Advertiser: 56-44 to Labor in SA

The Adelaide Advertiser has published a poll on South Australian state voting intention from a sample of 522, showing Labor leading the Liberals 56-44 on two-party preferred. After distribution of the 12 per cent undecided, Labor leads 43 per cent to 37 per cent on the primary vote. Breakdowns between city and country show Labor leading 57-43 outside Adelaide. However, the previous Advertiser poll published last September had the Liberals leading in the country 58-42, pointing to a scarcely credible 15 point turn-around – although the earlier poll had a total sample of just 365. Martin Hamilton-Smith is far ahead of his party rivals as preferred Liberal leader.

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.

127 comments on “Advertiser: 56-44 to Labor in SA”

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  1. [The previous Advertiser poll published last September showed the Liberals leading 58-42, pointing to a scarcely credible 14 point turn-around.]

    The 58-42 was in country areas.

  2. Previous: http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/files/poll.pdf

    New: http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/pdfs/statepolitics18mar2009.pdf

    If this is correct, for country areas on the primary vote, Labor has gone up 18%, Liberals down 5%. The Greens are down 7% (12% in the country sounded a bit farfetched compared to 6% in metro). Family First down from 8% to 1%. Undecided down 1%.

    I blame the sample size of the first one. I recall seeing the graph of the reliability of polling sizes somewhere, it’s one of those graphs that has the line going near vertical, then a sharp curved turn, then a line going near horizontal (how technical of me). A sample of 522 is far more reliable than 365. I think the curve began to slow down in altitude around 400.

  3. And as far as metro goes, Labor is down 4%, Liberals down 8%, Greens up 1%, FF down 2%, Independent/other up 6%, and undecided has doubled to 12%.

    Ind/other up 6%? Maybe it’s that new Free Australia/bikie party 😀

  4. Damn I hate the ’tiser, can’t even get a decent pdf together without having headings on a separate page from the section and tables breaking across pages.

    I just wonder if all the populism has started to bite Hamilton-Smith. It’s all well and good to go on a crusade for an inner city stadium when the economy is travelling well, but when things start to bite the public is more keen to see it spent in more vital areas. Particularly with people whose jobs are in the more vital areas.

    The ’tiser’s crusade against the Rann government has stemmed a bit recently, and I guess there are some rural voters who would be supportive of his proposal to take upstream states (*cough* Victoria) to the High Court over the Murray.

  5. It’s just ridiculous to believe that Rann is more popular in rural areas than in the city. Labor basically hold all the urban seats in SA and none of the rural seats. Hill scrapping the disastrous Country Health package will have helped in the rural areas, as would have Rann’s High Court challenge over water but not by that much.

    I also find it hard to believe that only 37% of Labor voters think Rann is doing a good job.

    Overall, both leaders would be pretty unhappy with the very lukewarm opinion the electorate has of them. “Fair” came up very often. I’d like to see both go as the are both terrible. Bring in Downer or Pyne for the Libs and promote Weatherall for Labor.

  6. Heh what a rubbish poll, just spent half an hour plugging in the numbers into a MoE calculator, trying to split the vote and get results on metro/country is bad enough. Putting such a flawed headline on the front page is just bad journalism. Posted the below to the advertiser story, id be surprised if it gets published.

    A sample size of 522 produces a margin on error of 4.62% (the PDF states 4.3 – that assumes a 50-50 split in the vote )
    That means the ALP 2PP result could be anywhere between 51.38% and 60.62% Ie almost 10% area of unknown real value. Remember there is only a 95% chance the correct value lies within this area.

    Now if that isn’t bad enough, lets look at the reported country figures.
    Of 522 voters surveyed we need to split them into Country and Metro voters. I don’t know the % of country residents in SA, however lets just say its 50-50.
    That means 261 voters from Country sa were survey for a 57-43 ALP leading result
    261 metro voters with a 56-44 result.

    The fact that the ALP result is higher in the area where they have almost no current seats than the area where they have most the seats should of triggered alarm bells… however..

    The country vote sample has a margin of error if 6.02%, that means the true value (95% confidence) lies between 51 and 63% for the ALP. The metro figure is much the same.

    Ofcourse if you consider we have more metro voters than country voters, I just counted 16 rural seats out of 47 that makes about 32%. Lets have a look at the margin of error on the country vote based on a correct weighting.

    32% of 522 is 167, the margin for error on the country voters according to that is 7.53% Thats a 15% effective margin on error… The alp vote could be as low as 49.5 and as high as 64.53.

    If you are going to conduct votes with this low a margin of error, don’t split the votes into rural and metro (or male/female). Wait until several polls have been conducted and do a yearly analysis – (in the same way the newspoll conducts State polls from combined forntnightly polls) or if you are going to stick with such sillyness, save calling so few people and spin a wheel – it has as much chance of being right.

    There have been no dramatic polling movements, only dramatic interpretation of horrible polling techniques.

  7. Dio, one thing I have heard from people who have attended industry briefings recently is that Rann is remaining very upbeat about the GFC and trying to weather it, whereas people like Foley are much more realistic about it. I think we probably need to have a fairly upbeat and positive premier at the moment just to keep confidence as high as possible; as long as he’s being advised by level heads.

    Rann’s probably perfect for that sort of position since he’s always played Mr. Good News; he doesn’t really have strong links to most of the bad news… he generally leaves that to Conlon.

  8. i’ve never given much credence to the Advertiser polls, much as i want to believe this one i find that turnaround a bit hard to get over, i think both the last one and this one go too far in opposite directions, MHS isnt going to cut the mustard, very few people i talk to seem to take him seriously, i think the populist policies have done that, they dont believe them, his vow to apply for the commonwealth games after he was elected even though the winning state would have been announced well before our next election has set in some voters minds he’s a lightweight, the Advertiser does it’s best to push his cause, last week the saturday magazine was all MHS and he did a live blog afterwards, i didnt bother to check it out, MHS is big on talk but theres no substance underneath, he’s big on construction ideas but is hopeless on costings, he’s a bit like a rabbit caught in the headlights when pressed for finer details.

  9. Actually can anyone here much smarter than me (ie most) work out the sample size of rural voters from the voting results?

    ALP Metro/Country/ALL: 36/43/38
    LIB M/C/A: 30/33/31
    IND M/C/A: 9/4/8

    Included the last one given the big difference between Metro and country. So yeah is there a way of determining the power (sample size) of each contributing region in influencing the ALL result?

    All in the name of poking fun at shoddy poll reporting 🙂

  10. Al

    That’s very true but it doesn’t explain why his support is so insipid with Labor voters. How can only 37% of Labor voters think he’s doing a good job? (I’d rate him as fair myself). It doesn’t augur well for the Presidential-style campaign we are certain to get. I think most people have seen through the “Good News” Premier routine. They might need a new tactic.

  11. I find this result far more believeable than the previous one for sentiment in Adelaide itself. Given the swing against the Liberals in the by elections, it seems hard ot believe that even the coutrny result was ahead of past trend.

    I bet the Advertiser editors must have enjoyed printing this. I can just imagine the tear soaked pages of the proof copy…

  12. I’ll bet the Country Health Reforms don’t re-emerge until after the next election. The turnaround in amazing with them off the radar. The Country people are VERY pleased to see they were listened to.

  13. Diogenes,

    You have to be cautious with these results. 15% turnaround over one polling period seems extraordinary. I’d want to see a further confirming poll before drawing any conclusions.

  14. GG

    Very true but from what I’ve heard, the Country people feel they had a win when the Country Health debacle was U-turned on. They went from furious to being very pleased. The High Court chest-beating over our traditional enemy, Victoria, also went down well esp in the rural areas.

  15. I would be looking very carefully at these figures to see if the apprentice hasn’t put some of them in the wrong box. Find me a poll ever in SA with Labor ahead of Libs a lot in country areas.

  16. How about Julie Bishop for SA Premier. Just get her into a safe Liberal state seat and then take the leadership from MHS. Labor would be wiped out I reckon.

  17. Bree 16, you obviously know very little about South Australia or how elections are won in Adelaide. Julie Bishop = Eastern Suburbs= Blue Rinse Ladies Type= No Hope of Winning an election in South Australia.

  18. vote1

    I get it as metro was 70% of the poll and country 30%. That’s probably about right as Adelaide is 70% of SA’s population according to wiki.

  19. [promote Weatherall for Labor]

    The problem isn’t Rann, he doesn’t control what the government does. He’s a puppet of the dominant Labor Right, the likes of Don Farrell. Rann does what he’s told. Any other Labor leader wouldn’t make a difference to the outcomes we get here.

    At least it isn’t a Liberal government though.

  20. [I think most people have seen through the “Good News” Premier routine. They might need a new tactic.]

    Vote Labor for steady government as opposed to the Liberal rabble who are corrupt and infight en masse as witnessed during the Brown/Olsen/Kerin years?

  21. Bree, Julie Bishop as premier——haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaa, what a hoot, oh my aching sides 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  22. [Bree, Julie Bishop as premier——haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaa, what a hoot, oh my aching sides]

    Yes it is very amusing. But we’ve learnt that Bree has no credibility when it comes to politics, even GP tells Bree to shut up at times! And that’s saying something!

  23. bob

    I don’t think we’ll be seeing what a Lib Government will look like for quite a while. They are totally unelectable. They need a new leader and don’t have one in the party, hence my comment to get a federal in.

    I think people are getting sick of Rann though and those figures tend to back that up. All the other long-standing Labor Premiers have gotten out, Bracks, Carr, Beatty and Gallup, and I think Rann should follow them.

  24. I don’t think people are getting sick of Rann, I just think that he’s been serving for a long time. The Rann government has been comparatively free of scandals and issues. If you ask what people don’t like about the government, there’s no underlying theme. If you look at other long serving leaders – Playford, Menzies, Dunstan, Bannon, what has assisted in keeping them in has been a disunited opposition.

    I think Rann is the best choice for 2010. Any change before then would be seen cynically. After that, having won three terms, I think Rann should step aside early in the piece. But who would replace him? Weatherall? Hahahahaha. He’s from the left faction. He has no chance.

  25. [Julie Bishop = Eastern Suburbs= Blue Rinse Ladies Type= No Hope of Winning an election in South Australia.]

    I agree Brenton. She also = Western Australia. I don’t think any self respecting vter in S.A. would approve of new leader from interstate being helicoptered in. Dumb suggestion from Bree.

  26. bob

    I certainly wouldn’t get rid of Rann before the next election. I mean he should step aside after winning the next election, perhaps one year in. I think Marjorie Jackson-Nelson gave Labor a huge free kick when she pulled her name from the hospital. It’s really neutralised the opposition to the MJN.

  27. I hereby officially predict that at the next state election the SA ALP will suffer a significant decrease of votes cf the last election and a loss of seats to the point of defeat. Maybe even defeat.

  28. Well Gary its a little tongue in cheek but not entirely.
    I voiced the opinion that “the ALP will go backwards at the next election” to a few persons of influence recently and they reluctantly agreed. I think this current poll is more than a little weird and at best a flash in the plan and between now and the next election we will see anti ALP sentiment re-emerging particularly from the media.
    Anyway its a testable prediction so we’ll see.

  29. Dio

    Would the effort to reform workers copensation arrangements and union campaign against it have hurt Rann in Labor circles?

    Ironically, I finally heard Martin Hamilton Smith say something I agreed with the other day. He said the government should put on free buses into the eastern suburbs during the Clipsal, to manage the traffic congestion and compensate for the inconvenience. Strongly agree about the onconvenience; its not a bad idea.

  30. Julie Bishop as SA Liberal leader, Nicole Cornes as deputy (she admits she is a life-long Liberal voter) and maybe Alexander Downer. A good mix I would say. This would be a nightmare for Rann.

  31. Bree 19

    You’ve got to be kidding about Julie Bishop. She’s not really a local, not credible, not media friendly and couldn’t unite the warring local factions. They might as well nominate Mark Latham.

  32. [I hereby officially predict that at the next state election the SA ALP will suffer a significant decrease of votes cf the last election and a loss of seats to the point of defeat.]

    Really? You don’t say. Labor got 56.8% of the statewide 2pp vote, the largest in SA state history, 1993/state bank aside.

    [Maybe even defeat.]

    Grasping at straws there.

  33. I would say a Labor defeat is more likely in SA than Vic. On Victoria, I reckon Costello would easily beat Brumby, if he chose to go into state politics.

  34. Bree, I think it is highly unlikely that the Conservatives will win in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania or the Australian Capital Territory for the present time. Pin your hopes on tonight, New South Wales or the Northern Territory.

  35. I think the main problems for the state Libs in opposition is leadership rather than the 2PP, the problem at the moment is that MHS is the only talented one in there at the moment. 56-44 is not bad, one year out from an election.

  36. Don’t assume I’m not an ALP supporter.

    I have spent a lot of time and effort actively campaigning for the ALP at the last two elections.
    Don’t forget the ALP vote went down enormously at the Frome by-election, no matter how you spin it. The Libs may not have done well either, but things can change in a whole state campaign and a week is a long time in politics.

  37. What I find most amusing is that Bree thinks Bishop or Vanstone could do a better job than MHS. They’re all hopeless, but MHS is the best of these. Who would listen to Bishop or Vanstone? Not everyone is a blindslighted Liberal fanboi.

  38. [I’m certain Costello would beat Brumby but the Coalition needs to save Costello for federal politics.]

    Out of the many polls on the subject, show which one is encouraging for Costello to become PM?

    Not a comparison of Costello to Turnbull or anyone else, because that’s comparing bad with bad. Show us a poll that asks if Costello should become PM (exit poll @ 2007) or compares him to Rudd, and shows Costello in a favourable light?

    Liberal fanboi. Even GP laughs at you.

  39. My tip is for Labor to win with a reduced majority in 2010, MHS to go within a year of defteat for most likely Pyne or possibly Downer after the Libs get wiped federally by Rudd. Rann to step down mid-term for Foley.

  40. [You never know, someone might pop out from the SA Lib backbench four weeks out from the election and do a Barnett.]

    You don’t come from SA, so i’ll forgive you for such an ignorant comment. There is nobody of any persona or talent on the frontbench. The SA Libs acknowledge there is a shallow pool and that MHS is the best shot. I guarantee that MHS will be the Liberal leader come the 2010 election

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