The Australian and the Northern Territory News today bring us a rare opinion poll from the Northern Territory, conducted to gauge the impact of the Country Liberal Party government’s recent disarray. That impact is found to be considerable, with an 18% swing to Labor recorded on two-party preferred using respondent-allocated preferences. The poll was conducted on Sunday by ReachTEL from a large sample of 1036, using automated phone polling. Owing to the difficulties involved in polling remote areas of the territory, the poll is limited to 18 of its 25 electorates. After replacing the 13.7% undecided result with the separately published totals for leaning towards, as pollsters usually do, I get primary votes of 34% for the CLP, 42% for Labor and 9% for the Greens, which compares with 2012 election results of 51%, 36% and 4% from the electorates in question.
The inclusion of a respondent-allocated preferences result on two-party preferred is something I’ve never seen before from ReachTEL, but which the pollster has intimated we might be getting more often in future after the previous election method led it and other pollsters astray in Queensland. This has Labor with a lead of 61.8-38.2, compared with 56.2-43.8 to the CLP at the election. My own calculation based on minor party and independent flows from the 2012 election, which broke 59-41 in favour of Labor in the electorates in question, has the Labor lead at a more modest 56-44, which nonetheless amounts to a formidable swing of 12%. The poll also records Chief Minister Adam Giles with a net approval rating of minus 24%, compared with minus 5% for Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie.