Me in the Oz.
In the Oz, Mr Shanahan here (tables at bottom). They show big swings against Labor – except in the one seat with an around average Green vote, Page (NSW). (The rest have low Green support.)
We don’t know sample sizes. [Update: tables now at Newspoll, 600 in each of the NSW seats, and 600 across the three Queensland ones.]
They surveyed Lindsay on the same weekend as the Penrith by-election, which very likely boosted Liberal support at the expense of Labor.
That leaves the three Queensland seats of Dawson, Flynn and Longman which, assuming a good overall sample [update: 600, just large enough to escape a Mickey and about a 4 percent MoE], are bad news for the Rudd government with a six percent 2pp swing from 2007. Labor is doing very poorly overall in that state and WA overall, and as Richo said on Q&A last night (possibly because he has heard an RSPT compromise is coming soon) the government needs to get the RSPT out of the way.
Labor doing well in Page assumes Green preference flows similar to the last election. This does again make one wonder about those. (Despite Q&A, Greens how to vote cards don’t have a great deal of influence on preference flows. Well, they have some, but not as much as most seem to think.)
We really don’t know. Possum’s analysis of Nielsen suggests the preference flow will be more even, but that’s just from one small set of numbers (and ignored, as you must, the rather fluctuating number of Green supporters who didn’t nominate a major party).
It’s the only data we have, so we should probably expect a smaller flow to Labor than 80 percent.
But recall that back in 2004, Newspoll and Morgan got very good (ie very close to actual result) final week primary votes but not good two party preferred ones because they asked non major party supporters who would get their preferences. It was after this that they began estimating themselves based on the previous election, which gave them both very good final week 2007 results.
And who are the “others” in 2010? If Family First, One Nation etc, then Coalition-favouring. But we don’t know this either.
And taking a step back, if Labor does get 52 percent after preferences across the country, as the weekend’s Newspoll had, they would almost certainly win. Coupled with today’s results (if we take literally) it means they would do badly in traditional marginals but better elsewhere.
This is an interesting election.
A reasonably happy result for Rudd. From primary support of 35, 40 and 15.
In defence of two party preferred
Some people say: forget the estimated opinion poll two party preferred support, Labor can’t win with 35 percent primary vote. They have a point: it’s hard to imagine a Labor victory with such a vote.
But it is even harder to imagine the Coalition winning with 40 percent if Labor gets 35 and the Greens 15.
People are also a bit right when they reckon estimating 2pp from such low major party primaries is a tad unreliable.
But in the end, respondents who tell pollsters they support a minor party/independent are either going to move back to a major party or give their preferences to them. We need some idea of two party preferred. In each seat, it’s what wins.
If the pollsters didn’t give us 2pps we’d have to do it ourselves from the primaries.
The worst argument against 2pp is that apparatchiks in the PM’s office or somewhere don’t believe in them, that when they phone thay say “mate, just give me the primary votes and who has best haircut/nicest personality etc rating.”
We are supposed to defer to these institutionalised, spotty youths who probably had political strategy drummed into them by someone like Wayne “keep it simple mate and stay on message – never mind the personality” Swan?
I think not! I’ll remain a 2pp man, thanks.
Update: Peter (not me) in comments makes the point that if you assume the Green flow to Labor is as low as 2/3 (instead of 4/5 as at last election), and that “others” slightly favour the Coalition as they did in 2007, you end up with the opposition a little ahead on 2pp – say 51 to 49.
But these are of course just assumptions as well.
It would be great if someone did a huge survey of current Green voters and asked them which party came from and where their preferences are likely to go.
Assuming still awake ….
Penrith by-election today. Main question is whether two party preferred swing to Liberals begins with ‘1′, a ‘2′ or even - you never know - a ‘3′. [Update: it's about 25. William Bowe reckons this "certainly doesn’t bode well for [Labor] in [federal seat] Lindsay”, but the two things don’t have much to do with each other. Under John Howard the federal Libs won Lindsay four times while state Libs were flogged in Penrith.]
When Kevin Rudd was riding high, bashings of NSW Labor at by-elections weren’t seen as some kind of test for him. They are today, it’s silly, but that’s the way it works.
The Oz reckons Julia Gillard may be leader this time next week. Are there really so many fools in Caucus?
It all seems to hinge on a bunch of about 1200 Australians of voting age who happen to be at home when Newspoll phones them this weekend.
One single survey will tell us bugger all about how the election’s gonna go, but will mightily influence reporting and hence the behaviour of the ALP.
If you get through this one Kevin, perhaps that earlier election is worth considering.
It is a fact a modern life that judgements about how a party is “travelling” rest almost solely on the latest published opinion polls. Commentators bring in all sorts of “reasons”, but poll numbers are the main motivation. And it’s the ones published in newspapers that really count: Newspoll, ACNielsen and Galaxy. The latest Morgan face-to-face and Essential have Labor ahead, but they are largely discounted. (I’m not making any judgements about any of these outfits.)
Sadly for Kevin Rudd, this Queen’s birthday weekend means no Newspoll until next week, so last week’s 47 to 53 Nielsen, the worst for federal Labor since early 2006, will continue to inform commentary for another week.
Well, sad depending on what the result would have been had one been conducted over the weekend. Given those recent Morgan and Essential results, a Newspoll worse than that Nielsen seems unlikely.
On Saturday, the West Australian published a terrible survey for federal Labor in WA, 62 to 38 across the state; here.
The sample is only 400. (Anything under 500 earns a Mickey here.)
As did the previous Nielsen actually, taken over 6-8 May (soon after the RSPT was announced).
Western Australia has the newest (and so most popular) government in the land, the only Coalition one and it’s running strongly against the RSPT. It’s having a large effect there, but whether that ends up meaning much on election day remains to be seen.
Automatic enrolment in Victoria
Yesterday Antony Green posted on the Victorian government’s automatic enrolment legislation. This would go further than the NSW act as it gets youngsters onto the roll for the first time. Also in NSW, there seems to be a possible unspoken agreement to hold off on the publicity until after the federal election so as not to play havoc with that portion of the federal roll. This is not possible in Victoria which goes to the polls in November unless the federal poll is early; Antony sees here possible evidence for an August federal election.
Green ^%$ preferences
Antony also posted on Green polling. His first commenter pondered Green preferences flows.
Possum posted on this this week using Nielsen poll data, concluding that Green preferences in the last seven months have moved in tandem with first preference support for the major parties, which means they increasingly favour the Coalition.
Possum reckons the “ALP Protected Left Flank Hypothesis” that “the ALP can lose primary votes to their left (the Greens) because they ultimately get them back via preferences” is “mostly piffle at the moment”. Hmm. This seems to assume all the recent increase in Green support in the polls comes from ALP support.
Like Charles Richardson in Crikey (subscription required) I have difficulty contemplating a path from Labor-voting to Coalition-voting that goes through Green-voting. Like him I reckon some (probably most) “new” Green supporters in today’s polls come from Labor and some (a minority) from the Coalition, and some of Labor’s primary vote is also going straight onto the Coalition’s. If these new Green voters then preference the party they came from, this is consistent with Possum’s Nielsen data.
At elections such a trend has not been in evidence, for example the Coalition v Labor primary vote gap was larger in 2004 than 2001 but so was the Green preference flow to Labor. (Don’t have 2007 numbers.)
It’s just one set of numbers from one pollster, so we shouldn’t get carried away.
Anyway, Possum’s strategic advice, that the ALP should “concentrate on the wider electorate as far as policy positioning is concerned” applies even more if you do accept the “ALP Protected Left Flank Hypothesis”.
That one’s been used – damn.
In 2004, prime minister John Howard’s personal standing in the electorate had nosedived, in part thanks to the muscular new “cut-through” opposition leader. In particular, lots of voters believed he habitually lied to avoid responsibility, and that you couldn’t trust what he said.
So he reclaimed the word “trust” and turned it into “who do you trust to run the economy?” – interest rates in particular. The rest, as they say …
In 2010, can Kevin Rudd reclaim his Achilles’ heel? Running on ”waffle” doesn’t work, and nor does “this election will be about gutlessness”. Those words are unsalvageable.
But all elections are about the 2004 Howard version of “trust”, whether the word is used or not. And no matter how loathed the incumbent, they all turn on how “safe” the opposition is.
Update: it belatedly occurs that the most applicable version would be “This election will be about courage.” Something like “the courage to stand up for all Australians, against sectional interests [read big miners etc], the courage to keep us out of recession, to change your mind when the facts change …”
Hmm, a bit risky.
Do not adjust your sets. Coalition on 43, Labor on 33, Greens on 15. Tables here. (It’s 52 to 48 if preferences are distributed Newspoll-style.)
In the Oz a Mining industry sponsered newspoll finds the RTSP rather unpopular in marginal Queensland and Western Australia, but no voting intentions.
Wednesday morning update: In answer to a couple of questions in comments. If someone said to me: “here is a nice new car, the keys will be yours if you correctly nominate, now, the number of seats Labor will win at the next federal election,” I would answer …. “86″.
If this does turn out to be in the ballpark, then of course current opinion poll numbers won’t be repeated on polling day. They will change.
There will be lots of known/unknown unknowns etc between now and then, importantly in the government’s and the Coalition’s behaviour. But oppositions come under scrutiny in election campaigns. I reckon industrial relations will be an issue. Tony Abbott is difficult to vote for.
Statewise, I still reckon Labor will lose net seats in New South Wales and Queensland and gain net in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. What is due to the RTSP will be one of those matters for discussion.
There. This post now also in “anticipations” category.