I heard it said recently that Galaxy had a strategy of skimping on sample sizes for early campaign polls and then going to town at the end of the campaign, in the hope that their final polls will prove more accurate than the competition which, by and large, they have done. Sure enough, today’s News Limited tabloids have unloaded a giant survey of 4000 voters covering four marginal electorates in each mainland state. The graphic as published in Perth’s Sunday Times can be viewed here. The surprise is the mild 5 per cent swing across Bonner, Herbert, Longman and Moreton, pointing to a disappointing result for Labor in Queensland. However, it has been widely reported that Labor is on course for bigger swings in the north of the state than in Brisbane, which is over-represented in this sample of seats (though this was also true of Newspoll). Newspoll and Galaxy are also at odds over Victoria, respectively pointing to swings of 8 per cent (a likely gain of five seats) and 4.5 per cent (a likely gain of zero seats). Three of the four seats sampled were the same, the fourth being McMillan in Newspoll’s case and McEwen in Galaxy’s. Where Newspoll surveyed the four most marginal seats in South Australia, Galaxy has ditched Kingston as a lost cause to take on Sturt. One can only speculate how much that accounts for the difference between the two results: a 4.5 per cent swing in Galaxy’s case and 8 per cent in Newspoll’s. It should be noted that two Sturt polls appeared in the week suggesting Galaxy’s swing is nearer the mark than Newspoll’s. Perversely, the state where the two agencies picked the most differing sample of seats, New South Wales, is the one where they produced the most similar results a 7 per cent swing in Newspoll’s case, slightly higher in Galaxy’s.
Then there is Western Australia, which Galaxy surveyed and Newspoll did not. Here Galaxy points to a swing of barely 1 per cent, less than would be needed for Labor to win Stirling and Hasluck, and perhaps not enough to hold Cowan given the loss of Graham Edwards’ personal vote. For more on Western Australia, see the post below on the Westpoll survey, to which I have now added a graphic from The West Australian. It gives Labor a slightly bigger swing of 3.5 per cent.
UPDATE: Chris Hammer of The Bulletin lambasts Galaxy for not waiting until the campaign launches were done before conducting its poll.