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Nielsen: 56-44 to Labor in Victoria; Newspoll: 54-46

With five months left before the election, the first Victorian state opinion polls conducted since the government’s recent parliamentary crisis provide grim reading for Denis Napthine.

Five months out from the election, two new Victorian state polls:

• A Fairfax Nielsen poll of 1000 respondents, conducted from Thursday to Monday, shows a stunning headling figure of 59-41 in favour of Labor on two-party preferred. However, this is based on respondent-allocated preferences, and given that nothing particularly radical has happened to the minor party vote in Victoria, the preference flows from the 2010 election almost certainly offer a better guide. Here the lead is a more modest but still very imposing 56-44. The Fairfax graphic compares the former result with the previous Nielsen poll from late February, which was 53-47 – I’m now unsure if that result was previous-election or respondent-allocated, but the former measure would have panned out to 53-47 on my calculations based on the primary vote results (UPDATE: Nielsen’s numbers had previous election preferences in the previous poll at 51-49. The four polls it has conducted since early last year have all had Labor higher on respondent-allocation, but never previously by as much as three points). The primary vote figures in the latest poll are 42% for Labor (up five), 37% for the Coalition (down four), 14% for the Greens (steady) and 3% for Palmer United (not previously indicated). Denis Napthine nonetheless retains strong personal ratings, although he is down three on approval to 48% and up five on disapproval to 37%, while Daniel Andrews is little changed at 41% approval (steady) and 36% disapproval (down one). Andrews has all but closed the gap on preferred premier, Napthine’s 45-35 lead diminishing to 41-40.

UPDATE: The poll shows a particularly strong surge to Labor outside Melbourne, where their primary vote is at 44% compared with 32% at the election, while the Coalition is down from 50% to 44%. In Melbourne, Labor is up only slightly from 40.5% to 42%, but the Coalition has crashed from 41% to 34%, with the Greens up from 13% to 16%.

• A Newspoll bi-monthly result for May-June, encompassing a sample of 1151, has the lead at only slightly more modest 54-46, from primary votes of 38% for Labor, 37% for the Coalition and 16% for the Greens. No result was published for March-April, but compared with the January-February result these primary vote figures have both Labor and the Coalition down one and the Greens up three, with the Coalition gaining a point on two-party preferred. Denis Napthine is up one on approval to 44% and five on disapproval to 40%, while Daniel Andrews is up three to 35% and four to 37%. Contrary to Nielsen, Napthine has a strong lead as preferred premier, up from 39-28 to 42-29. “Uncommitted” ratings are down six points for Napthine, seven for Andrews, and four for preferred premier.

The Fairfax poll also indicates a weak response to a generally well-reviewed state budget, with only 4% saying it had made them more likely to vote Coalition versus 29% less likely. For the federal budget, which could well be the real source of the problem here, the numbers are 5% and 39%. A further question asked which should be given the highest priority out of the west section of the East-West link, the Melbourne Metro tunnel and upgrades to level crossings, with respective results of 20%, 30% and 45%.

A weighted and bias-adjusted trend of Newspoll, ReachTEL, Essential, Nielsen and Galaxy polling over the full term looks like this:

92
  • 1
    Kevin Bonham
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Note also pref prem (for those who like such things) is a feeble 41-40 in Napthine’s favour.

    Maybe this result is extreme and maybe not, either way it does nothing to discount the impression in past data that the government is at least well behind. Combination of Abbott-drag and the Shaw farce; Libs have no-one to blame but themselves for Shaw as they preselected him.

    If Labor can’t win government in Vic from here there’s very little hope for them federally.

  • 2
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    And yet, oddly, Labor people I speak to are still pessimistic about the election.

  • 3
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    And yet, oddly, Labor people I speak to are still pessimistic about the election.

    Maybe it’s just me, but Labor people seem to always be pessimistic about upcoming elections!

  • 4
    frednk
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    To be fair to Labor people; one term governments are not common is Australia.

  • 5
    Yesiree Bob
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Psephos@2

    And yet, oddly, Labor people I speak to are still pessimistic about the election.

    Cause Daniel Andrews is underwhelming, to say the least.

  • 6
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    To be fair to Labor people; one term governments are not common is Australia.

    Yes, a fair point.

  • 7
    badseed
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    The Libs are gone. It doesn’t ‘feel’ like a first-term government that’s made a few mis-steps. We’ve had a change of Premier, and I’m sure that T.Abbott esq. is also helping to depress the numbers.

    The Libs came in without a plan, and without a clue. Their efforts at coming up with either haven’t exactly been cutting through. Even their record infrastructure spend announcement was diminished when they ditched the preferred alignment of the Metro Rail tunnel in order to help their developer mates out at Fisherman’s Bend.

    I was polled about Vic State voting intentions over the weekend by Newspoll, so it’ll be interesting to see if that aligns with Nielsen.

  • 8
    max
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    ….would translate to something like 55 ALP-33 COAL on the new boundaries. i don’t think it will be that definitive, but there has barely been a poll in the last 2 years that hasn’t had the Libs behind, so I’m beginning to think the Libs might really be toast. As for Andrews – yeh he is underwhelming but Bracks never set the house on fire as Opposition Leader, and when he was Opposition Leader Brumby was regarded as ineffective as well. Both ended up being pretty solid Premiers.

  • 9
    Bugler
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Psephos,

    And yet, oddly, Labor people I speak to are still pessimistic about the election.

    Perhaps that’s because they’ve lost two candidates in winnable/to-be-won seats; Bayswater and, as always, Frankston.

    I don’t know, there are other seats that can be easily won, like Bentleigh, Prahran, Burwood, Forest Hill, Carrum, Mordialloc, South Barwon, and maybe Ringwood. That could offset a failure to regain Frankston and the loss of Ripon.

    (I remember you saying some time ago that Labor is shocking at selecting candidates for Dunkley, and by extension, the state seat of Frankston. How prophetic :P ).

  • 10
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Can anyone recall a recent election in which the government was this far behind six months before the election, and still won? I suppose Howard in 2001 comes close.

  • 11
    Kevin Bonham
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    frednk@4

    To be fair to Labor people; one term governments are not common is Australia.

    This is true but nor are governments that lose their majorities mid-term, or that roll their leader without giving him a chance to face the people.

  • 12
    Bugler
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Yessiree Bob,

    Despite having a lot of time for Brumby and what he’s done in office, as Labor leader and as a parliamentarian and internal Party campaigner; I’m of the belief that an “over-whelming” leader is a major cause of the 2010 loss.

  • 13
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    It’s certainly not helpful, but I doubt many Frankston voters will remember in November that Labor changed candidates in June. They’ll vote for or against Napthine (and Abbott).

  • 14
    Leroy Lynch
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Not sure about that 56-44 figure, note the The Age article, possibly posted too early & quickly pulled down, but if you read the URL itself, its 59-41. We’ll wait & see….

    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/labor-leads-napthine-government-59-to-41-in-agenielsen-poll-20140625-zslo3.html

  • 15
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Labor in WA trailed 56-44 in the quarterly Newspoll of October-December 2004, and went on to win the election at the end of February with 52.3-47.7.

  • 16
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    I think we lost in 2010 for two reasons (apart from the inevitable “it’s time” factor). The voters didn’t like Brumby, which was unfair but unavoidably true; and they’d run out of patience over our failure to fix Melbourne public transport.

  • 17
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Leroy, the 59-41 result is respondent-allocated preferences. While I have you, many thanks for your diligent work in monitoring what’s going on in polldom. You’re usually quicker off the mark than I am.

  • 18
    Leroy Lynch
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    I’m here to help

  • 19
    Kevin Bonham
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Psephos@10

    Can anyone recall a recent election in which the government was this far behind six months before the election, and still won? I suppose Howard in 2001 comes close.

    This is just one poll at the moment, we need to see others to see if Napthine + co really are on only 44. Before that I’d have said they were on at least 47.

    If it is 44 then Howard in 2001 is the last federal precedent. State governments are much less resilient to bad polling than federal governments; there are few if any state examples I could find in the last few decades. Weatherill was getting 45s and 46s but in his case 47 turned out to be a win.

  • 20
    Yesiree Bob
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Psephos@16

    and they’d run out of patience over our failure to fix Melbourne public transport.

    Public Transport is still stuffed.

  • 21
    Kevin Bonham
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    William Bowe@15

    Labor in WA trailed 56-44 in the quarterly Newspoll of October-December 2004, and went on to win the election at the end of February with 52.3-47.7.

    Were there any other polling data at the same time showing that it was as bad as 56:44? In that case the Newspolls either side were 50:50 (but on a three-month cycle so it’s possible things got that bad then that much better.)

  • 22
    Yesiree Bob
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    Further to that, we know are in the situations where trains mysteriously change to express, mid journey.
    Pity for the passengers who had expected that they might have got off on a station that has suddenly been by-passed.

  • 23
    Yesiree Bob
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    know = now

  • 24
    Bugler
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Psephos,

    I would say I agree with you on both accounts, but it does come with the acknowledgement that I only became eligible to vote June after said election, hence was merely an observer.

    I was wondering how things were playing out here more broadly, because the state budget was basically cutting bits out of already announced Labor policy that was popular and copying a cheap or a way-off-in-the-never-never version of it. They, for a brief moment, appeared to be doing something. Then the Shaw stuff blew-up, and Labor’s own candidate was brought into question. I guess a lot of this would be the blow-out from the federal budget.

    I daresay the Newspoll state polls are due soon?

  • 25
    Tom the first and best
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    16

    I am glad to read that you have now accepted that the voters threw the previous Victorian government partly because of PT and that you no longer hold the view that swinging voters don`t care about PT.

  • 26
    Bugler
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    25,

    Perhaps such an opinion was formed because the seats that tend to swing the most are outer suburban, which are often so poorly serviced that taking PT is impractical, therefore minimal impact in their political decision making. (For example, to get to University the quickest using PT I had to drive 20mins to the station, take the train for 35mins then take a 45min bus ride, to take me somewhere that took a 45min drive (admittedly over 90mins in peak hour).

    Nonetheless, if a service is poor enough, you’re going to lose votes. The myki debacle had not only massive taxpayer waste, but also directly inconvenienced people to impose what many people still consider to be an inferior system (people still want tram conductors as well, though). The Frankston line had somewhere to go politically. Poor service on the Burnley Group trains won’t gain the Liberals much under a Labor Government, as many along those lines are safe Liberal seats. The only Labor seat in the east (state or federal) doesn’t even have a train station.

  • 27
    Bugler
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    (For example, to get to University the quickest using PT I had to drive 20mins to the station, take the train for 35mins then take a 45min bus ride, to take me somewhere that took a 45min drive (admittedly over 90mins in peak hour).

    Well, I could have taken a bus to the railway station, but that would have been another 30min bus trip on top of a 30min walk to the closest bus stop for an infrequent bus service.

  • 28
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    Were there any other polling data at the same time showing that it was as bad as 56:44?

    This poll from the December probably would have panned out to 56-44. However, Westpoll only had samples of 400 and hence tended to be all over the shop. I’d suggest that WA Labor then was travelling about as badly as the Victorian Coalition is now, but that all the polls we’re referring to at the moment overstated the case somewhat.

  • 29
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    This post illustrates what appears to have been WA Labor’s polling slump towards the end of 2004:

    http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2005/01/13/gallop-poll/

  • 30
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    I am glad to read that you have now accepted that the voters threw the previous Victorian government partly because of PT and that you no longer hold the view that swinging voters don`t care about PT.

    I don’t recall ever saying that.

  • 31
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    The problem is that voters in the outer suburbs SAY they want better PT, but what they mean is that they want less traffic congestion so THEY can drive to work quicker. They will vote against anyone who tries to MAKE them use PT. But unless there is a radical reduction in private car use, Melbourne’s transport mess is unfixable. That’s Labor’s dilemma.

  • 32
    Leadership
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    GhostWhoVotes @GhostWhoVotes · 3h
    #Nielsen Poll VIC State Primary Votes: L/NP 37 (-4) ALP 42 (+5) GRN 14 (+1) #springst #auspol

  • 33
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    Of course over at the other thread everyone has been saying how unreliable Nielsen polls are. :)

  • 34
    Bugler
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Psephos,

    I’ve never lived closer to the CBD than 30km (used to live over 50km away) and have never thought about better PT in terms of reducing congestion on my various trips. If I could take PT to work, I honestly would. If I had a bus stop closer than 3km to me (or at least near somewhere I could park) when I lived in the Valley, I would have taken it. I prefer PT to driving for a number of economical, social and ethical/political reasons

  • 35
    Rossmore
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Like other Victorian PBers I also frequently hear scepticism from people about the vIC LNPs chances of being booted in November. I also recall similar sentiments about the incumbent Kennett LNP in 1999 and the incumbent Brumby Gov in 2010.

    But did I also see on PB that the electoral redistribution would make it a tough ask for the VIC ALP in November?

  • 36
    ryanmoore3
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Averaging out Newspoll, Nielsen, Essential and Galaxy from this year, it equates to a clear Labor lead of 52.6% with both parties even on 39.7% primaries.

    Given the constant instability around the Government (stories like Kennett attempting to take the leadership on tonight’s 6pm news), federal factors and the fact that nothing so far has gotten them out of a two year slump, it’s fairly difficult to see the Liberals winning.

    Victoria is not NSW or Qld – we won’t see mid-60 blowouts – but it is damn near impossible seeing the Liberals holding the requisite 45 seats.

  • 37
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Rossmore, on the new boundaries Labor has to win five seats. But the swing needed to win them is actually less than the swing that Labor would have needed to win two seats on the old boundaries. On top of that, the “sophomore effect” will be reduced, because three of the seats Labor needs to win actually have sitting Labor members – Yan Yean, Monbulk and Buninyong. In a fourth, Frankston, there will no sophomore effect because Geoff Shaw will not be the Liberal candidate. So on paper the task looks very doable. It’s certainly an easier task than Bracks faced in 1999. But the Libs seem to think they can “sandbag” the key seats, especially on the Frankston line (Bentleigh, Mordialloc, Carrum and Frankston, all lost in 2010) by pretending to have fixed the Frankston line’s problems. They are also hoping that when Abbott’s Royal Commission gets around to the CFMEU, some of the dirt will splash on Andrews, who is from the Left. Maybe it will.

  • 38
    Bugler
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    Rossmore,

    A few Labor seats are notionally Liberal, but not by much. The swing required to deliver a Labor majority is actually lower (was 1.2%, now 0.9%; assuming it’s uniform).

    http://www.abc.net.au/elections/vic/2013/redistribution.htm

  • 39
    Bugler
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Psephos,

    How much has Andrews had to do with the CFMEU? The impression I had, if you’ll pardon the crudeness, is that he was of the “soft”, rather than “industrial” Left. Or is it more a harm Labor generally because it’s an affiliated union kind of thing?

  • 40
    outside left
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Done and dusted. Semantics, now

  • 41
    badseed
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    The Frankston line is still stuffed. At least once a week I miss my regular train at Toorak due to congestion or cancellations, or the train runs express past us to make up time. Hopefully the transport unions send out the ‘go slow’ message leading up to the election just to ice the cake.

    I suspect my local Lib, Clem Newtown-Brown will be in a bit of trouble here in Prahran. The ALP candidate seems quite energetic and personable, and the Greens will poll in the 20′s as well.

  • 42
    Rossmore
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Pseph and Badseed Agree the Franga line is still stuffed. I like many commuters have the Met’s very useful app that alerts commuters to delays and cancellations on your nominated line. It routinely ‘goes off’ at morning and evening peak hour with multiple delays and cancellations.

    Interesting too that the Neilsen poll suggests the ALP hasnt appeared to lose any skin from the deselection of the Frankston candidate.

    I also hear on the rumour mill that there’s more bad news heading the VIC LNPs way in coming days

  • 43
    Leadership
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Bugler CFMEU is part of Andrews group inside the ALP

  • 44
    Leadership
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Badseed I think Pranran is 3 ways race. It’s hard to see the ALP getting over 30 in primany and the greens should poll very well in Pranran around 25.

  • 45
    Bugler
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Leadership. Though I’m not certain exactly what that means.

  • 46
    Rossmore
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    The Melbourne suburban train line is sizing up as an electoral battleground.

    The Ambos and Firies are frequently at my station on the Franga line leafletting against the LNP.

    Likewise the local ALP candidate

    The LNP have boards at stations all along the line spruiking that train services are vastly better

    And the private TAFe providers have every second advertising billboard spruiking their dodgy wares.

    In this battle of ideologies I suspect the. ALP have the upper hand and we are seeing that in the polls.

  • 47
    Tom the first and best
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    30

    I remember you commenting that but I cannot be bothered searching every Victorian politics thread individually, since the last election, until I find it.

    31

    That is exactly the sort of attitude I was talking about. It is basically a localised version on an article on the satirical news site The Onion about Americans` support for PT to get the traffic out of their way.

    PT is a significant issue for the voters, who actually use PT, not only in the inner suburbs (where there are marginal seats like Prahran) but also in the middle suburbs. See this map.

    http://chartingtransport.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/melb-pt.gif

  • 48
    Tom the first and best
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    44

    I agree. Prahran will be a 3-way race. The Greens will be fighting for several innner-city seats and if the ALP looks like letting any part of the East-West Link, will clean up in the inner-city.

  • 49
    Bugler
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    Tom @47,

    That’s a fascinating blog. Bit off topic, but I found this .gif on the blog which basically shows socio-economic disadvantage being expelled from the inner-suburbs.

    http://chartingtransport.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/melbourne-siefa-isrd1.gif

  • 50
    bemused
    Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Psephos@31

    The problem is that voters in the outer suburbs SAY they want better PT, but what they mean is that they want less traffic congestion so THEY can drive to work quicker. They will vote against anyone who tries to MAKE them use PT. But unless there is a radical reduction in private car use, Melbourne’s transport mess is unfixable. That’s Labor’s dilemma.

    There are 2 obvious problems with Melbourne’s rail system.

    1. It is almost completely radial so it doesn’t help much for cross suburban journeys.

    2. For long routes, it needs to have tracks quadrupled so that express services from outer areas can bypass trains servicing inner areas. Every time I cross the Dandenong line I shake my head. 2 tracks to carry the Cranbourne Line, Packenham Line, Country freight and country passenger services. It should be 4 tracks to Dandenong so that, for example, a train from Packenham can run all stations to Dandenong then express to the city stopping only at a couple of major stations on the way. You cannot do this with 2 tracks.

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