Newspoll: 50-50 in Victoria

Troy Bramston on Sky News reports Labor has drawn level on two-party preferred in Victoria, after the Coalition held on to a 51-49 lead in March-April (the last time we had a result from Newspoll, which usually goes bi-monthly in New South Wales and Victoria). This is the first time Labor has been even with the Coalition on two-party preferred in any poll, state or federal, since the federal poll of March 18-20 last year. The primary votes are 41% for the Coalition (down one), 35% for Labor (up three) and 13% for the Greens. The Greens are down four points, and while this follows a three-point spike in their favour last time, it’s still their lowest Newspoll rating since July-August 2009. Their actual election result in November 2010 was only 11.2%, so it may be that Newspoll has a problem with overstating their support. The results for the major parties at the 2010 election were 44.8% for the Coalition and 36.2% for Labor. Since the two-party preferred result in 2010 was 51.5-48.5 in the Coalition’s favour, the implied 1.5% swing in this poll can be interpreted as an election-winning lead for Labor, since it is greater than the Liberal margins in two seats (0.8% in Bentleigh and 1.2% in Seymour) and the current numbers in the Legislative Assembly are 45 Coalition and 43 Labor. Furthermore, there will be a long-overdue redistribution before the next election, and Antony Green contends it is likely to exacerbate the bias to Labor which evidently already exists.

Ted Baillieu’s lead over Daniel Andrews as preferred premier is down from 46-23 to 40-26, and he has also suffered a four-point drop in approval to 32% and a five point rise in disapproval to 50%. Andrews however has not budged from his mediocre ratings last time, his approval steady on 28% and disapproval up one to 36%. Below is a chart showing the progress of the net approval ratings of the four conservative premiers over their time in office. Newspoll has not published results from Queensland since the March election, but presumably will very shortly (ditto for Western Australia and South Australia), so the figures shown for Campbell Newman are from the two Galaxy polls conducted since that time. All other results are from Newspoll.

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.

52 comments on “Newspoll: 50-50 in Victoria”

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  1. 1

    Since it is aggregated from about 2 months of Victoria`s share of the nationwide polls at least almost all would be.

  2. Ted is looking increasingly like a oncer. First since Cain Senior (if Cain Senior`s 4 days in 1943 do not count).

  3. Wow. First opinion poll where Labor’s vote has begun with a 5 in how long?

    I guess one saving grace for the Baillieu government is that they still have 2 years to switch things around.

  4. 6 your right on TAFES cut plus also planning starting to get big with the new VicSmart laws but National parks are non issue bar for a few inner city greens voters speaks as Victorian

  5. The Age can see it in way it see fit it a non issue for victorian.People care about Jobs,Tafes,PT,Planning,Road as this poll is showing all failure of this government

  6. You’d be very surprised just how many suburbanites like to “rough” it in the bush over a week end, The Prom, for example.

  7. He only won because Brumby was arrogant and unlikable and Baillieu pretended to be a moderate on many issues – even attacking the government from the left on some issues. With the narrowest of majorities and the support of the DLP he is now rescinding legislation he gave bi-partisan support for in opposition (how is that for deliberate deception of the electorate) and is setting the clock on environment and planning back to somewhere in the 1970s or earlier. He and his ministers have stopped departments from using the term climate change (it is ‘good old fashioned climate variability’), slashed climate programs, and taken information about climate change off Victorian some gov webpages. He has allowed firewood to be taken from state parks without permits (going back to the 1950s), ignored science and put his brother-in-law’s mates cattle into fragile alpine ecosystem, is trying to export brown coal, dropped an oft repeated promise to make vic teachers the best paid in the country, gone back on a promise not to sack public servants, reduced gov spending on roads, increased levies on local government, released land for development for mates and donors, etc. etc. His government behaves as though they have a massive majority and have been there for years. He is not liked, and I can’t see him turning it around. as i said earlier today, please let vic secede from the rest of australia, where we can have progressive government most of the time – Baillieu is a blip that was needed to get rid of Brumby, who could easily have been a lib given his economic and social conservativism who was on track to do most of what Baillieu has done anyhow. I hope Labor and Andrews can step up, and we get the greens back with balance of power in the upper house.

  8. 14

    The DLP lost in the 2010 state election and is out of the Legislative Council. The Coalition have a majority. Paragraphs can also be useful.

  9. This is an interesting poll. The ALP up 3 and the Greens Party down 4

    Some might see this as vindication for the ALP’s new way of dealing with the Greens Party

  10. Re Post 18
    More likely just blip in the polls…there is often trouble with minor parties …
    and what “new way of dealin”..the ALP needs their prefs more than ever as always

  11. deblonay

    yep, the same blip in the polls that saw the Greens lose Melbourne.

    And – given that most Green voters vote Labor second – if the Greens lose numbers, most of them will go back to Labor.

    If they don’t, their preferences will (largely) still go to Labor regardless.

  12. Education was Australia’s 4 th largest export industry and most of that education industry was based in Victoria, so the 80% cuts to TAFE education in Victoria go to the heart of many people’s lives, including

    – the current and Potential TAFE students
    – the army of casual teachers in the system
    – the population relying on properly accredited, skilled tradespeople

    The failure to improve public transport hurts many people

    In my circles the threat of development in National Parks is a vote killer as well

  13. I just got a notice that my university will be hosting the Legislative Assembly next Thursday. By a stroke of luck, question time will be outside my classes. So I’ll see if I can watch it.

    I wonder what questions will be asked of the TAFE cuts?

  14. @Sustainable future

    His government behaves as though they have a massive majority and have been there for years.

    Sustainable is right on the money there, this Government does behave like it has a huge majority and the ‘climate change’ example is indicative of how both how trivial this Government is and the lack of direction/policy/activity. What this Government is strong on is right wing ideology, but this is something not too obvious outside but we have the:

    distrust for the VPS
    action to contract out VPS jobs
    intention to replace VPS with fixed term (4 year contracts!)
    obsession with budgetary savings at all costs
    obsession to reduce ‘policy’ and ‘spin’ type jobs
    vetting of new jobs and appointments

    Note: none of the above wins you electorate support.

    As an VPS insider I can report alot of interesting happenings, a while after the election of this Government (at least a month), we started seeing the new advisors and what a bunch or arrogant types they were and still are – rude, obnoxious, throwing their weight around, bulling – just not nice.

    There was a standing joke around for the first 6 months of the Government that the only thing they had acheived was removing the ‘The Place to be’ Vic Gov logo from everything in sight. All old documents shredded and we were issued with little stickers with the new logo to place on posters and other, more difficiult to change objects.

    I also remember the Premiers office wanted to put out a presser on first 100 days achievements – there was alot of talk at the time to demonstrate something, anything, but after going through the programs that were not Labor the only thing we could come up with were the ‘stickers’ and the directive to stop the ‘Thank the indigenous peoples’ intro for any speeches…

    What we have been seeing more recently is an emergence of the old silver state of Victoria badge, that was bestowed on trusted officials and lackies during the Kennet Government.

    I dont want to give the wrong impression, it is not that we sit on arses doing nothing up here, but there is a differnce between the business as usual and actual new visionary policy development and implimentation. Personally, at the time I was not that sorry Labor lost the 2010 election, it was due to happen, the Government was old and just recycling old policy and a change is always good to get rid of a range of vested interests.

    However, Big Ted is not the answer. Where is the big policy?, where is the agenda?, where are the briefs and proposals that go to he Minister’s office and never return!. With any luck the appearance of inactivity will mean Ted the accidental premier will last for one term at best.

    Getting back, eventually to the original point, these guys are behaving like a Government with a big buffer. My own impression of how it will unfold was;

    Term 1 – VPS and program cuts, budget priorities all the medicine!, Ted in charge.
    Term 2 – Ted replaced and we get a Howard lite Goverment, VPS workchoices and other more traditional liberal programs

    What it is looking more likley is there willl be no Term 2 and Big Ted gets knifed before the next election. What I can tell you is his place is not exactly certain and there is an almighty power struggle going on up Spring street. – What, the Lberals doing to Ted what happened to Kev?? The faceless party machine at work!!. The only consolation is that Ted in charge is better than the alternative – the hard right Alan Stockdale associates.

    Hopefully the people from the rest of Australia will learn from this by mid next year, elect the Liberals and they will come in a wreck the place, no matter what they say.

  15. Leadership @ 5

    the open up of national park is support from both party and is a non issue for 99.9 of Victorian Population.

    Care to cite any evidence for that claim, other than your own subjective assessment?

    If you think that then you have seriously misread the Victorian polity. We are very protective of our National Parks and won’t sit back and be told they are “open for business”.

    My personal opionin is that Bailleau (and similarly Newman and O’Farrell) are delivering all the big cost cutting pain measures early in their terms, and will try to win (ie: “buy”) back support with lots of sweeteners in the 12 months leading up to the next election, hoping that the sugar erases the memory of the acid that was served up early in the term.

    It remains to be seen whether the electorate falls for this common conservative party trick. Personally, I don’t think they will swallow it this time.


  16. Dr Fumbles, yuo are on the money. Nothing is actually being done. I’m working a 45 hour week as a standard but no actual work is taking place. Things go up and get lost or take months, simple questions keep being asked (someone doesn’t read briefs) and staffers are arrogant bullies.

    It started at the start of course, some journo who knows how Westminster governments run should ask when Ted signed enabling letters for his ministers? It’s simply a shambles

  17. Daniel Andrews is an extremely intelligent person who deeply considers facts and is a long-term strategic thinker. However he’s not nearly good at being sensationalist or at putting across an entire point of view in a sound-bite of fifteen seconds. As a result his approval ratings are still much lower than what they should be.

    I must confess I’m not entirely sure about how he can easily turn this around. Opinion pieces in the newspapers, perhaps are a stronger avenue for him. At least they give the opportunity for a more elaborate presentation. Perhaps even presentations on YouTube etc?

  18. This is definitely no good for the Libs at state level and it has to be said that it is largely self inflicted.

    Daniel Andrews, however, is an invisible Opposition leader – not often on the news, rarely interviewed. Labor might still be treading lightly as too high a profile might remind the voters of why they were voted out to start with.

    Labor will probably start out in front when the redistribution comes and the Libs will start with an uphill battle. The Libs might get a sophomore surge from the MPs elected last time and some of the Labor MPs elected in 99 and 02 might give it away depriving Labor of incumbency in some seats.

    It should also be remembered that the Bailllieu government is not halfway through its term so there is still a long way to go – unless the proverbial bus appears.

  19. @SBH

    It is a disgrace alright, as if Big Ted treats being premier as a hobby.


    It should also be remembered that the Bailllieu government is not halfway through its term so there is still a long way to go – unless the proverbial bus appears.

    You know, I was just discussing this today, while they are a couple of months shy of half way – I think they have almost run out of time for the following reasons, the Government is obsessed with savings and the 4400 jobs cuts. The VPS ‘sustainable government’ cuts announced end of 2010 have not yet occured, we are still waiting for the redundancies (VDPs) to be announced. This Gov is paralysed until they get this sorted as nobody knows who or what programmes are affected. This is because if you take a VCP your position is cut that work area loses the $$$.

    Anyhow, given the scale of cuts and the timetable to get it organised this will not be sorted until at least December. Following on will be a process of consolidation and restructuring to finalise head counts and assess resources. These changes could be as large as Departmental restructing so it in unlikley to be sorted until at least early 2013.

    Happening at that time, in the absence of certainty about staff and programs will be all the Budget bids and programs, thus it is unlikley that any big new bids will get up beyond the emergency ones so dont expect much excitment in the 2013-14 Budget. In fact is is likley more cuts – or lapsing programs will be annouced as the last of the labor $$ are used up.

    We are only likley to see any significant changes by budget 2014. Only after then will VPS and Departmental resources be finalised and the previous Government programs finished. However, if this Govt is anything like the others it will be operating in defacto Caretaker mode at least 6 months out of the election date.

    I could be wrong of course, given some dynamic leadership and a degree of political will anything can be done, we could see a burst of policy and other announcements until the election but, as Big Ted himself says, with the policy people sacked and the sin doctors who announce policy sacked who will find out about it!.

  20. Dr Fumbles

    A very interesting observation of the processes.

    More than anything else the Baillieu government has shown that they were not prepared to govern – their election win in 2010 was as much a surprise to them as to everybody else.

    The contrast is with O’Farrell where they were prepared to govern – being up against a government so on the nose probably helped focus the mind.

  21. The other thing Baillieu needs desperately is a cabinet reshuffle – Kim Wells as Treasurer is definitely not up to the job and Terry Mulder in Transport has been a disappointment after being effective in opposition.

    Peter Ryan is by far their best media performer – Ted is however variable – can be very good but can be dismal as well.

  22. @blackburnpseph

    I think I have been here too long and become too cynical and these are just hypothetical musings of course.

    You are right about a reshuffle, i think that is happening sooner rather than later and will happen after we have had all the VDPs. Then we see what the new departments look like and what resources are left.

  23. Dr Fumbles – I’m curious and maybe you might not be able to say but where did you hear that the State Government plans to replace the VPS with staff on four year contacts?

  24. @mexicanbeemer

    It was mooted around the time of the VPS wage bargaining, but we heard about moves towards that beforehand. There would be more details of the plans on the FWA site as they were forced to reveal their hand.

    The 4 year contracts is sort of a liberal utopia!, until then we will just see them remove protections for job security in the VPS, this is also something they tried to do, reduce the protections about employing contractors and labour hire workers, change the arrangements to make fix termers ongoing, gave a great insight into the priorities of new liberal Governments – slash budgets, slash jobs and entitlements.

    Even Can Do Campbell is doing it today, just like Gunna Do O’Barrell in NSW, luckilly Big Ted can’t do it even if he wanted too as we referred our IR powers –

    Tuesday, 28 August 2012 4:11pm

    Queensland’s Newman Government has passed legislation to void public sector
    agreement clauses that provide for job security and regulate
    contracting-out, give greater scope for lawyers to appear in the State IRC
    and remove administrative duties from Commission President David Hall.

  25. @mexicanbeemer

    Glad to hear it confirmed by others though, I just don’t understand this obsession the Liberals have with the public service.

  26. [Daniel Andrews is an extremely intelligent person who deeply considers facts and is a long-term strategic thinker. However … his approval ratings are still much lower than what they should be. I must confess I’m not entirely sure about how he can easily turn this around.]

    I don’t think he needs to. Opposition leaders don’t need to be popular, just seen as a safe and competent alternative to an unpopular PM or Premier. If the voters want to put Baillieu out, they will, regardless of who is Opposition Leader – unless he is actually scary, like Latham. Andrews should keep on doing what he’s doing, until the actual campaign.

  27. Psephos,

    Andrews has managed to keep his team united and focussed on building their credibility amongst the voters. There has been little or no sooking and sniping and everyone has been told to get on with the job of being an Opposition intent on keeping the Baillieu Government accountable.

    Issues like the TAFE cuts, Baillieu’s fumbling leadership style and the pork barelling of Minister electorates over other more pressing community needs (see railway crossing upgrades at Terang and Brighton) are making the Libs the issue.

    Out at Banyule a long term Member of the Libs and ex Mayor has quit the Libs in disgust because he realised that the Libs won’t spend a brass razoo on the northern and western suburbs.

    Doesn’t auger well for the Libs in the future.

    No doubt, Labor could screw things up from here. But, Andrews campaigned very well in the Melbourne by election and is clearly pacing his stalking of Ted.

  28. 43

    The Coalition not spending in the northern and western suburbs shows that they have not understood that, under the Bracks government`s upper house reforms, they have a majority in the Legislative Council only because they gained a seat each in Northern and Western Metropolitan regions. They are less likely to retain their Legislative Council majority than their Legislative Assembly majority.

  29. Tome,

    Let’s see how the re distribution works out. Could be 2 new seats in the north and the west to cater for the growth.

    I’d also expect Labor to regain a few seats along the Frankston train line.

  30. 45

    The redistribution will have an effect but my point about the lack of care about north and west and the Legislative council still stands.

    The liberals have put off the construction of Southland Station on the Frankston line so it won`t be finished by the next election.

  31. The big advantage that Labor have at the next election is that by losing in 2010 they did not “win one election too many” – even if they had won by a small margin it would have been put down to “a good result for a government in power for 11 years” rather than getting a fright. If they had won in 2010, the ALP would now be facing the same budgetary pressures that the Libs have had to face in this term and some of the issues surrounding Justin Madden’s administration as Planning Minister might have blown up in this term also. By 2014, if Labor had won, they would be looking like a very tired, old administration.

  32. 29
    this was Tim Holding said on issue
    Opposition treasury spokesman Tim Holding said Labor had initiated the VCEC inquiry while in government and remained ”strongly supportive of any reasonable measure which facilitates future tourism investment and jobs”.
    These’re bigger issue out in community then national park like Jobs,Tafes,PT,Planning,Roads speaking as proud victorian

  33. 29
    this was Tim Holding statement on issue
    Opposition treasury spokesman Tim Holding said Labor had initiated the VCEC inquiry while in government and remained ”strongly supportive of any reasonable measure which facilitates future tourism investment and jobs”.
    These’re bigger issue out in community then national park like Jobs,Tafes,PT,Planning,Roads speaking as proud victorian

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