Patterson: Labor 44.5, Liberal 35.5, Greens 14.5 in ACT

The one and only public opinion poll of the Australian Capital Territory election campaign finds Labor headed for a comfortable-to-landslide victory, with three of the Greens’ four seats hanging in the balance.

Update: October 18

The Canberra Times today provides the first hard intelligence for the ACT election, with a poll that finds Labor in a commanding position and potentially headed for a parliamentary majority. Conducted from October 11 to 14 by Patterson Research Group from a sample of 1203, the results in aggregate (rounded to the nearest half a per cent) are 44.5% for Labor, compared with 37.4% at the 2008 election; 35.5% for the Liberals, compared with 31.6%; and 14.5% for the Greens, compared with 15.5% (but probably higher than most would have anticipated). The rise in the major party vote is reflected by a 5.5% rating for “others”, reversing a strong result of 15.4% last time.

Such figures suggests the Liberals will find themselves becalmed on six seats, with the three electorates instead producing contests between Labor and the Greens to determine the final seats. The worst case scenario for Labor would be a status quo result of seven seats, with the best being a majority of nine seats or even an unprecedented ten. The Greens on the other hand would be in for a very exciting election night, at best maintaining their existing four seats but at worst collapsing to one. The results for each electorate together with swings off the 2008 results are shown below. The sample for each is around 400, with a margin of error approaching 5%.

		Labor		Liberal		Greens		Others
Brindabella	43 (+6.5)	43 (+7.7)	9 (-4.6)	5 (-9.6)
Ginninderra	45 (+4.8)	36 (+8.2)	13 (-0.9)	6 (-12.1)
Molonglo	45 (+8.9)	30 (-1.5)	20 (+1.8)	5 (-9.2)
TOTAL 	        44.5 (+7.1)	35.5 (+3.9)	15.5 (-1.1)	15 (-9.9)

Part of the disparity in Liberal swings can be explained by the “others” vote last time. In Brindabella, Val Jeffery polled 6.3% as a candidate of the Community Alliance in 2008 and is now running for the Liberals, presumably bringing a large share of his vote over. There may have been a similar effect in Ginninderra resulting from radio announcer Mark Parton polling 6.3% as an independent in 2008 and vacating the field this time. The result is probably also a little awry with respect to Molonglo, but it still provides a strong basis for believing the Liberals will do no more than maintain their existing two seats per electorate. The table below illustrates the point by converting the result into quotas. In each case the Liberals are well short of a third quota despite their gains on vote share. With no serious independent challenges on the radar, contests would emerge to see which out of Labor and the Greens would emerge with the last candidate standing, to then override any remaining Liberal on the preferences of the other.

		Labor		Liberal		Greens		Others
Brindabella	2.6		2.6		0.5		0.3
Ginninderra	2.7		2.2		0.8		0.4
Molonglo	3.6		2.4		1.6		0.4

The Canberra Times also reported yesterday that the poll had found 54% favouring Katy Gallagher as Chief Minister against 26% for Zed Seselja.

Original post: October 16

With four days to go until polling day, I finally have a guide to the Australian Capital Territory’s three electorates in business. The campaign appears from my remove to have been very low-key, with no polling emerging to give the outside observer any entree on what’s likely to happen. John Warhurst of the Australian National University read the situation thus in the Canberra Times a fortnight ago:

Labor and the Greens should win a majority of seats in Molonglo (probably Labor three and Greens one) where demography and the spread of high-profile candidates favour Labor and the Greens over the Liberals. The Liberals’ best chance of winning three seats appears to be in Zed Seselja’s new electorate of Brindabella. If that happens then the election will be decided in Greens’ leader Meredith Hunter’s electorate of Ginninderra. This means that the two most probable results are either a new Liberal majority government (Liberal nine, Labor six and Greens two) or a continuing Labor minority government supported by the Greens (Labor seven, Greens two and Liberal eight). It is too close to call at the moment.

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.

42 comments on “Patterson: Labor 44.5, Liberal 35.5, Greens 14.5 in ACT”

  1. Haven’t been up there for a little while so pretty out of touch with it all. I’d hope the Greens will hold at least 3 of the 4 seats they currently have though.

    Another power sharing government coming up hopefully ๐Ÿ™‚

    Will be interesting to see how big an impact Seselja’s move to Brindabella has – can he help clinch them 3 of the 5 spots down there for the first time.

    Greens will almost certainly drop the 4th seat they won last time but I think Bresnan, Hunter and Rattenbury can hold on. If they do, Labor should get the 6 needed to keep the bad guys out of power

    Antony Green has done a great job as normal here

    He also links to Ross Solly’s blog that mentions private Liberal polling showing 2 extra seats for the bad guys

  2. Libs running Labor + Greens = triple rates which the Canberra times editorial has called them on it as it is so outlandish(not true) that I hope it falls flat. However true to form they are singing from Abbort’s songsheet. Half their candidates name I can not pronounce so they have the appearance of being a broad church. I am past handing out HTV cards leaving it to the youngies, my second grandson first ever opportunity to vote as well so I will guide him away from the dark side.

  3. (1) The Liberals have seriously misrepresented the rates issue. The idiotic thing is that, politically, they did not need to. Rates have shot up. As for rates, so for all other service charges.

    (2) The Greens have put in a lacklustre performance: not great performance; not a terrible performance, just ordinary, lacking in lustre. Biodiversity has gone backwards, for example. Inter alia, the Greens share responsibility for plans to put an additional 7,000 cats or so in the Molongolo Valley. It works this way: 20,000 new dwelling in the Molongolo Valley; one in three Australian dwelling has a cat = 7,000 cats. That would be ten cats for every single individual of several endangered species. My point here is that the Greens have not lived up to the dream. The Sky Fairy did not deliver. The Magic Pudding is getting a hiding.

    (3) The Greens’ approach of taking responsibility for all the good bits and blaming Labor for all the bad bits will not wash after four years of powersharing.

    (4) The Greens will, IMHO, go backwards in numbers of votes cast. Some, at least, of the Greens activists in the last election have lost their joie de vivre and their enthousiasme. Whethe this will make an iota of difference in terms of the number of Greens representatives is in the lap of Messers Hare & Clark.

    (5) Labor is running the ACT into debt. Neither Liberal nor Labor have the slightest clue about what to do should land sales (30-40% of the ACT budget) come to a screaming halt. This could begin, for example, if Mr Abbott comes in and destroys 12,000 jobs in the ACT in the middle of next year. Neither of the major(!?) parties has a clue about this. No contingency plan. De nada. As for the Greens, pah, who needs land sales when you have a magic pudding?

    (6) Her Maj’s ACT Opposition is as pathetic a collection of wannabe local council members as could possibly be imagined. The Labor and Greens reps are, at best, worthy plodders. They are worthy, IMHO. Truthful, fairly transparent, giving a toss, and wanting genuinely to do good whatever they reckon that might be.

  4. I confess great ignorance as to ACT mood or any polling.

    But why does Prof Warhurst predict 9 Libs as a serious outcome? I’m sure Canberrans are not immune from the prevalent disdain for Labor. But wouldn’t that take a huge swing in Ginninderra?

  5. The Prof in those immortal words on TV “Tell Him he’s Dreaming”. The local shock jocks if there are any in the region effectiveness is miniscule. The Lib team have been invisible for four years and just get dusted out of their warren as needed.

  6. I for one will be voting for all the minor parties. Hoping that Libs don’t get in though. So sick of the “Triple Rates” signs all around.

  7. The Liberals are doing nothing to court the Greens, whose support is vital to form government, given the proportional representation method of voting. In fact, the Liberals campaign slogan “Rates will triple under Labor and the Greens” seems to deliberately target the Greens when they could have just said “Rates will triple under Labor”. Of course Labor has debunked the slogan anyway and the CFMEU and CPSU (public service union) are running hard on job cuts under the Liberals.

  8. Yet another “stop the rates” fliar in the post tonight; I give it a Zed for originality. ZZZZzzzz….

    Put Zed last – it’s alphabetical.

  9. Very few elections are genuinely “too close to call.” This is usually journalist code for “I’m loo lazy to find out who’s going to win”, or perhaps “The side I don’t like is going to win but I can’t say so.”

  10. Most low key election that I can remember have not seen a single doorknocker anywhere flyers by the score in the letter box. Mind you my rolls(canhardly) in the drive may have put them off actually calling at my macmansion(I wish).

  11. [Brindabella: ALP 43 LIB 43 GRN 9
    Ginninderra: ALP 45 LIB 36 GRN 13
    Molonglo: ALP 45 LIB 30 GRN 20]

    If those figures were repeated at an election Labor would have 2.58 quotas to 0.54 for the Greens in Brindabella and 3.6 to 1.6 in Molongolo. Assuming the Lib and minor preferences did not break strongly then the Greens would probably win both those (because they would be less exposed to leakage) but it would depend on the distribution of votes between candidates in the major parties. Funny things can happen in H-C in those situations where two parties are notionally even in the race for the last seat but one has one candidate left while the other has several.

    A Labor majority result would be well within the MOE of those polling figures, although 7-6-4 would be the most likely outcome.

  12. So, as I said, it’s not “too close to call” at all. It’s amazing that people get paid to write such lazy articles.

    More importantly, Mr Zed can thank Campbell Newman for royally screwing any chance he might have had. What public servant in their right mind would vote Liberal at the moment? We already saw the Newman effect in the Darwin seats at the NT election: now we’re seeing it even more strongly in Camberra.

    Still of course, this is really only a minor consolation prize for Labor after losing all the other elections since 2010, with defeats in Tas and SA still to come.

  13. Looks like it’s Kevin vs William ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m with Kevin – the most likely result is 7-6-4 – I think Bresnan will do better than the polling suggests.

    William just looking for a sensationalist headline – showing his links to the OM imo ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Greens to maintain their 4 seats on those figures, which would be a great result – GO YOU GOOD THINGS ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. KB

    [Funny things can happen in H-C in those situations where two parties are notionally even in the race for the last seat but one has one candidate left while the other has several.]

    Well, that clears that one up. Talk about the fog of war.

  15. Seselja has claimed undecided voters will determine the outcome of the election and also issued the scare that if Labor are returned there will be Greens ministers. Not so sure it’s as scary in the ACT as elsewhere in the country, but it won’t really get noticed anyhow.

  16. You have to remember that at a territory level at the last Federal election the House of Reps votes split ALP just south of 50%, Liberals 30% and Greens just shy of 20% – that’s the background. That’s the background against which the Liberals are working

  17. [Looks like itโ€™s Kevin vs William]

    No I think we pretty much agree once the context is considered. The context is a Labor minority government that is apparently pretty stable and would probably happily continue the way it is. 7-6-4 is a “comfortable” win to Labor in that circumstance while an outright majority (seldom attained in the ACT) is a “landslide”. What’s important is that the Liberals are nowhere near majority government on that sample and don’t even look like gaining seats, though they are not that far from gaining one. And yes even 10 for Labor is not out of striking distance if they pick up a bit compared to that poll.

    Something to keep an eye on is that in Molonglo the Chief Minister will have a massive primary vote, way over quota, maybe over two quotas. When her surplus is distributed, the Labor total will go down significantly because of leaks out to other parties.

    [Well, that clears that one up. Talk about the fog of war.]

    Yes unfortunately extrapolating HC results from party totals is a murky business. Brindabella 2004 is an excellent example of why people have to be careful.

    At a certain stage of the Brindabella 2004 count the results in quotas were:

    Green 0.58 Liberal 2.51 Labor 2.79 (no other candidates left, 0.10 quota exhausted).

    Someone going on raw totals might say that the Green could win from here if the Liberal preferences went strongly enough in their favour. And indeed if the Liberals had two candidates elected and one with the leftovers, the third Liberal would get excluded.

    But in fact the Liberals’ 2.51 quotas included one candidate with 1 quota, one candidate with 0.71 quotas and one candidate with 0.8 quotas.

    So the Greens never got to receive the Liberal preferences (not that they would have won on them anyway) because their candidate was last and was excluded at this point.

    On the polled figures for Brindabella something like this is some risk of happening again.

  18. Limited News and followers (ABC,Fran Kelly, Michelle Grattan etc) spin on the election result.

    1. if labor win. The election was decided entirely on local issues. They won despite the deep unpopularity of PM Gillard. The high profile of Kevin Rudd late in the week got them over the line, and this reignites leadership speculation. Tony Abbott was excluded from the campaign, and this damaged the liberals. etc

    2. If liberals win. This was as much about national issues as it was about local issues. Even public servants do not like PM Gillard, and this reignites leadership speculation. The Thomson and Slipper affairs have damaged the Labor brand and the PM’s handling of these show appalling judgement which reignites leadership speculation. etc

  19. Whatever the outcome it will be a local election result – the only federal implications are that Canberra will remain a Federal black hole for the Liberal party for the forseeable future

  20. I have just voted using the electronic polling equipment for pre-poll votes. The polling place was quite crowded being lunch time. Labor and one independent had a big presence the required 100 metres away but the Liberals and Greens were not to be seen.

    Electronic voting was quite easy but in the current format a bit too complicated and costly for use in the many booths on polling day.

    We have been receiving a lot of letterboxed material including today an unsigned testimonial from a “neighbour” for a Liberal candidate.

    We are so lucky to have an ACT (and Australian) Electoral Commission which seeks to help voters with a lot of information on where to vote, the method of voting and so on. It is such a contrast to the dirty tricks by the Republicans in America to try and prevent large sections of the population from voting.

  21. sustainable future 24

    The market rose today due to the rise in the oil price.

    The market fell today despite the rise in the oil price.

  22. Seriously does anyone in Canberra really care about the local government as long as they aren’t blowing up hospitals?
    All Labour has to do is present a half decent candidate and they’ll win (I suspect it has to do with the higher rates of tertiary education here).
    The only notable thing about this election is the proliferation of trash from the libs by the side of the road.

  23. The libs appear to have better candidates than they did in 04 and 08 yet appear to be not making any headway.

    Only thing I can think of is that they aren’t trusted, especially with the campaign over rates tripling which reminds us of Howies rates are always lower under libs and other such bull.

  24. slackboy72 @ 29

    [Seriously does anyone in Canberra really care about the local government as long as they arenโ€™t blowing up hospitals?
    All Labour has to do is present a half decent candidate and theyโ€™ll win (I suspect it has to do with the higher rates of tertiary education here).
    The only notable thing about this election is the proliferation of trash from the libs by the side of the road.

    I do.

    Despite huge increases in investment waiting lists for elective surgery in the ACT are the longest in the country.

    Despite a $700 year-on-year increase in my rates, the ACT is building up debt.

    Despite being one of the wealthies per capita city states in the world, our biodiversity is going backwards.

    Despite the debt build up, there is a large investment in urban fripperies.

    Despite the current (4000 jobs lost) and future (12,000 jobs lost) likelihood of a collapse in Canberra land sales, no side has been upfront about how they would handle a serious reduction in the 30-40% of the ACT budget that depends on land sales.

  25. Sportsbet has paid out on a Labour win ~1hour ago.

    Damn it I didn’t get a bet in – I wanted to put a bit on the number of seats SportsBet also had.

    From memory 7 was ~$1.80 and 8 at $3.00 (down from $4 yesterday and $5 before that) early this morning, the others, 5,6,9,10 I wasn’t considering and were much longer

    I wonder what seat count they paid out on.

    (PS I almost never bet, first bets beside Melbourne cup sweeps is $50 on Obama at $1.35 and $50 on ALP federal govt win 2013 at $4 .. bet safe ๐Ÿ™‚ )

  26. Couldn’t quite work out if that article was meant to be a parody or not. It sort of read as if it started off as a serious article and the writer, knowing it was all ridiculous decided to go for comedy.

  27. Did the Libs spend their entire election budget on signage instead of policy development? I’m sure those MONSTER SIGNS weren’t there yesterday. (Fail.)

  28. [womble
    Posted Saturday, October 20, 2012 at 4:38 pm | PERMALINK
    Greens to win 4 again imo โ€“ GO YOU GOOD THINGS]

    Wow…that was an epic fail! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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