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”

Comments Page 1 of 5
1 2 5
  1. ABC radio in Perth isn’t saying anything. Perhaps the deal is that the ABC can publicise it in the eastern states, but we in the state where The West can sell papers must live in ignorance. A pre-internet view of the world, if so. UPDATE: ABC TV carries it, so scrub that theory.

  2. I am not surprised that this poll shows a strong swing to Labor in WA. It may be true that a lot of people are earning loads of money on AWAs in the mining industry. But people with standard jobs and wages (teachers, nurses, police, public servants) are finding rents and mortgages soaring sky-high, and what was the cheapest mainland state for housing not so long ago is now the most expensive. Accommodation is virtually impossible to find in the mining towns, and people are paying huge sums to live in converted shipping containers or tents in caravan parks in places like Karratha. Those who didn’t own or buy a house early in the mining boom have been left like shags on rocks, and even those who did buy houses, at rapidly escalating prices, are now facing a slight fall in property values, as the WA housing boom comes off the boil. A rise in interest rates will hit very hard there. And high petrol and food prices won’t help in a state with such huge distances.

    I also think Rudd’s promise to guarantee some of the Federal resources taxes go back to WA would have gone down well. It’s a sensible policy when that state has contributed so much lately to the national prosperity. They also have a popular state government.

    I suspect Labor’s replacement of local boy Kim Beazley with Mark Latham may also have helped the coalition at the last election, and there’s scope for a bit of a swing back on this score.

    I’m not from WA, and the poll is a small sample, so I may be wrong, but these are my gut feelings.

  3. This would be a 9% swing to the ALP(2PP) since the last election?
    It’d certainly win Rudd Stirling, Hasluck and Kalgoolie.
    Canning too would become interesting.
    Howard was hoping to win seats off Labor in WA?

  4. No news of it in London, but that’s the Brits for you – no NRL news either. Backward country. At least the cricket’s on.

    This poll, if it bears out on election day, is the final piece of the puzzle of the Labor landslide. It’s clear now that, barring something extraordinary (and I think we all know that could only be a terrorist attack with fatalities, within Australia), there’s nothing can save Howard from a landslide now. One suspects that the government has been hoping that they would pick up the odd ALP marginal (eg Swan, Cowan) which would increase Labor’s task to win office – SK, Glen, Cerdic, Snoopy etc have been running on this theme for a while now, and it does have a certain logic. But this poll suggests that sentiment is starting to harden against the government.

    You’d think that this interest rate rise will be poison in the West, with its booming property prices (and commensurate mortgages), and no doubt also everywhere else.

  5. More news on the WestPoll from news.com.au:

    Primary Votes: ALP 43 Coalition 38

    Undecided (I assume excluded): 4%

    It says the poll was taken “this week”, and implies the interest rate rise was a factor, but doesn’t specify the precise poll dates. This may not matter that much, because the interest rate increase was widely expected before it was actually announced.

  6. Westpoll is usually taken on a Wednesday/Thursday Evening, which may explain the Interest Rates being taken into account.

    And despite the small sample, this result would really give the libs a massive heart attack and I have notice an increase in the number of Terror Hotline ads being run this week.

    What’s the bet Howard is hoping that the NT investigations produce a Muslim Aboriginal paedophile with Terrorist tendencies.

  7. …and that’s the ‘good state’ for Team Rodent.

    Incidentally, I dont know why he even bothers trying to bribe in any TAs seats. Last 2PP i saw from there the ALP was well into the 60s.

    50s you can come back from. 6 in front – forget it.

    Dont waste your (sorry, our) money Howard, those seats are gawwwwwwwnnnnnnn

  8. I am stunned. STUNNED!

    Yes, at level Canning in play. Canning Margin is a bit overblown due to the candidate debacle of 2004.

    I bet the editor of the West will love publishing that poll… HAHEAHEAHE

  9. Oh, so that’s why Howard was in the “fairly safe” Liberal (6.3% swing needed by ALP) Kalgoorlie electorate the other week!

    It looks like the Libs private polling in WA may have already picked up that swing to the ALP.

    No wonder Howard’s panicking!

  10. Today’s Dead Tree edition of the West did have a front page story (not on their poxy website) along those lines. I don’t have it in front of me, but if some kind fellow Sandgroper would like to post some quotes it would be greatly appreciated.

  11. Fridays west had the wa anaylsis fero the leaked crosby/textor report showing blue collar and 18-35 turning away from Howard in a big way.

    Westpoll seems to reflect that

  12. Thanks for that Blacklight, I thought that was the gist of the article. Oh and Omedei coming out earlier in the week stating that Howard is hurting his own polling doesn’t help matters.

    Another factor here in WA is the split between the WA Libs and The Nats which may also be a factor in the regional seats like Kalgoorlie and Moore.

    Hasluck will return to Sharryn Jackson because of the BGC Brickworks debacle near the Airport which Stuart Henry couldn’t get stopped.

    Also the attacks on the States by Howard ain’t helping either, speaking of which I have on Video the excellent Documentry by Working Dog of THe Campaign, where Santo Cilauro followed Keating and there is this shot of a Liberal youth in the seat of Stirling holding up a Liberal sign and carrying on about State Rights.

    I wonder how this fellow thinks of his hero JWH now ?

  13. OK. So. probably the wrong thread, but i’ll be buggered, with the number of main threads, if i can find the appropriate one. So I’ll just take the first.

    Watching LateLine

    Why isn’t Lindsay Tanner shadow treasurer? A flawed factional deal presumably – much more convincing, humane and astute than the other weirdo (Swan, not Costello)…

    And – more to the point – Joe Hockey needs a better tailored suit. Bad, bad, bad – his shoulder seams makes him look like Ita Buttrose in the “super shoulder pads for serious women” phase… but I still like the guy, no matter how ineffectual he is…

  14. Those crappy Chamber of Commerce propaganda reports. I guess there will be more of them. Hopefully Labor has commissioned their own propaganda reports. Poor old Joe having to support thin air.

    Tanner is a good front, they should use him often.

    I guess we wont be seeing much of Abbott and Pyne now we know how the electorate view them.

  15. Yes Stuart, I saw Tanner at the Press Club luncheon earlier in the week. He was very slick, very convincing. Answered questions well and wasn’t tempted into getting narky with some of the loaded questions from the Murdoch boys. He’s also a fellow ideological traveller with Rudd… economic dry I mean… so they’ll make a good team.

    Swan, yeah, dunno. Like Hockey, he’s kinda cuddly though.

  16. I think the Greens usually do well in WA. In the past they have anyhow. Also take note of the small sample size. 10% of 450 (aprox) would be just 40-45 people saying they’d preference Greens 1.

  17. With that sort of swing, I reckon Canning would almost certainly change hands – its margin was quite bloated by the problems Labor had with it’s candidate in the last election.

    I don’t think it would be anything like that, as it would make Moore, Tangney and Forrest all marginal after the election, and indeed if the swing was uneven you’d expect Labor to win one of them.

  18. Bullocks. The Libs have been ahead in this state the entire year. They were even ahead when Labor was pulling in 61% of the national vote. To suggest a 9% swing this late on is silly. The poll is clearly rogue.

  19. Ahem. Ahem.

    Never like to call a poll ‘rogue’ without some kind of evidence… but that is seriously out of whack with everything we’ve seen from the West this year. High MoE may be responsible in part, but still extraordinary numbers, when the other polls have seemed fairly stable for a month or two now.

  20. If this Westpoll is such a wild rogue poll – the swing is massive from last time – then we really have to question all of the polls that have gone before this one. Other polling companies have rogue polls but this is ridiculous.

  21. 1. Westpoll is a bit dodgy

    2. This is the wild west. The fed voting intention now is in parity with state voting intentions so i don’t think its that far out.

  22. Takes Westpoll results with a larger grain of salt than most others, even Galaxy.

    Still, even if it is a ‘rogue’ (define and substantiate that please) it will put the wind up JWHs strategists.

    Their media propaganda ‘experts’ won’t sleep well tonight. The WA rag splashing that kind of news across the front page of the paper that most men and women will at least give a passing glance at before flipping the page on their Saturday morning at home, relaxed on the porch or at the kitchen table with a cuppa is absolute poison for the Coalition’s public perception in WA and this coming from sandgroppers.

    Westpoll: 54-46 (to Labor) in WA: Rogue, small sample, degree of error, call it what you will. The average punter won’t care about that stuff: they will sit up and pay attention to their own paper saying their own fellow sandgropper’s are (allegedly) abandoning JWH is droves.

    Score one for Labor’s election stocks in public propaganda in WA without spending a red cent on it.. Beaudiful for Labor- disaster for the Coalition.

    Equally surprising to poll result is William’s absolute silence on the issue: You are in WA right William ? What is your take on this poll please ?

    We assume, have been banking on holding their own and maybe collecting one or two (Swan, Cowan) in WA. What is happening in Hasluck, Stirling et al ?

  23. Tanner should be given an opportunity to shine: my impression of him from a punters perspective is of a bright, articulate, educated man with some sense (similar to my views on Mal Brough and Andren: hope he survives that horror cancer).

  24. Strop

    Good point about the people abandoning Howard, polls can have an influence that way.

    As to the swing quite believable, Howard may have reached the tipping point when he said that he never promised to keep interest rates at record lows, it was a liberal party promise. His response smacks of pure arrogance in deny the promise, trying to distance himself from the promise and than expecting people to accept the load of bull he just said.

    Keating paid big time for his arrogance, I remember when the ACT elected a lib govt and Keating said who takes notice of a municipal election. At a following by-election for the federal seat the labor MP was tossed out with a 14% swing.

    I expect we will see similar swings in certain seats at this election.

    Keatings arrogance was on display for all to see, Howards arrogance is worse as he denies it yet to continually take people for fools is the height of arrogance.

  25. As I said on the other thread, Tanner would probably be shadow Treasurer by now if he had not made the mistake of joining the Socialist Leftovers. I don’t think Labor can really offer the electorate a socialist Treasurer in 2007. The last one (the late Jim Cairns) made a bit of a hash of the job as I recall. It’s a bit puzzling since Tanner is actually a Thatcherite in his economic views.

  26. My take is that nothing should be concluded from one 400-sample poll. That said, we’ve been hearing a lot about the political risk to the government from housing affordability – if that’s the case, they shouldn’t be doing as well in WA as conventional wisdom suggests. If the next national polls are particularly grim for the Coalition, I might take this poll as evidence that the rate rise has bitten particularly hard here.

  27. William, I reckon that the rate rises combined with Howard’s attack on the states are the main reason why there is a swing towards Rudd.

    West Australians are very proud of their state, and don’t take kindly to people from the east attacking their state, and that includes any plans to take over hospitals like the Tasmanian Debacle.

  28. I think the biggest elephant in the campaign room is the idea that voters aren’t waiting for Howard with baseball bats.

    Its interesting to me that the primary source of that line is none other than – John Howard.

    OK, its not like 96, in the sense of welling, suppressed anger at being misrecognised by a social agenda ahead of their readiness.

    Its more like a nausea. People are just sick of the sight of him, over his endless dissembling, and bored stiff looking at the old coot.

    Given this – he’s running the worst possible campaign he could: Dragging out his annoying whining mug saturations style, 24/7, over the longest campaign in living memory, yapping on endlessly in, and outside his brief as PM.

    So maybe it aint a baseball bat. More a muzzle. Voters are waiting with a big old muzzle.

  29. The best indications of how things are going in the west would be: 1) the aggregated Newspoll data from last month-which showed Labor with a 5% swing on its hands, and b) the Crosby-Textor polling leak as reported in Friday’s paper–which had the Coalition being dumped big time.

    The other point, as has been raised here, is that front page news of a massive swing away from the Govt in WA is a PR boon for the ALP. These things have a way of generating a momentum–people aren’t original thinkers after all, and they like to back a winner.

    Honestly, it’s all over. It really is.

  30. Here is the link to the Questions Asked in this week’s Westpoll.

    Questions from the July Westpoll
    (conducted 6th and 7th August 2007)


    Question 1
    If a Federal election was held tomorrow, which party would you vote for?
    Do you have a leaning towards any party? Which one?

    Question 2
    From what you have read or seen so far, regardless of the party they lead, which man, (ROTATE) John Howard or Kevin Rudd, would you prefer to have as Prime Minister of Australia?

    The others are State based questions basically covering Lora Norder Issues, as well as GM Crops, Indiginious Affairs and State Voting Intentions.

  31. You should be sleeping Frank, and I agree with you always thought Henry in Hasluck had next to no chance. Stirling is a different cup of tea, but if Westpoll is anywhere near the money it will fall.

    Canning is interesting, in that Don Randall got a massive swing (something like 2.5 x the average WA swing) and if any of that was the ALP candidate disaster then he will do worse this time. So even at the top of the margin of error this would scare the PM’s little friend in WA.

    I don’t care if it is a rogue it is so much fun it is worth all the money WAN paid for it.

  32. Westpoll was taken August 6 to 9. Apparently, around 70 per cent of the polling was completed before the rates decision on Wednesday. This week, house figures from the bureau of stats showed the first fall in average Perth house prices this decade.

    Greens vote is eight per cent, where it has been steady for past two Westpolls.

    Appears the govt’s vote peaked in the June Westpoll. This is the second consecutive showing fall in primary vote and 2PP.

    ALP has pulled three points from the don’t knows which is running at a very, very low four per cent, and the rest from the coalition.

    On preferred PM, big swing to Rudd. He’s now back to where he was in March, while Howard is at lowest he’s ever been.

    Over the past four weeks, both Rudd and Howard visited WA.

    In partyroom this week, Howard told this troops that Cowan and Swan were a chance of victory. But based on the Crosby/Textor and Westpolls, this seems an effort to boost the morale of the troops rather than anything else.

    The 2PP from 2004 were 55.5 to 44.5, an historic high. Some correction from that point must be anticipated.

  33. If this last stronghold for JWH has fallen as this poll says it has (remember, a poll of 450 means the difference between 54-46 and 50-50 is 18 people) it does not surprise me.

    This is the longest election campaign ever. Does anyone know who started it? Was it because JWH saw himself early as being a mile behind, and tried to get it back, or did the ALP want to start it to “sell” the new leader?

    Is there a consensus that ordinary people are getting sick of seeing politicians on the news, and want the election already? We have around 3 months of all this to continue. Will this hurt JWH?

    I think the election will be either Oct 27 or Nov 3. I don’t think JWH will go after the Nov RBA meeting. He won’t risk it. They are behind, desperate, but they are not stupid…..

    Any inside info on the election date anyone?

  34. Duck-a-delegate
    The new national sport being promoted by the Labor Party is called “Duck-a-delegate”
    The rules are simple. You stand in front of your union boss.
    He or she takes a swing at you, and you duck!
    If the delegate misses, you get to stand there again, and have another go.
    This continues until either you are so humiliated you leave,
    or you get belted, and submit to what ever their demand is.
    Points are awarded for the highest ranking delegate, and the number of times you get belted before you submit!
    Sounds like fun! To participate, you just have to vote Labor at the election,
    then it will become compulsory!

  35. Hugo – what’s the margin of error around India scoring over 600 and confidence interval on a Kumble century!

    Westpoll results bounce around improbably from month to month. I doubt you can read either a trend into them, nor accumulate them to produce any meaningful ‘meta-poll’. Both Smith and Randall this morning implied the ‘real’ polling was much closer: I assume they have access to their party’s local data.

    Could everyone on this site pitch in a tenner, and the West Australian afford a meaningful sample?

  36. I don’t know why JWH was thinking he would pick up seats in WA (other than possibly Cowan) because the polls were merely showing that the swing to the ALP was only less than the swing in the rest of the country.

    The last aggregated state by state newspoll showed WA 50-50 or a swing of 5.4%. I don’t think there was a poll showing the Libs going forwards.

    I only ever thought Cowan might go, because Graeme Edwards was so popular. And for those who have suggested that individual members don’t count, I think he is one of those that shows they do count.

  37. ps – what are the Westpoll results for state voting intention?

    If they were consistent with earlier polls this year (Labor pulling level then gradually in front on primaries) could we not then conclude the federal results aren’t ‘rogue’? (By which I mean outside the margin of error, in Labor’s favour).

  38. What do people think of Peter van Onselen’s mischievous column today, warning that Rudd won’t be tolerated if Labor doesn’t win? It’s a fairly contrarian angle, given that on almost any scenario, the real leadership interest is with the Libs. http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,22221592-27197,00.html

    I’ve heard similar on here from Liberal staffers – and wonder if Peter, a refugee from that brood – is channelling the same sentiments.

    The only realistic scenario for trouble for Rudd is Labor falling well short. Caucus might loathe him personally for all I know, but they turned to him in desperate need, he’s delivered, and there’s none of the Latham about him. Caucus is a very pragmatic body, most of all the left who in policy terms have most reason to distaste for Rudd. Yet turn to him they did, and they will owe each other mutual respect unless Labor’s result is an objective fizzer.

    Nor does Rudd have the Hewsons about him (for all his policy-wonkiness) – which is where van O’s analogy is self-contradictory (Rudd can’t be blamed for being a ‘small target’ and yet be compared to Hewson/93).

  39. On state voting intentions, ALP pulled further ahead, 62-38, and on the preferred premier, Carpenter improved and Omodei went even further backwards (now at 18 per cent, just ahead of “someone else”).

    Together, they show the ALP is not on the nose in the west, it’s the other guys…

  40. Has anyone noticed that whenever Howard visits a State or campaigns in a particular area that the polls go south for the Libs.

    A few weeks ago after exhaustive campaigning in Bennelong, the headlines were “Sydney turns their back on PM”. Now after a tour of the WA provinces he cops this latest poll.

    Everywhere Howard goes, people say “There’s trouble!”

Comments are closed.

Comments Page 1 of 5
1 2 5