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”

  1. Come off it TP. You’re a broken record.

    You know as well as anyone else, Rudd was much further to the right. In terms of social policy, he was very close to Abbott. So spare us this rubbish.

    His removal was more about his toxic internal leadership and people skills.

    He may well have won. We’ll never know. But I think there’d be more baseball bats for him than Julia today.

  2. [I don’t know where the commentators who say there is a late surge to the coalition are getting their info from as Betfair showing a continued firming of Labor win…….]

    I said this last night. Since JGillard has no incumbency credentials she is getting none of the late movement over the past few days. Instead it has gone to the Liberals as a quasi incumbent from the previous government. This trend will continue right up to the ballot box today and is what may surprisingly deliver a clear victory to the Libs. It is a matter if time is short enough for the effect not push the Libs over the line.

    At Solomon voting booth today there was a sense of there was nobody to vote for. Gillard and Abbott were nothings. A lot of 2007 Rudd voters have probably gone back to the CLP again.

  3. Centrebet still offering five VIC seats.

    Based on the odds –

    Corangamite : ALP – ALP hold
    Deakin : ALP – ALP hold
    Dunkley : LIB – LIB hold
    La Trobe : ALP – LIB loss
    Melbourne : GRN – ALP loss

    ALP to win La Trobe, lose Melbourne.

    Where are all these huge swings?

  4. vic

    [Are you confident Labor can pick up Boothby?]

    I’m confident they can pick up Boothby. I’m not confident they will pick up Boothby. The booking have Labor at $2.75. It’s 50:50.

    The bookies have given Sturt to Pyne. Labor is $5.00.

  5. Thomas Paine, may I see I agree completely with your analysis. In Greenway, NSW, my division, the feeling is that it´s moving back to the Libs like in 2004.

  6. ltep @ 678 “Just voted in the seat of Canberra. I suspect Labor might just hold it”

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA… hey neighbour *wave*, I voted as they opened this morning in Canberra…. I’m always worried about just plain forgetting to vote down here, its always so quiet at election time… I almost framed my one and only letterbox drop from the Greens as a *memento*.

    My local ALP HTV booth crew were looking bored and fidgety, I suspect they were hoping they would be called up the road to help out with some more excitement next-door in Eden-Monaro….

  7. Apeman: when the lib HTV tried it on with me I laughed & said I wouldn’t vote for them even under torture … after a few minutes of slow clunking thought … he got my point

  8. The polls don’t conclusively point to a Lib surge over the last few days. You could even read the latest Newspoll as sign of a Labor surge last night. What the polls seem to indicate status quo all last week.

  9. Rainsinger, I actually had to line up to vote this time. There were more GetUp people at the booth than all the other parties combined. I think there was only 1 Lib person (probably the others are too scared to face the mob). Libs outnumbered by Youth Climate Change Coalition…

  10. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I assume ABC employees would be members of the Australian Public Service?

    (APS = Australian Public Service)

    [APS Code of Conduct

    APS employees are required, under the Code of Conduct, to behave at all times in a way which upholds the APS Values

    The Code of Conduct requires that an employee must:

    … •behave honestly and with integrity in the course of APS employment;

    … •disclose, and take reasonable steps to avoid, any conflict of interest (real or apparent) in connection with APS employment;

    •use Commonwealth resources in a proper manner;

    •not make improper use of: … b.the employee’s duties, status, power or authority, in order to gain, or seek to gain, a benefit or advantage for the employee or for any other person;

    •at all times behave in a way that upholds the APS Values and the integrity and good reputation of the APS; ]


    Note a) below: “the APS is apolitical, performing its functions in an impartial and professional manner”

    [In whose interests?
    Preventing and managing conflicts of interest in the APS

    …We must all be vigilant about identifying personal interests – financial or otherwise, including close personal relationships – that may, or as importantly, may be seen to influence us improperly. We should actively manage these conflicts of interest.

    Requirements of all APS employees under the Public Service Act 1999
    Relevant Values (S. 10)(1)

    … a) the APS is apolitical, performing its functions in an impartial and professional manner

    (d) the APS has the highest ethical standards

    (g) the APS delivers services fairly, effectively, impartially and courteously to the Australian public …

    Relevant Code of Conduct elements (S. 13)
    (1) An APS employee must behave honestly and with integrity in the course of APS employment ]

  11. I think this graph from pollytics says a lot.

    Apparently if the Queensland vote is higher for the ALP than the Newspoll suggests, the probability of 75 seats goes higher.

  12. Museboy – You make me laugh… the swing to the Coalition in the last week is notorious… isn´t the slump in Qld and NSW conclusive enough for you ? If you lived in Sydney, you´d understand it.

  13. [No amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin.

    Bevan is obviously a wise philosopher!]

    …I just laughed at the LNP, so did the people behind me although they voted Greens whom weren’t preferencing Labor.

    Oldest Son told me that all the teachers in his school that teach the seniors are voting Labor because of the BER and Labors Ed. policies. These teachers are in every pocket of every electorate thanking Labor for the BER.

  14. vic


    So basically you don’t know?]

    That’s about the sum of it. The internal polling was good for Labor but the bookies are against Labor. It’s a toss-up.

  15. The betting markets on individual seats are highly unlikely to be 100% correct. There’ll be at least a couple that Labor are in front in that they’ll lose, one or two that they’re behind in that they might hold or win. They’re just not accurate enough to say anything.

  16. Confessions @ 346.

    You’ve just upset my day. I always watch the ABC coverage but the thought of Nick Minchin being a panelist has made me go bleagh! However, on the upside, there is the pleasure of seeing his face when Labor cross the line first! Just like 2007 when he was on the panel.

  17. Yep Cuppa – the ABC better hope they’re not employed under the APS Act – otherwise they should be facing criminal penalties…

  18. [I asked earlier if there was a realistic chance of Labor winning Paterson in NSW. Does anyone have an opinion on this?]

    Apparently the people on the ground have confidence, Victoria.

  19. Diogenes #710

    If it’s any help, the bookies on Sportingbet have had Annabel Digance at $2.75 and Andrew Southcott at $1.40 for pretty much the entire campaign.

    I’m not sure if there has been a lot of people betting on Boothby.

  20. “Laocoon

    Just passed the Five ways polling booth…I tell you, if there was ever any requirement for evidence of Malcolm Turnbull’s narcissist personality…wow, I have seen candidate pictures, but these blocked out the sun!”

    Then we will vote in the shade.

    All the booths Ive seen have photos of the Ranga, and even Bob Brown, NONE had photos of Abbutt. That’s revealing of his true ambiguous popularity and the Ranga effect, should the end of the day prove so, and I think it will. Don’s Party, with a happy ending tonite.

  21. I wonder if there is any feedback from Labor people from polling places in NSW and QLD – has anyone seen any baseball bats? Or is everything placid?

  22. ltep @ 704, a young age area… kewl, I’m in an older established area, that has pockets of older baby-boomer Humphreyites/Liberals, but the polite good-mannerly kind. In my line, there were an obvious husband-and-wife pair, proudly holding up their Gary Humphries pamphlets 🙂

    There were more GetUp people at the booth than all the other parties combined.

    Inner south cafe-latte set! Wonder they aren’t protesting the roo culls at Tidbinbilla, or still harping on about the GDE..

  23. Dear Post 735 Victoria:

    Freak out, because NSW is voting out Labour ! I know you don´t like it, but think about 2004, when we beat the ALP´s arse 27 to 21 seats… that´s the best case scenario for you blokes.

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