Newspoll: New England and Lyne

The Australian brings results of a Newspoll survey conducted from Tuesday to Saturday in Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott’s regional NSW seats of New England and Lyne. The polls targeted about 500 voters each, producing margins of error of a little under 4.5 per cent. As expected, the results indicate a plunge in support for the incumbents since the election and their subsequent decision to back a Labor minority government. In New England, the poll has Tony Windsor at 33 per cent compared with 61.9 per cent at the election, with the Nationals at 41 per cent compared with 25.2 per cent. In Lyne, Rob Oakeshott’s primary vote is at 26 per cent compared with 47.1 per cent at the 2010 election, and the Nationals are at 47 per cent compared with 34.4 per cent.

Determining two-candidate preferred results for individual electorates in circumstances so radically different from the previous election is problematic, and Newspoll has done the best that could be done under the circumstances by publishing both previous-election and respondent-allocated measures. In New England, the previous election measure has Windsor and the Nationals tied at 50-50. Unfortunately we do not have a full set of primary vote figures at this stage, but it would seem to me from the two-candidate result that the “others” vote (excluding Windsor, Nationals, Labor and Greens) must be in the mid-teens. UPDATE: Full tables here courtesy of GhostWhoVotes – “others” is at 14 per cent in Lyne and 13 per cent in New England. At the 2010 election it was only 1.2 per cent, that being the combined total for One Nation and the Citizens Electoral Council. To apply these parties’ preference distribution to such a large chunk of the vote is obviously imprecise at best. The respondent-allocated preference measure has Windsor trailing 53-47, but this has problems of its own – in particular it requires respondents to make up their own mind, when many will in fact follow how-to-vote cards.

In Lyne, Rob Oakeshott trails 62-38 on respondent-allocated preferences and 55-45 on the previous election results. Similarly to the New England poll, the latter figure appears to have been obtained by amplifying a mid-teens “others” vote through the 2010 preference distribution of one independent who polled 0.7 per cent. While this is by any measure a depressing set of figures for Oakeshott, it is a good deal better for him than a ReachTel automated phone poll conducted in August, which had the Nationals leading 55 per cent to 15 per cent on the primary vote. That poll was rightly criticised at the time for asking about the carbon tax and pokies reform before getting to voting intention. It may also raise doubts about the precision of automated phone polling, which in this country at least has a patchy record (though it seems to be a different story in the United States).

Another difficulty with polls for these two seats is that it is not yet clear which candidates the Nationals will be running, which can have a very significant bearing on regional seats especially. After initially stating he wasn’t interested, the party’s state leader Andrew Stoner has recently said he would “never say never” to the prospect of running in Lyne, with earlier reports suggesting he was being “courted” to make such a move with a view to replacing Warren Truss as federal leader. This was said to be partly motivated by a desire to block a similar move by Barnaby Joyce, who has declared his interest in New England. However, Tony Abbott has said the candidate in Lyne from 2010, Port Macquarie medical specialist David Gillespie, would get “wholehearted support” if he wanted to run again. According to a flattering profile of Abbott by Tom Dusevic in The Weekend Australian, Gillespie is a “boyhood friend” of Abbott’s.

Newspoll also sought approval ratings for the two independents and gauged opinion on their decisions to support the Labor minority government and the carbon tax legislation. This provided one heartening result for Tony Windsor, who retains the approval of 50 per cent of his constituents with 44 per cent disapproving (UPDATE: Sorry, got that the wrong way around). Rob Oakeshott’s respective ratings are 38 per cent and 54 per cent. Voters in Lyne were the more hostile to their member’s support for the Labor government: 32 per cent were supportive and 61 opposed, against 36 per cent and 54 per cent in New England. The results on the carbon tax seem to have been effectively identical, with respective opposition of 72 per cent and 71 per cent. Only 22 per cent of respondents in Lyne were supportive; The Australian’s article neglects to provide a figure for New England, but it can be presumed to have been very similar.

UPDATE: The weekly Essential Research has the two-party preferred steady at 55-45, although Labor is off a point on the primary to 32 per cent with the Coalition and the Greens steady on 48 per cent and 11 per cent respectively. My favourite of the supplementary questions, as it was at my suggestion, gauges current opinion of major reforms of the past few decades, which gives a resounding thumbs-up to compulsory superannuation and Medicare, strong support to floating the dollar and free trade agreements, a fairly modest majority in favour of the GST. Privatisations, however, are opposed in retrospect as well as prospect, although reversing those already conducted has only bare majority support. For some reason though, more support regulating the dollar than thought it was a bad idea in the first place, and a big majority favour increasing trade protection. Other questions relate to a republic (41 per cent for, 33 per cent against), the Commonwealth (47 per cent believe membership of benefit) and succession to the throne (61 per cent believe it should be gender-neutral) and who is to blame for the Qantas dispute (management by and large).

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.

815 comments on “Newspoll: New England and Lyne”

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  1. It appears that the voters of Lyne and New England wish to downgrade from representatives who hold unprecedented power in the parliament, with whom Prime Ministers and LOTOs negotiate, and whose words and every twitch of the eyebrow is noted and analysed, to having MPs from the Liberal’s Hand-Maiden Party tugging on coat-tails to get noticed.

    Way to go people, way to go.

  2. I would not be surprised at all:



    #Newspoll Electorate of New England 2 Party Preferred: Windsor 50 NAT 50 #auspol

    3 hours agoFavoriteRetweetReply

    gordongrahamGordon Graham


    @GhostWhoVotes do you know if they polled each electorate separately or together? I can’t tell

    2 hours ago

    in reply to ↑

    @CitizenWatcherIrate Citizen

    @gordongraham @GhostWhoVotes all in lib strong holds

    8 minutes agovia webFavoriteRetweetReply]

  3. [2467

    ON the eve of a series of global economic talks, Julia Gillard says Barack Obama has “the right strategy” but that Europe has been “living beyond its means” and its leaders must fix their fiscal crisis.]

    This statement by JG suggests she does not really know what’s going in Europe. The Europeans have a deep structural problem with their currency that has been exposed by the collapse of the sub-prime credit bubble, protracted weak growth, a decade of fraud and the ensuing decay in public finances. The problems in Europe are very deep-seated and their fiscal crises cannot be fixed simply by restraining spending. In many cases, this will actually cause deeper destruction of public revenues (such as in Greece). Their credit markets have ceased to function. Their banking system is essentially insolvent. In some places, economies have not yet emerged from the 2008 contraction. The European economic order is unsustainable and will have to be radically reconstructed.

    Meanwhile in America, 30 years of misrule have resulted in the wholesale destruction of public finances and the hollowing out of the incomes and security of working Americans. Obama is just the latest President to go along with laissez-faire policies in financial markets and to fail to implement deeply-needed tax reform in favour of low and middle-income earners.

  4. Puff @ 4

    It doesn’t matter which of the two major parties win a majority at the next election, but should Windsor and/ or Oakeshott be re-elected they will be relegated to the political sidelines from whence they came.

  5. More headline polling.

    Why conduct these two polls? Oh thats right, the Indies should resign because they are unpopular. Or could it be to produce more column inches of twaddle?

  6. Thefinnigans TheFinnigans天地有道人无道
    Newspoll for New England (50-50) and Lyne (Oakeshott trails 55-45) – News Ltd is still hellbent on regime change #auspol
    37 seconds ago

  7. To be consistent, Julie Bishop must bag Indonesia’s President for intervening in the Bali boy case. Will any journo hold her to account?
    [. . . the boy was spared from the notorious Kerobokan prison after President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono took an interest in the case, following a high-level intervention by senior officials in Jakarta.]

    Read more:

  8. briefly @ 9
    [ON the eve of a series of global economic talks, Julia Gillard says Barack Obama has “the right strategy” but that Europe has been “living beyond its means” and its leaders must fix their fiscal crisis.]
    Your comment on Leroy’s post at 2467 is fine analysis, if you take the opening gambit of Paul Kelly’s article at face value.

    However, later in the article Paul Kelly quotes what JG said about the US:
    [“I believe President Obama is pursuing the right strategy. I believe he is somebody of great strength and endurance and overwhelming calm, and he will continue to work his way through.”]
    There’s a world of difference between “pursuing the right strategy” and “has the right strategy,” and to me JG is having a diplomatic sideswipe to the Repugs tea party tactics of blocking any progressive reform.

    On the European issue, JG was quite tough. But on the eve of the G20 she also acknowledged the difficulties they face in “fixing” the fiscal crisis because of the restrictions of a single EU currency.

    I think JG is learning foreign affairs on the job and treading carefully, as she should.

  9. Morning BK

    Great cartoon by Tanberg.

    And your link to America Blog spells out the succinctly the enormity of Europe’s fiscal woes that JG was rightly referring to in the interview with Paul Kelly. We are so lucky to have escaped the GFC round 1 because of Labor’s excellent handling of the crisis and despite the structural deficit left by Howard and Costello.

  10. Morning all.

    Regarding the poll, and putting aside the obvious bootstrapping exercise in the explanation, it is an interesting answer to a very complex question. Would Windsor have a better or worse chance of re-election if Labor had an opposing candidate who then directed preferences to Windsor ahead of the Nationals? I suspect yes, because it might help Windsor to emphasise the difference between him and Labor.

  11. As for The Australian’s write up of the poll, it is another example of why I don’t read the rag any more. Note this lead comment:
    [A POPULAR revolt against Julia Gillard’s carbon tax has produced a calamitous drop in support for the two key NSW rural independents underpinning her minority government. ]
    How can it be a popular revolt against the carbon tax when the carbon tax numbers are strictly on party lines?

  12. Windsor is the only one with the chance of holding on, and this polling comes when the Nationals are not campaigning in the seats.

    When the election is closer, I expect the National will link Windsor directly to the ALP, a vote for Windsor is a vote for the ALP, which will be poison in a conservative seat.

    Also as Basselling found out in the NSW election. Windsor and Oakeshoot will have more problems getting funding from local businesses, which will be major obsticles for reelection.

    I expect Windsor will retire prior to the election

  13. kezza2

    We have a debt crisis, the fact is most of the world had created growth by borrowing from future generations. This debt has to eventually be repaid.

    The European’s problems is a few countries, the PIGSS, had borrowed too much, and do not have a way of repaying. Since they are in the Euro Zone, unlike America, they cannot devalue their currency to make the borrowing smaller. The European also Nationalised a few banks, but these are one of events, the main problems are the budget deficits.

    I do not think Obama had got it remotely right, when the problem is debt, borrowing more is not going to solve the problems. Every $ borrowed is going to require at least $2 to be repaid in the future. Obama’s strategy seem to be to devalue the US$ by another 50%, and think that will solve the problem. I suspect Obama knows he should not be doing what he is at the moment, but there is an election coming up…

    I do not think the Republicans will get it right remotely either. A Flat tax… really, REALLY

  14. Good morning, fellow Bludgers!

    The sun is up.

    The birds are singing.

    Labor is still in government.

    Julia Gillard is still Prime Minister.

    Wayne Swan is the World’s Greatest Treasurer.

    It is now well established that Andrew Bolt is a dickhead.

    All is right with the world.

    PS Interesting results in the Indies’ electorates. Pretty much as expected. Even more expected was that The Australian would bootstrap at this point in time. Yeah, we get that you want the Indies gone and for the government to fall, but wishing, hoping, thinking and praying ain’t going to do it. Sucked in.

    Off to earn a crust again today: be good little Bludgers.

    See ya round like a record!

  15. considering the relentless negative campaigning in the seats of Lyne and New England, I think the figures are not as bad as I had anticipated.

  16. This gave me a chuckle

    [Daniel Burt
    Andrew Bolt denies the existence of the Stolen Gen, climate change & his own ex-fiance. He doesn’t need a blog, he needs a psychiatrist.]

  17. Sadly, there are no LNP outrage stories in the Courier Mail or Brisbane Times this morning. There is this Regional report on Andrew Fraser’s comments on the KAP.

    [Katter Party a threat: Fraser
    24 Oct, 2011 06:28 AM

    QUEENSLAND Deputy Premier Andrew Fraser has acknowledged Katter’s Australian Party as a legitimate threat in the next election – but not to Labor.

    Mr Fraser said he believed the party formed by Member for Kennedy Bob Katter could take as many as 10 seats in the next state election, scheduled for March.

    But he said the seats most at risk were in Liberal National Party (LNP) territory.]

    More in the article.

  18. kezza2

    We do not have a debt crisis, competant government put us in a good financial position.

    The Europeans and US ran budget deficits during the 90s and 00s, when they should have been repaying their debt, after the last round of GFC, they now have so much debt, that interest payments are a big part of their budget.

    So while Australians can use more of our taxes to pay for Education, Health Etc. The US and Europeans are using this money to pay interest to the lenders.


    [Power centre switches from Canberra to Perth
    SHANE WRIGHT CANBERRA, The West Australian October 24, 2011, 2:25 am

    Perth has replaced Canberra as Australia’s centre of power with the Gillard Government shifting to WA for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

    Federal Cabinet will meet today with a key focus on the sovereign debt problems plaguing Europe that threaten the global economy and Australia’s budget bottom line.

    Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who arrived in Perth yesterday, will spend the rest of the week here as part of an extended stay dealing with Government issues and those tied to CHOGM.]

    More in the article.

  20. This provided one heartening result for Tony Windsor, who retains the approval of 50 per cent of his constituents with 44 per cent disapproving.

    William, those two figures should be the other way around.

  21. If only the journalists were doing their jobs

    Swann: Howard’s government left us in a structural deficit.

    Interviewer: So they spend too much and offered too much tax cuts?

    Swann: Yes

    Interviewer: So how much spending cuts did you slash in your first budget?

    Swann: Nothing

    Interviewer: So did you remove Howard’s tax cuts?

    Swann: No, we gave them out as our own tax cuts.

    Interviewer: So there was no “structural deficits” If there was, you would have done something?

    Swann: What is a budget again?

  22. Tony Windsor’s still got a good chance of holding New England at the next election, but I wouldn’t be quite as optimistic about Oakeshott’s chances in Lyne.

  23. Windsor would be pretty happy at 50-50 this far out, will surely get a bounce when as he said this morning “the sky doesn’t fall in”

    Oakeshott is in more trouble but 2 years is a long time in politics

    One thing this polling does is kill off any possibility of them pulling the plug on the government, they will want to get as much out of the next 2 years as possible – not that they were going to change anyway

    Windsor’s interview on Radio National was interesting for a couple of other reason – a misunderstanding around his satisfaction ratings, same as on here as clarified by GHV a few minutes back. Also when asked about the Labor leadership he talked about Turnbull leading the Liberals – is this the combination Savva was talking about???

  24. womble

    I did not hear Windsor this morning. But I suspect that Abbott’s leadership is under threat at the moment. His warning to business not to buy permits, might be making some of his own very nervous. Not surprised if Turnbull is considering making a move.

  25. [BBCBreaking BBC Breaking News
    Cristina Fernandez-Kirchner re-elected president of #Argentina in first round, exit polls say
    1 minute ago ]


    [Quigley has nothing for Libs
    by: Annabel Hepworth From: The Australian October 24, 2011 12:00AM

    THE government-owned company rolling out the National Broadband Network has further highlighted the dilemmas a Coalition government would confront trying to dump Labor’s $36 billion project, declaring it has not planned for a change of government.

    NBN Co chief Mike Quigley revealed that he had never had a briefing by the opposition’s communications spokesman, Malcolm Turnbull.

    Instead, he had only read of the “overall direction, but nothing more than that” of the opposition’s policy in the media.]

    more in the article

  27. Victoria

    Yeah when the opposition is leading 57-43 or 56-44 in 2PP, their leader is always in trouble.

    The facts are people would be stupid to buy permits, the EU had flooded their ETS markets to drive the prices of carbon permits to 6 Euros, the US plans on doing nothing. Copenhagen was a dismal failure, with China and India refusing to do anything. Unless US, China and India changes their mind significantly, the next round of climate talk will produce nothing.

    Quite simply, if Business want certainty, they will throw their weight behind Abbott, which is what they are doing

  28. [ Unless US, China and India changes their mind significantly, the next round of climate talk will produce nothing.

    Quite simply, if Business want certainty, they will throw their weight behind Abbott, which is what they are doing]

    so what is california doing?

    I suggest u refine your meme


    [A year to go in Australia’s UN bid
    24 October 2011
    Thom Woodroofe

    In what some have termed ‘The UN’s Diplomatic Pageant’, winning a temporary seat on the Security Council is harder than winning the Olympics.

    But with a year to go before the crucial vote, Australia’s campaign for a seat in 2013-14 looks stronger than many would make out.

    While Australia launched its campaign in 2008 – more than six years behind our competitors Luxembourg and Finland – it has run a relatively effective campaign so far.]

    Worth a look

  30. Dovif@46
    Agree regards TPP.
    Abbott is safe but how much certainty does Abbotts unfunded direct action plan give business.
    Which polluting companies is he going to fund for example.

  31. I agree that this poll is a joke. Electorate polls are notoriously unreliable.
    What is the sample size? What areas? What questions were asked?
    For example were the respondents asked if they like their local member having that power and influence.
    Would they vote again for that power and influence or against that due to decisions made?
    I am no professional pollster but even I can see the questions asked can dramatically change the response. Publish the questions. The sample sizes.
    Sample sizes are important. Below a certain sample size no statistic conclusion can be reached about voter intentions.
    Even reporters covering poll results should start with the questions that were asked.

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