Nielsen: 56-44 to Labor in Victoria; Newspoll: 54-46

With five months left before the election, the first Victorian state opinion polls conducted since the government’s recent parliamentary crisis provide grim reading for Denis Napthine.

Five months out from the election, two new Victorian state polls:

• A Fairfax Nielsen poll of 1000 respondents, conducted from Thursday to Monday, shows a stunning headling figure of 59-41 in favour of Labor on two-party preferred. However, this is based on respondent-allocated preferences, and given that nothing particularly radical has happened to the minor party vote in Victoria, the preference flows from the 2010 election almost certainly offer a better guide. Here the lead is a more modest but still very imposing 56-44. The Fairfax graphic compares the former result with the previous Nielsen poll from late February, which was 53-47 – I’m now unsure if that result was previous-election or respondent-allocated, but the former measure would have panned out to 53-47 on my calculations based on the primary vote results (UPDATE: Nielsen’s numbers had previous election preferences in the previous poll at 51-49. The four polls it has conducted since early last year have all had Labor higher on respondent-allocation, but never previously by as much as three points). The primary vote figures in the latest poll are 42% for Labor (up five), 37% for the Coalition (down four), 14% for the Greens (steady) and 3% for Palmer United (not previously indicated). Denis Napthine nonetheless retains strong personal ratings, although he is down three on approval to 48% and up five on disapproval to 37%, while Daniel Andrews is little changed at 41% approval (steady) and 36% disapproval (down one). Andrews has all but closed the gap on preferred premier, Napthine’s 45-35 lead diminishing to 41-40.

UPDATE: The poll shows a particularly strong surge to Labor outside Melbourne, where their primary vote is at 44% compared with 32% at the election, while the Coalition is down from 50% to 44%. In Melbourne, Labor is up only slightly from 40.5% to 42%, but the Coalition has crashed from 41% to 34%, with the Greens up from 13% to 16%.

• A Newspoll bi-monthly result for May-June, encompassing a sample of 1151, has the lead at only slightly more modest 54-46, from primary votes of 38% for Labor, 37% for the Coalition and 16% for the Greens. No result was published for March-April, but compared with the January-February result these primary vote figures have both Labor and the Coalition down one and the Greens up three, with the Coalition gaining a point on two-party preferred. Denis Napthine is up one on approval to 44% and five on disapproval to 40%, while Daniel Andrews is up three to 35% and four to 37%. Contrary to Nielsen, Napthine has a strong lead as preferred premier, up from 39-28 to 42-29. “Uncommitted” ratings are down six points for Napthine, seven for Andrews, and four for preferred premier.

The Fairfax poll also indicates a weak response to a generally well-reviewed state budget, with only 4% saying it had made them more likely to vote Coalition versus 29% less likely. For the federal budget, which could well be the real source of the problem here, the numbers are 5% and 39%. A further question asked which should be given the highest priority out of the west section of the East-West link, the Melbourne Metro tunnel and upgrades to level crossings, with respective results of 20%, 30% and 45%.

A weighted and bias-adjusted trend of Newspoll, ReachTEL, Essential, Nielsen and Galaxy polling over the full term looks like this:

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.

92 comments on “Nielsen: 56-44 to Labor in Victoria; Newspoll: 54-46”

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  1. RE: Prahran, how will the ALP remain under 30? They only got slightly under this at the previous election, and even then, it’s a 10% swing for the Greens to overtake them. Their big chance was 2010 and mid-term outliers of high primary votes for them never come to fruition.

  2. 51

    The Greens are likely to be targeting Prahran with with lots of resources, much more so than in 2010, likely using their campaign tactics as honed in Melbourne last year.

    The Greens are also likely to have issues like the East-West link to beat the ALP over the head with.

    The vast majority of Green vote increase would be coming from otherwise ALP votes and so the greens do have a chance (note I said chance not sure bet) to overtake the ALP vote, either on primary and/or on the 3PP and win the seat.

    [Crisis has Victorian Coalition on ropes: Newspoll
    The Australian June 26, 2014 12:00AM
    John Ferguson
    Victorian Political Editor

    THE ailing Napthine government’s election-year budget has failed to win over voters, as rolling political crises and federal spending cuts further weaken the administration’s hold on office, the latest Newspoll shows.

    The poll, taken exclusively for The Australian over the past two months, shows the government would have been comfortably defeated at the polls, with Labor holding a 54 to 46 per cent lead over the Coalition on a two party-preferred basis.

    Primary-vote support for the Greens has jumped to 16 per cent while the Liberal Party dropped three points to 33 per cent and Labor was largely unmoved on 38 per cent. The Nationals’ ­primary vote was 4 per cent, nearly three points below the ­result at the 2010 election.]

  4. These number reinforce my long-held qualitative assessment that the Napthine govt is fecked come November.

    The Shaw debacle has taken the wind out of their big pitch on transport, which was in any case flawed and scarcely credible.

    And thats pretty much the ball game.

    [Fix level crossings first: poll
    June 26, 2014 – 12:15AM
    Richard Willingham
    State Political Correspondent for The Age

    Fixing Victoria’s level crossings is the highest infrastructure priority for the state, ahead of the western section of the East West Link and a Melbourne metro rail tunnel, according to voters.

    In a worrying sign for the Napthine government trying to sell an infrastructure agenda that places the East West Link as a top priority, The Age/Nielsen poll of 1000 voters found that 45 per cent of voters backed upgrades of level crossings ahead of the Melbourne Metro tunnel (30 per cent) and the western section of the East West Link (20 per cent) as the highest priority for the state’s infrastructure agenda.

    While the government has completed some level crossing removals and is working on more, Labor has promised to remove 50 level crossings if it wins November’s state poll.]

    [Labor leads Napthine government 59 to 41 in Age/Nielsen poll
    June 26, 2014 – 12:34AM
    Josh Gordon
    State political editor for The Age.

    Labor has extended a crushing lead over the Napthine government as fallout from the federal budget, ongoing chaos in the Parliament and internal Liberal Party ructions continue to erode the Coalition’s re-election hopes.

    Five months from the November 29 state election, an Age/Nielsen poll reveals the state government failed to gain political traction from the May budget, despite a $27 billion major projects agenda.

    The poll of 1000 Victorians reveals the Coalition is now deeply mired, trailing Labor 41 per cent to 59 per cent in two-party preferred terms based on voters’ intended preference allocations.]

  7. Was the MOE published for these polls?

    And interesting that the article in The Age stated “right-wing Liberal “jihadists”” taking over the Liberal agenda. Fancy that term being used there!

    [Andrews winning race by doing nothing
    June 26, 2014
    Josh Gordon
    State political editor for The Age.


    Denis Napthine is correct when he says the latest scandal dogging his government a sideshow.

    It is an event the political class is clambering to attend – including some tin-foil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorists on his own front bench who seem all too happy to contribute to the spectacle.

    As a result, Napthine’s circus tent is all but deserted, leaving the government bereft in its efforts to sell its big spending state budget and law-and-order agenda. Five months out from a state election, this is a disaster.

    Despite being able to boast of a $27 billion major projects agenda and the strongest budget position in the nation, the government has failed to gain a political bounce. According to Napthine’s detractors in the Labor Party, it is the least effective $27 billion spent in Australia political history.]

  9. I find it hard to see how this can turn around. Shaw will be just as big an albatross around Napthine’s neck as Thomson was for federal Labor. Plus there is an unpleasant smell around other aspects of the Vic Libs, notably treatment of developers.

  10. Andrew’s policy initiative to remove 50 railroad crossings is certainly resonating with the voters. so, he seems to be the man with the right plan atm.

    Grandiose schemes to build are always trumped by local politics.

  11. The big issue according to an Age article this morning is level crossings over the (changed) Metro tunnel and the East-West link.

    I live on the Frankston line (Chelsea) and generall I find the service OK however not a week goes by without an ‘incident’ which is code for (a) level crossing car v train or (b) level crossing pedestrian v train on the line. The stupidity of motorists and pedestrians around level crossings is quite frankly frightening.

    So level crossing elimination is very much on the minds of voters. Unfortunately the geology of the area (sandy soil, etc) makes it very difficult to tunnel under without some major and very very expensive engineering works so one option would be to close one in every two crossings from Mordialloc to Frankston or completely rebuild the line as an elevated line from Mordialloc all the way down.

    There was also a rumour that there was talk about relocating the line about 2-3 km inland.

  12. [There was also a rumour that there was talk about relocating the line about 2-3 km inland.]

    The cost of which would be vast, but could be recouped by selling the land the line currently occupies. The bayside suburbs have always suffered from having the railway line just inland from the beach, cutting off the beach zone from the rest of the suburbs. On the other hand the lower bayside area is full of pensioners (mainly Poms) who would complain bitterly about losing their local stations.

  13. If you’re going to relocate a line inland, you might as well branch it off as a new line or loop. Something like the Laverton loop vs the Altona loop on the Werribee line.

  14. 65

    [A new line to where? There’s only one Frankston.]

    Not to where but through where? I’m just saying the cost of relocating a line would match that of putting in an actual new line, which makes it impractical. Unless Carrum Downs desperately need a train station.

    As it is the two branches of the Werribee line allows an express to Newport from Laverton and a local through Altona.

  15. Daniel Andrews doesn’t have to have a mass agenda – in actual fact I think a stacked agenda hurt the Rudd/Gillard Govts and over-burdened them and the public.

    If Andrews simply runs on his level crossings reform and sound budget management and doesn’t overwhelm the public with a million different messages, he’ll romp it in.

  16. 62

    Elevating the line would be the way to go there.


    The land the railway sits on is not the most saleable. It is narrow because it is between two roads, the commercial areas it runs through are not all that busy from a commerce perspective (particularly on the Nepean Highway side and removing the railway would not help this) and there would be campaigning for the line to be turned into parkland (good), car parking (bad) and/or a widened Nepean Highway.

    64, 65 & 66

    loop line would be a bad idea. If you split the line up then either frequency has to be reduced, trains split and coupled all the time or all the passengers on one of the lines interchanging. The patronage would not justify this. The Altona loop is messy operationally and not just because it is mostly single track.

  17. 68

    I really wish they would duplicate it though. Read a book by Tim Fischer who suggested that track duplication can be done in stages and shouldn’t cost all that much (in comparison to other rail projects).

    Of all the rail demands in Victoria, this is probably the cheapest to do, I would think, considering all the reserve land around the single track.

    Newport is obviously the bottleneck here, but if it reduces the delays at Laverton, Westona and Newport junction. At the moment as it is, trains going in one direction are delayed, waiting for the train in the other direction to clear off the track.

  18. Yep, Daniel Andrews should just campaign on the level crossings and returning the Metro tunnel to it’s original alignment.

    Not sure exactly what the ALP’s position will be on the East-West link – but certainly one or two inner city seats could be at risk to the Greens if they don’t strongly oppose it.

    It’d be interesting to see how the Federal GRN vote in Melbourne and Batman aligns with the State seats of Melbourne, Richmond and Brunswick.

    As previously indicated, Prahran will be interesting as it’s a strong chance of a 3-cornered contest. Preference flows will be critical.

  19. 1.40 available at the bookies for anyone sure of an election win for Labor wanting a 40% tax free return in 5 months.

    Free money!

  20. 69

    Only parts of the Altona loop have enough land for duplication. Altona and Seahold stations are places where there could be a real struggle. There are also higher duplication priorities (i.e. all other sections of single track on the suburban network except Eltham-Hurstbridge and Upper Ferntree Gully-Belgrave).

  21. Lots of firies in full uniform at my suburban Met station this evening,getting signatures protesting against Napthine Gov and handing out leaflets. Struck by queues of people lining up to sign. An ‘It’s time’ kind of moment.

  22. Tom, since I’ve frequently been dismissive of your posts on other subjects, I should acknowledge that you do evidently know what you’re talking about on PT issues. Do you have a background in this area?

    Question: The political strength of Labor’s campaign on level crossings is obvious. They’re dangerous and disruptive and everyone hates them. But what real difference to Melbourne’s transport problems would be achieved by Labor promised upgrades? And is Labor’s estimate of the cost defensible?

  23. 75

    Thank-you for you acknowledgement, I have been interested in this area for a long time and have acquired a lot of information in the area over the years. Nothing professional though (at least yet anyway).

  24. Level crossings negatively effect train operation mainly in 3 three circumstances:

    So many trains use a level crossing that if many more were added, the boom gates would be down for to long and so to add more trains would need their abolition.

    Where trains and tams cross on the level (Riversdale, Kooyong, Gardiner and Glenhuntly). The trains have to go very slowly over the crossing (this especially hursts the express trains at Glenhuntly) and the crossing must have a manned signal box to operate all the safeworking and electrical system crossover.

    An accident on the level crossing.

    Road based PT is also held up at level crossings (mainly buses) but separation from traffic to get them to the front of the queue would help there.

    A sustained program of level crossing abolition could and should bring costs down through both efficiency of scale and greater experience in project cost control (lost in Victoria under and since Kennet`s cuts).

  25. [Question: The political strength of Labor’s campaign on level crossings is obvious. They’re dangerous and disruptive and everyone hates them. But what real difference to Melbourne’s transport problems would be achieved by Labor promised upgrades? And is Labor’s estimate of the cost defensible?]

    Some answers to your question. Yes, removal would be make a serious difference to both road and rail services. Labor cost estimate is $5-6 billion – for the 50 identified this is probably about right – unfortunately level crossing removal does not come cheap.

    I am not sure how feasible some of the removals would be – for example on the Upfield line – there would be substantial property acquisition costs as it is all so tight. Also, some on Daniel Andrews list are already being funded by this government.

    Two questions back:

    1. Where is the money coming from? It was the sale of something wasn’t it? Is that a realistic value?
    2. How many level crossings did Labor remove in 11 years before – two I can think of – and Peter Batchelor did not think Springvale Road was necessary – and then the Feds stumped up the cash. But then again it was in Nunawading.

  26. Bludgers may have noticed that William’s Bludgertrack currently shows Labor winning seven seats in Victoria. The seven weakest Coalition seats in Victoria are: Deakin, Corangamite, La Trobe (the three lost in 2013), Dunkley (last won by Labor in 1993), Casey (1983), Aston (1987) and… Higgins, never won by Labor, held successively by Harold Holt, John Gorton and Peter Costello, now on a margin of 9.9%. I don’t believe for a minute that Labor is going to win Higgins, but the fact that current polling raises even the theoretically possibility shows how the Liberal position in Victoria, including in the upper-income suburbs of Melbourne, has declined. This is a long-term trend going back to the 1980s, but it has obviously accelerated over the past year.

  27. Psephos @ 79

    Not the Massachusetts of the South for nothing.

    Also shows how lazy the Vic Libs have been for decades – dependent on the eastern and southern suburbs heartland and not trying to venture out. It is not just Melbourne however, Ballarat had two Lib seats more often than not prior to 1999. They have not held one since. The Victorian liberal Liberal tradition from Deakin down through Hamer and even Kennett has been diminished – the more conservative NSW dominance of the Liberal Party has not resonated well in Victoria at state or federal level.

  28. The problem the Libs have in Higgins is that Liberal voting Toorak/ Armadale/ Caulfield is essentially an island and that the seat has to go outwards into ever more marginal or Labor territory to keep the enrolment numbers up. It is very similar to Wentworth in that regard – after Turnbull goes – very much the right horse forn the right course – the Libs could be in serious trouble there. Each redistribution weakens the Libs in Higgins and in a big swing they might just get a serious scare.

  29. Even their upper-income base is rotting as more wealthy people vote on non-economic issues. I know the state Libs are worried about Caulfield, where the sitting member is an idiot and Labor has a bright young Jewish candidate.

    (This is the flip-side of Labor’s base rotting in places like the La Trobe Valley. Ballarat and Bendigo are holding up for Labor because they are being colonised by exurbanites.)

  30. Each redistribution weakens the Libs in Higgins and in a big swing they might just get a serious scare.

    The other shift going on in Higgins, particularly in the parts that cover Glen Eira council zone, is the rapid increase in medium to high density housing. This will accelerate over the next few years. My guess would be that this shift in housing stock will tend to go against the Liberals.

    Purely guess work really – based on the observation that the attraction of these shoe-box dwellings is the proximity of public amenities. People that like the word “public” in stuff tend not to vote Liberal.

  31. 85

    The only real high density construction in Higgins is going on in South Yarra and Prahran (the state seat of Prahran having remained at bout a quota over the 12 years between redistributions while Albert Park grew massively and the rest of South Eastern Metropolitan shrank in population). The rest is medium density.

  32. 84

    The Liberals seem to have upset a significant part of the Latrobe Valley with the Morwell mine fire response. The seat of Morwell may well return to the ALP at the election.

  33. Some discussion of recent State & Federal polling in Victoria in this article, worth a read.
    [Abbott is no jewel in the Liberal crown as the Victorian election nears
    June 28, 2014 – 12:00AM
    Michael Gordon
    Political editor, The Age

    Tony Abbott’s strategy to win last year’s election involved visiting Victoria, on average, once a fortnight, claiming Melbourne as his ‘‘second home’’ and forging a working relationship with the man who led the Liberals back into power at a state level, Ted Baillieu.


    Fast-forward to this week and it is hard to comprehend how far the Liberal Party has fallen, at a state and federal level, in the state that produced its founder and most towering figure, Sir Robert Menzies.]

    [Poll forecasts trouble for Victorian Premier Denis Napthine
    July 02, 2014 9:00PM
    Stephen Drill
    Herald Sun

    ROGUE MP Geoff Shaw is in for an election annihilation, with just 4 per cent of voters in Frankston wanting to return him to State Parliament, new polling shows.

    And Denis Napthine’s chances of holding power are under threat, with three key marginal seats expected to fall into Opposition hands.

    The Labor Party will comfortably win marginal seats of Frankston, Mordialloc and Bellarine, a poll of 800 people conducted on June 25 and 26 in each electorate found.

    Mr Shaw is still expected to run at the November election despite being suspended from Parliament for misusing his taxpayer-funded car.

    The MP destabilised former premier Ted Baillieu and was accused of holding the Government to ransom with his balance of power vote. But his antics appear to be failing to win over his electorate.

    The Essential poll, commissioned by the Victorian Trades Hall Council, was conducted after Labor candidate Helen Constas resigned amid a bullying scandal.]


    Victorian Liberals: Going, Going …

    My take on state election prospects. In terms of what you might not find in other such assessments, this article examines the idea that being a first-term government protects the Napthine administration from losing, and finds it to be false.

    I also have a poll in the sidebar concerning the format of federal polling (and by extension state polling other than Tas) articles on my site. There’s discussion of the options at the bottom of the current Vic article.

  36. As someone who went on the record four years ago expecting the Coalition to win again in 2014 with an increased majority, I have been reluctant to predict a Labor victory. However, it seems that Labor is more likely to win than not given the consistent opinion poll results. The reasons are obvious – a do-nothing government under Ted Baillieu followed by chaos and last-minute panic under Denis Napthine, with none of the problems fixed and the Abbott shadow over the state. I certainly expect Labor to win Yan Yean, given the local campaign.

    People may be interested in reading some of the comments after the last state election:
    Victorian election live

    After the blast page 11

    After the blast page 20 (21 too).

    The Victorian ALP has just passed its platform for the coming election and it is now posted on the website at:
    Victorian Labor Platform. I have not read the whole platform, but the education chapter, “Skills and Knowledge”, is very good.

    I won’t make seat prediction, but I think it will be a comfortable majority for Labor, and, with a lot of luck, we may even get a Legislative Council in which Labor does not have to depend on the Greens; say, ALP 19, others (DLP/PUP/CA/?) 2, Coalition 16, Greens 3.

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