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Galaxy: 50-50

The Courier-Mail reports a Galaxy poll conducted over the previous two days shows the Liberal National Party with a narrow lead on the primary vote (43 per cent to 42 per cent), and a dead heat on two-party preferred. There is a popular view among Labor partisans that Galaxy is not so much a market research outfit as a Virtucon-style empire of evil, whose first order of business at all times is to promote the political interests of the Coalition. This is partly because it consistently showed federal Labor with slightly less gigantic leads than its rivals during 2007, notwithstanding that those numbers ended up being closer to the actual result. No doubt this latest finding will be grist to the partisans’ mill. Not for the first time, I feel compelled to lay out Galaxy’s record in final pre-election polls going back to the organisation’s foundation in 2004. This list shows Galaxy’s final two-party results followed by the actual election results in brackets:

WA 2008: 51-49 (52-48 approx)
Federal 2007: 52-48 (52.7-47.3)
NSW 2007: 53-47 (52.3-47.7)
Victoria 2006: 55-45 (54.4-45.6)
Queensland 2006: 56.5-43.5 (54.9-45.1)
Federal 2004: 52-48 (52.7-47.3)

No doubt the naysayers will point to Galaxy’s first poll going into the 2006 campaign (which was in fact conducted before the election was announced, unlike the current poll) which had the Coalition leading Labor 51-49. That result probably did flatter the Coalition even at the time, but the crucial fact was that their campaign had yet to be sent off the rails by the Liberals’ confusion as to who would be the premier if the Coalition was elected. There is no real reason to doubt that Galaxy’s latest survey was conducted in a competent and professional fashion, and that it should accordingly be analysed objectively once we have a sample size from which to calculate the margin of error. That isn’t yet the case, but the Courier-Mail will presumably be forthcoming with more information shortly. Past experience suggests it would have been 800, in which case the MoE would be about 3.5 per cent.

UPDATE by Possum:

As we don’t know the sample size of the Galaxy poll, in order to look at what it means we have to assume a size – so let’s go a sample of 1000. When the info is released later I’ll rerun the charts – but unless the poll is below 700 in size, it won’t really make that much difference.

A new morning brings us the sample size – 800, so we’ll update the figures and charts below.

Remembering back to our key chart that tells us the probability of the ALP reaching 45 seats with a given election result.

If this poll were to come literally true on election day, the ALP would have a 94% probability of gaining the 45 seats it needs to form government. However, since this poll has known uncertainty built into it – the sampling error – we have to adjust the probability curve to accommodate this additional uncertainty.

So what is the Galaxy poll telling us after we do all that? It’s telling us that if the true state of public opinion is within the margin of error of the Galaxy poll (and that MoE is distributed normally), there is currently an 83.2% probability of the ALP gaining the 45 seats it needs to form government. The simulation results look like this.

To summarise: If the election result was 50/50 on the TPP, then the ALP has a 94% probability of retaining government, if the result on election day is somewhere within the Margin of Error of this poll (assuming a sample size of 1000) of 3.5%, then the probability of the ALP retaining government is 83.2%.

UPDATE 2 (Possum):

While we are all waiting for the details of the poll – particularly the sample size – here’s a quick chart that shows the Margin of Error for a 50/50 polling result, for sample sizes between 0 and 2000.

UPDATE 3 (William):

Further reporting by the Courier-Mail confirms that the sample was 800. Bligh continues to lead Springborg as better premier 50 per cent to 37 per cent, marking little change from Galaxy’s last survey in September, at which Labor led 52-48.

UPDATE 4 (Possum)

All the charts and probabilities above have now been updated for the 800 sample size that comes with an MoE of 3.5%. Also note that William makes a very fine Nostradamus on these things!

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  • 1
    ruawake
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    The problem with polling in Qld is that it is very difficult, it is the only State where more people live outside the capital city.

    The sample size just before the election will give us an accurate guide, early polls tend to have a smaller sample.

    My opinion is that there will be large swings to the LNP in seats they already hold.

  • 2
    Luckydave
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    The wheels have already begun falling off the Borg Hillbilly Jalopy.

    William, you don’t need to see the margin of error to know that this poll tells us nothing more than the fact that if the election were held yesterday it would have been close.

    The undecideds remain undecided. Data on how firmly held views are would be invaluable. To paraphrase Possum with respect to this poll, “move on people nothing to see here”.

    So in the absence of “shocking” data, the emphasis should go back to evaluating strategy, campaign communication and momentum – Mark Barnich’s forte.

    Nothing has yet occurred that would really move ALP voters either way (with the possible exception of the impending economic stimulus). This poll is actually useful for Anna Bligh as it discourages Labor voters from protest voting.

    By contrast the deluge of ex-MPs running as rightwing independents in National Party held seats looks ominous for the LNP experiment. Defending these right wing attacks will force LNP candidates in these seats to polarise in order to consolidate the redneck vote at the expense of the urban conservatives – who will again vote Labor over National-party led coalition.

  • 3
    Luckydave
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Oh and another thing. Queensland is highly decentralised – the urban vote I am referring to as swinging against an increasingly rightwing LNP option is not only located in Brisbane, it is widely distributed. University campuses are now strung along the QLD coast. The associated social sophistication resists a return to the QLD of yore which a right lurching LNP is increasing becoming.

  • 4
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Queenslanders have nothing to vote for in the LNP. The barely have policy or credibility so the only way Labor would lose if people decided they wanted to vote against them.

  • 5
    Bree
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    I predict 24 Labor seats will turn blue within one hour of polls closing! Labor dooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooomed!

  • 6
    Bree
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Go the Courier-Mail!!! Keep up the accountability against Qld Labor!!!

  • 7
    Luckydave
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Bree, apart from incredibly wishful thinking given a 50-50 poll which would indicate counting for days – isn’t the LNP’s colour scheme more of a blue with a baby crap yellow swirl?

  • 8
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just added a summary at the end of the post of what this means in layman’s terms.

  • 9
    ruawake
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Luckdave

    A 50-50 poll would give Labor 15 seats more the the LNP. If it was a statewide swing.

  • 10
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Luckydave – a 50/50 result on election day would probably be over quite quickly, with that giving the LNP only around 10 or 11 of the 20-23 seats they need to form government.

  • 11
    Ryan
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Bree is the best poster on here.

  • 12
    NorthShorer
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    I did a stint in Brisbane for work a few years ago – lived close to town, the lifestyle was great (better than expected). I don’t think there is ANY appetite for a “National Party” premier with affluent Brisneylanders, and Bligh looks pretty good both as Labor leader and as premier. She looks on top of her brief and in authority.

    But you can overdo the “anti-conservative” thing in Brisbane – Howard was popular enough in the marginal seats for a long time (not long enough!). If people get really hacked off with the quality of public services, though, they can bite back at the states – just look at what people think about Rees here in NSW, judging by the polls. Also I reckon that credit downgrade is a really bad look.

    They should get Andrew Fraser out and about more (maybe they are? Not in the loop….) He looks great – a definite future leader.

  • 13
    Luckydave
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Possum, since all the rightwing wacko indies have entered the fray the LNP cannot even offer a facade of competence.

    I’d love to see the gender breakdowns in this polling. Women seem to admire Anna Bligh and this may be an important factor in decision making. The identy politics seen in the US election could apply strongly in Labor’s favour.

    The breaking news is that it is now possible for Labor to seriously entertain a pick-up in Beaudesert and who nows what bizarreness seats like Gympie will produce.

    The LNP face the prospect of shedding quite a few seats to the indies, and even Labor as the right wing vote fragments and exhausts.

    This will mean that some seats will be counted over many days – particularly those where the QEC has no clue which way to conduct the 2PP count. Still it will be fun to be counting votes with a possible ALP win in Beaudesert – whodathunk?

  • 14
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Northshorer hits the point that the LNP have failed dismally to understand so far – “conservative” isnt a single political persuasion in QLD, it’s at least two and probably a vast number of increments between the regional National Party style noisy conservatism and the urban version (and even then, the affluent inner city areas are vastly diferent from the outer metro versions).

    If the State isnt completely falling down around people’s ears, Law and Order and ranting will only get you so far.

  • 15
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    LuckyDave – I completely agree that the Indies could pose a big problem for the LNP, although not necessarily in terms of them actually winning seats, but in terms of them eating enough of the primary vote out from underneath the LNP to bring seats into play that shouldn’t be. Then the LNP is forced, as you suggested, to protect their right flank because they simply can’t afford to risk any seats going to Indies.

    But the ‘conservative values’ playbook that the Nats use to beat off competition on their right tend undermines their vote in the burbs. Again, not by large margins, but enough to make it a lot harder for them to win (it only has to be a few percent of the vote in the suburbs).

    Springborg being gutless over Clive Palmer will not be helping him in Brisbane either.

  • 16
    ruawake
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    A view from the Sunshine Coast.

    The road construction in the past 3 years has been incredible.

    Duplication of the Sunshine Motorway from Maroochydore to Nicklin Way
    Duplication of the Maroochy River Bridge.
    Pacific Paradise bypass.
    Coolum-Yandina Rd upgrade
    Maroochydore Road upgrade through Kunda Park
    Plaza Parade connection to the Sunshine Motorway
    Eeenie Creek Road and Walter Hay Drive in Noosa
    Plus others.

    This is why I think the Sunny Coast will swing to Labor.

  • 17
    bob1234
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    I predict 24 Labor seats will turn blue within one hour of polls closing! Labor dooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooomed!

    And you think Costello will win the next election to become PM. Will you take both back when the LNP lost this election?

  • 18
    bob1234
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    Also, I note Possum’s graph. If the result were to be 50/50 at the election, Labor would have a 95% chance of winning as opposed to 5% for the LNP.

  • 19
    bob1234
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    And funny how rusted Libs take stock in the polls, or dismiss them as rubbish, when they feel like it depending on the result.

  • 20
    Luckydave
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    I think the indies have a real shot this time. These indies are experienced campaigners and many are former/current MPs. The Liberal part of the LNP brand is hurting them massively with the old school National Party/One Nation voters, much as the National bit hurts them with blue bloods in the blue ribbon suburbs.

    With so many serious conservative independents surely a few of them have to get lucky. Perhaps some Montecarlo analysis please. In some respects One Nations 25% at the 1998 election could be considered the election of 11 uber-rightwing independents. Surely 3, 4 or more cannot be out of the question, this time. Look at Bob Katter and the NSW independents (ex Nats) as examples.

    While all these conservative independents could be relied upon to support the LNP given half a chance, they demonstrate that the LNP can at the very best offer unstable minority government. Not what you want when facing the next Great Depression, and precisely the reason Anna Bligh called this election.

    The problem with the LNP merger is that they either get stuck in the middle and the former Nats get done over or the old Nats sacrifice the Libs. Previously, they would play games of playing to respective audiences with the two brands.

    The LNP divorce after this defeat is going to be bitter.

  • 21
    NorthShorer
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Totally Possum. There was a state and federal election while I was there and the mood was different. I wasn’t organised enough to be enrolled for the state one but the campaign was dead and lifeless because everyone knew Labor was the only game in town. The moment people at work who were Libs felt it was a contest, they could vote for conservatives that “got it” (federal election), they did. If the conservatives are STILL underestimating that they need an urban brand and culture to connect with Brisbane voters, they are toast. If they don’t learn that, then maybe Andrew Fraser will get to be premier sooner rather than later!

    I also think Labor is more right-wing in QLD so that helps too. Look at Rudd, Swan, etc. From Newtown they ain’t! :-)

  • 22
    steve
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Any polls prior to Springborg explaining how he is going to fund his $70 Billion worth of election promises is fantasy. He has promised that in the next week or so he will explain all – I look forward to this miracle.

  • 23
    bob1234
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Luckydave, conservative independents would likely only take seats off the LNP, or in non-metro areas. The LNP has to make serious inroads in to the metro electorates to have a hope of winning. And that just doesn’t seem likely.

  • 24
    steve
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Stable government is not within striking distance for the Nationals in either the political sense or the economic sense with a Global Financial Crisis denier in league with redneck independents, what a government they would be.

  • 25
    It's Time
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    The poll is a bonus for Labor. It will give the potential protest voters pause to reconsider and actually pay attention. that sort of scrutiny will not help LNP.

  • 26
    steve
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Just imagine the Premier Springborg standing at Government House on swearing in day for a happy snap with Minister Hanson, Minister Roberts, Minister Copeland, Minister Molloy, Minister Lee Long etc. It would be funny in the short term but not longterm.

  • 27
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Minister Hanson, Minister Roberts, Minister Copeland, Minister Molloy, Minister Lee Long etc.

    It wouldn’t even be funny in the short term!

    Pretty funny now though :-D

  • 28
    Rocket Rocket
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    I am not so convinced Labor will win this election. I lived there through one Queensland election (1992) and it was a strange experience then, even before One Nation. The recent disasters for Labor in NT and WA (after calling early elections on very flimsy grounds) should give Labor MPs pause for thought – when electorates are p’d off large margins can melt away.

    The other issue I wonder about is what may happen federally if the LNP did get up, or even go fairly close. I had previously thought that a merger is possible federally, but probably only during the next term (assuming the Coalition lose again), but maybe this could hasten it. Things can happen very quickly in Politics, just ask the ghost of former Labor Premier Vince Gair!

  • 29
    bob1234
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    WA was due to an atrocious campaign by Carpenter Labor, and they were/are one of the worst Labor parties in the country with their scandals/Burke, probably next to NSW.

    NT was not a bad result for Labor. There have been 11 elections since self-government was established in 1974. Labor’s win in 2008 equalled their second-best win ever, drawing with 2001, a 1 seat majority.

  • 30
    ruawake
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    I may be wrong – but I heard the sample size was about 400. :(

  • 31
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    I hope you’re wrong Rua, that would have an MoE of 5% making it a Mickey Mouse poll.

  • 32
    steve
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    I think you’ll find it was good quality polling Possum. The sample probably came from Ascot, Belmont and Kenmore.

  • 33
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    I’ve done a quick update: a chart that shows the margin of error for a given poll sample size.

    And now we have numbered comments and pagination to boot!

  • 34
    bob1234
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    May I say i’m very displeased with the avatar assigned to me. I much prefer my pollbludger one.

  • 35
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    It’s come up a bit short on the looks stake bob :-D

  • 36
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    View from the bayside: I think Cleveland be LNP. The Raby Bay-ites (and other faux wealthies) will ensure that this time around.

  • 37
    Bird of paradox
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    The undecideds remain undecided. Data on how firmly held views are would be invaluable. To paraphrase Possum with respect to this poll, “move on people nothing to see here”.

    Peter Tucker does an analysis of undecided votes down in Tassie, which is kinda interesting. Anyone done something like that for Qld, Possum etc?

  • 38
    Gary Bruce
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    The obligatory first up Galaxy Poll showing the coalition well in the election, which they could be of course. Trouble is it is associated with the Courier Mail and that always gives me cause for doubt, rightly or wrongly.

  • 39
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never seen anything like that done for Qld Bird. With Newspoll the Undecideds hang around the 5-8% mark pretty consistently (Newspoll ask if you’re uncommitted, which way do you lean). That really doesn’t leave much room for analysis on undecided movements that could be separated from sampling error, the shy tory effect or just about any other phenomenon one cares to name – which is a pity.

    Sometimes we see a niche poll that looks at self-declared undecided voters, but I have no idea if something like that has ever been done for Qld State elections.

  • 40
    bob1234
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    There’s no reason to think the undecideds wont split in equal numbers.

  • 41
    bob1234
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    God I hate that avatar.

  • 42
    kylexx
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    “The problem with the LNP merger is that they either get stuck in the middle and the former Nats get done over or the old Nats sacrifice the Libs. Previously, they would play games of playing to respective audiences with the two brands.”

    I think you hit the nail on the head Lucky Dave. The Borg declared the formation of the LNP gave Queenslanders a real choice at the polls – but in reality, it has removed a choice.

    If the LNP does disolve after failure it will be interesting to see what happens Federally as Rocket Rocket says. It will also be interesting to see what happens at State level. Will the LNP – sans Springborg (after failure) limp on becoming a McArdle led liberal party while a regional right party rises from the ashes. And if so, where does that leave someone like Senator Barnaby??

  • 43
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Is that new avatar more to your sensibilities Bob?

  • 44
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Bob, jump through the hoops here and you can make your avatar whatever you like.

  • 45
    bob1234
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    William, I don’t get it. I signed up to gravatar, I thought I could use my pollbludger account as it goes through wordpress but I couldn’t. I even tried a wordpress password retrieval but it didn’t recognise my email address, and i’m sure it’s the right email address as I was even looking at the original signup email in that email address. So I signed up without going through that, just with a new gravatar account. So how do I link it to my account here?

  • 46
    bob1234
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    Also, does pollbludger/crikey accept PG rated avatars?

  • 47
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    Also, does pollbludger/crikey accept PG rated avatars?

    Do now bob, I just changed it up from G to PG

  • 48
    bob1234
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    Possum, how does it work? If I signed up to avatar with the same email as pollbludger is that all that’s needed? How does it link it?

  • 49
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    bob, for blog sites that are linked into the gravatar system, I think it just links an image to an email address by the blog site talking to the gravatar database and retrieving the right image to sit in your comments.

  • 50
    steve
    Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    Is it possible to get the news feeds to have a change of setting. They have been a slow moving stale old bunch tonight.

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