Making sense of the polls

Making sense of the polls

Post-lobstergate swings to Labor in 4 Vic marginal seats

Last week, it was revealed that Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy had dined with alleged Melbourne Mafia boss Tony Madafferi at the Lobster Cave in April.

The Age commissioned ReachTEL to conduct polls in the four Labor-held marginal seats of Carrum, Frankston, Bentleigh and Mordialloc on Friday night, each with a sample of over 700 voters. These four seats are in the south-eastern “sandbelt” of Melbourne, and were all gained by Labor from the Liberals at the 2014 stare election, enabling Labor to win 47 of the 88 lower house seats.

In Bentleigh, Labor leads by 56-44, a five point swing to Labor since the 2014 election. In Mordialloc, Labor leads by 55-45, a three point swing. In Frankston, Labor leads by 52-48, a two point swing. In Carrum, Labor leads by 51-49, and there is no swing. The next Victorian election will be held in November 2018.

While individual seat polling has a poor record, the consistency of the Labor leads in these polls is clearly good news for Labor. ReachTEL uses respondent allocated preferences for its two party estimates, and primary votes were not provided, so we cannot calculate the two party vote using the previous election method.

The last Victorian media-commissioned poll was a 51-49 to Labor Galaxy poll in February. Since then, the Herald Sun has reported two polls by undisclosed sources that had the Coalition ahead 53-47.

If the Coalition were ahead, it is unlikely that Labor would be holding the sandbelt seats. Either the previous polling was biased against Labor, or the Coalition has slumped as a result of the lobstergate affair.

In polling all four seats, 40% thought Guy should remain opposition leader, while 34% thought he should stand down after lobstergate. Over 2/3 thought crime was increasing, while less than 7% thought it was decreasing.

Tasmanian EMRS poll: 37% Liberal, 34% Labor, 16% Greens

It appears that One Nation will not be contesting the next Tasmanian election, likely to be held in March 2018. They have thus been excluded from EMRS, and replaced by the Jacqui Lambie Network (JLN). The EMRS poll, conducted 3-7 August from a sample of 1000, gave the Liberals 37% (down 2 since May), Labor 34% (steady), the Greens 16% (up 1) and the JLN 5%.

While Lambie and Pauline Hanson have common ground on opposition to Muslims and climate change scepticism, Lambie is well to Hanson’s left on economic issues. It is bad news for the Liberals that their vote is down despite the change in minor parties.

Labor’s Rebecca White leads incumbent Will Hodgman 48-37 as better Premier, a large swing from a 42-39 Hodgman lead in May. Hodgman had led former Labor leader Bryan Green 52-20 in March. Kevin Bonham says incumbents who trail on the better Premier question have historically been toast.

Given EMRS biases, Bonham interprets this poll as 39% Liberals, 38% Labor, 13% Greens. He thinks the most likely seat outcome using Tasmania’s Hare Clark system is 11-12 Liberals, 10 Labor and 3-4 Greens, out of 25 total seats.

SA abolishes group voting tickets for upper house elections

In early August, South Australia replaced the group voting ticket with a NSW-type model, in which voters are required to number just one box above the line, though additional boxes can be marked for preferences. In the current Senate system, voters are told to number six boxes, though only one is required for a formal vote.

The Liberals wanted the current Senate system, but Labor insisted on the NSW model, and Labor’s view prevailed in the upper house. If voting below the line, voters will be told to number 12 squares, but only six are required for a formal vote.

The SA upper house has 22 members with half up for election every four years using statewide proportional representation. A quota is 1/12 of the vote, or 8.3%. The next SA election will be held in March 2018.

Only Victoria and WA now use the group ticket system for upper house elections.