BludgerTrack: 51.5-48.5 to Coalition

No signs of the trend away from the Coalition abating in the latest reading of the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, following a particularly weak result in this week’s Essential Research poll.

The only new poll this week was the regular result from Essential Research, but it was enough to contribute to another sizeable cut in the Coalition two-party lead for the fifth week in a row. Sharp-eyed observers will note that the state seat tallies now account for redistribution changes, which have added a seat in Western Australia and removed one in New South Wales. These changes have seen the abolition of a Labor-held seat in the Hunter region of New South Wales, and the creation of the notionally Liberal seat of Burt in Perth. However, the overall effect is favourable to Labor since three seats in New South Wales – Barton, Paterson and Dobell – have become notionally Labor on the new boundaries, with respective margins of 5.2%, 1.3% and 0.4%. The swing currently being in Labor’s favour, the model rates them a certainty in Barton and better than evens in Paterson and Dobell, and more likely than not to win to win Burt.

The upshot of all this is that BludgerTrack has the Coalition down three seats this week in New South Wales and steady everywhere else, whereas Labor is credited with two gains in New South Wales and one in Western Australia. Note that the national and state-level figures on the chart showing seat change since 2013 will no longer align, since the baseline for the national result is as per the election (Coalition 90, Labor 55), whereas those for the state numbers are post-redistribution (Coalition 27, Labor 20 in New South Wales; Coalition 13, Labor 3 in Western Australia). The post-redistribution margins are as determined by myself, following very similar methodology to Antony Green. A full accounting of the calculations can be found here for New South Wales, and here for Western Australia.

Other news:

• A ReachTEL poll of 712 respondents in New England, “obtained by Guardian Australia” (who commissioned it is not clear), suggests Barnaby Joyce would have a very serious fight on his hands if former member Tony Windsor sought to run again as an independent, which he is neithe ruling in or out. The numbers cited are 39.5% for Joyce, 32.2% for Windsor, 11.2% for Labor and 4.6% for the Greens, with 5.1% undecided.

• The mass exodus of Labor’s Western Australian federal MPs continued this week, with Senator Joe Bullock announcing his decision to retire in protest over the party’s support for same-sex marriage. Bill Shorten promptly announced that Bullock’s vacancy would be filled by Pat Dodson, a leader of the Yawuru people from Broome and former chair of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation. This scotched the ambitions of Louise Pratt, who was famously relegated to second position on the Labor ticket behind Bullock, then defeated at the April 2014 Senate election re-run following a collapse in Labor support. Many attributed this outcome to derogatory comments Bullock made about Pratt while speaking at a Christian function, which became public the day before the election.

• Labor has another indigenous parliamentarian lined up in the form of Linda Burney, who has held the seat of Canterbury in the New South Wales state parliament in 2003, and served as Deputy Opposition Leader since the defeat of 2011. Burney is running for preselection in Barton, which encompasses about half of her current electorate. The seat is currently held for the Liberals by Nick Varvaris, but Labor has been heavily favoured in the redistribution, which adds inner city territory around Marrickville and removes Liberal-voting Sans Souci. Burney has resigned as member for Canterbury to contest the preselection, which will result in a by-election.

• Mal Brough’s announcement that he will not seek another term has opened a Liberal National Party vacancy in his Sunshine Coast seat of Fisher. The party’s state executive had been withholding endorsement of Brough’s preselection pending the outcome of an Australian Federal Police investigation into his role in the leaking the diary of Peter Slipper, the then Speaker and his predecessor as member for Fisher. It was promptly suggested that Jarrod Bleijie, the controversial Newman government Attorney-General and member for the local electorate of Kawana, might be interested in the seat, but he has since ruled himself out. Amy Remeikis of Fairfax reports the seat might be of interest to James McGrath, who ran against Brough for the preselection in 2013 and has since found a place in the Senate.

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.

2,683 comments on “BludgerTrack: 51.5-48.5 to Coalition”

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  1. Roy Morgan up – Libs ahead 53/47 (up 0.5)

    This was led by a 2% drop in Greens due to their conspiring to lock Australia into an oligarchy.

    NXT up from 1.5% to 5% (because they are now included separately in all states, not just SA.)

  2. lizzie

    [ Several good thoughts there, including Rudd’s ‘ratbaggery’ and Abbott’s ‘need’ for money. ]

    Ah! Thanks for pointing that out – I had missed meher baba’s comment on Abbott’s ongoing need for money …

    [ The real problem they faced – and one which I think is critically important and which it sounds as if Savva has not addressed in any detail – was Abbott’s need for money. It seems that this was so great that even the wonderful pay and conditions provided to the High Commissioner to London could not attract him away from Parliament. One wonders what might be driving this. ]

    I have some recollection that Abbott’s money problems arose about the same time as the lawsuit taken out against him by David Ettridge (

    This would make perfect sense if that case was settled out of court for a substantial sum, but I can’t find any indication one way or the other online.

    Does anyone remember?

  3. [A tell-all expose on the demise of the Abbott government is undermined by its use of “unsourced and salacious” material that should have been ignored, says Victorian Liberal president Michael Kroger.]

  4. @ Question – Libs were down 0.5% on primary, it’s hardly a ringing endorsement.

    I’d also say it’s worth being careful with this one – It’s hard to tell how much of the change is from NXT being dissagregated from ‘Others’ in the survey, and how much is from actual changes in people’s voting intention.


    [THE Government has been warned that ministers already split over timing of a same sex marriage plebiscite will again be battling during the national ballot itself.

    Treasurer Scott Morrison told Macquarie Radio he would be campaigning for a No vote in conflict with Attorney-General George Brandis who wants changes to the Marriage Act.

    The result of the compulsory ballot, which would be decided by a majority vote, would be binding on Coalition members, Mr Morrison said.

    But the plebiscite campaign itself would be a free-for-all.

    “I don’t plan to keep my opinion to myself on this issue,” Mr Morrison said.

    The ALP will have its own difficulties with division on the matter.

    Labor election policy is for no plebiscite and a vote in Parliament instead, but individual candidates will not be bound to back party policy for same sex marriage if a plebiscite is held.

    When the fight begins still isn’t clear and cabinet appears to be in a tangle over the question. Mr Morrison conceded “there was a bit of conjecture” about the timing of the plebiscite.]

  6. [Does anyone remember?]

    Sorry, no idea on that one.

    My recollection of Abbott’s reported money problems was due to his large mortgage, but with his substantial salary and the increase in house values over the years, surely it would be manageable by now.

  7. lizzie

    [ A tell-all expose on the demise of the Abbott government is undermined by its use of “unsourced and salacious” material that should have been ignored, says Victorian Liberal president Michael Kroger. ]

    Yet another carefully worded non-denial!

  8. [Peter van Onselen ‏@vanOnselenP 38m38 minutes ago
    Do Liberal MPs agree that the successes of the Abbott government speak for themselves? If so…please explain why they dumped him?]

    Yes will anyone ask this of ministers?

  9. C@t @ 2600

    Absolutely. My assessment for some time has been that the current neg gearing regime skews the market.

    At its best it does have a significant purpose in ensuring a large pool of rental property outside public housing, which is managed privately and where private owners carry the risk.

    As it currently interacts with the tax system, it encourages people with heavy cash flow to invest in properties that promise substantial capital, regardless of the quality or amount of rental accommodation provided. In plain English, negative gearing is far more beneficial to someone on $300k income who wants to buy a pokey run-down terrace in Surry Hills than someone on $80k who wants to buy a 3br unit in Parramatta, even though the latter would provide better accommodation where it is needed.

  10. would be binding on Coalition members

    What what what? Where’s the legendary freedom for non-Cabinet Liberal MPs to vote as they see fit? C’mon Corey now’s the time to stand up for freedom!

  11. confessions

    [ My recollection of Abbott’s reported money problems was due to his large mortgage, but with his substantial salary and the increase in house values over the years, surely it would be manageable by now. ]

    The question is why did he suddenly need to take a large mortgage out on a house that he already owned? The timing of his being sued for $1.5 million in 2013 seems (from memory) about right.

  12. P1

    The Libs are all relying on “unsourced”. They’re accusing Niki Savva of lying throughout. Did they expect Stat Decs for every fact?

  13. PO:

    I thought the reports of Abbott’s huge mortgage emerged long before the 2013 election, even back to when he wasn’t LOTO. But I could be wrong.

  14. confessions

    [ The timing of his being sued for $1.5 million in 2013 seems (from memory) about right. ]

    … or maybe not. He seems to have taken out his second mortgage before this lawsuit came up, so they are probably not related.

  15. confessions

    [ I thought the reports of Abbott’s huge mortgage emerged long before the 2013 election, even back to when he wasn’t LOTO. But I could be wrong. ]

    I think you are right. My memory as to the timing seems to be out.

  16. The only reason Abbott became LOTO and PM was because the media did everything to keep him there once he had got rid of Turnbull. Fairfax, News Ltd, the ABC were all party to having Abbott thrust upon us for so long.

  17. Trog

    I would rephrase that as backing new renewable sources. Hydro is a renewable after all and in that Tasmania was ahead of the curve.

  18. lizzie

    [ The Libs are all relying on “unsourced”. They’re accusing Niki Savva of lying throughout. Did they expect Stat Decs for every fact? ]

    Has anyone actually accused Savva of lying? That would seem to be a potentially expensive statement to make!

  19. This book just keeps on giving.

    Has the mystery of the culprit behind the broken marble table finally been solved?

    The finger is being pointed at Joe Hockey.

    The former treasurer was apparently the one who hopped onto the Italian marble table in Tony Abbott’s prime ministerial suite, on the night Abbott was rolled by Malcolm Turnbull last year, promptly falling straight through it.

  20. The latest Morgan poll shows how hard it will be for Labor to pick up 21 seats.

    There’s no fruit for the sideboard in South Australia, possibly one of Labor’s better states.

    Steve Georganas is a nice bloke who’s worked his butt off in Hindmarsh, but you wouldn’t put big money on him. Boothby should be a real chance with the sitting Liberal member retiring, but it’s all quiet on the southern front.

    How Xenophon preferences fall will be critical for both Labor and Liberal.

  21. [The latest Morgan poll shows how hard it will be for Labor to pick up 21 seats.]

    The latest Morgan poll shows how volatile the Morgan Poll is.

    No election has been called and, once it is called, there will be a minimum of 35 days of campaigning before the election is held. And it will be a real election, not an opinion poll or an aggregate of opinion polls.

  22. P1

    I suppose accusing Niki of using “unsourced material” plus Abbott’s “smear and innuendo” is the equivalent of saying “you lie”. I agree with you that it could be dangerous.

  23. Apart from the press gallery, I wonder what reception Turnbull received from the scientists.

    I assume now the PG won’t give Turnbull the same free pass they gave Abbott, also when is he next due on 7:30 or even Q&A?

  24. 5% nationally for NXT is quite impressive – I think he’s definitely getting a lot of the generic protest vote there – if he can parlay that into Senate seats around the country things could get interesting.

    A pity X is such a populist flake. But if X is taking over the vacuum Palmer has left behind that really can’t help but be an improvement provided X shows better judgment in endorsing candidates than he has done in the past.

  25. How can Morgan get this …

    [ In early March L-NP support is 53% (up 0.5%) cf. ALP 47% (down 0.5%) on a two-party preferred basis. ]

    From this …

    [ Primary support for the L-NP is 43% (down 0.5%) with ALP at 29.5% (unchanged). ]

    Please Explain?

  26. Trog,

    Tassie gets the bulk of it’s energy from hydro and imports.
    PV and wind were only ever going to supplement this across the year, particularly as the wind resources need additional network expenditure to be integrated. Large-scale deployment of batteries might be able to pan the difference using PV, but they have until recently been prohibitively expensive.

    So when there is a prolonged drought and the mainland connection goes up in smoke (although I don’t know how that happens underwater), they have to restart some old fossil-fueled gensets. That’s not really a story – but the effects of climate change are.

    Also, Brazil’s response to it’s 2001 drought is an interesting comparison.

  27. Has Savva said anywhere in or out of her book that Abbott and Credlin were having an affair?
    It was all about the PERCEPTION of one – a perception so strong that it caused concern among his own ministers.

  28. @ Player 1.

    The movements were 0.5 liberals to NXT
    2.0 greens to NXT
    1.0 other to NXT

    The first one leads to Lib 2PP dropping by 0.47.
    The 2nd leads to Lib 2PP increasing by 2*(0.87-0.47) = 0.8
    The last makes no difference to the 2PP (afaik).

    Net result is an increase to Libs. Either NXT has a higher percentage going to Libs than others does, or there is some rounding to get it to a 0.5% increase.

  29. A new report on the housing affordability crisis in Sydney and Melbourne calls for the Federal Government to urgently rethink its support of negative gearing.

    The report, Sydney and Melbourne’s Housing Affordability Crisis – No End in Sight, was written by Dr Bob Birrell and David McCloskey from Monash University’s Centre for Population and Urban Research.

    Dr Birrell said the report highlighted the seriousness of the problem.

    “These governments have abandoned the current generation to a lifetime of rental properties,” Dr Birrelll said.

    “The situation is much worse than it was a couple of years ago. It is a social catastrophe.”


    [Much has been written about the unpaid support politicians get from their partners and families and that is also true for the office of prime minister.

    If we expect first ladies – and let us assume that there will be more first husbands – to work in the interests of Australia, as their partners do, then surely they should be supported to do so. To expect them to work, which is what they do, for nothing as well as without any assistance is not only unreasonable and unfair but extremely old fashioned.]

  31. Toorak Toff #2626

    [The latest Morgan poll shows how hard it will be for Labor to pick up 21 seats.

    There’s no fruit for the sideboard in South Australia, possibly one of Labor’s better states.]

    That is true. With Nick Xenephon in play in SA, there’s no telling where the seats may lie, as I said when I wrote the list of seats Labor would need to pick up in order to form government yesterday.)

    [Shameless Plug:]

    Everywhere else, there are about 23 Seats held by the Coalition that are vulnerable to Labor, (assuming that Labor achieves a national 2PP of 51.5-49.5 to Labor) according to the list. Furthermore, Labor’s path to victory is highly dependent on how NSW Votes – they need to pick up at least 10 Seats there to have any shot at forming government after the election.

    Projected Swing to Win: 4.8% to Labor

    David COLEMAN 2.6% LP

    Nickolas VARVARIS -7.8% LP

    Peter HENDY 2.7% LP

    Karen MCNAMARA -0.5% LP

    Ann SUDMALIS 3.9% LP

    Lucy WICKS 3.0% LP

    Louise MARKUS 4.5% LP

    Kevin HOGAN 3.0% NP

    Craig LAUNDY 1.0% LP

    Lucy WICKS 3.2% LP

    Projected Swing to Win: 4.2% to Labor

    Sarah HENDERSON 3.9% LP

    Michael SUKKAR 3.2% LP

    La Trobe
    Jason WOOD 4.0% LP

    Projected Swing to Win: 5.3% to Labor

    Teresa GAMBARO 4.3% LNP

    Ross VASTA 3.7% LNP

    Michelle LANDRY 0.8% LNP

    Bert VAN MANEN 4.4% LNP

    Luke HOWARTH 0.5% LNP

    Projected Swing to Win: 6.5% to Labor

    (NEW SEAT) 5.2% LP

    Luke SIMPKINS 4.0% LP

    Projected Swing to Win: 2.7% to Labor

    Brett WHITELEY 2.6% LP

    Eric HUTCHINSON 1.2% LP

    Projected Swing to Win: 5.0% to Labor

    Natasha GRIGGS 1.4% CLP

    Total: 23 Seats to Labor]

  32. BK:

    Yes, that is correct. She hasn’t said outright they’d hooked up, just that that was what their colleagues were thinking.

  33. Scott Bales

    My post disappeared! trying again …

    [ 2.0 greens to NXT

    … leads to Lib 2PP increasing by 2*(0.87-0.47) = 0.8 ]

    This is the bit I have problems with. 2% moving from Greens to NXT seems high, but even if it were so, surely the second (or third) preference of such voters would not have changed, so why does this lead to an increase in the Libs 2PP?

  34. WWP 2511
    I build large simulation and optimisation models for a living. Have done for over 40 years. I put my reputation on the line in every project, and guarantee savings, or no payment due. My models run in many of Australia’s largest companies, including hotels/resorts, banks, hospitals, mining companies, bread manufacturers, dairy product manufacturers, and on and on.

    People who fiddle around in Excel aren’t building models, because they are using an inferior tool with no internal validity, which does not separate the data from the logic/calculation rules, and is incapable of being tested in any rigorous way. Include Shrapnel in that lot.

    A proper modelling application is independent of data, is able to self propagate as the metadata changes, and can be used for sensitivity analysis and Monte Carlo simulation.

    Particularly valuable are optimisation models like linear and integer programs and simulated annealing solution methods, which can find maximum profit or minimum cost optima in extremely complex situations. As an example I found savings of $3 million in total costs of $28 million in a HDPE bottle supply situation for a large milk products company recently.

    Generalisations like yours are always wrong. In fact, all generalisations are wrong, including this one.



    [Many community leaders were upset with the tenor of the debate on extremism and the former prime minister’s fondness for polemical “with us or against us” statements.

    Turnbull’s strikingly different tone, including in his remarks on Monday, have been welcome by the leaders of Muslim organisations.

    “It went beyond our expectations,” said Nail Aykan, the general manager of the Islamic Council of Victoria. “Everyone felt he was humble and genuine.”]

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