Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor in Victoria

The latest bi-monthly state Newspoll for Victoria shows a dramatic surge for the Greens, up four points to 18 per cent, bringing down the primary vote for both Labor (down three points to 34 per cent, apparently their worst result since 1996) and the Coalition (down two to 36 per cent). After distribution of preferences, and obviously presuming Greens preferences play out the same way as last time, Labor continues to hold a 51-49 lead on the primary vote, down from 52-48 last time. John Brumby’s lead as preferred premier is down only slightly on last time, from 49-29 to 47-31.

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.

79 comments on “Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor in Victoria”

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  1. The Greens surge says that both leaders are not liked and both leaders are seen as identical with identical policies. Of course this is not true but they for a long time now have been playing me too politics. I expect the Greens to not do this well. I also expect the Libs to win in a close election, Labor may also win and fall across the line. However the lead up to election may see some unpalatable goings on with Bushfire Commission report and the likely weakening of the economy.
    Brumby better also hope that it is not a Hot November weather wise because public transport may be a bigger mess than what it already is.
    This may a good election to lose if Water prices are anything to go by, because to pay for the desalination plant, prices will have to escalate. If this is true Labor will never live it down because every time someone looks at their bill they will get a reminder of who caused it.
    If Labor scraps back i expect that the next election in Victoria will be fought between two different leaders.

  2. I expect the Greens to perhaps win only one inner suburban seat. Their problem is lack of resources. Labor has the massive edge in this area and will probably go on another scare campaign. Voters are muggs and will easily fall for it. The Greens also let themselves down with the people they preselect and their naive and unorganised ways they campaign. Some of their members have no idea on how to run campaigns and also weak and stupid.

  3. Chris Curtis, I’ll engage.

    8/15 = 0.533…

    Therefore, I have not seen the halving you mentioned. 😀
    More to the point, however, if The Greens vote was at 7.8% at the election with Rudd, consistently grew under Rudd and then fell due to the leadership change, but to a level greater than the election, this is growth. Btw, a newspoll survey, with a greater sample number, taken immediately after the change had the Greens at 10% as opposed to 8%. However, let’s wait a while longer before relying on the polls. There’s a very accurate one coming up before the year’s out.

    If we take into account the impact that Julia Gillard has has on the federal Greens so far, there would likely be a similar trend on the Victorian Greens. However, it must be realised that this trend would only be continued for voters that are confused with state/federal politics or are extremely borderline. For starters, I’m guessing that much less than one half of the population would vote for their federal party in state politics. Furthermore, being a party which attracts far left voters, The Greens are not the party which would normally attract apolitical voters that might not understand state the difference between federal and politics and how it affects them. After all, I’m guessing that a fair deal more than 1 in every 12 political junkies found here are Greens voters (8% vote).

    In summary, whilst the recent dip federal Greens voting support intention was not a halving, it certainly was significant. However, for the simple reasons I list below I predict and hope (as you may have already guessed) that the recent federal leadership change will not prove as fatal for the Victorian Greens, as it did for the federal Australian Greens.
    1) This is a state election which the majority of residents should realise
    2) State Labor, themselves, are on the nose with just as many voters being unsatisfied as satisfied with Brumby’s performance
    3) Of the population vote federally in a state election, I would, as previously mentioned, assume that this ratio would be much smaller under Greens voters
    4) Gillard changes nothing of this

  4. Very Interesting number and in a way not surprising

    The Lib/Nat vote is 40%, in my view that is too low for them at this stage of the political cycle. I image the Liberals would want to be closer to mid-40s

    The Green vote is up and considering Public Transport is a key battle ground issue for November I can see them going very close to the high teens.

    I agree with the view that has been put forward by some people that the Rudd factor may be helping the Greens.

    In terms of seats I think the Greens can be confident in their chances in the seats of Melbourne and Richmond while Brunswick may just hold for the ALP on the back of the very strong ALP candidate Jane Garrett.

    My information is she has been very well received while out doorknocking the community. Ms Garrett is in her role as the Mayor of Yarra has been at the fore front of opposing the Clearway Time changes; this may help her on this otherwise hot issue.

    Tom First and Best – The Greens have next to no hope in Prahran or Albert Park for reasons I have previously outlined.

    I agree with the earlier comment that these numbers show the Liberals potentially only picking up four seats (Mount Waverley, Mitcham, Gembrook & Forest Hill)

    I suspect the real action on election night will be rural and regional Victoria.

    People would be wrong to say that the Brumby Government is looking old. The Government is part of the way though delivering the Victorian Transport Plan and while there are daily issues with Trains but at the same time the Government can quite rightly sell a positive story to Victorians on Roads

    This election will be close but I still think the ALP will fall over the line. One thing I am happy to call is the big winner in the Legislative Council will be the Liberals and the Greens

  5. moo,

    I accept that different polls give different results, and I agree we cannot conclude that the 0.533ing is permanent, definite or precise!

    Good points re the regular Greens voters, but it may be the case that many of those who have moved to the Greens in the last few months were not so politically aware. I can think of two issues that clearly differentiate the greens from Labor – climate change and asylum-seekers. (I leave aside the irony of those disappointed in Labor for not enacting climate change legislation moving their votes to a party that voted against it – and I do know why they voted against it.) I do not see any real difference in these policies between Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd, so, if those issues were the reasons for the swing to the Greens, it is premature for those voters to swing back to Labor. Perhaps, many of those moving from Labor to the Greens just wanted to register a general protest and tare satisfied that a new leader means they no longer have to protest. We will see.

    I can see reasons for dissatisfaction with state Labor, though not sufficient reason for replacing it with the Liberals given the improvement Labor has achieved for Victorians since 1999, and you may be right about the judgment voters are making of the Brumby government – dissatisfaction sufficient to drive some to the Greens but not to the Liberals. I think this will be clearer in the next state Newspoll, (July-September). I still think Labor will win the state election, though with a loss of seats. I won’t go into the reasons now because of time constraints.

  6. [After distribution of preferences, and obviously presuming Greens preferences play out the same way as last time, Labor continues to hold a 51-49 lead on the primary vote]

    Would I be right in assuming that Morgan, by contrast, asked respondents to allocate their own preferences?

  7. Only lose three seats, all of which could be considered natural Liberal seats. I would be more concered if this included seats in Brisbane and the South-East

  8. [I can see reasons for dissatisfaction with state Labor, though not sufficient reason for replacing it with the Liberals given the improvement Labor has achieved for Victorians since 1999, and you may be right about the judgment voters are making of the Brumby government – dissatisfaction sufficient to drive some to the Greens but not to the Liberals.]

    Brumby and Jennings have been stepping on the toes of environmental groups quite consistently over the past couple of years – with issues like resumption of duck hunting against the recommendation of the DSE in 2009 still fresh in many peoples minds. The backroom deal with duck hunting groups to allow hunting in the new Murray River Park is going to result in environmental groups targeting key labor seats – you can bet these will include Melbourne, Richmond and Brunswick.

    I’m in Brunswick and hadn’t even heard Garrett was running as candidate for Labor until I read beemer’s glowing endorsement. Sounds like a strong candidate – not!!

  9. 54

    I have never said that the Greens could win Albert Park at this election. The Greens are just too distant a third there. Prahran is a different story. The Green vote is 20% and the ALP 36%. If the Greens take 8% off the ALP then it is line ball between if the Libs stay the same. If the Libs also take votes from the ALP then the Greens are more likely to be against the Libs for the seat on 2CP.

  10. The east will go Lib, Melb Green, but the ALP will march on. Sure people are annoyed with transport, water etc….but would the Libs do better? I think everyonew knows the answer to that which is no. I seriously doubt the Toorak toff knows what a train, tram or bus is and how to differentiate them.
    It is all me too unfortunately but that neutralises a lot of things.

  11. [Ms Garrett is in her role as the Mayor of Yarra has been at the fore front of opposing the Clearway Time changes; this may help her on this otherwise hot issue.]

    It’s a non-issue in Brunswick, besides I can’t see how running a campaign against part of a Labor strategy designed to improve traffic flow and reduce public transport travel times could be considered a positive for a Labor candidate?

  12. Labor in Brunswick are critical of the Greens’ role in local planning and accuse Greens of supporting high-rise development: true or false?
    With the 2010 Victorian election be one Labor might be better off losing like the last Qld and NSW elections?

  13. Marky Mark @ 52.

    You fail to notice demographic change in the inner city. That is one of the main reasons behind the Greens surge in inner Melbourne. The problem for Labor is that these voters cannot be scared off the Greens. Remember they tend to be smarter young urban professionals. They read the Age not the Hun.

    The other point is, how much can labor afford to spend considering the Libs are doing well. They will be spread very thin in terms of finances, whereas if the Libs were going as bad as last time, Labor wuld be able to spend up big to defend the four inner city seats.

    In terms of Albert Park. Watch for a swing here. The Council election here delivered a smack for anyone endorsed by Labor or Labor candidates. The ALP candidate in Port Melbourne nearly lost her seat to someone from East St Kilda. Labor is on the nose here and 7 out of nine Councillors ran a strong anti ALP line and got elected. People are moving away from Labor here and not to the Libs. I’d watch this one. You can always tell by how much vitriol against the Greens comes out of a Labor MP. Martin is loudly going the Greens here. Internal polling must be showing some sort of movement.

  14. “I seriously doubt the Toorak toff knows what a train, tram or bus is and how to differentiate them”

    There is not a shred of evidence that John Brumby does either!.

  15. John Brumby blaming the Feds for this poll result shows that he is just living in LaLa Land – almost akin to the 12% swing against Labor in Altona being a good result!

    There may be some difficulty in differentiating between the levels but seriously this is becoming an old and tired government. As someone above has said, the regional seats could be the clincher. In a similar discussion a few weeks back, one of the posters was of the opinion that Macedon (a fair way up the pendulum) could be in trouble for the ALP – is there any truth in that?

    It will be interesting to see if the Bushfires Royal Commission becomes a game changer.

  16. Bakunin – Interesting to hear that you say Jane Garrett is non sighted for I was aware that she has been out doorknocking and attending community events.

    I would be curious to see if at some point her profile increases within the Brunswick community. Jane Garrett does have a facebook page that she regulary updates

    Macedon is traditionally a Liberal seat but has seen an increase in the Green vote, a trend that I expect we will see continue this year. I think Joanne Duncan will hold. I suspect this is one of those seats that would fall if Joanne Duncan was to retire.

  17. In respect to Altona, Jill Hennessy has hit the ground running and is putting a few ferllow safe seat MP’s to shame with her work effort.

  18. I predict that the Green MLCs in Northen and Sothern Metro will get re-elected with a full quota on primaries. The Liberals have a good chance at picking up another seat in Sothern Metro at the expense of the ALP. If the ALP do really badly then the Greens have a chance at overtaking them and getting the second Green in 6th place.

    In Western Metro the Green MLC is at risk from the Liberal taking too many votes off the ALP and winning as the swing needed is under 3%. If the ALP get a big swing against it (over 8%) and the Liberals preference the Greens* then Greens may hang on with the ALP loosing a seat instead.

    In Eastern Metro and Northern and Eastern Victoria the Greens are in with a chance if the ALP vote falls enough for them to take the their second seat. Coalition preferences could be the crucial factor in deciding whether the ALP or the Greens win the final seat in these regions*.

    The Greens have a chance in Southeast Metro of being elected on either ALP or Liberal preferences*.

    In Western Victoria the Greens have a chance at a seat because the DLP is unlikely to be so lucky this time.

    *The Liberals preferenced the ALP last time but they may decide that reducing the number of ALP MLCs in more useful to them this time.

  19. Does anybody out there know what the DLP are up to this time? More candidates? Will they get preferences from both Libs and ALP before Greens?

  20. blackburnpseph,

    If you have been reading The Sunday Age, you would have seen that there had been a split in the DLP, with stalwart John Mulholland on one side and Peter Kavanagh on the other.:

    From what Peter Kavanagh says, membership is growing, and that suggests more candidates. However, it is a long way short of when the Victorian DLP had around 20,000 active supporters (members, donors, HTV-handererouterers, letter-boxers, etc), and, given that the DLP did not contest the federal seats in Peter Kavanagh’s Legislative Council Region, something that it should have done to assist his chances this year, I would not be surprised to see very few candidates in this yea’s state election too.

    The ALP will preference Peter Kavanagh ahead of the Greens as it does not want to be dependent on the Greens in the Legislative Council and it wants the DLP preferences it will get in other seats, but it will preference the Greens elsewhere. The Liberals will also preference Peter Kavanagh – for the same reason as the ALP.

  21. 74

    Kavanagh was only about 1100 votes ahead of the Nationals (who by then had the Liberal preferences behind them) when they were eliminated and that included the preferences of People Power, the Country Alliance and Family First. This election the Coalition (who presumably will run a joint ticket (anyone got any info on that?)) is likely to have a higher primary vote than the combined primary vote of the Liberals and the Nationals last time and the right wing minor part vote may well be down (i.e. less Family First). Kavanagh does not have a good chance of re-election. The ALP vote will be down and I would think that the competition for the last seat in Western Victoria will be between the Greens and the Coalition.

  22. Fiona Byrne has won preselection in Marrickville. Both her & Sylvia were extremely good candidates so there is no surprise that it was close. What’s surprising is how close: 1 vote! No informal votes. Fiona & Sylvia are with me having a drink at Zanzibar so we’re all happy with the outcome.

  23. The Greens chances of coming 6th in Southern Metropolitan are connected with their chances of coming second in the safe Liberal seats in the region. These seats are Kew, Hawthorn, Malvern, Caulfield, Brighton and Sandringham. They make up a majority of the seat. Coming ahead secong in Prahran on primaries (with possibility of victory on preferences) would help too. Although in some of those seats the gap is a bit large to close this election unless the swing is big.

  24. Regarding the regional rail link (a very good idea in transport terms IMO) this was an entirely avoidable embarassment:

    I can’t believe a public servant woudl have departed from the normal protocol in announcing the project before affected residents were informed. Next time a politician or staffer is considering ignoring this particular PS protocol, they might consider that it is there for a good reason.

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