Essential Research: 51.5-48.5 to Labor

Labor maintains a modest yet decisive lead in the final Essential poll for the campaign, as YouGov Galaxy prepares to unload a barrage of seat polls throughout the day.

Update: YouGov Galaxy seat polls

As explained below, the News Corp papers are releasing YouGov Galaxy seat polls today on an hourly schedule. The results will be updated here as they become available. The polls were conducted Monday and Tuesday from samples of around 550.

Deakin (Liberal 6.4%, Victoria): Liberals lead 51-49. Primary votes: Liberal 44% (50.3% in 2016), Labor 37% (30.1%), Greens 9% (11.3%) and the United Australia Party 4%. Sample: 540.

Flynn (LNP 1.0%, Queensland): The LNP leads 53-47. Primary votes: LNP 37% (37.1% in 2016), Labor 33% (33.4%), Greens 3% (2.8%), United Australia Party 11%, One Nation 7%. Sample not specified.

Macquarie (Labor 2.2%, NSW): Labor leads 53-47. Primary votes: Labor 43% (35.5% in 2016), Liberal 42% (38.2%), Greens 8% (11.2%), United Australia Party 5%. Sample: 573.

La Trobe (Liberal 3.2%, Victoria): Dead heat on two-party preferred. Primary votes: Liberal 43% (42.2% in 2016), Labor 39% (31.4%), Greens 7% (10.6%), United Australia Party 3%. Sample: 541.

Forde (LNP 0.6%, Queensland): Dead heat on two-party preferred. Primary votes: LNP 42% (40.6% in 2016), Labor 41% (37.6%), Greens 5% (6.4%), One Nation 7%, United Australia Party 4%. Sample: 567.

Reid (Liberal 4.7%, NSW): Liberals lead 52-48. Primary votes: Liberal 44% (48.8% in 2016), Labor 36% (36.3%), Greens 7% (8.5%), United Australia Party 6%. Sample: 577.

Higgins (Liberal 7.4%, Victoria): The Liberals lead 52-48 over the Greens, with Labor running third on the primary vote: Liberal 45% (52.% in 2016), Greens 29% (25.3%), Labor 18% (14.9%). Sample: 538.

Herbert (Labor 0.0%, Queensland): Dead heat on two-party preferred. Primary votes: Labor 31% (30.5% in 2016), LNP 32% (35.5%), Greens 5% (6.3%), One Nation 6% (13.5%), United Australia Party 9%. Sample not specified.

Gilmore (Liberal 0.7%, NSW): Labor leads 52-48. Primary votes: Labor 40% (39.2% in 2016), Liberal 26% (45.3%), Nationals 17% (didn’t run last time, hence the Liberal primary vote collapse), Greens 7% (10.5%), United Australia Party 2%. Sample not specified.

Dickson (LNP 1.7%, Queensland): LNP leads 51-49. Primary votes: LNP 41 (44.7% at 2016 election), Labor 35% (35.0%), Greens 10% (9.8%), United Australia Party 9%, One Nation 3%. Sample: 542.

Original post

The Guardian reports Essential Research has concluded its business for the campaign with a poll that reports a 51.5-48.5 lead for Labor, having decided to mark the occasion by reporting its results to the first decimal place. This compares with a rounded result of 52-48 last time. On the primary vote, the Coalition is on 38.5% (up, probably, from 38% last time), Labor is on 36.2% (up from 34%), the Greens are well down to 9.1% from an inflated-looking 12% last time, and One Nation are on 6.6% (down from 7%). Scott Morrison’s lead as preferred prime minister has narrowed from 42-31 to 39-32. The poll went to the effort to inquire about which campaign stories had registered with voters – I will be very interested to see the full numbers when Essential Research unloads its full report later today, but apparently Labor’s tax plans, the egging of Scott Morrison and the Daily Telegraph’s inspirational profile of Bill Shorten’s late mother all left an impression.

UPDATE: Full report from Essential Research here. It turns out respondents typed up their own responses on election news stories they had noticed and Essential has produced the results in word cloud form, which you can see in the release.

We can also expect national polls from Newspoll and Ipsos over the next day or two – and, starting at 10am this morning, the News Corp papers will today be treating us to an hourly schedule of YouGov Galaxy seat poll releases targeting (deep breath) Flynn at 10am; Macquarie at 11am; La Trobe at noon; Forde at 1pm; Reid at 2pm; Higgins at 3pm; Herbert at 4pm; Gilmore at 5pm; Deakin at 6pm; and Dickson in Queensland at 6pm. Except, it seems, the the Deakin poll is already with us, courtesy of today’s Herald Sun. It credits the Liberals with a lead of 51-49, or a 5.4% swing from the 2016 result. The primary votes are Liberal 44% (50.3% in 2016), Labor 37% (30.1%), Greens 9% (11.3%) and the United Australia Party 4%. The poll was conducted Monday and Tuesday from a sample of 540.


• The Greens were hawking a poll on Monday conducted by Environmental Research and Counsel, an offshoot of Essential Media, suggesting Josh Frydenberg was in serious difficulty in Kooyong. The poll showed Frydenberg’s primary vote at 41%, slumping from 58% in 2016, with Greens candidate Julian Burnside on 21%, Labor’s Jana Stewart on 16%, and much-touted independent Oliver Yates lagging on 9%. However, Frydenberg maintained a two-party lead over the Greens of 52-48. Phillip Coorey in the Financial Review reported on Tuesday that the Liberals were more confident than that, believing Frydenberg’s primary vote to be at around 48%.

Andrew Tillett in the Financial Review reported on Monday that Labor was becoming “increasingly bullish about picking up seats in Victoria and Western Australia”. Concerning the former, the report relates that Liberal strategists are “split on whether to pour resources into Higgins, where Liberal candidate Katie Allen is narrowly ahead, or concentrate on other Melbourne marginals such as La Trobe, Casey or Deakin”. As David Crowe of noted in the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday, the Coalition’s $4 billion East West Link motorway commitment was “seen by Labor as an attempt to hold the Liberal electorates of Casey, Deakin and La Trobe”, none of which it would be so high on its priorities list if it was feeling confident.

• A slightly different view of the situation in Western Australia is provided by Andrew Burrell of The Australian, who reports Labor has scaled back its ambitions in the state, which once ran to five seats. Swan is said to be Labor’s best chance of a gain, and Labor says its internal polling has Pearce at 50-50, but the Liberals claim to be slightly ahead. But Labor sources sound discouraged about Hasluck, and the party is no longer bothering with Canning. Stirling, however, is said to be “close”. Scott Morrison visited the state on Monday, paying special attention to Swan; Bill Shorten followed the next day, where he campaigned in Pearce.

Also today: Seat du jour, covering the Perth seat of Swan.

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.

1,601 comments on “Essential Research: 51.5-48.5 to Labor”

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  1. The 2PP for the seat polls today appear to be based on allocating preferences on the basis of each party’s how to vote card ie preferences from UAP go to the Liberals, Greens go to the ALP, where there is no stated party it is divided 50%. Or at least, the maths seems to work on those assumptions. That doesn’t seem a very sound basis for allocating preferences. If itis the case, then the Victorian swing may be a little over-represented (because not all green preferences will go to Labor) and the Qld swing would be underestimated (because not all UAP preferences will go to the Liberals). Where these relatively high UAP votes will end up going is difficult to know. On that basis, I think the polls today suggest Flynn will be very close (almost no change in primary votes for the major parties from 2016), Dickson and Forde are probably gone to Labor, and, interestingly, Herbert is actually not looking so bad for Labor at all. But the polls themselves have a large margin of error and I don’t think anyone has a good basis for allocating preferences with these protest vote parties.

  2. The franking credit policy is a disgrace and even if Labor wins won’t happen or will be reversed.

    Pepper your angus.

  3. My Prediction.
    The coalition has 75 seats but 73 because of redistribution giving away the Victorian seats of Corangamite and Dunkley.

    ACT, NT, SA, WA: There will not be any seats change hands.
    QLD: Coalition picks up Herbert and holds Dickson.
    Tas: Coalition picks up Braddon.
    NSW: Coalition picks up Wentworth, Lindsay, Holds Cowper, Reid. Labor takes Gilmore.
    Vic: Coalition picks up Indi. Labor picks up Corangamite, Dunkley, Chilsolm.
    (Higgins, Greens finish in front of Labor and so Liberals hold because Labor preferences less strong to Green than Green to Labor).

    Labor 71 Coalition 76
    Rebecca Sharkie SA
    Andrew Wilkie TAS
    Adam Bandt Vic
    Bob Katter QLD

    Katter will back the coalition.
    Sharkie will back the side with the greatest number of seats for the crucial supply and confidence.
    Wilkie and Bandt will back Labor but Wilkie may offer support to whoever has a majority for supply and confidence.

    It will be the prevarication on Adani that loses the unlosable election.

  4. Bob Hawke has passed. I met him when I was 18 starting my journey in Labor politics . His endorsement of Shorten is now even more powerful. Rest well old mate. I will work hard until 6pm Saturday for the return of a Labor Government.

  5. Vale RJL Hawke, may Australia honor his memory by laying to rest the Howard initiated era of a small and mean Australia for good this Saturday

  6. From Sportsbet News Page
    By Patrick Garschagen / Novelty / 10 hours ago
    “With punters so confident, as of this morning, we’ve paid out early on all bets placed on Labor to win Saturday’s Federal Election.
    Since betting opened, Sportsbet’s punters have come en masse, backing Labor into Winx-like odds of $1.16 with 70% of all money wagered on the election going on Bill Shorten’s team.
    This means over $1.3 million has been paid out to punters who had a flutter on Labor (before 9pm last night) and it’s already in their accounts.
    Labor have attracted several large wagers including one savvy punter who walks away with over $128,000 before a vote has been counted.
    “Our punters have spoken through their bets! 7 of every 10 bets on the election are on Labor. They’re supremely confident we will be paying out on Saturday so we have decided to pay them early. Punters rarely get it wrong on elections” said one of our now very squeaky bummed politics traders.
    Although we’ve paid out, the Federal Election market is still very much open for those looking to double dip, and Sportsbet’s markets currently suggest Labor will win 82 seats and the Coalition 63.”

    Do they have to give it back if Labor loses?

  7. nath and Lars… you are talking about people who had a love fest for Kevin Rudd only to pile on after….. aaaaand then love him again in 2013…

    Also on policy… JWH was a ‘heartless rodent’ on border control on every. single. policy. Then in 2013, They supported THE SAME policies… to a t, under the ALP banner. I have never seen such a level of cognitive dissonance.

    This election, though, has all the hallmarks of 1993. Fear of change and the commensurate risk is the same as it was then. If only we had the internet then we might have been able to follow it like this

    People on here suggesting 86 seats, or even 81 are clearly puffing muffins. There are just not enough in play, especially since the LNP will pick up two independents and a few ALP seats too. If the LNP win even 4 seats net that is enough to form majority government. If the LNP simply wins .

    I think the most likely outcome is a minority government, LNP over ALP. The ALP simply doesn’t have the options it had hoped for at the start of the election.

  8. Bob Hawke

    A legend

    Bring it home for him and his vision for the Nation of Australia and the citizens of Australia Bill

    First met him at the Student’s Bar at The University of Adelaide in the 1970’s

    As I say, a legend

  9. Just been robo called by ScoMo. Not sure what he wished to tell me as I cut him off in his prime, so to speak, as soon as I reached the ‘phone and the answering machine, but am a little puzzled as to why he feels the need to target Bennelong so aggressively. Perhaps Kieran Gilbert was right, as mentioned by someone this morning, and Bennelong is worth watching. I have not been feeling so optimistic.

    On another note, harking back to earlier correspondence this afternoon:
    sgi: thank you for all the practical support you have given. I am unable to offer physical effort to the cause but have dispatched a few hundred dollars to the coffers. Would give more if I could. Much power to your arm, and to all the other PBers doing the hard slog.
    BB: you asked earlier if people had discussed their voting intentions with any of us. I can report that my Mother’s Day lunch was somewhat marred by the frost that descended when daughter-in-law’s parents informed me they had pre-polled for the Libs and I said that side of politics would not be getting my vote. They are fully dependent on the OAP, but cannot see the contradiction in their stand. For the sake of peace, and my son, I said no more.

  10. “2-3%
    Sample size normally around 1000+”


    So given away polls have a larger proportion of respondents from the total pool, why is the MOE so much worse than a national poll?

    Not saying it isn’t, but the basis isn’t obvious to me

  11. “730’s bill shorten bit doesn’t look good for 730 in the light of Bob.

    What did they do?

    Bummer about Bob, my first PM I really remember.

  12. “Blobbit the MOE for a sample of 540 on a population of 110,000 is 4% for a confidence interval of 95%.”

    Yup. So why is the MOE on the national polls less based on a sample of 1000ish out of a much bigger population?

  13. ICANCU re Sportsbet:
    No you don’t have to give your “winnings” back if Labor loses.

    I remember when they paid out on a Coalition victory before the SA election that Labor won unexpectedly in 2014 (Coalition had been backed into 1.01). So they ended up paying out to both sides. A more costly than expected publicity stunt.

  14. As a FULLY self funded retiree I say to those receiving money from the government WITHOUT applying to Centrelink, fuck off you thieving, low life scum

    I hold you in absolute contempt

  15. moderate says:
    Thursday, May 16, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    If Sharma wins and Abbott loses, then it is likely a parity result in NSW, unless Oakshott can snag Cowper. My intel. has the Nats in front there now.

    Good luck with that. Out of interest is your intel from someone at the Port Macquarie end of Cowper or the Coffs end of Cowper? Conaghan’s really in trouble in Coffs thanks to the Nats’ Coffs bypass bungle, but people from Port (including Conaghan) seem unaware of that.

  16. Blobbit the relationship between population and sample size to achieve a certain MOE is not directly proportional. William can explain it better.

  17. Why do these arseholes give a rat’s arse about religious schools ffs? It’s about a 75th order issue for the 95% of Australians who aren’t happy clappers or god botherers.

  18. “Blobbit the relationship between population and sample size to achieve a certain MOE is not directly proportional. William can explain it better.”

    I’ll have to pull out the stats books and excel I suspect 🙂

  19. jenauthor @ #1458 Thursday, May 16th, 2019 – 7:08 pm

    Poll Federal Seat of Dickson Primary Votes: LNP 41 (-3.7 since election) ALP 35 (0.0) GRN 10 (+0.2) UAP 9 (+9) ON 3 (+3) #auspol

    41+35+10+9+3=98 so Others 2? So if Libs lost 3.7 since last election
    Where in the hell did the NEW 9+3 for UAP and ON come from???
    This stinks to High Heaven as iffy as 😡

  20. davidwh re MOE:

    I believe the theoretical MOE is as you state (assuming a truly random sample) but that is rarely correct, it is normally an understatement of the MOE.
    Because of difficulties in contacting particular groups (such as them youngsters with their mobile phones, long hair and whatnot) all pollsters have to adjust and scale their raw polling results so that the distribution of respondents matches their expected profile of voters. These adjustments introduce further possible errors, which pollsters usually conveniently ignore, and thus I believe their published MOE is less than the real MOE.

  21. Re seat polling, if you have 10 seat polls with a consistent trend surely that tells you something with a bit more reliability than a single seat poll.

    In this case that there is a swing on that gets smaller as you head north, maybe?

  22. I was lucky enough to know Bob Hawke a little bit. He certainly had his weaknesses, but he was easily the most intelligent person I have ever met, bar none.

    Most of the economic reforms which are credited to Keating were actually Bob’s doing. But Bob was always smart enough (way smart enough) to know that it’s a good idea to share the credit around.

    We truly won’t ever see his like again. I was devastated when he was unjustly dumped in late 1991. And now he’s gone forever. What a loss.

  23. Just been robo called by ScoMo.

    Me too in Pearce in WA. Had the somewhat juvenile joy of telling him to f*ck off and hanging up before the intro was finished.

  24. Vale Bob.

    This means the last day of the campaign and election day will be wall-to-wall hagiolatry and veneration – and the RWNJs not being able to resist having a dig. This is worth a 3-4% swing.

    Bob, the old agnostic, might just be proving the existence of a god other than himself.

    I just missed being old enough to vote for him in 83, but that was the first election I was politicised and barracking for him to win.

  25. If you use the primary swings from 2016 and apply a weighted average based on sample sizes (applying the average sample size for those seats that did not have a sample size) then you get the following average primary swings for these seat polls.

    ALP: +3.0%
    LIB: -2.13%*

    * For Gilmore, I added LIB + NAT to derive a meaningful primary vote for 2019.

    MOE based on an average sample size of 556 and an average seat size of 108,770 is +/- 4.15%

    So given that there is considerable evidence to suggest that these seat polls bias the Liberal Party then I’m pretty happy with this result.

    Worst case scenario for ALP, given the MOE is minority government.

    But from reading the way the campaign is playing out in these final days it looks to me like ALP will be winning 82-86 seats. Time to pull out a jeroboam of champaign out and put it on ice I reckon.

    Although it won’t format in an easily readable format, for the record, here below is the raw data this calculation was based on.

    Primary Swing from 2016 Weighted
    Seat ALP LIB Sample ALP LIB
    Deakin 6.9 -6.3 540 6.73 -6.14
    Flynn -0.4 -0.1 554 -0.40 -0.10
    Macquarie 8.5 3.8 573 8.79 3.93
    LaTrobe 7.6 0.8 541 7.42 0.78
    Forde 3.4 1.4 567 3.48 1.43
    Reid -0.3 -4.8 577 -0.31 -5.00
    Higgins 3.1 -7.0 538 3.01 -6.80
    Herbert 0.5 -3.5 554 0.50 -3.50
    Gilmore 0.8 -2.3 554 0.80 -2.30
    Dickson 0.0 -3.7 542 0.00 -3.62

    Average 554 3.00 -2.13

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