Newspoll: Labor 35, Liberal 36.5, Greens 25.5 in Tasmania

The Australian has published a Newspoll survey from a big sample of 1500 Tasmanian voters showing Labor on 35 per cent (down from 49.3 per cent in 2006), Liberal on 36.5 per cent (up from 31.8 per cent) and the Greens on 25.5 per cent (16.6 per cent) – yet more proof, if any more were needed, that there will be a hung parliament. David Bartlett has recorded poor personal ratings of 38 per cent approve and 56 per cent disapprove; Will Hodgman’s are 53 per cent and 37 per cent; Nick McKim’s are 58 per cent and 32 per cent with just 10 per cent undecided, representing remarkable name recognition for a Greens leader. Preferred premier figures are 36 per cent for Hodgman, 32 per cent for Bartlett and 21 per cent for McKim. The result on preferred outcome is very finely balanced, with 41 per cent favouring both parties overall to form government, which in each case is evenly split between a preference for majority and minority government.

At 2pm eastern time Crikey will be hosting a CoverIt Live chat room featuring me, Possum, Charles Richardson, Greg Barns, Hendrick Gout, Peter Tucker, Michael Jacobs “and more”. You will be either to access it on this site, or here.

UPDATE (20/3): I suppose I should make some predictions. Simply by applying the swings recorded in Newspoll to each of the five divisions, I’m tipping conventional 2-2-1 results everywhere but Denison, where all three parties emerge with something very close to two quotas. However, the Liberals score slightly lower than Labor and the Greens, so accordingly my prediction is that they will miss out on the second seat, and that Labor will thus emerge with its nose ahead for an overall result of 10-9-6. In Denison, I’m tipping David Bartlett and Lisa Singh to win for Labor (though Scott Bacon can’t be ruled out), Cassy O’Connor and Helen Burnet for the Greens, and Matthew Groom for the Liberals. In Bass, Michelle O’Byrne and Scott McLean (Labor), Peter Gutwein and Michael Ferguson (Liberal) and Kim Booth (Greens). In Braddon, Bryan Green and Brenton Best (Labor), Jeremy Rockliff and Brett Whiteley (Liberal) and Paul O’Halloran (Greens). In Franklin, Lara Giddings and David O’Byrne (Labor), Will Hodgman and Jacqui Petrusma (though Tony Mulder is a roughie) (Liberal) and Nick McKim (Greens). In Lyons, David Llewellyn and Michael Polley (Labor), Rene Hidding and Jane Howlett (though I also think Jim Playsted a chance) (Liberal) and Tim Morris (Greens).

Some concluding campaign news nuggets.

• Franklin MP Ross Butler was among the chorus of criticism against the “robocalls” alleging the Greens had a secret plan to legalise heroin. Notwithstanding that official Greens policy states they have no such plans, Electoral Commissioner Bruce Taylor asserted had had no power to act as there are no electoral laws regulating phone calls. The calls targeted 20,000 homes on Tuesday afternoon with a message from Glenys Lindner, “a mum with two teenage children”, who said: “I was shocked to learn that Nick McKim and the Greens would give Tasmania’s worst criminals the right to vote. That’s just wrong. And their support for legalising heroin is simply not acceptable for Tasmania. What else do the Greens have in store if given a say in running our state? This Saturday say no to the Greens and their dangerous ideas.” Another highlight of Labor’s final week campaigning has been a leaflet which, as described by Sue Neales of The Mercury, features “a large photo of a syringe and an image of a criminal’s fists clutching the bars with his fingers tattooed ‘Extreme Greens’” – the latter being in reference to their policy to loosen restrictions of prisoners’ voting rights.

• Despite the party’s dimming prospects, David Bartlett remains firm that he will resign if Labor wins fewer seats than the Liberals, allowing them to “endeavour to form the government on the floor of the House of Assembly”. Since Nick McKim’s position is that the Greens will “not be moving no-confidence motions and those things that have the potential to send the electorate back for another election”, it would presumably not move to depose a Liberal government once installed, barring the proverbial extraordinary and reprehensible circumstances.

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.

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