Super Saturday YouGov Galaxy and ReachTEL polls

Another brace of by-election polls records statistical dead heats in Longman and Braddon.

Today’s News Corp tabloids have YouGov/Galaxy polls with modest samples from four of the five seats facing by-elections on Saturday, conducted Tuesday to Thursday last week. These turn the knife by asking a supplementary on how respondents would vote if Anthony Albanese rather than Bill Shorten were leader, an exercise that rarely goes well for the incumbent. In roughly descending order of interest:

• In Longman, Liberal National Party candidate Trevor Ruthenberg is credited with a 51-49 lead over disqualified Labor member Susan Lamb, which turns into a 53-47 lead for Labor under the Albanese hypothetical. Primary votes are Labor 37%, LNP 34%, One Nation 18% and Greens 5% (respectively 43%, 33%, 15% and 4% under the Albanese scenario). With the One Nation primary vote so high, much depends on the flow of their preferences: respondent allocation of preferences in the poll suggest they will heavily favour the LNP, whose two-party lead compares with a 51.5-48.5 lead to Labor if the preference flows from the 2016 election are applied. Sample: 578.

• The poll in Braddon has primary votes of Labor 40%, Liberal 44%, independent Craig Garland 7% and Greens 4%, which comes in at 50-50 both on the previous election preferences and the published result. The Albanese question has Labor leading 53-47, and the respective primary votes at 44%, 42%, 6% and 4%. Sample: 504.

• Another poll showing Rebekha Sharkie well ahead in Mayo, by 59-41, from primary votes of Rebekha Sharkie 47%, Georgina Downer 35%, Labor 9% and Greens 7%. The Labor primary vote is at 12% under the Albanese scenario. This result also finds 69% of respondents area satisfied with Sharkie’s performance as member for Mayo, with only 16% dissatisfied. Sample: 540.

• Labor leads the Greens 66-34 in Fremantle, from primary votes of Labor 49% and Greens 22%. With Albanese, that becomes 68-32 and 52% to 21%. Sample: 541.

Separately, two electorate-level ReachTEL polls:

• Yesterday’s Sunday Mail had a ReachTEL poll of 770 respondents in Longman, conducted on Thursday. After exclusion of the 3.9% undecided, the poll had primary votes of LNP 39.4%, Labor 37.3%, One Nation 14.5% and Greens 4.4%. Here too, respondent allocation of preferences results in an LNP two-party lead of 51-49, which would reverse if 2016 preference flows were applied.

• A poll for the Australian Forest Products Association in Braddon had Labor leading 52-48, although I’m struggling to see how they get there from the primary votes and preference data provided. After exclusion of the 4.6% undecided, the primary votes are Liberal 42.7%, Labor 36.0%, Craig Garland 9.3% and Greens 7.0%. For Labor, this compares unfavourably with 2016 election results of Liberal 41.5%, Labor 40.1% and Greens 6.7%, which converted into a two-party result of 52.2-47.8, little different from the poll. The poll reportedly credits Labor with a 67.4% flow of respondent-allocated preferences which, while strong, is very similar to what they got at the election. The poll was conducted on Thursday from a sample of 810.

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 “Super Saturday YouGov Galaxy and ReachTEL polls”

  1. AJM

    Rergarding the Longman poll, i was not questioning Shorteen. I wawas asking about the local campaign. Tall Tale Kev the mechanic should have lost votes. He hasnt. Why not? In context it is a poor result.

  2. Single seat polls, what a joke. Just another excuse to ramp up Kill Bill via Newscorps Courier Mail.
    The smell of desperation.

  3. Georgina Downer getting hammered on Saturday would be hilarious, a sign that voters are over seats being fiefdoms for families?

  4. If you look at the pollbludger breakdowns on per seat basis (after state+local swings), libs need 52.5% 2PP to get to 76 seats, 51.5% to get to 73 seats (probably enough to form a coalition).

  5. I suppose by elections may be too infrequent and too unpredictable for anyone to have bothered, but do we have any theories/data/rabid opinions about what voters do with second preferences when they opt for a minor/indie over the majors?

    To explain: X was a Liberal voter in Longman. This election, he goes with ON.

    Is his preference more likely to go to: (i) Labor, because the reason he’s voting ON is because he’s disillusioned with the Liberals; (ii) Liberals, because he’s basically a right winger or (iii) he could go either way.

  6. Zoomster, who knows? But history does seem to show that once died-in-the-wool voters for a major party have made the emotional break and voted for a “protest” party, a decent fraction of them then feel comfortable with giving their effective preference to the rival major party. Ie, a pissed-off Liberal voter could never dream of voting 1 Labor but they seem to have less qualms about voting 1 PHON/Katter/Palmer, 2 Labor. Seems odd, but strange things go on in the murky realm between cognition and emotion.

  7. Why would they bother polling 4 of the electorates but not the 5th? They did Fremantle so why not do Perth too? It makes no sense.

  8. Years of scrutineering at state and federal level have left me feeling like I’ve seen almost everything.

    I’ve seen voters go 1 Lib, 2 ALP and vice versa, even when there are more than 4 candidates. I’ve seen One Nation voters preference the Greens above Labor or Liberal. I’ve seen Green voters putting Labor last, well below psycho right-wing candidates.

    There’s none so queer as folk, as the saying goes 😉

  9. Incidentally, the Libs have been madly porking Mayo, but I haven’t heard what’s being promised in other electorates.

    Is this happening across all by-election seats or just in Mayo? They’ve certainly been throwing everything at Mayo and, if replicated across all seats, it would send the country broke in no time.

    Fantastic news that it appears not to have any effect on the polling, BTW. Go Rebekha! 🙂

  10. Chinda63-

    I suspect in the case of third parties pork barrelling has the opposite effect to what is intended.

    Years and years of Mayo being a safe seat and electors got SFA. Now that major party dominance is threatened you see all the goodies.

    Pretty sure the Indi electors now feel the same way- especially when neighbouring electorates get ignored.

    Xenophon helped SA get the $15 bill sub contract- the fact that it was Pyne and Turnbull announcing it hasn’t hurt Sharkey at all.

  11. 9% for the ALP in Mayo. Heh

    Struggling to hold existing seats where there’s a challenge from the LNP cf. Mayo incumbent.

    Greens votes not even close to 10%, except in Freo, which elected the first and last Greens state MLA.

    Rather underwhelming for the left.

  12. Geeze Louise is there a ballanced crew on the Drum or what. Hartcher, Primrose, Mundine, and a woman from the Human Rights watch, Wow.

    Bill must be dead now.

  13. CC – and still the gutless Libs were not prepared to put a candidate in Perth with perhaps a 4% margin to cope with. Never mind about what is happening in Mayo. You should be out getting those hopeless, gutless local Perth Liberals you tout for, to hang their head in shame. You can thank that wonderful Mattias C for nil action for the Liberals. Oh, and perhaps, Jewelry Bishop? Now, what is the Liberal vote in Freo by the way?

  14. I agree with Jack Aranda above re voters for a major switching to voting 1 for a minor while preferencing the other major. I call this the “gateway drug” vote. Some people feel that voting 1 for the other major is taboo but preferencing it is not, even when preferencing it will in practice have exactly the same effect.

  15. I recall the polling leading into the SA state election predicted a strong Xenophon result, too.

    Final week polling only slightly over-estimated that vote. Certainly not enough to really get much of a different outcome than what actually occurred. The numbers suggested a struggle to win anything in the lower house and a win of two upper house seats. Which is what happened.

  16. Rational Leftist @ Tuesday, July 24, 2018 at 9:41 am

    I recall at some stages of the campaign that NXT was going to decide the overall result and possibly be part of a minority government.

  17. Yes, CC, but as RL pointed out above, that faded away towards the end of the campaign. There was a steady loss of confidence in Nick and SA Best.

  18. Compact Crank,
    Mayo is the former seat of Alex Downer, it’s a conservative seat. The issue there is not the “underwhelming” vote for the “left”, but it’s that the IPA stooge Georgina Downer (daughter of Alex) is going to be trashed big time in a seat where the Libs should be in full control.

    Is Turnbull going to resign if G. Downer loses?

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