Westpoll: 50-50; Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor

A polling bonanza for the Western Australian election, with a 51-49 result in Labor’s favour from Newspoll (UPDATE: Scanned graphic courtesy of James J; Peter Brent at Mumble doesn’t like the look of a mere 51-49 lead to Labor from even primary vote figures) and a comprehensive Westpoll survey in The West Australian. The latter includes a 50.2-49.8 statewide result in Labor’s favour from a sample of 400, plus electorate-level surveys of 400 voters from Scarborough (notional Liberal margin of 2.4 per cent, Liberals lead 52-48), Kingsley (notionally lineball, Liberals lead 54-46), Collie-Preston (notional Labor margin 0.9 per cent, 50-50), Kalamunda (notional Liberal margin 0.2 per cent, Liberals lead 54-46) and Riverton (notional Labor margin 2.1 per cent, Liberals lead 51-49). Full scan here. Other highlights of the past week:

• Nominations closed at noon yesterday, and the Poll Bludger election guide has accordingly been brought up to date with full candidate lists. A key feature is the late withdrawal of a large number of much-touted independent candidates. Two Labor-turned-independent MPs who had earlier planned on running evidently saw the writing on the wall: one-time Health Minister and Yokine MP Bob Kucera, who was earlier deliberating over whether to contest Nollamara or Mount Lawley, and Shelley Archer, the wife of CFMEU heavy Kevin Reynolds who was dumped from the party over dealings with Brian Burke, earlier weighing her options in Kimberley and her existing upper house seat in Mining and Pastoral region. On the other side of politics, former leader Paul Omodei has decided against nominating after most recently suggesting he would run for the South West upper house region. Troy Buswell’s predecessor as member for Vasse, Bernie Masters, has decided not to run against him after very nearly defeating him as an independent in 2005. The only remaining major party renegade still in the hunt is Ballajura MP John D’Orazio, contesting the new seat of Morley.

• Robert Taylor of The West Australian noted the Liberals’ unreadiness for the campaign in an article on Thursday, identifying two reasons for their lack of television advertising thus far: “The first is that they’re simply not ready. When the election was called, the Liberals did not even have advertising concepts in the can for former leader Troy Buswell, let alone a leader who had only been elected the previous day. The second is that they are woefully underfunded and Olympic period television advertising is extremely expensive. Labor is said to have booked significant airspace during the Olympics for about $250,000 … Liberal television advertisements are not expected to hit the airwaves until the Olympics are over, giving them roughly 10 days to establish their message before the media blackout comes into effect at midnight on the Wednesday before the poll.”

• On which subject, eastern states viewers can view the Labor television ad on the ALP site. Western Australian readers will have seen it a million times already. Interesting to note that the front page of the site includes a defence of the early election announcement.

• The Liberals do at least have two radio ads, both negative, which can be heard here. Message common to both: “If you couldn’t make things work with eight years of boom, what’s going to happen now that things are slowing down, prices are rising and interest rates are up?”

• Labor has also chosen the medium of radio to field its first negative ads, which fascinatingly pursue the theme of Liberal Party sexism: not conventional election campaign fodder, but well worth a run under the present extraordinary circumstances. As well as the lingering image problem from Troy Buswell’s tenure as leader, the Liberals can boast just one female candidate in a notionally Liberal lower house seat, and precious few in winnable Labor seats. The message is conveyed by a young girl declaring her aspirations for when she grows up, and the unlikelihood of them being realised through the vehicle of the Liberal Party. If you’re up early this morning (7am Saturday) you might hear me discussing the subject on the ABC’s AM program (UPDATE: Read and hear it here). More on the women candidates issue from Andrea Mayes of the Sunday Times.

• An interesting assessment of the overall situation from Kim Beazley in an article for WAToday, who in tipping a cliffhanger reminds readers that “the blue-collar component of the WA electorate is half that of Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, and 50 per cent less than Brisbane”, and that “a large non-English speaking background electorate so richly supportive of Labor in the east” is “likewise missing”.

• The Liberals have landed an interesting candidate in the safe Labor southern suburbs seat of Cockburn: Corruption and Crime Commission intelligence analyst Donald Barrett, who has taken leave without pay from his position to stand against Energy Minister Fran Logan. Jessica Strutt of The West Australian reports that “some Labor MPs are simply paranoid about the Barrett factor – more particularly the ‘dirt’ he may have”.

• The Prime Minister was on the campaign trail in the northern outskirts seat of Mindarie on Thursday as Alan Carpenter announced a $147.5 million extension of the northern rail line.

• Deidre Willmott, who stood aside in Cottesloe to allow Colin Barnett to rescind his retirement plans, has been appointed Barnett’s chief-of-staff. There seems little doubt she will realise her claim to Cottesloe at a by-election if the Liberals fail to win government.

• State political editor Peter Kennedy told ABC Radio on Monday that a Labor source had revealed polling in Swan Hills showing 69 per cent believed the Liberals were not ready to govern, but clammed up when probed about voting intention or figures from other seats. However, Labor has been openly trumpeting polling from Jandakot showing them leading 56-44.

• Former Labor MP and lobbying kingpin MP John Halden made the eyebrow-raising claim in an article in Monday’s West Australian that Ben Wyatt, who replaced Geoff Gallop as member for Victoria Park in March 2006, would succeed Alan Carpenter as Premier before the next election. The following day he told the paper it was “no secret” in Labor ranks he was being groomed for the job.

• Crikey subscribers can read me having two bob each way on the relevance of the Northern Territory precedent.

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.

277 comments on “Westpoll: 50-50; Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor”

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  1. What the Green Groups want for WA.

    “An independent climate change authority, greater protection of the state’s iconic areas and a commitment to a bottle and can refund scheme are among an election wishlist by WA’s environment groups.

    They also want new coal-fired power stations to be rejected and bans on uranium mining and genetically modified crops to continue.

    The wishlist, compiled by the Conservation Council, the Wilderness Society, Environs Kimberley and the Australian Conservation Foundation, has also called for a feed-in tariff of at least 50c a kilowatt-hour to ensure WA achieves a target of at least 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020.

    It has also renewed calls for a 10c recycling refund for bottles and cans to “address the state’s waste and litter crisis”. It says such a scheme is supported by 90 per cent of WA’s residents and would lift the recycling rate from 20 per cent to 80 per cent.

    Priority should be given to the protection of the Great Western Woodlands, Banded Ironstone Formation Ranges and a “sufficient part” of the Kimberley, while the Government should support “strong nationally legislated” greenhouse pollution reduction targets of at least 30 per cent by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050.”


  2. Peter Brent (Mumble) came up with a view that Newspoll’a 51 to 49 should be 52 to 48 , and said therefore on that Labor would win comfortabley

    Whilst I agree with his basic reasons , a lower ‘right’ vote & therefore higher weightng of pref flows to Labor this time , I’m still inclibed to support Newspolls figure because an offsetting factor may be rounding effect of primary votes for all Partys This can amount to as much as 0.80% lower Labor vote than reported (or in reverse)

    Further , Mumble’s was a straighht line method , and note Newspoll use State population weightings

    So on these 2 basis I’m happy to accept Neewspolls data as is , suggesting a nail bite Labor win , and naturaly all these Polls have MOE factor anyway

  3. 254 Well Ron that has always been the tricky bit for the Greens and their supporters. Unfortunately for them they always end up a stride or two away from the mainstream debate on the fringe of where the main action happens to be.

    One day they will do what the Germans did and take the mainstream debate headon I suppose but they don’t seem to have that mindset. They seem to have a long way to go in the rat cunning and elephant hide department.

    I sometimes wonder if they have ever seriously sat down and had a think about what they would need to do to actually win lower house seats and get swinging voters to swing their way, apart from change the voting system to the Green way of thinking.

    Even something as basic as taking marginal seats from Liberals never seems to make it onto the to do list.

  4. Steve at 256 and Ron at 254

    Don’t confuse the “green groups” referred to in the article with “The Greens” the political party. While The Greens may be supportive of the objectives of the green groups, they are not the same thing.

    The Greens have targeted lower house seats in the past such as Fremantle in the last State Election and Nedlands in the by-election caused by Court’s retirement in 2001 with varying degreens of success.

    The vote for the Greens has gone up solidly for a number of years and will soon have them knocking on the doors of the major parties. The reality of it is that they will most likely have success in the lower house in safe Liberal and Labor seats rather than marginal Liberal seats. It is just a matter of forcing one major party under 50% of the vote and then outpolling the other and picking up all the preferences. Easy 🙂

  5. “Maybe the definition of success needs to be lifted somewhat, Luke”

    I suppose the measure of success depends on your objectives which may be different from the objectives of the major parties.

  6. Some of the Green groups wishlist of renewables power generation seems to be in the pipeline.

    [“The prospect of an operational electricity market has already resulted in two independent private sector proposals being put to the government for the provision of up to 2000MW of electricity for 2013,” Mr Carpenter said.

    He said gas and renewable energy sources would dominate the new system.

    “Greater growth with lower greenhouse gas impact will be a major coup for our export focussed industries as they deal with emission caps in the future.”]


  7. Steve at 260.

    So the message is “can’t win, don’t try”.

    Thats fine, I was just trying to give you some insight but have it your way.

    See you later.

  8. [So the message is “can’t win, don’t try”]

    Not at all, Luke. Change the mindset and win would be the sensible thing to do. I think the Greens actually owe it to their supporters to be more electorally successful than they have been to date.

  9. Steve @ 261

    I know that there are almost routine stoushes between yourself and Greens’ bloggers on this site, and I follow these with interest.

    I would rate myself as someone who is a bit marooned by these stoushes.

    Leaving aside the problems with the totality of the Greens’ platform, and in particular the economic side of things, and focusing on some benchmark environmental outcomes, the two main parties at both levels of jurisdiction appear, in general:

    1. unable to reduce the rate biodiversity loss in Australia
    2. unable to sort out water
    3. unable to reduce the number of weed introductions and the rate of their spread
    4. unable to reduce the amount of materials waste per capita
    5. unable to reduce the energy use per capita
    6. unable to reduce the spread of acid soils
    7. unable to avoid the situation where many of the top 20 commercial fish species are overfished
    8. unable to manage feral animals

    and so on, and so on. There are temporary and regional variations in these, but the overall national trends would appear to be there and it does not seem to matter which of the main parties is holding the reins.

    In other words, they just don’t seem to be able to cut it with respect to environmental sustainability.

    I would be curious about your views on this proposition.

  10. I look at it this way Boerwar, if the Labor states are going to topple eventually and the voters want an alternative to tories then the Greens need to position themselves to take the fight up to the tories. Sitting in a comfortable third position watching this happen would be a tragedy for them as far as I am concerned.

    If they start tackling Liberals headon in marginal seats then sooner or later they will learn how it is done and will begin to win a few. While they are content to sit back in third they will get the same results. I think they spread their resources far too thinly. A more focused effort in the marginals seems a better approach.

  11. Frank,
    You seem pretty keen to try to “win” by using ALL CAPS. Of course, like others who try to win this way, it does not work. Check out Graeme Bird – but I refuse to link to him. Unless and until you can substantiate any of the positions you have taken on this (only one of which has proven half true – being the one word “denial” from our Premier) then you are not winning any argument on the subject.
    As offered before, though – if you are happy to drop it I am.
    I suggest you read Sen. Pratt’s statement again if you consider that a denial. It is nothing of the sort.
    On the “Green” issues Boerwar – can you indicate how the Greens policies will actually address these? Banning or restricting more efficient agricultural cropping will tend to increase the amount of land needed to supply a given amount of food, working against your criteria 1 and 2, possibly 3 and certainly 6. Refusing to accept nuclear power will eliminate a method of reducing the impact of 5. Point 7 probably cannot be addressed nationally, requiring international agreements or privatisation of the resources (another no-no) and managing feral animals is most poorly handled on government lands, meaning 8 is being hurt by the policies to increase national parks and other reserved lands.

  12. Steve @ 265

    Thank you.

    Just moving along from the immediate political positioning issues, which appear to be matters of judgement for the Greens (clever according to them and wrong-headed according to yourself and others), I would appreciate it if you could respond to the basic proposition outlined above, which is that neither of the main parties appears to be able to deliver environmental sustainability.

  13. Andrfew,

    See William’s post here

    William Bowe Says:
    August 19th, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Can we move on now please.

    I will no longer respond to ANY of your posts.

  14. Andrew @ 266

    I am not a Green, so one of the Greens might want to have a try at answering your quesitons.

    My basic point is that I am concerned about environmental sustainability and I don’t believe that either of the two main parties have been able to deliver on it. I also believe that the party which is mostly interested in it, is most probably not going to be able to deliver on it for two reasons: (1) they are unlikely to gain government and (2) even if they did, it is fairly doubtful that their policy package would deliver on economic sustainability.

  15. Frank,
    I did miss it and my apologies to William for doing so. I will have to take it that you are not going to address the issues as you have not previously.

    Does that mean that you will not even attempt to address any other point I may raise? Like the discussion above on the Greens policies?

  16. Boerwar,
    I would have to agree with you on both 1 and 2. I would say that the legislative solutions proposed by all of the parties are not going to deliver on questions of sustainability by their very nature – legislative solutions to complex problems are almost invariably bound to fail. The policies I have seen from the Greens in the past rely heavily on the powers of government, and those sorts of powers I deeply mistrust.

  17. Does that mean that you will not even attempt to address any other point I may raise? Like the discussion above on the Greens policies?</blockquote


    I am ignoring you completely.

  18. 267 Boerwar, I personally think that every party needs to come to terms with economic and environmental sustainability. Every party has some aspects nailed down and some that elude them. I’m also sure that being in the centre is a different perspective to either of the outer fringes.

  19. Steve @ 273

    Thank you. I think your reply is reasonable given the circumstances, but you can probably understand why I feel marooned by the main parties and the Greens on environmental sustainability.

  20. I note in the Liberals’ Taxi Policy that:

    Mr O’Brien, a former Liberal spokesman for Disability Services, also raised the possibility of revision of the Taxi User Subsidy Scheme.

    “I will be looking to boost accessibility, in consultation with the taxi industry, the disabilities community and seniors’ organisations,” he said.

    Well, as a person with a disabilty who relies on the Subsidy scheme, and living in the outer metropolitan area is the fact that unless you have a roster of drivers you can book direct, it is almost impossible to get a Multipurpose Taxi by booking through a Taxi Company, a point illustrated when I went to a function in Ellenbrook (at Jaye Radisich’s Electorate Office opening for the record) from Middle Swan and I had booked the cab on a Monday to pick me up at 3pm on the Friday Afternoon, the cab diddn’t arrive until 5pm, and the return was worst, I rang for a cab at 7.20pm and despite ringing every 30 minutes from a nearby business (I didn’t own a mobile at the time), the cab never turned up, I would’ve been left stranded, if not for the kindness of a lady buying a Pizza from the local Dominoes store.

    It seems that all the MPT’s were in Northbridge, where they make more money on a Friday & Saturday Night carry drinking groups, instead of carrying people with disabilities.

    Jaye raised the matter with the Transport minister and in her letter, Black & White Taxis pointed out that they rang the contact number (the electorate office), but got no reply – staff have conifirmed that there were no messages on the answering service.

    In short, the problem won’t be solved until the DPI mandates that MPT drivers give priority to Special Needs passengers first, and that they only “normal work” if there is no MPT work available.


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