D-day minus 5

Dennis Shanahan and Matthew Franklin in The Australian:

ALP polling in Victoria last week suggested Labor would be lucky to win a seat in the state, meaning that the bulk of the 16 seats the party needs for victory will have to come from NSW and Queensland … Senior Labor officials last night maintained there was a continuing swing to the ALP, as evidenced by the published polls, but said it remained a tight contest in marginal seats across the country. “There is no question we will win seats in NSW and Queensland, the question is how many,” a senior Labor source said … Victorian Liberals and Labor sources suggest extrapolations of up to six seats being won in Victoria are unlikely. Last week, Labor polled the five most marginal seats of La Trobe, Deakin, Corangamite, McEwen and McMillan with a sample of 350 voters in each seat. Labor sources stressed the ALP was not in front in any of the Victorian marginals held by the Coalition. Liberal sources said Labor was finding it difficult to get above the “high water mark” of Labor support in Victoria but they believed three or four seats were still very close … Playing down expectations in NSW, some Labor officials are suggesting a net gain of four or five seats would be a good result. The published polling in Queensland also suggests the high expectations based on Labor’s overwhelming two-party-preferred lead of 10 points for most of the past year have been tempered with the latest estimates of only three or four seats … In the Northern Territory, the Country Liberal Party’s Dave Tollner is expected to benefit from the Coalition’s intervention in the Northern Territory and hold his seat, despite it being one of the most marginal in the country.

Gerard McManus in the Herald-Sun:

Depending on the tightness of the result next Saturday this could still mean that WA, which is three hours behind the east, may determine the final outcome very late on Saturday night. But Labor insiders remain quietly confident the result will be known well before that, with New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland likely to deliver sufficient seats for it to take government. Optimists inside Labor believe the party can take up to three to five seats in South Australia, up to eight in Queensland, and six to eight in New South Wales. And some super-optimists say Labor could take 11 or 12 seats in NSW, including the mortgage-strapped seats of Greenway (11 per cent) and Macarthur (11.1 per cent) … But based on the earlier, more conservative prediction Labor would achieve a comfortable majority of about six seats based on winning its required 16 seats in Queensland, SA and NSW, and also picking up the two Tasmanian seats, one or two in either Victoria or WA, and the Northern Territory seat of Solomon, which both sides expect to go to Labor. Interestingly, Labor is not banking on winning any seats in Victoria because it already holds a majority of the seats in the state, but will not be surprised to see up to three fall “if the swing is on” … An analysis of the critical 30 marginal seats suggests that Labor can still be certain of a definite gain of only a dozen seats and that even the best pundits have no idea of the result in some seats. For example, predicting the outcome in the Prime Minister’s seat of Bennelong, often quoted as a possible or even likely Labor gain after a redistribution cut the PM’s margin to just 4 per cent, has been hampered by the reluctance of Chinese and Korean voters to talk to pollsters. “We have no idea who they will vote for because they simply refuse to co-operate – they are suspicious of polls and questionnaires,” one NSW Labor worker told the Herald Sun this week. Many expect Mr Rudd’s fluency in Mandarin to have impressed Chinese nationals and ABCs (Australian-born Chinese), but others say Chinese typically respect elderly and incumbent leaders. Similarly, Malcolm Turnbull’s affluent Sydney seat of Wentworth has been buffeted by several controversies, including the legitimacy of Labor candidate George Newhouse. Labor insiders say they will be surprised if Mr Turnbull is not returned.

Jennifer Hewett in The Australian:

The strong anti-union message from the Government was resonating into the idea of whether it was worth taking the risk on economic management. Even interest rate hikes were making people just a little nervous about the prospect of making a change. NSW seats such as Eden-Monaro and Page, which Labor must win next Saturday, suddenly looked much tighter. The surge to Labor in South Australia abated. Braddon in Tasmania was no longer looking so much like a near certainty for the ALP. Queensland could only really guarantee four seats rather than six. Victoria was not looking likely to produce any wins at all … in Queensland the estimate from both sides is a probable loss of four government seats (Bonner, Moreton, Blair, Herbert) to six seats (Leichhardt, Forde or just maybe the new seat of Flynn despite the anger there over council amalgamations). In NSW, the estimate is about five seats to Labor but with great nervousness about Eden-Monaro and a little nervousness about Page. Labor is not including Wentworth or Bennelong on its likely list. In Victoria, Labor is not confident of winning any seats, where effective government MPs will be trying to hold out against the tide. In South Australia, both Liberals and Labor expect a loss of three Coalition seats but no more. In Tasmania, Bass looks as if it is gone from the Liberals, but there are different views about whether the Liberals will hold Braddon. In the Northern Territory, the Liberal Country Party’s David Tollner will be trying to hold out against Labor in a typically tough-knuckled fight. And then, of course, there’s WA, where the likeliest outcome, as of this weekend, is a possible loss of Cowan – where the popular Labor MP is also retiring – balanced by a Labor pick-up in Hasluck. But absolutely no guarantees of anything.

• Andrew Burrell wrote in Friday’s Financial Review that Liberal polling showed them narrowly ahead in Stirling, whereas Labor’s had the two parties “virtually deadlocked”. Labor sources are said to be “extremely confident” of winning back Hasluck.

• Google has now added polling booth locations to its magnificent Google Maps election feature.

• Complete results from the weekend’s EMRS poll of the five Tasmanian seats available here.

Simon Jackman has laid his predictive cards on the table.

Andrew Fraser of The Australian gives an overview of the Sunday papers’ record on editorial endorsements, but the good bit is not included in the online article. Here it is:

Sunday Telegraph (News Limited, Sydney): 1998 Howard, 2001 Beazley, 2004 Howard, 2007 Rudd. “The Sunday Telegraph accepts readers believe it is finally time to give Labor a go. But Mr Rudd needs to guarantee our nation several things. He must stare down a Labor cabinet inhabited by many with union and factional allegiances … Mr Rudd must surround himself with a loyal team that will help him deliver on his promises“.

Sunday Herald Sun (News Limited, Melbourne): 1998 Howard, 2001 Howard, 2004 Howard, 2007 Howard. “It is time. Not to change governments, but to resist temptation. It is time to acknowledge that the Coalition is the safe bet in a political contest in which the new, despite its superficial allure, offers less than the familiar”.

The Sunday Age (Fairfax, Melbourne): 1998 N/A; 2001 None; 2004 None; 2007 No call. “On the contenders’ ‘exposed form’, The Sunday Age does not see enough differences between the Coalition and Labor to urge readers to vote for one over the other”.

The Sun-Herald (Fairfax, Sydney): 1998 N/A; 2001 Howard; 2004 Howard; 2007 Rudd. “The Sun-Herald says voters face a tough choice but our endorsement is for the Labor Party. Team Rudd gets our final tick on the strength of its fresh vision for education”.

Sunday Mail (News Limited, Adelaide): 1998 Howard; 2001 Howard; 2004 Howard; 2007 Howard. “Now is not the time to move into untested waters, particularly as the world economy comes under strain next year. The Sunday Mail believes the Coalition is best placed to govern Australia for the next three years”.

Sunday Times (News Limited, Perth): 1998 Howard; 2001 Howard; 2004 Howard; 2007 Howard. “The Sunday Times believes change for change sake is simply not an adequate trigger to throw out a Coalition Government which, while far from perfect, has overseen record prosperity in WA and the nation”.

Sunday Mail (News Limited, Brisbane): 1998 N/A; 2001 None; 2004 Howard; 2007 Rudd. “There is undoubtedly a mood for national renewal and there is a need for national renewal. Mr Rudd has demonstrated he has the potential to undertake that task effectively”.

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.

367 comments on “D-day minus 5”

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  1. SirEggo

    You are quite right on the Newspoll leaking. If it was good for the Coalition it would have been out by now. I could imagine Labor deliberately holding back favourable information to not appear over-confident, or make the undecided feel it doesn’t matter if they vote for the Prime Weasel. So caution there is rational.

    But the Liberals and their cronies have just five days to turn this around by a minimum of 2 to 3 %. There is a media freeze after Wednesday, so they really have less than 48 hours left to influence people into once again believing that they are economic geniuses who have just been unlucky with interest rate rises six times in a row*. Any favourable news they had, that might make people possibly think Howard was still The One, would be being shoved into every media outlet in the country right now. They have none.

    *Perhaps we should refer to Liberal economic management as Team Lemony Snickert, a series of unfortunate coincidences.

  2. Sydney Channel 9 news was a virtual ad for the ALP.

    And wow I love how the Libs have changed their backdrop to “Don’t risk Labor with the Economy”

    They couldn’t even come up with a phrase that could last 6 weeks.

  3. The Blackburnpseph Prediction:

    Band 1: 100% of seats to ALP – Lindsay, Parramatta, Eden Monaro, Dobell, Bonner, Moreton, Makin, Kingston, Wakefield, Bass, Braddon – 11 / 11

    Band 2: 2/3 of these seats to ALP – Bennelong, Wentworth, Page, La Trobe, Deakin, Corangamite, Blair, Herbert, Petrie, Dickson, Bowman, Longman, Flynn, Stirling, Hasluck, Canning, Boothby, Solomon – 12 / 18

    Band 3: just under 50% of seats to ALP – Cowper, Robertson, Paterson, Dunkley, McEwen, McMillan, Leichhardt, Ryan, Kalgoorlie, Sturt, Grey 5 / 11

    Only possible loss – Cowan

    88 to the ALP, 60 L / np, 2 Ind.

    The inverse of the present situation.

  4. Laurie Oakes on Sydney 9 News reports a special poll was done in North Sydney and Bailey and Hockey are 50/50 after 2pp. Do not know if the poll was internal polling to one party or the other or if it was independant polling.

    All of you handing out HTV in NS on Saturday, good on you :):):)

    Appears that NS could go right down to a razor thin margin even with 2pp …..

  5. I’m pretty sure I heard Laurie Oakes say it was a McNair poll in Nth Sydney saying 50/50. Nothing on McNair’s website or Nine’s as yet.

  6. GP – where is your evidence that you’re coming back?

    You’re down in both Wentworth and Eden-Monaro. The most favourable marginal seat poll for the Coalition (Galaxy) puts you down as losing 18 seats, whilst others put the losses as much worse. Every betting agency is giving the Coalition less than 25% chance of winning the election, with the Swing Lowe Bookie Consensus showing 19 seats are predicted to fall.

  7. Yep Swing Lowe, the fact Howard was in a 13% Liberal seat on the weekend belies all the bullsh-t about marginals being spewed from the Australian, and the rest of Australia’s hideous print media.

    And if Nth Sydney is at 50-50, Wentworth the same or better, the Liberals are ready for an unimaginable defeat (hence why there’s still so many LTEP-style sceptics/self-loathers out there!) I guess it’s hard to imagine the unimaginable!

  8. If JWH and team go down the good thing will be that all of societies ills will be blamed on one party, the Labor party 🙂

  9. “Howard declaring its Work Choices or bust reminds me of one of the idiots who think there are 42 virgins in heaven awaiting his arrival.”

    This is not the first time that Howard has warned people that if they vote for him, then WorkChoices will NEVER EVER leave. I can think of two other times this year. Of course, at the time, he is usually talking to an audience who likes WorkChoices, such as an employer group, but even so, it’s hardly a great message for public consumption.

    Howard lost the plot some time ago.

    p.s. I am anxiously awaiting the Newspoll. I take it someone will be watching Sky News at 9.30pm?

  10. 45 John of Melbourne – I think underdog status would be seen as more important IMHO. Howard and the Liberal campaign are falling apart all by themselves.

  11. Gary Bruce all the available evidence says so, however I believe (no actually hope) that come election day the Government will be returned. Hopefully what happened in Ireland happens here.

  12. I’ll never tire of Liberal Party supporters saying “We’re coming back” and thinking they’re making some original and witty joke.

  13. Howard and Costello together on Today Tonight on Channel 7 at 6.30pm – billed as the first time in 11 years they have sat down together in TV interview.

    What I love about these kind of shows is that they can serve up the wildcard question that none of the minders anticipated.

  14. Pancho @ 66,

    JOM subscribes to the Billie Snedden maxim that “the Libs don’t lose, they just don’t have enough seats to form Government”.

  15. [45 John of Melbourne – I think underdog status would be seen as more important IMHO.]

    Well Loughnane and his band of merry men are doing a great job of grabbing the underdog status, that’s for sure.

  16. Noocat,

    Surely you have been on this site long enough that no poll, no matter how small or useless, will escape the attention of Pollbludgers…

  17. JWH was in Greenway on the weekend

    I originally said to my mates something along the lines of “if the ALP win Greenway, I’ll deadset swim to New Zealand”

    Has anyone got a snorkel?

    LOL 🙂

  18. It’s pretty clear the GG is trying to encourage “one last push” by the Lib party workers, and the ALP is quite happy to go along with this idea.

    Shanahan has a high-falutin’ opinion of himself. He has been so comprehensively wrong, so many times, on so many different subjects that the title “Political Editor” is more satirical than descriptive. Don’t forget many of his “best” stories have been sourced from “Labor insiders”. They’re clearly taking him for a sucker and he’s letting himself be used by Labor.

    Qu’elle wanker.

  19. Tabitha #1
    YOU are are Union Boss troll! Scary! Boohoo.
    I knew it all along from your very first post…

    Ch7 reports that Libs have already prepared Workchoices Mark 2 but are refusing to release just yet! They are coming back, they are coming back…

  20. Rates Analyst, sorry for doubting you about North Sydney.
    Wow! If Labor is even contending in this seat, the Liberals are screwed!
    A 10% swing to Rudd in N.S.W would get him something over 10 seats.

  21. GG #72 good work, lol, i’ll pay that one! 🙂

    Someone once said that, “The people always get the government they deserve.” I believe that and ce sera sera.

    As an engineer, if it ain’t broken don’t fix it!

  22. Everyone seems to love ‘we’re coming back’ now. Joe McDonald would have to win any cult-(anti)-hero prize for this election. He seems pretty funny in the snippets I’ve seen of him too.

  23. Yes Ashley, that type – though it still amazes me Howard got a question like that wrong.

    Surely, if you get Howard and Costello sitting down together you go in hard on the personal tension stuff though they seem to have the answers down pat on that. Still you never know.

  24. “Surely you have been on this site long enough that no poll, no matter how small or useless, will escape the attention of Pollbludgers…”

    Yep. Just checkin’ anyway!

  25. It would be interesting to see the primaries in this Nth Sydney poll. I’m guessing that there’s going to be a significant Greens vote here, due to the ‘Doctor’s Wives’ effect.

  26. Why is the coalition shortening? Is it because such high odds were only designed to attract some more money on the Coalition? Or is the newspoll tomorrow going to be a 52-48 affair? I hope not…

  27. re post 53 get about 40 seats in play
    add about another 5-8
    and one gets an idea of what is possible
    on the weekend I received the 10 page glossy LIB pamphlet along with the normal brochures for big W etc…. why ? as I live in a safe ALP seat!!!!
    are they worried about a possible 4/2 split in the NSW senate vote????

  28. The reason Centrebet shortened dramatically at the weekend was a single $160,000 bet on Labor by a Sydney punter. A bit of equilibrium returning now, presumably.

  29. “As an engineer, if it ain’t broken don’t fix it!”

    John, I hate that saying. It is nothing more than a recipe for mediocrity. Australians deserve a BETTER government.

  30. Mick, I think they’re sending them out to everyone. I got mine too. It’s actually a pretty funny document that looks so silly and amateurish its bound to swing a vote or two.

  31. Today Tonight is a long running send-up comedy and tonight it will be at its best – Howard and Costello together at last!
    *sniff* it brings a tear to my eye. It’ll be a touching interview we’re told!

  32. #75, Sir Eggo a friend in Greenway didn’t know who to vote for and quite clueless about the whole process. So I printed Labor’s htv for both houses for her to take into the booth. So get ready to swim!

  33. [Bailey is actually @ $4.50 at Sportingbet. That’s probably the closest he’s come for a while…]

    That changed in the minutes between my post and yours!!!

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