Newspoll: 50-50

The Australian offers a surprise Newspoll with the two-preferred vote exactly where their accurate pre-election poll had it: 50-50. However, both major parties are down on the primary vote – Labor to 34 per cent, compared with 36.4 per cent at the pre-election poll and 38.0 per cent at the election, and the Coalition parties to 41 per cent, compared with 43.4 per cent and 43.6 per cent. The Greens are on 14 per cent, compared with 13.9 per cent and 11.8 per cent. Tony Abbott has dropped three points on preferred prime minister to 34 per cent, with Julia Gillard steady on 50 per cent. If nothing else, two 50-50 polls in 24 hours provide a nice rejoinder to the fresh-election-now lobby.

Essential Research: 50-50

The latest Essential Research survey has the two parties locked together on 50-50, suggesting Labor has not received a dividend from its success in forming a minority government. The more recent part of the rolling two-week survey was conducted from last Tuesday, when the rural independents’ made their announcements, until yesterday, and it has dragged Labor down from the 51-49 recorded in the previous survey. However, the primary vote figures suggest there is unlikely to have been much in it either way: the Coalition is up a point to 44 per cent and Labor steady on 39 per cent, with the Greens down a point to 10 per cent. Approval or disapproval of the independents’ decision was predictably split on party lines, for a total of 41 per cent approve and 45 per cent disapprove. Respondents were asked to rate the performance of the parties since the election and for some reason the Coalition rated better than Labor, recording a net positive rating of 9 per cent compared with 4 per cent for Labor. However, Julia Gillard was thought to have shown “more leadership abilities during the period since the election” than Tony Abbott, 47 per cent to 35 per cent. Forty-five per cent of respondents rated the increased strength of the Greens as good for Australia against 38 per cent bad, which goes against other polling conducted earlier. Conversely, 44 per cent agree the independents will hold too much power, with only 36 per cent disagreeing.


• Anna Bligh has raised the prospect of a return to compulsory preferential voting in Queensland, with The Australian reporting the matter is likely to be considered by a (Labor-dominated) parliamentary committee. Bligh notes concerns that the operation of different systems at state and federal level causes confusion and a higher informal vote, and it is indeed the case that the optional preferential states of New South Wales and Queensland generally have a slightly higher informal rate at federal elections than other states. However, that hasn’t been the case this time – in Queensland the informal vote was 5.45 per cent, against 5.55 per cent nationally (the national total admittedly having been pulled up by a 6.82 per cent rate in New South Wales). It is clear that Labor’s sudden enthusiasm for compulsory preferential in Queensland is due to their parlous electoral position, and the very high likelihood they will bleed votes to the Greens that might not return to them, as they mostly did at the federal election. As an opponent of electoral compulsion in all its forms, I would much sooner the confusion be resolved by a move to optional preferential voting at federal level – though Labor is most unlikely to be keen on this, as it would have cost them three seats at the federal election. UPDATE: As Kevin Bonham correctly notes in comments, it would also have saved them Denison. Note that Peter Brent at Mumble has expressed sentiments almost identical to my own.

• A by-election looms in the Western Australian state seat of Armadale, which Alannah MacTiernan vacated to make her failed run for Canning. Armadale is Labor’s safest seat, and the by-election will not be contested by the Liberals. Labor’s candidate is Tony Buti, a law professor at the University of Western Australia. Also in the field are Owen Davies for the Greens, Jamie van Burgel for the Christian Democratic Party and independent John D. Tucak, who polled 298 votes as an upper house candidate in 2008. The by-election will be held on October 2.

• Another by-election following from the federal election is for the Brisbane City Council ward of Walter Taylor, vacated by newly elected Ryan MP Jane Prentice. Emma Chalmers of the Courier-Mail reported on August 18 that even before his defeat in Ryan, dumped Liberal Michael Johnson was sizing up the seat. The Liberal National Party will hold its preselection tomorrow. The by-election will be held on October 23.

Morgan: 54.5-45.5 to Labor

Roy Morgan has published a poll encompassing its face-to-face surveys from the past two weekends, hence not accounting for reaction to Labor’s formation of a minority government. It shows Labor opening a 54.5-45.5 lead on two-party preferred, compared with 52.5-47.5 in the last published poll of this kind conducted on the weekend before the election. On the primary vote, Labor is up half a point to 40.5 per cent, the Coalition down 3.5 per cent to 39.5 per cent and the Greens up 1.5 per cent to 15 per cent. The poll has a sample of 1632 and a margin of error of 2.5 per cent – beyond that, the recent election result provides yet more evidence that Morgan’s face-to-face polling has a substantial house bias to Labor.

UPDATE: Further from Gary Morgan:

Analysis of ‘past vote’ — how respondents claimed they voted at the recent Federal election shows, ALP (42.5%, 4.5% higher than actual ALP vote recorded at the 2010 Federal election) cf. L-NP (39%, 4.5% lower than the L-NP vote recorded at the 2010 Federal election). “The difference between the reported ‘past vote’ and the actual election result can be due to either — a Labor biased sample, or by an unwillingness of the part of respondents to admit to voting L-NP. This latter problem has been noted in previous polls over many years. Regardless of the reason for the difference, if the Morgan Poll is weighted correctly for ‘past vote,’ the estimate would be 50:50, exactly the same as the special SMS Morgan Poll conducted on Wednesday/Thursday this week.”

Advertiser poll: 51-49 to Labor in SA

The Adelaide Advertiser has published a small-sample (365) poll of state voting intention which gives Labor a 51-49 lead on two-party preferred. Primary votes are 39 per cent for Labor and 43 per cent for Liberal after distribution of informal and undecided. The paper’s previous state poll in February had 476 respondents, and showed Labor leading 57-43. Respondents were also asked how the current leaders compare with Alexander Downer, which takes the idea of his entry into state politics a little more seriously than I would have. The Advertiser blotted its polling copybook with this dubious effort in early August, but its long-term record isn’t so bad (although it usually uses larger samples). The polling is conducted in-house, I believe by its classified advertising staff.

Advertiser poll: Maywald on 11 per cent in Chaffey

The Adelaide Advertiser has published a poll showing Nationals member Karlene Maywald has suffered a disastrous collapse in support in her Riverland electorate of Chaffey. Taken from a sample of 460 voters, it shows Maywald on just 11 per cent after distribution of informal and undecided, compared with 53.2 per cent at the 2006 election. Maywald holds the cabinet posts of River Murray and Water Security under a highly unusual arrangement which began when Labor was in a minority government position during its first term. The poll puts the Liberal vote at 51 per cent compared with 28.2 per cent at the election, with Labor up from 9.8 per cent to 19 per cent. Fifty-seven per cent think Maywald “hamstrung” by her cabinet position against 34 per cent who think she “represents the best interest of the electorate”, and 50 per cent believe the state’s National Party (such as it is) should merge with the Liberals.

This thread may be used for general discussion of South Australian state political matters.

UPDATE: Matt Sykes, David Walsh and Adam Carr in comments makes the pertinent point that respondents appear to have been asked only which party they would vote for, which can’t have done Maywald any favours. Carr goes so far as to say that “a poll that didn’t put her name in the question is a fraud, and knowing the Advertiser probably a deliberate one”.

Newspoll: 54-46 to Labor in SA

State Newspoll bonanza, episode five. All this and two by-elections tomorrow. Has there ever been a greater week in all of history? Newspoll has Labor’s two-party lead in South Australia increasing to 54-46 from 53-47 in the first quarter. Labor’s primary vote is steady on 41 per cent, while the Liberal and Nationals are down one point to 36 per cent. Liberal leader Martin Hamilton-Smith can at least point to an encouraging 47 per cent approval rating, although he trails Mike Rann as preferred premier 54 per cent to 27 per cent.

Newspoll: 53-47 to Labor in SA

The latest quarterly Newspoll survey of South Australian state voting intention has Labor’s lead at 53-47, its lowest in three years. This compares with 56.8-43.2 at Mike Rann’s landslide re-election in March 2006. Labor’s primary vote lead is 41 per cent to 37 per cent: on both measures the two parties have exchanged 1 per cent since the survey from the previous quarter. Liberal leader Martin Hamilton-Smith, who I haven’t been paying much attention to since he took over the leadership from Iain Evans early last year, has an encouraging satisfaction rating of 45 per cent against 25 per cent dissatisfied. However, Mike Rann’s satisfaction rating is up from 51 per cent to 53 per cent, and his preferred premier lead has widened from 50-25 to 54-24.

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