The latest Essential Research result has Labor gaining a point on two-party preferred for the second week in a row, with the Coalition now leading 56-44, and has Labor gaining three points on the primary vote – a very unusual occurrence in this series, which publishes weekly results derived from a two-week rolling average. Labor’s primary vote is at 33%, with the Coalition and the Greens each down a point to 49% and 10% respectively.

The first of the supplementary questions measures respondents’ knowledge rather than opinions: namely, the question of whether interest rates are higher or lower now than they were when Labor came to power, the purpose presumably being to determine whether misapprehensions are behind Labor’s diabolical polling. A majority (35% to 20%) were in fact aware that they were now lower, but only 10% thought they were a little lower against 25% for a lot, when the official interest rate has in fact gone from 6.75% to 3.75%. Respondents were then asked how much credit they gave Labor for the drop: 7% said a lot, 19% a fair amount, 27% a little and 35% none. Further questions cover the casualisation of the workforce, the mining boom, the value of various industries to average Australians, and the notion that the government is engaged in “class warfare” (28% agree, 46% disagree).

Further polling snippets:

• Yesterday’s Sunday Mail reported that the Galaxy poll of Queensland respondents covered in the previous post also found that Kevin Rudd’s lead over Julia Gillard in the state at 67-21, and at 62-37 among Labor voters.

• News Limited tabloids carried another Galaxy poll yesterday, this one conducted online from a national sample of 606, which showed support for gay marriage at 50% against 33% opposed. However, 26% of respondents said legislation to allow gay marriage would make them less likely to vote Labor, against only 22% who said more likely.

• Labor has gone public with polling conducted for it by UMR Research, which apparently found that 25% of respondents “would vote for” Julian Assange if he ran for a Senate seat. This tendency was fairly evenly spread among supporters of different parties: 39% for Greens, 26% for Labor and 23% for Coalition. The combined figure is similar to the 23% of respondents to a Galaxy poll in September last year who rated themselves “likely” to vote for Katter’s Australian Party at the Queensland state election: 11.5% would actually do so. It is not clear if the poll was entirely national, as the report from Phillip Coorey in the Sydney Morning Herald only spoke of results from New South Wales and Victoria, which perhaps surprisingly showed slightly stronger support for Assange in the former.

Preselection:

• Tasmanian Labor Senator Nick Sherry, who had already announced he would not contest the next election, has brought forward his retirement. David Killick of The Mercury reports the vacancy looks set to be filled by Lin Thorp, member for the state upper house seat of Rumney from 1999 until her defeat in 2011. Thorp has the backing of Sherry’s Left faction, including from Premier Lara Giddings. However, earlier reports suggested others in the Left wanted a younger candidate, and that a move was on to have the party’s administrative committee reserve the position for a candidate from northern Tasmanian – with Launceston commercial lawyer Ross Hart fitting the bill on both counts. Notably, Unions Tasmania secretary Kevin Harkins, who was said to have been locked out preselection in 2007 because Kevin Rudd had him confused with Kevin Reynolds, and again in 2010 because Rudd did not want to admit to his mistake, had ruled himself out because “we’re likely to have a very conservative government in just a tad over 12 months’ time, (and) the best place for me is with the union movement”.

David Killick of The Mercury reports nine candidates have nominated for the Tasmanian Liberal Party’s preselection, to be determined on June 16. They are incumbents David Bushby and Richard Colbeck, together with “trade and investment adviser Sally Chandler, vineyard owner Sarah Courtney, Launceston Chamber of Commerce staffer Kristen Finnigan, business manager David Fry, Hobart businesswoman Sue Hickey, business development manager Jane Howlett and senior political adviser Don Morris”. Morris is a former chief-of-staff to the state Opposition Leader, Will Hodgman.

• Angus Taylor has been preselected as the Liberal candidate to succeed the retiring Alby Schultz in Hume, winning 26 out of 33 votes in a ballot of delegates from local party branches. Taylor is a 45-year-old Sydney lawyer, Rhodes Scholar and triathlete who had the backing of Schultz and Tony Abbott, and is also said to be close to Malcolm Turnbull. As detailed by the Yass Tribune, other candidates were Ross Hampton, an olive-grower and former adviser to Peter Reith, Ian Campbell and Brendan Nelson; Rick Mandelson, a Mittagong-based chartered accountant; and Ed Storey, a Yass-based grazier.

• Peter Hendy, former Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive and previously a staffer to Brendan Nelson and Peter Reith, has been confirmed as the Liberal candidate for Eden-Monaro. Hendy reportedly had a comfortable victory over three other candidates, including Sustainable Agricultural Communities director Robert Belcher. Leslie White of the Weekly Times reports that the Nationals have approached Cooma mayor Dean Lynch to run, having determined that the Liberals’ endorsement of Hendy offers them “a point of difference” owing to his stance on foreign investment and the currency of foreign farm ownership as an issue locally.

Amy Kelly of City North News reports that Brian Nally, “local activist and president of the Kalinga Wooloowin Residents Association”, will be a contestant for LNP preselection in Lilley, together with the candidate from 2010, Rod McGarvie, and – possibly – Clive Palmer.

• The Barossa Herald reports Tom Zorich has been preselected as the Liberal candidate for the South Australian seat of Wakefield. Zorich is a local sports store retailer and former Gawler councillor, and a former player and club president of the Central Districts Football Club.

Richard Willingham of The Age presents a helpful list of Liberal preselection candidates for five Labor-held seats, and places particular emphasis on Jagajaga hopeful Nick McGowan, who is press secretary to state Planning Minister Matthew Guy, served as Ted Baillieu’s media director at the 2006 election campaign, and was a civilian peacekeeper who served in Afghanistan, Liberia and Burundi. Phil Barresi, former Deakin MP and unsuccessful candidate in 2010, has decided against nominating again, with John Pesutto, an adviser to Ted Baillieu, widely rated the front-runner. Corangamite: Marcus Dripps, Sarah Henderson, Rod Nockles. Chisholm: Blair Barker, Adrianne Fleming, Mark Lane, John Nguyen, Nicholas Tragas, Theo Zographos. Deakin: Terry Barnes, Michelle Frazer, Phillip Fusco, Andrew Munroe, Simon Olsen, John Pesutto. Jagajaga: Nick McGowan, Mathew Whiffin. La Trobe: Michael Keane, Sue McMillan (Knox councillor and former mayor), Martin Spratt, Jason Wood, Mark Vershuur.

Online voting has begun for the primary preselection process by which Labor will choose its candidate for the Sydney lord mayoral election, part of a process in which half the vote will be determined by participating voters who declare they are not members of a rival party. Andrew Crook of Crikey reports Chinatown restaurateur Jonathan Yee has reached a preference deal with “legal type Damian Spruce and refugee agitator Linda Scott”. Another candidate, Cassandra Wilkinson, founder of independent radio station FBi and wife of former state minister Paul Macleay, has accused Yee of branch stacking in a bid to strengthen his position in the 50% share of the preselection vote reserved for party members. Wilkinson and Cameron Murphy, NSW Civil Liberties chief, are preferencing each other. How to vote cards are distributed along with candidate statements to the 90,000 Sydney eligible residents.