Newspoll quarterly breakdowns

Can’t see full online results anywhere at this stage, but GhostWhoVotes and The Australian relate the publication of the latest quarterly Newspoll figures providing breakdowns by state, gender and metro/regional from the past three months’ polling. The state figures are always the most interesting from my perspective, and it’s only Newspoll and Nielsen which offer this level of detail. Nielsen publishes full breakdowns for its monthly polls, but these are from much lower samples than the quarterly Newspoll. To even the playing field, the following discussion uses quarterly averages of Nielsen’s results.

The resulting samples are substantial for the biggest states – over 2000, in the case of Newspoll for New South Wales – but correspondingly smaller for Western Australia and especially South Australia. It is presumably no coincidence that for the two biggest states the two pollsters are currently in agreement, with swings of 8 per cent in New South Wales and 6 to 7 per cent in Victoria (although as the charts below show, it was a different story in the previous quarter). It is also agreed the swing in Western Australia is around 4 per cent. With Queensland however, a gap emerges: Newspoll says 6 per cent, Nielsen says 10 per cent. There is a still bigger gap in the case of South Australia, but this can be put down to small samples and the latest obviously anomalous result from Nielsen.

To establish whether there has been any consistency in these distinctions over time, the charts below show the Labor swings recorded in each quarter since the election. Despite poll-level peculiarities, both broadly suggest that Labor enjoyed a post-election dead cat bounce in the resource states. In the case of Western Australia, this gave Labor a buffer which is still evident in the relatively slight current swing. On the Nielsen chart however, the most recent result sees the lines for New South Wales and Victoria cutting across Queensland’s – remembering that the prevous quarter’s results for these states were very different from Newspoll’s, the only serious interruption to a broadly similar picture for these two states since the election.

Conveniently, Galaxy has also conducted one poll of 800 respondents in each quarter in Queensland, and these accord perfectly with the Newspoll and Nielsen results from this state. In each period, Labor is slightly higher in Newspoll and slightly lower in Nielsen with Galaxy in between, and there’s not much in it in any case. In the current quarter, Galaxy’s 63-37 two-party preferred splits the middle of the previously noted four-point gap between Newspoll and Nielsen. The only other state-level results I’m aware of are two Western Australian polls of 400 respondents conducted by Patterson Market Research. One of these was as long ago as October last year, which accorded with Newspoll and Nielsen of that time in showing a Labor recovery. However, an unpublished poll from two months ago was solidly worse for Labor than either, pointing to a swing of about 7 per cent.

What the polls would appear to indicate then is a big enough swing in New South Wales to account for Greenway, Robertson, Lindsay, Banks, Reid, Page, Eden-Monaro, Parramatta, Dobell, Kingsford Smith, Werriwa, Barton, Richmond and McMahon, and a slightly smaller swing in Victoria that would take out Corangamite, La Trobe, Deakin and possibly Chisholm (UPDATE: I originally included McEwen, but as noted in comments, the redistribution has made this safer for Labor). Since Galaxy splits the middle in Queensland, it seems best to apply its 8 per cent swing there – which, as was noted at the time the poll was published, would leave only Kevin Rudd standing in Griffith. Gone would be Moreton, Petrie, Lilley, Capricornia, Blair, Rankin and Oxley. In Western Australia, Labor currently holds Brand on 3.3 per cent, Fremantle on 5.7 per cent and Perth on 5.9 per cent: the Newspoll and Nielsen poll swings would put the first in danger while sparing the second and third.

Results from South Australia are small-sample and inconsistent, except that they have broadly been at the higher end of the national spectrum – perhaps around 8 per cent. However, this is coming off the high base of last year’s election, which gave Labor very handy buffers in a swathe of traditionally marginal seats. The lowest Labor margins are 5.7 per cent in Hindmarsh (where Labor has weakened relatively over the last two elections), 7.7 per cent in Adelaide, 12.0 per cent in Wakefield, 12.2 per cent in Makin and 13.9 per cent in Kingston. The last three seats, remarkably, were all in Liberal hands as recently as 2007.

Owing to insufficient sample size, neither Newspoll nor Nielsen provides state-level breakdowns for Tasmania. We did however have an EMRS poll from Bass a month ago which pointed to a 9 per cent Liberal swing, but this was from a small sample of 300 and there were questions raised about its methodology. A swing of that size would nonetheless be enough to take out Bass (6.7 per cent) and its neighbour Braddon (7.5 per cent). The territories of course are pretty much excluded from the polling picture altogether, although Warren Snowdon’s hold on Lingiari in the Northern Territory would have to be open to question given its margin of 3.7 per cent.

None of this should be read as a prediction: first term governments notwithstanding, its a rare government that doesn’t plumb mid-term polling depths far removed from the result eventually produced by the election. This is especially so in the modern environment, when weakening party loyalties have produced an ever-swelling contingent of swinging voters. Even so, the drumbeat consistency of dire results for Labor since April is hard to ignore, and it has no precedent for any government which lived to tell the tale. Labor’s leads during the early part of Mark Latham’s shooting star trajectory were never higher than 55-45; only once in early 2001 did Kim Beazley get as high as 57-43, and was usually solidly lower; and the relevant Newspolls for the great Houdini act of modern federal politics, Paul Keating’s win in 1993, look fairly benign compared with Gillard’s recent numbers. The Fightback! polls which toppled Hawke at the end of 1991 were in the order of 56-44 and 57-43, and Keating wrestled them back to the low fifties by March. Only from November 1991 to February 1992, after John Hewson remodelled his GST to exclude food and clothing, did the Coalition reach such peaks again.

Another lesson from history is that when the electorate ejects Labor from office, it tends to do with a force which the conservative parties are spared. With few exceptions (a handful of those in New South Wales plus Brand, Lingiari and arguably Oxley, which Pauline Hanson won in 1996 as a disendorsed Liberal), the seats listed as Labor losses on the current results have all been lost to them before.

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.

7,134 comments on “Newspoll quarterly breakdowns”

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  1. confessions

    Wilkie has been under a fair bit of criticism to date. Remember the News Ltd story re his time at Duntroon. Now Clubs Australia is suing him for defamation.

  2. [That is a shame. The commentators really make it hard to listen to. I think i shall stick with aerial ping pong!]

    Peter Sterling is also good. The thing I hate are the mid-game addes for the betting agency.

  3. [Same here. Plus increases in things like electricity and gas.]

    IMHO it might be a very good idea for the Labor Government to disagregate the taxes and government charges changes by level of government and publish the results.

  4. v
    I think that the Clubs have indicated that they will not go forward with suing Mr Wilkie. I suspect it would have attracted just the sort of publicity they are trying to avoid.

  5. gg

    Agree with your MOE comment. But maybe the primaries were a bit more emphatic? We don’t know.

    On the whole though, nothing to see folks, move along.

  6. [ShowsOn
    Posted Monday, October 3, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Permalink
    my say

    do ipads automatically enter a “full stop” after every word?

    Only if you press the space bar twice after each word]
    Thanks Shows
    Thought my say may have an auto insert button incorrectly “ticked”

    My ignorance of ipads abounds 🙂

  7. Lynchpin

    No. i do not watch or listen to Sam Newman. He is on MTR with Andrew Bolt and Steve Price. That should tell you everything.

  8. victoria


    That is a shame. The commentators really make it hard to listen to. I think i shall stick with aerial ping pong! ]

    When it comes to Mungo Ball go with Roy Slaven and HG Nelson for commentary.Their finals weekend Festival of the Boot broadcasts on Triple J calling the AFL and NRL finals was an annual highlight.

  9. 17 days in and still no mention of #OccupyWallStreet in the Australian media. Could it be our corporate masters don’t want us plebs getting any ideas?

    Despite the lack of coverage-
    [By this weekend the list had grown to an additional list of 21 international cities including Tokyo, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Montreal, Toronto Market Exchange, Vancouver, Tijuana, Adelaide, Brisbane, Cologne, Cork, Den Haag, Finland, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Manchester, Norwich, Nova Scotia, Stockholm and London. Source: ]
    The internets has certainly opened a can of worms.

    Personally I don’t expect too big a turnout at the Australian events. At least at first anyway. You never know how these things can suddenly go viral though.

    We shall see.

  10. [Peter Sterling is what I’d describe as a Footy Show goon. ]

    He does get bonus points for staying quiet during the Warren/Gould rant despite also being in the commentary box.

  11. Lynchpin

    There are plenty of footy shows to choose from. I watch most of them. I particularly love the Marngrook footy show. It is an indigineous program. Probably the best show of all.

  12. confessions

    The NRL just screams brash. I can’t think of one NRL commentator who even remotely has gravitas. There is no Dennis Cometti in the NRL.

    Dennis Comettis inflections are centemetre perfect

  13. [17 days in and still no mention of #OccupyWallStreet in the Australian media.]
    I heard those dickheads on the Brooklyn bridge mentioned on NewsRadio yesterday.

  14. Oh, oh.

    Slovakia is looking like it may not fall into line and support the EU rescue package thingie. Slovakia is the second poorest per capita country in the EU, apparently.

    Now, if I were an indvidual Slovakian, what would my attitude be to using my tax money to underwrite the profligate big banks in France and the dilatory (tax-paying wise) greeks?

  15. Another $25 billion or so knocked off the Aussie stock market this morning. But is it really another $25 billion or the same $25 billion that went back in after it went back out earlier in the year?

    It gets hard to figure this stuff out. Anyhoo, All Ords below 4,000 is the clue.

  16. [Gary, I am interested whether you see a case for changing leaders before the next election if the PV stays where it is; and if so, when and to whom?]
    Firstly I must say that I don’t expect the polls to stay where they are. I expect a lift in Labor’s vote sometime late next year or early 2013. Having said that if the polls do not improve I can’t see why, with a wipeout looming and polls showing Rudd would make a world of difference, a change wouldn’t be made close to the next election. That gives the MSM and the conservatives little time to do a number on him again. Rudd would have a honeymoon and many people would see him getting what is ‘rightfully’ his, if you like.
    The only way a change of leadership may work however is if it is bloodless, ie Gillard agrees to it happening. If blood is involved forget it.

  17. kezza2

    I forget where it was, but I read somewhere that there have now officially been more protestors arrested than banksters who created the mess in the first place.

    Sounds about right to me.

  18. [latikambourke Latika Bourke
    Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd is in Tasmania for Community Cabinet tonight, it’s his first since being replaced as PM.]

  19. Boer

    [8. Legislation to ensure that the constitutional right to full compensation for the taking of property by government be extended also to the taking of any property “rights” by government [such as land-clearing by farmers].

    No. What this says is that if I buy land which hasn’t been cleared, or allow my land to revegetate, the government should compensate me if they prevent me from clearing it.

    I’ve already been compensated for the uncleared nature of the land in the first case (I bought it more cheaply), and in the second, I would be being rewarded for my own negligence.

    [20. A review of zone allowances for remote areas. Tax should be levied on “real” purchasing power, not monetary purchasing power, as $100 buys a lot less goods and services in Cloncurry than it does in Brisbane.]


    Ironically, country people are the loudest advocates for this kind of differentiation, which was placed in the Constitution to protect them.

    The other side of this coin is taxing people commensurate with the costs of providing services to them. It’s more expensive for the taxpayer to provide me with services than it is for them to provide those services for someone living in suburban Melbourne, so why should the suburban Melbournite pay higher taxes to provide me with those services?
    [19. Introduce an open, public registry of foreign ownership of farm land, housing, public and private corporations and re-examine the thresholds on foreign ownership requiring FIRB approval.]

    Why? We don’t have a problem with foreign ownership.

    Firstly, not much farmland or housing is owned by foreignors (about 1% in Vic, and I think the highest level is about 25% for the NT).

    Secondly, what’s wrong with foreign money being invested in Australia? I thought that was a good thing.

    [15. Government-provided solar hot water systems and/or other measures to reduce the money problems on our older generation caused by rapidly escalating costs for rates, electricity, insurances, car registration and other similar charges, which, increasingly, they are unable to meet. ]

    Based on an assumption that doesn’t hold good – that costs are accelerating to a point where those on a pension can’t cope. That’s not supported by evidence.

    And many of the measures outlined – rate relief, lower car registration – are already provided to pensioners.

    [11. Rural and country hospitals and dental services will be placed under the control of a restored local hospital board and that funding be delivered from Canberra directly to these hospital boards.]

    Mixed. If this had been introduced several years ago, then Abbott would have held the purse strings, with no appeal to a State government possible. The billion dollars which was cut from funding would thus have most likely come from rural hospitals.

    There’s a case for checks and balances, and having a mixture of Fed/State funding provides this.

  20. [Gary

    Off topic. What did you make of the succession plan with Mick Malthouse?]
    I suspect it played a part in Collingwood’s poor showing over the finals. Clearly it affected Malhouse badly and the players would have seen that.

  21. The very big change in the Essential Poll is the economic conditions question. Those thinking that things will get worse have increased from 49% to 58%.

  22. [latikambourke Latika Bourke
    Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd is in Tasmania for Community Cabinet tonight, it’s his first since being replaced as PM.]
    That is a positive move IMHO.

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