YouGov: 51-49 to Liberal in South Australia

Only a modest lead for the Liberals in the latest SA state poll, despite a clear lead for Steven Marshall as preferred premier.

Adelaide’s Sunday Mail newspaper brings us a rare poll of state voting intention in South Australia, and it records a narrowing of the Liberal government’s lead to 51-49 from 53-47 in September. The Liberals are down three on the primary vote to 43%, with Labor up one to 36%, the Greens steady on 10% and SA Best up one to 6%. This is the fourth such poll since the 2017 election: the first, in March 2019, had the Liberals leading 52-48, which was followed by a seemingly aberrant 53-47 to Labor in March 2020.

On preferred premier, Steven Marshall holds a lead of 50-30 over Labor’s Peter Malinauskas, narrowing from 54-26 in September. The poll was conducted February 24 to March 1 from a sample of 843, presumably online.

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.

12 comments on “YouGov: 51-49 to Liberal in South Australia”

  1. Still over a year to go – at this point in time I think they’ll be reelected, but not as easily as the Tasmanian government.

    This being said… a year is an ETERNITY in politics.

  2. The last Liberal government in South Australia to be re-elected with a majority was in 1959. Since then, Labor have been re-elected with less than 50% of the 2PP vote on several occasions- notably most recently in 2010 and 2104. In a close, seat by seat fought contest Labor will probably have the advantage again. The SA Liberals seem to needlessly draw attention to themselves in their first term (the Brown-Olsen contest in 1996 and privatisations, this time more outsourcing and the controversies surrounding the entitlements of MPs). By Christmas the vaccination program will largely be complete, with the usual cycle of the economy and governing competence becoming the norm. The brainy people at SA Labor HQ will be working late into the night to ensure Marshall becomes a one-term premier.

  3. Are there any “brainy people” at SA Labor HQ?

    Well I guess Malinauskas has his feet on the ground and Koutsantonis is a good headkicker.

    And Marshall is so lucky to have Covid as his shield, given that he’s dependent on three MPs who were originally elected as Liberals and are now before the courts on various charges.

  4. SA Best is probably boosted by the fact that it was read out in the poll.

    Either way SA Labor is on solid footing. They were up 53-47 before covid. Pandemic is literally keeping Marshall government going.

  5. Labor has done well to preselect strong local community candidates in 3 of the key marginals – Nadia Clancy in Elder, Lucy Hood in Adelaide and Rhiannon Pearce in King. All three are up and running and campaigning hard.

    On the other hand, Frances Bedford’s mooted move from Florey to Newland is problematic for Labor. As best I know, Labor has not yet preselected a candidate in either seat. Given that Newland is the most marginal Liberal held seat, it is critical to Labor’s hopes of winning Government. Newland now incorporates large chunks of Modbury which were previously in Florey, and Bedford’s strong local profile is connected with her advocacy for the Modbury hospital. It’s quite the dilemma for Labor – it’s best outcome might be for Bedford to move to Newland and win, with Florey then almost certainly reverting to Labor.

    All of that said, it’s not an easy election for Labor to win, and a Labor government may end up hinging on whether Geoff Brock can win Stuart as an Independent AND then both he and Bedford agree to support a Labor government.

    Obviously, based on the latest polling it looks like a knife edge. Marshall has benefited through the raising of his profile as Premier but he is not a great campaigner. Malanauskas will get a benefit from his profile boost during the campaign. It’s impossible to pick a likely result!

  6. David Richards says:
    Monday, March 8, 2021 at 4:13 am

    “I think ALP will win – in its own right”

    You’re quite possibly right given the number of times that the LNP has won the 2PP but lost the seat count.

  7. It’s hard to read this poll with such a high SA Best showing (are they even running next time and, if they are, will they amount to anything without Nick Xenophon’s face attached to it?) but, even if we take that on face value and accept that decent primaries from both Labor and Liberal do suggest a close race, the real question is where the Liberal support is coming from. If it is mainly concentrated in the country, as it has been in the past, these results could be disastrous for the Government. However, if it is spread out across the metro area (where the winnable seats are), then they can get a win from these numbers.

    Really the issue is who can make the better case: the quiet mediocre government, or the quiet mediocre opposition? With a year to go to the next election, now is the time for Labor and Malinauskas to actually start projecting a big picture of what a Malinauskas Labor Government will be and what it will do for a state that hasn’t really seen things improve economically since the last election. Meeting people in shopping centres is all good but you need to start looking like an alternative Premier in the media if you want to be elected. On the other hand, Marshall needs to start showing some leadership on his side, pull some heads in and start making the case of why we’re on the right track and how things will improve under the current course in the next four years. Say what you will about people like Rann or Weatherill, they knew how to present a vision for the future (whether you agreed with them or not.)

    At this point, I’d tentatively say the Liberals will hang on but barely (possibly in a minority) but with SA Labor’s fantastic record of being able to win marginal campaigns, a surprise Labor win is not off the cards. I suppose what’s happening federally at the time also will be a factor.

  8. This is Naphtine government all over again.

    Long time opposition becomes government and have no agenda to speak of.
    Sense of stagnation.
    Unnecessary industrial disputes.
    Unpopular privatisation, broken promises.
    Loss of MPs to crossbench, parliamentary chaos.
    Disciplined opposition.
    Ribbon cutting ALP achievements because nothing much is being done.

    If it wasn’t for pandemic SA Labor would be ahead.

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