South Australian election minus eleven days

With less than two weeks to go, such polling as is available doesn’t look good for Steven Marshall in South Australia.

Less than a fortnight to go in what’s been a fairly subdued South Australian election campaign, which has struggled for media oxygen in the face of international events. Early voting is under way as of yesterday, with record numbers of voters assuredly set to avail themselves of that option. A leaders debate will take place on Wednesday, although these tend not to generate a huge amount of public interest these days.

Recent news of note:

• The Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association has been hawking small-sample seat polls by Labor pollster Utting Research, the more notable of which shows Steven Marshall trailing 51-49 in his seat of Dunstan, amounting to a swing against him of over 8%. Primary votes are Liberal 44%, Labor 37% and Greens 12%. The other poll, from the western suburbs seat of Colton, is more in line with expectations: first-term Liberal member Matt Cowdrey leads 55-45, suggesting a very slight swing to Labor, from primary votes of Liberal 47%, Labor 34% and Greens 9% in a three-horse race. Both were automated phone polls with samples of 400, and duly wide margins of error.

• Conservative minor parties are directing preferences to Labor in two of the three most marginal Liberal seats. One Nation, Bob Day’s Australian Family Party and Family First are all directing preferences against Liberal member Richard Harvey in Newland, which he holds on a margin of 0.2%, based on how he voted during the passage of abortion laws last year. The two family parties are likewise directing preferences against Liberal member Paula Leuthen in King, where she is defending a margin of 0.8%.

• Without a huge amount of data to work on, a newly published election forecast model at Armarium Interreta credits Labor with a 64% chance of a parliamentary majority and Liberal with 18%.

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.

63 comments on “South Australian election minus eleven days”

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  1. I get the Labor campaign is basically a Peter Malinauskas presidential campaign but I’d like to see Deputy Leader Susan Close (who’s been quiet this campaign) a little closer to the front, especially today on International Women’s Day – perhaps highlighting the gender diversity of Labor candidates and highlighting her role in the leadership team.

    I know she’s not the best media performer but I’d prefer the above over Malinauskas spending today explaining how he’s advancing the cause of women.

  2. Vote cast.
    Yesterday my partner and I drove from Adelaide to Broken Hill (for onward travel into the soggy state).
    Stopped in Clare to do our electoral duty. Pre-polling station efficient and had all the necessary ballot papers. Not too many other voters there.
    Pre-poll and postal votes are expected to be huge and they will not even start counting those until the Monday after polling day. Could mean quite a few seats are undecided on the night

  3. Incidentally, during the journey we saw a surprising number of corflutes for independent, family first and nationals. None at all for One Nation and very few for the Greens (outside of Adelaide).
    SA Nationals are not part of the coalition and didn’t even stand candidates last time. This election there are quite a few.
    In the usually ‘safe’ rural Liberal seats it appears that unhappy Liberal voters will have a range of options.

  4. As an Adelaide bludger is it just me or are the Liberal corflutes making the identity of the Liberal Party almost invisible? To say the branding is understated is an understatement.

    I was also thinking about the sub announcement by Dutton on the weekend and sub bases by Morrison yesterday. There was a conspicuous absence of any mention of works or funding for works in Adelaide. Why?

    Long before a new Fleet Base East is built for operating subs, the ASC shipyard has to be upgraded to a nuclear engineering standard before construction can begin. Based on comparable recent British SSN projects, that might cost $2 billion. So where is the announcement, funding and work? This is urgent, if they are really going to build the subs.

    Similarly, Dutton referred to subs with “VLS tubes”. There is only one such SSN available – the US Virginia Block V. These weigh over 10,000 tonnes each, whereas the ASC ship lift is only rated for 9,300 tonnes. So again, major civil works will be required before the project can start. Again, silence.

    It is valid to ask whether Morrison has any real intention in building submarines at Adelaide in the foreseeable future. If so, this means several thousand jobs and billions of federal funding lost. Yet Marshall calls Aukus a “win” for Adelaide. There is no “valley of death” for sub jobs. Just plain death.

  5. I think the answer as to why there has been no inclusion of Adelaide as one of the possible new submarine facilities is simple: Christopher Pyne (from SA) is no longer in the Senate to heavy his Coalition colleagues into choosing Adelaide over a site on the eastern seaboard and there are few federal seats likely to change hands in SA at the 2022 federal election.

  6. @PaulTu: I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re able to call the final Legislative Council seats before we know for sure if we have a hung House or not. The counting process in South Australia for an election with as many postals and prepolls as this one is going to have is ridiculously, unnecessarily slow. The blame for this can be put squarely on the state Liberals. (I know, big call to make in a group as staid and conservative as PB.) They tried to shoehorn optional-preferential voting into the amendment package to the Electoral Act alongside all the sensible and necessary Covid-era reforms to the process, while not in control of _either_ house of parliament, and then seemed honestly confused about why the bill didn’t pass.

    @DougInCanberra: they are indeed. I got a fairly muted brochure in with the rest of the junk mail, with very large, bold text dryly stating my local sitting member’s votes on the abortion reforms that were passed last year and not much else—do these people not expect their target audience to be literate? Every Bible I’ve ever read had tiny print, c’mon, we can cope with less than 36 point. In any case, I expect this to change slightly fewer votes than an audible fart during the leaders’ debate. I live in one of the most small-L liberal seats in the country, which probably doesn’t help them, but do they really think anyone who gives a crap about this issue doesn’t already know we legalised it?

  7. Pyne was both an Adelaide Liberal MP and (one of many) Defence minister. He promised Adelaide jobs from the submarine contract prior to the 2016 election. He then took a job with the contract winner!

    Six years later, I think it is valid for Labor to point out that those jobs still aren’t here. The Collins Class maintenance work at ASC is not anything new; it has been done in Adelaide for 15 years. Though the government talks as though each renewal of that contract is some kind of generous gift to the city.

  8. Ah, the halcyon days of the 2016 election when we actually still had several marginals in the state so the eastern-staters actually had to pretend to care about what we wanted 😆

  9. When was the last one term government in SA? About a decade ago, the fact there had been a one termer in a long time was given as the reason why it wouldn’t happen in Victoria but it did. Then Queensland did…. Past performance is not indictive of future performance.

  10. Wat Tyler, the Tiser has been pretty benign, even Malinauskas friendly, up to now. Is it about to turn nasty?

    I thought the main story today might have been the emergence of 23 hidden Covid deaths, but no – Covid hardly rates a mention these days. Shane Warne is all the go.

  11. @The Toorak Toff – Wat Tyler, the Tiser has been pretty benign, even Malinauskas friendly, up to now. Is it about to turn nasty?

    The last time they went anti labor, was about 2 weeks ago, just before the Newspoll dropped.

    Even saying that, this story in todays paper, is just showing how negative Marshall is at the moment. He seems to be stuck in a negative cycle and unable to share any positive outcomes or policies.

    Hearing the radio this morning; it seems to be a theme that isn’t rubbing off on the public to well.

    @Socrates what’s your thoughts? I expect another poll by indaily shortly; I was polled on Sunday, via phone. Normal questions on who you’ll vote for plus questions on health, education etc.

    SportsBet has shorten the odds for Labor, now $1.45 to the Libs $2.55

    Is the betting public hearing or seeing things we aren’t?

  12. Was there ever State Labor government in Australia since Whitlam became PM? I know there is no connection between the 2 things I mentioned. It is just Labor is modernised after Whitlam became PM(some say leader).

  13. Toorak Toff, I hope my comment didn’t come off as rude or anything, as that wasn’t my intent.

    While The Advertiser, not having a secure enough reader-base to go full on Telegraph without hurting its sales, definitely has a conservative bent and, when the chips are down, will always back the Libs. And I don’t mean that to dismiss concern about their coverage, just to allay fears that them running a pro-Liberal line means the tides are necessarily turning.

  14. Albo is campaigning in South Australia and raised the point that Morrison’s announcement about east coast sub bases failed to mention any of the promised Adelaide sub jobs or funding.

    Interesting Morrison is nowhere to be seen in Adelaide.

  15. I wouldn’t have thought Morrison plays that well in Adelaide. He’d have been asked to stay away unless he’s going to announce something like a firm commitment to submarine jobs at ASC which so far the Coalition has noticeably NOT been doing.

  16. Speaking of Morrison and Albanese, one thing I’ve noticed hasn’t really been discussed is the issue of potential federal drag.

    I don’t think it has escaped anybody’s notice that the Morrison Government isn’t exactly popular right now, both nationally and in SA. Will that have any effect on the outcome of this election. Anyone have any thoughts?

  17. I visited the southeast of SA over the last few days, and also noticed (a) the number of signs up for parties unlikely to get many votes and (b) the fact that Liberal candidates weren’t exactly going out of their way on their posters to let people know which party they were representing. (Not that Mackillop, with a 24.9% margin, is likely to be a hotbed of campaign action). There were plenty of Nationals posters up, but more for their Legislative Council ticket than for any local candidates.

  18. TT
    The Tiser did try to go into the 23 deaths SA Health has hidden from us but have been held at bay by the health bureaucrats so far.
    I was told the death figures are fictitious months ago.
    To paraphrase Stalin, “One death is a tragedy; 23 deaths is a statistic.”

    I’ve noticed Labor’s second tranche of corflutes attacking Marshall over Covid and ramping have been released in the CBD.

  19. Labor 1.45
    Lib 2.55

    Should add SA Best are 1.95 to win an Upper House seat. I voted for them in the Upper House today.

  20. Socrates at 10.36am…I’ve just made a small correction to your sentence re subs…

    “It is valid to ask whether Morrison has any real intention in building submarines at ALL.”

  21. ST &Soc @ 5:40
    “It is valid to ask whether Morrison has any real intention in building submarines at ALL.”
    you could change that statement to
    “It is valid to ask whether Morrison has any real intention to do anything at ALL.”

  22. After Morrison’s appalling on-camera behaviour towards Marshall, you wouldn’t expect he (Morrison) would be invited back.

    Marshall seems to be quite a decent fellow and there are suggestions that privately he was very distressed about Morrison’s behaviour towards him, and is very pessimistic about the likely outcome, which might be a pointer that the Newspoll is on the money.

    It might be worth a $50 bet on an outright Labor win!

  23. One would think thay footage of Scott Morrison walking away from Steven Marshall would be a dead set vote winner.

    For Steven Marshall.

  24. I found a tweet with the Marshall Morrison footage.

    How rude is Morrison? There has never been a better time to be an arrogant prick.

  25. The tiser is bring out the big guns now, with a front page spread on Marshall.

    Yep! The puff has started!!

    “Even Steven gears up for the fight of his life” Headline on the Front page, with him sitting in the middle of his sisters etc.

    The same good news liberal stories happened 2 weeks ago when the first poll was being conducted.

  26. Yes, Murdoch’s Tiser is riding to the rescue. Not one but two big pictures of Marshall with his mother, two sisters and daughter (where’s the wife?), a Marshall pic with a European Space Agency woman, other positive stories for the Libs, a swipe at Labor, ambulance-delay deaths buried on Page 9.

    What will tomorrow bring?

  27. “The Toorak Toffsays:
    Tuesday, March 8, 2022 at 10:30 am
    The Advertiser has taken up the the Liberal theme of ‘big spender’ Malinauskas. ”

    Did they consult with the voters first, to see whether they want a “big spender” government or not? Or do they expect to change the voters’ mind: from big spender government (which is good for the voters) to a live-within-your-means Liberal government, which is bad for the voters?

    The assumption that the voters never learn and therefore you can keep using the same strategy forever and get exactly the same results, may becoming very risky these days….

  28. “Rossmcgsays:
    Tuesday, March 8, 2022 at 9:19 pm
    I saw the vision of Morrison walking away while Marshall was speaking to him
    Great material for Labor ads”…

    Or wait for the Liberals to use the video with the words: “If you want somebody who stands up against Morrison, vote for the Liberals”…. I know, it’s tragicomic, but when you are desperate anything goes, I guess… 🙂

  29. “Wat Tyler says:
    Tuesday, March 8, 2022 at 1:57 pm
    Speaking of Morrison and Albanese, one thing I’ve noticed hasn’t really been discussed is the issue of potential federal drag.

    I don’t think it has escaped anybody’s notice that the Morrison Government isn’t exactly popular right now, both nationally and in SA. Will that have any effect on the outcome of this election. Anyone have any thoughts?”

    Well, if the Libs lose, then the result will just strengthen the trends we are already seeing in SA in the federal election polls: 53% ALP, 2.3% swing against the Libs. With a swing like that Boothby would be lost.

  30. Newland: Richard Harvey: South Australia’s most marginal politician has been hit by an embarrassing internal leak at the height of the election campaign on an official inquiry into the behaviour of two of his aides.

  31. 2500 new cases today. The most in a long time. Covid isn’t going away and there’s no way Marshall can relax restrictions and not face a backlash. Another nail in the coffin.

  32. So if Labor gets in can we expect them to go hard on wind and solar energy and perhaps blow up the interconnector to nasty coal/gas fuelled VIC?

  33. So any news?….I’ll take anything….anecdotal….anything.

    I got one…..The ALP need to counter the Lib message about health…..My Dad, a life long Labor voter, but not a big follower of day to day events said the following: “that Malinauskas guy seems a bit of an arsehole….I mean he closed the repat”….word for word from the Lib ads…..when I reminded him that they also built a state of the art Hospital in the city and that it was the Fed libs that cut their proportion of paying for health from 50-50 to 40-60 he was happier.

  34. Premier makes hilarious, ‘humiliating’ diet admission after seeing opposition’s fit physique:

    During the leaders debate — which was held at the Hilton Hotel in Adelaide CBD — both party leaders discussed pressing issues, like the long standing problem of ambulance ramping.

    Mr Marshall argued his government could end ramping “once and for all” but said it took time to unpack “the mess” his government inherited from Labor that happened before the Liberals got into power.

    Countering his comments, Mr Malinauskas said his party’s policy was not about winning votes of South Australians but “its about saving lives” and promised to fix the problem within his first term, if Labor win.

    Both politicians were asked if they would do deals with independants in order to form government if there was a hung parliament — something South Australians have been used to.

    While they both said they wanted a majority, neither directly answered the question.

    The premier also took aim at Mr Malinauskas, again asking him to explain how his party would pay for his policies that so far totalled $2.7 billion.

    Mr Marshall also denied that his government’s election spending promises had added up to $2.25 billion and were instead less than $300 million.

    The opposition leader was quick to point out that the Liberals committed an extra $500 million for health in just one election promise made during the campaign.

  35. Momentum I believe is coming back to the Libs.

    The health issue card they keep playing out about Peter is starting to hit home.
    @BeaglieBoy my parents are saying the same thing.

    The worst part about the Libs is the whole election campaign is just negative, it’s hard to find a positive policy.

    I assume there will be polling out this weekend, I was polled Sunday.

    The betting has only seen the Libs drifting out to $2.60, Labor steady at $1.45.

    Down to the important last 8 days with a public holiday Monday. Plenty of weekend BBQ’s in which who will you vote for will come up in conversations no doubt.

    What’s other peoples thoughts here? I am thanking the Libs due to the hits on Labor over health.

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