BludgerTrack: 50.1-49.9 to Labor

Labor pokes its nose ahead on two-party preferred in the latest reading of the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, but a stronger showing in Queensland finds the Coalition keeping its head above water on the seat projection.

The flurry of national polling conducted after the budget for release at the onset of the official campaign has been followed this week by a lull in new results at national level, but with Galaxy and ReachTEL making sizeable entries in state-level federal polling from Queensland and Tasmania respectively. The only national results were the regularly weekly Essential Research and the first campaign poll from Roy Morgan, the latter of which was strong enough for Labor that they have moved back into the two-party lead by the barest possible margin. However, the strong showing for the Coalition in the Galaxy Queensland poll causes them to register 1.2% higher this week in that acutely sensitive state, translating into two extra seats to partly cancel out losses of one each in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. Essential Research has provided new numbers for leadership ratings this week, and these seem to suggest Malcolm Turnbull’s slump is levelling off.

Some of you will no doubt be looking askance at that swing currently projected in Western Australia, and I don’t blame you. There are seven data points in the model from the past three weeks with a combined sample of 1048, which individually have the Coalition’s primary vote in the state ranging from 35% to 44%, compared with 51.2% at the 2013 election. However, I suspect that if you look back in a week or two, you will find the projection moderating somewhat. It’s also worth observing that the model is now crediting Palmer United with all of 0.1% of the national vote. The only pollsters who are still tracking the party are Ipsos and Morgan, with both ReachTEL and Essential having swapped them in their questionnaire for the Nick Xenophon Team. The last five data points for Palmer United are all 0%, and the previous ten were evenly divided between 0% and 1%.


News snippets:

The Advertiser reported yesterday that a privately conducted ReachTEL poll had produced an encouraging result for Matt Williams, Liberal member for the marginal Adelaide seat of Hindmarsh. Williams was credited with 41% of the primary vote, compared with 25% for Labor candidate Steve Georganas, whom Williams unseated in 2013, 14% for Nick Xenophon Team candidate Daniel Kirk, 8% for the Greens, and 7% undecided.

• Nick Xenophon told the ABC’s Lateline his party’s strongest lower house prospect, Mayo candidate Rebekha Sharkie, was polling in the twenties. How formidable that makes her would depend entirely on how much of it was gouged from the vote for Liberal member Jamie Briggs, who recorded 53.8% of the primary vote in 2013.

• Labor has hit trouble in a sensitive spot in the inner Melbourne seat of Batman, after it emerged that David Feeney had failed to declare a negatively geared $2.3 million property in Northcote on the register of members interests. The news media is now applying the blowtorch to other aspects of the real estate portfolio of Feeney and his wife, and bringing unwelcome attention to his once close association with controversial ex-Health Services Union identity Kathy Jackson. Feeney is under pressure in Batman from Greens candidate Alex Bhathal, who outpolled Liberal candidates in her previous runs for the seat in 2010 and 2013, respectively finishing 7.9% and 10.6% behind Labor at the final count.

• A week after Labor dumped its candidate in the seat, there have been headlines about the contentious views of Sherry Sufi, the Liberal candidate for the Western Australian seat of Fremantle. Sufi’s conservative positions on matters such as same-sex marriage and the stolen generations apology had been well known, but Malcolm Turnbull contrived to make an issue out of them when he visited the electorate on Monday to spruik a local shipyard’s contract to build naval patrol boards, and neglected to invite his candidate. There have also been questions raised about the accuracy of Sufi’s employment record as presented on his candidate nomination form. Also absent during Turnbull’s shipyard visit was Premier Colin Barnett, whose leadership is increasingly coming under pressure amid deterioriating opinion polling.

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.

1,731 comments on “BludgerTrack: 50.1-49.9 to Labor”

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  1. Poor old Feeney now being hoist on the petard of the ALP’s umbrage at perfectly legal temporary accommodation arrangements in Canberra.

    It’s also a knee slapper that they purchased it off the Jacksons.

    Icing on the cake would be if Thommo somehow had something to do with it.

  2. Steve777: at one point, Tassie promoted itself as “The Holiday Isle”: I think we even had it on our number plates for a bit.
    Bali might have surpassed us as Australia’s holiday Isle but, ATM, we seem to be the rest of the world’s holiday isle: especially China’s. International tourism is going gangbusters!

  3. Darn
    Thursday, May 19, 2016 at 8:34 am
    Yeah, nah. Four likely. Five maybe but with current polling six will be a stretch.

  4. I thank the “bludgers” for the information and link to literacy rates. I will try to absorb this. At first glance the literacy levels are not really improving. Family finances, education and schooling obviously being the difference. Research (?) also tells us that well off people live longer. This may mean that eventually the rich and famous will be fighting to obtain the services of the few remaining serfs.
    Generally speaking I find the subject simply depressing and I really feel like crying.

  5. And just to illustrate my earlier point: who is benefiting from the upsurge in work in the Tassie tourism industry. It’s a new servant class all right, but one with a preponderance of newly-arrived migrants back of house and young European travellers on 457s front of house. Some Anglo Tassies are also getting work here, but it’s hard yakka and requires good interpersonal skills which many don’t have.

  6. [especially China’s. International tourism is going gangbusters]

    The crowds of Chinese tourists around the Opera House every afternoon are enormous,
    I feel sorry for the guides who have to wander around holding some board in the air the whole time.

  7. Having been to Bali twice – I gave it a second chance but it failed again – I don’t personally call it a holiday island and prefer to go elsewhere but for the vast majority of Australians it is the number one oversees holiday destination and it’s an island therefore it is a Holiday Island.

  8. In the cafe this morning the owner and a customer where having a good old laugh about “jobs and growth.” Thought it was hysterical.
    I can’t believe the Lib campaign is going well if they are throwing the dead cat on the table this early. Malcolm should be visiting Darwin in the last two weeks of the campaign. It should be his way of sealing the deal with the electorate. But now, can he go back there without inviting ridicule? People asking: is that all you’ve got?
    Lifting the medicare freeze should be a killer for Labor. Sorry, Libs, the dead cat missed!
    Don’t be surprised though if the Libs or “private” organisations keep releasing dodgy marginal seat polling. I think we’ve seen some already. The Lib meme will be the usual: We’re behind on the national polls, but we’re holding up in the marginals.

  9. Good to hear Shorten has made the Medicare announcement. That’s a big one. Now people know – or they will by polling day – that if they vote Liberal they are going to be screwed by more expensive doctors’ visits.
    Some of those Western Sydney types may just start to wonder how much they are personally prepared to give up just to indulge their racist prejudices over boats.

  10. You’ve got to laugh. The Herald sacks another tranche of journos and it’s got three reporters with a by-line on the Feeney story. Hard-hitting journalism: not.

  11. It is interesting, when you step back, how generally people only see the political state from the viewpoint of their own micro socio-economic grouping and that skews any objective analysis.

    Few of us REALLY put ourselves in the other man’s shoes. And apart from those actually working on the election, for instance, our viewpoint stems from hearsay (TV, radio, friends, our little group etc … who aren’t necessarily any better informed but we give them credence anyway). Or it stems from the righteousness of our personal ideologies (thus we don’t/can’t conceive another’s viewpoint might be just as valid).
    And on the ground we have a very narrow perspective.

    I watch it here, and in other places, and wonder what sociological researchers would say about it. And before anybody abuses me for saying this – I acknowldge I am as guilty as everyone else.

  12. Darn:

    I am used to Labor not doing so well here and so am not as confident as briefly about Labor’s chances winning 6 seats in WA.

  13. Corporate_misfit

    “Note that, in 2006, 55% of people aged 15 to 24 had adequate literacy skills, whereas only 27% of those aged 65-74 did.”
    Hmm would be good to correlate that with LNP support…..

    When Hanson burst on to the scene someone looked at who voted for her . I showed a very strong inverse relationship between level of education and likelihood to have voted for her. The figures in Qld for %s of people whose highest level of education was primary school was particularly !!!!!. Especially amongst the older voters. Apparently in the “good old days” if you lived outside of Brisvegas and Toowoomba (?) you had sfa access to secondary education.


    Leightons had long built its influence over federal and state governments by using a combination of paid lobbyists and big donations to Labor, Liberal and National parties, including for private meetings with politicians.

    A Democracy for Sale search shows that since 2005, Leightons and its subsidiaries Thiess and John Holland have made political donations worth more than $1.6 million, including $918,243 to federal and state Labor branches and nearly $800,000 to Liberal and National Party federal and state branches.

    Last year, Fairfax reported that an internal audit had revealed that Thiess had given then Premier Barry O’Farrell a pen worth more than $1,000. He could not remember the gift.

    Former federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese’s decision to fund the planning office was criticised by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon in a Senate speech in February 2013, in which she raised the question of tollway company political donations.

    “The ears of politicians have been successfully bent by the likes of the motorway construction companies… companies like John Holland, Leighton, Thiess and Macquarie Bank have given big donations to the major parties. The public do not know if deals are done behind closed doors, but there is the perception that MPs are favouring private road building businesses at the expense of public transport.”

  15. The Dutton remarks don’t sound like Crosby/Textor to me ..too crass ..too obvious ..too soon in the campaign.. money is firmly on the monkey-podders ..and I predict we’ll get more white-anting from them as Truffles takes the Libs closer to the edge of the cliff. Abbott is playing the ‘long game’ & it ain’t over yet ..Lol!!

  16. When we visited Queenstown in 1994, Mrs Shellbell and I were asked at the local store if we wanted to sign two petitions:


    I always had YOU tabbed as Mrs or Ms Shellbell. Your nom de plume somehow had a feminine ring to it.

    Shows how wrong our first impressions can be I guess.

  17. If they can reverse the freeze they can do the same to Education & NBN, to me these two alone are very important to me.

  18. I see the Greens are gleefully using outright lies about Westconnex to attack Albo in Grayndler..

    ..oh, how the self-righteous have fallen!!

  19. Markjs

    i have been wondering what was behind Dutton’s commentary. Was it monkeypod. Was it Turnbull by proxy. Or was it to distract from scandals being exposed within Borderforce

  20. Poroti
    As a generalisation – because it is that – I find that ‘the older generation’ lack analytical skills. Their thinking tends to be based on emotional reactions, rather than facts, and when confronted with information which doesn’t suit their prejudices, they either dismiss it out of hand or shift to a personal attack.

    There’s also a touching faith in radio, which I suppose comes from the days when this was the most available form of media, but which is a bit more concerning in these days of shock jockery.

    As I said, I’m generalising!

  21. Markjs

    I am still waiting for you to back up your claim the Greens, who released a negative gearing policy before Labor, changed its negative gearing policy after Labor released its.

    You didn’t and can’t because its a lie.

  22. I am used to Labor not doing so well here and so am not as confident as briefly about Labor’s chances winning 6 seats in WA.

    I guess we are all used to labour struggling in WA. It’s going to be an interesting night on July 2 if Labor is within striking distance and we’re all waiting for the WA booths to close. Nail biting stuff.

  23. You have to laugh

    In another blow to the Labor frontbencher, who is locked in a bitter struggle to hang on to his seat, a Greens placard has been posted in the front yard of his $2.3 million Northcote investment property – which Fairfax Media revealed on Tuesday was undeclared on the Register of Members Interests.

    Read more:

  24. Australia’s environmental groups have delivered some good news for the Labor party as it heads into the second week of this year’s Federal election campaign, with a ReachTel poll revealing its more ambitious conservation and climate policies are likely to go down well in the electorate.

    A May 9 poll released this morning suggests that stronger environmental laws are a winner with 70 per cent of voters. The Coalition government has been trying for years to water down the nation’s environmental laws by passing off responsibility to the states, while Labor has resisted the reform and recently indicated it will move to add a new land-clearing trigger.

    The Labor Party has committed to cutting emissions by 45 per cent by 2030, based on 2005-level pollution, compared to the 26 per cent reduction the Coalition promised at the United Nations last year.

    Ambitious plans “to reduce Australia’s carbon pollution to effectively zero before 2050,” more in line with the Greens’ policies, were less popular. Such a plan would attract the support of only 48.2 per cent of respondents, would be a turn-off for 17.2 per cent of respondents, and would not sway the vote of the remaining 34.6 per cent.

    With the Greens preferring to talk about boats, SSM and how bad the ALP is, Labor has obviously stepped into the space left behind.

  25. Zoomster
    Re older generation
    As I said, I’m generalizing.
    you had better be.
    It’s nothing like me or my fellow oldies in my circle think,

  26. Oh so Feeney’s ppty is in Northcote. I know Northcote is pricey too, but 2.3 million for that ppty seems a little rich

  27. Good to hear Shorten has made the Medicare announcement. That’s a big one. Now people know – or they will by polling day – that if they vote Liberal they are going to be screwed by more expensive doctors’ visits.

    Agreed. Also, ALP campaign is going ok and they appear to be timing announcements pretty well . Feeny stuff a distraction well negated by Potato Head and Border Farce Corruption.

    Whether the ALP get the seats they need is still an open question and will be interesting to see if the polls break one way or another when its a couple of weeks to go, or maybe, about two weeks after PEFO??

  28. can’t recall an election where the overall result hinged on the WA results.

    Nah, its usually get home from the polling booth, hear it called one way or the other, and then await the concession speeches.

  29. It is interesting Peg, that the Greens ‘contacted’ the tenants of Feeney’s house and asked to put that massive sign in their yard.

    Just as ideologically corrupt and opportunistic as the rest of the pollies, methinks.

  30. Feeney is not the first stupid MP to fail to update his registry of interests. Abbott forgot to as well, and he still ended up becoming PM

  31. Markjs

    You said it all right. Sure, I am going to keep a database of such comments to counter “guv, I didn’t say it…” Dave would though.

    I have ignored other bs you spout as lack of time ensures selectivity in what to respond to.

  32. meher baba @ 27

    IIRC, Labor’s position on penalty rates and Medicare gets strong and consistent support in polling. Very unlikely they will lose votes on it, and will probably pick up quite a few.

    On negative gearing the situation is more complicated, mostly because it is a more complex story, and involves what for most people is their primary material asset. But I doubt Labor will lose votes on it with the plan they have put forward to reform it. The only ones seriously arguing against these reforms are the Libs and real estate spivs, and the Libs at least are not exactly consistent on it, with some of them in the recent past (including senior people, e.g. Hockey) arguing more-or-less for Labor’s basic position (that the current version of negative gearing is not sustainable and must be reformed).

    My reading is that in general Labor are playing to their own campaign timetable, and spending some time on each issue in sequence, presumably aiming to tie it all together in the last week or two of the campaign. Just because they have not been raising a particular issue in the last few days does not mean they are ignoring it or think there is nothing for them in raising it.

    I also think your comment that Labor’s support is soft is quite wrong. Labor have been slowly and persistently improving their vote for all the right reasons. It is not just a lucky windfall because the government have been botching it since 2013. Pretty sure the government strategists are quite aware of this and are increasingly concerned that the usual FUD Crosby-Textor approach they rely on is not working as well as it used to. You can only cry wolf so many times.

    I am not as sanguine as Briefly about a Labor win, but I would rather be in Labor’s position than the government’s.

  33. Darn. I am as male as the blokes from Thunder Down Under

    I’m sure Mrs Shellbell is very appreciative of that. Though with that kind of imagery I confess to feeling a little envious.


  34. “Some .. may just start to wonder how much they are personally prepared to give up just to indulge their racist prejudices over boats.”

    Labor needs to find a way to get that message across. Call the dead cat for what it is and get back on message.

  35. Victoria

    Kew is not in Batman and the house does NOT look like a Kew House.

    I once owned a house in nearby Camberwell and although a while ago it was not $2.3 million and was a better house than that one. I would believe $1.3 million in Kew for that house if in a good street in Kew.

  36. Ken McNeill
    Thursday, May 19, 2016 at 8:41 am

    Oh, FFS. We have world class health and education systems with access for all. Could it be improved? Yes. And the marginal cost of doing that is what is generally th ebasis of differentiation between the two major parties. Hyperbolic cant about serfs and fighting between classes is for places like Venezuela and Zimbabwe and fantasy fiction.

  37. ‘Nice’ linkage between two of the memes that have been thrashed around in the past 24 hours – dead cats and Schrodinger’s asylum seekers. Must be a way to bring them together in a neat slogan.

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