Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor in South Australia

No signs of relief amid a tough year for South Australia’s Liberals, with Newspoll finding a slump in support for the party after its failure to take power at the March election.

The first state Newspoll result for South Australia suggests that the Liberal defeat and its aftermath has taken a heavy toll on its public support, which has benefited Labor only indirectly. The poll has the Liberal primary vote at 36%, compared with 44.8% that failed to win it a majority at the election. Labor’s 34% is also down on its 35.8% at the election, and the Greens are steady on 9%. It follows that a large share of the vote has drifted to “others”, which has all but doubled from 10.6% to 21% (and which may include a point or two for the Nationals). Labor’s lead of 51-49 compares with a 53.0-47.0 election result in favour of Liberal, keeping in mind that next year’s electoral redistribution is sure to be conducted with a view to reining back Labor. Jay Weatherill has widened his lead over Steven Marshall as preferred premier, up from 43-37 pre-election to 45-30.

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.

24 comments on “Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor in South Australia”

  1. Pretty typical victory-bounce sort of polling here. Might get a more meaningful idea of how things have settled in another 6 months.

  2. It will be interesting to see how this term unfolds. Approaching the last election I thought Labor had run out of ideas and would surely lose. The Liberals clearly thought the same and proceeded to run one of the dullest campaigns in memory, and lost.

    Since the election Weatherall has made some genuine attempts to reform the lumbering elephant that is the South Australian public service. Not before time. Economic events (Holden, Olympic Dam, submarines) have not been kind, but none that are the fault of the State government.

    Overall Weatherall has proven better than I expected, though there is still not much other talent or brains in the Labor cabinet. Weatherall may reform the public service, but can he reform SA Labor?

  3. Table
    [Newspoll shows SA Labor surging ahead on force of budget backlash
    The Australian
    September 29, 2014 12:00AM

    LABOR in South Australia has consolidated its unlikely election win, as it opens up a lead in Newspoll for the first time in five years.

    In the first major opinion poll since the March state election, Labor has edged ahead on a two-party-preferred basis to be leading the Liberal Party 51 per cent to 49 per cent.

    Labor’s primary vote has remained steady, but a sharp drop in the Liberal Party’s primary support from 45 per cent to 36 per cent has allowed Labor to take the lead on preferences.]

  4. Looks like more of a defeat dip than a victory bounce, it’s the crash in the Lib vote driving the change. 2PP is not meaningful when gauging public support for parties, it’s only really helpful to election analysts in calculating who’ll win. Let’s not give the number undue credit.
    This should not be characterised as a Labor bounce for the simple reason that Labor has less public support than in the last reading.

  5. Dumb Dumbs anti Labor sentiment is subsiding across Australia as his inquisition reigns down upon us and the reality of the scam ( with Gillards assistance) he pulled on the Australian voters becomes all to apparent.
    Given the reaction to his Tea Party policies in the USA this Tea Party LNP is headed for long spells in opposition.
    Their policies DON’T WORK.

  6. Yes, “defeat dip” is better. All the same I take that massive figure for Others with a very large grain of salt indeed and suspect it conceals substantial soft primary support for both majors.

  7. There is no 1-2% for Nationals. About 0.4% would be a fair guess at Nationals support in SA. Quite a bit could be Xenophon voters. The Others vote seems to demonstrate rather than conceal soft support for majors.

  8. There would be a fair backlash against the Federal Libs in this.

    Living in SA, all we’ve had from the new Government is the loss of Holden, now a huge blow if the submarines go as well.

    Apart from that, Weatherill is generally seen as a decent bloke and Marshall as a whiner with not much talent.

    The voters here would elect the Libs otherwise, after 16 years of ALP by the next election.

    This far out, the poll isn’t worth much for who will be the next government, but says plenty about Steven Marshall, IMO.

  9. This is actually a big surprise. If I was being generous to Labor, I would’ve predicted no lower than 52-48 to the Libs.

    Considering that SA Labor probably haven’t led a state poll since the 2010 election, this is a massive shift.

    The people on this thread are probably right about causes. In particular, the Federal Libs being a drag on their state counterparts. All I know is that Weatherill has been really clever in making sure that, every time some economic bad news comes out (such as the submarine news) that it’s made clear that it’s an Abbott decision. This means economic bad news has started becoming associated with the federal government, not the state government – especially as Weatherill has made sure people can see he is doing whatever it takes to fix problems, with some big ideas, I add.

    Secondly, Marshall’s attempt at mimicking Abbott by being a negative, small-target is failing. All it’s done is made him invisible for the most part and, when he is visible, he looks like he’s desperate to find a negative in something. As far as I am concerned, he’s been a dead man walking since losing the unlosable election and poll numbers like these just add to that perception.

    Probably the only thing saving his job is the fact that it’s hard to find anybody in that party who could succeed him. In fact, their best shot defected. (This is what happens when a party just keeps the same dozen old farts around forever and just shuffles the front bench positions between them.)

    Anyway, sorry to go on about the Libs but a big factor of their polling malaise is their own doing. They had two golden opportunities to badly wound the Government and make ministers resign in the last 6 months and they squandered both of them. Their vision seems to be a cross between “free market, neoliberal economics will make this state grow because they will” and “Let’s go back to the good ol’ days of the 90s” (Compounded by them recycling Rob Lucas, one of SA’s most inept Treasurers, as their Treasury spokesperson) – two messages that have little appeal to a state (or mainly a metropolitan area) that wants to grow and does want to modernise but wants a government that has practical ideas on how to do it, not just some vague free market philosophy.

  10. Carey Moore
    Current LNP policies are not free market capitalist policies. I doubt the LNP would know anything about free market capitalism.
    The LNPs principle objective is to make their supporters rich by what ever means possible and that largely includes rigging the Australian Economy.

  11. That “Others” figure has to make you wonder what would happen if Nick Xenophon decided to form his own full-fledged party to run candidates across the board at the state level.

    I reckon they’d have a good shot at getting a sizable chunk of the vote, though the extent to which that would actually translate into seats would be hampered by the single-member nature of Australia’s electorates (outside of TAS and the ACT).

  12. If only there was the political will to shift to proportional representation. These arbitrary geographic divisions may produce fun election nights, but they’re really not much use in a democratic sense. Australian politics is divided on party lines, not by streets and rivers. Anyway if we really wanted stable majorities we’d have just one seat in the house of reps, winner takes all.

    I hope we get full representation in my lifetime.

  13. That would be truly fascinating if it happened Arrnea, but I doubt he’d risk it. Right now his popularity makes him nearly untouchable by the majors, and his focus on the upper house means he’s little threat to them. They seem to have a policy of live and let live at the moment, in fact Weatherill joined Xenophon for a major Holden-themed press conference not too long ago, probably to their mutual benefit.

  14. [“Federal Cuts to Schools.
    The federal government is cutting $3335 to SA schools.”]

    That’s part of an ad that is running on the Port Adelaide forum at Big Footy a minute ago and has been up for some weeks.
    I presume its from SA Labor government and I further presume its at the Crows forum and maybe similar at other sites.

    Very clever, probably quite cheap and I reckon probably quite effective in getting out the message as referred to by Carey Moore at #10 above.

  15. The Libs are blaming Abbott for this poll but I’m not so sure.

    Things in SA are pretty dire with Roxby, the subs and auto industry.

    Labor has continual disasters on it’s hands with health, education and family services. All three departments are basket cases.

    But Marshall just can’t cut through. Weatherill has that earnest, browbeaten, dogged look where at least you think he cares that everything is so bad.

    Marshall looks like a tool who is only jumping on bad news with glee rather than genuine concern.

    I’m not sure he’ll make it to the next election.

  16. Have the Libs decided on their candidate for Davenport yet? Good opportunity to parachute a decent leader in (although you know factionalism will kill that idea and it will be some Evans hack that Chapman will oppose going to the top)

  17. The SA Libs are desperate for some new blood but they keep trotting out the same old tired hacks in the safe seats and nominating hard right factional goons in the marginals.

    No wonder Labor keep sandbagging their seats, the Libs are more interested in maintaining their pure Tea Party ideology than presenting an electable, talented team of candidates.

  18. And, on a personal note, let me express my sadness on his passing. He was a principled politician and one of the best Liberal politicians when he was in the party.

    Had he supported the Libs to take government this year, my opinion of him would be no less.

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