YouGov Galaxy: Labor leads 54-46 in Richmond, 56-44 in Geelong

Good news for Labor in seats where they face challenges from the Greens and a high-profile independent.

The Herald Sun has two more YouGov Galaxy robopolls of individual electorates for the Victorian state election, with samples of 500 to 550. There’s good news for Labor from Richmond, where it had been thought Labor had been damaged by the Liberals’ decision not to field a candidate. The poll suggests Labor member Richard Wynne should be able to survive regardless, recording a 49% to 42% lead over Greens candidate Kathleen Maltzahn (33.3% to 31.5% in 2014, when the Liberals polled 20.7%), and a 54-46 lead on two-party preferred.

There is also a poll for the Geelong electorate, where the Herald Sun seems inordinately keen on the independent candidacy of Darryn Lyons, who was mayor of Geelong at the time of the council’s sacking in April 2016. The poll has Lyons on an actually quite modest 15%, ahead of the Greens on 11% but well behind the Liberals on 28%. Labor incumbent Christine Couzens is on 40%, and leads the Liberal candidate 56-44 after preferences.

Like the Mordialloc and Frankston polls published on Monday, these ones were conducted on Saturday and Sunday.

YouGov Galaxy: 52-48 to Labor in Mordialloc, 51-49 in Frankston

Two Victorian election seat polls suggest a repeat of cliffhanger results from 2014.

The Herald Sun has two YouGov Galaxy seat polls for the Victorian election, these being robopolls conducted from sample of around 550 on Saturday and Sunday. Both target bellwether seats in the “sandbelt”, and both land bang on their 2014 election results. Labor leads 52-48 in Mordialloc (52.1-47.9 in 2014), from primary votes of Labor 41% (38.7%), Liberal 42% (43.8%), Greens 7% (7.9%). In Frankston, Labor clings to a 51-49 lead in a seat where they won 50.5-49.5 in 2014, but there is substantial movement on the primary vote, owing to a weaker independent presence this time. Labor is on 42%, up from 35.0%; the Liberals are on 43%, up from 35.8%, while the Greens are on 6%, down from 8.0%.

Also out today were the Legislative Council group ticket votes, on which I have a separate thread

Victorian election: upper house preference tickets

Group voting tickets have been unveiled in Victoria, one of the two jurisdictions that persists with them.

The group voting tickets for the Victorian election are available for viewing here. There is as always a lot to parse here, and Antony Green’s calculators will be needed to make better sense of it all. A few immediate take-outs:

• Glenn Druery’s fingerprints are everywhere to be seen, with tightly interlocking preferences from a vast array of micro-parties who leave the ballot papers looking more like those for the Senate than what prevailed pre-2014. Even Fiona Patten’s Reason Party appears to have reached accommodations with a number of micro-parties, despite her police complaint against Druery.

• The Greens have not done at all well: the Druery network parties have them last or near to last, as usual; Labor has them behind a number of left and, in places, not-so-left concerns (Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party, Shooters Fishers and Farmers and the Liberal Democrats); Animal Justice favours left-wing micro-parties over them.

• The Coalition has tended to give priority to the more competitive of the right-of-centre micro parties, and has Labor ahead of (in this order) the Greens, Victorian Socialists and the Australian Liberty Alliance.

Victorian election minus two weeks

The Liberals opt to sit it out in Richmond, as a frenzied weekend behind the scenes looms ahead of Sunday’s deadline for upper house preferences.

With the arrival of today’s deadline for nominations, the campaign action cranks up a notch:

• With party nominations closing yesterday (independents have until noon today), the mystery of the Liberals’ intentions in the inner-city seats is solved: candidates will be fielded in Melbourne, Northcote and Brunswick, but not in Richmond. According to The Australian, the Liberals believe this deals a “near unassailable blow” to Labor’s Richard Wynne in Richmond. Another report in The Australian relates that the Liberals’ high hopes of recovering Prahran, into which they have “poured huge resources”, are looming large in their strategic calculations, the hope being that Labor will take the foot off the pedal in Prahran due to its need to focus efforts on Richmond.

• Reports suggest the Liberals will not make a preference recommendation in the inner-city seats where they are running, which is a happier state of affairs for the Greens than their previous practice of putting them last. The Herald Sun reported Labor had sought Liberal preferences as part of a swap in which they would direct preferences to Coalition candidates ahead of independents in Benambra, Ovens Valley and SouthWestCoast.

• Also confirmed is that Nationals-turned-independent MP Russell Northe will run again in Morwell, which has developed into a highly complex contest that also encompasses Labor, Liberal and Nationals candidates, along with Ricky Muir, the former Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party Senator now running for Shooters Fishers and Farmers.

• The closure of nominations will kick off a frenzy of negotiations over preferences ahead of the deadline for submission of group voting tickets noon on Sunday. The Greens are briefing journalists that they fear losing three of their five seats, leaving them with their core of Northern Metropolitan and Western Metropolitan. While such fears may be sincerely held, publicising them puts pressure on Labor by raising the spectre of a right-wing lockout if they prioritise deals with micro-party preference networks.

• Upper house preferences are again placing the spotlight on Glenn Druery, staffer to Senator Derryn Hinch and freelance preference broker. Druery has been the subject of a police complaint from Fiona Patten, upper house member for the Reason Party (formerly the Sex Party), who raises concerns about the $5000 fee he charges small parties to be privy to his preference networking, and his $50,000 “success fee”.

Victorian election minus three weeks

News aplenty from the Victorian campaign trail as the week one reaches its conclusion.

On top of my review of minor party and independent prospects in Crikey yesterday (paywalled), I can offer the following polling and other horse race news:

The Guardian reports on ReachTEL polls of the inner city seats for the Goongerah Environment Centre, and while the details are sketchy, such results as are provided are encouraging for Labor. Labor is credited with primary vote leads of 40.6% to 32.1% in Richmond, compared with 33.3% to 31.5% at the 2014 election; and 34.2% to 21.4% in Prahran, compared with 25.9% to 24.8%. There’s lots more on the organisation’s website, but unfortunately not relating to the voting intention numbers that are the chief source of interest to readers of this site. However, I’m hoping to chase up further information on this count.

John Ferguson of The Australian reported on Wednesday that the Liberals were not likely to follow through on suggestions they would not field candidates in the inner-city quartet of Melbourne, Richmond, Northcote and Brunswick, where their absence would likely help the Greens. However, the Liberals are reportedly unlikely to direct preferences this time, contrary to their policy of putting the Greens last in 2010 and 2014. Labor is said to be confident of retaining Richmond, if not the other three.

• On Thursday, the Liberals promised to impose a two-storey building limit along a stretch of the bayside that encompasses the crucial marginal seats of Mordialloc and Carrum. Partly this was by way of drawing attention to the government’s contentious “sky rail” constructions to replace level crossings in Carrum.

• Unperturbed, Labor was promising more sky rail to remove level crossings, this time in the south-eastern Melbourne satellite suburb of Pakenham. This reflects Labor’s hopes for the seat of Bass, which Brian Paynter holds for the Liberals on a margin of 4.6%. As The Australian noted earlier in the week, the electorate has been “transformed by more than 17,000 new residents who have moved in since 2014 thanks to a slew of new housing estates”. Evidently the Liberals take the threat seriously, as they promised the next day to instead remove the level crossings by lowering the rail lines beneath the road.

• Daniel Andrews visited Morwell on Tuesday to announce financial support for SEA Electric to establish an electric car manufacturing industry in the Latrobe Valley. The seat is held by ex-Nationals independent Russell Northe, who is still yet to announce whether he will run again. Also in the field is Ricky Muir, the former Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party Senator, now with Shooters Fishers and Farmers. The seat has been electorally volatile and highly sensitive to local factors, with the Hazelwood coal mine fire of early 2014 contributing to an 11.5% swing to Labor that reduced Northe’s margin to 1.8%.

• Some extra details from the Newspoll earlier in the week that I neglected to relate at the time. Labor is favoured over Liberal to handle the economy (45-37), the energy supply (43-32) and population growth (33-30), with the Liberals holding only a bare 39-38 lead even on their normal strong point of law and order.

• Ladbrokes has opened individual betting markets on all eighty-seat seats, odds for which can now be found at the bottom right hand corner of my election guide pages (and if you’re interested, you can do this site a small good turn by signing up through one of the Ladbrokes ad featured on the sidebar). Labor are rated favourites in a bare majority of 43 out of the 88 seats, the Coalition are favoured in 38, and there is nothing in it in Bentleigh and Carrum. Labor are slight favourites to retain Frankston, Cranbourne, Eltham and Ivanhoe, while the Coalition has the edge to retain its seats of Morwell and South Barwon. The Greens are favoured to retain Melbourne and Northcote, are just ahead in a tight three-way race in Prahran, and are very slightly favoured to take Brunswick from Labor, although Labor has the edge in Richmond. Independent incumbent Suzanna Sheed is favoured to retain Shepparton. Ladbrokes is paying $1.33 on Labor and $3 on the Coalition to form government, which is more favourable to Labor than Sportsbet, which respectively has it at $1.45 and $2.70.

Notable independents in the field:

• The electorate of Pascoe Vale is plastered with billboards advertising independent candidate Oscar Yildiz, the former mayor of Moreland, who is running against Labor incumbent Lizzie Blandthorn after being knocked back for Labor preselection in Northcote. Yildiz tells The Age he expects his campaign will end up costing him $150,000.

• Darryn Lyons, former Fleet Street paparazzo and Geelong mayor, will run against Labor’s Christine Couzens in Geelong. Lyons was mayor when the council was sacked in April 2016 after a commission of inquiry reported widespread internal dysfunction, examples of which included a “loud and abusive outburst” by Lyons towards a council officer. Lyons also threatened defamation action against the council and its chief executive if bullying allegations against him were made public, an action the commission deemed “regrettable in every way”.

• Former Wangaratta councillor Tammy Atkins may be a show in Ovens Valley, where the Nationals are encumbered by the fact that their member, Tim McCurdy, is facing charges of allegedly falsifying documents relating to the sale of two dairy farms.

Newspoll: 54-46 to Labor in Victoria (and introducing the PB state election guide)

With the election less than a month away, a new Victorian poll suggests the Coalition’s troubles weigh heavier in the balance than Labor’s.

With the official campaign period set to begin tomorrow evening, Newspoll has a freshly minted state poll from Victoria, conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1092. It shows a blowout in Labor’s hitherto narrow lead, from 51-49 at the previous poll in April to 54-46. Labor is up three points on the primary vote to 41%, with the Coalition down two to 39% and the Greens steady on 11%. On personal ratings, Daniel Andrews is up two on approval to 45% and down seven on disapproval to 40%, While Matthew Guy is down one to 31% and up one to 46%. Andrews holds a 45-29 lead as preferred premier, out from 41-34. A question on the impact of Malcolm Turnbull’s dumping found 16% saying it made them more likely to vote Liberal, 30% less likely and 45% no difference.

The results are consistent with other evidence recently, namely a 53-47 result from YouGov Galaxy in a privately conducted poll and reports of internal polling from both major parties in The Australian. There also a ReachTEL poll for Bike Australian of Prahran, which shows Labor set to win the seat from the Greens.

I am also proud to unveil, just in time for this evening’s issue of the writs to officially launch campaign proceedings, the comprehensive Poll Bludger state election guide. Its features:

• A poll tracker facility that currently credits Labor with a two-party lead of 53.3-46.7, or a 1.8% swing in their favour (NB: the two-party numbers in the table at the bottom aren’t exactly the ones I want there, but it will do for now).

• A meticulous overview of the general electoral and political situation.

• Painstakingly detailed and consumer friendly guides to all eighty-eight lower house seats.

• Ditto for the eight regions that constitute the Legislative Council.