Bendigo poll

Thanks to reader Tristan Jones for drawing attention to this poll from July 27 of voting intention in the Victorian seat of Bendigo, which Labor held in 2004 by 1.0 per cent after a 2.7 per cent swing to the Liberals. The phone poll was conducted by the Bendigo Advertiser, apparently with its bare hands, from a quite impressive sample of 486. Unfortunately, there was an undecided response of 35 per cent, which invariably tells you more about a pollster’s inexperience than it does about the indecision of voters. From about 315 voters they managed to extract a response from, there was reportedly a “4.4 per cent advantage to Labor”. It is not clear whether this refers to the primary vote, on which Labor was behind by 1.9 per cent at the 2004 election, or the two-party preferred vote, on which it led by 1.0 per cent.

UPDATE: Thanks again to Tristan in comments for pointing out that it did indeed refer to the primary vote. So we can read that as a 6 per cent increase for Labor, which is satisfyingly consistent with the tenor of polling elsewhere.

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.

14 comments on “Bendigo poll”

  1. It’s not clear to me what they mean by a 35% non-response rate.

    Are they saying every 2 calls out of 3 actually managed to obtain a response? Or that 35% of respondents did not nominate a party?

    If it’s the first, then that’s an extraordinarily high hit rate, as pollsters responses can be as low as 1 in 10 calls giving a response.

    If it’s the second, then that figure is extraordinarily high, as this category is 5-10%.

  2. Aristotle, “non-response rate” was my term rather than theirs – I am possibly using it inexpertly.

    Simon, it’s a simple matter of asking a follow-up question to those who say they don’t know: “which party are you leaning towards?” Major pollsters do this, regional newspapers do not. I am endlessly exasperated by the number of local newspaper polls that produce a 30 per cent undecided rate for this reason, and then talk up voters’ indecision as if it’s big news.

  3. My sources tell me that Bendigo is no longer considered to be at risk for Labor. Nor are Isaacs and Holt. I’m told Labor is now cautiously optimistic about winning seats in Victoria. The unions are putting a lot of money into Deakin (despite its very middle-class demography) and Corangamite is also considered a good chance.

  4. Thanks for posting this one up. It’s difficult to get individual seat polling info, unless you spend a lot of time reading local newspapers from around the country. It’s useful for verifying in particular seats what are otherwise assumed to be uniform swings; such as with Possum Comitatus’s recent “pollycide” threads.

    Yeah, this one does look a bit mickey-mouse, but that just means it’s imprecise rather than incorrect. It does seem consistent with a lot of the other electoral snapshots out there.

  5. Thanks Tristan, my post now makes note of this. I note that the Bendigo Advertiser (which isn’t covered by the otherwise indispensible Factiva archive) promises more such polling to come, so feel very free to pass on anything you see there in future.

  6. Funny you should mention Corangamite, Adam. Stuart McArthur (local MP)and the Colac mayor were recently reported in the Warrnambool Standard. Both were featured in sendups on MySpace TV.

    The one purporting to be from McArthur referred among his achievements to the “…building of his private driveway…” which relates to an actual incident of having the deadend road to his farm property bituminised several km to nobody’s benefit but him. It also referred to his “homophobia”, but I’m not sure if there is any evidence for this.

    MySpace removed both posts. The interesting thing is McArthur’s MySpace video had apparently been on the net since April, but took until now for a staffer or McArthur to notice. Suggests he’s not all that alert to the new media.

    I’d agree that Corangamite is on the horizon.

  7. A 6 percent swing at this stage shows the gap is closing, 56-44 in the polls shows a 8-9 percent swing. All this shows is that the election is closer than the other, national, polls are demonstrating.

    Corangamite and Deakin will be retained by the Liberals, while Labor have to work very hard not to lose Bendigo, Ballarat, Holt and Isaacs. This state will have some very nasty surprises for the ALP if they’re not careful.

  8. Sorry William, but if Labor’s gone from 1.9% behind on the primary vote to about 4.4% ahead, that’s not a swing of about 6%, it’s about 3% – just as a move from 55-45 to 50-50 is a 5% swing, not a 10% swing.

  9. I can’t see the Liberals losing any seats in Victoria

    The only seats that could change hands are bendigo and ballarat, and on recent elections they seem to have a way of going the opposite direction to everyone else, so who knows what theyll do on the day

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