Making sense of the polls

Making sense of the polls

WA ReachTEL: 52-48 to Labor, but One Nation at 10.8%

The WA state election will be held in two months on 11 March. A ReachTEL poll, conducted Thursday night from a sample of 1530, has Labor leading 52-48, unchanged since October. However, One Nation has been included for the first time, and received 10.8% of the primary vote.

Not surprisingly, One Nation’s high vote has diminished all other parties’ votes. The combined Liberals and Nationals have 38.5% (down 3.5), Labor 32.0% (down 4.7) and the Greens 6.1% (down 0.8). With undecided excluded, votes are 42.1% Liberal/Nationals, 35.0% Labor, 11.8% One Nation, 6.7% Greens and 4.5% Others. ReachTEL has been using respondent allocated preferences for its WA polls.

Opposition leader Mark McGowan led Premier Colin Barnett by an unchanged 56-44 as better Premier. ReachTEL’s forced choice better PM/Premier ratings are generally less incumbent friendly than other polls. Barnett also trailed his deputy, Liza Harvey, 54-46 as preferred Liberal leader.

In a close election, a high One Nation vote means their voters’ preferences could be crucial in determining who forms government. One Nation’s How to Vote cards recommending preference orders could be important.

Essential’s October to December WA result had Labor leading by 51-49, a 2 point gain for the Liberal/Nationals since July to September.

Other state polling

Prior to July 2015, Newspoll was conducted by live phone interviews, and would usually ask about state politics after Federal politics questions. In those days, we would usually have results from Victoria and NSW every two months, and from the other mainland states every three months.

The new Newspoll is conducted by robopolling and online methods, and it appears they only ask about state politics when The Australian requests. There have been no Newspolls published for any of Victoria, Queensland and SA since December 2015/January 2016.

The one state Newspoll released this December/January was a NSW poll, conducted in November and December from a sample of 1570. The Coalition had a narrow 51-49 lead, unchanged from August-September. Primary votes were 41% Coalition (down 1), 36% Labor (steady) and 11% Greens (steady). Premier Mike Baird’s satisfied rating was 35% (down 4) and his dissatisfied rating was 50% (up 4), for a net approval of -15. Opposition leader Luke Foley’s net approval was up one point to -6.

Essential had state polling from data collected in October to December. In NSW, the Coalition led 51-49, a one point gain for Labor since July-September. In Victoria, Labor led by an unchanged 53-47. In Queensland, Labor had a hard-to-believe 55-45 lead, a 2 point gain for Labor. In SA, Labor had a 51-49 lead, a 3 point gain for the Liberals.

Official US Electoral College result: Trump 304, Clinton 227, Others 7

According to the popular vote results in the various states on 8 November, Trump won the Electoral College by 306-232, although Clinton won the national popular vote by 2.1%. On 19 December, the electors cast their votes. There were seven “faithless” electors, with two defecting from Trump and five from Clinton. Trump needed 270 Electoral Votes (just over 50% of the 538 total) to win the Presidency.

Trump will be inaugurated as the US President on 20 January at 12 noon US eastern (4am 21 January Melbourne time).

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