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. Can’t be to irrelevant ruawake, you always make an effort to dismiss the massive Green vote!
    Green are good for you, and everybody.

  2. Whichever figure you take, it’s just the standard protest vote. There have been bigger ones. The Dems got 12.6% in the Senate in 1990, and the DLP got 11% at the 1970 Senate election. The Greens get a respectable vote, and it is currently rising, but they always over-hype thekr prospects and then finish up being disappointed.

  3. I tend to ignore the unrepresentative swill vote – the HoR is where govt is formed. Canberra is where it sits. Thats in the ACT (just to keep things on topic). ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. HoR eh? Somewhat neutralises Adam’s point and brings in the fact that the Dems never had a member in the Lower House whereas the Greens have.

  5. Just to get back on topic, if you look at my maps you can see very clearly who votes Green – inner city and university areas. Once you get out into the baby-belt suburbs the Green vote falls below 10% and even below 5%. And that’s in Canberra, which should be one of the Greener cities. The Greens have a big job to explain to working families that their anti-growth policies won’t harm their interests, or if they will, that it’s all for the greater good.

  6. That’s the problem with the LAB/LIB Party ignore the facts,
    living in a bygone era dreaning of clean coal and shuffel the deck chairs around a bit.

    rauake, let your bosses know the voters have moved on, Adam has noted the shift.
    Pinch some of the Greens ideas, they won’t mind. Better than eating your hat all the time.

  7. So Margaret, how would YOU explain to working class families in outer suburbs that they will have to give up their cars, pay much more for their energy, and incur all the other costs that Green policies would impose on them?

  8. Great map Adam,
    The Green defiantly have an up hill battle explaining their excellent economic policies.
    The constant wave of BS on the MSM and rubbish sprayed around by some, doesn’t help.
    The Carbon based economy is unsustainable and the sooner our leaders realise this the better for the economy and jobs.
    Your map shows hope for the future. I’m assuming young tertiary educated people have seen the light (as the young inner city kids have thoughtout aust.)
    Eventually these young people will complete their education and move out and on to other places taking their Green voting elitismos with them.
    Some might feel threatened by this phenomena but I don’t.
    Remember No environment=No jobs

  9. There’s quite a lot of issues with that. First of all, Labor’s policies are going to deliver a rise in energy prices. Secondly, in action on climate change is going to deliver a rise in the price of just about everything and more importantly, if allowed to go on unchecked there won’t be places to drive, there won’t be places to live.

    Green policies regarding the environment and climate change are based on the same idea that’s been espoused by people like Nicholas Stern or more recently, Garnaut. That acting now is going to much cheaper both economically, socially and environmentally that playing short term, electoral cycle politics a la Labor and Liberal.

    It’s delusional and inappropriate to hoodwink the voters into thinking that you can actually stave off climate change by refusing to factor in the environmental costs of the products they consume, like petrol and electricity.

  10. Adam says
    “So Margaret, how would YOU explain to working class families in outer suburbs that they will have to give up their cars”

    If YOU think they should give up their cars YOU should explain.

    “pay much more for their energy”

    Solar power is free after set up, so energy bills will be reduced.

  11. This discussion reminds me of what happened at the 1998 ACT election. The Opposition Labor Party adopted a policy that required cars to meet emissions and fuel efficiency guidelines to pass their rego test. If applied fully, it would have prevented every car over five years old being re-registered. Needless to say the Liberals lept all over a policy that would have forced people to buy new cars. Labor was thumped at the 1998 election, though the rego policy was only one of the reasons. But is a reminder that whatever the long term benefits of changing environmental rules, it is often the short term costs that scare the crap out of politicians.

  12. Of course ANY useful response to climate change wil entail increased costs. It’s a question of degree.

    * Interesting demographic notions, there Margaret. The working class will disappear as their suburbs are colonised by young inner city graduates. So who will do the actual, you know, WORK, in the future?
    * It’s not my party which wants to shut down the carbon economy and make everyone use public transport, so I don’t have to explain it.
    * It’s moonshine to say that solar energy can immediately replace the coal-based energy and industrial economy we have now. It would take 50 years, even if the technology existed, which right now it doesn’t. The only energy source which can replace coal within say 30 years is nuclear, but you’re opposed to that too.

  13. Adam, you realy should get up to date
    Alternatives to coal do exist and the tecnoiedgy has been up and running for some time.
    nuclear is to expensive, to late and to dangerous.
    I thought you were well travelled and well read.
    Why don’t you find out about the Greens ideas from them,

    don’t just make things up.

  14. Australia can switch to solar and geothermal for most of its electricity within a much shorter time than 50 or even 30 years if enough resources are devoted to it. The main obstacle to this is government timidness and the private ownership of coal and natural gas power stations and the era of the dominance of timid small non-interventionist governments is ending with the current economic crisis needing big government intervention and even more so the worse in gets.

    And this time responding to climate change and peak oil may provide a better (less deadly) area for big spending than the one that got us out of this kind of mess last time and hopefully sooner.

  15. “trying to produce an outcome that deals with the issue responsibly without driving the country broke”. Like what? how are the ALP dealing with this issue at all. They are not, its just all spin. The thing that amazes me is that the political/business elite think that all the voters are completely stupid. They are not, if there is a graph of Green votes over the last 15 years, across all the differents tiers, it would look like the increasing CO2. Blah Blah Blah Adam.

  16. Adam: Your green-bashing is tiresome. The Greens are recording strong swings in areas well outside of the inner-city areas you love to talk about; look at the massive swings to Labor in Alice Springs, of all places, in the NT election.

    This nonsense about the green vote being all in the areas around ANU is nonsense as well. Of course it’s a good area for the Greens – but all of it (as well as the socially-conscious but otherwise Liberal voters in the wealthier suburbs south of the lake) are all entirely in Molonglo. It makes perfect sense that the swings in suburban Tuggeranong and Belconnen which see the Greens set to win their highest swag of seats in the ACT ever can be attributed to uni students in O’Connor and Braddon – or perhaps it does in cuckoo land.

  17. Or indeed swings in regional mining areas like Cessnock.

    Adam’s points would make sense if applied a few years ago when the Green vote actually was restricted entirely to inner-city areas. He may not like to accept it, but that’s not really the case anymore.

  18. Wow the swing to the Greens was +0.1% in Hunter at the last Federal election. Staggering. Better than the overall state result where there was a swing AGAINST the Greens. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. Interesting that the counterargument to quite substantial and trending swings to The Greens right throughout the country is cherry picking particular results, that one could call outliers.

    The NSW primary vote in Federal election may have dropped 0.21%, but it was 0.7% higher at the Federal election in the same, and I would say quite a bit higher at the more recent council elections. And we’re still only talking about NSW.

    But I don’t quite understand how you could be arguing that votes for The Greens aren’t increasing in numbers? You can argue about why people are voting and whether it’s a “protest vote” or whatever, but it’s kind of silly to argue with the numbers and the trend.

  20. So back to the ACT election and the Patterson (Westpoll) figures. It may make the Greens all hairy chested thinking they may win 4 seats. But remember this is the polling mob who said Labor was ahead in WA : 54-46 , the same polling mob who last election said Gary Nairn would retain Eden-Monaro.

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

  21. Right, so there’s no point in picking the few examples bucking the trend, is there? Because I don’t think anyone is saying that The Green vote is rising EVERYWHERE. It doesn’t happen for any other party, so why would it happen for them? Pointless assertions.

  22. Patterson have a deal with The Canberra Times and The “West”. Maybe the contractual obligations of the others ties them to their newspapers.

    Maybe Morgan ?

  23. The real problem here is that we won’t get many more polls other than this one in the lead up to the election here. Its pretty hard to assess its accuracy in the absence of any trends…

  24. [Can anyone else be bothered to do polling in the ACT? Or is that the reason we have to deal with Patterson?]

    A mate of mine is a subbie at the Canberra Times and said they can’t afford to hire to many companies to do polling. I’d suggest (though he didn’t) that they chose Patterson cos they were cheap (not that i can confirm that).

    I don’t think any of the major companies could be bothered in the ACT. It’s not really a massive talking point anywhere but here. And even here its not that big a deal.

  25. What shade of Green are we talking about? The Ronan Lees or Ian Cohens, the Petra Kellys or Joschka Fischers? Everything from anti abortion to pro Afghanistan intervention eh? Just think what they’ll be like when they have to caucus.

  26. Margaret, I don’t know what planet you’re living on, but on this one the results of the 2007 NSW state election were as follows:

    Australian Democrats 21,099 00.5 (-00.4)
    Australian Greens 352,805 09.0 (+00.7)
    Australian Labor Party 1,535,872 39.0 (-03.7)
    Christian Democrats 97,420 02.5 (+00.7)
    Liberal Party 1,061,273 26.9 (+02.2)
    National Party 396,023 10.1 (+00.4)
    Others 471,497 12.0

    Greens up 00.7%, Labor down 3.7%.

  27. Thanks for clearing that up Adam

    Should be

    Greens up 8.5% on their vote in previous election
    Labor down 9% on their vote in previos election

  28. No Margaret, Adam is quite right. Swing is always expressed as a percentage point difference, not as a percentage. By your mathematics, interest rates fell 14.3% yesterday.

    The reason why is simple. Say a two party contest, one party 45%, the other 55%. Say the next election was 50:50. The swing was 5 percentage points. If you used percentages rather than percentage points, the party whose vote rose would have received an 11.1% swing, but the swing against the other party would be 9.1%. The number of voters was the same in both cases, so the percentages are clearly misleading.

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