Kingston and Wakefield

The Adelaide Advertiser has published a poll of federal voting intention in the marginal seats of Kingston and Wakefield, showing Labor with respective leads of 57-43 and 58-42. A similar poll published in January had Labor’s lead in Kingston at 56-44. Labor lost both Kingston and Wakefield at the 2004 election: Kingston by 119 votes following an unfavourable redistribution and a small swing against sitting member David Cox, and Wakefield by 0.7 per cent despite a redistribution that turned a safe Liberal rural seat into a semi-urban seat with a notional Labor margin of 1.5 per cent. The Advertiser’s article is very light on details, such as sample sizes and primary votes. Perhaps some community-spirited South Australian reader might care to send a scan of a table, if there is one.

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 “Kingston and Wakefield”

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  1. Ollie, I think Makin will be very tight, or at least much more so than Wakefield and Kingston which should both be blowouts. The 3% swing against the Liberals at the last election was very much a swing against the sitting MP Trish Draper who got caught up in strife over her taxpayer funded travels. I believe the true margin in Makin is more like 4-5% Add in a fresh face for the Liberals (Bob Day) who has a high profile in the community and a bucketload of cash to splash around, and all of a sudden this seat becomes a real dogfight.

  2. In a suburban seat candidate factors are seldom worth more than 2% or so. Most people will be voting for Howard or Rudd and either won’t know or won’t care who the local candidates are. If there is a swing across Adelaide of the size being suggested by current polls, Makin will go out with the tide. As Andrew Jones said on election night in 1969: “Jesus Christ couldn’t have held Adelaide.”

  3. Kev you may well be right. There are others who support your view that the outcome in Makin will be tight.

    Matthew Sykes Says:

    July 29th, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    The Liberal candidate in Makin is loaded and has been carpet bombing the electorate with propaganda.

    Day is apparently well known in the community (is he well liked too ?) and a millionairre builder- lots of money to toss around.

    Trish Draper is no more (can we expect a pro Liberal ‘adjustment’ ?) and the bloke she held on against in 2004 (Tony Zappia) is apparently standing again.

    People say the only advantages for Zappia are (a) the general swing against the Coalition in the polls in SA will sweep up Makin if 53-47 2PP (polls) holds to the election and (b) the Union movement in SA might toss in a few extra dollars and support for Zappia in Makin because they are ‘not happy Jan’ with the Coalition candidate, Bob Day.

    I read on Adam Carr’s website (below) that Bob Day will be a target for the union movement over his sponsorship of the Independent Contractors Australia organisation.

    Before all this came to light, I would have thought Makin would go with Kingston and Wakefield. Maybe Boothby and/or Sturt are better bets ?

  4. It is a common error of the political class, which includes candidates, commentators and poeple like us, to assume that the voters are paying attention to everything we say. They are not. Most people who take any interest in “issues” are committed partisans of one side or the other. The floaters in Makin will simply vote for Howard or Rudd. Throwing money at suburban seats may buy 2% or so, but not much more. The swing required in Makin is less than 1%. If there is a swing across Adelaide of more than 3% or so, Labor will win Makin regardless of local factors.

  5. By the way, I note the paper referred to by Bob Day is on Junior Rates of Pay. I actually did my (unfinished) Phd thesis on this very subject. Age Discrimination in the labour market.

    His (Bob Day) solution is individual ‘agreements’ based on the view that current junior rates of pay (laughably) make young people ‘uncompetitive’ in the labour market (that is, they are paid too much) and the myth that employers will not ‘exploit’ these yp because Mum and Dad can check the contract out before the yp commits to it. What B.S.

    This ‘take it or leave it’ approach which I note the Coalition are promoting on the radio and TV (its ok, your parents will check it out first) forces young people into a ‘take what is offered or someone else will’ position.

    I am fundamentally opposed to any discrimination against young people based upon age (among other things) and junior rates of pay is a bane on the Australian workplace IMHO. I hope Day fails miserably.

  6. I live in Makin, and by virtue of the kindness of Bob Day, I am now the proud owner of a few half inch Bob Day rules, that he sent to every resident. And everytime I go to a local reataurant, I get to sign my bill with a complementary Bob Day pen, there for the taking.
    All his literature that comes semmingly every other week, goes straight in the bin because I have no intention of voting for him and risk yet another term of Tory reign.

    He has a bottomless pit of personal wealth that he is using to buy his seat and this must surely apply a local perturbation to the trend.

    Will it be enough? I think (hope) not.

  7. I would have thought a wealthy candidate “carpet bombing” the electorate with pens, or magnets, or rulers etc would be a turn off for most voters. Especially if a swing was on in electorates like Kingston and Wakefield.

    Australians are cynical and aren’t always impressed with this kind of self promotion. We like our pollies to spruik with some humility. We are a weird mob.

    From what I’ve read this candidate is vulnerable to an attack on the Workchoices issue. If IR is a “hot button” issue in Makin then this will hurt the government. I don’t know if this is the case.

    Something is clearly happening in SA. Eveytime I read an SA opinion poll it is doom and gloom for the government. It appears that a large anti-government swing is on. Even though I’m not a local logic tells me that Makin will probably be swept up in the ALP tide.

    The question to ask is whether Boothby and Sturt will also fall. Christopher Pyne is allegedly worried, I read somewhere that his people are not to be seconded to help the State administration with their campaign but are working locally with him.

    Someone clearly senses danger.

  8. We should remember that Labor built up a very high vote in SA during the Dunstan years, with a large stratum of middle-class voters supporting Labor. This was largely lost at both state and federal level in the Labor debacle of 1993, which led to the loss of Hindmarsh, Adelaide, Grey, Kingston and Makin between 1993 and 1996. Mike Rann has now rebuilt Labor’s vote at the state level, and this may well now be finding reflection at federal level, with a lot of help from WorkChoices, which should indeed bite hard in “Howard battler” seats like Wakefield and Makin. If Howard loses this election, he will be remembered as the man who fatally undercut his own electoral base, by attacking the living standards of the socially conservative working-class voters who swung to him in 1996.

  9. I like this bit – “The result represents an eight per cent gap, the same as that recorded in a July 1 poll, but Labor’s lead had narrowed from the 12 per cent margin in April and May. The gap was five per cent in June.” ie an improvement for Labor in July over June by 3 percent.

  10. Bad news for Coalition, but I can’t help but think Labor might start getting worried. The Coalition has been inching back quite a bit now, and even though I don’t believe in the whole notion of a linear trajectory, I can’t help but think the game is getting more and more even.

  11. This latest Galaxy Poll does explain why Mr Briggs is spruiking the %2 over estimation of Labor’s polling figures in recent polls. The Primary figures are pretty close to the infamous 53\47 Galaxy from a few months ago which from memory was 44\42.

  12. According to this poll. I’ll take this “bad news” for Labor. Galaxy has a tendency to underestimate the Labor vote IMHO. The other polls have Labor’s PV at around 47%.

  13. Labor has gained in July from the June figure according to this poll and has maintained that gain. Where is the bad news for Labor?

  14. I wouldn’t be taking the Galaxy Poll figures any more literally than the Morgan Poll figures. In my opinion the state of play is somewhere around the Nielsen\Newspoll figures with Galaxy\Morgan being on the outer edges.

  15. The fact the pollster THINKS that polls are over stating the ALP vote makes me think he would weight his raw data to take this into account.

  16. Pseph, I’m wondering what grounds you are basing this statement on “but I can’t help but think Labor might start getting worried. The Coalition has been inching back QUITE A BIT NOW, and even though I don’t believe in the whole notion of a linear trajectory, I can’t help but think the game is getting more and more even.” I’ve just checked out the last two months Nielsen Polls and Newspolls and can’t find any grounds for your comment.

  17. The aggregate of the polls has this rider unerneath however – “A fly in the ointment for John Howard is Labor’s sticky high primary vote. As you can see in the next graph, the Coalition has been improving its primary and two-party-preferred vote through a decline in the Green, other minor party and independent vote. However, Howard’s capacity to mine that vein appears to be diminishing (as shown by the trend-line in the next graph).”


    The way the poll is being reported at News limited is quite interesting. A month ago this would have been viewed over there as the start of the government comeback. Instead the reporting of this poll is quite subdued and even handed and even seems to be downplaying the improved figures for the government. There has definitely been a change in attitude at News in the last couple of weeks.

  19. The fact is the coalition’s primary vote has been hovering around 40% for ages. They will not win an election on that figure if Labor’s primary vote is a lot higher which it has been consistently, no matter what graphs are produced. I note that Rudd is preferrred PM by 50% to 41%.

  20. If you disregard AC Nielsen, then Morgan, Galaxy and Newspoll all have the polls at the tightest since the beginning of the year (granted, it still shows Labor ahead). That’s what I base my argument on.

  21. Adam gives an historic perspective to Labor support in SA. It collapsed after the collapse of the State Bank, and it has taken a long time for voters to forgive and forget. The Lib State Govt sale of ETSA and Water probably helped.

    And Rann has managed to show Labor a bit more positively. I think the polling, as much as we can make of smallish samples, as showing something of a return to the middle classes supporting Labor. It could be very bad news for the coalition at the next federal election.

  22. Gary B.,
    This is a very delayed response to your crit of mine from 28 July 10.54 p.m.
    I probably made my point about the impact of State issues on Federal voting and vice versa sound stronger than I intended. This isn’t a backpedal, btw.
    My argument is that sometimes, maybe often, voters will justify giving a Party a kicking across the State-Federal divide, particularly when the opportunity to really go for the object of their distaste is one or more years distant. I certainly think 1990 Victoria at the Federal election (with the State poll more than two years off) is a case in point. Labor lost 10 seats in Victoria, 1 each in SA and WA, and gained two in both Qld. and NSW.
    I don’t even think it’s a matter of voters conflating/confusing state and national issues, as I agree with you that most do distinguish them – evident from the numbers in recent times voting Labor in the States, Liberal Federally.
    I think Beattie and Iemma received something of a free kick from Work Choices recently, even though they have little if any power to do much to redress the situation.
    My assertions – and there no more than that – are problematic, bedevilled as they are by the post-election rationalisations of both winners and losers, and the explanations which the commentariat use until they become received wisdom. Peter Brent has some articulate views on this subject.

  23. Picking up on a few points during this thread:

    I agree entirely that fairly safe seats are more fertile ground for independents/minor parties than marginal seats are (because it’s easier to get into second place), but in really safe seats the problem is more one of keeping the lead candidate below 50% (or, allowing for a bit of preference leakage, 47-48%) on primaries. Mitchell might fall into this category unless there’s a really big anti-Liberal swing on. Seats with a 10-15% margin seem to be optimal.

    In addition to the H.R. Nicholls material posted earlier, Bob Day has a bit of history with various activities of the Institute of Public Affairs, but that’s the sort of thing which might excite political tragics like us but is unlikely to sway the voting population. It’s probably true that the ‘real’ margin in Makin is more like 3-4%, but if the swing is on in SA to anything like the extent indicated by current polls it should still fall comfortably.

    I’m just back from several weeks travelling (mostly in rural Queensland). The local council amalgamation issue was certainly generating a lot of heat , plenty of hyperbolic rhetoric (against stiff competition, first prize in this department goes to the Cloncurry councillor who said that Peter Beattie’s next move was going to be to bring the gas chambers to Cloncurry to take care of the locals once and for all), and no small amount of misinformation – a lot of people seemed to be under the impression that if their council was amalgamated all local government services would cease to exist. However, the area where the idea was deeply unpopular was the west of the state (meaning anything more than a couple of hundred kilometres from the coast), which means it will be largely federally irrelevant for two reasons – (a) as it turned out, most of the western shires are to remain unchanged (presumably on the grounds that a shire with 1000 people in 200,000 square kilometres will be just as totally dependent on state and federal support as two shires with 500 people in 100,000 square kilometres) and (b) the only part of the region which is in a remotely marginal seat is the inland extension of Flynn.

    If the 1990’s Victorian experience is anything to go by, it’s hard to imagine voters in urban or semi-urban areas getting too passionate about their council boundaries. In Melbourne the only discernable political impact of local council amalgamations arose from decisions of the new councils (such as the abortive plan to close Fitzroy Pool) rather than the amalgamations themselves, and even then the only reason why any responsibility spilled over to the state (let alone federal) level was because State-appointed commissioners ran the councils for a couple of years before new elections.

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