JWS Research: 54.4-45.6 to Liberal in Frankston

A poll of the all-important Victorian state seat of Frankston provides encouraging news for the state’s precariously placed government, although the pollster has exhibited a Coalition lean on its recent form.

With the numbers in the Victorian Legislative Assembly at 44 seats for the Coalition, 43 seats for the Labor and one seat for troubled independent Geoff Shaw in Frankston, the latter personage and the electorate he serves have been looming large in the state’s political life of late. Shaw resigned from the Liberal Party in March and last month had 23 charges of misconduct in public office and obtaining financial advantage laid against him. It is thus of interest to relate, courtesy as always of GhostWhoVotes, that robo-pollster JWS Research has tested the waters in an electorate that could potentially decide if the government survives to the end of its term.

The prognosis for the government is favourable: despite Geoff Shaw having a disapproval rating of 64% and an approval rating of 20%, the poll credits the Liberals with a 54.4-45.6 lead on two-party preferred, suggesting a 2.3% swing in their favour (Shaw having won the seat from Labor in 2010 by a margin of 2.1% off a swing of 5.3%). The primary votes are 49% for the Liberals (46.8% at the election), 35% for Labor (36.4%) and 9% for the Greens (8.4%). The sample for the poll was 535, with a theoretical margin of error of 4.2%.

It should be noted though that JWS Research appeared to have a Liberal skew in its federal election campaign polling. Two sets of polling were conducted, one targeting eight seats four weeks out from the election, the other targeting six seats two weeks out. The average two-party result from the fourteen polls was 3.1% higher for the Coalition than the eventual election result, with eleven of the 14 poll results leaning in their direction. While the Labor primary vote tended to be accurate, Coalition primary votes were exaggerated at the expense of “others” (which can partly be explained as the polling being conducted too early to catch the late-campaign surge for the Palmer United Party) and to a lesser extent the Greens.

UPDATE: The Herald-Sun has a full set of results from the poll, including a thick slice of attitudinal questions. The poll also asked separately how voters would vote at a by-election as distinct from a state election (the latter results being those featured above), though with much the same result (the Liberals one point higher and the Greens one point lower). Eighteen per cent said the knowledge that a Labor by-election win might trigger a state election would case their vote to change, which is either a lot or a little depending on your perspective. The no response was at 73%. The results also suggest that Denis Napthine is more popular than Daniel Andrews in this part of the world.

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.

58 comments on “JWS Research: 54.4-45.6 to Liberal in Frankston”

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  1. If you ever needed proof that the libs have become the party of the bogans, this is it. Seriously, I’m a little surprised at the result – my feeling is Napthine is on track to do a Brumby and never become an elected premier. He has the same arrogance and is captured by DTF and DPC, as well as obviously controlled by the scandal-tainted Ryan (a minister who appears to have conspired against his former chief commissioner in order to protect the thuggish and possibly corrupt boyz network in the vic police) – ryan must be a hard man – he got baillieu to resign when his (ryan’s) goose was looking cooked over the Overland scandal. Napthine has also failed to call his planning minister Guy to account – a man who has cost the state $3 million in compensation for his mishandling of the Phillip Island deal for LNP ‘mates’, but is still planning minister. If abbott follows his current trajectory, the LNP will lose next year’s election – particularly if the new senate plays up after July 2014. I expect some state MP rorting to be exposed within the next few weeks.

  2. sustainable future

    Frankston is more than a down trodden brogan suburb, it has some very nice middle class parts, good schools, good hospitals and good infrastructure plus is the gateway to the Peninsula.

    To comment on Tom’s comment the purposed new boundaries only see changes to the northern end of the seat.

    Mt Eliza is often mentioned in discussions on Frankston but is actually in the seat of Mornington.

    Historically Frankston has returned Liberal MP’s.

  3. I find this result implausible. Regardles of the overall result, why would the Liberal result be one point higher at a by-electon than a state election? Normally governments do much worse at a by-election, especially if the cause of people having to vote again is the sitting member facing trial. At least some voters are usually annoyed by that.

    I also find it hard to believe that the Vic Liberal vote in any seat recently has improved relative to the last State election, given the problems of the current Napthine government. The Libs have had a leadership change, controversies such as the East West road tunnel decision, and then a member charged with rorting expenses. The economy has also gotten softer.

  4. The Fed results only last month, didn’t seem to indicate a Lib margin of 4% and that is with a sitting Liberal Fed MP (who doesn’t seem to be unpopular), in an election where Labor were on the nose and who probably put their efforts elsewhere.

    From a back of an envelope calculation reckon that the state result based on these figures would have been ultra close, with some booths being better for Labor than at the 2010 State election and some worse.

    Any election in the future would be fought on the issues present at the time and between candidates at present unknown. Reckon best to slightly set aside these figures, though it does indicate that the future election here will not be a foregone conclusion and it will be close.

  5. 7

    Maybe a handful of the voters of Frankston do not want a mid-term change of government or are giving false intentions in the hope that there is in fact a by-election and they vote ALP.

  6. I don’t think the East-West Link project would matter much to most people in Frankston.

    It might make sense to some as it will link the Eastern with the Tullamarine Freeway

    The sample size was only 535

  7. Socrates @ 7

    I don’t think the Napthine Government is that unpopular – not popular either but just getting on with it. The East-West link is generating more noise that it necessarily would as it affects the remaining readership of their own local paper ‘the Age’. Labor have been wedged into opposing the tunnel as it is all about Labor vs Green politics in the inner city and the inner north. The opposition to the tunnel is more ideology than practicality – it would actually take a lot of traffic out of Collingwood, Fitzroy and Brunswick as people try and avoid Alexandra Parade. It would also take traffic off the streets of Preston and Coburg as the tunnel would be more attractive than Bell Street.

    The Libs handled the leadership changeover x times better than federal Labor ever did and Geoff Shaw walked so they can to some extent wash their hands of that issue.

    Daniel Andrews problem is that he looks daggy and sounds whiney – and never says much.

    Napthine might win next year – though any reaction to the Abbott government might see him off. The final electoral boundaries (due out next week) might decide the future of a few MPs as well. Some of the Labor MPs elected in 1999 and 2002 might not want to go around again.

  8. blackburnpseph

    I generally agree with your no 10 post, the only point i will add is since it is a toll road it may not reduce traffic, if we look at City-link, many surrounding streets have seen increased traffic flows as people try and avoid paying the toll and seek an alternative route.

    The ALP do need to be careful in one sense as the East-West Link was originally ALP policy and was part of the Victorian Transport Plan.

  9. I’m with Socrates @ 7. I don’t believe the figures in this poll, and I take William’s point about the apparent bias in JWS Research polls.

    As for blackburnpseph @ 10, your view of the east-west tunnel is pretty much nonsense. Traffic surveys consistently show that the vast majority of traffic on the Eastern Freeway is heading to and from the CBD or environs, so it will do little to alleviate road traffic in the places you mention.

    The deceit of the Coalition, and Transport Minister Mulder in particular, is clear on this issue. Mulder asked, a couple of years ago, that the government be given credit for having won office having promised a number of public transport measures but no major urban road projects. But now the government is pursuing only one single transport project, a massively expensive and futile road tunnel, the $8 billion cost of which means no funding will be available for more efficacious measures. That is compounded by Abbott’s nonsensical refusal to allow federal funding of urban public transport.

  10. 11

    The tunnel would, if built, make a huge mess of Royal Park, put more traffic on the streets of North Melbourne and surrounding areas as cars go between the Elliot Avenue interchange and the city.

    Traffic on the east-west roads that the tunnel might take traffic off is almost entirely either static or declining.


    The ALP`s opposition to the road is likely to not do it much good against the Greens because they will, if the Greens do not get the balance of power and force some sense into them, continue with any signed contract to build the tunnel. Since the state government plan to have the contract signed before the election, the Greens are still likely to be able to beat the ALP over the head with the tunnel issue.

  11. Tomf&b

    I agree that surrounding streets will see increased traffic flows.

    We see that with City-link with what are described by the cities of Stonnington and Boorndarra as secondary roads experiencing increased traffic since City-Link.

    I don’t see how it will reduce traffic on Hoddle Street.

    I do think there is an argument for another major road to Melbourne’s west but i am not sure that what is only half a or Stage 1 is the most needed project.

  12. And how will traffic decline on Bell Street, most of the people traveling along Bell Street.

    Bell Street connects Melbourne’s north east running though Banyule across Darebin and Moreland.

    The target market for the East-West Link appear to be more Manningham, Whitehorse and other eastern suburbs.

  13. [And how will traffic decline on Bell Street, most of the people traveling along Bell Street.

    Bell Street connects Melbourne’s north east running though Banyule across Darebin and Moreland.

    The target market for the East-West Link appear to be more Manningham, Whitehorse and other eastern suburbs.]

    Mexican, quite right on that being the target market for the east-west link. The other big target market is traffic going to and from Melbourne Airport – and how does this go now? – Alexandra Parade and Elliott Avenue – in peak hour largely not as they are both blocked – airport traffic goes along Brunswick Road and Bell Street from the eastern suburbs. The extra tunnels will remove that traffic from inner city streets.

    City Link also saw traffic management measures put in that tried to dissuade drivers bypassing the link – traffic phasing on traffic lights and clearways on Toorak Road being one example.

  14. State Tres. O’Brien
    perpetuates falsehoods
    When challenged on Tom Elliots’s program on 3AW today The State Tres said the statistics showed metro transport was better in Melb than under Labor

    Today I experienced one of the most irritating actions re this
    Coming home by train on the Eltham line,our late train was discontinued at McLeod…a common event which is done to stop the statistics revealing the true lateness of the service…and the empty train went back to the city

    We were ordered off the train which then went back to the city
    This pernicious practice comes with privatization,as the company faces fines for lateness…so late trains are cancelled and passenghers dumped to conceal the truth then they are
    dumped onto an already crowded platform in heavy rain

    Oddly this sort of lying was just as common under Brumby and Labor…with Peter Bachelor being the expert practioner of the ancient art of deceptiopn…and of course they got their comuppance at the elections
    Several callers told him of this fact on the Air

  15. Blackburnpseph @ 18, if one of the main targets of the $8 billion tolled road tunnel is traffic going to and from Melbourne Airport from the north-east suburbs then, like the Brisbane airport tunnel, it will be a complete flop. That traffic could not possibly sustain the sort of tolls required to make any money.

    I repeat, most traffic to and from “Manningham, Whitehorse and other eastern suburbs” is headed for the Melbourne CBD and environs, not the west of Melbourne, or even Melbourne Airport.

    But then the so-called business case for the tunnel has always been a joke, a fact even more starkly evident when it was recently revealed that it was predicated on petrol prices dropping over the next few years!

  16. Corio

    The East-West Link project as outlined in the Victorian Transport Plan was support to connect the Western ring road to the Tully and Eastern freeways which is why it is called the East-West link.

    The section between the Tullamarine and Western Ring Road is important as it will help trucks as many manufacturing business are in Melbourne’s west as are major regional centers.

  17. 21

    The main purpose that the western half of the east-west link would actually do would be to get more cars to the central city from the west. It would undercut the expansion in Public transport out west.

    If it was just for freight, it would be truck only with probably only 1 lane in each direction. That is not at all how it is planned. Anyway much of the freight can be switched to rail.

  18. William, Labor have 43 seats, not 44. (First paragraph.)

    The VEC missed an opportunity to give Victoria an odd number of seats in the last redistribution. With the chance of Labor winning a by-election (Frankston or elsewhere) and causing a deadlock, it should’ve been obvious. Is there some particular reason they have an even number, unlike every other state and territory?

  19. mexicanbeemer @ 21 you’re repeating a very common claim of the road lobby that motorways are really for freight, but as Professor Bill Russell’s analysis of the Eastern Freeway found, outside the peak period, there is little or no interference to road freight across Melbourne, and that freight formed a clear minority of traffic on the Eastern freeway. Infrastructure Australia has not accepted freight as a catch-all justification for building roads.

    Motorways are about encouraging private car travel, which makes up the overwhelming majority of traffic on all roads. I note that trucks are banned from travelling in the right hand lane on the Geelong freeway, a policy that was also considered for parts of the West Gate Freeway, Eastern Freeway and EastLink. If these roads were built primarily as freight routes, private cars, not trucks, should be subject to selective bans.

  20. Tom and Corio

    Having read the Victorian Transport Plan the western half was about car use and the western half is more important as Melbourne’s west is in need of additional road links.

    The East and South have less need for new roads.

    PT on its on cannot service the needs of Melbourne’s west.

  21. 23

    The number of seats is fixed in the Constitution. A referendum is needed to change it.

    Victoria avoided a potential constitutional crisis by only a couple of hundred votes at the last election, it could have been 44 all and then their could have been a big fight over which side gave up one of its members to be speaker and if it was not resolved there would have been a deadlock without the ability to call new elections.

  22. 25

    No the west does not need new road links into the city. It already has a road into the city. What is needs it better PT to get more people into the city and tolls on the Westgate and both of those would take pressure off the roads.

  23. Tom

    Something tells me that you don’t drive which is fine and i do mostly use PT myself so i don’t mean to sound rude but if you did drive you would understand the need.

    PT cannot deliver all possible trips, PT can only provide so much, PT mostly suits three types of people

    -People not in a hurry
    -People only taking short trips

    An alternative to Westgate is needed, the bridge is nearing its limits and with increasing population in Melbourne’s west the need for additional infrastructure increases.

    Australia cannot just have a car based model or a PT only model but needs to have productive infrastructure.

    If there is an accident on the bridge the gridlock is extensive.

    Other parts of Melbourne don’t have such a narrow range of transport options as Melbourne’s west does.

    Car’s provide more flexibility than PT and nothing is ever going to change that, PT has its place but is limited.

  24. Regarding the East West road tunnel, I think it is such a bad decision that it borders on suspicious. Why hide the evidence if it is a good idea?

    It will not fix the traffic, and costs so much money there will be none left to pay for the rail tunnel, which is badly needed and ready to build. “Get on with it”?? Napthine has done everything he can to drag his feet and avoid doing the rail upgrades.

  25. If the internal Liberal polling told them they would win Frankston comfortably, there would have been a by-election 3 years ago when it became obvious that Geoff Shaw was a rort machine who was too stupid to cover his tracks

  26. I agree with Billie… there was internal polling about a year or so ago when the Geoff Shaw issue starting getting traction in the MSM. The response was that if a by-election had been held then Shaw would have been thrown out easily by the voters in Frankston. There are also a few other ‘dud’ candidates further up the line in Carrum, Chelsea and Mordialloc. The Liberals won the last poll along the Frankston line and from what I am hearing as a local is that they are likely to lose these seats again.

    The promised public transport improvements have at best being ‘tinkering’ around the edges in the area rather than real improvements such as signalling, a third track from Pakenham through to Caulfield and grade separation. Admittedly the Springvale Rd project has commenced (but then the Liberals got hounded from the useless grade separation project in Louise Asher’s seat of Brighton. The Southland station project looks like it (if it gets off the ground at all) will be a cheap and nasty project designed to make MP Wrenford in Cheltenham look good.

    Steven in Bonbeach

  27. mexicanbeemer @ 25 & 28, you are conducting a straw man argument. No-one is claiming that PT can “deliver all possible trips”. However, what we don’t need is massive and wasteful road expansion projects which in fact exacerbate traffic congestion.

    Your claim that PT only suits “retirees, people not in a hurry and people only taking short trips” is ludicrous. For example, almost 80% of people travelling to the Melbourne CBD do so by PT. That’s a heck of a lot of retirees and people “not in a hurry”.

    It is also completely false to assert that the Westgate Bridge is the only crossing of the Yarra/Maribyrnong from the west. There are in fact four bridges serving that function – Westgate, Footscray Road (Shepherds Bridge), Dynon Road (Hopetoun Bridge) and Smithfield Road (Lynchs Bridge). Together, those bridges provide over 20 traffic lanes. Yet a mere four tracks of railway thought Footscray station carry twice as many people during the morning peak as all those bridges.

  28. Corio

    Well Tom has on several occasions argued that PT is the answer to Melbourne’s West transport problems and that an alternative to the Westgrate Bridge isn’t needed.

    Regarding the suitability of PT, I am talking about outside of working hours and yes PT is fine if you are commuting to an office job in the CBD but outside of work hours PT doesn’t suit people in a hurry.

    PT is fine if you don’t need to change services or are not traveling a long distance.

    The system is for the most part rubbish and doesn’t offer the flexibility a modern city needs.

    The current system is better suited to the 1950s.

    I am aware of the benefits of rail freight and therefore am supportive of the regional rail link project which will enhance rail services in Melbourne’s west.

  29. 32

    PT is the answer to Melbourne`s transport problems.

    The Westgate and the other 3 roads from the west provide more than sufficient capacity for the necessary traffic. There are still many people who drive into the central city for work and a combination of better PT and more parking and road use charges should shift more of them to PT.

    Saying ‘the current PT system does not work well enough, therefore PT cannot do a greater proportion of the transport task’ is extreme and unwarranted defeatism. The PT system, particularly the buses, needs to be done much better and then PT will do more of the transporting.

  30. Corio, Tom and others

    The big problem in Melbourne is how difficult it is to travel east – west. Roads and bad and public transport is abysmal. Corio – there are four major road links as you say. But is there a direct public transport link? – No none at all. Even getting from Spencer Street to Richmond is a 30 minute trip if you have to go against the loop direction – i.e in the morning. It is all symptomatic that Melbourne’s west was out of sight, out of mind forever until the massive population growth of recent years has evened out the city shape. The infrastructure both road and PT (especially PT) has not kept up with demand.

  31. blackburnpseph

    PT’s lack of flexibility is shown when tiring to cross the city, even east to north takes longer on PT than it should.

    Part of the problem is Melbourne’s Tram network lacks cross city routes.

    Ideally Melbourne would have a serious of routes that circled the city with feeder lines running from it.

    An example if you wish to travel from lets say Burwood to Northcote, you need to travel into the city then change tram and travel back out again rather than having a route which connected the two.

    A trip that on the Tram will take over an hour without the waiting around for the next service, this is not an attractive option when in a hurry or in the middle of winter.

    It is a pity that we don’t have a connection between Tram 86 and the Trams which run though Richmond.

    Yes there is a Bus on Hoddle Street but this is the problem, for PT to complete with Cars for flexibility it needs to be as seamless as possible.

  32. 34

    Getting from Spencers St (stupidly renamed Southern Cross) to Richmond should not take 30 minutes, even under current timetables. There are lots of trains heading for Richmond from Spencers St in the morning. All the Burnley and Caulfield loop trains (unless they are taken out of service at Flinders St) as well as the through-routed trains on the between the Frankston and Newport (Werribee, Williamstown and Altona/Laverton) lines. It would be unusual to take more tham about 15 minutes (it should be quicker because the layover times at Flinders St should be cut).

    The loop (well the half that can be) should be through-routed.

    I agree that PT has not kept up with demand in the West. The RRL is addressing this but more needs to be done. Better buses, high capacity signalling and Melton electrification to name the most urgent.

  33. 35

    There is the option of inseat of going into the city, taking the tram out to the 903 Smartbus and taking that to Burwood.

  34. it’s been alleged that Geoff Shaw has been seen assaulting an elderly taxi protester on the steps of State parliament – this seat just got more interesting

  35. mexicanbeemer@33, unfortunately, like many people who comment on PT, you seem to lack understanding of it in theory and in practice.

    For example, you say you are “aware of the benefits of rail freight and therefore am supportive of the regional rail link project”, but in fact no freight trains will run on the RRL at all.

    I don’t disagree that PT is very poor in many areas, particularly in the outer suburbs and regional areas, but it appears that rather than advocating PT improvements you think the system should be allowed to wither (or be abandoned?) in favour of massive and unsustainable expenditure on motorways. Why build the RRL at all if PT can’t offer the flexibility a “modern city” needs? In fact, “modern” cities around the world are enhancing their PT networks.

    blackburnpseph @ 35 seems to apply the same logic. PT is “abysmal” and therefore we shouldn’t aim to improve it, but instead provide more and more road capacity. Yet nowhere in the world has building more motorways ever solved the “congestion problem”.

    I don’t know where to begin in commenting on your apparent assertion that because there are no east-west PT links we should therefore construct an $8 billion plus road tunnel. Even if what you say is correct (which it isn’t) why should we not spend money on making up deficiencies in our PT provision? The money consumed in constructing the road tunnel will make that impossible.

  36. Corio

    I think you have misread my comment.

    I use PT and it is not the most effective way of getting around Melbourne.

    I know RRL is designed to separate V/Line and Metro rail services.

    At no time have i ever posted a comment here saying that the system should be dismantled, if anything i would focus more on light rail and Trains than Buses.

    Trams need their time tables adjusted to match the speed limit rather than the current metrics.

    The Tram network needs to be expanded to cover modern Melbourne.

    An example, Tram 55 and Tram 48 could be combined but extending Tram 55 along Bell Street across to Bulleen then connect with Tram 48.

    From that you can create other circular routes which could be used in different ways depending on demand.

    Traffic congestion is getting worst and the system needs an overhaul, the Buses achieve little as people need to be able to see the hard asset which the Train and Tram provide.

  37. 44

    People are willing to use decent bus services. The patronage success of Smartbus shows this.

    The reason Melbourne`s bus system does so badly is so much of it is infrequent and indirect with poor priority in traffic. Fix these issues, like has happened (to an extent) with Smartbus, and the passengers will come. Charging a parking levy on large suburban shopping centres` (Chadstone, Southland, etc.) car parks would help as well.

  38. Tom

    Yeah except in every survey people use light and heavy rate much higher levels.

    The Smart Buses have one big positive they cover major roads and go for a considerable distance.

  39. 46

    Rail does get often a higher patronage but buses can be got to the suburbs a lot quicker than rail with almost all the patronage.

    Melbourne needs more Smart buses sticking to main roads instead of winding through back-streets. It makes the buses faster and thus more competitive, like trams. It is also about the frequency. Smart buses operate frequently enough, much of the time, as to be competitive with cars.

    The long distance of the individual routes is not a direct cause of the higher patronage as most of their patronage is local people going a few km, often to shopping centres and/or railway stations. It is the simple legible routes with decent frequencies and some priority that get the passengers.

  40. There does not need to be a competition between rail and bus services. Rail is needed to get adequate capacity into dense nodes like the city. Buses can more economically cover outer suburbs and circumferential routes, and feed/connect to the rail. This is exactly what was done for the recent Perth Mandurah rail line in WA and it works very well.

  41. Tom
    [Melbourne needs more Smart buses sticking to main roads instead of winding through back-streets. ]

    The ones I’ve travelled on, usually 903, have mostly stuck to main roads.

    The only big advantage of the distance of the routes is that they serve a lot of Melbourne, rather than being useful to travel a long distance. If you wanted to get from Frankston to the airport by PT you wouldn’t take the 901 all the way because it takes four hours; you’d take two trains to Broadmeadows and get on a 901 there.

  42. 48

    I agree. Perth does train-bus, an essential part of PT, connection well. Modal competition has been a problem in Melbourne for decades. It should have been fixed long ago.


    Those are my points (which possibly could have been better expressed).

    The smart buses stick to main roads and many other bus routes meander the local streets.

    The length of the Smart bus routes is more about there not being many good points to break the routes up without splitting trips or overlapping than the long distance trips.

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