ReachTEL: 18% swing to Labor in Northern Territory

A rare reading of the electoral temperature in the Northern Territory points to big trouble for the embattled Country Liberal Party government.

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.

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.

8 comments on “ReachTEL: 18% swing to Labor in Northern Territory”

  1. When is the election due?

    Wonder which side the Aborigines will be backing this time? Their Outback seats are not easily polled.

  2. TT, not all indigenous Australians live in the bush, and they don’t all vote the same way.

    Would be interested in seat projections, but since the election isn’t due until August next year, it’s probably irrelevant. I’ll make one bold prediction though – Nightcliff to elect a greenie. It nearly happened last time.

  3. I would have though there would be a swing back to the ALP from Aboriginal people, particularly in several communities which voted out ALP members last time. Bess Price has been fairly effective and probably deserves to retain her seat. Francis Kurrupuwu has been neither one thing or another. Larissa Lee and Alison Anderson are somewhere in WTF territory. I would be surprised if the ALP didn’t pick up at least 1 of those. Gerry Wood the Ind from the Litchfield area may not stand. The CLP recently took over the running of the Litchfield council (as they did the Tiwi Council where Kurrupuwu is the member). Without him it could go either way. He leans more toward Labor but i’m not sure his electors do – they’re weird feckers out that way.

    Dave Fathead Tollner will no doubt be re-elected despite never having actually achieved anything of substance for anyone other than himself. and Kezia Dorcas Tibisay Purick should get re-elected for having such an awesome name.

  4. Toorak Toff,_2016
    [The next Northern Territory general election is scheduled for 27 August 2016 to elect members of the Legislative Assembly in the unicameral Northern Territory Parliament. An earlier election is possible in the event that a motion of no confidence in the government is passed by the assembly. The possibility of a confidence motion being put to the assembly was raised in February 2015 during the aborted attempt by Willem Westra van Holthe to take over the leadership of the governing Country Liberal Party from incumbent Chief Minister Adam Giles.

    All 25 seats in the Legislative Assembly whose current members were elected at the 2012 election will become vacant. Like the Australian House of Representatives, members are elected through full-preference instant-runoff voting in single-member electorates. The election will be conducted by the Northern Territory Electoral Commission, an independent body answerable to Parliament.]

  5. [She’s not a good LOTO?]

    I was referring to her personality rather than her skills as LOTO. She’s not a terrible LOTO, but certainly not great. Currently displaying some questionable judgement in poking a sleeping dog with a stick. If the ALP wins it will be because the CLP are crap rather than anything Delia has to offer.

    Her mother Dawn was an independent in the first NT assembly in 1974. An eccentric character, she has significantly more charm than her daughter.

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