Galaxy Senate poll

GetUp!, a self-styled “new independent political movement to build a progressive Australia”, has commissioned the right-wing shills* at Galaxy Research to conduct a poll of Senate voting intentions. Conducted the weekend before last from a sample of 1100 “adults 16+”, the poll has Labor on 38 per cent compared with its 2004 Senate result of 35 per cent, the Coalition down from 45 per cent to 34 per cent, the Greens up from 8 per cent to 13 per cent, and “other parties and candidates” up from 12 per cent to 13 per cent. Individual results from New South Wales and Victoria are provided in the accompanying press release, bearing in mind that the sample sizes are below 300.

This is the first Senate poll in living memory that was not conducted by Roy Morgan, whose efforts have proved hugely unreliable. My favourite explanation for this is that those responding to Morgan’s inquiry have just been asked how they will vote in the lower house, and are thus prone to name a different party for the second question purely in order to shake things up a bit. This has led Morgan to grotesquely overstate the vote for the Australian Democrats, who are evidently regarded as a party one might support if one was feeling adventurous, which tends not to be the case come polling day. The Galaxy poll does not appear to have this problem: it looks like Senate intention was the only question asked, and Democrats support is roughly where you would expect it to be (1 per cent). That makes the high vote for the Greens particularly interesting.

Even so, I suggest that asking a respondent about Senate voting intention places them in a slightly unnatural position. A very large proportion of the population – probably a majority – views the voting process purely in terms of deciding which party to favour. That decision having been made, they then proceed to follow the party’s how-to-vote card for the lower house and number its above-the-line box for the upper. By contrast, respondents to a survey such as this are specifically directed to consider the distinction between the house of government and house of review, producing a bias towards the minor parties. Greens supporters encouraged by the thought of a 13 per cent Senate vote would accordingly do well to restrain their enthusiasm. The precipitous plunge in the Coalition vote is perhaps of greater interest.

* Irony alert.

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.

134 comments on “Galaxy Senate poll”

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  1. God shoot me for this momentary lapse into apologetics for JHW..must be the medication Im being ordered to take right now by my trusty GP. Nonetheless let me put this out there. — If people are objecting to JHW policy on the NT and/or questioning his motives. – What is the alternative ? Its all to easy to pick faults in this policy- but can any of us come up with a viable alternative ? I doubt it; its a very difficult issue with a long history and failure on the part of Labor and Coalition Governments (State and Federal).

    The ‘were here to help’ approach that produced the attempted ‘white out’ of Indigenous communities and , when that failed, neatly tucked away in rural Australia out of sight didnt work did it. The ‘alternative’- ATSIC driven prounouncements of ‘self determination’ and “Indigenous Sovereignty” hasnt been a big hit either.

    Dump on this policy if you want, thats easy. Coming up with a viable alternative that avoids the imposition of the will of the state on a sector of the Australian community is a hell of alot harder, yes ? JHW will NEVER get my vote; in the election context its poor polarising to advantage either side and other debates will take over in the coming weeks. I look forward to it.

  2. On the Senate issue, my view is that WA is probably the only place where the Greens are going to have a shot at winning another Senate seat, primarily because the swing to Labor in WA is expected to be the weakest (for a number of reasons) and I agree with the perception that most punters will not bother about or understand the DD potential . Id be surprised if the other 3 ex Democrat seats didnt go to Labor in 2007.

  3. “The truth of the matter is that the NT government has failed, either through a lack of will, or lack of resources from being too small a jurisdiction. What would be happening if the NT had gained statehood? What would be happening? On Clare Martin’s record to date – absolutely nothing!”

    Mostly due to lack of resources. Aborigines make up about a third of the NT’s population, and the government’s budget is tiny. Also, the problems many, though by no means all, aboriginal communities face are so serious and deeply entrenched it will never be turned around easily, quickly, or cheaply.

    With respect to your assertion about Clare Martin’s record, that is ignorant nonsense. Clare Martin approached the Prime Minister last year specifically to try to get him interested in dealing with this exact issue. He turned her down flat. Didn’t want to know about it. Wouldn’t even admit there was a serious problem. And the PM has been approached by several parties over the years about these problems. His usual repsonse is to downplay the seriousness of the problems, and further cut federal budgets to the relevant departments and programs. Now it is suddenly a national emergency, the NT and the states are useless and uncaring, and only he in his best Father-of-the-Nation mode can solve it. Hmm.

    Howard is an appallingly self-serving hypocrite on this issue, and that should be exposed.

  4. Spot on.. and after the election, more of the same cutbacks to minority groups and the poor and handouts for the wealthy..
    Will say one thing about the NT government though they are also into riding roughshod over aboriginal land and mining development as a recent example in NT illustrated.. But unlike Howard they do see the terrible problems and have been willing to do something about them.. Howard political opportunism using Hansonist policies to win votes…

  5. It should be noted that the NT receives substantial funding to deal with issues of disadvantage, small population etc. It has not, repeat not delivered anywhere near the extent of that extra funding to the indigenous communities in terms of services. A detailed study on Wadeye has demonstrated this conclusively and is the subject of litigation on behalf of the community.

    The issue is not that things have been tried and failed but that governments at both commonwealth and territory level have never seriously put in resources over sustained periods of time along with genuine engagement with the indigenous communities.

    For account of health projects that have yielded results over time see the ANTAR report released on their website last Friday.

    The government has gone charging in to this exercise with what appears to be the same degree of policy development and planning that characterised the Murray Darling initiative. We all know what the Secretary of the Treasury had to say about that process.

  6. Mark, pal, if you actually had read my piece, I said that ‘not a lot had been achieved in the last 11 years’, so I am not being an apologist for the Howard government, but neither had a lot been achieved in the 20 years prior to that. There is no doubt that there was shameful neglect of Indigeneous NT issues under the CLP, but recent events have shown a degree of policy paralysis in the current NT government. And Just Me, maybe the hard fact should be faced that the NT is too poorly resourced, and too small a jurisdiction to have administrative control over an extremely complex, and hopefully not intractable problem.

  7. Maybe the Army are their to map out (using latest tech-GPS ,Statelliite etc)
    locations for Nuclear waste dumps and Mines
    Lot cheaper than sending in Prospectors and added bonus of Smoke screen about aboriginal health abuse etc
    Of course JWH wouldnt use the least powerful group in Aust to further his dream of Nuclearization

  8. Howard is the master of the wedge. If he detects any criticism from the ALP left wing, he’ll exploit it. I can imagine the headlines now, “LABOR IS SOFT ON CHILD ABUSERS!”.
    Today’s SMH: Pat Farmer could face a preselection challenge for the Western Sydney seat of Macarthur from Charlie Lynn(member of the Legislative Assembly in the N.S.W Parliament). It is claimed Lynn already has the numbers to dump Farmer.
    So, another preselection headache for Howard
    And the Cook preselection ballot still hasn’t happened yet.

  9. If Pat Farmer lost pre-selection for Macarthur there might be a bit of a backlash. He’s personally pretty popular from all reports.

    As far as the NT intervention goes, I don’t think there are many votes in it as such, but the political advantages of it for Howard are:

    1. It rebuts the perception that the government is out of ideas and energy.

    2. It takes oxygen away from Rudd.

    This is not to say that I think this is being done for purely political reasons, but anyone who thinks political consequences were not a major part of the consideration is kidding themselves.

    I think Brough is genuine in his motivation to help, JWH I’m not as sure about. After all he has shown precious little interest in the issue of aboriginal disadvantage for 11 years.

  10. “And Just Me, maybe the hard fact should be faced that the NT is too poorly resourced, and too small a jurisdiction to have administrative control over an extremely complex, and hopefully not intractable problem.”

    That is precisely what Clare Martin was trying to tell Howard. You might notice how cooperative she has been with the latest ‘plan’, because she knows just how hard a problem it is to fix, and how under-resourced the NT is to do it. There is no denial on her part, the hard fact has already been faced, and some time ago. It is Howard who has been indenial, until it was politically convenient to do otherwise.

  11. “Rumour has it Kevin Rudd was relieved when he heard you weren’t contesting again.”

    No doubt concerned that the PR genius behind “Put a Green in Greenslopes” would be turned to the federal sphere 🙂

    “a Member may not distribute apples to other Members in the Chamber”

    Refreshments (other than water) in general may not be brought into the chamber. Eating is most undignified and unparliamentary.

    On this occasion Harry Quick was the victim of the ruling; read all about it here: from page 29652.

    The apple in question was a Pink Lady.

  12. “Refreshments (other than water) in general may not be brought into the chamber. Eating is most undignified and unparliamentary.”

    I read in the Australia that Michael Danby was ejected for eating a cough lollie, seems a bit over the top if you ask me

  13. Ive met both Pat Farmer and Charlie Lynne, and truly they are both very good, better than scott mcdonald and ferravanti wells.

    But lynne just got elected to the NSWLC for another six year term just the other day.

    however you couldnt keep him away from the southern highlands camden area at the last state election, so you never know

  14. Hawker is a weak Speaker, bullied by ministers and harried by the Two Witches (Bronwyn and Sophie) and their endless point of order. He compensates for his weakness by picking on defenceless Labor members like Quick and his apple and Danby and his cough lolly.

  15. If the Libs preselect Lynn it will really confirm they are well on the way to a Qld-like implosion in NSW once Howard goes. For a start they’ll probably lose the seat. That this story has even got legs suggests the problems already run very deep. Farmer is an exceptional member whose hero battler status transcends party lines. The seat would would be marginal now if not for him.

  16. “how many times does it have to be explained to innumerate Greens that 10% will NOT be enough to win a Senate seat?”

    Steve Fielding?

  17. *rolls eyes* I did NOT say that no-one can EVER win a Senate seat with less than 10% of the vote. Duh! Lots of people have done that, including Fielding. What I DID say was was that I don’t think the Greens can do so in 2007, because the major parties will split the Senate vote 3/3 in most states. Fielding won mainly because Labor’s primary vote was much lower than Labor expected, so the preference deal with FF backfired. If Labor gets 43% of the vote in Victoria this time, Labor will have three quotas and no preferences will be needed.

  18. “The preselection for Cook will be held on July 14 after being postponed from last Saturday due to a Supreme Court challenge by one of the left-backed candidates, David Coleman. The decision resulted in 15 disqualified preselectors being reinstated, denting Mr Towke’s chances “. Thank you James J for the referral link (above); much appreciated.

  19. As much as a disaster Charlie Lynn would be for Macarthur, his preselection would probably have moved the seat back into the marginal seat columns. It’s a smart move by the NSW Liberal Party, and makes me wonder about how out of touch the Right and the local Liberals are. Pat Farmer first ran for Macarthur when it was notionally Labor in 2001, and has pushed it out of range for the ALP, mainly due to his popularity. I would expect if he got rolled for preselection the Liberals would lose his personal vote and face a backlash for kicking him out, enough to allow a good Labor candidate to win.

  20. It is now hypthetical of course as Pat Farmer has been reselected, but could Pat Farmer made a decent run at being an independent?

    Agree with Ben above on the stupidity of the NSW Liberal right, to use an old fashioned expression – someone should bang their heads together until they see sense!!

  21. The most viewed story in the SMH today is the record number of repossessions and mortgagee sales in the west and south-west of Sydney. If the election is going to be all about the economy, then I suspect that this is the aspect of the economy which will have the greatest influence

  22. I couldn’t see Pat Farmer running as an independent. He’s popular, but he’s never struck me as someone with much political savvy. I’ve also been hearing more and more people talking about him not being a particularly active or responsive local member, and in the crunch he probably wouldn’t have enough support to win in a 3-way race.

  23. Adam, the problem with your argument is that you’re assuming that the Coalition will poll 43% in each state. Even if we recognise a certain degree of inaccuracy of Senate polls, there is still a big gap between 35% and 43%. If the Coalition polled, say, 40%, it would be enough in some states (because the vote would not be uniform) but in others it would not.

    A 10% vote would be a very good result for the Greens and would be enough to at least increase the Greens representation in the Senate. Maybe I should have been more careful in my words in my last email. 10% may not be enough to guarantee six seats, but it would put us in a good position to win six spots and could be achieved from that position.

  24. Well, I have explained about ten times why I don’t agree with that view, so I won’t bore everyone by doing so again.

    I do agree that, on present polling, the Coalition would struggle to get three quotas in every state except WA. But I think their vote will improve by election day. They will also get preferences from various minor right-wing parties. But even if the Coalition falls short of three quotas, are they going to direct their surplus to the Greens? I doubt it. The beneficiary could be Family First, or even the Democrats if they can scrape up a reasonable primary vote.

  25. No, the Morgan poll is now out


  26. Get ready for Pauline. The media has neglected her popularity with voters. Her Immigration policy is the reason why she will win a senate seat.
    Why have Mr. Rudd and Mr. Howard neglected to tell voters where they stand on Immigration

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