D-day minus 39

• Hot on the heels of yesterday’s Galaxy poll of Queensland marginals, Michael McKenna in The Australian tells us the Liberals feel they might even be able to save Moreton, thus limiting the damage to Bonner. Intriguingly, Labor is said to have ‘virtually “written off”’ Mal Brough’s seat of Longman. Dickson is also said to be a bridge too far. Longman was one of the four seats surveyed in the Galaxy poll, suggesting it may have added Liberal ballast to the overall 51-49 result.

George Megalogenis of The Australian discusses the electoral strategy behind the Coalition’s “three piece” tax cut, which consists of a low-income tax offset, a “fiddle to the threshold for the 30 per cent marginal tax rate” and cuts to the two top tax rates. The first is rated the most significant, being targeted at “the politically sensitive spot on the income ladder where the part-time working mother is most likely to be found” through a measure “not shared by higher income earners”. Megalogenis says no fewer than 18 Liberal-held marginals contain above-average numbers of the policy’s target market.

Misha Schubert of The Age reports that Corio MP Gavan O’Connor, who has been dumped by Labor in favour of former ACTU assistant secretary Richard Marles, will announce on Thursday whether he plans to run as an independent. He is “tipped” to do so.

• Running through the Tasmanian seats, Matthew Denholm of The Australian reckons the Gunns pulp mill approval might benefit the Liberals not in Bass but in neighbouring Braddon, “Tasmania’s least green seat where many businesses will benefit from the project”.

• Typically bold predictions from Malcolm MacKerras in The Australian (not available online as far as I can see), who tips 89 seats for Labor, 59 for the Coalition and two independents. Bennelong and Wentworth are both on the casualty list.

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.

648 comments on “D-day minus 39”

Comments Page 1 of 13
1 2 13
  1. Still have no reason to update my prediction of Coalition 5-7 seat majority. Another 39 days? Why won’t this nightmare just end?

  2. I think it is best to consider marginal voters rather than marginal seats. And a whole bunch of things can move individual voters in and out of this category. That is why we get contradictory swings seat by seat in recent elections. Although in this election, we should see less of that due to very stable polling over most of this calendar year. I wonder if Qld and WA have been the least stable of the states in TPP over the months? If this is the case I think it would be unwise to put too much faith in uniform swings in these states. Given that Galaxy sometimes like to push the boundaries in sample size, their polling gives something think about by if I were a party strategist, I wouldn’t waste too much sleep over it.

    On another note, is it not interesting how shrill the MSM headlines are becoming. ‘Labor in trouble’ for the Galaxy poll gave me a chuckle but nothing compared to this morning’s headlines on tax cuts. Its almost as if they are struggling to get noticed. It may be that old style party politics is not the only thing facing a changing of the guard at this election.

  3. LTEP,

    Being pessimistic about Labor’s chances could well put you in a win-win situation.

    If you’ve put money on the Coalition winning the election, and your predictions turn out right, you’ll be raking in the money (with the political betting odds for the Coalition as they’ve been for the last couple of months).

    If you’re wrong you can celebrate Howard’s ousting from power.

    Either way you can’t lose!

  4. Regarding the article on Queensland, it confirms that the Coalition are defending their outer Brisbane marginals well, which is not that surprising. I think these type of outer suburban seats are the new Liberal heartland and they seem to have solid local MPs. I would have liked to have heard about other (and more attainable for the ALP IMHO) seats in Queensland – Flynn? Herbert? Leichhardt and Ryan got a brief (and pointless) mention.

  5. judy (5), I think this is how most of the electorate will respond. I suspect a good majority of them are tired of being bought, duped, misled, and so on. I suspect they’re looking for a grand plan to fix certain things, and they don’t see this as delivering in that way. This is not a “plan for the future”, it’s just handouts.

    I’m confident the next round of polls will bear that out. The government didn’t get any bounce from the last round of tax cuts, so why should this one be any different?

  6. i refuse to believe that such a wide gap in 2pp will not transfer into a win for ALP. it may well be that the libs hang on to some marginals only 2 see safer seats fall behind them. a return to power for Howard by anthing less than 49:51 will be a huge fraud on the voters imo

  7. I’m with Mackerras, a narrow win for labor, 92 seats and would definetly say Benelong and Wentworth now both gone.

    Still holding out hope for a true lanslide that will see the reiligous nut case jobs in the libs removed from parliament, so 117 seats would be good.

  8. Costello gaffed last night as well with the Income Tax Threshold,he said $11,000,it is really $6,000.I hope they pillory him as well for not being over his brief.
    As to Queensland polling,my little spies in the right quarters tell me that the ALP are on track.

  9. I’m with Mackerras, a narrow win for labor, 92 seats and would definetly say Benelong and Wentworth now both gone.

    That’s narrow? You must have some high expectations…

    I’m a bit annoyed about this pub trivia “you must rote learn the little facts” nonsense, but since even citizenship has gotten in on the act, I can’t say I’m too surprised.

  10. Apart from being “bold”, Mackerras’ effort yesterday in The Australian was utterly self-involved. Sorry Malcolm, we really couldn’t care less what people ask you and what you tell them when they recognise you in the shopping centre. Mad-Macks spent half his commentary on “his” increasingly irrelevant pendulum pointing out occasions where he was right and others were wrong. The reality is that this bloke is wrong about 60% of the time. Why does The Australian even bother with him? Mad-Macks, its time for you to step side for Mr Bowe!

  11. To my ealrier point about marginal voters in Qld – I think Fadden and McPherson are both worth a closer look. Mortgage stress should be biting in Fadden in particular and there is a latent anti-politician vote there which Labor are playing to. And if K-RUD continues to sing the ‘I love Queensland’ song from the Beattie songbook loud enough, that should also help. Add to that the fact the the previous siting member is retiring and has been invisble for the last few years – it looks very interesting. There are also four conservative parties running in this seat trying to attract votes from the ‘working families’ that K-RUD is talking to. These families incidentally have been in mass migration to the elecotrate from interstate since 2004. The Nationals are recycling Alex Douglas who won the state seat in a by-election but then went down in a screaming heap at the state election a few months later. He ran under ‘coalition’ blue, shunning National Party association in what is definitely an urban seat. It will be interesting if this causes confusion.

    A biggish swing to Labor nationwide could put Fadden over the line for them.

    Possum Comitatus has put McPherson on the watch list, mainly due to mortgage stress, but a quick perusal of the latest 2006 census data tells me that this is more likley in play in Fadden.

  12. I think the time to stop believing “internal polling” started with the calling of the election (if not well before that).

    Every “leak” of internal polling is aimed at either giving confidence to restless government backbenchers or dampening over-confident wannabe ALP MPs.

    For instance, saying the Libs were still “some hope” in Moreton could mean just about anything – only five points behind, with the coalition banking on a five point gain during the election…

    Watch where the leaders head. The fact Rudd was in Blair yesterday, and the government tried to grab some momentum with a $34 billion tax package, tells you the ALP really thinks Blair will fall and that the coalition is a long way behind and needed a huge circuit breaker.

  13. Costello gaffed last night as well with the Income Tax Threshold,he said $11,000,it is really $6,000.I hope they pillory him as well for not being over his brief.

    Costello’s correct on this one, as far as it goes. There’s something called a “low-income tax benefit” or some such that effectively raises the level of the threshold for low-income families. It’s actually a very good idea, because it targets those who will benefit most, and it’s far cheaper than raising the $6000 threshold. Costello’s proposing that the benefit is doubled, from $750 to $1500.

    There’s plenty to criticise Costello about, just get your facts straight.

  14. Coota, the leaked internal polling was quite accurate in 2004. I suspect its also accurate in 2007. However, of course they’re not going to leak bad results. I think the ALP will quite comfortably win 2 in Qld, but will struggle for more.

    Supposedly Qld, WA, SA and Vic aren’t showing big swings, and the Libs believe they can hold 1 in Tas. Makes you wonder where the 56/44 TPP are coming from. It’s hard to believe all 4 pollsters could have sampling methods that present roughly the same results.

  15. If ever anyone wanted to see the large disconnect between the political industry (PI) and the voters – just look at the reporting of yesterday’s tax cuts.

    This is how the PI see it : All of sudden the Coalition has seized the initiative and is building momentum. Now the ALP is on the back foot. They need to announce something quickly or they’ll look like they are economic non-raters. Crucial minutes are ticking away.

    This is how the voters see it: what’s Howard up to now? A tax cut, oh yeh. Didn’t he do that earlier in the year and besides it’s our money anyway.

    The PI asks “so will it change your vote?” The voters answer “why would it? He’s just trying to buy our votes. It’s just another Howard trick”

    That’s it in a nutshell. There’s no seizing of anything except the imagination of the political industry. Look back to the glowing reporting of the May budget, and then have a look at all the predictions of it being Rudd’s Tampa etc etc etc, and then have a look at the polling and see if there isn’t a yawning chasm between was the PI thinks goes on and what is really going on.

  16. Supposedly Qld, WA, SA and Vic aren’t showing big swings

    Vic and SA appear to be swinging significantly to the ALP.

    And, of course, there’s the crown jewel of NSW…

    Regarding Queensland, they have only said that certain seats are not swinging to the ALP and given what seats they are, it’s to be expected.

  17. the only ones enamoured with the tax cuts seems to be Peter Hendy and co, theres been a few economists warn about the pressure they’ll put on interest rates, other than that the reception’s fairly lukewarm.

  18. Scotty @ 8: I suppose the difference this time is that the election has now been called – at least, that’s what the government will be hoping for.
    LETP @18: good point. If the internals are right, where IS that 56-44 TPP coming from? Maybe in already safe Labor seats, and safe Coalition seats?
    What do people thin Labor will do re the tax thing? Now they have the fiscal outlook, they may run with, say about $4 billion less in tax cuts, and promise to directly pump that $4 billion into hospital funding. Try to strike a balance rather than just do a full-on “me too”.
    And what about the PM with Red Kerry last night? That was a very petulant display at the end from so seasoned a performer. Quite bizarre really. Howard does nothing by accident, it may have been a “I’m here to fight” image he was trying to get across. It looked, imo, more like a Latham handshake moment.

  19. SA doesn’t appear to be swinging hard in the slightly marginal seats like Boothby and Sturt and they are swinging enough (but not in a jaw-dropping way) in the marginals they need to win like Makin, Wakefield and Kingston. HOWEVER, the ALP seem to be showing a very large overall swing in SA.

    Why? Well, according to the Newspoll aggregate done a few weeks ago, the ALP were showing modest swings in the safe ALP seats and marginal seats, larger swings in the safeish Liberal seats but HUGE swings in the safe Liberal seats like Grey, Mayo and Barker. These swings aren’t large enough to unseat the members concerned (except perhaps with the exception of Grey, where there is no incumbency factor), but the swings appear to be very real.

    As others have pointed out, this might be the real danger for the ALP this election: getting all the swings in all the wrong places. I still think they’ll do it, but they need to poll well in those seats in the 5-10% band AND ensure they win all the marginals under that AND not lose any in WA to be home and hosed.

  20. LTEP – “Makes you wonder where the 56/44 TPP are coming from. It’s hard to believe all 4 pollsters could have sampling methods that present roughly the same results.” Precisely. Something I think you need to keep in mind. The so called internal Liberal party polling seems to fly in the face of this. I’ll stick with the recognised independent polls thanks.

  21. Well put, Aristotle. Yep, that’s about it. Also, the punters would have to elect the libs for the next 100 years or so to actually get these tax cuts.

  22. I am very wary about interviews with people who say they want the money spent on hospitals and schools rather than tax cuts. They are not a reliable guide as to voting intentions and I doubt that they reflect the true feelings of those interviewed. In my opinion, floating voters want better services but they also want their tax burden relieved. They think the more acceptable answer is to highlight the need for increased government spending on infrastructure to the exclusion of personal tax cuts, lest they appear too self centred or even greedy. The Howard/Costello tax package has to be seen as a necessary step for the Coalition at the outset of the formal campaign because it gets the floaters thinking about what is in it for them if they decide to stay with Howard when they visit polling places on 24 November. Unlike LTEP, I think the ALP is well on course to win this election provided Mr. Rudd does not have any ‘birthday cake moments’ (cf. John Hewson in the 1993 campaign). However, if the (pessimistic) LTEP is correct and the Government is returned with a reduced majority, this tax package will have played its part (appealing to the floaters in the outer metropolitan and regional marginals AND the well-to-do in traditionally ‘safe’ Liberal held electorates who have been telling opinion pollsters since last year that they are presently minded to vote for the ALP).

  23. I find it hard to believe Bonner is the only seat the ALP will pick up in QLD. Longman and Petrie were always unlikely prospects, and the council amalgamation stuff might be playing against Labor still especially in Petrie.
    According to a poll on the news.com.au site: 63% of respondents would prefer the surplus is spend on health and education rather than more tax cuts.

  24. I think the Liberals have probably rolled the dice and sensibly decided to go for a “big-hitting” item to kick-off the election campaign. The libs are a long way behind in the polls and need to make every day count. I think the worst thing Rudd and co. can do now is be rushed into releasing their tax policy. They should absorb the baiting that Captain Smirk will inevitably indulge in, and stick to their guns, and campaign timetable. If the ALP have really done their homework, they would have anticipated these tax cuts, as its the same old card this lot have played time and time again.

  25. A further thought about combining the tax cuts and the Liberal-Lawyers cabinet into one line: they are Elitist tax cuts designed by an Elitist cabinet. The biggest tax benefits go (as always under Howard) to the biggest incomes. Where are the benefits for young people, single people or those still not able to afford to buy a home? Meanwhile with the surplus safely squandered on tax cuts there is no risk that more money will go into health or education.

    As for the Elitist tag on the Howard cabinet, despite styling himself as the battler’s friend, Howard and most of his cronies are private school educated lawyers. Rudd went to a State school – I wonder how many of Howard’s lot could say the same? When people nickname Downer “Lord Downer”, it seems to fit for a reason.

  26. Owing to the ongoing UNIONS BOO campaign and some juicy infighting among the Libs

    i have updated my prediction to 110 -115 seats to Lab

    unfortunately the good ship Liberal just shot off grapeshot instead of heavy shot

    ps are these tax cuts core or non-core ,back of envelope or real costings 🙁

  27. Good post Aristotle! The last three elections have been such a disappointment, that so far this year I’ve been riding an emotional rollercoaster re Labor winning.

    However, I’m sustained by the excellent analyses by Possum, Piping Shrike and the blogers on this site. I now avoid the MSM (except for the ABC & Antony Green) but I still checkout the cartoons in the major dailies, at least the cartoonists are unbiased! I now use the Poll Bludger as my prime election info source and only read MSM articles if recommended & linked by Poll Blugers. So a big thank you to fellow Poll Bludgers & especially to William for providing such an excellent blog site.

  28. The internal polling from 2004 was accurate – and in line with the public polls.

    This time there is a huge disconnnect.

    If you believe all the internal polling stories, then the Coalition and Labor must be polling every man, woman, cat and dog every second day. They simply don’t do that.

    They have their focus groups which they use constantly, but as for internal polls in places like Grey simply doesn’t make financial sense. Why poll a seat that you hold by 10 per cent plus??? If there’s one poll in seats with 10 per cent plus margins in a year it’s a small miracle.

    There are a lot of extrapolations being done on internal polls, questions on name recognition which are being used by some marginal MPs to talk up their chances.

  29. Rudd went to a State school – I wonder how many of Howard’s lot could say the same?

    The born-to-rule elitism of the Coalition smarties is betrayed by the incredulity with which they attack Rudd: “How dare this impostor, this pretender put himself up to run the trillion dollar economy? (He should remember his place and to stay in it)”

  30. Actually Autocrat, I would say that Costello is wrong and being typically deceitful.

    The tax free threshold is $6000 WITH a low income rebate out to $11000.

    Now for the average taxpayer, they don’t pay attention to detail – they see the headline Tax Free Threshold is $11000. They don’t take in that anyone on near the average salary still only has a tax free threshold of $6000.

    Policy wise, I think it is fine and well targetted. However, it is not what is being sold.

  31. The tax cut bribe so early in the campaign shows the Libs are truly desperate. It is obviously intended to get some attention and maybe a bit of a bounce, but what do they do next? I predict Labor will deliver a big policy announcement in the next few days to counter. Labor can chew over the Libs tax cut figures for a while and then come up with their own version. With money to burn, it won’t be hard to match the government bribe.

  32. ALl this talk about internal polling, and which seats are really swinging….once an election is called, there’s an easy way to find out the truth.

    Just follow the leaders’ itineraries. They will travel to the seats that their own private polling shows are in danger/can be won. Rudd’s trip to Blair was a good example (as are Howard’s continual visits to Bennelong!).

    And BTW…I was talking to friend yesterday who’s just been on holiday in FNQ. He said he spoke to quite a few older people on holiday from Sydney’s North Shore. They were sick of Howard, and were particularly sick of the Coalition’s continued emphasis on the economy. They said it’s not all about the economy. I suppose that’s what happens when you’ve done a good job with the economy and people aren’t worried about it any more. But I suspect voters will be after a broader spread of policies than just tax cuts, and will respond well to stuff on health, education/training etc.

    The voters who care most about the economy are young families in mortgage belts. No doubt Howard/Costello are appealing directly them, as they did last election. But there are still a hell of a lot of older voters who are economically comfortable but want better health facilities and a better deal for the less well-off, and young voters who aren’t yet into the mortgage trap, but worry about rents, HECs, WorkChoices and so on.

  33. # 22 – Burgey, it seemed to me that Howard was carrying some extreme irritation with himself for buggering up his answers to Tracey Grimshaw, just minutes earlier, about the average weekly wage and the cash rate. On the day when he was trying to go all out on his economic credentials, this was a very, very serious blunder. He knew that many more people would have been watching ACA than were tuned in to Red Kezza…

    Look at the way Howard signed off from the ACA interview…it was even more petulant that the way he signed off from the 7.30 Report.

  34. I still say the bookies are the best guide. That’s based on my experience placing bets with them in the last 3 federal elections and numerous state elections. On the basis of what the bookies are saying, the Liberals are a basket case in:

    Qld. – Bonner and Moreton
    NSW – Eden-Monaro, the notionally-Liberal Parramatta, Lindsay and Dobell
    Tas. – Bass and Braddon
    SA – Wakefield, Makin and Kingston
    NT – David Tollner’s seat

    That’s a total of 12 seats. All the ALP need to do is another seat in each of WA, Vic, NSW and Qld and they have a majority.

    In any event, Deakin, McMillan, Bowman and two WA marginals are line-ball in the terms of odds on offer

    It follows that all the reporting about the ALP needing a huge swag in Qld and/or elsewhere is totally misconceived (although I acknowledge those Kevinistas amongst you would be hoping for something more than a bare majority)

  35. Chinster at 23

    From quarterly newspoll analysis I have only seen:

    safe Labor (ie margin >= 6%): 7% swings
    marginals (ie margin +/- 6%): 8% swing
    safe Liberal (ie margin >=6%): 12% swing

    (Average swings across Australia)

    This might mean that the most likely seats to fall are
    the very marginal coalition ones and the coalition ones
    held with margins between 6% and 10%.

    Have you seen results which
    give the slightly more detailed information which you
    mention? That is, different swings in within the less
    and more safe coalition seats.

  36. Rudd and Swan have come out and said that a tax policy is far too important to be rushed and must be fiscally responsible and exactly right, they will not be rushed and will bring out their policy when they are ready and wont be bullied into it.
    good for them, it makes them seem to be steady and unfazed.

  37. On bookmakers again.

    Does anyone have any rough guides as to how much money is being put on individual seat betting? A rough total will do.

    I recall seeing somewhere that pollsters will do reasonable individual seat polling for around $2000.

    I am just trying to work out whether it is likely that the betting companies are doing individual seat polling to help them set their odds.

    And as I posted in the last thread last night, from figures from SportingBet there is often a big difference between the ratios of money put on outcomes in an individual seat and the odds offered by the company. The amounts at risk for the betting companies if they get the answer wrong are probably big enough to justify getting polling done.

    Perhaps we can work out what extra knowledge the betting companies have over the punters from looking carefully at these differences.

  38. It is desperation on the Coaliton’s part to release such a big-ticket item so early in the campaign. People will have forgotten about it by polling day, but the Coalition needs momentum now.

    As to internals, there could be strange things going on in particular seats. However, if Labor gets more than 51% they will probably win; if they get 56% it’ll be a smashing landslide with Labor winning 100+ seats. Rely on national and statewide polls, not on individual seat polling. Newspoll had Labor at 58-42 in the marginals in its last quarterly analysis, and at 48-52 in the Coalition safe seats.

  39. Snakeboy
    It was a blunder by Howard and received little hype, imagine the distress and hysteria the MSM would be in if it had happened to K.Rudd, it would have been all over after day one.
    On the debates, K.Rudd should have 2 with Howard and 1 with Costello.
    This would highlight the stupidity of the 2 leaders for one strategy the Libs have embarked on.
    Roll on Nov24.

Comments are closed.

Comments Page 1 of 13
1 2 13