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. I always thought “eastern suburbs” was between the Yarra and the SE Freeway, with the freeway defining the East from the South East. Makes sense since the freeway makes a fairly clear divide between middle-class areas around Waverley and Knox and the more industrial Clayton/Dandenong.

    In that context Labor didn’t win in the ‘east’ 1992-99* since the only seats they held were south of the freeway.

    * except Mitcham after by-election of course

  2. On the 1999 election: I spent the election working on Joseph O’Reilly’s campaign in Prahran. Like all candidates, he thought he would win, but didn’t think that Labor statewide had a hope. His expectation was that he would become an opposition frontbencher, with a chance of a ministry in 2003. Instead, he didn’t make much dent on the Liberal majority in Prahran, since there was little swing in metro Melbourne, and had to watch Labor come to office without him on the back of huge swings in the regional seats. Very galling.

  3. Hmm. Just looking up the Mitcham by-election, and what do I find…

    [ Such would not have been possible had Victorian Premier Mr Jeff Kennett’s suggestion of early 1996 been legislated — that by-elections not be held where a government held a greater than five-seat parliamentary majority. ]

    What was this all about? Did Kennett want to just have a new member from the same party as the retiring member appointed to the seat like in the upper house, regardless of margin?

  4. Never heard of Kennett proposing that. The idea of getting rid of by-elections does pop up from time to time- usually by a party about to face one!

    My view is that by-elections should be held only when the vacancy is remotely the MPs own fault. So if an MP just storms off in a huff because they didn’t want to serve out a full term, or resigns in disgrace, then bring on a by-election. But if the MP dies or becomes seriously ill, or suffers some personal tragedy that leads them to step down, the seat should just be filled without a by-election. Why punish the governing party for actions beyond their control?

  5. As a Melbourne I use the South Eastern freeway or the neighboring Princess Hwy to divide the Eastern from the Southern just as the Yarra is used to divide the Eastern from the Nothern and the Maribyong River divides the Northern from the Western suburbs.

  6. I for one saw Bracks beating Kennett therefore I will never quite understand why the ALP did not see it for they clearly out campaigned the Liberals right though out 1999

  7. Mexicanbeemer, you are talking about Labor out-campaigning what is generally considered the most self-indulgent campaign ever run by an incumbent government. Remember how Kennett banned anyone else but him speaking to the media? The Herald-Sun did the stunning front page with nine Liberal MPs all with bandaids over their mouths. The ABC was even banned from having a state Liberal on our election night panel because they might call the Liberal return before the great Leader claimed victory.

    The ban meant Liberal Ministers couldn’t debate Labor frontbenchers in the media. Labor got endless free kicks as a result.

    Then there was Kennett warning voters in Geelong/Ballarat/Bendigo that government departments would be moved elsewhere if Labor MPs were elected.

    Kennett ran his website trying to appeal to younger voters, and the election saw older rural voters desert. The remark about Melbourne being the heart of Victoria, and another reference to ‘the toaenails’ came back to haunt regional Liberals.

    Kennett kept campaigning in Dandenong as Liberal polling gave them hope. I presume Labor’s polling said the same thing, as late in the last week frontbenchers were door knocking around Dandenong.

    In hindsight, the view was the Kennett made a mistake in running a ‘bandwagon’ campaign, urging everyone to join the winning team. You can see why everyone has been obsessed about being an underdog ever since.

  8. “Kennett ran his website”

    IIRC “” was the anti-Kennett site set up by Stephen Mayne.

    Kennett’s was just “”.

    In a way the campaign was a flop, but in other ways Kennett pointed the way for other politicians- e.g. by going on light-hearted FM breakfast radio instead of just serious AM talkback.

  9. There was also the infamous interview on Jon Faine’s show where he refused to answer any more questions and said he’d just sit there and sip his tea. This was a couple of days out from the election. The arrogance is “wot done him in”.

  10. Adam,

    Now, now let’s not bring his family into it. Everyone knows that insanity is hereditary because you get it from your kids.

  11. Another element was the achievement of a triple A rating well before the election.

    Victorians had been told when Kennett was elected that they faced an overwhelming financial crisis and that they had to expect pain and suffering on a cosmic scale to get out of this.

    Achieving a Triple A rating about four years after this pronouncement suggested that the crisis hadn’t been as big as originally portrayed and that maybe the pain and suffering didn’t have to be quite as severe.

    Then Kennett compounded the mistake by NOT increasing spending.

    People will endure government inflicted pain and suffering for a long time without complaint, if they believe that it is justified and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    Kennett’s actions suggested that the p&s hadn’t been justified and that, even when there was light at the end of the tunnel, he would continue the p&s on ideological grounds.

    Only ultra Libs believe that governments shouldn’t spend money on public services, so once he made it plain that the cuts were ideological rather than necessary, he was gone for all money.

    As for not predicting it beforehand…can I remind people of the awful mindset that existed in the Kennett days? Speaking out against his policies definitely cost me personally, and set my career back considerably (hasn’t recovered, won’t recover – worth it) – I’m not alone in this. I well remember phone calls from a public servant, alerting me to a local issue, which ended with “I’ll be at the public meeting tonight, but don’t attempt to talk to me, it’s more than my job’s worth”.

    In this climate of fear, I don’t think people dared confess to anyone they were voting Labor until they were actually in the booth and realised Jeff wasn’t in there with them.

  12. Kennett actually did increase spending but he did a really poor job of it on two levels.

    1) With the structure of casemix while the Health budget was growing it was done in a way that saw the money being spent on administration and dur the the narrow approach of the Hospital management the funding was narrowly spent.

    2) Kennett totally failed to sell this.

    In saying that I still think the tipping point for the Kennett Government was the 1997/8 budget when the ALP were still a long way behind and what Kennett needed to do was start to turn his attention to his social platform.

    It was at this time that I felt he handed the ALP the 99 election for his failure to start to shift his Government showed him to be a narrow Government at a time when the economy was starting to pick up speed.

  13. Again, an indication of why there was a rural backlash – Kennett always went for the ‘one size fits all’ approach and did so with casemix.
    Country hospitals simply didn’t have the ‘economies of scale’ city hospitals did and it was disastrous for them.

  14. #115

    Transport is a big problem here but the government’s spin-sters have done a good job of lumping as much of the blame as possible on Connex.

    Things like the water pipeline will probably cost Labor the seat of Seymour, but since it’s claimed to benefit Bendigo, Ballarat, etc it will shore up their position in other marginals.

  15. Asher is 53 and has been in Parliament for 17 years and has made no impact at all. I don’t know who the Libs’ great white hope is, but it’s not her. Given what’s happening in other states, I think it would be rash to predict what might happen in Victoria in late 2010. The government’s high current polling is mainly due to Brumby’s strong response to the bushfires and shouldn’t be seen as a final verdict on Brumby v Baillieu just yet.

  16. Asher has made no impact largely because it’s difficult enough for a state opposition leader to be heard, let alone shadow ministers. She also seems to have been content to remain a shadow minister rather than push to become leader. I picked her because she’s talented, articulate and has more charisma than anyone else. She’s not dull. I’ve heard her being interviewed and she’s as good a politician as they’ve got. She’s also tough, which Baillieu isn’t (or doesn’t come across so).

    Only half the Newspoll sample was surveyed after the fires, so it must have been exceptionally in favour of the ALP if it is the reason for 60-40 overall. Newspoll should publish a before/after breakdown to give us a better idea.

  17. triton,

    Louise Asher has never laid a glove on Labor. She was Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Finance in the previous Parliament. She is not now! What does that tell you about her talents.

  18. GG, in the previous parliament she was up against Brumby, who was apparently such a good treasurer that business leaders lament that he’s not still there (I read a report in The Age to that effect sometime). Yes, she’d be up against him again, but leader is a different sort of role. They have to get noticed, and she would be – certainly more than softly-spoken nice guy Baillieu.

  19. triton,

    So your argument is that she got cleaned up by Brumby last time they directly opposed each other, so therefore she would do better the second time around just because?

    Hmm, the Libs problem is that under Kennett they bred a generation of “flower pots”. Remember how Kennett said no Liberal MLA was to speak during the 1999 election. Too many of the Libs think the ban still applies.

    There are no short term solutions. They need a cleanout of their pre 2000 candidates and start again.

  20. I don’t think supporters of Vic Labor should get complacent. Everyone said the WA Libs were hopeless too, and they won. When voters are ready to throw a government out, they will do so. I don’t think the voters want to throw Brumby out, but we are entering unchartered territory with the Great Recession, and by the end of next year who knows where we will be?

  21. Shadow treasurer was a tough gig because Brumby had the state’s finances in such good shape. I don’t know what anyone could have done. Now that Brumby is premier he’s responsible for everything that goes wrong.

    I didn’t say that Asher was their saviour, only that she’s their only hope for the next election.

  22. #121

    That was what 1999 was supposed to be about. Something like 7 senior ministers retired at that election- it was part of the reason for Kennett running such a one-man campaign (apart from his ego, of course). The likes of Napthine, Asher, Robert Clark, Robert Dean, Doyle and Ted himself were supposed to be the next generation. It’s not that the Libs haven’t regenerated, it’s that the new blood they did introduce didn’t quite cut it. To be fair, the benign economic times and general satisfaction with Labor probably meant anyone would struggle in Opposition.

    Also, being wiped out in 2002 didn’t help matters. Any potential up-and-comers that weren’t in an ultra safe seat got the boot.

  23. Dear me
    [we are entering unchartered territory]
    should of course be
    [we are entering uncharted territory]
    accountants get chartered, territory gets charted.
    William when are we getting a “review” button like they have at Wikipedia?

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