BludgerTrack: 54.9-45.1 to Coalition

The lately weekly poll aggregate finds Labor continuing to rise groggily from the canvas. But has something gone awry for them in South Australia?

With fresh results added from Newspoll, Essential Research and Morgan, this week’s BludgerTrack poll aggregate moves about half a point in Labor’s favour for the third week in a row. Since the immediate wake of the leadership crisis, Labor has recovered 2.1% on the primary vote and the Coalition has lost five on the seat projection after getting to within a hair’s breadth of triple figures four weeks ago (although the Coalition primary vote is down only 0.6%). The trend is now discernible to the naked eye on the sidebar charts, although it’s far too early to interpret it as anything more than a correction.

I’ve also been able to update my state relativities with data kindly provided by ReachTEL, and the revised projection shows one state bucking the trend. Last week I noted an apparent downturn for Labor in South Australia, and observed the addition of further data could cause their position there to sink rapidly. The latest result, small of sample though it may be, has done exactly that, coming as it does on the back of four successive poor results for Labor in Nielsen’s state breakdowns. Labor’s standing in South Australia has accordingly fallen 1.0% below the national result, after being all but level in last week’s projection and 3.1% higher at the 2010 election. This is illustrated in the charts to the right, which track South Australia’s deviation from the national results over the current term for the Labor and Coalition on the primary vote and for Labor on two-party preferred. However, it should be cautioned that this wasn’t reflected in the January-March Newspoll result, which had by far the largest sample. Since the data points are weighted according to sample size, Newspoll has prevented the trendline from sinking considerably further.

Labor holds six out of 11 seats in South Australia, and while each of them looks safe enough on the Mackerras pendulum, all but one was held by the Liberals at some point during the Howard years. The three seats gained with the election of the Rudd government in 2007 all swung heavily to Labor in 2010, so that the margins surpassed what are now Labor’s two most marginal seats: Adelaide (7.5%) and its western coastal neighbour Hindmarsh (6.1%), both held by the Liberals from 1993 until 2004, when they were respectively gained for Labor by Kate Ellis and Steve Georganas. The seats gained in 2007 were Wakefield (10.5%) on Adelaide’s northern fringe and hinterland, Makin (12.0%) in its north-east, and Kingston (14.5%) in its outer south. Wakefield was created in its current form in 2004 when what had traditionally been a conservative semi-rural seat absorbed much of abolished Bonython in Adelaide’s Labor-voting outer north. David Fawcett managed a surprise win for the Liberals in 2004, and found his way back into parliament via the Senate after his defeat by Labor’s Nick Champion in 2007. Makin has gone with the government of the day since its creation in 1984, being held by Trish Draper through the Howard years and Tony Zappia since. Kingston was won by the Liberals at their two best elections in 1996 and 2004, but has otherwise been a Labor seat, the present incumbent being Amanda Rishworth.

For what it’s worth, Mark Kenny of The Advertiser reported six months ago that polling conducted for the Liberals by ReachTEL showed Labor set to lose Hindmarsh and Makin on swings of 12% and 17%. Simon Benson of the Daily Telegraph reported a fortnight ago that the Liberals were about to conduct polling in Wakefield after Holden cut 400 jobs at its Elizabeth plant, while Peter van Onselen in The Australian related that Labor plans to poll Hindmarsh and Adelaide were knocked on the head by the Prime Minister’s office due to fears the results would leak.

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.

2,030 comments on “BludgerTrack: 54.9-45.1 to Coalition”

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  1. morning

    Deflationate commented on the other thread that we are fortunate to have briefly posting on this blog with his insights into the economy. Agreed. I for one appreciate it. Invaluable. Thanks

  2. Australian sex party

    Liberals have more marginal seats at risk then labor im afraid

    I guess we will see. My predictions are not written in stone or full proof things change.

  3. Confessions

    Yes and no regarding ANZAC day

    As a kid in the 1960s Anzac Day was huge BUT it was very much a thing for ex WWI and II veterans and also quite heavily associated with the conservative side of politics.

    Those on the left had little to do with it.

    My grandfather (who WAS at Gallipoli) and my father (who WAS in New Guinea) never marched and loather ANZAC day.
    However it was still a very big day.

    We wrote about it at school, has assemblies and prizes and all that jazz.

    My father did not know wether to laugh or cry when I won a $50 prize for an essay on the subject at school (I guess from the RSL)

  4. However you should all political parties need to make sure to use their limited resources to their maximum effect.

  5. [A major contractor has backed down on its threats to punish workers who take time off today for Anzac Day, amid union claims some had planned to defy orders to attend work.

    It is the second year in a row the emotive public holiday has become an industrial flashpoint, after the dismissal of five mineworkers who took the day off last year.

    This year’s dispute involves Downer Engineering. It had told more than 100 electrical workers on the Macedon project in the North West all staff must work today and leave requests would be rejected.

    The contractor had posted signs on-site threatening disciplinary action, including a first and final warning, against anyone who took unauthorised leave but backed down, telling workers at 5pm yesterday it wouldn’t discipline them over unauthorised leave.

    It would not reveal the reason for the backflip, but the Electrical Trade Union claims it was likely the contractor realised the extent of workforce anger.]

  6. Australian Sex Party supporter
    The liberal internal polling , is the same as the media driven opinion polling

    and in September i expected , the same thing to happen to abbott as with hewson

    the election will go opposite to what the newsltd/abbott coalition opinion polls are showing now

  7. I have one question for you. When was the last time Newspoll was way off the actual result. Also what has been their success rate so far in state and federal elections? Well guess thats 2 questions.

  8. Victoria and Confessions

    Happy to extend the reference to more of you if you like

    Meguire Bob is somewhat overly optimistic and is in denial about the polls – sort of like Baghdad Ali denying the arrival of US tanks in Baghdad.

  9. Labor needs to pull back from their marginal electorates if they want to maximize their electorate hull come Election Day.

  10. dtt

    How about you call others by their screen name. Considering you cracked the wobblies when someone accidentally misquoted your name in the past

  11. daretoread

    you have to concede i have a good reason

    aka torbay,hewson, beazley

    the opinion polling is not the election poll

  12. if the media exposes abbott the same as it did with Gillard

    would abbott even be leader come election

    Maybe yes, maybe no. But this is how things are.

  13. Good Morning

    I am avoiding Australian News Services today. I think they way over do coverage of Anzac Day and really have taken on the Howard driven celebration of war rather than honouring the fallen.

    So first thing I have seen today is a debate on same sex marriage on France 24. Nothing new. Except for the realisation of how right the conservatives are.

    They are in the official denial stage of there being a Tea Party in France.

    On the structural problem with the budget and deficits. The LNP is trying to frighten people into backing Austerity.

    We have no need we have a roadmap. The Henry tax reform recommendations.

  14. Australian Sex Party supporter

    what have the opinion polls actually achieved for the coalition since the 2010 election

    the opinion polls have failed to force an early election

    The opinion polls have failed to put Abbott into government

    the opinion polls have failed to replace the current pm

    and so on

  15. ASP supporter

    Guess that Abbott has to show mock humility and pretence of no confidence in victory to keep the money rolling in.

  16. We learned about Gallipoli in school as well, but when I was growing up the biggest gripe from the various RSLs was how to get more young people involved in dawn services and the crowds for the processions.

    I cannot recall this mass coverage of ANZAC Day across all TV networks either. That seems to have been a recent development in the last 10 years.

  17. Thats a moot point since opinion polls mean very little directly taken. But ignore them completely at your own risk. I mean if they ment nothing poll bludger would not exist.

  18. MB @ 48

    the only thing what will lose the election is gullibility and lack of intelligence from people

    You have a point. Unfortunately there’s an awful lot of both around.

    Not that voters, even consumers of News Limited outlets, are stupid. I like to make the point that the Daily Telegraph seems to think its readers are morons who need to be told what to think.

    But most voters, when they have downtime from family and work responsibilities, don’t focus their precious spare time on politics. Many get all of their information about how the country and the wider world are travelling from outlets like the Daily Telegraph, together with News and Current Affairs on Commercial radio and TV. Many, probably most, can see through the crap; others like to see their views and prejudices echoed by the likes of Piers Ackerman, But all of the campaigning by News Limited must work in shifting maybe a couple of percent to the side that favours their proprietor’s interests. It’s a big handicap, a bit like electoral malapportionment, that Labor needs to overcome.

    Does it work? News Limited, Abbott (who apparently has weekly meetings with News Limited) and the IPA obviously think so.

  19. [Meguire Bob is somewhat overly optimistic and is in denial about the polls]

    Whatever you might think of MB’s comments it is hypocritical of you to call him names given the huge fuss you made when someone mistakenly got your screen name wrong.

  20. meher baba:

    If you’re still around, was anyone ever charged or convicted over the death of Gavin Mooney and his partner?

  21. Steve777
    Posted Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    You have a point. Unfortunately there’s an awful lot of both around.

    Not that voters, even consumers of News Limited outlets, are stupid. I like to make the point that the Daily Telegraph seems to think its readers are morons who need to be told what to think.


    I agree , thats why i continue to think the way i do

    when it comes to elect the government

    the fear of abbott may wake people up

  22. ASP

    MB is more in touch with reality than you are. His points about polls are in fact quite valid to a large degree.

    There is a difference between polls taken now and those taken close to an election.

    We have seen its all MOE with small movements. This suggests most people are not paying attention.

    Its not that people are not listening to government as pundits would have it.

    A lot of people also are forgetting the old chestnut we used to hear all the time. Until it comes time to concentrate on an actual election there is a big anti government of the day protest put to pollsters.

    Just like with by elections.

    So do not dismiss MB’s points out of hand.

  23. Now being realistic it looks as if
    Labor will lose 2 or so seats in SA – there seems to be a swing on. Now I think that if the seat EVER has been liberal in ht epast then it is a candidate for swinging to the Libs this time round.

    I bow to Meher Bob’s much better info on Tasmania, so assume there are two seats potentially lost. However as I recall long years when all 5 seats were liberal I assume that this remains a realistic possibility.

    WA – probably no change
    NT lose one
    Victoria – it is hard to see how Labor cannot lose two seats at least in Victoria – it did SO WELL last time that even a small shift to Libs will cost two seats. Wining seats seems unlikely given ALP already on 54% of the vote.

    So this leads to the two big unknowns – Qld and NSW.

    In Qld the tide is turning slightly so I think Labor will survive a little better than expected. May not lose many and potentially could even gain one or two, if Rudd campaigns hard for a couple of mates – Fairfax etc.

    I am not so hopeful of winning Brisbane back. The candidate has tried a few times elsewhere without success. Not too sure how well she will energize the base. The sitting liberal is well known.

    So NSW becomes key to just how big a disaster the election may be. After all, if they just lose 5-9 seats elsewhere while sad it is not disastrous.

    I am mildly hopeful that just as in 2010 the rural Labor seats will hold. They have good local members, none of whom are tainted with the Sussex St infection. I assume Rudd will be able to happily publicly campaign for Kelly, Saffin and Elliot.

    This leave Western Sydney. Those with more on the ground info should post on this highly volatile area.

  24. the fear of abbott may wake people up

    I really dont know. The truth is that as an opposition leader he has been very effective. The 2010 election would have been big labors win most likely if Turnbull would have been LOTO.

  25. I didn’t see the intro to the Sayles Abbott interview. Was it true that
    1/ It was pre-recorded
    2/ The questions were provided in advance?
    3/ Abbott had a prompt sheet/screen?

    Not accusing, just picking up hints from Twitter.

  26. Guytaur

    My fear is that when people do come to focus on the election they will swing heavily TOWARD Abbott.

    This is what happened in Qld.

  27. lizzie

    It was pre recorded. Part of the interview was shown in the intro of the show of coming up which could not happen with a live one.

  28. DTT

    That is what the News Ltd campaign is about. However I while fearful I have something that gives me hope.

    The last election campaign in 2010 that should have been a gift to Abbott given Labor’s disaster of a campaign.

    Unless you think Labor is going to do a repeat Abbott must do worse.
    We have seen signs with his avoiding live interviews and debates.

    He will not be able to avoid in the campaign.

  29. guytaur. Maybe but I guess 2 years of really bad polls puts a person off. The fact is it is always good to be in front on the opnion polls.

  30. Some armed services head honcho speaking at the AWM dawn service has also said our national identity was forged in Gallipoli.

    Honestly, talk about getting carried away with the moment!

  31. ASP

    Of course its good to be in front. However when it is a government behind we have to be realistic as to why.

    Polls during the campaign will give a more accurate picture as people focus more and more on the reality that election day is approaching.

  32. lizzie:

    Interview was pre-recorded. Don’t know whether questions were provided in advance, but watching Abbott during the interview he frequently referred to something he was holding when answering.

  33. guytaur. I dont know about 2010 being a gift to the Liberals. If anything it should have been a gift to Labor. All I am saying that if you pour too much of your resoruces into marginal seats it might be too late to fall back in time.

  34. [52


    Deflationate commented on the other thread that we are fortunate …]

    My pleasure victoria and Deflationite. Thank you for your remarks 🙂

  35. ASP

    Of course the 2010 election campaign was a gift to the Liberals. Abbott should have won easily.

    All those leaks and the rest.

  36. briefly

    My pleasure.

    Your insights have given me a coherent picture of what the challenges are and why.
    My failure is figuring how it would be best to translate it into public awareness and understanding.

  37. ASP

    Now you are excusing Abbott for not winning. He should have won. Its not about a first term government.

    It was almost a case of two contenders given how recent JG became PM.

    The truth is Abbott is a bad campaigner and this will show when the campaign starts.

  38. Last time a single term Federal Government lost an election? I think it was James Scullin in 1931.

    Since 1930, the average duration of a political party in office Federally is about 9 years – three or four terms.

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