Newspoll, Fairfax-Ipsos and ReachTEL: 52-48 to Labor in Victoria

After all the late-campaign talk of a Labor blowout, the final polls of the campaign all have their two-party lead within the margin of error.

Final polls:

• Newspoll, which had Labor leading 54-46 at the start of the campaign, ends it with 52-48. The primary votes are 40% for the Coalition (up one), 39% for Labor (down two) and 12% for the Greens (down one). Denis Napthine’s personal ratings are 41% approval (down five from an unusually strong result last time), 45% disapproval (up four), Daniel Andrews’ are 38% approval (up two) and 43% disapproval (down two), and Napthine’s lead as preferred premier has narrowed from 47-34 to 41-37. The poll was conducted from Monday to Thursday from a sample of 1584. According to the Herald-Sun, the poll “showed the Coalition Government has gained ground in just the past few days”. Hopefully we’ll learn more soon about what that means exactly. HT: James J.

• The final Fairfax-Ipsos poll has Labor on 35% (compared with 37% at the start of the campaign and 39% half way through), the Coalition on 42% (39% in both the previous polls) and the Greens on 15% (progressing downwards from 17%, one point at a time). It’s respondent-allocated two-party preferred was at 56-44 in the first two polls and 52-48 in the third, while its previous-election two-party preferred results were respectively at 53-47 and 50-50. Denis Napthine’s personal ratings have been generally stable, and in the latest poll he sits at 49% approval and 40% disapproval. Daniel Andrews’ approval haas tracked up from 37% to 40% to 42%, but his disapproval dropped from 42% to 37% from the first poll to the second before bouncing back up to 43% in the third. Napthine’s two-party lead has gone from 45-36 to 42-39 to 44-42. The poll was conducted from Tuesday to Thursday from a sample of 1236.

• ReachTEL for the Seven Network came in at 53-47 just before the campaign again, and has ended it on 52-48. The primary votes are 38.3% for Labor (up 0.8%), 39.7% for the Coalition (up 1.1%) and 13.5% for the Greens (up 0.2%), the balance coming off “others”. Palmer United was included as a response option in the earlier poll, but not this time. Personal ratings for both party leaders have improved from the first poll to the second. On the question of party expected to win, 62.3% say Labor and 37.7% say Coalition, “don’t know” having not been an option. The sample in the latest poll was 2155 – a big one for a ReachTEL state poll – and it was conducted entirely on Thursday night.

All of which has been entered into the poll tracker featured on the sidebar for one last update, which projects Labor to win a modest majority with 48 seats out of 40 – assuming no seats are lost to the Greens. If Labor were to drop, say, Melbourne and Richmond, that majority would start to look very bare indeed. And of course, the late momentum to the Coalition could well be an ongoing process, causing them to perform better than the present reading indicates (though I would equally suggest they are likely to do less well on preferences than the model assumes, based it is on flows from the 2010 election). So one way or another, it’s going to be an interesting night.

To give you a closer look at the recent convulsions shown in the poll tracker graphs, this shows how things look if we only go back as far as the start of August:

Looking closer:

Bellarine (notional Liberal 2.5%): Over the last days of the campaign, the Herald-Sun has related that strategists on both sides believe Labor to have this one in the bag.

Bentleigh (Liberal 0.9%): Today, the Herald-Sun relates that the Liberals consider themselves the “favourites”, whereas the talk earlier in the week was of a tight race or, as John Ferguson of The Australian had it, that Labor held the lead in the sandbelt.

Buninyong (Labor 1.6%): No one’s even talking about this one anymore. Labor to hold.

Burwood (Liberal 6.3%): Earlier in the week, the Herald-Sun reported that Labor polling conducted earlier in the campaign showed them leading 52-48. As if to emphasise the point, Denis Napthine joined Graham Watt on the last Monday of the campaign to promise a $350,000 expansion of the car park at the Burwood train station. This fed into reporting that the wheels were falling off for the Liberals, but the late polls have surely provided a corrective to such talk.

Carrum (Liberal 0.3%): In the final days of the campaign, the Herald-Sun twice related that whatever else might be going wrong for them elsewhere, Liberal strategists remain “confident” about Carrum. Today, the paper tells us the Liberals consider themselves the favourites.

Cranbourne (Labor 1.1%): This one had dropped off the radar after early optimistic Liberal talk, and James Campbell of the Herald-Sun reported earlier this week that Labor strategists believed they had the seat in the bag. However, today we learn from the Herald-Sun that the Liberals rate themselves a “strong chance”.

Eltham (Labor 0.8%): Today’s Herald-Sun reports that the Liberals believe themselves a “strong chance” here, and I have also heard concerned talk from the Labor camp. Labor may yet rue its move of having its member Steve Herbert move to an upper house seat in Northern Victoria, apparently as part of a move to set up a parliamentary seat for Emma Walters without exposing her troublesome CFMEU connections to the glare of an election campaign.

Forest Hill (Liberal 3.5%): Labor was starting to get its hopes up here earlier this week, but this should be among the seats which are being firewalled by the late move to the Liberals recorded by the polls.

Frankston (Liberal 0.4%): The Herald-Sun reports that the Liberals have this in the “strong chance” category.

Ivanhoe (Labor 1.8%): According to today’s Herald-Sun, the Liberals consider themselves a “strong chance” here, largely thanks to former Labor member Craig Langdon running as an independent and directing his preferences to them.

Monbulk (notional Liberal 1.1%): Despite being made notionally Liberal by the redistribution, deputy Labor leader James Merlino’s seat hasn’t been much discussed, and the Herald-Sun has lately reported from both sides of the fence that Labor has it in the bag.

Mordialloc (Liberal 1.5%): The tenor of reporting through the campaign has been that the Liberals are particularly pessimistic about Mordialloc, while maintaining hopes for nearby Bentleigh and Carrum. In the past few days, the Herald-Sun has reported that Labor is “upbeat” and the Liberals have “all but given up”.

Prahran (Liberal 4.7%): In the final days of the campaign, James Campbell of the Herald-Sun related that the Liberals were beginning to regard the seat as “a worry”, and I early so heard bullish talk from the Labor side of the fence. However, the Liberals may be preserved by the late swing.

Ringwood (Liberal 6.3%): Another seat that Labor was beginning to get vaguely optimistic about, but the evidence of the most recent polling has presumably put an end to that.

Ripon (notional Liberal 1.6%): The Liberals reportedly consider themselves the “favourite” here, as they would need to be. I’ve never heard any suggestion to the contrary at any point of the campaign.

Wendouree (notional Liberal 0.1%): The Herald-Sun has reported from both sides of the fence that Labor is all but home here.

Yan Yean (notional Liberal 0.1%): Ditto the above.

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.

203 comments on “Newspoll, Fairfax-Ipsos and ReachTEL: 52-48 to Labor in Victoria”

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  1. I’m from Perth. IS there the same negative hostility between Napthine and Daniels as between Abbott and Rudd and everyone else. If the Greens make too many demands could we again see the cooperation on economic issues as between Howard and Hawke?

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