Idle speculation: 61-39 edition

Via Lateline (which will not be broadcast for another two hours in the Poll Bludger’s remote western outpost), Blair in comments informs us that Newspoll has jumped on the 61-39 bandwagon set in train by ACNielsen and Morgan. An appropriate note on which to open another exciting new instalment of Idle Speculation.

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.

214 comments on “Idle speculation: 61-39 edition”

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  1. On a serious note please please ALP dont stuff it up. We can work better with your lot. With the polls having the ALP so far ahead im more worried than if they were closer. You hear things like the governments tired and Howards arrogant etc but surely he has something up his sleeve. IR Iraq and Global warming are all issues that people i talk to think are important. The real fear that seems to work for Howard is the labor and interest rates connection. Yes they have gone up under Howard but if he promotes the idea that it will rise considerably higher under Labor it will bring votes in. After the 2004 Fed election the word i got was interest rates plain and simple. Money is the heart of the majority of voters and this surely wont happen again

  2. Adam,
    Obviously Fran only thinks Liberals qualify as “first woman elected to a Victorian House of Reps seat”.
    Just a speculation: acknowledging Ms. Bailey’s assiduous attention to her constituency, is it possible that her accession to the Ministry, and the underwhelming performance in Tourism, might put her at risk this time?
    Martin, your revised statement about Labor’s disproportionate number of seats is certainly reasonable. Adam’s explanation about the current boundaries is particularly relevant (although Christian Zahra would have a rather more jaundiced view of the pre-2004 redistribution, which in concert with the Latham factor sorted him).
    I expect Labor to pick up seats in Victoria based on a return to pre-2004 voting patterns, together with the impact of interest rates and work choices in seats where the Liberals have maintained a lock since 1996. It’s why I think Aldred or no Aldred, it’s fanciful for the Liberals to imagine they have a real chance in Holt, or in Isaacs for that matter.

  3. Yes I agree. The Aldred stuffup wouldn’t have happened if head office (ie Michael Kroger) thought they had a real chance of winning Holt. The only really serious candidate they’ve come up with so far is Adam Held in Melbourne Ports, though trying to get to the right of Danby will be a challenge. It looks increasingly like there will be a swing to Labor of some sort in Vic, though whether it will be enough to win any seats is another matter.

  4. Adam Says:
    March 21st, 2007 at 11:41 pm

    You just get all your furry feral friends to give us their preferences and leave winning the election to us, ok?

    We have done that in 98, 2001 and 2004. You aren’t that good at winning at the moment.

  5. “You just get all your furry feral friends to give us their preferences and leave winning the election to us, ok?”

    Appealing to the green (big G or small g) vote *is* part of the ALP’s responsibility for winning the election.

    As I have remarked elsewhere, in 1990 appealing to a small, relatively disorganised environmental vote from government was widely hailed as a strategic masterstroke by the ALP.

    Fast forward to today and, from opposition, sections of the ALP seem to expect the larger, more organized environmental vote to be handed to them with nothing in return.

  6. I’m never quite sure why Labor goes to such efforts to get Green preferences – 80% end up coming back to Labor anyway, so there’s probably no real need to offer anything in return. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for Labor to be pulled a bit more left, but I think both parties are deluding themselves that it makes any difference.

  7. That’s certainly fair enough. I guess I feel that the ALP can’t expect it both ways. They can either do nothing and then not complain when Greens flex their muscles in relatively unimportant seats (threatening to cut preference flows from 80% to 70%) OR they can actually make an effort to secure the 80% preference flow in all seats and accept that there might occasionally be a Green elected to the upper house on ALP preferences.

    Of course most of the ‘preference deal’ discussion is just obvious tactical propaganda rather than genuine outrage so I guess there’s no point over-analysing it :-/

  8. Labor is dreaming if they think they can win Corangamite at this election unless there’s a big swing on and it gets caught up in the tide. They would’ve won it years ago if they’d stop running nameless hacks – after about a decade of Michael Bjork-Billings, they put up the ethically challenged McMullin, and now they’ve preselected some left hack no one has ever heard of. Labor had the perfect chance to find a decent candidate and get it across into the Labor column for the first time (as they did in 2002 with one of the corresponding state seats, South Barwon). Alas, maybe in 2010.

  9. Yes Rebecca I have to agree. At least Mr Cheeseperson, by being totally unknown in the electorate (he was on the *Ballarat* city council apparently), has none of the negative baggage of McMullin. Without local knowledge I don’t know what the alternatives were, but this preselection doesn’t suggest that Corangamite is on head office’s short-list – probably a sound judgement.

  10. Funnily enough .. with a 52% primary vote (last Newspoll) .. the ALP wouldn’t need ANY preferences .. green or otherwise 🙂

  11. Adam: I think it’s a bit wasteful if head office really is seeing Corangamite is unwinnable. It should be in the firing line on its margin alone, and it’s been getting increasingly more marginal for years, with some of the previously-safe Liberal state seats in the area having fallen to Labor in recent years. If they ran a decent candidate (ala 2002, where running a popular local mayor won them the state seat of South Barwon, which they had previously never won), I think it would fall. They had the perfect candidate this time in recently defeated state MLC Elaine Carbines, who was interested in running, well known in much of the electorate, and had the personal popularity to probably carry the seat, but unfortunately decided to go with the hack option.

  12. lol .. Labor won’t get a primary of 52% .. was merely drawing a lighthearted conclusion from a very early poll. All of the marginals will require some preference flows .. obviously

  13. Well that assumes a big minor party vote. We have got used over the years to most marginal seats being decided on preferences – first the DLP, then the Australia Party, then the Dems, now the Greens. But the Dems are gone and the Greens, being a party of the left rather than the centre, have had the benefit of an anti-Labor left protest vote in recent elections. If the Rudd bandwagon really is taking off as polls suggest, that vote will come back to Labor, and the Greens will fall back to their core vote of tree-dwellers. In that case there will no significant minor party vote for the first time since 1955, and Labor really win most of the marginals on primaries. That also means, of course, that the Senate will split 3-3 in every state except Tasmania.

  14. All this talk of the minor parties, but no mention of of Family First. Don’t be surprised to see them pick up 4, 5 or 6 p/c in seats, particularly in NSW, Qld and South Australia. The preferences of FF could be very important in tight races, if the swing is on.

    Also, my understanding is that the ALP believes many of the “big” margins facing them this election are not real. They have been over-inflated by the Latham factor. Better, perhaps, to look at the margins from 2001.

    And look for news tomorrow that Larry Anthony will not be standing for the Nats in Page at this election. This is the seat from which Ian Causley is retiring. The Nats had been banking on Anthony to run in a seat that has always threatened to swing Labor’s way.

  15. Dave C said

    Bill never actually said that people in Kingston would relate to him, just that he is an ordinary worker.

    Thats correct but it also helps if the candidate can relate to the electorate and especially those who he/she claims to represent. How can a person from a wishy washy union which helps to screw the worker then jump on the IR laws when the said union has looked the other way while work choices type dealings have been going on for years?. Ive worked for 27 years in the same factory, lived in units in ‘ bad ‘ areas , lived in Public housing , suffered racism, have a child with a severe disability, had to fight for her rights all her life and many other things too personal for this forum. I relate to every struggler in this electorate, every parent who has a child with a disability, people that look for ways out. Politics has forgotten us, MP s and Major party candidates seem to be so far removed from ordinary people. What happened to the local MP who you would see at the local shops or have a beer with at the pub. Its about the people not Parties, people before profits , people like you and me

  16. Adam said

    In that case there will no significant minor party vote for the first time since 1955, and Labor really win most of the marginals on primaries.

    And without the left minor parties pushing the ALP to be true to their promises the people once again will loose out. Watch for an ALP turnaround on parts of work choices. The ALP government in SA is so right wing its making the Libs here look like Socialists. Hospitals, Schools, Public housing etc are all dieing. These services are essential and needed for the ordinary person yet the Labor party sees fit to destroy them. I just don’t understand how a party from the workers and middle class interested in social justice and social welfare can do this. Minor parties are needed to be a voice for those that have lost faith in the tribes. The loss of this is a loss of Democracy

  17. Coota Bulldog Says:

    All this talk of the minor parties, but no mention of of Family First. Don’t be surprised to see them pick up 4, 5 or 6 p/c in seats, particularly in NSW, Qld and South Australia. The preferences of FF could be very important in tight races, if the swing is on.

    Thats an important point and the ALP in marginals like Kingston need to understand this. If the vote gets tight and the Greens cannot match FF on primaries then Richardson will win. Richardson is in tight with the AOG church so expect a 80 % flow to him from FF at least. FF is huge here. For the ALP to minimize and belittle the Greens would be a bad decision

  18. Minor parties are only important (in Reps elections) if they have the potential to transfer votes from one major party to the other via preferences. DLP prefs were very important because they transfered Labor votes to the Liberals. Democrat prefs were important because they transfered at least some votes from the Liberals to Labor. Green prefs are NOT important, because nearly all Green votes come from Labor, and the prefs just go back to Labor. Family First will only be important if they take votes from Labor and give them to the Libs as prefs. I’m not persuaded that that will be the case – I think that most FF votes come from the Libs. I don’t know if there is any research on this.

  19. Adam i have to disagree with you partly. In Kingston there is a large Green Lib voting pattern in country towns and along the beach. Thats the votes Rishworth needs to chase to make it 1 Green 2 ALP

  20. Adam,

    Do you think that a swing against the Liberal Party of about 7% to 8% in the Senate, in either TAS or ACT is an anywhere near realistic possibility ?

    If so, given the 2004 results, wouldn’t that be about enough to reduce their representation by one (to 2 and 0 respectivly) in either of those ‘Divisions’ given that that would equate to a drop of about .5 of a quota in TAS and .25 of a quota in ACT?

    Given that the Federal Gov’t is proposing to reduce the Workcover coverage of Federal Public Servants in several ways, including the exclusion of coverage of travel between home and work (and work and home) might not the ACT scenario be at least something that can not be ruled out, even if you do not rate it as ‘the highest probability’


  21. Bill,

    I appreciate the passionate commitment that has come from your personal experience of life, but you are being unfair to the SDA. If Joe de Bruyn called a “Waddawewanblahblawendawewanitnow” rally, do you really think the assistant sales managers of Myer and the schoolkids of Coles would turn up? The union responds to the characteristics of its members.

    Lots of teachers moan about the AEU because it is so weak. What they don’t face is that its weakness is their weakness. The AEU is weak because teachers are industrially and politically naïve and weak. They won’t fight, so they get done over by Liberal and Labor governments. They are about to be done over again by the Victorian Labor government.

    The last industrial agreement has led directly to increased teaching loads at my school, soul-destroying 72-minute periods, the abolition of the Management Advisory Committee despite the principal’s earlier agreement to it and the MAC’s replacement by a sham consultative process. The teachers of Victoria voted for all this.

    The process in teaching is:

    Step 1. Teachers moan and whinge about their lot in life.

    Step 2. Union demands restoration of decent working conditions (possibly stolen by Farmer Jones) and some movement in salaries back to the professional levels that once applied.

    Step 3. Government offers 3 per cent and demands a worsening of working conditions.

    Step 4. Union huffs and puffs and jumps up and down.

    Step 5. Union accepts 3 per cent and the worsening of working conditions, and declares victory.

    Step 6. Teachers vote to overwhelmingly endorse the 3 per cent and the worsening of their working conditions.

    Step 7/Step 1. Teachers moan and whinge about their lot in life.

    This analysis is why I laugh whenever journalists mention the difficulty Kevin Rudd will have dealing with the “powerful” teacher unions. They will be a walkover.

  22. another minor left party?

    mmm Barry Gissell seems to be a shearer’s organiser:

    the following also appeared in Goodle’s cache from the Law Society journal:

    Country lawyer heads Restore the Workers’ Rights Party

    August 2004 page 17

    DAVID MCCABE, a workers compensation specialist who numbers members of
    the NSW Shearers and Rural Workers Union among his clients, is the
    founding president of the Restore the Workers’ Rights Party (RWRP)
    which plans to run candidates in the 2007 NSW election.

  23. High speed broadband looks to be a another winner for Rudd. Locked in the nerd/geek vote I would suspect. Howard’s going to have to come up with something better to win those votes back.

    There has been a lot of conjecture in the media that we might be witnessing reruns of 2001 and 2004 where Labor was ahead at this time of the cycle and gradually fell away. I don’t think that is the case this time.

    I think we are more likely witnessing a mirror image of 1995-1996 where Keating lost the electorate many months out. It was a different world then but Keating talked about a greater engagement with Asia that people didn’t relate to. Howard talks now about more war in Iraq and against refugees that many people don’t agree with.

    But I think the main thing that is working against Howard now is that most of us while statistically making more money, are suffering from vastly increased working hours, loss of lifestyle and personal debt at frightening levels. Workchoices is also turning the battlers away in droves. The honeymoon for Rudd ended with the Brian Burke allegations. What has been most telling since then is that Rudd has improved in the polls and Howard has plummeted. The preferred PM polls are very different in this regard.

    This is not following the 2001 & 2004 patterns. And yes when the nerds are polled post election I’d bet most of them made up their minds which way they were voting this week.

  24. Largely agree with Ed the pseph, but ….. Yes, the broadband thing is good policy, and it fits into the narrative that Rudd is trying to weave, viz that he and Labor are of the future, Howard is of the past. However, can’t help thinking he’s given the government an opening by getting some of the cash from the Future Fund. I guess we won’t know for a while whether Costello’s confected outrage will translate into a swing back to the government. Like most people, I’m waiting for the bubble to pop – surely it has to eventually – but it’s equally possible that people have already made up their minds, and Rudd would have to be caught en flagrante with several barnyard animals to lose from here.

    The next two months will be critical. If Labor can get past the budget without too many bruises, they should win in October/ November. If the government can knock over Labor’s economic cred in that time, they will be returned. Having said all that, this is proving to be an unusual year, so maybe the usual rules don’t apply.

  25. Cris Curtis said

    I appreciate the passionate commitment that has come from your personal experience of life, but you are being unfair to the SDA. If Joe de Bruyn called a “Waddawewanblahblawendawewanitnow” rally, do you really think the assistant sales managers of Myer and the schoolkids of Coles would turn up? The union responds to the characteristics of its members.

    So if theres no union activism and members have no support then why belong to it? And why pray tell does this type of union seems to produce ALP candidates? Is the motto in such unions ‘ dont rock the boat and you will end up in head office. From there if you dont organize the members to be militant then a life of ALP politics is for you’. The SDA has a massive opportunity to organize over so many issues. How would the multinationals feel if all SDA members walked of the job? With IR on the communities lips any action by unions would be supported.

  26. From the Morgan poll

    On the weekend of March 17/18, despite negative publicity for the Coalition surrounding the Santo Santoro share scandal, primary support for the L-NP recovered 2% to be at 36% (down 10.4% since the 2004 election), the latest Morgan Poll finds.

    Primary support for the ALP dropped 3% but still remains at a high 48.5% (up 10.9% since the 2004 election).

    Support for the ALP on a two-party preferred basis is down 2.5% to 58.5%, 17% ahead of the L-NP (41.5%, up 2.5%). If an election had been held during the last week, the ALP would have won easily.

    The proportion of electors who think the ALP will win the next election is 54.5% (up 4.5%), well ahead of those who think the Coalition Government will be retained (30.5%, down 5.5%).

    Among the minor parties, support for The Greens is 8% (up 0.5%), Family First 2.5% (up 0.5%), Australian Democrats 1% (down 0.5%), One Nation 1% (unchanged), and Other Parties and Independent Candidates 3% (up 0.5%).

  27. Bill, I agree that the SDA are not the most dynamic of unions, but Chris is right to point to the link between the union and its members. Any union will largely reflect the make-up of its members – they are democratic organisations after all. It is important to realise that there is a something of a symbiotic relationship between a union and its members: the more people who join, and the more active they are, the more effective that union will be – and the the more effective a union, the more people will join it. This is why public sector unions are often more active than private sector ones.

    With the SDA, you have a further problem – The SDA has traditionally set up deals with employers (such as Myers and Coles) whereby the “default” position for any new employee is to join the union. This is not a closed shop, but an individual has to make the effort NOT to join. The problem here for the union is that they have a large membership, but not many active members. If a union doesn’t have active members, it’s probably not going to do much for its members apart from the usual (Award renewals, job protection etc), which people start to take for granted.

    Where WorkChoices is an opportunity for the union movement is that the laws give unions the chance to remind members (and potential members) of all the things they have done (and continue to do) for them.

  28. Im not one for amalgamations of smaller groups into one large one ( e.g woolworths, Coles Myers etc multinationals ) but maybe the idea of a world union has its merits. It seems as the world is quickly being run by super companies and competition is diminishing the Union movement should counter this by molding into one. The negative would be the leadership would have immense power and thinking about that scares me

  29. This is a long-running dilemma for the union movement – do they try and be as big as possible (the rationale for the spate of union amalgamations in the late 1980s/ early 1990s) and so be more effective/ powerful, or do they stay smaller and more accessible to members? No easy answer to that one.

  30. Peter Stephens Says:

    Adam’s right – waiting for Newspoll is better than Morgan.

    Adams basking in the glory of his beloved ALP being way in front in the polls and he hopes the end of Minor Parties having any influence in elections. As the latest Morgan poll shows both the Greens and FF up .5 as the ALP vote drops. This i believe is the start of a more believable voting trend and to Adams horror the Greens, FF, Dems and one nations support will be crucial in the Marginals. The ALP cannot show itself to be arrogant and expect that any of the minor parties will automatically give preferences ANY! A quick look at Mawson in the last SA State election will show how crucial preferences can be. Interesting to note also that in Kingston Richardson seems to be more interested in Green preferences than Rishworth if this was to happen in a few more marginals with the national vote being tighter as we get closer to the election it could be disastrous for the ALP

  31. Bill, I’m an ALP supporter (not member) sympathetic to the Greens, and quite willing to vote for them depending on the quality of my local ALP candidate.

    But if they direct preferences to the Howard Government in ANY seat that matters in this election, that to me will be an even worse betrayal than the ALP putting Steve Fielding in Parliament. That will be the end of any affections I have for the Greens.

  32. Charlie I doubt that you need to worry but its up to the ALP candidates to make sure that happens. FF are big in some of the marginals and to match that the Greens need to poll well. As for the Broad Band issue. It has lost the ALP votes in Makin and Wakefield with the over 50 year olds due to the futures fund

  33. No, I disagree Bill. The Greens don’t need me to tell them that if Howard is to be defeated it will be the ALP, not the Greens, that take power. So if you want to contribute to throwing out this Government, you shouldn’t quibble about preferences.

    I should have also said that after getting my fingers burned on Fielding (I wouldn’t have gone above the line except that I was actually 17 and the booth official knew me, so had to get in and out before questions were asked 😀 ) I will now be voting Greens before ALP in all upper house elections. Unless, that is, they do something much worse than putting a FFP nutter in the Senate…

  34. What i am saying is If the ALP candidates want to win the marginals it is up to them to work with the Greens not against them. I personally don’t need ALP preferences but she needs mine and so does the Libs.

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