Westpoll: Liberals lead in Perth marginals

A very encouraging result for the government from Westpoll in today’s West Australian, which has the Liberals holding firm in their Perth marginals of Stirling and Hasluck and set to win Cowan from Labor with a 5 per cent swing. The poll was conducted between Monday and Thursday with samples of a little over 400 for each seat. This is the second electorate-level poll Westpoll has conducted, and both have shown the Liberals travelling much better in these three seats than Westpoll’s regular statewide polling would suggest. If the overall 3 per cent swing indicated in today’s poll was replicated statewide, the two-party split in Western Australia would be at least 58-42 in favour of the Liberals. The last two statewide surveys showed Labor leads of 51.6-48.4 early last month and 53-47 early this month.

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.

293 comments on “Westpoll: Liberals lead in Perth marginals”

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  1. imacca (247) Thanks for that.

    Is the 9.6% figure based on this week’s polls?

    Also, does anyone know what the current swing is in Victoria?

  2. Weel, there was that Sun Herald/Taverner poll of 979 people in Sydney and Melbourne showing an ALP lead of 59/41.

    You know, some people like EStJ, Glen, Nostro, and the like are going to be a little upset if the last Galaxy turns out ot be an outlier.

    But, the only really relevant reply to them is;

    ALP primary vote Sampled after the Election called, 48%. Har Har!!

  3. Sorry imacca, just noticed you have already answered my question (251).

    I think I should have asked instead how much you think this week’s correction in the polls would have affected the 9.6% figure.

  4. There’s no reason to believe the polls won’t improve for Labor over the campaign, even if only fractionally. The only other campaign of this length was in 1984, when the Liberal Opposition really turned things around to give the Labor Government a scare.

    I’m not saying this is what’s going to happen, just to complete unpredictability of an election campaign. I find it hard to imagine that after 11 years in Opposition the Labor Party is willing to continue campaigning the way it is.

  5. Juts on the current polls in WA: they are, for the most part, noticably low. Either something is afoot in the West, or the polling methods are flawed. Both could be the case.

    In the last four elections, the WA vote was about 98% of the national 2PP for Labour. Right now, with the current polling from Newspoll in September, plus these Westpolls, showing the ALP 2PP well down, the WA vote is closer to 90% of the national poll average.

    Rudd may not need to go over there too much as long as NSW, Vic and QLD keep performing strongly as they have been, but he’s probably going to want to keep an eye on things. After all, there are 15 (out of 151) seats over there, and at least 6 of them are within range of either of either party.

    My analysis shows a likely gain of 3, maybe 5 seats: Hasluck, Stirling and Canning, and maybe Curtin or Kalgoorlie.

  6. to 251 Darn;

    No mate, that was from the last Newspoll Quarterly.

    But, the ALP (Forces of Light and Goodness, henceforth FoLG) got 37.4% of the primary in NSW on Oct 9 2004.

    If FoLG get 44% of the primary this year that would be a swing of 6.6%.

    H’mmmm, Some of the Forces of Decrepit Deceit and Despair, henceforth FoDDD), may find themselves put to rout at that what??

    A 9.6% swing would mean a FoLG primary vote of 47%. Now on the latest ACN poll, they were UP from 47 to 48 nationally.

    I have a few jitters, but I’m not worried too much at the moment.

  7. Julie Bishop would seem pretty safe, unless the ‘small l’ Liberals really are leaving the Coalition.

    The seat does have a lot of students in it (and my sister!) but I wouldn’t imagine it to be at any risk at all.

  8. Much as i would love to see it, i cant believe that Curtin would go. If the Forces of Decrepit Deceit and Despair ever lose Curtin then it could only mean that they are a left as merely a rump in parliament.

    If that happened, then their most senior member of parliament may well be Wilson Tuckey!!! No, laughing to hard at that!!!

  9. Rudd can actually win this campaign and increase his vote. He needs to look back to when he was miles ahead and understand why. He was visionary, talking about the future, preparing for the future and no negative stuff. He was not trying to tell the people why Howard was no good but why he was a better choice. New Leadership maybe.

    There are only two areas where the negative stuff will work for Labor at the moment.

    The negative stuff won’t work too well for the LNP either as each time they go negative it reinforces in people’s minds their mean spirited and cynical nature. Costello thought he was being clever the other day, but that sort of thing simply goes against him. Denigrating the opposition doesn’t work. The problem for them is that most people are so familiar with them and can read them like a book.

    I hindsight Labor should have muddied the air with something as soon as the Govt released its tax policy. Not that anybody cared too much about the tax – but to detract from the image they were making for themselves.

  10. Last week will be a distant memory by Wednesday if not earlier. Rudd has a very good story to tell and it will be told. He has started the story with the tax policy. Time to move on.

  11. Labor’s primary vote did not move (ignoring Morgan – doesn’t everyone). The Libs gained nothing from those supporting Labor even after their big blockbuster tax policy. Not a good omen for the next 5 weeks for them.

  12. I love this quote from Shaun Carney from the Age

    ‘But there are five weeks to go, which means for most voters that they’ve got four weeks to go before they need to take any notice of the campaign.’

  13. It will be interesting to see what tactics Rudd applies from here on. We assume, given the tactics during the year, that it will be something well thought out.

    Something a bit smarter than Costello holding a press conference to release an anti-union ad campaign. Nice way to prove Rudd’s point Peter.

  14. Gary Bruce, the interesting thing about the Morgan was that the Coalition primary vote did not move. So in one we had Labor’s going up and another the Coalition’s not moving. We’ve got this Westpoll. They all tell different stories.

    Also a thing that the Morgan phone poll indicated was the idea of ‘win expectations’ may be playing into the vote. The drop in 2PP in that vote was similar to the drop in ‘think will win’. Win expectations may also factor into general approval ratings, since people may have answered he’s not doing his job properly since they fluffed the beginning of their campaign.

    As always, we can never know the full story behind any poll.

  15. Interesting scenario if the state and marginal seat polls by PMR for the westpoll are both correct, with a statewide swing to the ALP of at least 4 percent, but for swings to Liberal in 3 of the marginals.

    A net gain of Cowan for the Libs could well be offset by a surprise loss somewhere else. Labor leaked polling showing Gray doubling the margin in Brand. Forrest could end up a four way go with a stack of money going on the independent candidate. There have been murmers that Canning will experience a significant swing to Labor, but I haven’t seen any polling leaked as to how close it is.

    It is so hard to tell what would be happening in Kalgoorlie other than by elimination of other seats from the broader state polling. Labor will win votes over broadband here in the Kimberley. Unfortunately for them it is Law time for many Aboriginal people in the Pilbara, so they will miss out on some votes there. Applying the national swing to Kalgoorlie is as good a method as any for anyone guessing where it might be five weeks out.
    The Greens vote in Kalgoorlie should be a bit higher this time as well.

  16. There has been a lot of concern expressed in this thread about these polls in WA. The key to conducting a poll is to ensure that yo get sufficient representation in your target demographics to be able to accurately weight the results.

    In many respects this is dependent on the resources that the commissioning entity is prepared to put into th poll. The interesting statistic that is never provided in these reports is the number of calls that are terminated because the target did not fit the demographic sought. I suspect the Westpoll surveys have fairly low terminations, which would help explain the inconsistency etween successive polls.

    Recently I was polled (not in WA) where I was asked for the male in the house closest to 18. Unfortunately we need to go back to Gough’s “It’s Tome” election victory for that to me. I suggested to the caller the person who satisfied that description wouldn’t spend his time answering questions, so they went through them with me. I wonder how valid that survey was.

  17. On the question of the tactics so far it is question why the Liberals have so strongly focussed on union domination of the ALP. Is it because the Crosby/Textor research suggests its a strong issue or could it relate o another factor.

    Recently Possum posted an analysis of the purpose behind the “climate clever” campaign. I suspect there is a similar byproduct purpose behind the union official ads. Perhaps it is a positioning to limit the effect of union sponsored anti-workchoices advertising. It is setting up in advance a negative perception of union officials, without directly attacking them. To some extent labor complaints about negative advertising reinforce that.

    When the campaign about Workchoice kicks in the objective will be to make people think that the union officials are seeking to preserve their positions and their base rather than having the focus on the effect on working indviduals, which has been so powerful.

    If this is the case then it suggests that the Liberals are very concerned about the effect of workchoices and th voting intentions of the electorate.

  18. No wonder Howard was upset with the Chaser.

    [SIR Don Bradman will have a cricket hall of fame built in his honour under a $6.5 million Federal Government initiative.

    Prime Minister John Howard today is expected to announce funding for two galleries, including a shrine to showcase cricket from 1970 onwards, to be built in Sir Donald’s home town of Bowral in the NSW Southern Highlands, New Limited reports today.]


  19. I think it is most appropriate that John Howard funds the Don Bradman Hall of Fame – Don Bradman’s batting average is identical to John Howard’s IQ…

  20. [Prime Minister John Howard today is expected to announce funding for two galleries, including a shrine to showcase cricket from 1970 onwards, to be built in Sir Donald’s home town of Bowral in the NSW Southern Highlands, New Limited reports today.]

    This is quite amusing considering Bradman opposed World Series Cricket.

  21. Despite what many people have been saying, we have been getting lots of Labor TV ads here in Leichardt (Cairns). Mainly they have been the ones where Kevin shows off the place where he grew up. In contrast the Libs have only shown a few of the L plate ads in the first couple of days of the campaign. If this sort of imbalance keeps up, it will only emphasize the lack of money that the LNP have. Speaking of the NP in LNP, the Nationals haven’t run an ad yet despite the candidate being a wealthy businessman. He must have decided it was too much of a bad investment.

  22. #
    imacca Says:
    October 20th, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    Scotty, are you serious about Curtin a possible ALP gain?? I thought the Rabbit/Headlights One was pretty safe there??

    Yep. In my calculations, I have it as the fourth most likely seat to fall if the swing is big enough. Mind you, I’m using pure statistics, not taking into account local issues or weighting for a given candidate.

  23. Nothin wrong with Bradman’s batting average, 99.94 is outstanding by any test

    Curtin falling okay this will be filed under wishful thinking or nasal gazing.

    Julie Bishop will hold on Primaries, she is one frontbencher I would vote for.

  24. # 279 mate Says: October 21st, 2007 at 12:48 am

    Great, now I gotta go find out some bloody batsmans batting (says that 3 times really fast) average. 😉

    Isn’t this one part of the citizenship test? 99.94. Out for a duck in his final innings.

  25. In order to maximise your campaign dollar the earl;y weeks are fort on the ground in the electorate. There is no real again in the first week of an campiagne the momentum build up with most undecided swinging voters deciding which way they will vote in the last two weeks of then campaign. you let the government come out with what you expect them to say.. “We are doing well. look at the record on the board, why risk the unknown”.. “blah blah blah”.. by the end of the second week the government is looking tied,. The opposition comes out with the rebuttal and by the time the government responds the message is out there and the government is on the back foot. Then comes the knockout blow in the last weeks. Problem with Latham was he never really came out fighting and had nothing left in the last week where the match was decided.

    If the opposition come out too strong then they become the target not the government. A long haul distance runner does not use up all their energy in the first Km, They wait for the pace to be set by their competition then they keep pace and when they tire then pump out the extra energy to strive forward.

  26. ” #282

    Curtin falling okay this will be filed under wishful thinking or nasal gazing.”

    ‘nasal gazing’? Is that what NostrilDamus does?

  27. Curtin …. despite it’s name this seat is not likely to vote labor ever
    maybe a good independent candidate in the right circumstances could
    win…… Nedlands & Peppermint Grove are like Sydney’s Double Bay

  28. To complain that seats are not following the state trend is like complaining that states are not following the national trend.

    In elections, each party tries to paint itself and its opponents in certain light.

    The coalition is painting Rudd as L plate, “Me to” and Union controlled.

    Rudd failed his first big decision, he has been saying for months he had a tax plan that he was going to release in the election. Instead of going with whatever that plan was, he went “me to”……reinforcing the Coalition’s positioning of him.

    He can’t really counter the L plate
    He has failed to counter the union control
    His adds say he has a plan without details

    I suspect the Coalition will have another big announcement next week eg health. If he responds with ‘me too” he is gone. Comedians are already joking about it and there is a risk that it becomes how people view him.

    Also, Labor needs to characterise the Coalition in a certain light.

    Recent polls tend to support the idea of Labor “soft vote” but time will tell.

  29. 55 Oakeshott

    I think there’s probably a reasonable explanation. The Oz no doubt intended to run with Steven Kaye’s report, but somehow it got mixed up with the SMH one.

    Steven, I think they need you soon back at Lib H/Q to re-interpret their internal polling. Morale and all that.

    Still, nice to have you here for a little while.

  30. Hahah! Curtin is not going red, the Libs could put an old world monkey on the ballot and still get over the line there.
    Another drop of Chardonnay?

  31. [we aren’t irresponsible fiscal managers like the ALP…] Glen

    LOL! The Mersey Hospital Pork showed us all about Liberal “responsible fiscal management”. Though you’re right, it’s not like ALP.

  32. Well lets just take a look at labor with truth not spin , ok gillard comes out today in the telegraph (but not published by the abc ontv or channel 10/ 7 ,of course they are in cahoots ) and puts on the sad story of how she was conned by her union boyfriend to setting up accounts to put stoled funds in which by the way by her own admission ,recieved by threatening the people concerned with industrial action ,well if you believe she didnt know what he was up to when she was that close to him you would believe anything ,next we have the wa union guy coming out and saying gillard and rudd lied and made a deal for 400,000 ,well he should know he is one of their cronnies ,then we have the tapes in the vic police scandal that has also implicated bracks ,and a hitman ,and the union boss who tells just how they really run things .well after reading that and there is more to come ,the picture is very clear about unions ,gillard ,and spin doctor rudd ! add to that rudd voted against all the policies that he now agrees with ,which wont matter anyway as the union has already made the deals on policies according to them ,so what a joke this is to run a goverment ,and if your still a little unsure about labor ability lookat nsw ,is there a bigger mess ? i dont think so !and gillard to run industrial relations is an even bigger joke going on her own past performance .

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