Newspoll, Nielsen, Westpoll

So …

• GhostWhoVotes reports Nielsen has Labor ahead 52-48, from primary votes of 39 per cent for Labor, 41.5 per cent for the Coalition and 13 per cent for the Greens.

The Australian reports the 2500-sample Newspoll we were shown two-thrds of yesterday panned out to 50.2-49.8, the decimal place being a feature of Newspoll’s final polling since about two years ago.

• Westpoll/Patterson Market Research has polled 400 voters in each of Canning, Hasluck, Swan and Cowan, putting the Liberals narrowly ahead in each: 51-49, 52-48, 52-48 and 53-47 respectively. Canning aside, where Alannah MacTiernan is clearly doing exceptionally well in narrowing down a 4.3 per cent Liberal margin, the figures point to a swing against Labor of about 2.5 per cent within a margin of error of under 3 per cent.

UPDATE: Newspoll state breakdowns show the shift they have recorded against Labor has been driven by a collapse in Queensland, where their two-party vote is down six points on last week to 42 per cent, and New South Wales, where they are down four to 48 per cent. This points to election-losing swings of 8.4 per cent an 6.2 per cent. And yet the poll also finds Labor climbing still higher in Victoria for a swing of 3.7 per cent, maintaining their 3.6 per cent swing in South Australia, and recovering four points to their 2007 level of support in Western Australia. After appearing to reverse her decline last week, Gillard’s disapproval has shot up five points to 43 per cent, almost equal with her steady 44 per cent approval. State results vary from plus-22 net approval in South Australia to minus-16 in Queensland. However, Tony Abbott’s disapproval is also up four points to 50 per cent, and his disapproval down one to 42 per cent. Gillard’s lead as preferred prime minister has narrowed from 50-35 to 50-37.

UPDATE 2: Kevin Bonham in comments notes that the Queensland result looks very much an outlier, and if it was replaced with the state’s trend figure the national result would be 50.8-49.2 in favour of Labor. This of course would normally be rounded to 51-49.

UPDATE 3: While a nation waits in breathless anticipation of the result in Boothby, The Advertiser offers … a poll of Hindmarsh. This predictably has Labor well ahead, although the size of the margin – 62-38 from a swing of 7 per cent – is interesting.

UPDATE 4: Roy Morgan has done a very strange thing – recontacted the 187 undecided voters (fair enough) and Greens voters (huh?) from their recent poll to check if they had made up or changed their minds, and reassigned their vote choices accordingly. Their figures thus record Greens votes shifting to other parties, but not other votes shifting to the Greens.

UPDATE 5: A late situation report.

New South Wales. The final Newspoll has the swing at 6.2 per cent, and while this seems to be what Labor is bracing for in western Sydney, the result is well clear of what is expected statewide. Nielsen and Morgan both have it at 3 per cent. A swing of that size in Sydney alone would cost Labor Macquarie, Macarthur and Bennelong, and the expectation that these seats will indeed be lost has become almost universal over the past few days. There is also an emerging consensus that two further Sydney seats on much larger margins, Lindsay and Greenway, are being swept away on a late surge to the Coalition. However, Imre Salusinszky of The Australian suggests the backlash against Labor ends at the city limits. Robertson is rated “the only regional seat in NSW where Labor regards itself in deep trouble” (Gilmore evidently doesn’t count), and even there the result is 50-50. Labor is thus expected to retain Eden-Monaro, Dobell and Page, and if this proves wrong they can kiss the election goodbye. There would also remain the vague hope for Labor of a boilover in Liberal-held Robertson.

Victoria. Meanwhile, the swing to Labor in Victoria is at the very least holding firm: Newspoll has it at 3.7 per cent, Morgan at 0.7 per cent. Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald quoted a Liberal source talking of a stronger-than-anticipated swing driven by “resentment in the southern states towards the almost-maniacal focus on western Sydney and Queensland”. Certainly Labor is expected at a bare minimum to win McEwen, and are generally rated favourites to take La Trobe. Beyond that pickings in Victoria are slim, though there are dim hopes Dunkley or Aston might prove a bolter. Conversely, Labor are by no means a foregone conclusion of retaining Corangamite, which looms as a must-win for them in every sense of the term. Labor are all but giving away Melbourne to Greens candidate Adam Bandt, who could find himself in a very interesting position over the coming week or two.

Queensland. Newspoll has set a cat among the pigeons by showing a lethal swing against Labor of 8.4 per cent and a primary vote below 30 per cent. However, this is sharply at odds with Nielsen’s 3 per cent and Morgan’s 4.4 per cent. Should it come in at the lower end of expectations, Labor could yet save quite a bit of furniture. I believe Peter Brent is overselling his point in saying “sophomore surge” means the Coalition is more likely to lose from a majority of the vote than Labor, but there’s no question this phenomenon warrants more attention than it has been given. At the 1998, members of John Howard’s class of 1996 facing re-election for the first time experienced an average swing 1.1 per cent lower than the overall swing in their state. Similarly, the 19 Labor MPs ushered into the Victorian parliament by the Steve Bracks landslide of 2002 out-performed the statewide swing by 1.4 per cent at the 2006 election. Should that pattern be repeated this time, it would be an enormous boon to Labor in Queensland where sophomores are defending eight seats, including six on margins of 4.5 per cent or less. Labor could thus be confident of holding back the tide in a couple of seats with margins under the statewide swing. The consensus is fuzzy about individual outcomes, with seemingly only Leichhardt and notionally Labor Dickson on everybody’s list. Most feature any or all out of Flynn, Dawson, Longman and notionally Labor Herbert. Speaking on The Drum, Annabel Crabb noted Labor had been surprised how little attention the Liberal National Party had been paying to Bonner, Petrie, Brisbane and Moreton, but of these it seems only Moreton is entirely safe.

Western Australia. The best guess is that Labor will suffer frustrating defeats in every WA marginal, with Canning, Hasluck, Swan, Cowan and Stirling all emerging in the 0 to 5 per cent zone on the Liberal side of the pendulum. The seat most likely to buck the trend is Canning, which speaks volumes for Alannah MacTiernan’s performance given its 4.3 per cent margin. Labor would still be holding out hope of an upset in Swan or Hasluck. The latter if not the former can probably be relied upon to closely track the statewide swing, which the late polls can’t agree on: Newspoll says 0.3 per cent to Labor and Nielsen says 4 per cent to the Coalition, while the result from Morgan’s small sample came in at 1.2 per cent to the Coalition.

South Australia. Newspoll has the Labor swing in South Australia at 3.7 per cent, which seems on the high side, but we also have an Advertiser poll for the seat of Hindmarsh putting it at 7 per cent. That should make both Sturt and Boothby highly winnable for Labor, but there is a near universal view that Christopher Pyne’s expensive campaign for the former has paid dividends. Boothby on the other hand is expected to go down to the wire.

Elsewhere. There is limited local polling data available, but it is very widely expected that Darwin-based Solomon will be lost to Labor. In Tasmania, a big ticket campaign promise earlier this week suggested the Liberals have not given up on Bass, but most expect Labor to again obtain a clean sweep of the state’s five seats. Certainly they can afford nothing less.

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.

980 comments on “Newspoll, Nielsen, Westpoll”

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  1. When Labor wins tomorrow , I’ll have a pint of what the Pope drinks.

    Creme de Menthe.

    Doesn’t that joke end…

    “No wonder they always carry him ’round on a chair!”

  2. Diogenes@4

    Why doesn’t the AEC count the pre-polls today or as they come in? Wouldn’t that make tomorrows counting easier for them?

    Cos it may be seen as influencing the vote.

    hence why once a upon a time there was a media blackout on the reporting of election results until AFTER the WA Polls had closed which was then at 8pm, and with Daylight savings the 3 hour delay would mean that results in WA wouldn’t be known till 11pm.

  3. All the Bludgers said that it was OK for Rann to win despite losing the popular vote. Do they have the same opinion if Abbott wins without winning the popular vote?

  4. Greensborough Growler@1362

    When Labor wins tomorrow , I’ll have a pint of what the Pope drinks.
    Creme de Menthe.

    I will have a shiraz or 20.

    Creme De Menthe? They also used to give the alter boys Absinthe to increase compliance I heard.

    The whole cloistered experience gives the recipients big ears – I guess the be-cassocked ones have to hold on to something. e.g. Tony Abbott.

  5. Gus, i think the yanks call it running interference. He he, i tell ya I’m in no mood for liberal malarkey.

    Frank – that was bloody magnificent. You got me thinking “it was a very good year”.

  6. good night all.

    early vote 0800 then work – I hate working on election days, but as a bit of a “gypsy traveller” in my work I do get to see a few different electorates, and the action at some booths is pretty amazing!

    spouse says govt will be returned narrowly, hope they are right.

  7. About to go to bed, in preparation for a long day tomorrow. Before I go, I’d like to say something:

    Thanks a lot guys for the reassurances, the camaraderie and the fun, as we went through polls, both high and low, leadership changes and an election campaign. Whether we win, lose or draw tomorrow, you guys will have a place in my heart and I sincerely wish you the best, whether you are Labor, Liberal, Green or Truthy!

    Secondly and more importantly, William I would like to thank you. You have provided a very insightful blog and your tireless reporting of polls and important election news has been very useful. Not to mention this little micro-community you have infesting your comments section. I wish you well with your psephological future and your doctorate (or have you already gotten that?) Do yourself a favour though, tomorrow evening, kick your feet up and enjoy your favourite drink. You deserve it!

  8. lastly – I thought “The rise and rise of Michael Rimmer” was very funny when I saw it years ago, now I think it would just scare me!

  9. [hence why once a upon a time there was a media blackout on the reporting of election results until AFTER the WA Polls had closed which was then at 8pm, and with Daylight savings the 3 hour delay would mean that results in WA wouldn’t be known till 11pm.]

    They actually still do that in Canada, by prohibiting national broadcasts on elections anywhere in the country until polls in the Pacific Time Zone have closed. It’s annoying for political tragics, but I definitely see the merit in it.

  10. [They could count the votes but not release the numbers though]


    they are considered

    [in situ]

    IE they are regarded as tho they were votes cast on the day

    Do keep up

  11. [I’m doing htv for the grand dame ]

    regarding maxine, I noticed she showed a bit of leg today,


    that’s how to get elected if you are from across the bridge in sydney

  12. Thank you for an amaazing sight. Just to finish there are only about 10 ALP’s that really know what’s happening have the polls. It is just as likely they want a call to arms. This is still open but I think ALP scrape through. I’m going 79ALP

  13. Some wisdom from Carney in The Age:

    The Coalition in opposition has had considerable success in reinforcing and running on the same themes that worked for most of the Howard years. Throughout this campaign, as for all of this year, its message has been that debt – any public debt at all – is anathema, and that the mining sector is an insurmountable bulwark against any ill economic winds from across the sea.

    It is a simple construction and it has nullified, to a great extent, the government’s argument in favour of the stimulus. By its inexact nature, a stimulus program distributed in a hurry to stave off a recession will involve waste. The government believed the public would see that if your house is on fire and you’re trying to put it out, you don’t worry about the water bill or damage to the furniture.

    It was wrong. There has been virtually no political reward for Labor in the stimulus. Julia Gillard says she has learnt lessons from the way the stimulus was applied. One lesson is that a very, very large proportion of the voting public still subscribes to the simple Howard-Costello-Abbott notion of economic policy and has little grasp of Labor’s economic approach. If Labor gets another chance today, it will suffer a world of hurt in its second term if it doesn’t learn how to sell its economic message.

    I second that.

  14. News24: The French have just deported a whole lot of Romany to Romania by bus and plane, but with nothing to stop them getting the next flight back…

    Hillary Clinton speaking on Pakistan floods at UN, looking VERY tired and haggard.

  15. Rocket @ 23

    The mysterious Michael Rimmer (Cook) appears at a small and ailing British advertising agency, where the employees assume he is working on a time and motion study. However, he quickly begins to assert a de facto authority over the firm’s mostly ineffectual staff and soon acquires control of the business from the incompetent boss Ferret (Arthur Lowe). Rimmer then succeeds in establishing the newly invigorated firm as the country’s leading polling agency, and begins to make regular TV appearances as a polling expert. He subsequently moves into politics, acting as an adviser to the leader of the Tory opposition, and then becomes an MP himself, for the constituency of Budleigh Moor (a reference to Cook’s frequent collaborator, Dudley Moore), along the way acquiring a trophy wife (Howard). Relying on a combination of charisma and deception, and murder he then rapidly works his way up the political ladder to become prime minister (after throwing his predecessor off an oil rig), and finally, by public demand, a near-dictatorial president. Ferret attempts an assassination from a window when Rimmer and his wife’s opened topped car is in a passing motorcade – but fails.

    The film satirised the growing influence of PR, spin and opinion polls in British politics,[1] as well as parodying political figures of the time such as Harold Wilson and Enoch Powell. Peter Cook admitted later that he had partly based his portrayal of the Rimmer character on David Frost, who had provided funding for the film[2] and took an executive producer credit.

    Just standard conservative operating procedure really!

  16. [Why doesn’t the AEC count the pre-polls today or as they come in? Wouldn’t that make tomorrows counting easier for them?]

    If it leaked ahead of time it would render those votes invalid, I’d expect.

  17. Watching Shannas on LL now. Reckon the Fibs could snap him up for Mackellar or Berowra when the incumbents fall off the perch.

  18. #4 DIO

    [ Why doesn’t the AEC count the pre-polls today or as they come in? Wouldn’t that make tomorrows counting easier for them?

    Commencing to count until all voters had completed their ballot papers would be a very “dangerous” practice.

  19. Yeah!!!


    Isn’t that the sort of figure I tracked down and re posted a few days ago, from William’s site on the eve of Kevin07?

    “plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose”

    Sleep tight, gonna be all right.

  20. cupidstunt

    typical WA polling, at least i live in a safe labor seat here in the west, a rarity nowadays.

    To guess yr seat, will not leave much choice after Saturday.

  21. Thanks William for all your work…and patience..and for providing this spendid forum…and a wish for a Labor Victory
    Good wishes to all the folks I have meet in the past months on PB
    Labors many supporters deserved better than we got from Rudd and his control freakish behaviour,which nearly brought it down in ruins….and thanks Julia for working to save it all from tghese hectic weeks.
    If we win tomorrow you deserve much thanks.
    Thanks again William…from ,,to use your words ,,” a constitutional immortal”

  22. Mr Squiggle@28

    regarding maxine, I noticed she showed a bit of leg today,
    that’s how to get elected if you are from across the bridge in sydney

    At the age of 57? Ah, yes … you did say ‘across the bridge’, and they aren’t spring chickens over there…
    The crossing is easy these days. Imagine if we still relied on a flat bottomed punt.

  23. Regardless of who wins tomorrow it’s a bottle of Dalmore Gran Reserva and at least a couple of cohiba siglo v’s.. Here’s hoping we win!

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