25 Apr 2022
Josh in hot seat as UQ reveals Facebook ad spend
Josh in hot seat as UQ reveals Facebook ad spend

If online advertising spending is any guide, Federal Deputy Liberal Leader and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg occupies the hottest seat in the country.

Frydenberg holds the seat of Kooyong, a traditional Liberal stronghold that straddles well-off Melbourne suburbs like Hawthorn, Kew and Balwyn, and holds it by a 6.4 percent margin.

The widely declared Prime Ministerial aspirant suffered a 7.1 percent swing at the 2019 poll and now faces a challenge from so-called “teal independent” Monique Ryan, a paediatric neurologist and former member of the Labor Party.

Ryan is supported by a community war chest, a wad of cash from climate activist Simon Holmes à Court, and changing demographics as younger, progressive voters moving into the seat.

University of Queensland has been tracking Facebook advertising spend by all parties since January 1 and as at breakfast time today, the Libs had already dropped $103,500 to sandbag Kooyong. Ryan’s spend is behind on $83,000 but expect that to change now we have moved into Week Three of the campaign.

Only the similarly contested Liberal seat of Wentworth in Sydney comes close. The campaigns of sitting MP Dave Sharma (LIB) and teal independent Allegra Spender have racked up a combined outlay of $82,000 on Facebook.

Spender is outspending Sharma online by about 50 percent.

Sharma sits on a 9.8 percent margin but his seat has long been vulnerable to a high profile independent – as demonstrated by Dr Kerryn Phelps holding it for seven months.

The mail is that the assault on these seats hasn’t yet cranked up in earnest with the trade union movement still to bring its weight to bear. Given that we’re poised for a record 40 percent of eligible voters casting pre-poll or postal votes, the online spending should peak in Kooyong and Wentworth before Polling Day.

Craig Regan, Senior Account Director