Tasmanian election minus five days

The only poll of the Tasmanian election campaign gives the Liberals a less than spectacular result, though not all are persuaded by it.

The Australia Institute has come good with the only published opinion poll of the Tasmanian election campaign so far, conducted last Wednesday by uComms from a sample of 1023 respondents using automated phone and SMS surveying. When the initial voting intention question and forced-response follow-up for the undecided are rolled together, the results seem at the low end for the Liberals, who are on 41.4% to 32.1% for Labor, 12.4% for the Greens, 11.0% for independents and 3.1% for others.

The high reading for independents, who accounted for 1.1% of the vote in 2018, may suggest strong support for ex-Liberal member Sue Hickey and/or Glenorchy mayor Kristie Johnston in Clark, at least among the kind of people who complete poll surveys, and perhaps also for Craig Garland in Braddon, although he will be hampered by appearing in the “ungrouped” column. Between that and the subdued Liberal vote, the poll suggests a real chance of a hung parliament in which the Liberals drop from 13 seats out of 25 to 12, without holding out much prospect of gains for Labor and the Greens. However, Kevin Bonham offers an extensive list of reasons to exercise caution in relation to the poll.

My comprehensive guide to the election remains open for business here, and I’m currently hard at work on my biggest and best ever live election results facility for the big night. Stay tuned.

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.

54 comments on “Tasmanian election minus five days”

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  1. The striking feature of this poll, whether you believe it or not, is that ALP PV is in low 30s. There is no way Lobor can win this election. Quiet a few’experts’ superimposed WA state elections results on national level. If these polls are repeatedly nationally there is no way ALP will get more than 1 (may be 2 if preferences fall their way.}). And this a state ALP is supposed to be strong because of strong Greens presence.

  2. India has vowed to “hang” anyone who delays the delivery of oxygen supplies as the country buckles under a devastating second wave of coronavirus.

    A high court in New Delhi warned it would use the death penalty after brazen local officials intercepted and diverted oxygen tanks to desperate hospitals in their areas.

    The court, which was hearing submissions by a group of hospitals over the oxygen shortages, described the devastating rise in infections as a “tsunami”.

    India recorded 349,691 new cases and 2767 deaths in the past 24 hours – the highest since the start of the pandemic.

  3. The impact of the pro poker machine lobby on the last election should not be underestimated.
    The ownership and control of poker machines throughout Tasmania is unique, with the distribution of poker machines and ownership of some of the largest venues, private and mutual.
    Labor has acknowledged it’s mistake at the last election.
    The general public perception is that against poker machines equates to against social sporting amenities.
    Similarly, against poker machines is against jobs.
    In many ways this election has been kept very local, the major newspapers have kept their powder relatively dry.
    Nothing is appearing as a maker/breaker issue so a result similar to the election two years ago would seem probable, perhaps a loss of one liberal representative, a loss or gain for Labor, a gain for the Greens and an independent resurgence.
    Not a sniff of Morrison PM anywhere to be found, unsurprising!
    It’s still always interesting to hear the “voice of the people”.

  4. If those poll numbers are correct, there is the real prospect that a final outcome on individual seat winners won’t be known until the button gets pushed. The vagaries of Hare Clark make for an exciting count. The possibility of no clear majority is very real, so the end game could be quite prolonged. I hope at the end of it we see a strong Labour-Green coalition government in place, following the ACT model.

  5. Outsider @ #5 Monday, April 26th, 2021 – 12:05 pm

    If those poll numbers are correct, there is the real prospect that a final outcome on individual seat winners won’t be known until the button gets pushed. The vagaries of Hare Clark make for an exciting count. The possibility of no clear majority is very real, so the end game could be quite prolonged. I hope at the end of it we see a strong Labour-Green coalition government in place, following the ACT model.

    There’s no hope of a green coalition government in Tasmania after the last time. Independents? Yes. Greens? No. The greens are poison for political parties down here.

  6. Premier Gutwein appeared to handle the Covid issue with a very Tasmanian first, safe pair of hands.
    Labor and Rebecca White sensibly stayed out of another poker machine fight.
    The Greens are always a massive presence in Tasmania, somewhat polarizing but relentless.
    A few notable independents may expose themselves as genuine candidates and prevail.
    The seat count for the liberals will remain the same and possibly fall by one.
    The labor will be expecting a close count for seats in a few divisions as will the Greens and the results may not be known on the night.
    The high profile independents adds a new dimension.
    The absence of our magnificent PM is notable!
    Can’t help but continue to think “steady as she goes” as Tasmania sensibly remains anchored off Australia.

  7. The Libs remain favourites.

    However, it seems to me that, on the basis of this poll, there are a number of conceivable minority government scenarios. The best one for Labor would probably be 3-2 Libs in Braddon, Bass and Lyons; 3-2 Labor in Franklin, and 2-1 Labor in Clark, with both Hickey and Johnston being elected. Labor could then do a deal in which Hickey retained the Speaker’s chair and Johnston gets a ministry or some other newly-created role that would suit her interests.

    The elimination of the Greens is a conceivable scenario, as I reckon they are a bit of a mess down here in the absence of any significant environmental issues on the policy agenda. However, my gut feeling is that Woodruff will probably fall over the line ahead of the 3rd Labor candidate. By rights, O’Connor should lose on the basis of her consistently mediocre performance as party leader. But the lack of any heavy-hitting Labor candidates in Clark apart from Haddad (who’s not particularly special either) will help O’Connor’s cause quite a lot.

  8. _Tasmania’s Liberal premier says he does not need Scott Morrison to “hold his hand” while campaigning, in an indication the prime minister may not make an appearance on the state election trail.” (Ethan James … Canberra Times Aril 26 2021)
    Says it all really of the State Liberals lack of regard for the Pentecostal preacher man.

  9. “11.0% for independents and 3.1% for others”…. This may plunge the Liberal vote without delivering any seat for Independents or Others. Meaning that Labor and Greens are likely to form a coalition government…. If that’s the case, the federal Coalition should get rid of ScuMo, he is obviously a failed leader.

  10. PB always amazes me.

    We’re responding to a specific poll. The results at the last election were a slim liberal win, 13/25.

    The change since the last election is

    Liberals minus 5.

    Labor minus 2.

    Greens plus 0.4

    Other plus 7.4.

    I take the point that we shouldn’t read too much into a single poll. But how are people finding conclusions like “the greens might lose both their seats” and “labor cannot possibly win with that primary vote”? Neither bears any resemblance to the reality.

    There was a lot posted before the act election about how they might lose a seat. Again, the only published poll was good for the greens. They gained 4 seats.

    Most likely outcome if this poll eventuated is liberals 10, labor 9, greens 3, independent 3. That’ll put labor in the drivers seat to form a coalition/confidence agreement.

    If the poll is wrong, we could see a few less inde and more liberals. That might make a liberal minority government more likely.

  11. Which 3 independents are you thinking of? If there are both Hickey and Johnston getting up then do you have the Greens being eliminated in Clark. If so then they must win in Bass, Franklin AND Lyons.

  12. “Wholesale ALP federal intervention to run the Tasmanian Labor Party for an extended period will be considered after Saturday’s state election, barring a shock win for the party.

    Senior party figures are already discussing a plan in which the ALP national executive would take over management of the state branch for an extended period. This could extend to a full parliamentary term, and occur quickly after the May 1 poll, should — as polls and pundits predict — Labor fail to win government for a third consecutive election.

    Party sources confirmed the move was being discussed, following a shambolic start to Labor’s campaign including open, bitter conflict between the state leader and state president.

    The federally imposed administration would aim to restore a more even factional balance, following concern several key Left union leaders and their acolytes exercise too much power, poorly.

    It would aim to ensure dysfunction, in which state president Ben McGregor has threatened to sue leader Rebecca White for defamation, does not continue during a federal election campaign.”


  13. @marko

    Consider the electoral result in the central canberra 5 member seat. 2 labor, 2 green, 1 liberal.

    If this poll is right, Clark could be 1 labor, 1 liberal, 1 green and 2 independent. No reason to believe the second liberal would get a seat before the first green. If the liberals have lost 5% of the total to 3 independents, then that means they’ve lost 16.67% of the vote in clark and 8.33% of the vote in braddon. The greens have increased their vote by .4%.

    If this poll is correct, that could see liberals on 21% in Clark to the greens 18%.

    As myself and others have said, the poll probably isn’t right. Most likely one inde in Clark will get elected on preferences from the other one

  14. Is it possible that this poll skewed towards Clark. It has a high Indie vote and a small Lib-ALP gap compared to expectations.

  15. In ACT seat of Kurrajong – ALP & Greens cooperated to try and prevent a second Liberal from being elected & succeeded. It was a close run thing but they succeeded.

  16. @bucephalus.

    The point is, people think hate Clarke gives 2 seats each to labor and liberal and leaves the last seat as a fight between green, inde, labor and liberal.

    That view just isn’t correct.

    Additionally, interesting that you’re disparaging the act in a thread about Tasmania. The act has a larger gdp than Tasmania.

  17. Marko and others,
    It is more than likely that as counting develops on Saturday that some interesting scenarios for the last seats in some divisions will more than likely develop.
    The candidates involved could be from the Liberals, Labor, the Greens or even the independents, including one high profile candidate from the ungrouped list.
    It is entirely possible that the Liberals will be in a fight for a last seat in a division which will determine whether they will gain enough seats to govern in their own right.
    It is also entirely possible that the Liberals will need the help of an independent to form government.
    The campaigns of the Liberals, Labor and the Greens have been low key.
    Any Labor intervention federally is nonsense, made up by “would be if he could be” media type with a anti Labor bent.
    There are no shortage of these types.

  18. Goll says:
    Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 5:51 pm

    “Any Labor intervention federally is nonsense, made up by “would be if he could be” media type with a anti Labor bent.”

    …except that every media story I have seen about the ructions in the Tasmanian ALP in this campaign have turned out to be accurate.

  19. Any intended Federal Labor intervention in Tasmanian Labor is a made up add on by a wannabe scoop.
    I checked!
    The so called “ructions” were deemed to be just that.

  20. Outsider: There is no button. Tasmania is different from ACT. The primary votes are mostly counted on the night with postals, absents etc added in over the following week and a half. Then the preference distribution is conducted manually with continual online updating as surpluses are distributed. Sometimes a contest goes down to the final throw (eg Franklin last time) but more often the winners become more and more clear as the distribution unfolds and seats can be called halfway through.

    I’ve expanded my article at http://kevinbonham.blogspot.com/2021/04/whats-this-then-commissioned-poll.html to comment on possible house effects of the Tasmanian uComms polling, especially against the Liberals, but it is a hazy line of argument by comparison with EMRS. All I’ve really got at the moment. EMRS are not going back into the field.

    I’ve also written this:

    The Governor’s Role In The 2021 Tasmanian Election

    …to debunk silly theories about the calling of the election and explain what happens if no party wins a majority.

  21. All I can really predict about Clark is that it’ll be fun to watch. There’ll probably be half a dozen candidates all between 0.6 and 0.8 quotas, and it’ll take a week to figure out.

    Hickey and Johnston are pulling votes from different parts of the electorate, so if they do really well in Hobart (from Libs and Greens) and Glenorchy (from Labor) respectively there’s no reason why they couldn’t both win. If that happens it’ll probably be 1 ALP, 1 Lib, 2 Ind, the last seat between O’Connor and whoever the second-best Labor candidate ends up being. (It’d be weird if the Greens lost here, but this is a weird election.) My gut says Ogilvie won’t get it (she didn’t win in 2018 as Labor).

    Did Scott Bacon get his vote from any particular area in 2018 (either as a % of the total vote or Labor’s vote), or was it pretty even?

  22. And another question. Does anyone rate Craig Garland in Braddon? He did pretty well in the federal by-election several years ago (yeah, 2018 feels longer ago than it actually was).

  23. KB – thanks for the correction. I should have known better, from the experience of past elections and the drama of the preference distribution process! It was an unconscious (and incorrect) assumption of mine that it was now automated.

  24. The distribution of Scott Bacon’s vote in 2018 follows what is locally (if somewhat politically incorrectly) known as the flanelette curtain, both as a share of Labor’s vote and even more so overall. So in the Glenorchy booths he got 45-60% of the Labor votes and 20-33% of total, in the Hobart City booths he got 25-36% of the Labor votes and 6-16% of total. Aside from competition from Johnston the trouble Labor have is their candidates – Haddad’s a smart operator but has only been in for one term and nobody has heard of the rest of them!

    With Garland and the by-election, there are a few things: (i) he was competing against single candidates from each major party rather than a pack of candidates (ii) both those candidates were not very popular in the electorate (iii) the Liberals (remarkably stupidly) picked a massive fight with him giving him huge publicity. Also even if he repeats the by-election result that might not be enough. He only got about 2% in Braddon as a grouped indie in the Senate election albeit with many voters confused by the ballot paper. I give him a very outside chance but I’d be pretty amazed if he won or even got all that close.

  25. Kevin
    Thanks again for all your work.
    I’ve re-read all you have written in the two Tasmanian threads to help make it all clearer.
    I think I’ll just watch this unfold over the next few weeks, enjoying the developments as they appear. (or not)

  26. IMHO, Garland is running as a ploy to split the Green vote. It worked very well for the Libs last time, delivering them power. Not sure if it will be as effective this time around?

    In relation to the electorate of Clarke, remember Hickey obviously was Liberal and Johnston a closet ALP, Johnston polled amazingly in the Glenorchy council elections and i would imagine will steal votes from the Labor heartland. Hickey has most of her signs in very traditional Liberal heartland in hobart / Sandy Bay etc. If the two independents were to get in, i would imagine it would be at the expense of 1 ALP and 1 LIB???

  27. Funny, it’s three days until the state election in Tasmania and EMRS, that usually covers political polling on the island, has been missing in action since February….

    Is that good news for ALP and Greens?

  28. http://kevinbonham.blogspot.com/2021/04/2021-tasmanian-state-election-polling.html
    2021 Tasmanian State Election Polling Drought

    EMRS have said they are not polling and someone on Twitter tried to book them for something and was told their call centres were all max capacity and they weren’t available.

    Baz from Taz: There is some thought that the indies (especially Hickey) might do enough damage to the Green vote to knock them below quota and create a danger for them. So if both indies win – and I’m not saying that that will happen – it could be 2-1-0-2.

  29. The headlines about Tasmania’s atrocious health system have been relentless for two weeks now.

    On social media at least, Labor have been playing this to the hilt. And they have the recently elected Bastian Seidel ramming the point home.

    The Liberals seem very concerned about losing their majority. On my way to work a number of the Behrakis corflutes have had stickers added that read “Vote Liberal for majority government” or wtte tacked on.

    There’s also been a lot of mailers in Battery Point (of all places) warning of the dangers of a Labor / Green minority government (which is a big vote winner for the Libs to be sure).

    Does anyone know if, and how, Johnston and Hickey are recommending preferences?

  30. I just checked and it seems neither Hickey or Johnston are recommending preferences at all.

    Hopefully there’s a savings provision if people get confused and just vote 1.

  31. I think Clark. May be the key to whether there is a majority govt, the 3 non Hogarth seats will split 3/2 each with the libs getting 3 and others 2. Franklin 2/2/1. & Clarke is unsure of electing 2, I suspect alp libs and gr will win 1 seat each where the other 2 seats go is the question. Could be to one or both ind or to. The 2 major parties. I do not think both independents will win.

  32. It looks like it’s possible The Greens &/or a couple of Independents could have ‘balance of power’. I like seeing Liberal and Labor dump their campaign BS in such circumstances and try to grow up and negotiate.

    Are the Independents reputable or nutters?

    Fingers crossed for Tasmania.

  33. green your vote or be part of the problem
    — Bob Brown foundation.

    I got one of these flyers in the mail. It’s not a good add at all. It’s a negative message. It features some tarkine and some cut down trees and a lefty type standing there looking stern on a tree stump.

    I’m a big lefty, i think about CC a lot! But i actually think Bob may be turning people away.

    I would have gone with
    green your vote, and be part of the solution. I would have put a picture of the tarkine on it. with a tradie with his kids looking at wind turbines and solar panels.

    Anyway, wendys.

    My election prediction, status quo, Hicky stays in, and the liberals retain power because they’ve been moderate enough.

  34. Candidates and parties generally don’t recommend preferences in Tasmania. In the absence of how-to-vote cards (banned outside booths) it’s a waste of time. Everyone makes up their own mind.

    I do wonder in retrospect whether Johnston and Hickey should have registered a column together so that if one of them loses (or wins easily) the other gets better preference flow but maybe they think that would have sounded too much like a party. Don’t think they have much to do with each other beyond joint appearances with Wilkie.

    Kristie Johnston is the Mayor of Glenorchy and is a pretty mainline centre-left sort of candidate, uncontroversial. Hickey was in the Liberal Party but always way down the far left end of it. A bit less predictable, strongly spoken, the odd conservative touch but campaigning on a left-wing platform and in a very Wilkie like fashion as is Johnston.

  35. FWIW the Errol Flynn dog park voters have swung decisively behind Kristie Johnston.

    These are upper Sandy Bay people who would otherwise be safe as houses Liberal.

    Clark is weird.

  36. That is interesting that how to vote cards are banned outside booths in Tasmania. Is it the case anywhere else? Are party representatives present at booths in Tasmania for any other reason?

    I think they are a waste. I have an almost full carton of them here following the last state election and that was after they banned reusing them for COVID-19 reasons which means we should have used more.

    I suspect that postal and early voting will continue to erode the number of people attending a booth on election day so perhaps the use of HTV’s will die out naturally and surely an app on a phone would make more sense than a sheet of paper these days.

  37. Granny Anny says:
    Friday, April 30, 2021 at 12:31 am
    That is interesting that how to vote cards are banned outside booths in Tasmania. Is it the case anywhere else? Are party representatives present at booths in Tasmania for any other reason?

    How to vote cards are banned within 100m of a polling place in ACT.

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