Newspoll: 58-42 to Liberal-National in WA

Months out from the Western Australian state election, Newspoll suggests it’s all coming together for Colin Barnett’s government at exactly the right time.

GhostWhoVotes reports that Newspoll’s long awaited October-December result of state voting intention in Western Australia shows Colin Barnett’s government on track for a landslide win at the election to be held on March 9. The Liberal-National lead on two-party preferred is 58-42, up a point on an already surprisingly robust lead for July-September, from primary votes of 43% for the Liberals (steady), 6% for the Nationals (up one), 30% for Labor (steady) and 12% for the Greens (steady). Colin Barnett’s personal ratings are essentially unchanged, his approval up a point to 49% and disapproval steady on 37%, while Mark McGowan is down four on approval to 44% and up three on disapproval to 26%. Barnett’s lead as preferred premier is up from 45-29 to 48-29. The sample for the poll was 869, with a margin of error of about 3.3%.

Lower house preselection news:

• The Liberal Party state council has confirmed, apparently with some reluctance, the preselection of sustainability consultant Matt Taylor in Christian Porter’s seat of Bateman. Gareth Parker of The West Australian reported the state council had earlier gone back and forth on the question of whether the preselection should be conducted according to the usual procedure, with a vote of delegates from eligible branches, or by a plebiscite of all members, which was on the table because the electorate had only one eligible branch. A plebiscite was initially favoured, which would reportedly have been bad news for Taylor, but there followed a change of mind and a ballot held by the one eligible branch. Taylor duly prevailed in the ballot over RAC executive Matt Brown by 10 votes to nine, with lawyer Jane Timmermanis and teacher Cam Tinley as also-rans. However, the state council initially refused to ratify the result and resolved to determine the matter directly, only to concur with the party branch in favouring Taylor out of the four candidates available.

• Labor has announced it will direct preference to the Liberals ahead of the Nationals in every seat (UPDATE: I speak too soon – Ben Wyatt has merely pushed for this to occur, with a definitive decision still pending; hat tip to Gareth Parker of The West), which could damage the Nationals in tight three-cornered contests which loom in Moore, Blackwood-Stirling and Kalgoorlie. Ben Wyatt apparently suggested it might also make the difference in Brendon Grylls’ audacious bid to move to Labor-held Pilbara, although he should hope to be wrong about that as it would involve Labor falling from first place to third.

• John Bowler, the former Labor minister who won Kalgoorlie as an independent in 2008, has announced he will retire at the next election. The seat will be contested for the Nationals by Mining & Pastoral MLC Wendy Duncan, for the Liberals by Melissa Price and for Labor by Terrence Winner.

What follows is a long-gestating review of upper house preselection action. Hopefully all the information is still up to date:

• Two of the three Nationals elected for the Agricultural upper house region in 2008, Max Trenorden and Phil Gardiner, have confirmed they will seek re-election as the first and second candidate on an independent ticket. Trenorden was the leader of the Nationals from 2001 until he was deposed by Grylls in 2006, holding the lower house seat of Avon until its abolition at the 2008 election. He parted company with the Nationals after failing to win re-endorsement earlier this year, prompting Gardiner to announce he would not contest the election out of solidarity. Trenorden originally contemplated a run for Central Wheatbelt, to be vacated due to Brendon Grylls’ bid for Pilbara and contested for the Nationals by the party’s third Agricultural region winner from 2008, Mia Davies. The Nationals’ Agricultural ticket will be headed by Martin Aldridge, a former chief-of-staff to Tony Crook.

• The Nationals have chosen state party director Jacqui Boydell as their lead candidate for Mining and Pastoral, replacing Wendy Duncan who will run for the lower house seat of Kalgoorlie. Second on the ticket is Dave Grills, a Kalgoorlie police officer and the state party’s deputy president. Incumbent Colin Holt remains undisturbed at the top of the ticket for South West, and will be joined on the ticket by Sam Harma, Young Nationals state president and candidate for Albany in 2008.

• Incumbent Linda Savage has been dumped from the party’s East Metropolitan ticket, which she reportedly blames on her status as one of caucus’s few factionally unaligned members. Labor will now field an all-new line-up of state party president Alanna Clohesy and Sam Rowe, business development manager at the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia and sister of Belmont candidate Cassie Rowe. Savage came to parliament in 2010, when she filled a vacancy created by the death of AMWU powerbroker Jock Ferguson. At the insistence of Alan Carpenter, she was contentiously given the number three on the ticket in 2008 at the expense of incumbent Batong Pham, who was in a wheelchair at the time recovering from a stroke. In the event, Labor was unable to win the third seat in what had traditionally been its strongest among the state’s six regions.

• The other East Metropolitan incumbent, former minister Ljiljanna Ravlich, will move to North Metropolitan, where a vacancy has been created with the impending retirement of Ed Dermer.

• Labor’s Mining and Pastoral ticket also receives an overhaul with the retirements of Jon Ford and Helen Bullock, who will be replaced by “former Labor staffer Stephen Dawson and Electrical Trades Union assistant secretary Jim Muri”. The West Australian earlier reported the state executive had knocked back the membership applications of former member Shelley Archer and her husband, former CFMEU state secretary Kevin Reynolds, scotching the former’s ambition to contest the preselection.

• In the one region where Labor holds only one seat, Agricultural, the party’s incumbent Matt Benson-Lidholm has been demoted to number two, making way for “Wheatbelt farmer and former Country Labor president Darren West”. Interestingly, Benson-Lidholm’s demotion is said to be a sign that Labor is confident of winning a second seat this time.

• The Liberals have demoted Jim Chown, who won a seat in Agricultural from number two in 2008, to the unlikely prospect of number three. Farm Weekly reports the demotion arose from a state council decision to negate the result of ballot of country division preselectors, which put Chown at the top of the ticket. Number one will now be newcomer Steve Martin, the party’s O’Connor division president, with the other incumbent Brian Ellis demoted from one to two. UPDATE: Evidently the situation has changed since that Farm Weekly report, which dated back to May. Liberal state director Ben Morton informs that the order of the ticket will be Jim Chown, Brian Ellis, Steven Martin.

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.

37 comments on “Newspoll: 58-42 to Liberal-National in WA”

  1. Sad news for Linda Savage. She is smart, industrious, articulate, conscientious…..seems like the WA Labor Party places more weight on rank than talent…terrible shame in my opinion.

  2. He looks quite safe, davidwh. But we will see. The WA electorate does not like being taken for granted. I think things will tighten up by the time of the election. McGowan is reasonably well-regarded and the ALP have a superior team all in all – suppose that’s not saying a lot – the Lib Cabinet is one of the least talented ever to hold office.

  3. Kiera @KieraGorden
    “@AndrewJaffrey: First 2013 Morgan Poll out tomorrow has Federal ALP 52.5% and LNP 47.3%.” #AusPol

    twitter has a favourable morgan result..dont know if it is f2f or phone-poll

  4. I’m sure, davidwh…several things are all interacting in QLD….demographics, the end of the property racket, weakness in parts of the domestically-facing economy…and Newman…

  5. briefly@5

    Kiera @KieraGorden
    “@AndrewJaffrey: First 2013 Morgan Poll out tomorrow has Federal ALP 52.5% and LNP 47.3%.” #AusPol

    twitter has a favourable morgan result..dont know if it is f2f or phone-poll

    Of course that would be 52.5-47.5 not 47.3.

    Shortly before that tweet by Jaffrey there was this tweet by user Schtang:

    “@GhostWhoVotes latest Morgan Poll Federal ALP 52.5% LNP 47.5% #auspol

    then this one also by Schtang:

    “makes latest Morgan poll valid for Fed ALP 52.5% LNP 47.5% 1700 ppl polled RT @GhostWhoVotes: @Leroy_Lynch Oct-Dec, 869 voters. #Newspoll”

    Note that Schtang was apparently talking about the previous Newspoll but I wonder if this all can be trusted not to be confusion. We’ll see tomorrow!

  6. Morgan had their labour market survey out on 9 Jan…so maybe they have their political survey ready for press too…soon see…

  7. Last night, I tweeted as follows:

    What a surprise — New reconstruction confirms Surface Temperature record is accurate … #AGW #Climatechange #IPCC #SKS

    15 people retweeted. One of the people who responded to me however was Fox & Fools and all round filth merchant shill Steven Milloy:

    Steve Milloy ‏@JunkScience
    @fran_b__ LOL. Warming since 1730… before Watts’ (James not Anthony) steam engines!

    What can one do but laugh? How embarrassment! {/effie}

  8. The WA poll is not unexpected though a bit on the high side I would have thought for the Libs.

    It is interesting the West, while not maybe having access to the Newspoll stuff on Friday with their lead article, spent most of their discussion on 10 marginal seats – 6 Labor and 4 Liberal.

    There is still, all other things being equal, the fact that Labor holds 26 and needs two more to get somewhere near office.

    I would be very surprised if Labor does not pick up Morley and Freo though, things will have to be very good to see Mt Lawley come to them.

    I gather things are not so good in the bush for Labor and this with the likelihood that 3 nominal seats held by independents going to the Libs, then I don’t think anyone will be really surprised to see a return of the government. Whether this is with Grylls calling the shots or not remains to be seen.

    In general terms, the Libs have done okay under Barnett (seem from the perspective of the average Joe) and while Mark McGowan is a presentable leader, there is just not enough momentum or annoyance with Barnett to see him got rid of.

    I would love to be proved wrong but while utility prices are biting, the freeways are clogged and the state is in debt, to the average Joe, the continuous free advertising the government has indulged in for months about the “Big Picture” has probably been enough to get them back.

  9. Well if this is right and replicated in the election Labor will be forced to learn the lessons of the last election it has tried so hard to ignore.

  10. Sadly because libs don’t do infrastructure or public transport metronet won’t happen and we will have at least 6 more years of poor public transport forcing cars onto crowded roads.

    Not to mention a talentless Govt again.

  11. Tweets between me and a journo, Gareth Parker – State political reporter, The West Australian.

    Gareth Parker ‏@G_Parker
    The Oz and Newspoll today have Barnett and the Libs miles in front of Labor, 58-42 on 2PP. Do you agree?
    10:58 AM – 14 Jan 13

    Leroy ‏@Leroy_Lynch
    @G_Parker WA Newspoll taken over a period ranging from Oct – Dec 2012. What is it today though? We need a snapshot ph poll over one weekend.
    11:03 AM – 14 Jan 13

    Gareth Parker ‏@G_Parker
    @Leroy_Lynch Stay tuned.
    11:04 AM – 14 Jan 13

  12. [17
    Fran Barlow]

    Somewhere in the arcadian zone of denial, someone has come up with a new explanation for the drought and storms, the melting ice and the failing crops – earthquakes. I kid you not. The earth is cooking itself. Of course, this means there is nothing we can do other than offer prayers to the cosmos to Stop The Quakes.

  13. Just not enough annoyance with the Libs and Barnett to be the burr under the saddle for change.

    Next time around, who knows? Suggest the electoral cycle with favour Labor then.

    However, there are some gripes here and who knows how this will translate federally.

    The game is in the seats not the over all vote I would suggest.

    Three seats held by “independents” (and always vote with the government) will become Liberal. It is unlikely two of them would ever be Labor seats and in one, a former Labor member sold out to the conservatives.

    I think the West had it about right. The Libs do have four marginal seats, but Labor has at least this many at probably two more to boot.

    If the swing is uniform even at 3% then Labor will lose some of the 26 it holds.

    The current poll over the last three months and with such a small cohort is indicative only and the MOE is at least 3% if not more.

    Someone did mention that any poll with fewer than 1500 respondents could have a MOE of up to 6%. I am no expert in this area.

    Having said this, and with an election campaign still to come, I don’t think the Barnett government is tired enough or on the nose enough to lose office this time around.

  14. davidwh….the proposition is that earthquakes have increased in intensity and frequency, causing the earth a change in the orientation of the earth’s surface to the sun, and in turn leading to climate change. This is simply providence and there is nothing we can do except pray for the earth to right itself.

    I do not jest. Not a few Liberals believe this stuff.

  15. Scary briefly.

    Mind you the Earth does tilt on its axis on occasions and we are pretty well hopeless to do anything about that. I am pretty sure that has little to do with earthquakes or CO2 emissions.

    We could be in a spot of bother if Antartica suddenly ends up at the Equator.

  16. Mind you the Earth does tilt on its axis on occasions …

    There are a number of variances in orientation towards the sun. They occur over time scales that are orders of magnitude larger than the forcing we have seen especially clearly since about 1890.

    Antarctica might well end up where the equator is one day, but nobody who recalls us will be around to see it.

    AIUI, the earth’s shape — an oblate spheroid — recommends against that orientation occurring, but of course Antarctica was not always where it is now. Continental drift achieved that.

  17. Fran my crazy theory is as good as the crazy theory briefly mentioned. I actually think mine has more chance regardless of how slim.

  18. I think there maybe a glimmer of hope for labor to merely lose rather than get smashed – Barnett has been bad and people know it – but labor has not really offered anything different or compelling

  19. William

    [This is, y’know, a WA thread …]

    Yes, sorry William. The main thread randomly posts the “guru meditation” geek joke … I figured there were still problems with it.

  20. Von K at 27:

    [ If Barnett wins, would there be a chance that he’ll retire this term and pass the leadership on to Troy Buswell? ]

    That’ll be interesting to watch. Buswell was on the front page of the West last year declaring he’ll never be premier (basically, half of WA thinks he’s a moronic man-child who thinks with his downstairs brain). Uncharacteristically (and admirably) honest, but he is right… he IS a moron. If he’s supposed to be the best the WA parliament can offer as a treasurer, it’s nasty to think what the others must be like. Being state politics, it’s a shallow talent pool, so the Libs had better hope for a Barrack Obama-style quick riser in the next four years, or else they’re stuffed in 2017. Barnett initially tried to retire in 2008, I doubt he feels like being still there a decade later.

  21. Buswell’s downstairs brain might get the better of him from time to time, but you’d have to be a bit daft to deny that the guy is a bright cookie in the job. I’m no Lib voter but I have confidence in the quality of his work.

    It’s a shame he has to be such an idiot off the field, because I don’t have much time for the rest of their team either.

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