Galaxy: 50-50 in Victoria

An improved result for the Andrews government in Victoria, despite opposition to its stance on the East West Link.

A Galaxy poll on Victorian state voting intention for the Herald-Sun finds Labor and the Coalition level on two-party preferred, a substantial improvement for Daniel Andrews’ goverment since the last such poll in June, at which the Coalition led 53-47. On the primary vote, Labor is up three to 36%, the Coalition is down three to 41%, the Greens are up two to 10% and One Nation is up one to 6%. Daniel Andrews leads Matthew Guy 41-25 as preferred premier, up from 41-29. Other findings: only 30% believe the decision to cancel the East West Link was a good one, versus 57% for bad; 58% are in favour of building it, with 20% opposed; 42% think the state headed in the right direction, versus 44% for wrong; and 48% rate the Liberal Party better to handle the economy, versus 33% for Labor. Unusually for a Galaxy poll, it looks to have had a single field work date, namely Wednesday; the sample was 828.

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.

64 comments on “Galaxy: 50-50 in Victoria”

  1. zoomster, this will be an interesting test for the Greens. It has happened twice that they have lost seats they won at by-elections, but in one case, Cunningham 2002, it was a total fluke that they won it in the first place, and in the other, Fremantle 2009, everything had collapsed for them there in the meantime.

    I really would expect them to hold Northcote, though. Remember Labor narrowly winning Melbourne in 2012 and then the Greens winning comfortably in 2014 (and that was with a Liberal candidate in the mix). This is especially true if, as widely reported, Labor indeed decides to focus more on the outer suburbs and regions than the inner city. From what I’ve read Labor significantly outspent the Greens in Northcote and still got thrashed, and they will be spread rather more thinly at a general election. At this stage it seems almost certain that the Greens win all four of those inner seats (Melbourne, Northcote, Brunswick, Richmond) in 2018 (Prahran is more difficult to predict as it will be against the Liberals). If we get a Batman by-election that will fill in the picture a bit more too.

  2. For the record, I wasn’t implying that the Libs wouldn’t run in metro upper house seats. I would only expect that it’d be the four lower house seats of Melbourne, Brunswick, Northcote and Richmond where they let the Green and ALP have at it. I haven’t looked at the upper house numbers from last time closely enough to know how they’ll go in 2018, besides wondering if Fiona Patten rebranding the Sex Party will send her seat back to a Green.

    Regards the Labor party’s position left of centre, they’re really damned if they do and damned if they don’t. There is a growing core of Green voters who aren’t going to vote ALP no matter what.

    The Libs’ problem will be a core of deluded members who believe (as elsewhere) that going more conservative will somehow solve their problems, essentially fantasising that the Herald Sun actually reflects the majority view of things. Along the lines of Kevin Andrews’ surprise that his electorate actually didn’t agree with him on marriage equality after all. This will cost them any chance of winning back centrist voters, especially if Turnbull is still struggling to keep the conservatives under control in Canberra next year.

    Probably won’t see many regional seats change hands. The CFA issue created a lot of noise, but the seats where it was most relevant all swung towards the ALP at the last federal election (some well above the national average), in spite of Julie Bishop etc standing around with the fireys at rallies. Seems that the Herald Sun front page doesn’t actually reflect public opinion after all. Who’d have thought.

    Local suburban issues that have cost Labor some popularity like Skyrail are mostly in suburbs which the Libs already hold (and that campaign was very heavily astroturfed anyway… plenty of NoSkyrail signs in Carnegie and Murrumbeena, but there was a notable lack of NoSkyrail yard signs in safe Labor seats like from Clayton onwards to Dandenong), with the possible exception of Carrum and Mordialloc, where the ALP might be at risk.

    Personally I was happy to see the East-West Link buried, although I’m sure it will resurface at some point in the future. The Libs are pinning a lot of hopes on promising to throw money at road building companies.

  3. Expat, no one thought you were suggesting they would sit out upper house seats entirely. But by abandoning the field in even those four seats, there would be a significant hit to the Liberals’ upper house vote. This is the reason that the major parties run in every single seat – because even in the ones they have no chance of winning, it contributes to the upper-house vote. Sitting out four seats in one region would put a second seat in North Metro completely out of reach.

    As for Fiona Patten, she will be depending on Group Ticket Voting once again (very disappointing this joke of a system will likely still be in force for the next election). My strong suspicion is that the re-branding will actually hurt her party quite substantially – say what you will about the Sex Party, but it was a memorable name, and I doubt any non-politics-nerds will have even heard of the Reason Party.

  4. So-called Skyrail shouldn’t be an issue in Mordialloc as – regrettably in my view, as I think elevated rail would’ve been the better solution- all the level crossing removals in the electorate will be rail under road. There’s a fair bit of noise in Carrum about one level crossing that will involve rail over road. (However local conditions make rail under road extremely difficult and way more expensive.) However that never stopped a good scare campaign, and in the absence of anything else, I’d expect the Liberals will run hard on it.

  5. Ah ok, I see what you meant.

    The rebranding will almost certainly wipe Fiona Patten out. I personally know a whole bunch of (particularly younger) voters who gave her a vote on strength of the name alone. Reason Party sounds boring as.

    The group voting in Vic is terrible, agreed.

  6. @Max, I agree entirely. The crossings should both be rail over. If they actually get built as underground crossings I can’t wait until we get a decent fall of rain and the crossings (concrete tubs below sea level, 50m from the beach) fill up. TBH though, there’s still an EES in the works to do with the wetlands, and there’s a good chance that they’ll leave the results until just after the 2018 and redesign it rail over.

    As for a scare campaign, the good new for the ALP is that by then, most of the Caulfield-Dandy section will be done, and people will be able to see that it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the Libs want it to sound.

  7. Fiona Patten did not take a Green seat, she took a Liberal seat (that had previously been an ALP seat).

    The reformed Legislative Council requires the Coalition to take the western and northern suburbs seriously in government if they want to have a majority in the following term.

    The redistribution before the 2014 election moving Liberal winnable seat Ivanhoe out of Northern Metro and replacing it with safe ALP seat where the Greens are less than 9% from overtaking the Liberals Preston did not help the Liberal cause in Northern Metro.

  8. Preston also ended up as an ALP versus Green contest but the ALP had passed 50% by then and thus Liberal preferences were not distributed (I they had been, the ALP margin is though to have been about 15%). Sitting out of 5 seats in Northern Metro would really damage the Liberals chances in the Council and force them to rely on preferences for their single seat.

  9. The anti-Skyrail campaign is being fed by the liberals in order to win back Oakleigh, an ALP held marginal with the most controversial section of skyrail because it is much closer to homes because the rail reservation is much narrower there and in many section the homes directly back or side onto the railway.

    They then aimed it at the Frankston line as well.

  10. Right you are – I thought for some reason that Carnegie and Murrumbeena were in Caulfield, which is a safe Libs seat.

    Oakleigh isn’t all that marginal though – it was 58-42 ish to Labor at the last election, including a reasonable Greens vote. Skyrail will be finished by the time the election comes around.

  11. The very end of Skyrail (beyond Grange Rd) is in Caulfield. Caulfield is also no longer a safe Liberal seat. It not has a margin of only 4.88% and the last state election was not a landslide for the ALP and so the Liberals could loose it if there is an ALP landslide. The ALP promising to get rid of the Glen Huntly Rd and Neerim Rd level crossings would help as well (they have to be done together because they are so close and the tram/train level crossing at the Glen Huntly Rd level crossing makes it one of the most beneficial potential abolitions in the state).

  12. Apparently Vic has $45.4B worth of transport projects underway in the City, most due to be completed by 2022, which is 2 elections away. Third terms is usually where it starts to get harder, so that will help. Exception is $11b Metro Rail due by 2026

    There are also some regional projects, my guess is less than $1B, that difference is probably the source of division between City and Country people.

    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/west-gate-tunnel-cost-blows-out-to-67-billion-tunnels–to-be-twice-as-long-20171211-h02wbj.html

  13. The ALP should be very worried about the state seat of Preston, considering the vote in the Preston booths of Northcote and Richard Wynne’s “Imma go with big developers, screw you all” decision on Preston Market, which was *the* main issue in the last Darebin council elections.

    As much as Andrews *is* progressive, Labor are very bad at fighting the Greens in these seats. In Northcote, they *only* talked about housing affordability, mainly in the sense of buying houses. They left major and obvious issues like transport entirely to the Greens. The contrast between Lidia Thorpe and a Labor candidate who acted like she was running in a student election was immense. And they ignored issues like the brewing storm around their out-right-winging-the-Liberals assault on public housing – even though much of the broader campaign against that was being run out of the Walker St estate in the middle of the electorate.

    And to prove that they’ve learned nothing, media reports reckon they’re lining up Clare Burns to run in Batman if Feeney goes. The Greens would be beyond ecstatic at that considering how well she went in Northcote – all they’d need to do is show up. Labor needs to stop running Right faction candidates in these Greens contests just because they could get away with them being Right bastions once: every time they do this, it’s just a present to the Greens.

    Or, y’know, they could suck up to the SDA and abandon all hope of ever getting majority government again…

  14. I expect a swing from the ALP to the Greens in Preston at next year`s state election. However given that the Greens only got 23.98% 3CP in 2014 (Liberal preferences (the Greens made second place by 0.63% largely on the preferences of Gaetano Greco) were not distributed because the ALP got 52.68% 3CP and mostly would have gone to the ALP), the Greens are unlikely to get a big enough swing to unseat the ALP in 2018 but will have a more competitive margin for the following election.

    The seat of Preston would more accurately be called Reservoir, given that a greater proportion of Reservoir is in than the proportion of Preston that is in it and there is more Reservoir than Preston. The seat is largely still an ALP voting area and as far as I can tell every Batman polling booth in the seat of Preston gave Feeney a margin of between 53% and 76% ALP versus Green 2CP (most of them were over 60%).

    Preston and Pascoe Vale will probably have to wait for Batman and Wills (respectively) to fall to the Greens for them to be winnable for the Greens and for them to have been ALP versus Green 2CP contests at the previous state election. Footscray and Williamstown (along with Gellibrand at Commonwealth) are also probably similar level medium term Green targets.

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