Westpoll: 54-46 (to Labor) in WA

The ABC reportedly reports that tomorrow’s Westpoll will show federal Labor has shot to a 54-46 lead in Western Australia, the one state believed to have been holding out against the tide. It should be noted that Westpoll is widely criticised for its small samples, usually 400 respondents. How The West Australian managed to get scooped by the ABC on its own poll results is yet to be explained.

UPDATE: News reports that Westpoll has the Labor primary vote at 43 per cent, up from 36 per cent last month, with the Coalition down from 46 per cent to 38 per cent.

UPDATE 2: Westpoll also conducted a state poll from the same sample, which gives us a chance to assess how roguish this poll is. Answer: very. While it is clear that the Carpenter government has the measure of the opposition under its current leadership, it’s hard to credit the spasm shown in the table below. It would thus be wise to add a 5 per cent discount to the vote recorded for Labor in the federal poll.

May 39 39 51.2
Apr 41 38 54.5
Jun 42 40 52.3
Aug 48 30 62.0

Note: The Coalition vote shown for today’s poll assumes a 3 per cent vote for the Nationals, which is an educated guess that might be out by 1 per cent either way. The West Australian has mischievously declined to include this information so it can show a “Liberal” primary vote with a 2 in front of it.

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.

232 comments on “Westpoll: 54-46 (to Labor) in WA”

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  1. The greens are more than likely going to have the balance of power in the senate for many years, and I expect this is where they can best achieve their agenda.

    Lots of deals to be made… greens support X, pass Y. The free reign of the senate has been the undoing of the current government.

    And there is simply no chance that Howard is going to ditch WorkChoices. It wouldn’t make any difference, and everyone knows it. There’s still a long way to go in this campaign, and there are lots of other things that can happen in that time.

  2. Well, if Liberal internal polling and focus groups show that the primary vote is stuck and the only way they can remain in office is to gain more minor party preferences, they must surely do something about it.
    They know they will lose seats. The question is how many.
    All they need to do is to deny Labor sufficient seats to win.
    They can afford to lose a number of seats. They probably will abandon the unwinnables closer to the election and concentrate on those with 4-8% margins. What do the swinging voters really want in those crucial seats? Of course if the polls get worse for John Howard then the number of seats they have to save may become too big to handle.

    It is hard to tell 5% is a big ask especially with the rural areas added last redistribution. Work choices could well impact across the Latrobe valley
    as similar happened in 1993. Labor had internal problems in The Latrobe valley as is witnessed by the loss of the 2 seats concerned. Maybe
    Mr Zahra had a personal vote as is shown by the uneven swings in the seat 2004. But Mr Maxfield the member for Nacarran & Husband of the endorsed Alp Candidate was a well respected local Mp till his loss.
    I would not assume with the mix of all these factors that the swing reqd was higher.

  4. The Green vote is almost entirely a left protest vote against the ALP. It’s well-known that most of the members of the ALP Left actually vote Green. The advent of Peter Garrett has brought a lot of the “soft green” vote back to Labor, although Rudd’s forests policy may partly reverse that. I still hold the view that the Green vote will drop this year, as the priority for most people on the left is getting rid of Howard and not quibbling about who is more pure than whom.

  5. [Maxine McKew ahead 53\47 in Bennelong.]

    This is just shocking, Galaxy has been the only poll with hope for the Coalition, but this result is just scary. This will run on the news tomorrow night “Howard in danger of losing his seat”.

  6. McKew leading Howard 53-47 2PP in Bennelong according to Milne (yes I think he is suspect too) ..Wouldnt it be ironic that Bennelong becomes the ‘bellweather’ seat and Labor ends up with 53-47 2PP (mirroring the current poll in Bennelong) as a national result after the election is done and dusted. Id be happy to put money on that outcome being very close to the mark if the election was held today.

  7. There are 2 NSW seats that are gettable for Labor – Bennelong and Wentworth. If Labor were to win this election, I can’t think of 2 seats that would present a more ‘symbolic’ victory for Labor than these.

    On the surface, both seats should remain in the Libs’ hands. We can expect that the margin for Wentworth is artificially low, due to the Robert King shenanigans of the last election. Also, the new electoral enrolment rules also are against Labor, in this demographic with a high degree of transients.

    Nonetheless, I’ve heard significant anecdotal evidence, (from relatively apolitical sources) that Bennelong is a real chance for Labor. In Wentworth, though Turnbull is among the more presentable of Liberal front bench, he is by no means a popular candidate, and even if he were, Howard is very much on the nose there. I’m not sure that Turnbull will have such a strong personal vote, and I’m also not convinced that locals will have forgotten the antics of 2004 that saw the margin lowered in the first place. Now that a non-threatening alternative is on offer, we might see a blue-ribbon seat fall into Labor’s hands.

  8. Wentworth will be fine for Turnbull because he can just pour in heaps of money.

    Bennelong can’t be won with money, Howard will need to spend time there which means he can’t be off campaigning in some marginal. So it will hurt his over all campaign.

    The Bulletin article this week says that Howard is running campaign functions every week somewhere in his electorate. Some people interviewed said they can’t remember the last time he spent so much time holding such functions.

  9. I’m not sure. No amount of money can make Howard look good at this stage. If they’d changed leaders a year ago, things might be different.
    I’d even go so far as to suggest that Turnbull’s cash might even count against him. Though Wentworth may well be the wealthiest electoirate in the country, there are also some astronomical mortgages. Turnbull’s branch-stacking arguably went down even worse than similar Labor efforts, because many locals interpreted it as a wealthy schmuck buying his way into power. Further attempts to splash dollars around might be met with cynicism.

    Back to Melbourne and surrounds, the candidates in the notically ‘fairly safe’ and ‘safe’ seats of Scullin and McEwen appear to be more active than they have been for some years.

  10. Of course the Rodent loses Bennelong. Australians want to see him conceding defeat at least twice for their money.

    Nut seriously: Beenelong punters wont want to bother with a by-election. Since he’s rooted, they’ll Stanley Bruce him on the day. Put him out of his misery short and sharp.

    Very sensible voter behaviour; and, I think we can all agree, a suitably humilating exit for the man who wouldnt leave when the bell tolled.

  11. Lefty E, Is that the first recorded use of “Stanley Bruce” as a transitive verb? Perhaps it will be an increasingly common usage this year.

  12. I think the real value for this might be the headline. Howard to lose seat. Once Howard is projected as a man going down the gurgler it will give licence to the waivering to join in the stabing party.

    This is valuable advertising for Rudd. Thats on top of Howard saying Rudd’s economic policy is echo-nomics. More good advertising for Rudd.
    And puting the inerest rate debate in the State sphere instead of the Federal sphere takes some of the heat of Rudd as well.

    SO lots of good free advertising coming Rudds way at the moment.

  13. Someone has to do the green far left thing. Howard does the far right thing, there needs to be balance around the new PM Rudd.

  14. Graeme Says:
    August 11th, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    But surely if you believe in a bandwagon you wouldn’t want inflated poll results several months out: because the next Westpoll will be reported as ‘Big swing back to Libs in WA’.

    Take your point Graeme but there is no empirical evidence to suggest that the next Westpoll “will” be reported as a big swing back to Libs in WA. What if the next Westpoll does the opposite, declaring Labor has surged ahead further ? That is possible is it not ?

  15. Rats I agree with your perception that the message (unintended or not) from Costello, Abbott, Howard and others including the pearls for swine comment of the Santori replacement has been -look the economy is going gang busters and Australian families have never been better off- even in the face of the fifth RBA interest rate rise since 2004.

    Howard and Costello certainly seem to think the electorate could/should once again swallow the myth that ‘a rising tide raises all ships’ including the so called Howard Battlers that gave him a landslide win in 1996. Now, eleven years on, there is a small print concession that not everyone is benefitting from the rising tide (economic growth) from JWH (never Costello), fearful of the veracity of the view that the people who voted for JWH in 1996 (the so called Howard battlers) have run out of patience or beleif and are ‘crossing the floor’ {planning to vote Labor} or abstaining from the vote {voting Green, Independent} this time around.

    Going back to my main point (100), if the electorate are going to read pork barrelling (Mersey) and wedges (amalgamations) from a cynical position and going after Rudd is not proving to be an easy task, grabbing control of the media headlines to try and block out Rudd and get space to wrest back control of the election agenda through July-August is about all JWH could do.

    No traction yet, all BAD news in the media, no respite for the Coalition Central fire service, poll mayem, not one mark on Kevin Rudd, Franklin being sorted out without too much damage, WA papers debunking insurance policy, and the once loyal newspapers going to town on the Coalition.

    Still, I am very very wary of JWH and his unbeleivable luck-fortune. I dont think any strategy his strategists can dream up will be able to ‘save’ every seat up for grabs.

    They simply don’t have the resources to change the public perception of JWH as untrustworthy and beyond his use-by-date in a few short weeks. They have to discredit Rudd or wait for the election gods to drop something substantial in their laps, and soon.

  16. Kevin Rudd’s “original” solution to the rental market crisis!
    These postings were made over a week ago, so plenty of time to rearrange the wording, I guess.
    Read the blogs, and steal the ideas! Is this policy on the run?
    True to form, Kevin Rudd style

    3rd August 2007 Brisbane Times

    Property solution
    August 03, 2007 10:21 PM The simplest solution to the rental problem in Australia is to set a benchmark figure of annual private rental to be the equivalent of 2 1/2% of the value of the property.
    e.g. if a rental property is valued at $350000, the rental is $8750 p.a. or in terms of weekly payments $170 pw (approx.
    A value of $455000 (average property value) would be $11,375 pa, or weekly $220 (approx).

    Investors would be able to ask higher rents, but with a taxation penalty for the amount above the benchmark it would no be viable.
    This would have the effect of retaining rental levels at reasonable rates, and allowing first home buyers to have some chance of buying into a market that had the heat taken out of it by eliminating the greed factor.
    If the Democrats had gone with the original GST there would be no stamp duty, but even then there would just be a further hike in prices, as the market is driven by affordability

    And again, 4th August Perth Now

    The simplest solution to the rental problem in ……..

    Posted by: Property solution of Perth 8:01pm August 03, 2007
    Comment 51 of 69

    Any time you would like to formulate a policy Kev, just give me a call!
    You great pretender!

  17. The economy is like a finely tuned car, and it has to be driven with respect.
    Sure, you might get 300 KPH out of it, but you won’t get much distance before you start having problems.

    Once you get it to cruising speed, you can back off a little, and, with care and good maintenance the ride is comfortable, and efficient.

    Trouble is, some of the owners want to change drivers, but both the new driver and his mechanic are learners! Like hoons, they just want it to be “as good as it gets”!

    That’s ok, but you have to know how to drive the car first!
    Perhaps Rudd and Swan could take some lessons at the Howard / Costello school of driving?

  18. “Perhaps Rudd and Swan could take some lessons at the Howard / Costello school of driving?”

    Good idea then they can learn to run over the poor,the unemployed ,the aborigines, the iraqis in fact virtually everyone except for the business mates of the liberal party

    and then they can turn around and say “but nobody told me”

    ps the economy has no relationship to a car anyhoo- just a simple minded analogy for the simple minded

  19. How convenient for Michael Brissenden to suddenly recall a dinner with Peter Costello where disparaging comments toward the Prime Minister were supposedly heard.

    It is common knowledge that a journalist will go through hell and high water to get his story out before the pack, so why would he wait for more than two years with such a devastating scoop! Oh Paleeeese!

    This pushes the credibility envelope of even the most ardent Labor unionist, and it beggars belief that there is not a political motivation behind the story. Is this another cunning smokescreen to cover the Labor Party indiscretions by Swan?

    This not only puts under question the political independence of Michael Brissenden, but also that of the 7:30 Report

    Perhaps there is a promise of pre-selection to a Maxine McKew style candidacy?
    It would do Brissenden and company better to report on factual issues such as why DID Wayne Swan donate against his own party?

  20. There seems to be two IR policies from the Labor party now!
    One from Rudd, the version that the public gets before the election,
    And one from Gillard and the unions, the policy which is marked “Strictly Confidential” and under NO CIRCUMSTANCES is it to be released before the election!
    This second version will be the one that will be implemented AFTER the election!
    I guess, if there is only one policy made visible, the choice is easy, no? Duh

  21. Beattie is trying to make as much noise as he can, thinking he is assisting Rudd the Dudd. In reallity he is making Queenslanders aware of just how bad it could get if Rudd got in!
    Oh, hold on.

    Oh, it’s ok, they are just talking about the guy who wants to be the alternative Prime Minister of Australia

  22. It seems the secret to becoming Prime Minister of this country is get yourself into a strip club, get off your face so much so you can’t remember if you touched up the girls or not, and then get on TV so the commentators can pat you on the head and say, oh there there, he’s just a red blooded boy!

    But don’t, what ever you do, trip over on the steps of a radio station, or you will be pilloried for life!

    I guess it puts Therese Rein in the Hillary Clinton club, no?

  23. What is it about the loony left that they get so touchy when their leader is exposed as nothing more than a sleazebag, who gets himself so drunk that he “can’t recall” his actions? The protection the media gives this buffoon is unbelievable!

    How do you think the conservatives feel when the media exploits the dastardly actions of a Prime Minister tripping over on the steps of a radio station!
    HOW DISGUSTING! And it wasn’t even an ABC station!
    The man should be drawn and quartered for being so un Australian!

    Meanwhile, where is the next show that we can see Okhola Rudd doing her thing?
    What a parade of hypocrisy!

  24. Speaking of honesty, Rudd stated he was only in the strip joint for an hour, then he said he was too drunk to know what happened, then they find some “doorman” who says he was there for no more than 15 minutes, and acted like “a gentleman” even though he was paralytic!. But not too drunk to notice a girl taking off her dress, but, wait! He suddenly declares “This is no good” and decides to leave, even though his mates wanted to stay! So, he leaves, even before finishing his beer!
    Now, come on Kev! You really do take the average Aussie for a dummy! Whoever wrote that little scenario (probably the same author as the Bourke excuse) should try out with Speilberg!
    In a word Kev, it is a load of CRAP!

  25. It is interesting watching the Labor state Premier’s and Federal opposition’s reactions to new innovations proposed by the Federal Government.

    If the idea is a good idea, the collective chant from the State Premiers is “They have had 11 years. Why hasn’t it been done before”

    The best the Rudd minders can come up with is “We need to look at the details before we commit to anything”!

    This tells us two things.
    First, the State Premiers have no concept of the damage debt can do, and the recovery process required to extract their jurisdictions out of it.

    They are content to assume the Federal government “will fix it”, and second, the Rudd opposition is incapable of compiling a workable economic policy and are content to cling onto the coat tails of the Federal government.

    This country need a government that is competent, and able to make sound social and financial decisions. Not “flip flop” vacillations that do nothing but create a cause of international ridicule!

    The innovation announced by the Prime Minister will set this country up to be immune from the Keating style economic disasters that we experienced in the 80’s, and ensure a sound future for generations to come, and that means students will have even greater opportunities to excel in world class facilities!

    We need a leader who can not only manage the economy, but anticipate the potential disruptions and shortcomings ahead.

    We have that now in John Howard and Peter Costello. “It just gets better and better”

  26. The explanation given by Rudd regarding his sleazy junket to Scores Strip joint is nothing more than an insult to the intelligence of any thinking voter.
    Had he stuck to his original story of being paralytic at the time, and unable to recall the events, even if he had assaulted the lap dancers, he would have retained some semblance of credibility.
    But no, when he realises the effect his antics is having on the voting public he has to try and wriggle his way around the issue. Even going to the extreme measure of obtaining a supposedly “exonerating” denial from a purported “employee” of the establishment.

    In doing so, he has been too clever by half, as he had previously admitted on national television that his actions were stupid, and he can only throw himself on the mercy of the electorate, as he had done with his partner the next morning when he called her. (See transcripts from Laurie Oakes on Sunday)

    Now, we have to decide, which actions were stupid and childish?

    A) Getting himself into a sleazy situation where by his own admission he had no control over his actions, and accordingly, his discussions to the extent that he felt the need to apologise the next morning, OR

    B) Deciding after less than 15 minutes that seeing naked lap dancers “would not do” and leaving before finishing his beer? (Not the normal action of someone who has admitted he was so inebriated he could not recall the rest of the evening), OR

    C) Expecting the Australian public to believe his hastily concocted and lame excuse to attempt to recover some credibility, when it would be obvious he was lying through his teeth to save his political skin!

    Perhaps we could take a poll on the choices!

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