Whistling in the dark

The Victorian election campaign has been surprisingly poorly served for opinion polls; apart from last week’s obligatory Newspoll, there have only been the three electorate-level polls conducted by the Geelong Advertiser for South Barwon, Bellarine and Lara. Roy Morgan has today unveiled a "qualitative survey of 251 Victorian electors", but it gives no figures on voting intention and is really just a bloated vox-pop. To add insult to injury, the newspapers have been bereft of leaked internal polling, and light on for off-the-record assessments by party strategists. The Poll Bludger will accordingly need more time for field work before adding his eagerly awaited predictions to the election guide. As for the upper house guide that was promised by Tuesday, it really is nearing fruition now and will be posted some time this weekend.

One more Campaign Update for the election guide:

Hastings (Labor 0.9%): Last weekend, Steve Bracks announced that commercial net fishing in Westernport Bay would come to an end if Labor was re-elected. Thomas Hunter of Crikey reports: "It appears to be another big win for Rex Hunt – who joined Bracks to make the announcement – and the recreational fishing lobby. Commercial fishing operators well remember what happened in 2002 when a fortnight before the election Bracks, again flanked by Hunt, made the same commitment for the Lake Tyers and Mallacoota fisheries. Sure enough, those commercial fisheries disappeared shortly after the election". Commercial fishing lobby group the Blue Wedge has accused the government of using the proposal to buy the support of recreational fishing groups for the Port Phillip Bay channel deepening project – a hot issue on the Port Phillip Bay side of the Mornington Peninsula, particularly in the marginal Liberal seat of Nepean.

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 “Whistling in the dark”

  1. I agree I have been searching every where for a qualitative poll no luck. You can expect one this weekend and another published around Wednesday. The main problem with polls in an election campaign is that they get stale pretty quick. Look at the Galaxy poll that was widely discredited. I know the parties are polling and I have had some feedback on what they say but due to the confidentiality of this information I can not make any public comments Other then the only pol that counts is the poll on election day. The more I play with the stats both with 2002 and 2004 Senate results the more I like the Senate as a means of electorate profiling. I am continuing to home in on the three upper house seats that that are close. Both the western regions (Metro and Victoria) are shaping up to be of interest and below the line and the bias of the VEC system may pay a role yet. We are working on extracting election day results and processing that information as it its published. If the VEC has its model right it may not even need to enter in some of the below the line votes as the margin in some seats is that great below the line will not effect the results. (Another reason why they should do a preliminary manual distribution prior to data-entry). What will be interest also will be the opportunity and systems that the VEC have put in place to allow and permit effective scrutiny of the ballot. A preliminary above-the-line and first preferences below the line will provide a check digit which will greatly ass-it inn the auditing and scrutiny of the ballot. How many times I have heard we found an extra bundle of 50 votes… This information should be tallied on the night. But as is always the case less attention will be given to the upper-house.

    Analysis at present shows that Labor will have 20 seats there is an outside chance they could secure 21 or even go down to 19. Greens thanks to the Liberal Party they miss out on the South East Metro are looking at two seats only (Northern and Southern Metro). There is an interesting but outside chance of the DLP beating the ALP and NP in Western Victoria but it relies on holding its senate vote and Family first doubling its Senate vote. Family first will not be ion contention for a seat as preferences do not favour them. This was expected.


    In the lower house Prahran is one seat Problem is that you can overdue the direct mail-outs. Door knocking is teh key to a good local campaign as voters want to see their candidates.

  2. I agree Melb City. Sorry about previous post, I thought you said South Metro not South East Metro.

    Prahran is a problem for the ALP. Direct mail outs are all and good (3 from last count), but indeed local candidates do well here. Fortunately for the ALP, The Libs shot themselves in the foot by preferencing Family First and any other right wing person walking by in the upper house.

    I Would hate to be a Liberal booth worker on election day as the large gay (LBTI) vote goes in to vote. You’ve got to feel sorry for Clem Newton-Brown, The Libs have not done him any favors trying to win this seat.

  3. Not sure if that issue will resonate with the gay community. they span both sides of the fence. Yes if civil Liberty issue are on the rise they will unite but these issues are on yet at the forefront. Remember Joseph Riley? He got no where. reason he did not door knock. There are issues in Prahran but they are not being exploited. If you ask Prahran residents would the prefer to be part of Melbourne or stay with stonington they will opt for Melbourne.

    Neither the ALP or the Liberal Party exploited this issue. Clem is a good campaign and I think he will do better then most.

    Kensington residents just won an offer from the ALP that they will be looking at the Local Coucnil boundaries in that region. If they are going to hold a commisison review then all Melbourne’ s boundaries should be on the table and inder review not just Kensington. North carlton want to retrun to Melboutne reuniting Carlton.

    I once wanted a chance to run for this seat (I use to live in South Yarra when I was a student – Great area).

    I am currently doing more research on other inner city seats Kew and Hawthorn. We tend to forget them but just like Burwood they should be looked at.

  4. Also while the Libs preferencing FF is obviously counter productive in this area (Prahran), this I would imagine, be largely offset by the kudos Baillieu has been reciving all year from ‘The Age’ for his social liberalism, comparing him favourably to Bracks on civil unions, abortion reform and his position on voluntry euthanasia.

    I can’t really say for certain, but I think voters see preference deals a ‘part of the game’. Family First, as unpalatteable as they may be, are not One Nation.

  5. Indeed, Family First are not a One Nation. However, they are equally offensive to gay people, as they were to Asians. Look at what they. You are not looking at them carefully enough! They try to tell people how they should be living their personal lives. Politicians have no place in the bedrooms of this state.

    Prahran is full of gays. I agree with Dinesh here that Clem has lost browny points with his preferences. In effect, he is saying one thing and doing another.

    I disagree that Clem is a good campaigner – he speaks poorly, for a lawyer didnt know that the provocation defence had been abolished by Labor.

    O’Reilly is not running in this campaign and Lupton is certainly no O’Reilly! There is actually no comparison. He managed to upset the non-gay sections of prahran. Lupton is not gay – but has a large number of gay supporters. Not charismatic but a solid worker.

    I disagree that doorknocking works in an electorate like this – noone is ever home. It is highly transient. ITs mostly renters, mostly singles, mostly under 30.The demographics are the complete reverse of the outer subs. By the time you had door knocked the electorate – many of those you had doorknocked have moved somewhere else.

    The result of this election will mostly revolve around statewide issues, and single issues like gay marriage, and civil rights. THere are really no local issues that catch the imagination. It is all highly residential. Packed and neighbors are mostly disconnected.

  6. Hmmm, the Age has a piece about Liberal and Green preferences. The Greens have taken the unusual step of split-ticketing in some seats, and the Libs HAVE preferenced the Greens ahead of Labor in the key inner-city 4. Very interesting. From what I know of the branch structure in the Greens (I’m a member in NSW) I’d say the local groups in the split ticket seats have made this decision off their own bat.

    Will make the inner-city 4 competitive again, perhaps, especially Richmond, where the primary vote is best for the Greens.

  7. Did Costello preference Family First, then I see no impact for I read earlier in campaign that the Libs would win Prahran if people vote the same as last fed election.

  8. Update: November 19

    The Herald Sun reports that the Liberal Party have opted for opportunism ahead of Victoria’s business and economic interests in striking a preference deal with the Greens to place the Greens ahead of Labor in exchange for the Greens issuing a split ticket in a number of rural seats. This deal places the Greens back into contention for the seats of Melbourne and Richmond and possibly Northcote. This deal shows up the Greens for what they are and also brings tension within the Liberal Party/Business relationship.

    The Herald Sun also has published a recent McNair Gallop poll which reports a major shift in voter intentions and an unexpected reversal of voters intentions. If the Herald-Sun McNair poll is true then this is going to be a very close election indeed with the unexpected possibility that, as a result of the Liberal Party’s preference deal, the Greens could play a major role in the formation of the next State Government.

    Labor’s Bill Shorten publishes an opinion piece on the need to elect a Labor State Government as the only means of ensuring necessary checks and balances against a Howard Liberal Party dominated Federal Government.

  9. Some posts are missing. I think posts with a link in them are held back waiting moderation. It’s a pity as I had prevbious posted a number of comments based on the McNair poll. Maybe william has not woken up as yet.

  10. Guy Family first are not going anywhere. I have not seen one situation where they can leap-frog the pack to get elected. I have seen a situation where the DLP come from behind but that depends on a number of factors including Family First doubling their Senate vote which I do not see happening. Both Labor and the Liberals would also need to remain on the same levels of support reported in last weeks Newspoll 43% Labor 40% Liberal/NP. The McNair pol is showing the same result as reported in the Galaxy poll I would love to see the detail of the polling… McNairs credibility is on the line here. Again it would be best if the polls could provide a breakdown into the new upper-house regions because the Greens vote is all locked up in the inner city area. I do not think the Greens did well with reports about their candidate in Prahran. That sort of thing does not go down well with the broader community. Even if it is a beat-up.

  11. Micheal you are overestimating the gay vote. They do not vote on block unless there is a major civil rights issue. The gay community represents what 2-3% of the electorate and they are split between Labor and the Liberals. Do not assume they are backing the Greens because the Green candidate is opening gay. if fact reports in the Herald Sun had just polarised the electorate against the Greens and left the gay community to face the fall out. The Greens are not in the race in Prahran and this is one of the inner city seats that I expect will go first. Its the litmus test always has been. If the gay community are directly attacked and their civil rights threatened the yes maybe there will be a coming together of like mined souls. But thank god that has not happened yet.

  12. Gary the comment is still missing. i think it is in moderation state because it had a link to the Herald Sun McNair Poll and other articles of interest.

    I have updated by Upperhouse analysis to reflect on the McNair poll and also publihsed a short summary of the Praharan campaign. click on my name above to view.

  13. The Gay community don’t vote as a block, to show this the ALP failed to win Prahran with Joseph o’Reilly in 1999.

    Prahran is a must watch seat next week.

  14. bmwofoz, the ALP has never supported civil union or other rights, so why should the GLBTI vote fore them. I think now that their rights have been in the limelight more, (Stanhope, Howard and Bracks refusals, etc) they will vote against the ALP, maybe also Lib cos of Howard, but they might not vote FOR anyone as a group.

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