Galaxy: 54-46 to Liberal in South Australia

Four months out from the next state election, a Galaxy poll shows South Australia’s Liberals with a decisive 54-46 lead over the 12-year-old Labor government.

The Advertiser reports a Galaxy poll of state voting intention of South Australia, covering 860 respondents, shows the Liberals with a two-party preferred lead of 54-46. An election will be held in South Australia on March 15. From The Advertiser’s report:

Statewide, Labor’s primary vote has dipped from 37.5 per cent at the 2010 election to 36 per cent today. In the same period, the Liberal primary vote has increased from 41.6 to 44 per cent.

The Greens vote is steady at 8 per cent and 12 per cent of people intend to back minor parties.

The last Advertiser poll, published in March, showed the Liberals with a crushing 59-41 statewide lead and ahead of Labor 56-44 in metropolitan Adelaide.

Labor’s primary vote has improved six percentage points, from 30, since that poll.

The Liberal vote has declined 10 percentage points to 44 per cent since March.

It should be observed that this compares an in-house Advertiser poll with one conducted by Galaxy, where I suggest the latter would be more authoritative.

UPDATE: The poll also finds tepid personal ratings for the formerly popular Jay Weatherill, whose performance is rated good by 17%, fair by 51% and poor by 26%, while the respective numbers for Steven Marshall are 18%, 48% and 18%. Weatherill’s lead as preferred premier is just 39-38. Respondents also rate rate the Liberals the party with the better economic plan by 41-34, and the best vision for the state by 41-38. The poll was conducted November 12-13 from a sample of 860.

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.

27 comments on “Galaxy: 54-46 to Liberal in South Australia”

  1. SA had the last Democrat MP in Australia, David Winderlich. He quit the party in 2009 (cant remember why) and ran as an indie in 2010 and lost.

  2. Is a source of 860 respondents enough to give a clear indicator of voter intention?

    I won’t pertain to have an in depth knowledge of SA politics but the possible closure of GMH’s plant in Elizabeth might be the deciding factor, either way.

  3. The Advertiser poll was clearly off beam. This poll is probably near the mark of current sentiment.

    Holdens issue will be important though hard to see it being decisive unless the Libs do some stupid things. I would think Lib voters in SA are fairly sympathetic to Holdens assistance but so are their MPs. Abbott and Hockey might change that perception.

  4. This total looks right. If asked I would’ve guessed the polling to be around 53 or 54 to the Libs.

    The state went 52.36 to the Libs in the federal election – which can give some mild insight into the state’s thinking. Although, it should be noted that Marshall is seen as a sensible, inner-city moderate (a type of Liberal that is VERY electable in SA), whereas Abbott was seen as abrasive and extremely conservative. Balancing this, of course, is the SA ALP being extremely effective campaigners and the SA Libs being terrible at it.

    The Liberals will certainly win the election but Labor will be hoping to keep them down to as small a margin as possible. If they can manage to replicate a similar margin to the federal election (even slightly worse), they will achieve that. One thing is certain though: the state wants change but their baseball bats are still stored away in their cupboards.

    *said with the usual caveat that there is still 4 months to go and something could end up going terribly wrong that would totally change the dynamic (most likely this scenario would be one favouring the Libs) but I doubt this will occur.

  5. CC @ 1:

    As can be seen in the attached article, to be expelled from the Australian Democrats in SA would tend to indicate that there is some remnants from which to be expelled:

    The article contains an error however, she was not number 1 on the Upper House ticket as stated, she was 3. Not that that mattered as at the last state election in 2010 they scraped up less than 1% of the vote in the Upper House in SA so I think it is not out of the realms of reasonable comment to say that their parliamentary days are over – subject to accidentally being elected a la Motoring Enthusiasts Party et al thanks to bizarre preference deals.

    Dio @ 3 – regardless of the reasons he publicly gave, the truth was Winderlich believed he had a better chance of re-election by himself as an Independent than with the Democrats. Adding his vote at the election to that of the Democrats would still not have had him elected anyway due to the preference hoovering of Dignity for Disabled.

  6. I was thinking about the legislative council today and its potential post-2014 make-up. This is what I see happening with the 11 seats up next year:

    Labor’s 4 seats and the Liberals’ 3 will definitely all be retained.

    Firstly, one of the independent (No Pokies) seats will most certainly be lost. As that second seat came at the expense of a Liberal seat in 2006, it will be a gain for the Liberals this time. So that will be 4 each for Lab/Lib

    The Greens will likely retain their seat as they seem to poll around the 8.3% mark required for a quota and there will be no Xenophon to leech their votes. Family First will poll less (on a good day, they can get over 5%) but they’ll probably still scoop up the preferences, so I will say that’s a likely retain too.

    As for the other independent seat (I imagine Bressington will get top spot on the ticket), I think it’s most likely that it will be lost. Unless another viable independent or 3rd party pops up (I don’t think D4D have it in them to get another seat this time round) it will go to Lab/Lib. Considering this election will likely be a comfortable win for the Libs, I imagine the LC vote will reflect that and that seat will go to the Libs too. Thus making the result: 5 Lib, 4 ALP, 1 Green, 1 FF and making the make up of the LC: 9 Lib, 8 ALP, 2 Green, 2 FF and 1 D4D. This will mean that Kelly Vincent will have a lot more power, as she might be the deciding vote for a lot of bills (otherwise the government will either need the support of the opposition or the combined support of the Greens and Family first – both difficult scenarios.)

  7. And, if that happens, 2018 might create an interesting environment if Kelly Vincent loses her seat and the ALP gain it. Assuming the Greens and Family First retain theirs, you could have a 9 ALP, 9 Lib, 2 Green, 2 FF LC – which would be extremely difficult to work with. Of course, it’s a long way away and there’s loads of different things that can happen IF something else happened but it’s an interesting, reasonable possibility (to me, at least.)

  8. Petition lodged with Court of Disputed Returns
    Updated: 15 November 2013

    The three-person Australian Electoral Commission today authorised the Electoral Commissioner to lodge a petition with the Court of Disputed Returns in respect of the 2013 Western Australian Senate election.

    The petition was lodged at approximately 2:30pm AEDT today.

    The petition seeks an order from the Court that the WA Senate election of six senators be declared void.

    Given the closeness of the margins that favoured the final two declared candidates, the petition is based on the premise that the inability to include 1370 missing ballot papers in the recount of the WA Senate election means that the election was likely to be affected for the purposes of s 362(3) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

    As the matter is now before the Court the AEC will not be making any further comment.

    The AEC recently appointed Mr Mick Keelty AO to conduct an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the missing ballots. Mr Keelty’s inquiries are continuing.

    Editorial note: For copies of the petition, please contact the High Court Registry’s public information officer (Canberra) during their business hours. The AEC will not be posting or distributing the document.
    National media contact:

    Phil Diak | Director Media
    AEC, Canberra
    02 6271 4415
    0413 452 539

  9. The “Democracts” are a long lost spent force. Having less support than the communist Party of Australia or the Socialists. They imploded and become irrelevant following a leadership contest and a QLD drunken Senator and controversy over stolen bottles of wine, the member concerned later defected to the Greens in the hope that he could resurrect his failed career. They at best attract just over 1% of the vote. Their opposition to the Australia Card has placed Australians in a worst off position then they would have been had they supported its introduction with tight controls. With the exception of Sid and Lynn Allison there was very little talent on the Democrat benches. I am surprised some of the old diggers keep parading their medals of shame.

  10. I actually find those numbers mildly encouraging. I know the SA government is carrying a lot of baggage, as 11yo governments tend to do, but with four months to go, Abbott dragging down the Liberal vote and the Holden issue presenting very dangerous territory for the Libs, a very close result is certainly possible.

  11. @9 regarding the independents: Ann Bressington certainly won’t run on the No Pokies ticket – in fact she’s running for Katter’s Australian Party (although surely the dismal results at the federal election are prompting second thoughts). John Darley is 76 but apparently intending to run again; if he wins I presume he would resign some time during his term to allow another candidate to develop the incumbency benefit.

  12. I reckon Marshall will end up being a net negative for the Liberals. He might seem okay now as he’s glossing over a lot of their division, but he’s both inexperienced and lacking name recognition. You combine that with uncertainty surrounding Holden and a bunch of other stuff and you get a theme for the ALP to go hard with.

    They might have been better off going for Martin Hamilton-Smith when they changed leader but he has a ton of baggage too

  13. CM @ 9

    Frickeg @ 16 has explained most but I can promise you that Anne Bressington and Nick X have not spoken to each other (ignoring accidental incidental greetings in public) and that John Darley will be leading the No Pokies ticket in the Upper House, his running mate will be barrister Connie Bonaros –

    After the election, Darley, if re-elected, will step down for her, unless she too is elected, thus their thinking of running a third candidate. This was possibly going to be Stirling Griff but Nick X needs him as back up for his own Senate seat lest Nick’s health heads south again. Nick has been talking to potential number 3s. Watch this space.

    Despite Carey’s prognostications, I believe Darley will win again by Nick campaigning for him and that will be enough for Darley to garner a quota but not much more, or less. Nick is the name and Darley has a relatively low profile. I could be wrong.

    I also believe that the make up of the Upper House is too early to call by a long shot as the ALP’s ham fisted attempts at electoral refraud is to make it almost impossible for independents and microparties to be elected (and certainly to be elected) by trying to introduce the Sainte-Lague voting system. If they are successful, I think the result will be:
    Lib 4 ALP 4, Grn, No Pokies, FF 1
    If they fail, I think it’s quite possible a micro party (unlikely to be Palmer whose party in SA has almost no profile and no high profile candidates) can win a seat off the ALP whose upper house vote seems very weak, but this microparty is unlikely to be one from the right as their preferences will be needed to prop up FF.
    All in all, it will be VERY interesting.

  14. [I reckon Marshall will end up being a net negative for the Liberals. He might seem okay now as he’s glossing over a lot of their division, but he’s both inexperienced and lacking name recognition. You combine that with uncertainty surrounding Holden and a bunch of other stuff and you get a theme for the ALP to go hard with.]

    Considering this is very much an election for the Libs to lose, Marshall is exactly what the doctor ordered. He’s a young moderate, which makes him far more electable here and, despite it drawing criticism that he has no plans for government, his cautious leadership is what is required to get the accident-prone SA Libs over the line (think Rudd in 2007.)

    In government, he might get some fierce sniping from Evans and the dries but, for now, his leadership is fine.

    [They might have been better off going for Martin Hamilton-Smith when they changed leader but he has a ton of baggage too]

    The public never warmed to MHS and his aggressive, conservative ways turn voters off. I can see Weatherill winning in contrast with MHS.

  15. I’m very concerned for Australia’s wind power sector. With SA Liberal they’re rooted as Vic, NSW, Qld, WA have all gone cranky anti-wind as soon as they got in.

    Shame that may not be a concern for most SA voters

    Bessington – I have heard that name – yes, she’s the flouride in water is a government plot to control your mind . top grade cranks – the LNP with their brand of denial are not much different. I do wish the scientists at the UN hurry up and take control of the world 🙂

  16. Carey Moore

    I thought this election would be an easy victory for the Liberals. Now I’m not so sure,

    I was speaking to a person coordinating the Liberal campaign for their candidate in Mawson a few weeks back. She said their local campaign organisation is a complete shambles whereas Biggles has his act together. They aren’t confident in Marshall at all as they think he lacks name recognition (despite the way he’s wallpapered over the Evans/Chapman division). The ALP are better organised in SA than they are in other states. I really wouldn’t be surprised if the Liberals capitulate at the final hurdle. I think it’s going to be a lot tighter than what many were thinking a year or so ago.

  17. Probably should clear this up: I think best case for the ALP would be a hung parliament but even then, I reckon the remaining Independents would go with the Liberals.

    I was certain the Liberals would win it in a canter before. Now I don’t think it’s going to be so easy for them.

    And besides, given what happened to the ALP organisations in NSW and Qld after their long terms in government, it might be for the best for the ALP to lose this one and come back renewed for the next one.

  18. I find this result consistent with the perception of most people I talk to in SA. Labor in office has not been a bad government, but has run out of ideas and has not been a great reformer either. The SA economy has tanked since the Olympic Dam decision (not Labor’s fault at all) and that has actually cost far more jobs than remain in Holden.

    Adelaide remains a bureaucrat heaven, with public service tenure remaining on terms that are a throwback to the 60s. Now is probably too late to reform it.

    If Marshall stays non controversial he will win. There will be an audit of the public service soon after, as surely as the sun rises. Saving Holden is neither the problem nor the solution for most of the SA economy, but it is all that will get talked about from now till election day. The real question should be what about all those other (false) promises of more jobs in manufacturing, the north and the south? The only jobs created were for the policy advisors writing such drivel.

  19. Socrates

    Fair summary. It’s disturbing how all the media focus on in regards to the economy is Holden when Olympic Dam was a much bigger deal (and as you say, not the ALP’s fault). The election really is the Liberals to lose

  20. Spur

    Yes Marshall has everything in his favour at this point.

    I was pleased to see Labor feature more tram lines in its transport plan released recently. However I have a few reservations about it:
    – ads all over the city promote the tram lines, yet most are not even planned to be built for ten years or more.
    – the technical studies the plan is base on have not been released. Were the studies just politics?
    – without effective community engagement the plan will not survive a change in government. It is essential DPTI engage with the community, not just stakeholders
    – bad land use decisions ( Mt Barker, Buckland Park) have not changed
    – we still plan to spend a fortune on expensive road projects, with no evidence they make economic sense.

  21. I was polled by UMR on state voting intentions last week,

    Was interesting because their automated polls are far more human than ReachTEL or JWS

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