Victorian election: highlights of week one

Introducing a Victorian state election poll aggregate, along with a quick-and-dirty guide to electoral developments from the first week of the campaign.

With three weeks to go until Victoria’s November 29 state election, I have finally got my act together to put a poll aggregation up, which you can find on the sidebar. Whereas the federal BludgerTrack purports to improve upon aggregated polling through bias adjustments based on historical performance, this really is just a poll aggregate, except to the extent that historical performance is used to determine the weight the various pollsters carry in the model. Had historically based bias adjustment been used, the Greens vote would be coming in quite a bit lower. The seat projection, which presently has Labor on 50 and the Coalition on 38, is determined as it is in the federal BludgerTrack – by calculating two-party win probabilities for every seat based on the size of the overall swing and specific seat-level factors such as the effect of retiring members, and determining aggregate seat totals by adding together the probabilities. The model assumes that all 88 seats will again be won by the major parties.

I will try, but probably fail, to update this each time a new poll comes in, which will probably be quite often. Ipsos at least is currently in the field, and we should be getting a second result from it over the coming days. Here’s some of the rest of what’s been happening:

John Ferguson of The Australian reports that internal polling has “hardheads from both major parties” expecting Labor to win the Frankston line trio of Bentleigh, Mordialloc and Carrum. Liberal polling is nonetheless said to be “better than it expected” in Frankston – although earlier in the week the same reporter related that the party “expects to fail” in the seat, and is hoping for a compensating gain in Cranbourne. Labor’s polling is also said to show it on track to retain its own marginals of Eltham and Yan Yean in Melbourne’s north-east, where Labor is respectively handicapped by the retirement of a sitting member and an unfavourable redistribution.

The Age reports that a Greens-commissioned Lonergan Research automated phone poll, targeting 400 voters per seat, shows them leading in Melbourne (40% to Greens candidate Ellen Sandell and 30% to Labor member Jennifer Kanis, a 53-47 lead to the Greens based on 2010 preference flows) and Richmond (39% to Greens candidate Kathleen Maltzahn and 29% to Labor member Dick Wynne, for a 54-46 two-party lead).

• Clive Palmer will today unveil his candidates for the eight Legislative Council regions, having hitherto kept their identity close to his chest. Palmer United will not be fielding candidates in the lower house.

• Tex Perkins, veteran frontman of The Cruel Sea, The Beasts of Bourbon and Thug, will run as an independent in Albert Park as part of a campaign to restore St Kilda’s Palais Theatre.

• Daniel Andrews has rejected the notion that Labor will enter a preference deal with the Greens, scoring helpful headlines ahead of the Liberals’ likely confirmation that they will again place the Greens last, which proved the tactical masterstroke of their 2010 campaign. This presumably means that Labor will behave much as it did in 2010, when it placed the Country Alliance ahead of the Greens on two of its three regional upper house tickets and the Sex Party ahead in Northern Metropolitan region.

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.

85 comments on “Victorian election: highlights of week one”

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  1. Labor and the Liberals are being very careful not to let a third player burst onto the scene and upset their comfortable duopoly. The Greens saw it coming this time and seem to have incorporated it into their talking points and polling and materials.

    I don’t imagine that Labor’s idiotic deal with the wacky right-wing over the prospect of a progressive alliance will go down well in the Green target seats, nor should it. The Greens are going to have balance of power control in many states and territories on and off for a long time to come, might be time for the majors to get used to it and stop poisoning the well they *know* they’re going to have to drink from one day.

  2. I suspect it is hard to not give a toss when they’re repeatedly elected kingmakers and/or the public give them a veto over contentious legislation.

    Hung parliaments with Greens in the balance can resolve in one of four ways:
    Labor governs with Greens support (By far most likely)
    Liberals govern with Greens support
    Labor and Liberals govern together
    Or tell the voters they got it wrong and go back to an election

    Any major who succeeds in making the Green brand toxic (Which doesn’t seem to have much effect on their support base) is only signing their own minority death warrant.

    Learn to deal with the Greens or continue to be tortured as your attacks come back to haunt you.

  3. Er, sorry, are we not allowed to talk about politics on this page?

    Some of us see politics as a vehicle to improve the world we live in, I make absolutely no apology for being enthusiastic about that prospect and encouraging the incumbents to get involved in the effort.

    Not going to happen while they throw hissy fits about having to share their toys.

  4. Labor’s scared of the Greens. Libs hate them more than Labor because they’re more hostile to the Libs’ interests.

    I don’t necessarily agree that it’s bad for Labor to attack them in campaigns, though – they’re still the enemy, they’re still competing for votes, they’re still a threat to take seats from potential Labor members. You can’t expect to be a major player in the political arena (and the Greens are) and still get ignored by the major two parties.

    What’s stupid is when either party claims they will absolutely not, under any circumstances, work with the Greens post election. Because that’s either setting yourself up as potentially breaking a promise, or potentially denying the electorate the opportunity to have their votes reflected in government (assuming no majorty; obviously if either party wins a majority or workable non-Green minority in both houses, that’s fine). And neither of those two situations goes down particularly well with voters, I suspect.

    Some Greens seem to want it both ways – Labor taking them seriously as an ally but still playing nice in election campaigns. And that’s annoying, absolutely. I think the Greens are here to stay and I think that’s a good thing but that means the kid gloves are off – no more Mr. Nice Major Party.

  5. It’s funny how Greens supporters like yourselves are quick to straw-man anybody who dares oppose them.

    Where did I say you couldn’t talk about politics here?

  6. I quite agree teh_drewski, I have no issue with Labor competing with the Greens, in fact we need that competition to keep progressive issues on the agenda and progressive electorates in the spotlight. My problem is exactly what you describe: Labor’s downright silly promise that they’d rather see a Liberal government than lead a shared progressive one.

    Labor and the Greens should both be mature enough to compete for progressive votes without salting the soil for progressive government.

    Bobalot: That was a sarcastic rhetorical question. Thanks for playing.

  7. What’s this notion called “progressive issues”. AFAI can see this election is about the same issues that every election is fought on. Health, Education, Public Transport, Policing and the economy.

    The Greens are fringe dwellers forever doomed to hover in the shadows. They don’t want to solutions because that would undermine their reason for existence. Giving them the balance of power is a sure recipe for grid lock.

    But thanks for all the preferences.

  8. Looking at the primary vote graph William, the lib primary was on the slide consistently from about May last year. Whilst a little bit of that slide appears to have been absorbed the ALP and Green vote, it doesn’t explain it all. Do you know of anywhere else liberals have been parking their votes off the top of your head? is ‘others’ also on the rise?

  9. “Hung parliaments with Greens in the balance can resolve in one of four ways”

    Tasmania 1992 – Liberals win after one term of Labor/Green accord
    Federal 2013 – Coalition win after one term of Labor/Green accord

    So with probably only one term you would want to go and do things that lasted I suppose.

  10. 15

    ACT 2012, ALP minority supported by the Greens in exchange for concessions, followed by ALP supported by the Greens in exchange for concessions including a ministry.

    Tasmania 1992 was the only time a first term government reliant on the Greens has been defeated.

    Minority first term governments, like Bracks in 2002 and several other state governments around the same time, often go on to a majority.

  11. Seven News Melbourne reports Essential seat polling for Trades Hall that shows Labor ahead in Bellarine, Frankston and Mordialloc.

    Frankston 54-46

    Bellarine 55-45

    Mordialloc – sorry, missed exact figures!

  12. Thanks for the poll aggregate William. It puts the last few year in perspective. The only really good period of polling for the Libs has been the Napthine’s honeymoon period and ,even then, he only just sneaked into an election winning position for maybe a couple of months.

    The fixed term timing has actually worked well for the ALP I think.

  13. Essential VTHC poll, ALP leading in 3 seats. Bellarine 55-45, Frankston 54-46, Mordialloc 52-48

    [GhostWhoVotes @GhostWhoVotes · 2m 2 minutes ago
    #Essential Poll VIC Seat of Mordialloc Primaries: ALP 39 (+1) LIB 41 (-5) GRN 13 (+3) #vicvotes #auspol

    GhostWhoVotes @GhostWhoVotes · 2m 2 minutes ago
    #Essential Poll VIC Seat of Mordialloc 2PP: ALP 52 (+3) LIB 48 (-3) #vicvotes #auspol

    GhostWhoVotes @GhostWhoVotes · 3m 3 minutes ago
    #Essential Poll VIC Seat of Frankston Primaries: ALP 40 (+2) LIB 35 (-10) GRN 11 (+2) Other 15 (+7) #vicvotes #auspol

    GhostWhoVotes @GhostWhoVotes · 3m 3 minutes ago
    #Essential Poll VIC Seat of Frankston 2PP: ALP 54 (+4) LIB 46 (-4) #vicvotes #auspol

    GhostWhoVotes @GhostWhoVotes · 3m 3 minutes ago
    #Essential Poll VIC Seat of Bellarine Primaries: ALP 41 (+3) LIB 37 (-10) GRN 13 (+4) #vicvotes #auspol

    GhostWhoVotes @GhostWhoVotes · 4m 4 minutes ago
    #Essential Poll VIC Seat of Bellarine 2PP: ALP 55 (+7) LIB 45 (-7) #vicvotes #auspol]

  14. Essential Poll Victoria – Seats of Bellarine, Frankston and Mordialloc

    Napthine and Victorian Govt on job creation:
    Bellarine: Good 39 Poor 53
    Frankston: Good 40 Poor 51
    Mordialloc: Good 40 Poor 49

  15. Leroy Lynch@26

    Essential VTHC poll, ALP leading in 3 seats. Bellarine 55-45, Frankston 54-46, Mordialloc 52-48

    Averaging across the three seats (I presume the MOE in any single seat is pretty high) i make that a 5.1% swing in the marginals.

    Which is consistent with the 53/47 polling aggregate.

  16. I think it’s better that both Labor and Greens have a declared hand of no confirmed preferences as the Libs will play this card to no end if they do.

    I feel deals should only come into play on forming stable governments, after elections and not before.

  17. Heard the Liberals promising the same trains they promised 4 years ago. I suppose that is the good thing about unfulfilled promises – you can promise them again!

    Raaraa – I agree – last time the late “Greens last” card played by Baillieu and Ryan was probably the key decision in their 45-43 win. So what will they play now? I think from an ad I saw tonight it is full-on attack on Andrews.

    Will be interesting to see – if Colaition start looking desperate this is when you get “loose cannons” fring off in all directions as they try to at least save their own seats.

  18. The sure mark of the VIC LNP contemplating its defeat is personal attacks on the Leader of the ALP Opposition. I hope they go all out for whilst Dan Andrews is not well known yet, he’s certainly not disliked, and is gradually building a good profile.

  19. 30

    The anti-Green preference decision was so effective mainly because it was a protest vote getting exercise to get those unhappy with Brumby and the ALP to vote Coalition rather than Green.

    Energising all the anti-Green voters in the Coalition base also helped and it also looked somewhat principled.

  20. Rossmore@31

    The sure mark of the VIC LNP contemplating its defeat is personal attacks on the Leader of the ALP Opposition. I hope they go all out for whilst Dan Andrews is not well known yet, he’s certainly not disliked, and is gradually building a good profile.

    Yeah, going back I think the Libs thought they could pull things back my taking desal and myki followed by myki and desal. Just about every Lib I’ve heard has squeezed these into their answers in the last six months. It hasn’t worked, in fact the gap has got away from them over the last few months.

    I suspect they will go all guns blazing at Andrews, but he does come across as a decent bloke, so it may be counter-productive.

  21. Finishing some paperwork, then going to bed and looking forward to a massive pro-Coalition banner headline and photo on the cover of the Herald-Sun!

    Actually the Herald-Sun’s campaign is probably better and more effective than the Coalition. Maybe they should just merge.

  22. Tom the first and best@22

    The Accord had also fallen apart and the Tasmanian election in 1992 was caused by a vote of no confidence.

    The threat rather than the execution. The Greens, having left the Accord some time earlier, made it clear that if resource security legislation for the forest industries was passed then they would support the bringing down of the government. The Liberals very temporarily granted confidence so that Labor could pass the legislation on the understanding that an election would be called.

  23. [Yeah, going back I think the Libs thought they could pull things back my taking desal and myki followed by myki and desal. Just about every Lib I’ve heard has squeezed these into their answers in the last six months. It hasn’t worked, in fact the gap has got away from them over the last few months.]

    Admittedly there’s not much they can do about the Desal but I reckon actually running it will bring the cost of water down however the Libs would be hard pushed to make any reasons to employ more public servants to run it.

    With the myki though it’s a bit rich criticising it when they could have done more to improve it instead of dumbing the smart card system down into a simple one size fits all purpose use.

    [The anti-Green preference decision was so effective mainly because it was a protest vote getting exercise to get those unhappy with Brumby and the ALP to vote Coalition rather than Green.]

    It’s rather silly on the Coalition’s reasoning considering there are more parties than just the ALP-Greens-Coalition parties. A true protest vote would consist of voting for any independents or any other parties to be effective.

  24. Raaraa

    You picked the cover of the Herald-Sun!

    Myki – it’s in place and working. People are mostly more concerned with the deficiencies in the transport system, not the cards.

    Desal – I think with current drought, hot summer, and looming El Nino the realisation that there is “Plan B” that will prevent the severe water restrictions last time around possibly outweigh any lingering angst in the true swining voters.

    In general people do think more of the present and future than the past when thinking about their families and their lives. Politicians don’t always see this. I am sure in the USA recently that many who signed up to “Obamacare” (and are happy they did) didn’t feel any compunction to go and vote for the Democrats to “thank” them. They have just accepted the change and moved on.

  25. the Hun is shameless – expect daily front page headlines on myki, desal, unions, and Dennis’ ‘vision'(I heard him today with Jon Faine – he could not name a project they’d ‘done’ that was not started by labor, and sounded like the biggest ‘gunna’ of all time – I think Labor and Greens could draw people’s attention to ‘Gunna’ Napthine – he is promising stuff they promises 4 years ago and haven’t moved on. I think labor could point out that he’s like one of those sad blokes or dodgy tradies you meet who is always ‘gunna’ do stuff, but never deliver). Can I place a bet please? -if the polls still show napthine is cooked on the eve of the election, the Hun – after years of partisan carping – will endorse labor in their final editorial and then claim this as proof of impartiality in the future. they will then immediately turn on the labor government, and push for the taliban to take over the vic libs.

  26. Napthine may be the first (not last) victim of the Abbott government’s appalling record high unemployment.

    Among other state based factors of course.

  27. 43

    I bet the Liberals are wishing that Bracks had not fixed the terms, so they could have gone to an election earlier (before the budget).

    The Constitutional reforms by the previous government, apart from accidentally causing there not to be a redistribution before the 2010 election (probably giving the Coalition a Legislative Council majority), have not been very good to this government. Both the fixed terms and the Legislative Council system of regions are of disbenefit to this government. The Legislative Council regions mean that the Coalition have to avoid neglecting the West and North of Melbourne, when in government, because they need then for a majority in the Legislative Council unless they win big.

  28. Speaking of the Desal, my other half and I just had a discussion over the water bill.

    Nevermind the Federal government making a big deal about the gas and electricity. When it comes to value for money, you really lose out to water.

    Most of it came from the daily changers. When I broke down the bill:

    Approx $50 came from the usage of water and sewage disposal.
    Approx $150 came from daily supply cost of the above.
    The remaining $30 came from council parks and drainage, etc.

    I remembered when I just moved in, and I had a settlement period plus some time to do renovations, so I ended up using $0 for just water usage. The bill came up to $100 or so just on supply and administration costs.

    There’s really no incentive for consumers to cut down on water when most of it come from daily charges. I wonder if there’s any way for governments to bring down this cost.

  29. Interesting Facebook post on Daniel Andrews from the ALP candidate for Frankston, Paul Edbrooke:

    I’ve taken a couple of minutes just to tell you how I first met Dan which will illustrate why I hold him in such high regard as a leader. In the emergency services industry, we respond to absolute chaotic situations on a daily basis and our job is to fix them – in doing so you learn a lot about the people you work with and encounter. The Hazelwood mine fire was one of these incidents and was the first time I personally met Dan Andrews.

    It was at a change of shift early one morning that I briefly met him. Conversely to previous politicians visits, which included helicopter sight-seeing, media and little else, Dan arrived with very little entourage and no press. He immediately walked over to a tent full of around 100 firefighters and ambulance crews, some who had worked the past 14 hours like my own crew and who were still black from the filthy conditions, others ready to commence their next 10 hour day in the mine.

    To give context, these firefighters were working in filthy atmospheres all day and night whilst ironically fighting for the right to keep their EBA and safe working conditions and have presumptive cancer legislation passed (taking the onus off sick and dying firefighters and their families fighting for compensation- certain types of cancer have been proven to be caused by firefighting). You could literally hear a pin drop as Dan entered a room full of some very tired and opinionated firefighters.

    Dan spoke with respect to many people in that room and I listened carefully to his questions. ‘Are you being looked after?’, ‘Are the strategies we are using working?’, ‘Is there anything else we should be doing to help you?’, ‘What are your safety concerns?’.

    Some might even say it was a brave move for any politician to enter this tent full of people who had been working on this fire for weeks with little input from the current government, and involved in stalled EBA negotiations. Dan Andrews won the respect of all the people in that tent, people he had never met before that day, including myself.

    I was extremely impressed, that the Leader of the Opposition cared enough to ask the people actually doing the work what they thought. It was not long after this that the Labor Party announced its support of Presumptive cancer legislation for firefighters, something which the Liberal government had rejected four times already in parliament based on ‘lack of evidence’. It is with great scepticism that I note three days after unfavourable polls where published, with no further research presented, last week the Liberal government announced their support of this legislation.

    One ‘leader’ flys in, finds the nearest big red truck to be pictured in front of, feigning control of a situation not under control, and flys out, whilst Dan goes to the ‘coal’ face and finds out how to fix the issue, goes back to parliament and helps makes it happen. Chalk and cheese.
    And that ladies and gentlemen, is the stark difference between someone who goes to water when there is an crisis and someone who leads, even in opposition, and takes action for the people of Morwell and the state of Victoria.

    After four years of this government, in a time were we have unemployment, ambulance, fire, and health crisis’ and still no plans to solve them, I know who I’d rather have working for me in government.

    And of course, the choice is yours on the 29th of November.

  30. From The Age online:

    A plan to build 75 new trains for Melbourne, 75 new E-class trams and 24 new V/Locity rail cars for V/Line will be promised at the Napthine Government’s campaign launch in Ballarat on Sunday.

    Transport Minister Terry Mulder said the 75 newly pledged suburban trains will come into service between 2019 and 2026.

    But Labor labelled the promises “a con” and pointed to broken promises on public transport made by the Coalition at 2010 election – including a pledge to put 10 new trams on the tracks. None of these trams were delivered.

    “And they specifically promised they were not going to build the East West Link last time. But they did promise a Doncaster rail line, Avalon rail and 40 new trains,” Opposition scrutiny of government spokesman Martin Pakula said.

    “How can any of their commitments be believed this time?”

    The numbers promised by Dr Napthine in 2014 are bigger than what was promised last time – $3.9 billion on Sunday versus $1.4 billion in 2010.

    In 2010, to applause from the gathered Liberal Party faithful at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, then Liberal leader Ted Baillieu pledged that, “over two terms we will purchase 40 new six-carriage trains”.

    Only seven of those trains have been delivered thus far, with eight more to come shortly.

    The 25 remaining promised new trains are now tied up in the increasingly messy public-private partnership to revamp the Cranbourne-Pakenham line.

    That revamp has been delayed as the government and the consortium that approached it with an unsolicited bid try to work out the detail.

    Mr Baillieu also pledged the trains his Coalition government promised would be “largely manufactured in Victoria” – a promise to be made by Dr Napthine on Sunday as well.

    The trains ordered in future would be required to have a minimum of 50 per cent local content, up from the current 30 per cent minimum.

    And, in a desperate bid to stem outrage over the possible closure of Ballarat’s Alstom train-assembly plant, the Coalition will on Sunday announce a further immediate order of 12 X’Trapolis trains.

    Alstom warned last month its plant there could shut, taking at least 70 jobs with it, because it had no work booked after next June.

    Read more:

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