Wentworth by-election minus one week

Reported internal polling from Wentworth suggest the Liberals have a nervous week ahead of them.

With one week to go, two polling snippets to launch a dedicated Wentworth post and discussion thread:

Andrew Clennell of The Australian reports Liberal internal polling shows Kerryn Phelps is “likely” to finish ahead of Labor’s Tim Murray, and that Phelps emerges “a fraction of a percentage point ahead” of Liberal candidate Dave Sharma after preferences.

• Both Kerryn Phelps and Tim Murray are credited with two-party leads of around 55-45 over Dave Sharma in an online poll conducted for Voter Choice, a research project by James Cook University doctoral candidate Kathryn Crosby. While the poll has a respectable sample of 736 and appears to use judicious weighting, the self-selecting nature of the sample warrants a degree of caution. UPDATE: Kevin Bonham has looked at this more carefully, and advises still more caution.

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.

115 comments on “Wentworth by-election minus one week”

  1. This one is hard to predict either Phelps or Murray could barely squeak through, margin of 1-2%. Still a Liberal loss in Wentworth would be deeply embarrassing.

  2. Lovely. More than happy to see either Phelps or Murray get up and the Lib’s state of high anxiety spill over into the main game at the federal election

  3. Tristo, its guaranteed to be deeply embarrassing, win or lose.
    Malcolm Turnbull had a 62% primary vote (67% after preferences).
    They are looking at closer to 40% primary this time, and maybe looking at around 52% after preferences IF they win.
    So a 15% swing against them or losing a third of their primary votes, its terrible or horrendous, depending how you look at it.

  4. Andrew Clennell in ‘The Australian’:

    ‘…The race may still come down to who finishes second behind the Liberals in the seat. The government is hoping that with the Greens recommending preferences go to Labor ahead of Dr Phelps, Labor finishes second and Dr Phelps, who preferences the Liberals, gets eliminated.
    …’

    Mr Morrison, global warming promoter, is relying on Mr Di Natale doing his job well.

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/jitters-as-wentworth-poll-locked-at-5050/news-story/d8ab97e55f41b924f031c912e269e82f

  5. Labor is still in with a chance but it may be hard to get past Phelps at this stage. Still, win or lose it seems certain to be another double digit swing against the Libs in NSW.

  6. While Phelps getting up will cause a bit of a hiccup to the Nasty Party, she has said she will support them.

    She is a total waste of space and time.

  7. First priority: defeat the Liberals in Wentworth and unleash a political earthquake within the ScuMo Coalition Government.
    Second priority: A win for the ALP will produce a political earthquake of magnitude 9 in the political-Richter scale within the Coalition Government, thus accelerating the Federal election and therefore the change of Government.
    Third priority: If it’s not the ALP that wins, Phelps is the least worse alternative with a chance to get elected. It will be then up to her to show whether she was a liar regarding her alleged hard stance against the ScuMo Government, or whether she was honest….. I doubt that the voters of Wentworth will be in the mood to forgive and forget being deceived, the Federal election will follow relatively soon after (just a few months).

  8. This seems to be the last stand by Liberal moderates.

    In the long term, the liberals going full right wing wanker will be better for Labor but not for the country. Liberal moderates regaining control because Labor wins Wentworth will make it harder for Labor in the long term,.

    If the Right wing Liberals don’t get the message; Labor can’t lose this.

  9. Boerwar
    It’s easy to find out how the system works from the AIC site.

    First, all of the number ‘1’ votes are counted for each candidate. If a candidate gets more than half the total first preference votes, that candidate will be elected.

    If no candidate has more than half of the votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is excluded. This candidate’s votes are transferred to the other candidates according to the second preferences of voters on the ballot papers for the excluded candidate. If still no candidate has more than half the votes, the candidate who now has the fewest votes is excluded and the votes are transferred according to the next preference shown. This process continues until one candidate has more than half the total number of formal votes and is elected.

    The greens candidate will eliminated early and the Labor candidate will get the greens vote ( assuming preference flows as directed).

    The system doesn’t even work as you describe. You are describing the first cut.

    I have issues with the greens; but preferencing labor isn’t one of them.

  10. @thetooraktoff
    Phelps may be one off the bottom of the ballot paper, but I reckon the voters of Wentworth, in the great majority ( and especially this by-election) are going to be far more thoughtful and considerate in their voting preferences. The donkey vote will be almost neglible. My guess is Phelps by a nose from Sharma.

  11. Single seat polls are notoriously unreliable in predicting by-election outcomes. The only thing you can observe is that the Liberal Primary vote seems to be drifting down and on the figures provided by these polls is somewhere below 40%.

    If this is true, then the Libs are toast.

    We’re also seeing avowed Libs like Hewson, Turnbull Junior and Costello arguing against voting for the current Government or at least castigating it for not having policies that address the major issues of the country. More importantly, they are signalling that it’s OK to send the Government a message this time.

    That message combined with the Opera house fiasco, ignoring the IPCC report and becoming entangled in a culture war about religious freedoms versus individual rights presents a scenario where the Government appears to be focussed on themself (once again) rather than the voting community.

    Given there don’t appear to be any issues that will change the drift to non-Liberal, I’m guessing that the Libs will lose next Saturday. While I might hope it will be Labor that wins, Phelps, as an Independent, seems to tick the boxes of those wanting to send a message to the incumbent Government rather than embrace their traditional class enemy.

  12. Right wingers need to know that its “okay” to try to save the planet from the worst of global warming.

    The problem you have is that your party is led by the type of radical reactionary idiots (whose grandchildren will have to change their surnames to avoid historical association with them )

    So instead, listen to Margaret Thatcher enunciate some true Conservative principles of precaution:

    ‘In 1990, British prime minister Margaret Thatcher gave a classic exposition of the precautionary principle at the second World Climate Conference in Geneva. “The danger of global warming is as yet unseen, but real enough for us to make changes and sacrifices, so that we do not live at the expense of future generations…” she said. “Any of the precautionary actions that we need to take would be sensible in any event. It is sensible to improve energy efficiency… and to develop alternative and sustainable sources of supply; it’s sensible to replant the forests which we consume; it’s sensible to re-examine industrial processes; it’s sensible to tackle the problem of waste.”

    True to conservative principles, Thatcher saw these policies as “a sort of premium on insurance against fire, flood or other disaster.” As she concluded, “It may be cheaper or more cost-effective to take action now than to wait and find we have to pay much more later.”

    Among other things, Thatcher set up the Hadley Centre, which became a world leader in climate research and much later became the target for a largely unfounded attack by climate sceptics. This was an era before climate science was hijacked by commercial interests, who recruited big “C” conservatives to turn the issue into a political and ideological crusade against change.’

    https://insidestory.org.au/margaret-thatchers-message-to-the-future/

  13. Good Morning

    Tanya Plibersek is on News 24. All the questions are abut discrimination in education.

    She is saying the right things in regards to that.

    It seems to me that Labor is doing the Learnard Cohen approach. First we tacks schools. Then we take out the rest of the discrimination.

  14. Doyley

    I think you are misunderstanding. What Labor does in government changes the ball game. The LNP can scream as much as they like. People want equality and not discrimination.

    The point at which the population will accept the religious freedom argument is when it comes to preaching. They don’t like being preached at in public. So thats the political limits of what Labor can do to end discrimination.

    Any legislation that Labor does IN government can seek to define that boundary without losing voters.
    At the moment Tanya Plibersek and Adam Bandt are on the same page. Education is the area we can get done under the LNP.

    When talking about Religious Freedom legislation you cannot let the dinosaurs in the LNP dictate it. Better to block the legislation.

    Think Daniel Andrews with Safe Schools

  15. Boerwar, suppose (you seem to find it hard to believe, but just suppose) that the Greens would really prefer to see Labor win this rather than Phelps. They see polling that suggests that if Phelps is ahead of Labor at the 2nd-last count, Labor prefs will see that she wins, but if Labor are ahead of Phelps, her preferences might help Sharma win – or might not. Then for a while the polls show that since her shilly-shalling over preferences she is falling so far behind Labor that even 100% of Greens prefs wouldn’t put her ahead of them. So it’s a classic game-theory problem – you don’t know the best tactics unless you can predict what everyone else will do. And since all the numbers are subject to a big margin of error, game theory doesn’t really suggest an answer. So perhaps the best thing to do is to abandon any idea of smart-arse tactical voting and express your true preferences – 1 Green, 2 Labor – and keep your fingers crossed.

    And now Ms Crosby’s poll shows that either Labor or Phelps would beat Sharma, depending on who is second at the crucial count. And if Green preferences will help to decide that, it would be a shame if Greens voting tactically helped push Phelps ahead at that stage. So it’s even more important for Greens to vote 1 Green 2 Labor. Please stop suggesting they should do otherwise!

  16. ABC news went from a story on an Adelaide Drag Queen to a Morrison presser.

    What a contrast

    Morrison is promoting a scheme for farmers able to employ seasonal workers. I don’t know about employing Australians first. Morrison is saying he is not taking hypotheticals in response to a question

    Now strawberries are featuring heavily

  17. I predicted earlier this week that Phelps would underperform and Heath would do better – its hard to run a full IND campaign across an entire federal electorate. Does anyone know how many volunteers Phelps has?
    Prediction on Primaries:
    LIB 40
    ALP 27
    Phelps 14.5
    Heath 11.5
    Greens/Science/ Arts/ Others 7

    ALP share of overall preferences 68%

    TPP 50.56/49.44 to LIB.

    After this week’s news you’d say the risk to LIB is on the downside. Going to be good watching next Saturday night!

  18. If Wentworth is one of the richest and privileged electorates in Australia, many votors will think this by election through more than usual. Jewish religious leader has told his followers to consider climate change and the health of the planet. Comments by Turnbull jnr, Hewson and Costello more food for thought. They would be able to see that Scummo does not believe in the stand he is taking on gay students and visa workers. Trouble still bubbling on the back bench.

    If you live in Wentworth and are doing nicely, what chance Labor. Would Lib supporters calculate pain to May next year may unite the conservatives for another term. Or support Sharma and have the present mess continue over the cliff.

    Or go with – strong economy – jobs and growth – debt and deficit

  19. Jack Aranda says:
    Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 11:23 am
    Boerwar, suppose (you seem to find it hard to believe, but just suppose) that the Greens would really prefer to see Labor win this rather than Phelps. They see polling that suggests that if Phelps is ahead of Labor at the 2nd-last count, Labor prefs will see that she wins, but if Labor are ahead of Phelps, her preferences might help Sharma win – or might not. Then for a while the polls show that since her shilly-shalling over preferences she is falling so far behind Labor that even 100% of Greens prefs wouldn’t put her ahead of them. So it’s a classic game-theory problem – you don’t know the best tactics unless you can predict what everyone else will do. And since all the numbers are subject to a big margin of error, game theory doesn’t really suggest an answer. So perhaps the best thing to do is to abandon any idea of smart-arse tactical voting and express your true preferences – 1 Green, 2 Labor – and keep your fingers crossed.

    And now Ms Crosby’s poll shows that either Labor or Phelps would beat Sharma, depending on who is second at the crucial count. And if Green preferences will help to decide that, it would be a shame if Greens voting tactically helped push Phelps ahead at that stage. So it’s even more important for Greens to vote 1 Green 2 Labor. Please stop suggesting they should do otherwise!
    ————————————-

    This is spot on. The uncertainty embedded in any judgment about how 100,000 other people will rank 16 candidates on a ballot paper highlight how much folly there is in allowing your own vote to be determined by such a judgement.

    From the Left, the three most supported candidates are:
    1. Tim Murray
    2-15. Kerryn Phelps
    3-16. Dave Sharma
    That is how someone who opposes the Morrison Liberal Government should vote. Anything else just helps keep this mob in power more securely for longer.

  20. JackARanda and Michael

    Yep exactly. The Greens are opposing the LNP with their official preference allocation.

    No one has to agree with the Greens position but they cannot have their own facts.

  21. On the subject of elections I think this is what is scaring the LNP around the country. They remember WorkChoices

    @jgregoroo tweets

    @VicUnions Secretary @lhilakari said *this is the largest door knock ANYONE has ever done in Victoria!* to volunteers in Melbourne today before they hit the handles. Good luck! You need an army to #ChangeTheRules & @australianunions’ is getting bigger every day
    #springst #auspol https://twitter.com/jimmyraynes/status/1050893645493096448

  22. I note that some Greens are still having difficulty understanding that to beat Sharma and to help destroy global warming promoters, they should have preferenced Phelps over Murray.
    Labor does not have that confusion.
    The Liberals don’t have that confusion.
    Only the Greens have that confusion.

  23. ‘Jack Aranda says:
    Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 11:23 am

    Boerwar, suppose (you seem to find it hard to believe, but just suppose) that the Greens would really prefer to see Labor win…’

    Puhlease!

    If the Greens really want Labor to win they would do nothing other than attack the Liberals instead of attacking Labor and wedging Labor and all the rest of it.

  24. BW

    Your confusion is that the Greens preference will count for a LNP loss. Phelps will win on LNP preferences not Green preferences.

    Antony Green has said if Labor comes second he thinks the LNP will win.

    The Greens seem to agree. So they are ignoring the practical voting and telling their voters they don’t have to hold their nose for tactical preference voting. Thats if you think you can herd the Green cats that Greens voters are on preferences.

    To be crystal clear. The Greens think they are going to get a low doe in this by election.

  25. doyley

    See Antony Green comments.

    My understanding is if Labor comes second it can’t get enough preferences to win.

    Thats because the Green primary vote is that low in Wentworth. The Greens preferences will only count if the Greens voters all vote en masse with the how to vote card. History says otherwise.

  26. Phelps will win on LIberal Preferences? Absolute garbage. The Liberal will lead on first preferences and their further preferences will not be counted. Green preferences will be counted and play a role in making it possible for either Phelps or Labor to close the first preference gap and have a chance of victory.

  27. I must admit I was surprised Crosby’s VoterChoice poll showed Murray beating Sharma TCP by slightly more (55.7-44.3) than it showed Phelps beating Murray (55.4-44.6).

    https://www.voterchoice.com.au/results-of-the-wentworth-by-election-quick-poll/

    I’d assumed Phelps would get a larger TCP against Sharma than Murray would. Then it occurred to me: voters who are resolved to give the Government a good kicking won’t be as fussy who they prefer over the representative of that governing party. If that resolve is the primary driver for enough voters in Wentworth, Sharma is in trouble whether Murray or Phelps is pitted against him.

    So, if you stand against this Government, vote for the candidate who is going to most oppose this Government. That candidate is Tim Murray, not Kerryn Phelps.

  28. ‘guytaur says:
    Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    BW

    Your confusion is that the Greens preference will count for a LNP loss. Phelps will win on LNP preferences not Green preferences.’

    This says all you need to know about the Greens’ tactical and strategic acumen.

  29. bw

    This says I should not have argued with an idiot about official preference allocations.

    I got dragged down to your level by not making clear I was talking about primary votes first.

    For the Greens official preference to vote Labor to be a winner for the LNP is for the Liberal voters switching to ignore the Greens official position.

  30. Bug1@8:13am
    If Libs win Wentworth even with 1 vote let alone 52-48, Morrison will invoke Howard and say that like Aston by-election of 2001 Libs have turned the corner and will predict federal election win in 2019. If Morrison does not say that Murdoch press will certainly say that. So the only way to shut up Murdlch press is a Lib loss.

  31. Boerwar

    Have you ever mildly wondered why on election night they say they eliminated the wrong person and counting has to start again.

    Think about it; read the AEC website; understand how preferential voting works and stop making a fool of yourself.

  32. reckon Libs first on primary votes with a massive vote drop 25 to 30%….. Labor is likely to poll ahead of the other 3 non liberal candidates… expect green and Licia preferences will go to Labor ahead of Phelps…. she needs to poll very well to be in the last 2….. who wins ??

  33. mick
    The candidates are eliminated from the lowest count up. That is what makes all these “what happens if” simple unadulterated nonsense.

  34. frednk
    Don’t ask me. Ask the Liberals. They are GLAD that the Greens are preferencing Labor ahead of Phelps.
    Greens/Liberals same old, same old.

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