Westpoll: 53-47 in WA

The West Australian today carries its monthly Westpoll survey of around 400 voters, which shows Labor’s two-party lead in WA increasing to 53-47 from 51.6-48.4 last month. Compared with the 2004 election results, this points to a swing to Labor of 8.4 per cent – which would shift Stirling, Hasluck and Kalgoorlie and endanger Canning (which most reckon more likely to fall than Kalgoorlie, despite the margins). However, Kevin Rudd’s lead as preferred prime minister has narrowed from 47-41 to 45-43. No primary vote figures are provided.

Hat tip to Barry.

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.

527 comments on “Westpoll: 53-47 in WA”

Comments Page 2 of 11
1 2 3 11
  1. Edward SJ, John Howard is one of the best examples of someone who’s spent his entire working life in the service of one party, and may thus not, under your definition, have received adequate “life experience”. Howard was working for the Libs even while at school, and during his (relatively brief) stint as a lawyer, worked in a firm with Liberal figures as his mentors.

    That’s not a criticism, in my book. Howard is clearly an excellent politician, and he’s spent his whole life in training for it. I think wider life experience is an excellent thing for a politician to have, but you can be an effective pollie without it.

    In fact, Howard and Gillard are both trained lawyers. But Howard moved to politics more quickly. The Howard biography makes it clear that all Howard ever wanted to be was a Liberal politician, and that his legal career was a means to that end. I have no problem with that – do you?

  2. This Tassie Quin is a naked opportunist.

    Not willing or able to do the campaigning to be elected as a Liberal, he hopes to be a green Independent. No hope left for him.

  3. Re the apparent swing to Labor in WA…

    I have stated on this blog some time ago that I felt it was wrong to ignore Kalgoorlie as a Labor win. Sure, it’s got well-paid miners, but it’s a huge and varied seat, with desperate housing shortages, outrageous petrol prices, lots of aborigines, and plenty of lower-paid service workers stretched to the limit. It was traditionally a Labor seat till Graeme Campbell went off on his tangent.

    And Rudd’s promise to deliver more resources royalties back to WA would be more appealing Kalgoorlie than any other seat in the nation, I would imagine. The Woodside LNG fields are in this seat, and the locals know they deserve better roads, hospitals, ports etc in return for the foreign exchange they’re earning in the blazing heat and dust.

    I’m also wondering whether the strong Liberal vote in WA in 2004 was a extra Tampa effect. After all, the boat refugees were all turning up off the WA coast, so surely the issue was more resonant for that state than others. If so, there could have been a stronger swing to the Libs in WA on this issue, and there may be a stronger swing back in 2007 than expected, as the Tampa issue has faded.

    Unless, of course, boats with Sudanese flags of convenience start to appear off the Cocos Islands…

  4. FEDERAL Liberal candidate Ben Quin has quit his party in disgust over the approval of Tasmania’s $1.7 billion pulp mill.

    Mr Quin, who was challenging for the marginal Labor-held seat of Lyons in central Tasmania, made the announcement to colleagues at a Liberal Party electorate committee meeting this morning.

    Now I wonder… does anybody know much about Tasmanian politics?

    If he ran as an independent, he would get Green preferences, possibly Liberal preferences, and a bunch of personal votes I’m sure. Could it be enough to push him over the line? If the split is so decisive in Tasmania, and he is the only candidate actually opposing the mill (greens don’t count) then it could make for a challenge.

    Could be interesting. The other, more likely option, of course, is a landslide victory for Labor in the seat.

  5. 47 Pancho Left –

    I think you should only get the chance to “blow” one election ever in a major political party. The prize is too great to allow repeat goes.

    Clear Julia “Medicare Gold” Gillard owns a large part of the blame for 2004. Why does she get another go?

    Similarly why does David Bradbury and Belinda Neal get third chances after being multiple losers?

    Is this part of a culture of failure in the ALP? Surely in the realpolitik of St Kevin’s world failure is the ultimate sin?

    49 Antonio

    I think you will find Howard has made the criticism that there are too many professional politicians in the House. Howard was 35 when first elected. Of course there are professionals on both sides – say Nick Minchin and Joe Hockey, the problem with Labor is that it is chockers with Medicare Golds. The absence of kids only completes the cliche its not the whole point.

  6. Attacks on Gillard do not attract swinging voters but may well attract ‘safe’ voters back who at this stage have swung to the Annihilator even more than marginals have.

    They are attempting to ensure their safe seats do not swing as much as they are at the moment

  7. Edward, if you’re still about, tell us what “life experience” Howard, Costello Ruddock and Abott have had apart from brief stints as lawyers (Howard, Costello and Ruddock) and “journalism” (Abbott, actually just writing anti-Labor smears for the Bulletin). All four have lived and breathed nothing but politics since they were teenagers (Ruddock since childhood since his father was an MP). NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT, it’s just that it makes these attacks on Gillard extremely hypocritical.

  8. I seem to recall Sen Richard Alston ran in a dozen or so preselections before being elected to the Senate.

    Kennett lost three elections

    Howard lost one election

    Menzies lost one election

    Gillard holds a diverse seat she clearly does something right for she has held it, when many similar seats have moved to the Liberals in recent times.

    I couldn’t care less about if Gillard has children or cooks at home, so what and yes Medicare Gold was a shocker, but so is Workchoices.

    I suspect Tony might have the hots for Jules and knows she will never fall for him therefore that’s why he is forever going on about her lifestyle.

  9. BMW,

    Come on now holding the safe seat of Lalor which has probably never had a Liberal MP in 90 years is hardly the sign of representing a diverse electorate.

    If she was capable of anything other than the SL machine line tell me why Rudd had to step in and do the deal with business on WorkChoices over the top of her?

  10. For liberal supporters it would be a shame Rudd did the deal with business because J” MG Tm” G was well on the way to polishing a bright new shiny MedicareGold for 2007.

    Ask Adam, Labor always does best with a stable right wing deputy.

  11. ESJ, As an astute follower I’m sure that under the baiting you realise how important perceptions are. Rudd stepped in as ‘boss’ when Jules was being tarred as a Soviet or something as equally rediculous. It calms the punters and gives th Libs less to work with. I think that you underestimate her role in the turnaround of Labors fortunes, and I think that the Liberals more generally are flogging a dead horse by trying to bring her further to the fore. She routinely thrashes Abbott and Hockey every time that they try.

  12. I would say Lalor is a diverse seat, you have Werribee and Melton with many new housing estates like Caroline Springs.

    This seat is similar to Lindsay and Makin

  13. ESJ, why are you so obsessed with Julia Gillard? Her life experience has no more or less bearing on her capacity to be a good MP than most other politicians.

    Or are you trying to do a Heffernan-style dog whistle over the fact that Gillard is not unmarried and without children? If this is what you are trying to allude to, then you are just as out of touch with the general public as Howard and Abbott. There are thousands and thousands of unmarried, professional women, without children, who will probably be very inspired by Gillard’s trail-blazing path to potentially the highest leadership position (deputy PM) that a woman has ever achieved in this country. I suspect that it is this fact that frightens the olde worlde mindset of Howard and quite possibly yourself.

    Time to start living in the 21st century rather 60 years behind the rest of us.

  14. Being called away to lunch would love to continue but lunch with fine food and wine and good company is lunch with fine food and wine and good company. A good week with the bounce in Gunns to celebrate too.

    Yes of course J “MG Tm” G will be a role-model for many.

    63 – Ozy – tries some facts rather than name-calling more interesting.

    Until the evening fellow tragics.

  15. actually, bmwofoz at 64, Lalor is next door to the seat I’m in, but doesn’t include either Melton or Caroline Springs, however, you are correct in assuming high growth corridor as part of the seat. I know a lot of folk who live and/or work in Lalor, and Julia is very highly regarded as a local member, despite the demands on her as Deputy and Shadow responsibilities. ESJ’s Abbott type attacks are just stupid and reveal what little substance there is to him and Abbott.

  16. Adam, You’re never going to get anything sensible out of ESJ, perhaps just treat him as his namesake, i.e., deceased, an ex-parrot.

  17. The point is, I agree to some extent that the trend towards politics being dominated by lifetime professional politicians with no other career is deplorable, but it is equally prevalent on both sides. For Abbott to attack people for lack of life experience is just breathtaking – he has done nothing but politics since he was at school. At least Labor’s union hacks have some experience dealing with real life, or a version of it anyway. Ruddock has been an MP for 34 years, Howard for 33, Costello has done nothing but politics since he joined Young Labor. The Nationals are an honourable exception to this, but the Liberals are in no position to talk – especially with the archetypal career political zealot Alex Hawke taking one of their safest seats.

  18. JD@12

    How fortunate I am, then, to enjoy the company of people from across the socioeconomic and demographic spectrum. You might wish to reflect on the idea that not all of your friends and family need to take the same views as yourself. In point of fact, political discussion are the liveliest that our family gatherings experience. Ditto for my circle of friends – we all have opinions and are unafraid to voice them. And overall, I’d say that the people of my acquaintance are breaking roughly 50-50 or a little in the Libs favour.

  19. Anyway, back on topic, it’s good to see the ‘Gropers getting with the programme at last. My WA Liberal cousins (with one exception) will not be pleased. I come from very old WA squatter stock on my mother’s side, and I know there is no Tory like a WA Tory.

  20. [For Abbott to attack people for lack of life experience is just breathtaking – he has done nothing but politics since he was at school. ]

    You’re forgetting Abbott was a boxer at Oxford. From memory he once attempted to use his boxing skills against Cheryl Kernot behind the speaker’s chair, and was promptly ejected from the house.

    He really does seem to have a problem with female Labor front benchers. He whips himself into a lather whenever he is near Nicola Roxon as well…

    [Costello has done nothing but politics since he joined Young Labor. ]

    Surely his time as a barrister counts for something.

    And remember, Howard was an adviser to Clayton Utz at the same time as shadow spokesman for Industrial Relations. 😛

  21. Blubottle #10

    “The key States will be QLD, SA and NSW in which Labor has focussed most of it’s election resources to date. ”

    Keep your eyes on Victoria. It is a potential killing field.

  22. [I come from very old WA squatter stock on my mother’s side, and I know there is no Tory like a WA Tory.]

    Can you explain to me former Labor treasurer John Dawkins? His parents were part of the W.A. Tory establishment, what exactly happened to Dawkins that got him into Labor politics? What did he do to be accepted there, i.e. winning Fremantle even though it was previously Kim Beazley Snr’s seat.

    Surely John Dawkin’s parliamentary career is one of the more unusual ones in the history of Labor MPs.

    Did he even have union backing?

  23. This movement toward the ALP in WA is later than you think. For the most part, they’re thinking of voting for that nice Mr. Hawke.

    (Disclaimer: I lived the first 15 years of my life in Perth, so I’m allowed to say things like this)

  24. Phil @ 27:

    If people dislike an ALP state government, that dislike will cloud their perception of the Federal ALP.

    TWOP @ 28:

    I agree. The Libs will have to dump Omodei if they want to gain ground on the ALP. However, Barney could probably lead the libs to a victory over Carpenter – people who have been rusted-on ALP voters all their life are talking about donkey-votes or minor-party votes this time around.

    L. Duce @ 37:

    Actually, I’m not dreaming, rather I am still in the 11-year-long nightmare that is called the Howard Era – I simply don’t think that the people of WA, who have benefited enormously from the mining boom, will risk a change, however small a risk the change might be. Also, Howard’s ‘Union Bosses’ campaign may just get some traction over here – we’ve had a gutful of people like Reynolds and McDonald. Fortunately, Rudd doesn’t need WA’s seats to tip Howard out of The Lodge.

    Edward StJohn @ 59:

    8.8% is not overly-safe in my book. There are much safer Labor seats than Lalor. Also, JG seems to actually care – have you ever seen a press address of hers? I have and was impressed. I was prepared for a battleaxe from the GG coverage given to her, but I was pleasaantly surprised. Also, she absolutely creamed Hockey in the Work ‘cantusethatname’ Choices debate on Lateline – no personal attacks or ad-hominem arguments, just clear logic and reminding him of aspects of his own policy. The transcript of the debate is still on the Lateline site – you’ll find it in early September. I suggest that you read it, it could do you some good.

  25. ShowsOn, in three words: The Vietnam War.

    ChrisB, there has never been a Liberal MP from Vic called St John. You’re probably thinking of Ted St John, Liberal MP for Warringah NSW 1966-69, who was expelled from the Liberal party in 1968 for criticising Gorton.

  26. As we live on the east coast of course we are not aware how the pendulum is swinging out west. My take on the situation in WA was that it is ‘fortress Liberal’ & that the Libs were going to pinch a couple of seats back.
    Now its going the other way. Perhaps the poll sample is too small to be indicative of how its playing out on ground. But I welcome it.
    Maybe those Western Australians don’t love those AWA’s as much as I thought.
    Any one from the west that can tell it how it is?

  27. Neil said – “Keep your eyes on Victoria. It is a potential killing field.”

    Not sure about Killing Field but Vic has slipped under the radar. The Libs have ignored Vic as there is nothing they can win and none of the maginals are on the “must protected to stay in govt” list. Add to this there is already a majority of ALP seats in victoria and is seems there are jucier fruit further north.

    But just about everything is running the ALP’s favour.

    – a popular new premier whom Howard can’t attack
    – Workchoices – no mining boom here
    – morgage stress abounds
    – Climate change, eviroment and water shortages all play against howard.
    – Howards racist, devisive style is loathed more in Victoria than any other state.

    Add it all up and the ALP five seats well within reach and with the possibility of a few more shockers.

    If this comes to pass the election will be called before the polls close in WA.

  28. Abbotts behaviour when around or confronted by a female is intriguing to watch.

    Julia certainly has him flumoxed.

    he definately is looking haggard. i think Julia and Nicola have been giving him sleepless nights.

  29. 50
    Antonio Says:
    October 6th, 2007 at 11:35 am

    Re the apparent swing to Labor in WA…

    I have stated on this blog some time ago that I felt it was wrong to ignore Kalgoorlie as a Labor win.
    Good points Antonio. Like you, I think WA offers better prospects than many have assumed. There are no really easy pickings here, but Labor has very good chances in Stirling & Hasluck, while Canning, Kalgoorlie & Forrest are all contestable too.

    Howard’s leadership itself is an issue in WA. His credentials are much impaired these days. He and his policies just seem very erratic from this side of the country. In lots of ways, his success here in the past has been personal. The Liberal Party itself does not have much of a presence and has been carried federally by Howard himself. As Howard’s standing crumbles, you can expect to see seats swing.

    I think his standing has been hurt in lots of ways, but especially on IR, health, housing, tax, education and climate change.

    His has done nothing but posture on health and education (biting issues in WA) and climate change (we’ve been living with this for a good 20 years now). He has totally buggered up the IR regime – striking out the State jurisdiction and replacing it with a legalistic shambles that hurts workers and confuses employers – in an ideologically-driven indulgence.

    He has also undermined his own reputation for fiscal rectitude. He’s seen as desperately throwing money around – none of it his, a lot of it coming from WA – in a bid to buy his way to re-election.

    It is not a good look……

  30. I think it has been raised before, but the AWA-employed miners who are cashing in on the boom are mainly fly-in/fly-out people, who live either in Perth, or rapidly developing places to the south, like Mandurah and even down towards Bunbury and the various little villages in between. Take a drive down there and you see lots of big guys with goatees, plus their young families. Canning will be one to watch on election night due to mortgage stress issues, but this influx of mining wealth should help Randall hang on (drat).

    Larger regional centres in the Division of Kalgoorlie like Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Exmouth and Karratha/Dampier/Wickham would also host substantial numbers of resource industry people who are happy with their AWAs and love Howard (I suspect Exmouth is also swelling with cashed-up retirees), but they are balanced by locals who are battling lifestyle issues: soaring rents (if you can even find somewhere to live), strains on infrastructure and resulting environmental concerns. Due to the difficulty in finding enough people to live in these places, it might be the only place in Oz where those who work in retail/hospitality would be happy with their AWAs – a real seller’s market.

    The Division of Kalgoorlie has a high indigenous population (NT intervention not popular), but also a big itinerant component, so the new Electoral Laws will have an effect there too – maybe not completely to the detriment of the ALP either.

    All in all, Kalgoorlie (and WA in general) will be a petri dish in which the effect of a number of Howard’s changes since 2004 can be studied. I don’t think either the Libs or ALP would want to be looking across the Nullarbor after 8pm on counting night for deliverance though …

  31. ESJ, I assume this anti- Gillard stuff is because you’re running out of things to snipe at. At least we should be glad that you haven’t dwelled on her fashion, her hair style or life choices, as seems to happen with most moaners.

    On Medicare Gold, do you have any evidence that it was such a lemon? And as to her life experience, I think it included being a partner in Slater Gordon. Now, that might be the case for quite a few Labor people, but it certainly wouldn’t have been a sinecure. They are in the big league among Melbourne barristers, and among other things have won cases against Big Tobacco. She’d have earnt any recognition she had there.

    And if she really was such a liability, why as another poster noted is she always able to trounce Abbott in Health and Hockey in IR?

    I haven’t seen any evidence she’s a Labor liability and quit a bit to suggest she’s a plus. As Adam suggested, the attacks are probably aimed at getting back the Lib hard core which is looking wobbly at present.

  32. Re: Gillard. I just hope it’s not Abbott who has the glass jaw, given how often he leads with it.

    I think that Koutsoukis article in the The Age from a few weeks ago really summed it up: the Libs just don’t know how to handle Gillard. It appears that conservative middle-aged males and their political lickspittles find her a threat – judging by the rantings against her on this forum, the behaviour of the Liberal front bench and writings of columnists like Akerman et al.

    Collectively these people just don’t get that everyone else has moved on -she presents as articulate and approachable, and will be judged on her political performance and ability to deliver, not an antediluvian notions of barrenness and failing to occupy her proper place in the scheme of things.

  33. Posters who are sceptical about the Westpoll figures and think that Labor will struggle to hold their two “at risk” WA seats are surely forgetting that the 2PP vote in 2004 was 44-56, iirc. On that basis, even a 47-53 0r 48-52 (3 or 4% ALP gain) must surely mean that the two vulnerable Liberal seats fall. For Labor to lose seats – even Cowan with Graham Edwards’ retirement – their vote this time would have to be as bad as 2004.

  34. Pretty amusing seeing people who’ve never met Ms Gillard opine here on the state of her ‘soul’. Especially as Abbott was just dog-whistling to the conservative base.

    But Gillard has the last laugh: she’s well liked round about here. My wife and her mates, not political animals by any means, are impressed with her.

    Personally I think she’s artificially toned herself down in every way and that’s just how things have been in t.v. dominated electoral politics for at least two decades now.

Comments are closed.

Comments Page 2 of 11
1 2 3 11