The Australian today brings us the Newspoll quarterly aggregates, which combine all the Newspoll surveys between July and September to produce state and demographic breakdowns from credibly sized samples. As such, the headline national figure of 53-47 to Labor tells us nothing we didn’t know already, with the juiciest meat instead to be found in the state breakdowns:
• The demarcation between this quarter and the previous quarter aligns fairly neatly with the onset of New South Wales’ COVID-19 crisis in late June, so the results here are particularly noteworthy. Labor is credited with a 52-48 lead after a 50-50 result last quarter, a movement that skirts a 2.2% margin of error from a sample of 2057. This amounts to a swing to Labor of 3.8% compared with the 2019 election result, which if uniform would gain them the seat of Reid on a margin of 3.2%.
• The biggest movement since the previous quarterly poll is in Victoria, where Labor’s lead has blown out from 53-47 to 58-42. This is a 4.9% swing from the 2019 result, which if uniform would bag Labor the seats of Chisholm (a post-redistribution Liberal margin of 0.5%), Higgins (3.7%), Casey (4.6%) and Deakin (4.7%). The sample in this case is 1731 for a margin of error of 2.4%.
• Queensland provides the Coalition with its one ray of sunshine, with the Coalition credited with a two-party lead of 55-45, out from 53-47 last time. This nonetheless amounts to a 3.4% swing to Labor compared with their disastrous result in 2019, just barely enough to win them Longman (margin 3.3%) if uniform. The sample here is 1536, the margin of error 2.5%.
• Conversely, Western Australia remains the Coalition’s biggest headache, with Labor’s two-party lead edging out to 54-46 compared with 53-47 last quarter. This amounts to a swing to Labor of 9.6%, which would win them not only the relatively low-hanging fruit of Swan (post-redistribution Liberal margin 3.2%, with incumbent Steve Irons having announced on the weekend that he will not seek re-election), Pearce (5.2%) and Hasluck (5.9%), but push them up to the level of the rarely discussed seat of Tangney (9.5%). However, the sample here is notably smaller at 602, for a margin of error of 4%. This is because Newspoll juiced up its samples from the three largest states in last week’s poll to provide leadership and COVID-19 management ratings for the premiers.
• Labor leads 53-47 in South Australia, down from 54-46, for a swing to Labor of 2.3%, which exceeds the 1.4% margin in Boothby, the state’s one Liberal marginal. Here the sample was a modest 472, and the margin of error about 4.5%.
From the other demographic breakdowns, the big eye-opener is movement to Labor among older voters. This is reflected in a narrowing in the Coalition lead among the 65-plus age cohort from 65-35 to 59-41, and among retirees from 61-39 to 57-43, from robust sample sizes of around 1500 in each case. The results also show the Coalition holding its ground among those in the $100,000 to $150,000 income cohort while losing it among those poorer and richer.
The results are combined from four polls conducted between July 14 and September 18, with a combined sample of 6705.