Newspoll: 56-44 to Labor in Victoria

The latest bi-monthly Victorian Newspoll shows the state Labor government losing some of the support it attracted in the wake of the February bushfires, while still retaining a commanding lead. The two-party figure May-June is 56-44, down from an unsustainable 60-40 in January-February (evidently there was no poll in the interim). John Brumby’s approval rating is down four points to 48 per cent while his disapproval is up six to 37 per cent, but Ted Baillieu is also down four to 33 per cent and up three to 42 per cent. Brumby retains a lead over Baillieu of 54 per cent to 21 per cent as preferred premier.

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.

146 comments on “Newspoll: 56-44 to Labor in Victoria”

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  1. These figures make sense to me. People remember the last time the Liberals were in power and they don’t want them back. The Liberals need to reduce the association the public has in its mind with their destructive impulses and move back to the state-building Hamer mode. That would take time and effort. People look at Labor’s achievements as well as its faults, and they see progress over the last ten years. They look at the Liberal alternative, but there really isn’t one. There is nothing wrong with a bit of negativity, but it has to be outweighed by something positive.

    It is highly likely that Labor will win in 2014, meaning that Victoria will have enjoyed 25 years of Labor Government and suffered only seven years of Liberal/National government in the 32 years that will have lapsed since John Cain’s 1982 victory. On the current figures, Labor would win so many seats in 2010 that the Liberals will have no hope in 2014 either, but I do not expect the current figures to last until the election day.

    None of the poemes – political memes – used against the Labor state government have taken hold, and there have been quite a few – “Labor has no policies”, “Labor has done nothing”, “Labor is controlled by the unions”, “Labor has squandered the rivers of gold of the GST”, “the sky will fall in”, “the sky has fallen in”. This is because people see the evidence of competent, though far from perfect, government in their day-to-day lives.

    Victoria is the jewel in the Labor crown.

  2. Damian and Tom touch on redistribution, and both make valid points. The Greens will continue to increase polling strength in areas adjacent to their inner-city stronghold, but redistributions are likely to occur before support in these precincts reach critical mass.

    I must disagree with Psephos, though – as when the wheels eventually fall off for Labor, electorates already predisposed to Green influence will hardly be soft targets for ALP posturing on unholy political alliances. The Libs will launch counter-claims with similar accusations, and it will be the majors who end up footing the bill.

  3. [Have you gentlemen never heard of not counting your chickens before they’re hatched? Greens over-hype their prospects before every election, and thus make quite good results seem not-as-good-as-expected. You should have watched Rudd the other night, “Oh we’ll take a hit in the polls,” he said, thus making the next day’s polls seem all the better. Tom, on the other hand, would’ve said “I’ll get an 80% popularity rating in tomorrow’s poll, no worries”, thus making 65% look like a disappointment.]

    Adele Carles has a lot to answer for 🙂 Ever since that victory, the Greens have this sudden urge that they will rule Australia – all because of a by-election where the ALP Candidates had some enemies while being the local Mayor. Well folks here is the rub – Fremantle has changed into a Hippie Commune and Adele played to that demographic – other seats aren’t like that.

  4. 46

    The Liberals come first on primaries in Prahran and Labor comes second to win on Green preferences. The Gap between Labor and Green is 16.59%. Taking out the major Liberal booths would mean that Labor would come first on preferences and the Greens would have to try and overtake the Liberals. If the Greens get a swing of over 8.3%, from Labor, in Prahran (more if there is a swing to Labor from the Liberals) then they win.

  5. 52

    The demographics are favouring the Greens in inner Melbourne and Sydney too. The Greens have been increasing their vote around Australia in the past decade.

  6. Based on the poll, I predict that the Greens will win every single seat in the Victorian Parliament at the next election!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Wow this ‘prediction’ thing is really easy! I might join the Green Party.

  7. I think the greens need a reality check.

    The worse thing that could happen to any Victorian Government is Melbourne running out of water. Compared to that nothing else matters. The state government has done two important things to make sure that doesn’t happen. Going on about pipelines and desalination plants just wastes media space, it basically paints those doing it as fools. Oh and by the way, dams are good but the only work if it rains.

    And which party is it that wastes media space, the liberals and the greens.

    As for the rural areas, the government has spent a fortune putting open channels into pipelines do you really think people haven’t noticed.

    Brumby is popular with swinging voters because he builds stuff, not because Kevin is popular in Canberra.

    As for people moving from Liberal to Green, I can assure you it happens, I just wish the greens would think things through. I’m not trying to vote for tree huggers, I’m looking for a party that realizes the carbon economy is in trouble, that we have to build plant for alternative energy, this includes dams ( it will rain one day), windfarms, solar plants, pipelines to move water around, smaller cars, railroads, pulp plants that run on plantation timber, etc and so on.

    I’m not looking for a party that wants to close the economy down, there is no fun in that.

    My view is the Liberals are in denial and the greens don’t see the political opportunities that are opening up.

  8. Psephos and growler, I’m a realist. I’m just pointing out that based on the last votes and demographic shifts the most interesting battles are Labor vs Greens. Labor took the Greens surge in Freo for granted, I suspect they’ll be hoping Brumby arrogance will do the same to Labor in these electorates.

    There is no counting chickens. I am just deducing from demograpic trends and voting trends in these seats that the Greens will be a very good chance to win.

    Just like both of you were harping on about Labor winning Fremantle, which they didn’t.

    The reality is in inner city Melbourne there is a shift. Not many couldn’t deny that, we’re simply postulating the different scenarios possible. Simply from a psephological stand, inner city melbourne seats are increasingly turning more Green. It’s not just an opinon, it is something that elections are showing.

    Ten eyars ago who would have predicted the seat of Melbourne would turn marginal? Let alone Brunswick or Richmond.

    it’s great for democracy.

  9. Frank, what party doesn’t seek to affect change through the targeted consolidation of electoral power? And why should this truth not be so for the Greens?

    I don’t think that anyone here honestly expects to witness a Greens-led coalition in their lifetime, but let us not be dismissive of recent, tangible gains the party has made in urban centers across the country. Despite appearances, the Australian public has never been completely comfortable the notion of a strict two-party system. Sure, Labor might be seen as the best worst-option, but we should think more deeply about the current disaffection/bored-acceptance plaguing our political system.

  10. fredn, easiest way to conserve water is to jack up the price. unpopular but makes people aware of waste. We are the largest water users in the world.

    secondly the pipeline is not the answer, For the pipeline to work there sort of needs to be water in the basin. There isn’t enough. Labor has lost Seymour because of it, there is no way Labor will win that seat at the next election.

  11. Psephos, Liberal’s didn’t believe Kennett was arrogant. I hate to tell you, and I have worked with the man. He is arrogant.

  12. The Desal plant is a waist of energy. The same technology could clean the sewerage (less energy because there is more salt in seawater that nasty stuff in sewerage) from the Eastern treatment plant and pump it into the dams. When the coal power plants in the Latrobe Valley are replaced with renewables or gas then most of the water that they use (the equivalent of about 25% of Melbourne`s water use) could be piped to Melbourne. Piping water from the dry side of the Great Dividing Range to the wet side is crazy.

    The Greens do not want to wind down the economy. They want to fix the economy so it is more environmentally and socially sustainable.

  13. 58

    The Brumby government is arrogant and it can no longer hide behind Bracks the popular to not be seen as such.

  14. [The Brumby government is arrogant and it can no longer hide behind Bracks the popular to not be seen as such.]

    That one quote proves once and for all that the Greens are Liberals in Greens Clothing.

  15. Chris Curtis @ 49:

    Are we going to be subjected to some proselytizing on Joan Kirner’s brilliant education policies next?

  16. 63

    No I and the Greens think that the Brumby government is arrogant and right wing and the Liberals think that he is arrogant and left wing.

  17. @63 FC “That one quote proves once and for all that the Greens are Liberals in Greens Clothing.”

    Are you having a laugh? “death duty, legalise heroin, same sex marriage”, etc etc

    That’s what the Greens are, maybe just a little bit different from the Libs?

    Honestly, you Labor types have a “unique” view of the world!

  18. To be honest, I don’t half mind Brumby. He’s much better than that auwful Rudd and is probably more right wing than Ballieu.

  19. If we go back to 2006, it was the liberals promising to build a desal plant. The ALP ridiculed the idea and .. hey presto .. a few months later … a desal plant!

    It would appear from here that the ALP would be hard pressed to lose the next election but … it could be that one too many! but then 2014 might be that too! Since 1999, they have been a cool, responsible and pragmatic government. Bracksie was a nice guy – would make a good game show host – in fact it was a bit like ‘Victoria, the game show’. It would be interseting to see if Brumby had gone and Bracksie stayed – he might have actually had to make a few hard decisions!

    There is still 18 months to go, maybe the libs will get some visibility in that time! Ted really is wishy washy … seems to stand for nothing … as someome above said … it is actually the nationals that make the opposition running.

    Another hope for the libs is when the 1999 generation in the Ballarats, Macedon, Seymour, etc retire. They won’t be able to win government without a few of those V Lineland seats – Ballarat East and West, Macedon, Seymour, Ripon, South Barwon, Bellarine, Bendio East. etc

  20. Julian,

    That’s a bit over the top. I only predict they’ll double their Lower House numbers after the next Victorian State election.

  21. Patrick Fogarty (68),

    Not from me. Nor can I think of any logical reason that my post on the achievements of the Bracks and Brumby governments means that I would speak in favour of Joan Kirner’s education policies. Beware of the assumptions you make.

    You have given me the opportunity to quote myself:
    “If by Joan Kirner’s ‘education plan’, you mean the VCE, you are right. It was a disaster, but the Kennett Government did not fix it. In fact, between 1995 and 1996, the Kennett Government reduced the number of points needed to get an A (and other grades) in year 12 English assessment tasks, thus lowering the standard, something that even I an opponent of the Liberals, did not think they would ever do.”

  22. The current numbers in the Legislative Assembly of Victoria are

    Labor 55

    Liberal 23

    National 9

    Independent 1

    Those number doubled are

    Labor 110 (not enough seats in the house)

    Liberal 46 (unlikely)

    National 18 (even more unlikely)

    Independents 2 (possibly possible).

  23. I think I’ll join Julian…

    IF Labor goes backwards by 10%, for no reason that is immediately obvious (but who needs reasons….?)

    IF the Libs decide not to contest any seats because they’ve run out of money and anyway, Ballieu thinks it’s too much effort….

    IF, a few months out of from the election, Brumby resigns and takes half the Ministry with him…

    The Greens will romp it in in Melbourne, Brunswick and Richmond and might even pick up a couple more seats as well.

  24. damian
    Posted Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    lock fredn, easiest way to conserve water is to jack up the price. unpopular but makes people aware of waste. We are the largest water users in the world.

    The price is being increased, has to be to pay for all the work being done to secure supply.

    secondly the pipeline is not the answer, For the pipeline to work there sort of needs to be water in the basin. There isn’t enough. Labor has lost Seymour because of it, there is no way Labor will win that seat at the next election.

    Melbourne is more important than one ore two small irrigation areas, both economically and politically. It is just the way it is, people should stop carrying on with the crap, sit down and think about the difficult situation we are in.

  25. Adam and Frank, I assume from the comments you are making you are least slightly aware of demograpics in Melbourne, but I think your wrong on 2 counts.

    For a start I don’t think that the new Docklands area is actual going to remain as strong for the Liberals as it has been, as it has become very generic in lifestyle, very much appelling to the latte set that most commonly vote Green.

    Second Frank, if you had ever been to Fitzroy or South Carlton, you would know that those areas are the most “hippie” in Melbourne by far, so a Fremantle could certainly happen there.

    But what is likely to happen is that the Greens life there vote by roughly 25% state wide (which is a low figure based on the current polls) then the seats where they are within 5-7% will fall ON current figures. But to the honest I don’t see the Greens polling more than 11% at the election, and on that number only Melbourne would fall.

  26. OK, I’m gonna take Frank’s bait too. I’d say the reason Labor lost Fremantle was by ignoring it and taking it for granted, as it was a safe Labor seat. The by-election result wasn’t just due to it being a hippie commune or a latte strip (I didn’t know hippies drink latte, but there ya go), but by local issues being ignored by the only party that could usually win the seat. Therefore I’ll tip Phil Cleary to win Brunswick (from the vote in the northern parts of the seat) before any seats to be won by the Greens – it’s the same kind of vibe, and plus he’s got form in Wills years ago. Labor are forewarned about the Greens in inner Melbourne (they weren’t in Freo, that came out of the blue), so they’ll be watching those seats just as close as they watch other suburban seats with a similar margin to the Liberals. They’re about as likely to lose Richmond to the Greens as they are Burwood to the Liberals, for example.

    (Also, WA protip: watch out for Fran Logan in Cockburn. Arrogant disregard for “only a hippy commune” is gonna put that seat in danger from the Greens one day if Labor don’t figure it out. You’ll find Vic Labor aren’t making the same mistake. 😉 )

  27. westernwarrior

    whilst always conceding that you might be right, firstly, swings are never uniform. It is quite possible for Greens to poll at 15% state wide and not improve their vote (much) in seats such as Brunswick. (I contend that at least PART of the improvement is a jump in the Green vote in regional/rural areas).

    Secondly, the smaller the margin becomes in a seat, the harder it is to close the gap. A number of reasons: the low hanging fruit is gone, and you are increasingly left trying to win over ‘rusted on’ voters; more resources are thrown at the seat, so that the less well resourced party is at an increasing disadvantage; voters take their vote more seriously; the incumbent spends the years leading up to the election (hopefully) working harder.

    Indeed, seats which were once marginal and seen as easy wins can just as easily go the other direction, given this kind of treatment.

  28. Chris Curtis # 74:

    My apologies, Chris. I was obviously being a bit presumptuous – I assumed that you supported that government’s policies given your very harsh treatment of Kennett and the necessary steps he took to clean up the mess left by the previous government.

  29. Patrick Fogarty @ 84 wrote:

    The more seats the Greens win, in my humble opinion, the better. It really messes with Labor!

    If the assumption (on another thread) is that greens’ chances will improve as the middle-class moves to inner urban seats, what’s the chance that MCU will support death duties? Besides Buckley’s that is? Only hard left idealogues support death duties, and most of them vote ALP.

  30. O please Green supporters please stop overrating yourselves, in seats like Prahran and other suburban seats there has been a long history of third parties scoring over 10%, if a seat was solely based on the old city of St Kilda then the Greens would come very close to winning but no seat will be based on those boundaries for that would be well below the allowed quotor.

    I see Melbourne has being a possible Green gain but at some point the Liberal Party vote will recover some support within the Inner city, the Greens are still at the political cross roads with the ETS being passed and while on paper many people may want more once they see job loses and power bills raising I predict people will come to support the approach taken and both major parties know this and that is why we see the Governments follow the policies they are.

    Brumby deserves full credit for the Desalination project for whilst the Greens are doing their normal opposition to a project for that’s all they really know, the Gvernment is getting on with the job.

    I find it bemusing that the Greens refuse to believe they pick up support from the left of the Liberal Party and seem to think their sole support base is from the ALP this shows the Greens only want to be seen as left wing.

    I am not too surprised by these poll numbers, since the tragic events of Black Saturday Brumby as not put a foot wrong, at present I suspect the Liberals will be doing well to gain six seats with maybe Melbourne falling to the Greens but as someone pointed out the raising Liberal vote in Docklands will assist the ALP.

  31. As Tom the first and best @65 suggests, the best, cleanest, least environmentally intrusive and longest-lasting water-saving measure (despite its initial costs & the Yuck factor) is water-recycling. SE QLD, though not currently recycling recycled water into drinking water, not only has the infrastructure in place should the need to use it arise, it provides water to power stations and industry, thereby conserving its drinking water supplies.

    Anyone who’s downstream of another town (especially on major inland rivers, including the Murray); anyone who’s been to UK, western Europe (at least in the last 30 years), Singapore, California (more recently) has drunk, bathed in and otherwise used recycled water. I can’t for the life of me understand why those who live on Earth’s driest Continent don’t recognise that they have almost certainly drunk/ used recycled water and demand that all possible water be recycled.

    Desal is a back-up system for those water dearths that can come from periods (like the recent one in SEQ, and current one in Melbourne) in which rain fails for many years; but it’s an expensive and limited-life supplier, so back-up is all it really is.

  32. Harking back to a posting from yesterday..

    Is there a redistribution due before the next state election. The last one was prior to 2002.

    Does anybody out there know?

  33. The next redistribution is to be done after the next poll but there agin there are several seats now well over quotor, I believe the retribution is done after every second election or eight years.

    I would Imagine there would be one new seat in the South East, the North West and several changes to the Inner city with Albert Park strinking or maybe even being abolished.

  34. “with maybe Melbourne falling to the Greens but as someone pointed out the raising Liberal vote in Docklands will assist the ALP.”

    Not neccesarily, the Libs will need to pick up quite a vote to harm the Greens. If the Libs pick up 2-3% from Labor, The Greens benefit. surely you can’t discount Brunswick if Phil Cleary runs?

    Mexicanbeemer, why would Albert Park be abolished?

    I also think the Liberal’s don’t need to do much but create a perception (or illusion – for Psephos and other Laborites) that Brumby and co is arrogant. There is a sense of people feeling a bit annoyed. One thing to watch out for though is the weather in November.

    If it’s a hot one, the transport chaos will give Labor weeks of negative press, luckily this usually happens in February and by November people will forget.

    Another point is remember not many people picked the Liberal to lose with Kennett at the helm. it came from unexpected quarters, never take the electorate for granted I think was the lesson. Labor has to fight hard, there is the whiff of nepotism and it’s only a tiny amount you need after ten years to get people to give the other lot a go.

  35. I picked the demise of Kennett at least as early as May 1999.

    The main problems the Liberals have unlike the ALP in the lead up to the 99 election is without fail no day would pass without an ALP frontbencher (Thwaites, Bracks, Brumby, Hulls, Batchlor) appearing on the nightly news, how often do the current Liberal frontbench appear.

    My reason for Albert Park being abolised is nothing more than nazel gazing but if the VEC wanted to create seat around St Kilda and Prahran then they may take the opportunity to abolish a seat of course they may just take a few booths our of Albert Park and add them to Prahran in effect dragging Prahran towards the beach.

  36. Albert Park will not be abolished (might be renamed Port Melbourne or South Melbourne) but will shrink and give voters to Prahran. The boundaries will move around St Kilda but by how much depends on whether or not Punt Rd changes as the boundary of Prahran district. Prahran will probably loose part or all of Toorak and this will reduce the Liberals chances of winning it.

  37. Cleary is unlikely to win Brunswick because of the demographic changes and party resources of the Greens in that seat but he would be making it much easier for the Greens to win by sending preferences to them.

  38. I saw somewhere that Cleary had suggested that if he and the Greens swapped preferences, him or the Greens would almost definatly win. Probably him because he is well known.

    I’ll see if I can track down where I saw it

  39. If as Mexican Beemer says in #89 that there will not be a redistribution in this term, then 2010 will be the third election on the same boundaries. Logic dictates that there will be a huge disparity in enrolments by now (are current Victorian state seat enrolment available anywhere – I have searched the VEC website to no avail). You only need to look at federal enrolment in Victoria to see that there are huge disparities.

    If federal enrolments are a guide then the smaller seats – and hence most likely to be abolished – are in the north or west of the state (unless some such as Ripon start to move into toward Melbourne) – or the middle ring eastern and south eastern suburbs seats (covered federally by Chisholm, Deakin, Hotham and Bruce) – this would suggest that either Burwood, Forest Hill, Oakleigh or Clayton would be up for the chop. Federally, it would be safe to suggest that one of the above seats would go at the next federal redistribution as these are the smallest seats and a new seat created on the northern or western edge of Melbourne.

  40. Dave it has had wide coverage. Labor would be worried as Cleary + Greens are a fairly diabolical combination if they can keep preferences tight.

  41. Cleary is not going to win Brunswick party because of the same demographic change that is undercutting the Labor vote. Cleary would do better in Wills because the working class voters who vote for him are still around in larger numbers and so he would have a chance of getting ahead of the Greens and winning on Green and Liberal preferences. Cleary running in Brunswick would just send preferences to the Greens.

  42. GG

    If the Greens are a “never was”, then why is the ALP so scared of them? Flying Garrett down to spread lies about a party you aren’t worried about is pointless.

    Therefore it is obvious that the ALP believe the Greens are a threat.

  43. I can’t believe no one has quoted or linked the article in the age on al p campaign strategy against the greens – very relevant and only two days old. It says the al p is divided on whether to go dirty or talk policy and ideas. Some say the demographic they fight over is too politically aware to be turned off the greens by lies and inuendo about a supposed (though non exist) Liberal/green deal and that it could put people off the all machine. Others say the proof is in the pudding of the albert park bi-election, even though there is no control to compaire it to.

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