D-day minus 37

Imre Salusinszky of The Australian reports that Liberal polling conducted last month has the Prime Minister “staring at defeat in his marginal northern Sydney seat of Bennelong”, with two-party support for Labor’s Maxine McKew said to be in “the low 50s”.

Ewin Hannan and Rick Wallace of The Australian talk of Labor hopes of winning five seats in Victoria, where hostility to WorkChoices is said to be driven by the state’s “egalitarian nature, strong unions and left-wing political roots”. The five seats are Deakin, La Trobe, Corangamite, McMillan and McEwen.

• Labor yesterday made an announcement on Queensland roads funding that focused on Brisbane, committing $500 million to the Northern Link tunnel joining the Western Freeway at Toowong in Ryan to a bypass at Kelvin Grove in Brisbane, and $70 million to connecting the Gateway Motorway to the Pacific Motorway in Bonner and Moreton. The former commitment has won applause from Brisbane’s Liberal lord mayor, Campbell Newman.

• Roads are also looming as a key battleground elsewhere: Ben Packham of the Herald-Sun reports that Labor will “today unveil a $600 million plan to upgrade the Western Highway in the first election pledge aimed squarely at Victoria”. The promise does not seem too finely targeted as far as marginal seats are concerned, although a big ticket upgrade between Melton and Bacchus Marsh is not far north of Corangamite.

• Local news site the Geographe Gazette reports that “former Liberal candidate for the state seat of Collie-Wellington, Craig Carbone, has informed Nola Marino that she is within ‘inches’ of being dropped as the candidate for Forrest”. There has been much talk that Marino might be threatened by independent candidate Noel Brunning, much of it coming from disgruntled Liberals.

• Rogue candidate corner. In Leichhardt, Ian Crossland of the Nationals has been rapped on the knuckles by party leader Mark Vaile for saying the Cape York Peninsula seat was “not an electorate for a woman”, referring to Liberal candidate Charlie McKillop. In Mallee, Labor’s perennial candidate John Zigouras has told local paper the Wimmera Mail-Times that the area is “redneck country surrounded by neo-Nazis”. In Corio, Liberal candidate Angelo Kakouros has told the Geelong Advertiser that “union bosses dictate similar to the way Hitler did during the world war about how we should live our life” (though he claims he was misquoted).

• Speaking of Leichhardt, a Cairns Post poll of 310 respondents from September 22 had previously escaped my attention. It had Labor candidate Jim Turnour on 44 per cent of the primary vote, with Charlie McKillop on 37 per cent and Ian Crossland on 5 per cent. With the Greens on 10 per cent, this would suggest a comfortable win for Labor.

• Bob Brown has told the National Press Club the Greens will run fewer open tickets at this election than in 2004, meaning more preference recommendations to Labor.

• The always unmissable George Megalogenis unpacks the electoral significance of the oft-mentioned “working families” in The Australian.

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.

664 comments on “D-day minus 37”

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  1. LCEP (23) Apparently you aren’t familiar with the “rope a dope” method of counter attack, pioneered by Mohammad Ali against George Forum? Let your opponent exhaust himself with a flurry of activity in the first half of the contest, believing that he has your measure – then wham, bam, all over ma’am.

    In the meantime, we have noted your belief that Labor will be defeated by 5 – 7 seats, so you don’t need to keep repeating it. Give us all a break. (You wouldn’t be a Collingwood supporter by any chance would you)?

  2. Ashley at 40 is….’looking forward to the next newspoll or galaxy poll… the sh*t is going to hit the fan when the numbers haven’t moved.’

    The tax stuff so far is just a start.

    If the numbers haven’t moved, look forward to wheelbarrows groaning with green stuff being delivered by Xmas.

  3. Better than expected start to the campaign from Howard – The line that Rudd can’t ‘walk the talk’ seems to be gaining momentum amongst the ‘trendy Libs’ who have been saying all year that they’re voting Labor – but somehow always end up back with Howard.

    Murdoch is sticking with Howard – which means Packer will soon follow suit. The plan for a change to Costello hasn’t impacted normal voters – but it has hit the mark with these guys which is as good as the same thing!

  4. 43
    Chris B Says:
    October 18th, 2007 at 10:11 am
    Mentioned on 774 ABC Radio in Victoria the next Morgan show shows a swing to the Liberals. Maybe coming in line with other polls?

    Would they know? Will we see it today I wonder.

    This was why Howard tried desperately all year to get some movement in polls, to be within striking distance. Morgan F2F has been funny the past few months – and has been anywhere between 54 and 61 with the last being 57.5 . So who is to know how to interpret their next poll?

  5. Good morning

    All this is hot air until we see a decent poll. Morgan could be anywhere and won’t mean much. This coming Newspoll is probably the most important of the whole election except for the one on election eve. If there is no Narrowing the Libs are dead. If there is some Narrowing they are alive.

  6. Sean, it was what is sometimes called a “teaser”. Morgan issued a media release saying they’d identified a ‘significant movement’ to the Libs. No other details – wait for the poll release. Barry Cassidy hadn’t even heard of it.

    Most likely it’s an attempt to boost interest in the poll. It’s probably true in a broad sense, because Morgan’s last effort 59.5 -40.5 left a lot of slack for movement compared with the other polls. It could come back to 56-44 and still be regarded as ‘significant’.

    The one to really watch is the primary. Unless it’s well above the 39 or 40 for the Libs, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.

  7. I don’t think anyone could come up with a genuine reason why the polls would shift towards the ALP in the next polling round. They genuinely have done nothing of interest.

    The only thing, to me, that is realistic to happen is for them to stay the same or go towards the Libs. It’s really frustrating to see a party who had people’s attention weeks ago throwing it away at this crucial time.

    The news that Morgan will show a shift back to the Coalition is not surprising, but sad. If the saying that Oppositions don’t win elections but Governments lose them is true, then Labor needs to be pointing out the reasons this government deserve to lose in a convincing way.

  8. “Where is the MSM questioning of Howard?”

    This is the big worry. Despite all evidence to the contrary the MSM palys to the narrative of a bungling Labor Party and an ascendant Howard. I fear that it may become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

    Obviously the GG is the worst offender and I doubt if anyone takes it seriously, but the ABC is promoting the same line, albiet in a more subtle way.
    In Sydney, the morning show with Virginia (I don’t vote so I can’t be biased) Trioli seems to be full of Government ministers at the moment, and anyone who rings in and criticises Howard is quickly cut off or argued with and dismissed. This week alone we’ve had Hockey, Brandis, and Brough, along with chief government cheerleader Dennis Shanahan making an appearance as political commentator.
    To balance a 15 minute interview with Hockey we had 5 minutes of Julia Gillard.

    Does such bias influence people, especially when it comes from the supposedly impartial ABC?

  9. I received “the envelope” from Lib Senator Humphreys yesterday in the electorate of Canberra. I believe the caretaker period formally commenced at midday yesterday, and so the coalition members were running down their postal allowance at the 11th hour (literally).

    I take my voter info from the teenage friends of my daughter. They are currently laughing at Howard for his angry appearances interspersed with the forced “hillbilly” laughter when brought into contact with unsuspecting suckers in meet and greet events. They were especially amused about his encounter with the dentally challenged bogan at the Queanbeyan furniture factory the other day. It seems Rove et al have had a lasting effect on their attitudes to him.

  10. Tristain Jones at #9 can you tell me why Petrie is considered a “long shot” these days? I have absolutely no local knowledge, but I remeber from previous elections it has always scored a big mention as being a key marginal seat. What is dufferent this time around?

  11. Howard looks so sulky, as though he’s going to burst into tears, when he tells Rudd to ‘grow up’. Gillard was right on ‘Lateline’ last night, saying he was like a kindergarten kid.

  12. Adrian

    and therein is the rub

    people have been innoculated against howards lies,halftruths etc

    now instead of “being on message” the bias shown to the Libs makes the average person cringe-all that subsequently happens is a hardening of their opinions and a desire to vote the Libs

    Rudd effectively has given the electorate permission to say no to the Libs

    the only “narrowing” will be of the Libs electoral arteries

  13. [When is this Morgan poll due out? Tomorrow?]

    Yes, in Crikey, and on their webpage an hour or so latter, depending on how long it takes them to recover from a server crash.

  14. Considering the last Morgan was 57.5%, I’d imagine a significant move would be at least 3%. This is also coming from a drop from 61% from the previous week.

  15. BrissyRod, my prediction are as follows:

    NSW: Lindsay, Dobell, Eden-Monaro
    Tas: Bass, Braddon
    Vic: no change
    Qld: Moreton, Bonner
    SA: Makin, Kingston, Wakefield
    WA: no change
    NT: no change

    They may lose one or two other seats but will gain Cowan. I haven’t yet ruled out the possibility of any of the above being retained by the Coalition.

  16. Morgan Shmorgan – I didn’t believe him when he had Labor on 61%, and I won’t believe whatever he comes up with tomorrow. This is always Morgan’s tactic – to build Labor up for a fall. Fortunately no-one will publish his polls anymore. Wait for Newspoll, folks.

  17. Yes Adam, it’s certainly suspect that only pro-Liberal polls are leaked to the media. I don’t recall the 61% polls being leaked to the ABC.

  18. Good morning all – Howard and Costello are looking shrill and desperate. On 7.30 Report earlier this week, Howard looked rattled and the shoulder was lifting, a dead set sign. He was terible on ACA too. Those worried about Team Rudd’s tactics shouldn’t – his team would have a cunning plan. My guess is that they are waiting for the tax thing to sink in a bit then launch more policy. The Ben Cousins thing has swamped the Libs message on unions – you’d think he was a Labor stooge!!

  19. Oh, sorry I forgot Macquarie, which will, of course be a gain for the ALP. Such a prediction puts the gains that I’ve predicted at 11 (a Coalition 5 seat majority). To win minority government the ALP would need to do 3 better than my prediction, not out of the question at all, but I wouldn’t bank on it just yet!

  20. The Age was rubbish today. One article’s headline was “Iraq shooting puts presure on Rudd’s policy”, about the wounded soldier.

    It then provided not one single point as to why it put pressure on Rudd’s policy. didnt even attempt to make the case!

    And anyway, one would have thought the opposite – wouldnt it put pressure on Howard? He’s the reason the guy was there, getting shot.

    Our media are really a waste of space, and trees.

  21. LTEP (77) If Labor wins 14 seats how can we be sure they and not the Libs would form a minority government – by my calcualtion it would mean
    74 Labor, 74 Lib and two independents?

  22. Question is whether this Morgan is a f2f or a ph poll. If it’s f2f, it’ll be from the same weekend as Newspoll, which had a 56-44 finding, and just evidence of Morgan f2f poll instability. If it’s ph, it’ll probably be from Tues/Wed nights, and could indicate a genuine swing to the Libs. However, the last Morgan ph had it at 59-41 to Labor. I would expect a Galaxy to be out tomorrow or Sat.

  23. ltep 71 I think page is ripe for the picking causley standing down and a good female labor candidate in saffon and a redistribution (im now in richmond)

  24. Now another news item about the hip pocket, this time from ING Direct and the Melbourne Institute which are saying in the last year savings is down and debt is up.

    Telephone interviews with 1200 households found 46 per cent of families were managing to save money compared with 54 per cent a year ago.

    The number running into debt rose to 7 per cent from 4 per cent.

    ”Higher interest rates, bigger mortgages, record levels of credit card debt, larger grocery bills and the general rise in the cost of living are affecting our inclination and capacity to save,” ING spokesperson Michael Smolders said.


  25. Darn, it’s hard to know. Some are predicting Brunning to win Forrest. If so, Windsor has said he’ll support the party with the most seats (the ALP) and Katter would then need to decide whether to rebalance the numbers, in which case another election would need to be held or to back the ALP.

    Also, let’s assume Brunning does not win Forrest. Windsor has indicated he’ll support the party with the most votes, this means if the ALP achieve an over 50% 2PP, or a primary over the Coalition primary then he’d go with them. Again, Katter would need to decide whether to force the country back to election or to go with the ALP.

    It’s my belief that if the ALP win 74 seats they’ll win government.

  26. Will @ 81

    Queensland Health were looking at doing that anyway. The problem being you have a lack of doctors and nurses, so you increase your student places…but now the system that’s short on staff has to train more staff than ever before.

    The actual joke is the fact that students train at Greenslopes already. So I’m not exactly sure what the $13m is for…maybe a lecture theater or something. Pretty token gesture really.

  27. Rudd has barely started to campaign. I’ll be more interested in the polls in about 3 weeks.

    Im more disturbed by the media’s lack of gumption. There’s a growing economic consensus out there that the LNP tax cuts are inflationary. Where’sw the critical heat? Plus there’s the exclusive brethren – coalition freakshow, but no, we’re adding non-sequitir subheads from Lib party spin book.

    The true significance of the government advertising blitz was in soaking the media in tax dollars, it seems.

  28. 58
    Lord D Says:
    October 18th, 2007 at 10:44 am
    If it’s a f2f, it’d be taken the same weekend as the Newspoll that had Labor up 56-44.

    If this is the case then it would be a pointless poll as you would go with the Newspoll everytime considering its remarkable consistency, 55/56.

    And if it is a more recent phone poll the last one of 59/41 leaves heaps of room on the down-side to create a story ‘significant’ swing, but could still be meaningless.

  29. Alex McDonnel (74) says: “Howard and Costello are looking shrill and desperate”. That is to be expected: they know they are well behind the ALP. They want to win this election so it is desperate times for them. Nothing wrong with that. Nor is there anything wrong with JWH telling Mr. Rudd in the context in which he did, to ‘grow up’. Indeed, I think Mr. Rudd should stop talking about his opponents’ negativity as though it is only one side of politics which engages in it. I’m content to leave it to the electors on 24 November to decide whether it is the ‘grumpy old man’ or the Mandarin-speaking ‘statesman” they support. In the meantime, let there be continuing critical scrutiny of both sides. Certainly, neither should be expected to lie down and let the other side win so can we please cut the running commentary on bullying and negativity.

  30. LTEP (86) Thanks for that.

    Do you think Katter could afford to back Labor at the risk of offending his own electorate, which is conservative?

  31. I agree wholeheartedly about George M, William. With Matt Price out of action, George is about the only reason to keep buying the Australian -as well as the fact that my only other daily option is the West Australian! (Though, oddly, I have seen some quite balanced stuff in the West since the election was called).

    Do Howard and Costello have such a low opinion of the electorate that they believe we’ll overlook the litany of Coalition failures in return for $8.65 a week? Tell ’em they’re dreamin’!

    I hope the ALP’s tax policy doesn’t cost half of what the Dubious Duo are promising. Rudd and Co should be able to identify a dozen other major policy areas which could have tangible benefits for ‘working families’ and others.

    I don’t think I’d want the vote of anyone who’d sell themselves for an extra $8.65 a week -but then, I’ve never contemplated standing for parliament.

  32. Remeber the Headline from the last Morgan “Coalition Regain Some Lost Ground – ALP 57.5%, L-NP 42.5%”

    So Morgan could poll 56-44 and call it a “significant swing”. 🙂

  33. Why is Howard copying Ronald Reagan’s campaign?

    I hope it doesn’t just boil down to some kind of bizarro logic about Reagan being old and therefore Howard should copy his strategy because Howard is old too. Surely the Liberals haven’t lost the plot to that extent???

  34. Katter has stated that he will back whoever supports mandated ethanol or biofuels or some such thing. Of course, both parties will promise that for his vote, which sort of makes him a bit redundant.

    When it comes down to it he’ll have to decide whether to force the country back to election. I’m sure he’d rather back a Coalition government. I assume that if the country was sent back to the polls there’d be a swing to Labor delivering them a workable majority. That’s just my feeling.

  35. I was told that the Australian Financial Review said the other day that Howard had another $31 bn in surpluses to spend. If this is true that means they had $65 bn in addition to the May $31 bn tax cuts – near on $100 bn. Anyone see the AFR?

    AND they have cut funding to univesities and hospitals over the years? Criminal.

  36. LeftyE — exactly. If Labor had put out a tax policy like that you can bet that the GG would have been screaming about inflation and interest rates from the top of its lungs.

  37. Matt @87 – Agree, Greenslopes is the old Veteran’s hospital now run by Ramsays but still with a large veteran and widow patient base. It has been a teaching hospital for a long time so the announcement is nothing special. Greenslopes Private is close to the Princess Alexandra public hospital and takes some of the overflow of public patients from the Alex.

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