Victorian election minus one week

The Liberals continue to talk up their chances ahead of next week’s Victorian election, but betting markets appear unimpressed.

The Victorian election has been remarkably light on for opinion polls: the Herald Sun has had only the four YouGov Galaxy seat polls it has published over the past week; The Australian appears to be content with top-and-tailing the campaign with Newspoll results; and The Age has had precisely nothing. We do, however, have a uComms/ReachTEL poll conducted privately for the Victorian National Parks Association, although one might well look askance at the result, which credits Labor with a two-party lead of 56-44. After allocated results from a forced response follow-up for the 6.7% who were initially undecided, the primary votes are Labor 40.4% (38.1% in 2014), Coalition 36.8% (42.0%) and Greens 10.3% (11.5%). The poll was conducted on Tuesday from a sample of 1527.

Oddly enough, there has also been movement to Labor on the betting markets, with Ladbrokes now offering $1.18 on Labor to form government after the election, in from $1.25 a week ago, and the Coalition out from $3.50 to $4.33. Notable movements on Ladbrokes’ seat markets include “independent” – of which there are two, Jenny O’Connor and Jacqui Hawkins – being slashed from $13 to $4 in Benambra. This presumably has something to do with a report by Gay Alcorn in The Guardian relating that polling conducted for O’Connor showed Liberal member Bill Tilley’s primary vote falling below 40%.

Ladbrokes also has “independent” as favourite in the crowded field in Morwell, where Russell Northe is seeking re-election after quitting the Nationals, although it has little separating independent, Coalition (which could mean either the Nationals or the Liberals, both of whom are running) and Labor. It would seem there has also been money coming in on Labor to recover Northcote from the Greens – the latter are still favourites at $1.20, but this is out from $1.14 a week ago, and Labor has been cut from $5 to $3.75. Odds for each electorate are displayed on the bottom-right of each page of my election guide; if you would like your gambling losses to go to a good cause, you are encouraged to sign up to Ladbrokes using the links there or on the sidebar.

John Ferguson of The Australian offers the following assessment:

The word increasingly out of the Liberal camp is that it can win. Labor believes this is a deliberate attempt by the Coalition to inject some life into the Liberal campaign team and the media, and that the optimism is not backed by reality. Guy was campaigning yesterday morning in the seat of Wendouree, part of Ballarat, about an hour’s drive west of Melbourne, which until late this week was not much on people’s radar. Despite a pro-Labor margin of 5.7 per cent, the Liberals think it is a possible gain, something Labor is not prepared to concede. The Liberals remain optimistic they can pick up four seats in Melbourne’s sandbelt, starting at Frankston in the southeast, which has a margin of just 0.48 per cent. It is a crime seat. The other three seats the Liberal Party is talking up are Carrum, Bentleigh and Mordialloc, all with margins of 2.1 per cent or under. But even on this scenario, the Coalition needs to pick up four more seats and so far the evidence of this happening has been lacking …

There are also at least three outlier seats that could cause the Liberal Party heartburn as independents try to unseat Guy’s candidates. The first is Benambra in the state’s northeast, which the Liberals hold with a margin of less than 10 per cent; the second is Ovens Valley, held by the Coalition partner with a margin of 16.6 per cent; and the third is South-West Coast, with a margin of 11 per cent.

While Noel Towell of The Age has the following:

The Coalition is losing this state election … Liberal Party elders Jeff Kennett and Michael Kroger are in denial, the first stage of political grief, while some of the people around Guy have moved onto anger and even the leader himself has been getting a little tetchy in recent days. But this is not over. Kennett has had a lot to say these past couple of days and even managed to be right about one thing; Victorian elections can confound the pollsters.

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.

195 comments on “Victorian election minus one week”

  1. Guy does hypocrisy really well:

    Premier slammed for joining terror conference

    Daniel Andrews has been slammed by the opposition for making “political mileage” out of today’s terror raids, joining a press conference while the government is in caretaker mode.
    (Hun headline)

  2. I’m almost tempted to back the Libs if they get out to $8+. In a two-horse race with very limited polling data, and the recent evidence that Australians are increasingly willing to turf out first term governments, plus the fear and smear campaign…

    It just all seems too quiet for me.

  3. jc,

    Unless my memory is letting me down, recent governments that have been turfed after a single term were all coalition/LNP (by recent, I mean the last 30 years or so). The Rudd/Gillard government almost became an exception to this rule.

    Could be a coincidence.

  4. Expect a late and meaningful surprise.
    I am going to vote for Andrews, but have already taken Betfairs $7 on the Libs. Still a big ask, but the odds don’t reflect reality.
    Am hearing things which have buoyed Guy and his lot. It’s why I took a fair punt.
    Result may take days.

  5. Greens Vic leader, Samantha Ratnam via email (excerpts):

    On election day this Saturday, we have the chance to elect the most progressive parliament that Victoria has ever seen. The Greens are on track to hold the balance of power for the very first time in both houses of parliament – that makes us more powerful than ever.

    Now, like you, I know the last few weeks have been challenging. You may have also seen Daniel Andrews rule out working with the Greens because of some of the things our candidates have said or done online in the past. Well, let me say that I will not be lectured by Daniel Andrews.

    Daniel Andrews’ comments and unbranded attack ads come as no surprise to me – every election we see this posturing by men from both major parties. It is always the way when someone – especially a woman – seeks to rock the boat. They’re coming after us this election because they know, now more than ever, the Greens are a threat to their cosy two-party system – with their secret handshakes and their shady deals.

    Let’s remember, the Greens are a party led by a group of powerful and strong women. 7 of our 8 MPs are women, our co-convenors are women, our state director is a woman. And that doesn’t happen by accident. That happens when you have a culture that actively supports and encourages women and is working towards genuine equality.

    But with our growing power, comes growing responsibility. I want to be very clear here – we welcome the scrutiny and we take responsibility and action when someone behaves badly or something slips through the gaps.

    As a social worker, I know very well that people have their flaws, but they can and do change. Improving ourselves, our workplaces and our communities is something we should all aspire to. You can trust that we are taking strong action and we are committed to creating the healthiest culture possible in our movement for environmental and social justice.

    The #MeToo movement has proven many things, one is the strength of women. The second is that we all need to take responsibility for this problem that exists society-wide. The Greens are not immune to that. No political party, media organisation or workplace is immune. As a party full of strong women, we must always strive to do more.

    Parliament needs the Greens now more than ever – especially when the alternative is faceless men in blue suits who are groomed in ivy league halls for political office. When the alternative is big party machines that roll over the top of people, silence individuals and lock out communities.

    The final days of an election campaign are always hard – Labor and the Liberals have stepped up their attack campaigns. It’ll feel more intense than ever, but that’s just because we’re so close to breaking through.

  6. Roger

    What’s sad and desperate is …

    Along Brunswick’s Sydney Road, Labor has plastered ads attacking the Greens, claiming they stand accused of “23 cases of inappropriate behaviour … and even sexual assault”. Accompanying social media ads have been beamed on to phones and laptops across Melbourne’s inner city and will continue until election day.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/nov/20/gloves-off-in-brunswick-as-labor-and-greens-battle-for-seat

  7. Al Pal says:
    Tuesday, November 20, 2018 at 5:00 pm
    Expect a late and meaningful surprise.
    I am going to vote for Andrews, but have already taken Betfairs $7 on the Libs. Still a big ask, but the odds don’t reflect reality.
    Am hearing things which have buoyed Guy and his lot. It’s why I took a fair punt.
    Result may take days

    I live in ACT so have no information about the Victorian election except what I read.

    I can understand how you would have heard things suggesting Guy is doing better than expected. Others may have heard the opposite. However it seems there are many more punters putting money on Labor than on the Liberals and this trend has continued for the past few weeks. Are these just ‘mug punters’ following the herd or have they heard something to suggest Labor will win?

    Certainly the lack of polling to date is surprising but I’m assuming there will be at least a Galaxy or Newspoll (or ReachTel) published on Friday/Saturday.

    The ultimate irony today is that Guy has claimed Andrews is making political mileage out of the terror raids by participating in a press conference about today’s arrests.

  8. Ante Meridian –
    ———-
    Unless my memory is letting me down, recent governments that have been turfed after a single term were all coalition/LNP (by recent, I mean the last 30 years or so). The Rudd/Gillard government almost became an exception to this rule.
    ————

    Kevin Bonham had a typically insightful piece on the historical context- but from the point of view of the rarity of first term State governments getting booted, where the Federal Government is of the opposing political complexion. Not to say it can’t happen and there have been exceptions, but as KB pointed out in those exceptional cases there were some obvious unusual factors that seemed to explain the outcome. Nothing is leaping out as particularly unusual in this case.

  9. My wife & I both just missed dinner time robo-calls from the Liberal Party AGAIN, this time with a Voicemail left ranting about the cost of living. The fact that we received them at roughly the same time tells me they must be calling by location. That’s the 4th call I’ve received from them during this campaign now. It’s a bit excessive.

  10. Thanks Peg

    That’s a strong statement from
    Ratnam.

    Unfortunately, I suspect that factors related to the current point in the electoral cycle, plus the Upper House preference whispering shenanigans, will not prove helpful to Ratnam’s fortunes. I’ll be happy if I’m mistaken though.

  11. @ Al Pal
    Not asking you to identify them. But some specifics would make them more believable.
    For what it’s worth, my sources on both sides think Labor will pick up 2-4 seats.

  12. Toby Esterhase @ #165 Tuesday, November 20th, 2018 – 7:13 pm

    @ Al Pal
    Not asking you to identify them. But some specifics would make them more believable.
    For what it’s worth, my sources on both sides think Labor will pick 2-4 seats.

    The Libs are cooked. The Bookies are the only indicator in the absence of polls. Every seat poll (not good individually but possibly OK overall) says Labor on a surge.

    Dan wins big imho!

  13. This will be an interesting election. Up here in Sydney, the media are screaming that there will be an upset, and Matthew Guy will be the premier come next Sunday morning.

    We are getting wall-to-wall Melbourne / Victoria = crime, terror, mis-leading parliament. Even Bernard Keane in Crikey had a go yesterday, saying that Labor has a poor record of keeping Victorians safe, and that Shire Ali should have been in jail over his traffic fines.

    So, at the moment, I am expecting an upset Liberal win, especially with the narrowing in the TPP nationally in both IPSOS and Essential.

    The bookies do not agree with me:
    Coalition $3.50
    Labor $1.25

    but we have seen “terror” campaigns shift votes in the past.

  14. @ D&M
    I think you’re listening to too much 2GB and reading too much of The Daily Terror.
    As for Bernard Keane, he’s a crank who’s never had much time for the Andrews government.
    What does the national 2PP have to do with anything? If it’s indeed 52-48 to Labor then that means it’s worse than that for the Coalition in Victoria.
    And name me a ‘terror’ campaign that’s shifted votes.

  15. Toby,
    Thanks for the sage words. The only terror campaign that really worked was JWH after 9/11, when he managed to conflate refugees with terrorists.

    I am also seriously thinking about cancelling my Crikey sub. I only get fear and doubt from them, no decent journalism.

  16. This is reminding me of ACT election when there were no polls and people were making comments based on their gut feeling. Canberra Times was reporting as Barr government was on its way out.

  17. No Pegasus that is just one political party calling out another political party’s appalling record on dealing with sexual harassment and mysogyny

    Ratnam invoking #metoo is self parody. Hilarious!

  18. Roger,

    Let’s remember, the Greens are a party led by a group of powerful and strong women. 7 of our 8 MPs are women, our co-convenors are women, our state director is a woman. And that doesn’t happen by accident. That happens when you have a culture that actively supports and encourages women and is working towards genuine equality.

    How misogynistic.

  19. Kiddies Kiddies,
    Calm down…. Journos have got to write something….. or say something….. If they were say it was a no contest they would create disinterest and do themselves out of a job. Most of them are idiots too. The smart ones go work for more money as “communications” in business.

  20. Failing to deal with misogyny and sexual harassment etc. I’m not saying ratnam is misogynistic just that she and the rest of them have failed every time to properly deal with it within the party. And to then desperately use #metoo to try and “inspire” her demoralised members!

    Comical!

  21. Jones has never had a market in Melbourne. 3AW is about as strong as you get in Melbourne. There was briefly MTR which burn through the investors’ cash quick smart.
    A few Victorian country stations rebroadcasted John Laws & Jones 20 years ago. Not sure if do now.

  22. Roger, I also liked the ‘I won’t be lectured to by Daniel Andrews’ (or WTTE) because Labor won’t do a deal with them.

    No lecturing involved, just advanced notice that Labor will not deal with them.

    As you say laughable.

  23. NathanA, I also thought that comment about Ivy League a little misplaced.

    She does realise it is an American thing and has nothing to do with anything Australian?

    I guess she watches too many American TV shows.

  24. Decided to have a go at trying to predict which micro was most likely to get elected in an upper house region. I got Southern Metro – picked who I thought were the nine main players including Lab Lib Grn. Then I made a grid of their preference flows ignoring all the others. Then I looked at favourable/unfavourable flows and gradually picked off the laggards. And I came up with Transport Matters triumphing over Reason (!), and the Greens being pipped for 5th spot.

    Plugged some numbers into Antony’s calculator, and TM got up 4th, Greens 6th. Then realised I had entered numbers into Eastern Metro! Entered them into Southern Metro and instead got Lib ALP Lib Sus Grn. Sustainable Australia (not one of my chosen nine) got 4th off primary of 0.3%. Greens beat 3rd Liberal.

    Conclusion – anything can happen – a very unstable system where tiny changes in initial conditions can produce extremely different outcomes. Reminds me of ‘bifurcation theory’ in maths. Like getting a ruler and pushing it at both ends – hard to predict which way it will bend, and obviously tiny perturbations when you start pushing will dramatically affect the outcome.

    I still predict at least one micro per region, and a total of 10-12.

  25. It was lame and desperate, peebee

    In her defence i suspect it was for the consumption of her very gullible foot shoulders. She would probably cringe knowing one of the more obtuse ones is spamming it on a labor dominated blog providing much joy and merriment

  26. Let’s remember, the Greens are a party led by a group of powerful and strong women. 7 of our 8 MPs are women, our co-convenors are women, our state director is a woman. And that doesn’t happen by accident. That happens when you have a culture that actively supports and encourages women and is working towards genuine equality.

    Including Lidia Thorpe the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman to be elected to the vic parliament and Huong Truong the first Vietnamese woman to sit in an Australian parliament.

    .

  27. @Rocket

    Southern Met was one where the Greens always got elected in the simulations I ran. The primary is too high for them not too I think.

    But if the Greens primaries continue their general downward trend it might leave it more open.

  28. Yep I had the Liberals robo called me about cost of living – vote Liberal

    All far too late as I have early voted as have about 1/2 the electorate who may have cast absentee ballots because we didn’t waddle into an Early Voting booth in our electorate – so I would expect the result won’t be clear until Wednesday after the election.

    I thought Southern Metro was the division where Kevin Bonham analysis of preference harvesting first iteration said that 2 Lib, 2 Labor and 1 Sustainable Australia even though Greens had 14.5% vote

    I think the VEC need to streamline the processing of absentee votes cast in the adjacent electorates

    I am more worried about being mown down crossing the road by Mercedes 4WD than African gangs

  29. I have become sufficiently annoyed with this “tough on crime” nonsense spouted by Matthew Guy that I decided to pen a few words about it.

    http://isocracy.org/content/matthew-guys-criminal-lies

    Ironically, I have found myself falling for the trap. I mean the election should be about how well the Victorian economy is doing (best in the nation, thank you), or how we’re dealing with environmental issues (half price solar panels? Sounds great!), or education, or health…

    Instead, it’s brain-fart policies about crime. Sheesh.

  30. @Billie

    The starting assumptions change things hugely. I may have given the Socialists too high a primary in mine.

    It’s really hard when so many of these micros are untested.

    The knowledge of the preference deals makes it easier for the micros to target as well. Sustainable Australia were at Prahran prepoll when I was there. None of the others. And no socialists either (praise be). But I didn’t see any Hinch at Thornbury (but it was utter chaos so who knows?)

    Ultimately I think the Greens are at risk in all regions bar North Metro. A dampening of the Footscray vote will put them in real trouble in West a Metro.

  31. billie

    I think Anthony has done some amazing analysis to come up with certain micros in certain regions so he is probably right. Another one I did some analysis on was Northern Vic and basically the LDP would have to run an expensive advertising campaign telling people not to vote for them to have a chance of NOT getting elected.

    It is very odd how that person organised all these deals but managed to give most favoured status to different micros in each region – I wondered aloud whether some people paid extra for ‘silver service’ and I think KB had similar thoughts.

  32. To be fair, the Liberals push Law and order at every election

    It is dog whistling about race

    I would expect a similar result to the one achieved by Bracks leading into his second term

    That is what the markets are saying

  33. @D&M

    i completely agree with you.

    I think the libs will gain prahran, mordialloc, cranbourne, frankston, carrum, bentleigh, wendouree and buninyong. Other seats potentially aswell.

  34. As a Prahran resident I’ll be surprised if the Liberals win here this year.

    I think it’s often a misunderstood electorate. I have read a lot of analysis saying that it’s “become safer for the Liberals in recent years” or comparing it to Albert Park where gentrification & demographic changes favour the Liberals, where the opposite is actually true in Prahran.

    Albert Park has been Labor since 1955 but increasingly marginal as the Liberals have taken over most suburbs. It would be Liberal if it wasn’t for staunchly left-wing St Kilda keeping Labor’s head above water, and will likely be Liberal in the near future (particularly if a redistribution moves St Kilda out).

    Prahran by contrast has clearly moved leftward over time. It had been Liberal for 41 out of 47 years (previously safe and increasingly marginal after the inclusion of St Kilda in 1988), and has more recently been ALP or Green for 12 of of the last 16 years. So how that translates to becoming safer for the Liberals is beyond me, and I only see it continuing to move in that direction.

    My view of Prahran is that South Yarra is the battleground in the seat. Toorak is obviously a Liberal stronghold but it’s only a small section, while Prahran, Windsor & St Kilda are all distinctly left wing turf.

    Prahran has remained winnable for the Liberals because South Yarra is the largest & most populated suburb in the electorate and was a Liberal heartland. They basically need at least a 55% 2CP across the South Yarra’s booths to overcome the Greens/ALP vote south of Commercial Road and win the seat. The bad news for them is that they got right on 55% there in 2014 and still lost, and demographic changes don’t favour them topping that in 2018.

    Most of the new electors have moved into small high rise apartments. That means they are likely young, educated, renting and without children. Hardly a Liberal demographic. In the 2016 federal election the Liberal 2CP across all South Yarra booths in Higgins came to under 50%.

    That said, South Yarra seems to be the only suburb Katie Allen has campaigned in (you wouldn’t even know she’s running down in the Prahran/Windsor end) so maybe she’s onto something by targeting it and if she can get the South Yarra vote back up to the 55% range they could win the seat.

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