South Australian election minus one day

Late mail on a South Australian election that few now expect the Liberals to win.

We will presumably be seeing a Newspoll this evening, which will be the third test of the poll’s form since the YouGov takeover and the industry-wide failure in 2019. Apart from that, I have devoted a few idle hours this week to fleshing out and prettying up my state election guide, so do take a look if you haven’t already, or another look if you have, and perhaps throw some pennies in the tip jar if you like what you see.

Late news:

David Penberthy in The Australian reports the Liberals remain hopeful, if not confident, that strong local campaigns may yet get them over the line in the four seats the party holds by margins of 2.0% or less: Newland (0.2%), Adelaide (0.8%), King (0.8%) and Elder (although Penberthy also writes in The Advertiser today that “it looks like Steven Marshall is gone”). Conversely, Michael McGuire in The Advertiser says “both sides expect Adelaide to fall to Labor”, and the view in media-land is that the Liberals are vulnerable in such seemingly safe seats as Davenport (8.4%), Black (9.3%), Gibson (9.9%) and Steven Marshall’s seat of Dunstan (8.1%).

• Peter Malinauskas scored an unusually clear win among the 98 undecided voters subjected to the Advertiser-Sky News leaders’ debate on Wednesday, 66 of whom emerged saying they would vote Labor compared with 21 for Liberal and 11 remaining undecided. Some measure of the clarity of Malinauskas’s dominance is provided by the fact that conservative commentator Chris Kenny of Sky News rated that it was “obvious” Malinauskas had won, and that he’d “never seen a better political performance in one of these forums, state or federal”.

• Troy Bell, the once Liberal and now independent member for Mount Gambier, wrote a letter to the SE Voice newspaper earlier this week castigating the Liberal Party for making only $2.7 million in promises for the electorate, and suggesting the party would not have his support to form a government if it did not offer more in the final days of the campaign.

• If the Marshall government does lose tomorrow, it will become the fourth Australian state government to have been voted out after one term since 1990 out of 22 starters, the others being Campbell Newman’s Liberal National Party government in Queensland in 2015, Denis Napthine’s Coalition government in Victoria in 2014 and Rob Borbidge’s Coalition government in Queensland in 1998. All these governments have been conservative, though perhaps the more salient fact is that governments of the same stripe were in power federally at the time. Nine of the 18 re-elected first-term governments increased their shares of the two-party vote, none of which were so encumbered.

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.

80 comments on “South Australian election minus one day”

Comments Page 2 of 2
1 2
  1. Penberthy’s Advertiser column, while biased, is really just a read on the public mood. The front page headline implied that it would provide insight on “how Marshall could still win” that’s not reflected in the inner text at all!

  2. Holdenhillbilly @ #34 Friday, March 18th, 2022 – 10:46 am

    What about the upper house?

    This is a lower house poll, but upper house vote shares are usually similar to the lower house, with some drop for the major parties. 11 of the 22 upper house seats will be elected by statewide proportional representation. A quota is one-twelfth of the vote, or 8.3%.

    Optional preferential voting above the line is used, so a single “1” above the line will only count for the party it is cast for. To give preferences for more parties, voters must continue numbering “2”, “3”, etc above the line. Owing to optional preferential, many votes will exhaust and about half a quota (4.2%) is likely to be enough to win.

    Labor’s vote in this poll is nearly enough for five quotas – the Liberals would win four quotas and the Greens one without enough surplus to be in the hunt for a second seat. The last seat would probably go to one of the Others, with One Nation or SA-Best most likely.

    I am actually genuinely more nervous about the upper house. There is a lot of movement going on with both the far right and the fundamentalists this time, and I am concerned that, even if Labor wins, that Family First and One Nation or the LDP will get up. If one gets up at the expense of one of the “Right” block of seats, I am not so worried but if one gets the 11th spot, that could be a problem.

    I still have not-so-pleasant flashbacks of Dennis Hood* and Ann Bressington being key upper house votes back in the day.

    *I realise he is still a vote in the LC but he’s now a Liberal and therefore not a key vote anymore.

  3. The Murdoch media gave the appearance of being no more than a PR agency for the coalition in the last Qld and Vic elections, peddling the usual fear and loathing. Their efforts where wholly unsuccessful. If they were actually a coalition PR agency, based on performance they would have been sacked. There’s every reason to think that the last gasp effort today will be similarly unsuccessful.

    Also the Murdoch print media is probably mindful of its aging and dwindling conservative readership base. Frothing at the mouth at the prospect of a Labor government is red meat to the base. Doing anything else might alienate them, causing some to cancel their subscriptions and migrate to the darker corners of the internet for their daily dose of right wing fear and loathing.

  4. Murdoch used to have an MO. A party as direly unpopular as the Libs nowadays (at all levels of government)would be unceremoniously ditched long before this. Of course Labor leaders of the past felt they must tug the forelock to get his support, whereas now it’s dawned on them that such Faustian bargains only pay off for the influence peddling devil

    Anyway I hope backing losers scrapes all the gloss off.

  5. Cronus at 1.01pm

    Re the relative lack of success for Labor federally…

    There was an episode of The West Wing. Josh Lyman was managing the campaign to get new Democratic nominee Matt Santos elected President.

    One day, Josh drew up two columns on a whiteboard.

    One column was headed ‘Daddy’ and included things like National Security and The Economy.

    The other column was headed ‘Mommy’ and included things like Health, Education and Welfare (maybe Transport, too.)

    His summary: people rate the Democrats well on ‘Mommy’ issues, but not ‘Daddy’ issues, so the campaign should focus on ‘Mommy’ issues, which he circled on the whiteboard.

    At the end of the episode, Santos erased Josh’s circle and replaced it with a circle around both columns.

    The moral of the story: the electorate (here or the US/UK) don’t rate left-ish parties on ‘Daddy’ issues, and, in our Federal structure, most of the ‘Mommy’ issues are primarily handled by States.

    Since Federation, Labor has a good record of winning State elections (except when gerrymanders were in play!) and a poor record of winning Federal elections.

    I suspect almost any poll done in Australia would show National Security and The Economy as ‘traditional Coalition strengths’ – despite masses of evidence of Coalition govts mishandling both sectors.

  6. @Cronus
    Yes, as a fellow Qlder, the CM is blatantantly pro LNP but as you say, it’s support hasn’t helped the LNP in the past three Qld elections. If you look at its weekly readership numbers, they are pretty poor during the week but are boosted on weekends. Both weekend editions carry feature articles that people like to read whilst relaxing on weekends – food, travel, entertainment, social news, sports. It is also when the rag runs its heaviest anti- ALP commentators. That tells you something about its real readership numbers and how ineffective it is at pushing its anti-ALP rhetoric through the week.
    The Advertiser is in the same situation. A one newspaper town where people probably get most news digitally. And having a pay wall puts most people off.
    I suggest the Australian probably experiences the same weekly readership experience, picking up readers on weekends.
    And let’s face it, really it’s the rusted- ons who subscribe to the paper or the website.
    We all know the Murdochcracy is in decline, in the media sense, so it is fair to say that it doesn’t have the readership it once had in its heyday.
    So its influence, in spite of its money and control of the media, accordingly, is also in decline.
    If there is anything that has more influence, I reckon it’s the Nine- controlled Fairfax media and Stokes’s Ch 7. Handy friends for the LNP.
    We shall see what, if any, influence the Advertiser has, over the next week.

  7. I am also interested in the upper house. I cannot agree with holdenhillbilly who thinks a seat will go to One Nation or SA Best. They have alnost played dead, in comparison to the Family First efforts I see in the media, number of candidates and stobie pole publicity?? I heard their radio ads on Mix too.I know they have upset some of the moderate Libs by preferencing against them, but at least they are appearing to more centrist that right as they used to be. The yougov poll was interesting with Libs down 10% and Others up 10%, with SA Best collapsing to 0%

  8. The Murdoch offerings have become more and more loopy and RW nutbag crazy for the same reason the Republicans and Libs etc have. The proprietor (who has taken to drinking his own cool-aid) and the audience are old and fruitily demented, and blame all those younger than them for not adhering to all the old prejudices. They have had less and less success recruiting with each generation post the baby boomers, and now they are hitting the wall. In the near future the Australian will blame South Australians and Australians for making the wrong choice.

    Its shaping as a sequence of routs. Desperate manoeuvres will be seen as such, and only compound the rejection by voters

  9. Rod Harradine – Thanks, interesting points.


    “I just think this is happening at a time when the Coalition happen to be in power.”

    Notably though, the Coalition have been in power federally for almost 70% of the time since WWII, I’m just not sure, given that the Murdochracy is unchanged, why folks vote differently at state and federal level given that many voters support parties in a similar manner to footy teams, they rarely change. Does this mean the media is therefore relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of elections and that people genuinely vote on state issues (which contradicts my footy team analogy )? Most of my neighbours vote the same regardless of state or federal.

  10. Observer – how would you get 0% for SA Best from the Yougov poll. SA Best seem to be buried in Others.
    Leg Council?
    The Bob Day wing of Family First attempted resurrection (Aust Family Party) are swapping preferences with LDP and PHON.
    The DLP wing of Family First attempted resurrection (Family First – Jack Snelling etc} are preferencing Aust Family Party Nationals and SA Best.
    Because most of the minor/micro parties wont be handing out HTV cards though their preferences will be all over the place

  11. Spence – in the Advertiser poll, SA Best went from 6% down to 0% in the lower house – which surely must have some ramifications on their upper house vote??? Agreed that most won’t have HTV people at the booths, but Greens and Family First had people at the prepoll I went to – no SA BEST or PHON. I think what you call the Bob Day Wing/Family Party won’t get many votes – I haven’t seen anything about them apart from they have a few candidates.

  12. Some interesting comments here regarding the Murdochcracy. Rupert head of this Murdochcracy is reputed to be a fearsome figure to his underlings even now in his extremely advanced years. Interesting that he started his journey to America in Adelaide. Lachlan will never inspire in the troops the blind Stockholm syndrome style loyalty they have for the old man. I’m not even sure he will want to keep the newspapers post RMs passing.

  13. @Our gracious host: I think there’s an error in your election guide to the Legislative Council; in the bar chart for the 2018 results you have SA Best’s two seats labelled and coloured as Conservatives.

  14. “Troy Bell, the once Liberal and now independent member for Mount Gambier, wrote a letter to the SE Voice newspaper earlier this week castigating the Liberal Party”….

    Expect the same strategy to be used at the coming federal election by all Liberal party candidates.
    Liberal candidate for Wherever: “Me? The Liberal party? I hate them and Scomo is a disgrace… Just vote for me and I will teach Scomo a lesson…”

    Suspicious voters may disregard the tactic, but then in comes Clive Palmer to offer them an “alternative”: Freedom…. Freeedom…. FREEEEEDDDDOOOOOMMMMM… If you wonnit, vote for my party and jus follow our HTV cards (where the local Coalition member should be preferenced above the ALP candidate)…

    Have the Voters finally become De-Moronised?…. Let’s see tomorrow in SA, and in due course at the coming Federal election…. I can’t wait!…. 🙂

  15. Did a shift on the pre-poll station today . Very busy, queues very long. Lots of well wishers and lots only taking the Labor HTV. Ambulance ramping being a major issue it was interesting to note ambulences screaming past sirens blazing with one wag commenting that it was in a hurry to ramp.

  16. Tom Richardson hit the nail on the head in InDaily today, the biggest problems with this Government were their constant Ministerial losses and resulting in-fighting, and their ability to do nearly nothing in 4 years…

    Also, I’ve got to give the Electoral Commision credit, I was a notified close contact on Wednesday. Applied for a postal vote that afternoon, it arrived this morning and was posted back by lunchtime. No way I was missing out on casting judgement on the Premier in Dunstan.

  17. Usually my RWNJ mate from Unley contacts me several times prior to an election to have a bit of banter and argument. He’s one of those earth scientists (Physics graduate from UWA) who totally misreads the science wrt global heating – a fearsome drinking partner to his credit.

    This time, no contact. Surmise he will not want to discuss the likely defeat of his beloved Libs in SA and he certainly won’t go near federal politics.

    It increases my confidence that Marshall is cooked.

  18. Were Labor to lose tomorrow, the polling companies would be shamed into never showing their heads in public again, ever, and sites like, (gasp) Poll Bludger would become totally redundant. 🙁 A narrow win to Labor for me, no polling involved! Internal division, a lack-lustre campaign with poor leadership, the Morrison factor, and giving up on a positive approach to Covid 19 all worked against the Libs. Labor didn’t really put a foot wrong, starting with a bi-partisan approach to the Covid situation. The Libs. will have done it all to themselves.

  19. GhostWhoVotes
    #Newspoll SA State 2 Party Preferred: LIB 46 (-5.9 from 2018) ALP 54 (+5.9) #savotes #auspol

  20. Some predictions based of mine based on polling and general “vibe” –

    Labor Majority gaining –

    Independents all status quo including Brock in Stuart (still a little bit unsure on this though)

    Leg Co –

    5 Labor
    4 Liberal
    1 Greens
    1 Family First

Comments Page 2 of 2
1 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *