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.