Advertiser: 51-49 to Liberal in South Australia

The Advertiser today brings something we haven’t seen for a while: Labor in a competitive position in an opinion poll, presumably driven by Jay Weatherill replacing Mike Rann as Premier on October 21. The Advertiser’s polling has had Labor’s primary vote go from 25 per cent in June to 32 per cent in August, just after Rann set his retirement date, to 38 per cent now. The Liberals have gone from 49 per cent to 44 per cent to 43 per cent on the primary vote, and from 60 per cent to 54 per cent to 51 per cent on two-party preferred. Jay Weatherill’s debut entry on preferred premier has him leading Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond 43 per cent to 32 per cent. The poll was conducted by phone from a sample of 488; since these polls are conducted in-house, there might be cause to doubt the quality of their methodology.

There will be no such issues with the next test of popularity facing the government: the by-elections to replace Mike Rann in Ramsay and former Deputy Premier Kevin Foley in Port Adelaide, which are expected to be held in February. Labor preselections a fortnight ago respectively chose Zoe Bettison, former Hawker Britton director, and Susan Close, Department for Environment and Natural Resources executive and Left faction convenor. The Liberals are yet to decide whether they will field candidates, but Labor will face a substantial opponent in Port Adelaide in the shape of Port Adelaide-Enfield mayor Gary Johanson. An Advertiser poll of the electorate in September had support for Johanson at a modest 14 per cent, with Labor on 37 per cent, Liberal on 31 per cent and the Greens on 11 per cent.

There has been further renewal for Labor with the retirement of former minister Paul Holloway, whose upper house vacancy was filled in September by Gerry Kandelaars, staffer to Torrens MP Robyn Geraghty and former official with the Right faction Communications Electrial and Plumbing Union.

UPDATE: A scan of The Advertiser’s poll table here, courtesy of renowned local observer Sykesie.

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.

17 comments on “Advertiser: 51-49 to Liberal in South Australia”

  1. Never mind.

    As I said earlier, this is definitely a honeymoon for Weatherill but it shows the 2014 is not unwinnable for Labor. The large undecideds demonstrates that people are still reserved but if Weatherill governs well and visibly and the opposition still fail to perform, the ALP should start taking a decent lead.

  2. Labor in SA will be very pleased with this news. It provides exactly the platform they were expecting for 2014. It remains the case that Redmond is Labor’s biggest asset; likewise the departures of Foley and Rann provide for the rejuvenation of Labor’s SA brand. All in all, now the mess of the transition has been worked through, there must be great confidence within the Party that the new team can win at the next election. The contrast with the mess in NSW could not be more stark.

    Also working in Labor’s favour in 2014 will be the delivery (or near completion of major infrastructure projects, plus the new jobs that the Olympic Dam project will inevitably bring. Its not a bad political position to be in at this stage of the electoral cycle, especially with an Opposition that has little to offer.

    Of course the Port Adelaide by-election will be a major challenge. Foley’s polarising impact creates a headache for Labor’s new candidate. She must hit the streets and work hard to establish her credentials as a future Labor local member with the community’s interests at heart. The electors of Port Adelaide would have felt pretty taken for granted by Kevin – her job is to show that she will be a community-based member. If she can do that, she will win easily.

    Up to now, Gary Johanson’s biggest asset was that he is not Kevin Foley. Of course Johanson has now lost that advantage. The job that Labor now has to do is to establish that Johanson is not really a Labor man at all, and is merely a proxy for the Libs. Much as the voters in Port Adeliade may have grown to dislike Kevin, they hate the Tories even more!!

  3. I also reckon Labor would probably win with a primary vote split of 43/38. For all its faults, Labor’s capcity to get people on the ground where it counts during an election campaign is much greater than the Libs, especially in SA. That SDA machine of Don Farrell’s just keeps on churining them out!

  4. Another highlight of why it is so stupid for people to fall into defeatism where politics and elections are concerned, convincing themselves that ‘x’ scenario is inevitable.

    ‘nothing is written’ as they say.

  5. Agree with almost all you say Outsider, but Pt Adelaide would have to be safe as houses wouldn’t it? Is there any seat by seat polling available that anyone knows of?

  6. Port Adelaide’s risk is a fairly well known independent who may put his name up. During a general election, the ALP would probably win it but, being a by-election, which usually sees the party of government underperform, he might be able to move into second place on the protest vote. If that happens, then the Liberal preferences will likely push him over the line (as the ALP primary would likely be below 50 for him to get that high.) Not an inevitability but by-elections in otherwise safe seats are a good opportunity for indies.

    It should be clarified though, being the two safest Labor seats in the state, regardless of the outcome of the two by-elections, there is virtually no chance the Liberal Party will win Port Adelaide or Ramsey.

  7. I live near the CBD and was called Wednesday night. The polling was push button and automated. It asked fav vs un fav of Kate Ellis, Jay Weatherill, Isobel Redmond, Tony Abbot and Prime Minister Julia Gilliard. I’m an ALP Voter.

  8. This poll shows that Weatherall has a chance. How he handles Olympic Dam, urban sprawl and (hopefully to me) modernising the city now it is growing again, will determine if it is enough.

  9. Interesting result. Weatherill is certainly showing some quick footwork with a number of changes at the margins looking like he is “listening”. The announcement today about delaying marine parks is interesting – hopefully its not showing weakness after a campaign of mis-information from Libs and other quarters. JWs media style is certainly a breath of fresh air after the Rann Foley show.

  10. The ALP should face little trouble really in these two seats.
    In Ramsay the Liberals barely get their deposit back and the only other candidate known to be running is Mark Aldridge, serial candidate for the disenfranchised right, and son of the local Mayor who does her best to ignore him. Actually he should be known as a “cereal” candidate as he is a bit of a Froot Loop.
    In Port Adelaide, as popular as local Mayor Gary Johanson is, he has never faced the formidable local ALP campaign machine. They will pour money and people in to ensure there is no upset. Candidate Susan Close has evidently been so busy she is even attending the opening of a can of sardines in the electorate.
    The biggest problem facing Labor in the area is not Johanson but her own lazy performance locally. She has been President of their FEC for 4 years and is yet to attend a meeting. The local sub-branch have yet to meet her. Not good form for a wannabe polly. She comes from a background of being a vegan ex-President of the Wilderness Society and former staffer of incompetent Left Minister Gail Gago (aka Lady Gaga). How will she cope with a very blue collar electorate dependent on dirty industries for the income of most of its inhabitants but whose pollution is also a major environmental issue in the electorate?
    We shall see.

  11. I suspect that Jay Weatherill will be doing a bit of campaigning in these by-elections to make it more about showing support for the new guy and less about who they would like their MP to be.

  12. IndependentThinking@12. You mentioned in regards to Susan Close “She has been President of their FEC for 4 years and is yet to attend a meeting.” I can assure you that this statement regarding Susan Close’s non-attendance at Port Adelaide FEC meetings is completely incorrect.

  13. Sykesie, thank you for that information. It was told to me by a member of the Right from another FEC. I unreservedly apologise for that inaccuracy and accept your correction, thank you again. Are you working on the campaign?

  14. Apologies in advance for a slightly off topic rant: is anyone in SA Labor looking at the new bus contracts? I regularly catch the buses in eastern suburbs and there have been several timetable changes that have been confusing and unnecessary. But today I found out just how bad it has gotten with the new contractor.

    It was a beautiful day and Xanthippe and I both went out, but to separate functions. Xanthippe planned to catch the bus home from the (inner) southern suburbs. With both legs of the trip (off Cross Road to city and city to Burnside) being on Go-Zones it should have been no problem, say 45 minutes to 1 hour. It took 2 hours! She could have literally walked faster.

    The first bus did not turn up at all and she waited 45 minutes for the next. Worse, in the city, Sunday timetable changes for our route (Parade) meant that our buses now left at every hour and every 15 minutes after. Thanks to the first no-show she arrived after 12.15 and, you guessed it, another 45 minute wait. She was not pleased.

    Whoever recommended the awarding of the new contracts to Transfield has a lot to answer for. Torrens Transit was a competent bus operator and their service was reliable (I analyse transport for a living). Transfield obviously put in too low a tender, and can’t deliver what they promised for the price. Do they have enough buses? Do they have enough drivers? Evidently not.

    The new timetables clearly strip services and reduce service levels. Go Zones are not supposed to have an average of two buses an hour on weekends. They are supposed to not have waiting times beyond 30 minutes. Even if the buses run on time, this is not achievable on the new timetable. It is a clear breach of state government transport policy. Whoever approved it failed to do their job. Things are much worse than reported in this story, which is not a beat-up.

    Even if Labor cares nothing about public transport, this will deservedly cost votes.

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