Morgan Senate poll

I normally don’t have much time for Morgan’s Senate polling, having posited that wavering survey respondents incline to minor parties for their second choice purely to shake things up a bit. However, it may be that Morgan’s technique is improving, as their September effort finally has the Democrats down to an almost believable 2.5 per cent. The headline finding is that Pauline Hanson’s vote in Queensland has increased to 7.5 per cent from 4.5 per cent when they started tracking her in March/April. She’s still no chance of winning a seat, but it’s nonetheless interesting to speculate why her relative support might be increasing. Despite what the Morgan press release says, my back-of-envelope calculations tell me the results would be 3-2-1 in Labor’s favour in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, 3-2-1 in the Coalition’s favour in Western Australia and 4-2 to Labor in South Australia. Tasmania would see a tight contest for the final seat between Labor’s third candidate and the Greens’ second, Andrew Wilkie, with the others going two each to Labor and Liberal and one to Bob Brown. It needs to be remembered that these are the same respondents who have been providing Morgan with consistently implausible lower house leads for Labor.

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.

128 comments on “Morgan Senate poll”

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  1. If she does better than expected Hanson may still be able to claim some sort of moral victory: fighting against all the odds, blah, blah, blah. And then sit and wait to see if there is going to be a double dissolution and try again. What an embarrassment for the country it would be if she actually ever got in.

  2. He hasn’t polled for Mr.X in SA who only announced recently.
    On those figures: 3-2-X.

    I wonder how many loyal Coalition “FireWall Externals” will be beginning to get that funny little feeling in the pit of their tummies that they have become surplus to Core-Party requirements.

  3. Try a possible 3-1-2X in SA if X gets anything like the 20% primary vote he got in the last SA election and the preferences flow his(their) way. He’s trying to get above the line status sorted out with a suitable running mate who is also platable to the masses. X will really mark the spot then, baby.

  4. Morgan appears to show that people will be voting labor in the reps but then a large amount voting green in the senate.

    On these figures the libs would be done 4 senate seats and lose control of the senate.

  5. Wouldn’t this result on election day give the Nationals no new senators. A net loss of 2 senators. The end of the Nationals continues.

  6. Pauline Hanson. No one will give her preferences. But every party in Queensland is hoping she preferences them!

    ALP + Green have never scored 4/6 in any state before, have they? But these %s predict 4/6 in four states out of six. I reckon Mr X will get the 4th in SA.

    Family First will be hoping for exactly two states to go 4/6.

  7. Interesting to see Mr Stirton on 7:30 Report tonight, saying that Labor’s vote had been rock solid all year. Since he knows the figures Fairfax will publish tomorrow, it rather suggests those figures are status quo. O’Brien picked up on this hint at the end of the interview.

  8. …4-2 to Labor in South Australia

    PB, I’m not sure where you got that from (Morgan says 3-2 with the 6th seat to fall to preferences.) The two lib seats seem pretty much guaranteed, and unless Nick Xenophon falls tantalising short of a quota, he will take a third. That leaves three to Labor.

    Unless you are lumping Mr X with Labor?

  9. Dont think Hansons in it for preferences. She wants to pick up enough of the vote to get a few $k out of the AEC in electoral funding and then she’ll be happy. Oh, and it will keep up the public profile for the important things like Dancing with the Stars and Womens Day.

    She’s a professional media tart now.

  10. Graeme I agree
    His mene that solid numbers in the first few polls is important would not make sense if his numbers tomorrow did not reflect that thought

  11. Great interview of John Sturton of ACNeilsen and Sol Lebovic of Newspoll.
    Lebovic pushing the “soft” Labor line and predicting that the polls won’t be reliable until late in the election (am I wrong to think this is a bit of a no brainer?). Sturton supports the fact that the consistent support for the ALP for 6-9 months was a signifant factor and that if the polls did not take a significant turn towards the coalition in the next two weeks – they are likely finished.

    I might be biased, but it seemed that much of Lebovic’s assertions lacked a sound basis in factual support. Seemed to be based upon unfounded opinion. Although in saying this Roy Morgan states the same. I do beleive that Sturton was correct though – at least he used the consistency of the polls and historical fact to base his argument on.

  12. Wonder if Lateline will leak the numbers on tomorrow’s ACpoll. Stirton seemed to be keeping his cards close to his chest, but the numbers would have to be close to the norm if he kept his argument about the numbers being consistent. Sol’s assertion that it wouold take a couple of weeks for movement to wash into the system, if he has seen the poll, suggest consistency.
    Still, show me the numbers!

  13. Yes, BxTom, enjoyed the 7:30 3-way too. Same Ol’ Sol sounded just like Eddy Last Two Weeks. From the chatter round the blogs and what was said on Kerry’s show, reckon the ACN will be close to the last, 56-44. For a lark I’ll take a stab at 57-43.

  14. On another relatedish topic, how are the anti-union ads going down among our average punter buddies not addicted to the future of oz politics. Working, or backfiring. I try to be objective, but the Social Democrat in me keeps revolting, moderately.

  15. I still remain to be convinced that the unions are as scary as the Coalition imagines they are. The most I’ve heard is people whine when they can’t use public transport because there’s a strike. People have disdain for all politicians. Union politicians are no better or worse than lawyer politicians.

    Enjoyed the 7.30 report a lot. It did seem to me that Sol was more hopeful for a Coalition recovery than using his own polls to prove his points. I do think a lot of people make up their minds in the last week, but I don’t think it’ll be significantly large enough if the polls haven’t budged already by that time.

    As for the general campaign, I think Labor need to run a few more negative ads. I think a good one would be to go back on things Howard has said in previous campaigns (never-ever GST, interest rates etc.) and juxtapose them with news items (the GST has passed through the Senate… interest rates have risen 5 times…). In the end they could finish it by asking “Do you believe what Howard is saying during this campaign?”

  16. Someone should tell Sol Lebovic that being able to collect and collate data doesn’t automatically make you an expert political analyst. I have been very underwhelmed by his forays into the commentariat this year. Perhaps he should stick to numbers.

  17. Oh, and on the Senate poll.

    Tas: ALP: 3, Lib: 2, Greens: 1
    WA: Lib: 3, ALP: 2, Greens: 1
    Vic: ALP:3, Lib:2, Greens: 1
    Qld, SA, NSW: ALP: 3, Lib: 3
    NT, ACT: even

  18. The debate issue for Rudd was a bit of a rock and a hard place. Better that he show up to a debate written by Howard, in an election date/campaign set by Howard, than not at all. We need true democracy, which at the very least is fixed election dates, independent auditing of govt advertising and debate protocol wouldnt be too bad either.

  19. hossen27 where did you find the info re the lnp ticket in nsw? i had assumed they were headed for a straight wipe out by virtue of being put to 3 in nsw and qld and kicked off the ticket in Vic.

  20. You have to remember who Sol’s employer is. Regardless of his personal opinion, he is paid to tow the GG line. And papers like a close contest, sells papers, increases their influence, and allows them to shift votes the way they want.

  21. Sol’s point was that the Government are percieved to be the best economic managers and to the extent that the economy is a big issue at the election the Government will do better than the current figures suggest.

    I tend to agree with him.

    The trick for Labor is to both counter the Governments economic ‘story’ with something that at the very least muddies the waters, and also to keep the focus on their stronger issues, like climate change, health, education and IR. There is surely something in the preferred PM figures that Labor can drive home as well. People prefer Rudd as PM for something. Perhaps it is that Howard is a grumpy old fogie.

    Another interest rate rise will certainly help muddy the waters as far as the economic argument goes. As someone with a variable rate home loan I am totally prepared to absorb a few hits in order to see this group of failed suburban solicitors off.

  22. There is a lot of truth in what the pollsters like Lebovic say, that a lot of people make up their minds in the last week or so of the campaign. In fact, these are the people who pay little or no attention to the issues, and don’t think about voting until they’re in the polling booth. And it’s these people that the government is trying to get to with the anti-union ads. Show enough ads with the same message and at least the TV addicts will remember the message. I reckon 10-20% of voters are in this category, and they decide elections.

    I don’t think the anti-union message is a particularly good one, but at least everyone will be aware of it. Labor’s message is clearly a picture of Kevin Rudd offering fresh leadership. That will also have an impact.

    Ironically, neither of these messages actually gives any indication of what either side would do in government.

  23. Yes, it seems 10-20% are truly swinging voters, and 80% are locked in, according to Newspoll’s figures. Still up in the air, however I would prefer to be Rudd at the moment. Agreed ND, for many diverse reasons this government has to be ejected from the treasury benches.

  24. I just saw a new attack ad by the Liberal party.

    Basically, every little oops by Rudd over the last year brought up with the L plate thing with black and white quote of Rudd saying ‘I’m Sorry’

    Also featured the most Pauline Hanson inspired voice-over I’ve ever heard….

    Not seeing terribly many Labor ads so far, and my TV broadcast area covers Eden-Monaro…

  25. I think the line that ‘–% of people only make up their minds in the polling booth’ to discount the validity of polls is a furphy.

    I would agree that many voters are disengaged and will not form an opinion until forced to do so, but being asked by a pollster to make a decision on whom they would vote for would force the decision to be made in a similar fashion. Thus a poll would reflect quite well the voting intention of a voter who might claim to have made up his/her mind in the seconds before putting HB to ballot if s/he had not been polled and forced to decide before voting.

  26. The anti union ads are solely aimed at the Lib Heartland doyen seats in a desperate attempt at stopping the bloodletting enough to hold them.

    will it work? i don’t think these attacks scare anyone, when they have already decided Rudd is conservative enough for them.

    the only interest in election night will be how many doyen Lib seats fall. The actual result will be called by Antony fairly early in the night.

  27. Very interesting post on Simon Jackman’s blog about the relative merits of established polling and the betting agencies. I asked a couple of rather gormless questions of him, being new to the intricacies of psephwhatchamacallit, and he has very kindly taken a good deal of time to outline his current thinking and to point me in the right direction of peer reviewed studies. V. interesting indeed.

  28. When Newspoll acutally asked people how likely they were to change their vote, the comment in the GG was all about how low the figure was at that stage of the cycle. I think this question was done about 2 months ago.

  29. Willy @ 37

    i was basically just going to post the same thing.

    a lot of voters are apathetic but when asked, they will give the same answer on polling day as they have when asked by any pollster over the last 12 months.

  30. Sol is only the latest pollster to believe that conducting surveys means their personal viewpoint doesn’t have to be substantiated.

    He’s only following Galaxy’s David Briggs, Newspoll’s OShannassy and the original Gary Morgan in ignoring their own poll findings and putting forward a personal point of view.

    They really should stick to what they know best.

  31. Willy at 37:

    I totally agree. Finally someone has said this. That’s the point of a poll, it will illicit a response similar to the response that would be forced on election day of these people who supposedly make their mind up “in the voting booth”.

    And if anything, much of the data suggests that “undecideds” typically break for the *challenger* rather than incumbent, given that they “know” the incumbent and if they still haven’t commited to back them they are less likely to back them than the challenger in the dying weeks of a campaign.

    I might add, though, that one notable exception to this was Sen. John Kerry in 2004 in the US presidential election, where the “undecideds” went slightly more to Bush than him [I think].

  32. I saw that ad as well “S”. To me it seemed pretty weak for an attack ad. I mean it rehashed Brian Burke!! and put it in a manner that assumed people know who/what BrianBurke is.

    It ends with some old duck saying “Heaven help us”, except it sounded more like “Kevin help us”. Could be wrong though.

  33. There is an assumption that being ‘undecided’ means you are going to change vote, that’s not necessarily true. I think alot of people truly think they make up theirm mind at the last minute, but they probably just go with what they were originally thinking anyway, which is what a poll will pick up in the first place

  34. “Historically, when an incumbent is running for reelection, the undecideds typically don’t like the incumbent but are not sure if the new guy on the block is up to the job. His task is to convince them he can do it. In the past, the undecideds have ultimately broken 2 to 1 for the challenger.”


    The moderator of this site also contends that this is what has happened in American elections over the last 50 years [the 2:1 split].

    I haven’t seen any data yet that suggests this applies in Australian elections, but I would suggest that it most probably does.

  35. I agree Timbo, I have never understood the logic that because you’re “undecided” it means you will change your vote from the way you were most likely to vote.

    However that being said the best way to grab the majority of the undecided vote is to be considered likely to win – people like to be on the winning side.

  36. Yes, Marktwain a different mindset is required to get the head around the betting markets. Very similar to the difference of buying shares on a fundamental basis verses buying on a charting basis. It is possible to be conversant with both.

    Personally I get no joy from predicting polls and love to be entertained when they appear. Have no interest in betting but am always intrigued by the betting market theory. First read about the Boston futures market on the US elections and have been learning slowly ever since.

  37. [I mean it rehashed Brian Burke!! and put it in a manner that assumed people know who/what BrianBurke is. ]

    And which Federal Minister was forced to resign for meeting with Burke ?

    Don’t you love Double Standards.

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