Since last week’s post dedicated to the current reading of BludgerTrack (which is being updated with new polling data as it becomes available), its measure of the situation is that Labor’s two-party preferred lead is effectively unchanged, but that it has gone backwards on the seat projection due to the distribution of the swing between the states. As ever, this reflects the intense electoral sensitivity of Queensland, which punches well above its weight in terms of marginal seats.
Last time I sounded a note of caution about its reading that Labor stood to gain eight seats there, which was quite out of line with the expectations of both major parties. Since then, we have had two pieces of state-level data that have taken the edge off – the Queensland-only poll by YouGov Galaxy for the Courier-Mail last week, which showed the Coalition leading 51-49, and the Newspoll state breakdowns that had the Queensland result at 50-50. This has moderated the situation to the extent that Labor is now credited with only five gains in the state. Nonetheless, this is almost single-handedly sufficient to get them to a majority.
The encouragement for Labor doesn’t end there, because the Newspoll numbers have further boosted their reading in Victoria, where they are now projected to gain three seats from the Coalition, together with the electoral gift of the new seat of Fraser in their western Melbourne heartland. However, BludgerTrack is now showing a remarkable recovery for the Coalition in New South Wales, where they are actually projected to pick up a swing on two-party preferred, though without gaining any new seats. This is a little more favourable for them than the general impression, which is that they are likely to lose Gilmore and Reid while perhaps gaining Lindsay.
BludgerTrack also suggests the worst danger for the Coalition has passed in Western Australia, where they are now projected to lose only one seat. It also suggests the Liberals should be able to maintain the status quo in South Australia – or arguably slightly improve it, given it is Labor who will be wearing the cut in the state’s representation from 11 seats to 10. This notion was further encouraged by yesterday’s YouGov Galaxy poll showing the Liberals maintaining a lead in Boothby, which is state’s strongest prospect of a gain for Labor.
However, it must be acknowledged here that there are a few holes in the BludgerTrack methodology, specifically relating to Tasmania and the territories, and non-major party contests. State-level data is only available for the five mainland states, so BludgerTrack has nothing to offer on the much-touted prospect of the Liberals gaining either or both of Bass and Braddon in the state’s north, where it is simply assumed that the swing will be in line with the overall national result. The same goes for the Darwin-based seat of Solomon, which has been the subject of optimistic noises from the Coalition throughout the campaign. Whether such noises are justified remains anyone’s guess.
As for minor parties and independents, BludgerTrack simply assumes a status quo result, with Wentworth and Clark (formerly Denison) to remain with their independent incumbents, Indi to go from one independent to another, and Melbourne, Kennedy and Mayo to respectively remain with the Greens, Katter’s Australian Party and the Centre Alliance. I had hoped that media-commissioned seat polling might offer guidance here, but only in the case of Mayo has such a poll emerged. The consensus seems to be that Wentworth will return to the Liberals, that Indi could either stay independent or go with one or other Coalition party, and that the other seats should remain as they are.
The full BludgerTrack results at state-level, together with leadership rating trends and a database of poll results, can be found through the following link:
Not featured in BludgerTrack is the Roy Morgan series, which I decided came to party too late for its form to be properly calibrated. However, its latest weekly result is interesting in being the first national poll of the campaign period to record a move in Labor’s favour on two-party preferred. The poll now has Labor leading 52-48, up from 51-49 last week, from primary votes of Coalition 38.5% (steady), Labor 35.5% (up 1.5%), Greens 10% (down one), One Nation 4% (steady) and the United Australia Party 3.5% (steady). The poll was conducted face-to-face on Saturday and Sunday from a sample of 1265, which is larger than its other recent polls, which have been around the 700 to 800 mark.
Also today: Seat du jour, covering the Queensland seat of Forde.