Victorian election minus one week

Press reports continue to indicate that both sides believe it to be very tight in the crucial sandbelt seats, but statewide published polls still show Labor on course for a comfortable victory.

First up, the arrival of two new poll results – one from Galaxy and one from Morgan, both of which are detailed here – has enabled my first update in some time to the Victorian election poll tracker on the sidebar. I’ve tinkered a bit with my methodology, which is the reason the Greens are off a little despite more than holding up in the latest polls. Other than that, the poll tracker has never failed to show Labor on 50 seats since it opened for business at the start of the campaign.

The charts get a bit messy with the flurry of polling to hit during the election campaign, so to allow you a closer look (and to illustrate the point that you’re not really missing much), here they are with the x-axis limited to the start of August (click to enlarge):


John Ferguson of The Australian offered yet another review of the seat-level state of play as seen by his sources in the major parties on Wednesday. Both sides are said to have detected a “small but significant” swing back to the Liberals in Frankston, with the Liberals apparently hopeful that a double-figures result for Geoff Shaw will send a strong flow of preferences their way. Furthermore, the Liberals are reported to be hopeful or better about the other sandbelt seats of Bentleigh, Carrum and Mordialloc, which I list in what I take to be descending order of confidence. However, Labor is doing “better than expected” in Ripon, although it is still expected to fall to the Liberals (not, be it noted, the Nationals).

• One place where early Liberal hopes appear to have faded is Ballarat, particularly the seat of Buninyong, formerly Ballarat East. Further complicating their task is Nationals candidate Sonia Smith, who has criticised Liberal candidate Ben Taylor over comments he made at an Australian Christian Lobby forum concerning late-term abortions, saying he “should be running for Family First”. While the Nationals’ official how-to-vote card for the electorate directs the second preference to Taylor, Smith has registered her own card instructing voters to determine the matter for themselves. Smith illustrated her rejection of her party’s how-to-vote card through a dramatic photo opportunity for Fairfax.

• Inform your upper house speculation with Antony Green’s preference calculators. Part of me would be sad to see reform to our broken upper house electoral systems purely because it would put an end to these delightful contributions to Australian psephology.

UPDATE: Another Morgan SMS poll, a very current one conducted from Friday to today from a sample of 1173. While one might be tempted to take this series with a grain of salt, the results are interesting: the Coalition is up no less than 4.5% on the last poll to 39.5%, with both Labor and the Greens down two points to 33.5% and 17.5%. However, Labor maintains a 52-48 lead on two-party preferred, down from 55-45. Denis Napthine has gained the lead as preferred premier, now 51.5-48.5 ahead after Daniel Andrews led 52.5-47.5 last time. The previous poll was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, so I guess Morgan will be doing this polling every down from now on.

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.

192 comments on “Victorian election minus one week”

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  1. WB

    [Part of me would be sad to see reform to our broken upper house electoral systems purely because it would put an end to these delightful contributions to Australian psephology.]

    There’s going to be reform to Victoria’s upper house?

  2. It is increasingly difficult to see Labor winning an absolute majority, if all the above media reports have any credibility about them.

    It’s a tough task kicking out a one-term government eventhough this government has been a joke in so many ways.

  3. Has there ever been an election in which party insiders haven’t said its closer than published polls? As for the sandbelt it would be theoretically possible for Labor to lose from 52% 2PP but its very unlikely. Maybe Labor might be doing better in its heartland seats than marginals but still…

  4. Geoff,

    It’s like your favourite footy team in pre-season. Everybody is training the house down and the team is completely united.

    The ubiquitous internal polling is always open to scepticism. Both sides have a vested interest in saying “the election result is on a knife edge”.

    The Government does so because it keeps up an illusion that they are still in it. Labor does it to keep everybody focussed and not drift off on some undisciplined excursion.

    I’m accepting the published polls which all seem to be pointing to a Labor majority of the vote next Saturday (on 2pp). I also accept that, like all elections, the swing will not be uniform across the board.

  5. The polls all suggest Napthine is headed for defeat and there are several good reasons. Victoria’s recent economic performance has been far from glossy. With a loss of mining revenue not a factor (unlike WA, QLD and NSW) and car plants not yet shut, it really is pretty bad.

    Remarkably, the government seems to have no plan to fix it other than “let them build roads”. I am a transport engineer and I can assure you that road construction alone will not employ everyone. In fact, a Productivity Commision inquiry out earlier this year showed that maintenance and public transport projects created more jobs than road projects.

  6. Son of Sam I Am – as i recall there has been broad brush media comment along the lines that Macedon is seen as pretty comfortable for the ALP. I heard the same view expressed by a friend with pretty good insider contacts yesterday. As to the quality of green eggs and ham in Macedon – sorry, I can’t help you..

  7. Although some may have their doubts, when the difference between a hung parliament (swing of 0.9%v on Antony Green’s calculator) and a majority of 4 (1.1%) is so small – one in 500 – the effect of campaigning must be a factor.

    So far Andrews has comprehensively out-campaigned Napthine, who last night on TV was looking tired. The discipline Andrews has shown is winning him respect. In today’s culture, his clear loss of weight counts – though, importantly, he has not gone to the point of looking like a dry-cleaner’s coat hanger.

    (On that point, the only less-than-high point for Labor has been the suit Pallas chose to wear last night on 7.30. Still, it might tell some that Labor has an eye to economy.)

  8. BT Vic and my Vic aggregate are just about identical now – I have the ALP 0.4 points higher and the Greens 0.5 lower, with the other 0.1 eaten by rounding. Our Coalition and Others scores are exactly the same. I am thinking that if the Greens can actually poll 13-ish they have a good chance of getting Melbourne, although it doesn’t follow that they would from uniform-swing assumptions. But any drop from that level and I’ll lose interest in the concept.

    Stanley Baldwin@8

    Although some may have their doubts, when the difference between a hung parliament (swing of 0.9%v on Antony Green’s calculator) and a majority of 4 (1.1%) is so small – one in 500 – the effect of campaigning must be a factor.

    That’s uniform-swing calculators that don’t factor in personal vote properly for you, though.

    On mine the difference between a 0.9% swing and a 1.1% swing is 0.4 seats, with the Coalition probably just keeping office outright in either case.

    But I agree that Andrews has campaigned quite a lot better than some people expected.

  9. Feeney

    I’ve never expected it too be a landslide in terms of seats but rather a very tight contest between two sold performing pollies.

    Of the five seats that the ALP hold but trail on the new boundaries, I suspect it will go something like

    Macedon – ALP
    Monbulk – ALP
    Yan Yean – ALP
    Ripon – Liberal
    Ballerine – 50-50

    ALP seats that I think may fall
    Albert Park (the recent noise about the Palais Theater might save Foley)

    Greens to win Melbourne or Richmond or both

    If this happens, and if we add Ballerine to the Liberals

    Liberals would be 45
    Greens 2
    ALP 41

    ALP then gain the following four, they then reach 45
    Frankston (might be surprisingly close)
    Carrum (Wouldn’t be surprised if the Liberals held)

    The following seats are worth watching and will play a big part in the sides of the majority or could become more important if some of the above doesn’t happen

    On paper I think the Liberals will hold most if not all of them depending on both local factors and how accurate the polls are for we saw a big lead to the ALP in some polls which would indicate that these seats are in play unless the ALP are surging in its own seats or the Liberals are taking a pounding in its own heartland.

    Bentleigh 50-50 but slightly towards the ALP
    Prahran 50-50 although if the Liberals can’t hold it, then its unlikely to win in Albert Park
    South Barwon
    Box Hill
    Forest Hill
    Mount Waverley

  10. Alizarin

    Why do you have Bayswater leaning to the ALP, yet similar eastern suburban seats on smaller margins leaning towards the Liberals (Ringwood, Burwood & Forest Hill)

  11. Morwell and Narracan are two other seats that I should have added to the seats to watch, sure they are very safe fr the Nats but the coal fire is a serious and major issue in that area.

  12. Mexicanbeemer

    My model considers the redistribution to have weakened the local member strength effects in Bayswater more than in Ringwood, Burwood, or Forest Hill. That said the difference between a 43% chance and a 55% chance (Bayswater/Ringwood) is virtually unnoticeable to the point where I could easily have had them both considered toss-ups instead.

  13. Well after all that fear and smear about Tex Perkins potentially increasing Liberal chances of winning Albert Park he has preferenced Labor anyway. This means that the ALP actually stands better in the seat than in 2010 when the unChain independent split his ticket.

  14. The various scenarios suggested here are all interersting by themselves.

    As discussed, we need to remember sitting MPs retiring and other local factors.

    I will be going through all this here in QLD (before March most likely), and Labor needs to win 36 more seats to govern in its own right – currently 9 MPs and needing 45 to govern alone.

    Latest polling suggests the Labor PV is up 13% which must be sending a chill down the spines of the LNP.

  15. Alizarin

    Your prediction (and correct me if I have misinterpreted) shows a lot of swings in Lib seats in the 8% range. Seats in the outer eastern suburbs as well as seats like Brighton but very small swings in the ultra marginals. Can you explain this please.

  16. Alizarin

    Without doing any polling I image Bayswater would fall before Ringwood, the only way I see either seat falling is if it turns into a landslide type swing against the government.

    Thanks Tom, I thought Russell Northe was the MP for that seat, maybe he is the MP for Morwell.

  17. 26

    That gives me an impractical idea, kick such people off the ballot paper and forfeit their deposits to discourage candidates who are not serious about trying to get votes.

  18. A recurring theme raised by people in conversations I have had while door knocking for the Greens, is the issue of integrity, accountability and transparency.
    [Integrity lobby group the Accountability Round Table says it is disappointed that both major parties failed to back key reforms in political accountability in the current election campaign.

    The bi-partisan roundtable – made up of eminent lawyers, former politicians and community leaders – called on all parties for their views on key integrity issues including the anti-corruption commission, political funding and freedom of information.

    “Only the Greens have embraced the need for essential reforms, and we are heartened by that,” said Roundtable chairman, Tim Smith, QC.]

    Read more:

    The roundtable’s questions, and the responses of the three parties, are available on its website

  19. Can someone explain what the problem is with not registering a how to vote card? Surely that would be the logical option for someone campaigning on a “vote for me then whoever you like” platform?

  20. Blackburnpseph

    Without going into individual seats, which we could but speaking broadly, the primary reason for this is the ultra marginals tend to be seats that the Liberals won off of Labor in 2010. In 2010 the incumbent Labor representatives were getting a personal vote above that of their party and now the new Liberal incumbents are getting their own personal vote above that of their party.

    A lot of the safer seats were mostly already held by the Liberals in 2010 so their personal votes are already factored into the 2PP margins.

    There are also some more complicated, and debatable, effects of which seats were redistributed more significantly than others.


    I agree, both would only change hands in a landslide, however the statewide polls are suggesting a smallish landslide at this point. If the final week polls bring the 2PP numbers back the model will adjust for that and move all the seats we were talking about to at least likely Liberal.

  21. Teh Drewski 30.
    Vic law doesn’t allow you to hand out material calculated to influence an election, including HtV cards, within 400 metres of a polling booth on Election Day, unless you have registered them with the electoral commission.

  22. Can not see a minor party getting up in Southern Metro

    Although Stephen Mayne would have had a chance had he stood

    There is no close tight preference swap between minor parties

    I expect it to be 3 x 1 x 1

    Group preference flows

    A Australian Christians > AC > RUAP > DLP > LP > FF > PUP > ALP > LDP > GRN > SEXP > VEP
    B Democratic Labor Party > DLP > AC > RUAP > LDP > FF > LP > ALP > PUP > VEP > SEXP > GRN
    C Liberal Democratic Party > LDP > SEXP > VEP > DLP > FF > RUAP > LP > AC > ALP > PUP > GRN
    D Rise Up Australia > RUAP > AC > DLP > FF > LP > ALP > LDP > VEP > SEXP > PUP > GRN
    E Australian Cyclists Party > SEXP > VEP > GRN > ALP > LP > FF > AC > DLP > LDP > PUP > RUAP
    F Independent > SEXP > VEP > GRN > FF > PUP > ALP > LP > DLP > AC > RUAP > LDP
    F Independent > SEXP > VEP > GRN > FF > PUP > LP > ALP > DLP > AC > RUAP > LDP
    G Greens > GRN > VEP > SEXP > ALP > PUP > LP > LDP > FF > DLP > AC > RUAP
    H People Power – No Smart Meters > DLP > AC > RUAP > FF > VEP > LDP > LP > PUP > ALP > GRN > SEXP
    I Animal Justice Party > VEP > SEXP > GRN > ALP > LP > PUP > DLP > LDP > AC > FF > RUAP
    J Australian Sex Party > SEXP > VEP > GRN > ALP > LDP > LP > PUP > AC > DLP > FF > RUAP
    K Voluntary Euthanasia > VEP > SEXP > LDP > GRN > RUAP > DLP > AC > FF > ALP > PUP > LP
    L Labor > ALP > SEXP > GRN > PUP > VEP > DLP > LDP > FF > LP > AC > RUAP
    M Shooters and Fishers Party > SEXP > AC > DLP > LDP > RUAP > FF > PUP > VEP > LP > ALP > GRN
    N Family First > FF > AC > DLP > RUAP > LDP > PUP > LP > ALP > GRN > SEXP > VEP
    O Country Alliance > DLP > LP > AC > RUAP > SEXP > ALP > FF > LDP > VEP > PUP > GRN
    P Palmer United Party > PUP > FF > LP > GRN > ALP > SEXP > AC > RUAP > LDP > DLP > VEP
    Q Liberal > LP > AC > FF > PUP > DLP > SEXP > LDP > VEP > ALP > RUAP > GRN
    R Independent > VEP > SEXP > ALP > GRN > LP > LDP > PUP > AC > FF > DLP > RUAP

  23. Shrinking the list of possible suspects down in Southern Metro

    Can not see it going below 3 lib 1 ALP 1 Grn

    AlphaCode Group Name GroupPref
    A Australian Christians > LP > FF > PUP > ALP > GRN > SEXP
    B Democratic Labor Party > FF > LP > ALP > PUP > SEXP > GRN
    C Liberal Democratic Party > SEXP > FF > LP > ALP > PUP > GRN
    D Rise Up Australia > FF > LP > ALP > SEXP > PUP > GRN
    E Australian Cyclists Party > SEXP > GRN > ALP > LP > FF > PUP
    F Independent > SEXP > GRN > FF > PUP > ALP > LP
    F Independent > SEXP > GRN > FF > PUP > LP > ALP
    G Greens > GRN > SEXP > ALP > PUP > LP > FF
    H People Power – No Smart Meters > FF > LP > PUP > ALP > GRN > SEXP
    I Animal Justice Party > SEXP > GRN > ALP > LP > PUP > FF
    J Australian Sex Party > SEXP > GRN > ALP > LP > PUP > FF
    K Voluntary Euthanasia > SEXP > GRN > FF > ALP > PUP > LP
    L Labor > ALP > SEXP > GRN > PUP > FF > LP
    M Shooters and Fishers Party > SEXP > FF > PUP > LP > ALP > GRN
    N Family First > FF > PUP > LP > ALP > GRN > SEXP
    O Country Alliance > LP > SEXP > ALP > FF > PUP > GRN
    P Palmer United Party > PUP > FF > LP > GRN > ALP > SEXP
    Q Liberal > LP > FF > PUP > SEXP > ALP > GRN
    R Independent > SEXP > ALP > GRN > LP > PUP > FF

  24. Sthn Metro

    PUP has no chance of crossing the line., Their votes will flow to the LP. Sex Party part are unlikely to go the distance and will expire before orgasm

    AlphaCode Group Name reduced Pref Flow
    A Australian Christians > LP > ALP > GRN > SEXP
    B Democratic Labor Party > LP > ALP > SEXP > GRN
    C Liberal Democratic Party > SEXP > LP > ALP > GRN
    D Rise Up Australia > LP > ALP > SEXP > GRN
    E Australian Cyclists Party > SEXP > GRN > ALP > LP
    F Independent > SEXP > GRN > ALP > LP
    F Independent > SEXP > GRN > LP > ALP
    G Greens > GRN > SEXP > ALP > LP
    H People Power – No Smart Meters > LP > ALP > GRN > SEXP
    I Animal Justice Party > SEXP > GRN > ALP > LP
    J Australian Sex Party > SEXP > GRN > ALP > LP
    K Voluntary Euthanasia > SEXP > GRN > ALP > LP
    L Labor > ALP > SEXP > GRN > LP
    M Shooters and Fishers Party > SEXP > LP > ALP > GRN
    N Family First > LP > ALP > GRN > SEXP
    O Country Alliance > LP > SEXP > ALP > GRN
    P Palmer United Party > LP > GRN > ALP > SEXP
    Q Liberal > LP > SEXP > ALP > GRN
    R Independent > SEXP > ALP > GRN > LP

  25. Might as well repeat my LC forecast.

    I don’t see any changes in anything Eastern or Southern.

    Left parties will pick up an extra seat in N and W Metro, most probably the ALP in both cases although if the Greens and other left can take another chunk off the ALP in N Metro Sex might have a shot at the 5th.

    The 5th in N and W Vic are raffles, in the former case between Libs and micros, in the latter Greens, Libs and micros.

  26. Stephen Mayne was the only one who stood a chance of collecting minor party preferences consistently against all other comers. he lost his chance. There will be no Muir type candidate in Southern metro.

  27. I need to look at western. The Greens only got elected in Western Metro beacuse 25,000 Below the line Chritian votes voted the holly trinity and stopped. Had they carried on and preferenced through Labor Collen Hartland would not have been elected.


    I can not see the Greens getting two up in Northern Metro.

    The only area for change could be in Western and Northern Victoria

    Te State SHOULD have been divided into five regions not eight, (Two rural and three urban)

    We need to scrap the Droop Quota

    Adopt a weighted Transfer system
    And implement a reiterative distribution count where the count is started and recounted on every exclusion

    This will remove the distortion in the way the vote is counted. A reiterative distribution count would also automatically adjust the quota for exhausted votes

    Above the line votes should be distributed across all candidates in the group with the group retaining the right to determine the order of exclusion within the group.

    This would remove and even out the advantage that currently applies to minor parties


    As William once stated, We might as well adopt a Party List system

  28. John Lenders biggest mistake was introducing a eight region council (not five) and implementing Optional Preferential voting witho0ut fixing the other distortions in the way the vote is counted..

    A 5 x 9 or 5 x 7 LC would have been much better.

  29. Just ran a fake-poll Monte Carlo (runs=40,000) to test the hypothesis that the recent Victorian election polls are herded or otherwise suspiciously underdispersed.

    Result: Although the 2PPs of the last 10 Vic polls are closer than would be expected on average by random chance, they are not close enough to provide statistically significant evidence of herding.

    In my simulations 14.2% or 14.7% (depending on definition of closeness) of fake runs produced closer results than the actual results, but that was on the assumptions of no 2PP change in the last seven weeks and no 2PP house effects between pollsters.

    Probably if the last two aspects could be simulated better the number of fake runs producing a closer squash of poll data would go down substantially, but nowhere near enough to seal the deal, especially not for a potentially cherrypicked post hoc observation.

  30. Demographic change will see the Green vote up in W Metro and political changes will see the left vote overall up. Greens + Sex should all but have a quota between them.

    Without doubt the 2nd Lib in N Metro will fall. It certainly won’t be the 2nd Green getting up. As I said it will probably be the 3rd ALP but Sex have an outside chance.

  31. As I’ve said before (and this is all I’m likely to say), the distortions introduced by GVTs are orders of magnitude larger than ‘distortions’ of segmentation or quota choice. There is no perfect electoral system.

  32. Single Transferable Vote (STV) – Proportional Representation is hardly worth supporting given the way we count the vote

    1. The Surplus Transfer value is not weighted.
    2. The method of distribution distorts the outcome and does not reflect the voters intentions
    3. optional Preferential turns it into a party list system by default
    4. The Droop quota distorts the proportionality denying up to a quota of people representation.

    The Tasmanian and ACT system is even worst.

    I suspect that this election will generate momentum of have the system changed. At least I hope it does. Local Government needs fixing also

    Petro Georgio failed to address this issue. It was too difficult for him to understand and comprehend.

  33. We have some weirdness in the HTV department. It appears that just today the Greens lodged open HTVs in every electorate and the Liberals lodged open HTVs in the inner city. This is although different HTVs had been lodged earlier and are also showing on the website.

  34. ALP supporters are accussing the Greens & Libs of doing a deal. It does look very suspect. But see thezse tweets below…
    [The Liberals have registered open how-to – vote cards in Richmond, Albert Park, Melbourne &. Brunswick but not handing them out. #vicvotes
    9:25 PM – 22 Nov 2014

    Tim Christodoulou ‏@tim_chr 40m40 minutes ago
    @J_C_Campbell Why register them if you don’t intend to distribute them? Genuine question.
    11:24 PM – 22 Nov 2014

    James Campbell ‏@J_C_Campbell 31m31 minutes ago
    @tim_chr To make sure others keep their side of the bargain would be a guess..
    0 replies 1 retweet 0 favorites
    11:33 PM – 22 Nov 2014]

  35. The first tweet was from James Campbell, reporter from the Herald Sun. He may have been the first one to pick up on the fact there were fresh cards registered. After that, everyone started tweeting about it, lots of finger pointing.

  36. GVI is just an macro expression of ticket voting. Sure it focus and captures the momentum.

    The distortions in the way the vote is counted including Droop DOES bring about a change in the outcome.

    QLD 2007 Senate (Try counting it)

    In Victoria 2007 (Senate) David Feeney came close to losing his seat due to the non-weighted Surplus Transfer value calculation.

    If we distributed shareholding dividends the way we count the vote our share trading and banking system would collapse overnight. It is flawed and there is no reason why it is not fixed.

    With computer based technology there is no excuse preventing these issues from being addressed.

    The current system was designed to facilitate a manual count.

    Luddites, like those in the PRSA, that are stuck in the 19-20th century sitting behind a typewriter and a calculator prevent meaningful and valid reform in the way the vote is counted.

    If I vote Voluntary Euthanasia Party and then preference to the ALP or Liberal Party the full value of my vote should be transferred to the first nominated candidate that has not been excluded. It should not hop, skip and jump over my chosen candidate(s)

    [My vote should be distributed as if the candidate(s) that are excluded from the count had not stood.]

    Fix it or adopt a party list system as William once suggested.

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