liberals and Labor, an 18% swing to Labor since the 2016 election.
There were two primary vote scenarios. In the first, the Liberals had 41.9%, Labor 31.5%, the Greens 15.6% and One Nation 2.3%. The second scenario included two prominent independents, who each had 11-12%, with the Liberals on 34.6%, Labor 20.3% and the Greens 8.9%.
While seat polls are inaccurate, the loss of Turnbull’s personal vote, and the anger of well educated voters at his ousting, could make Wentworth close.
By 67-24, Wentworth voters thought the national energy guarantee should include an emissions reduction target. By 69-10, they thought Scott Morrison would do less to tackle climate change than Turnbull, rather than more.
The Poll Bludger conducted a regression analysis of the two party swings at the 2016 federal election. Education was the most significant explanatory variable, with a higher proportion of high school graduates associated with better swing results for the Coalition. Well-educated people liked Turnbull, but are unlikely to warm to Morrison.
At the next election, Labor is likely to have better swing results in seats with high levels of educational attainment.
On August 28, The Australian released aggregate data from Turnbull’s final three Newspolls (all 51-49 to Labor). In these three polls, Turnbull overall had a net -10 approval rating, but his best ratings were among those aged 18-34 (a net zero approval). In Victoria, Turnbull had a net -5 approval.
Labor led by 54-46 in Victoria, and Labor and the Greens had a combined 55% of the primary vote among those aged 18-34. But Turnbull’s relatively high ratings were probably holding up the Coalition vote in Victoria and among young people. With Morrison replacing Turnbull, the Coalition’s vote in Victoria and with young people is most at risk.
In November 2017, the result of the postal plebiscite on same-sex marriage was announced, with Yes to SSM winning by 61.6-38.4. This result shows that social conservatism has little electoral appeal. It is likely that there will be far fewer potential Labor voters who would switch to voting for the Coalition under Morrison than the reverse.