Galloping ahead

Doubts that Labor has returned to a highly competitive position in Western Australia have been further laid to rest by today’s Westpoll in The West Australian, which has Labor on an election-winning 48 per cent against 44 per cent for the Coalition. Hopefully Roy Morgan will join in the fun tomorrow; until then, the following table of recent poll results indicates the reversal in Labor’s long-term slide that appeared to begin when the election was called.

Westpoll Morgan Newspoll
January 48 44 ? 42 44 6
December 40 51 5 39.5 43.5 8 34 49 7
Oct/Nov 41 50 6 42.5 41.5 9
Aug/Sept 46 47 5 47.5 38 7 38 41 9
Election 10/2/01 37.2 34.4 7.3 37.2 34.4 7.3 37.2 34.4 7.3

The West Australian report plays heavily on a supplementary question regarding the canal proposal, which remarkably found that "slightly more than half" were in favour against "a quarter" opposed, despite the finding on voting intention. To the Poll Bludger’s mind the question rather misses the point, namely that the Coalition proposes to dispense with a prudent feasibility study before diving head-long into a massive expenditure of public funds. Voters who are broadly favourable to the concept could still have grave concerns about what such an approach might say about the overall standard of policy under an incoming Coalition government.

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.