I suspect I’ll be going on about the Western Australian election like a broken record over the next three weeks, but the fact is that it’s easily the best case study available if comparative psephology is your bag. That being so, I thought it might be worthwhile to compare today’s Galaxy issue polling with that the very same agency performed a week before the election that saw off Alan Carpenter.
Unfortunately, the two polls were not conducted in quite the same way. The Western Australian results on each issue curiously add up to over 100, so I’m guessing they must have asked if an area would improve over the term of a Labor or Liberal government, allowing answers of yes to both. This time, more sensibly, the two parties were put head to head on each issue. I’ve dealt with this by dividing each party’s results by the sum of them both, so all results add up to 100. Another anomaly is that Queensland respondents were asked about water supply, whereas Western Australians were asked about water resources and environment.
The first thing to be noted is that the headline figure of today’s poll, the LNP’s lead on health, was essentially replicated in WA. The big difference is that this wasn’t the worst of it for WA Labor, who were seen to have even less to offer on education, law and order and two other questions which Queensland respondents were spared: sharing benefits of WA boom and providing open and accountable government. Queensland Labor also did well in the two areas not included in the WA survey, roads and public transport. It might just be that the overall public mood in Queensland is less sour, and the swing that seems to have been recorded on voting intention comes down to cynicism about the early election.
That being so, it’s unfortunate Galaxy hasn’t given us results from a most pertinent question that was asked in the WA survey: Has the decision to call an early election made you more or less likely to vote for the Labor Party? Three weeks after the announcement, at a time when Labor would have hoped the issue had faded from memory, 27 per cent said it would make them less likely to vote Labor (against a contrarian 4 per cent who said more likely). It remains to be seen if similiar sentiments which are evidently abroad in Queensland prove quite as durable.