Unsafe as houses

Having done my bit to fan the flames of anti-Australian hysteria, props are due to the paper for this morning’s typically excellent piece by George Megalogenis on regional variations in housing price movements. Crucially, a “two-speed housing market” is identified in New South Wales, promising to hit the Coalition hard in marginal suburban and hinterland electorates (specifically Parramatta, Lindsay, Dobell, Robertson and all-important Bennelong), while delivering worthless dividends in the rich inner suburbs (where double-digit swings to the Coalition were recorded in the March state election). There’s a particularly handy cut-out-and-keep graphic listing the 20 electorates where prices have moved most heavily either way, the “price rises” list being monopolised by Western Australia. This ties in nicely with localised polling showing the Coalition collapsing in NSW, while holding ground or better in WA. Also instructive are Possum Comitatus‘s renowned observations on the ratio of interest payments to disposable income. Further analysis of Megalogenis’s data from Simon Jackman.

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.

344 comments on “Unsafe as houses”

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  1. Good god! My last names thatcher and even i couldnt believe the amount of conservative lies, bull and spin i was reading. Whats happened to this site. Cant we all just agree Rudd will shit it in and live happily ever after?

  2. The Newspoll safe Coalition seat polling was based on 3000+ interviews Apr-July, showing a 14% Labor swing. This is only a 2% MoE. My concern with Possum is that he may be double-counting a bit, eg, by multiplying regional * safe Coal * NSW. I think here that only one should apply if any of these swings is very large. However, if Labor did win 60%+ in NSW, they would win about 35-45 out of 49 NSW seats.

    I think the issue causing so much pain for the govt in their own safe seats is climate change. This has become a huge issue very quickly, and the govt’s long-term scepticism has not helped. In regional areas, the drought can be blamed on CC, and the rains have probably come too late for the govt. Urban safe Lib seats have many doctors’ wives types who are also very concerned. If you look at the AC Nielson and Newspoll analysis by age, there is a huge drop in the govt vote among young people.

  3. Swordfish Says:

    July 18th, 2007 at 5:02 pm
    Well then Noocat…..Blah Blah Blah… then ” I suppose you can’t cite a source for your final claim”.

    Talk about the pot calling the Kettle. How about sourcing just ONE of your rediculous pronouncements Swordfish (and not from the Liberal Party Hymn Book) then maybe, just maybe, I might give a glance to what you have to say.

    Until then put up evidence to support your arguments (I am being kind in using that phrase), not just Economics 101 (the rising tide raises all ships theory that has been proven WRONG long ago) or stop whingeing about others not substantiating their claims.

    Here is a idea for you, stick to the primary theme of this site instead of exposing your lack of substantial economic and political knowledge to the light of day. At this point I rate you someone to ignore- I suspect that wont change.

    Thank You,


  4. The 600 Ford factory staff cut in Geelong wont help McArthur’s tilt at holding Corangamite (5.3) for the Coalition. Thats 1 in Victoria for Labor.

  5. I think there are serious flaws with Possums latest work (love ya stuff though Poss). The fact that weights are multiplied together does indicate mutual independence of all factors. This is not so and I am estimating substantial correlation between some weights. This would compound the size of the swing effects one way or the other. His analysis though does reach good points in saying where the government weakness lies, its the strength of the swings that would be off.

    I’ve noticed that the pro-left are in full voice with the latest polls – as they should be, but consider this:

    (i) The electorate is still mostly disengaged. It explains some of the “rusted on” feel to the polls over the last few months. Howard has attempted to re-focus the electorate with his “annihilation” comments and his public humility plea yesterday. I don’t believe this will have any effect until the campaign proper and re-engagement occurs. I also dont believe that swinging voters have made up their minds in full.

    (ii) Howard has the economic drawcard. Swinging voters will lean toward safe and secure.

    (iii) In the current climate Rudd is acting like a government. The coalition knows that the ALP have to release details of their announced policies before the election. Like any good Opposition, the coalition will be trying to procure as much ammunition from those announcements as possible and target Labor inexperience. It hasn’t worked to date, but try it on a re-engaged electorate might get results.

    (iv) The negative campaign from hell is about to be unleashed upon the electorate. Rudd says positive policies is what they want in the election and then releases the Howard asleep ad. They cant help themselves and neither will the government. Problem is, that the electorate dislikes negative campaigns. The party with the most positive of the negative campaigns will attract the re-engaging voters.

    (v) Labor’s chances depend on WorkChoices. Get the electorate to soften to Workchoices WILL win them the election based on the number of voters that will return especially in 5%+ swing seats. I can guarantee that the Coalition knows this and is going to ram it down the electorates throat.

    I still believe Labor will win, but by a margin of 3-7 seats. That is close enough for everyone to take a chill pill and wait a little longer to pop the corks. A simple misstep when the electorate is engaged is enough to sway plenty of voters – ask Latham.

  6. That was my thought, Strop, going on Possum’s figures, and now Ford, Outer parts of the Geelong district are now in Corangamite. It was slowly turning from safe Lib to marginal anyway. The Ford closure will probably push it over.

  7. # STROP Says:
    July 17th, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    Bill is the sentiment in SA that all three (Kingston;Makin;Wakefeild) will go to Labor ? What about Boothby ? If a swing was on in SA there was a kind of domino effect when I was living there. Maybe things have changed.

    I think if the Greens can win some of the left leaning Libs in Boothby then Cornes might have a chance. Pity SA wont be first in the count because Boothby would be a great seat to watch.

  8. Grooski, the electorate has been engaged for a long time; qualitative research by Morgan released this month shows there is mood for a change. Newspoll released a survey in June which shows much greater voter commitment than before for this stage of an election cycle.

  9. Another stat in support of the fact voters ARE engaged is the fact the “undecided / uncomitted” portion of the prefered P.M. vote keeps declining every month, so more and more people are making up their minds at least about that.

  10. Lord D – based on what questions did they establish engagement? A mood for change does not necessarily mean this. A lot of voters can be “semi-engaged” – listening to the topics in the main media, but not focussing fully on the detail and still provide an opinion to a poll.

    Certainly if there is greater participation in any polling, does this necessarily mean, by the above, that the electorate is switched on or just more willing to give opinion on what it knows?

    Past history shows us, as Morgan himself has stated in recent times, that the electorate swinging voters only make up their mind in part during the election campaign and mostly when they enter the polling booth. If this still rings true, then there is still room for Howard to attract votes.

    Dont get me wrong – I’m a swinging voter likely to vote Labor, but I will never write off that cocunut on the throne and his ability to make me afraid of something.

  11. Groski, Why are you only likely to vote Labor when the coconut and his admin makes you afraid?
    He makes me afraid too. I wish I had 10 votes to vote him out with yesterday.

  12. “Surrendering the policy initiative”

    I assume this is the one Enjaybee referred to.

    Enjaybee, just copy and paste the url (the strange text in the address bar in your browser window) into the text box when your writing your post here. For safety, leave space before and after the url after you’ve pasted it. Many web sites will turn it into a clickable link without you doing anything special. The ones that don’t, people can still copy and paste the url into their own browser.

  13. “Liberal Party plants should be watered, not argued with. ”

    I usually water my plants late at night after a couple of VBs with a bit of a whiz, does wonders for them. Which reminds me of an intriguing story doing the rounds of the pubs.

  14. According to Howard, negative attacks are “pathetic”:

    “Well, my response is that is a pretty pathetic approach,” the Prime Minister said to the Nine Network.”

    Well bugger me, all the L plate ads directed at Latham in 2004 must have been an illusion.

    Fancy Howard tormenting Beazley for years about a lack of ticker. Well, at least Beazley didn’t have a glass jaw. What a sook!

    By the way has anyone noticed the opposition leader visiting reasonably safe Liberal seats in recent weeks. Goldstein, Dunkley and Boothby to name a few. Polling must be bad for the government if Rudd reckons he can snare these seats. He wouldn’t be wasting his time otherwise.

  15. Costello did an interview two year’s ago for a book on Howard. To say he wasn’t complimentary re Howard’s record as treasurer is an understatement. Hartcher will have extracts from the book in the SMH tomorrow and over the next few days.

  16. I want to be careful not to inadvertently over-sensationalise the comments. Apparently in tomorrow’s SMH there will be excerpts from a new JWH biography in which Costello (who was interviewed for the book) savages his record as Treasurer under Fraser, criticises the amount of politically-motivated spending in the Howard Government and accuses Howard of deliberately misleading Costello and the electorate over the timing of a leadership handover.

    This interview apparently happened last year (before the collapse in Coalition support in the polls) and Costello had to have known the book would come out before the election.

  17. “Noocat, I don’t know about you but I can’t see how that ad reflects badly on Howard’s age.”

    All I will say is that I loved the doilies in that ad.

    By the way, I also missed Lateline – what was Costello saying?

  18. Re Rudd’s campaigning: He’s a clever wee pixie the Ruddster, he may be deliberately showing his face in safe Liberal seats as a bit of psy-ops, to put the wind up dopey backbenchers like Southcott so they run to Brian Loughnane and demand that more money be spent in their seat, thus diverting attention from the key marginals.

  19. Adam

    It may just be general campaigning by Rudd for the senate, he could go into a safe liberal seat knowing he needs a swing of 14% to pick it up and also knowing that the likely swing he will get may be only 8-9%, but his campaigning there whilst not securing the seat may secure extra votes for the senate.

  20. Pseph,

    No. Costello was interviewed for a Howard biography that is due to be released next week. The SMH has a sneak peek in tomorrow’s paper of the rather astounding comments made by Costello, and Peter Hartcher gave a sneak peek of the sneak peek on Lateline tonight.

    I’m trying to fathom why he said it. The only two explanations are a) he thought he would be Prime Minister by now and was looking to subtly distance himself from Howard or b) he’s pulled down the Prime Ministerial pants in a fit of pique.

    Either way, it’s a staggeringly dumb thing to have done.

  21. Arbie Jay,

    I don’t think anyone in the Labor Party is thinking about the Senate right now. Unless something truly astonishing happens, that will be a matter for a 2008 double dissolution.

  22. You may be right Adam. But Rudd might also think he can win these seats, especially if the private polling in the 16 marginals clearly shows the government is in diabolical shape.

    For example take Goldstein, it is blue ribbon affluent Liberal heatland. Some of the most expensive areas in bayside Melbourne and some of the safest Liberal voting areas. But there is Rudd, campaigning heartily, more than once.

    It is hard to believe that he would waste his time campaigning there if he didn’t think he could win. What is going on?

  23. Ahhh, gotcha. Meanwhile, thanks to ESJ, I prematurely told a friend Costello is challenging .. woops 🙂 …

    Well, I sure look to tomorrow’s SMH. Should be a tantalising read.

  24. This environment in which everyone is trying to work out by how much Howard is going to lose … I am telling you all and please remember these words Gary Bruce come November 11th (ominous date) are the perfect conditions for a surprise come from behind win a la Major in 1992 and Bertie Ahern in Ireland – as long as the Libs dont fracture that is.

    You can see already that Labor is getting over confident as are its partisans on this site (honourable exception Adam for once).

  25. “Was Costello interviewed on Lateline?”

    No, Peter Hartcher was. Don’t recall anything about a challenge. But the rest of it was pretty damaging stuff. Next week could be very interesting.

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