Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor in Victoria

Victoria has joined the national trend of swings away from Labor state governments, according to the latest bi-monthly poll of state voting intention. Labor is down four points on the primary vote to 37 per cent, and three points on two-party preferred to 51 per cent. The Coalition vote is down one point to 37 per cent (UPDATE: Or so the original report in The Australian would have you believe – it is the Liberals who are on 37 per cent, the Nationals accounting for another 4 per cent), and the Greens are up three to a record high 15 per cent. John Brumby maintains a handy lead over Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu as preferred premier, but it has narrowed slightly from 48-26 to 45-27.

UPDATE: Full 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.

45 comments on “Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor in Victoria”

  1. Labor -4, Lib/Nat -1, Green +3. Hmm, where’ve I heard that before lately? 😉

    The Greens vote will probably be back down again next time, like all good record highs. But then… WA had a similar blip of support for the Greens a few months before the election, and look what happened there. I’m not sure how similar the Vic upper house is to other states, but it’ll be interesting to see how they do there. Should squeeze the DLP wacko out at the very least.

  2. Brumby is a lot more credible than Rees but given the length of time Labor has been in government in Vic I’d imagine it’s inevitable they will lose a fair number of seats next time. Ted Bailleu will not be Liberal leader by the next election.

  3. I wonder if there might be a bit of a Brumby factor in the weakening of Labor’s position. He wasn’t a particularly popular Opposition leader and it was only when he was dumped for the more positive, urbane Bracks that Labor became seriously competitive. And while he is credited with identifying rural Victoria as the key to winning in 1999, his own electoral record was pretty poor- making almost no inroads to a landslide margin in 1996. The Victorian government hasn’t been particularly bad (compared to NSW, WA for example) so maybe people just aren’t warming to Brumby as they did to Bracks.

    And how does 37-37-15 translate into 51-49 TPP?

  4. On these figures Labor could quite easily not have a majority but from it with another party. Which would probably be the Greens but could also be the Nationals or the Liberals.

  5. In 2006 the Greens got about 10% overall and about a quota (16.67%) in Northern Metropolitan and Southern Metropolitan.

    In this poll they got 15% an increase of half their previous vote. In a hypothetical situation where this was the result in the next state election with a uniform swing (or a swing heavier in Northern Metropolitan and Southern Metropolitan) the Greens would be in with a serious chance at second seats in Northern Metropolitan and Southern Metropolitan unless the swing to the conservatives was big enough to add seats to the Libs (or some other conservative party) in those seats or if Labor did not preference them.

  6. In this current decade the Victorian state Libs do seem to have a practice of knifing their leader in the year before an election rather than the year after as is normal Lib practice.

  7. So Labor 37, coalition37, Greens 15, that leaves 11.
    Does anyone know how the remaining 11 is distributed.
    And “how does 37-37-15 translate into 51-49 TPP?”
    That 11 will be vital in deciding the election outcome, particularly in the upper House.
    Is the remaining 11 higher than usual? It seems to be very high to me, but i am not familiar with the numbers.
    How does it compare with the last election.

  8. I would agree that a Labor Liberal coalition is unlikely it is not impossible with the amount of anti-Green sentiment in the parliamentary Labor party.

    I would rate the Green as Labor`s most likely ally but would not rule out the Nats coming to Labor`s aid to keep the Greens out.

    Labor may just govern as a minority and get support on a bill by bill basis.

  9. The increase in the extras to 11 could see am increase in the DLP vote, and allow Peter Kavanagh to retain his seat. Given his increased profile due ti the abortion debate. The DLP may also gain another seat in the Northern Metropolitan area.
    This would see the Minor Parties, Nationals, Greens, DLP, holding the balance of power in the Upper House.
    It will be very interesting how this pans out.
    Labour will not form a minority Government.
    The Nationals will side with the Libs to form a coalition if they have sufficent votes.
    The Greens will not win any seats in the Lower House. They will probally increase their numbers in the Upper Hpuse, but this is by no means certain, as most other Parties will put the Greens last.

  10. By the way I was wrong in NSW, The Greens vote is relatively stable at 11 but the “Other” has shot up to 18%.

    What’s going on there? Shooters? CDP?

    Say it ain’t so.

  11. I’m not surprised by these poll numbers, the last State Eelection was between Steve Bracks who was extremely popular and Ted Ballieu a man to whom the voters didn’t know a great deal about and felt wasn’t ready.

    John Brumby is a different kettle of fish for he has never had Steve Bracks level of support, it is true that his efforts in rural Victoria played a large part in the ALP winning Government in 1999 but we should remember two things.

    1) Bracks himself was a country boy from Ballarat and was widely known as such.

    2) The Kennett Government was hatred with a passion by Country voters.

    John Brumby while its true his Government is in good shape compared to the NSW and previous WA Governemnt but there are several large issues eating away at this Government.

    Water policy is a mess with the North-South pipeline being constructured, this will see water transferred from the Goldern Valley to Melbourne, this is extremely unpopular upsetting voters across marginal seats like Seymour and around Bendigo.

    The loss of Bracks leaves the various Ballarat seats open to being losed, seats like Macedon and both Ballarat seats will be very hard to hold.

    The desalination plant is not popular in the Gippsland area, while I support that project I note it is being built near Wonthaggi which I believe is the ALP’s only booth in that part of Gippsland.

    Within metro Melbourne there are several issues both which may explain the high Green vote.

    1) Public Transport is overloaded, unrealible and is not doing its job has shown by increasing traffice congestion.

    2) Planning this is a sleeper for the Government has created a system of planning that is not working.

    The other issues hurting the Government in different ways, the decriminalisation of abortion, the 2am lockout and several other issues.

    Now for the positive, the Brumby Government has successfully completed several very Important road projects.

    All up I would expect the ALP to lose between four to eight seats.

    I would consider Seymour and Rippon to be gone, one or both Bendigo seats and the same in Ballarat with Macedon looking at risk.

    Seats to watch within Melbourne are Gembrook, Mitcham, Forrest Hill, Burwood, Prahran, Mordialloc, Bentlegh, Frankston,

    Can the Greens win Melbourne, I’m starting to think they can but in saying that there are a number of Liberal voters whom have switched to the Greens will they stay or drift back to the Liberals. I would expect the Greens to improve in Albert park and Prahran but as I have said before the problem for the Greens is there best area is St Kilda but this is divided between two seats.

  12. Itep
    The DLP has had some coverage on the tv news. Not a lot, but this is an increase on before.
    The DLP has been able to survive despite being ignored by the Media, so even a little coverage is a bonus to them.
    I believe many people thought they no longer existed, but now at least most Victorians know they are alive and well in the Victorian Upper House.
    Their ha been an upsurge in imembership at the branch level.
    How this transferres into votes will be very interesting in the next election.

  13. I’d be surprised if most Victorians knew they existed. Polling shows a large percentage of Australians don’t even know their legislatures have 2 houses, that Australia has a Constitution, that there is no Bill of Rights etc.

    I suppose you could be right, but I’d be very surprised if they received a significantly higher percentage of the vote in the next election. I’d imagine the coverage during the campaign will typically focus on Labor/Liberal with a smattering of Nationals and Green here and there (10 seconds in each news program). Unfortunately that’s the game the Australian media plays.

  14. yes I basically agree with you Itep.
    I am not talking about most Victorians, only the sort of people who might vote DLP.
    These are the people who will be motivated to seek out alternatives to vote for, after the recent Abortion Bill passed in Victoria.
    The DLP will receive an increase in votes from pro-life people.
    How much this vote increases is debatable.
    The overall DLP vote was only 2% at the last election. I believe this may increase to around 4%. In the Northern Metropolitan area their vote was 5%, so if they can increase their vote 2% there they will have a strong possibility of gaining a seat.
    The interesting thing will be how the ALP preferences are distrubted.
    I believe the ALP will split their preferences in different seats.
    They will preference DLP in some seats, and the Greens in other seats.
    They will not want either the DLP or the Greens to be a big force in the Upper House, so will design their preferences to ensure that does not happen.

  15. #18 Some thoughts on those seats:

    * The pipeline issue has definitely cheesed off people in the Goulburn Valley and I’d say Seymour is gone.

    * Bendigo East, Macedon, and the two Ballarat seats will behave similarly and will probably all be lost when Labor loses office. Same for Geelong and Bellarine. Ripon and South Barwon could go to the Liberals this side of a Labor loss. Bendigo West is a solid Labor seat.

    * Seats like Gembrook and Burwood should never have gone to Labor in the first place, and I can see them returning to the Libs even if they don’t win government in 2010.

    * The other Melbourne seats you mentioned will probably behave as a block and will all be won by the Liberals whenever they win government.

    * If Brumby insists on persuing the Eastlink-Ring road link then Eltham, Bundoora and/or Ivanhoe could be at risk, depending on what route the road takes.

    * With compulsory preferential voting it’s harder for the Greens to win inner-city seats off Labor. Melbourne is a big chance for them. Beyond that, it depends on what the Liberals do with their preferences and if their voters follow the card.

  16. Compulsory preferential voting has helped the Greens in Melbourne, Richmond, Brunswick and Northcote (and federal Melbourne) because the Libs, presumably to divert Labor resources, preference the Greens ahead of Labor which has meant that the tpp in those electorates is a lot closer than it would be if the Libs directed to exhaust or preference Labor.

    The Libs however preferenced Labor in the Legislative council and as a result Labor only needs the vote of the DLP MLC (not always insured) to block inquiries, bills, amendments and other votes they don`t want to get up.

  17. Gee that one’s floated every time. Who’d be getting them? Maybe if you said Labor will get less of the Greens preferences next time…

  18. Curiously the bargaining chip will be that the ALP are desperate for the Greens preferences in the Northern Victorian upper house seat for example. The last ALP victory in this region will need Greens preferences to ensure that the conservatives don’t get 4 of the 5 seats. People don’t get the preferences really in the lower house and in the upper house its almost impossible to interest peopleon what is going on. Its here that the Greens could really hold a gun to the ALP. If they say that they are going to do a split ticket in the upper house. The ALP will bleet about it on page 7 of the Age and no-body in the rural areas will care one bit. Lower house preferences are always soft as the Greens Voters actually know how the system works and even with split tickets they tend to vote Green then ALP 85% of the time. Its all about the upper house where the tickets are put in by the parties. The Greens would get away with the move and if a few ALP oldies went off so what, all they can only go back to the ALP and then their preferences would likely go to the DLP or Family First anyway.

  19. #26

    Wouldn’t Labor’s vote have to fall a lot to be reduced to one seat? Northern Vic contains Bendigo, Shepparton, Wodonga, Mildura, etc. I’d have thought there’d be enough Labor base vote in those cities to get them over 2 seats.

  20. Labour get a very poor result in many of these National heartland areas, if you look on the VEC web site under preferences for the last election you will see that the ALP(Second member, fifth to be allocated) got in on Family First preferences ahead of the Greens at the last election. Chuck in a 3-4 percent swing to the coolition and you get the conservatives ahead of the ALP and the Greens and therefore the ALP will need the Greens. At the last election there were two independants who inflated the Greens final vote they are less lilkely to get quite that much at the end of the next count. Its almost certain that the ALP and the Greens will be desperately seeking each other here, the point remains that its not the lower house that makes these negotiations interesting its the upper house because that is where the Greens have a influence on the preference flow. Happy analysis. Remember that a 4 % sing is 4 % of 360,000(Six quotas) not 60,000 (One quota), therefore a 4% swing equals about 15,000 votes in the final count.

  21. The ALP do very well in Bendigo and Wodonga but Shepparton and Mildura are not ALP towns. I would expect the ALP will only win one seat within Northern Victoria and the other four will go to either Nationals or Liberals.

  22. My biggest complaint against mulit member seats is does the person who comes fifth really deserve to be elected, I can can accept the second or third place getter but beyond that I have to ask should we have a parlianment with people who come fourth or fifth.

    My area (Southern Metro) is a good point, I cannot give any justification for having six members of State Parlianment and seven members of federal parliament plus a councilsor.

    Why do I need so many pollies. in every other aspect of modern Australia this level of overlap would been seen as waste and would be streamlinded.

    At best all I need is one local polly, maybe three state pollies and three federal pollies, even then I don’t need that many.

    Its this overlap that has left us with a big problem that will be made worst by the economic downturn.

  23. [My area (Southern Metro) is a good point, I cannot give any justification for having six members of State Parlianment and seven members of federal parliament plus a councilsor.]

    You think your ward councillor represents the same amount of people as all the Victorian senators?

  24. Itep! the problem I’m referring to is while the three levels of Government have enjoyed over the past 20 years a massive increase in revenue yet now this currant boom is coming to an end what excelty have our three levels of Government done in that time apart from buck past.

    Yes I know i’m being ecessively cynical in that comment for they have done somethings but in terms of Infrasture projects we still have a Melbourne Train network that is basically been unchanged since the 1890s a Sydney’s Train network has failed to grow with the city and the list goes on.

    Now that things are slowing we now have the States crying poor that without the Feds they can’t do anything Brumby said as much during the week.

    1992 Victorian budget was $12Billion
    2008 Victorian budget was $30Billion

    Oz! I’m fully aware that my Ward councillor does not represent the same number of people has a Victorian Sentator nor has the same range of issues before them and this is why we need a national and a local Govenment structure.

    Do I need so many pollies to manage the affiars of this country, I don’t think so, the sole purpose of politicians is to create Laws and the delivery of Government services, this outcome is reached from the advice of both the public servants and to whom the Government chooses to seek advice from wheather that be the business community, unions or your average voter etc.

  25. Attacking the ‘over-governance’ of Australia is something which seems fairly popular nowadays. It’s not an idea I agree with and it’s never going to change in any case.

  26. Are you suggesting that the Legislative Council have 16 members? (8×2)

    Are you suggesting that the Senate have 2 senators per state?

    Or are you suggesting that they be divided up into single (or double in the case of the Legislative Council) member electorates? Which would not produce saving in terms of numbers.

    All that would do is reduce proportionality and the proportion of the electorate who are represented by someone they voted for (remembering that PR represents many different types of different sections of the electorate not just majorities in often quite arbitrary geographical sections).

  27. [I’m referring to is while the three levels of Government have enjoyed over the past 20 years a massive increase in revenue yet now this currant boom is coming to an end what excelty have our three levels of Government done in that time apart from buck past.]

    The blame with that lies squarely at the feet of the people who continued to vote in government’s based on “economic rationalism” (taxcuts) at the expense of infrastructure investment. You don’t get to sit there, watch the coffers get frittered away and then blame “the system”. The options were there, people never took them.

    I’m not a big fan of the current three tier system but I’m going to blame the problems at State level on “the system”, I’m going to blame them on the government. Likewise, I’m not going to blame “the system” for inadequate services and investment at Federal level, I’m going to blame the Howard government.

  28. Mexican Beemer (29) Is that a considered opinion or just a quess. My looking at the last results would suggest that for that to happen the conservatives would either need ALP preferences before the Greens or about a 10% swing. The point I was making was around preference negotiations between the Greens and the ALP. The point is again the Greens here have a huge stick, if the ALP do not enter into genuine negotiations with the Greens around other upperhouse seats in Metro and other Regions any chance of a second ALP in Northern could be gone. The Greens could simply give thier preferences to exactly the same people as the ALP and just scuttle the whole upper house for Brumby in the next election.

  29. I presume that by Northern you mean Northern Victoria not Northern Metropolitan because if the ALP does not win a second seat in Northern Metropolitan then jaws will hit floors.

  30. The Greens could damage Labor in the Legislative Council by having bellow the line 1-5 only how to vote card (like advising to exhaust in Qld or NSW).

  31. They could, but why would they want to do that? It’s in the Greens’ interest for Labor to get almost half the seats (which they currently do – 19 out of 40, Lib/Nat/DLP 18, Greens balance with 3). If the right wing parties get a majority, the Greens become a lot less relevant.

  32. I was referring to the region of Northern Victoria.

    Follow the Preferences!! Both, the ALP historically have done very poorly in northern Victoria and as this currant Governemnt ages and is weighted down with unpopular issues mostly surrounding Water policy then I would expect the ALP to struggle, they may do okay in Bendigo but this will be helped by the high profile lower house MPs.

    That in itself could also be counter productive.

    Tom the first and best!! in my ideal world that mind you will never happen we would have a two levels of Governments, the House of Reps would use the State lower house seats has the boundaries meaning the House of Reps would have about 416 seats and we would have a 100 member senate which could happen if all States plus the NT had 13 sentators and the ACT had 9, with all Sentators up at every election.

  33. If the state seat boundaries were used for the Commonwealth Parliament then there would be massive malapportionment because all the states have different numbers of voter per seat as exampled by the number of state seats and the number of federal seats each state has (lower house).

    state federal
    NSW 93 49
    Vic 88 37
    Qld 89 29
    SA 49 11
    WA 59 15
    Tas 35* 5**
    ACT 17* 2
    NT 25 2**

    *multi-member electorates (Tas 5 ACT 3)
    **number inflated by minimum seat number requirements

    Not to mention the rule in Qld and WA where large land area state seats get to have smaller populations based on their land area.

    The ACT has more people that the NT so for it to have less senators is ludicrous.

    If the states were scraped then it is highly likely that the senate would no longer be based on state areas.

  34. Mexicanbeemer (41), So you are suggesting that there is going to be a 10% swing against the ALP in the Victorian Upper House for Northern Victoria. Don’t give up your day job.

  35. Follow the Preferences! I never said the ALP will suffer a 10% swing in Northern Victoria. but the Government is not popular!! they will suffer a swing (bookmark it)

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