Utting Research Perth seat polls and Liberal Party briefing wars

New seat polls suggest Labor on track for two gains in Western Australia, although the going is a lot heavier for them than when a similar exercise was conducted in March.

The Sunday Times in Perth has published results of automated phone polls from Utting Research targeting the same four seats as a previous exercise in March. While suggesting Labor are set to pick up two seats, the results are quite a bit stronger for the Liberals than last time, although the sample sizes of 400 per seat imply large margins of error of nearly 5%:

• Labor is credited with a lead of 53-47 in Swan, in from 59-41 last time. The primary votes are 39% for Liberal candidate Kristy McSweeney on 39% (up seven from the previous poll), Labor candidate Zaneta Mascarenhas on 38% (down eight), 10% for the Greens (up three), 4% for One Nation (up one) and 3% for the United Australia Party (down two).

• Labor’s lead in Pearce is in from 55-45 in March to 52-48, from primary votes of 32% for Liberal candidate Linda Aitken (up two), 30% for Labor candidate Tracey Roberts (down fourteen), 12% for the Greens (up seven), 7% for One Nation (down two) and 6% for the United Australia Party (up one).

• Liberal member Ken Wyatt now leads Labor candidate Tania Lawrence 55-45 in Hasluck after trailing 52-48 in March. The primary votes are 39% for Wyatt (up two) and 31% for Lawrence (down eight), with the Greens on 10% (down three), the United Australia Party on 9% (up six) and One Nation on 6% (down two).

• Liberal member Ben Morton is credited with a 54-46 lead in Tangney after a 50-50 result last time. The primary votes are 47% for Morton (up six), 35% for Labor candidate Sam Lim (down six), 8% for the Greens (up one) and 2% each for One Nation and the United Australia Party (both unchanged).

Elsewhere, the Age/Herald notes a “briefing war” is under way among Liberals, with those aligned with Scott Morrison and Alex Hawke’s centre right faction presenting press gallery reporters with hopeful assessments at odds with those being traded by factional conservatives and moderates, who are respectively angry with the centre right over the New South Wales Liberal Party preselection logjam and a campaign strategy that has seemingly cut loose members under threat from the teal independents.

The optimistic view is that the Coalition might fall only a few seats short of a majority and succeed in holding on to power with the support of a small number of cross-benchers, thanks in part to live possibilities of gaining McEwen and Greenway from Labor. However, both sides agree Labor-held Parramatta and Corangamite are “in play”. Conversely, the view of Liberal pessimists that Reid, Bennelong, Chisholm and Boothby will fall is shared by Labor, who further believe North Sydney, Brisbane, Swan and Pearce are “line ball” (although the last two assessments may not sound like particularly good news for Labor’s perspective).

Talk of a briefing war presumably helps explain the report on Friday from Peter van Onselen of Ten News, in which he revealed internal polling had Josh Frydenberg’s primary vote in Kooyong down from a redistribution-adjusted 49.2% in 2019 to 43%, Tim Wilson down in Goldstein from 52.7% to 37% and Katie Allen down in Higgins from 46.5% to 44%. Such numbers would almost certainly doom Wilson to defeat at the hands of independent Zoe Daniel, and put Labor in contention in Higgins and Frydenberg at risk from independent Monique Ryan. However, the assessment of a moderate Liberal source in the previously discussed Age/Herald report was that Frydenberg’s position was strengthening, prompting the conclusion that “we could lose but save Josh”.

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.

1,343 comments on “Utting Research Perth seat polls and Liberal Party briefing wars”

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  1. Even if the coalition win the most seats. There is no way the independents will allow Scott Morrison to carry on.

    It will likely be that any deal means Morrison will have to go and be replaced by a moderate. However if Frydenburg loses his seat and the independents don’t want Dutton we could see Labor form a minority government for a year or so before we end up at the polls again.

    No way will the Libs pick up Greenway considering they always hype about it every election and always fall short. Corangamite is also a joke considering Morrison is unpopular down there. All this is just talk-talk. And the pessimism from Labor likely comes from the last election.

  2. Regarding Murphy: I remember her adulation of Truffles, back when he was PM. Of course, she never did disclose that she was a former employee of Lucy Turnbull (some kind of PR position, IIRC) – I wonder why not?

  3. Just discovered, that SfM named the PMs RAAF plane ‘Shark One’, just FFS, ok, only 6 days to go till this Tump clone hopefully goes the same way to Del Boca Vista

  4. There will not be an early election. It is a bad suggestion. There’s very specific differences between our system and the UK system that change the dynamics very much in favor of the parliament.

    Who stands to gain from an election in a year? Who wants to go out and campaign three times in three years? (an early election won’t change Senate election dates). Who will have the funds to do it?

    The independents will be worried about losing their seats if they genuinely cause instability. If the crossbench forces the government to an election, who will vote for them again?

    The government will not be able to force the parliament to accept some policy change because the constitution specifically separates money issues from regular issues. There just isn’t a way to write a non-money bill that becomes a matter of confidence.

    And Australian prime ministers sign up for the job expecting that they will have to compromise and give up on certain policies, because they can’t expect to get them through the Senate. There’s just nothing like the UK manifesto in Australia that the government can point to and say “let us get that through or we go to an election”.

    If the parliament is balanced, the parliament will vote through whatever legislation it wants and the government will seek to govern for as long as it can. The crossbenchers will decide who they feel they can work with best and it will go through until the next senate elections are due.

  5. Shark one,
    That should be enough to have Morrison fired from a cannon into the sun.

    Also, super is not a vote winner for young people. Especially when you’ve hollowed it out letting people take money all throughout covid.

  6. I don’t read newspapers so I can’t comment on her as a journalist but before slagging her off meditate on this.

    Figures supplied by Mark the Ballot show that if you look at polling aggregates two weeks prior to election day over the last fourteen federal elections on twelve occasions they have over estimated the Labor 2pp .

    The average over those fourteen elections is Labor coming in -1.28 down on polling aggregate a fortnight out the median -1.235.

    On eight occasions Labor have come in worse than -1% on four worse than -2 and twice worse than -3.Only once have they gained more than a point, 1.3 in 1993 and on both occasions when they did gain (the other was 2001) they were polling sub 50 and expected to lose.

    So historical precedent strongly suggests Labor polling tends to be “softer” than Tory polling and the last fortnight and by extension the last week is when some voters flirting with Labor decide if they are really gonna vote for them or stick with the Tories.So she is not scribbling utter garbage far from it.

  7. I told you all Greenway is in danger.

    It’d be the ultimate gut-punch if the electorate i’m in delivers a W for the libs.

    No pork needed !

  8. Voodoo Blues at 1.19

    It would be helpful if you included a link to the relevant Mark the Ballot page.

    You speak of ALP numbers tending to soften during the last fortnight of campaigns. I do not see evidence of this during the past week – e.g. Newspoll stable at 54 2PP.

    The trendline this campaign has been a dip in ALP support over about the first week, followed by a recovery.

    Where will the last week go?

    Does Mark the Ballot record ALP ‘softening’ during the last week of campaigning – ’cause that’s where we are.

    Is Mark the Ballot’s aggregation similar to Bludgertrack’s 54.3%? If so, subtracting 1% simply reduces the Coalition defeat to about 1983 levels.

    I’m completely OK with that.

  9. @south says:
    Sunday, May 15, 2022 at 1:14 am

    Shark one,
    That should be enough to have Morrison fired from a cannon into the sun.

    Also, super is not a vote winner for young people. Especially when you’ve hollowed it out letting people take money all throughout covid.

    Then next bit of the LNP housing policy will be to allow young people to use their super for a housing deposit.

  10. Also the hung parliament/early election fans should look at the history in Australia. How many recent state minority governments have been plagued by instability and gone to early elections? The recent history has been clear – hung parliaments in Australia are just not any less stable than majority.

    The British prime minister is basically loaned the Queen’s power. He’s fundamentally a monarch who governs and legislates with the advice and consent of the parliament. When British people vote, they’re fundamentally voting for who should be the prime minister and choosing someone to represent the party in their constituency. The Prime Minister is strong against the party and the parliament and can generally stare them down.

    The Australian prime minister is basically the boffin who the parliament has decided can run around with executive power for a while. When Australians vote, they’re choosing a representative of their area to represent them in a national assembly (their choice is often influenced by knowledge of what boffin they like best). He can only do what he’s allowed to do, and the parliament and the party can and do call him to account.

    The Australian major parties have been trying to use the Australian constitution to emulate a Westminster system. They manage to pull it off pretty well, especially in good times (i.e. when there is high partisanship in the electorate, with voters strongly associating themselves with one party or the other).

    But the differences, present constantly, have been showing themselves especially clearly since they and we both had a period of minority parliament a decade or so ago. In the UK, the parliament took the opportunity to strengthen itself, but it was delegitimised when it tried to use what little power it had, and the power has been taken away. In Australia, the government took the opportunity to strengthen itself (through these party leadership rules), but it was delegitimised when it tried to use it (with, for instance, the prime minister ignoring his party room leading to humiliating defeats on the floor of the House of Representatives), and if independents really replace Liberals in their natural leadership seats, they will effectively undo the 60% majority requirement.

  11. @Snappy Tom

    Page 2 of the pb archives, the heading has Bulge in it the link is there in the text below. I assumed people would have read it, he links to lots of good stuff but no one ever seems interested.

  12. Yes but he isn’t using bludgertrack for those historical aggregates, he had the polling aggregate lower 53.3 -1.28 gives you 52.02.

    The Yougov was more like 52.8, then suddenly you are looking at 51.52… who knows? We will soon find out, but there are grains of truth in what she is scribbling even if she is jazzing it up to sound sexy.

  13. I’m not sure what to make of that WA seat polling. My first thought is robocall + small sample = massive MOE and the polls are meaningless.

    But there is a trend across all those seats. All I can offer is the possibility of a biased sample due to the sort of people whose numbers are known/answer the phone.

    Looks like Tania Lawrence has squibbed it in Hasluck. Not enough presence on the ground?

  14. Also in 1998 which a Coalition victory this time would be much more analogous to than 2019 Labor only lost -0.08 from the two week aggregate but Newpoll had the 53-47 on election eve, suggesting the trend was their friend.The trend of course was just variance, there was no trend.

    I have had some half decent bets on Labor when they were 1.40 but I wouldn’t be prepared to take 1.28, but if the Tories were leading 54- 46 on newspoll and there was 1.28 out there I would be on betfair all day long chipping away at it.

  15. @HAZZA4257

    Lets be honest federally it is every bit as Tory as QLD they have had a bit on the side with Labor and are returning home to the wife and kids, I never priced in any more than two seats out of WA.

  16. The jitters!
    According to Antony Green’s estimates one million postal votes had been received by the AEC by last Friday and one and a half million pre-polls have been lodged.
    Throw in Saturday and Sunday and the number of voters having already voted is probably in excess of three million.

    The polling samples published in the last 24 hours are based on smaller numbers.

    The pro LNP press are prepping the believers prior to the Liberal campaign brouhaha today!

    Nothing has changed. The bulldozer has been asleep on the job. Morrison, always late to the party, is attempting a late asset trick less than a week before the election.

    The next tranche of polling will perhaps show a tightening of numbers but not enough to alter the most likely result.

    Morrison has been found to be far too disingenuous by too many voters to alter the result at this stage.
    Enough voters are “sick to death” of the lies, the lack of transparency, the mismanagement of money, the seemingly endless campaign, the policy on the run and the confusion.
    The next ” Sunday Too Far Away” !

  17. Disappointing numbers but it confirms expectations for WA of only +2 and seat polling has a dubious history. Less than a week.

  18. William: I think you meant to write the optimistic view is that the Coalition are hopeful of gaining McEwen and Greenway from Labor, not Swan and Greenway. Swan is a Liberal held seat.

  19. Judging by their member’s corflutes, at the LNP launch
    come Today, If they can just get away without mentioning their
    party name and accidentally not invite their leader, they might be in with a better chance…

  20. on gladys liu agree with her that saying chinease australians need to prove ther loyal to Ausrtalias is ofensive is right however only problim is morrison and Dutton were the ones saying this by saying chinease australians voting for labor were doing sounder instructions from Ccp this is trump levil dog wisling and morrison cant say he was not using racizm to win just like he did with towke

  21. “He can only do what he’s allowed to do, and the parliament and the party can and do call him to account.”

    The Party maybe, the Parliament has not been an effective check on the executive since Howard’s first term, if ever it was.

    And with Boris, as I understand it the Party’s problem isn’t lack of power or magic monarch dust, it is cattle, or lack thereof and timing. To early to burn through the next leader with covid and Brexit disasters still going super strong

  22. Saw both candidates for Hasluck yesterday, I don’t like to kink shame but the LNP bus fetish is out of control.

  23. When can you say with confidence Morrison isn’t lying? When his mouth is shut (and even then it’s a crapshoot).

    While Scott Morrison was secretly pursuing the AUKUS deal with Washington and London, the French ambassador in Canberra was starting to fret. President Emmanuel Macron had charged him to act with “ambition” in expanding the relationship with Australia, yet Jean-Pierre Thebault was finding it impossible to get access to cabinet ministers except for fleeting handshakes and “how-do-you-dos” at cocktail parties.

    Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne would not agree to see him, nor would then defence minister Linda Reynolds. Yet the nations were supposed to be strategic partners on a high-stakes, $90 billion “Future Submarine” project. As 2020 became 2021, Thebault was feeling stonewalled. What was going on?

    Morrison was confidentially exploring the prospect of nuclear-propelled submarines with the US and Britain. Yet a Defence Department official says: “The PM was still telling us, ‘I’m not cancelling anything – this is not signed, sealed and delivered’. We were supporting the PM on AUKUS while proceeding with the French. Whatever else was going on, we needed to deliver to the government the [French] Attack Class subs because that’s what we’d been directed to do.”


  24. Samantha Maiden@samanthamaiden
    What is going on with Tim Wilson’s Twitter account that just about every tweet mentions his opponent thus elevating her, building her brand and also making him sound like a sook? For the love of God, please, someone advise/help this man

    In my opinion Wilson has always sounded like a sook. It’s surprising how many of these IPA folk come across as whiny Wendys.

  25. Morrison s mob are good at addressing a bad marketing image of a cruel man.What better way to soften an image than to put a monster in an environment playing with innocent children. The same people you are going to make their lives a misery with policies like Climate change. That is an evil con job

  26. Lib/nats combined primary vote not 40% or more on Election night , the result will be a change of government Labor majority

  27. The facts are nothing can change Morrison’s imagine

    1- He has Dutton, Joyce and co on the front bench

    2- Lib/nats still controlled by corrupt foreign media tycoon

    3- lib/nats stil want to control people lives , indue welfare card , work for the dole , forced meetings with job agencies , treat people like criminals

    4- cut to medicare/health

  28. I don’t see anything in Morrison’s housing policy for the young hoping to buy their first home or for low wage earners or renters, just more for those who are well-off and comfortable.

  29. Are people still listening to Morrison? I’d be surprised if they are.

    Perhaps he should’ve announced his image make-over 5 weeks (or 5 months!) ago.

  30. the assessment of a moderate Liberal source in the previously discussed Age/Herald report was that Frydenberg’s position was strengthening, prompting the conclusion that “we could lose but save Josh”.

    When there are liberal party so called reports like this , that when the person normally does lose their seat

  31. poroti @ #28 Sunday, May 15th, 2022 – 6:22 am

    Scotty teaching Indians how to make a proper curry ?
    Begging for a caption.

    It’s always the other people in the photo that tell the complete story in Morrison’s photo ops. Look at the expression on the face of the guy in the black turban on the left.

  32. From the previous thread:

    LongMemory82 @ #1149 Saturday, May 14th, 2022 – 11:37 pm

    A non issue for Albanese

    “Mr Albanese said he had dealt with the allegation many times. “The circumstances of my birth is that I had a single parent, there is a single parent legally on my birth certificate,” he said on Monday.”


    Victoria @ #1127 Saturday, May 14th, 2022 – 11:18 pm

    I daresay you still need to apply for italian citizenship. It s not automatically inferred.


    THIS is the final week bombshell for Albanese & Labor!?!

    Funny how they never mentioned it when everyone else in parliament caught up in the S44 net was being dragged in.

  33. Listening to RN, “God Forbid” by James Carleton is about religion rather than religious.
    This morning’s episode about
    Belief/ non belief is thought- provoking.
    As one who was brought up in a strict Catholic family and whose siblings are now Pentecostals, I was shunned for becoming a non- believer .
    This program , along with Monica Dux’s book, “Lapsed” ,
    tackles this subject.
    If like my OH, you go to a Catholic school, and you are in a group of fellow ‘faders- of -belief’ , you are not alone, but I did this on my own when young.

  34. From previous thread

    GlenO @ Sunday, May 15, 2022 at 12:22 am
    “Griff @ #1154 Saturday, May 14th, 2022 – 11:45 pm

    Despite Morrison’s resurrection of Deves in an attempt to put outer urban seats such as Parramatta in play, the trend is our friend.
    People keep saying things like this – sometimes even mentioning Lilley as one of the seats that it might be for…

    What makes people think that the Deves stuff would play well in these seats, and why do they think the people who would buy into Deves’ nonsense wouldn’t have voted Liberal (or One Nation with Liberal above Labor/Greens) anyway? It feels like classism, like people who say it believe that “outer suburban” people can’t see through what the Liberals are doing, the way that other people can, or something.”

    Hi Glen, I am a person that says it for a few reasons:

    1. Leaks from the NSW Liberals have said Deves is being run out of the PMO with media exposure maintained mid-campaign with a front pager even – a strategy that they are keeping alive
    2. Morrison has visited Parramatta 5 times this campaign – he sees it as winnable
    3. Parramatta provided the sixth highest ‘NO’ vote in the marriage equality referendum at 61.6% – some of them vote Labor
    4. There are antivaxxer signs up in this area telling people to ‘save the children’
    5. The Labor member in Parramatta is retiring and Julie Owens is well known for her immigration advocacy and support – a significant personal vote up for grabs.

    I think the One Nation voter harvest for the Liberal candidate will also be significant in this seat. The freedom mandate has traction. But what makes you think that is evidence against Deves being a strategy for outer urban seats? It is complementary in my view. Funny that you feel it is classism for me to suggest that the Deves gambit by Morrison and his ilk may have traction in my own neighbourhood 😉

    I hope that Labor keeps Parramatta, but it is a seat to watch.

  35. “with those aligned with Scott Morrison and Alex Hawke’s centre right”

    Do you mean Hard Right?…. Not because there is probably a Harder Right Scomo is “centre”…. The only thing “centre” about Scomo is that he is more than willing to impersonate a “centrist” when political expedient calls for it…. that’s it…. But the majority of voters have already worked out the tactics of the Liar from the Shire….

  36. c@tmomma
    THIS is the final week bombshell for Albanese & Labor!?!

    I think you’ll find this ‘Albo’s Not Legal!’ stuff is coming from…brace yourselves…Michael Smith’s twitter account.

    Yes, (rolls eyes, shakes head, chuckles) THAT Michael Smith!

    As you were, everyone.

  37. The wally, has been found!

    Just before 2pm on Saturday, Alan Tudge, the stood-aside federal education minister, briskly strode towards the Knox City Council Civic Centre in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.

    After searching for him for weeks, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald had finally tracked him down to a citizenship ceremony in his electorate of Aston.

    It was to be one of the rarest moments in this election campaign: an opportunity to scrutinise the elusive minister and his policies. Instead, he ignored questions when approached on his way in to the community centre.

    But he has been functioning as Education Minister, backing the Deves position into the Chinese community:

    On Friday, The Guardian published an interview circulating on WeChat of Tudge speaking out against “toxic gender ideology” and assured young migrant families they knew what his “views as education minister” were.

    The video is uploaded by Au Life Life, an account run by one of Chisholm Liberal MP Gladys Liu’s volunteers. A Chinese-Australian man in the video, identified as Marcus, said families were worried about falling NAPLAN standards, “toxic gender ideology”, and “the woke thing”.

    He congratulated Tudge for “defending” the education system from the infiltration of gender ideology and woke culture.


    The man doesn’t know the meaning of ‘values’

  38. I just discovered Armarium Interrata’s random election result simulator. The future version of the universe that the election gods randomly awarded to me was: 94 ALP, 48 coalition, 3 Green and 6 independent. Hoping that’s the future I end up living in.

  39. WeWantPaul, there are many times the parliament has prevented the prime minister from getting his way. As an example the senate disallowed an instrument that would have rewritten much of the regulations around super in February. In the UK this would have been effectively impossible; if the Lords disallowed it, there would be no regulations at all, whereas if the Commons disallowed it, the prime minister would have taken them all to an election.

    But in any case, whatever the party room does, the party room can only do because it can do it in parliament. If the party room decides not to proceed with some bill that the government is interested in, a strong prime minister will force the party to an election, and a weak prime minister will suck it up. Australian prime ministers generally suck it up; Scott Morrison decided to take his humiliation in public. The Australian prime minister really has no mechanism to bring the party to heel except by appealing to their choice of him as prime minister. Australian MPs rarely cross the floor because they have no real need: their opinion has been heard and compromises have been agreed.

    (I also disagree that there was any particular turning point in Howard’s term. There’s no way anyone can say Malcolm Turnbull could control his party better than Bob Hawke, for instance. The closest thing to a turning point then was that he was able to make the party more ideologically coherent. But that wasn’t actually a good idea, as we’ve been discovering for the last several years. The Liberal party obtained its ability to govern by being a coalition in balance.)

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