EMRS: Labor 27, Liberal 49, Greens 22 in Tasmania

The latest semi-regular EMRS poll of state voting intention in Tasmania has Labor recovering four points from a disastrous result in May, when it was equal with the Greens on 23%. However, there is little change in support for the Liberals (steady on 49%) and the Greens (down one to 22%), and the changes on preferred premier are likewise within the margin of error: Lara Giddings up a point to 22%, Will Hodgman up two to 45% and Nick McKim down two to 15%. The sample on the poll is 853 and the margin of error about 3.5%, although EMRS has been noted for producing inflated results for the Greens.

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.

10 comments on “EMRS: Labor 27, Liberal 49, Greens 22 in Tasmania”

  1. Seems like the main difference from the last election is pretty much 10% vote shift from ALP to Liberal.
    My ‘look at the election results in that light’ would result in something like Liberal 13, ALP 6 , Greens 5. and 1 up for ‘grabs’ by the joy of preference flows (Denison). Despite such a large shift of intention, it seems possible that the result could be quite close.
    They really did needed to increase the electorates to 7 member ones.

  2. [My ‘look at the election results in that light’ would result in something like Liberal 13, ALP 6 , Greens 5. and 1 up for ‘grabs’ by the joy of preference flows (Denison). Despite such a large shift of intention, it seems possible that the result could be quite close.]

    13 seats is a majority government. In a PR house, I think the Libs would take that result.

  3. 7 member electorates would probably yield the Libs 18 seats, which would just be a majority in a 35 member house (as 13 seats just is one in a 25 member house)

    Mind you, we’re just universally applying swings here. You don’t know how it will break down come election day (assuming this polling is still correct at the time)

  4. This thread is looking a bit neglected, so I thought I might throw my two bobs’ worth in.

    I doubt that the Libs are overjoyed about these results. The Labor Government is generally very unpopular and the Libs have been running with a strategy of making themselves the smallest of small targets. And yet, as the post above notes, these polling numbers are not likely to translate into anything better than victory by the narrowest possible margin of seats. And if, as the election looms closer, there is a swing back to Labor on the part of people who are nervous (in my view, justifiably so) about the Libs’ ability to govern effectively down here, then we will be in for another term of Lab-Green coalition.

    IMO the problem the Libs face in Tassie is that they are struggling to find a constituency beyond that of the pissed-off timber contractors and workers and the more privileged (or, at least, more aspirational) segment of the population of northern Tasmania and, to a lesser and diminishing extent, Hobart.

    They currently have few policy positions with which they can differentiate themselves from Labor. They appear to have decided next election to run on a firmly anti-Green position: tear up any forestry agreements, go back to the good old days, etc. This will certainly appeal to many people in northern Tasmania, but I reckon they were always going to win big up there anyway. The problem is that there are plenty of people in the larger population of southern Tasmania who might be interested in voting for the Libs on the basis of giving the other side a go, but who are what we might call small “g” greenies. My view is based on impressions rather than statistics, but I do mix frequently in circles which might be described as the “traditional Liberal constituency” – doctors, lawyers, military types, small businessmen – and am constantly surprised at the what seems to be the growing prevalence of a sort of small “g” green attitude among these people. Most of them don’t like the Greens party very much, but they strongly support increased protection for Tasmania’s iconic environmental assets and are concerned that what they believe is a dying forestry industry is damaging Tasmania’s “brand” in the eyes of the rest of Australia and the world.

    Under the guidance of Abetz, the Tasmanian Liberals are firmly wedged onto the back of the forestry truck and don’t look likely to move from there, regardless of the negative throughts that some of them (even their current leader, I suspect) think about the forestry industry in private. This stance will play very well in northern Tasmania, where the embattled and declining upper middle class is not tinged with green to anything like the extent of their counterparts in Hobart. But the Libs can’t hope to win more than the 6 seats in northern Tasmania that I have already pencilled in for them, and they are far less than even money to pick up 3 in Denison. So that means that they need to get 6 out of 10 in Franklin and Lyons for a comfortable majority of 3, or 5 out of 10 for bare majority of 1: outcomes which are certainly achievable, but hardly a lay-down misere.

    All this goes to show how incredibly short-sighted the Libs were when they recently derailed the Lab-Green plans to restore the numbers in the lower house to 35. I have promised a Lib powerbroker I know (and who agrees privately with me that they should have supported the increase in the number of members) that I am going to laugh openly in his face if the results of the next election give them 12 out of 25 but would have given them 18 or more out of 35.

    In my view, it couldn’t happen to a more deserving lot. You know the old saying of what’s better than beating Collingwood by 100 points? Beating them by 1 point.

  5. These numbers are very similar to the previous poll, with Labor up slightly mainly at the expense of “Independents”. However, there is often a fake surge in “Independent” support in EMRS May polling caused by confusion with Legislative Council elections in which prominent candidates are usually indies.

    Based on electorate breakdowns (rolling average of two polls to improve sample size) my analysis of the previous poll was that the Liberals were on course for majority government “if an election was held now” with a minimum of 13 seats but a reasonable chance of up to 16. Changing to the 35 seat system would make little difference; again the Libs would win by at least one seat and perhaps by up to three more. In some scenarios the current 25 seat system is slightly better for the Liberals’ chances because 3-1-1 is easier than 4-2-1 in Franklin (c. 25% each for Labor and Green in Franklin stops 4-2-1 but does not stop 3-1-1 because preferences need to cross party lines, creating massive exhaust) and 3-2-0 is achievable in Braddon without requiring any swing against the Greens.

    Unfortunately EMRS have failed to release electorate breakdowns this time so modelling the current figures on a seat-by-seat basis is difficult. That the Libs would almost certainly win on such figures, but not necessarily by more than one, is about all that can be said.

    It would be very funny if the Libs fell short in a situation where 35 seats would have been better for them, but it would also be fairly unusual.

  6. Kevin, I find your prediction of 16 seats for the Libs interesting: this would require them to win 4 out of 5 in either Bass or Braddon (or perhaps both, as I am pretty confident they’ can’t get more than 2 in Denison).

    What sort of 2pp vote do you think they would need to secure to win 4 seats in a 5 seat electorate? I would have assumed at least 65% and possibly close to 70%. But I accept that the Tassie system is tricky and I might be wrong about this.

    65% in Bass and Braddon seems to me to be just about achievable for them in a sort of Qld/NSW swing scenario but I probably wouldn’t put any of my money on it I think many voters are sick of Labor in Tassie, but perhaps not quite to the extent the people in the rugby-playing states felt.

  7. Interesting discussion on ABC radio last night about car sales figures in July. Year on year up 15+% in WA, NT and Qld, up 8-9% in NSW and Vic, up 7% in SA but down 6% in Tasmania – that and something I read last week about the % dependent on welfare – somthing like 35-40% – shows Tasmania is in economic trouble. Southern Tasmania in particular must be hugely dependent on either government transfer payments (social security, pensions) or direct public service salaries (state, federal, university).

  8. blackburnpseph: no question that Southern Tassie has a lot to fear economically in the next little while. When (if) Will Hodgman and the Libs get into government, we can expect a Campbell Newman-style attack on the public sector (which has already been significantly razored under Giddings). This will adversely affect the south.

    And then any savings which eventuate will be pumped into saving Gunns Pty Ltd (assuming it’s still going) and generally helping the forestry sector, which is more significant in the north of the state.

    So, effectively, a redistribution of $$$ from south to north. The extent to which Labor and the Greens can get this message out surreptitiously into the community will determine whether or not the Libs can be stopped from winning three seats in Lyons, Denison and Franklin.

  9. [Kevin, I find your prediction of 16 seats for the Libs interesting: this would require them to win 4 out of 5 in either Bass or Braddon (or perhaps both, as I am pretty confident they’ can’t get more than 2 in Denison).]

    Not a prediction but a possibility at the time. Using a rolled average of the February and May electorate breakdowns, adjusted to account for EMRS overestimating the Green vote (I take all the undecided votes EMRS redistributes to the Greens and split them between the majors), 4-1-0 in Braddon was possible and so was 3-1-1 in Denison. Denison was unlikely and Braddon fairly unlikely even on that breakdown and the Feb poll was better than the last two for the Libs so it may be that both of those would be off the table now with 14 the realistic maximum.

    [What sort of 2pp vote do you think they would need to secure to win 4 seats in a 5 seat electorate? ]

    Hard to do it with much less than 65, but around 65 it becomes possible in some cases. 2PP is not very relevant here because most Green preferences are never distributed and if they are distributed there is exhaust.

    In my adjusted Feb/May rolled sample for Braddon the Libs would have a primary of about 60 and a 2PP of just below 65. In that sample, each party has about .6 of a quota spare, which should favour the Greens as they are less exposed to leakage, but if the third and fourth Liberal candidates were very close together then the Greens might never catch them.

    In 1992 the Liberals polled 65.7% in Braddon to Labor’s 20.8% and the Greens’ 8.8. That was 5-2-0 in the 35 seat system and would be 4-1-0 in the present one.

    On current statewide polling they are not on for a repeat of that.

  10. Me waffling about as much as I can about this one given the lack of detail:


    Note that a subsidiary question about same-sex marriage shows that undecided voters are at least as close to Labor attitudes on that issue than they are to Liberal attitudes. Indeed the full data on the same-sex marriage question reveals they are closer.

    I have seen the full data on the same-sex marriage question but I do not have permission to publish it.

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