Western Australian election guide: deluxe edition

The complete Poll Bludger state election guide now gets even completer.

Not a moment too soon, you may now find (hopefully) an expanded Western Australian election guide herewith, featuring a comprehensive overview page and a region-by-region guide to the upper house, in addition to the long-established seat-by-seat guide to the lower house. To pre-empt your complaints: a) the site is playing up and you may intermittently find yourself encountering 404 errors, b) the map embeds may not be firing on all cylinders, and c) parts of the upper house guide could suffer more careful proof-reading. The first of these should resolve itself as the day progresses, and the second and third I’ll hopefully maybe have time to attend to at some point.

Western Australian election minus four days

A round-up of recent WA election reportage, as Pauline Hanson hits town and the Liberals all but abandon hope.

With only four more sleeps to go:

Latika Bourke of Fairfax reports Liberal internal polling shows the government set to be crushed by a 14% swing to Labor, reversing the 57-43 two-party split at the last election and all but doubling Labor’s existing complement of 21 seats out of 59. Among the seats the Liberals are said to be pessimistic about are Joondalup (10.1%), Kalamunda (10.3%) and, remarkably, Jandakot (18.1%). A list of further potential Labor gains includes Darling Range (12.8%), Burns Beach (11.5%) and Riverton (12.7%).

• A report in The West Australian’s weekend edition listed Joondalup, Kalamunda, Bicton (10.6%) and Southern River (11.0%) as the “last-stand battlegrounds for the Barnett government as fears of a double-digit swing to Labor grip the Liberal Party a week from the election”. Belmont (1.2%), Forrestfield (2.2%), Perth (2.8%), Swan Hills (3.9%) and Morley (4.7%) are, naturally, “all but written off”.

The West Australian reports today that One Nation’s candidate for Scarborough, Margaret Dodd, will take her opposition to the Liberal preference deal to a new pitch by displaying “put the Liberals last” posters at polling booths. The posters feature images of Dodd herself along with Pauline Hanson, who says she is “not happy with this at all”. Dodd says she will announce on Thursday whether she will distribute the 30,000 how-to-vote cards the party has printed for her.

• Flux the System has claimed/admitted responsibility for the twenty-six upper house independent candidates whose preference tickets perfectly accord with the micro-party preference deal that also encompasses Family First, the Liberal Democrats, the Daylight Saving Party and Fluoride Free.

• The Sunday Times’ pre-election editorial concluded: “It’s time for fresh ideas. And new leadership. The Sunday Times supports the election of Mark McGowan and his Labor team.”

• From my paywalled contribution to Crikey yesterday, previewing Pauline Hanson’s whirlwind week-long state visit:

When Hanson came to Perth in late January, news coverage focused on the “rock star” reception she received at suburban shopping malls. This time around, viewers could instead see the very different spectacle of Hanson stammering her way through responses to sharp questions on controversial subjects.

• And from a piece on the Nationals’ proposed mining royalties hike from Friday:

The policy bears all the stylistic hallmarks of party leader Brendon Grylls, whose remarkable electoral achievements over the past decade largely reflect his success in imposing the Royalties for Regions scheme on the Barnett government. This reserves a quarter of the state’s mining royalty revenue for regional projects, and would itself be first for the chop under any rationally ordered scheme to restore the budget to health, if either major party dared countenance it. But whereas Royalties for Regions offers a politically happy confluence of thinly spread pain and thickly concentrated benefit, the loser this time around is the most powerful enemy that anyone in Western Australian politics could contrive to create for themselves.

Galaxy: 54-46 to Labor in Western Australia

The first non-ReachTEL poll since the very state of the Western Australian election campaign shows Labor with a decisive advantage.

Tomorrow’s Sunday Times has a poll from Galaxy, related via Twitter, showing Labor with a 54-46 lead, which is all I can tell you about it at this stage (other than that it’s more in accordance with my own perceptions that ReachTEL’s statewide results). More to follow.

UPDATE: The primary votes are Labor 40%, Liberal 31%, Nationals 5%, One Nation 9%, Greens 8%. Other findings: Mark McGowan leads Colin Barnett 46-33 on preferred premier; 42% are in favour of “Labor’s plan to cancel the Perth Freight Link and redirect some of the money to Metronet and other road projects”, with 38% opposed; and 38% say the Liberal Party is more likely to reduce state debt, compared with 37% for Labor. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Friday from a sample of 1115.

ReachTEL: 52-48 to Labor in Western Australia

A week out from the big day, a new poll finds the Greens well up, One Nation well down, the major parties little changed, and two-party preferred breaking in favour of Labor.

With just over a week to go before election day, the latest Western Australian state poll from ReachTEL gives Labor a 52-48 lead, compared with 50-50 at its last poll a fortnight ago. The primary votes are Liberal 34.6% (down 0.8%), Nationals 6.8% (down 1.6%), Labor 35.2% (up one 0.2%), Greens 10.7% (up a remarkable 4.7%) and One Nation a rather subdued 8.5% (down 3.2%). Whereas the previous ReachTEL poll was conducted for The West Australian, this one was conducted for Fairfax (assuming it wasn’t a joint arrangement of some sort). Further detail to follow.

UPDATE: After distribution of 5.3% undecided, the primary votes are Labor 35.2%, Liberal 34.6%, Nationals 6.8% (keeping in mind that they were listed as an option for all respondents, but are only running candidates in the non-metropolitan area), Greens 10.7% and One Nation 8.5%.

WA election minus two weeks

As the campaign enters the home stretch, another dose of bad marginal seat polling for the Barnett government.

Today’s West Australian reports on a ReachTEL poll of 1706 respondents conducted for the Tourism Council across 15 marginal seats*, which – after exclusion of the 5% undecided – has Labor on 41.9% and the Liberals and Nationals between them on 36.4%, which compares with averaged results of 33.5% and 53.3% across the relevant seats in 2013. The Liberal and Nationals votes break down to 32.4% (48.1% in 2013) and 5.9% (5.2% in 2013, although it only fielded candidates in four of them). The Greens were on 7.2%, compared with 8.1%, and One Nation a rather modest 6.9%. The implied swing to Labor of around 12% sits pretty well with what I wrote in a paywalled Crikey article on Friday:

Following Barnett’s blowout win in 2013 and a mildly unfavourable redistribution, Labor faces a neat set of electoral mathematics, in which it must add 10 seats (including two it already holds, but which have been made notionally Liberal in the redistribution) to a base of 20 to reach a majority of 30 — which it would achieve on a uniform swing of almost exactly 10%. Given the statewide two-party result in 2013 was 57.3% to 42.7%, this suggests Labor will have to punch above its weight to get to where it needs. However, the available evidence suggests either that the swing is indeed at that level, or that it’s helpfully concentrated in the suburban marginals where the election stands to be decided … What’s more, Labor is confident that associating with Barnett has caused One Nation to go off the boil as well — at least to the extent that their utility as a source of preferences will be less than the Liberals were banking on.

* Albany, Balcatta, Belmont, Bicton, Bunbury, Collie-Preston, Darling Range, Joondalup, Kalamunda, Mount Lawley, Perth, Pilbara, Southern River, Swan Hills and Wanneroo.

WA election: ReachTEL marginal seats polling

New polling finds Labor with double-digit swings and two-party leads in six key seats.

Today’s West Australian carries results of ReachTEL seat polling conducted for The Parenthood, a parents’ advocacy group, which collectively suggest the Barnett government is in big trouble. Labor is credited with leads in all six seats from an average swing of 13%, which if uniform would net 18 Liberal-held seats along with one from the Nationals (arguably a different proposition), for a total of 41 seats in a chamber of 59. No primary votes are provided, but the two-party preferred numbers are as follows:

Wanneroo: Labor leads 54-46, swing 15.0%, sample 617.
Perth: Labor leads 59-41, swing 11.8%, sample 611.
Mount Lawley: Labor leads 54-46, swing 12.9%, sample 635.
Joondalup: Labor leads 52-48, swing 12.4%, sample 625.
Bicton: Labor leads 51-49, swing 11.0%, sample 611.
Southern River: Labor leads 54-46, swing 14.9%, sample 651.

No field work date is provided, but the report seems to suggest it was conducted this week.

Western Australian election guide (and more)

Introducing the Poll Bludger’s seat-by-seat guide to the March 11 state election. Also featured: some as-yet-unpublished statewide polling results.

First and foremost, my attractively appointed seat-by-seat guide to the Western Australian state election is now open for business. Featured are detailed overviews of all 59 lower house seats plus interactive booth results maps and past election result charts. An upper house guide will follow in due course, God willing.


• I can exclusively (I think) reveal that an Essential Research automated phone poll, conducted for the Greens from January 28 to February 5 from a sample of 4282, gave the following results on lower house voting intention: Liberal 27.5%; Nationals 6.8%; Labor 34.5%; One Nation 13.7%; Greens 10.7%; others 7.0%. My rule-of-thumb preference assumptions, in which the Liberals get 75% of Nationals preferences, 20% of Greens preferences and 60% of everything else, point to a Labor two-party lead of 53-47. The poll also has the following numbers for upper house voting intention: Liberal 27.1%; Nationals 5.8%; Labor 34.5%; One Nation 13.7%; Greens 12.4%; others 6.1%.

• The West Australian today reports that the ReachTEL poll it published on Saturday also finds 54.6% opposed to the Liberals’ plan to privatise 51% of Western Power compared with 28.9% in favour, a slightly worse result than the 52.9% and 32.4% recorded a month ago. The poll also finds 43.5% rate the Liberals the most trusted party to restore the state’s finances, with a further 13.7% opting for the Nationals, compared with 42.8% for Labor.

• The headline voting intention result from said ReachTEL poll – a tie on two-party preferred, based on a preference flow that seemed generous to Labor – has been met with widespread skepticism. As former Labor leader Eric Ripper noted in The West Australian yesterday, “a better indication of the anti-government swing comes from John Howard’s campaign itinerary – Kalamunda (10.3%), Southern River (10.9%) and Jandakot (18.3%)”. By contrast, the swing implied by the ReachTEL poll was a little over 7%.

• Pre-poll voting began yesterday, which among other things means parties have to start putting their money where their mouths are with respect to preference deals. The West Australian reports today that Labor is putting the Liberals ahead of the Nationals, and the Liberals and Nationals are directing second preferences to each other, contrary to their upper house tickets.

• Watch this space for a lot more on upper house preference tickets, but for the time being, I had a paywalled Crikey article on the matter last Thursday:

Following the deadline for lodgement of group voting tickets on Monday, it has emerged that five particular parties are privy to an arrangement in which each gets the second preference of the others in one of the state’s six six-member regions … The beneficiaries include self-explanatory concerns called Fluoride Free WA and the Daylight Savings Party, who could respectively harvest the votes of all five parties in the East Metropolitan and South Metropolitan regions — together with those of Julie Matheson for Western Australia, whose well-funded campaign has run to full-page ads in The West Australian. If that’s enough to push them ahead of One Nation or the Greens, they will then receive those parties’ preferences as well — in which case they could hardly fail to get elected. Also in on the deal is Flux the System, whose call for a new age of direct democracy made little impression when they ran in every state for the Senate last year … The other two names involved are more familiar — Family First and the Liberal Democrats, which respectively have the inside running in the North Metropolitan and Agricultural regions.

ReachTEL: 50-50 in Western Australia

A new poll defies conventional wisdom in finding the Barnett government to be in something like a winning position in Western Australia.

Tomorrow’s West Australian has a ReachTEL poll showing the two parties at level pegging on two-party preferred, after the pollster’s two previous results both had Labor leading 52-48. All we have to go on at this stage is the front page image, which says Labor and Liberal are up slightly on the primary vote, but the bigger mover is the Nationals, who are up 2.4%. The implication seems to be that some air has gone out from One Nation, who were on 10.8% in the previous poll. More to follow.

UPDATE: After exclusion of the 5.5% undecided, the primary votes are Liberal 35.4% (down 0.6%), Nationals 8.4% (up 2.3%), Labor 35.0% (up 0.1%), Greens 6.0% (down 0.6%), One Nation 11.7% (down 0.1%), others 3.4% (down 1.1%). So I was wrong about One Nation being down – what actually happened is that undecided fell from 8.5% to 5.5%, and The West Australian’s report was citing raw numbers. Based on these figures, the two-party result of 50-50, which is based on respondent-allocated preferences, seems generous to Labor – giving the Liberals 75% of Nationals, 60% of One Nation, 20% of Greens and 50% of others preferences, they have a lead of 51.7-48.3 (51.2-48.8 in the previous poll). A lot depends here on the One Nation preference flow – reducing it to 50% cuts the lead to 50.5-49.5. A related complication here is that One Nation is only running in 35 out of 59 seats, but the option was available to all respondents. Another peculiarity to be noted is the low Greens vote, which has been on a downward descent in ReachTEL’s polling over the past year – something that hasn’t been reflected in Newspoll, which has had the party on 9% in its last two polls.

Other findings: Mark McGowan’s lead as preferred premier is 53.1-46.9, down from 55.7-44.3 last time, and the lowest it’s been in the five ReachTEL poll conducted for The West Australian over the past year. The Liberal-One Nation preference deal has 30.8% approval and 54.2% disapproval, and 43.2% say it has made them less likely to vote Liberal, versus 22.5% for more likely. One Nation respondents were asked what made them tick: 27.1% said they disliked the major parties, 2.6% that they liked the candidates, 23.4% that they liked the party’s “overall vision for WA”, 29.2% that they liked “anti-Muslim policies”, 7.3% that they liked anti-privatisation policies, and 10.4% for “other reason”. The poll was conducted Wednesday night from a sample of 1652.