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Federal Election 2013

Aug 14, 2013

Election guide and BludgerTrack review

The Poll Bludger's guide to the 150 House of Representatives electorates is now in business. Also featured: a closer look at the BludgerTrack poll aggregate's movements since the start of the campaign.

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The Poll Bludger’s federal election guide is now live and accessible from the link on the sidebar. Featured are profiles of all 150 House of Representatives electorates, in one shape or another. Comprehensive profiles are featured for Labor seats up to around 12% in margin and Coalition seats up to around 3%. Much of the content will be familiar to those of you who have been following Seat of the Week over the past year, although ongoing political tumult has required a considerable amount of revision. Things remain to be fleshed out for some of the safe Labor seats and a lot of the non-marginal Coalition ones, but at the very least each page comes equipped with candidate lists and graphics showing census results and voting history.

A review of BludgerTrack is in order while I’m here, as we now have a full week of campaign polling after yesterday’s slightly delayed publication of Essential Reserch. It’s clear that the evenly matched polling which followed the return of Kevin Rudd, and which was starting to look alarmingly sticky from a Coalition perspective, has unpeeled over the past fortnight. Close observation suggests this has not entirely been a phenomenon of the election campaign, the Coalition having already pulled ahead over the weekend of an election date announcement which came on the Sunday, after much of the polling had already been conducted. Aggregating the polling over the period has the Coalition already a shade over 51% on two-party preferred, to which they added perhaps a little under 1% over the first week of the campaign. The Greens seem to have made a neglible dividend out of the government’s harder line, their vote being stuck in the 8% to 9% range on BludgerTrack since the beginning of June.

Looking at the progress of state breakdowns over that time, the outstanding change is a 4% swing away from Labor in all-important Queensland, consistent with the notion of a “sugar hit” that got added impetus from a home-state feel-good factor, and is now fading across the board. After showing as many as six gains for Labor in Queensland in the weeks after Rudd’s return, Labor’s yield on the BludgerTrack projection is now at zero, and briefly fell into the negative. So it’s not hard to imagine that Labor strategy meetings last week might have been spent contemplating ways to hold back the Queensland tide, and easy to understand why the name of Peter Beattie might have come up. The most recent data points suggest this may indeed have improved Labor’s position by as much as 3%, but it will be a bit longer before this shows up on BludgerTrack, if indeed it doesn’t prove illusory.

Elsewhere, Labor support looks to have come off to the tune of 1%-2% in New South Wales and South Australia and perhaps slightly less in Victoria. The interesting exception is Western Australia, where there has essentially been no change on a result which has Labor well in the hunt to poach two Liberal seats. The main political story out of the west over this period has been hostile reaction to a post-election state budget highlighted the a bungled cut to an excessively popular solar panel subsidy scheme. This has made the Barnett government the target of public attacks from federal MPs who have been open in their concern about federal electoral impacts. It may perhaps be worth noting that Western Australia is the only state without a daily News Limited tabloid.

A Newspoll result on best party to handle asylum seekers has been the most interesting item of attitudinal polling to emerge over the past week, since a point of comparison is available from a few weeks ago rather than the pre-history of the Gillard era. Whereas the Coalition fell on this measure from from 47% to 33% after the government announced its Papua New Guinea solution, the latest poll has it back up to 42%. Labor has nonetheless maintained its gain from the previous poll, having progressed from 20% to 26% to 27%, with the slack coming from “another party” and “don’t know”. Even so, the re-establishment of a solid double-digit lead to the Coalition is interesting, and a challenge to the notion that the recent poll move away from Labor has entirely been down to a “fading sugar hit”.

UPDATE (Morgan phone poll): Morgan has a small-sample phone poll of 569 respondents conducted on Monday and Tuesday night which headlines results on personal ratings, but if you burrow into the detail there’s a wildly off-trend result on voting intention with the Coalition leading 57-43 on two-party preferred from primary votes of 52% for the Coalition, 31% for Labor and 9% for the Greens. Reflecting what was obviously a bad sample for Labor, the poll has Kevin Rudd’s lead over Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister narrowing to 46-43 from 52-36 at the last such poll a month ago. Rudd is down five on approval to 40% and up nine on disapproval to 49%, while Abbott is up four to 42% and down six to 48%.

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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2674 comments

2,674 thoughts on “Election guide and BludgerTrack review

  1. There you go. You wanted something quantifiable to justify a negative outlook for Labor’s prospects. And yes, NSW is a state where Rudd realistically needs net gains to have any chance of winning…

  2. Obviously many NSWelshMEN see abbott as one of them – xenophobic, selfish, deceitful, sexist, and not that bright :).

    funny how Oz writers seize on poll results that may be outliers, and then downplay any positive labor or greens polls – invariably choosing the report anything positive in the results for the ALP – so a 50:50 will get reported as “Rudd’s popularity falls” based on net personal approval. I know I’ve said it here before, but a I recall a front page banner heading in the dying days of the howard government “5% swing to Howard” for a poll that showed the government were rooted, but his net unpopularity has eased by 5%.

  3. [But that’s okay, at least Sam Dastyari gets his Senate seat!]

    I get that this will not necessarily be taken in the good faith in which it is given, but I STRONGLY advise the ALP not to give Dastyari that Senate seat!

    You guys just make it too damn easy for my side of politics sometimes…..too damn easy (its probably not good for the country)

  4. [I get that this will not necessarily be taken in the good faith in which it is given, but I STRONGLY advise the ALP not to give Dastyari that Senate seat!]

    Door closed on that today, I believe!

  5. [Carey Moore
    Posted Friday, August 16, 2013 at 12:27 am | PERMALINK
    Seriously, what were they thinking?]

    When you have as much power as the NSW (Always) Right, you don’t need to think

  6. Mod, on that at least we don’t need your advice – even though your advice frequently results in unintended effects anyway :P.

    Perhaps KR needs it though.

  7. The ALP constantly takes my advice:

    Increase the tax free threshold to the poverty level- done
    Increase the humanitarian intake to 20,000- done
    Dump Gillard- done

    Dump Dastyari- pending

  8. I notice the palmer can, here has only 160 likes

    Now Jane Austin there is a star

    amazing lady walked for 14 months a visted thousands of home
    it alp candidate we need for Denison
    not an indepedant