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. This reliability of this poll must be questioned.

    It is contradictory to the Westpoll statewide trends which have continually shown swings to Labor.

    400 people, whats that a MoE of 6%.

    And, from what I’m hearing Labor is in a strong position in Stirling and Hasluck and doing ok in Cowan. I wonder if where they polled in Stirling, probably in just the richer and liberal coastal suburbs and not the labor inner areas.

  2. Told you so! Labor are set to LOSE seats in WA and these must be made up for in ADDITION to the 17 seats they require!

    Bye bye Krudd!

  3. Is there any standard that pollsters have to adhere to or is it up to them.
    I believe there should be at least a mandatory set of requirements. Otherwise we end up with loads of nonsense that we don’t know if to take seriously or not.

  4. It is contradictory to the Westpoll statewide trends which have continually shown swings to Labor.””

    Maybe before the election. It’s a different ball game now with the real contest in earnest and the tax cuts being announced.

  5. If you believe in the value of an MP’s personal vote then Stirling and Hasluck could be explained by the “sophomore surge”. And Cowan explained by the departure of Edwards.

    Still, it’s hard to believe that all three seats will trend differently from the state as a whole, in such a significant way. With the state polling and seat polling in apparent contradiction, I can only surmise that one of them is wrong.

  6. Don’t know vote allocated ? What a load of bollocks. If people tell you that they don’t know how they are going to vote, how the heck can you allocate them?

    Its codswollop.

  7. I think the evidence is pointing to the fact at on a seat by seat basis, the Coalition vote is much more solid than the national polls suggest.

  8. Difficult to know what’s going on in WA – Labor is claiming to be a chance of winning 2-3 seats, the government insists they’re winning all 10 of their seats plus Cowan.

    But marginal seat polls right across the country look better for the government than the more general ones. Queensland-wide polling shows a 9% swing minimum, compared with the 5% in the marginals last week; Tassie marginals showed a 5% swing this week, and Howard insists he’s winning Eden-Monaro.

    Government might well hang on with a 48% 2PP if these numbers are right.

  9. heheheh funny to watch the Labor staffers squirm at polls like these toughen up boys if you cant hack it that the ALP will go further behind in WA consider this….no Beazley and anti-AWA stance and the Govts tax policy will destroy Labor reducing their seats to 3 or 4 lol how hilarious…

    Glad to see Keenan and Henry surviving with this poll and picking up Cowan the Coalition may yet get over the line…


  10. With the Liberals putting a lot of resources into these
    3 seats it is possible that they can be hanging on
    in Stirling and Hasluck and
    just winning in Cowan while yet there is a 5-6%
    swing to ALP overall in the state (as shown in
    recent statewide westpolls and Newspoll

    My calculations suggest that to get an average
    of 6% statewide but be consistent with today’s poll,
    then the swings in the other 12 WA seats must
    average 8%.

    This puts into serious doubt Kalgoorlie and brings
    Canning, Forrest and Moore into contention.

    Independently I am hearing of good local
    campaigns in these seats and seeing
    the bookmakers taking note of increased
    chances of Labor wins or (at least) Liberal losses.

  11. Early days, punters.

    Rudd and the ACTU need to harden the f8ck up though. Give em some curry!

    The media are rubbihs, and hopelessly co,ormised by the governmetn handouts of the last months. So lets take that for granted. Its always easier for the tories to win – which will make their comeuppance sweeter.

    Two weeks of fresh Dorkchoices ads and we’ll watch them crying into their bibs as the polls snap shut at 53 -47.

  12. Left E more people are on AWAs and like them in WA so your Union ads will do nothing to win back any voters…the Libs are putting lots of $$$ into those 2 marginals and i believe they have the resources to hold them…especially given the polls indicate Labor is struggling in WA…looks like it will 17 or 18 seats for Labor to win thanks to WA being a Tory rock!

  13. Nothing surprising in these polls, Stirling, Cowan and Hasluck are behaving like marginal seats do, they are close and these marginal seats will move around a bit over the next five Saturdays.

  14. Seems quite incredible. Stirling and Hasluck to double their 2004 Lib margins and Cowan to go south by 5% for Labor. All this with a statewide result much closer than any of these three! WTF
    And where is Swan, eh? Obviously a 20% swing there to Labor to balance the ledger.
    With the highly suspect Galaxy the other day and now this? Makes you wonder.

    Anyway, I’ll let the sandgropers have their way. Rudd will have it in the bag before polls close in Perth. Remember Tas in 1983 (another example of parochial electoral bonding). All five seats went to the Libs but Hawke got 53.2% 2PP. Take that.

    (Talking about parochialism – I’m glad Kevvie’s a Q’lander)

  15. I for one seriously doubt the ALP will lose any seats they held under Latham, Glen.

    But yes, WA marginals are clearly anyone’s for the winning.

    Game on!! Let’s roll Ruddster.

  16. I will repost this excerpt:

    NewScientist magazine may be good news for Labor. It has an article about why people vote the way they do after having studied 30 years of elections results around the world. The answer, people arrive at their choice via social networking. So if 3 or so years of gradual social networking opinions have arrived at a vote for Labor, it has been a personally arrived at choice – it is not likely to be swayed by campaigning – unless you get a 9/11.

    “The natural pattern behind our votes”
    NewScientist 13/10/07
    Voting follows the same pattern regardless of country or economics, and it could all be based on networking.

    Analysis of election results over 30 years in different countries shows that, for each political party, voting follows the same patter, regardless of nationality, culture, history or economics.

    Using a simple computer model, they have shown that the person-to-person process is enough to generate the universal pattern observed in the data.

    These influences percolate through the social network until everyone has made a decision. The physicists results fit the real data almost exactly.

  17. I want Rudd to win as much as the next man, but it’s just as silly to dismiss these polls as it was for Abbott to dismiss polls earlier in the year. The reality is that the ALP has run a truly pathetic campaign this first week, and is feeding into the government’s me-too line whilst infuriatingly failing to fight back against the anti-union ads by actually promoting the good work the unions do. The ALP is still in front, but the government obviously has a clear strategy that is working, and if Labor doesn’t pick up its game dramatically, it will lose. Those who find solace in the ALP’s 1% improvement in the primary vote should remember their own words – 1% is well within the MoE and statistically irrelevant. We’re in for a tough fight, and I’m horrified at the prospect of the ALP throwing away a year’s good work at the final hurdle.

  18. george youre being ridiculous. calm down and remember what happened the last 2 times howard was lauded with a great comeback- the polls worsened for him

  19. George — I agree, danger signs are flashing for me too. There’s no one better than John Howard at buying votes, and you can bet he has a few tricks up his sleeve still.

    The ALP and unions cannot afford to sit back and say “there’s a long way to go, we’ll win the rest of the race”. They had the advantage (and still do, though it is dropping rapidly) and should be kicking the Libs while they are down. Instead they are letting them get to their feet while Rudd stands back like a gentleman.

  20. So, Westpoll is probably not the most reliable indicator out there. Will be interested to see what happens in Canning. Apparently Libs are worried. Its got an inflated margin after the “Latham effect”. If they are worried about Canning, no way will they win Hasluck or Stirling.

  21. “In the end, the fact that we overstated the Liberals by nearly 3% and understated Labour by 5.5% is within our expectations…” Patterson Market Research.

  22. Don’t fear, Ruddites, all is well.
    Just put yourselves in Rudd and Howard’s shoes!

    If you are Howard: you are losing going into an election so you have to get momentum and you bring out the big guns week 1 – nothing to lose.

    If you are Rudd: You are in a winning position and the election is yours to lose – no point in going hard week 1. Relax let the opposition bring on the battle. You can afford a few body blows. Think Mohammed Ali in the ‘rumble in the jungle’ – take the blows and weary your opponent then BANG! Punch him in the head

  23. Andrew, I’m not so much worried about the recent polls (though I am not pleased to see the government finally break through the 10% TPP / 40% PV barrier) as I am at Labor’s performance this week. I do know that we poll-junkies and the commentariat make a lot more of these things than average voters, but I just can’t see how anyone could not score this last week a win for the government. If they pull out this rumoured health ‘king-hit’ (and how I hate that word), and just keep battering the ALP with bold policy pledges week after week, while the ALP is too scared to pull out anything big of its own…I have a horrible feeling in my gut that they might just pull it off.

    On the home front, I must admit these polls on the WA marginals alarm me. The problem is that over here we only have two daily papers, the West and the Oz, and whilst the media’s influence can be overstated, it does have an influence, and I think the West in particular does the ALP a lot of harm. And whilst most candidates are fairly unimportant, Graham Edwards was a popular incumbent, and I suspect the ALP’s margin in Cowan was significantly inflated. That said, I think Tinley will do well, so I wouldn’t write off Stirling just yet.

  24. 12th August 2007, 8:15 WST (source: West Australian)

    Prime Minister John Howard has attributed the latest WestPoll showing a dip in coalition support in Western Australia as “volatility” created by the polling method.

    The poll, published exclusively in The West Australian today, shows a huge eight percentage point swing to the ALP, delivering it 54 per cent of the two-party preferred vote.

    “I would have liked it to be the other way around but that poll (Westpoll) has a lot of volatility in it,” Mr Howard told reporters in Sydney today.

    “Several months ago it had Labor ahead, then it had us ahead and now it has got Labor ahead again – very volatile.”

    Ho Hum: Pass the popcorn.

  25. Im liking your contributions on this theme, ruawake.

    Which brings us back to a key point: ok, yes, flat week for Rudd, but ignoring yer two dodgier pollsters – Nielsen has Howard pancaked by a steamrolling ALP primary vote somewhere 8 and 8.15pm on the 24th.

  26. An insight into their methodology

    “It may be that the simplest approach for Kalgoorlie is to conduct the telephone survey as normal, but then to factor in about a 3-3.5% “boost” to the ALP based on their traditional superior showing in the outlying areas.”

    They have zero credibility in my opinion.

  27. Like George, I am more concerned with the lack of tactical sophistication shown by Rudd during the first week of the campaign than I am with the Westpoll. The Galaxy poll is a bit of a worry, but it’s gone down that low before. The drop in the polls, IMO, reflects a poor performance by the ALP over the past couple of weeks. Before that they were creaming them.

  28. Thanks for those facts, ruawake.

    Sounds as though Patterson Market Research should stick to doing what they do best, whatever that may be.

  29. The ALP and unions cannot afford to sit back and say “there’s a long way to go, we’ll win the rest of the race”. They had the advantage (and still do, though it is dropping rapidly) and should be kicking the Libs while they are down. Instead they are letting them get to their feet while Rudd stands back like a gentleman.

    With respect, Ashley, that is nonsense. Do you honestly think that is what is happening inside the respective Labor and union campaign headquarters? After nearly a year of brilliantly outmanoeuvring Howard, they have suddenly decided, in an election campaign proper, to put their feet up, give Howard an easy ride, and try to coast in on the last several months of great polls? That is seriously naive thinking. A couple of slightly adverse polls, with mixed and not entirely convincing results (and for the Westralian poll, a 6% MOE), and you are panicking already? The polls were always going to fall somewhat once the campaign got underway. Howard has fired his biggest shot, tax bribes, and he got 2%, tops, and only maybe, Labor’s tax policy hasn’t been factored in yet (we’ll see what Newspoll on Monday says).

    Like some else said, harden the f**k up. This campaign is just getting started. If the previous week is the worst Labor have to deal with, then they have nothing to worry about. If the poll results for Labor are consistently dismal in 3 weeks (primary vote roughly equal to the Coalition, 2PP below 52-52.5%), then you will have cause for bitching.

  30. Even as a self confessed lefty, I would find it absolutely hilarious for labor to get 55% TPP nationwide and still lose based on seats. When the coalition claimed a mandate from it, my irony metre would burst into flames.

  31. Ashley,

    You are absolutely spot on. Many of these posters make think of what it must have been like in Saddam’s bunker in Baghdad – “its early days yet the American’s are only on the outskirts of Baghdad”, “dont worry we have secret weapons to use”, “toughen up – we expected some losses but keep your faith in the final victory” etc

    It seems Labor does not know how to connect with voters.

  32. It hasn’t been a “flat week”. It’s been ok, ok? What is with rusted on Laborites, always looking for the Messiah.

    There isn’t going to be one, and there doesn’t need to be one. You know, what Peter Beattie said: “Kevins steady, Kevin’s reliable…” That’s all he needs to be. And that scares the sh*t out Howards PR people.

  33. One week and the bunker analogy switches from the Libs to the ALP LOL

    Does that mean if the polls pick up again for the ALP next week that’s their Battle of the Bulge?

  34. Meanwhile, back in Bennelong, the PM went for a little stroll today, as aap reports:

    “It took almost an hour for Mr Howard to walk the two-blocks down the central drag of Eastwood, as he was mobbed by supporters and gawkers wanting to shake his hand and get a picture taken.

    “Ten more years!” supporters called.

    Mr Howard later said it was good to get out in his electorate.

    “Bennelong is always tough, it’s a marginal seat, I expect to win but I don’t take it for granted,” he told reporters.

    Ms McKew, a former ABC television presenter, also worked the crowd, wearing her Kevin07 shirt and surrounded by supporters, but did not receive anything like the ecstatic response for the man she wants to unseat.

    Buh-bye, Maxie!

  35. With respect, Ashley, that is nonsense. Do you honestly think that is what is happening inside the respective Labor and union campaign headquarters? After nearly a year of brilliantly outmanoeuvring Howard, they have suddenly decided, in an election campaign proper, to put their feet up, give Howard an easy ride, and try to coast in on the last several months of great polls? That is seriously naive thinking.

    Of course I don’t think they’ve decided to put their feet up and give Howard an easy ride. So you’re knocking down a straw man there. I’m sure they are desperate to win and will do whatever it takes.

    What I am “bitching” about, is that I think they have made a tactical error in pursuit of their goal.

    I think it is undeniable that they have conceded the first week of the campaign to the Coalition. Their strategists may think this is a good move, because they have a cunning plan. Unfortunately I’m not privy to the plan, so I don’t share your unshakable confidence.

    Anyway, I agree, we need to wait and see how the next few weeks pan out. It’s a long campaign, and my point is: not a good start for Labor, please pick up your game.

    I’m sure they will, because the worst is probably now behind them. But momentum is everything in politics, and I think it was a bad move to sit on their hands during the first week of the campaign. There’s obviously a strategy behind it, but it’s not one that I would call the “safe, solid, can’t go too wrong” strategy… which is the strategy I think Labor should be employing when they are (or were) so far ahead in the polls.

  36. Correct me if I am wrong but Labor’s 4 % deficit in Cowan represents 16 opinions in a poll of 400 voters and the swing since the last poll represents a 10 people with a different vote from those polled last time. Yes I imagine this poll will buck up the Liberals but I would not put any bets on the electorate based on this.

    Ashley, I don’t think you’re getting the subtilties of the game.

  37. Rudd can now claim to be the underdog.

    Trouble for the government is the best the government can do in WA is to gain 1 seat.

    They face a potential holocaust in Victoria, while NSW looks pretty sick.

    These positive polls for the government increase the risk of a Workchoices protest vote.

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