Map of Tassie

Better results for Labor in a poll today in Launceston’s Sunday Examiner by EMRS, who surveyed 200 voters in each of Tasmania’s five seats (hat tip to Stuart in comments). The small samples mean that the individual results can be taken with a grain of salt, but the overall picture gels with last week’s assessment from Christian Kerr in Crikey:

Providing the countrywide polling shows Rudd at, say, 52 two party preferred or above on election eve, all five Tasmanian seats will return Labor candidates, Crikey is told. Despite what might be written about pulp mills; Harry Quick, Kevin Harkins and the ETU and Telstra job losses, there are no local issues or strong enough candidates from either side to buck a general mood to change government. Braddon is held by the Lib’s Mark Barker with a paper-thin 1.1%. With any swing to Labor, he will lose. Franklin, we’re told, remains a Labor win under almost any scenario. Labor’s Electrical Trades Union candidate, Kevin Harkins, may be a dill, but he is getting lots of publicity from his close links to the Labor black-listed Dean Mighell. The Liberal candidate, Vanessa Goodwin, has some profile from the state election where she just failed to get a seat, but does not garner broad support. Bass remains the most likely Liberal hold, but hard to see this happening if Rudd remains 52% of the two party preferred. Liberal member Michael Ferguson, Barker a beneficiary of Mark Latham’s forestry policy, has maintained a reasonably high profile, but Labor’s Jodie Campbell is equally well known as Launceston deputy mayor. Both Ferguson and Campbell are similar in that they tend to polarise opinion: people either like them or hate them, which should cancel things out. The Telstra call centre closure won’t help Ferguson, but people are still going to vote more for whether they want a change of government or not, rather than local issues. A general mood towards Rudd should push Campbell over the line, we’re told.

The following table shows EMRS’s two-party and primary vote figures after distribution of the undecided, of which there were rather few.

Bass (Liberal 2.6%) 65 35 54 32 14
Braddon (Liberal 1.1%) 64 36 60 36 3
Denison (ALP 13.3%) 69 31 59 30 12
Franklin (ALP 7.6%) 67 33 61 29 8
Lyons (ALP 3.7%) 59 41 53 39 9

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.

34 comments on “Map of Tassie”

  1. Wow. The Rudd honeymoon appears not to have abated in the apple isle.

    Sample size of 200 means a margin of error 7%. The lowest Labor figure (Lyons) is 59%; so make of that what you will.

    I grow more resolute in my view that Franklin will prove to be a most overrated ‘contest’.

  2. With a sample size of 1000 total, hence about 3% margin of error for the aggregate, the overall TPP is 65/35. ALP primary is 57%. Lib is 33%, Grn 9%.
    Startling numbers.

  3. I know ‘pundits’ – both traditional media and blogs – have been wondering about the effect of the Pulp Mill fiasco on the polls in Bass. Maybe we’re finally seeing a poll that reflects where the cards are falling – not to the Laberal parties – but in a reaction/protest vote towards the Greens. I believe there was a 2.5% (?) swing to the Greens in the 2004 Fed, where the ticket was led by the relatively high-profile Kim Booth staffer Jeremy Ball. But 14%? Can’t think of a time that Bass has had a larger Green vote than Denison.
    2 Liberal Senators is entirely plausible, Tom. Thoughts on a second Green?

  4. sorry – that should read “Can’t think of a time when the Greens have POLLED HIGHER in Bass than Denison”

  5. I would have thought that irrespective of Bob Brown’s profile, or that of his #2 on the ticket Andrew Wilkie, that talk of 2 Senators for the Greens is getting carried away based on these numbers – there simply aren’t the votes there to make it happen. The likely split is 3 ALP; 2 Lib; 1 Green – although the other scenario – 3 ALP; 2 Lib; 1 FFP – would seem just as likely dependent on ALP & Lib preference deals. Although, if you look back at 2004, you find the HoR ALP/Lib primary votes are 44:41 (Grn – 9.9), while the Senate primary was 33:46 (Grn 13.3). Perhaps a bit of “local candidate effect”? I would expect, though, for Bob Brown to poll a quota, but not that much more.

  6. According to ABC news tonight ACNielsen tomorrow will shop the ALP’s TPP at 57% (down 1%).

    I think the ALP primary vote was 48% and the coalition’s was 39%, but I stand corrected if I’m wrong.

    It certainly question’s galaxy’s recent polls.

  7. As I reported in the late lamented Oz Politics comments, supported by Irving Saulwick at Crikey, Galaxy were blatantly push polling in their last two polls. Now they just look silly. I expect that the Courier Mail, Daily Telegraph and other Murdoch tabloids will, as usual, fail to notice the EMRS and AC Nielsen polls. Newspoll on Monday will be interesting.

  8. If Newspoll’s results are similar to Nielsen how will that impact on the psychology of both sides?

    Will there be any more leadership speculation?

  9. Morgan’s questions and answers, based on whether ALP or Coaltion supporters are ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ is interesting:

    Soft ALP Voters Hold The Key To The Federal Election
    Special Poll : Finding No. 4178 : June 16, 2007

    In-depth analysis of the special telephone Morgan Poll released earlier this week finds the biggest difference between soft ALP voters and strong ALP voters is on the issue of “managing the economy”. Thirty-four per cent of soft ALP voters think Prime Minister John Howard would be better at managing Australia’s economy, while 52% said Kevin Rudd would be better (2% said “Equal/Neither” and 12% were undecided).

  10. These Tasmanian polls have sample sizes that are so low and have so little reliability that absolutely nothing can be read from them.

  11. Nostradamus, you’re always good for a laugh just like your mate Isabella. Had this poll had the Libs in front (or 50-50) I have no doubt you’ld be proclaiming it “evidence of a Liberal win” rather than “nothing can be read from them”.
    How predictable.

  12. The Greens cannot win two senate seats – 1% chance at best. The Senate split in Tas will be 2 Labor/2 Libs/1 Green, with the sixth seat far too close to call between Labor and Liberal, no matter what the polls say now.

    I am 70% confident Labor will win all five House of Rep seats. The 200 sample size for individual electorates is too small for meaningful analysis on their own; but each is close to the state-as-a-whole outcome which provides more confidence with the thesis that Labor is well in front across the board in Tasmania.

    If there is a state-wide mood to change government, all Tasmanian seats will return Labor. Crikey was correct to intimate that a national 52/48 2pp lead to Labor on election day would see a red-wash in Tas. The two Liberal incumbents will not be able to hold back the tide (and Franklin is a certain Labor hold almost no matter what.)

  13. Peter
    Was there very recently with work
    Businesses in Tas are doing it tough and the mixed signals from Howard and Hockey have given em the shites
    Good chance of 3 lab senate seats.Definite whitewash material is TAS

  14. Tasmania is a blue-collar conservative state. I think it has the highest level of union membership of any state, it doesn’t like neo-liberalism. Looks like 1993 + extra down there.

  15. I was favouring 4-1 in Tassie with the Libs retaining Bass but the strength of the overall Labor vote in this poll (and the relatively low undecided %) is such that I now suspect it will be 5-0 even if Labor does unspectacularly nationwide. Of course, forest policy remains a big uncertain.

    The 14% Green vote in Bass is pretty meaningless given the very small sample size. Also EMRS has a history of getting the Green vote all over the place in state elections, sometimes showing massively high Green %ages that have never translated into votes. Of course the same pro-Green pundits who might wish to read something about the pulp mill into the 14% aren’t so likely to accept the 3% in Braddon is real – more likely the real support level is closer to last time in both cases.

    One thing that has received surprisingly little attention is that Bob Brown’s senate seat is not a fait accompli. I would give him about a 95% chance of holding it, but the Greens did not pull a quota on primaries in the Senate last time and there is no absolute guarantee they will do so this time either. If the major party vote then ends up splitting evenly enough (or if one major directs to the other ahead of the Greens!) then 3-3-0 isn’t out of the question. Indeed if you feed the levels of support shown by EMRS into the mix you get 4-2-0 to Labor, but I don’t for a moment believe that will happen (firstly, undecided voters will tend to go Liberal and secondly the Greens will probably poll better in the Senate than the Reps especially with Brown’s charisma.)

  16. Kevin: I would ahve suggested that Bob Brown would gain a full quota on the basis of a number of things – 1) the Green vote last time inTas was slightly depressed after the Exclusive Brethern smear campaign, 2) Christine Milne, while reasonably well known in Tas from state politics, is not Bob Brown, 3) the leadership factor (remember Beazley in Brand), 4) the disparity between HoR & Senate votes from last time. That said, Brown, like Milne, is a polarising character, so may yet see a small swing against him and a loss on preferences. As they say, the only sure way to win in the Senate is to poll a quota…

  17. Kevin: Actually I mentioned Bob Brown not getting a senate seat on these numbers in the other thread. I think he’ll win it but a strong major party vote is a threat to him if he doesn’t get a full quota.

    Stewart J: You mention the Exclusive Brethren like it was a phenomenon that won’t happen again. You can bank on them running a campaign against Bob Brown. If he lost his seat they’d toast each other with non-alcoholic sparkling wine.

  18. “You mention the Exclusive Brethren like it was a phenomenon that won’t happen again. You can bank on them running a campaign against Bob Brown. ”

    I don’t know what the situation is in Tasmania, but I would have thought that the publicity that the EB have attracted lately would give a bit more room for a counter-attack.

  19. There is a chance that Brown will miss, but a very slim one: it is just possible he will get stranded on just short of a quota (and as Dr Bonham points out, if one of the major parties preferences the other major party ahead of the Greens, then Brown may get over-run in the cut-up).

    However, in 2001 he scored .97 of a quota (Milne got .93 in 2004) and I can’t see any reason why he won’t score about that again. There has been no perceptible drop in Green support although no real increase either – Green support seems to have plateaued in Tasmania this century. There is the pulp mill issue running at the moment which will help Brown (, but if it wasn’t that it would be something else for the Greens to campaign on.

    All-in-all, business as usual for the Greens at this election: Brown won’t do perceptively worse or better than last time.

  20. Exclusive Brethern didn’t do anything in NSW to my knowledge, although they didn’t need to with the Daily Telegraph around… Certainly I didn’t see anything, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t put out material in some selected electorates.

    On Tas; both Brown & Milne were elected on BTLs, so I would expect that to occur again if Brown polls better than .95 of a quota, given that Taswegans are well trained in BTL voting in state elections (and lack of tablecloth ballots).

  21. Apologies for not noticing and referencing The Speaker’s previous comment on the Senate seat issue; I was really referring to the lack of comment from more mainstream sources; I expected people here could well be alert to the possibility!

    Milne was indeed elected on BTLs but had far more opportunities to pick them up through the count than Brown would in a scenario where both major parties get just over (or very near to) three quotas. Basically if at least one major party was not knocked below three quotas by leakage during the election of its first two candidates, then that’s the end of the election. (Even if one is knocked very marginally below, it might get pushed over again by the other one). And while there will be some leakage from the huge volume of BTL votes for the major parties, there are also votes coming up from Family First and the micro parties (wherever these go). Last time the shrapnel was mostly no good to the Greens.

    In 2004, the Greens had only gained 517 votes (c. .011 quotas) after the election of two Liberal and two Labor senators; in the meantime Labor had lost 551 (.012) and the Liberals 762 (.016). In the scenario I had in mind there would be more Labor votes to leak so let’s say the Greens might gain just over 600 (.013) with the majors dropping about 700 (.015) each. This is simplistic because there will be Family First and micro party votes flying around, but Family First won’t preference the Greens anyway and there may not be any significant micro party doing so either. (Last time they got a big boost from Group G, which IIRC was the spawn of a television candidate quest). It is certainly possible that the Greens could lose with .96 or maybe even .97 of a quota though they would have to be freakishly unlucky to do so.

    Most likely with no Shayne Murphy in the mix, and the Australian Democrats unlikely to muster much, Brown will poll so close to a quota that he is safe (he may even poll just over a quota), but if there is even a smallish downturn in the Greens’ base vote for whatever reason (such as voters liking Labor’s views on climate change) then he becomes at risk. I agree with Peter that most likely “Brown won’t do perceptively worse or better than last time.”

  22. From the mainland, Paul Lennon and his government seem totally loathsome especially on the relationship with Gunns, jiggery pokery on the pulpmill (gunns again), etc. However, these opinion results would show that none of that rubs off into the federal sphere. Questions for any Taswegian threaders out there: – is Lennon more popular than the mainland press have us believe? are tasmanians kept in some sort of North Korean media void (greens supporters excepted)? or is federal labor good at keeping apart from these issues?

  23. I recall nothing from the Brethren in the NSW election. The media were I thought rather nicer to the Greens than usual – apart from the attack over the drugs policy. I imagine the EB realised that with the NSW LC system, negative attack ads against the Greens wouldn’t decrease the number of members they would elect so didn’t bother.

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see them out in force in NSW for the Federal, but doubt it’ll make a difference.

  24. In answer to blackburnpseph’s question, as best I can:

    * Lennon himself is quite unpopular here. EMRS typically gives approval ratings in the 30s and disapproval even into the 60s.

    * The reason Lennon is unpopular appears to be mainly that he is not a natural leader. He was ideally suited to being Jim Bacon’s headkicking deputy but in the spotlight of the premiership he has proved to be sensitive to personal criticism and there is a sense that he does not much enjoy his job.

    * The probity-type issues you refer to actually have little impact on Tasmanian voter behaviour or perceptions of the leader. Tasmanians don’t mind their governments and leaders being rough around the edges so long as there is the appearance of economic progress being acheived (that appearance need not even correspond to reality). Robin Gray who was even more rough and ready on such things than Lennon was so popular that even adverse findings arising out of the Rouse bribery scandal did not stop him polling multiple quotas.

    * Although EMRS polls suggest Lennon’s government is totally on the nose, they are deeply flawed because they return such a high “undecided” vote, except when very close to the election. As best as I can determine (including via comparisons with Morgan which has a lower undecided vote), nearly all this “undecided” vote consists of disenchanted Labor voters who park their vote in the undecided column between elections then come back at each election.

    * The media void – depends on where you are. The newspaper serving Launceston, the Examiner, is often perceived as very pro-Gunns. The newspaper serving Hobart, the Mercury/Sunday Tasmanian, often employs young journos with obvious Green leanings.

    * Tasmanians appear to separate state and federal Labor and Liberal in their perceptions very readily. This is not surprising given that the Tasmanian state landscape (one ideologically sprawling centrist party with struggling oppositions on both sides of it) is radically different to the federal one and hence the state and federal parties are very different beasts.

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