Galaxy: 50-50 in South Australia

Nick Xenophon’s party still polling strong in South Australia according to the latest Galaxy poll, which nonetheless finds Labor still in the hunt despite the declining popularity of Jay Weatherill.

The Sunday Mail has a Galaxy poll of South Australian state voting intention (paywalled), which finds that even after 15 years the Liberal Opposition is unable to quite break the back of the Labor government. The two parties are level on two-party preferred, which actually represents a 3% swing to Labor after the result of the March 2014 election, which the Liberals were stiff not to win. Since the boundaries have since been redrawn on terms favourable to the Liberals, this result suggests an election that’s now eight months away could go either way.

However, two-party analysis is gravely complicated by Nick Xenophon’s party, registered locally as SA Best, which is credited with 21% of the primary vote. This leaves the major parties on just 34% for Liberal and 28% for Labor, with respondent-allocated preferences evidently flowing heavily to Labor. Of the other parties, the Greens and One Nation are on 6% apiece, while Cory Bernardi’s overhyped Australian Conservatives is on 3% – potentially enough to be in the hunt for an upper house seat, but less than half what Family First, with which the party has merged, was able to manage in 2014.

Despite Labor’s competitiveness on two-party preferred, Opposition Leader Steven Marshall has opened a clear lead over Jay Weatherill of 39-30 as preferred premier, which compares with 31-all at the last such poll way back before the summer power crisis in September. The poll also finds what might be thought surprisingly strong opposition to the recently announced state bank tax, with 28% in favour and 55% opposed, although this follows an excessively wordy question that identifies its $370 million in projected revenue and the view that “some analysts say the bank will pass this tax on to their customers”.

The poll was conducted Wednesday and Thursday from a sample of 885.

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.

11 comments on “Galaxy: 50-50 in South Australia”

  1. This explains the robocall my daughter answered on Wednesday night that hung up on her when she declined to follow the prompts.

    She just said it was something to do with politics and then they hung up.

    Bugger. That would only be the second time in my life I’ve been polled …

  2. BTW, every vox pop I’ve heard or seen since the announcement of the state bank tax has come down firmly in favour of “screw the bastards; they can afford it”, so it’s interesting that this shows the polar opposite response.

    I suspect you’re right about the nature of the question, Bilbo.

  3. Hmmm. This might be the first test of how hard PHON support is, when they aren’t polling well enough to suck up the lion’s share of coverage for better (effectively free advertising) or worse (greater scrutiny).

    Doesn’t this mean the Australian Conservatives are pretty much polling at FF level ? That’s probably okay for Bernadi who can probably fairly reliably cycle single terms from it but not so much for his broader dreams.

  4. The Australian Conservatives won’t show up in the polling yet; the name recognition still isn’t there. I would actually argue that to get 3% at this stage is probably as good as they could expect.

    But wait until the election fever ramps up and we get to see their money on full display. Don’t forget that they’re going to be kicking the Liberals as hard as they kick Labor – their aim is to get conservative Liberal voters to jump ship, as well as holding onto the FF vote.

    There is potential for them to hoover up the disaffected a la PHON, but that largely depends on how they ultimately market themselves. We already know some Libs will jump, but don’t be surprised to see some SA Best and especially PHON votes go as well. Mr X and PHON have done themselves no favours on certain issues (ie voting against penalty rates), while Bernardi’s votes seem to fly under the radar for most people.

    The election’s only a few months away now, so we don’t have long to wait to see how this all plays out.

  5. The Galaxy question was outrageous. If the question had been loaded the other way eg “do you favour the bank tax which the govt has said it will spend on support for job creation” the result would have been a least as strong the other way. Well done Murdoch Press – getting plenty of ads from banks in the papers which is one obvious motivation.

  6. I would say that people in SA know moderately well that Family First have folded into Aust Conservatives. Bad result for Bernardi and indicative that some of the Assemblies of God voters wont easily be led into the Bernardi version of right wing Liberal Christian conservatism.

  7. I could see Bernadi taking some of the PHON voters who are hardcore Abbot-followers but otherwise doctrinaire hard-conservatives. Though PHON is fairly doctrinaire hard conservative they will verge populist after they realise that’s what they are running on.

    Bernadi can’t take the right populist vote because he’s just a standard issue social / economic conservative dressed in Trump colours . The only thing he’s got going for him is that he’s got a Senate term to get name recognition and a wealthy backer which will let him spend. Frankly I expect him to kick the Liberals more than Labor, Bernadi has nothing to offer disaffected Labor voters but plenty for disaffected Liberals, though he’ll certainly have anti-Labor stuff to give himself cover.

    I dunno what Bernadi could offer NXT voters, I suspect that the kind of voter he’d pull would come from PHON not NXT (ie they already left NXT once PHON become a thing).

  8. The Liberal Party in SA is pretty mediocre, but so is the ALP.
    Thus, a half competent ALP should be able to thrash the Liberals over the dire power situation. It was the Liberals who sold the generators and network. So, who should shoulder the blame for market failure? In the recent blackouts, the situation would have been much worse had there been no renewable supplies, but it is the Liberals who oppose renewables. It is the Liberals opposing emission targets, against the publicly stated views of the power generation companies that has led to a dearth of investment in generation capacity.

    With all this, the ALP should be smashing the Liberals about the head. But, nothing.

  9. Rather than a state bank tax, SA should charge 457 visa staff $40/day for a bus ticket. That would raise revenue and encourage Adelaide firms to hire Aussies/Kiwis.

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