Draft federal redistribution of New South Wales

Draft boundaries for the federal redistribution of New South Wales propose the abolition of Joel Fitzgibbon’s seat of Hunter.

Update

I’ve now tightened up the estimated margins, a full accounting of which can be seen in this spreadsheet, which also features primary vote results. I now have Labor coming up quite a bit stronger in Paterson, for some reason to the extent of having a notional margin there of 1.5%.

ALP 2PP CHANGE
Banks 47.4% -0.8%
Barton 57.5% +7.8%
Bennelong 42.2% +0.0%
Berowra 31.0% +0.0%
Blaxland 59.6% -1.8%
Bradfield 28.7% -0.5%
Calare 35.3% +1.3%
Chifley 61.1% +0.6%
Cook 32.8% -0.8%
Cowper 37.0% -1.2%
Cunningham 61.8% +1.9%
Dobell 50.5% +1.1%
Eden-Monaro 47.3% -2.1%
Farrer 28.5% -4.1%
Fowler 67.7% +0.9%
Gilmore 46.1% -1.3%
Grayndler 64.2% -6.1%
Greenway 52.7% -0.3%
Hughes 38.2% -1.1%
Hume 38.1% -0.4%
Hunter (Charlton) 56.1% +2.5%
Kingsford Smith 52.7% +0.0%
Lindsay 47.0% +0.0%
Lyne 35.9% +0.7%
Macarthur 46.7% +8.0%
Mackellar 31.2% +0.0%
Macquarie 45.5% +0.0%
McMahon 52.1% -3.3%
Mitchell 28.7% +0.7%
New England 29.8% +0.5%
Newcastle 59.3% +0.5%
North Sydney 34.6% +0.4%
Page 47.0% -0.5%
Parkes 30.4% +2.8%
Parramatta 52.3% +1.7%
Paterson 51.5% +11.3%
Reid 49.0% -0.1%
Richmond 51.8% -1.1%
Riverina 31.0% +2.1%
Robertson 46.8% -0.2%
Shortland 57.2% +0.0%
Sydney 63.3% -1.4%
Warringah 34.5% -0.1%
Watson 59.2% +2.4%
Wentworth 32.1% -0.2%
Werriwa 56.7% +4.5%
Whitlam (Throsby) 56.9% -0.8%

Original post

The AEC has just published long-awaited draft boundaries for the federal redistribution of New South Wales, which reduces the state’s representation from 48 seats to 47. The seat proposed for the chop is Joel Fitzgibbon’s seat of Hunter – although the name will be kept alive by renaming the neighbouring seat of Charlton. Notably:

Paterson (Bob Baldwin, Liberal). The abolition of the Hunter region seat causes Paterson to be drawn into a strongly Labor area, turning a 9.8% Liberal margin into a 0.5% margin.

Barton (Nick Varvaris, Liberal). The other big Liberal loser is Nick Varvaris, who did well to win the inner southern Sydney seat of Barton in 2013. The seat stands to lose the Liberal-voting area around Sans Souci at the southern end, and be pushed into Labor-Greens voting Marrickville and its surrounds closer to the city.

Eden-Monaro (Peter Hendy, Liberal). This seat is to be very strikingly redrawn, losing territory at the northern coastal end to Gilmore and gaining areas to the west and north of the ACT.

Macarthur (Russell Matheson, Liberal). The Liberal margin in this outer south-western Sydney seat has been slashed by the exchange of semi-rural areas for outer suburban territory around Minto and Eagle Vale.

Grayndler (Anthony Albanese, Labor). Albanese’s seat has been drawn towards the inner-city, gaining the Rozelle area and losing southern Marrickville and surrounding suburbs to Barton in the south, along with Summer Hill and surrounds to Watson in the west. This cuts his margin against the Liberals by 6.2%, but the greater threat here is from the Greens, and the changes have presumably intensified it (UPDATE: Apparently not, actually – the Greens vote in Balmain especially was curiously subdued at the last election).

Parramatta (Julie Owens, Labor). The changes here are modest, but Labor’s Julie Owens will enjoy the 0.8% boost to her 0.6% margin.

Page (Kevin Hogan, Nationals). Loses Ballina to Richmond at its northern coastal end, and gains the coast north of Coffs Harbour from Cowper in the south. Kevin Hogan won this seat for the Nationals from Labor in 2013, and he’s now had a helpful boost to his margin from 2.5% to 3.8%.

McMahon (Chris Bowen, Labor). Bowen was cut a little fine in this typically safe Labor seat in western Sydney in 2013, and now he’s been damaged by the transfer of Fairfield to Fowler, taking his margin from 5.3% to 2.4%.

BludgerTrack: 52.7-47.3 to Labor

Despite all the fuss over Newspoll, this week’s reading of the BludgerTrack poll aggregate finds only incremental improvement for a government that continues to rise slowly from the canvas.

Another week in which the BludgerTrack aggregate has essentially shrugged its shoulders in response to a headline-grabbing opinion poll surprise, in this case the narrow 51-49 lead recorded for Labor by Newspoll. With Roy Morgan and Essential Research both going fairly solidly the other way, the Coalition records a gain of only 0.3% on two-party preferred, yielding a dividend of one seat in Western Australia on the seat projection. The Coalition and Labor are both up on the primary vote at the expense of the minor parties, with Palmer United notably hitting a record low in the wake of Glenn Lazarus’s resignation. Interestingly enough, both Labor’s two-party vote and seat projection are exactly as they were at the 2007 election.

Newspoll provided a new set of numbers for the leadership ratings, and as usual the trend reading is highly responsive to the latest seat of results. That means another improvement for Tony Abbott’s net approval rating, which is now back to what had previously been his career-worst result before the Prince Philip knighthood. Bill Shorten is down too, and it’s now clear that the change in dynamics after the Liberal leadership spill vote has taken a bite out of his approval rating. On preferred prime minister, Tony Abbott is now rating very slightly better than he was prior to Australia Day. Full results on the sidebar, further down from the very similar looking display for the New South Wales state election.

Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor

Newspoll continues its recent volatile form to deliver the Coalition its best result since September.

The latest fortnightly Newspoll in tomorrow’s Australian gives the Coalition its best result since September, with Labor’s two-party lead of 51-49 comparing with 55-45 last time. The Coalition is up three on the primary vote to 41%, Labor is down two to 37%, and the Greens are down one to 11%. Amid a general picture of weakening personal ratings for Bill Shorten, Newspoll has him down three on approval to 36% and up five on disapproval to 47% after a spike in his favour a fortnight ago. Tony Abbott is up one to 29% and down two to 61% – dismal as those figures are, they’re his best since Australia Day. Bill Shorten’s lead as preferred prime minister has closed from 44-33 to 41-36.

Also today, Morgan’s latest poll combining face-to-face and SMS polling from the past two weekends has Labor up on last fortnight and level with the fortnight before, leaving the intervening poll looking like something of an aberration. On the primary vote, Labor is up two to 40% with the Coalition down one to 38%, while the Greens and Palmer United are both down half a point to 11% and 1.5%. There’s a big shift to Labor on respondent-allocated preferences, their lead widening from 53.5-46.5 to 56-44, but a surprisingly modest one on previous election preferences, from 53.5-46.5 to 54-46, some of the difference evidently being obscured by rounding.

UPDATE (Essential Research): To reinforce the point that polling moves in mysterious ways, the normally sedate Essential Research fortnightly rolling average has moved two points to Labor, putting its lead at 54-46. Labor is up two on the primary vote to 41%, with the Coalition steady on 40%, the Greens up one to 10% and Palmer United down to an all-time low of 1%. The poll also finds a big downturn in the assessment of Joe Hockey’s performance as Treasurer even since the months after the budget, with approval at 27% (down eight points since August) and disapproval at 51% (up seven). Chris Bowen has all but caught up with him as preferred Treasurer, Hockey’s 34-23 lead in August now at 26-25. Relatedly, there is a poor result on economic sentiment, with 27% describing the state of the Australian economy as good (down 10% since last August) and 33% as poor (up 7%).

A question on data retention suggests dissatisfaction with the protections provided in the government’s policy, with 58% believing a warrant should be required to access data in any case, only 10% considering it should only apply to journalists and 12% believing no warrant should be required. Also featured are a semi-regular question on climate change, thought to be caused by human activity by 54% (down three since December) with 31% favouring the skeptical option (up two); 52% professing greater concern than two years ago (up one) with 8% less concerned (down one); 45% favouring incentives for renewable energy in response (up five since September), 12% an emissions trading scheme (up two), 10% the government’s direct action policy (steady) and 11% believing no action is required (steady). The 20% renewable energy target is thought too high by 8% (down five since last July), too low by 33% (up four) and about right by 32% (down four).

BludgerTrack: 50.0-50.0

Magnifying glasses required to separate the two parties, or to pick the difference from the 2010 election result.

The weekly BludgerTrack update erases the 0.5% edge the Coalition gained in the wake of last week’s Newspoll, and finds Labor the tiniest fraction more likely than the Coalition to win a majority of seats. Labor has made a net gain of two on the seat projection, Queensland again showing its sensitivity with a two-seat shift on the basis of a very small vote change and a second gain projected for Labor in Western Australia (though I’d be a bit careful with the smaller state results at the moment, polling at that level having become leaner recently). This has been counterbalanced by a one seat move to the Coalition in New South Wales, where the Labor score remains on the cusp of 25 and 26.

The primary and two-party vote results are all but identical to the weekend’s Galaxy poll, which is the weightiest of the new data points. Included as always are Morgan, which was unusually soft for Labor this week, and Essential, which retains its slight lean to the Coalition relative to the rest of the field but has perhaps been trending slightly to Labor over the past few weeks. The one very bad new poll for Labor, the weekend’s ReachTEL result showing Labor to lose three of its four Tasmanian seats, has been included in the state relativities calculation. While its inclusion has weakened Labor’s two-party vote projection in the state by nearly 3% in relative terms, the model is not persuaded that Lyons will be joining Bass and Braddon on the casualty list.

The trendlines on the sidebar now paint a picture of monotonous consistency since the Rudd restoration, the so-called “sugar hit” having endured long enough to offer the Coalition real cause for alarm. However, very close observation of the primary votes provides some indication of movement beneath the surface. A poll aggregator like BludgerTrack presumes to have a margin of error of a bit over 1%, and while this is founded on dubious assumptions, it at least gives a rough pointer to the size of movement that should and shouldn’t interest us. One move outside the range concerns the Greens, who opened their account under Rudd at around 9%, sagged nearly a full point by the time of the asylum seeker policy announcement (remembering the margin of error diminishes the further a result gets from 50%), and have now recovered back to the starting point.

The other noteworthy change involves the “others” vote, which started the year at around 10%, increased to 12.5% as Labor bled primary vote support in the last six months under Julia Gillard, snapped back to around 9% when Rudd returned, and has trended downwards over the past four weeks to its present 7.5%. Part of that may have been absorbed by the Coalition in a general trend resulting from the media losing interest in some of the minor players, but it seems intuitively likely that a greater share comes from Labor leaners who have been won over after initial hesitancy by Rudd’s political initiatives. There may have been some deflation in the Rudd honeymoon balloon going on concurrently, with the Coalition primary vote at least holding level and perhaps rising slightly, but Rudd’s evident political successes have at the very least cancelled it out.

Galaxy: 55-45 to Coalition

A new Galaxy poll says pretty much what every federal poll recently has been saying.

The News Limited tabloids bring a Galaxy poll, conducted between Tuesday to Thursday from 1000 respondents, which has the Coalition’s leading 55-45 from primary votes of 32% for Labor, 48% for the Coalition and 11% for the Greens. On the question of the Labor leadership, 32% believed the party should stick with Julia Gillard, 26% believed she should be replaced with Kevin Rudd, and 33% opted for “a fresh face such as Bill Shorten or Greg Combet”. Worryingly for the goverment, 59% nominated that the Coalition “would be ready” to govern against 36% who thought otherwise.

UPDATE (11/3): Essential Research provides further evidence that Labor’s slump has bottomed out and perhaps even reversed slightly. Labor is up two points on the primary vote to 34% with both the Coalition and the Greens down a point, to 48% and 9%, with the Coalition two-party lead back to 55-45 after two weeks at 56-44. Monthly personal ratings find Julia Gillard essentially unchanged after copping a hit last month, her approval steady at 36% and disapproval up one to 56%, while Tony Abbott is respectively up one to 37% and down two to 51%. Abbott has pulled level on preferred prime minister, which is at 39-39, after trailing 39-37 last time.

Essential has also performed one of its occasional experiments where it divides its sample in two and asks each differently worded questions, in this case relating to immigration. The money finding here is that 38% deem boat arrivals most important from a list of issues against 20% who nominate 457 visa, but this changes to 33% and 31% if the numbers involved (15,000 boat arrivals and 150,000 457 visas) are provided. Further questions find 22% broadly in favour of privatisation and 58% broadly against, with respondents also given a list of services and asked which should be run by the government and which privately. The evenly divided “Telecommunications (including broadband services)” was the only one for which being run by the government wasn’t heavily favoured.

Essential Research: 55-45 to Coalition

The latest Essential Research survey is a relatively good result for the government, with the Coalition’s two-party preferred vote down from 56-44 to 55-45. The primary vote has the Coalition down a point to 48 per cent, Labor up one to 33 per cent and the Greens down one to 11 per cent. While a dismal set of figures for the government in absolute terms, the primary vote is in fact Labor’s best result since June 14, while the two-party preferred is their best since July 25.

Other questions posed offer more evidence of gloom about the economy, with 58 per cent expecting conditions in Australia to worsen over the next 12 months. This is a 9 per cent increase since the question was previously asked at the start of the July, and compares with just 19 per cent who expect things to improve (down 6 per cent on last time). However, the pessimism is not quite as bad as first appears. The increase on the former figure is entirely accounted for by those who opted for “a little worse” (up 10 per cent to 41 per cent), with “a lot worse” actually down a point to 17 per cent. Respondents were also slightly less glum about their personal circumstances, with 24 per cent expecting them to get better and 41 per cent believing they will worsen. The proportion expressing concern about their job security, while high, has increased only two points to 47 per cent. Labor supporters are by far the most optimistic in relation to the economy generally, with 26 per cent believing conditions will get better and 39 per cent expecting them to worsen. Fully 72 per cent of Coalition supporters gave a negative response.

To coincide with the tax forum/summit, the survey also presented a smorgasbord of options on tax reform. By far the most popular were decreasing income tax for low income earners (81 per cent support, 11 per cent oppose) and improving tax breaks for small and medium businesses (76 per cent and 10 per cent). The idea of cutting company tax proved quite a lot less popular, with 32 per cent supportive and 41 per cent opposed. At the bottom end of the spectrum was increasing the GST, favoured by 9 per cent and opposed by 84 per cent, though “increasing the carbon tax” was scarcely more popular (19 per cent to 68 per cent). Respondents were fairly evenly split on abolishing negative gearing on new property purchases (33 per cent to 37 per cent) and repealing the fringe benefits tax (30 per cent to 28 per cent).

The News Limited tabloids also brought us results from a small-sample Galaxy poll (500 respondents) on Friday and Saturday, with a couple of posers for the government: Kevin Rudd led Julia Gillard as preferred Labor leader 57-41, while 32 per cent said they would be more likely to support Labor if the carbon price were abandoned against 14 per cent who said less likely. There will presumably be no Newspoll this week due to the long weekend.