Galaxy: 55-45

It seems Galaxy has settled into a three-week polling pattern, compared with Newspoll’s fortnightly, ACNielsen’s monthly and Roy Morgan’s weekly (usually – they seem to have taken last week off) UPDATE: Sorry, it’s actually been four weeks since the last Galaxy – the previous three were three weeks apart. Today’s Galaxy survey has Labor leading 55-45 – still narrower than other recent polls, but a slight correction from its quirky 53-47 of three weeks ago. Despite the flak Galaxy copped last time, respondents were again asked a question about Labor’s union connections. They were also asked if the Prime Minister was “addressing problems in Aboriginal communities because of the upcoming federal election or because he really cares about the problem”. All revealed here.

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.

314 comments on “Galaxy: 55-45”

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  1. Of course the vast majority of people will answer yes when asked if the PM was intervening in the Northern Territory for electoral gain – and that’s exactly the response the question is designed to elicit. At the same time, the vast majority of voters also approve of the intervention – the two responses can co-exist.

  2. Leopold, I am not disagreeing with you, but a lot of the dialogue or rationale around 60%TPP for Labor was that it was just ridiculous, and something that no sane person should be contemplating. I think for example I used Bryans most excellent calculator to do the seat numbers on 60%TPP for Labor and the joy that give a labor oriented person made the exercise worthwhile.

    The the counter dialogue we have now, treats the 60% TPP numbers as if they were ‘real’ at the time, although no-one appears to have so taken them at the time.

    To now take a trend line (and I think some of Bryan’s started at deliberately provocative points) and suggest a real flow of hearts and minds, seems to be either legitimising the 60%TPP, and thereby suggesting Rudd should in fact be aiming to get back up there for an election day annihiliation. If it were true in March, it can be true by September.

    The other analysis of the 60%TPP was ‘soft’. Surely on this analysis the ‘softest’ parts have already washed off and now Howard has real work to do to rub off the next 5% of so which would be much less soft.

    The polling history doesn’t seem to give this trend line to Howard theorem any real support, notwithstanding your very negative analysis of the team that got Rudd to 60%TPP in March. But they joy of polling, like the joy of elections is the next result and looks like we have to wait for October for that.

  3. Leopold – so your analysis of what may happen is based basically on graphs that show a coalition vote coming back from the depths of depression (a depression most people thought wouldn’t last) to a situation where a substantial loss would occur right now and a gut feeling (hope) that this will continue. The only flaw in that argument of course is that “hope” won’t ensure this so called trend will continue.

  4. Leo, I don’t call it a trend, rather a “correction” from the high levels of 58/42. It shifted back upon the “anal-hiated” pronouncement from Howard. I believe that the figure of 55-45 is about right over the last 10 weeks with no real evidence of a trend over that timeframe. Don’t discount the primaries from Morgans face to face though – it just overestimates ALP vote by 1-2%

    If Howard can score a hit from somewhere, it may lean into 53-47 over the next 10 weeks and then its anyones guess. If the Newspoll tomorrow shows 56/44, Howard is in dire straights. I would be close to calling it if it and AC in 2 weeks shows no movement.

  5. My original statement was that Labor supporters would hope the current movement to the government will not continue at its pace since March of 1% (or slightly more) per month.

    I really don’t know why that was such a controversial statement. Anyone who believes there’s no movement in the polls since March/April is in denial.

    Jasmine – yes, but the polling numbers are all we’ve got to go on, really. I didn’t believe the election result would be 59-41 and I don’t believe it’ll be 55-45 either. I didn’t believe it when the Bomber was polling 54-46 in October last year either.

  6. Linear extrapolation well beyond the end of one’s data set can be dodgy, and when one is arbitrarily excluding data points (by starting at 16 March and not 2 March or earlier) it can be even dodgier.

  7. I agree with those on here that see a ‘trend’ going the Libs way even if it is slight. I still believe Howard will win. Everyday i fear he will get a big jump from something. Its was the topic of my workplace today. People are waiting for Howard to find a way of moving up in the polls.
    What are peoples feelings on how Australians would react if a terrorist group hit us somewhere? Would they:
    A. See our involvement in Iraq as the reason and kick Howard out or
    B. Become conservative and look to Howard for strong leadership at a time of national crisis.
    Most people i have spoken to would do option A but believe that most of Australia would do option B

  8. As much as I would love to bathe in the warm light of the latest Galaxy Poll since Im a ‘commie under the bed’ red Labor man, I have to stick by my assessment some weeks back that Galaxy polls come from ‘Uranus’ on the whole and get my information from ACNeilsen and/or Newspoll polls as a conversation peice, and nothing else, at this stage in the election ‘campaign’.

    Predicting a landslide for Rudd or Howard being on track to {1 percent a month} win a fifth term in office at this stage of the game is just plain rediculous- fun conversation peice, but thats about it.

    I will wait until the 2PP poll numbers at ACNeilsen and/or Newspoll are floating around 53-47 before I begin to take them ‘seriously’ as a tool among others for taking a punt on the outcome. Meantime, debate away people- its all good if you dont take it too seriously, not yet, not yet.

  9. silent(really)_jasmine Says:

    July 2nd, 2007 at 6:23 pm
    I agree completely Leopold and I’m hoping for a 57:43 result on election day.

    Now I WOULD bet on that NEVER happening Jasmine, right now.

  10. Surely, these polls are all about trends and since Rudd was elected ALP leader, only once has the primary vote for the Coalition in Newspoll been above 40% (41% in February 2007) whilst the ALP vote has only once been below 46% (44% in January 2007). Morgan has shown slightly worse for the Coalition. This is what would be worrying the government, no matter what is being said and done, there has been minimal change by the voters. If the ALP win the election 53-47 that is a comfortable win in anyones language. Again, Rudd is no Latham and 2004 was not endorsement of Howard but a repudiation of Latham. That result has been misread by too many people.

    One issue which hasn’t yet been exploited by the ALP but may well occur during the election campaign is Howard himself. When is he going to retire? Howard is yesterdays man whilst Rudd is tomorrows man. The ALP has struck a chord with the line “Howard is a clever politician”.

  11. Take a look as these stats Jasmine_ history is against your hopes Im afraid. Damn IT !!

    Two Party-Preferred Votes in H/R Elections 1949-2004
    Election Year ALP Non-ALP
    2004 47.26 52.74
    2001 49.05 50.95
    1998 50.98 49.02
    1996 46.37 53.63
    1993 51.44 48.56
    1990 49.90 50.10
    1987 50.8 49.2
    1984 51.8 48.2
    1983 53.2 46.8
    1980 49.6 50.4
    1977 45.4 54.6
    1975 44.3 55.7
    1974 51.7 48.3
    1972 52.7 47.3
    1969 50.2 49.8
    1966 43.1 56.9
    1963 47.4 52.6
    1961 50.5 49.5
    1958 45.9 54.1
    1955 46.5 53.5
    1954 50.5 49.5
    1951 49.2 50.8
    1949 48.7 51.3
    Source: Australian Electoral Commission Publications.

  12. As you can see from the table above, the biggest 2PP gap in Australian Election history was close to 57-43 was in 1966 and Labor has never done better than 53.2- 46.8 when (my hero) Bob Hawke came to town.

    Is Rudd good enough to repeat Bob Hawke’s effort ? At a push, I would say the pre-election polls (if it runs into October-November) will be equivalent to the result Hawke got, but only in the polls.

    I know we hope for best, but the 2PP swing from 2004 would be 9.74% for Labor to finish with 57-43 on the 2PP outcome. At this stage I reckon 53-47 (a swing of 5.74 %) is going be the best result Labor can aim for. But again I wont be calling anything in my head for some weeks yet.

  13. # bill weller Says:
    July 2nd, 2007 at 7:28 pm

    At what point will the ALP be in trouble on a 2pp poll?

    Bill, it depends on the primary votes. To win, and not withstanding your Greens disengaging all preferences away from them, the ALP needs a primary of around 41 or above. As long as that is maintained, the likelihood of a Rudd win is still relatively good. If we get a “Galaxy-esque” situation of 53-47 with an ALP primary of around 42, its game on. Anything worse is going to be tough for Rudd.

    It also depends on momentum in the campaign. If Rudd does a Latham at worst, we may see Howard back comfortably. Problem for Howard is that Rudd already campaigns better than Latham.

  14. Bill Id start to be worried if the 2PP polls ran close to 51-49 for Labor- they will lose seats (Cowan et al) in the skirmish, you can bet on that.

  15. If we extrapolate the current trend to 2010, there will be no Labor MHRs after that year’s election. What’s a trend? When does it become a trend? If you go back to the poll trend for February 2006, there was a trend to the government…and soon after there was a trend away from it. I repeat my prediction of some weeks ago: Labor will pick up 22 coalition seats this year. I will revise my prediction at the end of this month when, as I suspect, there is obviously no post-budget cash-in-the-hand bounce for the Howard Government.


    The 2PP for 1955 to 1977 is distorted by the shift of Labor preferences via the DLP to the coalition. I would not be surprised if Labor polled over a 53 per cent 2PP on election day, but I wouldn’t want it to be too high because, if it were, my predicted further swing to Labor in the subsequent double dissolution would be less likely to come true.

  16. # bill weller Says:
    July 2nd, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    The Greens are still holding at 9 percent and will improve as we move closer to the election

    Bill, This is one of the best stories so far this extended election campaign. This election is polarising people along party lines, but the Green vote is holding relatively stable. Certainly the disintegration of the Democrat, ON and FF votes are helping, but the best result would be for the Greens to hold and hopefully even reach double digit nationally. I’d love to think how Brownie is salivating at the recent figures showing Green support in Tassie in the teens.

    The more diverse voices we have in parliament, the more long standing and balanced the laws created are.

  17. from the vault:
    Jas Jas Jas (always seems to be a popular start) how can a leftard L plate Krudd led opposition (which has Wayne Swan as the potential Treasurer! I mean, can you imagine Swan in charge of the country’s finances? And Dillard has red hair, I mean, what a giveaway…and she’s a woman….and a leftoid) possibly ever defeat the Man of Steel, our nation’s saviour, the man who’s lead this country to greatness?
    You know, I didn’t get to be where I am, leftards, by being a whinging sentimental union lover. No, I built this small business empire of mine (new branch opening today in Manila, employing 340; one tomorrow in God’s own kingdon, WA) by exploiting those too stupid to be able to read a standard contract. Fortunately the degraded socialist education system run by the leftoid States means this is almost everybody.
    I look forward, leftoids, to a bright new dawn when J Winston H gets reelected and really opens up the labour market. We all know most children are wasting their time at school, they don’t learn anything, so they may as well go straight into the workforce (leftards) thus saving government heaps of money and leaving the school system for those who really deserve an education (and can pay for it).
    JWinstonH for God!!

  18. I didn’t say I expected 57% TPP, but I can hope for it and it is not an unreasonable number coming off a 55%TPP base from Galaxy, which is lower, not higher than other numbers from other pollsters over the first half of this calendar year.

    I can do the partisan bickering with the best of them, and I enjoy it, but aren’t we supposed to be considering polls here?

    The brilliant work of Aristotle above needs consideration:

    1996 pattern – Coalition 37.3 ALP 48.8, TPP 42.8/57.2.
    1998 pattern – Coalition 37.1 ALP 47.4, TPP 43.5/56.5.

    The other two patterns can be explained and make less sense not more sense against the current polling numbers.

    By all means rest in faith based projections, but if you are really interested in polling and Australian electoral behaviour it is, at this point, on the information we have more silly to be talking 50:50 than it is to be talking 57:43.

    Again let me underline I am not predicting 57:43, much as I am hoping for it, but I am saying based on the numbers we have 57 is a more intelligent prediction than the News Limited assurance that it will be a close 50:50 election.

  19. Fair enough Jasmine; 50-50 in clearly rediculous. What do you think about a 53-47 ish outcome (based on your reading of current polls) ?

  20. in terms of trends and whether the polls are showing a shift to the Government, remember that Newspoll included a question recently asking people how likely they were to change their vote and it seems that people are “rusted” (probably semi-rusted) at the moment to their votes. In previous years the number of people who said they might change their votes was a lot higher than we have now.

    But anyway they are only opinions now.

    If the 60-40 was a blip there is no trend. If the 60-40 was not a blip, then the annihilation has only become a good win.

  21. Can someone explain to me why JWH didn’t switch to a safer seat. There was a piece in The Australian that suggested that if Howard lost Bennelong, but won the election, the ambitious young MP who won the seat would be pressured into surrendering it for Howard via a by-election.

    If this is being considered then why wasn’t Alan Cadman left in the seat? Wouldn’t Costello be thrilled. Maybe Howard would have to launch a leadership challenge if he was re-elected!

    Maybe this has surfaced because the numbers in Bennelong look dire. The story looked odd to me, especially in a paper that has tended to be sympathetic to the PM.

  22. People here sure love making outlandish claims one way and t’other, hey? Time to pay a little respect to the bookies accumulated at the excellent . The coalition static over the last week or two at 47-49% odds of winning. Or to put it in less-technical terms: it remains an absolute toss of the coin, kids.

    While 2PP isn’t entirely meaningless, it is strange to see everyone continuing to make an implicit assumption that the party that gets over 50% 2PP will win. Ignoring, for example, 1998. Barring an unusually favourable distribution of their votes, if the ALP wind up on anything less than 51.5% 2PP, they’ll struggle to get the large number of seats they need to get over the line.

  23. Must be a corrupted poll,blimp or statistical aberration
    or people have had enough of the howard gang and its soul destroying policies

  24. Yes in 1998 Labor polled 51% of the 2PV and lost. But in 1990 Labor polled (from memory) 49% of the 2PV and won. You can be lucky or unlucky, but in MOST elections the party that gets 50%+ of the 2PV will win. This fond Liberal belief that they will win even if they only get 48-49% of the 2PV is an illusion: they MIGHT, but they probably won’t.

    The reason it is less likely this time is that Labor is polling best in the two states where there are the most seats to win per % of swing – Qld and SA.

    If there is a poll showing a 61% ALP 2PV in Qld, as Arbie Jay says, that is a 2P swing of 18% since 2004 – which would give Labor an additional 18 seats, enough to win the election in one state alone. I don’t expect that to happen, but even if that poll is only half accurate it shows what a strong position Labor is in.

  25. My apologies all, I put Qld state intention when I should have made it clearer as Qld state government intention.

    Still it is interesting as I would have expected some backlash re the council amalgamations that were to be causing pain for Beatie. We had Howard saying that he would look into what the Fed govt could do re these amalgamations then he quickly backed down, likewise we heard Rudd making noises that he would look at the amalgamations.

  26. The Queensland poll was taken over three months, April to June. I do not know when the amalgamations became an issue but they may have affected only part of the polling period. I imagine that Newspoll asks state voting questions at the same time as it asks federal voting intentions, but it needs a few polls to get a statistically significant sample for each state.

  27. Chris

    Beatie announced them 17 April, Howard announced his opposition to them 8 May. As you say though a few more polls will make it clearer.

  28. Well, this is VERY strange – it is 11.16pm WST and there is no Newspoll on the Australian Website, which means one of two things – Newspoll didn’t run one, or the results were so bad for Howard that there was no way the Govt Gazette could spin it in Howard’s favour.

  29. Hell, the Australian could spin it as good for Howard if it were 76-24 in favour of the ALP and the 24 was the Greens. Something about well-earned retirement.

  30. Thanks everybody for your insights, I came here confused and hoping for some understanding of what these polls actually mean in relation to what may happen at the election.

    I leave knowing that coming was a mistake 🙂

  31. Arbie Jay –

    Rudd actually jumped all over Beattie (as reported in the Courier Mail) about the proposal to alamgamate councils, he mooted alternative arrangements.

    Still, up here in QLD the amalagamation issue is expected to have a level of negative effect for Labor in particular Coalition QLD Federal marginal seats in provincial-rural areas. How much ? Who knows.

  32. Adam says–

    The reason it is less likely this time is that Labor is polling best in the two states where there are the most seats to win per % of swing – Qld and SA
    Unless there is a ‘Ruddslide’, 7 QLD and 4 SA seats are up for grabs in 2007-

    State Seat Party 2PP 2004 Notional 2PP

    QLD Blair Liberal 11.2 5.7
    QLD Bonner Liberal 0.9 0.6
    QLD Flynn National New Seat 7.9
    QLD Herbert Liberal 5.4 5.4
    QLD Hinkler National 4.8 8.6
    QLD Longman Liberal 7.6 6.6
    QLD Moreton Liberal 4.2 2.8
    SA Boothby Liberal 5.4 5.4
    SA Kingston Liberal 0.1 0.1
    SA Makin Liberal 0.9 0.9
    SA Wakefield Liberal 0.7 0.7

  33. “Where’s Newspoll?”

    Perhaps the question is “Where’s Dennis?” Not seen since June 29?

    Nothing on the Newspoll site either. Today, the “Chief Political Correspondent” Steve Lewis has a rabidly drum-beating OpEd piece in the Oz which he credits Galaxy as a News Limited poll, but doesn’t mention Newspoll.

    Dennis might have a cold- would this be enough to disrupt the Newspoll fortnightly schedule?

  34. I asked Matt Price on his blog, his reply was:

    ‘The results didn’t conform to News Ltd policy, Jay, so we’re doing another for publication next week. ‘

  35. My guess is that the results of the Newspoll showed a rise in support for Labor, which would have been met with disbelief by the crew at The Oz, so they canned it.

    After all, a rise in support is impossible, right? Especially after the unveiling of Howard’s new Tampa.

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