Westpoll: Liberal favoured for Nationals alliance

The West Australian has published a Westpoll survey of 400 respondents, of whom 181 (exact figures provided) said they preferred that the Nationals form an alliance with the Liberals against 129 who preferred Labor (44 per cent to 32 per cent). Of the former group, “33 per cent said they believed National voters were traditionally more Liberal than Labor, 32 per cent said the big swing in the election showed voters wanted to get rid of Labor, 21 per cent said Labor had ignored country people, 15 per cent said they preferred Mr Barnett and 6 per cent said it was because of Labor’s one-vote, one-value legislation”. The Liberals were favoured 53-47 on voting intention, although Alan Carpenter retains a lead of 47 per cent to 37 per cent as preferred premier. “Nearly eight out of 10” expressed support for major city projects being shelved to accommodate Royalties for Regions.

The West also reports Jim McGinty “has conceded Labor has probably lost the crucial seats of Wanneroo and Riverton”, where the Liberals say they lead by 280 and 62 votes. The Liberals believe themselves to be 28 votes behind in Albany, whereas Labor thinks the Liberals are one vote ahead. Unless recounts are called, the matter should be settled with tomorrow’s full distribution of preferences. Other seats which might yet hold surprises in store:

North West. Labor’s Vince Catania is the presumed winner of this seat having gained a 1.3 per cent swing, an outwardly remarkable result. However, hidden within this figure is one of the stories of the election: the Nationals polled 22.3 per cent after failing to contest the equivalent seats in 2005, gouging 10.1 per cent from the Liberal primary vote along with 7.2 per cent from Labor. This puts them in third place on 22.3 per cent behind 36.4 per cent for Labor and 27.0 per cent for Liberal. Preferences from independent Lex Fullarton (7.1 per cent), and to a lesser extent Greens candidate Peter Shaw (7.2 per cent, most of which will flow to Labor) might yet give them the 4.7 per cent boost they need to get ahead of the Liberals, in which case they would comfortably win the seat on Liberal preferences. The difference between the primary and notional two-party results suggest as many as 40 per cent of Nationals preferences were flowing to Labor (UPDATE: A Labor source writes to say it was more like a third, Labor’s other preferences coming from Fullarton; expects a significant proportion of Fullarton votes, including donkey votes, to go straight to Labor rather than helping the Nationals close their gap on the Liberals). However, it would have been a very different story in the Agricultural and South West region seats which the Nationals actually won, and to which their MPs will have to return after deciding which horse to back.

Kwinana. Independent candidate Carol Adams, who it must be said has reason to be displeased with the ALP, may have crowed too early when she expressed interest in the police and local government portfolios. As the count progressed her primary vote deficit against Labor increased from 15.4 per cent to 18.7 per cent, leaving her needing 77 per cent of preferences from the other candidates. Antony Green estimates she will receive 85 per cent, perhaps 90 per cent, of the 18.8 per cent Liberal vote. However, her share of other candidates’ votes (10.5 per cent Greens, 3.8 per cent Family First and 1.7 per cent for another independent) is likely to be in the high sixties. That makes it a very close call.

Alfred Cove. On Wednesday, The West Australian reported that Liberal candidate Chris Back was “closing” on independent member Janet Woollard, who led by just 20 votes. However, nothing has been heard since. Woollard trails Back 43.3 per cent to 25.3 per cent on the primary vote, and will need about 73 per cent of the preferences from Labor (20.3 per cent), the Greens (9.5 per cent) and the Christian Democratic Party (1.5 per cent).

In the upper house, the only certain result is the reliable North Metropolitan region, which has returned three Liberal, two Labor and one Greens member. The Liberals have also done very well to win three seats in the other two metropolitan regions, in which the Greens and the third Labor are fighting for the final seats. The Nationals have won two seats in Agricultural and are in what looks like a winning battle with Family First for a third, with the remainder going two Liberal and one Labor. South West also has the Nationals leading Family First in a contest for the final seat, the others going three Liberal and two Labor. The Nationals have also won one seat and possibly two in Mining and Pastoral, the second seat coming down to a fight with the Greens, while Labor and the Liberals have won two each.

Labor will thus win between 11 and 13 seats, and the Nationals three to six. Getting a Labor-Nationals Royalties for Regions deal through without the support of the Greens or Family First would require the best case scenario for both parties, which almost certainly won’t happen: the Greens are ahead in all three of their doubtful seats, to add to their certain win in North Metropolitan. The Liberals on the other hand will definitely have a majority of the 36 seats together with the Nationals, appearing almost certain to win 16 seats.

UPDATE: It’s confirmed that Labor is home in North West and Pilbara. The Sunday Times has a very interesting article on the Nationals’ deliberations, suggesting Warren Truss is desperately trying to talk Brendon Grylls out of a possible deal with Labor. Nationals MP Max Trenorden, an opponent of the Labor option, says he is “not going to say whether I am happy with the decision or not, but I’m certainly not going to commit suicide over it”.

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.

212 comments on “Westpoll: Liberal favoured for Nationals alliance”

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  1. the west has really gone above and beyond with this, their latest stunt to force the libs over the line. I realise all papers have a particular bias, but the west is so refreshing in its total disregard for journalistic and ethical standards in pursuit of right wing hagemony. i consider it more of a loony right fantasy comic than a newspaper. Paul Armstrong is obviously panicked at the thought of a recalcitrant brendan foiling his cunning plans to place barnett on the throne. If grylls does the right thing and supports labor then mr armstrongs tenure at the west must surely be in doubt. Even the uber right board of the west know that 4 years of lost government advertising revenue makes shareholders most upset. Whats next, maybe a newspoll citing that labor politicians are 23% more likely to eat babies than conservative politicians. I anticipate the next paranoid rambling from Armstrong and his excerable paper because its always quite hilarious.

  2. Here’s a question from the south-west end of left field. What does the Fremantle Herald have to say about it all? I believe that’s a Friday paper, and it’s a very good one, but here in sunny Cloverdale I don’t read it so much. Any of you live down there?

    Oh, and the West can bite me. Unless they polled country folk, how could they get an opinion on what the Nationals would do?

  3. If grylls does the right thing and supports labor then mr armstrongs tenure at the west must surely be in doubt. Even the uber right board of the west know that 4 years of lost government advertising revenue makes shareholders most upset. Whats next, maybe a newspoll citing that labor politicians are 23% more likely to eat babies than conservative politicians.

    Nope, try a series of stories about City based projects expected to face the knife to fund those “spoilt cockies”, mainly centred in the Northern & western Suburbs.

  4. Bird, I live there/here and I have it in front of me. Front page story about the Greens’ near-miss in Fremantle. Quotes McGinty saying he would have lost the seat if Buswell had been Liberal leader, as “the Liberal vote woudl have collapsed and the Greens would have won (on Liberal preferences)”. Not a word about the upper house though.

  5. Front page story about the Greens’ near-miss in Fremantle. Quotes McGinty saying he would have lost the seat if Buswell had been Liberal leader, as “the Liberal vote woudl have collapsed and the Greens would have won (on Liberal preferences)”.

    Interesting that, but then again with Fremantle being home to lots of Greenie hippie types, I wouldn’t have been surprised, not that William is one of those 🙂

    Is there another lecture from Paul Murray on why the Nats are Commies for forming an alliance with Labor ? Or will he on Monday launch a tirade against Nationals Voters and those who preferenced them for creating thi

  6. Is there another lecture from Paul Murray on why the Nats are Commies for forming an alliance with Labor ? Or will he on Monday launch a tirade against Nationals Voters and those who preferenced them for creating thi

    Hmm, the last bit wasn’t typed in – it should end with “this 3 eyed Monster”

  7. Murray article headlined “Bag of cash and Grylls’ principles look shaky: History revisited as Nationals’ head chameleon looks to be on Viagra or LSD”. Make of that what you will.

    It’s an attack article warning Grylls about dealing with Labor etc.

    Standard fare – see the Worst of Perth and Paul Nurry 🙂

  8. ‘blogGod William have we lost our handy Electoral Commission links or do I suffer domestic blindness? Maybe I should answer with, they’ll be back as full functions are returned…

    Looks good. I like that I can click on the Banner and get the Pollbludger home.

  9. JEEZUZ… I missed the North West thing on the first skim read. I googled Lex Fullarton, and my spider senses (ably assisted by a few glasses of wine) tell me his preferences will go Green and National. Something to do with solar panels in Canarvon and grumbling about ‘the state doesn’t stop at Gingin’ – the last would mean specifically not the two Perth parties, so I can see the Nat making up that difference, thanks to him – and then the Lib voters following the HTV like obedient little puppy dogs and putting him to the 50%. To win from third place with 22% of the vote… when’s the last time that happened?

    If he gets elected tomorrow when they do the preferences, that could really throw a hand grenade into the Nats meeting on who to support – the first National seat north of the Tropic of Capricorn, and the only Nat/ALP seat (all the others are Nat/Lib).

    By the how, could the same thing happen in Pilbara? They’ve definitely come second there… looks to me like ALP/Nat with a beltingly reduced margin. Could they sneak another there? Labor look safe in Kimberley though, due to a big Green vote. (I know one who moved to Broome, obviously there’s plenty more up there.)

  10. Isn’t the Upper House situation shaping as a fundamental stumbling block to a Labor/Nats alliance? No point for the Nats in doing the deal if that doesn’t get them what they want, anyway. Or would the minor parties in the Upper House pass the legislation, anyway?

  11. The “angry mob” down at The Worst are definitely worried…pulling all stops to get crazy Col and his crew over the line… Goebbels would be proud.

  12. Labor preferenced the Nationals ahead of John Bowler in Kalgoorlie and finished behind the Nats on primary votes. Was there a leakage away from the card, or did the Greens push Labor ahead of the Nats? There are still quite a few votes to be counted in that seat, according to the WAEC.

  13. Michael

    The deadline for postal votes has expired. There are only 10,787 votes to deal with. Some of those remote electorates have disturbing participation rates.

  14. The more I see of Grylls, the more I don’t like. He appears to be a man willing to compromise his (and the parties) principles by hopping into bed with whomever makes the best offer.

    Money talks, eh? Very disappointing, nevertheless.

    And, who does this young pup think he is, to tell the Labor mob that he will only deal with Carpenter as leader?

    Btw, I voted Independent in this election.

  15. A 24% non-participation rate does raise questions about the integrity of the roll (47% in Kimberley). I imagine many people (like me) had moved away from the electorate and not yet updated their details.

    The Greens polled 461 votes in Kalgoorlie and their preferences presumably nudged Labor ahead of the Nats, otherwise it might have been a remarkable result if Labor voters stuck to their card.

  16. If all the primary votes have been counted, Pilbara looks in doubt to me. Family First preferenced the Nationals and the Nats finished ahead of the Liberals.

    The WAEC is incorrectly showing a notional two-party split between Labor and Liberal when it should be Labor and Nat.

    Labor needs to pick up 439 preference votes from the Greens (744 primary votes) and some spillage from Family First and Liberals to be sure of the seat.

    At first glance Pilbara looks a closer call than North West.

  17. Michael

    I presume that WAEC made a best guess before election day on who would be the 2 highest polling candidates (ALP and Lib) and instructed their polling officers to do a preference allocation based on those 2 candidates after they finished the initial primary vote count on election night. It looks like that guess was wrong and the final distribution will be between ALP and Nats.

    However I expect the likely high flow of preferences from Greens to ALP and a couple of defecting preferences from FFP and Libs to ALP will sneek ALP over the line.

    This sort of thing may have been part of Antony’s analysis problems on election night.

  18. It’s Time (28), I think you’re right but it is very close. I expect the close results in Pilbara, Kalgoorlie and North West will be taken into account when the Nats decide which party to support. They have won those votes mostly from Labor. Grylls’ strategy was to broaden the party’s support beyond the Agricultural zone into Mining and Pastoral and it succeeded.

  19. Adam, it takes a few minutes to start working.

    Michael, you know the turf better than I do, but surely Labor preferences in Kalgoorlie will leak quite heavily to Bowler ahead of the Nats. Labor needs 58 per cent of Greens preferences to win Pilbara, and notwithstanding that they ran an open ticket, I’m guessing they will get them. I’d be interested to hear what others think.

  20. William, I haven’t heard any scrutineer reports, but the Labor primary vote was decimated in Kalgoorlie. I expect the people who actually voted Labor were party diehards who are more likely to follow the card. The combined Lib/Nat vote was 44%, so if Nats got ahead of ALP they wouldn’t need too many people to follow the Labor card to win the seat. Labor looks like getting ahead of Nats though on Greens preferences.

    It’s academic anyway given John Bowler has aligned himself with the Nats.

  21. A Labor source writes on North West preferences, sounding confident that a large share of Fullarton’s preferences (including donkey votes) will go straight to Labor, instead of helping the Nationals close the gap on the Liberals. The first bit is a response to my suggestion that “as many as 40 per cent” of Nationals preferences on election night went to Labor:

    I dont think the preference flows from the Nationals to ALP are quite 40%, the overall good flow of preferences I think comes in a large part from a very strong election night preference flow from Fullarton, while the national preferences I’d guess were breaking at about 1/3 to labor, mostly from the Karratha booths (Tambrey booth is the best example of the ‘ALP workers voting National’). The flows on election day from Fullarton came mostly from Carnarvon (where the IND’s vote last time was so strong as he was the only Cararvon candidate), however Catania had his MLC office stationed in Carnarvon. In short I think the Nat’s problem is that Fullarton’s vote is strongest in the areas that the National vote was lower, I have very few preference flows from election night but from what I had, Fullarton was going 60% to ALP.

    The declaration votes were much better for national, with perhaps 45-50% of Fullarton’s votes going to Day, with donkey votes making up alot of the rest, Day may make up 60-70 votes on the liberals through 2PP declarations (although they lost 400 or on declaration primaries).

    Greens vote wasn’t as stronly solid to Labor as I expected in the few declaration votes I saw, but the flows to nationals were not obvious over the liberals. Can’t see them making any real ground here.

    While it is likely a biased opinion, Catania worked very hard during the campaign (doorknocking almost all of the electorate) and my gut feeling is that his presence in Karratha and smaller towns (all the candidates were from Carnarvon – and a few barely left) over the other candidates is going to get him alot of 2’s when people were voting non ALP/LP.

  22. The Lib – Lab 2PP is about 52-48 and had increased since the election

    An Lab – Nat alliance means either the Greens or Liberal have the balance of power in the upper house (best case scenario)

    The WA Labor is on the nose, 64% of voter did not vote for them, at least the Liberal + Liz Constable got to 40%

    only 2 years ago Labor and Greens introduced 1 vote 1 value and trying to wipe out the National, most of National’s constituency still had not forgiven Labor for doing it

    There are too many Labor types in this blog who just does not get it,

    National can only get what they want if they support the Liberal, and they also become the balance of power party and can demonstrate what they can do for the bush, this is what they should do if they want to remain relevant

    Unlike SA, where 1 National voted against a government on the nose to join the up and coming Labor Party, if the Nat follow the SA example, they will reject the party on the nose of the electorate ie Labor.

    WA has spoken 2/3 of WA does not want Labor any party with 35% of vote does not deserve to govern

    I have been looking at North West since the day of the election, the postals had not benefit the Nats, i am still wondering whether the Nat can pass the Lib, and then 90-95% of Liberal will elect the National candidate giving a lib – nat (alliance) a 31-28 to 33-26 advantage

  23. My avatar doesn’t seem to be working here. I signed up with my address, and when I click on the avatar it comes up with the avatar page on gravatar. It doesn’t seem to show up here.

  24. sorry dovif

    “National can only get what they want if they support the Liberal”

    Other way around. election spending saw the libs outspend labor by at least 300-400 million dollars. 200 odd mill for tax cuts plus 120 mill extra for teachers means that the libs have already raided the surplus to is maximum capacity. Treasury has already warned them that any further draw down on the surplus will risk the states triple a credit rating. The libs simply dont have the capacity to fund the nats promises without totally renegging on their promise to teachers and tax cuts. Secondly the federal coalition is demonstratably a death sentence for the nats. The federal by election saw the nats splattered!!. The only nats that have polled well are openly defiant like joyce or those in SA that are in an alliance with labor. Thirdly and this is where the libs get really confused, ideologically the nats are protectionists, not free marketeers like the libs. The two ideologies are diametrically opposed. The nats will find far more in common with labor economic doctrine than the libs. As for percentages of votes, the voters put a pox on both our houses, i admit they gave us a beating, but at the same time they gave the libs fewer seats in parliament than us, hardly a ringing endorsement. An alliance between labor and the nats engaged in an open and transparent discourse with the greens will be a breath of fresh air for WA polotics. Listening to the comments from Grylls, he appears to agree!

  25. Ignoring The Worst’s blatant bias, won’t Labor still have the largest block in the LA? Do we have any updates on overall numbers? Won’t the Libs+Constable still need more than the Nats four seats to get to 30?

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