Westpoll: 54-46 to Liberal-National in WA
The West Australian has published one of its increasingly infrequent Westpoll surveys (conducted by Patterson Market Research) of state voting intention, this one showing the Liberal-National government with a 54-46 lead over the Labor opposition, from primary votes of 35% for Labor, 47% for the Liberals, 2% for the Nationals (I don’t normally read much into poll results for the Nationals, but this seems surprisingly low) and 8% for the Greens. This concurs with the last result from Newspoll, covering the January to March quarter, in finding a considerable narrowing since Mark McGowan assumed the Labor leadership, while still leaving the Liberals short-priced favourites to win the election that will be held on March 9 next year. There has also been a striking decline in Colin Barnett’s rating as preferred Premier: on Westpoll’s reckoning it was never less than 39% when Eric Ripper was Labor leader, but the current poll has it at just 5% (42% to 37%). The poll also shows 60% expecting the government to be returned, against 28% who think Labor will win. As is the norm with Westpoll, this comes from a small sample of 400, with a margin of error of nearly 5%.
UPDATE: Further results from the poll show 42% believing themselves to have benefited from the mining boom, 23% responding it was “harming their ability to make ends meet”, and 33% saying neither.
We should also get a new quarterly Newspoll result for Western Australia some time next week, bringing a sudden end to a very fallow period for polling just nine months out from the next election. There have now been five polls for WA published this year, of which only two have had substantial samples, accounting for a combined total of about 2700 respondents. This compares with roughly 70 federal polls conducted over the same period, covering more than 87,000 respondents, none of which told us anything we didn’t know already. One effect of this is that I have accumulated a mountain of preselection news since Newspoll last provided the occasion for a dedicated Western Australian thread three months ago. I’m now unloading the material relating to the lower house, and will hold back on the upper house until Newspoll.
• Liberal preselectors in Churchlands have rebuffed Colin Barnett by delivering a resounding defeat to his preferred candidate, restaurateur Kate Lamont. Sean L’Estrange, a former army lieutenant-colonel and Afghanistan veteran, defeated Lamont by a margin of 22 to 5. The naturally conservative seat has long been held by Liz Constable, an independent who serves as Education Minister in Barnett’s government, and is considered certain to be won by the Liberals with her retirement at the next election. Lamont was granted dispensation to nominate at Barnett’s initiative despite the deadline having passed, and the fact she had only recently joined the party. Barnett was reportedly dismayed that no women had emerged in the initial field of five nominees, given the party’s present contingent of two women out of 24 members in the Legislative Assembly (Tony Barrass of The Australian reports former Australian Medical Association federal president Rosanna Capolingua had earlier been approached). Many in the party were angered when Barnett reacted to Lamont’s defeat by complaining that an “exceptional person” and “potential Premier” (whom he nonetheless didn’t know “all that well”) had been passed over in preference for a merely “good person”. Mark McGowan responded by suggesting she might care to run for Labor instead. Perhaps tellingly, The West Australian wrote in May of “a perception among some Liberals that (Lamont) is too close to State and Federal Labor figures”. Candidates who fell by the wayside earlier in the Liberal preselection process included Richard Wilson, the 30-year-old chief of staff to Energy Minister Peter Collier, and another late female entrant, Jane Timmermanis, a lawyer for not-for-profit group Sussex Street Community Law Services who ran unsuccessfully for the Nedlands preselection before the 2008 election.
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Categories: Western Australian Politics