Newspoll: 53-47 to Labor in South Australia

More depressing news for South Australia’s Liberals, this time from Newspoll.

The Australian is proceeding with its usual seasonal unloading of state results from Newspoll, the latest cab off the rank being South Australia. The poll supports the impression of Labor dominance recently provided by the Fisher by-election, showing Labor opening up a 53-47 lead on two-party preferred – an exact reversal of the election result in March, and a further two-point shift in Labor’s favour since the quarterly result of July-September. On the primary vote, Labor is up a point to 35%, the Liberals are down three to 33% and the Greens are up one to 10%. Notably, Newspoll continues to record a very high result for “others”, which in increasing a point to 22% is now doubling the election result.

The biggest shift on personal ratings is for Liberal leader Steven Marshall, and it’s in the wrong direction: his approval is down five to 35% with disapproval up eight to 42%, turning a net rating of plus six into minus seven. Jay Weatherill is also up five on disapproval to 42%, losing a gain he made in the in the July-September poll and returning him to where he was at the time of the election. However, he is also up a point on approval to 46%, and his lead as preferred Premier has widened from 45-30 to 47-29.

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.

74 comments on “Newspoll: 53-47 to Labor in South Australia”

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  1. With results like this it is no wonder that Pyne is trying desperately to convince South Australians that all the Abbott nasties are nothing to do with him, even though he voted for them. It’s good to see the little loud mouth turd starting to sweat.

  2. I expect we won’t be hearing any more Liberal demands for fresh elections In SA for some time now. A bit like talk of federal double dissolutions.

  3. Did the federal Liberal party even think what would happen in South Australia when they
    decided to let the local automobile industry die and to tell the South Australian shipbuilders that they were hopeless?

    I guess the federal party doesn’t give a s**t about their state counterparts, they are the party
    of pure self interest after all.

  4. Edwina – the SA voters seem to have learned quite quickly who to trust to look after them at both the federal and state level based on recent polls. I’m sure cutting the GST share to SA will “improve ” those woeful federal and state SA voting intentions. Looks like the “influential” Christopher Pyne might be looking for a new job later in 2016.

  5. My dear syksie, what do the libs have at stake in SA, Sturt and boothby. That ain’t car worker territory … That will be the day when the Adelaide aristocracy votes labor. Bit like the doctors wives woz wot wun it in kooyong 2007 as predicted by mr dopey possum.

    It’s rare that you get a free kick in politics but cutting back on SA funding is pretty muchrisk free for the libs.

    [Leading business groups and SA’s biggest union call on State Government to consider council mergers in major new review
    The Advertiser
    December 31, 2014 12:09AM

    A COALITION of industry groups and the state’s biggest union have formed an alliance that will push for council mergers as part of a major government review due next year.

    The Industry Coalition Advocating Council Reform includes 10 business and property groups, as well as the powerful Labor Right-aligned Shop Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association and will meet next month to produce a policy paper for submission to the State Government.

    Property Council of Australia SA executive director and coalition spokesman Daniel Gannon said inconsistent regulations between councils were a handbrake on new investment.

    “It would seem, on the face of it, that metropolitan Adelaide does have too many councils,” Mr Gannon told The Advertiser.

    “This issue was vehemently debated in the lead-up to the November elections and this is certainly one of the motivating reasons for this coalition being formed.”

    The last round of SA council mergers was in 1997, when the number of local government areas was slashed from 119 to 68. Western Australia is moving to merge Perth’s 30 metropolitan councils into just 16, and a similar debate is raging in NSW.

    Local Government Minister Geoff Brock has pledged a “comprehensive” review of the laws governing councils in the new year, which follows council elections held last month.

    Adelaide has 19 councils, stretching from Gawler to Onkaparinga and the Hills.

    The coalition will also consider lobbying the Government over the introduction of online voting, the timing of elections and limiting councillors to a maximum number of terms in office.]
    From an interstate distance, all this seems fine, except for the tired old online voting idea, which has been recently knocked back at a fed level for good reasons.

  7. Mendicant States aren’t allowed the luxury of voting against Canberra. Jai and the fairness people will prove to be very expensive for Ye olde Adelaide people. Horror budget courtesy of the Greek coming soon !

  8. Unsurprising poll. The state opposition is useless. The state government, despite being 16 years old and counting, is not hated (many disapprove but there isn’t a desperation to get rid of them) and the federal government is reviled.

    To answer why Abbott is receiving extra pain in SA, it’s not just because of all the cuts. It also has a lot to do with the fact that he dedicated quite a bit of time in opposition telling South Australians that their economic problems were thanks to the federal government and electing him will fix them, when the opposite has happened since he took office. Weatherill, wisely, has used this as an opportunity to stand up for his state and look like the hero.

    It’s lucky for the Coalition that there are only a couple of seats for them to lose here, otherwise they’d be terrified. If federal Labor do want to make sure they get the full benefit of this, then they’d best promise a return to federal investment in the state and its infrastructure, to boost the economy and offer incentive to new industry. That will win them a lot of support here. And, if they win and follow through on their promise, the immediate economic boost will help state Labor by demonstrating it’s the Libs, not Labor that are detrimental to the state economy.

  9. [My dear syksie, what do the libs have at stake in SA, Sturt and boothby. That ain’t car worker territory … That will be the day when the Adelaide aristocracy votes labor.]

    Wow, the party are feeding you that horseshit? You lot are in deep trouble then.

    [It’s rare that you get a free kick in politics but cutting back on SA funding is pretty muchrisk free for the libs.]

    You and your party masters keep believing that! I wonder how many more “unloseable” elections you’ll keep losing…

    [We’ll see how the south Australians react when there gst share is cut. Remedial lessons for slow learners needed over there.]

    ^And don’t forget to use rhetoric like that! A real vote-winner there!

  10. Leroy 12

    While I respect that local communities need a voice and that we can’t put the power to approve developments in the hands of too few (who might be prone to corruption and not have the needs of the affected community in mind), I am in support of the idea. There are far too many council areas inside the metro area. While, in the past they may have been useful when they were a bit more isolated from each-other, they are now just arbitrary borders drawn amongst suburbs, with one side being in favour of certain developments and the other side against.

    Adelaide should be seen as one entity where the needs of the whole place are represented when it comes to the shape of its design, not just whoever happens to live in the small area.

    (I respect that people shouldn’t have to suffer a dump or something built in their neighbourhood because people on the other side of the city want it there but when you get NIMBYs who refuse to let weed patches and tin sheds be developed over because “they’ve always been there” and fear of the area becoming more popular, you have a problem!)

  11. I note that with the rampant negativism of the local mordoor press towards Labor over the last 12 years, the lies are now finally falling on deaf ears… Schadenfreude ? You bet !!!

  12. [I note that with the rampant negativism of the local mordoor press towards Labor over the last 12 years, the lies are now finally falling on deaf ears… Schadenfreude ? You bet !!!]

    Murdoch has bullshitted the public too many times.
    Its over. Influence now negligible.

  13. Sa is just like tassie in 83, they voted liberal just when the rest of the country voted for hawke, remedial lessons and funding cuts meant they had remedied the situation by 1987. Same same but different with greater Adelaide.

  14. Wow ESJ you sure no how to win hearts and minds! No wonder your party is so popular here. It can’t be that “born to rule” attitude or anything like that. I used to joke that Alexander Downer was the smartest thing the SA Liberals have produced in fifty years. Some Liberal posters make it true.

    As for the mendicant state line, it will cost the Commonwealth budget a lot more if unemployment in SA grows. Besides, the whole GST share debate is a crock. Commonwealth funding allocations do not count the billions in Federal payrolls that are almost entirely spent in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. Add that money in and the picture of State shares looks very different. The reality is that growth in QLD and WA subsidises all the other States, Tasmania the most by far. After them, SA, NSW and Vic are on a par. We are all mendicants to the mining States, if we are honest.

  15. Good to see!
    I first learnt this yesterday morning from an ABC radio broadcast. But they held out a ray of hope, as is their wont, telling us the margin for error so things might not really be that bad.
    This stuff about the margin for error is of course true but it’s the first time I’ve heard the ABC point it out. And I note on whose behalf they pointed it out.

  16. Socrates why should the rest of Australia subsidise SA inefficiency. Wa has 4.2 per cent of gst and Sa has 9.2 per cent , a level of 6.7 per cent for both would be fair and would force Jai to confront some of the public sector unions.

  17. In other terms that would be a budget cut of about 10 per cent for Jai. Should be easygoing the Greek to make the necessary efficiencies and economies.

  18. ESJ

    Your ignorance of economics is staggering. Are you Tony Abbott? No, it would not be “fair” (curious word for a Liberal to use) to give SA and WA 6.7% each. FOr one thing, where would the rest of the 86.4% of revenue go? Allocations are based on need and capacity to raise revenue, as well as productivity. That has been true since the first Commonwealth grants committees in the 1900s. You will need to change the constitution to change that. Good luck getting a majority of States to agree.

    The raw numbers only tell half the story, and the story changes from state to state over time. I already said that WA (and Qld) subsidises the rest of Australia, including SA, but also NSW, Vic and Tassie. It was not always so. Up to the 1950s WA was subsidised by the east, including SA.

    Calculating the real “value” of GST “earned” and received in each State is meaningless. Many national businesses show the profits in head offices in Sydney and Melbourne when the real activity is elsewhere, as I said usually in Qld and WA. But even then, who “owns” that revenue? For your education, see:

    To illustrate by example, I live in Adelaide, but last year did several jobs interstate, which would have totalled comfortably in excess of $200K in fees just for my components of the work. Does that get reported as SA productivity, or the other State? A silly question.

    Then there is the question I already raised of all the other Commonwealth revenue and expenditure, and where that is spent. The GST is only 1/3 of the total. The rest is spent on an entirely different basis. Life in Melbourne would be far less comfortable if that were to change.

    If you want to live in a country that does not redistribute wealth between member states, you can forget living in Australia, USA or anywhere in Europe. Try Mexico, for a place you might feel more ideologically comfortable. You will make both places happier, or at least one 🙂

  19. Gotta love that Liberal “vote for us or we’ll destroy you” mentality. They sure do love a stick. Shame they can never come up with a carrot.

    I do find it amusing, however, that the Labor locals here think the Advertiser is anti-Labor. Labor in the eastern states would kill for the relatively easy ride that the Advertiser gives both parties here.

    Anyway, this poll looks a bit soft to me, more on the weaknesses and ineptitude of the opposition in SA than any ringing endorsement of the government. I don’t know whether to feel sorry for Marshall or not – the electorate’s there for him if he wants it, but whether the Liberal party will ever let him move enough to the centre to get the voters remains to be seen. Of course, he may not want to move either, in which case he deserves everything he gets.

  20. ESJ, unfortunately all your trolling contributions founder on one fact.

    SA would probably have been happy enough for the Liberals to have governed, except that Labor is led by Weatherill, who is generaly seen as competent, reasonable and a good bloke. The Liberals have Marshall, who started not long ago as a cleanskin, but is now regarded as a whinging, out of his depth nobody. The problem is that Marshall is better than those he leads.

    Liberals in SA:

    Marshall, Pyne, Downer,Vanstone, Bernardi……….

    I think we can see the problem.

  21. If anyone wants to see what a swing and a miss the SA Liberals are, check out their pathetic campaign against NYE public holiday rates and their desperate scare campaign that everything will be closed on the night.

  22. Adelaide is a small place. There are not many olde establishment toffs to breed from, so unless they go interstate or overseas for some new blood, they old stuff gets recycled from generation to generation.

    The quality of the Liberals is a good example.

  23. Ah, so desperate you’re dragging that one out.

    But yes, let’s talk about how inept a political party has to be to lose an election with 53% of the vote (and it wasn’t because of gerrymandering or voter suppression but because you failed to win over Adelaide voters and managed to piss off independents!)

    But hey, the anger over the injustice of it totally shows! Majority government and comfortably leading in the polls at the end of the year! Those are some pretty hard baseball bats!

  24. Having read the various “SA doesn’t matter” interventions from Edwina St John et al above, all I can say is that if they are representative of the right’s thinking, I’m not sure I’d want to be no. 3 on the Liberal Senate ticket in South Australia at the next election.

  25. If you’re complaining that a minority of the 2PP vote can equate to a majority government, then you’ve completely failed to understand how our single-member constituency-based system of electing Parliaments works.

    The two-party-preferred vote is only of tangential importance to the actual makeup of Parliament.

    And yes, this goes for people who complain about it when it goes the other way too (ie. 1998 Federal election).

  26. Well it certainty helps to have the “fairness ” police on your side Carey. Under the 2010 boundaries labor would have lost.

  27. Then why aren’t you campaigning for some kind of proportional-representation system, such as the MMP system employed by Germany and New Zealand?

    It would certainly solve the problem.

  28. Yes, its a curious feature of our single-member district electoral system that you must win a majority of seats, rather than votes.

    Its not really a secret one though.

    If you don’t like that ESJ, you need to become a wascally wadical and change the system, man.

  29. What a shame for the SA Liberals that those nasty boundaries only changed after the votes were already in and there was no way they could have campaigned to win the seats that were available.

  30. [Well it certainty helps to have the “fairness ” police on your side Carey. Under the 2010 boundaries labor would have lost.]

    It would certainly help if you had a fucking clue what you’re talking about.

  31. Is ESJ a real person or just like a shock jock – just cooking up something to get a reaction?

    There are two stories to this poll – Labor leading Lib on the 2PP 53-47 is a major story BUT the bigger one, surely, is that 32% of the public wouldn’t vote for the major parties first.

    I can’t think of another statewide poll in my lifetime with that result, in any state (even though Tasmania might have done it when the Greens were at their height).

    As far as the Liberals in this state, they remind me of an excellent book on soccer where the author wished to describe the poor form of the English soccer team since they won the World Cup in 1966 – he called it ’40 Years of Shite’ and it was a best seller.

    The same title could apply to the Libs in SA, despite 3 election victories. A number of commentators in SA have accurately described the problems – lack of determination to win, lack of skill and poor judgments along the way.

    Combine this with the Evans & Chapman clans tribal fighting (aka Hatfield & McCoys) and a real lack of policies compared to a professional class of ALP staff, public service and a large percentage of the population living off the ALP being in power.

    Their State Director is a punch line in political circles in SA – he must go to start with.

    People think the Liberals are useless (even some of their own members) and the public as a whole are not convinced either they’re much chop. No wonder the ALP’s membership in SA is soaring whilst the Liberals is decreasing, when it should be the other way around.

    As people get more and more used to voting other than the major parties, the non-major party voters may be the largest voting block in SA at the next state election.

  32. [Under the 2010 boundaries labor would have lost.]

    Rubbish. In no seat was the effect of the redistribution bigger than the winning margin, for either side. The closest to it was Hartley, and that was a case of the redistribution disadvantaging Labor.

    I think we can probably say with the benefit of hindsight that the boundaries commissioners should have done more to gerrymander in the Liberals’ favour. But in saying that we need to recall that they had tried to do that in 2010, and it didn’t work. Much as ESJ might like to think otherwise, it is no reflection on the commissioners that the Liberals bombed out in 2010 in the seats they most needed to win.

    The other point for ESJ is Lefty E’s. We are left to ask what his actual critique of the existing system is. He seems quite forceful in his view that government should be determined on the basis of majority vote. The reason it very often doesn’t work out that way is the single-member electorate system — not the “fairness police”, whatever that’s supposed to mean.

  33. I think the SA Libs no longer has the right to brag on the 53% TPP when and have handed the majority to SA Labor when they lost a conservative-leaning seat in a by-election.

  34. Never complain. 47 per cent ain’t a democratic mandate and isn’t a ringing endorsement of Jai. To put it mildly the “fairness” thing doesn’t work which you kind of concede William.

    Have no problem with mmp or pr it is more democratic, anyway economic reality is heading adelaides way Jai or no Jai.

  35. Given that, barring changes to revenue, SA is heading for a budget surplus in 2016 while the Liberal states flounder, I’d be more concerned with your mate over in WA at his multibillion dollar deficits getting whacked by economic reality than “Jai”, ESJ.

  36. I know I am going to regret prodding this hornet’s nest but what exactly is the meaning of “Jai”? It’s obviously pejorative but other than misspelling “Jay”, I don’t know why you think it’s such a clever nickname, ESJ.

  37. Edwina, you’re full of it.

    First, the ALP won in 2010 with 48.4% of the TPP vote. True to their mandate, the SAEC then redrew the boundaries to make it -easier- for the Coalition to win in 2014.

    Second, a UNIFORM swing across South Australia would have seen the Coalition win enough seats to form Government.

    Third, what happened wasn’t a uniform swing: the Coalition racked up huge margins in seats it already held (especially rural seats) and eroded ALP margins in the ALP’s safe seats, but failed to move the marginals appreciably in their direction. Indeed, some of the suburban Adelaide seats swung TOWARD Labor, largely in response to Mitchell’s bland, uninspiring “Brand X” campaign.

    In short, Mitchell’s campaign team deserves an honourable mention in the next edition of From the Jaws of Victory – they chased votes everywhere EXCEPT where it mattered.

    Abbott probably didn’t help either, but the SA Coalition’s political malpractice was their bigger problem.


    Regarding your thinly-veiled advocacy of fiscal bullying – by all means, I hope Abbott does punish South Australia for daring to vote Labor, for the following reasons:

    a) If Abbott pulls that kind of bs trick, the Liberals will lose Hindmarsh (most likely gone already) PLUS Sturt and Boothby as well. They’re a lot safer on paper than they are in reality, as Christopher Pyne’s recent antics are showing – he wouldn’t be scurrying around with petitions opposing the Government if he thought he was safe as houses, would he? So that’s three House seats gone off the top.

    b) The next election will feature three Coalition senators up for re-election. Abbott tries this, he can kiss the third Senator goodbye, and perhaps the second as well.

    c) Abbott trying something like this (denial of fiscal aid in revenge for the State voting the “wrong” way) won’t play well elsewhere. It will almost certainly come across, as your comments on the topic do, as rank bullying and thuggery, and the Coalition will pay in other States as well, making their already-parlous electoral situation in 2016 worse.

    Overall, threatening to punish States based on how they vote is not a way to make friends or influence people – even in other States.

  38. @ Matt, 48

    I’m pretty sure the 3rd Lib Senator in the next half to expire is already toast, but yeah, they could lose #2 as well, especially if Xenophon’s crew manage to get at least one Senator and Labor and the Greens manage three between them.

  39. SA’s senate voting at the next election is going to be a proper mess. Xenophon not personally running should see his vote fall, but I’d say it’ll still be enough to get a seat.

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