Galaxy: 51-49 to Labor in Newland and Mitchell (SA)

Two new electorate-level polls suggest an intriguing election night looms in South Australia on Saturday.

The Advertiser has published two of Galaxy’s electorate-level automated phone polls from samples of about 550, and they have produced the very interesting findings that Labor holds 51-49 leads in its key marginal seats of Mitchell and Newland. The Liberals need six seats to form a majority government, and with respective margins of 2.5% and 2.6%, the seats in question are Labor’s fifth and sixth most marginal. We will evidently have to wait until tomorrow’s hard copy of the paper for full results, but it appears the poll will show that Kris Hanna, a former Labor member for the seat who held it as an independent in 2006 but was defeated by Labor’s Alan Sibbons in 2010, is at the very least competitive.

UPDATE: GhostWhoVotes relates that the poll in fact has Kris Hanna a fairly distant third on 19%, with Labor on 38%, the Liberals 36%, the Greens on 4% and Family First on 3%. For Newland, the results are 44% Labor, 42% Liberal, 8% Family First and 6% Greens. With both sets of primary votes, I would have thought Labor would have been further ahead than 51-49 on two-party preferred.

UPDATE 2: The Australian reports provisional results from a Newspoll survey to be completed today gives the Liberals further cause to fear they may not make it over the line:

But with results from the first 1000 voters polled showing a two-party-preferred vote of 53-47 per cent to the Liberals, Labor Premier Jay Weatherill may still have a chance of forming minority government if swings are contained in key marginal seats.

With two thirds of voters polled for an exclusive Newspoll to be published in The Weekend Australian, Labor’s primary vote has fallen from 34 per cent to 33 per cent over the past month while the Liberal Party’s primary vote has dipped slightly from 44 to 42 per cent.

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.

122 comments on “Galaxy: 51-49 to Labor in Newland and Mitchell (SA)”

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  1. If these two polls are reflected on the night, I’ve got the Liberals gaining:

    Mount Gambier (maybe)

    That would make my count something in the order of: Liberal 23/24, ALP 20/21, Independent 2/3/4

    Of course, we don’t know how big some of the swings will be in the safer ALP seats and I’m making a lot of assumptions that could go either way.

    I can’t see the Liberals knocking off Piccolo in Light or Bignell in Mawson, partly because of the issues, partly because of strong local members, partly because of weak Liberal candidates. We’ve already seen a poll that showed Caica on 50/50 in Colton. I reckon he’ll hold it for the same reasons as Light and Mawson. That leaves Florey and Wright under 5% 2PP margins. I’m not in that area so I can’t really tell, but I’m guessing they’re close enough to the Holden plant to be safe enough for the ALP (that’s just a wild guess).

    Just my wild speculation. Probably will prove to be very inaccurate! 😛

  2. [We could be in hung parliament territory.

    Does anyone know how the Indies would fall?]
    Geoff Brock would support Labor as he votes with Labor on nearly everything.

    A minority Liberal government would be a hilarious outcome. They would probably go through 3 Premiers and we would have to go back to the polls a year early.

  3. [Does anyone know how the Indies would fall?]

    Pretty much all Liberal (Brock might go Labor but, if he wants to be re-elected in his country and normally Liberal seat, he’d be best served supporting the Liberals)

    Hanna is the only one of the potential new independents who’d more likely back Labor than Liberal but that’s no sure thing.

    Either way, realistically speaking, a hung parliament would mean a Liberal Government. And, frankly, Labor would be best served by not resisting that.

  4. If this poll is representative I agree we could have a hung parliament or minority government. Yet in my contact with a few public servants lately they all speak as though the government is about to change. Weatherall has campaigned well, but the most optimistic views I hear from people on the Labor side is that it might be close.

  5. Brock: Labor
    Such: Liberal
    Peglar: Leaning Liberal
    Hanna: Unpredictable (I wouldn’t want to rely on his support to win government because he’s the sort of person who’d strap on the vest full of dynamite over minor issues)

  6. On second thought, Such is pretty unpredictable too. You’d suspect he’d go with the Liberals but you never know. He’d probably want to do more deals than the others

  7. [Yet in my contact with a few public servants lately they all speak as though the government is about to change.]
    Of course the public service must work on the assumption that the government is going to change else they won’t have anything ready if the government does change and thus they will have to spend the few months after the election working 60 hour weeks.

  8. For the record, in terms of long term political best interests of the ALP, I want a hung parliament where the Liberals have to rely on Hanna! 😛

  9. [On second thought, Such is pretty unpredictable too. You’d suspect he’d go with the Liberals but you never know. He’d probably want to do more deals than the others]
    He abstained in 2002 which helped Labor.

  10. Okay, I was wrong. I don’t know where I got my info from. According to this article (albeit a 2-month-old one), the support of people like Such is anything but assured. Although indies do like to play the “nothing’s certain!” card, so they can get the best deal, the article suggests a bit of annoyance over the Liberals going hard against them. Still, come crunch time, they may well remember that no independent is invincible at the end of the day and supporting the wrong side can be deadly.

  11. But, as I said, it might be in Labor’s best interest to not push too hard for a minority government. It’d probably be better in the long-term to bow out and be within a whisper of winning next time (not to mention no longer being a drag on the federal vote) than to claw on for another four years and be absolutely wiped out in a NSW-style election next time (as well as lose Adelaide and Wakefield at the next federal election.)

  12. Well a win will be a win for the Liberals but, frankly, if it ends up as a hung parliament then the Liberals need to hang their heads in shame a bit over the fact that a month ago there were talks of a wipe-out and they ended up barely scraping over.

    Then again, that’s how Labor got in, in 2002…

  13. Labor is paying $13 to provide the next premier. That’s ridiculously over the odds.

    I’d have a bet on them if we could bet in SA. 🙁

  14. Could the release of this poll make a few waverers who might have voted ALP vote LNP just to make sure the government changes?

  15. Unless something remarkable happens they’ll definitely lose Hartley, Bright and Ashford. There’s the majority gone. Then you’ve got three more after that.

    Looking at the pendulum, the Mitchell poll makes me suspect Elder’s not as bad as I thought for the ALP. Then again Sibbons would get a sophomore surge …

  16. Sorry Spur, but I can’t see how the Libs are going to knock off Reynell on this poll.

    The ALP have (internally at least) given up on Hartley and Bright, and they are not positive in Ashford or Elder, but if they retain everything else, a hung Parliament it is.

    Of the Independents, I think the Fairfax poll in the town of Port Pirie showing Brock’s vote rising has fur on it. I am not doubting that he will win, but the poll’s methodology is dodgier than a dodgy car from dodgy brothers. Still, it appears the Libs won’t gain that seat – this time anyway. Pegler may get knocked off by the Libs in Mt Gambier but he would have backed them into Government anyway. Bob Such will win Fisher and of the others, Hanna has no hope according the poll and Labor are telling people down in Lee that they are safe.

  17. One thing that probably needs to be taken into account with the Independents is that with Bob Such it is almost certainly his last term and it may well be for Geoff Brock, and if Pegler survives it may well be his last term too – they will all be in their 70s – so they may not make a decision on a hung Parliament on political survival at the next election at all.

    As I mentioned before, Hanna has no hope in Mitchell, so forget him.

  18. IT

    I’ll be very happy if the ALP retain Reynell. Just seemed like the sort of seat higher up the pendulum that could be in doubt. I have Torrens in the same category but I think they’ll hold it

  19. Hartley, Bright, Ashford, Elder. That gives me something like 22/22/3 … … … If it’s that on the night, I’m going to laugh very hard!

  20. Hanna won’t be elected on those figures, but it is highly likely that 80-90% of his votes will go to Labor via preferences.

    Chalk up Mitchell for Labor.

    If Labor can’t hold Florey, with as strong and popular local candidate as Frances Bedford, then they might as well pack up and go home. Which is why, on the figures from Mitchell, Newland (which is next door) and the previous on on Colton, I can’t see it happening.

    To be honest – and yes, I did predict this a couple of weeks ago – I wouldn’t be surprised if the swings are in all the wrong places again; safe Liberal seats and safe Labor seats, but the marginals mostly stick.

    If so, it is probably a worst-case scenario for Labor; trying to govern with a hung-parliament. Better that they fall this election but with a strong team and regroup to fight the next.

  21. Spur: I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Colton sticks, which puts Labor ahead on seats without factoring in the Indies, who may or may not support a new Labor government.

    Who knows? It will certainly be fascinating to watch on the night 😀

  22. Spur @ 23

    I think Wright might be more in play even with an incumbent but I see your logic with Reynell. The ALP in Torrens have a problem in that a very hard working local MP has gone, but the demographics have changed against them. And the Libs have worked the seat harder than others in that range – it could be a sleeper, or they might retain it by a sliver.

  23. [If so, it is probably a worst-case scenario for Labor; trying to govern with a hung-parliament. Better that they fall this election but with a strong team and regroup to fight the next.]

    If Labor doesn’t win a majority, they should resign, and refuse all blandishments to form a minority government. It’s both the right thing to do and in the party’s interest.

  24. [If Labor doesn’t win a majority, they should resign, and refuse all blandishments to form a minority government. It’s both the right thing to do and in the party’s interest.]


  25. Mitchell staying with Labor was always a strong possibility in my view. Hanna was never going to poll as well as he has previously, never a real chance.
    Newland I had down as a strong possibility to fall so if Labor keep it then it would be a surprise to me.
    Bob Such as been speaker before and if it is a hung parliament would be the obvious choice to do so again.

  26. Actually, I suspect the final Newspoll is better than that for Labor.

    “Progressive Newspolls” usually means a combination of the last two.

  27. @gloryconsequence 36:

    Indeed. This kind of poll tends to minimise any change in the trend (similar to the bias-to-stability that William Bowe has described in Essential’s poll series), so it’s quite possible the Liberal 2PP right now is somewhere between 52 and 52.5…

    …which means the identity of the Premier of South Australia after 6pm Saturday is still an open question.

  28. AS, A 1% swing to the Liberals as you are suggesting, and this poll says more than that, but a 1% swing to the Liberals means nothing is certain.
    I still expect Liberals to govern after the election, but the chances they will need a bit of help is looking more likely.

  29. Well, after viewing polls, analysing variables, consulting with psephologists and party insiders, I can safely tell you that, on Saturday night, the Premier of SA will be… Jay Weatherill.

    The actual winner of the election and person sworn in as Premier in the next week or so is a different story… 😛

  30. Just my feeling about it:

    The ALP’s ads have focused on their record of projects rather than the delivery of them and said the Liberals opposed it all. Now, while those projects were being delivered, of course voters were pissed off because there were all sorts of issues with timetables, cost blowouts etc etc etc. The thing now is many of these projects have been completed. You can see the Adelaide Oval for yourself. The new Adelaide Hospital is very visible to anyone going down North Terrace. If you live on the Noarlunga line, you can catch a new train from Seaford to Adelaide. The bridges in the southern areas that were constructed over a ten month period and were causing major traffic delays (in many key marginals seats down south) are now completed. So what I’m guessing is happening is the focus is turning from the delivery to the results. So when the ALP were running ads about all this stuff they were actually sort of getting through to people.

    You combine all that with the Holden plant closing, fears about Job Security and a small target opposition and you’ve got something to work with.

    The Liberals strategy has been to focus on Marshall’s positivity yet what’s happened is during the campaign, he’s seemed a bit shifty on really trivial things.

    That’s all just a hypothesis of course.

  31. Also, Abbott visiting yesterday and acting like a child over the announcement might not have been such a great idea from the Liberals. Their strategy has been to emphasise cooperation between the Feds and the state govt. That might not be working as well as they planned as it comes with all of Abbott’s baggage.

  32. Thanks IT.
    I am not sure which Labor seats beyond Hartley, Bright and Ashford the Liberals will win but I think they will win a couple.

    Perhaps Elder if that pamphlet has had a impact against Labor, before that pamphlet I thought Labor would hold it.

    Apart from that there is going to be a number of close seats and the Liberals are going to fall over the line somewhere.

    They also will win Mt. Gambier.

    Brock and Such will hold comfortably, although there will be a significant swing against Such.

  33. Labor can’t win this election. Too much baggage from the Rann-Foley years. But Jay Weatherill has campaigned doggedly and looks like saving a lot of the furniture.

    The Libs on the other hand do not really deserve to win. They’ve hidden their policy costs and wrapped Steven Marshall in cotton wool. The media has been deficient in its scrutiny. PM Abbott’s snubbing of Weatherill and hisblatant partisanship has been nothing short of insulting and disgraceful.

    On ABC Radio a little while ago Tony Wright was still rabbiting on about the Don Farrell faceless man incident. IMHO this has had zilch influence on the election.

    The real faceless man who is never exposed as such is a creepy fellow called Christopher Pyne.

  34. I agree with Psephos which is always a concern but there is a weakness in having the leader who just failed to win a majority do the negotiation – should be more independent members of caucus who can make the call slightly more objectively in the party’s best interest. If only there were any left who would act in the party’s interest. Sadly there aren’t.

  35. “If people in South Australia want change, they want a better future, they want to grow the economy, they need to vote Labor tomorrow”

    Apparently Steven Marshall just accidentally said that. Seriously, a Liberal win tomorrow will be in spite of their effort during this campaign.

    Marshall can count his lucky stars he didn’t say it a week ago, when an ad could be made of that remark.

  36. EM @ 44 – I think Elder is gone for the ALP now and I am going to stick with my prediction that they will lose Wright – just a feeling.

  37. I’ve got the Liberals up to 23 seats. Then there’s Mitchell, Light, Colton, Mawson, Wright, Newland and Florey. If they win one of them, that’s it.

    The strange thing is when I’m thinking rationally about it, seat by seat, I reckon the ALP’s a good chance in all of them … The only one’s I’m not certain about are Wright and Florey.

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