Newspoll: 54-46 to Labor in SA

State Newspoll bonanza, episode five. All this and two by-elections tomorrow. Has there ever been a greater week in all of history? Newspoll has Labor’s two-party lead in South Australia increasing to 54-46 from 53-47 in the first quarter. Labor’s primary vote is steady on 41 per cent, while the Liberal and Nationals are down one point to 36 per cent. Liberal leader Martin Hamilton-Smith can at least point to an encouraging 47 per cent approval rating, although he trails Mike Rann as preferred premier 54 per cent to 27 per cent.

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.

41 comments on “Newspoll: 54-46 to Labor in SA”

  1. “Has there ever been a greater week in all of history? ”

    Checking the archives now, but certainly looks like the biggest one in Oz since last November.

  2. OK this is off topic but I just saw an article in the MSM the reporting of which annoyed me a lot. It concerned the pregnant (raped) 11 year old in Romania whose parents are seeking an abortion for her and being opposed by religeous fundamentalists who imagine that even this is unreasonable grounds for abortion. The bit that annoyed me was the statement that the case “had bitterly split the medical community” in the SMH:

    This is nonsense. The group in UK opposed is teh National Dotctors Council, not the BMA. It is NOT representative of all doctors, just a few religeous nutters.

  3. Back to the topic at hand, it seems the Rann State budget and decisions to improve public transport and build a new hospital have been received well. Call me biased but I am pleased; the opposition leader’s alternative suggestion to spend a billion dollars on a new stadium was populist nonsense.

  4. Since this is the last in this string of polls, seems the perfect time to emphasise the amazing run of the Greens in these polls. Usually our vote is too small for differences to show up in polling, except for long-term major shifts, but this week has been incredible.

    Federal Newspoll – up from 10 to 12.
    NSW – down from 14 to 13
    Victoria – up from 11 to 14
    Queensland – up from 8 to 10
    WA – up from 12 to 16
    SA – up from 8 to 12

    TAS (not Newspoll) – steady on 22.

    Have the Greens ever polled double digits in even half of the states at once, let alone every single one?

  5. I think Martin Hamilton-Smith is effective as opposition leader in so far as he is very active and energetic – always getting is face on TV for something or other.
    A friendly media is helpful for him as well. After the lacklustre Iain Evans and nicey-nicey Rob Kerin, the liberals have a terrier if nothing else.

    His political approach however is very hit-and-miss. The whole city stadium idea – whilst having its supporters is really a diversion from important issues, and I’m not sure why he pursued it as much as he did. Where he is onto a big loser in my opinion, is opposing the Marjorie Jackson-Nelson hospital. Most disagreement I have heard on this issue revolves around the choice of the name – not the concept. Does anyone really think that campaigning against the building of a brand new hospital is the way to win an election?

    I’d argue the answer is defnitely no !!

  6. It is not difficult to understand the surge in poll support for the Australian Greens! Basically, it is due to CONSERVATIVE Labor! Many left-wing voters do not like the policies and actions of the Labor Party. Also, a number of Labor politicians around the country are simply seen as belonging to the extreme right-wing mould. Kevin Rudd’s comment about Bill Henson’s artwork is a case in point. I have taken years to encourage artist and collector friends to vote Green. Kevin Rudd managed what I couldnt do quicktime. Kevin Rudd comes across like a Sunday School teacher and for many of us who had to endure endless hours of enforced religious propaganda, the novelty of the new Prime Minister has definitely worn off. Rudd and his conservative social policies are seen as just a continuation of John Winston Howard.
    The Greens surge in South Australia could be due to two reasons. 1. The Labor Government’s change to Workcover Laws. ‘Not happy Jan’ in workplaces, that is for sure and the Greens have actively worked with the union movement to fight the right-wing policies of one of Australia’s most conservative State Governments.
    2. The Greens in SA have only 1 Member of Parliament, Mark Parnell who is
    a very hardworking and dedicated man. Mark ‘shoots down in flames’ the propaganda the old parties try to paint of the Greens being a bunch of ill-informed radical treehuggers! There are now more Greens in State, Federal and Local Government and for many electors they are proving to be excellent value for ones vote. Also, the Liberal and Labor Parties have totally ‘stalled’ in regards to social justice but many people in society are not prepared for that to happen in Australia.

  7. The problem for the Greens, is high numbers in polls never leads to the same at the POLLS where it actually matters…

    I am also biased as a member of the ALP, but the polls sure look good! Goes to show the Advertiser blasting the Government everyday over something, has not materalised.

    The poll also shows the Doctor’s and Teacher’s strikes have not had an effect on the Government@!

  8. True. But a lot of that has been true for a while. I think the Greens vote has been supressed by a fear of the Liberals, embodied in John Howard, but which also had an effect in state elections. With Howard’s loss, and the overall patheticness of the Liberals across the country, it will be very difficult for those at the very left-wing end of Labor’s constituency to continue voting Labor to protect them from a party that doesn’t pose a short term threat federally and in most states.

  9. [It is not difficult to understand the surge in poll support for the Australian Greens!]

    The Greens always score higher in polls because a lot of people park their vote there as a protest, but end up voting for one of the majors on election day. If the Greens get a 12% primary vote at the next S.A. election then Labor will win in an enormous landslide.

    [1. The Labor Government’s change to Workcover Laws. ‘]

    Th union campaign against the WorkCover changes was hilarious. The adverts basically said the WorkCover laws shouldn’t change because some unionists may lose their cover. Did they even think to broaden their campaign a little to include people who work in the private sector!? The fact the head of unions in S.A. joined with the Communist Party of Australia to protest against the changes didn’t help their cause one bit either.

    [Rudd and his conservative social policies are seen as just a continuation of John Winston Howard.]

    What social policies are so conservative? The only one I can think of is gay marriage. But that is because the gay community is still arguing for gay marriage to be recognised in law, rather than for a complete repeal of the marriage act.

  10. So let me get this right, a TPP of 54 – 46 is good news for Labor in SA but a TPP of 55 – 45 is not so good news for Labor in Qld and Vic according to the Oz. Mmm, I’m missing something.

  11. Shows On, I can think of a lot worse people for unionists to hang around with then a few Communists! We will see who right-wing Labor hangs around with and publically funds from the 15th to the 20th July this year!

  12. Gary

    Its just relative to previous results; Labour had a huge lead before in Qld after the pinneapple party leadership fiasco. Whereas in SA Labor has improved since the budget.

  13. Re the Greens vote
    I have thought for a while that we are in the process of a major political shift in voting patterns. My reasons are connected to the sharp movement to the right of the Liberal Party under Howard when he captured the One Nation vote with the demise of Hanson’s One Nation Party. In doing this he vacated the area that Menzies captured from Labor- the middle ground. Under Rudd Labor has had to move a bit to the right to occupy this middle ground vacated by Howard. Without the middle ground no one can win anelection.

    This leaves the far Left with nowhere to go except the Greens.
    The fact that Climate Change is being embraced by more and more Australians gives the movement some momentum. We are in the pre – carbon time at the moment and the Left are doubting the Labor has the will, which is unfair as there has been a waiting time for the Report on Climate Change to come out. The politics of the situation would demand that carbon trading has to wait until the dust settled on the budget otherwise it would have overshadowed the budget.

    I can see the LNP just becoming a right wing rump given that the far right are fighting very hard everywhere to gain/keep control of the LNP. The unattactrive and extreme policies of the Right will not sit well with voters.

    The Greens could become a major party of the left in time if they got some economic policies and broadened their outlook to take note of a Capitalist society. But in doing this they will of necessity go some way to the right.
    I see this time as probably the tail end of the Menzies era where the Libs have abandoned a lot of what he stood for. The times of properity will become more Global as China, India and SE Asia become more industrialised. Food in a free market Global economy will be competed for by richer “3rd world” countries and the West will have to pay more. The Liberals philosophy is becoming outdated with Climate Change and Global economies becoming more and more important.

    This is just my thoughts. Time will tell. Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

  14. Something that made me mad with Hamilton-Smith’s budget reply was the scrapping of the tramline to West Lakes because as the ABC reported

    The Liberal leader says improved transport services are needed to suburbs including Modbury, Norwood, Blackwood and Aberfoyle Park.

    Now I’d lived in the north-east for most of my life, and with the O-bahn I’ve never had to wait longer than 5 minutes for a bus. Modbury is undoubtedly one of the best places for public transport in the whole state. I know live in the west and catch public transport most days of the week, and it’s in a terrible state in my area. It just showed to me how little Hamilton-Smith either knew about infrastructure, or how much he was just pushing his populist spin.

  15. I’m astonished that Rann still has a 51% approval rating – I highly suspect that the next state Newspoll will have a much different result. Then again, I suppose it’s all relative – this time last year it was at 58%.

    I’ve said it before, it’s difficult to appreciate the political climate in SA from outside the state (not one SA poster last year that I saw gave Nicole Cornes a chance in hell of winning Boothby, but some of you Easterners were determined to hold out hope!) The Tiser is barely hiding it’s disdain for Rann these days – one assumes that after getting manipulated and played for so many years, they’ve finally had enough and decided to hit back. It’s been quite remarkable to watch.

    In the past fortnight alone, the following issues have propped up:
    – Public Teachers went on a full day strike across the state
    – A few dozen foctors handed in their two weeks notice (which has since been temporarily withdrawn, but the issue not resolved)
    – Parliament has passed the needed but poorly sold ‘Workcover’ bill (I agree with ShowsOn that the union campaign was completely daft not to mention ineffectual)
    – Proposed and much hyped (and IMO disgraceful) laws giving police exrta powers to crack down on Bikies have been labeled by police as actually promoting crime
    …and so forth. You get the idea

    Now, cue today’s page three story: Rann delays announcement to escape bad news cycle This is the sort of stuff that is supposed to give the government a boost, and yet once more they’ve stuffed it.

    It’s not the first time they have run with the ‘Rann hides from the bad stories’ line.

    You get the sense that all it will take is a couple of bad polls and a few edgy MP’s and the government is going to start a free fall in the polls. At the moment, the state libs are not perceived as being a ‘government in waiting.’ This time last year I would have dismissed any talk of the Libs forming government in 2010 as completely unrealistic – in fact I remember having a conversation on PB saying as such – but things are turning sour for Labor remarkably quickly. And there is a growing line of people lining up to take a pot shot – thus far these include education unions, doctors bemoaning lack of funding, workers unions… all, might I add, supposedly their allies. Then we move onto the new sports stadium, where Labor’s proposal – while economically sensible – is very unpopular. Not many votes there of course, but you start to get the idea.

    And there’s always the sleep issue of the Murray, which you can hardly blame Rann for (we blame Victoria) but it won’t stop the Opposition from trying.

  16. Today’s page 3 story was ridiculous Max… almost everyone who works with the Government knows that that’s the way it’s played in this state. They don’t release something if people won’t care and focus on bad news more. Conversely, if it’s something that the Government thinks it can get a bit of a bump out of, it waits till a bad news cycle to take the heat off.

  17. I agree with much of what the other posters have said so far – I feel that we are at a tipping point in the current political cycle in SA. It seems to me that one of 2 things is going to happen – Labor is either going to consolidate and the liberals will just keep up the odd bit of noise and barking commentary or the liberals will truly re-emerge as a threat to the government. At the moment there’s a bit of an armwrestle going on, and we are waiting to see if anyone is going to grab an advantage …

  18. #7 Scott S.
    “The problem for the Greens, is high numbers in polls never leads to the same at the POLLS where it actually matters”

    I dunno if this is true.
    So I went to Newspoll archive and looked at the Newpoll results for the 3 previous polls to each of the last 5 Federal elections and compared each set of 3 to the Greens vote at each election.
    This is what I got [numbers a bit rough]

    1.Newspoll 3 polls before 1996 election……Greens average …2%
    Election result for Greens …… 1.7%

    2.Newspoll 3 polls before 1998 election……Greens average….2%
    Election result for Greens ……..2%

    3.Newspoll 3 polls before 2001 election……Greens average 3.5%
    Election result for Greens…..4.4%

    4.Newspoll 3 polls before 2005 election……Greens average 7%
    Election result for Greens…..7.2%

    5.Newspoll 3 polls before 2007 election……Greens average 6.7%
    Election result for Greens…..7.8%

    It would seem, just from Newspoll, that the pre election polling is a pretty accurate estimate of the actual election day Greens vote, with, if anything, the Newspolls very slightly underestimating the actual voting strength of the Greens.

  19. Al and Matt

    It beats the heck out of me that Rann still has 51% approval. Most of his portfolios are absolute basketcases; health (country and metro), transport, water, education and child protection. And I’m a Labor voter!

    What has Rann actually achieved? Sweet FA.

    BTW The public hospital doctors dispute is over. All the groups have been given everything they asked for except a couple of small specialties. It was so badly handled that it ended up costing Hill much more than it should have, as well as all the bad publicity. Heads should roll at the Department of Health over it.

  20. the trouble with Hamilton Smith is he comes up with all of these grand ideas and gives no indication of how he’s going to pay for them all, if he carried them out they’d send the state bankrupt in no time flat, one thing he did cost was a new stadium like Telstra dome in place of West Lakes, the only thing is he came in with the same price that Telstra cost eight years ago, now c’mon, is he trying to say costs hav’nt gone up in eight years? actually independant costing brings it in at double.
    the trouble is it’s easy to be all things for all people when your in opposition and don’t have to carry your pie in the sky ideas out, by the way as a Newsltd paper the Advertiser was never and will never give labor a good run or accreditation for any good that they do.

    i think Rann will probably step down after the next election and give labor time to renew, he’s canny enough to leave a good and talented succession, the libs are carrying too much old wood in their ranks.

  21. judy

    Who will succeed Rann? Conlon is a blustering fool. Hill is frankly incompetent. Foley is a loudmouthed bully. J Lo isn’t cut out for it. Wright is a mean-spirited little toad. The only one I can support is Weatherill.

    Also, I can’t understand all this stuff about the Tiser being anti-Labor. Given how useless they have been, i think they’ve been given a free ride by the Tiser. Of course, the Opposition is even worse and frankly dangerous IMO. Until recently, I could have sworn Rann and Mansell got together each day to plan the next front page. As a public hospital doctor, I am constantly amazed at how the Tiser and the Libs have no idea of the scandals in the public hospitals.

  22. On the topic of the Green vote – back when OzPolitics was up and running, the graph of the three main polling groups always had Newspoll reporting a Green result at least 2 %age points below the other two, with ACNielsen usually the highest. It was very odd, then, to see Newspoll lead the charge up after the election and then to maintain the highest Green numbers of the three. Was there a change in methodology in there somewhere?

    I think a great number of people voted ALP to ‘get rid of Howard’ in November – given they could have preferenced however they liked, they could have voted for anyone but the Libs and voted against him, but I digress – and are now investigating other options. So that explains the federal shift, at least in part.

    I’d also disagree with the characterisation of Greens as ‘far-left’ – I’d say that most AG positions are socially progressive, rather than particularly statist/distributionist on the traditional left-right measure. And there’s no enthusiasm for a dictatorship of the proletariat, either 😀 Try explaining that to the democracy campaigners. That said, there is a fairly broad consensus within the party on rejecting ultra-liberalised market theory.

  23. Diogenes, with the recent altercations between the public hospital doctors and the government do you think maybe you could be a tiny bit biased? i am very biased and i admit it mate, but then i’ve had a lot more to do with pollies from both sides, more so than the average person, as for why i think the Advertiser is anti the government– i’ve also got journo mates in the rag lol, one recently left for another paper because he couldnt stomach any more of Mansell, i know the labor mob are a long way from perfect but i think perhaps your being a little bit too scathing in your assessment, Hamilton Smith will never make the grade because as you wrote the libs are dangerous, they need to clean out their ranks before they will be a credible opposition, i would dearly love a good credible opposition, thats the only way to keep Rann and co on their toes, actually that goes for the federal government as well.

  24. Antony

    The Tiser went to town on Rann last week with a doctored photo of Rann with a striped sock in his mouth. It jumped on a bandwagon of comments mainly from bloggers on the Tisers website pointing out that Rann was nowhere to be seen when there was chaos with country and public hospital doctors resigning en masse and the first teachers strike in 12 years. Hamilton Smith described Rann as a Good News Premier who only came out when there was good news and hid behind his ministers during bad times. Rann went ballistic at the Tiser on the radio.

    The Nicole Cornes campaign severely strained relations between the Tiser and Labor, esp Michael Owens reporting of Cornes crying under “tough questioning”, when she was actually talking about being abused as a child.

  25. judy

    Actually, I wasn’t part of that coz i’m a visiting specialist. My deal comes up for renewal just before the next SA election. 😉

    There is a lot of speculation amongst the medical fraternity as to the reasons why the Tiser seems to be in the pocket of the Health Department.

    It’s instructive to note that us doctors NEVER leak to the Libs. A lot of docs are Lib supporters (not me) but they just won’t help the Libs out because they are absolutely hopeless. Chapman could have killed off a couple of Health Ministers since Stevens if she knew what was going on and where to look.

  26. Diogenes, i hope you do well with your renewal, you know who i am so maybe one day i’ll be at the hospital and a doctor will come up to say hi lol.
    what the Advertiser did to Nicole Cornes was a disgrace, what was even worse was that so many people took their crap on face value and got on the band wagon, unfortunately the Advertiser ferreted out that she was going to stand for Boothby before labor had a chance to accustomise her, {methinks there was definately a labor leak there from someone who’se nose was out of joint} what the ‘Tiser did was a charactor assasination such as i have never seen before, it was one of the sickest, cruelest exercises i have ever seen a newspaper indulge in–and boy i’ve seen a lot, in fact ive even been the subject of a couple, this was more than just dirt, it was pure undisguised slime, i went out of my way to hear Nicole at one of her meet and greets because i wanted to see for myself this dreadful niave woman, what i found was an articulate, savvy, smart woman, who also looked bloody stunning, nothing like the bimbo they portrayed, she also seemed to care about the constituants, well after all that–look at what Boothby is stuck with for the next couple of years, i somehow think Nicole would have done better by them.

  27. judy

    I heard their first two choices for Boothby pulled out, one of them at very short notice. It was someone on radio but I can’t remember who. I think that stuffed her up. My experience of Nicole was exactly the same as yours. I hope she runs again.

    Actually, I think I get paid well enough and won’t be looking for a raise. Visitors are much better paid than staff specialists hence the anger from the resigning docs who are all staff specialists. They literally got half what visitors got by hour.

  28. i dont know enough about the specialists situations Diogenes, i’ve a war widows gold card which insulates me fairly well, my last hospital stint was in Calvary with one of the state’s top specialists.
    my youngest daughter however suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome and as a result has a badly ulcerated stomach, she has to go into hospital for blood transfusions when it bleeds, that generally means several hours waiting in casualty to be admitted, it can be tough when your woozy from an extremely low blood count, however, when she is seen to the treatment is second to none, it’s getting help for the PTS thats the problem, this is going to be a lifelong problem for her, she lives on her nerves–just one of the collateral damaged folk haunted by the past.

  29. judy (and apologies to William for going off topic)

    Don’t take this the wrong way as I’m only trying to be helpful. PTSD should not cause such severe stomach bleeding. The link between stress and stomach ulcers is very tenuous. There are other things that MUST be ruled out if her blood counts drop that frequently. I imagine she has had all the testing but she needs to be screened for something called Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, in which a hormone called gastrin is oversecreted.

    I work with a good psychologist on the Burns Unit who specialises in PTSD for obvious reasons. I’d be happy to give you her name if you want.

  30. yes please Diogenes, i’m in the phone book as J Barnes Salisbury, i’ve never bothered to get a silent number as so many have, if someone rings me i dont want to talk to –as sometimes happens when V.E. comes up in the papers i just politely hang up, i’ve had plenty of practice with the meeja lol.

    now back to politics, what do you think of the new hospital thats going to be built? somehow i think that a state of the art medical facility is certainly more desirable than another rebuilding of the crumbling old Royal Adelaide, even as a football crows tragic i would much prefer a top hospital if i needed it rather than better seats at a brand new staduim, mind, saying that, the members seats at A.A.M.I. certainly be made a bit better for this decrepit old dear, they’re dammed hard, crowded and draughty, however essentials first.

  31. Josh WK at #27 asked about any change in Newspoll methodology. I’m uncertain if my recollection is correct, but I seem to remember that Newspoll in the voting intention question, used to ask explicitly only about Labor, Liberal and/or National, other, and respondents then had to specify Green, Democrats, Family First, One Nation, whatever.
    I’d be happy to be corrected by some-one with more precise information, and if I’m correct when such a change might have occurred. If true, this would probably explain better reported figures for the Greens.

  32. judy

    I’ll call you next week with her details.

    Re the Marj.

    The RAH needs to be rebuilt. The idea of relocating it to the trainyards is good, as the inconvenience of rebuilding on site would be crippling. There are a number of serious compromises of a purely political nature which make it unsupportable from the POV of most doctors and nurses.

    1. The Marj is MUCH too small. 700 beds is tiny. The RAH has 1200 at it’s most and QEH 600. Now they have about 800 between them. The Marj will cut hospital beds in SA which already has too few. That’s why patients live in ED for days. With the ageing population we need more beds than less. All this crap about “hospital avoidance” is just an excuse to cut services and save money.

    2. The name is an absolute disgrace. It’s symbolic of how little regard Rann has for health professionals in the state. You will notice that when doctors etc do ads for the new hospital that they never use the name Marjorie Jackson-Nelson as they refuse to support it, even though they support building a new hospital.

    3. The WCH should be included. It is a backwater at the moment and needs to be dragged into the new millenium. But it’s a sacred cow (and a white elephant) that constantly needs special treatment. It’s basically a “ma and pa” operation. It’s a joke that the WCH is not moved in to the new hospital.

  33. Diogenes – as a former Adeladian I seem to remember Marjorie Nelson working very hard to establish a leukemia trust or somesuch. Her husband and my dearest friend suffered the malady together and died within a few weeks of each other.
    Marj Nelson was an absolute hero at the time and I had great admiration for the way she went about helping other sufferers.
    Does that count for nothing or did nothing eventuate from her work?
    We transferred to Sydney a few months after her husband’s death so I was not able to help with the work.
    But visiting my mother in law in RAH a few years ago was a shock to the system. The Hospital was in dreadful condition.
    Always interested in SA and I, like Judy and you, hope Nicole Cornes runs again. I saw her on Sky News at a meeting and I was stunned at the difference with that and her portrayal in the media.

  34. Thanks Peter – that might explain the shift in the pattern between the three polls. I hope there’s been a genuine increase too, though.

  35. SueH

    Marj did set up a successful charity after her husbands death called the Peter Nelson Foundation, I think. She has worked very hard for it and no-one begrudges her being recognised for it. Having the oncology ward named for her would be appropriate and very popular.

    However, there are literally hundreds of people who have done more for medical charity in SA than her. And there are literally thousands who have given more to medicine in SA than her. For God’s sake Howard Florey is from SA.

    It’s a cheap political stunt by a populist with no substance.

  36. Diogenes – if you read this. I agree with that Howard Florey would be a great choice. Visiting SA in next few weeks so will catch with what is happening there.

  37. First time I’ve been back to this thread in a while, just wanted to reply to your 28 there Dio.

    Rann is a good news premier. If it’s bad news it’s normally Conlon who gets to deliver it. He’s the fall guy, and that’s why he makes such a good target for the News Limited papers. (Not that he’s not deserving of it)

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