Victorian election: highlights of week two (early edition)

Featuring external polling, internal polling, insider scuttlebutt courtesy of The Australian and the Herald-Sun, and some rather meaty attack ads.

I’d been holding back on a new Victorian election post as I’d been anticipating a new Fairfax-Ipsos poll from The Age – but so far at least, no dice. So here’s a situation report on events since the weekend:

• Electorate-level polls conducted last week by the Essential Research on behalf of the Victorian Trades Hall Council found Labor with solid leads in three key marginal seats. In Bellarine, where a 1.4% Labor margin at the 2010 election has been turned into a 2.5% Liberal margin by the redistribution, Labor was credited with a 55-45 lead on two-party preferred and 41-37 on the primary vote. In Frankston, Labor led 40% to 35% on the primary vote and 54-46 on two-party preferred, compared with a post-redistribution Liberal margin of 0.4%. Things were tighter in Mordialloc, with the Liberals leading 41% to 39% on the primary vote. However, Labor had a 52-48 lead on two-party preferred, compared with an existing Liberal margin of 1.5%.

• Roy Morgan evidently plans to conduct weekly SMS polls through the campaign, the second such giving Labor a lead of 53.5-46.5 (up from 52.5-47.5 last week) from primary votes of 36% for Labor (up two) and 38% for the Coalition (up half a point), with the Greens steady on a still implausible 18.5%. The poll was conducted Friday to Monday from a sample of 1847.

• Despite all that, the Coalition seems more than hopeful that the negative advertising blitz it unleashed this week is proving a turning point. 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.

21 comments on “Victorian election: highlights of week two (early edition)”

  1. In the two very safe seats I’m involved with up here, the Liberals are throwing money around like drunken sailors. Multi million dollar pledges seem to be an almost daily occurence.

    It’s simply weird. If they’re spending like this in seats where their margins are over 16%, the Victorian wide bill must be in the billions.

  2. So of the five Labor held seats that the redistribution turned into notional Liberal seats, it sounds like Yan Yean, Wendouree and Bellarine will return to Labor whilst Ripon will go Liberal (or National?).

    The only one that wasn’t covered above is Monbulk.

  3. Raaraa

    The seats are safe Liberal and safe National, with only one Coalition candidate in each.

    There is a high profile independent in our seat, but he’s high profile for his involvement in local council, which saw the councillors being sacked, so I don’t think it’s the kind of high profile that works.

    It’s been suggested that they’re both afraid of the “Indi effect” but I can’t see why.

    David Walsh

    It would be a brave person to predict the outcome in Ripon. The Coalition have confidently expected to win it every election since 1999. That’s an awful lot of years and elections in which the populace have got used to voting Labor.

    As for the Ballarat seats, the Coalition have spent a small fortune trying to win them back from Labor at previous elections. If they didn’t succeed last election, it’s hard to see why it’s likely now.

  4. I still worry the murdoch media will win it for the libs – they are certainly going all out in the propaganda wars. It would be interesting for someone to put a commercial value to murdoch propaganda – what it would cost to buy that space and coverage. what’s the front page 3-5 times per week worth? I suspect they could win Frankston with Shaws’ preferences (he’ll score a ‘f-you’ bogan vote – a strong demographic in the area), and other labor gains could be lost in rippon and with redistributions. I still think Andrews has not done enough for people to see him as an alternative premier, and Napthine is not disliked – although his minders have him doing so many stunts that he is looking like a buffoon /embarrassing uncle most of the time – he’s actually smart, articulate and sensible/moderate and his minders would be better to let that come through. their negative campaign will be effective – the same way ‘Bull in China Shop’ kept Kennett out – all you need to do is make swinging voters a bit unsure and you’re home in a contest such as this. if the SA ALP can survive, then so can Napthine.

    As much as I’d usually like to see Labor minority government with the Greens, I think it’d be doomed – the herald sun would crucify them and Greg Barber is no Bob Brown or even Milne – he has a big ego, likes power and is combative/unlikable. labor would be a one-term gov and the greens vote would tank. Best outcome for mine is a labor majority with greens BoP in the legislative council.

  5. 5

    The Coalition have thrown away the chance of swings to them by disappointing voters. Had the Government not smashed its honeymoon with the Overland/Weston/etc affair in their first year and been otherwise less of a disappointment to voters, they would likely be looking at a landslide in November (possibly still under Ted).

  6. Sandringham electorate is also on the Frankston line with Labor promising to remove level crossings at Mentone and Cheltenham. Our local ALP is reinvigorated and resurgent. After 43 years in the Labor Party, I have no hesitation in saying that our candidate Christina Zigouras is one of the best, if not the best, I’ve been privileged to work alongside. I’ll spare you the clichés.

    Progressives, please spread the word. We are tired of being taken for granted by lazy Liberal parliamentarians in so-called safe seats. independents are not the only ones shaking the political scene. Labor’s back in town along the bay. Let’s marginalise them.

  7. [Sustainable future
    Posted Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 11:43 am | PERMALINK
    I still worry the murdoch media will win it for the libs – they are certainly going all out in the propaganda wars.]

    Perhaps I am wrong but there doesn’t seem much personal benefit for Murdoch in having a Liberal government in Victoria. (In contrast, a Federal Liberal government can do all sorts of things for Murdoch’s benefit – NBN, media laws, taxation etc.)

    So is this just a case of Murdoch wanting to demonstrate that he can still influence the election of governments in Australia, even if his power in UK and USA has been diminished?

  8. Baffling that the Ipsos poll is taking so long to be released. Believe it polled Fri-Sun and the Age has been sitting on it. But it’s not as if we’ll know any more tomorrow as a result of it than if it had been released on Tuesday. I’ve even had time to retune my seat model.

    Ripon: my model indicates it as lineball presently, though it seems to be widely seen as a goner. The limited evidence I’ve looked at (1992 on) suggests that Vic rural electorates swing a lot when the sitting member quits, and a 15-year sitting member is potentially a bigger loss than my model credits in that regard. Also seat is redistributed and notionally Coalition, though the perhaps underestimated aspect here is that the Coalition-voting section moved into it loses the personal vote of its existing Coalition member.

  9. In Ripon, the swings to the Libs were very small in both 2006 and 2010. This suggests that Joe Helper built up a sizable personal vote. The big question is how much of this personal vote that Labor can hold on to. The second big question is whether the Nats are a serious contender for this seat – they have a high profile candidate – and the Vic Nats have done fairly well in recent state elections.

  10. 17

    I do think that, if it falls to the Coalition, it has a high chance of falling to the Nats and if the ALP holds it the Nats may well come second.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *