BludgerTrack: 50.0-50.0

Magnifying glasses required to separate the two parties, or to pick the difference from the 2010 election result.

The weekly BludgerTrack update erases the 0.5% edge the Coalition gained in the wake of last week’s Newspoll, and finds Labor the tiniest fraction more likely than the Coalition to win a majority of seats. Labor has made a net gain of two on the seat projection, Queensland again showing its sensitivity with a two-seat shift on the basis of a very small vote change and a second gain projected for Labor in Western Australia (though I’d be a bit careful with the smaller state results at the moment, polling at that level having become leaner recently). This has been counterbalanced by a one seat move to the Coalition in New South Wales, where the Labor score remains on the cusp of 25 and 26.

The primary and two-party vote results are all but identical to the weekend’s Galaxy poll, which is the weightiest of the new data points. Included as always are Morgan, which was unusually soft for Labor this week, and Essential, which retains its slight lean to the Coalition relative to the rest of the field but has perhaps been trending slightly to Labor over the past few weeks. The one very bad new poll for Labor, the weekend’s ReachTEL result showing Labor to lose three of its four Tasmanian seats, has been included in the state relativities calculation. While its inclusion has weakened Labor’s two-party vote projection in the state by nearly 3% in relative terms, the model is not persuaded that Lyons will be joining Bass and Braddon on the casualty list.

The trendlines on the sidebar now paint a picture of monotonous consistency since the Rudd restoration, the so-called “sugar hit” having endured long enough to offer the Coalition real cause for alarm. However, very close observation of the primary votes provides some indication of movement beneath the surface. A poll aggregator like BludgerTrack presumes to have a margin of error of a bit over 1%, and while this is founded on dubious assumptions, it at least gives a rough pointer to the size of movement that should and shouldn’t interest us. One move outside the range concerns the Greens, who opened their account under Rudd at around 9%, sagged nearly a full point by the time of the asylum seeker policy announcement (remembering the margin of error diminishes the further a result gets from 50%), and have now recovered back to the starting point.

The other noteworthy change involves the “others” vote, which started the year at around 10%, increased to 12.5% as Labor bled primary vote support in the last six months under Julia Gillard, snapped back to around 9% when Rudd returned, and has trended downwards over the past four weeks to its present 7.5%. Part of that may have been absorbed by the Coalition in a general trend resulting from the media losing interest in some of the minor players, but it seems intuitively likely that a greater share comes from Labor leaners who have been won over after initial hesitancy by Rudd’s political initiatives. There may have been some deflation in the Rudd honeymoon balloon going on concurrently, with the Coalition primary vote at least holding level and perhaps rising slightly, but Rudd’s evident political successes have at the very least cancelled it out.

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.

3,191 comments on “BludgerTrack: 50.0-50.0”

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  1. Sounds like we might have a September election. Rather in line with what Julia declared so the Tory’s can’t complain to much. Personally early September would be good as I’m on a Cruise late August and get to miss at least a week of the campaign.
    The fact that the longer Rudd has managed things the numbers have crawled towards 50/50 gives reason to the ever more strident calls by Abbott and Hockey for an election. They are hollow men with nothing other than slogans. What policies they do present end up looking rather sad when the numbers are run.
    The fact is they have one policy above all others. Get rid of the NBN, all else I’d peripheral. This is why news corpse is always beside/behind them and Rupert (when he isn’t partaking of a certain redhead along with most of his management team apparently) is so desperate to see Labor gone.

  2. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.
    This trio will put the wind up Credlin and Co. The digital “spoof” guy will have plenty of material to work with!
    The key questions on this tawdry issue is which party approached the other and for what purpose?
    The Nauruan trip has urned to sh!t for Tone and Morriscum. Karma.
    So Mother Milne thinks the boats will stop if 10000 are allowed to fly in via Indonesia every year? These 10000 will have been assessed as genuine refugees one would assume, so what would those who don’t qualify do?
    Wow! The Guardian’s Katherine Murphy puts the boot in to Abbott and Morriscum for playing the voters as mugs. Cop that Libs!
    Yes Mr Gordon, but who initiates the carping?
    And the portents for Essendon are looking more and more ominous.
    Now St Kilda joins the fray.

  3. Section 2 . . .

    MUST SEE! Alan Moir has a very frustrated Popeye.
    ANOTHER MUST SEE! David Rowe with Abbott’s and Morriscum’s tent city.
    A good one from David Pope.
    Ron Tandberg on Abboott’s proposed use of the armed forces.

    BK is heading to Canberra today and returning on Sunday. I plan to maintain the Dawn Patrol wile away.

  4. And from the Land of the Free –

    Global warming – 62 years in 13 seconds.
    Weekly upchuck round up.
    Cartoons on Hillary 2016.
    This is a fascinating breakdown of various demographics’ attitudes to SSM.
    Piers Morgan is a very good and tenacious interviewer. I wish he was here in Australia.
    Oh dear! Apparently the driver in the high speed train crash in Spain was on the phone at the time!

  5. 3 years of throwing everything and the kitchen sink at this government, and precisely the same result as the 2010 poll at this point.

    Who’d be an Opposition politician? S:)

  6. The trouble is that the libs haven’t been an opposition. They only ever attacked the government. A real opposition should certainly attack the government but also be offering alternative policy so that come election day the voters have a choice and an understanding.
    In three weeks Rudd has managed to neutralise everything Abbott has as all he has done is attack and say No.

  7. Looking back at the dubious use of American strategies in the 2007 campaign (and the subsequent failed strategies in 2010).
    [Arbib and Bitar soon brought the Americans in for the 2010 campaign. One of the firm’s principals, Jeremy Rosner, flew to Australia with some of his staff and was heavily involved in the campaign.

    Rosner’s work, according to his biography, as ”a pollster, campaign consultant, strategic adviser, and expert on international affairs focuses heavily on the transitional countries of central Europe and Latin America”.

    Rosner’s firm uses a rigid template in researching the electorate, no doubt very useful to help the Americans impose order on the chaos of wildly divergent countries, many of which are new to democracy.

    It’s a technique, however, that the Labor dream team could not work with.

    The creative advertising mind behind the Kevin ’07 campaign, Neil Lawrence, refused to operate with the American approach and walked away. He went on to create the ads for Anna Bligh’s victory in Queensland and the mining industry’s campaign against Labor’s proposed mining tax.

    The pollster who had conducted focus group research for the Kevin ’07 campaign, Tony Mitchelmore, tried the American approach but found it hard to work with. He was largely pushed aside as a result.]

  8. Lizzie

    For once we can agree.

    There is a whole mob of Obama/USA enthusiasts in the ALP who just Luuuuurrrrve the US methods. Very prominent in this mob is a good friend of mine

    Still think it is stupid, stupid, stupid.

  9. Morrison claiming this has always been Opposition policy.

    Still ignoring the bi-partisan agreement to dismantle the Pacific Solution.

  10. [There is a whole mob of Obama/USA enthusiasts in the ALP who just Luuuuurrrrve the US methods. Very prominent in this mob is a good friend of mine]

    The LNP use of Tea Party tactics and advertising needs to be combated effectively so it’s a smart move to consult with those who assisted with Obama’s re-election. I think this is a good move.

  11. [How strange! Nothing on ABC 7.00am news about Tollgate.
    And tent city was such a big story for them yesterday morning…]

    That’s because Murdoch media this morning has moved onto other things – Tollgate is so ‘yesterday’.

  12. The US methods involve repeated contact with people to the point of making them ill (quite deliberately). Not sure it works well here, especially with compulsory voting.

    We do NOT need to energise the base. Just make them like us. This makes our system VERY different from the US and UK.

  13. Good morning, Dawn Patrol.

    On a relatively quiet morning, so far, importation of US Democratic staffers to help with the campaign seems to be antiALP hissy-fit de jour.

    I do note the “negative” side of this debate is blatantly ignoring the fact that Howard’s son was in Washington helping with the 2nd Dubya Bush campaign; BorisJ is Mayor of London thanks to Howard’s campaign “star” Aussie Lynton Crosby, who’s now “minding” PM Cameron – but not, one suspects, for long, given the clients for whom LC also lobbies.

    One of Abbott’s most rabid “stars” – can’t recall whether it’s Morrison or Bernardi – actually spends time in the USA with Tea Party big-wigs, and Abbott’s Opposition tactics were far more GOP/Tea Party than genuinely Australian.


    Bring on Abbott’s next silly Stunt of the Day, I say. As long as it’s not done-to-death boats – though I think that’s wishful thinking, given he seemingly really hasn’t any positive policy to defend.

  14. OPT

    Large numbers of LNP types visit US campaigning conferences regularly, mind you I think that was when Clive Palmer paid.

  15. The polls are showing a statistical tie. The campaign is going to be super important. As posited by OPT and others, the coalition have employed tea party tactics over the past four years. Rudd getting expertise in campaigning in the digital area is a good move

  16. [The point of the article linked in #15 was that American methods do not automatically succeed in Oz.]

    That was obvious but my point is that Tea Party style advertising needs to be dealt with and who better to have in your team than those who have effectively dealt with it first hand. That will be just one strategy amongst many I would think. If anyone is suggesting that the whole campaign would be handed over to these imports then they would be way off the mark IMO but I suppose journalists do have those column inches to fill each and every day.

  17. Morning all.

    This is something I’ve been discussing with friends about job-seeking today: your whole life is Googleable, so you can’t embelish about past roles without being caught. Someone has twigged that future politicians will be forced into more honesty and integrity as a result of our internet footprint:

    [Kevin Rudd’s selfie photo of his shaving cut was intended to feed the electorate’s hunger for honest or genuine leaders. It represents an apparently charming willingness to exhibit his personal failings by Twitter – in this case a fondness for blunt razors – in the hope of minting a new reputation. But it still amounts to a highly controlled form of political spin, which we know the electorate despises.

    There will soon be a generation of political leaders made honest and genuine merely by the volume of public data available on their past. This data will be ubiquitous, stunning in its depth and accuracy, and totally impossible to deny. Importantly, it will be beyond control or shaped political messaging.]

    Read more:

  18. Team Obama helping the ALP is not new. There was a report of the ALP cherry picking some of the Democrat methods around 3 – 4 years ago. I don’t have a problem with it.

  19. dtt, if these are smart people, and they probably are, then they will be aware that their methods in the U.S. do not necessarily translate directly to this country. To borrow a fragment from Donald Rumsfeld, I’d expect them to be smart enough to know what they don’t know. They will have to study the country and its culture and past election campaigns to be able to give good advice. You would also expect them to get plenty of assistance from ALP strategists pointing out what they don’t think will work here. And I’m sure that the first thing they will learn is that we have compulsory voting and the huge difference that makes.

  20. Quite apart from the serious conflict of interest issues (and where are the OM that were so worried about utegate) and policy on the run (fancy the deputy PM not knowing of a major policy shift, or not even a one page outline available at the time), it seems so unbelievably stupid for the party of stop the boats to trumpet an expansion in detention facilities.

    Are they trying to influence people smugglers now to sell this to customers- ie get on a boat cos the new govt might let u resettle in Aus ?

    It shows how panicked and bereft of policy they are.

    As for the ABC, sell it to Murdoch and be done with it. They are nothing but News Ltd parrots

  21. Hysterical (in every sense) editorial in the AFR today saying that the business community is desperately disappointed that Abbott won’t be getting a big majority to spend two terms introducing sweeping reform.
    Isn’t that an oxymoron putting “Abbott” and “sweeping reform” in the same sentence. Are they totally unhinged? Well, yes.
    What a scummy right-wing rag the AFR has become.

  22. Morning All

    Greens are releasing their asylum seeker policy today – increasing intake to 30000, more money for regional processing by the UNHCR – won’t necessarily “stop the boats” but the start of a much better alternative imo

    Also like that Christine is trying to appeal to the best in people, not the worst

    September 7 makes a hell of a lot more sense than holding off any longer, hopefully they make it happen

    Biggest news of course is the “black ops” being run by the Bombers – the story is getting bigger by the day. Interesting, according to the ABC, Dank and Hird thought that Collingwood, Hawthorn and West Coast were all on the gear as well.

  23. Triton

    I very much want to agree with you BUT I know some of the US “campaignophiles” and they are not for turning or common sense.

    I assume (hope) that Hawker and co DO have common sense and will reign in the excesses of the US style campaigning.

    Use the good things but never just adopt the strategy wholus-bolus.

    Aussies do NOT like endless phone calls and a re alittle more bullshit resistant I think.

  24. DTT

    The people managing the campaign are also important – Karl Bitar and the NSW group were far too controlling, apparently.

  25. It’s an interesting move Victoria – nothing to lose is my guess. Wait and see though

    Better get to work, have a great day all

  26. victoria:

    Do you think Hird will eventually stand down?

    I haven’t really paid much attention to the Essendon stuff, but I watched 730 last night and was stunned at just how involved in the program he was.

  27. [Treasurer Chris Bowen has announced a five year freeze on any ‘major changes’ to superannuation laws effective immediately.]

  28. DTT

    [We do NOT need to energise the base. Just make them like us. This makes our system VERY different from the US and UK.]

    I’d guess the US Democrats are here to add Obama’s very successful social networking & “Get out the votes” strategies. As Rudd’s daughter has already started Labor’s Social Media Networking-based Youth Campaign, I’d expect the “imports” to strengthen that and – given Oz voting laws ensure the vote “gets out” – perhaps focus more on the over 55 vote.

    As left/ALP-leaning Baby Boomers & other ‘l’iberals from the 1960s-early70s (veterans of “Scrap the WAP”, Environmental protection, Aboriginal Rights inc the referendum, antiConscription, antiWar campaigns & street-marches, early Amnesty International letter-writers) flood into that (imo too stupidly comprehensive, when it’s far from cohesive) demographic bloc, it should become Labor Heartland.

    GenBlue is, as OpPolls & Gov Stats show, second only to GenZ in its use of Internet & IT devices – more “switched on” & “online” than Gens X & Y. Developing campaign materials to suit that younger (in the main home owners, “grey nomads”, well-educated, widely-travelled, Rock’n’Roll Youthquaker) end of that demographic is a challenge no election campaign I’ve seen even tries to meet.

  29. [How strange! Nothing on ABC 7.00am news about Tollgate.
    And tent city was such a big story for them yesterday morning…]

    Unless deemed newsworthy by Rupert, journalist’s attention to stories is equivalent to the attention span of a gnat

  30. Good Morning

    Greg Barnes has called for Senator Carr to explain himself in the wake of the Manning decision regarding Assange and Wikileaks. Quite rightly in my opinion. Too much kow towing from Australia to the US.
    We need to take a leaf out of the New Zealand book.

    When I first heard of the use of the US Obama social media expert it was also reported that the Blair equivalent was also hired. So I think the signs are there it is not going to be US centric. Just getting experts in the field.

  31. confessions

    Hird has maintained he has done nothing wrong. Therefore he does not see any reason why he should stand down. The Essendon supporter base want him to remain coach.
    I have a personal view re Hird and it has less to do with what may have actually occurred, but rather the manner in which he has conducted himself over the past six months.

  32. RE: US political campaigning.

    Sorry to break it to you but both parties draw heavy inspiration from their US counterparts (i.e Labor – Democrats, Coalition – GOP) and often new techniques you see in the field in an American election is a preview of what you’ll see in an Australian election in a few years time. Lament it all you want but it works.

    Of course there are elements of US political campaigning that don’t translate here or aren’t necessary here but they are usually omitted.

    Complain all you want about it but our two countries have very similar cultures.

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