Making sense of the polls

Making sense of the polls

Final Tasmanian and SA Polls

It is virtually certain that the Liberals will win a clear majority in today’s Tasmanian election. In South Australia, a hung Parliament now looks plausible, though a Liberal majority is still more likely.

In Tasmania, the final Newspoll, conducted from 9-12 March with a sample size of 1500, has the Liberals on 53% of the vote, Labor 23%, the Greens 16% and Palmer United Party (PUP) 4%. It is fortunate for Labor and the Greens that Tasmania uses a proportional voting system, as these numbers would mean annihilation in a single member system. Tasmanian analyst Kevin Bonham thinks the most likely outcome is Liberals 14, Labor 7 and Greens 4. His model is predicting 3 Liberals, 1 Labor and 1 Green (3-1-1) in Bass, Lyons and Franklin, 2-2-1 in Denison, and 3-2-0 in Braddon. The ratings for both Labor Premier Lara Giddings and Greens leader Nick McKim are dire: both have dissatisfied ratings above 60% and net approvals below -30.

In South Australia, two Galaxy robopolls in the marginal Labor held seats of Newland and Mitchell have Labor leading in both seats by 51-49; both polls’ primaries suggest that Labor’s two party preferred (2PP) in those two seats should be higher. If Labor holds both Newland and Mitchell, the Mackerras pendulum implies that it will be difficult for the Liberals to gain the six seats they need for a majority from Labor, though they may gain a seat from Independents.

The final SA Newspoll, conducted from 10-13 March with a sample of 1600, has the Liberals leading by only 52.3-47.7 on 2PP, but a ReachTEL robopoll conducted Thursday night 13 March from a sample of 1200 had them leading 55-45. The ReachTEL result is unchanged from mid-February, while Newspoll has the Liberals down 1.7% since a Newspoll conducted last fortnight. The Newspoll results would represent a swing of only 0.7% to the Liberals from the 2010 election. If applied uniformly to the Mackerras pendulum, Labor would lose three seats, and a hung Parliament would result. Labor Premier Jay Weatherill has a neutral rating, with 42% both satisfied and dissatisfied. The good news for the Liberals in Newspoll is that they are getting a swing where it counts most: in Adelaide, where there are many Labor-held marginal seats.

Newspoll has had a strong track record when compared against actual election results, while ReachTEL is a fairly new pollster. The Galaxy Labor marginal seat polls also verify Newspoll. If Newspoll is right, the Liberals could well fall short of a majority.

You can see my previous article for more on today’s elections.

New WA Senate Election Update

Nominations for the new WA Senate election closed on Thursday, and the ballot paper draw was conducted yesterday. There are 33 groups listed, with the Wikileaks Party getting the A group. Of the parties with genuine chances of winning, the Nationals have group B, Labor has F, the Liberal Democrats J, PUP P, the Liberals R and the Greens AA. Note that both the Lib Dems and the Nationals are well to the left of the Liberals on the ballot paper. Tomorrow, we will find out how the group voting tickets are ordered.

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