Newspoll: 57-43 to Liberal-National in WA

Newspoll suggests Mark McGowan’s Metronet publicity offensive has done wonders for his personal ratings and poached votes from the Greens, without fundamentally improving Labor’s standing on two-party preferred.

GhostWhoVotes and James J relate that tomorrow’s Australian features a Newspoll result of state voting intention in Western Australia, conducted from 1100 respondents between Monday and Thursday. It shows Labor making little ground on the huge Liberal-National lead recorded for October-December, but Opposition Leader Mark McGowan achieving a substantial surge in personal support on the back of his Metronet publicity offensive. The voting intention figures in fact have Labor up five points on the primary vote to 35%, but seem to indicate that throwing the switch to public transport has caused voters to switch over from the Greens, who are down four points to 8%. Meanwhile, the Liberals are up two to 45% and the Nationals steady on 6%. That adds up to a Liberal-National lead of 57-43 on two-party preferred.

On personal ratings, Mark McGowan is up seven on approval to 51% and steady on disapproval at 26%, while he has closed the gap on preferred premier to a remarkably narrow 44-40, sharply down from 48-29 last time. Colin Barnett on the other hand is down two on approval to 47% and up five on disapproval to 42%. On the question of who will win, 59% say Liberal-Nationals against 25% for Labor.

See here for my overview of the campaign and its opening salvos, and here for my seat-by-seat election guide.

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.

38 comments on “Newspoll: 57-43 to Liberal-National in WA”

  1. Your interpretation seems somewhat churlish.

    McGowan seems to have sparked interest because of his focus on policy.

    Looks to me like Barnett’s vote might be broad, but not particularly deep.

    Not saying McGowan can win. However, if people like one policy, they might like another one.

  2. Voting
    This is the only party or candidate you will consider voting for on election day 49 (Labor 47, Coalition 56)
    You will probably vote this way but there is a slight chance you may vote for someone else 36 (Labor 42, Coalition 30)
    You could vote this way but there is just as much chance you will vote for someone else 13 (Labor 10, Coalition 12)
    You will probably not vote this way on election day 1 (Labor *, Coalition 1)
    Uncommitted 1 (Labor 1, Coalition 1)

  3. I dont doubt the liberals will win and don’t know much abt stats and polling but I do know that in my electorate the margin was 64 votes. That means if 33 people voted a different way we get a different result in that seat. i am thinking that in state elections where there are smaller electorates and local issues newspoll is not really relevant I am happy to be enlightened by someone who knows. For instance what was the primary vote and the 2pp at the last election?

  4. [GhostWhoVotes and James J relate that tomorrow’s Australian features a Newspoll result of state voting intention in Western Australia,]

    Someone should remind Richo that he is a dickhead.

  5. Thanks mod lib

    That kinda sorta maybe proves my point. The libs won the primary but were second in seats. No t much point winning 5 seats in the western suburbs by miles if you lose five elsewhere by 100. I can remember when Perths northern suburbs were he battleground in the 80s and 90s and the rest of the state was pretty much ignored. The north is still important but the marginals now seem more widely spread there are a whole heap of suburbs south of the river that barely existed four an a half years ago.

  6. Metronet is a sleeper. In the news cycle it was the week before this weeks news. At my work place it is just starting to get traction. I had one metronet question last week, I had three this afternoon (I’m known as the only labor voice in a liberal tower of commerce). All three this afternoon had heard of metronet (step one) but didn’t really have a clue where it went or what it meant. All Labor needs is for the awareness and acceptance of Metronet to grow over the weeks until the election.

    If Labor senses it is working expect every booth worker in the metro area to be wearing a metronet t-shirt that fans can buy online already.

  7. Labor can win. Some of the traditional mortgage belt seats fell the wrong side of the ledger last time by a handful of votes. Fremantle will come back to Labor after the Carles disaster for the Greens. It will be closer than everybody thinks.

  8. Really, putting aside my longstanding wish to see the states abolished and for a more inclusive approach to candidate selection and ultimately, choice …

    Isn’t it, at a minimum, time for PR? I’d say so. Let’s at least end malapportionment and wasted votes.

  9. These figures look pretty diabolical for Labor. As a rule, election campaigns don’t make a lot of difference. That Mark McGowan’s approval rating has shot up so much may, however,indicate something positive is happening (though probably not, it would seem, in the rural seats).

  10. I am happy to make two prediction as valid and worthless as one another and no better and no worse than anyone else here.

    1. Labor will not win the coming election but will do okay in the metro area.

    2. Labor will win in 2017. Apart from Buswell the Liberals have no leadership talent,and it is likely that Barnett will not stay around. Christian Porter could seen the writing on the wall months ago.

    If poison turns up federally with Abbott and the mining “boom” starts to falter, the Liberals will lose. Already today the West headlines are in hysterics about 300-400 jobs gone from Rio Tinto in Argyll.

    What would happen if a real downturn occurred would not be pretty to watch. All those CABs whinging that they do not have a job. There will be nowhere for the Liberals to hide.

    My one hope is that the Liberals do get enough seats to make Grylls and his carpetbaggers irrelevant.

    I am fed up with the country dog wagging the city tail and the “Royalties for Regions” is nothing more than institutionalised pork-barrelling. Just lots of sealed roads for three farmers to use twice a day and gold plated dunnies at sports grounds. A total rort.

    Must be said the hayseeds love it and who can blame them.

  11. It’s hard to see Barnett being troubled too much at this election. He’s not done too much to bother people who “tend to vote Liberal” and the middle don’t seem particularly worried either.

  12. Labor need to make much more noise about the coming 25% power increase on top of the 61% we’ve already had and the $100m blowout debacle for the Muja upgrade.

    Lib incompetence (real not imaginary) is costing consumers lots of money but labor aren’t exploiting the facts.

  13. Think Mark McGown has just shot himself in the foot- he stated definitively he did not support the carbon tax- hence he supports the polluters. Its not a good look when state Labor can’t support Federal Labor.

    Guess he also does not support the mining tax..Shame!

  14. At least McGowan gave an answer and didnt just try to spin it. Gets a few points for that . Ask state liberals if they support TAs plan hurt low paid workers with changes to superannuation. Bet they duck it.

  15. What moron advised Mark to come out against the Carbon Tax – Jeez how to destroy the momentum in one easy step.

    WTF are the advisors doing. I’m gutted.

  16. Some thoughts on Metronet (this got kinda long)…

    The ever-growing northern suburbs, Thornlie-Cockburn link, electrification to Byford and new stations on the Mandurah line oughta be done first. They’re easiest and cheapest, the sort of things that should be done even if there wasn’t a big project with a cool name covering it.

    Airport line: well, yeah, when they build a new airport first. That’ll take years, though. Extending it to the existing Thornlie line would be good… it’d make Forrestfield a bit less of a public transport black hole.

    Ellenbrook line: It is a long way away, but Galleria station will get plenty of passengers… that probably makes it more sensible than it otherwise would be. The North Circle is gonna become necessary if there’s both an Ellenbrook and airport line, just to take pressure off the Perth-Bayswater section. (In particular, there’d be plenty of Ellenbrook via Balcatta services.) They’d still probably need to duplicate that section, which I haven’t seen anything about in the Metronet ads. I wonder if they’ve included that in the cost? East Perth station could use an upgrade, too.

    West South Circle (Freo to Jandakot): could be done, but messily. They probably wouldn’t be able to avoid mixing passenger and freight services on the same tracks, which doesn’t generally happen in Perth. Also, imagine the squeals from Freo folk (that line goes very close to things like the Roundhouse). Labor are trying to regain the seat of Freo, not lose it for a generation, so they’ll have to be careful. And at the other end, trying to hook it onto the Perth / Mandurah / Thornlie junction would be a helluva mess. Overall, it’s a lot of messing around just to give Yangebup and South Freo a train service.

    And finally, that other line to Wanneroo… huh? That doesn’t make any kind of sense. Light rail up Wanneroo Rd or Alexander Dr, both of which could happen (Alexander Dr light rail got campaigned about in 2008), but that Wanneroo line looks like a fantasy.

  17. As for Metronet 2: the Roadening (hey, it’s only slightly sillier than “Circle Freeway”…):

    Roe Hwy is already a freeway from Kwinana Fwy to Tonkin Hwy, in all but name, and Tonkin Hwy is becoming the same (including the Roe/Tonkin interchange) as part of the Gateway WA project, so the only new things about this are the northern bits of Tonkin and Reid, from Balcatta to Morley. They might as well build those highways to the way they were designed (with bridges and interchanges), as the rest of suburbia developed around the reserved bits, which are now long, skinny triangles facing lots of back fences and therefore useless for most development.

    One thing not mentioned is the Roe Hwy/Berkshire Rd intersection. It doesn’t even have full traffic lights, and had a messy truck smash a few months back. A bit of googling shows Andrew Waddell complaining about it last year, but nothing Metronet-related. I wonder what Forrestfield folk think of that.

  18. Is Grylls right? By preferencing the Libs ahead to the Nationals in country seats, will the Nationals stand to lose up to 3 seats as reported in the Sunday times?

    As much as it pains me to see the Liberals, by winning these seats putting Labor right out of contention, it would, hopefully, clip the wings of Grylls and his carpebaggers and pork-barrelling in the bush which is something I mentioned in a earlier post is not such a bad outcome.

    I see the Sunday Times has bemoaned the fact that there might as well be no election as far as most of Joe Public is concerned this far out.

    Makes one wonder, too, on the federal arena just how much people are switched into any politics which brings into consideration the value of any poll at the moment.

    As an interesting aside, McGowan as disavowed himself from the CT and linked to a ET arrangement. I don’t know why he is bothered as the CT has ceased to rate as an issue and it is in the hands of the Feds in any event.

    Pure politics.

  19. [ Is Grylls right? By preferencing the Libs ahead to the Nationals in country seats, will the Nationals stand to lose up to 3 seats as reported in the Sunday times? ]

    Are you talking about Labor preferences there? If so, it only matters where Labor will come third, which rules out the three northern seats (unless something really strange happens in Kimberley). Central Wheatbelt, Wagin and Warren-Blackwood (mostly) are about as safe as it gets for the Nats, so they’re solid. Eyre will stay with Graham Jacobs, and Kalgoorlie will go whichever way it damn well does (probably WA’s most unreadable, contrary seat). The only seat I can think of here Labor preferences could knock out the Nats is Moore, where they have a small margin and Grant Woodhams is retiring. If they win North West Central and lose Moore, they’ll have the same number of seats as they did after the 2008 election.

    Side issue, mostly irrelevant: I wouldn’t be surprised to see Labor come fourth in Warren-Blackwood, behind the Greens. The latest redistribution has pulled every good Greens area in the SW into that one seat, from Margaret River and Balingup down to Denmark. Labor aren’t gonna be campaigning down there (country people are unimportant, y’see), but the Greens sure as hell will – they’re trying to get Giz Watson elected in South West Region, where they don’t currently have an MLC. That’s the “party leader taking a crazy-brave chance” story you might not have heard of.

  20. Libs have announced today they will build an airport rail link. Unlike the ellendale non promise they have committed to date …

  21. [Libs have announced today they will build an airport rail link. Unlike the ellendale non promise they have committed to date …]

    The Ellenbrook train promise wasn’t a complete by [x] promise but Colin promised construction would start either late this term or early the following term, so he had some leeway, but not very much. It was a promise, and a lie. And then a lie about the lie, not a ‘non-promise’.

    They have no credibility, only a fool would believe they’ll do the airport rail link. They may or may not but no-one should expect them to do it when they cast a vote.

  22. BofP

    Well, I don’t know the ins and outs of these seats but the ST’s header is “Nationals facing wipeout”

    According to Grylls (reported by Spangnolo): “….he believed Labor had done a secret deal to preference the Liberals – a move that could see the party lose, North West, Moore and Central Wheat Belt” – seats you mentioned in your post.

    The piece goes on to say “Mr Grylls said the Labor plan was designed to destroy the Nationals – and to end the $1 billion a year spend-up under the Royalties for Regions program.

    He said Labor preferences could determine seats in which the Nationals finished third.

    Labor state secretary Simon Mead yesterday confirmed that Labor would preference the Liberal Party 50-50 with the Nationals.

    He admitted Labor would preference the Liberals in the North West as pay back for sitting member Vince Catania defecting from Labor to join the Nationals in 2009.”

    My comment is that anything that can be done to cut the Nationals off at the knees if fine even if it puts the seat into the Libs side of the ledger. This mob, through RforR have used this rort to buy votes. They also, are the tail that wags the Liberal dog.

    Also, if a defector like Catania gets thrown out on his ear, so much the better. The word that comes to mind for him rhymes with banker.

  23. From the same sample


    Do you strongly agree, partly agree or disagree that each of the following describes Colin Barnett/Mark McGowan

    Has a vision for WA: Barnett 81, McGowan 81

    Understands the major issues: 73, 81

    Decisive and strong: 79, 73

    Cares for people: 66, 82

    Likeable: 62: 82

    In touch with voters: 57, 74

    Trustworthy: 64, 75


    Which of Colin Barnett or Mark McGowan do you think is more capable of handling the WA economy?

    Barnett: 54 (Labor Supporters 26, Coalition Supporters 79)

    McGowan: 33 (Labor Supporters 62, Coalition Supporters 13)

    Neither: 3 (Labor Supporters 2, Coalition Supporters 2)

    Uncommitted: 10 (Labor Supporters 10, Coalition Supporters 6)

  24. Not so long ago the Barnett government’s public transport blueprint for Perth suggested a rail link to the airport wasn’t needed until 2031 or something
    Last week it was a stupid Labor idea.
    Today Barnett and Buswell committed to building one.
    I don’t happen to think the airport train is the most pressing need for Perth’s public transport, I also this today we saw the emporer blink.

  25. Newspoll WA

    Best at handling the following issues:

    Cost of living: L/NP 39 ALP 39 Someone else 3
    Economy: L/NP 54 ALP 28 Someone else 2
    Education: L/NP 41 ALP 38 Someone else 3
    Environment: L/NP 28 ALP 29 Someone else 26
    Health: L/NP 41 ALP 38 Someone else 4
    Industrial Relations: L/NP 40 ALP 39 Someone else 2
    Law and Order: L/NP 42 ALP 32 Someone else 3
    Public Transport & Roads: L/NP 35 ALP 46 Someone else 3
    Taxation: L/NP 47 ALP 28 Someone else 2
    Water Management: L/NP 36 ALP 28 Someone else 12

  26. [Education: L/NP 41 ALP 38 Someone else 3]

    [Health: L/NP 41 ALP 38 Someone else 4]

    I find these two in particular very hard to understand.

  27. Well, just one poll and from what I pick up there are a lot of people who barely know an election is on. Some I have spoken with this week couldn’t name either leader although they have heard of Barnett if you prompt them. They don’t have landlines of course.

    The ray of sunshine for WA Labor is that undecideds appeared to be breaking quite strongly in McGowan’s favour compared to the last WA Newspoll on the leader’s ratings.

    The 57 Lib/Nat TPP looks awfully high for a government whose cabinet has at times looked very ordinary indeed.

    WA Labor have none of the baggage that they carried last time with angry disendorsed members, the final purging of the Burke influence and of course the ‘arrogance’ charge against Carpenter for going early. Also last time the party machine was completely unprepared.

    I guess no great surprise re: McGowan dissing the carbon ‘tax’ and WA Labor not wanting the PM anywhere near their campaign. Infuriating for those who see the federal scene as being more important and have made some effort publically to argue the merit of the carbon ‘price.’ There must be strong feedback from focus groups that this is the correct tactic for targeting the marginal state seats.

    The polls to watch for IMO will be the marginal seat ones once we get to within the last fortnight before the election.

  28. Tricot at 29:

    [ According to Grylls (reported by Spangnolo): “….he believed Labor had done a secret deal to preference the Liberals – a move that could see the party lose, North West, Moore and Central Wheat Belt” – seats you mentioned in your post. ]

    Central Wheatbelt is way too safe for Labor preferences to change things much. The result in 2008 was Nat 47.8%, Lib 25.6%, ALP 16.7%, and they got over 50% before Labor had even been excluded (the combined Lib+ALP vote was 5.5% below the Nats). If the Libs want to win the seat, they need to get a pile of the Nats’ vote themselves. If Max Trenorden had run here and directed preferences to the Libs, that could’ve swung it the same way as John D’Orazio in Morley, but since he’s running in the upper house instead, that won’t help the Libs.

    As for North West Central, it could happen – it’d be ugly for Labor if they dropped from first to third, though. That’s gonna be a strange one (as will Pilbara and Kimberley). I’m putting all three of them in the “wait and see” basket.

  29. Anyone see Tuesdays’ Alston in the West? For a Liberal-leaning paper, that was pretty exceptional. There wouldn’t’ve been a cartoon like that before the 2008 election.

    For those who haven’t seen it: left panel = McGowan, drawn in front of the Metronet plan (photocopied, not cartoonist-drawn) in a suit and tie. Caption: “ALP transport system”. Right panel: Barnett in short sleeves carrying a couple of buckets, running after a bus on fire (there’s been a few of those lately). Caption: “Coalition transport system”. It’s now on my fridge.

  30. In actual fact, Labor has been on the front foot so far.

    I received in the letter box today, a pamphlet bagging McGowan but with no clear indication who had published it rather than one “Morton” who must be part of the Liberal apparachik.

    Interestingly, apart from attempts to bad-picture-paint McGowan, it had a huge picture of him in the gear.

    My immediate thought, as this stuff was herded to the bin was, well, if the conservatives wanted the electorate not to know who McGowan is then they have done the potential voter a favour by providing a not-to-bad picture of him!

    Seems most of the WA electorate is largely switched off this might be news to many.

    The attached negative comments were fairly bland, but a surprisingly defensive approach.

    I would have thought a better one was to ignore McGowan and just lard up the Emperor.

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