Westpoll: 54-46 to Labor; Galaxy: 51-49 to Liberal

A bizarre set of results today from Westpoll, the headline figure showing Labor leading 54-46 on two-party preferred from primary vote figures of Labor 42 per cent, Liberal 35 per cent, Nationals 7 per cent and Greens 10 per cent. Alan Carpenter leads Colin Barnett as preferred leader 51 per cent to 28 per cent. If you believe the Westpoll results, you must conclude that Troy Buswell’s departure has been an unmitigated disaster for the Liberals, sending them from a 51-49 lead to a 50.2-49.8 deficit at the start of campaign to the fiasco indicated by the current figures. Stranger still are two individual seat polls. The Liberals are apparently set to seize the unwinnable seat of Morley, where they lead 51-49 from primary votes of 38 per cent for stop-gap Liberal candidate Ian Britza, 35.5 per cent for Labor’s Reece Whitby and 12 per cent for independent incumbent John D’Orazio. The point of this was to assess D’Orazio’s chances of retaining the seat after breaking with the ALP, and they were obviously not expecting such a result. In Nedlands, independent member Sue Walker languishes on 16 per cent compared with 47.5 per cent for Liberal candidate Bill Marmion and 23 per cent Labor’s Colin Cochrane. No sample size is provided for any of the three polls – we can guess the main poll was about 400, in keeping with the usual Westpoll practice.

UPDATE: Reader SeanofPerth reports a Galaxy poll of 800 voters in tomorrow’s Sunday Times shows the Liberals 51-49 ahead. This would be Galaxy’s first ever poll of Western Australian voting intention, which you can make something of if you like. The Liberal-Nationals vote is 46 per cent against 39 per cent for Labor. Report here; further results here.

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.

245 comments on “Westpoll: 54-46 to Labor; Galaxy: 51-49 to Liberal”

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  1. Labor beating Sue Walker in the western suburbs? Pffft. Mickey Mouse indeed… didn’t they come out with some amazingly wrong calls this time last election?

    I’d be careful about calling Morley unwinnable (for the Libs), by the way. Labor only picked up Ballajura in 2001, and the Liberal there before was a minister. It’s unlikely but it could happen. (Not at this election… maybe in 2013?)

  2. I meant on the primary vote… 23% for an unknown Labor candidate vs 16% for the conservative, well-known sitting member. It doesn’t sound credible to me.

  3. Oh, I see what you mean, Labor having more first preference votes than Walker.

    I think the Labor vote is pretty much what Labor could expect to poll, and in line with their vote in that electorate in the past.

    What it does show is the deep divisions and bitterness in the Conservative vote, and the fact that in Liberal heartland shafting the party is not smart politics.

    On another point, if this Westpoll is even remotely close to the mark, Liz Constable will be feeling pretty sick over losing her virginity as an independent by getting into bed with Barnett.

  4. Yeah, the Labor and Greens votes both sound OK on face value. It’s the two conservatives that stick out… Walker 16% vs Marmion 47.5%. If people in the western suburbs just blindly vote for the Liberals like that, Liz Constable wouldn’t have been in parliament as long as she has. I reckon it’s just the West looking for a result they want. (Subiaco Post likes Walker, by the way, and that paper’s probably more influential out there.)

  5. Bird, you have to bear in mind that Constable has always had an aura of stability and common sense, and left the Liberal party on a point of principle at a time when the Libs were travelling reasonably well (comparatively).

    Walker on the other hand has been portrayed in the press as a fruitcake, and what she has been reported as saying lately has done little to dissuade that perception.

    Constable has always been considered by the Liberals as “one of our own” even if technically not a party member. She is less of a threat to them, as she has shown to be the case by this excellent little adventure on her part, whereas Walker’s bitterness is seen by Liberal supporters as having dangerous ramifications.

    But in the end, who really knows?

  6. Re Nedlands: margin of error 5 per cent. Might even be a sample of 200, in which case 7 per cent. So it could just as easily be Marmion 42 per cent, Walker 21 per cent and Labor 19 per cent. Whether or not she wins from there depends on how many Greens voters (12 per cent according to the survey) break with the how-to-vote card and put Walker ahead of Labor. By giving Labor second preference, the Greens have perversely given the Liberals a huge boost. I’m not writing Walker off, but this has at least convinced me to tip Nedlands for the Liberals when I announce my predictions early next week.

  7. The predictions are returning? Good to hear!

    On another point, if this Westpoll is even remotely close to the mark, Liz Constable will be feeling pretty sick over losing her virginity as an independent by getting into bed with Barnett.

    Given that she originally aspired to be the Liberal member for Floreat, I’m not sure Constable was that pure to begin with.

  8. Roughly translated it is saying that the Liberals are still way ahead in the marginal seats as revealed in the last Westpoll and the leaked Labor Polling from last Thursday week.

    Labor needs to be very careful that any gain to them is not just in the safe Labor seats as nearly every marginal poll released so far during the campaign has shown a surprising Liberal strength in the marginal seats.

  9. Westpoll didn’t manage to get anywhere close to the results in marginal seats before the last election so I’d take any seat polling this time with a grain of salt.

  10. LTEP, if I was Labor I wouldn’t be taking the chance on the polls being wrong. After all their own leaked polling was saying the same thing. The only other option if they can’t turn the marginals around this week is to pack up and move out of their offices.

  11. Surprising that as of one minute ago the 2pp Westpoll result is not on the West’s website at all while the Walker Whitby results still have top billing.

    Or is it?

  12. steve@13. I don’t believe Labor would leak “bad” internal polling without an ulterior motive.

    As I said in my original comment, I just don’t consider Westpoll’s seat polling to be reliable. On a large number of occasions their seat polling has been vastly different to the outcome. I recall one poll they said the Libs would win the seat 60-40 and Labor won 54-46, which is a huge difference. They polled several seats just prior to the last election, said the Libs would comfortably win all of them and then they won none of them, and went backwards in a few.

    It’s not that I necessarily believe Labor can’t lose the election. I just don’t believe Westpoll.

  13. Westpoll has shown itself to be very Mickey Mouse, let’s face it. I wouldn’t be taking any notice of it one way or the other. Any poll that can show Troy within a whisper of government while leader and Barnett way out in front (if he was leader) then can come up in 2 weeks with a poll showing Barnett a mile behind as leader is a poll not worth a crumpet. As for the marginal seat polling make that Mickey Mouse times 10.

  14. steve – be careful what you wish for. You may want Labor out in WA, but how on earth will that fit in with the Liberal narrative that Labor federal and state governments = bad? We can’t possibly have a state Liberal government!

    Or maybe we can, just for comparison. It would be nice for Liberals to take some responsibility for once instead of gaining a free ride, sniping away at all the governments because none of them are Liberal.

    Yes, bring on the state Liberal government comparison, and make state Labor shine as the far lesser of two evils!

  15. I note that Perth Now are not taking comments on the so-called Heritage Listing conflict of interest. Strange to say the least.

    And I note this comment from the West which confirms what Fulvio mentioned last night.

    Mrs Roberts rejected the claim, blaming the Heritage Council for putting her in an untenable position by recommending that she permanently list the property knowing she had a personal interest in it.

    “The Heritage Council did not provide alternative advice or options for the place to be handled by another Minister or provide an alternative recommendation that would negate a conflict of interest,” she said.

    Heritage Council WA acting chairman Norman Etherington said it was his understanding that where the Heritage Minister owned a property under consideration, the matter and final decision on listing should be dealt with by another Minister.

    http://www.thewest.com.au/default.aspx?MenuID=77&ContentID=95029

    Score ALP 1 – Libs Nil 🙂

  16. It’s on the PerthNow news site on Planet 3 on my mobile

    The stories always come up there a few hours before they are up on the website

  17. Talk of ‘coalition’ reminds me… I found the Labor HTV cards on their site. They’re preferencing the Nationals ahead of the Liberals in Moore and Blackwood-Stirling, so that makes it easier for the Nats to win both of those (particularly in Moore, where ALP prefs will probably decide it).

    By the way, William – there’s a Ken Gunson at position 6 on the Blackwood-Stirling ticket, according to that HTV card but not on your page. He ran in South West (upper house) in 2005 as an independent. 😉

  18. BTW poll was 800 voters

    Says result shows 3.3% swing to Libs

    Says it will result in hung parliament

    48% say health services have deteriorated under Labor

    48% hasn’t shared the boom

    40% believe law and order has deteriorated

    38% believe education has suffered

    60% believe Libs would improve health, education and laura norder

    59% say labor doesnt deserve to win

    69% say libs dont deserve to win

    5% nats

    9% greens

    Van Onselen predicts Labor win with 5 seat majority

  19. Galaxy chief David Briggs said Mr Barnett would be in trouble if Saturday’s election mirrored past voting trends in New South Wales and Queensland, where the public wasn’t happy with the incumbent, but didn’t have enough faith in the Opposition to vote them in.
    “In other states they thought it was better to stick with the devil you know rather than change,” Mr Briggs said.
    “They toyed with the idea of voting for the Opposition but pulled back at the last minute.
    “That could be the factor that gets Labor over the line in WA.”
    Is this Briggs having it both ways or not?

  20. “In other states they thought it was better to stick with the devil you know rather than change,” Mr Briggs said.
    “They toyed with the idea of voting for the Opposition but pulled back at the last minute.
    “That could be the factor that gets Labor over the line in WA.”
    Is this Briggs having it both ways or not?

    Briggs has always made statements like that,trying to have an each way bet if his original result is wrong 🙂

    And note how they highlighted the 800 polled compared to Westpoll, though they didn’t mention it by name – The Sunday Crimes is trying to out Liberal the West 🙂

  21. If 54/46 Labors way is correct… then the libs cannot be ahead in marginal seats
    they need to win from Labor it is just not possible
    What is possible is seats such as Ocean Reef without a sitting member may be
    won by the Libs
    I stand by my earlier prediction of a probable ALP win

  22. OK now it’s getting interesting.

    But going back to the Westpoll – I think we are being a bit harsh here.

    As William has previously piointed out, Westpoll are a reputable and competent research company but are limited by small sample sizes. Which means their figures will fluctuate more than other polls.

    However, I think their 2PP estimate is being very generous to Labor. The only way they could get a 2PP of 54-46 from their data is to allocate over 50% of “other parties/independents” to Labor. But in the last state election they went about 75-25 to the Libs.

    Using preference flows from last election 2pp comes out around 52-48 to Labor.

    Of course, that still gets Labor a win. However, I am also aware of pollling (which may be released in the next couple of days) which shows a 2pp around 50/50.

    The other interesting factor is that the “don’t knows” is higher than usual at this point of the campaign. There is a substantial proportion of voters still to make up their mind.

  23. If 48% say health services have deteriorated under Labor does that mean 52% believe haven’t?

    Yep, love the selected quoting of the figures to highlight the negatives, and nothing on Barnett’s approval rating either.

    Something is very fishy here.

  24. Of course, that still gets Labor a win. However, I am also aware of pollling (which may be released in the next couple of days) which shows a 2pp around 50/50.

    If I recall correctly, didn’t the Westpoll on Election day 2005 predict 50/50 ?

  25. It’s got Winston up and running.
    Actually, according to Antony’s calculator a 3.3% swing to the Libs gives Labor 30 seats. A one seat majority.

  26. William, from the Fed election threads, I think you said that the West isn’t owned by News Ltd, but the Sunday Times is. If that’s the case, this is probably the final Galaxy poll, as News Ltd simply won’t have a vehicle to publish Galaxy in. The final Westpoll and final WA Newspoll should be in next Sat election day.

  27. William, from the Fed election threads, I think you said that the West isn’t owned by News Ltd, but the Sunday Times is. If that’s the case, this is probably the final Galaxy poll, as News Ltd simply won’t have a vehicle to publish Galaxy in. The final Westpoll and final WA Newspoll should be in next Sat election day.

    I think William is referring to thefact this is the first Galxy Poll dedicated to WA Politics rather than a National Galaxy Poll.

  28. “However, I am also aware of pollling (which may be released in the next couple of days) which shows a 2pp around 50/50.” That isn’t as good as the Galaxy finding for the Libs but, again, according Antony’s calculator a 50/50 would be a 2.3% swing to the Libs and gives Labor 30 seats. A one seat majority.

  29. 37 Michael:

    [ Does anyone rate the Nationals a chance in Eyre on Labor preferences? ]

    Possibly, but I doubt it – Graham Jacobs is too popular in Esperance, and the Labor candidate down there has been utterly invisible (the Labor member for Murchison-Eyre was John Bowler, and he’s not running in Eyre), so the Nats would have to get a similar vote as Jacobs rather than rely on their preferences. Not likely. I’d say the Nats have a better chance in Kalgoorlie than Eyre, as there’s no popular sitting member to deal with – that’ll be a very interesting four-way race.

  30. I’m sure you are right Gary. But I wasn’t predicting a Liberal win. Just making some observations on polling results. Which suggest a close result. You are reading way too much into my comments.

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