The Wentworth byelection will be held on October 20. A ReachTEL poll for GetUp!, conducted September 17 from a sample of 860, gave the Liberals’ Dave Sharma 35.8% of the primary vote, independent Kerryn Phelps 20.9%, Labor’s Tim Murray 15.3%, the Greens 12.6%, all Others 5.7% and 9.7% undecided.
After assigning undecided using a forced choice, primary votes were 39.3% Sharma, 22.5% Phelps, 17.4% Murray and 12.6% Greens. Since a late August ReachTEL poll for The Australia Institute that also included Alex Greenwich, who is not running, Sharma is up 4.7%, Phelps up 10.7%, Murray down 2.9% and the Greens up 3.7%,
Sharma led Murray by 52-48 in the latest ReachTEL, a two-point gain for Sharma since August. But if the primary votes are accurate, it is likely the final two would be Sharma and Phelps.
A major caveat is that, while this poll was released September 30, it was taken on September 17. That is four days before Phelps announced that she was recommending preferences to the Liberals ahead of Labor, backflipping on her previous policy to put the Liberals last. We do not yet know the impact of this decision.
Brazil presidential election: a contest between left and far right
The Brazil presidential election will be held in two rounds, on Sunday October 7 and 28. If no candidate wins over 50% in the October 7 first round, the top two proceed to a runoff. Polls will close on Monday morning Melbourne time.
The left-wing Workers’ Party has won the last four presidential elections from 2002 to 2014, but incumbent President Dilma Rousseff was impeached in August 2016, and replaced by conservative Vice President Michel Temer.
Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (known as Lula), who had been president from 2003 to 2011, attempted to run as the Workers’ Party candidate, but was jailed for corruption. Many assumed that the corruption charges and Rousseff’s impeachment were politically motivated.
With Lula’s endorsement, the new Workers’ Party candidate Fernando Haddad has surged from the mid single digits to the 20’s in the polls in the last month, and is very likely to make the runoff.
Haddad’s opponent in the runoff is almost certain to be far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro has made sympathetic comments about Brazil’s 1964-85 military dictatorship. He has led first round polls that did not include Lula for a long time, and is currently in the 30’s. Bolsonaro has replaced the conventional right-wing PSDB party.
Polling for the Haddad-Bolsonaro runoff is currently close to tied. The key question is whether Bolsonaro’s far-right views create a ceiling for him, in which case Haddad could win over undecided voters in the final three-week runoff campaign.
Conservatives win in Quebec, Canada for first time since 1966
At the October 1 Quebec provincial election, the conservative CAQ won 74 of the 125 seats (up 52 since the 2014 election), the centre-left Liberals 32 (down 38), the separatist and left-wing Quebec Solidaire won ten seats (up seven) and the separatist Parti Quebecois won nine seats (down 21). This is the first time since 1966 that a party other than the Liberals or the Parti Quebecois has won a Quebec election.
Popular votes were 37.4% CAQ (up 14.4%), 24.8% Liberals (down 16.7%), 16.1% Quebec Solidaire (up 8.5%) and 17.1% Parti Quebecois (down 8.3%). Although first past the post helped the CAQ, they led the Liberals by 12.6%, and would probably have won under any single member electoral system.
Polls in Quebec greatly underestimated the CAQ’s support and overstated Liberal support.