WA election minus two weeks

As the campaign enters the home stretch, another dose of bad marginal seat polling for the Barnett government.

Today’s West Australian reports on a ReachTEL poll of 1706 respondents conducted for the Tourism Council across 15 marginal seats*, which – after exclusion of the 5% undecided – has Labor on 41.9% and the Liberals and Nationals between them on 36.4%, which compares with averaged results of 33.5% and 53.3% across the relevant seats in 2013. The Liberal and Nationals votes break down to 32.4% (48.1% in 2013) and 5.9% (5.2% in 2013, although it only fielded candidates in four of them). The Greens were on 7.2%, compared with 8.1%, and One Nation a rather modest 6.9%. The implied swing to Labor of around 12% sits pretty well with what I wrote in a paywalled Crikey article on Friday:

Following Barnett’s blowout win in 2013 and a mildly unfavourable redistribution, Labor faces a neat set of electoral mathematics, in which it must add 10 seats (including two it already holds, but which have been made notionally Liberal in the redistribution) to a base of 20 to reach a majority of 30 — which it would achieve on a uniform swing of almost exactly 10%. Given the statewide two-party result in 2013 was 57.3% to 42.7%, this suggests Labor will have to punch above its weight to get to where it needs. However, the available evidence suggests either that the swing is indeed at that level, or that it’s helpfully concentrated in the suburban marginals where the election stands to be decided … What’s more, Labor is confident that associating with Barnett has caused One Nation to go off the boil as well — at least to the extent that their utility as a source of preferences will be less than the Liberals were banking on.

* Albany, Balcatta, Belmont, Bicton, Bunbury, Collie-Preston, Darling Range, Joondalup, Kalamunda, Mount Lawley, Perth, Pilbara, Southern River, Swan Hills and Wanneroo.

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.

26 comments on “WA election minus two weeks”

  1. Well, it seems to be looking good for Labor and the fact the the Member for Mt Lawley has expressed and interest in becoming Perth’s Lord Mayor, that is, if the incumbent feels the need to move on…and probably should……then he may also see messages in the wind that do not look so good for his party in and around Perth. If political conventional wisdom has it, an old and tired government looking for a third term, with a leader who looks equally old and tired, should come to an end. However, in the current climate with ON out there and seemingly getting stronger, the NP doing a Labor thing on taxing the miners and Labor accused of having a slimy/sweaty leader by one who also looks like a slick spiv, then anything is possible I guess. Ten seats – inclusive to two held – is still a mountain to climb. As the West indicated today, who ever should win will have little or not time to enjoy things before the harsh budget realities have to be faced.

  2. The West Australian article on ReachTEL, link


    Lib support dips in key marginals
    Kent Acott
    Monday, February 27, 2017 3:45AM

    A poll conducted on the day after the leaders’ debate last week has found only three in 10 voters in 15 marginal seats across WA will vote for Premier Colin Barnett’s Liberal Party.

    The ReachTEL poll result represents further bad news for the Premier after a similar poll last week showed six crucial battleground Liberal-held seats in Perth poised to fall to Labor.

    The Tourism Council commissioned the latest survey of 1706 residents in the seats of Albany, Belmont, Bunbury, Collie-Preston, Swan Hills, Balcatta, Mt Lawley, Bicton, Kalamunda, Joondalup, Southern River, Perth, Wanneroo, Pilbara and Darling Range.

  3. The Tourism Council?? Why would they be spending their members’ money on an opinion poll? Testing whether there would be any point in an advertising blitz in favour of abolishing weekend rates? Or what????

  4. [As the West indicated today, who ever should win will have little or not time to enjoy things before the harsh budget realities have to be faced.]
    I don’t think you need to ‘enjoy’ Government, what you want to be able to enjoy is the legacy, like Keating can. I also think an incoming Labor Government in WA should start to explicitly reject the idea that Government should be hamstrung. That setting up for the future and jobs is more important than giving economists their jollies. We have been giving economists their jollies for more than 4 decades and they haven’t delivered enough in return.
    It isn’t the debt that is the issue, it is what it is used for.

  5. The current ads being run on local TV for the Tourist mob in WA are a strange addition to the soup. These ads seek to tell us that tourism has created 90,000 something jobs in WA. This information is of absolutely no interest to anyone who may become a tourist as they would not give a hoot. So, why are these ads on at this moment? Could it be that the government is merely using some of the tourism budget as a kind of “Look what we are doing for the economy folks…” for election purposes? A nice little adjunct to their “Big Picture” propaganda stuff from a few months ago.

  6. We do not think much of Governments these days. We toss them out every couple of terms. The ” rusted ons” are dwindling quickly. We vote for Premiers or Prime Ministers, not Parties. It’s personality driven, and reported like show biz.
    WA will be no different.Tired old Colin should have handed over the reins last year. They would have seen to be renewing. But now, it’s time.

  7. As Eric Ripper pointed out in the paper today, WA is basically broke. If it was a business people would be asking why bother.

    Whoever wins it will be a tough decade here. People will have to reassess what they want the State government to do for them and what they are prepared to pay.

    More of the same is not an option.

  8. [Whoever wins it will be a tough decade here. People will have to reassess what they want the State government to do for them and what they are prepared to pay.

    More of the same is not an option.]
    The more important questions are as you say what do people want, what are the options and the tradeoffs and what are the payment options and terms. It is an excellent time for debt so long as you invest in good projects.

  9. While Betty’s Jetty, the Footy Oval and the various expensive, yet to be opened hospitals – not to mention the new museum – are all added value to the community, it is not much to show for 8 years – wasted years – in office for Barnett. While the Feds helped pay for all the roads around the airport and filling in the hole between the city and Northbridge, the freeways have become car parks and Churchlands High School now has what?, 2000+ kids in demountables…………So much better could have been achieved in the fat years. Labor will have its hands full if it wins and the LNP will just borrow some more to add to the $38 billion debt to “fix” things up.

  10. Rossmcg
    “As Eric Ripper pointed out in the paper today, WA is basically broke. If it was a business people would be asking why bother.”

    No problem. Us latte-drinking, avocado-smashing elites in NSW and Vic will bail out WA. Australia is returning to factory settings.

  11. The WA Liberals just cant win a trick at the moment.

    They jump into bed with Pauline’s looney racists, and the primary votes of both parties take a plunge.

    They invite Turnbull to make some soothing noises about the GST, and he babbles on about anything but, and then cuts and runs.

    They run interference on McGowan’s radio interview by staging a phoney call from a “concerned citizen”, and it turns out the citizen’s only concern was to have himself elected as a Liberal candidate.

    They select a high flying lawyer as a candidate in Mirrabooka, and she promptly doorknocks the electorate for votes, offering voters a bottle of wine as a … as a…. what?

    The Emperor conducts a beachside visit to bask and be photographed in the reflected glory of a local swimming event. He ends up a laughing stock when a photo is taken of him grinning delightedly and inanely in the company of a bevy of beach beauties. Unfortunately the women turn out to be fifth columnists, with their arms scribbled with anti Liberal propaganda, clearly legible in the photo.

    The Media suddenly awake from their torpor and realise an election is on, and rush to interview the Emperor, only to discover he is completely (metaphorically) naked. and intent on showing his appreciation of their uncritical and unquestioning past support by berating them. Apparently it is offensive to ask him any questions pertaining to his state of (metaphoric) undress or the vacuity of his party’s policies and of his own. ego driven decision making.

    Now the Media are up in arms, and, remarkably, engaging in some journalism.

    Mark, you are one lucky puppy.

  12. Oh, and while I’m on a roll, who can forget Malcolm George, Liberal candidate for Baldivis, who, in the middle of the election campaign, is now helping ASIC with their enquiries into a giant allegedly illegal Ponzi scheme run by his employer, colourful Perth identity Veronica McPherson of Macro which is accused of relieving millions of dollars from the pockets of devastated mum and dad investors in WA.

  13. I don’t get the bottle of wine problem I’m quite happy for each candidate for all parties, indeed indies too, upper and lower house to deliver one or more bottles of WA wine to my house ….

  14. I volunteered to phonebank today for the Perth ALP candidate. Better received than I expected. Especially by women.
    I am heartened.

  15. I wonder if Briefly will have a report for us of the Liberal onslaught, with extra added ‘Hollywood’ Bishop, on his seat of Jonndalup today?

    All of this last minute frantic frenzy by the Liberals will be for nought, especially as compared to Labor’s ground game which has been going on for months.

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