Private polling round-up: Bass, Sturt, Mayo, Cowan

Privately conducted ReachTEL polls point to cliffhanger results in a number of key seats, as Liberal members struggle to fend off Labor in Western Australia and Tasmania and the Nick Xenophon Team in South Australia.

There should a lot of entertainment in store for poll watchers in the form of national polling over the coming days, and we’ve had a few appetisers over the night with scattered reports of privately commissioned electorate-level polling conducted by ReachTEL. Due caution must be allowed for the fact that some of the polls were conducted several weeks ago, and all were commissioned by left-of-centre concerns who might feel more inclined to publicise their poll results when they like what they show. With that in mind:

• The freshest of the batch is a poll crediting Labor with a 51-49 lead in the northern Tasmanian seat of Bass. This suggests a 5% swing against Liberal member Andrew Nikolic, who gained it with a 10.8% swing in 2013. The poll was conducted on Tuesday for GetUp! from a sample of 824.

The Advertiser reports troubling numbers for the Liberals from South Australia in further polling conducted for GetUp! Christopher Pyne is credited with 41% of the primary vote in his seat of Sturt, compared with 21% for Nick Xenophon Team candidate Matthew Wright and 20% for Labor’s Matt Loader and 8% for the Greens. In Mayo, Liberal member Jamie Briggs is at 40%, against 23.5% for Rebekha Sharkie of the Nick Xenophon Team, 18% for Labor and 10% for the Greens. Either seat would be under threat from NXT on those numbers, provided their candidates were able to get ahead of Labor. The scale of the threat would also depend on whether the remainders include an undecided component, as is usually the case in ReachTEL’s electorate polling. If so, distributing the undecided would push the Liberal primary vote up high enough that they would most likely make it over the line, although only just. The Sturt poll was conducted on May 22 from a sample of 762, and the Mayo poll was on May 16 from a sample of 681.

The West Australian reports a poll of the Perth seat of Cowan credited Labor’s Anne Aly with a 51-49 lead over Liberal member Luke Simkins, whose 7.5% margin has been pared back to 4.0% in the redistribution. The implied swing of 5% is actually at the low end of the Labor’s recent form in polling from Western Australia. However, this poll is showing its age a little, having been conducted on May 10 for the United Voice union from a sample of 731. The West’s report also relates that the Liberals’ internal pollsters, Crosby-Textor, have recorded a 6% swing to Labor in the new seat of Burt, which has a notional Liberal margin of 4.9%.

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.

465 comments on “Private polling round-up: Bass, Sturt, Mayo, Cowan”

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  1. If Malcolm has to form govt with the support of X, it would be a nightmare for him. Then labor could seize Sturt, Mayo at the election which would soon follow. So a vote for X is a vote for the ALP!

  2. On the super changes to transition to retirement, this will hurt a small percentage of people very badly. I can speak of universities here, because this is what I know, but I am sure it applies more broadly.

    People in the university system approaching retirement at the moment are too young for a defined benefit pension, and too old to have a decent amount of super from compulsory contributions.

    On the other hand, they are having a lot of pressure put on them to retire, even though they cannot afford it. So, commonly, they will go onto a transition to retirement plan, lasting say three years. The university may put more into their super, so that by the end of the three years they can afford to retire, pay off their mortgage, and not need to draw the old age pension. Once you sign that contract, there is no going back. So, these people will be significantly worse off.

    There is no realistic chance of other employment. As Trillian said “with a degree in math and another in astrophysics what else was there to do? It was either that or the dole queue again on Monday” .

    So, if the LNP had any sense, they would have excluded people already on transition to retirement plans from the changed arrangements, for say three years.

    Perhaps they have though of this, and decided that the only people it affects are academic or teachers, who mostly vote ALP or Green.

    This is one of the many reasons the ALPs super changes are fairer.

  3. Happy birthday, Puff. My girlfriend’s birthday is today, too. She’s a fraction older – 62.

    I hope you have a great day.

  4. The website I checked Trillian’s quote on must be American – they give a translation:
    Translation: dole = welfare; queue = line.

  5. Election podcast:

    The Greens, who already hold the seat of Melbourne, are making a big play for two nearby Labor-held seats – Batman, held by David Feeney, and Wills, where the popular Kelvin Thomson is retiring. Labor is especially worried about Batman, where Feeney’s failure to declare his A$2.3 million house added to his already embattled position.

    This week The Conversation spoke to Greens leader Richard Di Natale about the Greens’ campaign and ambitions generally, including these two seats.

    Di Natale said that if there were a minority Labor government and the Greens were in a balance-of-power situation, he would still hope for an agreement, despite Labor ruling out such an alliance. He indicated the Greens would press for concessions on policy rather than seeking a ministry.

    The Conversation also interviewed the Greens candidate in Wills, Samantha Ratnam, and the Labor candidate Peter Khalil, as well as the Greens candidate for Batman Alex Bhathal. David Feeney declined an interview.

  6. On the GBR there’s also a 3rd category of disengaged voter such as myself – I’m fairly confident large sections of the GBR are toast (as we have known them) regardless of what we do. Global warming/ocean acidification is coming and it will likely be fast enough to swamp the reef’s ability to adapt, at least in the medium term.

    We need to do more to avert climate change – not to save the GBR because it’s probably too late for that, but for the stuff that is next off the rank of being endangered.

    There is clearly a stream of thought in scientists studying the reef that if some of the stress we can control (farming runoff/landclearing sediment) is ‘fixed’ then it may allow the reef enough breathing room to be able to adapt to the stuff we can’t really do anything about in the timeframes needed. I hope they are right, and it’s certainly worth trying.

    I have to say though, having seen a report on the ongoing disaster that is the Bowen river basin erosion I don’t hold out much hope – how can Queensland farmers see that happening and not be wholeheartedly on board with stopping land clearing and urgent remediation? It seems inconceivable to me that anyone who lives off of the land can just see it being destroyed in front of their eyes and still think it’s all about “freedom to clear their own land”.

  7. Simon Katich
    Friday, June 3, 2016 at 9:25 am
    Darn, I am easily amused.
    The fairy is Nanny Plum (I am not a fairy). Nanny Plum is a crack up of a cartoon character from Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom and I watch it with my children whenever I can. I am not sure which of us laughs the most.

    Simon K

    Is that show on foxtel? I have never heard of it before.

  8. From the Guardian:

    Bit of context for that final question on the Liberal Jamie Briggs losing Mayo, the Nick Xenophon team is polling strongly in the seat if a new poll is any reliable guide.

    A ReachTEL poll conducted on 16 May found 23.5% of people in Mayo support the Nick Xenophon team (NXT). Briggs, who holds the seat for the Liberal party attracted the most support with 39.6% of voters planning to vote Liberal.

    But NXT candidate Rebekha Sharkie could win the seat, with preferences from Labor (who received 18.3% support) and the Greens (10.7%).

    The poll of 681 people also found the 4.4% of voters who were undecided in Mayo were leaning towards NXT. It found 33.3% of undecideds favoured NXT, compared to 26.7% for Labor and 20% towards the Liberals.

    In Sturt, the Liberals polled 41.4% compared to 21.3% for NXT. NXT is narrowly ahead of Labor (20.4%) and well ahead of the Greens (8.4%) suggesting a strong flow of preferences could boost it into a winning position.

    However, unlike Mayo, in Sturt undecided voters favoured the Liberal party (39%) much more strongly than they favoured NXT and Labor (both on 19.5%).

    Of voters who weren’t planning to vote Labor or Liberal in Sturt, 64.3% planned to preference Labor compared to 35.7% for the Liberals. This suggests if Labor overtakes NXT in the count, Christopher Pyne may be returned by receiving a sizeable chunk of preferences.


    Political funding in Australia is governed by different rules for state (some of which do not require disclosure) and federal governments. Both levels suffer significant weaknesses; foremost is the lack of transparency associated with the place of private money.
    What stands in the way of genuine reform of the federal political funding system is not the availability of effective and practicable measures, but the lack of adequate political will.

  10. Having read up about the Direct instruction teaching method following the Cape York issues, i was surprised to realise that I in fact must have been one of the very first in Australia to have EVER used it, having had a trial of the readin program in a NSW state primary school way back in 1964.

    I recall my parents were very hostile to the program and thought it a silly USA based idea. I think the trial must have been a failure, because it only lasted one term. I recollect that the program I used had us each colouring in our “level”with a specific colour for levels achieved. Needless to say many kids were rather creative with their colouring, which I at the time found puzzling as I remember follwwing the program meticulously.

    So when reading up on Direct Instruction I smiled at the “SRA Reading Laboratory”, and recalled my childhood experience.

    While I did not mind the program, the text were very, very US specific, although i do recall one intersting one about the plight of an endangered American bird – a crane I think.

  11. On the NBN. AM this morning was in Braddon. Apparently on the West Coast of Tasmania anger is white hot. Turnbull has put them on satellite. Labor had FTTP.

    I think you know which way their vote will go. So it will be interesting to see the effects in Braddon and Lyon.

  12. K17
    have the NXT candidates been asked who they would support if neither of the majors make the 76?
    Surely this now must be top of the list of questions any NXT candidate brave enough to front a journalist will be asked.

  13. Kevin
    Perhaps Mal ruling with the support of NXT could actually HELP him. Depending on the sanity of the NXT people, it might give Mal a buffer against the RWNJ.

    Longer term it seems to me there is an inevitability about a split in the Libs, with the formation of a moderate “liberal” party, probably based on NXT and the more progressive liberals and a “conservative” party based on the RWNJ and most of the Nationals. However i see two key sectors of the current coalition still not well represented by either such party. This is the big end of town who while possibly sharing much in common with the “liberals” also have a more explicitly IPA agenda, and the regionalists such Katter. who do not fit comfortably into either. Perhaps there will be a re-emergence of a Country Party.

  14. SK

    Senator X has been asked. It was part of the Lateline report on voters moving away from the majors. He hedged his bets from memory.

  15. Can you have a leadership spill in the middle of a campaign?

    Turnbull is toast and I can’t wait for it to be over.

  16. DTT

    While I did not mind the program, the text were very, very US specific

    Interesting. When asked to name an endangered bird species, many students now say “bald eagle”. People buy ‘bird houses’ for the back yard that are designed for American seed-eaters. If readers in Primary don’t include the facts… Noel Pearson has betrayed his own culture. No wonder there is uncertainty about Australian culture and extreme ignorance about the natural environment here.
    (I’m seething this morning about the Reef.)

  17. A West Australian community services organisation says it is disappointed the Liberal Party has declined to participate in a roundtable discussion about homelessness later this month.

    Ruah Community Services will host the discussion in Perth on June 15 in conjunction with sector providers St Bartholemew’s House and Foundation Housing.

    The organisation had sent out invites to the Liberal Party, WA Labor, and the Greens, as well as various community leaders.

    Labor’s candidate for Perth Tim Hammond has agreed to attend the event, as has Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.

    But despite trying to secure a Liberal Party representative for almost a month, none has been forthcoming.

  18. Puff

    Have a good one – birthday that is. I have arranged for every PB to sing Happy Birthday loudly for you at 12 noon. If you put your head out of the window you’ll probably hear it wafting over the air waves like an out of tune ghostly strain from a horror movie – only more scary.

    It’s not much but it’s the best we can do.

  19. mumbletwits: @kevinbonham @Tim_Beshara If Bass is in trouble any reason to believe the other two Lib seats aren’t?

    A very good question.

  20. X’s snide putdown of Oakeshott and the indies from 2010 in that interview is a bit unbecoming.

    But I wouldn’t want it to take 17 days or deliver a 17-minute speech to decide who would form government.

  21. Thanks Guytaur
    so it was recently – when its clear a hung parliament is possible.
    Alberici let him off pretty easily.
    Cant see Sharkie ever supporting an ALP government, even if the ALP manages to scrape a 2PP lead nationally.

    As X said in that interview you linked;
    [I wouldn’t want it to take 17 days or deliver a 17-minute speech to decide who would form government.]

  22. Bass ReachTEL primaries are Lib 44.1 ALP 32.5 Grn 10.7 Other/Ind 7.5 Undecided 5.2

    Undecided breaks 22.0/34.1/19.5/24.4

    So Lib 45.2 ALP 34.3 Grn 11.7 Other 8.8

    which by last-election prefs (seat-specific) is about 51.5% to Nikolic.

    The poll had 82.7% of prefs to Labor which is not realistic.

  23. It’s great that Coal Co have fucked up on super. As Keating would say about a horse named Self Interest, Labor are on a winner.

  24. Josh Butler (Huff PostAu) has tweeted breakdowns of the Mayo and Sturt ReachTELs. Undecided is 4.4% in Mayo and 5.5% in Sturt.

    With undecided redistributed according to the breakdown Mayo is Lib 40.5 ALP 19.5 Grn 10.8 NXT 25 Other 5.1. Sturt is Lib 43.5 ALP 21.5 Grn 9.2 NXT 22.4 Other 5.9.

    NXT would need 72% of preferences in Mayo and 81% in Sturt assuming they are not passed by Labor in either case.

  25. Jenauthor

    Not heard anything back. However it is noteworthy that again it is after Mr Shorten issued the challenge to appear on QandA.

    Turnbull knows now that Sky is no easier for him than QandA so it will be interesting to see which one wins

  26. The question for the G’s whether they will direct prefs to NXT or Labor in theLib-held SA seats. If they favour NXT, they may help defeat the Liberals. If they favour Labor, they will effectively help elect the Liberals. Who will the G’s support?

  27. KB
    so by your analysis its about a 3% swing against him? About consistent with the national swing? Or is there a redistribution clouding it?

  28. confessions @ #39 Friday, June 3, 2016 at 9:16 am

    Oh wow, wouldn’t it be wonderful if Briggs AND Pyne lost their seats!
    And happy birthday to Puffy.

    That would have to be the best present PTMD could ever get! After a Labor win on July 2.

    Have a magic day, Puffy! And as I am thinking these days, 55+ is the new Middle Age!

  29. Obviously going to be tight for the Libs in SA. The Senate looks like a very easy 3 for NXT and quite possibly fourth.

  30. who would the labor party rather deal with in those SA seats that the X-man is likely to win depending on preferences .
    could a deal be in the making to keep Anthony Albanese ,fenney and anyone else looking shakey to do deal to swap preferences to keep poodles and any other lib
    to balance out the numbers

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