South Australian election minus one week

Preferences, promises and pre-polling, as the South Australian election campaign enters the home strait.

Miscellaneous South Australian state election news:

• I had a piece in Crikey yesterday (paywalled) about the loss of momentum, actual and/or perceived, in Nick Xenophon’s campaign. Among the issues covered are the harsh treatment SA Best has received from preferences, including from the Greens, who have the Liberals ahead of them in 15 of the 36 seats in which they are running. This includes the seat of Waite, where the SA Best candidate is Graham Davies, a former vice-president of the South Australian Conservation Council and chair of the Sustainable Engineering Society. Labor has SA Best behind the Liberals in around half the seats where they are running, although these tend not to be the ones SA Best appears most likely to win. Thanks to South Australian electoral law, you can see all the preference orders that the parties have registered here, for purposes of “saving” votes from ballot papers where not all the boxes were numbered.

• The major point of policy differentiation between the major parties relates to Labor’s proposed tram extensions to North Adelaide and Norwood, for a combined cost of $538 million, and its longer term vision of a network of tram lines through the inner suburbs. The extensions are directly of interest to the seats of Adelaide, which Labor is hopeful of taking from the Liberals, and Dunstan, the marginal Liberal seat held by Steven Marshall. A North Adelaide extension is one of four proposals the Liberals say they will look into in government, the other three of which involve loops within the central business district. Marshall says residents in his electorate fear the loss of street trees and parking from a Norwood line, and the Liberals’ broader position is that trams are “not viable, workable or needed beyond the Adelaide Parklands and North Adelaide, except for the existing Glenelg line”.

• Pre-poll voting has been in swing since Monday, a fact Steven Marshall unusually chose to highlight by casting his own vote on Thursday. The Liberals clearly think they are on to something here, as they have launched a website to publicise pre-poll booth locations and the eligibility requirements (Marshall went with work commitments). By the reckoning of Tom Richardson of InDaily, the motivation is to ensure as many votes as possible are cast before the Oakden nursing home scandal fades from view.

• With the apparent decline in SA Best’s fortunes, betting agency Ladbrokes now has Labor very slight favourites to form government. Its seat polling has the Liberals as favourites in 22 seats, Labor in 20, SA Best only in Hartley and Heysen (just barely in the latter case), and independents in Florey, Frome and Mount Gambier. Aside from Labor’s Tom Kenyon being favourite to retain Newland, which has a 0.1% Liberal margin post-redistribution, no seat is favoured to change hands between Liberal and Labor, although little separates them in Lee and Torrens (Labor-held), Adelaide (Liberal-held) and Mawson (Labor-held, but Liberal post-redistribution). There remains a wide zone of uncertainty in relation to SA Best, who are at $3 or less in Chaffey, Davenport, Finniss, Kavel, Morialta and Colton – all Liberal seats, though Colton is only so on the post-redistribution margin.

• A model for projecting seat outcomes from statewide party vote totals based on Senate preference flows at the 2016 federal election has been developed by Jack Larkin. A similar effort was made before the Queensland election by Alex Jago, and while a thoroughly worthy experiment, it ended up badly overestimating Labor, who did not do nearly as well on One Nation preferences at the state election. The Jack Larkin model’s projections look pretty extraordinary in their expectations for SA Best, who end up with twice as many seats as the Liberals based on their supposedly disappointing numbers from the recent Newspoll.

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.

86 comments on “South Australian election minus one week”

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  1. The State Bank?

    The Savings Bank of SA also

    But also all the other State banks Australia wide

    Plus there were ads for the 7 Free Enterprise banks, so excluding the Commonwealth Bank

    Where are The Bank of Adelaide Limited, the Commmercial Bank of Australia, the Commercial Banking Co of Sydney, the ES&A Bank?

    The Bank of Adelaide Limited was instructed by the Fraser Liberal government to be absorbed by one of the “big 4” if my memory serves me correctly – ANZ?

    The reason for the demise of each of these banks was similar – their Balance Sheets were not capitalised sufficiently to maintain the business including provisioning of Bad and Doubtful debts which is the risk of banking and has seen the Basal Accord and other measures addressing the capitalisation of Bank Balance Sheets globally including in recognition of the GFC which imperilled the banking industry globally and why the fall out was as severe as it was with governments surviving banks

    The IMF Crisis in SE Asia was down to banks with IMF support in the wake of firstly Thailand floating its currency contingent on banks with impaired Balance Sheets due to impaired debt courtesy of a collapse in real estate valuations not being supported and being left to fail

    To present – and continue to present – that the collapse of the State Bank of SA was down to a State government is an abject nonsense

    It was due to the risk industry banking is – witness the other banks globally which have disappeared from the landscape

    Is the Labor State government in South Australia responsible for them as well?

    The banking industry was in turmoil when the State Bank of SA was forced to be absorbed by the CBA

    And Savings Banks are no more – the lack of diversification in their lending being home mortgage loans exclusively elevated risk beyond acceptable

    The strength of banks is the diversification of their Balance Sheets and the assets on those Balance Sheets

    As with any investor

  2. The federal LNP government decision to kill off the car industry is the biggest act of political bastardry I have ever seen.

    The reason being ideology. Abbott & Hocker deserve the title as the most incompetent economic ministers in the Nations history.

    Then only for the same government to provide as massive subsidiary to the Alcoa smelter in Victoria which only has a small fraction of the jobs that were in the car industry.

    Thanks Liberal Party of Australia great vision you pack of clowns.

  3. Car plants are closing all over the OECD, even in Germany and Sweden. The real act of bastardry by Abbott and Hockey was to take all of the former car industry assistance money back to Canbera and not leave anything significant for retraining those who lost their jobs to get new ones. That is why the unemployment rate in Elizabeth and Salisbury is double the State average.

  4. So Xenophon seems to think SA Best is going to perform best in Giles, Chaffey, Heysen, Mawson and Port Adelaide, plus also campaign in Hartley which he seems not to be winning now.

    SA Best is not going to win Port Adelaide, although they should finish second, and I highly doubt they will get close in Mawson. Heysen, Chaffey and Giles should come down to Liberal or Labor vs SA Best as the final two. Labor are apparently a bit worried about losing Giles and SA Best seem to be doing well in Heysen.

    Anyone got any more insight to these seats?

  5. I am so over the whinging about the nRAH.

    Yes there are problems.
    But just give it a little time. Spotless are spending HUGE amounts getting their act together. Partly because this is an important contract for the future of their business and partly because of penalties built into the contract.

    I know that there are some other teething issues with the new building. But there is a bigger ship to turn and any new gov needs to overhaul SAHealth.

    But overall, SA has a state of the art Hospital that anybody can use. And they do – rich or dirt poor you get the best at nRAH (and dont assume there arent serious issues at a private hospital). The nRAH should be a huge electoral plus for the ALP.

    And yet, when I had to sit for a few hours waiting on an appointment at the nRAH, I overheard so many people whinging. Most of them were people who would find themselves on the losing end of a health system designed by the Liberal Party – utterly unaware of how lucky they are.

  6. **Anyone got any more insight to these seats?**
    Josh (Heysen) is splurging on round 2 of corflutes. He already has heaps more than the rest combined but not satisfied he is putting up heaps more AND they are twice as tall.

    I wonder if he is shelling out from his own savings. Mrs Teague wont be happy if it is coming out of the extensions/landscape architect budget.

  7. Back when The Advertiser was a newspaper, it published a home-grown marginal seat poll every day for about the last two weeks of an election campaign.

    Dean Jaensch designed the methodology and the classified ads girls did the polling. Those polls were pretty darn accurate and gave everyone a good idea of what was going on.

    These days we’re mushrooms.

  8. Toorak Toff
    I think your prediction of 27 seats to the Libs will be closer to the mark than prediction by other scribes on this site. As I have said previously, at the last election the Libs won 22 seats (if you you include Fisher) which was held by Independent Bob Such but had been a Liberal seat prior to Such becoming an Independent. Now there are 9 seats with a margin of less than 5% held by labor all of which could fall to the Libs which would give them 31 seats. That number includes Mount Gambier which even if won by the Independent Bell, he would support the Libs. I don’t see Labor winning any seats and unless SA Best wins couple of seats from the Libs your prediction I think is a realistic one. Marshall not being particularly popular may yet prove to be Labor’s best hope.

  9. Do the Libs think they’re on a winner, telling people they should have to work on public holidays? Especially after recently making noise about getting rid of penalty rates?

  10. “It’s Time” really isn’t about time, but “It’s time for this lot to leave and, finally, this other lot got their act together”. I haven’t really seen any passionate drive, outside of partisans, to kick Labor out.

    I think the SAB dynamic makes any realistic predictions pretty pointless. I can see anything from a small majority either side to a minority. SAB don’t necessarily need to do really well to really muck things up.

    It’s actually pretty fascinating to watch.

  11. I suppose the alternate possibility to the point made in my previous point is the Libs are now confident their victory is certain and they’re now throwing their real wishlist out there, so when they win, they can claim they have the mandate to do it because they ran on the policy (similar to what Abbott did in the final days of the 2013 campaign.)

    Certainly hope it’s just bad judgement by them.

  12. Labor’s been in government in South Australia for 16 years, that’s the biggest handicap for them this time, irrespective of how bad a Liberal government presided over by Marshall would be.
    The unknown factor is how SA Best preferences will be distributed in close seats.

  13. [(similar to what Abbott did in the final days of the 2013 campaign.]
    Wasn’t that the period when Abbott promised no cuts to health or education?

  14. SA Best have actually done really well with preferences, with both major parties preferencing them ahead of each other in ALL the seats that matter, except Hartley. They did not do this in the Federal election so that must be a dream come true for Mr X.

    My understanding is that the parties are not permitted to hand out different cards on election day, to those lodged prior, but I would appreciate some confirmation on this.

    It would appear to me that the Liberals are the ones with more to fear from SAB. Part of the reason for this, ironically is that the Liberals have a higher primary vote than the ALP. This may actually serve to protect the ALP in some its own seats, as it will make it harder for the SAB to come second and unlock the Liberal preferences.
    Adding to the Liberals problems is that some of their most at risk seats are vacant due to retirements.

    I detect an inconsistency between the published seat polling and the latest Newspoll. Contrary to the completely misleading way it was reported in the Australian, that result of 25%+ statewide, was actually very good for Xenephon. If he gets near that, SAB will almost certainly displace the Liberals as the second largest party.
    However, the seat polling doesn’t seem to support such a result and has a pathetic primary of only 22% for SAB in Heysen, which should be one of their best seats.
    This raises the possibility that perhaps SAB is actually drawing more of its support in ALP heartland electorates. Even if this is the case, because of the seat distribution, its hard to see SAB doing more damage to the ALP than the Libs.

  15. I am just back from working on a public holiday. I was unemployed and took a job which meant I would have to work public holidays. I do not really like it but that is the way things are for me at the moment.

    However forcing people to work public holidays is just wrong.

  16. Imagine being so entitled you think you own a primary colour. FWIW, corflutes don’t win or lose votes and nobody seems to really give a damn except rusted-ons who are desperate for a scandal.

  17. Bignell obviously thinks voters are stupid and uninformed if he thinks such a pathetic trick would get him more votes. Sadly he might be right.

    Him losing will make me happy.

  18. It’s not about trying to trick people into thinking Bignell is the Liberal candidate (and, if voters think he is, that’s on the Liberal candidate for not being visible enough) – it’s about separating himself from the rest of the Labor campaign. It’s obvious he is in for the fight of his life and the Weatherill Government is probably a drag on him. So, he is trying to sandbag himself in and run the campaign locally (i.e. get voters to vote for Bignell, rather than Labor.)

    Believe it or not, candidates do this a lot and you can go to areas where Liberals do not poll well (but are inside of electorates that Liberals are trying to win) and you’ll see similar party-logo-free signage with the candidate’s name on it (and lacking the party colour.)

    Nobody sees a sign and goes “Ah, that person is the Liberal candidate, I want to vote Liberal, so I will vote for them.” and then does so. Especially considering that HTV cards will be present at the polling place and, more importantly, the party names are on the ballot. Worst case scenario is they might initially think it but then be corrected.

    In fact, I’d hazard that, if this molehill-mountain wasn’t brought up, nobody would even notice.

  19. FWIW, corflutes don’t win or lose votes and nobody seems to really give a damn except rusted-ons who are desperate for a scandal.

    Putting them up gives those volunteers that are…. um…. less able to door knock something to do.

  20. New ’tiser polls out:

    Hartley (LIB leading SA Best 51-49), with primaries of LIB (38%), SA Best (30%), ALP (22%), GRN (5%), others (5%); Preferred Premier (Weatherill 28%, Marshall 34%, Xenophon 22%, Uncommitted 16%)

    Taylor (51-49 ALP leading SA Best), with primaries of ALP (39%), SA Best (29%), LIB (23%), GRN (6%), others (3%); Preferred Premier (Weatherill 27%, Marshall 16%, Xenophon 28%, Uncommitted 29%)

    Mawson (50-50 ALP/LIB), with primaries of ALP (30%), SA Best (20%), LIB (37%), GRN (7%), others (6%); Preferred Premier (Weatherill 27%, Marshall 35%, Xenophon 25%, Uncommitted 13%)

    Dunstan (53-47 LIB leading ALP), with primaries of ALP (30%), SA Best (15%), LIB (44%), GRN (8%), others (3%); Preferred Premier (Weatherill 34%, Marshall 41%, Xenophon 13%, Uncommitted 12%)

    Paywalled article here:

  21. Not the electorates I would personally have chosen to poll, as we still haven’t seen enough data in ALP v LIB contests.

    The main thing these polls show is that the ALP may be in danger in some of its safe seats, and the SABest primaries are showing a consistent drop. The main danger for the Liberals in the latter point is it means the ALP is now more likely to come second in a number of electorates (where they may have been third before SABest vote dropped) which may put the Liberals under pressure via preference leakage.

  22. Uncommitted of above 12% in each electorate.

    That means that a good policy, scandal or even federal politics could make a difference in the last week.

    Will Shorten’s attack on the retired cost the ALP the state election?

  23. If Mawson is 50/50 that is not good news for the Liberals, the electorate, like most of the other Marginals has been completely altered with the majority of its outer suburban areas carved off. It’s now such a rural seat that it includes Kangaroo Island.

  24. I agree with Luke. For the Libs to win, Hartley is a must hold, and Mawson is a must win. Thees results suggest they are not quite there. In which case even if X only holds 2-3 seats he will hold the balance of power.

    Also, if it is this close, we probably will not see the final result next Saturday night.

  25. Wish we had polling for Hurtle Vale, Elder, Colton, Badcoe, Newland etcthese are Likely lib wins but as we saw last time Labor has been able to repeatedly sandbag these seats.

  26. Quite frankly the choice of seats polled across the last few weeks has been poor and that’s being generous. A number of seats mentioned above will have far more baring on where this is heading. Mawson is interesting though; if Labor can hold a seat like that in spite of the redistribution, that doesn’t go well for the Liberals.

  27. That Mawson result is an interesting one. I had totally written Bignell off and thought if anything he would cop a further swing against him. Makes me wonder a bit more about seats like Black and Gibson, although they have incumbent Liberal members but even so it would be interesting to see some polling from there. Even more so in Elder.

  28. Will Shortens tax policy and NX’s woolies foray – events after the poll – have an impact.
    It all looks like guesswork.

  29. The Advertiser’s latest collection of individual seat polls does little to erase uncertainty about Saturday’s result.

    For example, the Galaxy-YouGov poll of Hartley shows SA Best leader Nick Xenophon on 30% of the primary vote behind incumbent Liberal Vincent Tarzia on 38%, with Labor’s Grace Portolesi on 22% – but the way preferences will fall is anyone’s guess.

    The pollsters claim this translates into a 51-49 two-party preferred vote, in Tarzia’s favour. Without a strong flow of preferences, Xenophon can’t win, the reasoning goes, particularly given the Conservatives and Greens have preferenced Tarzia over Xenophon and Labor is running an open ticket.

    But it seems a big presumption that Labor and Green voters (5% of the primary) would preference the Liberal candidate in higher numbers than Xenophon.

    A ReachTel/Channel Seven poll last November had the parties on a not too dissimilar primary vote (Liberal 36.4, SA Best 29.3 and Labor 20.7) and had Xenophon leading 53-47 after preferences.

    Xenophon remains a fighting chance.

    Other polls showed Labor just in front of SA Best in the heartland northern suburbs seat of Taylor (51-49), Labor minister Leon Bignell absolutely line-ball in Mawson (notionally a Liberal seat after a redistribution) and Liberal leader Steven Marshall leading Labor 53-47 in Dunstan.

  30. Betting agencies are all over the place. While all consistently have Labor slightly in the lead in terms of party who provides the Premier, Ladbrokes has widened that gap, whereas Sportsbet have narrowed theirs.

    I guess this is good as nothing is being taken for granted. I wonder if internals are showing any clearer of a picture.

    It’s good to see an election where the result isn’t a foregone conclusion by now (2014 upset notwithstanding) or the “wheels falling off” a campaign.

  31. So all those SA based bludgers are like Weatherill, Marshall and NX – four days out it is all unknown. Everything.
    Only one guess from here in Victoria – Marshall won’t be Premier.

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