D-day minus 1

For those of you who have just joined us, we have had overnight national results from Newspoll and Galaxy, who respectively have it at 50-50 (from primary votes of 35 per cent Labor, 44 per cent Coalition and 14 per cent Greens) and 52-48 in favour of Labor (38 per cent Labor, 41 per cent Coalition, 14 per cent Greens). Labor has also been openly hawking internal polling showing it set to lose seven seats in New South Wales and six in Queensland while gaining two in Victoria, which is surprising only in that the projected NSW losses are above market expectations.


• The Canberra Times has published a Patterson Market Research poll for Eden-Monaro, and while it falls well short of the non-credible 61-39 produced by a similar poll at the start of the campaign, it shows Labor’s Mike Kelly with a 52-48 lead over Liberal candidate David Gazard. Both Kelly and Gazard are on 40 per cent of the primary vote, with the Greens on 8 per cent. Patterson also conducted a poll of Paterson (a marginal Liberal electorate on the central coast, for those of you who are confused), which interestingly turned up a Labor lead of 51-49. This squares almost perfectly with the JSW Research poll conducted over the weekend, and helps explain Julia Gillard’s visit to the electorate yesterday. However, both polls had a fairly small sample of 400 and margins of error of about 4 per cent. A similar poll conducted by IRIS Research for the Illawarra Mercury found Liberal member Joanna Gash with a resounding primary vote lead of 54 per cent to 32 per cent over Labor candidate Neil Reilly in Gilmore.

Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald:

“Bennelong’s gone,” said one Labor heavyweight as he listed seats believed lost and those that can be saved. The punters agree. A rush of bets towards the Liberal John Alexander and away from Maxine McKew has seen Mr Alexander storm from behind to become favourite in just 48 hours. The western suburbs seat of Lindsay, held by Labor’s David Bradbury, is also on the critical list. It is one of the few marginal seats which was not part of the comprehensive preference deal with the Greens because the local Greens refused to be part of the deal. Labor says should Lindsay be lost, this will be the reason why …

One senior Liberal source said there was a growing fear of a backlash against the Liberals in Victoria and possible South Australia, which would be stronger than anticipated. The reason he cited was growing resentment in the southern states towards the almost-maniacal focus on western Sydney and Queensland. The interests of these people has driven the entire election campaign and their concerns, which include boat people and immigration, are those most easily embraced by the Coalition. “We look like coming up four or five seats short,” a senior Liberal said. A senior Labor strategist said the very same thing yesterday. “Mate, if the election was today, we’d win 71 seats,” he said …

The campaign started well but week two was a disaster. That was when the damaging leaks against Ms Gillard appeared which claimed she had argued against pension rises and parental leave in cabinet. In one week, Labor’s primary vote fell 6 percentage points. In the marginals, the fall was as high as 9 points. “Ever since then, we’ve been trying to get back to where we started,” the heavyweight said. “She’s pulled it back a bit, but it’s tight. There is no margin of error in this.”

• The Liberals have made a late play for Bass, unloading what the Launceston Examiner describes as a “$62.5m Bass splash”: a $60 million early intervention mental-health unit for Launceston, and $2.5 million to address the Tamar River’s silt problem made unconditional on the provision of state funding.

• Labor’s member for Longman, Jon Sullivan, committed an appalling gaffe during a candidates’ forum on ABC Radio in Brisbane while responding to the father of a disabled child, who inquired what the government would do to reduce costs and waiting times for specialists. Sullivan asked the man: “What parent would wait two years to get a child, who they believe has a disability, to get to a specialist?” As the Courier-Mail reports it, he was “drowned out by jeers before he could finish his sentence”. Sullivan subsequently apologised to the man.

• Today’s editorials have split along fairly predictable lines: The Australian, all News Limited tabloids bar The Advertiser and The West Australian have backed the Coalition, while the Fairfax broadsheets and the Canberra Times favour Labor. It can be presumed the Australian Financial Review will favour the Coalition, as it traditionally does.

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.

1,196 comments on “D-day minus 1”

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  1. with the Primaries @:

    Labor 35
    Coalition 44
    Green 14
    Others 7

    Dont think ALP can win with primary @ 35 unless there is a swing back to govt in last 24 hrs.

    Looks like incumbency factor is not coming thru this time.

  2. Hehehehe . . . . I totally agree Damuzz. Joolia’s gawn!
    My late plunges with Centrebet will come through, starting with Lindsay where I lived for many years.
    I’ve been getting very good feedback from Penrith pre-poll insiders. Anecdotal evidence indicates a
    greater proportion of people asking for Liberal how-to-votes. Also a higher proportion than usual of
    voters just storming through, refusing to takes any candidate’s how-to-votes . . . . . da swing is on . . .

  3. I always find it super annoying, though predictable when the papers put out their editorials and support a party either way.

  4. [Of course, Shanahan is entirely correct to say Labor is “panicking and desperately trying to frighten Labor voters away from protesting about the Rudd government’s record of broken promises and misadventures”. However, if you went through his commentary in October/November 2007 looking for acknowledgement that the Coalition was panicking and desperately trying to frighten Liberal voters away from protesting about the Howard government’s record of broken promises and misadventures, I doubt you’d have much luck.]

    William@771 last thread – ah, Shamaham. What else is there to say.

  5. I’m following the election from Ireland (I’ve loved Australia since the first time I visited the country in 2003). First off, its a fascinating election and I truly admire the depth of talent and quality of debate in your democracy. Many people lament the choice of politicians in their own country but I can tell you are quite fortunate with the choice you have. My observation from 10,000 miles away (for what its worth) is that there has been an extraordinary degree of complacency among Labor supporters. To think that it could carry out a political asassination of a first term PM, in good health, with a parliamentary majority and still sail to victory was a serious error in judgment. I cant find any precedent for that in parliamentary history. Abbott has proved himself to be an extremely effective campaigner and has grown in stature in the last four weeks. Labor seemed unsure how to respond to him and the tone of some of the comments here seem to reflect a view in the party that simply dismissing him as a Howard era reactionary would be enough to see him off. In my view the strategy has failed completely. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to following the election count, if I was to make a guess at this stage I think the tide is running in favour of the Coalition and they might squeek through with 76/77 seats + the 3 “independents”. $4.50 on a 2PP swing to the coaltion of 2-3% looks good to me.

  6. Well I’ll say it – to me the Galaxy smells more credible.

    The last Newspoll ws 52-48. Now think about this week. Do you really think the “boatphone”, the focus on the NBN and the economy, the ALP launch (which got good snippets on the news) and even the Rooty Hil in QLD thing would means a swing to the Libs to 50-50?

    For mine this week has been if anyhting for a the ALP, an din polling terms I would have thought no change.

    I can believe a 52-48 and a “it’ll be tight in the marginals”.

    But 50-50? Hell it required the ALP to have the worst week in eleciton history for them to go down to that 3 weeks ago. This last week (nd the week before it) has not been bad for Labor.

    My 2 cents fwiw.

  7. [Abbott has survived the night. Went to a police station in campbelltown, the flower market and the fish mar]

    In between sleeping in the car? He’s running on the heady excitement of the moment and I’m still tipping him to fail by a small margin.

  8. [My 2 cents fwiw.]

    It’s worth a lot to me Grog and with that I’m off for the day to prepolling and to drag in those extra votes we need.

  9. Here’s the running total of predictions from yesterday’s thread:


    ALP 79
    LNP 67
    Ind 3
    Grn 1

    These numbers have dropped slightly from 80/66/3/1 early in the day, however there are two dynamics in play – Delphi and the Wobegon Syndrome. Delphi typically drives an ‘estimate’ to the correct outcome if those doing the estimate are knowledgable and the estimating group is large enough. The Wobegon Syndrome is the bias involved in self-assessment which has 80% of the population thinking they’re better than average. I think, therefore, that the predictions reflect a natural bias towards the ALP due to the prejudices of the predictors.


    79/67/3/1 is probably more like 77/69/3/1, or worse.

    William – you come across this in your research?

  10. [I think, therefore, that the predictions reflect a natural bias towards the ALP due to the prejudices of the predictors.]

    Not neccessarily. Many strong Labor supporters might feel that the ALP “deserve” to win, but because of past Howard-era defeats may be unnecessaily pessimistic about its chances.

  11. I would love to do a parallel universe experiment.
    Imagine newspaper headings “Liberal Costing Debacle”, “PBS Slashed by Libs. More expensive Drugs for the Elder.” etc.
    ie How much influence does MSM really have?
    I suspect 10-20 seats (at least)…

  12. I’m a bit bewildered by that Newspoll. But it’s a strange time to get an outlier. I agree with Grog – that this last part of the campaign has been Labor’s – the Liberals in disarray over their costings – so it is hard to see a late surge to the coalition. Galaxy is a little more encouraging.

    I’d sooner have a comfortable win, known early, but I fear it may be a long night and a lot of variation between states and even regions. In Qld and NSW, Labor will need to have about 20% of the marginals buck the coalition trend. Likely, but not certain.

  13. Concern about a Coalition win mounts:

    [There are concerns the Coalition’s plan to cut government spending may prevent hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged people from going to university.

    The Participation Equity Program is used by universities to help disadvantaged people who otherwise would not have the chance to go to university.

    The vice chancellor of the University of Western Sydney, Professor Janice Reid, says the Coalition is proposing to cut the scheme by more than $220 million over three years.

    She says that would stop tens of thousands of people from going to uni.

    “If you roll this out over several years, then it could in due course get into the hundreds of thousands (of people),” she said.]


  14. It’s completely unscientific and frankly unethical to peak at your research halfway. Lends itself to all sorts of bias latest newspoll is not credible. Whether it has it right or otherwise ( which as noted before I don’t think it does).

  15. Anthony I agree. It’s like going through a coin tossing experiment and writing down heads or tails, then saying that heads will win after 3 tosses favoring heads. A mass error in sampling and outcome.

  16. Well, feeling a little glum this morning, I am hoping for the best but prepared as much as is possible for the worst. Who would have thought we would be looking at Abbott at the controls. Still at least if it transpires the population will get to see what a truly bad government looks like and well there’s always the consolation of vengeance in the senate. 🙁

  17. How solid are the assumed Greens preference flows in these TPP results?

    If the Greens HoR vote really increases from 8% to 14%, is it safe to assume that the “new” 6% will preference the same way as the “original” 8%? (That is the way the pollsters do it, isn’t it?)

  18. mad professor@8

    The Wobegon Syndrome is the bias involved in self-assessment which has 80% of the population thinking they’re better than average.

    They could be right – if the other 20% are really, really crap.

  19. [the Liberals in disarray over their costings – so it is hard to see a late surge to the coalition]
    Yes the costings ARE in disarray. But the general public are not seeing it via responsible reporting by the MSM.
    If Labor goes down I will be a very bitter man.
    I will be laying low today conserving download allowance in readiness for tomorrow night.
    Please, please not the unhinged one!!

  20. dyno, who knows? You could say as the Labor protest vote goes up the preferences might run slightly tighter to the ALP, but we don’t know if there’s also a significantly high Coalition protest vote to the Greens. All eyes on Nielsen and Morgan now.

  21. I just wanted to pass on my thanks to all of you out in the trenches fighting the good fight.

    Win, lose or draw (hung parliament) know that your efforts are truly appreciated regardless of the outcome.

  22. Imagine if The Oz did not release half a Newspoll overnight. Galaxy would be the story and Labor winning would be the theme for the day.

    Well done Newspoll. 🙂

  23. Oh and Aristotle’s ‘market share’ analysis of undecided voters puts it at 55/45 to the ALP. I think I’ve conveyed that correctly.

  24. The final Newspoll on Saturday will be 52-48. They put of this half way poll to show 50-50 for reasons that we all know. No need to fret over it, for headlines like: It’s neck and neck.

  25. [All eyes on Nielsen and Morgan now.]

    I’m done with the pollsters for now.

    There’s only one poll left that I’m interested in.

  26. Trioli tramples over Scott Morrison as he tries to divert off topic onto the BER when answering a question relating to cuts to eduction funding.

  27. This has all happened before. John Curtin united Australia in war and Ben Chifley set the country up for peace.

    After they’d done all the hard work, the Coalition waltzed in and ruled for the next 23 years.

    Labor would win if the women’s vote held firm. Alas, frailty, thy name is woman!

  28. Last word for the morning.
    Can you imagine the extremity of the hubris that would be displayed by the Libs if they get up?
    It would add meaning to the word.

  29. ru

    [Imagine if The Oz did not release half a Newspoll overnight. Galaxy would be the story and Labor winning would be the theme for the day.]

    Is the glass half full or half empty? Is it better for the incumbant that they are seen to be 50-50 or for it to be 52-48 in their favour?

  30. A few thoughts:

    – Labor’s strategy in this election has been pretty impossible. “We have been a good government, but we knifed our leader three weeks before the campaign”. There’s a disconnect there, that they’ve found very hard to overcome. No real surprise that they took 2-3 weeks to get on top of the Rudd distraction, either.
    – A lot of Labor’s day-to-day execution (of the actual campaigning itself) has been fine. Have a theme for the day, get the PM and half a dozen frontbenchers singing from the same hymn book, etc.
    – I reckon the Liberals have been the other way round. Their strategy has been a reasonable one (the other mob have been crap, we can do better). No coincidence that this resonates especially in the States with the worst State Labor governments.
    – But if you’re going to run a campaign whose main theme is competence, surely to goodness you could get the costings right (or at least, successfully manage to announce them a pre-arranged time). The Week 1 struggle to bury WorkChoices was also poorly executed (though it was never going to be easy).
    – Having said that, Abbott has personally proved a much better performer than his critics imagined he could be. (No surprise there: Laborites underestimating Liberal leaders is pretty standard fare).
    – In fact, both leaders are natural campaigners. Interestingly, both look far more comfortable talking to “normal people” than their immediate predecessors as leader did.
    – If you can believe those Greens preference flows in the polls, Labor should win (just). That’s the big if, in my view.

  31. Morning all,
    Well, in a world where 1 in 5 Americans think Obama is a Muslim (thats a growing number, including 34% of Republicans) and a historically good ALP govt is not streets ahead in the polls, the power of new media to create alternate realities for people to live in is quite evident today.

    Obviously quite nervous about tomorrow, but still more in the plus column than the minus column. These polls are bad for the Greens. I’m suprised the Greens numbers are holding up, but as far as that translates into actual votes, I’ll believe it when I see it. I would imagine that a lot of Greens voters are going to swallow their principles tomorrow and do their bit to keep Abbott out.

    I guess the message is, if you only ever vote Labor once, do it in this election.

  32. [I’ll believe it when I see it. I would imagine that a lot of Greens voters are going to swallow their principles tomorrow and do their bit to keep Abbott out.]

    They can still vote 1 Green and do that. The polls technically shouldn’t effect the Green primary vote.

  33. So what can we expect by midnight tonight?

    Final Newspoll
    Another Galaxy?
    Another Morgan Phone Poll?

  34. Sportingbet odds moving out for Labor & tightening fro the Libs. Wonder if it is in response to the Newspoll 50-50 or do the punters really think the Libs are going to pull it off.

    I think the old adage that governments lose elections rather than oppositions win them, isn’t applicable this time. It’s the media which is winning this election for the Libs if they get over the line.

    Expect to see a considerable drop in reasonably safe seats in Qld which hopefully means the marginals “aren’t” quite as bad as they look at present.

    [ Labor
    3.45 ]

  35. The Finnigans (from the previous thread):
    [The sun will still rise in the West and set in the East.]

    Now that really would be the end of the world. 🙂

  36. Clark and dave have summed it up.


    As dumb goes, labor has been pretty dumb, looks like dumping Rudd has been pretty close to party political suicide. The smartest thing they have done this election was swap preferences with the greens.

    Labor have done pretty much everything possible to piss off their left flank. I would however be surprised if the left flank could vote for the Liberals in their dreams. It will be a labor win.

    The reality, it will depend on green preference flow and the result could be anything from 80+ (where it should have been with a fruit cake like Abbott in charge) to 76 ( my prediction in the prediction thread).

  37. How did this happen?
    Idiots dumping the PM and then expecting to be able to ignore their record then realising they have to defend it… WHAT DO YOU THINK WOULD HAPPEN IN THAT EVENT?!?!?!?!?!?!

  38. The Coalition wasted $315B (as per Peter Martin)of the mining boom in their last 3 years in Government. Scott Morrison talks and talks about they will stop the waste, the budget in disarray, stop the waste the budget in disarray, Government waste, budget in disarray.
    Meanwhile their policy costing is a fake all it is a set of figures they supplied to the accountancy firm, that is it.
    While the ALP saved Australia from a recession.

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