Making sense of the polls

Making sense of the polls

Victorian ReachTEL: Labor leads, but Andrews damaged by CFA dispute

A Victorian ReachTEL poll, conducted Thursday night from a sample of 1650, gives Labor a 51-49 two party lead, a one point gain for the Coalition since the November 2014 election. Primary votes appear to be 40.1% for the Coalition, 34.6% for Labor and 10.7% for the Greens, but we are told that Labor’s support rises to 36.8% with undecided voters who lean to Labor included, so presumably the first primary votes given include undecided voters.

Although Labor is still in an election-winning position, opposition leader Matthew Guy leads Premier Daniel Andrews 51-49 as better Premier. ReachTEL uses a forced choice question for its better PM/Premier results, and this removes the pro-incumbent skew that other polls, such as Newspoll and Ipsos, show. ReachTEL’s better PM/Premier results should not be compared with polls that do not use a forced choice question.

59% thought Andrews’ handling of the dispute with the Country Fire Authority (CFA) was poor or very poor, including 42% very poor, and only 17% thought his handling was good or very good. 50% thought Andrews was too close to the unions, 42% about right, and only 8% not close enough.

42% thought that Andrews was best to lead Labor, with 36% selecting Jane Garrett and 11% each for Tim Pallas and James Merlino. Garrett had resigned from Cabinet over opposition to the government’s handling of the CFA dispute. As a result, she does very well among Liberal voters, and Andrews leads 72-15 with Liberals excluded.

48% said they were less likely to vote Labor because of Andrews’ treatment of Garrett, and only 11% said they were more likely to vote Labor. These responses would include many strong Coalition supporters who never had any intention of voting Labor.

While Labor still leads, these poll results show that the CFA dispute has damaged Andrews. Without this dispute, Labor would very probably be further ahead. Andrews will be hoping that he can put this dispute behind him, and not have it dog him until the next election, due in November 2018.

As in NSW, credible state polling in Victoria has been scarce. This ReachTEL is the first since the last state election. The last previous credible poll was the November-December 2015 Newspoll, which had Labor ahead 52-48.

Update Monday morning 5 September: Labor’s proposal to remove level crossings and use sky rail instead was supported by 60% of voters, and opposed by just 22%.

Tasmanian EMRS poll; Liberals 41%, Labor 31%, Greens 15%

A Tasmanian EMRS poll, conducted 23-26 August from a sample of 1000, has the Liberals on 41% (up 4 since July), Labor on 31% (down 1) and the Greens on 15% (down 2). 11% say they will vote for Independents, but currently there are no strong fourth party candidates. The dreadful Federal Liberal Tasmanian election result probably affected the July state poll.

Kevin Bonham thinks the Liberals would be slight favourites to just win a majority on this poll, with a hung Parliament a strong possibility.

NT election late counting

Three seats remain in some doubt in the NT: Braitling (Labor leads CLP), Katherine (Labor leads CLP) and Nhulunbuy (Independent leads Labor). Recounts in all close seats will be conducted on Monday. The deadline for postal votes to be received is 12 noon on Friday 9 September, and final postals will be counted after that deadline. The poll will be declared on Monday 12 September.