BludgerTrack: 55.4-44.6 to Coalition

Polling trends show a further deterioration in Labor’s position in the wake of last week’s leadership chaos, and a new automated phone poll suggests the trend is set to continue.

The latest weekly BludgerTrack update has been added to the sidebar, adding results from Newspoll, Galaxy and Essential Research. I have replaced my ad hoc rolling average calculation with LOESS, the polling wonk’s smoothing method of choice. As well as making my graphs look prettier, this makes for smoother trendlines and should reduce volatility from one week to the next. I’ll be applying some further methodological tinkering next week, including updating the Newspoll bias measures to account for the Western Australian election result – on which more below.

First though, it should be noted that the Financial Review has published results from a JWS Research automated phone poll of 4070 respondents in 54 marginal seats, conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday. This records an aggregate swing of Labor of 9.3%, compared with a quite bad enough result of 4.8% when the exercise was last conducted in mid-January. In the aftermath of last week’s leadership chaos, it may well be significant that the shift was heavily concentrated in Queensland.

Preselection news:

• A general meeting of the ACT Liberals has voted down a motion to overturn Senator Gary Humphries’ preselection defeat at the hands of former ACT Opposition Leader Zed Seselja by a margin of 168 to 138. There had been compaints from Humphries supporters that many party members had been wrongly excluded from the February preselection vote, which Seselja won 114 to 84.

• The plot has thickened in the preselection to choose a successor to Nicola Roxon in Gellibrand, with three credibly rated candidates in the field. Unidentified sources quoted by John Ferguson in The Australian suggest opposition to Tim Watts, Telstra executive and former staffer to Stephen Conroy, amounts to a test of Conroy’s influence, which is said to be “starting to wane”. Josh Gordon of The Age reports a 2008 factional realignment reserved the seat for the Shorten-Conroy Right sub-faction, but Roxon has entered the fray by sending a letter to local party members urging for them to support her former adviser Katie Hall. There is another prospective candidate in Kimberley Kitching, a former Melbourne councillor, current acting general manager tasked with restoring order to Health Services Union No. 1 branch, and wife of VexNews provocateur Andrew Landeryou. Gordon reports the Turkish community is emerging as a source of support for Kitching, as Conroy has roused its opposition by refusing to offer up the state seat of Footscray to the “so-called Turkish bloc”.

• The preselection to replace Richard Torbay as Nationals candidate for New England will be held in Tamworth on April 13. Barnaby Joyce will certainly be a starter, but there have been suggestions he will or should face opposition from Nationals Farmers Federation president Alexander “Jock” Laurie, including from Calare MP John Cobb.

• With the state election out of the way, WA Labor is now proceeding with federal election preselection processes, chief among which is determining its Senate election ticket and filling the casual vacancy caused by the retirement of Chris Evans. Suggestions Labor might be reduced to one Senate seat in Western Australia mean that more than prestige is at stake in ordering the top two positions on the election ticket. The two incumbents are Louise Pratt of the AMWU Left and Mark Bishop of the SDA Right, with the latter generally expected to be deposed by Joe Bullock, who succeeded him as the SDA’s state secretary. Other nominees are former state Bassendean MP Martin Whitely, a critic of party preselection processes generally and the Joe Bullock ascendancy in particular; Brett Treby, a Wanneroo councillor who ran for the state seat of Wanneroo; John Welch, secretary of the Western Australian Prison Officers’ Union; Kelly Shay, assistant state secretary of United Voice; and Sue Lines, assistant national secretary of United Voice.

• Sue Lines is getting more attention for her parallel nomination to succeed Chris Evans, a position claimed by the powerful United Voice sub-faction of the Left. Lines is rated as one of two-front runners along with Sharryn Jackson, who won the lower house seat of Hasluck in 2001 and 2007 and lost it in 2004 and 2010. The aforementioned Martin Whitely, John Welch and Kelly Shea have also nominated for the Evans vacancy, together with Linda Morich and Ashburton councillor Peter Foster. Both matters are scheduled to be determined at a state executive meeting on April 15.

Finally, a review of Newspoll’s performance at the WA election and some related musings on the two-party preferred measure. The scorecard for Newspoll reads thus:

Result		57.5?	33.1	53.2	8.4
Newspoll	59.5	32	54	8
Difference	+2.0?	-1.1	+0.8	-0.4

This is a very sound result, with all primary votes well within the margin of error. However, it’s worth noting that it’s the eighth pre-election Newspoll out of the last nine to shoot low on the Labor primary vote, and the seventh to do so by more than a percentage point – remembering that in most cases two-party preferred ended up near the mark because support for the Greens had been overstated (although this hasn’t been evident on the two most recent occasions).

Keeping in mind that my two-party result is based on incomplete data, Newspoll’s two-party preferred result proved less accurate than the primary votes, which is largely down to an issue with two-party preferred calculations involving the Liberals and Nationals. Newspoll looks to have followed the usual method of simply combining the two and then distributing minor party preferences between the two major parties, but this doesn’t account for the fact that in three-cornered contests some Liberal and Nationals votes end up in the Labor pile when the contest is boiled down to Labor-versus-Liberal or Labor-versus-Nationals for two-party purposes. This is of little concern at federal elections, where competitive Nationals-versus-Liberal contests are uncommon. However, the WA election had no fewer than 17 three-cornered contests out of 59 seats, with both Liberal and Nationals polling strongly in most cases.

It should be noted that it makes a difference whether a Labor-versus-Liberal or Labor-versus-Nationals count is used, because Nationals voters are more likely to preference against their coalition partners than Liberal voters. This seems to be especially pronounced in those regional corners of the state where the Nationals have won a new constituency of former Labor voters who are still not keen on the Liberals. The precise result of the final two-party result will thus be influenced by the WAEC’s ruling on whether it conducts Labor-versus-Nationals or Labor-versus-Liberal counts in the eight seats where such counts remain to be published. In 2008 they went Labor-versus-Liberal in each case, which meant the Nationals were only used in seats where the final count had been between them and Labor (I believe this only applied to Pilbara, where only 7517 formal votes were cast, and that this will again be the case this time). The results were thus more favourable to Labor than they might have been if the WAEC had employed an alternative rationale, such as conducting Nationals-versus-Labor counts where the seat was won by the Nationals, as was the case in six of the eight seats with counts still outstanding.

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.

2,550 comments on “BludgerTrack: 55.4-44.6 to Coalition”

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  1. Cc … got the seeths real bad son. time fer yor treatment …… the good thing about bashin’ yer thick head agin the wall is when you stop.
    but carry on …..

  2. If Gillard thinks attacking Super is going to save her bacon it’s just another judgement failure.

    It will demonstrate once again her complete misunderstanding of the aspirational outlook most Aussies have.

    Attacking the financially better off is an attack on aspirations and hopes of most Australians.

    It is stupid politics – therefore I fully expect Gillard and Swan to launch into it and defend to the bitter end.

    Most posters here voted for that level of idiocy.


  3. And from the Land of the Free –

    They ARE mad aren’t they?
    Some cartoons on the SCOTUS case on the Defence of Marriage Act.
    Fox News journalists tell how Rupert Murdoch’s corporation manipulates the news
    Doctor Shows Video Describing How Bullets Explode inside Body in front of Senate Judiciary Committee

  4. [Compact Crank
    Posted Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    If Gillard thinks attacking Super is going to save her bacon it’s just another judgement failure.

    It will demonstrate once again her complete misunderstanding of the aspirational outlook most Aussies have.

    Attacking the financially better off is an attack on aspirations and hopes of most Australians.

    It is stupid politics – therefore I fully expect Gillard and Swan to launch into it and defend to the bitter end.

    Most posters here voted for that level of idiocy.


    The question is, is it the right thing to do. Super was intended to encourage saving by all, instead of pension. It was never intended as a tax break for those on $250,000 saving excess income.

    Should interest on bank savings be taxed is another issue.

  5. The super concession for the well off costs more than the pension and its costs are rising rapidly.

    Sooner or later, a government will have to adjust the concession.

  6. The budget needs to be fixed one way or another. Tax concessions are an obvious place to start. For about 60 years Commonwealth revenues grew faster than the economy as a whole and faster than the population. This is now changing. Demand for spending is going to grow faster than the population because of demographic factors. At the same time, revenue is going to grow less quickly than the economy, even as economic growth slows down.

    We should expect to have many years of fiscal strain. We can already see this occurring. Anyone who thinks there are easy budget fixes just isn’t really paying attention. For most of the post-war period, politics has been a contest to distribute abundance. This is going to change into the politics of rationing. The first to lose their preferment will be the wealthy. This is a foregone conclusion.

  7. ….. William. whether you shut them down this morn or no, peace on yor blog ….. you know the seethers own the ground where nass-tiness dwells.

  8. Had a fire close to home,I now know why people complain about the cfa web-site. It is close to useless.

    As for the advice, come on guys fires are a serious business we should not be getting the quaff you get at toolbox meetings, it should be reality based.

  9. Worth reading Richo’s full conversion to the Tories to get to his admission of getting it wrong – again.

    [There were three losers on that fateful day. Rudd obviously lost. He now has plenty of time to contemplate the number of atrocities he must have committed as PM to leave such a legacy of hatred and bile. Gillard was another loser. The comedy of errors that led to her calling on the challenge was not all her fault. The problem is that leaders are held accountable when the workings of their party descend into a shambles. Newspoll gave us the first reading on the extent of her loss.

    The real loser was the Labor Party itself. If I was religious, I would pray that my long-held view that Labor will be slaughtered under Gillard’s leadership would be proven wrong. Sadly, every indication is that my worst fears will be realised.

    If there is a fourth loser, it is my good self. I fully expected the caucus to remove Gillard last week, particularly as the smoking ruins of the media laws cast a pall over all of them. I expected them to act in their own self-interest, and I was wrong. Had there been a ballot, it would have been close but Rudd would have been defeated. Alas, I am fallible.]

  10. Morning all. Stunned by the stupidity of Fitzgibbon’s remarks on super. How will Labor ever shift perceptions if they can’t even admit that someone on $150,000 per annum is well off? If they are in financial trouble it is only because they paid too much for the new BMW.

  11. As I said months ago if the government allows any issue on super to turn toxic for the party that created super for everyone they will have jumped the shark of dumbnes…

  12. BK, just for you:

    There is no doubt this morning the coveted title of the Australian Village Idiot goes to @fitzhunter

  13. Tony Hood Abbott wants take Super tax cut from those earning $35000 and give it to those on $350,000 & that is not a “class warfare”

  14. Briefly 14

    Well said.

    The super industry is warning that a suggested tax on high income super will be an “administrative nightmare”. Oh nos!
    [”The funds would have to attribute to individual tax file numbers earnings on every product they sell,” one source said. ”It would be an administrative nightmare. Right now funds can apply the same tax rate across the entire pool. It could probably be forced through, but it would have unintended consequences.”
    The industry could more easily live with a higher tax rate on all fund earnings.]

    They might even have to write a few lines of computer code to do the calculations automatically for every account for them. Impossible! Still, these guys are the smartest guys in the room. If anyone can work out applying a different tax scale for a different income, I am sure they can. They often accidentally set up some pretty complex fee structures, and still manage to apply them.

    Labor should have faith in the ability of financial planners to work it out, and tax super more. There will be some on over $150k that will complain. They will get laughed at by the rest of Australia.

  15. sprocket

    ‘If there is a fourth loser, it is my good self.’

    wRONg. There is nothing ‘good’ about Richardson. He has been using his position on Sky to be a player as well as a commentator. He has bad-mouthed Gillard from day one. He has made several incorrect predictions.

    Richardson is a loser all right. They should kick him out of the Labor Party for gross disloyalty, sheer bastardry, his various shady dealings, his utter cynicism, and just being a plain all-round prick.

  16. Someone is still defending government policy.
    [An Abbott government would risk Australia’s international reputation and undermine its economic interests if it scrapped the carbon tax, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet told a joint climate forum with China.]

    Greg Combet doing his job well, as usual. One of Labor’s best ministers.

    Have a good day.

  17. What a surprise. ‘The Australian’ comes out for one of their regular writers. ‘The Australian’ has consistently backed Pearson and regularly extols his vision: Pearson is, after all, the closest thing to an Indigenous Ayn. Pearson helps ‘The Australian’ and the Coalition wedge left views about how to go about Indigenous Affairs.

    Pearson is as entitled as anyone to hold whatever views he likes about how to foster Indigenous progress. But, as I have pointed out elsewhere, you lie down with dogs, you get fleas.

    Somewhere along the line the reactionaries forgot to tell Newman, or Newman forgot the plot.

    Newman is showing all the contempt and hubris that Bjelke-Petersen did.

    Abbott would be acutely aware that it was Pearson and associates that helped provide legitimation for his moves against the Wild Rivers protections.

    If some enterprising journalist cares to do the work, I believe that they may well find that a string of federal Coalition members have visited one or other of the four trial communities, and have used their visit to extol the virtues of Pearson and Ayn Rand. It could well be that one of those places is where Abbott does his much-vaunted hands-on community work.

    Perhaps those left high and dry by Newman will be able to find jobs clearing Cape York? That would be win-win would it not?

    I trust Abbott remembers to take his bike along the next time he goes up. He might need it.


    Another BISON joins the thundering herd. Overall No.2 but non income Human Development Index ranking makes Australia No.1 and NZ No.2.

    [Human Development Index (HDI): A composite index measuring average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development-a long and healthy life, knowledge and a decent standard of living. Life expectancy at birth,Mean years of schooling:,Expected years of schooling:,Gross national income (GNI) per capita:,]

    Top 10 countries

    UN Human Development Index:

    • Norway
    • Australia
    • United States
    • Netherlands
    • Germany
    • New Zealand
    • Ireland
    • Sweden
    • Switzerland
    • Japan

  19. From previous thread

    Thomas. Paine.@2805

    The poll, exclusive to The Australian Financial Review, surveyed 4070 voters across the nation’s 54 marginal seats – those held by margins of 6 per cent or less.

    Decent sample….

    Decent sample 😆 . An average of around 80 voters per electorate.

    Not even worthy of further comment.

  20. For crying out loud. Julia Gillard has to kill this super craziness dead right now.
    Unless she really has given up all hope of winning and is doing this out of sheer
    bloodymindedness. Everything JG touches right now just makes Labor’s
    shocking position worse. Do absolutely nothing to create a new mess. Adopt
    a minimalist approach and just try to get through the Budget without
    dragging the PV under 30 per cent.

  21. ‘Julia Gillard has to kill this super craziness dead right now.’

    Probably she does, yeah.
    But she won’t.

    It’s all part of a much bigger plan to win, win, win!

  22. alias

    [For crying out loud. Julia Gillard has to kill this super craziness dead right now.]

    Dead right. Oh and I am assuming you are referring to this superannuation madness.

    [Super tax concessions unsustainable: Silk

    The chief executive of the $60 billion AustralianSuper fund, Ian Silk, has declared that the big tax breaks that have fuelled superannuation savings for decades are unsustainable and will have to be scaled back… noted that the top 10 per cent of earners received 39 per cent of the benefits…………The federal Treasury estimated this year that the cost to the government of tax concessions on super will rise to $45 billion in 2015-16 from $32 billion this year.

  23. alias, the budget deficit is running at 5% of GDP even though spending is at multi-decade lows. Unless something is done to restore revenue, the deficit will get worse. There is just one place to go to fix the hole in revenue – to individuals. We have to get used to it. Tax concessions are going to be trimmed and, before long, personal income tax is going to go up.

  24. After all their protestations of annihilation and disaster, and the rest of the outright rubbish regurgitated by the resident trolls here, Bludgertrack shows ….

    Wait for it!!

    ~55 to 45. WOW!

    So all of their huff and puff, all of their prognostications, all of their readings of chicken guts, the basics have not changed for months.

    Which means all the OM efforts haven’t changed a thing. All of the midnight oil, the voodoo dolls, the complete crap written by the likes of CC, TP and their clod mates like Richardson, van Onselen, Shanahan, Sheridan and their ilk have changed nothing, zilch, nada.

    About as significant (and useful)as a fart in a thunderstorm.

  25. It is alas the end days! I wonder who in the 2010 parliament will be there for the next labor/green coalition government. Maybe a 58 year old Amanda rishworth ?

  26. Whatever the merits of the superannuation argument just drop it for now!
    This is not what a strategy to win the unwinnable election looks like – not
    even remotely close. This is fresh manna from heaven for Abbott if that
    is not too Old Testament on Easter Thursday.

  27. Try again..repost.
    Is Thom’ Paine the Sweeny Todd of blog commentry?..:”Here, eat this, it will make you feel better.”

  28. Aley

    Cats outa the bag. Too late may as well get on with it. I was advised to take advantage of the Howard scam but I dont make enough to afford to do it.
    I wouldnt think I’m poor but maybe I am if 250 is the line. If I was making 250 and putting all my money through super would be great. But I’m not.
    I take the view that I’m the dividing line for everything. Richer than me is silvertail, poorer is poverty; Right of me is fascist, left trotskyist etc…

  29. Has anybody else noticed we seem to be hearing more from old coalition ministers that we have from current holders of that dubious position?

  30. Dan

    The JWS poll is four times the size of the Newspoll, so you are just in lala land

    Normally they poll 1000 or so across all 150 electorates

    Alias – agree. Even if the super tax breaks are useless and removing them is good policy, you cannot do such things when your “political capital” is weak.

    What they possibly could do is remove tax breaks for anyone who has accumulated say more that $1 mill in super. This would affect only the super rich and might be acceptable. At 5% annual income this is $50,000 per year which is actually NOT a super rich retirement income, so indeed I suspect that accumulations of more than $2 million may be the cut off.

    BUT they will need to explain it well. Swan and Wong are not the people to sell it. Maybe Shorten or Combet.

  31. frednk

    I have my own reasons for not finding the CFA website very satisfactory, but I wondered what your experience has shown you?

  32. What ever changes to the super Labor bring in I bet that Abbott will keep them. One of the reasons that there are no $$ in the Libs ‘policy’

  33. And getting back to “Mod Lib”…does that monniker stand for “ in Mods and Rockers”?…or “ in Modern Lib” know..:Atilla the Hun w/sensitivities?

  34. William

    Your comment re Gellibrand is incorrect – there are more than three candidates, as I have pointed out before (based on the same article you quote).

    One of the women candidates quoted in the article refers to ‘three women candidates’ as a healthy sign – as only two women are referred to in the article, there are clearly at least four candidates.

    I would argue, using the same evidence, that it’s quite probable the field is larger than this again, on the basis that if there were more women candidates than men, the quote would have been wtte of ‘isn’t it good that, in a contest for a safe seat like this, the majority of candidates are women.’

    That last bit is speculation, of course, but suggests a field of at least eight, which I’d also suggest is on par for one of the safest Labor seats in the country.

    Of course, your point may be that we only have three ‘credible’ candidates — or at least, candidates ‘The Age’ has decided are credible!

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