Poll that doesn’t count: number one

The Courier Mail reports that something called TNS has conducted a poll from a respectable sample of 700 taken "at the height of the Merri Rose resignation scandal". To the extent that sense can be made of them, the results seem in line with The Poll Bludger’s expectations, showing a 55-45 two-party preferred split in Labor’s favour. The article reports an alarming-sounding 38 per cent primary vote for Labor, which is apparently "5 per cent lower than at the same time in the 2001 campaign", so obviously undecided respondents are not being distributed here (Labor in fact polled 49 per cent at the 2001 election). Typically though, Beattie has ignored the latter point and constructed an opportunity to predict impending disaster by talking of a "10 per cent primary vote swing against Labor", which assumes that every single undecided voter will vote against them. The poll has the Greens on 6 per cent and One Nation on 4, but frustratingly no result is given for the Coalition. Even less comprehensible in the revelation that "Labor has only 10 per cent of second preferences, the Coalition 38 per cent, independents 15 per cent, the Greens 12 per cent and One Nation 9 per cent" – this is presumably limited to those not supporting the major parties, in which case it would be a remarkable outcome given the high proportion of Greens voters represented, and is easy to dismiss given the small sample size. Unfortunately I only have the online article to go on for now – it may well be that the newspaper features a table that makes sense of everything.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.