Half-time report

Roy Morgan conducted a phone poll on Wednesday and Thursday with a sample of 1055 that put Labor at 54.5 per cent on two-party preferred, which is at least more moderate than the face-to-face poll they conducted over the previous two weekends that had them at 56 per cent. But an ACNielsen poll of 1400 voters conducted between Tuesday and Thursday had the Coalition climbing to an impressive 48 per cent of the primary vote compared with 40 per cent for Labor. Somehow this translated into a Coalition two-party preferred lead of just 51-49.

Elsewhere this week, Newspoll released another geographic and demographic analysis that had Labor right on target in South Australia and New South Wales but lagging badly in all-important Queensland (there was also a 2.1 per cent swing to the Coalition in the election’s least interesting state, Victoria, which if uniform would not win them any new seats unless you count McMillan). Outside of election periods, Newspoll normally conducts this exercise on a quarterly basis by combining the results of at least eight separate surveys, but this time they have produced one from two surveys held in the past fortnight. Even so, the sample sizes are larger than those of most state-based polls commissioned by metropolitan newspapers. Interestingly, Newspoll reveals that "individual state sample bases range from 652 to 691", which seems to suggest that Newspoll uses equal samples for each of the five mainland states regardless of their population. This means the results for the smaller states are actually more likely to be accurate than those for the larger ones.

The smallest of the states in question (Tasmania is not covered) is South Australia, where Newspoll predicts an 8.1 per cent swing to Labor which, if uniform, would add Boothby to their more plausible haul of Adelaide, Hindmarsh and Makin. The broad impression in this state was reinforced by an Advertiser poll of the Adelaide seat of Wakefield, which is notionally Labor following the redistribution but the technical margin of 1.5 per cent is reckoned to flatter them. The poll had Labor in the clear with 53 per cent on two-party preferred. The Poll Bludger remains fairly confident in his existing prediction that Labor will pick up the three marginal Liberal seats in Adelaide. Queensland is another matter, such that the slightly generous prediction that Labor would gain the Brisbane seat of Moreton has been withdrawn. Thus does the Runs on the Board calculation in the left column move an extra increment in the Coalition’s favour.

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.