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. I would think that it is highly unlikely that the government would be returned from here.

    There have been times when it was felt that the underdogs were catching up such as Carter in 1980, Keating in 1996 but in the end the polls were essentially correct.

    I think you will find as they said tonight on SkyNews that there will be patchy swings. Watch Ryan on Saturday night in Brisbane’s affluent area. (There is also an unpopular road being built there with fed money).

    I think that Bowman will be close too. Andrew Laming is very unpopular with just about everyone and even FF were reluctant to give him there preferences. (I live in Bowman).

  2. The Newspolling was done before:

    *The latest WorkChoices Mk 11 cover-up

    *Rudd on Rove

    *The latest climate change report

    *Revelations over the $1 million a day Coalition spending on advertising

    *Howard and Costello trying to act cute on Today Tonight

  3. The point is too that the way the polls have been going the are just as likely to go back the other way with Labor picking up.

    Flash is right to point out that there things that have happened since.

    Could it be that Howard does a 1993 Keating? Maybe but I think the polls were much tighter then.

  4. Newspoll has been rock soid all year around the current 54/46 – 55/45. All within the MOE. It’s going nowhere no matter how good the Ruddster gets or how bad the Rodent performs. The people have decided long ago. Hand in the keys to Kirribilli and make sure you shampoo the carpets before you go. On second thoughts – just piss off; we’ll have the shampoo done and send you the bill.

  5. Hey guys go easy on the guy! That is Howard!

    Remember what Henry Lawson said of the Boss of the Board:

    He’d a row with Big Duggan—a rough sort of Jim—
    Or, rather, Jim Duggan was ‘laying for’ him!
    His hate of Injustice and Greed was so deep
    That his shearing grew rough—and he ill-used the sheep.
    And I fancied that Duggan his manliness lower’d
    When he took off his shirt to the Boss-of-the-board,
    For the Boss was ten stone,
    And the shearer full-grown,
    And he might have, they said, let the crawler alone.

    So just leave the crawler alone!!!

  6. Did anyone catch what Kerry said on the 7:30 report? Something along the lines of, “People have been saying it’s not like 1996 when the baseball bats were out, but…”

  7. I’m getting together my music for next Saturday night:

    Bye, bye baby, goodbye (Col Joye)
    The king has lost his crown (ABBA)
    See you later, alligator (Bill Haley version)
    Wipeout! (The Surfaris)
    Goodbye-ee (WWI ?)
    Goodbye-ee, goodbye-ee,
    Wipe the tear, baby dear, from your eye-ee,
    Tho’ it’s hard to part I know,
    I’ll be tickled to death to go.
    Don’t cry-ee, dont sigh-ee,
    there’s a silver lining in the sky-ee,
    Bonsoir, old thing, cheer-i-o, chin, chin,
    Nah-poo, toodle-oo, Goodbye-eee

  8. again i can’t catch up – i’m back in the #190’s – (gee – they were great days) – a possible clown from a southern clime (perhaps melb) said “AWB = Cost of doing business in Iraq …”

    i sus there may be ppl who agree – i’m sorry – i don’t – no i’m NOT sorry – this is deplorable – the sooner this parasite is flushd royally, the better 😉

  9. While everyone is watching the marginals there are one or two seats in country areas that might see some surprise results.

    In my electorate of Indi (Vic, Lib, 16.3% margin) sitting member Sophie Mirabella is ‘on the nose’ after a string of controversies including a secret donation she received from British American Tobacco while negotiating the buyout of the growers and demise of the industry, and about the hold up of a 500 job hi-tech meatworks proposed for Wangaratta (Sophie & husband purchased a home near the proposed abattoir site AFTER it was announced and then lodged an objection with the EPA about possible odours. The matter is heading to VCAT).

    Opinion polls put the swing to the ALP in Indi at up to 11%. It’s still hard for the Liberals to lose it but Sophie is giving it her best shot.

    Country people are pretty pissed off with Howard too.

  10. I Just watched the interview between Barry Cassidy and Julia Gillard.

    Barry spent more time pushing his own insignificance and complaining about the fact that his show is falling behind the ratings of his competitors.

    Gillard was sharp and on the ball and her comment about Cassidy acting more like a jilted lover was spot on.

    She answered all questions with confidence and surety. Overall I though she was very impressive.

    I am a little bias of course as I have known Julia for many years and whilst we are in different factions her common sense approach to issues has been overall generally good. She played a solid supportive role in the rebuilding of Labor during the disastrous years of Kennett and was a good solid branch executive member of meany years.

    One of the other most impressive operators during the “Kennennt period” was Feeney. (The Robert Ray of the next Generation. I really hope he gest elected).

    I have been tossing up whether to vote above the line or below the line. ,i>(Your vote increases marginally if you vote above the line)

    I have decided (and it was a close call as I really like Jacinta Collins – Labor has a host of talent in this election) I will vote one below the line for Feeney. and then the rest of Labor.

    Last election I supported the Greens (David Risstrom) after Labor but not this time around. (Reasons being pretty much in line with what Andrew Landeryou has to say has published on his site).

    Hopefully Feeney will get up.

    Labor needs 41.6% which is more then the threshold back in 2004 (39%) The Greens chances will be decided by Labor falling below the 41.6% threshold or the Liberal party falling below 36% (The Libs are in a much better position for preferences then Labor).

    If the polling holds up the Greens will become the wasted quota in Victoria and may only secure one seat n Australia.

    GO FEENEY… Australia needs you mate. I agree with Landeryou “the elction is much closer then the public think”.

    In case you missed the Jillard “Jilted: Interview… You can view it here

    (The ABC should adopt the YouTube technology of caching videos).

  11. William “Again another great summary of political events and the state of the polls.”

    I love it… I have not much time to go through the comments as there is a lot to catch up on but thanks again. You deserve a Walkley for your coverage. (Is there an award for best Internet “political coverage”?)

    I hope you will not decide to move over to Crikey, you would do better working for the major league.

    Five days to go and I am when most will be ready to shift the focus on the silly season, you will be there providing the real insights and whats what behind the scenes.

    What ever happened to the idea of fixed four-years-Terms.. All in favor of it along with Australia becoming a Republic (Without a directly elected head of state) and a new Australian Flag.

    The issues in this campaign is “John it is time to retire… You have out stayed your political career and Costello is not the man to take the helm” John should have done much more in a hand over then a hang on…

    Five days will be spent with the Libs pushing more and more on the issue of Labor in control in all the states… This was expected and obvious at the beginning of the Campaign. Most votes are locked in by this time. More so then last election, with most punters favouring the major parties. This spells woe for the Greens. If Labor can secure 41.6% primary in Victoria then the Greens are related to the side lines for another term.

  12. If you need to characterize this election it the “YouTube” Election. Video on demand. We have had the “direct mail-out”, the adoption of negative US style “fear campaigning”. Now it is the “Information Internet video on demand”.

    The OnLine revolution. And the Pollblugger is now at the helm.

  13. Here’s a challenge for you Bill..

    Find a “Sunday Times” editorial that has ever advocated a vote for the Australian Labor Party in any election.

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