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Making sense of the polls

WA ReachTEL: Labor leads 52-48

The Western Australian election will be held on 11 March 2017. A ReachTEL poll, conducted Thursday night from a sample of 1790, has Labor leading by 52-48, a 1 point gain for Labor since mid-September.

Primary votes are 42.0% for the combined Liberals and Nationals (down 1.6), 36.7% for Labor (up 0.2) and 7.7% for the Greens (down 0.8). The changes in these primaries are from a poll that had an undecided component, and there may also be an undecided component in this poll.

Opposition leader Mark McGowan led Premier Colin Barnett 56-44 as better Premier, up from 54-46 in September. ReachTEL’s forced choice better PM/Premier questions are far more favourable to opposition leaders than polls with an uncommitted option, such as Newspoll.

An additional question about the proposed privatisation of Western Power found that 56% were opposed and only 24% in favour. Voters are usually anti-privatisation, but that issue alone will not cost the conservatives the election.

The WA government has had two four year terms, so there is probably a “time for a change” factor. In addition, the Federal Coalition government is unpopular, and this will make life tough for all conservative state parties.

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