South Australian election guide

Introducing the Poll Bludger’s comprehensive guide to a South Australian election that’s now a shade under two months away.

The Poll Bludger’s guide to the South Australian election on March 17 is now open for business. It features detailed guides for each of the forty-seven House of Assembly seats; a guide to the Legislative Council election, which will elect half the chamber’s twenty-two members; a detailed overview; and a poll tracker feature that will be promptly updated as new data becomes available. My next task is to craft a similar effort for the Tasmanian election that will either be on March 3 or March 17, which in the latter case will set up a clash with South Australia for the third time in a row. However, there is increasing chatter that the former date is being favoured, with Premier Will Hodgman potentially to fire the starter’s gun as early as Sunday.

If any of this strikes you as entertaining or useful, you might care to show your appreciation by tipping some coins into the PressPatron donations facility at the top of the page and the bottom of this post. If you have any to spare afterwards, you are encouraged to do the same for the similarly donation-dependent InDaily, whose coverage of South Australian politics has been of the greatest value to me in putting this together.

New year news (week two)

A bunch of state polling, particularly from Victoria, and two items of preselection news.

Another random assortment of polling and preselection news to tide us over until the federal polling season resumes:

• Essential Research has broken the poll drought to the extent of releasing state voting intention results, compiled from the polling it conducted between October and December. The results find Labor ahead in all five states, with Tasmania not covered. This includes a breakthrough 51-49 lead in New South Wales, after they were slightly behind in each quarterly poll going back to April-June 2016; a 51-49 lead in Victoria, after they led either 52-48 or 53-47 going back to October-December 2015; a 52-48 lead in Queensland, from primary vote results well in line with the state election held during the period; and a new peak of 57-43 in Western Australia. In South Australia, Labor is credited with a lead of 51-49, from primary vote numbers which are, typically for Essential Research, less good for Nick Xenophon’s SA Best than Newspoll/Galaxy: Labor 34%, Liberal 31%, SA Best 22%.

The Age has ReachTEL polls of two Victorian state seats conducted on Friday, prompted by the current hot button issue in the state’s politics, namely “crime and anti-social behaviour”. The poll targeted two Labor-held seats at the opposite ends of outer Melbourne, one safe (Tarneit in the west, margin 14.6%), the other marginal (Cranbourne in the south-east, margin 2.3%). After excluding the higher-than-usual undecided (14.5% in Cranbourne, 15.5% in Tarneit), the primary votes in Cranbourne are Labor 40% (down from 43.4% at the last election), Liberal 40% (down from 41.3%) and Greens 7% (up from 4.2%); in Tarneit, Labor 43% (down from 46.8%), Liberal 36% (up from 26.4%), Greens 10% (up from 9.0%). Substantial majorities in both electorates consider youth crime a worsening problem, believe “the main issues with youth crime concern gangs of African origin”, and rate that they are, indeed, less likely to go out at night than they were twelve months ago. The bad news for the Liberals is that very strong majorities in both seats (74.6-25.4 in Tarneit, 66.5-33.5) feel Daniel Andrews would be more effective than Matthew Guy at dealing with the issue.

Rachel Baxendale of The Australian reports on the latest flare-up in an ongoing feud between Ian Goodenough, member for the safe Liberal seat of Moore in Perth’s northern suburbs, and party player Simon Ehrenfeld, whose preselection for the corresponding state seat of Hillarys before the last state election was overturned by the party’s state council. The report includes intimations that Goodenough may have a fight of his own in the preselection for the next election, with those ubiquitous “party sources” rating him a “waste of a safe seat“, particularly in light of Christian Porter’s dangerous position in Pearce.

• Not long after Andrew Bartlett replaced Larissa Waters as a Queensland Greens Senator following the latter’s Section 44-related disqualification, the two are set to go head-to-head for preselection at the next election. Sonia Kohlbacher of AAP reports that Ben Pennings, “anti-Adani advocate and former party employee”, has also nominated, although he’s presumably a long shot. The ballot of party members will begin on February 16, with the result to be announced on March 26.

Newspoll: SA Best 32, Liberal 29, Labor 27 in South Australia

Premier Nick Xenophon? Quite possibly, if the latest South Australian state voting intention poll is anything to go by.

Well, here’s something. The Australian has published a South Australian state Newspoll result aggregated from polling conducted from October through December, and it credits Nick Xenophon’s SA Best party with 32% of the primary vote – ahead of both the Liberals on 29%, and Labor on 27%. What’s more, Xenophon is streets ahead on a three-way preferred premier question at 46%, with Premier Jay Weatherill on 22% and long-suffering Liberal leader Steven Marshall on 19%. Weatherill’s personal ratings are 34% approval and 53% disapproval, while Marshall’s approval rating is a dangerous 27%, with disapproval of 50%. The poll has a sample of 800; with good reason, no two-party preferred figure is provided.

ReachTEL: 53-47 to Nick Xenophon in Hartley

Further indications that Nick Xenophon has his nose in front in a competitive race against the Liberals in Hartley.

Seven News in South Australia has the second in what will evidently be many ReachTEL polls of the state seat of Hartley, which Nick Xenophon will contest at the election in March. The poll records primary vote support for Xenophon at 29.3%, with the Liberals on 36.4% and Labor on 20.7%, though this would not exclude an undecided component that is probably in the vicinity of 10%. After respondent-allocated distribution of Labor and other preferences, Xenophon emerges ahead 53-47 – equal to the result of a Galaxy poll result shortly after Xenophon announced his intentions a month ago, but better for him than the 50-50 result in a ReachTEL poll conducted at the same time. The poll also includes a preferred premier result which has Xenophon on 43.7%, Steven Marshall on 31.3% and Jay Weatherill on 25%. It was conducted last night from a sample of 610.

BludgerTrack: 53.9-46.1 to Labor

Labor bites and holds its poll trend gain from last week, and Essential Research unloads a set of state voting intention numbers.

The one brand new poll for the week, from Essential Research, made so little change to the BludgerTrack voting intention numbers that I had to double check the result. There was also an infusion of new state breakdown data courtesy of Newspoll’s quarterly state-level results, but the only difference this has made is to add one to the Coalition tally in New South Wales and subtract one in Queensland. There’s big movement in Malcolm Turnbull’s favour on the leadership trend rating following new numbers from Essential Research, but this measure is over-sensitive to the vagaries of particular pollsters, which I’ve long been meaning to correct for. Full results at the bottom of the post.

Essential Research has also released its quarterly state voting intention results this week, which are accumulated from all of its polling over the past three months. In New South Wales, the Coalition has a steady lead of 51-49; in Victoria, Labor’s lead narrows from 53-47 to 52-48; in Queensland, Labor holds a steady lead of 54-46, which is better than they have been doing from other pollsters lately, with One Nation’s primary vote at a relatively modest 13%; in Western Australia, Labor’s lead is down from 55-45 to 54-46; and in South Australia, Labor has a steady lead of 52-48, with the Nick Xenophon Team’s primary vote at 18%. Read all about it here.

Galaxy: 53-47 to Nick Xenophon in Hartley; ReachTEL: 50-50

A new poll finds Nick Xenophon with his nose in front in his audacious raid on a Liberal-held state seat in eastern Adelaide.

The Advertiser has sprung into action after Nick Xenophon’s announcement he would contest the eastern Adelaide seat of Hartley for his SA Best party at the March state election, by commissioning a Galaxy automated phone poll of 516 respondents in the electorate (UPDATE: And now a ReachTEL poll for Seven – see the bottom of the post). This has Liberal incumbent Vincent Tarzia on 38%, Xenophon on 35%, Labor on 17%, Greens on 6% and Australian Conservatives on 3%. On respondent-allocated preferences, this translates into a 53-47 lead to Xenophon. As I noted in Crikey on Monday, Hartley was only the Nick Xenophon Team’s thirteenth strongest of the 47 state seats at last year’s federal election, based on Senate voting patterns.

Also from The Advertiser’s report:

Major party sources have told Advertiser.com.au that polling shows the Liberals vulnerable throughout the Adelaide Hills and country, with seats including Mount Gambier well in play. There are fears that the Hills seat of Heysen, held by retiring former Liberal leader Isobel Redmond, could fall to SA Best. It is also believed that Opposition education spokesman John Gardner is at serious risk in Morialta and Chaffey, a Liberal Riverland seat, is vulnerable.

Also related is a snippet I missed from last week concerning another poll, also from Galaxy but conducted privately by the Australian Bankers Association, which made the perhaps not surprising finding that Martin Hamilton-Smith, the former Liberal leader who quit the party to take up a position in Jay Weatherill’s cabinet, has no chance of retaining his seat of Waite. Liberal candidate Sam Duluk, who is moving from his existing seat of Davenport due to the redistribution, was on 41%, Labor and SA Best on 21% apiece, the Greens on 10%, and Hamilton-Smith on just 5%.

UPDATE: A somewhat different result from a ReachTEL poll for Channel Seven has it dead level on two-party preferred, from primary votes of Liberal 36.7%, Xenophon (SA Best) 21.7% and Labor 19.7% – although this presumably fails to exclude an undecided component that typically rates a little below 10%. Xenophon also comes out tops on a three-way forced preference preferred premier question, with 43.2% to 32.0% for Liberal leader Steven Marshall and 24.8% for Jay Weatherill. The poll also finds a 55.8-44.2 split in favour of Xenophon backing the Liberals should he hold the balance of power. To the extent that this can be read as a proxy for the Liberal-versus-Labor two-party preferred, it suggests a swing to the Liberals of 3.4%.