Norwood from the trees

Election punditry has been an agreeably straightforward matter during the South Australian campaign, with published opinion polling and reported internal polls all pointing in much the same direction. That’s all changed with two polls in today’s Advertiser covering the neighbouring electorates of Norwood and Hartley, located due east of the city. Taken on Tuesday and covering around 500 voters in each electorate, the polls suggest the Liberals are well in contention to gain the former and likely to retain the latter.

Rightly or wrongly, the Poll Bludger is reluctant to junk his overall hypothesis on the basis of one poll, although it has to be noted that it’s the first to be published since the Liberals’ major policy announcements, campaign launch and belated television advertisements. The straw at which I will grasp is the steady rise in the undecided vote across the Norwood polling, which has now reached a remarkable 18 per cent. If the universal expectation of a Labor win is encouraging swinging voters to think again, it might be that a shift in the polls will be enough to bring them back on board. It’s also worth mentioning that the result is consistent with reports of Labor polling showing it on course to win seats in the outer suburban mortgage belt, but making less headway nearer the city. Other noteworthy local factors are a tradition of last-minute swings to the Liberals in Norwood, where Ciccarello had an unexpectedly close run in 2002, and the stubbornness of booths in the southern part of Hartley (the more middle-class and white-bread part of the electorate) which have a tradition of resisting broader Labor swings at both state and federal elections.

These promise to be the first in a flurry of polls over the final days of the campaign. A comment left on this site indicates that The Advertiser was conducting further polling yesterday, so it should have more results up its sleeve tomorrow, presumably statewide this time. Roy Morgan should put what remains of its reputation on the line tomorrow, with Newspoll to follow on Saturday morning. If they all point to a big swing back to the Liberals, a wholesale revision might be in order. Until then, two seats have been given back to the Liberals in the Poll Bludger election guide, although not the two covered by the poll. They are Unley, a normally safe Liberal seat just south of the city which could only have fallen under a Labor best-case scenario, and Mount Gambier, where the buzz locally suggests sitting independent Rory McEwen will struggle to stay ahead of the Labor candidate, whose preferences he will need to overcome Liberal challenger Peter Gandolfi.

Some further additions to the election guide:

Light (Liberal 2.6%): Liberal member Malcolm Buckby has become a target of Labor ads publicising a statement he made at a meeting at Northside Church in Gawler, which was told that while the Liberals would "try to maintain the promises we put out to the electorate running up to the election … not every one is going to be delivered". The Liberals have protested that he was referring in part to the potential for obstruction by the upper house (although there doesn’t appear to be anything about this in the full transcript released today to The Advertiser), and accused Labor of reaching "a new low by secretly filming part of a church service and using it in a political advertisement". The church concurs, telling The Advertiser today that its hospitality had been abused by Labor.

Unley (Liberal 9.1%): The Electoral Commission has forced Liberal candidate David Pisoni to withdraw a radio advertisement critical of "Labor’s infill plan" and its impact on suburban housing density. This has not been the only stumble related to the Liberals’ advertising campaign. Today, The Advertiser reports that the Liberals have been compelled to amend a television advertisement, correcting a claim that South Australia had the country’s "worst waiting lists" to "worst emergency waiting times". An earlier ad had to be corrected because it misspelled Labor.

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.

18 comments on “Norwood from the trees”

  1. So we’re sposed to take as a given that Vini has lost 6% of her vote in a fortnight? I think the margin of error is just too wide to assume that these Advertiser polls are accurate.

    Interesting though that the female/male split is so wide, in both polls though. I wonder why?

  2. I can see why Norwood would be a worry for the ALP …an apparent “overnight” drop in Vinis 1st preference vote from 37% in the February Tiser poll to 31% on Tuesday.

    In Hartley on the other hand Grace Portolesi has dropped from 32% to 31% between the two Tiser polls. Obviously a drop of 1% is not good if you are already behind. However, Joe Scalzi has also suffered a drop in his first preference vote from 42% to 36%. Like Vini his vote appears to be going in the wrong direction and at a much faster rate than his Labor opponent.

    Presumably some of the 6% of the vote he has dropped is going to Family First who have increased their vote by 3%. It’s likely Joe will get 70% of those FFP back as preferences. Nevertheless, he looks quite a bit more wobbly than he did when the Tiser polled Hartley last year.

  3. Problems are afoot for Labor. Those outer suburban gains: Light, Bright, Mawson and country Stuart are still highly likely, but it would be a deserved turn of events if lazy Vini were to crash out in Norwood. Vini is the Queen of Dorothy-Dixers and doesn’t do much more with her limited time spent in Parliament. I wouldn’t call the seat for Labor yet but what a moment of satisfaction if that seat were to haemorrage for Labor.

    Rory McEwen is dead in Mount Gambier. My sources in the regional city are telling me that the ‘Labor’ Minister is dead in the water. In a well-educated, refined regional retreat such as a Mount Gambier people are tapped into local politics and are furious that McEwen sold them out. He will struggle to out do Labor for second place, and the resulting deluge of preferences.

  4. Hehe did you guys hear about how the nationals guy, reckons he is going to win flinders?. 27.6% to ol’lizzie YEAH RIGHT and with preferences going towards liberal (mate if you want to change things YOU DONT PREFERENCE THE INCUMBENT).I think that there will be a serious swing against liberal but she will romp by a good 6-8 percent, it will be an early night for all involved in watching our fine electorate.

    It is the first time that the greens have run in our electorate, but i havent heard hide or hair of her outside the papers (she did make a wonderful point about the greens relationship with the country).The democrats candidate is a good one,a local called john hunwick which has made good points and the democrats have made good policy.

    The incumbent is very ho-hum and how a govt who has being out for 4 years or so was responsible for the economy *rolls eyes*.The labor candidate, next time i hear about how good mike rann is ill hit someone.Hell they dont even have the local candidate (john lovegrove) all they have is MIKE RANN GETS RESULTS on there signs, i dont think the man has a independent thought in his body, and is talking about how because how popular mike rann he will get a higher vote *grrrrrr*

    Family First are fucking annoying, they have little local based policy (if any) and when they do its a couple of lines, then they go back to how evil gays are and how families are being destroyed.I suspect (sadly) that they will poll high.As for the nats candidate hank swalue he is high profile candidate (he is the local cop) and has run a decent campaign.But he is as all nats candidates boring as the proverbial batshit,hasnt contributed much except the dust up between barnaby joyce and the mayor of port lincoln which was rather amusing.

    Keep ya posted
    Yours truly

    P.S I would like to commend the port lincoln times on the coverage of the election in flinders.

  5. I distrust electorate polls, before the 2004 federal election there were some apaprently soundly conducted polls in indivdual electorates that were way out from the final result.

  6. Geoff R, you are correct. None of the polls can be trusted because in particular in Norwood, the people who are undecided has risen to 18%. Those votes could go anywhere.

  7. I would suggest that the high undecided vote and the apparent swing away from Ciccarello are just signs of dissatisfaction amongst progressive ALP voters. The party hasn’t exactly been appealing to these people, who live in pretty high numbers in Norwood. For instance, Rann’s scare-tactics advertising, the federal party’s pathetic performance, and Tasmanian Labor’s appalling treatment of the Greens and the environment are all big turn-offs.

    I predict a largish vote for the Greens or Democrats with preferences flowing back to Labor rather than Nigel Smart.

  8. Im not sure too much can be read into these polls. Firstly they only sample 500 voters, and then secondly the undecided votes are very high, particularly in Norwood which is at 18% ! So almost 1 in 5 voters in undecided … I would expect this seat to be quite close, but based on the number of undecided voters and the incumbency factor you’d probably favour Vini Ciccarello to get up. Nigel Smart’s best hope is for it to be close at the end of counting on election night.

    It does make me laugh when people in these forums try to read something into a 1% swing in these small sample-size polls. Thats well and truly statistical noise !

    As for Joe Scalzi in hartley, you’d probably favour him to retain that seat, as he has a pretty good track record at holding Hartley. If the libs lose Hartley, in my opinion, they’ll already have well and truly lost 3 or 4 other seats .

    The seat to watch in my opinion is Bright, where the ALP has run a very strong campaign, with a prominent female candidate, and there is no sitting member. Bright has a history of large swings over the years, and its not impossible for Labor to get a 7 or 8% swing in this seat.

    But time will tell …

  9. Polls are totally screwed at this election. Yesterday we had a potential Liberal gain indicated in Norwood and the holding of the Libs most marginal seat (Hartley). Today we see the Morgan poll indicating a catastrophic pro-Labor swing.

    Tomorrow’s election will be influenced by localised swings and roundabouts. Outer-suburbs and existing Labor seats swing to Labor. Inner suburbs have little or no pro-Labor swing with a couple of anomalies along the way.

    Rural areas are not being accurately gauged with only one Advertiser poll focusing at rural electorates, and that suggested a significant pro-Labor swing.

    It’s almost time, the election posters are hanging off the stobie polls, people look tired, Rann’s presidential campaign has worn thin, people are desperate for an Opposition with substance but haven’t found one. Tomorrow I will work all day in a polling booth handing out Liberal how-to-vote cards.

    At the beginning of the campaign I predicted Labor gaining 2 seats. I revise this to 4: Light, Bright, Morialta and Stuart.

    I am predicting that Labor will LOSE Norwood and that Labor’s man in the South East, Independent Rory McEwen will fall on a massive pro-Liberal swing. The Liberals will also pick up the easy gain of Hammond.

    The Libs should hold marginal Hartley and fend off the challenge in Mawson (Brokenshire’s high personal vote will sustain him, though he will lament the lack of FFP preferences in his southern bible belt seat).

    I predict 7% to be wiped off the margin in Unley, but for it to be a narrow Liberal retain.

    I predict up to 15% will be wiped off Liz Penfold’s massive cushion in the Liberal stronghold of Flinders, the recipients will be the National Party.

    At the beginning of the campaign the Libs could have lost safe Finniss but an interesting policy to upgrade the Victor Harbor-Adelaide Road will have saved the day and the margin will suffer little despite the National candidate being a popular local Mayor.

    Labor’s two gains of 2002, Colton and Adelaide, can expect big lurches in their favour, both of over 5%. Other marginal Labor electorates such as Ashford and Wright will see significant pro-Labor swings but expect Elder, the seat of Transport Minister Patrick Conlon, to have little upward swing. A strong localised campaign by fantastic candidate Heidi Greaves will negate Labor’s statewide popularity.

    Kavel is a seat which should be carefully watched and I am going to go out on a very fragile limb and call this as a spectacular Family First gain.

    Mitchell, touted as the proprety of Rosemary Clancy for Labor, will be delivered to Independent Kris Hanna against popular opinion.

    Therefore my predictions are:

    Adelaide Pro-Labor swing of over 5% Labor Retain
    Ashford Pro-Labor swing of over 7% Labor Retain
    Bragg Pro-Labor swing of over 5% Liberal Retain
    Bright Pro-Labor swing of 5.5% Labor GAIN
    Chaffey Pro-National swing of over 5% National Retain
    Cheltenham Pro-Labor swing of over 5% Labor Retain
    Colton Pro-Labor swing of over 7% Labor Retain
    Davenport Pro-Labor swing of over 5% Liberal Retain
    Elder Pro-Labor swing of 1% or less Labor Retain
    Enfield Pro-Labor swing of over 10% Labor Retain
    Finniss Pro-National swing of 5% Liberal Retain
    Fisher Labor to take Such close to wire Independent Retain
    Flinders Pro-National swing of at least 10% Liberal Retain
    Florey Big FFP vote, small swing to Lib Labor Retain
    Frome (Kerin’s seat) Swing of 5% to Labor Liberal Retain
    Giles Swing of 1% towards Libs Labor Retain
    Goyder Swing of 5% towards Labor Liberal Retain
    Hammond Back to Liberal camp, hold by 10% Liberal GAIN
    Hartley Small swing to Labor of 1% Liberal Retain
    Heysen Swing of about 5% towards Labor Liberal Retain
    Kaurna Swing of more than 7% towards Labor Labor Retain
    Kavel Catastrophic result for Liberal FAMILY FIRST GAIN
    Lee Pro-Labor swing in region of 7% Labor Retain
    Light Pro-Labor swing over 5% LABOR GAIN
    Little Para Pro-Labor swing over 5% Labor Retain
    Mackillop Pro-Labor swing of over 5% Liberal Retain
    Mawson Pro-Labor swing of 3% Liberal Retain
    Mitchell Independent gain Independent GAIN
    Morialta Pro-Labor swing of 4% Labor GAIN
    Morphett Pro-Labor swing of over 5% Liberal Retain
    Mt Gambier Pro-Liberal swing of over 30% LIBERAL GAIN
    Napier Pro-Labor swing of over 10% Labor Retain
    Newland Pro-Labor swing of 4% Liberal Retain
    Norwood Pro Liberal swing of 1% Liberal GAIN
    Playford Pro-Labor swing of over 10% Labor Retain
    Port Adelaide Pro-Labor swing of over 7% Labor Retain
    Ramsay Pro-Labor swing of over 7% Labor Retain
    Reynell Pro-Labor swing of around 4% Labor Retain
    Schubert Pro-Labor swing of around 7% Liberal Retain
    Stuart Pro-Labor swing of around 3% LABOR GAIN
    Taylor Pro Labor swing of around 7% Labor Retain
    Torrens Pro-Labor swing of around 7% Labor Retain
    Unley Pro-Labor swing of around 7% Liberal Retain
    Waite Pro-Labor swing of around 7% Liberal Retain
    W Torrens Pro-Labor swing of around 2% Labor Retain
    Wright Pro-Labor swing of around 5% Labor Retain

  10. Hello dave i think that most of your predictions will happen.But kavel going to FFP i bloody hope not i really hope that they dont even get a LC seat.If you think that the opposition has no substance, how come your going to hand out HTV cards for liberals?.Anyway i think that nationals in my seat will make it slightly interesting but i suggest about 6-10% win for lizzie.Any less and it will be on for young and old come 2010 election,she might have to get off her arse and do something other than fucking grandstanding. >:(

  11. Norwood Pro Liberal swing of 1% Liberal GAIN

    Nigel Smart’s paying $5 at centrebet if you’re keen.

    Unfortunately no odds for Kavel (or any other seat for that matter). Personally I’m sceptical about the logic that a minor party endorsement would broaden Playford’s appeal. My bet is that he’ll score less than the 18.7% he got in 2002.

  12. Adam, this is Lizzie’s last blast at Flinders. She’s a funny old bird eh?! I have a mate from an old farming clan over there who is sounding of the electoral for the post-Lizzie movement. He reckons he has a strong chance! She’ll throw in the towel at the end of this cycle if not before …

    Why am I handing out Liberal how-to-vote cards? Because I believe Rann with a mega-majority would be a terrible outcome for SA (the State is toying with the idea of recession) and I want to see a Conservative block in the upper house to reign in the nonsense of a post-Rann era likely led by Lomax-Smith or Weatherall (raving lefties!). I do not rate Foley as the heir apparent and I think Rann may not last the term. Presidential spinners always come undone.

    Family First taking Kavel. It’s a bit of a long-shot but I wanted to do something outrageous in my last blast of pollbludging. Goldsworthy has a very low profile in Parliament, though I’m not sure of what he is like locally (I live in doomed Bright, nowhere near the Hills). Tomorrow’s election will produce shocks, I may be at Party Headquarters for the latter part of the count if the pollbludger wants an insider (which I’m sure he’s got already) he can feel free to email me tonight and I will provide him with contact details.

  13. I think there is still a huge chance Hartley will fall, feedback from my mothers side of the family which are connected to the Scalzi’s roud every corner, show that the man has absolutly no credibility, and his “son’s” letter to the sunday mail only compounded feelings that he is a joke.For example at the last election the man acctual tried to win over voters at a gathering of elderly italians by describing to them how it works out cheaper to keep him in office than to pay the salary of a new MP and his pension! Norwood will also come down to the wire as most would expect I can’t see a certain result for some time as whom ever wins in both Hartley and Norwood will probably have all sorts of challenges on their hands.

  14. Hello dave i really do hope that your right, i know that our member federally is doing the same.Anyhoo i dont think that there is ANY lefties in the labor party (well with the number for leadership put it that way) this has being the most conservative labor govt for along time.Anyway i think that it will be interesting if labor get a majority in the upper house, i think there rantings about abolishing it will be gone.But if liberals get it (doubtful) it might intersify but if they get a pliant upper house they will shut up.Anyway i think that the liberal party will crash severly.

  15. Post Blog Comment – Bulldust, adam from flinders. As the Labor Candidate for Flinders in the 2002 & 2006 State Election I had and still have very strong opinions about most subjects that affect us. Certainly would not have been a Candidate for a Rann led Government or for that matter a Labor team if I did not agree and endorse the policies. I cannot recall receiving a phone call from yourself enquiring about my opinions, please ring and I will give you opinions for hours. As for the ‘Mike Rann gets results’ that I personally placed on the local stobies, I would have put my own up for both elections but I could not afford it.

  16. I strongly respect what it takes to put yourself out there and stand for election – I stood as an independent candidate for another election and worked very hard to get my message out and succeeded to some extent, especially with the local media in one-third of the electorate I ran for.

    I found it was one thing to have views and another entirely for the public to discover what they were. This comes down to communications management and is often subject to the twin perils of money and time. It is the unusual elector who calls to find out about policies from the candidate themselves, even if they make themselves available – the most effective methods are still grassroots campaigning, a strong online presence, a persistent stream of media releases, etc. In general people are apathetic about politics and expect to be spoon-fed – anyone who doesn’t learn this quickly does so at their own peril.

  17. Ok first things first i as a voter in that electorate, shouldent have to do that effective campaigns get the message accross yours didnt,when you did have the chance you parroted labor properganda, of which i could of heard from the labor website and saved my time from reading the paper.Local issues in country electorates REALLY hit home you should know that you failed in that too.

    Whilst i agree you have to agree with the parties policies and stuff to run as a candidate that doesnt make you a robot.Also more grassroots campaigning wouldent of gone astray and orgainising a public meeting ($200 a head dinners DONT COUNT) and handing out some flyers around the place wouldent hurt either.Im a pissed off voter who is SICK of liberal domination of my seat,wants a STRONG labor candidate and quite frankly at the last election you didnt cut it,you got hit for six by the nationals when they did run a strong campaign and really gave the liberal a fright if you could do that (or someone else maybe 😉 ) i would be happy.

    P.S I thought the labor party was awash with cash, maybe doing some begging for more funds wouldent hurt and you can get some original banners on there.

    Yours truly

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