Newspoll: 55-45 to Labor in Victoria

The latest Newspoll bi-monthly state result for Victoria finds Denis Napthine’s government facing a daunting task as the clock ticks down on the November 29 election.

Last week Galaxy had it at 52-48, but now we have Newspoll recording Labor with a much bigger lead on state voting intention in Victoria, at 55-45 on two-party preferred and 37% to 35% on the primary vote, the former figure being juiced up by the Greens’ 16%. This reflects a one-point shift to Labor from the May-June result, with primary vote shifts of two points away from the Coalition (Liberal and the Nationals down a point each to 32% and 3%) and one point away from Labor, with the Greens unchanged. It should be noted that this poll was conducted progressively over the two months of July and August, and is thus less timely than the Galaxy result. The poll also finds Denis Napthine down four points on approval to 40% and up three on disapproval to 43%. More to follow.

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.

43 comments on “Newspoll: 55-45 to Labor in Victoria”

    [Denis Napthine facing electoral wipeout as support crashes: Newspoll
    The Australian August 25, 2014 12:00AM
    John Ferguson
    Victorian Political Editor

    DENIS Napthine’s Coalition faces being swept from power as a clear majority of voters reject his government and plunge the Victorian Premier into negative leadership territory for the first time, according to the latest Newspoll.

    Newspoll reveals the Liberal Party’s primary vote is now just 32 per cent and the combined ­Coalition figure is languishing at 35 per cent — nearly 10 points below the 2010 general poll.]


  2. Absolute shocker for the incumbents, and I doubt it is or even was really quite that bad but this poll result could be quite damaging in itself. I’ve added an update to my Vic + Qld commentary at:

    I was really starting to wonder if Napthine could still pull off what in historic terms would be a remarkable win but this poll suggests they really are still well behind and in big trouble. Andrews’ figures remain lacklustre but as long as he avoids major scandal it’s irrelevant.

  3. The Age today revives the stories about right-wingers in the Libs and the problems in this for Napthine

    The Family Life conferece here this week couldn’t come at a worse time for him..with some imported right-wing nutters
    The media will have a feast of nonsense
    Finn/Andrews(Federal)and the rest of the Tea Party Libs in Melb will al;l be attending and there will be a strong anti-gay/anti-feminist message trickling out…and some of Napthines ministers will be there too

    Bad time for Napthine

  4. Kevin Bonham says there is “a strong case that Galaxy now deserves to be regarded as the most reliable pollster of basic voting intention in the country”. I agree with him entirely, and have no doubt most other serious observers would do the same.

  5. Even allowing for MOE, this spells the end of the Lib government. With Shaw and unpopular projects like the EW link still being pursued, I find it hard to see what Napthine can say or do between now and election day to turn it around. Nor will the economic news get any better thanks to the federal budget mess.

  6. The prefered premier (PP) has Napthine 10% higher than Andrews, which Libs might try and take comfort in, however if you look at the trend;
    – Andrews highest PP result,
    – Close to Napthines lowest PP result,
    – Closest the margin has been between the two.

  7. The Coalition snuck into power 4 years ago with an extra seat, they supplied the Speaker and Geoff Shaw turned rogue on them 3 years ago after he was investigated for fraud.

    For the past 12 months the Coalition has retained government by the simple device of the Speaker banning opposition members so the opposition always have less members sitting in the chamber.

    Not my idea of democracy

  8. William, regarding pollsters, i like watching polls to try and predict trends rather than see who is winning at any one time. For me Morgan is the clear winner because they bring out results every fortnight without fail.
    House bias isnt a significant problem when looking for trends, as long as its consistent it doesnt really matter.

  9. AS Ive said many times: the Napthine government is screwed.


    And following on from this: the ALP has to disavow the East-West link. Do exactly has you did at the Lilydale campus of Swinburne, give fair warning that the incoming government will not approve.

    NOBODY wants the east-west link. Its has bugger all support. You’d have to tie a chop around its neck to get a dog to play with it.

    Chuck it in the bin where it belongs: give fair warning that the opposition does not support it. It is NOT a sovereign risk situation when you give fair notice before contracts are signed.

  10. * and that is especially so when everyone knows the incumbent government is about to lose office.

    And trust me: VIC developers all know this. Thats why they are currently clogging up the system in an unseemly rush to have new developments approved while their LNP mates are still hogging the govt benches.

  11. If Vic Labor firmly committed to scrapping the east-west road tunnel in favour of real public transport improvements throughout the sate, it would romp in. According to the latest poll, only about 25% of people favour the tunnel over PT upgrades.

    Labor heavyweight Tim Pallas obviously wants the tunnel to go ahead and is performing contortions worthy of Harry Houdini to try to justify his claim that Labor can’t break any contract signed prior to the election to build the thing.

  12. Yeah well everyone get on the blower to your local ALP candidate and tell them they east-west link is a dog.

    Its to late for Napthine, but punters can still vote GRN instead of ALP. And btw check this poll – GRNs on 16%.

    No really – 16%.

    What is that telling you VIC ALP? Ill bust it down for you: thats a massively inflated GRN vote, because people HATE the east-west link and are sending a message via the ONLY party that has a clear position on opposing it.

    Hello? Wouldn’t you rather romp it in? Screw Pallas.

  13. [The Labor opposition is as committed to the project as the government, but it pretends to oppose it because it realises that if it openly supports the link, it stands a good chance of losing up to three inner-Melbourne seats directly affected by the road to the Greens. Labor has adopted the position that if it wins the election, it won’t cancel the link if the contract is signed by the Coalition government before the election.

    Labor’s Treasury spokesman, Tim Pallas, originally said Labor in government would not cancel the contract because to do so would involve “sovereign risk”. When it was pointed out that this was incorrect, Pallas claimed a government could not break a signed contract because it would lead to heavy financial losses if the state lost its triple-A credit rating as a result. He was then forced to retreat from this canard. The loss, in the unlikely event of a credit rating downgrade, would be trivial compared with the cost of proceeding with the link and the near certainty of a credit downgrade if the road is built.]

    Read more:

  14. WOW! The east-west link claims it will save 27 mins – on a 22 min journey. extraordinary! 😛

    [According to government ministers, traffic-modelling experts predict East West Link commuters will save 27 minutes, on average, on a morning peak journey. Thinking this looked a bit rich, the former Greens mayor of Yarra, community activist Alison Clarke, decided to time her journey across the existing roads during the morning peak and found it took about 22 minutes. She videoed her journey with a clock on the dashboard to prove it. It would appear that the time savings were dreamt up by the government’s spin doctors.]

    Read more:

  15. The incoming Labor government’s first order of business will be to set up border checks and processing centres for the NSW and Qld refugees wanting to live in a progressive society. An independence/secession vote is not out of the question if abbott stays in power.

  16. Lefty e re Tunnnel

    Kenneth today’s Age… looks at the large Green votein Newspoll and the Tunnel question in Melb
    He sees the Greens as being alone in having a sensible policy on this matter

  17. lefty e

    Read more:

    From a link within the comments,

    It looks like Transurban will finance the upgrade of the Bell Street Exit.

    Someone should ask the Napthine government on whether this will result in the sections around Bell St being made into a tollway.

  18. lefty e @ 15

    Yeah well everyone get on the blower to your local ALP candidate and tell them they east-west link is a dog.

    Even better – I’ve said that personally to the Labor candidates three local seats. Two of them agreed; one was non-commital.

  19. Tom,

    I’ll admit I’m not totally across inner-city thinking and political developments, having spent all my life in the outer east or beyond the urban boundary (it’s also barely talked about east of Blackburn, in my experience). That is possible and I do think Napthine signing the contracts with onerous penalties in place for breaking them is quite likely so if Labor comes out against it, they have a multi-billion dollar white elephant they have to deal with.

    Scrapping EW Link is probably also something (a) certain union/s may not appreciate and may be applying pressure behind the scenes. The intelligent thing for said union would be to back off considering the trouble Andrews has with his association with them to begin with and I imagine bargains are being done with regard to Labor’s own jobs agenda. I foresee Labor committing to do what it can to make sure it doesn’t go ahead which – without wishing to start a protracted argument – is the only sensible approach to the issue.

  20. Lefty e,

    [Do exactly has you did at the Lilydale campus of Swinburne, give fair warning that the incoming government will not approve.]

    The ALP got in early and put a “Only Labor will reinstate Lilydale Swinburne” on the intersection of Maroondah Highway and Dorset Road in Croydon as soon as the PUP candidate’s sign went. (Background, that intersection is (apparently) one of the worst in terms of how long you have to wait for a sequence of lights in the state. Quite busy during peak times meaning lots of eyes spending lots of time reading it)

  21. Bugler @ 24

    Scrapping EW Link is probably also something (a) certain union/s may not appreciate and may be applying pressure behind the scenes.

    The Regional Rail Link, flawed as it is, employed 3000 people at its peak. Other public transport projects could do the same.

  22. [William, regarding pollsters, i like watching polls to try and predict trends rather than see who is winning at any one time. For me Morgan is the clear winner because they bring out results every fortnight without fail.
    House bias isnt a significant problem when looking for trends, as long as its consistent it doesnt really matter.]

    The problem with this is that probability theory tells us that pollsters are supposed to have a certain element of inconsistency, owing to sampling error. If they don’t, something may well be up — a charge that has been levelled against Essential Research (though it seems to me this may have changed, as Essential unusually followed the pack when the post-budget bounce happened).

    I’m not sure though if there is an issue with Morgan failing to be “bouncy” enough. The consistency you note may well be a function of its large sample sizes. In which case, you’re well within your rights to regard it as the most interesting poll series, assuming you’re correct that its bias is also consistent, and does not become more evident in certain circumstances than others. On this I’m not so sure, as Morgan’s Labor bias seemed to disappear during the backlash over the carbon tax (this was back when it did face-to-face only, although this is still a big part of Morgan’s result). Although I haven’t looked at it closely enough to say so definitively.

    So far as methods are concerned, Galaxy seems to me to have replaced Newspoll at the top of the tree, because it is supplements its landline polling with samples of mobile phones and, at least in its federal polls, online polling. It will still have a measure of inconsistency relative to Morgan however, because its samples are only half the size (although Morgan achieves this by combining two separate polling periods a week apart, which has problems of its own).

  23. lefty e – I think the other amusing “contortion” is the backsliding when any Liberal member is asked how much the toll will be on this east-west link. Their modelling and business case obviously has the number but they are absolutely sh*t scared that if the “Ten Dollar Toll” becomes public they are even more stuffed. This amount of tunnelling and distance and expense almost certainly means a toll of at least ten dollars to begin with – but this is the toll “that dare not speak its price”!

    It would be hilariously funny if every media interviewer from now until election day started with the question “And so, do you know how much the toll will be on the eats-west link?”. They would try the old “Haven’t read that report yet” tactic but the excuses would wear pretty thin pretty quickly.

  24. [ This reflects a one-point shift to Labor from the May-June result, with primary vote shifts of two points away from the Coalition (Liberal and the Nationals down a point each to 32% and 3%) and one point away from Labor, with the Greens unchanged. ]

    So, the “others” vote is up three points, and manages to turn -1 on primary votes to +1 on 2pp for Labor. Those are some pretty Labor-friendly numbers for minor parties… would that be PUP?

  25. Corio,

    Nonetheless I don’t see why the various unions can’t get behind the so-called “Project 10,000” rather than agitate for the E-W Link rubbish.

    Not being something I follow the minutiae of, I couldn’t tell you if the money not spent on the road will be spent as a part of Project 10,000 or on the (actual, planned) Metro Tunnel, both of which provide more jobs and are better infrastructure investments.

  26. Bugler @ 30

    Of course, Abbott has said he’ll give a few billion of Commonwealth money to build the tunnel (both bits), but he wont release any federal cash at all for public transport projects. So Abbott’s money probably would be withdrawn if the tunnel is canned.

  27. I predict that the Greens will come second in Footscray. There was only a 243 vote gap between them and the Liberals at the final exclusion and the Green vote looks likely to go up and this should be enough to put the Greens in second place, even with a slightly unfavourable redistribution.

  28. Liberal MP Clem Newton-Brown was at Toorak Station this morning. That’s the 3rd consecutive week he’s been there. Also seen the ALP candidate once in that time frame, and the Greens candidate also once.

    I’m guessing everyones internal numbers are showing Prahran being a close race!

  29. 33

    Assuming the Liberals choose to preference ALP over the greens then then Prahran may be primarily determined by who comes third. If the ALP comes third then the greens are a genuine chance. If the Libs come third then the ALP is comfortably home.

    Which is interesting, tactically, for the greens as it means that getting an ALP voter to switch to the greens is more valuable than getting a Lib to do the same.

  30. 35

    It is very unlikely for the Liberals to come third. Their vote is just too high. They will come second or first. The Greens only chance is overtaking the ALP.

  31. 36

    Quite true, I was more making the point that Prahran is a detailed example of the general case that, in cold tactical terms, Green progress is best facilitate by poaching ALP votes rather than Lib votes.

  32. 36

    Votes do not belong to parties, they belong to voters. If a party is continually loosing votes to another party, then it is because the voters think that the party they are changing their vote to is more representative of them. We are a democracy not a feudal society and therefore taking votes is not poaching but electoral competition at work.

    The Greens represent progressive voters and there are few of those voting for the Coalition but many voting for the ALP. That is why the Greens take votes from the ALP, because they better represent the voters who they are taking from the ALP.

  33. The Greens have every chance of coming 2nd in Prahran- Lib will still win though.
    Only seats in play are carrum, mordialloc, frankston, bentleigh, and forest hill. There are a few notionall lib seats so ripon, yan yean, in the mix

  34. 38

    Probably “poaching” is the wrong term – “shift” would be better. Certainly not implying that there is anything wrong with a political party trying to persuade people to change their votes – quite the reverse.

    In Prahran, I think the Green campaign is very energized partly because they are attempting to unseat a conservative. But, as you point out, they first need to poll higher than the ALP, and in that context, shifting an ALP vote moves them more quickly towards objective of winning the seat.


    I’d be pretty surprised if the Greens did managed to come second but the overall progressive vote was still not sufficient to defeat the conservatives.

  35. 39

    Prahran is entirely losable for the Liberals. They only gained the seat in 2010 and the redistribution has cut their margin by moving some of their best bits of the seat into safe Liberal Malvern.


    You have ignored one of my main points, that because the Greens are closer to the ALP than the Liberals politically, the ALP voters are more likely than Liberal voters to switch to the Greens, regardless of where the primary votes are.

    It is possible that the Greens out poll the ALP but the Liberals still win. Remember that the bigger the swing to the ALP in Prahran, the bigger the Greens vote needs to be to overcome the ALP.

  36. the one thing that this poll highlights is apart from the TPP is that the Labor primary vote has not moved an inch. It is the same as it was at the 2010 election. Not all those votes will come back to ALP-
    I would expect Greens to win Melbourne and possibly richmond

  37. 42

    We will have a better idea of what will happen to the ALP and Green votes at the election, in the likely event that the East-West Link contracts are signed before the election, once the contracts are signed and the ALP announces its position on them after that. The ALP announcing it would stick to the contracts and not cancel the project, which is likely to happen, would almost certainly cause a big swing to the Greens and deliver them Melbourne, Richmond, Brunswick and possibly Prahran and Northcote.

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