ReachTEL: Liberal 47, Labor 25, Greens 17 in Tasmania

A new Tasmanian state poll finds the Liberals shedding support to the Palmer United Party, but still well placed to secure a parliamentary majority at the March 15 election.

The Mercury today brings us a second Tasmanian state poll in a week (compare this with Western Australia’s election last year, for which only three polls were published from the start of the year to polling day on March 9), this one a ReachTEL automated phone poll conducted on Thursday night from 2912 respondents. The poll has the Liberals on 47.2%, Labor on 24.6% and the Greens on 17.2%, and while this amounts to a six-point drop for the Liberals since the last such poll in November, the slack is taken up by the Palmer United Party on 7.5%, with Labor steady and the Greens only up one point. The results are similar to a Liberal internal poll ReachTEL conducted last month, which was reported as having the Liberals on 48.8%, Labor on 25.8% and the Greens on 15.3%. The latest poll was conducted on Thursday from a sample of 2912.

Electorate breakdowns suggest the Liberals are on track to win three seats in Braddon (56.7%), Bass (49.6%) and Lyons (47.3%), which would secure them a parliamentary majority, as well as being in the hunt in Franklin (44.8%). The Palmer United Party, whose highest hopes are for Braddon, finds its support spread too thin to be in contention in any given electorate, although it will be hoping a well-oiled advertising blitz might change that. The Greens look a shot on these numbers to win seats in all five electorates, although they have a history of falling short of opinion poll projections at Tasmanian state elections. Kevin Bonham goes so far as to say the numbers suggest the Greens could possibly emerging with more seats than Labor, and while that hardly seems in serious prospect, they do look to have pulled out of their slump:

The poll also has Will Hodgman with a commanding 54.1-26.3 lead over Lara Giddings as preferred premier, with 37.3% rating his performance very good or good compared with 33.5% for very poor or poor. Giddings’ ratings are 23.2% for very good or good against 48.7% for very poor or poor.

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.

18 comments on “ReachTEL: Liberal 47, Labor 25, Greens 17 in Tasmania”

  1. Interesting.

    If PUP can win 2 seats, it would be hard to see LNP getting 13, which would mean Clive gets to decide who is Premier.

    Even with 1 seat to PUP a 12 LNP outcome is not that unlikely (isn’t it- don’t profess to understand Tassie political machinations very well) which still puts Clive in the hot seat.

    Just when it seemed like a walkover, Clive comes bundling in to make it interesting! :devil:

  2. The Liberals could also probably rely upon 1 or 2 Labor MPs to cross the floor to support a Liberal minority government if the Libs fall short by 1 or 2 seats.

    Kevin Bonham on his blog pointed the finger at Labor’s Brenton Best as a possible turncoat. He is already half way there anyway based upon his backbench behavior in recent times. I personally hope he loses his seat so we don’t have to witness such self-serving opportunism come to the fore. I am not a Labor supporter by the way.

    These Labor turncoat(s) would be expecting something in return and that leaves Will Hodgman in a vulnerable position by possibly being forced to backtrack on his nauseating endless commitment of “no deals” with anyone.

    To have a cobbled together Liberal- ex/Labor – maybe PUP government would also be a serendipitous coup for the Greens.

  3. As a fairly distant observer of Tasmanian politics, surely Brenton Best’s game is to be Labor’s last man standing in Braddon after the election. Once that’s accomplished, his incentive to distance himself from the party will diminish.

  4. #5 William Bowe

    Best has been in parliament for nearly 20 years and is I think the only Labor MP since the parliament was reduced in 1998 to not have had a cabinet portfolio. I am having a guess it’s not because he doesn’t want a promotion.

    I think if the Liberal party offered him the speakership, for example, to make up it’s numbers, I don’t think it’s likely he would reject it, since the parliamentary Labor party has constantly rejected him.

    But.. I think you make a good point, having said all that.

  5. Best is a candidate in the seat of Braddon, and Labor looks like only winning one seat there, which should go to Brian Green. The removal of Best from the parliament may well be the only bright spot for Labor in this election.

    Kevin Bonham’s summary of the state of play
    is pretty spot on imho. Between now and the election I expect that PUP will gain a bit, mostly at the expense of the Libs. The parties have all got their advertising under way, and so far the Libs have been purely negative, cheap and nasty. It might work for them, but I suspect they are preaching to the converted. Palmer’s ads remind me of Sam Kekovitch’s lamb adverts. I keep expecting him to say “you know it makes sense”. PUP ads are the only ones so far to feature their national leader. Palmer is upbeat, and even mentions policy occasionally.

    As I said, I expect PUP to gain a little from the Libs, but I doubt it will be enough to affect the results. Tasmanian elections are all about the quotas, one quota being 16.66%. Bass and Lyons are cut and dried, each 3 Lib, 1 Lab, 1 Green. The Libs are a bit short of their third quota in Lyons, but the Others in that electorate are Nationals, whose preferences should easily take the Libs over the line. In Braddon, 3 Lib and 1 Lab are certainties. I expect PUP to take the fifth seat from the Greens here. In Denison, 2 Lib, 1 Lab and 1 Green are set. I do not think PUP can get the last seat; the Libs don’t have a big surplus to distribute and Others are probably not going to favour PUP either. It will be between Labor and Greens, and I expect Labor will win it on PUP preferences. Franklin is the hardest to pick. There are 2 Lib, 1 Lab and 1 Green, and on current figures it looks like the Libs would get enough preferences from Others (mostly Nationals) and PUP to scrape into the fifth seat ahead of Labor. However, I will stick my neck out and predict that the Libs will weaken slightly during the campaign, and Labor will hold their second Franklin seat. The result then would be 13 Liberal, 7 Labor, 4 Green, 1 PUP. I can’t see any way the Liberals will not get 13 seats so they will win government.

    If this is the result, the Liberal “majority” government will actually be less stable than the outgoing “minority” government. With the support of the Greens, the Giddings government had a solid majority and could cope with the occasional loose cannon. A Hodgman government will probably have a bare one seat majority, and will have to supply a Speaker. I doubt the Palmer guy would want the job; he would probably prefer to take part in debates.

  6. 7

    Is there any candidate specific advertising for the PUP?

    If not then, with Robson Rotation, predicting which of the candidates gets elected could be hard.

  7. Posting up the direct link to my article because it’s not on top anymore:

    (I have a thing about the pulp mill on top now: )

    As well as my Tassie polling aggregate (which currently says 14-6-4-1) I now have my own forecast graphic on the sidebar (currently 13-7-4-1, same distribution as Magic Pudding in #7 – the aggregate gives the Libs 3 in Franklin but it’s close and I’m still not convinced). However I think Brenton Best may well unseat Bryan Green, who is seen as a sellout. The problem for Best is he is competing with PUP for roughly the same kind of vote.

    One-seat majorities are manageable in Tasmania; the ALP-Green accord parliament (89-92) had one which didn’t cause it any problems. (It had plenty of other problems.)

    Liberal Vanessa Goodwin has almost as much fun with the PUPpies as I do – she has an attack site up at

  8. Tom the first and best@8


    Is there any candidate specific advertising for the PUP?

    If not then, with Robson Rotation, predicting which of the candidates gets elected could be hard.

    They’re pushing a designated leader pretty hard in each electorate, who in most cases ran in the federal election too. Morgan, Etter and Thurley are all relatively high profile, the other two leaders less so.

  9. I think Vanessa Goodwin’s attack site looks immature and slightly desperate. Is the input from herself I wonder or is it from Liberal party HQ under her name only – ( so if the media questions the time she is putting into it, her PA can remind all she is not up for election ).

    I also note that the attack site does not list PUPs Mr Grewars homophobic references, but it lists the racist ones. Is this because homophobia is alive and well in Braddon, and the Liberals don’t want to upset that old-time fan base?

  10. Yes I’m not sure how much is actually written by Goodwin.


    I also note that the attack site does not list PUPs Mr Grewars homophobic references, but it lists the racist ones. Is this because homophobia is alive and well in Braddon, and the Liberals don’t want to upset that old-time fan base?

    I don’t think the Libs want to draw attention to Grewar’s homophobia because it would be very hypocritical for them to do so given that they are running Guy Barnett, and also given not one of them supported same-sex marriage at state level.

    It’s a bit of a shame the attention given to the race remarks is swamping that given to the anti-gay ones. In my view the anti-gay ones more strongly reflect the candidate’s actual views rather than just the candidate’s poor judgement and insensitive sense of humour.

  11. Palmer United have cleared the last obstacle to their party’s registration, with two days to spare. A court challenge against it by serial noisemaker and former PUP candidate Marti Zucco has been both withdrawn and dismissed.

    The other party sweating on registration is the Australian Christians, who have not announced any candidates yet. My understanding is that any objection sinks them even if it is later dismissed.

  12. Kevin Bonham, what do you make of this? (News segment video)

    A helpful “quip” to the Liberal cause, or not?

    It appears to me this “off the cuff” comment by Will Hodgman out of ear-shot of the media contingent was in fact a rehearsed comment deliberately aimed to be recorded. I cannot believe how blase he sounded about a possible election defeat.

    I notice you have reduced the Liberals chance of winning to 87% on your blog. I predict you will be reducing this figure steadily over coming weeks.

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