Making sense of the polls

Making sense of the polls

Morgan’s NSW Poll has Big Lead for Coalition

The New South Wales election will be held in five weeks on the 28 March. A Morgan SMS poll gives the Coalition a 55.5-44.5 lead, a 1.5% gain for the Coalition since mid-January. Primary votes are 45% for the Coalition (up 0.5), 34% for Labor (down 1) and 9.5% for the Greens (down 1.5). This poll was conducted from last Saturday to Monday with a sample of 1200.

This poll concurs with a recent Ipsos poll that showed the Coalition ahead by 56-44. These two polls are based on 2011 election preference flows, and it is very likely that Labor will do better on preferences in 2015. However, even if changes in preference flows give Labor a 2% greater share after preferences than polls currently indicate, the Coalition would still win comfortably. Unlike Newman, NSW Premier Mike Baird is popular, with a net +42 approval rating in Ipsos. I expect the Coalition to easily win the NSW election.

Morgan’s SMS state polls performed badly in the Victorian election, greatly overestimating the Greens vote in his earlier polls. However, his Queensland election performance was credible, and his current NSW poll has the Greens lower than occurs with Ipsos. Morgan’s Federal polls are conducted using BOTH face-to-face and SMS, and lean to Labor owing to the face-to-face component. His state polls use only SMS.

Other State Morgan Polls

Along with the NSW poll, Morgan also conducted polls of the other states last Saturday to Monday. Sample sizes were 1150 in Victoria, 1180 in Queensland, 470 in WA, 450 in SA and 275 in Tasmania. Comparisons are with the mid-January Morgan state poll.

  • In Victoria, Labor’s honeymoon is over; they now lead by 54.5-45.5, a 4.5% gain for the Coalition. Primary votes are 41.5% for Labor (down 3.5), 39.5% for the Coalition (up 4.5) and 11.5% for the Greens (steady). I think the controversy over the East West Link has hurt Labor.

  • In Queensland, the Liberal National Party (LNP) leads by 51.5-48.5, from primary votes of 44% for the LNP, 37.5% for Labor, 8% for the Greens and 3% for Palmer United Party (PUP). This poll was taken just after Labor officially won the election. Newman was highly unpopular, and this poll implies that the LNP would probably have won the election had they replaced Newman prior to the election.

In WA, there is a 50-50 tie, a 0.5% gain for the Coalition. In SA, Labor leads by 53-47, a 1% gain for Labor; this is very surprising as SA Labor is into its fourth term, and lost the statewide two party vote by 53-47 at the March 2014 election. In Tasmania, Labor leads by 39.5-39 on primary votes with the Greens on 14%; a hung Parliament would result from these primaries under Tasmania’s Hare Clark system.

Some Further Queensland Election Analysis

My article on the final Queensland election results is here. Here is some additional analysis.

Antony Green says that there were 71 seats in both 2012 and 2015 that finished as Labor vs LNP contests. In 2012, minor party preferences in those seats were 27% to Labor, 22% to LNP and 51% exhaust, but in 2015 the split was 48% to Labor, 16% to LNP and 36% exhaust. Labor thus went from gaining only five votes per 100 minor party votes to gaining 32.

In the 48 2015 Labor vs LNP contests where the Greens were the last excluded candidate, their preferences flowed at 63% to Labor, 13% to LNP and 24% exhaust. In 2012, Greens preferences were 43% Labor, 16% LNP and 40% exhaust. In 22 contests where PUP was the last excluded candidate, their preferences split was 40% to Labor, 19% to the LNP and 41% exhaust. Note that these PUP preference flows would include some Greens from earlier exclusions.

Antony Green’s final statewide 2PP estimate is a Labor win of 51.0-49.0. He thinks changes in preference flows added 3% to Labor’s 2PP, but I think Labor’s 2PP change owing to preference flows may be closer to 2% than 3%, since the final 52-48 polls somewhat underestimated the Greens vote.

Kevin Bonham has done a poll analysis for Queensland, and he concludes that robopollster ReachTEL was the best pollster on primary votes. While Newspoll had the major party votes about right, it underestimated both the Greens and PUP by over 2%, and its all Others vote was over 5% above the actual result.

The LNP will not challenge the Ferny Grove result in court, so the election results as they stand are final.

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