Morgan marginal seats polling

Yesterday’s Queensland marginal seat polling from Roy Morgan turns out to have been a teaser for today’s full suite, which also targets four seats each from New South Wales and Western Australia as well as one each from Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. With samples of 200 each, the electorate-level results are of little utility, but where results from four seats are available from a particular state we can combine them to get a meaningful picture from a margin-of-error of about 3.5 per cent. The swing of 4.8 per cent to the Liberal National Party in Queensland has not been borne out elsewhere: the four New South Wales seats collectively show a 1.0 per cent swing to Labor, while Western Australia produces an essentially status quo result with a 0.2 per cent swing to the Liberals. The single-seat polling for the other three states is less useful, but for what it’s worth the result from Hindmarsh in South Australia sits well with this morning’s Advertiser poll. Taken in their entirety, the results point to no swing at all from 2007.

ALP 2PP
2007 POLL SWING
Macarthur 50.1 38.5 -11.6
Robertson 50.1 48.5 -1.6
Eden-Monaro 52.3 59 6.7
Macquarie 50.1 60.5 10.4
NSW SEATS 1.0
Hasluck 51 50 -1.0
Brand 56.1 54.5 -1.6
Perth 58.1 57 -1.1
Fremantle 59.15 62 2.9
WA SEATS -0.2
Flynn 52.3 45 -7.3
Longman 51.7 43.5 -8.2
Dawson 52.4 49 -3.4
Leichhardt 54.1 54 -0.1
QLD SEATS -4.8
Corangamite (Vic) 50.85 55.5 4.7
Hindmarsh (SA) 55.05 56.5 1.5
Bass (Tas) 51 62.5 11.5
ALL SEATS 0.1

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.

1,357 comments on “Morgan marginal seats polling”

  1. ru
    just for the sake of the discussion, how many Labor seats do you think would fall in queensland if there was a 4.75% swing in that state? (as Morgan seems to be suggesting).]

    There will not be a 4.75% swing in Qld. Labor will hold all its seats and win the ones that are notionally theirs. The Morgan polling has been made irrelevant by the mining tax decision today.

    Qld regional seats are not heterogeneous, Longman for instance, Bribie is very different to Caboolture or Glasshouse. Impossible to poll acurately with a small sample.

  2. Possum

    Could you please explain your comment on the previous thread that these marginal seat polls could be useful tracking polls if they are continued in these electorates. Doesn’t the small sample size and resultant statistical variation swamp any trends?

  3. Tracking polls combine the results of several days’ polling to produce a result on any particular day, so it’s not a question of single 200-sample data points bouncing all over the place.

  4. ManundaGreen,

    [The Greens will Poll 14% in Liechardt and 5% in Capricornia, which of course will remain firmly LNP, However….nationally (a quote of mine last week from Pollytics)]

    I think you need to give up the green cordial. The Greens will never get 5% in Capricornia and I don’t think there are enough Greens voters in Kuranda and the Ravenshoe area to get them to 14% in Leichhardt either.

    Capricornia is “not” LNP and it would take a colossal collapse in Labor vote to ever be so.

  5. The Greens got 7.5% at the 2007 election, up .99% from 2004.

    A jump to 14% would be some feat. A 6.5% increase on 2007 and a 7.4% on 2004.

    There must be something happening up there that nobody else knows about. 😉

  6. So Morgan wants us to believe there is a 10% swing TO Labor on one side of Sydney, and a 10% swing AGAINST Labor on the other side of Sydney, both in seats with no sitting member. And an 11% swing to Labor in Bass? This is not conspiracy theory territory, this is men in white coats territory.

    If Morgan – a committed mining boss as well as a reputable pollster – puts out a poll that must be misleading and unscientific (as it has only a 200 sample per electorate), how is that different from just out-and-out rigging a poll? The results are the same: a dodgy polling technique is used to deliver a possibly skewed picture of voting intentions. The numbers themselves may not be false, but the technique is useless.

    I heard Morgan on ABC radio this morning and he was close to apoplectic with rage at The Deal. He owns a polling organization. On the day of The Deal, he puts out supposedly reputable data (as he is a “reputable pollster”) that shows the government is tanking in marginals.

    But we all know his sample size is far too small to be meaningful, on an electorate basis.

    Take the extremes…

    A newspaper on-line poll is cited as “proof” of something. We know these are voluntary and completely unscientific. So we lambast it as meaningless. That’s one end of the spectrum.

    A “reputable” Newspoll is published, and (apart from a happy few) most here say they’d never rig a poll, so we must accept the umpire’s decision and work with it. That’s the other end of the spectrum.

    But in the middle there’s a pollster who is also a miner, and he puts out data that’s very flaky due to small sample size. He doesn’t comment on the small sample size, he just implies that this is accurate. It also happens to substantially confirm his point of view, as a miner.

    Is he being perfectly straight with his readers? Is he spending some of his “reputable pollster” capital to give a false impression?

    And if the latter, how would this be different – in ultimate result – from just out-and-out rigging a poll? Reputable poll… bad result from the government… pollster is also a miner… but he can keep his two hats on different hooks…

    Or can he?

    Is Morgan being, not a man in a white coat, but quite disingenuous and deliberately misleading here? And if so, how is this distinguishable from just rigging the numbers, or even making them up?

  7. My apologies I was wrong on that Leichhardt election number I had in my brain the Barron River figure from ages ago We of course will go close to 10% in the FNQ seat

  8. A question for the experts on here. Is there any trend of what happens to polls during a campaign? I seem to recall Howard being behind in polls for months on end, only to get home on the night of the election. Is there a history of governments getting more support on election day than earlier polls suggest?

  9. It’s time went:

    [Could you please explain your comment on the previous thread that these marginal seat polls could be useful tracking polls if they are continued in these electorates. Doesn’t the small sample size and resultant statistical variation swamp any trends?]

    If we get them regularly between now and the election, we can weight those results against the known state polling breakdowns (from Nielsen and Newspoll), as well as against the historical behaviour in the variance of those seats – to give us estimates of the results of those Morgan polls that would be notionally much tighter than a simple 200 sample with a MoE of over 6% – effectively mimicking the type of tracking polls that party polling produces that William mentioned above (although with a fair amount of hindsight backcasting involved)

    We can also analyse them in different ways, by feeding those results into larger simulations to narrow down (and that may sound weird with the sampling error involved in a n=200 poll) the uncertainty of what is happening in various seats and clusters of seats that we know, historically at least, move together in a way that suggests strong dependence (for instance, in the way that FNQ seats have often moves together)

    We can also analyse the results in different ways, di

  10. Bushfire Bill @ 6

    There is probably nothing wrong with the raw data gathered as part of these Morgan polls, within the very large MOE and given the small numbers in each seat-based poll, but, and it’s a big BUT when it comes to Gary Morgan, the analysis deriving from the numbers is highly suspect as it is heavily biased by the interpreter’s know political leanings and his vested financial mining interest.

    Gary Morgan has a well earned reputation as a Coalition shill and right wing idealogue, and his company in the past was bent on union busting his casual workforce in opposition to almost all other research fieldwork companies who worked well with unions over many years to observe the rights of their casual survey interviewing staff.

    It is no surprise to those of us who know and have dealt over the years with Mr Morgan that his verbose and self important opinion pieces accompanying his published research often bear no discernible relationship to the actual tabular data. In that respect maybe Dennis Shanahan is Gary’s avatar?

  11. I don’t think Morgan rigs his polls but he might be better served if he left commentary to others.

    He also gave me a nice laugh with his tax rant so he can’t be all bad.

  12. [I don’t think Morgan rigs his polls but he might be better served if he left commentary to others.]

    I agree, and especially commentary on issues with which he has a clear conflict of interest.

  13. Love to hear business squealing about the 29 instead of 28% rate. Where the bloody hell were you?? And how do you like Abbott’s 30% with higher 31.7% for some? And how do you feel about the super? Cretins

  14. Well, I’d just like to say that winning the half million will not change my life one iota. I shall spend the winnings on women, drink, and drugs, and just waste the rest (to paraphrase a rock icon). By that stage there won’t be much left of the T-shirt I guess, so I’ll still be locked in PB like Truman. Oh well …

    The other thought is, I wish my 500,000th post had been a little more highbrow, such as a lengthy exposition on the advantages of proportional representation, instead of a mere shallow interchange with Gary. I’m sure you agree. (No disrespect to you Gary, especially as you podiumed)

    Perhaps instead of a T-shirt another prize could be considered – I would love a dedicated PB page on voting systems, of which there is a dearth in Aus. William? 😆

  15. Possum

    Did you appreciate my comment over on the other branch about the distinction between Betfair and the set markets?

  16. jaundiced view,

    [I wish my 500,000th post had been a little more highbrow, such as a lengthy exposition on the advantages of proportional representation, instead of a mere shallow interchange with Gary. I’m sure you agree. (No disrespect to you Gary, especially as you podiumed)]

    I was lucky enough to get a dishonourable mention also, thanks to your post! 😉

  17. Get over it BB, you’re becoming a bore and a crank.

    At the risk of earning Psephos’ displeasure (I’d rather be a bore than a traitor), the point is a serious one.

    You can rig an opinion survey by simply making up numbers, or exaggerating them to suit your personal point of view.

    You can also rig an opinion survey by accurately, but invalidly using a crook technique, but presenting its results as meaningful (as in on-line opinion polls).

    As polls are so important nowadays, I don’t think it’s at all boring and cranky to discuss what would happen if a pollster had an axe to grind on a particular issue and then deliberately presented meaningless results on that issue as meaningful.

    What I mean is: if we agree that a 200 sample is meaningless (as we seem to), what right does Morgan have to present the figures as indicating anything at all, one way or the other?

    And if he, or anyone else, does this, why shouldn’t such figures be criticised as tantamount to rigging a poll by more direct means?

    Does taking a measurement of public opinion – even if scrupulously gathered, collated and notated – by a plainly dodgy method amount to rigging a poll?

    The result’s the same, isn’t it?

    So why is one passed off as merely silly and unscientific, not serious at all, and the other regarded as dishonest, when in the final assessment they produce equally bogus results?

    Further, if a “reputable” pollster” adds his reuptation – “Trust me, I’m a pollster” – to the results of a known dodgy polling technique why is this not as dishonest as just making up the numbers in the first place?

    (Note: pompous dismissals by Psephos of my right to ask a question of the PBers will not be considered.)

  18. These results are all over the place. Let’s move on.
    Morgan is desperately craving attention.
    He thinks he’s a player. He thinks what he says matters.
    This means he will put out any sort of polling that gets him media coverage and discussion.
    I think his regular F2F and phone polls are professionally conducted but when he starts putting out small sample polls and whacko commentary, he’s just pushing an agenda and trashing his company’s credibility.

  19. BB, there is no evidence to support your supposition that the Morgan polls are rigged, any more than there is anything to suggest the same thing of Newspoll. Surely if there is a lesson to learn from the last 6-8 months it is that the polls are to be observed and understood and not second-guessed. Gary Morgan may push his own wheelbarrows, but this does not invalidate his polls. The sample sizes and methodology explain the variability in the results: no other “better” explanation is needed.

  20. [You can rig an opinion survey by simply making up numbers, or exaggerating them to suit your personal point of view.

    You can also rig an opinion survey by accurately, but invalidly using a crook technique, but presenting its results as meaningful (as in on-line opinion polls).]

    Where is your evidence that Morgan does this? How do you explain the stratospheric polling figures for the ALP for most of the period 2006 to 2009? How do you explain that Morgan has largely reflected or been close to the other polling organisations?

  21. BB, you are basically saying the results are rigged. How can you know this? Which ones are rigged? All of them? Or only some of them? If only some of them are rigged, why them and not others? More to the point, why would any of them be rigged? What possible value would they have or cause would they advance?

    Think it through: who would benefit from rigged polls? No-one comes to mind as far as I can see.

  22. Isn’t it funny how you lot loved the pro-Labor Morgan polling and defended it to the death… until this piece of crap was released. Now you all can’t be quick enough to rubbish Morgan!

    Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirony! 🙂

  23. [Think it through: who would benefit from rigged polls? No-one comes to mind as far as I can see.]

    Gary Morgan’s sense of self-importance (which simply cannot be under-estimated)

  24. With all the stuff that Abbott and his offsiders are coming out with in the last few days Tanner’s going to have an absolute field day doing the numbers.
    At least someone will be doing them!

  25. WA Premier Colin Barnett is not the only one not happy with the Governments deal with the big miners. The AIG aren’t real happy either and someone said earlier, that the ACCI aren’t happy about the Company tax rate only being reduced to 29% now.

    The Business Associations sure have a hide. They sat back and let the Government wear all the flak, losing a PM in the process and damaging itself electorally, when there was absolutely “NO” chance of getting a reduction to 28% under an Abbott Government.

    In reality, they have sold their Members down the river on this. If a Trade Union did a similar thing their Membership would be in revolt and the Officials in disgrace!

    [Australian Industry Group chief executive Heather Ridout joined the voices in opposition to the deal, saying the weakening of company tax concessions as a result of the new mining tax agreement was disappointing.

    The new tax, announced on Friday, is limited to 320 companies that mine iron ore, coal, oil and gas – well down on the 2500 companies that would have been affected by the resource super profits tax.

    The new measures will garner $1.5 billion less revenue than the previously-announced scheme, a loss that will be offset by a cut to the company tax rate to 29 per cent from 2013/14.

    The rate will not be reduced further under current fiscal conditions.

    “It’s very deeply disappointing,” Ms Ridout told AAP.

    “This is not a tax cut, it is a reformed tax to set the economy up better to be able to cope with the two-speed economy and the pressures that are going to be put on other sectors in the years ahead.

    “We would hope the government will deal with that down the track because it’s a really big gaping gap.”

    Ms Ridout said the Henry report advocated a 25 per cent company tax rate as a complimentary measure to the resource rent tax, and its slide to even 28 per cent was inadequate.
    “Twenty-nine (per cent) is just really a small adjustment, it’s not a reform, it’s a very modest measure,” she said.]
    http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/7502451/mine-tax-discriminatory-barnett/

  26. It seems the Young Libs have been busy over on The West’s online “Poll”

    Today’s Poll
    1552 votes since Jun 30 2010 Now a deal has been done on the mining tax are you more likely to vote for Julia Gillard?
    Yes 21% 321 votes
    No 68% 1053 votes
    It makes no difference 11% 178 votes

    And guess who runs the poll – none other than the miner’s friend Roy Morgan.

  27. Morgan was on their ABC? I’ve just about fallen off the chair in surprise! The ABC normally don’t even mention his polls (being as they tend to favour Labor more than the others) – let alone have Gary Morgan himself on.

    I bet if these Morgan polls were unambiguously good news for Labor they wouldn’t even get a mention on the ABC – and Gary himself certainly wouldn’t get invited on to talk about them.

  28. [Yes 21% 321 votes
    No 68% 1053 votes
    It makes no difference 11% 178 votes ]
    I think there is only one conclusion that could possibly be drawn from this disfunctional set of questions and that is that there is an increased probability for an increased vote for the ALP. But that is pretty tenuous.

  29. psephso,

    To coin a phrase, “pots, kettle black”.

    Only the other night you were excoriating Morgan for his alleged bias and poll fixing. Now you criitcise BB for mouthing the same conspiracy theories.

    Are you schizophrenic?

  30. scorpio

    If Ms Ridout is publicly pissed off then that tells us something. She has been most supportive of the government up to now. I think it tells us that stuffing around with the Treasury’s tax framework like they did today to appease the multi-nationals will not be without pain in other areas locally. This could lead to electoral problems.

  31. Psephos,

    [I think 21% for Gillard is actually quite good for an online poll at The West.]

    Did you see the one by WIN TV that I posted on the other thread?

    7% for and 93% against! LOL 😉

    Telstra and Optus must be making a fortune at the moment.

  32. [MEMO TO SMUG TALKBACK RADIO CALLERS WHO THINK THEY’VE GOT A “HYPOCRITE” GOTCHA ON GILLARD: No, she wasn’t sworn in as Prime Minister with her hand on a Bible (or any other Holy Book). That’s not compulsory, actually.]

    I don’t listen to talkback radio, so don’t know whether there are in fact people out there questioning the legitimacy of Gillard’s swearing in because she did it sans bible.

    What would we call these people? Oathers?

    http://hoydenabouttown.com/20100630.7754/flaming-oaths-of-affirmation-batman/

  33. jaundiced view,

    [This could lead to electoral problems.]

    Seems like a “win some/lose some” type scenario at the moment.

    I think all these polls will bounce around all over the place for the next two weeks or so until everyone gets a chance to digest the past week’s events in the cold light of day.

    I think the polls will settle down somewhat in about three weeks and be a better guide to what the electorate is thinking. At the moment people are being overwhelmed with information, claim/counter claim and spin from multiple sources.

  34. Psephos,

    Shame about the bolocks!

    I fear this will end in a technical explanation of the precise words you used rather than the intent. I’m referring to the insta Morgan poll Channel 7 broadcast the other night. You were highly defonmatory of Morgan.

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