GhostWhoVotes reports an unpleasant surprise for Victorian Labor in the final Nielsen poll of the campaign, which has the Coalition seizing a 52-48 two-party lead. More to follow.

UPDATE: And now Newspoll confirms the picture of a late swing of considerable force, putting the Coalition in front 51.1-48.9. Labor’s primary vote is at just 33 per cent, with the Coalition on 45 per cent and the Greens at 15 per cent.

UPDATE 2: Newspoll was conducted from Tuesday to Thursday from a sample of 1451, boosted from the normally 1000-ish as usual for a final pre-election poll. John Brumby is down four on approval to 38 per cent and up four on disapproval to 52 per cent, while Ted Baillieu is up four to 44 per cent and down two to 44 per cent. Brumby nonetheless leads as preferred premier 48 per cent to 38 per cent, and Labor is expected to win by 55 per cent against 26 per cent for the Coalition. Full tables here courtesy of GhostWhoVotes.

The Age reports the primary votes from Nielsen are Labor 34 per cent, Coalition 45 per cent and Greens 14 per cent – a very similar set of figures to Newspoll, suggesting the 52 per cent Liberal two-party result has benefited from rounding. Nielsen has better personal ratings for both leaders: Brumby is on 46 per cent approval and 47 per cent disapproval, with Baillieu on 48 per cent and 42 per cent. Brumby’s lead as preferred premier is narrower, at 49-44.

UPDATE 3: The Newspoll metropolitan/non-metropolitan breakdowns are an eye-opener: Labor’s metropolitan vote is recorded as slumping from 47.4 per cent in 2006 to just 34 per cent, with the Liberals up from 34.5 per cent to 43 per cent. Yet for all the talk of a regional backlash, Labor’s non-metropolitan primary vote is only down from 36.1 per cent to 32 per cent, and the Coalition are treading water on 48 per cent compared with 47.8 per cent in 2006. In two-party terms, I’m calculating a metropolitan swing of 10 per cent, but a non-metropolitan swing of less than 2 per cent. This is a super-sized version of the JWS Research poll, which respectively had it at 5.4 per cent and 0.2 per cent.

If such swings were uniform, Labor would lose government in Melbourne alone with the loss of 14 seats all the way up to Albert Park (9.7 per cent) without dropping a single seat outside Melbourne. Of course, it won’t play out exactly like that – Albert Park I expect is too established an area to swing that big, and outside Melbourne Labor expects to lose at least South Barwon and is very nervous about Ripon and Bendigo East as well. Election watchers should keep an eye on not only Yan Yean (7.9 per cent) but volatile outer suburban Narre Warren North (9.2 per cent) and Narre Warren South (11.1 per cent). If these seats look shaky, Newspoll has it right and Labor are gone. But if it’s not as bad for them as all that, I suggest it will come down to the Melbourne seats in the 6 to 7 per cent range (Bentleigh, Eltham and Carrum) along with Ripon and Bendigo East.

Without wishing to call the game too early, the prescience of Peter Brent at Mumble should be noted: the scenario just outlined was exactly as he saw it on October 21.

UPDATE 4: Here’s an update of my earlier table.

Sample, Dates ALP 2PP ALP L-NP GRN
Nielsen 1533, 24-25/11 48 34 45 14
Newspoll 1451, 24-25/11 48.9 33 45 15
Galaxy 800, 23-24/11 50 36 44 14
Morgan 990, 22-25/11 49 35.5 44.5 13
JWS Research 9218, 20-22/11 50.1 35 39 19
Galaxy 500, 17-18/11 51 36 42 16
Morgan 943, 16-18/11 52.5 39 41.5 15.5
Nielsen 1000, 10-11/11 52 38 40 16
Newspoll 1000, 9-11/11 51 37 44 14
Nielsen 1000, 27-28/10 53 38 38 16
2006 ELECTION 54.4 43.1 39.6 10.0

And here are the Labor two-party figures with a trend line running through them.

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