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. The headline looks devastating. But the distribution of preferences will probably be respondent allocated again. So, likely to come back to around 53/47 again.

  2. […likely to come back to around 53/47 again.]

    Yes there is some chance that only 5 types of piss will be thumped out of the Napthine government.

    Down one from the weekend. MoE 0.5 types of piss.

  3. Wouldn’t mind seeing some LegCo prognostication. Until some public polls move off the 6/7 point margin for Labor, the Assembly is a bit dull.

  4. Phew,

    Still tracking on the 53/47 outcome with two weeks to play and an electorate that is not well conditioned to jumping in the Libs directions.

  5. Adelaide has its serial killers, and the Drum has its serial morons. Like Rowan Dean.

    According to Rowan the Chi – Obama announcement was all about the opportunities posed by nuclear and hydro.


  6. Why do the ABC – which WE pay for – have to be obligated by the likes of Janet Albrechsten to include intellectual pip squeaks like Henderson and Dean for the sake of “balance”.

  7. 5

    The Legislative Council is looking like it will look like it did after 2006 with the possible exceptions that the Greens may get up in Western Victoria instead of a micro party (DLP in 2006) and the redistribution has made Eastern Metropolitan a possible Green gain on ALP preferences.

  8. Trog Sorrenson@9

    Why do the ABC – which WE pay for – have to be obligated by the likes of Janet Albrechsten to include intellectual pip squeaks like Henderson and Dean for the sake of “balance”.

    Mate, I hope that was cathartic, but this is a Victorian election thread.

  9. Sometimes I wonder if the ABC deliberately picks chumps from the right to come on as straw men so it can feign balance.

    There must be someone better, surely.

  10. teh_drewski@14


    Thanks – that would be 19-17-4 or 18-17-5, barring surprises then?

    In that range I think. Worst case for the LNP is losing 4 seats. 2 to the ALP in Metro South & West and 2 to the greens in Metro East and Country West.

    Largely uninformed guessing backing that up – so I’d be interested in what others think.

  11. 15

    Are you forgetting Northern Metro, the Coalition`s most marginal Council seat, or just counting it as already gone because of the redistribution?

    The Country Alliance came close to a seat in Northern Victoria last time. I do knot know how likely that is this time.

  12. 16

    Sorry two most likely ALP gains being metro south and north.

    I’m from south of the yarra so west and north are all a blur to me 🙂

  13. More importantly, the chances of the ALP getting to 21 appear to be zero. So it’s an ALP/Green upper house? (assuming the ALP take the lower house).

  14. I guess the slim hope would be for the ALP to take the third seat in both metro east and country west to get to 21.

    The metro east in particular seems very unlikely with the that being east-west link territory

  15. I’d say one more poll like this and some Libs will start “jumping ship” instead of reading from the script.

    And the few remaining candidates who have “Liberal Party” on their posters are probably right now out there painting over that bit!

  16. And I do have to laugh at the FIFA investigation into the 2018-2022 World Cups awarded to Russia and Qatar – in their corruption investigation into themselves they found that the Australian bid was corrupt!

  17. “Liberals claim to have turned the corner since then”

    Ive heard predictions 40% of people will vote at pre-poll, which open in 4 days.
    Claiming to have turned the corner with nothing to suggest the claim is true doesnt seem like a positive step for them. I guess they have to say something to keep their people working.

  18. [More importantly, the chances of the ALP getting to 21 appear to be zero. So it’s an ALP/Green upper house? (assuming the ALP take the lower house).]

    Roger that.

  19. bug1 – yes that is interesting. I think there is some evidence that the “prepoll” votes reflect somewhat the state of the polls when they voted, so more early polling with a bigger Labor lead should help Labor.

    I think at one Federal election I was trying to use the first data from one of the TV channels exit polls (“When did you decide to vote for the party you voted for?) in a spreadsheet with the weekly poll aggregates to see if I could get a TPP before they showed it.

    It couldn’t have been very successful because I seriously can’t remember what the result was!

  20. Also on postal votes I object to parties sending you application forms which are to be returned VIA the party to the Electoral Commission. For starters, they get some bio data on you when they handle the form (date of birth). And wasn’t there some scandal in the USA where these retrun letters were “vetted” by someone who then tossed out some of the ones they felt were least likely to vote for their party.

    For all the world the form I have looks very “Electoral Commission” until you see the Liberal Candidate’s picture at the bottom of the back page.

    “The Liberal Party undertakes to forward completed applications to the VEC as soon as reasonably practicable”

    Of course many people would not realise their form was not going straight to the VEC. The return envelope just has a P.O.Box address and the words “Liberal Party” are certainly not above it. Surely the envelope could be addressed direct to the VEC even if the form has been sent by the Liberal Prtay?

  21. It is a measure of the infantile state of Austrailian “democracy” that it is considered a reason to celebrate that a right-wing careerist marketeer (minus 2) party MAY be defeated by a right-wing mindless careerist marketeer (minus 1) party.

    Poor fellow my Country.

  22. 23

    The ALP have pretty much no chance where the Greens do not have a seat because they would have to gain massively to overtake the Green vote in those seats.

    The ALP polled bellow 2 quotas in Eastern Metro and so would have to gain in the vicinity of 0.88 quotas, with a combination of primaries and preferences, to overtake the Greens and will not be anywhere near overtaking the Liberals` third candidate because if they do not get elected, they will still poll to high to be overtaken by the ALP.

    In Western Vic the ALP have a chance that is not as low as in Eastern Metro of overtaking the Greens because they polled over a quota there but the minor and micro party vote is lower out that way but it is still extremely low.

  23. Tom, LNP are preferencing GRN last, so that gives ALP and minor parties a better chance against greens.
    So if ALP finish 2nd and GRN first, there there is a chance LNP preference can get ALP above GRN.

  24. 32

    But where the ALP are trying to take seats off the Coalition, the ALP surpluses are unlikely to out poll the Coalition quota surpluses, because the Coalition are starting from over the next quota, and so it will be of little use to them.

  25. 33

    Only for polling day I believe and this can be done up until the day before polling day or possibly even polling day itself.

  26. [Full Ipsos poll results:]

    OK,so thats 39-all primary for the majors, with GRNs on 16, and others on 7.

    Thats spells “DRUBBING”.

  27. Interesting.
    The ALP vote is 5% lower outside Melbourne [Melb 40% : %Rest 35%].
    The COALition vote is 5% higher outside Melbourne [Melb 37% : Rest 42%].
    The Greens vote is the same in and out of Melbourne – 16%.


  28. This one looks more 54 than 53 off the primaries (39-39-16-6). I get 54.3 to ALP.

    My aggregate’s now throwing Labor Ripon based on that though I treat that with much caution.

  29. 2010 election results in Melbourne:

    ALP 40.0%
    L-NP 40.7%
    GRN 13.0%

    Outside Melbourne:

    ALP 31.0%
    L-NP 50.5%
    GRN 8.5%

    I guess it’s not completely implausible that Labor might be treading water in Melbourne while the Greens clean up. But equality of the Greens vote inside and outside Melbourne is hard to credit.

  30. 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.

  31. Rocket @29

    I believe it’s illegal to not forward on those forms to the VEC and parties face heavy fines for not forwarding them on.

    I can’t remember where I see that legislation, though I would suggest people sending them straight to the VEC so as parties don’t use them as part of their marketing.

  32. Raaraa – Yes, I’m not suggesting they don’t but I just can’t see why the form (which is mostly a VEC document) isn’t also by law necessary to be sent staright to the VEC.

    William – is 50/50, 33/67 splitting allowed in the Leg Council HTVs like in the Senate?

  33. A lot of voters are probably not aware that voting for the upper house is optional preferential. Number at least 1 to 5 and the vote is valid. No need to empower a party’s GVT unless you want to.

  34. Just in case Victorian voters need reminding of the attitude of the current Victorain State government towards corporate crime and public safety, there is this decision:
    [The court had heard Grocon (Victoria Street) Pty Ltd would plead guilty to one charge and that prosecutors from the Victorian WorkCover Authority would drop the remaining five charges against the Grocon group if Mr Rozencwajg opted to hear the case.

    The magistrate’s decision to do so means the company faces a maximum fine of $305,000, well below the maximum fine of $1.1 million applicable in the County Court. Grocon (Victoria Street) Pty Ltd formally entered a plea on Thursday.]

    There is no mention of any engineer appearing in court for Vic Workcover to provide an expert opinion on the cause of the wall collapse. Just a few unqualified inspectors. So Grocon escape with a $305,000 fine instead of $1 million. Trully pathetic. Denis Napthine – hard on train passengers, soft on corporate criminals.

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