Galaxy: 53-47 to Nick Xenophon in Hartley; ReachTEL: 50-50

A new poll finds Nick Xenophon with his nose in front in his audacious raid on a Liberal-held state seat in eastern Adelaide.

The Advertiser has sprung into action after Nick Xenophon’s announcement he would contest the eastern Adelaide seat of Hartley for his SA Best party at the March state election, by commissioning a Galaxy automated phone poll of 516 respondents in the electorate (UPDATE: And now a ReachTEL poll for Seven – see the bottom of the post). This has Liberal incumbent Vincent Tarzia on 38%, Xenophon on 35%, Labor on 17%, Greens on 6% and Australian Conservatives on 3%. On respondent-allocated preferences, this translates into a 53-47 lead to Xenophon. As I noted in Crikey on Monday, Hartley was only the Nick Xenophon Team’s thirteenth strongest of the 47 state seats at last year’s federal election, based on Senate voting patterns.

Also from The Advertiser’s report:

Major party sources have told that polling shows the Liberals vulnerable throughout the Adelaide Hills and country, with seats including Mount Gambier well in play. There are fears that the Hills seat of Heysen, held by retiring former Liberal leader Isobel Redmond, could fall to SA Best. It is also believed that Opposition education spokesman John Gardner is at serious risk in Morialta and Chaffey, a Liberal Riverland seat, is vulnerable.

Also related is a snippet I missed from last week concerning another poll, also from Galaxy but conducted privately by the Australian Bankers Association, which made the perhaps not surprising finding that Martin Hamilton-Smith, the former Liberal leader who quit the party to take up a position in Jay Weatherill’s cabinet, has no chance of retaining his seat of Waite. Liberal candidate Sam Duluk, who is moving from his existing seat of Davenport due to the redistribution, was on 41%, Labor and SA Best on 21% apiece, the Greens on 10%, and Hamilton-Smith on just 5%.

UPDATE: A somewhat different result from a ReachTEL poll for Channel Seven has it dead level on two-party preferred, from primary votes of Liberal 36.7%, Xenophon (SA Best) 21.7% and Labor 19.7% – although this presumably fails to exclude an undecided component that typically rates a little below 10%. Xenophon also comes out tops on a three-way forced preference preferred premier question, with 43.2% to 32.0% for Liberal leader Steven Marshall and 24.8% for Jay Weatherill. The poll also finds a 55.8-44.2 split in favour of Xenophon backing the Liberals should he hold the balance of power. To the extent that this can be read as a proxy for the Liberal-versus-Labor two-party preferred, it suggests a swing to the Liberals of 3.4%.

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.

12 comments on “Galaxy: 53-47 to Nick Xenophon in Hartley; ReachTEL: 50-50”

  1. No real surprise here. The free market Liberals are a long way from the norm of SA politics. The interesting question is whether X can hold it all together when the rest of candidates get exposed to public scrutiny.

  2. It is harder for individual electorate candidates to scape scrutiny than down-group candidates and that is an obstacle to Xenophon`s plans in state Parliament.

  3. Jacob: given he was one of the Legislative Council wallies who voted in favour of the sale of the Electricity Trust of SA in the first place, I wouldn’t stake my reputation on him suddenly seeing the “public owndership” light.

  4. Based on his performance in the Federal Parliament I expect he’ll be able to broker a deal with the Liberals. He supports their legislation and in exchange they pay for his afternoon ice cream for one year.

  5. If all Xenephon does is take seats off the Liberals won’t that make it easier for Labor to hold government? Nothing here suggests X will win Labor seats, except Waite off MHS.

  6. SA Best could end up as a more appealing potential government than the SA Liberals and overtake them and make an ALP state government less likely on balance. That is the risk for the ALP.

  7. There is no doubt in my mind that this decision by Xenophon increases the probability of Jay Weatherill being premier post the 2018 state election. The liberals are under siege on a number of fronts:

    a) The obvious Xenophon attack in electorates such as those outlined in the Advertiser and articulated in William’s summary above. (clearly a much bigger problem for the Libs than the ALP).

    b) The Liberals have a pretty big problem in Morphett with their ex-member Duncan McFetridge (McFetridge was rumoured to be willing to discuss a deal with Labor after the 2014 election – so he can’t be relied on)

    c) Steven Marshall can’t be considered a certainty to win his own seat of Dunstan.

    d) Steven Marshall was woeful in the 2014 campaign, which must be a worry for the coming campaign.

    e) Most polls show at least a small swing to the ALP (on 2PP) since the 2014 election.

  8. I would think that if SA Best has a reasonable campaign performance before and during the election campaign and it gets ALP and Green preferences, SA Best may overtake the Liberals in House of assembly seats. This may however require the Greens to advise preferences to SA best ahead of the ALP (or in the case of Heysen, potentially the ALP preferencing SA best ahead of the Greens).

    SA Best sustainably winning government (probably at a later election) would likely reduce the potential for the ALP to win in SA because it would provide a centre-right government that would be far less weighed down by any Commonwealth Coalition government than a Liberal Government.

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