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Making sense of the polls

Labor has big lead in WA, but LNP leads in Queensland

The Western Australian election will be held in early 2017. A WA Newspoll, conducted March to May from a sample of 1140, gives Labor an emphatic 54-46 lead, a 1 point gain for Labor since the October to December Newspoll. Primary votes are 42% for Labor (steady), 40% for the Liberals and Nationals (down 2) and 11% for the Greens (up 1).

31% (down 2) are satisfied with Premier Colin Barnett’s performance, while 58% (up 4) are dissatisfied, for a net approval of -27. Kevin Bonham said that no Premier with a Newspoll net approval this bad has ever been re-elected; they have been dumped either by their party or voters. Opposition leader Mark McGowan had a high net approval of +23, up 8 points.

If the Coalition wins the Federal election, I think the conservative WA government is doomed. Barnett’s only real chance of re-election appears to be a Federal Labor victory. This is because a few swing voters will vote for the party at state elections that is opposite to the one that controls the Federal government.

If the Poll Bludger’s BludgerTrack aggregate is right, WA will have the biggest swing to Labor at the Federal election, partly because of the unpopularity of the state government.

Galaxy Queensland poll has LNP leading after Tim Nicholls becomes leader

On Friday 6 May, Lawrence Springborg was ousted in a partyroom vote, losing the Liberal National Party (LNP) leadership to Tim Nicholls by 22 votes to 19.

A Galaxy poll, taken 10-11 May from a sample of 1180, has the LNP leading by 52-48, a one point gain for the LNP since April. Primary votes are 44% for the LNP (up 3), 36% for Labor (down 1) and 9% for the Greens (down 1). Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s approval rating is 44% (down 7 since February) and her disapproval is 39% (up 7), for a net approval of +5. New opposition leader Nicholls starts with an approval of 25% and a disapproval of 30%.

Galaxy had previously been using an average of the last three state elections for its preference flows. However, Queensland has reverted to compulsory preferential voting. The Poll Bludger says the 52-48 LNP lead is sensible given Queensland-specific preference flows at the 2013 Federal election.

Clinton ekes out Kentucky win, but loses Oregon 56-44

Today, Hillary Clinton won Kentucky by 46.8-46.3 over Bernie Sanders, but was defeated in Oregon 56-44. She has lost three of the four May states, and barely won the fourth. These losses are best explained by demographics: all the May states are overwhelmingly white, and Clinton performs much better with black and Hispanic voters.

The effect of today’s primaries is that Clinton lost a net 8 delegates out of 116 decided. That leaves her with a pledged delegate lead of 272, with only 781 to go. Clinton will win a majority of the pledged delegates when the last states vote on 7 June (8 June Melbourne time). Her massive lead among superdelegates ensures she will be the Democratic nominee.

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