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Federal Election 2010

Aug 15, 2010

Galaxy marginals polls and the rest

News Limited have unloaded what they had promoted, accurately I believe, as “the largest opinion poll ever conducted in Australia” – a 4000-sample monster covering four margina

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News Limited have unloaded what they had promoted, accurately I believe, as “the largest opinion poll ever conducted in Australia” – a 4000-sample monster covering four marginal seats in each mainland state. This poll has been dubiously reported, thanks to a national total calculation which has credited the Coalition with a 51.4 per cent two-party vote. This appears to be a straight average of the five states’ results provided by Galaxy, without regard to population relativities between the states or the fact that the seats targeted were 2 per cent weaker for Labor than the national total in 2007. A balanced appraisal of the results points to a swing of about 1.7 per cent, which would produce a national Labor two-party vote of 51 per cent if consistent – slightly at the lower end of the recent phone poll trend. The poll shows a 2.4 per cent swing to the Liberals in the NSW seats of Eden-Monaro, Gilmore, Macarthur and Macquarie; a 1.6 per cent swing to Labor in Corangamite, Deakin, La Trobe and McEwen in Victoria; a 5.4 per cent swing to the Liberal National Party in Bowman, Dawson, Dickson and Flynn in Queensland; a 2.1 per cent swing to the Liberals in Hasluck, Stirling, Cowan and Swan in Western Australia; and no swing at all in Boothby, Grey, Kingston and Sturt in South Australia.

The rub for Labor is that the New South Wales and Queensland swing figures are right where they need to be to maximise the Coalition seat haul in uniform swing terms: over the 4.5 per cent mark needed for a tenth seat in Queensland, and just reaching the threshold that would cost them seven seats in New South Wales (it would take a further 1.5 per cent to bag an eighth). A straight loss of this many seats would single-handedly cost Labor the election. With no swing recorded in South Australia, the only counterbalancing gains would be the two Liberal marginals in Victoria, La Trobe and McEwen. The result would be a bare absolute majority for the Coalition.

However, any haul of 17 seats in New South Wales and Queensland would have to include a few they are generally expected to retain, such as Eden-Monaro and Page. Possibly some of the seats selected for the poll are a bit unflattering for Labor. There is a concentration of western Sydney in the NSW sample, an area yesterday’s poll of four seats for the Daily Telegraph showed to be tough for Labor (it appears Galaxy have conducted separate polls for Macarthur for each release). The Queensland sample also includes Bowman, which Labor has probably written off (UPDATE: Mark Bahnisch at Larvatus Prodeo says “Labor is barely running a campaign, with reports appearing for weeks in the Brisbane Times that their candidate is invisible, and the local papers can’t get hold of her for an interview”). Note that for all the vastness of Galaxy’s total national sample, as far as all-important Queensland is concerned the results are less sturdy than yesterday’s Newspoll, which targeted eight Queensland seats rather than four and 1600 respondents rather than 800. That poll produced a swing of 3.4 per cent against Labor compared with Galaxy’s 5.4 per cent, which in uniform swing terms would mean a difference of no fewer than four seats.

The table below shows swings recorded in state-level Newspolls and Nielsens through the first three weekends of the campaign (with one Westpoll thrown in for good measure), plus the targeted polling we have seen over the current weekend. For the former, samples for any given observation are 765 for NSW, 665 for Victoria, 585 for Queensland, 465 for WA (865 in week three, achieved by throwing in the Westpoll result) and 445 in SA, producing margins of error ranging from 4.6 per cent in South Australia’s case to 3.6 per cent for New South Wales. The composite of the most recent two Nielsen figures has smaller samples of around 250 for the smallest states. The latest Galaxy polls have samples of 800 per state and margins of error of about 3.5 per cent. The Newspoll marginals poll had samples of 600 in Victoria (4 per cent margin of error), 1200 in New South Wales (2.8 per cent margin of error) and 1600 in Queensland (2.5 per cent margin of error).

  TOTAL NSW VIC Qld WA SA  
Week 1 0.2 1.4 3.7 -3.8 0.1 4.0  
Week 2 -3.6 -9.1 1.7 -3.3 -2.9 0.4  
Week 3 -2.0 -1.8 -1.8 -5.5 -3.4 4.4  
Nielsen (2 week) -1.7 -2.7 3 -3.4 -2.7 0.6  
Galaxy marginals -1.7 -3.1 1.6 -5.4 -2.1 0  
Newspoll marginals  0.6 -1.3 6.2 -3.4      

UPDATE: Remiss of me not to have noted when the poll was conducted: from Sunday to Thursday, and hence not as timely as some of the more favourable recent polling for Labor.

William Bowe — Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe

Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, is one of the most heavily trafficked forums for online discussion of Australian politics, and joined the Crikey stable in 2008.

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441 comments

441 thoughts on “Galaxy marginals polls and the rest

  1. Wakefield

    The Adelaide Sunday Mail endorsement of Gillard/Labor is fairly clear although they say a few nice things about Abbott making the Libs competitive. Pembethy says he thinks Labor will win but agrees that is coloured by views in Sydney

    Not sure about the focus on translation of 20 marginal seats to national 2PP. national 2PP can be useless guides in marginal seats.

    The marginal polls have a fairly high level of error but they are important guides and the results of Galaxy is clearly good news for Libs – they are supposedly getting swings where they will win a lot of seats.

    Many posters are confusing the results as well – knowing that Eden-Monaro is fairly good for Labor means (if the poll is accurate) that the results are worse than average in the other 3 seats – Gilmore, Macquarie and Macarther are worse than 2.4%.

    Ditto in SA – if Kingston is going well then Sturt Boothby and Grey would be net backwards.

    Overall its clear that Labor will retain some of the 17 seats in NSW and Qld that might fall on an even swing – but equally there could be some others at risk with uneven swings.

  2. Econocrat

    Don’t know if true or not. Another tweet suggests that JG has demanded the first half be a debate on the economy.

  3. Socrates

    blue green

    Yes I know some peopel who did work for Origin; they did a lot of work to get ready for an ETS. Australia really pays a high financial price for the corruption of the NSW Labor right.

  4. Rox

    blue_green

    [I am sorry we don’t give advice anymore. It is an inefficient use of public resources and doesn’t provide any measurable outcomes.]

    The public servant’s lament. I feel your pain.

  5. Laocoon

    blue_green

    But it is just Cassandra and me…no one ever listens to us 🙂

  6. blue_green

    The Wyatt Roy thing is hardly his fault.

    But it will get national coverage of the ALP L-plate sign for young Wyatt.

    Its like when Reagan in the presidential debate against Mondale when asked about whether he could hack it being so old.

    His genius response was
    [I will not make age an issue in this campaign. I’m not going to exploit for political purposes my opponents youth and inexperience.” ]

  7. Dee

    [@juliagillard has accepted another #rooty with @tonyabbottmhr but must include that the first half be a debate on the economy]
    Absolute lunacy. Who the hell is advising her?

  8. my say

    [only in QLD – maybe they are all emulating Tony Abbots boxing “blue”?

    WYATT ROY, the LNP’s 20-year-old candidate for the Queensland seat of Longman, is]

    i am shocked .

  9. blue_green

    Socrates

    [blue green

    Yes I know some peopel who did work for Origin; they did a lot of work to get ready for an ETS. Australia really pays a high financial price for the corruption of the NSW Labor right.]

    Seconded

  10. Triffid

    [Absolute lunacy. Who the hell is advising her?]

    Agree – that looks like a very risky move. Maybe confirmation that Labor’s internal policy is similar to Galaxy?

  11. blue_green

    [I am sorry we don’t give advice anymore. It is an inefficient use of public resources and doesn’t provide any measurable outcomes.]

    [The public servant’s lament. I feel your pain.]

    Rox,

    So will I for the next three years.

  12. Greensborough Growler

    To be fair to Wyatt, it wasn’t him throwing the punches. Just a member of his mature aged advisors mentoring him in the the ways of politics.

  13. my say

    [406 blue_green
    Posted Sunday, August 15, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Permalink
    The Wyatt Roy thing is hardly his fault.]

    why ?

  14. Country Kid

    Ruawake @ 307

    Haven’t seen the ad – not watching much tv.

    Would be good to see an ad with an 3rd-4th year aprentices (building, plumbing, electrical etc) talk about how they kept their jobs though the GFC & completed their trade training – where they could so easily have lost their jobs and their career if the government didn’t take action.

    Plus a ‘vote of thanks’ from the parents (& grandparents) of the apprentices….

    The idea would be to have the message resonate across two-three generations

  15. Laocoon

    [only in QLD – maybe they are all emulating Tony Abbots boxing “blue”?

    WYATT ROY, the LNP’s 20-year-old candidate for the Queensland seat of Longman, is

    i am shocked .]
    Boxing seems to be politics Qld style

    What I think is worse for the boy, is that he shows real leadership and courage by continuing his mobile phone conversation (maybe “at the third stroke, it will be 4:40 and 30 seconds beep beep beep), and lets the womanfolk calm down the situation

  16. my say

    re Julia wasnt it to be all media this time, not just sky,
    I bet abbott back down re the economics thing

  17. victoria

    Country Kid

    Interesting concept for an advertisement re the BER

  18. BH

    [In fairness to Galaxy on Rooty Hill, the final vote was 81-70 or something like that with a lot not voting. Obviously a few Libs got through but it sounds like Abbott came across better. Most of the commentators seemed to think he was won slightly so the final vote was prob about right. I have seen not a second of footage and I haven’t seen any quotes either so I don’t have any opinion.]

    Dio – the journos’ tweets showed that they all thought Julia had been given hard questions from a hostile audience which was partly stacked. Some of their print, tell and radio posts said differently. Their tweets showed that Abbott was given easier questions from a favourable audience (partly stacked). How can you believe them.

    I watched it in full – Bob Ellis is right. Julia had bad lighting and bad unfavourable camera work. Abbott was more relaxed because he knew when he walked out that he had a different audience. Many of those in the initial audience left after she spoke. They may have included people who would have asked Abbott hard questions.

    I noticed the people asking about gay marriage were not in Abbott’s audience.

    Labor should not have agreed to separate sessions. It played into Abbott’s hand with him taking second spot. He wasn’t supposed to know what Julia was saying but Sky gave it away when Gillan said on camera that he did know.

  19. blue_green

    [Agree – that looks like a very risky move. Maybe confirmation that Labor’s internal policy is similar to Galaxy?]

    Triffid.

    Galaxy polling actually pre-dates the Neilsen polls et al by several days.

    I think she has agreed if tony also agrees to national economic debate.

    JG “I will turn up for Channel 7 economic debate even if Tony doesn’t”

  20. Bushfire Bill

    Agree – that looks like a very risky move. Maybe confirmation that Labor’s internal policy is similar to Galaxy?

    Confirmation that there’s an election campaign on, more likely, and that both sides are sh*t-scared of losing.

    Abbott is getting cocky again. Remember what happens to roosters. They go in the pot first. Apparently Julia has stipulated that there should also be an Economic debate.

    While on the subject of the economy, I wish that Labor would do something to spike that “$100 billion a day” mantra. It gives me the willies.

  21. markjs

    Not lunacy Dee and Triffid……….shows everyone she’s more than a match for him in a fair contest……they won’t be able to rig this one and people will note and admire the courage of Julia in accepting……..

    I have total faith in Julia……no risk at all imho………

  22. Triffid

    [Labor should not have agreed to separate sessions. It played into Abbott’s hand with him taking second spot.]

    She should only agree to this if they’re both on the stage at the same time answering the same questions.

  23. blue_green

    My Say 413

    Wyatt wasnt that close and the LNP just started swinging.

    Wyatt didnt throw a punch and if he had tried to break it up then it would have been the #1 tv news coverage.

  24. victoria

    This “rooted hill” thing has barely been noticed here in Melbourne. Is this a Sydneycentric topic??

  25. GPM

    [http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/the-new-pm-we-just-cant-afford-to-have/story-e6frezz0-1225905267877

    Do the papers know something despite this Galaxy poll?]

    As a conservative politician, you know you are in trouble when the Tele decides to rip into you. Something must be up.

  26. Triffid

    [Not lunacy Dee and Triffid……….shows everyone she’s more than a match for him in a fair contest]

    Agreed if it is truly a fair contest.

    The only way Gillard will show Abbott up is if they’re both on the stage at the same time, with perhaps an opportunity to ask each other questions.

  27. blue_green

    I am away from tv for a little while. What ads are the parties running? Is it getting to saturation yet?

  28. Atticus

    Re: another forum.

    Even if the audience was genuinely “fair and balanced”, as Bob Ellis points out, SkyNews made Abbott appear to have more authority than Gillard by different framing of their head shots in relation to the questioner.

    The before and after panels were stacked with pro-Abbott journals from News Ltd and Sky’s own pro-Abbott spruikers Speers and Gilbert, etc. . I think a Lib polly or two as well on SkyNews panels.

    In the USA, these forums are run by the neutral League of Women Voters.

  29. blue_green

    [This “rooted hill” thing has barely been noticed here in Melbourne. Is this a Sydneycentric topic??]

    No. It was only on Sky I think. No one saw it. It got some follow up print media and thats it.

  30. lizzie

    @424 Victoria

    [This “rooted hill” thing has barely been noticed here in Melbourne. Is this a Sydneycentric topic??]

    I knew all about it but I read newspapers online. Perhaps local tv missed it.

  31. Bushfire Bill

    This “rooted hill” thing has barely been noticed here in Melbourne. Is this a Sydneycentric topic??

    Abbott did well with a stacked audience of well-wishers. He broke the rules of the meeting by coming off the stage and doing a Frank Sinatra Meets Chimpanzee impersonation. He thinks it’ll be like this again, which it may me, but Labor will likely be once-bitten and twice very shy of such antics. It’ll be fairer next time.

  32. victoria

    blue-green

    I know that the forum was only shown through Sky Channel. The point I am trying to make is that it continues to have been more important to Sydneysiders than anyone else.

  33. lizzie

    Actually I thought ABC was supposed to be following, after Sky, but didn’t catch it on any free-to-air (which is all I have).

  34. blue_green

    On debt etc.

    What are the govt assets at the moment. If JG says it like someone earning $100,000 a year borrowing $6000.

    Maybe its a better analogy if its like someone who owns a billion dollar estate and earns $100,000 per year borrowing $6,000.

  35. victoria

    BB

    [Frank Sinatra meets Chimpanzee impersonation]

    That is a classic quote, one of the best on here so far

    10 points to you!!!

  36. Bushfire Bill

    Abbott this morning was on about how Howard saved the Economy etc. etc. but Julia could easily counter this by one of her down-home footy analogies, as in:

    Anyone can get a hand pass, but it takes a special kind of skill to kick the goal

  37. To Speak of Pebbles

    Not surprisingly, I guessed correctly that the Fail would endorse Julia. It had the “17 SEATS ALL DECLARE ABBOTT GOD – GILLARD IS DOOOMED!!!” headline. Which sounds like the headline that everybody else’s Sunday paper is saying. Orders from upstairs, no doubt.

    Relax though. The last thing we need to be seen as, at this point, are clear winners. This is a desperate News Ltd hack attempt at creating a bandwagon effect for Tone. They tried it last time too (I bet some of you remember the polls turning near the end and the media hacks all saying that Howard was on track to win again!)

  38. Darn

    [@juliagillard has accepted another #rooty with @tonyabbottmhr but must include that the first half be a debate on the economy

    Good thinking lets see if he accepts now]

    She should have insisted on the WHOLE thing being a debate on the economy.

    I can’t see the point of playing to his comfort zone. .

    And what about the audience? Surely the Labor party are not going to risk another rigged audience.

  39. Atticus

    [Agree – that looks like a very risky move. Maybe confirmation that Labor’s internal policy is similar to Galaxy]

    And maybe it’s getting today’s endorsements to vote for Gillard from conservative newspapers……………. 😉