Morgan: 59-41

Roy Morgan’s first poll in two weeks is from a face-to-face survey of 1690 voters conducted over the past two weekends. It shows a slight widening of Labor’s two-party lead to 59-41, with the Coalition primary vote down from 37 per cent to 36 per cent and Labor’s up from 48 per cent to 50.5 per cent.

UPDATE: The outstanding Possum’s Pollytics, whose absence from this site’s blogroll is keenly felt (to be corrected when I overhaul the site in about a month or so), produces some interesting data on variations between Newspoll and Morgan results.

UPDATE 2: And Andrew Leigh has an easy-to-follow run-through of the Portlandbet electorate odds that have everybody talking.

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.

268 comments on “Morgan: 59-41”

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  1. Vietnam Vets Issue.

    As a counsellor who worked with Vietnam Vets here in QLD [cant say where] suffering P.T.S.D (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and a whole range of other chitt people who have been to war experience, let me just say that unless you have been there yourself, shut the *&^* up.

    Not one of the fellas I worked with (a) wanted to considered a “hero” nor (b) to be treated like one when they came home. They just wanted a fair go and to disappear into civy street a.s.a.p. psychologically impossible for many of them.

    We are just beginning to see the wash out of Vietnam in many of their lives now most are at retirement age and dont have something to shut out the experience with any more {obsessions with work, business, etc) which act as self medicating/coping tools.

    When they retire, and there is nothing to fill their heads and lives with, and it all comes back in a flood, we will see how clever we like to think we are about those Vets. For now, please refrain from commenting about something you know *(&( all about ; it is unnecessarily offensive.

  2. Chris Curtis wrote

    I cannot see the coalition being reduced to two Senate seats in three states, so I cannot see Labor having control of the Senate. It is highly unlikely that it would be reduced to two Senate seats in two states.

    Chris I take your point about the potential DD trigger for Labor (IR Policy). However, if we can put that aside, I return to my original question.

    What of the potential for the Coalition to lose Senate seats in 2 States (NSW/TAS) and the CLP to lose its seat in the NT ? Does ‘highly unlikely’ equat pretty much to ‘impossible’ as one blogger here suggested.

    My view, without having done any significant homework on it yet, is that such an outcome is improbable, but when someone tells me something about an election is “impossible” the ‘red rag to a bull’ reaction makes me want to speculate the “impossible” happening. Ill get back to you on this after Ive done my homework- PS I agree with the comment about the ‘astute’ character of your observations about the Senate.

  3. Even if Labor loses the election, I can see them gaining a net few seats, only Cowan and Swan are possible Labor losses and they have to be doing as badly or even more so this time than they did in 2004. Labor only got 44% of the two-party vote out west in 2004.

    If Labor wins the election, they are not likely to lose any seats. If Labor wins say 54-46, they might even pick up extra one or two seats in WA.

  4. Parramatta? The Libs don’t even have a candidate yet, so they obviously don’t think they can win it.

    The Liberals have chosen a candidate for Parramatta.

    (Though in my view, being a notional Liberal seat, Parramatta is not a seat the ALP can “lose”.)

    Concur that Swan and Cowan would be the only vulnerable Labor seats.

  5. Sticking with the theme of Liberal candidates in marginal western Sydney seats. Here’s the latest goings on in Lindsay. It seems Jackie Kelly will not be getting her way.

    In true Australian political reporting style, the journalist gets the most basic of facts wrong. A margin of 11.1% is attributed to Lindsay. That’s actually the margin for Macarthur. Lindsay, on the new boundaries, is a more modest 2.9%.

  6. For what its worth, I too dont think Labor will have too many casualties from this election either *2-3 probably.

    However, the seats I listed above are obviously the ones vulnerable to a rogue result- Any losses should come from that lot and probably will go against the very logical assumption that WA is the most likely place where casualties could occur for Labor.

    If nothing else, Molotov’s question has drawn out some indications of what the more experienced election buffs (Adam et al) are thinking about the 2007 election outcome. Well done Molotov !!

  7. The Liberal Candidate for Parramatta is ex Navy. Is Parramatta one of those ‘services’ dominated seats? I better go look at the profile.

  8. Alan,
    I’m not a big believer in any one organisations polls being inherently more accurate than anothers when it comes to primary vote estimations. All the polls track each other in movement over time as sure as night follows day. The average of the final week or so of polls in the Federal election campaign for every organisation have all been “accurate” insofar that their primary vote estimation has reflected the actual primary vote on election day once you account for the margin or error involved in polling plus the uncertainty involved with still having undecided voters right up until those undecideds put pencil to ballot paper.

    On the whole Morgan vs Newspoll issue – there is unequivocally systemic bias between them as the consistent difference between their respective primary vote estimations is not random. If it were random there would be roughly equal observations where Morgan and Newspoll were higher than one another over a given period of time, but that is not the case.

    As to which of the two (or perhaps even both) suffers “bias” at any particular time, we unfortunately will never know as we don’t have enough elections to make that determination will any real level of statistical confidence worth poking a stick at..

    What is important with polls isn’t the poll to poll changes (although that certainly is the fun part!), but the cumulative incremental movement over longer time periods of successive polls.

    As for the whole TPP estimation by all the organisations– IMHO they arent worth the paper they’re printed on. It’s uncertainty on steroids.

    For descriptive purposes, I find Newspoll “better” only insofar as their polls have a long period of time consistency (fortnightly – seemingly forever), the methodology hasn’t changed dramatically as far as I’m aware (although certainly stand to be corrected) and they don’t have the variance of the Morgan polls.That’s just a personal preference thing that doesnt mean I think they’re the most accurate, just that they are the most usable for the sort of time series analysis I do with them.

    But if you want the most accurate measure of polling purely for forecasting, then Bryans graph of “Monthly aggregated polls: AC Nielson , Galaxy, Morgan, Newspoll”

    …for the primary vote is, statistically at least, far and away the best measure to use that has the least amount of uncertainty.

  9. I’ve never seen such concentrated hat-eating declarations as on this one thread! I hope you are all serious I’m tired of politicians resorting to hyperbole and expect the blogosphere to have higher standards 🙂

    Why would Rudd not call a *half* senate election instead of a full? Yes it would through the cycle out of whack, but the blockage is the “abnormal” result from 2004, which would be wiped out in a half-senate election, without jeprodising Labor’s “we always get three senate seats” gig.

  10. Thanks, Possum, I appreciate you taking the time to reply in such detail. I agree wholeheartedly with your view on the flakiness of TPP estimates from polls, and with your final par about the aggregated poll figures.

  11. Hi STROP. No Parramatta is not a Navy seat. Not too many warships dock up that way. This candidate has no profile and is just another sign the Libs have all but written it off. They’ll spend what money they have in Bennelong next door.

    Was anyone else at the rugger Saturday night? Howard was roundly booed. All politicians invite a rough reception when they venture onto sporting arenas but my recollection is that in the past he got quite a few cheers as well as boos. If he’s lost the Sydney rugby union crowd (mainly private school North Shore, for you non-believers) then it’s just another sign of how much trouble he’s in.

    Reminds me of a story from 1975. Gough went to a rugby league game in Brisbane & was introduced by legendary Labor Senator Ron McAuliffe (also chairman of the Queensland league). The crowd erupted. Gough said: “They don’t seem to like you much Ron”

  12. Chris…
    Your Senate analysis is quite correct. I believe the ALP will get three quotas on primaries in most states and close enough in the others to reach it on preferences. However, this will mean that they will have very little residue to offer anyone else. In particular there will be insufficient to boost the Greens to a quota except perhaps in Tasmania. In most other states, this would leave a shoot out between the Greens, FFP and Lib for the sixth seat, which stacks the odds against a Green success, and towards a 3-3 split.

    Whilst, I agree that victory in the House should be the primary concern, a hostile Senate would be poison in the chalice. The only way to prevent this from happening is to try and leverage the FFP vote above the Lib residue. This is the only way to limit the coalition to 2 seats and to achieve a workable government.

    It has been shown (ref Mumble) that the FFP house votes are more directable than those of the Greens. In the unlikely event that the Greens would direct preferences away from Labor, their voters would be unlikely to follow the card. Not so with FFP voters, they are much more centrist and can be more persuaded by the direction of the HTV.

    So preference exchanges in both houses are likely to be mutually beneficial.

  13. Dembo: Why would Rudd not call a *half* senate election instead of a full? Yes it would through the cycle out of whack, but the blockage is the “abnormal” result from 2004, which would be wiped out in a half-senate election, without jeprodising Labor’s “we always get three senate seats” gig.

    Dembo, Rudd cannot call a half senate election at his fancy. With the exception of double dissolutions, senate terms are fixed: This is the reason Senate and House elections can get out of sync. The soonest possible time after next election another half senate election can be called will be early August 2010, and the senators so elected won’t take their seats until 1 July 2011, giving a Prime Minister Rudd a three and a half years with a hostile senate. This simply will not work, and the only way out is a double dissolution. Rudd will almost certainly call one if he gets the House of Representatives but not the Senate.

  14. STROP:

    Without wanting to downplay your experiences or the people that you have worked with, the point is that some people want to somehow explain all of the PTSD experienced by Vietnam vets on the conduct of people who wanted to stop them being sent there in the first place.

    The Vietnam war created a cultural division in Australia, and people on both sides of this division were guilty of personalising and hence polarising the debate – there were at least as many war supporters accusing opponents of being unpatriotic, cowardly and communists as there were anti-war people accusing individual soldiers of being imperialists and murderers.

    However as far as the political responsibility of what happened to these vets in Vietnam, then that lies squarely with the people who sent them there.

  15. “The Liberal Candidate for Parramatta is ex Navy.”

    And, interestingly a member of the ETU.

    How many current coalition parliamentarians are members of trade unions? 🙂

  16. “…I know many people on this site assume IR is a loser for the Liberals but dont be so sure.”

    There are a lot of practical, as well as theoretical, reasons for believing that the best policy territory to fight from is the middle ground.

    That’s the problem with WorkChoices. It’s hard to seriously argue that it is a centrist policy. Contrast it with the GST, something of itself unattractive, but made centrist through genuine compensation.

    The difficulty in arguing that the punters have supported deregulation is that for the most part they did not know the implications of what they were voting for, and – crucially – the Coalition was not offering an alternative.

    But IR is a concrete issue that people can readily apply to their own circumstances or to those of their children.

    Mr St John is correct that a wacko IR policy would torpedo the ALP. But does anyone seriously think Rudd and the ALP Right are going to allow that to happen?

  17. Ed St John,

    The IR choice is not between living in a regulated versus deregulated world. Workchoices (or whatever it is called now) is not deregulation. The requirements that business have to comply with are onerous.

    It is just a different sort of regulation than what it replaced.

    Unless you think that Labor will take us back to pre-1993 centralised wage fixing, which I don’t.

    I agree with you that Labor has to separate itself from the unions, if only as a function of demography. I think Rudd’s plan is to get over the line and do it with the authority of Government.

    You obviously don’t think he can win without doing it first. Personally I don’t think the union scare campaign will have much traction. If Howard is to win he will do it on a “they can’t be trusted with the economy” scare campaign in my view.

    PS to STROP: Lowe would have to be a real rogue result. Last I heard (in the Inner Western Suburbs Courier), the Liberal Party were having trouble convincing any local Liberal with a profile to even nominate for pre-selection. If they have got a candidate, I haven’t heard who it is yet. The Libs aren’t going to put any money into Lowe and it seems to be moving away from them anyway.

  18. Strop,

    “What of the potential for…..the CLP to lose its seat in the NT ? Does ‘highly unlikely’ equat[e] pretty much to ‘impossible’ as one blogger here suggested.[?]”

    Mate, the reasons both the ALP and the CLP are rolled gold certainties to finish 1:1 are: (i) the lack of any credible third party (the Greens are much thinner on the ground here and we’re too suspicious of outside religious parties since we know this is God’s country) and (ii) with two senators, the quota is reduced to just 33.3% (2+1).

    About who represents which conservative party amongst the CLP pollies, the practice has been to split the numbers when possible. Tollner sits with the Libs and Scullion sits with the Nats. Previously, Dundas and Everingham sat with the Libs and Tambling sat with the Nats. As the Nats will be precariously close to the limit for official party status in the next Senate (especially after the rodentry of McGauran in Vic. and the likely demise of Boswell in Qld., the pressure is on for conservative N.T. Senators to sit with the Nat pack.

  19. Edward if you think the coalition’s IR policy is a winner for them then you are sadly deluded. I have no doubt whatsoever that had Howard left things as they were we wouldn’t be talking about a change of government this election. To quote Black Jack “But IR is a concrete issue that people can readily apply to their own circumstances or to those of their children.” I will add one word to that comment. IR is an ECONOMIC concrete issue that people can readily apply to their own circumstances or to those of their children and all indications show that they fear what Howard has put in place for them and what more he will have in store for them if he wins again, a fear that will far out weigh anything Labor will come up with.

  20. The Hasluck & Stirling view / logic in the West Australia Newspaper this morning (ok stop laughing now it is the only local newspaper we have got, and calling it the Herdsman Lake Liberal Party Newsletter would just seem grumpy) seems to suggest that it is economic tightness that is the issue in these seats and that the libs want to use a focused repeat of the interest rate scare campaign from 2004 in Hasluck and Stirling.

    This is interesting because the usual ‘wisdom’ from the boys in the east (whether or not they come on camels with gifts) is that we are happy with Howard because we are swimming in money.

    Personally not yet worried about losing seats in WA, but Hasluck and Stirling will take work.

  21. Poll of 402 people across Perth and Regional WA shows primary support for coalition slipping four points … but the crude numbers (Lab:Lib)

    46.5 : 53.5 latest westpoll
    can’t find the number but last westpoll was worse for labor on 2pp basis
    44.6 : 55.4 2004 election

    So for those happy to believe the 2pp from Westpoll, and prepared to ignore that the margin of error is much greater than the margin in any of the marginal seats we are talking about, but Nosty and Steven have always considered Westpoll to be very reliable, a roughly 2% swing to Labor from the last election puts Hasluck and Stirling into line ball.

    In WA Carpenter and Labor polling very strongly. If I could remember who is leader of the opposition I could tell you something like 16% approval for him / her.

  22. Hi Strop,
    I have actually spent 30 years working with Vietnam veterans – initially at RGH Concord for 7 years and since in private practice. I therefore find your assumptions offensive.
    Like all groups VVs are a very mixed group. However, what almost all will say is that they had no ideological desire to go to Vietnam. Most went because their fathers filled them with stories of WWII and they saw it as a rite of passage, a few have admitted to me that it was mainly for the RSL badge and the war service home loan, one told me that compared to spending his early 20s in Gilgandra- Vietnam looked like a winner.
    These men were young and mostly poor and poorly educated, they often came from rural and conservative backgrounds. It was easy enough to avoid the draft if you came from other backgrounds.
    The ‘stab in the back by protestors’ theory seems to be gaining ground – I suspect due to the media feeding it. It certainly did not have much currency amongst diggers in the 70s and 80s – the “ignored by the government and RSL” theory was much more popular when I worked at Concord.
    To restate Albert Ross: do these men deserve our help and sympathy? -yes. Do I now think that they acted in full conscience in a just fight? – absolutely not.

  23. This is a phone poll, so face-to-face bias doesn’t apply, though it does have a Margin of Error of 4%, sample size 611. Labor primary 49, Coalition 35, Green 7, others 9. Landslide to Labor!!!

  24. Why is it these pollsters look at the results and always say the Libs really can’t be in this much trouble? If this was Labor in this position they would have no hesitation in writing them off this far out from the election. What is the use of pointing out what happened with John Major in Britain for heaven sake? Did he have an unpopular IR policy, an unpopular war and was he in for 11 years?

  25. Why would Rudd not call a *half* senate election instead of a full? Yes it would through the cycle out of whack, but the blockage is the “abnormal” result from 2004, which would be wiped out in a half-senate election, without jeprodising Labor’s “we always get three senate seats” gig.

    Actually the Coalition only did one Senate seat better in 2004 than they did in 2001.

    Labor’s concern is that the Coalition will continue to reap three out of six seats in every state at half-Senate elections; even in elections they lose. Remember that three quotas is only 43% of the vote. And unlike Labor with the Greens, there are no big spoilers for the Liberals on the right.

    The last point to make is that controlling half the Senate seats is effectively a majority for the party in Opposition.

  26. William – can confirm westpoll published today. Small sample of 400, but movement towards Rudd would put Hasluck and Stirling in ALP pile.

    Everyone needs to remember the hideously low ALP vote in 2004. Not having Latham scaring us sandgropers silly will surely be a bonus?

    Local Libs are said to be expressing some concern about Kalgoorlie and Barry Haase’s lack of effort (who’s the ALP candidate??)

    For what it’s worth I can see some seats changing hands in the West but not necessarily changing the balance.

  27. “where are the results?”

    Well they’d be in the paper 🙂 But I can’t see them on the online edition either.

    I guess a federal poll in WA seats is too national for the WA news section and too WA for the national news section 🙂

  28. Gary,

    You are making the mistake of applying your own views to the IR issue. Essentially it is a choice between whether people believe in the individual vs the collective and regulation vs deregulation.

    I totally agree if people favour the colletive/regulation over the individual/ deregulation Labor should win. This philosophical distinction is clearly delineated by the IR debate. Clearly too Labor is trying to disguise its preference for the collective/regulation model because it fears the consequences electorally – hence the very blurry Fair Work Australia presented by Medicare Gold.

    Reasonable people can support either model, and I dont necessarily belief the individual/deregulated model means $6 wages for all. But hey its a real choice and will make this a real turning point election. My view is that given the decline in unions etc I find it hard to believe people will ultimately embrace them at the election – but I stand to be corrected and will of course eat my hat if I am wrong.

    You also forget that a lot of the “howard battlers” are not employees but self-employed tradesmen and women. These people are more keen on maximising their take home then the rights of unions. And yes Matt D , Labor should have seperated before the election and it is the fight it has to have if it is going to be ready for government.

    In many ways the focus on polls is not unlike reading chicken entrails. Conviction and belief still counts in politics and I do not believe ultimately people will buy “Half-way Labor”.

  29. The more apt comparison with the UK might be 1997; it seems the economy was going great, but UK Labour had moved to the centre, and Maggie Thatcher’s reforms weren’t popular; the Tories had basically become radical conservatives. When Labour put forward good policies and a charismatic leader, they won in a record landslide.

    Here in Aus, climate change alone might well be enough, but Howard’s radical conservatism in introducing Workchoices should seal the deal. Rudd is much better than Latham.

  30. any guess for Newspoll results tomorrow, and Dennis Shanahan’s corresponding headline?

    My guess is 55 – 45 ALP ahead, of course. Only because I had a dream last night in which that was the result. “Howard inching back” is my guess at the headline.

    Any other takers?

  31. Good luck to Sharon, but there has not been a single theory of voter behaviour and intention that I can remember, pertaining to Western Australia that even suggests Barry needs to work to win.

    If WA was polling like the rest of the country he would need to be working … but it doesn’t look like it to me.

    Damn I hope I’m wrong.

  32. The Morgan phone poll taken in mid-June had a 55-45 Labor gap, so this poll represents a 4% swing to Labor. It’s even better in primary, with mid-June have Coal at 40, Labor 43.5; that’s a swing against Coal of 5%, and a swing to Labor of 5.5%.

  33. Edward, I agree that Labor has not necessarily got its IR strategy right just yet, and that the Keating model is the better approach. It wouldn’t durprise me, once the central focus moves off IR, that Rudd-Gillard move quietly towards that approach. Neither is in heavy debt to the union movement, but OTOH they don’t need to make any extra enemies on their own side.

    But I am fascinated that you see the IR battleground as regulated vs deregulated. What was the Workchoices I legislation again? 1300 or 1700 pages? Workchoices II can hardly be said to have simplified it with an army of inspectors to be appointed to check up whether rights are being preserved. That’s deregulation?

    Nor would I suggest that Howard has neutralised the issue be restoring the fairness issues. At most it will remind people of what they tried to get away with – it can hardly be said that removal of the ‘no disadvantage’ clauses was an accidental oversight. If it was an oversight, possibly caused by Howard’s excessive determination to keep the unions from anywhere near the workplace in any circumstances, then they deserve to be punished for such a monumental stuffup.

    I think Malcolm McKerras is closer to it than most who have looked at it. That is, that the public is likely to see Workchoices as a betrayal of public trust, much as they did Chifley’s attempt to nationalise the banks. Neither had been flagged at the previous election. Restoring fairness will not amount to forgiveness just as the high Court defeat of the banks nationalisation did not lead to Chifley being forgiven.

  34. Pseph,

    Funnily enough I had a dream about it too but my figure was 60-40 which goes to show that my dreams are better than yours.

    Dennis’ comments would surely include the phrase – “ALP figure artificially boosted”. Not that this would stop him from claiming the ALP vote was crumbling when the next Newspoll result inevitably showed a lower figure.

  35. Pseph, did you know Dennis used to be a sportswriter? Yes, he was the boxing reporter for his paper.

    It was Dennis who coined the phrase, “all night long our brave boy destroyed the fists of his opponent, with his face!”

  36. Ed I beg to disagree. In my day job I recently saw some good quality commercial market research (ie completely apolitical) showing a definite cooling of the embrace of the free market in the last few years. People are just confused and want less choice, more regulation and more certainty. Was this due to the backlash to the workbeast that dare not speak its name? Or was the backlash just reflecting the underlying mood?

    I suspect it’s the latter. Howard completely misread his 2004 mandate, which was for certainty and stability. Using an unexpected Senate majority to force his own ideological prejudices on an unsuspecting and unwilling electorate will be his undoing.

  37. Here’s the thing about phone polls, for anyone who’s interested: all pollsters have recently been forced to grapple with the fact that the pool of people willing to do these surveys has been rapidly diminishing. It seems that more and more people are refusing to take part, or are screening their calls using their answering machines, forcing pollsters to go online. If this is indeed then case, then I’d say it’s highly likely that the majority of those people willing to take part in political surveys over the phone are left-leaning, since they are more vocal and have more time on their hands. So best not to take any of these results at face value.

  38. Steven,

    Now every Newspoll, AC Nielsen and Galaxy is flawed??

    If the results were the other way, would you still have that opinion? If there is any trend to the Gov tomorrow, we had better not see you on here carping about the result!

  39. That’s an interesting thought on Kalgoorlie – it’s a bit of a rogue electorate at the best of times – and despite it being where the mining boom is happening, I suspect that the Perth metro area is leeching a substantially large part of the money out as it’s driven a lot these days by fly-in-fly-out employees (and the off site employees are in Perth if they’re not in Sydney). So maybe Kalgoorlie isn’t profiting as much as you might think, which might make it more like the rest of the country than the rest of WA.

  40. So, Steven, does that mean that Morgan would be the best poll after all? Usually being face-to-face, I’d say that people are more likely to agree to a survey when someone is standing at their door than when they call on the phone.

  41. Martin J,

    I’d rather it turn out that you’re the prophet over me!

    Perhaps the Oz will run a secondary poll, perhaps something about Union inteference in the ALP, and will headline their paper with those results, if the voting intention polling is bad for the Coalition. “Electorate fears union thugs, poll shows” … “in other news, Howard has stopped Rudd’s rise in the polls and now looks more position to win a 5th election with already *insert figure in low 40’s*% of the 2PP vote.

    What would we do without Dennis?

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