Newspoll: 53-47 to Liberal in SA

Three months out from the election, the latest figures from Newspoll continue to credit South Australia’s Liberals with a decisive lead, but by a narrower margin than they would like and with the trend running against them.

The year’s final quarterly Newspoll survey of state voting intention in South Australia, where an election looms on March 15, finds the Liberals on track for what by recent historical standards is a modest victory. The poll has the Liberals leading 53-47 on two-party preferred, which compares with 56-44 for the last poll covering the April-June period (couldn’t tell you why there was no July-September result, but perhaps interference from the federal election had something to do with it). On the primary vote, Labor is up one point to 33% and the Liberals are down four to 40%. Last time there was an extra 1% for the Nationals – I’m not sure if they have troubled the scorers on this occasion (UPDATE: GhostWhoVotes relates in comments that they have not). The Greens are steady on 10%, with “others” up four to 17%.

Jay Weatherill is still in net positive territory on personal ratings, which is pretty good work for the head of a 12-year-old government, although he’s down four on approval to 43% and up two on disapproval to 37%. Steven Marshall is holding up even better, his approval rating up two to 43% and disapproval up one to 21%. Weatherill holds a 40-29 lead as preferred premier, which is hardly changed on the previous 41-30. The sample for the poll was 874. Hat tip to James J in comments.

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.

16 comments on “Newspoll: 53-47 to Liberal in SA”

  1. The Holden decision and resulting politics (at which Weatherill seemed to do well) are from relatively late in this poll so there a good reason to believe that they trend against the Coalition may well continue.

  2. The ALP did win the last state election in South Australia with TPP vote 48.4% (i.e., they lost the popular vote, but still won 8 more seats than the LNP). So it will be interesting to see know the ‘47%’ travels across different electorates. An LNP victory seems more than likely, but the Holden closure could yet allow the ALP to scrape across the line – Weatherill seems to be a relatively popular leader..

  3. Gloryconsequence

    I’m not so sure about that. I think this election might be closer than many have thought for the last few years or so.

    There was a poll out a few weeks ago that showed Norwood at 51/49 to Marshall. You combine that with a bunch of road and infrastructure projects being completed south of the city and Holden closing at Elizabeth and a few other things such as the ability to take it to the feds and Weatherill’s got a half decent platform against Marshall who although liked is not exactly someone who inspires a lot of confidence.

    The Liberal Party in this state seem to think photo ops with Abbott are a good thing

    I wouldn’t write it off yet although I can’t see where the seats are for the ALP to win.

  4. Mortlock,

    Good point.

    The other factor here is that the trend is probably to Labor atm which makes projections for 3 months hence rather tricky.

    Of course there is unlikely to be the distraction of the nonsensical scandal of the last election when an allegedly cuckholded husband assaulted the Premier.

    Labor’s challenge is to cobble together a believable platform for reform and change after being in power for 12 years.

  5. Oh right. As Peter Brent says today, the boundary commission makes a 48/52 result more reflective of public opinion so the ALP’s got to do a bit better than that to retain government. Bright for example is already notionally Liberal which makes it very difficult.

    Personally, I can’t see it happening but there is a good solid platform for the ALP to campaign on and Marshall is inexperienced. I wouldn’t write it off yet. We don’t know how the Holden announcement is going to affect voting behaviour yet and so on

  6. An interesting result, and an encouraging trend for Weatherall. I think that Weatherall and Marshall have both performed well. However Marshall may have been hurt by the incredibly insensitive remarks of Abbott regarding the Holden closure (workers “liberated”). So this time the Federal factors are working the other way. Federal cuts to funding for already started public transport projects have not helped either.

    The result is from a rolling poll from October to December. If Labor’s vote is improving, the current 2pp may be better than this for Labor. This may be quite close.

  7. A number of things stand out in this poll, but what it is not saying is also of interest.

    Labor would be pleased that despite their pretty awful performance and other matters out of their control going against them (such as Holden) they are heading back into survival territory.

    Comparing these results to the Federal polling in SA seems to be very similar, and I have no doubt that the State Govt will use the Federal Coalition Government as a whipping rod very effectively in the next few months – they’re doing a good job of it now as Abbott & Co deliver free kick after free kick against their State Liberal mates.

    The State Liberals’ strategy of keeping their powder dry has worn so thin to breaking – internal ALP & Lib polling I have heard of shows the Liberal primary and 2PP vote is soft – how much would it take to collapse altogether, even though it should be said that people are hardly cheering for Labor in the streets.

    At the bare minimum Labor can afford to lose 3 seats and continue to govern with Labor leaning Independent Geoff Brock in Frome (assuming he staves off the strong Liberal challenge in his seat), even though most commentators believe he will survive.

    ALP sources privately seem to have already written off Bright, Elder and Hartley but Hartley certainly could swing back with some good news. They also face knife edge fights (again) in Light, Mawson and Newland, and close battles in Ashford, Florey and Colton.

    The internal party polling is showing the ALP is holding up quite well in its marginals – which makes one assume they are tanking elsewhere. If their low vote is in seats such as Independent conservative held Mt Gambier where the ALP could almost lose their deposit, then that’s great for them. But what if it’s in the middle range of seats where they’re putting in a lower key effort? The only consolation is that the Liberals are doing the same low key efforts in those seats, and I can’t see an unlikely Liberal victory in one of the safe Labor seats such as in the Elizabeth area.

    One thing I suggest readers discount is the ALP winning any seats back. The high profile, but also highly unpopular, Mayor of Prospect, David O’Loughlin, is arrogant enough to assume he will do well in Adelaide. Wrong. The party bosses have sold him a pup and even though he will keep Rachel Sanderson busy, he won’t get within 5% of her on a good day.

    Added to the mix are high profile Nick Xenophon Independents in Lee and Mitchell, with the popular Port Adelaide Mayor and former ALP/Green/Independent local MP running respectively. Both might win, or both might not, but with the high 17% for ‘other’ in the polls, they’re potentially looking good.

    For those reading this from interstate, the National Party in SA is virtually non-existent, lost their last MP at the last State Election and is not in coalition with the Liberals here (and never have been I think). They will not win a Lower House seat and their Upper House vote with be around 0.4%.

    The upshot of the polling is it has something for everyone – and though it may point to a small Liberal victory, it could also mean a cliffhanger, hung parliament, or a comfortable Liberal victory depending on the uniformity of the swing. Interesting times in SA!

    Now with that, back to cooking the Turkey (a real one, not a political metaphor).

  8. Indy

    Interesting thoughts. Perhaps it is time for Weatherall to have a chat with Xenephon about preferencing? The Federal Libs junking his gambling reforms already will have done little to draw X into the Liberal tent. X probably commands enough preferences to decide this election.

  9. FWIW, Iain Evans spent yesterday on every radio station and TV network suggesting that only a vote for the Liberal party can guarantee a majority government, and we “dont want another hung parliament disaster like we had federally”.

    Points to Indy’s notion that internals might be showing things much closer.

  10. Disagree with Indy regarding Florey.

    Fran Bedford will piss it in. Partly because she is such an effective local member, but mostly because her Liberal opponent is a moron.

  11. Danny @ 14

    [Fran Bedford will piss it in. Partly because she is such an effective local member, but mostly because her Liberal opponent is a moron.]

    Wrong. True. True.

    She suffered a huge swing against her last time when neither the Libs nor ALP put a lot of resources in. This time the Libs are going for it big time (admittedly with a dodgy candidate who is EO of the Australian Family Association, formerly knowns as the Festival of Light).

    I too think she win, but by a squeak.

  12. That Kris Hanna / ALP / Lib contest in Mitchell will be interesting – they damn near came a three-way tie last time. How likely would he be to side with Labor, considering his past with that party?

    As for the upper house: have Dignity for Disabled, the two leftover No Pokies MP’s, etc done anything notable lately? If the “others” vote is 17%, there’ll be a few seats available for the assorted fruits and nuts even without preferencing shenanigans.

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