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Making sense of the polls

Final Victorian Election Polls have Labor Narrowly Ahead

The Victorian election will be held today, with polls closing at 6pm local time. The table below gives the final Victorian election polls by 2010 election preferences. Ipsos gave Labor a 52-48 lead as its headline figure, but this used respondent allocated preferences.

Vic final polls.

The poll table has three polls at 52-48 to Labor, and two with a 50-50 tie. The three 52-48 polls are all by experienced pollsters that have performed well when tested against election results. Ipsos has a good international reputation, but this will be the first election test for it in Australia. While Morgan has been conducting Australian polls for a long time, this will also be the first test of his SMS polls.

As a result, the polls showing 52-48 should be weighted more heavily, and it is likely that all three of them actually had Labor ahead by slightly more than 52-48. The Poll Bludger’s BludgerTrack is now at 51.8% Two Party Preferred (2PP) to Labor, from primary votes of 41.2% for the Coalition, 38.6% for Labor and 12.5% for the Greens. This is a 1.1% 2PP gain for the Coalition over the final week. Kevin Bonham’s aggregate is at a similar 51.7% 2PP to Labor.

On these final polls, it is likely that Labor will win the election, but not absolutely certain. Assuming no Labor seats are lost to the Greens, BludgerTrack gives Labor a 48-40 majority, while Bonham gives them a 47-41 majority. As I noted in my election preview, preference flows from the Greens are likely to favour Labor more heavily than at the 2010 election, so I would expect Labor’s actual 2PP to be higher than predicted for given primary votes. However, if the late swing to the Coalition continues into election day, this could be a very close election.

We may not have a clear result tonight because about one third of the electorate has voted early, and these votes will not be counted until Monday at the earliest. A Galaxy exit poll of the early voters in the four “sandbelt” marginals of Carrum, Bentleigh, Mordialloc and Frankston has Labor leading by 52-48 across the four seats. In 2010, early votes in the sandbelt seats favoured the Coalition 53-47, so this poll represents a 5% swing to Labor. With more early voters, the composition of the early vote may have changed, but Labor would still expect to perform better on ordinary votes than early votes. This poll suggests that at least three of the four sandbelt marginals will fall to Labor. The poll was commissioned by Trades Hall Council and has a sample of 600.

Notes on These Polls

  • I do not usually comment on preferred Premier/PM, but it is notable in Galaxy that Andrews has dramatically closed the preferred Premier gap with Napthine, from 16 points in late October to 12 points last week, and now the preferred Premier gap is only three points in favour of Napthine. This Galaxy found that 60% supported the East West Link, with 29% opposed. However, the late October Galaxy asked whether people would prefer the removal of level crossings to the Link, and found 58% supported removal of level crossings.

  • Morgan’s SMS polls have had the Greens on about 18%, much higher than any other polls. His final poll had the Greens falling to 13.5%, which suggests that he may have wanted a Greens vote that was in better agreement with other polls. However, his final poll gives the Coalition a primary vote of 44%, which is higher than other polls.

  • Ipsos had Napthine’s approval and disapproval both up 3 points to 49% and 40% respectively, for a net approval of +9. Andrews’ net approval was -1, down from +3. 33% said the Coalition was more likely to keep its election promises, while 30% selected Labor. Ipsos is the Greens’ best poll, with a primary vote of 15%. The last Ipsos poll was taken in early November.

  • ReachTEL had Napthine’s good or very good rating at 34% (up 4) and his poor or very poor rating at 36% (down 2). Andrews’ good rating was 28% (up 5) and his poor rating was 35% (down 4). 62% thought Labor would win the election, and 38% thought the Coalition would win. The last ReachTEL was taken in late October.

  • Newspoll had Napthine’s satisfied rating down 5 points to 41% and his dissatisfied rating up 4 points to 45% for a net approval of -4, down from +5 in late October. Andrews’ net approval was up four points to -5. 52% think Labor will win, while 25% say the Coalition will win.

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