Election minus eight days

A tight race in Cowper, mixed messages from Reid, and an intriguing surge of Labor enthusiasm about Leichhardt.

A sense has taken hold in the news media in the past week that the wind has swung in Labor’s favour (and also in the betting markets). Beyond that though, seat-level intelligence on the parties’ reading of the situation has been rather thin on the ground. The exceptions that prove the rule:

Andrew Clennell of The Australian reports the Nationals’ tracking polling has it at 50-50 in Cowper, where sitting Nationals member Luke Hartsuyker is retiring and independent Rob Oakeshott looks competitive or better. However, the Nationals expect to hold out in Page, where their margin over Labor is 2.3%.

• The above report also related that the Liberals are not optimistic about Reid and Gilmore, suggesting by omission that they feel better about Robertson and Banks. However, a profile of Reid in The Australian yesterday by Greg Brown cited Liberal sources saying their polling had them 51-49 ahead.

• According to Aimos Aikman in The Australian, phone polling conducted by “estranged Country Liberal Party operative James Lantry” had Labor leading 53-47 in Solomon.

• No link available, but Brisbane’s Sunday Mail reported Labor was “increasingly confident” about Leichhardt, “where it is winning support over its environmental plans and long-term MP Warren Entsch is being targeted as past his use-by date”. The impression was reinforced by Bill Shorten’s visit to the electorate yesterday to launch a “renewable energy zone” for far north Queensland, despite the seat not having featured much in earlier commentary on potential Labor gains.

Also today: another instalment of Seat du jour, today looking at the Sydney seat of Banks.

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.

961 comments on “Election minus eight days”

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  1. As we head into the final week of the election I get the sense that when push comes to shove people will vote for the more stable party and that will be Labor.
    They may not win big but I think they will win.
    The DT on doing Shortens mum story may have given Shorten the chance to dispel the coalition myth he is the boogeyman out to get you and a chance to annunciate what he is trying to do with his policies about equity and fairness.

  2. You have party operatives and all their friends and rellies, polling company employees and all their friends ect ect.

  3. I actually don’t think the information is shared very broadly, at least by accounts from past elections. There probably is also false information spread within the party for morale purposes.

  4. Morning all

    Has there been much said on this?

    Shorten Suite
    Well this seems significant… Vic State Director of the Palmer Party says Libs are ”funding their workers” #auspol

  5. I’m surprised it was still going. I’d thought it was canned years ago because the blokey, locker room sniggering and fart jokes by ageing has been footballers were just passe.

    The AFL Footy Show has been dumped by Nine network after 25 years on the air.

    Nine pulled the plug on a major revamp of the show after just eight episodes as it plummeted to an all-time ratings low of 53,000 viewers in Melbourne last week.

    “It is with regret that The Footy Show will no longer be produced,” Nine’s Melbourne managing director, Matt Scriven, said on Thursday. “It has been a tough decision to end the program that has been such a trailblazer, but sadly the new show has not captured audiences in the way we had hoped.”


  6. What a piece of work

    simon holmes à court
    May 8
    …the luxury of seeing the questions in advance was not afforded to the other candidates — only

    this man holds us all in contempt.

    simon holmes à court
    May 8
    agreed to only one debate in #Hume, & under strict conditions:
    • audience by invitation only
    • questions submitted, vetted & seen beforehand

    …coupled with strong police presence made for a sterile debate.

    no questions on #caymans or #watergate!


  7. C@tmomma@6:41am
    What do you think of Arthur Sinodinos assessment that Dobell is in play? Remember Schemo went to Dobell on ALP launch day.

  8. There can’t be any complaint on a punter sourcing whatever info he or she can get their hands on if the bookmaker takes the bet on a political race.

  9. Imagine if Labor funded the Greens HTV workers? You’d never hear the end of it.

    But it is the only hope the Coalition have of retaining government, so not particularly surprising.

  10. More fake news from News ltd?

    Fiji’s Immigration Department has confirmed Labor’s candidate for Deakin, Shireen Morris, is not a Fijian citizen amid threats to challenge the result if she wins the seat.

    Dr Morris, who is of Fijian-Indian descent but was born in Australia, is running against Liberal MP Michael Sukkar in the Victorian seat in the May 18 election.

    The Herald Sun reported this week the Coalition had legal advice she had been a Fijian citizen since birth.

    But Fiji’s Immigration Department confirmed Dr Morris was never a Fijian citizen.


  11. Fess

    The new Lineup of the footy show was good, but it lost a chunk of support over the years. I stopped watching years ago, and mainly due to Sam Newman.

  12. 12h
    Well this seems significant… Vic State Director of the Palmer Party says Libs are ”funding their workers” #auspol

    Naturally. Clive doesn’t pay workers .

  13. Not a single seat poll has shown Labor are on track to obtain a seat off the Coalition.

    – ALP 72
    – LNP 75
    – KAP 1
    – GRN 1
    – Independents 2 (Denison/Clark, Farrer)

    Coalition minority with supply and confidence from KAP and Farrer independent.

  14. Good morning all:


    As of COB yesterday approximately 1.64m people had cast their vote at an early voting centre for the 2019 federal election. Around 243k voted yesterday. #ausvotes 

  15. poroti says:
    Friday, May 10, 2019 at 8:44 am

    Well this seems significant… Vic State Director of the Palmer Party says Libs are ”funding their workers” #auspol

    Naturally. Clive doesn’t pay workers .

    We have a winner! 😆 😆

  16. Cat

    I have turned Barnaby’s, ‘Labor! Labor! Labor! Labor! Labor!’ into a shout out to voters at the doors of the Pre Poll. The Liberals don’t like it at all

    With time and resources, a big screen of Barnaby shouting just those five words on repeat like a carnival barker – what joy!

  17. C@tmomma@6:51am
    Cameron Murphy did not win East Hills, the most marginal seat in NSW State. Thar is a fact. And Libs have increased their margin in Oatley by more than 5%. Both East Hills and Oatley fall within seat of Banks. So I tend to agree with D & M.

  18. This election feels weird. Very much like it felt at Vic state election six months ago. It was hard to get a vibe from the public. The msm was all wind and fury but it was difficult to get a sense of people wanting change or not.

    And I was as surprised as anyone else when Labor were returned so emphatically.

  19. So Morrison is promising another 25% cut in electricity prices.

    Adding the $550 cut promised by Abbott plus all the other times the LNP have promised price cuts since, plus Morrison’s latest promise, I calculate electricity should now be free for everyone.

  20. But Ven, Labor increased their margins in the state seats that make up Dobell and you’re worried about that?

  21. Ven @ #75 Friday, May 10th, 2019 – 8:50 am

    Cameron Murphy did not win East Hills, the most marginal seat in NSW State. Thar is a fact. And Libs have increased their margin in Oatley by more than 5%. Both East Hills and Oatley fall within seat of Banks. So I tend to agree with D & M.

    I didn’t say he did win East Hills, Ven. Read what I write, don’t just jump to conclusions and go off half-cocked in response. I said Cameron Murphy ALMOST won East Hills again. Capice?

  22. I’m still amazed how one of the safest leafy seats in Melbourne held by a Liberal touted to be the next leader, was won by my kids former Principal.

  23. Liberals only increased their margin in Oatley because Michael Daley made that horrifically stupid comment about “Asians with PhDs” and it was responded to accordingly by the middle-class Asian voters in the southern Sydney suburbs.
    In fact, immigrants who are that highly-skilled are extremely rare in any country – there are only that many people with doctorates – and jobs requiring them. They are also often the most assimilated into Western societies.
    Most of the animosity against migrants, in Europe or elsewhere, is targeted at those with lower skill levels (which admittedly make up the lion’s share).

  24. Confessions

    In 2016 there were 14.9 million on the electoral roll, of which 91% (13.5 million) voted

    The AEC say that enrolment is bigger this time.

    16,960,337 eligible to vote
    16,424,248 enrolled to vote (96.8%, highest ever – thank you Abbott and Dutton for developing your plebiscite and encouraging many people to enrol to vote!)
    If 91% again vote that will be 15 million, or 100,000 per electorate (90,000 last time)
    So on average 10,000 new voters per electorate.

    The numbers for young people enrolled is also apparently highest ever (thanks again Tony and Peter)


  25. Vic:

    This was reported yesterday. Did Butler show for the debate with Angus Taylor after all?

    Energy Minister Angus Taylor is planning on debating himself this week after his Labor rival Mark Butler rejected an invite to a Sydney event.

    Mr Taylor is still planning on attending a NSW Business Council debate on Friday even though Mr Butler, who is Labor’s Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change, has declined Mr Taylor’s offer to debate him.

    It comes after Mr Taylor was mocked for a Facebook fail where his official account was caught replying to its own post with praise for the Minister.


  26. I wouldn’t be at all confidant about holding Page if I were the Nats. They may well go on to do so but I think it’s going to be very close. The Nats are on the nose big time in Northern NSW, and everywhere else for that matter. The recent NSW election results in Ballina and Lismore demonstrate this. Definitely one to watch on election night.

  27. Alpine blizzard says:
    Friday, May 10, 2019 at 6:26 am
    Morning all

    Anyone have any idea why punters have committed to Labor so strongly? Just overall vibe or bills performance in the debates? Seems strange for such a big commitment without and new polling to suggest somethings changed

    My theory is that the really big money is a product of inside information. That’s why I suggested a week or so ago that a big surge in betting support for Labor would be a sign that they are very confident of winning.

    Ladbrokes have Labor at $1.14 today after $1.33 was on offer only a few days ago. That is a very big surge. I agree that it doesn’t guarantee victory but I certainly wouldn’t be putting any of my hard earned on the Liberals at the moment.

  28. Geetroit says:
    Friday, May 10, 2019 at 8:01 am
    Well, its a theory…

    Lets be honest, there has not been a poll for about three years that has not indicated a Labor win.

  29. Thanks Rocket.

    So this time next week, at the rate things are going, almost a quarter of registered voters could have already cast their vote ahead of actual polling day. That’s astonishing.

  30. Nostradamus
    What seat polls??
    Nice try at stirring shit though.
    Gave me a good chuckle.
    But like your preferred Party, FAIL!!

  31. Pedant says:
    Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    Re Penny Wong and the non-handshake. There was a story I heard nearly 40 years ago, probably apocryphal, that at the 1954 Geneva Conference on Indochina, John Foster Dulles, after shaking hands with Chou EnLai, took a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his hand. Whereupon Chou did the same, but then threw the handkerchief away.

    As someone who shook hands with Chou in the Great Hall of the People in 1971 and again in 1972, I can assure you I did not wipe my hand, nor did he. My understanding of the incident at the Geneva conference was that Chou proffered his hand but Dulles pointedly ignored it. The wiping account is too dramatic and I suspect very apocryphal.

    Chou was a courtly gentleman and an intellectual. While he may been dismayed by the excesses of Mao’s cultural revolution he is credited with mitigating its worst effects and keeping China together in those turbulent times. Only his failing health prevented him from succeeding the Great Helmsman.

    At the time of my visit to Peking as it was still called, the cultural revolution had not finished. But Chou was busy getting ready to re-open China to the world.

    One of the first foreign delegations following the momentous ping-pong tournament, our group wanted to stay on for a longer visit. The Chinese were anxious for us to leave Peking and suggested we go down to the southern city of Canton (Guangzhou).

    We understood why a little later. The day after we left the Chinese capital, Henry Kissinger arrived on his highly secret visit to set up with Chou, the historic Nixon visit. The day after Kissinger left, Gough Whitlam arrived from Canton with his Australian Labor Party delegation.

    A couple of days earlier, I encountered Whitlam on the steps of Canton’s Dong Fang hotel and briefed him on our meeting with Chou. I told him that Chou had said that when China needed to import wheat it would look first to Canada. “I hope you don’t think that the only reason we are here is to sell Australian wheat,” was his sharp reply.

    The following year in Peking, Chou, bright-eyed and amiable, and apparently very well briefed by his staff, greeted me by referring to our meeting the year before, and he noted that while I had a French first name, I was not a French-Canadian.  (Originally Australian, actually)

    Here is what happened when Nixon arrived a year later:

    “President Nixon made it a point to extend his hand toward Premier Chou En-lai. This seemingly normal greeting held a greater significance. Recalling this moment in his memoirs, President Nixon knew that Chou had been deeply insulted by [Eisenhower Secretary of State] Foster Dulles’s refusal to shake hands with him at the Geneva Conference in 1954. “When our hands met,” President Nixon wrote, “one era ended and another began.” While in the car leaving the airport, Chou turned to President Nixon and said, “Your handshake came over the vastest ocean in the world—twenty-five years of no communication.”

    Apologies for the length of this history lesson and the name-dropping!.

  32. Fess

    Well there you go.

    This Angus Taylor needs to be answering questions on Watergate. If it were a Labor MP, the media would be hounding the person day and night

  33. casey briggsVerified account @CaseyBriggs
    16h16 hours ago
    pre-polling update! More than a South Australia’s worth of voters have already cast their ballot #ausvotes


  34. BK@6:59am
    Thanks for the Dawn Patrollers. What is “campaign body language” you were referring to regarding Phil Coorey article in Dawn Patrollers. I heard of campaign vibe but not the other one.

  35. I hope Labor today outline clearly how the savings from franking credits will be utilised. And state how giving a gift of money to those who don’t need it anyway is a utter waste of taxpayers money and the free ride is over.

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