Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor in Victoria

As the November state election looms closer into view, Newspoll finds next to nothing in it.

The Australian today brings us a Victorian state voting intention result from Newspoll, which is not one of the usual results accumulated through polling conducted over a period of two months, but a one-shot poll of 1023 respondents conducted from Friday to Monday. It records Labor with a two-party lead of 51-49, which is down from 52-48 at both the election and the previous poll conducted through February and March. On the primary vote, Labor is up one to 38%, the Coalition is up two to 41% and the Greens are steady on 11%, with One Nation down one to 5% and all others down two to 5%.

Both leaders suffer spikes in their disapproval ratings: Daniel Andrews tips over to a negative net approval rating, with approval down three to 43% and disapproval up six to 47%, and Matthew Guy is down four on approval to 32% and up eight on disapproval to 45%. Andrews’ lead as preferred premier is at 41-34, narrowing from 41-30 last time. As it did last time, the poll asks about the better party to handle energy supply and law order, which respectively find Labor’s lead narrowing from 44-34 to 42-40, and its deficit widening from 42-37 to 46-37. The poll also finds 69% of respondents saying the government should do more to reduce gang violence, up four from last month, while only 23% think it is doing enough, down two points.

Last month, The Age published results of ReachTEL polling of the crucial “sandbelt” seats of Bentleigh, Mordialloc, Carrum and Frankston, targeting around 735 respondents each, which found Labor leading in all of them: by 53-47 in the case of the first three, and by 51-49 in Frankston. The poll was conducted for Environment Victoria, an “independent not-for-profit advocacy group”.

Below you will find a poll aggregation chart I have put together, combining four results from Newspoll (from whom we heard nothing in 2016), three apiece from Galaxy and ReachTEL, twelve from Roy Morgan and twenty-one from Essential Research. ReachTEL, Morgan and Essential are bias-adjusted to make more like Newspoll and Galaxy. On the current reading of the trend, Labor leads 51.6-48.4, from primary votes of Labor 37.7%, Coalition 40.3% and Greens 11.3%.

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.

23 comments on “Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor in Victoria”

  1. Five seats for The Greens? I presume you’re adding Brunswick and Richmond to Melbourne, Northcote and Prahran. Can’t see them picking up Richmond given they’re running Kathleen Maltzahn AGAIN. (If you thought some members didn’t like Alex Bhathal ….) And they’ll lose Prahran: the Liberals have somehow managed to chose a good candidate.
    The prospect of a hung Parliament will itself swing voters one way or another – I suspect back to the government.

  2. Agreed that the Greens will have trouble holding Prahran. The seat is so finely balanced, it will take only a tiny swing from Labor to Liberal OR the other way around for the Greens candidate to finish third and miss out. On the other hand, the Greens can expect a second-term surge, so if it’s large enough they might just hang on.

    As for Brunswick and Richmond, the interesting thing will be what the Liberals do with their preferences. Recently they’ve been back-pedalling on their 2010 “masterstroke” of putting Labor ahead of the Greens. If they complete their 180 degree turn, those two seats will be almost certain Greens gains.

  3. Pretty much a nothing to see here poll. Current issues will wash through and the Government has the Budget to dole out a lot of juicy infrastructure spending for key marginal electorates. Despite a few recent hiccups, the Government has been a can do type and their overall actions seem to be in synch with the electorate.

  4. The problem for the Liberals is that they can’t execute the 180 degree turn quietly. It’ll be a big story which – perversely – could drive swingers towards Labor.
    In any case, nobody apart from us tragics really engages with state politics until about a fortnight before polling day. This poll will be a useful rocket up the government’s bum, though: they seem determined to see how close they can run it in November – but I just can’t see them losing after only one term.
    Frankly, I can see Labor ending up with around 52 of 88 seats (up from 47): of the nine seats at the bottom of the Coalition side of the pendulum (up to 4.8%), only two are being defended by sophomores. (Caulfield at 4.9% is #10; I’d be surprised if it fell.)

  5. I agee with others, Government is doing goodstuff, and planing to do more, and also had a big improvement in latest crime stats.
    So why are the numbers going the wrong way, people not tuned in yet ?

  6. Toby is right about nobody being engaged with state politics at this stage. Which can lead to the following Dilbert effect (quoted from memory, so they might not be quite the exact words).

    Dilbert : “Well, Dogbert, yesterday I was invisible, but today I am known by all!”

    Dogbert : “Screwed up, did you?”

    Dilbert: “Oh, yeah. Big time.”

    Always a danger for a government that just quietly gets on with the job.

  7. Observer,
    It’s a difficult question to phrase neutrally but it’s only push polling if it’s asked before the voting intention question – which I assume Galaxy / Newspoll doesn’t. At least in my experience they don’t.

  8. “Do you think the Government should do more to reduce gang violence”
    “Why no, I think they should do less.” (said no respondents ever)
    Follow-up polling questions –
    “Do you think the Government should do more to reduce – murders, rapes, assaults, burglaries, road rage, graffiti, dognapping ….”

    You do wonder what is the point of asking such questions.

    I would love to just include a big double-barrel question – (possibly with a few filler questions in between so as to not totally give the game away!)
    1. “Do you think the Government should substantially reduce taxes on Victorians?”
    2. “Do you think the Government should substantially increase spending on Victorians?”

    The predicted strongly positive responses to these two questions sadly shows how difficult it is to be in Government these days, on either side of politics.
    – state/territory election tragic

  9. I’m cautiously optimistic for Labors chances of reelection. This poll doesn’t have much to show in terms of voting intention and could easily have come 52-48.

    I think marginal seat MPs will have a good story to tell while door knocking. By and large the government got a lot done and while this may not show up in polls I expect will make it easier for MPs to market themselves.

    I’m also not concerned about issue polling because of the way questions are asked it skews the results. We also had an IPSOS and reachtel polling before and it seems while law and order is a big issue people don’t necessarily think LNP will do all that much better. Usually this is meant to be a strong suit for conservative parties so results are nothing too special for them.

    I think this issue will bite in certain areas but most will be in safe seats.

    I don’t think Greens are guaranteed inner city seats as some think they are. State elections will have a different vibe to by elections and Greens have their own problems.

    Biggest danger for ALP is to be bogged down in internal fighting and not staying on message.

  10. @Toby Esterhase

    Green lower house MP’s have generally have been hard to dislodge, plus the member of Prahran should boost the Greens vote enough to secure another term for the sitting member . Which will be helped by the loss of the personal vote for the Liberal member Clem Newton-Brown who was defeated in 2014.

    About Richmond, I had to have a read about the candidate Kathleen Maltzahn. I did not know that she was hated a lot by the local Greens branch members.

  11. Can confirm the above comments re Maltzahn. She’s a terrible choice by the Greens, has social policies in direct opposition to many/most Greens voters, and is deeply disliked by many within the party. If they’d run anyone else, they’d have taken Richmond at the last election. That they keep shooting themselves in the foot after Bhathal is astounding.

  12. Kathleen Maltzahn is more divisive then outright hated. There are some even within the Young Greens who aren’t even willing to endorse a public statement against her despite her holding views, and pledging to vote accordingly, on issues that are completely against the Greens policy:

    She is liked enough in the Victorian Greens, else she would not have gained preselection. The sad reality for a party that is progressive on paper is that Maltzahn’s candidacy will implicate the Greens vote in other key areas too. Yet another example of the Greens shooting themselves in the foot.

  13. Liked “enough” by people at the top, I guess, but not by the next generation of party members they need to count on for support. Because of Maltzahn and a few others in the party, a lot of young people in my circle who should be obvious Greens voters are shifting either back to Labor, or some also to Fiona Patten and the Reason/Sex Party.

  14. William, there was a Victorian state Newspoll conducted in Oct-Nov 2016 but not reported at the time by the Australian.

    2 Party Preferred ALP 53 (+1) L/NP 47 (-1)
    Primary Votes: ALP 40 (+1) L/NP 42 (-1) GRN 12 (0)
    Andrews ALP: Approve 40 (-3) Disapprove 47 (+8)
    Guy LIB: Approve 34 (+7) Disapprove 38 (-2)
    Preferred Premier: Andrews ALP 42 (-1) Guy LIB 31 (+5)

  15. It’s an interesting question, how many potential Greens voters are put off the party when they endorse candidates who are Nordic model supporters or TERFs. (Stands for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist). Could possibly be modelled by looking at lower house/upper house or state/federal vote patterns.

    Ha, there is a Facebook page: Greens Voters Against Kathleen Maltzahn for Richmond.

    Whether those behind it are Greens voters is another matter.

  16. @Kevin Bonham
    Reading the comments on the feed, I think it’s a legitimate FB page.
    It’s concerning that Maltzhan has the position she does – a little mind boggling that she becomes the party’s candidate purely because its ‘expedient’

  17. This doesn’t surprise me. Daniel Andrews has never really connected with voters.

    If Jay is right and there is a federal election this spring (which I expect the ALP to win) then the Libs will win in Vic, otherwise I expect either a minority ALP gov or a coalition with the Greens. But it could go either way and the slowing property market won’t help.

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