Newspoll: 56-44 to Labor in Victoria

The latest bi-monthly Newspoll survey of Victorian state voting intention has Labor maintaining its formidable 56-44 lead on two-party preferred. Labor and the Coalition are both up a point on the primary vote, Labor to 43 per cent and the Coalition to 35 per cent, with the Greens down two to 12 per cent. John Brumby’s approval rating is down two points to 46 per cent, while Ted Baillieu’s is up two to 35 per cent. Baillieu has also made up some ground on preferred premier, with Brumby’s lead narrowing from 54-21 to 51-24.

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.

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

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  1. 100

    What evidence do you have for this “no feral candidate policy”?

    Can you give an example of a “feral candidate” in a winnable seat? Or any seat for that matter?

  2. [Old, rich, white, male, millionaire lawyers for candidates. What a refreshing change! He could be the Greens Malcolm Turnbull.]

    I have no problem at all with old, rich, white, male lawyers. Franklin Roosevelt was one, Gough Whitlam is one, Ted Kennedy – the most successful reformist politcian in recent US history – is another. It depends on what they stand for.

  3. Tom,

    They probably all have feral tendancies. But some have been house trained.

    I’m not falling for your Margaret Thatcher tactics!

  4. Psephos,

    All those you mentioned actually achieved something. When did the Greens ever do anything but carp, hinder and whinge.

    I just don’t perceive the Greens as a force for sensible reform whether it be economic or social.

  5. 103

    Being a candidate means that the public has an entitlement to know your name and something about you but talking to a journalist does not automatically. Especially if the conversation was off the record or identity disguised. Journalists also may not write down the names of everyone they talk to on the street.

  6. I’m not here to defend the Greens (as I think I’ve made very clear). I’m here to oppose this rather cheap tactic of attacking candidates because of their age, gender, race, class, occupation, etc etc. Candidates can be said to be unqualifed or unsuitable for various reasons, but what really counts is their political views and policies. I don’t like this tactic when it’s deployed against Labor candidates (as it frequently is), so I can’t applaud when it’s deployed against the Greens. There are much better things to attack the Greens over!

  7. [There are much better things to attack the Greens over!]

    Like forming unofficial alliances with the Liberals 🙂

  8. Juxtaposing a candidate’s personal credentials versus those espoused by the Party they purport to represent is a time honoured tradition and neither cheap nor particularly unfair.

    I just find it amusing that the Greens would pre select an SC when it is well known that their supporters regard law and order as an optional extra.

    Also, the Greens and their angry little ferals make personal attacks on fine Labor people like Peter Garrett all the time. This includes their sainted leader Bob Brown who is quite adept at slagging off political opponents without compunction.

  9. 108

    He is a campaigner for civil liberties. The idea that law and order applies to government too. This is an idea supported by the vast majority of Green voters and supporters.

  10. 107

    The Greens do not have an unofficial or official alliance with either of the Coalition parties. The Greens vote with the Liberals and or Nationals against the ALP sometimes because the ALP have got it so wrong even the Libs and or Nats can see it. The Libs preference the Greens in the inner-city seats because it diverts ALP resources and reduces the chance of an ALP majority.

  11. Tom1st+^

    I suspect the others here realize there is no Greens-Lib Coalition. It’s just one of the tactics all players use games in the game of politics. Good line for the suckers, but that’s about all.

  12. After 33 years it has been announced that Ken Jasper National Party MP for Murray Valley is too retire at the next election.

    It will be interesting to see if the nationals can hold this seat or could the Liberals
    pick it up.

    Its a traditional National Party area that from my understanding has only ever elected Conservatives.

  13. MV is very interesting.

    Its main town, Wangaratta, should be Labor on demographics. One of the highest percentages of single parent households in the state, one of the lowest per capita incomes, large number of factory workers. Some of its booths have voted Labor in the past.

    Ken Jasper has been hugely popular and would command a much higher than normal personal vote (and has been in so long that whole generations have voted for noone else).

    Includes a lot of tiny scattered towns, however, which one would imagine would be rusted on Nats.

    Highly doubt it would go Lib.

    Potentially Labor in the future, but probably needs to wait for next electoral cycle (that is, this Labor govt gone, replaced by conservative, next Labor govt elected).

  14. It’s a wonder that these anti-Green rusted Laborites divert and spend so much energy on the Greens rather than the coalition… how very counter-productive.


  15. I see also in tomorrows Age that ALP branches in Vic are calling for an overhall of the party in Vic. and a end to branchstacking.

  16. Goanna

    The Victorian ALP has the most stringent anti branch staking laws in place already – with the result that quite ordinary, innocent, non branch staking individuals have waited for over two years to be accepted as members, causing incredible frustration.

    I can’t find the article but am willing to bet it’s the ‘same old same old’ Eric Dearicott and co, who when they had balance of power in the State ALP abused it more cynically than any faction I know of.

    They lost power because not only the factions but the truly unaligned united against them. Ever since, they’ve been suffering from Relevance Deprivation and will do or say anything to get a headline.

    They represent 11 votes at State Conference — there are more than that number who are truly unaligned, but they avoid Eric and co like the plague.

  17. Have now found the article. Just as I thought.

    State Conference is the deciding body of the State Labor Party. Members are elected by their relevant branches. It is thus a democratic institution.

    Motions on the issues described by Paul Austin et al were moved at the last State Conference and soundly defeated (with, as I said before, other non factional types voting against them).

    There were 11 delegates of the 300 or so who voted for them.

    So, not having got their way through the democratic process, they’ve gone to the media (again).

    They’re not going to achieve an overhaul of the Party, because noone in the Party who knows and understands what’s going on has any respect for them. If what they were saying had any credence, they would have some respect, even if it was grudging.

    All they are doing is undermining the party to grab some headlines, make themselves feel important and play the martyr.

  18. These branch stackers are often crafty so some of them will have worked out ways to continue even with the current anti-stacking rules.

  19. Well, that’s partly the problem.

    The most common form of branchstacking is to sign up your family. How does a party prevent this happening? And should they? It would be a bit draconian to insist, for example, that only one member of a family can be a party member.

    That aside, why is this always seen as a Labor party problem? The Liberal rules – that you can vote in a preselection without even living in the seat, or even in the country – are far more blatantly rortable, but I have never seen major articles deploring these. It’s well known that Liberals such as Malcolm and Johnson ‘bought’ their seats, yet it doesn’t seem to be a problem.

    Once again, it seems to be a case of Labor doing something about a problem and thus drawing fire for not doing enough and Liberals doing nothing and noone worrying, probably because it’s expected that Libs will be unprincipled.

    Read the ‘vex news’ article on this latest stoush against branch stacking and was amused to see that one of the complaints is the number of people whose application for membership has been held up for an extended time — which is a direct consequence of the rules against branch stacking, rules introduced by the very people who are now complaining about their effects.

  20. Frank Calabrese
    Posted Monday, August 24, 2009 at 3:03 pm | Permalink
    There are much better things to attack the Greens over!

    Like forming unofficial alliances with the Liberals

    Um now let me see what those squeaky clean uncorruptable inventors of capitalism at the ALP think tank have done in regard to alliances.
    Stephen Fielding. one of the most important reasons why the Greens get more upper house votes than lower house is that the ALP voters don’t trust the ALP. Great work. Next we have the DLP in Victoria. What a absolute ripper, just in case you thought that the ALP had moved on.
    You lot are so tough, really tough guys, you dont get that the Greens give their preference on the vast mojority of cases to the ALP because you are slightly to the left of nutters like Barnaby and Wilson. You on the other hand are genuinely closer to Steve and the DLP. that actually says a lot. Get over the whole preference thing its not an issue. The Greens know from bitter experience that you lot are just interested in doing any deal you can. No cred no guiding ethics just power. Thats all fine, but don’t delude yourself that its clever.

  21. If we’ve invented capitalism, I think that’s pretty clever.

    Barking, you poor delusional person you. Never let the facts spoil a good story.

    Federal results, 2007:

    Lower House: Labor 36.28, Lib 36.28, Greens 7.79

    Senate: Labor 40.3, Libs 30.68, Greens 8.77

    State results, 2006:

    Lower House: Labor 43.06, Lib 34.4, Greens 10.04

    Upper House: Labor 41.43, Lib 34.55, Greens 10.58

    Conclusions (based on evidence): the Green vote in the Upper Houses is only marginally above their vote in the Lower House. In the Senate, Labor’s vote was actually higher than their HoR vote; in the Victorian Upper house, it fell only slightly.
    Neither sets of figures support your conclusion and interestingly the suggestion is that the Greens vote came from disaffected Liberals (at least in the Senate).

    So, judging by the evidence, the Greens are the ones who benefitted most from preference deals.

  22. Zoomster,

    Not quite sure that you got my point.

    I’ll make it easier for you.

    Doing preference deals with the DLP and Family First is a pox on the ALP and not some clever student union dealing win.

    Hows that.

  23. Nonsense, Barking. The Greens do preference deals, too.

    It’s like everything in life. Pull it off, and noone says anything; fail and everyone leaps on the bandwagon.

    The Greens are delightfully unscrutinised because of their irrelevance. I’m sure when they get closer to the pointy end of things, their preference deals will come under closer scrutiny and some of them will look decidedly dodgy.

    I’ve done preference deals myself. You operate on incredibly tight deadlines (last time, I had less than 24 hours to allocate preferences); there are a raft of candidates who nominate at the last minute, who you have no idea about but still have to allocate a number to regardless. Even those you do know about are being deliberately coy about some of their positions, because they want the deal.

    It’s almost inevitable under those circumstances that you’re going to give, say, preference number 16 to someone who you should have preferenced at 44. When things get tight, all of a sudden that becomes of crucial importance.

    I was once elected because someone who loathed me put me at 15 in a field of 16. Because he had put my competitor at 16, however, his preferences got me elected.

    So it would be perfectly reasonable and factual for me to say I was elected on his preferences, which he would vehemently deny.

    All that said, I went to some lengths not to vote for Fielding. I still put him above the Libs, though, which was probably the same thing in the end.

  24. Gees you guys think the ALP machine are geniuses, don’t you?

    Who else could predict that it would come down to the Greens v. Fielding?

    Sorry, although I have the greatest respect for ALP HO, I don’t think they’re that good.

  25. Barking,

    I think I will be unable to get through to you, but I will try. First of all, I will digresss in order to explain why I think I will not get through to you. When I first visited France, I wanted to send a postcard home, so I went looking for a red mailbox, but I couldn’t find one – because they were not red. I had assumed that mailboxes throughout the world must be red because that was all I had known. When I finished school, Australia had full employment (which isn’t 5 per cent unemployment by the way). I did not think that I would get a job rather than be unemployed. The idea of being unemployed had not entered my head. If anyone had ever asked me, “Do you think you will get a job?”, I would not have understood the question. There are beliefs hard-wired in our brains that prevent us seeing the obvious.

    You can correct me if the following does not apply to you, but there are people who classify political parties into the legitimate ones like the ALP and the Greens and, grudgingly, the Liberals, and the totally beyond the pale ones like Family First and the DLP. This is a silly classification because all parties I have mentioned work within the Australia’s democratic political tradition. However, the aforementioned classifiers just can’t see it like that: the DLP and FF are to be demonised, with no regard to the actual policies or voting records, so that the facts that Steve Fielding voted against so-called WorkChoices and for its repeal, that the DLP senators voted with the ALP as much as they voted with the Coalition and that in the early months of the Legislative Council the Greens voted with the Opposition and against Labor more than the DLP did are just disregarded.

    Of course, the ALP will do the preference deal that suits it. It is no different from any other party in this regard. Its aim is to form government. It will seek the preferences to enable it to do this and will allocate in its own preferences in return. Once it is as confident as it can be of winning government, it will do the preference deals it needs to do in order to get the most workable Upper House it can, whether the Senate or the Legislative Council. In the case of Steve Fielding, it expected his preferences would help it elect a third senator. Unfortunately for it, its vote fell too far and its preferences helped elect Steve Fielding. In the case of Victoria, it deliberately and consciously preferenced selected DLP candidates in return for DLP preferences to some of its candidates. Consequently, it helped elect Peter Kavanagh, a DLP member in the long-term Labor tradition and, unexpectedly for some, a supporter of gay rights. If the Victorian ALP had one more DLP MLC and one less Greens MLC, it would be pleased – for the simple reason that this would give it more options in the Legislative Council. It is not even a matter of the two Labor parties being closer to each other than the ALP and the Greens are as the ALP would not want to depend on DLP support in the Legislative Council either.

    There is nothing exceptional about any of this. There is nothing unethical about it either. The idea that it is unethical comes from the false classification of mainstream democratic parties as legitimate or illegitimate according to the prejudices of the classifier. If individual voters do not like the ALP’s preference deals, they can vote below the line: for the Legislative Council, that requires only the ability to count up to 5, not hard I would think.

  26. Chris Curtis! (Clunk) hammer hit nail

    One of my complaints with the Greens is that they like to play the we are pure and everyone is corrupt game

    The problem with that game is it treats what actually happens in politics with a degree of contempt and it does not change the way things have been done and will forever continue to be done unless the Greens actually want to end the giving of perferences.

    I agree with Chris on one other point we tend to attack political parties soley based on where they sit (left or right wing) rather than on policy.

    The currant system actually works very well and has enaled Australia to have very stable Govenrment, and we should not need reminding but really all we are doing at elections is choosing the Government, while the Public Sector or executive remains in place maintaining service delivery.

  27. 126

    The point of preferences is so that voters (or in the case of above the line parties) give their votes (or parts thereof) to a party of similar views so that a worse party is kept out. As always happens with politics tactics and strategy have come in. The Senate preference system is designed so that a party can put parties in the order it prefers them. The ALP could have preferenced the Greens above Fielding and avoided his election but they knowingly chose to risk electing Fielding to try and get the preferences to beat the Greens as they are entitled to do. Many of their voters were unhappy with it and its outcome.

  28. As I said earlier, when people are seeking your preferences, it’s often impossible to predict how these people will perform when elected.

    That’s always a particular problem with independents, because they are not bound by any party system.

    Of course many ALP voters – and the ALP – are unhappy with how Fielding turned out. In practical terms, however, it hasn’t affected anyone’s vote that I can see.

    I wish the Greens would get over this. The ALP didn’t preference Fielding over the Greens out of spite or whatever. They would have believed that he had no chance whatsoever of getting up and would have preferred that his preferences went to the ALP instead of the Liberals. That he did get up is a fluke of the preferential system.

    Stop taking it personally.

    And stop using it as a card in the ‘we’re more virtuous’ game. You’ll make your own share of preference boo boos (probably have already). They won’t come back to bite you for another thirty years or so, because they won’t matter much until you look like having some power.

    Enjoy feeling smug in the meantime.

  29. zoomster,

    Would that extra Greens Senator have voted for the ETS? No on current form.

    If the Greens want Labor preferences they need to prove themselves a worthy and reliable partner on important legislation. In the mean time they can get stuffed. Their constant moaning is a bonus as far as I’m concerned.

    I’ll also be advocating Labor preference the more moderate Party’s in the next election . With Labor’s Primary vote in the 40s, I reckon the Greens will need Labor more than vice versa.

  30. 132

    The CPRS could have been stronger if there was no Fielding because only Senator X and the Greens would have needed convincing and the Coalition could have been ignored. The ALP will continue to preference the Greens ahead of the Coalition because the Greens vote for a large proportion of the legislation that the ALP wants and the Coalition does not. An extra Green Senator would have voted for the electoral bill, the enquiry into the Grech email affair inquiry (the first time around), student service fees among other things.

  31. Crickey, I’ll take those responses as a direct hit.
    Getting the real sense that issues around a) political donations from big dirty business has some run, b) you can’t trust the ALP with your preferences, remember Fielding/DLP has some run c) The ALP have moved closer to Family First/DLP has some run. To all the bleeting ALP uncorrruptables out their there is a reason why the Greens go on about being uncorruptable and thats because they believe its crucial. The establishment parties see this whole thing as a mutually benefical back scratching exercise.
    There is a real mistrust out there on issues of corruption and cynical comments such as displayed here reinforce that. As for your (Chris CUrtis) red letter box Drrrrr I think you should go and look in a mirror with that comment. Here’s the mail Chris, one of the areas where the NSW ALP are getting hammered is thier relationship with developers and issues around the perception of corruption. Ring any bells. Why do you think the Libs and the Nats keep going on about it. Over to your sensitive self.

  32. Barking,

    Real mistrust equals 56/44? Hmm. If there was any more mistrust Victoria would be a one party Legislature.

    Really you Greens go on with your self important drivel.

    The reason the Libs and Nats go on with corruption allegations is that the State is humming along economically and they’ve got nothing to say. Sliming your political opponent is the easiest and laziest card to play in politics.

  33. 135

    That 56% is not all ALP die-hards just those who think that the ALP is better that the Coalition. The 56% includes the vast majority of Green voters who don`t want the Liberals more than they are fed up with the ALP. I will be preferencing the ALP ahead of the Liberals but my number one will go to the Greens and I am not alone.

  34. Tom,

    You may not be alone, but you are innumerate.

    If voting follows previous patterns, it will be about 80% + of Greens votes ending up with Labor.

    Thank your mother for the rabbits.

  35. 137

    It is not I who think that people voting for the Greens and preferencing the ALP ahead of the Libs is expressing support for the ALP ahead of the Greens. The vast majority Greens preferences will end up with the ALP in probably 83 seats (presuming that the Coalition don`t compete against each other). They are likely to end up with Craig Ingram in East Gippsland and will stay as Green votes in Melbourne, Richmond, Brunswick (unless Cleary runs and gets past the Greens on Lib preferences but that is unlikely in my opinion) and Northcote. The Greens also have a small outside chance of overtaking the ALP in Prahran and raking in their preferences (because the ALP will direct preferences to the Greens because they would prefer the Greens to the Libs).

  36. Tom,

    You repeat that mantra like a monotonous chant.

    You must really feel a need to convince yourself it is true.

    Om On!

  37. 139

    Okay I will break it down for you. Answer these questions with you opinion.

    Who people who vote 1 Green, 2 ALP and 3 Liberal in a three candidate contest support most?

    Will the Green candidates be eliminated in Melbourne, Richmond, Brunswick and Northcote be eliminated?

    Why do you think your answers to the above questions?

  38. I hear that dear leader Brumby is about to chop of the head of the incorruptable state sec. Les Twentyman was on the Radio with John Fayne yesterday and he was bitter in his words, not slanderous as we have all learned that the uncorruptable ALP machine are quite happy to run off to the Slander courts. Say no more.
    Back to our great leader, Umm I wonder why there is a big push to get rid of his close mate Steven., maybe the posturing and public bragging like a school boy of his campaign strategies. Growler, you sound like a Collingwood supporter, no real part played just bear gut hanging over the fence and a mouthful of pie and abuse. “Go Pies”.

  39. Oh and one other thing about the Steven Fielding thing, everyone know that this nonsense about preferences is rubbish. ‘Oh we wanted the FF preferences before the LIbs.” thats fine I just don’t think anyone in the know takes it as real. The real reason is often stated, the right wing hard men, (Oh they are tough uncorruptable chaps) actually like the FF religious pointy heads more than the Greens.

  40. 134 Barking

    [Crickey, I’ll take those responses as a direct hit.]

    Pity. I just saw them as an attempt to explain (as simply as possible) the facts of politics to someone who doesn’t understand them very well.

    I’m always amused (to say the least) when someone from the Greens side of things accuses me of being defensive or of attacking them. I’m generally just trying to clarify things.

    [There is a real mistrust out there on issues of corruption and cynical comments such as displayed here reinforce that.]

    Evidence? All polling that I’m aware of shows that when questions are asked about trust, Labor generally scores very highly.

    I know that some Greens don’t trust Labor, but I’ve seen too many Green candidates assuring voters that a vote for them is a vote for the ALP to take that too seriously.

    Tom @ 140 — sorry, don’t understand that post at all. Please retype it.

    Barking @ 142 – ‘anyone in the know’ on this thread would be me. I doubt anyone else posting here has buttonholed the dealmakers personally and told them what twits they were.

    Fielding’s religious beliefs were irrelevant, because they thought he was. Again, I think you give them all too much credit. They’re not Machiavellis, though of course they’d like to think so. They were just as much surprised that Fielding got up as anybody (and, for the most part, embarrassed).

    Always remember that, given the choice between a conspiracy and human failure, take human failure every time.

  41. What is trust? What do you mean by that? Do you mean, the likelyhood that they will enact ‘their’ policies or do you mean the likelyhood that they will enact ‘good’ policies? ‘Trust’, ‘Leadership’, its all junk.

  42. The likelihood that they will enact their policies – in the main, yes. Victorian Labor (what we’re talking about) has generally been very good about keeping promises, and very upfront about what’s changed when they couldn’t.

    The likelihood that they will enact good policies – also yes. Mainly because I have a say in the policy process (going over old papers last night, was quite impressed to realise how many policies I have personally written are now in place!)

    Being part of the political process, however, I do understand that promises are a trap. People want to know what you’re going to do in government, and thus they want you to make promises, but the idea that you can keep them is a fantasy. (Whenever I hear a politician make a solid, rolled gold promise about something a year or so down the track, I always want to ask what they’d do if WWIII breaks out in the meantime).

  43. Zoomster,
    I suppose the victory of the DLP over Marcus Ward (Greens) at the last state election was also a mistake. My point is that the preference ‘dealing’ of the ALP leads to this type of nonsense. If the ALP just gave prefernces to the parties and independants closest to them then it would be surprised that the favour would be returned.
    Someone here suggested that the preference thing could be solved if there was no preferences. I agree the above the line voting is a disgrace, if people have a slight rise in informals so be it but people should be encouraged to vote in full. At least then they ALP voters at the two mentioned elections.Feilding/DLP would have noticed that they were being used in some shabby voting deal.

  44. 143

    Here are the first two questions in more detail.

    Which party are voters who vote 1 Greens, 2 ALP and 3 Liberal expressing the most preference for? (To most people the answer to this is obviously the Greens but not to GG.)

    Will the Green candidates be eliminated and their preferences distributed among the remaining candidates in Melbourne, Richmond, Brunswick and Northcote?

    These questions are to try and get GG to see some sense unlike in 139.

  45. Barking

    Oh goody, I’m an average voter presented with over 70 choices and I’m going to bother working it out for myself?

    Sorry, dream world stuff.

    Your average voter not only doesn’t want to work out preferences themselves, they actively want you to do it for them. I’ve been involved in several local government campaigns – the last few days before voting finishes, the phone rings every few minutes with exactly the same enquiry: How do you want me to allocate preferences?

    As a candidate (or a party) the average voter expects you know more about the others running than they do or than they can find out. They see you sharing this knowledge as a courtesy.

    I’d be willing to bet that, if we all had to number 1-70 whatsit below the line, with no HTVs to help out, the vast majority of votes would either be invalid or would not reflect the true intention of the person filling them out, as they would invariably preference candidates higher than they would if they actually knew something about them.

  46. mexicanbeemer,

    Exactly. I do not object to the Greens seeing ALP preferences. I object to their sense of entitlement, particularly since it seems to be based on the belief that they are somehow more in tune with the ALP than, say, the DLP is.


    I have no doubt that the ALP would do another preference deal with FF if FF could deliver.

    I agree that the ALP has been good at keeping its promises, though you have to concede a few exceptions. Equally important is the fact that the “sky will fall in” nonsense that Liberal supporters followed their 1999, 2002 and 2006 election losses with has proved to be just that – nonsense. Life in Victoria is good, and most of us know that no government is perfect.

    Greensborough Growler,

    While I agree with you, it would not make any difference to the ALP which party I thought ought to get its preferences. You must have more power than I.

  47. Barking,

    I did not expect that I would get through to you.

    I think Greensborough Growler has answered your question about the Liberals’ and the Nationals’ fixation on “corruption” clearly. Victoria has improve dramatically since those two parties lost office, and they really have very little of substance to say and nothing that can land a blow on the government.

    I have explained that the DLP victory in 2006 was not a mistake. It was a preferred result to the Greens having the balance of power in their own right in the Legislative Council. The DLP was not used in a “shabby election deal”. Both it and the ALP knew what they were doing, but neither could know the election result in advance. Nor was Family First used in a “shabby election deal”. Both it and the ALP knew what they were doing but neither could know the election result in advance. Preference deals are by their nature based on limited knowledge of the future.

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