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Victorian Politics

Jun 25, 2014

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.

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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:

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