Western Australian election guide (and more)

Introducing the Poll Bludger’s seat-by-seat guide to the March 11 state election. Also featured: some as-yet-unpublished statewide polling results.

First and foremost, my attractively appointed seat-by-seat guide to the Western Australian state election is now open for business. Featured are detailed overviews of all 59 lower house seats plus interactive booth results maps and past election result charts. An upper house guide will follow in due course, God willing.


• I can exclusively (I think) reveal that an Essential Research automated phone poll, conducted for the Greens from January 28 to February 5 from a sample of 4282, gave the following results on lower house voting intention: Liberal 27.5%; Nationals 6.8%; Labor 34.5%; One Nation 13.7%; Greens 10.7%; others 7.0%. My rule-of-thumb preference assumptions, in which the Liberals get 75% of Nationals preferences, 20% of Greens preferences and 60% of everything else, point to a Labor two-party lead of 53-47. The poll also has the following numbers for upper house voting intention: Liberal 27.1%; Nationals 5.8%; Labor 34.5%; One Nation 13.7%; Greens 12.4%; others 6.1%.

• The West Australian today reports that the ReachTEL poll it published on Saturday also finds 54.6% opposed to the Liberals’ plan to privatise 51% of Western Power compared with 28.9% in favour, a slightly worse result than the 52.9% and 32.4% recorded a month ago. The poll also finds 43.5% rate the Liberals the most trusted party to restore the state’s finances, with a further 13.7% opting for the Nationals, compared with 42.8% for Labor.

• The headline voting intention result from said ReachTEL poll – a tie on two-party preferred, based on a preference flow that seemed generous to Labor – has been met with widespread skepticism. As former Labor leader Eric Ripper noted in The West Australian yesterday, “a better indication of the anti-government swing comes from John Howard’s campaign itinerary – Kalamunda (10.3%), Southern River (10.9%) and Jandakot (18.3%)”. By contrast, the swing implied by the ReachTEL poll was a little over 7%.

• Pre-poll voting began yesterday, which among other things means parties have to start putting their money where their mouths are with respect to preference deals. The West Australian reports today that Labor is putting the Liberals ahead of the Nationals, and the Liberals and Nationals are directing second preferences to each other, contrary to their upper house tickets.

• Watch this space for a lot more on upper house preference tickets, but for the time being, I had a paywalled Crikey article on the matter last Thursday:

Following the deadline for lodgement of group voting tickets on Monday, it has emerged that five particular parties are privy to an arrangement in which each gets the second preference of the others in one of the state’s six six-member regions … The beneficiaries include self-explanatory concerns called Fluoride Free WA and the Daylight Savings Party, who could respectively harvest the votes of all five parties in the East Metropolitan and South Metropolitan regions — together with those of Julie Matheson for Western Australia, whose well-funded campaign has run to full-page ads in The West Australian. If that’s enough to push them ahead of One Nation or the Greens, they will then receive those parties’ preferences as well — in which case they could hardly fail to get elected. Also in on the deal is Flux the System, whose call for a new age of direct democracy made little impression when they ran in every state for the Senate last year … The other two names involved are more familiar — Family First and the Liberal Democrats, which respectively have the inside running in the North Metropolitan and Agricultural regions.

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.

22 comments on “Western Australian election guide (and more)”

  1. Howard’s campaign stops say it all. I know nothing about WA politics these days, but one old truism seems at play: It’s Time.
    It was the one thing that cost Howard the election of 2007, and his own seat. He knew it, but didn’t want his rival, Costello, to take the reins. Same with Barnett, and his Deputy. It’s time Colin. Thanks, but we want a new face.

  2. Al pal

    and Turnbull doesn’t seem to have thrown himself into the campaign.

    a party fundraiser on Sunday night, the shipyard visit yesterday (talking up defence boat building) a couple of radio spots and that seems to have been it.

    at the shipyard he took four questions.

    I don’t think he will be back before the election.

  3. A tired government with a tired leader suggests it is ‘time’ but whether Labor can pull in the 9-10 seats it needs is the question. If the electorate does really feel ‘time’s up’ is the issue then nothing will save Barnett. The down and dirty words from Porter shows tinges of desperation and, together with Mal’s lacklustre visit and JWH heading straight for electorates where the Liberals feel at risk – all with huge margins which should make them really safe – suggests the Libs are, if nothing else, nervous that the chips are not falling their way – or at least, there is a likely Labor victory. The devil will be all the ‘others’ and their impact. Small working majority for the winning party, loss of control of the Upper House and the ginormous deficit? Really something to look forward to in WA with ON and/or Nationals wagging the dog from the tail. Oh joyous times in WA politics to come.

  4. Yes Tricot you are right about the swing needed. But once the swing is on it stays on. Just as Campbell Newman found out. I assume the West Australian is playing a role – from my distant browsing it seems to be backing the Opposition with its headlines and slant.

  5. Al Pal

    Apart from columnist Paul Murray’s attempt to smear Labor’s candidate for Perth John Carey, a story which disappeared without trace, The West doesn’t seem to have done anything outrageous so far.

    Cartoonist Dean Alston never misses a chance to have a crack at Barnett

  6. Rossmcg
    Well, Alston certainly has Barnett in his sights today, but yesterday was it?, with McGowan being kicked by Porter and Barnett on the beach as it were, and Mal off-shore with his $100 mil to “sink” McGowan, was hardly friendly to McGowan.
    I doubt whether anyone would question the conservative (L +NP?) editorial position of the West and its owner. Today’s leader was all about Labor having to accept that the Roe 8 money could not be used by Labor for Metronet. This comes from a paper which claims to stand up for WA against the Feds……………

  7. Tricot
    I accept the editorial line will always be pro-Liberal and the paper has long been unashamedly pro Roe 8.

    I look at the treatment of the daily news events and so far it seems to have been reasonably even handed.

    But that could change. Couple of weeks to go so watch for more Labor “scandals” like the job done on Carey.

  8. Rossmcg
    One thing is certain – fewer and fewer people are actually buying the West, having it home delivered or reading it. I saw recently that other than the weekend, daily circulation had dropped by 15% in the last year while the parent company is losing money by the bucket-loads. The link with the Murdoch remnants from the recent acquisition of the Sunday Times does not appear to have done anything for the West – despite Bolt’s regular contributions – to improve things, while the ST is an even sorrier shadow of its former pretty ordinary self. I only get the West through some deal we can get four weeks for $28. I am sure there are better bargains than this around. True, my significant other likes the TV booklet on Saturday. Meanwhile, the news value of either paper is approaching zero. I guess it remains a paper of record for some. The West is not alone, of course, in the fall to irrelevance in the pulp press.

  9. So pre poll voting has started. The era when the last week of the campaign was all that really mattered is over. I’ll wager the pre poll vote will be sizeable, and telling in a close election. It will come down to organisation, not message.

  10. Ghost Who Votes tells us that 75% of One Nation voters and 43% of Liberal voters approve of the Lib/PHON preference deal.

    25% of Liberals don’t approve of it, but the poll doesn’t tell us if it’s a vote changer.

    Also, ‘(I think)’ should follow every time the Australian claims an ‘exclusive’ from now on.

  11. Following on from the competition that was run for the federal election, does anyone want to a competition for the winner and TPP vote for the WA state election?

  12. A wise strategy for Labor would be to declare its opposition to the location of the proposed Wave Park at Alfred Cove on environmental and heritage grounds, and offer some minor financial assistance to have it located elsewhere, for example near the Leeming golf course.

    This would gain a large number of otherwise Liberal votes from the middle/ upper income earners and the Yuppies and Greens in the area for whom the proposal is anathema on environmental grounds, as well as issues relating to loss of public open space, loss of views, serious parking issues, traffic congestion on Canning highway, and the effect on popular and successful local sporting clubs currently using Tompkins Park.

    Having a keen interest and involvement in the area, I would say it would swing the seat of Bicton to Labor, as well as a couple of other adjoining electorates.

    The project is being strongly supported by the Liberal dominated Melville City Council, particularly its Mayor and CEO, who appear to be the principal cheer leaders and backers.

    It would not be hard for Labor to associate, and to prove the association, of the generally hated project ,and the Council’s defiance of its electors in forcing it through, with the Liberals and their cronies in Council.

  13. And on another topic, the Liberals bribe to seniors, promising to remove and halve transfer duty on purchase of properties by the elderly, appears to me to be ill thought out (no doubt due to desperation) and to have more potential holes in it than a wheel of Jarlsberg cheese.

    I can see the elderly being pressured by avaricious offspring to buy property in their name, with money supplied, or a loan guaranteed, by their child, on the promise that the child will meet the repayments and have the benefit of the property, and on condition of the parent leaving the property to the child in their will.
    A substantial saving in transfer duty for the child, but the parent being adversely affected by the pension asset test and the income test, and being taxed on any rental income.

  14. Fulvio

    Whenever some government somewhere comes up with a scheme of grants or rebates someone will find a way to rort it.

    As somebody who may in the not so distant future be looking to downsize I would say that saving money on stamp duty would not be a deal breaker. BUt I may be luckier with finances than some.

    Finding something suitable would be harder. it’s a big move to go from a family home to an apartment and manynvillas and townhouses I see are in poorly planned developments.

    They may well be carrying me out of my exisiting home in a box

  15. Shows On, yes, I played the part of Magistrate Michael Rafferty!

    Strange that you should have made that connection!

    I post at 3am your time because it’s only midnight my time and I start work at 9am!

    Strange you couldn’t make that connection!

  16. Emperor Colin seemed to go all in on ‘things are really much much better than you think they are, we’ve really done a grand job and broken no promises.’
    Poor McGowan was a bit lost he had so many broken promises to choose from, and so much bad economic data. I don’t see anyone who didn’t watch that debate already convinced Colin should have another turn would have been impressed.
    As an aside I thought both Gareth Parkers questions were really lazy bad questions and McGowan’s response to the owned by unions question really really poor, almost as poor as the question. But again I don’t think that would have changed many minds, I don’t think there are many people outside the ranks of dedicated liberal fans who jump in fear at the ‘unions bad’ lies and scare campaigns. If you want WA jobs and you don’t try and blame employees who are killed at work for their own deaths unions are essentially on the side of the goods guys.

  17. The polls in The West were conducted by ReachTEL for “parent advocacy group The Parenthood”, with results as follows.
    Wanneroo: Labor leads 54-46, a swing of 15%. Sample: 617.
    Perth: Labor leads 59-41, a swing of 11.8%. Sample: 611.
    Mount Lawley: Labor lead 54-46, a swing of 12.8%. Sample: 635.
    Joondalup: Labor leads 52-48, a swing of 12.1%. Sample: 625.
    Bicton: Labor leads 51-49, a swing of 11%. Sample: 611.
    Southern River: Labor leads 54-46, a swing of 14.9%. Sample: 651.

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