Westpoll: 62-38 to federal Coalition in WA

Following on from last weekend’s “50-50” result for Brand, The West Australian has produced another of its small-sample Westpoll surveys, conducted by Patterson Market Research. This one is statewide, and it does not bode well for the state’s already meagre Labor contingent. The poll has Labor’s primary vote at just 26 per cent, compared with the 36.8 per cent that won them four of the state’s 15 seats in 2007. The Coalition is on 52 per cent (including 5 per cent for the Nationals), against 47.1 per cent at the election. The Greens are only on 9 per cent, no different from the election and certainly not what they’re used to from polling recently. This pans out to 62-38 on two-party preferred, a swing of almost 9 per cent – enough to take out Stephen Smith in Perth, leaving just Melissa Parke in Fremantle. The poll also has just 19 per cent agreeing the RSPT will be positive to the state’s economy, against 63 per cent who say negative. Forty-three per cent say it will have a strong (quite or very) influence on their vote, 22 per cent say “no real influence” and 32 per cent say a “minor influence”.

The catch is that with a sample of just 400, the poll has a margin of error of about 5 per cent. However, it accords with the 63-37 result from WA in the most recent Nielsen poll, which would have involved a sample of about 150. If you add the two polls together, the margin of error comes down to about 4 per cent. At the lower end of that range is a swing against Labor of 4 or 5 per cent, which is what last week’s Brand poll pointed to if you distributed preferences as per the 2007 election. Even if that’s nearer the mark, it still suggests a distribution of primary votes that would leave Labor-plus-the-Greens short of a third Senate quota (and taken at face value, this poll shows Labor short of a second). With the Nationals in the hunt for the last seat, and likely to be boosted by preferences from WA First and right-wing micro-parties, this could lead to a Queensland 2004-style Senate result of three Liberal, one Nationals and two Labor. If the other states were to follow their usual three left-three right pattern, that could produce a Senate that differed from the current one in only one important respect: Steve Fielding’s Victorian seat would be taken by Labor, another fluke micro-party winner or, most probably, the Greens. Labor and the Greens would thus have 38 seats against 37 for the Coalition and one for Nick Xenophon. Instead of the Greens holding the balance of power, as most have been taking for granted, the Coalition plus Xenophon would have a blocking majority.

UPDATE: The latter sentence, of course, makes the unsafe assumption of Labor winning the election. I should also point out that the Liberals have a big hurdle to clear if they are to win three seats in Tasmania, where the result in 2010 was three Labor, two Liberal and one Greens. A three Liberal, two Labor and one Greens result would require a solid 5 per cent swing to the Liberals, which would probably win them Bass and Braddon.

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.

2,467 comments on “Westpoll: 62-38 to federal Coalition in WA”

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  1. [Which again they won’t win with. The Nats will get their seats with their 3% but the Libs have to win theirs with 38%. Won’t happen.]

    Thats crap.

    You don’t realise that in some seats there are no Lib candidates. To say the Libs only have 38% in their seats and 3% in Nat seats is dishonest. The Libs may in fact have HIGHER primary vote in all their seats they are contesting, and the Nats most certainly more than 3% in Nat only seats.

    The way polling organisations show their numbers is to combine the national total for Libs and Nats together.

  2. [Even Glen agrees the Libs can’t win with 41%. He’s said that in the past.]

    What the frack are you talking about, the coalition won with 38% in 1998.

    These aren’t “facts” these are things you have decided are an inconvenient truth so have decided to pretend they can’t win on 41%.

    If come election day these numbers were exactly repeated in the polls, Labor would be in deep trouble and would have a good chance of losing power.

    Of that I am certain, the only real question is whether these numbers will actually occur at the election.

  3. William Bowe #2275

    [ I thought this place was beneath you, Peter.

    The place is not beneath me but often the level of “political debate” is below contempt. The reason it is so is because the moderator allows such facile debate. However, even when the moderator attempts to vet the debate (presumably pursuing an agenda to improve the standard of debate) he really doesn’t achieve much when he deletes a comment but allows the deleted comment to stand as a “quote” in another persons comment – followed by the usual personal abuse.

    Perhaps that was an oversight by the moderator. However, one is left with the distinct impression that the moderator is pursuing another agenda. The only only alternative explanation is incompetence.

  4. Johnny boy

    LOL, you must have forgotten your brain somewhere, so I will write very slowly so you might be able to comprehend it

    a. Waterfront reform, by increasing productivity, and reducing trasport cost, we were able to attract investments into our mining industry
    b. tax reform, yes the GST, as Keating the liar did not introduce it
    c. workplace reform, efficiencies gained in the construction sector and mining sector are the chief reason that we WERE one of the best destaination for mining companies until recently, one of the chief reasons the GFC did not affect us.
    d. Banking, by keeping banking strong and increasing regulation ie loan ratios etc, we have some of the strongest banks in the world, one of the chief reasons the GFC did not affect Australia
    e. Creating stronger ties with China, including more immigration from China and India, what a racist he was, inviting Asians into our country and creating trade ties with China (education, technology, minerals etc), so they became our major export partner

    If you have problem with infrastructure, talk to your local state government

    If Ruddie’s “attempt” at reform (Tax Grab) was 1/10 as competent as the Liberals, his approval ratings would still be in the high 70s

  5. [Waterfront reform, by increasing productivity, and reducing trasport cost, we were able to attract investments into our mining industry]

    Oh I had forgotten that we export coal from container depots. Try again.

  6. [ ne point of disagreement – Rudd’s three closest personal advisers have an average age of 30. Again, IMHO, at least some of Rudd’s decisions demonstrate a lack of wiliness and cunning that comes with age and experience.

    I agree. They should go, or be reinforced with older, wiser heads. But I didn’t want to clutter up the post with calls for heads to roll.]

    Spot on, BB. He needs a couple of older, experienced heads there with steel for nerves.

  7. Cuppa@2463

    the moderator … the moderator … the moderator … facile debate … the standard of debate … the level of “political debate”

    You’ve got a problem with “the moderator” and “the standard of debate”, then naff off why don’t you. I guarantee you won’t be missed.


    He should talk about Facile debate when it consists of nothing but attacks on KK, The ALP, his fellow Queens and his bloody dog.


  8. “Labor have screwed up on both the BER and GBNT on miners.”

    Screwed up selling them, perhaps, but the policies/actions themselves are sound.

    The schools program’s been well received in most areas, with the loudest complaints coming, predictably, from Liberal stooges who care more about making “their team” look good than doing what’s right for their local schools and children.

    And the RSPT has been endorsed by reputable experts the world over. The biggest complaints are coming from sore-loser billionaires – why on Earth should anyone believe anything they have to say? What kind of fool would anyone assume they have the nation’s interest at heart, instead of just their own back pockets?

    Whatever side they’re on, the majority should be against.

  9. [That is in total lockstep with the Opposition.

    You are just a mouthpiece of Opposition talking points]

    No i;m covering topics of importance to myself.

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