Newspoll: 53-47 to Coalition in Victoria

The last bi-monthly Newspoll survey of state voting intention caused a brief frisson in showing the Coalition’s two-party lead at just 51-49, which in defiance of all conventional wisdom about first-term honeymoons was a weaker result than it achieved at its November 2010 election win. The latest result confirms suspicions that the result may have been slightly roguish, but it equally confirms that the government is not travelling as well as can be anticipated given its youth. The Coalition’s two-party lead is at 53-47, from primary votes of 45 per cent for the Coalition (up two) and 33 per cent for Labor (down one). There’s an even worse sting in the tail for Labor leader Daniel Andrews, whose is down seven points on approval to a disastrous 23 per cent and up four on disapproval to 36 per cent (the non-recognition factor evidently remaining very high). The preferred premier rating is nonetheless little changed, Baillieu’s lead down from 53-18 to 51-19, which would have both sides wondering how things might be if Labor found a more popular leader. Personal ratings for Baillieu still to come (numbers as always from GhostWhoVotes).

UPDATE: Full tables from Ghost Who Votes. Over three bi-monthly polls, Baillieu’s net approval rating has gone from plus 23 to plus three. Since the last poll, his approval is down eight to 41 per cent and his disapproval up five to 38 per cent.

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.

50 comments on “Newspoll: 53-47 to Coalition in Victoria”

  1. [Personal ratings for Baillieu still to come (numbers as always from GhostWhoVotes).]

    The Australian story (pre-paywall) has this about Ted’s approval numbers:

    [Newspoll surveys in the most populous states reveal that while Labor has failed to dent the Coalition in NSW, in Victoria Mr Baillieu has suffered a dramatic 11-point drop in his leadership satisfaction rating since October.]

  2. I always thought the win by the Coalition in VIC was a bit of a shock mainly because VIC has been a strong state for Labor for quite a while.

  3. Not too good for a new government with an invisible opposition leader. Giving the finger to nurses, literally and figuratively, won’t be helping them either.

  4. GhostWhoVotes (@GhostWhoVotes)
    3/12/12 7:58 AM
    #Newspoll VIC Baillieu: Approve 41 (-8) Disapprove 38 (+5) #springst #auspol

  5. The Nationals have far too much influence in Victoria. Peter Ryan is the defacto Premier. The Age editorial at the weekend.

    [The Nationals’ influence has a high environmental cost.

    NEW governments routinely intone that they will govern for all and act in the public interest. In Australia, this is, firstly, a pragmatic acknowledgement that voters tend to be fairly evenly divided between government and opposition. Secondly, it implies a recognition that whatever sectional interests a government represents, it has a duty to ensure its policies are soundly based. Ted Baillieu’s Coalition government has made several decisions that suggest the Nationals call the shots on environmental policy with little regard for evidence.

    The Age raised the alarm early when the government rushed to restore alpine cattle grazing and declare the first full duck-hunting season in years. Neither policy was supported by public opinion or scientific research. Factors in the flooding of Victoria’s north-east include catchment clearing and logging and cattle damage to alpine moss beds. In nature, these areas served as sponges to soak up heavy rain and slow run-off, moderating river flows.

    Last week, The Age revealed the government has scuppered plans to phase out cattle grazing along parts of the Murray River slated to be a national park, which itself is in doubt. Yesterday, we reported the Nationals’ Peter Walsh, as Water Minister, thinks it a good idea to remove vegetation from waterways to clear floods more rapidly. A parliamentary inquiry is considering this, he said.

    New South Wales has submitted that vegetation is crucial for healthy waterways because it stabilises river beds and banks, reducing the ”scour” effect of floods. ”Rivers should not be seen as drains to move flood waters away quickly,” it states. Tellingly, the submission notes that vegetation-clearing policies in the 1950s made floods worse.

    If the science is against such policies, why adopt them? The common thread from cattle grazing to duck hunting to vegetation clearing to putting new parks on hold is that such policies are the price of the Nationals’ support for the Liberal Party in government. Their rural support base is inclined to scoff at scientific research that disproves the claim that ”grazing prevents blazing”; shows duck hunting is unavoidably cruel and harms protected species; and demonstrates the need to protect redgum forests in a new park.]

    Read more:

  6. Silence here suggests there is nothing worth commenting on in Vic.
    Tasers introduced for police; corruption commission neutered; Yawn?

  7. [there doesn’t seem to be any love lost between the Herald Sun and Baillieu]

    Baillieu is a do-nothing government but News Lid haven’t had a problem with federal coalition governments doing nothing in the past. Fairfax have also taken a hard line on the Baillieu government. It’s rather like the anti Labor position that both media have taken against the Gillard government. Could it be minimal amount of government adverting compared to the Brumby government which spent millions upon millions in advertising in it’s final year?

  8. So who will be the next labor leader? I’m thinking Jacinta Allan or jane garrat..The two most promising members in the ALP

  9. 15

    If the ALP chooses Jane Garret then the Liberals will likely change their mind on preferencing the Greens and hand Brunswick to the Greens. They may change their mind anyway now they are in government rather than an opposition trying to channel as much anti-government sentiment towards them as possible.

    The Greens were 18 votes ahead of the ALP in Brunswick before the Liberal preferences were distributed.

  10. 9

    The Nationals also have more seats in the Legislative Assembly than their proportion of the vote justifies. From 6-7 88ths of the vote they get 10 88ths of the seats.

    The Greens got 10 88ths of the vote but no seats.

  11. Tom,

    So what?

    As has been explained to you on numerous occaissions, our electoral system is based on Members representing an area/seat. It’s been happening for quite awhile. Do try and catch up.

  12. [Not too good for a new government with an invisible opposition leader.]

    I see and hear Daniel Andrews a lot. I think he has kept the pressure on Baillieu very strongly but missed out in the beauty contest, where it doesn’t matter anyway.

  13. Another mediocre poll for Baillieu and the Libs. With the State on the brink of recession Ted needs to pull his finger out. Otherwise, he’s likely to be chopped before Christmas.
    He’s already cleaned out his coterie of advisors. So there’s no one to blame should his performance continue to underwhelm.

    I’m not sure who the Libs could promote from within. Jeff Kennett has been active lately and might consider a return were he to be parachuted back in to the Leadership.

    Andrews is at least registering now. I’d suggest the electorate hasn’t yet reached the point that they are realistically looking for an alternative Government. Perhaps there is a honeymoon effect. However, should the economy continue to deteriorate and Ted remains in dithering stunned rabbit mode then things will change very quickly.

  14. If Jane Garret was made ALP leader (not likely in the short to medium term) then she would have little difficulty in holding Brunswick for the locals would know that they could have the premier as a local MP, just as we saw Ted score a big swing to him in Hawthorn.

    I think generally speaking the business community has been spooked by fears about Europe and a misunderstanding and therefore sometimes poor reporting by the media of economic matters.

  15. 18

    It is not a properly democratic system because it places far too much emphasis on where votes are and this leads to some votes (those in marginal seats) being more valuable than others.

  16. 20

    Baillieu has (or at least had at the start of the term) this set up where there are Coalition party-room meetings and Nationals party-room meeting but no Liberal party-room meetings. This makes it harder to challenge him. This may also contribute to the over-dominance of the Nationals in the Government.

  17. 21

    You are attributing far too much weight to individual candidates in the votes of parties in urban seats.

    The swing in Hawthorn in 2010 was smaller than the swing in neighbouring Kew.

    Anyway the whole Newman-for-Ashgrove-disaster-in-the-making is likely to put parties of having leaders in marginal seats.

  18. Tom – My point about Hawthorn was many here and the mood generally was that the greens might come second in Hawthorn and give Ted a scare but as we know Ted received a thumping win on primaries.

    I think the voters of Brunswick would love the opportunity to support a local MP if she was in with a chance of becoming premier.

    The next redistribution may make a big difference to the look of Brunswick


    [State’s hunt for anti-corruption chief falters
    Royce Millar and Melissa Fyfe
    March 13, 2012

    THE Baillieu government is struggling to find a suitable head for its much-hyped anti-corruption commission, amid claims that the role is underpaid and a ”poisoned chalice”.

    Some of the most senior figures in the Australian legal and judicial scene have declined approaches from the government during a long-running local and international search.]
    more in the article

  20. If the ALP has any sense they are making up posters of Marshall Baillieu giving nurses the finger with a caption like “This is the real Liberal attitude to workers”

    This nasty old man isn’t some loony second cousin he was the Federal Member for Latrobe from 1975 to 1980, long enough to get a handsome Parliamentary pension

    Nasty politics but hey, the Liberals have casualised the teaching and nursing workforce. You think that a university degree, post graduate qualifications and stringent licencing would guarantee steady work, not this rung up at the start of the shift stuff.

  21. Just a comment, mr kennet was down here last week wanting to make us oart of victoria. Called uf vicmania, was moreorlesztold oer our dead bodies. A few people suggested the way u lot are going u may wat to be tasvics. But no we will lock the gate

  22. joe2
    [I see and hear Daniel Andrews a lot.]

    I do too, but, like any PBer, I’m probably more engaged than most people. A new opposition leader with no charisma is always going to be near invisible to most people at this stage of the cycle.

  23. 26

    The Greens coming second in Hawthorn probably would have hardly changed the Liberal 2CP as the ALP voters preference the Greens at about the same rate the Greens preference the ALP (as far as can be determined with the little data available).

    The swing in Hawthorn was in line with the swing in other Liberal seats nearby. The swing was almost entirely to the Liberal Party as a whole rather than the individual candidate. The effect of a good candidate on an urban seat is estimated at just 2%. You seem to think it is 12% or ever 20%.

    The Eastern boundary of Brunswick District will continue to be Merri Creek. The Western boundary will continue to be a combination of Moonee ponds Creek and Citylink. Therefore only North and South movement are real possibilities. Melbourne is above quota and growing above the state average, Brunswick is growing at the state average while Preston is stagnant. Therefore Brunswick is likely to move South loosing its least Green areas around Coburg and/or Pascoe Vale South and gaining strong Green areas around North Carlton and North Fitsroy. This is not good news fore the ALP.

  24. 31

    So ALP supporters complaining about the Playmander and the Bejelkemander were just sore losers were they Joh?

  25. Tom,

    I believe that Labor actually introduced the gerry mander in Queensland that Joh used so effectively during his reign. Country weighting of seats was quite popular in the earlier parts of last Century. So whingeing about losing just an Australian trait.

    It wasn’t until McKinlay forced changes to the electoral system in the mid 70s to insist on near equal sized seats that gerry mandering was defeated. Australia is a better place for McKinlay’s efforts imho.

    The Greens aren’t disadvantaged. They’re simply not particularly popular. Hence, the never ending pseudo intellectual contortions by Greens supporters to make theselves out as victims when all they are is losers in a fair and reasonable electoral process.

  26. 34

    It is true that the ALP installed the zonal electoral system to thwart the Liberals in Queensland. It did this very well. So much so that the Country party was the by far the larger opposition party in parliament despite getting significantly less votes. When the Split came to Queensland, the Country Party became the senior party in Government despite its lower vote share. The relative lack of safe Liberal seats because of Queensland`s electoral geography was another contributing factor. The Country Party used this position to advantage itself compared to the Liberals. Then along came Joh who changed the Country Party to the National Party and took this to extremes and overtook the Liberals in terms of votes. Had the ALP not introduced the zonal system then Joh probably would never have been premier. Had there been PR he almost certainly would not have. The zonal electoral system was abolished by the Goss government in its first term. WA abolished lower house rural weighting for the 2008 election.

    The Greens are more popular than the Nationals disproportionally dominant in the current Victorian Government. They got 141,205 more votes and the Nationals would have got less if the Liberals were running against the Nationals in the seats the Nationals held. The main reason the Greens got 0 seats and the Nationals 10 is because the Greens vote is far more evenly spread across the state. Had that Greens vote been piled into 15 electorates like the Nationals then the Greens would have won about a dozen seats. Had the Nationals vote been spread across the state then they would have won 0 seats. The winning of seats in a single member-systems is not just about how many votes you win but where you win them. Just think of those elections where the ALP had won the 2PP but lost the seats. No amount of calling the facts I present “never ending pseudo intellectual contortions” and the current system you support “fair and reasonable” without providing any evidnce is not going to win you the argument.

  27. Tom,

    Oh dear! I can only pull my nuclear weapon from my cache – Reality.

    The flaw in your argument is that our system is a single membership system. You don’t actually vote for a Party, you vote for an individual. So, this means that Greens aren’t particularly popular as individuals within the community they seek to represent. Sort of the more you know them, the less likely you are to vote for them.

    I for one would be quite happy for all the Greens supporters to congregate in one location and live happily ever after in their tofu and mung bean nirvanna. Perhaps the moon would suit the ruggedly basic existence you seem to propose for society.

    In the mean time, if you can’t organise a majority of support in our fine democratic system, lose on.

  28. The greens didn’t win a seat because they didn’t have Liberal preferences and the National Party hold its seats mostly on the primary.

  29. 36

    Most voters vote based on the party not the individual candidate. This was the case even before party names were put on the ballot papers in the 1980s.

    My argument is that we should not use a single member system as it disadvantages parties with spread out votes over those with concentrated votes.

  30. Well we have a PR upper house and the result is five MPs that are invisible. I never see them in the local community or local media

  31. Do you think there is much support for the views expressed in the following Letter in The Age

    THE National Parks Association noted at the weekend that Victoria is the most cleared and ecologically stressed state in the country. The Baillieu government’s latest plan in its almost daily attacks on what’s left of Victoria’s natural environment is the proposal to burn our forests for electricity (”East Gippsland timber destined for chips, power”, The Age, 13/3). The rationale is to encourage investment in the native forest industry. Investors should note that as the experience in Tasmania demonstrated, the public doesn’t support native forest logging and will not support burning of forests for electricity. There will be no certainty of future government support. It is disappointing that the only vision Ted Baillieu has for Victoria is one in ashes.

    Chris Owens, Lysterfield South

    see Leunig’s supporting cartoon

  32. The VNPA has a campaign to save the native forests of East Gippsland, the last habitat of the leadbeater possum, the furry animal on our vehicle registration stickers.

    Do not buy Reflex paper

  33. Tom,

    Unfortunately, for you you haven’t put up any meaningful argument as to why there should be change. The system has always been individual based representation and it works fine and is well and truly supported by voters. So, any contention that voters don’t vote for the individuals on the ballot paper is unsubstantiated nonsense (or Greens wishful thinking).

    The only recalcitrants are Greens like yourself who want to impose their notion of democracy (put them in charge) on an unwilling majority. And, will bitch and bleat till they get their way.

    As I’ve said previously, Greens being unpopular is no reason to change a voting system that delivers good strong democratic Government.

  34. 39

    There are some MLCs who are better than others at having a media profile. For example Colleen Hartland MLC (a Green) has a big presence in the Western Suburbs media. Independent MLCs as well as MLCs from parties with little or not representation in a region`s Legislative Assembly districts have a greater incentive to have a profile and be local representatives as they do not have MLAs to share the representative work with.

    Having MLCs around in the community would be helped in they had to be resident in the regions they represent and spend most of their not in Parliament (or ministerial office if they are a minister) in their region.

  35. 42

    I have made two substantive arguments.

    Firstly, single member electorates mean voters in marginal seats are more influential as voters that those in safe seats.

    Secondly, geographically based single member systems give minorities with geographical concentration (Like the Nationals) greater power than their proportion in the community or even the majority (when they are part of the majority) while significant minorities that are more widely geographically distributed get less influence than their proportion in the community.

    The majority should govern but everyone deserves representation.

    While everybody puts their votes next to names of people, most of them do so based on the party they represent not the individual candidate. I would not vote for/preference a good Liberal candidate against a bad ALP candidate and I presume from your strong support for the ALP that neither would you. This is the way most voters vote otherwise there would be no safe seats for any party. Also except in conscience votes and a few other rare exceptions MPs vote along party lines not on their individual view.

    There has never been a referendum in Australia between single member electorates and proportional representation. If the was a referendum, in Tasmania and the ACT who have experience of both systems in lower houses, to switch from PR to single member they would likely reject it.

    Of the 3 elections where the Greens have got a significant vote in Victorian state elections (2002, 2006 and 2010), only in the 2006 election would PR have delivered the Greens the balance of power.

  36. Tom,

    The contention that people only vote for Parties and not candidates is claptrap. People vote for a variety of reasons. So there is no proof for the tyranny of your unproven little assertion.

    Single Member electorates represent an area/seat. Yes. Members represent a community of interest. This is the system that has been in operation for our entire electoral system and again, your wild assertions that you or your ilk are discriminated against is crap. Voters seem overwhelmingly comfortable with the system we operate and until you can show me some broad based support for change then whinge on.

    As I have said, the way to electoral success is to win seats in our system. That you don’t like this fact is of no particular concern to me. It just reeks of someone simply trying to manipulate the electoral system to their own personal desires rather than keep it as the unfettered representation of democracy that it is.

  37. Clive Palmer to challenge Carbon Pricing in the High Court.

    I have heard that this announcement on ABC 7.30 tonight was arranged by Uhlmann/Abbott to be announced tonight on the ABC by Palmer as early as last Friday morning.

  38. Barossa Observer ‏

    Why weren’t the Libs arguing #CarbonPricing bill was unconstitutional during the parliamentary debates?

  39. 45

    People do choose who they vote for with a variety of factors and many do vote on the individual candidate but they main factor is the party. This has been the case in Australia for pretty much the past 100 years. Campaigns are mainly party focused. HTVs are heavily party branded and have Legislative Council/Senate party ticket voting advice on them for them same party as the Legislative Assembly/HoR candidate. Anyway how is voters choosing to vote based on party rather than the individual candidate tyrannical?

    Geographical seats are rather arbitrary even with the “community of interest” criteria for drawing them. They are particularly arbitrary in urban areas that are by their very nature diverse and people with lots of different opinions and interests live in one area. Until 1907 Victoria had some dual member electorates.

    The current system advantages the National Party and usually the main Government party disadvantages minor parties with geographically diverse support and usually the main Opposition party. No system is entirely neutral. My argument is that parties with geographically diverse support should get their fair share of seats. Your support for the current system is party because it takes votes that would go to electing Greens in a proportional system and delivers them to the ALP.

  40. Tom,

    You’re just repeating the same meaningless prattle and I’m done engaging your circular nonsense.

    Perhaps you should write to your local Member an see if he’s interested in your crazy notions.

  41. Maybe the Greens instead of sulking about not wining seats should consider applying for a name change.

    The Gerry Harvey Party

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