Newspoll breakdowns and related matters

The Australian offers geographic and demographic breakdowns of the last two Newspoll surveys, achieving reasonable samples from each subset due to the unusually large samples (around 1700) Newspoll uses during the election period. Age breakdowns offer the interesting finding that Labor has bounced back under Gillard in the 35-49 bracket, but if anything gone backwards among the young and old – or rather, remained stable on the primary vote while the Coalition has picked up a few points. The gender gap is four points on voting intention, seven on Gillard’s approval rating and ten on preferred prime minister, and appears to have widened steadily through the year on Tony Abbott’s approval.

The state breakdowns give us a useful opportunity to confirm their findings with Nielsen, the Fairfax papers having conducted a similar exercise from the three most recent polls (extending it to four for South Australia and Western Australia to boost the sample). I also offer a third measure of what the betting markets think, which involves a rough estimate of the statewide swings suggested by the odds SportingBet and SportsBet are offering on individual seats (more on this subject from occasional Poll Bludger commenter Dr Good). The table shows Labor’s two-party preferred vote:

2007 Newspoll Nielsen Bookies
NSW 53.7% 49% 51% 53%
Vic 54.3% 59% 54% 54%
Qld 50.4% 46% 47% 47%
WA 46.7% 46% 46% 46%
SA 52.4% 56% 51% 53%

Some further (alleged) intelligence courtesy of internal polling:

Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald reports Liberal polling in NSW has them doing “well” in “about five Labor-held marginal seats”, which include Macquarie and Robertson and to a lesser extent Dobell. The other two presumably include Gilmore, with a fifth harder to identify: the pendulum suggests Bennelong, Eden-Monaro and Page, where in each case the markets favour Labor. However, they Liberals were also said to be in trouble in Hughes and Macarthur. In Queensland, Leichardt and Dawson are said to be at risk, but Labor looks set to hold Longman and Flynn.

• The West Australian reports Nationals polling has Wilson Tuckey leading them in O’Connor by just 51-49, from primary votes of 38 per cent for Tuckey, 23 per cent for Nationals candidate Tony Crook, 21 per cent for Labor and 8 per cent for the Greens, with 10 per cent undecided.

• Markus Mannheim of the Canberra Times reports Liberal polling in the ACT shows the Greens vote actually falling since the 2007 election, which if accurate would put their dream of a Senate seat well beyond reach, if the Democrats’ decision to direct preferences to the Liberals hadn’t done it already.

We’ve had conflicting reports in recent days on party finances and campaign spending:

Richard Gluyas of The Australian today reports the Liberals are struggling to raise funds. A media-buying source is quoted saying Labor ad spending has been especially conspicuous in the past week, with $19 million in advertising commitments for the length of the campaign splitting “55:45 in favour of Labor”.

• The Sydney Morning Herald, by contrast, reports Liberal television advertising has been 51 per cent more active than Labor’s, “as measured by audience exposure”:

Labor officials wondered aloud where a cash-strapped Liberal Party had managed to find the money, an answer which will not be disclosed officially for a year and a half. And the Liberals were struck by the fact that Labor had all but withdrawn from the advertising market in the second week of the campaign. After an active first week, Labor advertising airtime fell to zero in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, and near zero in Sydney, in week two. Labor continued normal campaign-level advertising only in Brisbane, presumably reflecting the high concentration of at-risk seats in Queensland. In a week in which Labor was taking a hiding in the news media and in the polls, the party decided to stop trying to reach voters with paid advertising as it husbanded its resources. “Labor have obviously come off for a reason,” Mr Durrant said. “I can’t see that it would be because they have run out of money but more likely it is a strategic decision to perhaps blitz the market in the final stretches when people are closer to making a decision, which could be quite smart given how much coverage and PR is being generated by them both.”

I can only say that the the Liberal Party doesn’t seem starved for funds in Western Australia. As well as running highly visible campaigns even in Labor’s safest seats, there is talk the state branch has found $1 million to spare for the national campaign.

So much for what they’re doing with their own money – here’s some of what they have planned for ours.

Petrie (Labor 2.3%): Last week Labor promised to spend $742 million building a fabled rail line from Petrie to Kippa-Ring. The Liberals responded by bringing forward their own planned announcement that $750 million would be put into the project. This evidently came as news to LNP Petrie candidate Dean Teasdale, whose initial reaction to Labor’s announcement was that this was not the time for such an expensive project. Tony Koch of The Australian notes the rail link has been the subject of fruitless election promises for 40 years, and it was first proposed as far back as the 1890s. The state government dropped plans to build the link six years ago after a study suggested it would be unviable, but last year was reported to be pushing to get the project “shovel ready” so it could be considered for federal funds. It emerged as an issue in the state election last March when Shadow Transport Minister Fiona Simpson flew solo with a promise it would be built by 2016, causing great embarrassment to her party.

Leichhardt (Labor 4.1%), Dawson (Labor 2.4%), Flynn (Labor 2.3%), Herbert (notional Labor 0.4%) and Hinkler (Nationals 1.5%): Queensland’s regional coastal seats were clearly the target of Tony Abbott’s announcement last week that they would limit the future expansion of marine parks, by requiring “peer-reviewed scientific evidence of a threat to marine diversity”. The announcement was made at Mackay in Dawson. Mackay has also been the scene of a bidding war over the construction of a new ring road: Wayne Swan promised $10 million for a feasibility study into a new ring road one week into the campaign, and Tony Abbott trumped him two days later by promising $30 million for design and engineering work.

Hasluck (Labor 1.0%) and Swan (notional Labor 0.3%): Labor last week promised to provide $480 million of $600 million sought by the Western Australian government to improve roads around Perth Airport, which will include widening Tonkin Highway to a six-lane freeway. There was also an as yet uncosted promise to provide funding to an upgrade of 4 kilometres of Great Eastern Highway.

Bass (Labor 1.0%): Last week Labor promised $11.5 million in finding for Launceston’s flood levees as part of the Natural Disaster Resilience Program.

Sturt (Liberal 0.9%) and Makin (Labor 7.7%): The Prime Minister last week announced $100 million in funding for stormwater harvesting and reuse, the first cab off the rank being a $10 million contribution to a pitch for $33 million by councils in eastern Adelaide. With the councils to fund half the cost, this left a $6 million hole which Labor wanted filled by a previously reluctant state government. The next day Tony Abbott trumped Labor by promising to put up the full $16.5 million. The Coalition has also promised $7.5 million to improve Fosters and Gorge roads in Sturt.

Gilmore (notional Labor 0.2%): Late last week Tony Abbott promised $20 million to upgrade a notorious section of the Princes Highway between Ulladulla and Batemans Bay.

Legal action:

• The GetUp!-sponsored legal challenge against the law requiring the electoral roll to close on the day the writs are issued will be heard in the High Court tomorrow. According to the Australin Financial Review, GetUp! will be supported by most of the legal team that acted for Vickie Roach in the 2007 action that overturned a Howard government law prohibiting prisoners from voting.

• A “Tasmanian antique dealer” has launched a legal challenge against Eric Abetz’s right to sit in parliament, arguing he remains a citizen of Germany, from which he emigrated in 1961 at the age of three. Constitutional expert and Labor preselection aspirant George Williams tells The Hobart Mercury there are “numerous pitfalls for any politician born overseas, or whose parents or even grandparents had been born overseas, to fall into, unawares and without intent, which could make them ineligible to sit in Parliament”.

Finally, there has as always been some interesting wash-up from the unveiling of Senate group voting tickets on Sunday, which I have summarised for an article in Crikey. Note the launch of the new awareness-raising website Below the Line, on which voters are encouraged to order and then print out their own Senate “how to vote” card.

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.

1,187 comments on “Newspoll breakdowns and related matters”

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  1. Must say I have some difficulty with a poll showing more women than men voting for Abbott. Especially if Morgan was in the field the evening the evening the ‘no means no’ broughaha was being reported.

  2. [I don’t buy this one yet.]

    Nor do I BigBob.

    Morgan has a financial interest in the outcome of this election so he will spin the results to suit his party. I’d like Poss to have a look at his methods and raw data but that isn’t going to happen.

  3. Well it hasn’t moved then.

    I still call bunkum on the women changing part.

    I’ll still wait for the next couple of polls to come in before I despair.

  4. it’s not just one poll big bob, it’s several polls all telling the same story.

    The ALP are on track to lose government, all because they panicked and balked on their own commitments when Abbott simply stood up to them.

  5. [Mark Simkin seriously flubbed it on ABC news last night. The take away message was that Abbott inadvertently made a comment once that was seized on by the feminazis of the Labor and Greens to discredit him. No mention that he used it four times in various ways. He is a walking talking Liberal stooge.]

    W-T-F does Simkin think “I thought no meant no” alludes to??

    It is the line of defence most frequently used by those accused of sexual assault.

    The lowlife Abbott used this line against a FEMALE Prime Minister BECAUSE she is a woman.

    And he used it FOUR TIMES with deliberate intent.

    Simkin, if that is the spin he put on it (and it wouldn’t surprise me coming from THEIR abc) should be ashamed. As should every unethical opinionist who spun and tried to whitewash the grub Abbott’s offensive comments.

  6. I accept the polls to date – this one just doesn’t look right – why the big change in the female vote?

    Nope, I’ll still hold my opinion until i see where Newspoll and Galaxy are this week.

  7. BK

    The only person who is to blame is Gillard.

    Knifing Rudd was stupid IMHO.

    I dont think we’ll be seen as stupid IF it happens (Abbott isnt PM yet) but that we’ve been poorly governed by the ALP which in many respects we have.

  8. [Posted Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Permalink
    It’s just one poll, and it looks dodgy too me.

    Why would women turn off Gillard in the last week?

    We’ll see when the others hit news, but I don’t buy this one yet.

    perhaps bushfire has a point we have missed

  9. My mail is that the Galaxy is better looking for Labor, but if it’s not and had Liberal Primary at 44-45 then it is just about a done deal.

  10. IMHO the point of inflexion was when Rudd retreated on the insulation issue. If they had properly and forensically stood up to the rubbish coming from the OO and Abbott and sheeted the blame on the unscrupulous mall business operators who did the wrong thing I’m sure they could have seen it through and not have to cave on the ETS.

  11. [I assume this was a phone poll. Anyone know what days it was taken on and the sample size?]

    Tuesday with 612 sample. Its hardly a poll.

  12. yes exactly julia has done nothing wrong, why would they

    we never ever know what electorates these questions are ask

    once i had lady here doing face to face and i ask her where else she was working she said o only in this electorate and she mentioned the area she had to cover that week.

  13. So a poll conducted last night, right in the midst of the “no means no” stuff, shows a rise in Abbott’s approval amongst women. I guess that proves that those who were offended by the comment were never going to vote for him anyway. Objectively, between the gaffe and the interest rate news, yesterday should have been a great day for Labor. Apparently not.

    This is well and truly it. Irrefutable evidence that people have once again simply stopped listening to Labor. Gillard is cactus. Labor to lose 30 seats or more.

    Poor fella my country.

  14. This election is anybodies to win really.

    glory i wouldnt go calling it if the next polls are bad but it would fit the Meme that Gillard is struggling.

    I’d only be worried if the Tories get to 51-49 or above.

  15. Glen
    I’m not saying the government is blameless. It’s just that Abbott and his bunch of third rate cronies just don’t have what it takes.

  16. [I accept the polls to date – this one just doesn’t look right – why the big change in the female vote?

    Nope, I’ll still hold my opinion until i see where Newspoll and Galaxy are this week.]

    Well you are the eternal optimist.

    Morgan has consistantly had Labour in front, but the worm has turned and it seems the public are buying the MSM and OO cheerleading and allowing Abbott to waltz into govt without ever answering any hard questions on the economy.

    Abbott would not go onto John Faines 774 ABC morning show but went to 3 Always Wrong and Mighty Tiny Ratings because they are Tory strongholds.

    he wont debate Gillard on the economy

    He wont answer the journo’s questions.

    He wont put in his costings.

    This is Howard 1996 all over.

  17. A poll of 618 electors.

    does any one remember years ago if pollster where this nasty in their questions the way the phrase them ect i get very confused when i read how they are ask and the out comes
    its like tocher to me why would you not realese the lot of the poll

    may be abbott new about this to day he seemed happy enough and if he did that is wrong

  18. I can’t in m wildest fantasies believe that after Abbott’s no-means-no comment yesterday that men would move to JG and women to Abbott. That doesn’t stand up to basic logic. This ‘poll’ has a smell about it. I say bin it and wait for something more credible.

  19. IMHO the point of inflexion was when Rudd retreated on the insulation issue. If they had properly and forensically stood up to the rubbish coming from the OO and Abbott and sheeted the blame on the unscrupulous mall business operators who did the wrong thing]

    Maybe Labor didn’t want to get the Liberal core-constituency (small business) off-side.

    As if they were ever ONside in the first place.

  20. ltep
    Posted Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    “Ron, the points would’ve got lost. To be honest I don’t even remember her making them because it got overshadowed with all the silly “did you call Kevin” questions.”

    well she did try about 3 times , guess thats why public is so uninformed of not just Julia’s actual stanses’ in detail’, but importantly also Tony Abbott’s to make voting decisions

  21. [I’m not saying the government is blameless. It’s just that Abbott and his bunch of third rate cronies just don’t have what it takes.]

    BK I can’t argue with you there I really on rate 4 of his frontbench.

    But they’re at level pegging on a high PV half way through the campaign against a first term government. It must reflect poorly on the governments record.

    It is a little unfair given the ALP did some good with the stimulus but that they’re never going to be considered better managers of money than the Tories. Mind you when Labor wastes money on BER rip offs and the pink batts it does provide examples where Labor cant manage money.

  22. Bishop B, Bishop J, Fiorivanti-Wells, Bernardi, Abetz, Mirabella, Joyce, Hockey, Truss, Stone, Ley, Dutton, Morrison, Robb, Abbott. etc, etc.
    I ask you!

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