Westpoll says federal WA vote of 54.5 to 45.5

Pollbludger has the info.

Newspoll says 53 to 47

Kind of snuck up; in the Oz here. Up from 52 to 48.

Like the others except Nielsen, it shows a large increase in Labor’s primary support at expense of Greens and others, and small one in two party preferred. As happens after leadership changes, whether they turn out to be a good or bad idea. (Am repeating self, yes.)

Dennis Shanahan puts the argument, as Peter van Onselen and others also have, that primary vote and preferred PM are the only things that wot matter.

No doubt that’s what the party “hardheads” believe, but that doesn’t make it true. They believe all sorts of things.

It’s back to the future with western Sydney

The new prime minister, Julia Gillard, is a creature of the Labor Party.  She is from Melbourne (before that Adelaide) but apparently like all good ALP operators has an obsession with western Sydney.

In signalling her shift in population policy (or emphasis or whatever), she yacked about that part of the world. This is a very Labor thing to do, especially from opposition.

Throughout the Howard years, the ALP held about 80% of seats in what could be described as that area. When winning government in 2007 they took a total of – wait for it – two new seats there.

In 2010, after redistribution, more seats are in play in the general region: Macarthur (Liberal-held but now a notional margin of 0.5 percent for Labor) Greenway (Lib-held but notional 5.7 percent Labor) and Lindsay (Labor by 6.3). Go further south and there’s winnable Hughes (0.5 Lib). Update: let’s throw in provincial Macquarie, Labor by 0.3 percent.

Still, the way Rudd won in ‘07 was to concentrate on that category of people called Australians. You might have heard of those: from many walks of life, in the main outward-looking. A decent two party preferred majority of votes from this component pretty well guarantees you a majority of the 150 electorates in the country.

But we’re returning to the self-defeating idea that Labor’s support begins in western Sydney and if they make it big enough there it kind of overflows into the rest of the country.

This was a hallmark of the Crean and Latham oppositions; they carried on about that part of the world alot. It’s a very machineman thing to do, but it doesn’t work. Some of the biggest swings away from Latham in ‘04 were in outer western Sydney, as were some of the biggest to Rudd in ‘07. Yet every utterance of Latham’s was conceived with those people in mind.

Check out the forest, Julia.

Nielsen says 55 to 45

In Fairfax, Green vote way down, Labor’s primary way up, Gillard v Abbott preferred PM up on Rudd’s. Something like this is par for the course.

In the case of Nielsen, comparisons are complicated by the possible rogure nature of the last poll; Abbott’s net approval (as opposed to just approval) has improved. Here’s anticipation on Thursday.

Table here, very odd state components (small samples of course). Victoria says 67 33 and the rest of the country about 50 50.

New tear ‘m down and put the next one up leaders nearly always get a boost vis a vis the predecessor, whether they’re a Rudd or a Howard, a Latham or a Downer, although it can take a few weeks. It doesn’t mean much in terms of eventual electability.

Update: Galaxy says 52 to 48, here, which is no two party preferred bounce at all from general polls. Will try to get tables.

And this sting in the tail for Tone: “The only measure where Mr Abbott topped the survey was that 52 per cent said he was someone they don’t like much compared with 24 per cent saying that of Ms Gillard.”

Ouw. A bit rude.

To the victor goes the fantasies

- That’s not a poll driven prime minister – this is a poll driven prime minister

We all thought Kevin Rudd was content-free and gutless; Julia Gillard has indicated she’s likely to gutless out on the mining tax. She was party to every previous bit of Rudd government gutlessing out. What’s left?

- The best, perhaps only, government policy explainer, Lindsay Tanner, is going. Just leaves Emerson and Bowen.

- Until 7pm on Wednesday most commentators favoured the government to win the election. Now they’re saying Labor couldn’t win under Rudd. That’s narrative-land for you.

- Barrie Cassidy had interesting piece in the drum. Rudd did make lots of mistakes.

But like everyone else Barrie accepts at face value the story, laid out for example with faux outrage by the over-exposed Paul Howes on Lateline, that it was Rudd sending CoS Alistair Jordon to visit caucus that drove Gillard over the edge.

Yes that’s right, she wasn’t going to challenge, but Kevin angered her so much she couldn’t help herself.

Oh, and Jordan wouldn’t let Karl Bitar show the prime minister the polling, so he …  sent it to Andrew Bolt instead. As you would; the journalist you go to when you’ve got your leader’s interests at heart.

Fair enough the plotters want to pretend there was no plot. Must the journos play along?

- And have a look at it on Bolt’s site. All vague and dodgy.

Party people armed with an agenda and opinion polls should be treated with grains of salt.

Jula Gillard and tyranny of the present

Julia Gillard gave a charming press conference, therefore she’ll defeat Abbott! This seems to be the view. Hey, let’s all think in the present.

Julia talked alot about communicating better – a very Kevin thing to do. Proof will be in the pudding, but she has not so far shown much inclination to go out and argue the government’s case when the going is tough. Like Rudd she’s been a serial avoider of hard topics.

Her decision to not move into the Lodge until after the election is silly and counterproductive. So the prime minister is not really a full prime minister?

Says she’ll be tougher on asylum-seekers. How much tougher can she go without embracing the Howardesque rhetorical dimension, which she says she won’t do?

Next opinion polls will likely see a drop in the Green vote and increase in Labor’s and possibly an increase in Labor’s two party preferred. Gillard’s net approval will be better than predecessor’s (with lots of undecideds). Her preferred PM will better Rudd’s recent numbers.

These sorts of things nearly always happen after a leadership change and are then seen as vindication for the decision - ie “these numbers show that Labor was right to replace leaders.” A virtuous cycle.

It’s what happens on election day that matters, of course.

(I reckon Abbott’s approval rating will likely increase.)

And a tweeter reminds of this post two years ago.

Update: oh, and the RSPT advertisement offer to mining companies is good but.

Julia Gillard becomes prime minister

Me in the Oz.

Newspoll in the marginals: Labor gone?

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.

Newspoll says 52 to 48

A reasonably happy result for Rudd. From primary support of 35, 40 and 15.

Main tables here. Also perceived standard of living here.

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.

Newspoll here tonight at 11:30

Assuming still awake ….