Fairfax-Ipsos: 56-44 to Labor in Victoria

After talking themselves up over the past few days, another poll finds the Coalition in Victoria still on course for a drubbing – although the poll may be showing its age.

The second Fairfax-Ipsos poll for the Victorian state election campaign is very much like the last, in that it has delivered a shocking headline result for the government (56-44 to Labor, just as before) which turns out on closer inspection to have more to do with minor party and independent flows than anything too radical on the primary vote. Labor has gained two points on the last poll to draw level on the primary vote with the Coalition, who are steady at 39%, with the Greens down a point off an implausibly high reading of 17% last time. If preference flows from the previous election are used, Labor’s lead turns out to be 53-47, just as it was last time. Encouragingly for Labor, Daniel Andrews has gained three points on approval to 40% and is down five on disapproval to 37%, while Denis Napthine is down one on each measure to 46% and 37%. Napthine’s lead as preferred premier has narrowed from 47-38 to 46-37. At some point tomorrow, I’ll do an update of the poll tracker on the sidebar to encompass this result and the Morgan SMS poll that was published earlier in the week.

However, there’s a bit of a fly in the ointment with the Ipsos poll: it was conducted a week ago, from Thursday to Sunday, and for whatever reason The Age sat on the result even as its relevance vanished into the ether. There have been reports over the past day or two of internal polling recording a shift back to the Coalition throughout the present week, and of the Liberal Party being buoyed by the response to the negative advertising blitz it unleashed on Sunday. Whether or not this is actually the case is the burning question of the moment, and to this the poll provides no answer.

In other news

The close of nominations is at noon tomorrow, to be followed by the ballot paper draw. Then at noon on Sunday comes the deadline for submission of group voting tickets for the Legislative Council, which should be published for our perusal later in the day. Antony Green has been keeping score and observers a two-thirds increase in Legislative Council candidacies with more yet to come, apparently maxing out at 20 columns on the Northern Metropolitan ballot paper (small beer though that may be compared with the 44 columns for the Victorian Senate last year).

Yesterday I published a lengthy post of updates which has very quickly been superseded by this one. Rather than let all that work go to waste, I’m repasting the bulk of it below, without taking the effort to turn any of the various references to “today” into “yesterday”.

The Australian today reports that “support for the Napthine government is starting to increase for the first time in many months”, to the extent that “senior Liberal figures believe the most likely outcome at the election will be either a small government majority or a small Labor majority”. This is said to be corroborated by the internal polling of both parties (although the federal Liberals don’t seem to have been CC’d on the memo, with Patricia Karvelas in The Australian reporting yesterday that most consider the government to be headed for defeat).

• Liberal optimism notwithstanding, The Australian’s report today suggests it is recognised that the government continues to face a tough battle in the crucial “sandbelt” seats of Bentleigh, Mordialloc, Carrum and Frankston. However, a more bullish picture of their prospects was provided by a report on Sunday from James Campbell of the Herald-Sun. Labor sources were cited claiming to be ahead in Bentleigh, “but not by so much as you would put down your glasses”. Mordialloc was deemed by both sides to be too close to call, and the Liberals were actively “confident” about Carrum. However, it appeared to be agreed that Labor was ahead in Frankston. For what little it’s likely to be worth to them, Annika Smethurst of the Herald-Sun reports that Geoff Shaw is likely to direct his preferences to the Liberals.

• The election’s secondary metropolitan flashpoint is the outer north-eastern duo of Yan Yean and Eltham, where Labor has respectively been weakened by redistribution and the retirement of a sitting member. According to today’s report in The Australian, the Liberals believe themselves to be competitive or better in both seats. However, James Campbell’s Herald-Sun report said Labor “swears it will hold Yan Yean”, about which the Liberals were “hopeful but not overly” (likewise the case for Cranbourne on Melbourne’s south-eastern fringe).

• The Coalition conducted its campaign launch in Ballarat on Sunday, signalling hopes of snaring not only the western regional seat of Ripon, where redistribution and the retirement of Labor member Joe Helper have placed them in the box seat, but also Wendouree and Buninyong (known pre-redistribution as Ballarat West and Ballarat East). However, a Liberal source cited by James Campbell’s report said “only Ripon is looking likely with the other two ‘looking hard’“.

• James Campbell also reported that “in Geelong both sides think the most likely outcome is no change”, which I take to suggest that Labor will hold Bellarine but fall short in South Barwon.

• In my previous instalment, I related media reports of polling for the Greens by Lonergan Research showing them leading in Melbourne and Richmond. Full results have been published on the party website: here for Melbourne, and here for Richmond.

• Here’s a taste of that negative Liberal advertising – this in relation to Labor’s CFMEU links (and here’s another concerning the Wonthaggi desalination plant, which enjoyed a helpful front page tie-in from the Herald-Sun on Monday). Also, for the sake of balance, a topical item for the Ballarat market from Labor.

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.

72 comments on “Fairfax-Ipsos: 56-44 to Labor in Victoria”

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  1. maybe I’ll start being less pessimistic – as the undecideds come off the fence, Labor’s TPP seems to be rising. The by age demographics should be of real concern to the libs – they’re voters are dying out. I’d love to see a 55-65 split out, as many of the baby boomers of that age group are Whitlamite true believers and former hippies who tend to the left, and post Gough’s death are probably re-invigorated/inspired.

    The Greens vote looks a little high – even for the socialist republic of Victoria, but if people think Labor are a shoo in more people will vote Green and preference Labor.

    better start planning an election party…

  2. Socrates

    And not forgetting that Grocon and the state govt sued the CFMEU during the Myer constrution dispute. The union was fined 1.2 million dollars. Yet Grocon now only have to pay $300,000 for thr death of three young innocent pedestrians.

    I am a little more than disgusted!!

  3. [Just in case Victorian voters need reminding of the attitude of the current Victorain State government towards corporate crime and public safety]

    yes – imagine the rigour that would have been applied (and Hun hysteria) had unions had some responsibility for this.

  4. SF 50:

    “if people think Labor are a shoo in more people will vote Green and preference Labor’.

    They might also vote Labor for the lower house, but Liberal for the Council. The puzzling Liberal campaigning in safe seats could be about the Council.

    A spoiler strategy would be to ensure that the Green tail wags the Labor Government through the Council numbers, saddling it with unpopular policies:

    “Green Police, ma’am. Turn on your hearing aid. We have a warrant for the arrest of your – cat.”

  5. Corio @ 48.

    Elizabeth Miller (Bentleigh) walking out on a candidate’s forum (effectively hoisting the white flag) puts paid to the Liberal’s claim that Bentleigh, Mordialloc, Carrum and Frankston are in play. I reckon these are all GAWN and the Liberals are just talking themselves up to suggest that they are still in the game.

    Incidentally, it was Lorraine Wreford’s (Member for Mordialloc) whose son was implicated in the drug debt / shooting affair back in 2011. Eight shot were fired into her home / car from a sawn-off rifle – allegedly because her son owed $5000 of drug money to the shooter. Wreford didn’t report the incident for many hours because apparently she didn’t hear any of the shots due to the bad weather that night.

    Eight shots from an unmuzzled rifle at 5 in the morning, and didn’t hear a single one? Really?

    Liberals really do have selective hearing don’t they? Can’t hear gunshots in the night, but they can hear the rustle of a brown paper bag full of developer’s money from miles away…….


  6. 54

    The Greens are, on current polling, already likely to have the balance of power on the Legislative Council. The Liberals have also decided not to use their greatest ability to have the Greens having power over the ALP Government, preferencing the Greens ahead of the ALP in the inner-city and Legislative Council.

  7. Tom – I think only because they know it would be perceived as running up the white flag and surrendering Government. I’m sure they would secretly love to do it, and politically if they are going to lose it is probably smart because on the off chance that Labor ended up as a minority Governmnet in the Lower House the record (Tas,Aus) would suggest a strong possibility of a one-term Government.

    The problem is that if they did it now so close to the election it would be perceived as giving up, and likely hand Labor a bigger majority thus defeating its purpose.

  8. fredex@52

    What do we want?
    A Royal Commission.
    When do we want it?
    What are the chances?

    If Labor comes in, there might just be one. If not the parents and friends of the victims will come after this really hard!

    Outrageous. A union stops works and get a million dollar fine.
    3 deaths, just a slap on the wrist.

  9. Kevin Bonham@45

    Ta. Actually if they are allocating their Greens preferences by region or seat from the last election that would make a lot of sense. Other possible partial culprits include rounding and treatment of PUP.

    None of these. “Overall preference flow” is batched. It doesn’t separate minor parties into Greens vs Others.

  10. Shocked William that you would cast doubt on these numbers simply because the liberal party says so.

    I’d trust polls over hearsay any day

  11. My guess is both sides want to say its narrowing to keep their volunteers motived at a crucial time in the 4 year election cycle.

    It will be obvious in time.

  12. bug1@67

    My guess is both sides want to say its narrowing to keep their volunteers motived at a crucial time in the 4 year election cycle.

    Yes, this is one of the situations where both parties have an incentive to fib in the same direction about their internal polling.

  13. bug1@67

    My guess is both sides want to say its narrowing to keep their volunteers motived at a crucial time in the 4 year election cycle.

    It will be obvious in time.

    Good point, the next few polls will tell a story. If there’s not sniff of a narrowing, with under two weeks, then I think the bookies are right.

    I expect the media would dearly love a comeback story and will jump on a narrowing poll.

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