Galaxy: 53-47 to Labor in Bennelong

The government is not about to face any respite from those bad poll headlines: News Limited papers are today carrying a Galaxy poll which shows the Prime Minister heading for defeat in Bennelong, where he trails Labor’s Maxine McKew 53-47 on two-candidate preferred (a similar poll three months ago had it at 52-48). The Labor primary vote is at 47 per cent, compared with 28 per cent at the previous election (when much of the anti-Howard vote was harvested by Greens candidate Andrew Wilkie), while the Liberal vote is down from 50 per cent to 44 per cent. No quibbling with the sample size this time, either – there were 800 respondents, double the amount Westpoll used to gauge an entire state.

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.

298 comments on “Galaxy: 53-47 to Labor in Bennelong”

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  1. Take away the comparison from the previous Nielsen poll and what you have is a status quo result. Obviously from the point of view of the media it is much more interesting to report on the “government coming back” angle, but if this result had of been thrown up by Newspoll we would all been having a yawn and saying nothings changed.

  2. I guess the result to be taken from the poll is that Labor continues to be ahead, lots. Probably the same as the Newspoll.

    Howard and co would have collectively fainted when their eyes glanced the Qld figures. Now it will be just cold sweats and shaking at the knees over the Qld figures. They will assume that it is not right, but have a lingering dread.

    Now if Rudd was to make himself a hero in Qld? Maybe wont make too much difference.

    The big change in SA has been confirmed, once again, a certainty now I would say.

  3. SA: Labor leads on a two-party basis 62-38 per cent.

    What was the 2pp vote in SA last time? Why is the swing so large in SA? The Xenephon voters aren’t swithching back?

  4. I understand where you’re coming from, but it’s still a flawed view of the way polling works.

    Suppose they polled just one vote from your suburb. Suppose said voter said they were voting Liberal. Does that mean your suburb is voting 100% Liberal? Of course it doesn’t.

    But it demonstrates the absurdity of insisting that every possible breakdown of the poll be correct. It’s setting the pollsters an impossible bar to jump.

  5. The SA swing seems absolutely ridiculous. They must have simply polled voters in Port Adelaide, Salisbury, Elizabeth and Noarlunga. The only ‘reasonable’ explanation!

    But, on the whole, it seems correct 55-45. The state swings… absurd.

  6. Me too Scorpio re 60/40… perhaps that was what the betting markets expected too… let’s hope it’s just a lag 🙂

    But really, we are hitting the pointy end now, and to be consistently 55-56% TPP at this stage is very good. Howard slotted into about 53-54% just before the 1996 election. Me too Scorpio… let’s hope it’s just a lag 🙂

    On the MSM, they probably figure 55% of their readers have had a good read this past week, and they want to give the other 45% a go… I want Howard to stay…

  7. The Govt Gazette don’t comment on Nielson or Morgan Poll, they are only interested in Newspoll, and to a lesser extent Galaxy.

    I note Westpoll wasn’t even given a Front page story, instead there was a large photo of the HMAS Sydney Wreck, and relegated the story to Page 4-5. If it was a pro Lib poll, it would be Page 1 🙂

  8. Yep, the Westpoll was an utter dud. And with the naturally pro-Labor Nielsen giving us primary votes of 41-46, the actual state of affairs is very, very close indeed.

    And check out the PM’s approval rating – 50%! Absolutely phenomenal for a bloke who’s been in the Lodge for 11 years. Those who think he’s on the nose in the electorate are simply deluding themselves.

    Other noteworthy results:

    – only 20% of respondents thought Mr Howard’s age was a problem, but 83% regarded his experience as critical. That alone – as Ministers like Downer and Abbott keep saying – will swing the election. By the way, anyone see Downer on Sunday? He seemed very relaxed about the upcoming election….

    – about 33% think interest rates would be higher under Labor, while only 7% think they’d be lower.

    All in all, a significant poll for those who can read between the lines.

  9. I just read that article by Peter Hartcher. All he’s doing is wasting ink!
    All the Howard cheer squad in the media are going to be regurgating similar rubbish which I think most people will treat as insulting their intelligence.

    When’s the next Newspoll? Tueaday next week? I think the story will be a bit ctearer then and these geese will have to try and spin something else.

  10. While Turnbull is a possible future Liberal Party leader at the moment he just doesnt have the experience necessary to be PM…just as Rudd who has never led anything for more than a year and never had to make a hard decision in his life…nevertheless Turnbull has been a Minister something Rudd has never had the honour to be…Costello would need until Jan 19 2008 if the leadership changed seriously the media’s perception is that nobody likes him and unlike Rudd they arent in love with him so his popularity would be tough to market…nevertheless Brown took over and the Labor Party are now thumping the Tories in the polls its a tough choice…perhaps they’ll only change the leadership if they think they are going to lose in order to minimize their loses…

    But Turnbull is popular…even though he is a ‘republican’ everybody has a little bit of evil in em lol!

    Turnbull vs Rudd what a match up
    I think it would be an even contest and perhaps the younger Turnbull would make up some ground despite his inexperience…
    But it would cede Howard’s seat so Labor would only need 15 to win…

  11. “Nielsen pollster John Stirton said that although the poll provided hope for the Coalition, “Labor is still in landslide territory with an 8 per cent swing since the last election. It is too early to say whether this is a real surge to the Government or simply another confirmation of Labor’s strong position.” Too true. Have you read this bit Steve?
    Good to see Steve getting excited over a poll that would see the cooalition destroyed in an election if these figures held.

  12. Glen, I think Costello would be a safer way to “clean the sheet” than Turnbull … if that’s what they decide.

    Steven, reading between the lines, you are ignoring the sensible 60% who think it makes little difference on interest rates. The main point about interest rates is they kill the “who do you trust” line.

  13. The result in South Australia is way too high…but Labor will make gains 3-4 seats…
    The result in WA is consistent with an appalling corrupt State ALP Govt and Labor’s anti-workchoices…thus putting Swan and Cowan within striking distance for the Government.

    Funny whenever people say just one more bad poll and Howard’s leadership will be in trouble out comes a poll that shows him making ground???

    Still 55-45 is within the ball park any lower than that and the Coalition has a chance of winning any higher and you can kiss the election good bye.

    Still 50% approval rating considering everything last week remarkable viva John Howard!

  14. Tobe Says:
    August 13th, 2007 at 1:20 am

    “Steven, reading between the lines, you are ignoring the sensible 60% who think it makes little difference on interest rates. The main point about interest rates is they kill the “who do you trust” line.”

    I reckon the ALP should licence I’m Talking’s Trust Me and run an ad with images of all of Howards Promises/Statements with that song in the Background.

  15. Glen Says:
    August 13th, 2007 at 1:24 am

    “The result in WA is consistent with an appalling corrupt State ALP Govt and Labor’s anti-workchoices…thus putting Swan and Cowan within striking distance for the Government.”

    You forget to mention the totally inept Opposition who have had 2 leaders since Barnett lost the 2005 Election, and Omodei is still only Mr 16%

    And Buswell still ain’t in the clear yet over his role as Busselton Maor in Smith’s Beach and the secret Carpark meeting with Noel Chricton-Browne.

  16. Scorpio Says:

    I just read that article by Peter Hartcher. All he’s doing is wasting ink!

    On the contrary! The last seven paragraphs – where he feeds off Stirton – were perhaps the most sensible things said by a poll reporter this year. A win for sensible analysis over cheap sensationalism.

  17. Yes i totally agree with you Frank but it is precisely because the state Libs are so inept that they’ll punish Labor federally…and is why i believe the Libs stand a good chance of picking up Swan and Cowan and holding Stirling and Hasluck…

  18. Labor=75, Coalition=73, Independents=2


    Coalition control of the senate.

    We are in for some very interesting times in my judgement. A campaign of unparalled savagery and an unstable government in the aftermath.

  19. What we dont want is like Canada where in a Parliament of 308 the Conservatives have 125 odd seats and rely on the Quebec separatist Bloc to pass supply…either way a minority government would be terrible let’s have one side win for better or worse…

    The Coalition will hit Rudd hard they have to he’s why Labor is doing so well in the polls…his elevation to the leadership has brought Labor into landslide territory if they cant bring him down they’ll lose…

    Still 55-45 with 3-4 months out…there is still hope!

    Viva John Howard!

  20. These days, Glen, for better or worse the only way to get widespread reform is with a minority government. Its happened at the state level in this country on several occasions and usually has been for the best. Qld. mid 90’s something dodgy happpened but likewise for tassie that was an era of great progress.

  21. Thanks Aussie Bob, I think you are a little hard on the State Govt, infrastructure is hard (in many many respects) and other states aren’t run as well as WA and have the spare money to spend on luxury deviations!!!!! But good luck with that.

    And I think much of the ‘confidence’ which in my case is hope more than anything is fairly soundly based, but remains hope. I would contrast our hope or hubris with the 8 months of assertion in relation to WA, that not only would Labor fail to win Hasluck and Stirling but lose extra seats. An assertion that is flawed in so many ways, looking at current information to be absurd. Of course we all know Hasluck and Stirling might not be gains Cowan might be lost, but they are not outcomes sane people looking at the polling would be discussing at this point, nor in my opinion any point in the last 8 months. So each to their own hubris.

  22. I’m not South Australia, so I’d be fascinated to hear ideas on why SA is so pro-Labor in all the polls.

    I also think the AC Neilsen state breakdowns are pretty dodgy, and I especially query the SA and Vic figures.

    As for Queensland, I have felt all along that Queenslanders won’t miss the chance to elect one of their own as PM (with a Qld thrown in for good measure). However, it’s a complicated state, where the regional vote is more important than anywhere else.

  23. Stephen L:

    “And to the person who said they had seen data suggesting Asians in Bennelong split 50/50, I suspect it was from Shane Easson’s paper, published on He pointed out that the problem for Howard was that the Asian immigration was to the previously safe Liberal parts of the seat, diluting these areas, while the small Labor pockets stayed Labor.”

    Based on my own (anecdotal) experience, he’s dead right. I once lived in Bennelong, but left around 10 years ago. Last week I popped back to my old stamping round (Epping/Eastwood) and I couldn’t believe how much the place had changed. It’s hard top overstate just what a huge impact Asian immigration is having here. Tellingly, the biggest swings against Howard at the 2004 election were in the ‘cushier’ parts of Bennelong – areas that actually adjoin (and used to be part of) Berowra: Carlingford, North Epping, and especially Epping. The Epping booth recorded an anti-Howard swing of 6.7%! Epping is still comfortable, affluent suburbia – but no longer the mono-cultural Liberal fortress it used to be.

  24. I went to school in the 80’s in Epping, and at the time my school had a low but growing number of asian students (around 10%). By all accounts my old school now has over 70% asian students, so that gives you an idea of the changing demographic of the area.

  25. Yes Tim W, I’m aware that that area is in either Bradfield or North Sydney, I was simply adding to the general discussion on the way Asian communities vote.

  26. OK. I was just alluding to the way the Chatswood is split up, such that Chatswood West is the last toehold of Bennelong in the ‘classic’ North Shore. That’s all.

  27. AlbertF way back at #119
    It was no accident that you saw quite a few Kevin 07 shirts during the City to Surf. Some enterprising Labor Party volunteers were handing them out to runners in Hyde Park. I’m easily bought and wear my political heart on my sleeve, so happily discarded my singlet for one, which matched my “Your Rights at Work” cap.

  28. Slightly off topic, but i need to get this outta my system. The other week, Michael Chaney wrote an piece in the Australian about how disastrous an ALP government would be, especially in I.R. I wrote a response to the piece and posted it on The Australian’s website. In what is becoming a regular thing, they chose not to post my remartks. So, what I’d like to do is post those comments here and see if anyone could tell me why The Auistralian would not post them – I mean, as i understand it, they’ll put your remarks up so long as you’re not being offensive or personal…. frankly i think this is rubbish and they scrutinise the comments carefully to exclude opinions they don’t like – I’ve heard too many similar thoughts from other posters to believe otherwise noe. I realise that people will disagree with my comments (and fair enough too), but I want to know if anyone else thinks these comments are too “offensive” to post. Anyhoo – here’s what i wroter in response to Mr Chaney’s article…….
    God forbid, the dreaded ALP will drag us back to the dark ages of…..18 months ago.
    What an absolutely emabarrasing argument Cheney puts up here. Just as conservatives and big business mocked Labor for predicting the sky will fall with the intro of Howard’s I.R regime, they now turn around and expect to be taken seriously when they claim the sky will fall if Labor gets in – what rubbish. All the evidence is against this argument. The real issue for the BCA, ACCI, AIG and the Liberal party generally is not about the impact on productivity and wealth, its about the redistribution of the wealth that is produced. Howard’s I.R regime is about squeezing more money out of those who can least afford to lose it and directing it toward business interests – true that might see a risde in share prices in some cases, but if you think that means there is equal benefit across the country, you are just plain lying. The pathetic rerasoning that because most aussies have shares through super and therefore would benefit is so nakedly deceptive that it makes me want to vomit. As for the advertising campaigns – the ACTU is far more honest in its campaign than the taxpayer funded ads the Government is running, not to mention the business sector ads (is that music supposed to warn of rates rises or child predators?) The Government ads featuring Barbara (my integrity is worth exactly $50,000) Bennett are utterly misleading…..start with a misleading or obtuse statement and then categorically deny it. You may as well have someone saying ” I heard that they can fry your cat for dinner and make you eat it.” at which point Ms Bennet comes onscreen in to say “that;s completely untrue.”
    All very reassuring, but it doesn’t talk about the fact that if you’re an existing employee offered an AWA that you refuse to sign, your employer can easily accept that, go away for a week or two and then come back and say “sorry mate – gotta let you go….operational reasons.” When that employer interviews for new staff, they can then efffectively say – “take these conditions or you don’t get the job.” Great system – very Australian.

    ….true, my comments aren’t full of cheer, but did that deserve to be censored?

  29. Optimist
    well said- perhaps the word vomit upset the dears at the australian

    anyhoo i have been unable to post as well-it seems that the filtering process is still alive and well

    ps as well the australian does not take kindly to the truth being written without their approval!!!!

  30. Is it possible that the reference to Barbara Bennett could be considered defamatory? I don’t know much about defamation law, but it is traditionally something that newspapers think about it.

  31. J-D,
    yeah, thought about that, but i figured it doesn’t rate in terms of defamation. Clearly, it’s an expression of opinion and I’ve seen riskier comments printed in their editorials. If it was the Bennett comment, then i think its a convenient reason to exclude my remarks. I’m not one for paranoia, but this is only one in a number of cases where I’ve been censored. Obviously, my opinions aren’t changing any time soon, but I’ve experimented with the language that I’ve used and i can say for certain that there have been a number of times when they have refused to post my comments and i simply can’t find an explanation – they were submitted in a timely fashion, my remarks were right on topic, i used language that was completely inoffensive while remaining passionate, i was short and to the point….i can’t explain it other than to say that there was one time when i said a couple of things about Chris Mitchell that might have got me a red flag – even then i was paraphrasing an article by a Courier-Mail journo who used to work with Mitchell.
    Anyone else have any thoughts?

  32. If i had to take a guess, the reason they didn’t want to post the comments is entirely about the last paragraph that i wrote.

  33. Aussie Bob

    I’m an Epping resident and, whilst strongly pro the rail link, I am sympathetic to your concerns. In particular I hadn’t heard about the impact on Chilworth Reserve. It may well be that your route is the best one (and certainly about a million times more sensible than the idea to send it down the Carlingford line instead.)

    However the weakness in your theory seems to me to be that at least half, if not more, of the voters who are upset would be in Berowra not Bennelong. The M2 is the boundary. You yourself would be a Berowra voter. And there would be many Bennelong voters in Epping who, like me, feel very positive about the rail link because it will improve our public transport whilst not affecting our properties.

    The number of Bennelong voters who are personally adversely affected would be pretty small – I have no data but surely only in the hundreds – and not all of them would be swinging voters in any case.

  34. Optimist

    Having re-read your spray, I conclude thus: Your comments regarding Ms Bennett are probably actionable. It’s the sentence in brackets that leaves you open. Words are bullets.

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