Newspoll and ReachTEL: Liberal 34, Labor 31 in South Australia

A late poll from South Australia shows only that whoever ends up governing will do so from an historically low primary vote.

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In quick succession, we have had final statewide polls from Newspoll (for The Australian) and ReachTEL (for Sky News), and they are of one mind in having the Liberals leading Labor on the primary vote by 34% to 31%, and very nearly in accord with support for SA Best, which Newspoll has at 17% and ReachTEL has at 16%. Newspoll has the Greens on 8%; no figure is available from ReachTEL. In Newspoll’s case, the Liberals are up two on the poll a fortnight ago, Labor and the Greens are up one each, and SA Best is down four. Sky News also related that the ReachTEL poll had Labor leading 52-48 in a forced preference of undecided voters, although it’s hard to say what use that figure is exactly.

Both pollsters also asked what Nick Xenophon should do if he holds the balance of power, with rather different results. Newspoll respondents broke clearly for the Liberals, who were favoured by 52% compared with just 28% for Labor. However, ReachTEL also included a “party with the most votes” option that was favoured by 33%, compared with 35% for Labor and 32% for the Liberals. This may suggest awareness that it was the Liberals twice failed to win government after scoring higher vote shares than Labor in 2010 and 2014.

Newspoll’s personal ratings find Jay Weatherill steady on 33% approval and down one on disapproval to 53%; Steven Marshall up two to 30% and down four to 50%; Weatherill with a 38-33 head-to-head lead over Marshall as preferred premier, down from 38-31 last time; and an even balance on a three-way preferred premier question, on which Weatherill is up one to 29%, Marshall up three to 27% and Nick Xenophon down four to 25%.

I have now given my poll tracker what will presumably be its final update, and its reading naturally reflects closely the consensus of Newspoll and ReachTEL, albeit that the Liberals come in a little lower. Also for your convenience, the table below shows all the seat polling conducted through the campaign for The Advertiser by YouGov Galaxy. Click on the image for a clearer look.

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.

76 comments on “Newspoll and ReachTEL: Liberal 34, Labor 31 in South Australia”

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  1. I wouldn’t read anything into the seat betting. I often bet and the odds change straight afterwards. So one bet from one punter affects the results. Also they strictly limit how much an individual punter can wager, often to ridiculously small amounts.

  2. An anecdote from my parents that apparently Karen Hockley, SA Best candidate for Davenport, was at a shopping centre in the electorate, not a very big one, and all she was doing was annoying everyone and nobody was interested in talking to her. I suspect that are a very large percentage of voters who are sick of everybody, they will vote for somebody because they have to do so but really they want none of them.

  3. Peterjk23: Agree re one punter can change the market a lot. Did you get on the Xenophon 10+ @31? I assume you would be very keen on that given your other analysis!

  4. The vibe on here is that the Libs have the wind in their sails, but the two polls released last night indicate things have narrowed considerably since 2014 (approx 3% TPP swing to ALP) and that the Liberals will be playing defensively against the ALP as well as SAB.

  5. Well Reachtel and Newspoll certainly put the cat among the pigeons with my predictions.
    My predictions now are ALP 20, LP 18, SA Best 6 and 3 Independents – Florey won by Frances Bedford the former ALP member for the seat, but now independent; Frome held by the Independent Geoff Brock and Mt Gambier won by the disgraced former LP member Troy Bell.
    This is based on the SA Votes program by Jack Larkin, with a few minor adjustments.
    The primary votes entered into the program were from Polltracker and were ALP 30.6%, LP 32.8%, SA Best 18.0%, Greens 7.6% and (therefore) Others 11.0%. The program predicts ALP 21, LP 18, SA Best 6 and Frome and Florey with Independents. I think, in contrast to the program, that the LP will win Black and Mawson with Troy Bell winning Mt Gambier. And I think Xenophon will win Hartley.
    I expect that SA Best will do better than many commentators expect in winning seats, and this will help Labor as SA Best will mostly win seats from the Liberals.
    Still it’s likely to be a close result, as small changes in the percentage of votes gained by each party, lead to significant changes in seats.
    The momentum is definitely with the Liberals.
    But at the end of the day, the Liberals may be in the situation of having a significantly higher primary vote than Labor, but with less seats than Labor, but this time it’s not due to a poor campaign or ‘unfair’ boundaries, but due to a Centre Right party taking a number of their seats.

  6. Ekigozan
    No. Must admit i didn’t check this morning, but I doubt they would have let me place any more because they maxed me out yesterday on $40 at 2.20 on X in Hartley.
    Following the polls last night I’ve reconsidered some of my wilder expectations for SAB, but still believe X will win Hartley and have at least half a dozen and as many as 10-12 seats overall. Tactical voting will ensure X gets into 2nd place, then he only needs to skim a relatively small portion of the Liberal vote. I believe the seat poll that came out from Hartley, overestimated the leakage of ALP and Green preferences to Tarzia. My interpretation of that poll based on likely preference flows is 53-47 to Xenephon. We will see soon enough!

  7. John
    The Newspoll reduced the SAB vote according to the number of seats contested, so that 17%, translates into 20.4%. I’m not sure if Bludgertrack has allowed for that? If I plug in 20% for SAB and reduce the ALP and Libs by 1% each, it increases the SAB seats to 9. Two of those (Mawson & Mt Gambier) are very unlikely, but the other 7 (Finniss, Chaffey, Davenport, Kavel, Giles, Heysen & Morialta) all look likely to me, except Morialta which is maybe 50/50. Then there is Hartley (probable) and possiblities in Gibson, Schubert, Narungga, Waite and who knows what safe ALP seats.

  8. I think Xenophon’ big problem in Hartley is the large number of Italian migrants there. Italian Labor voters are likely to preference Tarzia (Italian) over Xenophon (Greek)

  9. Hi all

    Hope you’re well. Not long now before we can stop reading entrails, tea leaves and horoscopes and actually get an actual idea of what’s happening. As for anecdotes from the booth, some have taken Lib HTVs, some Labor, some SAB etc. – most went in without anything, so there’s absolutely nothing to read into that (even if somebody took a particular card, it doesn’t mean anything – they could’ve just been acting polite because the volunteer was a little more assertive.)

    Heard rumbles to all effects this morning when the queues were long. To guess based on them would be pointless, so I won’t.

    Anyway, I have my booze ready (gonna be a long night I think – either due to the uncertainty or the sorrow probably but I hold out hope that I might be celebrating.)

  10. Well, for the first time in my voting life, I chose not to rank the Greens first in my upper house vote. Kelly Vincent is possibly the most accidental MP in Australian political history, but she quickly proved herself to be more than capable at the job she was catapulted into. She and Geoff Brock (who I’m frankly surprised even bothered running again) will be the only people I’ll be actively sorry to see go down tonight (so would Frances Bedford, but she seems safe enough).

  11. Channel 9 just announced the results of an exit poll and gave the election to the Liberals… based on the statewide two-party-preferred result (50.5-49.5). For a state election in S.A. With more three-cornered contests than a stick can reasonably be shaken at. Thanks, guys, I needed that laugh…

  12. Personally, I’m hoping there will be a “Better the devil you know” sentiment amongst the undecided/unengaged.

    I will point out that one advantage that the ALP has is that SA electoral law allows incomplete (i.e. where somebody has just marked 1 candidate) to still count and, in the event of that candidate being excluded, to flow based on the preferred preferences lodged by the party – rather than just being declared informal.

    Mixed on whether that law is a good idea or not. On one hand, it’s good to make as many people’s votes count as possible. OTOH, it is allowing the party hacks to hijack a vote. Best way to prevent that, I guess, is to number all your squares (on both ballots)

  13. Pyne is a waste on a panel, he is just too pre-programmed to give anything like objectivity. The role of a party person on a panel should not be to sprout party political dribble but to give information from their sources on what is happening.

  14. Agreed Scott. That’s why the more “boring” technocratic party figure usually is better on the panel, than the headkicker/media savvy one. We’re watching to know what’s going on, not just to hear spin and rhetoric (although we still do get a little)

    Good SA Labor figures for this type of role are Wong and Rau. Good Liberals are people like Chapman and Lucas.

  15. It seems the ABC coverage is having Lucas and Atkinson for what is happening and Chapman, Sharkie and Marr to give the political dribble. Seems a bit of overkill.

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