Patterson: Labor 7, Liberal 6, Greens 4 in ACT

The Canberra Times has published a poll of voting intention for the October 18 Australian Capital Territory election, covering 400 respondents in each of the three multi-member regions. The poll appears to confirm what might have been ascertained from anecdotal evidence and recent elections elsewhere: that Labor’s primary vote is down by as much as 10 per cent since the last election; that it has no chance of retaining its majority; and that the dividend from its decline is set to be reaped by the Greens, who have a quota in their own right in each electorate and are looking good for a second seat in the seven-seat Molonglo region. The table below shows results from both the poll and the 2004 election, with the number of quotas indicated in brackets.

2004 Election
Molonglo (7) 33% (2.6) 29% (2.3) 23% (1.8) 16% (1.3) 45.3% (3.6) 32.6% (2.6) 11.5% (0.9) 10.6% (0.9)
Brindabella (5) 38% (2.3) 37% (2.2) 18% (1.1) 7% (0.4) 45.7% (2.7) 40.0% (2.4) 7.3% (0.4) 6.6% (0.4)
Ginninderra (5) 34% (2.0) 34% (2.0) 16% (1.0) 16% (1.0) 50.1% (3.4) 32.4% (2.2) 8.2% (0.6) 7.6% (0.6)

Labor and Liberal seem assured of two seats in Molonglo and the Greens of one, but the remaining two are hard to pick. With seven seats on offer, the electorate has proved attractive to independent candidates including Liberal-turned-independents Richard Mulcahy (an incumbent) and Helen Cross (defeated in 2004), along with high-profile Queanbeyan mayor Frank Pangallo. The poll respectively has them on 2 per cent, 2.5 per cent and 3 per cent, meaning there would need to be tight mutual preference flows if any of them are to be in the hunt (for what it’s worth, Pangallo has been approached by Labor in the past to run in Eden-Monaro). If the figures are accurate, the most likely result would be that the minor candidates’ preferences would spray around enough to deliver one of the final seats to Labor and another to the Greens. The figures from the five-member electorates point to straightforward results of two Labor, two Liberal and one Greens. That means the most likely outcome of the election is that Labor will survive as a minority government with Greens support (assuming a coalition of some description isn’t on the cards). The current numbers are Labor nine, Liberal seven and Greens one.

Further discussion at The-RiotACT.

UPDATE: Remiss of me not to have noticed the accompanying Canberra Times article which reports: “The Greens have made no secret that they would consider forming a coalition with either side of the political equation”. Hat tip to Oz in comments.

UPDATE 2 (5/10/08): The Sunday edition of the Canberra Times provides further figures on leadership perceptions, finding Jon Stanhope is preferred as leader by 41.6 per cent against 40.0 per cent for Zed Seselja. This compares with Stanhope’s 63 per cent to 19 per cent lead over then-Liberal leader Brendan Smyth shortly before the 2004 election. “Just over half” reckon Stanhope suffers from the foible du jour, arrogance.

UPDATE 3 (6/10/08): Adam Carr has some lovely maps at his Psephos website with colour-coded booth results for Labor, Liberal and the Greens.

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.

175 comments on “Patterson: Labor 7, Liberal 6, Greens 4 in ACT”

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  1. This from today’s Crikey email:

    [ Labor Party HQ in the ACT has just frozen campaign funding for Mike Hettinger, one of its candidates for the electorate of Molonglo in the 18 October ACT Election. Hettinger, a former rocket scientist, narrowly missed out on being elected in the last election in 2004. In recent years he has been an outspoken activist on local educational and environmental issues, such as school closures and the controversial Gungahlin Drive Extension. It is understood that the latest action is a response to Hettinger’s radio and TV advertisements in the current campaign. ]

  2. There was certainly no published poll showing the Liberals ahead in Eden-Monaro. However, from memory just before the election Howard geed up the troops by telling them their internal polling in the seat was, at the very least, encouraging.

  3. Patterson polled Eden-Monaro twice, the first poll showed a Nairn win, the second showed the result within 2%.

    The only result widely published was the aggregated result of the two polls. 😛

    NOTE: This statement is false: see here – The Management.

  4. heh!

    From rua’s doc

    “Our sampling was N=400 in each case.

    This provides a sample error of +/- 4.9% at the 95% level of confidence, or about 2.1% at the 70% confidence level”

    Who the hell uses a 70% confidence interval?

    It’s like “yeah, sure – two out of three aint bad”. 😀

  5. Ruawake, you have made the following assertions:

    1. That Patterson conducted two polls.
    2. That one of these polls showed a Nairn win.
    3. That the other showed the result was within 2%.
    4. That the only “widely published” poll aggregated these two results (which if true must have showed a narrower margin of 2%).

    The first assertion, which is neither here nor there, is the only one supported by the link you have provided. The facts are as follows.

    1. On October 15-16, Patterson conducted a poll of 400 voters in Eden-Monaro. This is the “first iteration” to which their report refers. Far from showing a Nairn win, it has Labor leading 56-44. This poll was published in the Canberra Times on October 27.

    2. On November 16-17, a second poll of 411 voters was conducted which showed Labor leading 53-47. This poll, which was published in the Canberra Times on November 19, is the one detailed in the link you have provided.

    I can only conclude that you are deliberately peddling untruths with the intention of damaging the company’s reputation, rather than admit you were wrong. This is an extremely serious matter, and you have been dealt with accordingly. If you can point to any actual evidence to refute what I have said here (as opposed to a meaningless link to, you can send it to me by email.

  6. [ Hettinger should defect to the Greens. ]

    There’s another article on this here (Canberra Times). I guess Hettinger could do a Ronan Lee and jump over to the Greens… I doubt he’d do it now, seeing as the ballot papers have already been printed and there’s probably some regulation against it, but if he got elected (which may happen – he’s getting plenty of publicity 😉 ), and then went Green… well, that’d be interesting. Might be the second Greens member in Molonglo. (Third, even, in the case of a boilover – although if he’s making himself known as a green candidate, that’d squash the Green vote there, so I doubt it.)

  7. Also – a nice round up of ACT goings-on at RiotACT, here. That’s quite a good website – I could see myself using it quite a bit if I ever moved to Canberra.

  8. Yeah, I think that too about RiotACT.

    Bird of Paradise, if you remember a few years back there was another case up in QLD where almost the exact same thing happened… a certain someone whose name doesn’t deserve to be mentioned on this hallowed website was kicked out of the Liberal Party for peddling views they didn’t agree with, created their own party and ran as a candidate but because the ballot papers had already been printed they were listed as a Liberal candidate.

    Of course it would be quite a bit harder in the ACT with the party tickets and PR etc.

  9. The Hettinger hoo haa is mostly a symptom that the ALP see most of their problem coming from the Green side rather than from the conservative side. He wants to have a bit of both ways.

  10. Has anyone noticed anything the ACT Liberals are proposing which owes anything to traditional Liberal Party ideology? Or does it appear they’re just promising whatever it takes to have a turn at the wheel? In which case, given the predisposition of the ACT electorate to the left, the ascendancy of Rudd and Bolshie Turnbull, and the collapse of the glorious market, whither the Canberra Liberals? What do they stand for? Anyone care to enlighten us or speculate where individual Canberra Liberals are coming from or just where they might sit on the political spectrum? They can’t all be opportunists, surely.

  11. I remember seeing some vague comments about wanting to return Canberra to it’s former ‘nature’ on some such thing, which was hinting at a more conservative, backwards looking territory. I think that could possibly be viewed as a traditional campaign point.

    Oh… and there’s law and order of course.

  12. mogfeatures: I’m not surprised in the least. ACT Liberal leaders who campaign on traditional Liberal Party ideology become long-forgotten opposition leaders. It goes down like an utter ton of bricks here.

    Seselja is smart enough to realise that by staying the absolute hell away from anything that could be portrayed as seriously conservative, he won’t alienate a giant swathe of the population who are fed up with Stanhope and want somewhere else to go. History makes this bloody obvious – the only Liberal Chief Minister who ever won an election was Kate Carnell, who was popular, charismatic, and on the definite social liberal end of the Libs. Trevor Kaine and Gary Humphries were both more conservative, and both got their arses handed to them when they actually had to face an election.

  13. And ‘negative attacks’ haven’t been central to the demonising of Stanhope? (So much so that one of the minor, so-called ‘independent’ parties appears to be running almost solely on an anti Stanhope ticket, rather than anti Labor.)

  14. Clearly they’ve been rife throughout this campaign, my point is that it’s unlikely to translate into any tangible positive electoral result.

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