Victorian election guidance

The Poll Bludger’s Victorian election guide is now open for business, sort of – profiles are available for all Labor-held seats, but only the two most marginal Coalition seats have been completed at this stage. The others will be mopped up over the coming days. Also:

• The Geelong Advertiser has surveyed 245 voters in South Barwon, but we aren’t told how the poll was conducted. Labor’s Michael Crutchfield, who holds the seat on a margin of 2.3 per cent, was found to be trailing Liberal candidate Andrew Katos 32 per cent to 48 per cent, with the Greens on 10 per cent.

• Newspoll and Nielsen have both published further results from the polls which appeared in The Australian and The Age on Saturday. Newspoll finds health rated a very important issue by 86 per cent of respondents, compared with 67 per cent during the 1992 campaign and 79 per cent in 2006, with education roughly steady on 73 per cent, law and order up from 57 per cent in 2002 to 68 per cent and public transport up from 54 per cent to 64 per cent. For some reason, water planning is down from 87 per cent in 2006 to 65 per cent, and environment from 68 per cent to 49 per cent. Labor has a 10 point lead as best party to handle education, but the Coalition leads by 10 points on public transport, eight points on law and order and six points on the economy – although the latter hasn’t translated to the leaders, with 50 per cent rating John Brumby better to handle the economy against 39 per cent for Ted Baillieu. The two leaders were fairly evenly matched on a range of personal attributes, but Baillieu performed better as trustworthy (nine points ahead) and arrogant (eight points behind), while Brumby had a 19 point lead as experienced. Full results can be viewed courtesy of GhostWhoVotes. Nielsen inquired about the growth rate of Melbourne, which 50 per cent deemed “too fast” and 43 per cent “about right”, with effectively zero opting for “too slow”. There was a striking uniformity in these responses among Labor, Coalition and Greens supporters. Respondents were fairly evenly divided as to whether Labor (27 per cent) or the Coalition (29 per cent) were better to handle growth, with 14 per cent opting for the Greens.

• The Peter Mickelburough of the Herald-Sun reports Labor polling shows voters resisting the Liberals “because they view Mr Baillieu as lacking leadership, having a weak and negative personality, being out of touch with real people and being ‘part of the boys’ club’”. I’m not sure what the paper means when it refers to “the latest betting, exclusively for the Herald Sun”, but it apparently shows “the Coalition could pick up six seats or more in Melbourne, while the Greens are hot favourites with bookies to win the inner seats of Melbourne and Brunswick” (this was before the Liberal preference arrangements were announced). That would leave Labor with a small majority of 47 seats out of 88.

James Massola of The Australian reports the Greens candidate for Melbourne, Brian Walters, claims to have seen polling for Melbourne, Richmond and Brunswick which puts his party’s primary vote in the forties, giving them a good shot of winning each even without Liberal preferences. However, we are not told on whose behalf the poll was conducted.

• Many a column inch has been spent on the Liberals’ bombshell preference announcement, further enhancing the campaign’s status as the most Greens-centric in mainland Australian history. Liberal sources quoted by Patricia Karvelas and Milanda Rout of The Australian describe the decision as “suicidal”, and say they are “convinced it will condemn them to another four years in opposition”. One source quoted in the article said the decision was largely motivated by “rising anger among grassroots members” about the existing practice of favouring the Greens over Labor, and the need for the party to retain said members “to do basic tasks such as man polling booths”. Writing in The Age, Paul Strangio of Monash University emphasised the Nationals’ bearing on the decision, in light of the recently formalised coalition arrangement between the two parties.

• As John Brumby prepares to officially launch Labor’s campaign in Bendigo today, Stuart Rintoul of The Australian writes of a “fierce bidding war” for the city’s electorates of Bendigo East and Bendigo West. Labor and the Liberals have respectively promised $528 million and $630 million for a new hospital, while Labor “has also pledged $91m for four new junior secondary schools (a $19m blowout on 2006 estimates), and has spent big on highway and rail infrastructure”.

• Labor has also targeted Geelong with a $165 million health plan that will fund a new $85 million hospital in Grovedale, which is of particular interest to the electorate of South Barwon. The remainder of the money will fund an expansion of Geelong Hospital.

Antony Green weighs up the upper house preference tickets, and offers a projected outcome in which Labor and the Democratic Labor Party each lose a seat and Liberal and the Nationals each gain one, with the Greens retaining three seats and the balance of power.

• With the closure of nominations and ballot paper draws having transpired at the end of last week, Antony Green also surveys the field and finds an increase in the number of lower house candidates from 459 in 2006 to 502, driven by the entry of the Democratic Labor Party (36 candidates after having only contested the upper house in 2006), the Country Alliance (29 candidates) and the Sex Party (17 candidates), and a near doubling in the number of independents from 33 to 75.

• In late candidate announcement news, the Liberals have endorsed Cindy McLeish as their candidate for the regional seat of Seymour, which Ben Hardman holds for Labor on a margin of 6.7 per cent. Their original candidate, Mike Laker, withdrew a week into the campaign for “personal reasons”, which few doubt revolve around a talk radio caller’s claim that Laker had told him that the government was planning to house 50 Somali families in the electorate and provide them with free cars. McLeish ran against Laker in the original preselection vote, but lost by 45 votes to 12. She was reportedly backed in the original ballot by local electorate chairman Mike Dalmau and upper house MP Donna Petrovich, and Laker has declared himself “frustrated” by the lack of support the two had been giving to his campaign.

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.

81 comments on “Victorian election guidance”

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  1. Glen 45

    I suppose they will run as a coalition if things are going OK in 2015 (that’s when next election is due isn’t it?) – but it is interesting that since the election the Lib-Dems have taken about a 10% hit in the polls. Maybe some of their supporters would rather the “purity” of opposition rather than being in government with the Tories?

    I thought the Lib-Dems were going to do better at the election which would have left them with a real choice of sides to “king-maker” but in the end they were probably lucky that they didn’t really have the numbers to form a stable government with Labour as they would probably have been worse off.

    It’s like conservative Independents working better with a minority Labor govt (Vic 1999, Qld 1998) or “labor” independents working with Coalition (Qld 1996).

  2. It’s like conservative Independents working better with a minority Labor govt (Vic 1999, Qld 1998) or “labor” independents working with Coalition (Qld 1996).

    Not to be pedantic, but Liz Cunningham (Qld 1996) wasn’t “Labor” in the least – she’s a very conservative independent who won a traditionally Labor seat.

  3. Rebecca

    Yes, poor wording -what I sort of meant was that those independents came from seats that had traditionally been on the other side, and then their electors found themselves putting their traditional opponents into office.

  4. I often wonder about how “independent” the independants are in safe Labor or safe Liberal seat, for example if you are a Labor member in a safe Liberal seat, you are a much better chance of winning that seat, if you stand as an indepandant and not under the Labor banner

    So you might be progressive leaning, but won’t reveal that preference and try to win that seat as an “independant”.

  5. Pseph

    Thanks for your election archive, it is a great source (and argument settler!) – I lost contact with the only Eritrean I knew so I can’t help you there.

    Antony’s calculator for Northern Metro keeps giving me the DLP being in the last two fighting for 5th spot when I enter data – against Labor or Greens.

  6. Eritrea has never had an election – I think you mean Ethiopia. I’ve now translated the Ethiopian results myself, the Amharic script is actually quite easy to learn. I’ll be putting the figures up soon.

  7. Looks like Baillieu is about to become a victim of the Bushfire RC.

    THE Coalition has dumped its commitment to implement all 67 recommendations of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission.

    In August Coalition leader Ted Baillieu’s office emailed The Weekly Times stating it would cost $1.98 billion to $4.7 billion to honour the Commission’s recommendation to insulate, bundle or bury Victoria’s 28,000km of single-wire-earth-return power lines.

    Yet this week Coalition bushfire response spokesman Peter Ryan said only $50 million would be allocated to “get the ball rolling”.

  8. Also the UAP preferenced the ALP ahead of Maurice Blackburn in 1943 but the Liberals preferenced Doris Blackburn ahead of the ALP in 1946.

    The Liberals main concern in preferences has been to get rid of the ALP most of the time but the UAP were different. Maybe they should revert there name back at Victorian level because of not preferencing the Greens ahead of the ALP.

  9. Tom

    I remember some federal election where Antony was going through seats on election night and I saw UAP next to a few candidates – thought I’d gone back in time! Until Antony said they were the “Unite Australia Party” – think they’ve gone now – just checked yes 1986-1990.

  10. Flaky Morgan poll here. I want an ounce of whatever they’re smoking.

    [ The Greens are in a winning position in the Victorian State seats of Richmond and Northcote; while its ‘too close to call’ in Brunswick and Melbourne, a special telephone Morgan Poll conducted last night (Tuesday, November 16, 2010) shows.

    Two Party preferred vote in the four seats surveyed was:

    * Richmond — Greens 61% vs ALP 39%

    * Northcote — Greens 54% vs ALP 46%

    * Brunswick — Greens 51.5% vs ALP 48.5%

    * Melbourne — ALP 51% vs Greens 49%.

    The Greens obtained a significant vote before preferences — in Richmond (50%), Northcote (50.5%) and Brunswick (41.5%); while in Melbourne the vote is divided fairly evenly across the three major parties.

    Gary Morgan says:

    “Despite the Liberal Party decision on the weekend to preference Labor ahead of the Greens across Victoria, the Greens look set to do particularly well in the Inner Melbourne seats they have been targeting since the last Victorian State election — Victoria seems to be heading for a Hung Parliament.”

    This special telephone Morgan Poll was conducted last night (Tuesday November 16, 2010) in the 4 inner Melbourne seats (Melbourne, Richmond, Brunswick, Northcote) with a cross section of 276 electors; a low 3% didn’t name a party. ]

    Yep, you read that right. Richmond to become suddenly very safe for the Greens, with Northcote the next best. So, Labor hold their most marginal seat while losing the next two and the fairly safe one. Swings of 1% in Melbourne and 5% in Brunswick, compared with 12.5% in Northcote and 14.5% in Richmond. (So, the east side of that good Greens area is gonna do to Labor what Narre Warren did to the Liberals in 2002.) Even with the massive margin of error you’d get per seat (it makes those EMRS breakdowns in Tassie look good)… huh?

    About the only meaningful stat I can pull out of that is an average swing, which would be a bit over 7%. That would wipe out the first three and leave Northcote quite marginal for Labor. That’s more plausible at least.

  11. [
    This special telephone Morgan Poll was conducted last night (Tuesday November 16, 2010) in the 4 inner Melbourne seats (Melbourne, Richmond, Brunswick, Northcote) with a cross section of 276 electors; a low 3% didn’t name a party.


    Does that mean 276 electors across the four seats or 276 in each seat?

  12. Too show how silly this poll is, if I went down to St Kilda East I would produce a poll with the ALP ahead of the Greens with the Liberals in third.

  13. 74

    Whether the greens have real momentum or not, they certainly could have. The sample sizes are tiny and almost ridiculous but they don’t cut against the momentum that the federal election demonstrated.

    In Australia the green vote has been trending up slowly and steadily for 20 years. I expect that at some time that vote will crash like it has in most European democracies. Like in Belgium or Germany, though it will just be a phase. Green politics is not ephemeral and flash in the pan or only personality or politician based.

    In Germany the Greens are often outpolling the Social Democrats. That may happen here some time too. Its amusing when ALP supporters decry the Liberals for a right-to-rule attitude then express that attitude themselves. Whoever forms government in Victoria will most likel have the opportunity to work with the Greens to pass legislation. After the pettiness of elections, its best to negotiate in good faith to achieve good things. You don’t need a poll to know that. 🙂

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