Winston Churchill, for all his faults, once said that democracy is the worst form of government, but the best one that we have*.
The past three years, all the nuance, or lack of, in policy, debate, economics, and the changing world is reduced to a simple question: this guy, or that guy?
Of course, there’s a bit more to it than that, but you can’t help feeling that voting is a bit of an anticlimax, particularly given everything that has happened over the last 36 months.
That’s why it’s so important to use your voice, your one action to directly impact who will be pulling the levers of power in the country for the next three years, and thoroughly research your decision before you do to make sure it’s the best one for you.
Because it all comes down to this — and the question on everyone’s mind between now and May 21 is ‘who is going to win the election?’
While we don’t have a crystal ball here at Latch HQ, we do have polling figures. These are perhaps only marginally better, depending on who you ask, but they’re also the best system we have.
So, if the polls are anything to go by, here’s who the latest ones are saying will win the Australian 2022 Federal Election.
What The Latest Polls Are Saying
With a week to go, there’s increasingly little time for the Coalition to turn things around and, if the polls are to be believed, we could very well be looking at a Labor majority government come May 22.
The Australian commissioned YouGov to conduct the largest pre-election survey of voters and the results suggest that Labor will win outright with a gain of 12 seats, giving them a majority 80 seats in the House of Representatives.
The poll uses something called ‘MRP’ or multi-level regression with post-stratification. This is a statistical technique that pools data from 10 times the number of survey respondents, plus electoral role information and census data. It has been used previously to correctly predict results in UK elections.
YouGov’s results show that the Coalition would lose four seats in Victoria, two in NSW, two in WA, and one each in Queensland, South Australia, and Tasmania. A further six seats are considered too close to call. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is predicted to lose his seat of Kooyong to independent Monique Ryan while Liberal MP Tim Wilson is also predicted to lose to independent Zoe Daniels.
Still, experts are advising Labor not to crack out the champagne just yet, as they highlight the fact that polls have been wrong in the past and that current predictions don’t reflect the challenge still ahead of them.
Murray Goot, Emeritus Professor of Politics and International Relations at Macquarie University, writes that Labor needs a swing of 3.3% in order to claim victory; “Not Mount Everest, but not a stroll in park”.
Elsewhere, triple j have revealed polling that shows young people have entirely lost confidence in politicians. Their survey of 1,600 18-29 year olds found that just 2% of young people believe that politicians are working in the best interests of young Aussies, while only 1% believe they are working in the best interests of the planet.
Intifar Chowdhury, an Associate Lecturer at the Australian National University’s School of Politics, has said that she was not surprised at the direction of the results, but that the magnitude of dissatisfaction is eye-opening.
“This just shows how bad the gap is between young people and people who are supposedly representing them in the Parliament,” Chowdhury said.
With the final election debate, held on Channel 7 last night, again showing that Morrison has failed to beat his opponent, it all comes down to this final, heavy week of campaigning.
The Story So Far
Now that the election has been called, here’s who pollsters think could win.
At the start of April, before the election was announced, Labor was looking strong, with Newspoll, conducted by YouGov clocking them at 53% over the Coalitions 47% in the two-party preference vote. Roy Morgan had Labor at an even greater advantage, sitting at 47% to the Coalitions 43%.
Once Morrison called the election however, things appear to have shifted quite rapidly.
Resolve, as above, saw Labor drop four points, with the Coalition gaining one. Roy Morgan saw a three point increase for the Coalition while Labor dropped one point – however in the two-party preference vote, the Coalition gained two points while Labor dropped one.
Newspoll actually saw a decrease of one point for both major parties and an increase in ‘other’ candidates as first preference. Labor still holds their six point lead over the Coalition, however.
Who Are We Listening To?
There are quite a few polls taken in this country, all of which use fairly similar methodologies. These polls give us a range of results that indicate broadly similar outcomes for the upcoming election.
YouGov, Essential Media Communications, Roy Morgan Research, Resolve Strategic, and Ipsos are the big players here. They ask representative samples of the population who they will vote for, as well as who they prefer between the Liberals and Labour if they had to choose between them.
If you want to add a few more tea leaves to the pot, there are betting odds to consider as well, which can help determine who is looking most likely to win the election, according to the bookies.
What Do the Bookies Say?
The bookies are also turning their favour on the Coalition, and have massively lowered the odds for a Coalition win in the past week.
On Wednesday, April 13, the bookies were paying between $2.35 and $2.55 for a Coalition win and between $1.55 and $1.66 for a Labour win.
By the following Monday, April 18, the odds had shifted dramatically. A Coalition win is now paying between $1.88 and $2.85 while a Labor win is paying $188 to $2.45.
Bookies can also be wrong, however, they’re in business only by getting it right. SportsBet have said that while bookies do take polling into effect, they also look at previous elections, individual issues, and the performance of candidates to set their odds.
A Word About Polling
Polling has been heavily derided after none of the big pollsters was able to predict the Coalition win in 2019. All of them were claiming a strong, easy victory for Labour and Bill Shorten, prompting Morrison to declare the election a “miracle.”
The Sydney Morning Herald actually cancelled their contract with polling company Ipsos following the results of the election for getting it so wrong and has sought the work of others during this campaign.
It wasn’t however just the pollsters, even the bookies were in trouble last time. SportsBet famously paid out $5.2 million in bets on Labor two days before the election as the polling looked like such a sure thing. They then had to pay out Coalition bets as well once the government was re-elected.
This is all to say that pollsters can and very much do get it wrong and that putting too much trust or belief in anything you read from them is not always the best idea. Still, they attempt to correct previous errors by improving methodology and learning from past mistakes, so, who knows, maybe this time they’ll be closer to the mark.
The First Week
After week one of campaigning, the polling is starting to trickle in and it looks like Labor and Albanese have not done well.
According to Resolve Strategic, Scott Morrison has risen from about even as preferred leader with Anthony Albanese, however, the Coalition leader now holds an 8 point lead over his opponent. The Liberals have also drawn level with Labor as to who each voter would put first on the ballot paper, while ‘other’ candidates also gain votes.
The Guardian’s essential poll has found similar, with Labor dropping three points in the two-party preference vote and the Coalition gaining one. The Coalition’s primary vote sits unchanged at 37%, while Labor’s has dropped 1%. The Greens have also dropped 1% while independent candidates and the United Australia Party have made small gains.
The big difference here in the polls between now and the start of the election is the number of undecided voters. The essential poll found an increase of 2% while Resolve found a jump of 6% in uncommitted voters.
As we’ve noted elsewhere, the vote doesn’t doesn’t need to swing by much to cause some major upsets. That increase in undecided voters could really ignite the campaign.
Labour Holds Strong, Despite Albanese Illness
The latest polling for the past week shows that the dial hasn’t shifted much at all — and, if anything, could have turned somewhat in Labor’s favour.
Newspoll and Ipsos have both released their latest findings, taken across April 20 – 23, which show Labor maintains its lead over the Coalition by 53-47%, for Newspoll, and 55-45% for Ipsos.
These are virtually the same results we saw three weeks ago right before the election was called, with Ipsos recording only one point shifts in support for the Coalition or Labor.
While this might not sound like much of a victory for Labor — and it isn’t — it’s not the loss that was feared by the party. Labor Leader Anthony Albanese has contracted COVID, meaning he cannot be out and about on the campaign trail. Many supporters and party officials feared this would impact Labor negatively, however voters don’t seem to have minded too much that he’s not there in person.
On the other side of things, the Coalition is being attacked by Labor over their failure to stop a military pact between China and the Solomon Islands. Labor has linked the alliance of the Pacific Island nation and China with climate change and Australia’s failure to help our neighbours when asked to. This may have pushed the polling back against Albanese’s absence.
The Newspoll polling has also revealed that Prime Minister Scott Morrison has gained in the preferred leader polling over Albanese, with his personal approval up two points. However, satisfaction with Morrison also dropped three points. Both leaders have an overall satisfaction score of negative 12.
Ipsos polling found that Australians have opinions on Morrison, less so on Albanese. 34% are ‘uncommitted’ over the Labor leader while only 18% are uncommitted over Morrison. Women, in particular, are less happy with Morrison, with only 31% approving of his performance, compared to 36% of men.
If the results of the above two polls were replicated across the nation on election day, Labor would be in with a fairly comfortable win. However, as the Ipsos poll found, only 42% actually think Labor will pull it off.
This week, May 2, sees the halfway mark crossed between the election announcement and voting day. Early voting opens on May 9, next Monday, which is when postal votes will also be ready to submit. Voters are having to start making decisions soon, with just three weeks to go before the election, and, so far Labor is still looking strong.
Newspoll, published by The Australian, shows the ALP up by a point in the primary vote to 38% while the Coalition held at 36%. In the two party preference question, Labor remains at 53% while the Coalition sit at 47%. This hasn’t changed in the past week.
The Resolve Poll, published by the Sydney Morning Herald, saw primary support for the Coalition drop from 35% to 33% while Labor held steady at 34%. In terms of preferred prime minister, Morrison gained a point, to 38%, while Albanese jumped 3 points to 33%. This appears to show a recovery from the earlier weeks of the campaign that saw Labor drop after Albanese couldn’t name the unemployment figure.
Labor officially launched their campaign in Perth on Sunday, speaking to his dedication to fixing issues including climate change, the gender pay gap, electric vehicles, and Australian manufacturing. This appears to have been considered a successful launch, with support for Labor increasing as a result.
Interestingly, The Greens saw a large jump in support, picking up four percentage points over the past two weeks, taking them from 11% to 15% of the primary vote. Greens Leader Adam Bandt has been campaigning heavily on the need to address climate change, the housing crisis, and under-employment which appears to be paying off.
Although there is still a large pool of undecided voters, that is narrowing. According to Resolve, just 24% are uncommitted with their vote, down from 27% two weeks ago.
Resolve director Jim Reed said that victory is not guaranteed for Labor, but that “when you’re nearing the finishing line that gap becomes a lot more difficult to close in time.”
The pressure is definitely on for Morrison to pull off another “miracle” election, and the ticking of the clock is getting louder.
Polls Tighten as We Close In
With 12 days to go before polling day, and early voting opening this week, it’s not looking good for Morrison.
Two polls conducted over the past week have both pointed to an increase in Labor’s lead over the Liberals. Analysts suggest that the RBA interest rate rise has hit Morrison — and his claims that his party is the better economic manager — hard. Voters appear to be turning away from the party’s campaign messaging but there is certainly still time for Morrison to pull off another miracle.
Newspoll data published in The Australian shows Labor gaining a point in the primary vote, rising to 39%, while the Coalition fell one point to 35%. In the two-party preferred vote, Labor have also risen a further point with the Coalition falling a point. According to Newspoll, 54% of the country prefer Labor, compared to just 46% for the Coalition.
The Australian writes that if the election was conducted today, it would result in “a considerable Labor majority victory, with the possibility of a hung parliament looking remote”.
The Ipsos poll, published in The Australian Financial Review, has found similar, with Labor’s primary vote increasing one point to 35%, while the Coalition have fallen 3 points to 29%. The Greens have held their 12% primary share, with One Nation on 4%, United Australia Party on 3%, others on 10%, with 7% undecided.
Labor’s two-party preferred vote is 52% while the Coalition sits at 40%, with 8% of voters still undecided.
“Labor could win government in its own right if the numbers hold,” The AFR writes.
The second leader’s debate, held on the Nine network on Sunday, appears not to have made much of an impression on voters, with the audience survey at the end holding both leaders at 50%.
The bookies have responded by narrowing their odds for Labor. SportsBet have 1.35 for a Labour win, with 3.20 for a Coalition win. Tab has Labor at 1.37 with the Coalition at 3.10.
*Churchill actually never said this and was in fact a strong supporter of democratic government run by the people — despite some of his actions that would suggest otherwise.