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Federal Politics

Jul 31, 2013

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The weekly BludgerTrack update erases the 0.5% edge the Coalition gained in the wake of last week’s Newspoll, and finds Labor the tiniest fraction more likely than the Coalition to win a majority of seats. Labor has made a net gain of two on the seat projection, Queensland again showing its sensitivity with a two-seat shift on the basis of a very small vote change and a second gain projected for Labor in Western Australia (though I’d be a bit careful with the smaller state results at the moment, polling at that level having become leaner recently). This has been counterbalanced by a one seat move to the Coalition in New South Wales, where the Labor score remains on the cusp of 25 and 26.

The primary and two-party vote results are all but identical to the weekend’s Galaxy poll, which is the weightiest of the new data points. Included as always are Morgan, which was unusually soft for Labor this week, and Essential, which retains its slight lean to the Coalition relative to the rest of the field but has perhaps been trending slightly to Labor over the past few weeks. The one very bad new poll for Labor, the weekend’s ReachTEL result showing Labor to lose three of its four Tasmanian seats, has been included in the state relativities calculation. While its inclusion has weakened Labor’s two-party vote projection in the state by nearly 3% in relative terms, the model is not persuaded that Lyons will be joining Bass and Braddon on the casualty list.

The trendlines on the sidebar now paint a picture of monotonous consistency since the Rudd restoration, the so-called “sugar hit” having endured long enough to offer the Coalition real cause for alarm. However, very close observation of the primary votes provides some indication of movement beneath the surface. A poll aggregator like BludgerTrack presumes to have a margin of error of a bit over 1%, and while this is founded on dubious assumptions, it at least gives a rough pointer to the size of movement that should and shouldn’t interest us. One move outside the range concerns the Greens, who opened their account under Rudd at around 9%, sagged nearly a full point by the time of the asylum seeker policy announcement (remembering the margin of error diminishes the further a result gets from 50%), and have now recovered back to the starting point.

The other noteworthy change involves the “others” vote, which started the year at around 10%, increased to 12.5% as Labor bled primary vote support in the last six months under Julia Gillard, snapped back to around 9% when Rudd returned, and has trended downwards over the past four weeks to its present 7.5%. Part of that may have been absorbed by the Coalition in a general trend resulting from the media losing interest in some of the minor players, but it seems intuitively likely that a greater share comes from Labor leaners who have been won over after initial hesitancy by Rudd’s political initiatives. There may have been some deflation in the Rudd honeymoon balloon going on concurrently, with the Coalition primary vote at least holding level and perhaps rising slightly, but Rudd’s evident political successes have at the very least cancelled it out.

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