Newspoll: 60-40 to Labor in Victoria

The latest bi-monthly Newspoll survey of Victorian state voting intention has Labor blowing out to remarkable leads of 46 per cent to 33 per cent on the primary vote, and 60-40 on two-party preferred. The Australian reports that “roughly half the poll’s sample of 1142 people was taken before the Black Saturday fires, while the other half was taken during the aftermath of the blazes, when the Premier was regularly in the limelight and is perceived to have performed well”. John Brumby’s approval rating is up seven points to a new high of 52 per cent, while Ted Baillieu’s is down five to 37 per cent. Brumby’s lead as preferred premier is out from 49-27 to 54-22.

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.

129 comments on “Newspoll: 60-40 to Labor in Victoria”

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  1. Glen, I’m trying to think who apart from Mulder would be leadership material.

    (really scratching the head here…) Robert Clark?? Louise Asher?? Recycled Denis Napthine?

    To be fair, the Libs did boot out a few old time-servers at the 2006 election so maybe a new group will come through by 2014.

  2. The fact than any person off the street could run them better than they currently are is a joke. Those clowns are just a bunch of party hacks in it for an easy job to sit on their bums and point their fingers and yell, hardly any of them deserve to be there and there is a reason why they poll so badly because they’re a disgrace!

  3. Glen
    Posted Friday, March 6, 2009 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Baillieu is a goner based on these figures bring out the next lamb to the slaughter, god you are pathetic stupid Vic Libs…

    Glen the numbers aren’t that much better at the federal level. But part of the problem is Victorian Costello worship. NSW libs are also in poor shape, it’s just that labor is in a bigger mess. I still don’t believe the Liberals will win Queensland, well they won’t will they, the party has gone. I still don’t believe the nationals will win Queensland.

  4. FTG Libs won 4 out of 15 ordinary booths (excluding airport, town hall, etc), although they came pretty close in most others.

    Wonder what the record is for lowest % of booths won to win the seat?

  5. Any body know what the Green primary is in this poll?

    Prahran is a a probable future 3-way marginal.

  6. Problem for the Greens is that the natural Green-voting area around St Kilda/Windsor/Prahran is split across two seats (Prahran and Albert Park).

    If the Greens were smart they’d be lobbying the VEC at the next redistribution to put Prahran and St Kilda in the same seat (probably Albert Park).

  7. Burwood’s boundaries haven’t changed much. Three things have changed:
    * loss of long-term high-profile incumbent in Kennett
    * social decline of these old inner eastern suburbs – the new money has moved out to Berwick etc
    * long-term rise in Labor vote in metro Melbourne

    The Greens had their golden chance at the Albert Park by-election and they blew it by nominating some anonymous droob with a beard and letting themselves be baited by Labor’s campaign tactics.

    A seat running from Port Melb to Prahran would have too many people in it. The area is growing, but not enough to recreate the old St Kilda seat.

  8. If Costello becomes Liberal leader, you will see a huge jump in the Liberal primary vote in Victoria, at state and federal level. It will be the first time since Andrew Peacock that the Liberals outpoll Labor in Victoria by a huge margin. Remember Andrew Peacock at the 1990 federal election?

  9. Anthony! I’m curious if you have a source for those Burwood numbers for I am Interested in looking at how seats change over time?

    I’m not surprised that Burwood would be considered a marginal Liberal learning seat what surprises me is after 9 years the Liberals are yet to regain the seat.

    This poll is a shock for while John Brumby has been very good in his handling of the Bushfires and while there are several issues facing his Government for the most part Brumby is traveling well.

    The Liberal Party are a waste of time in Victoria, they are a bit like the ALP heading into the 1996 election.

    Good at opposing but at this stage they don’t seem to have a set of policies that would make them electable.

  10. Antony, I don’ suppose you’d have a link to the report of the Vic redistribution in 2001? The VEC seems to remove this sort of stuff from its site after a couple of years….

  11. Mexicanbeamer – I have a library of source material. I suggest you check the Victorian state library if you are trying to track material back through time. They should have copies of all the past election results and redistributon reports. I know it’s not as exciting as finding it on the web, but there is a whole world of material not available on the web.

    MDMConnell – the development of the web means that as sites get redeveloped, older bits have this habit of disappearing. What exactly are you after in relation to it? I’ve got the reports and my on calculations for the boundaries.

  12. #67

    The reports and your calcs would be great. If you had anything else like the major parties’ submissions that would be fantastic.

    Many thanks.

  13. Um, I think you might try contacting the Boundaries Commission. All that stuff will be available. It shouldn’t be so old that it has gone to state archives yet.

  14. I have the final report but it’s a big book of maps and I’m not letting that out. If you’re after the calcuations, send me an e-mail at my blog page.

  15. BOP,

    That 1999 election site is a treat for any nostalgics and well worth a read. Antony’s post about which poll you trust could be dusted off and run again today.

  16. Indeed, it’s had me ferreting around Factiva in search of comedy classics from the vault:

    6 September 1999

    THE seat Health Minister Rob Knowles is contesting could become marginal at this election, sources say.

    Mr Knowles is moving from his Upper House seat of Ballarat to Gisborne, the seat vacated by retiring minister Tom Reynolds.

    The move has come because Premier Jeff Kennett has anointed Mr Knowles, his friend and confidant, as his successor – a position that could only be taken up from the Legislative Assembly.

    The Liberals hold Gisborne by 7.9 per cent.

    But internal Labor polling is showing that the Liberals’ hold on the seat will fall to 5 per cent or less.

    And of course:

    19 September 1999
    Sunday Herald Sun

    PREMIER Jeff Kennett was on his way to an election hat-trick last night despite a backlash in rural Victoria.

    Counting in the first 90 minutes after the close of voting confirmed the Coalition was very likely to win.

    Repulsing a spirited challenge by Labor, Mr Kennett was on track to repeat his triumphs of 1992 and 1996.

    His Liberal-National coalition was set to be returned with a healthy majority based on continuing good support in Melbourne.

    But his big margin over Labor was likely to be cut by losses in rural electorates.

    Observers predicted the Government would win 48 to 50 seats compared with 55 in the old Parliament.

    Labor appeared likely to pick up four to seven seats, well short of the 15 needed for power after seven years in the wilderness.

    It was in a strong position to win Ballarat East, Bendigo East and possibly Ripon.

    Despite a strong campaign by rookie leader Steve Bracks, in the job for only seven months, it appeared the electorate was not yet ready to put its full confidence in Labor.

    Independents were also making bold bids, with Mildura’s Russell Savage and Gippsland West’s Susan Davies defying challenges by the major parties.

    Coalition heavyweights conceded Labor’s concerted attack in the bush had worked.

    Rural voters were rebelling against the Government, they said.

    But Senator Richard Alston, analysing the results from the tally room, argued Labor’s strategy had failed.

    The senior Liberal senator said the main game in the election was in the city – and Labor was not making sufficient progress to make a difference.

  17. I have it too, Adam – Herald Sun ‘Hewson in Photo Finish’, with beaming pictures of the man.
    We had to get up early to secure a copy (the HS quickly withdrew city copies, so that only country regions, who got the earlier version, still had it) but it was well worth the chuckle.

  18. At that time I was a bit of a Jeff man and couldn’t believe the results when they started coming in. I remember a rather flustered and confused looking Antony Green who thought his computer was malfunctioning!

    Also watched poor old Reithy trying to put a positive spin on the disaster. At least it wasn’t his government that was going down.

    And of course Bracks’ karaoke performance
    “Do you see what I SEEEEEEEEE!!!”

  19. Indeed I did. During tests with the VEC on the Thursday night, we’d realised our software could not accept the double list of booth results the VEC were sending. So we stuck a workaround in the data receipt code. On election night when all the early figures showed such unexpectedly large swings, I was very concerned something had gone wrong with the software change. I well remember asking John Brumby to get his scrutineers to phone through a swing figure for Ripon and the Ballarat electorates so I could confirm we had the correct numbers.

    I also had to hose down people extrapolating the early swing into Melbourne seats and predicting Labor would win. The country swing to Labor was 7.5%, regional cities 5% and Melbourne 2.5%. For those with a knowledge of Victorian history, a wierd result as for the first time in its history, Labor achieved office on a non-metropolitan swing and without gaining a seat in the eastern suburbs.

    Along with the 1991 NSW election, my first on camera, the 1999 Victorian election was the most surprising result I’d worked on.

    Remember, it was also the day Carlton beat Essendon by 1 point in the prelim final. Two narrow upsets on the same day.

  20. Pity any poor Liberal-voting Essendon supporters!

    I remember the Essendon President telling the story of how he had an operation that day and missed everything. As he tells it, when he woke up on Sunday and was told both the Bombers and Kennett had gone down, he thought it was a joke: not because of his faith in his team but because he never thought Kennett would lose.

  21. Without checking (because my maps are buried in a cupboard somewhere), Antony, I think Labor won its first ever Victorian election in 1952 mainly by winning regional seats, including extremely improbable ones like Mildura. The Melbourne seats in those days were heavily polarised between safe Labor and safe Liberal, with only a few marginals like Essendon and Oakleigh.

  22. Well in those days there were still lots of agricultural workers (shearers etc.) and other working class people who voted Labor in rural areas. There was also an issue of malapportionment in Victoria with Victoria`s last Country Party government in 1950.

    It was Labor in Queensland that introduced rural weighting to replace one vote one value in 1949.

  23. As you’d no doubt know Adam, they were helped by the vicious in-fighting between the Country Party and the two different Liberal Parties that contested the 1952 election. And Victoria was massively malapportioned in those days. It was the first majority government elected in Victoria for half a century, and after the election, the Liberals combined with Labor to get rid of the malapportionment and destroy the power of the Country Party to bring down governments at will. Victorian politics from 1935 to 1955 was unique.

    Then the DLP split occured, Labor was smashed in 1955 and sanity didn’t return until after Federal intervention in 1970. I’m a bit heavily influenced by Costar and Hughes’ book “Labor to Office”, and Hughes had the 1952 maps showing Labor winning seats in the country, but also smashing the Liberal in Melbourne. After Labor lost office in 1955, Labor didn’t win another country seat, or a seat east of the Yarra until 1979. Even then, Labor only crept back into the regional cities in 1979 and 1982. Nothing like the success achieved in 1999.

    After the 1999 election, I compared Labor’s result with the 1988 election adjusted for the redistribution ahead of the to the boundaries used in 1992. All the Liberal gains between 1988 and 1999 were in Melbourne’s east, all Labor’s gains outside of Melbourne. It was a radical reversal of 40 years of Victorian political history. I list all the seat differences here

  24. Albert Park is East of the Yarra. “1950-present ALP”

    Dandenong is too “1969-present ALP”

    As is Morwell “1970-2006 ALP”

    And although it is technically not East of the Yarra (unless you count the bay as part of the Yarra) Carrum “1976-1996 ALP”

    And if you count win as meaning winning an election not just taking a new seat or a seat held by an opponent prior to the election then Oakleigh “1950-1961 ALP”

    And those are just the seats that are with us now and there have been several redistributions between 1955 and today with seat coming and going.

  25. MDM Connell:
    Pity any poor Liberal-voting Essendon supporters!

    I can assure you that this Carlton-supporting Labor partisan was equivalently ecstatic on 18 September 1999 and as surprised as just about everyone else. I’m not long home from to-night’s NAB Cup semi-final.
    I recall a report that a supporter at the Labor function at Williamstown on election night 1999, offered the Bracks couple a bottle of wine early in the evening. This fellow asked that it not be drunk until Labor was in Government. Terry Bracks expressed the hope that the wine was good enough to be likely to improve with a long period of cellaring!

  26. Albert Park and Morwell are easy to deal with. Both were heavy industry seats, as was Geelong North, the only other seat Labor held outside of Melbourne in the 1960s and 1970s.

    There’s an old classification for Melbourne’s east between the eastern suburbs and the sandbelt, which is the run down the south-west. Even in 1992, Labor held some of those seats, like Clayton and Dandenong, in the patch of industry in the south-west. But none in the eastern suburbs. The only seat Labor won in the eastern suburbs in 1999 was Mitcham, previously gained at a by-election.

    From the 1960s, as industry spread out through the south-east suburbs, Labor gained seats like Dandenong and Clayton. In 1976, Labor held Knox, Dandenong and Carrum east of the Yarra, plus Albert Park if you insist.

    In 1979 Labor gained 6 seats east of the Yarra, and another 10 in 1982. They lost every seat in the eastern suburbs in 1992, though they did retain a small band of south-east seats such as Clayton, Dandenong etc.

  27. The Interesting thing about Victorian politics in the 1930s is the then Liberal Government won the 1935 election but needed Country Party support to continue with its second term only to have the Country Party go to the ALP and offer a coalition which they accepted.

    The motive for this move was the Country party under Albert Dunstain felt rural areas had been unfairly treated during the Liberal Government (United Australian Party) first term which started in 1932.

    The Liberal Government of Sir Stanley Argle was very conservative with its tight budgeting in response to the Great Depression, Ironically Albert Dunstain himself was seen as very conservative in how he managed budgets.

    Henry Bolte never trusted the Country Party, one thing that could be learn from Argle is he remained in Parliament until his death including being a part of the war cabinet.

    In 2 Treasury place there is an old photo of Dunstain and Argle serving in that cabinet while I’m sure the two men had a low opinion of each other but at least they were willing to put Victoria first, I’m sure a few modern pollies should take note.

  28. The Eastern and the Southern suburbs of Melbourne! I may have first heard this term from Antony himself or some other political commentator but they are known as the Claybelt (Eastern) and the Sandbelt (Southern)

    Melbourne has a City started out spreading East until post second world war when it started moving south for example Dandenong was rural up til the 1960/70.

  29. #91

    Interesting re Terry Bracks’ remark. I’ve read some books that suggested Labor did feel that the election campaign was turning and they might get much closer than expected. Maybe they’re just rewriting history with 20-20 hindsight.

  30. I’ve always been reticent about using ‘claybelt’ because I wasn’t sure anyone used it outside of political science circles.

  31. I spoke with someone very highly placed within the Labor campaign on the Sunday morning – he was obviously shell shocked. Said he had spent days accustoming himself to the fact that, although the campaign had run according to plan, they weren’t going to win and now the sudden realisation that victory was possible had him completely flummoxed.
    I know in my electorate there were a number of promises made by Labor which simply wouldn’t have been made if there’d been the slightest thought that they might win…a sentiment expressed to me several times when various ALP advisers tried to wiggle out of them.
    I didn’t let them, though.

  32. #98

    That was the biggest millstone around Bracks’ neck. He made all these promises- especially on road/rail infrastructure- which he never expected to have to implement because he never really believed he’d win. Suddenly he was in office and had to begin backtracking on all of it. That and the fact he was determined to be as ‘inclusive and consultative’ (read: indecisive and timid) meant not much got done on his watch.

    I’m far more impressed by Brumby than Bracks.

  33. I agree with you reasoning as to why these seats were held by the ALP but I was just pointing out that them being held by the ALP made your statement about the ALP not winning any such seats wrong.

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