Jul 23, 2010

That Kingston Poll -Kapow

The Adelaide Advertiser did

Possum Comitatus — Editor of Pollytics

Possum Comitatus

Editor of Pollytics

The Adelaide Advertiser did an interesting telephone poll  of the South Australian Labor held marginal seat of Kingston on Wednesday night – and they deserve a round of applause for  both spending the resources on it and undertaking the poll in fairly robust manner. One of the problems we often have with some of these individual seat polls undertaken by non-pollsters is that they often have a ridiculously small sample size on the one hand, and aren’t demographically weighted properly on the other– but the Tiser folks did the hard yards on this, giving us a sample of 605 and weighting the respondents by age and gender – so, a little golf clap please!

A sample of 605 gives us a margin of error that maxes out around the 4% mark – which is pretty good for an individual seat poll. The top-line results are almost unbelievable, coming in like this:

If a Federal election for the House of Representatives (or Lower House) were held tomorrow, which party or candidate would receive your first preference?


It suggests that Amanda Rishworth, the incumbent Labor member, is getting a nearly 13% swing towards her on the two party preferred, and an 11% swing towards her on the primaries (which have been rounded up to the nearest whole number).

We see the same large gender gaps coming out that we’ve been seeing in all the polls of late, with the female/male split on the primary vote for Rishworth coming in at 61/55, and 24/27 for the local Liberal Party candidate Chris Zanker. The Advertsier also asked a few other questions, the first of which was on the Better PM:

Regardless of the Party they represent, who do you think is better suited to be Prime Minister?

The results came in 68/22 for Gillard over Abbott, with the women running 73/17 for Gillard and men coming in at 62/28 for Gillard. Also interesting was that 26% of Liberal voters preferred Gillard over Abbott.

On asylum seekers, we had:

Which Party, Labor or Liberal, do you think is best equipped to handle the asylum seeker issue?”

The results here came in with the ALP leading  44/34 among all voters, 43/39 among men and 46/29 among women.

Finally, the Tiser also asked how people voted at the last election and broke the results down by voting intention in the poll itself. So we have things results like 84% of respondents that stated they would vote for Labor if an election were held tomorrow also state they voted for Labor in 2007, and 38% of people that stated they voted Green last election said they would vote for Labor if an election were held tomorrow. There’s a full spread of that data, so using a bit of back engineering, the results of the 2007 election came out as a two party preferred of 58/42 to Labor (give or take a point), which is about 4 points overcooked for the ALP compared to the 2007 result of 54.4%.

What makes this result interesting is that it’s about the average level of overestimation that occurs when you ask people how they voted at the last election, after the outcome of the event is known. Generally, when a question like this is asked, the person who actually won the election ends up getting an overestimation of around  5% – people like backing winners with hindsight I suppose. It’s something we see pop up regularly in things like the Australian Election Study.

This makes me wonder just how inflated the poll result might be for Labor. On the one hand, the poll has a big chunk of the WTF! factor going on – 67/33 is an enormous lead for Labor by any definition of the word. On the other hand, if it were heavily overcooked for Labor, we’d also expect to see a much higher vote coming out in the poll results on the question of how respondents voted for Labor at the 2007 election.

But we don’t, respondents said they voted at the 2007 election at levels that are pretty much in the ballpark of where we would expect to find the responses – with 5% overestimation thereabouts.

The other thing here worth noting is that South Australia was the State where Rudd was generally getting the largest swing towards him for most of the period of his large poll leads before October 2009. If we use the Newspoll quarterly demographic breakdowns to look at the two party preferred swing Labor was receiving at the state level up to the end of 2009, we can see South Australia at the top of the pack (click to expand):


If a state was going to go berko for Labor at the election, SA would be the place where the last few years of polling evidence provides the most support – but this lead in Kingston is huge, probably abnormally huge – yet the data consistency in the poll is as we would expect it to be if this lead was actually true, which makes it rather extraordinary.

Yet, even if it is overcooked a few points the Labor – a 57/43 result is still bad for the Coalition, let alone a 60/40 or, as the headline results here suggest, 67/33. Andrew Southcott in neighbouring Boothby and Christopher Pyne up the road in Sturt must be getting pretty nervous about now.


Peter Brent (of Mumble fame) via twitter tells us:

A ‘Tiser Kingston poll at same point in 2007 campaign was pretty on the mark http://bit.ly/9RrTLt


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45 thoughts on “That Kingston Poll -Kapow

  1. Venise Alstergren

    ShepherdMarilyn: 🙂

    I hate using clichés but it is fucking surreal!



  2. caf

    What’s the 99% confidence interval?

    (You’ve got to feel a bit sorry for the ’tiser when they go and do the right thing on a poll, only to end up with what looks like one of those 1-in-20 rogues anyway!)

  3. David Richards

    Socrates – you are not alone in being very disappointed by Julia. At least with Rudd it took two years to get disappointed, but with Julia it’s been two weeks. Neither ALP nor Liberal are offering anything I want to buy, and what they are offering are cold, stale, warmed-over scraps from the local chew & spew.

    It would be interesting if we had OPV how the majors would fare. I think there are a lot of votes parked with the majors simply out of the lack of a real choice. There are people on both sides who don’t like the party with which they are aligned, but can’t bring themselves to vote Green because they swallow the BS from both majors. If they had another option – a truly centrist party that wasn’t tainted by the GST deal, or perceptions of being tree-hugging commie druggies, then the primary votes for both current majors might just drop below 30%.

  4. Socrates


    I admit I am feeling a bit miffed by Gillard (La Cop-out) and her incredible shrinking climate policy yesterday. I still think this has more to do with money, unions and power blocs than voter support. Can you confirm what were the last tow polls on:
    – the relative importance of climate change as an issue?
    – the overall level of support for action in climate change?
    – any major qalifiers expressed on the action results?

    In short, I suspect Labor is using voter sentiment as an excuse not a reason for doing nothing on cliamte change, and in the best tradition of bad science, I am looking for confirming evidence.

  5. Socrates

    Like I said before Sturt is a very well educated electorate with a lot of people who would be appalled by the flotilla massacre (incuding me). Even some moderate Jewish people are opposed to the Zionists, because they must know their territorial ambitions are dragging them into a never ending cycle of wars. The Jewish community in Sturt is still pretty small; this is not Toorak.

  6. evefran

    Thanks all

  7. vote1

    How exactly would calling Pyne a Zionist in a electorate with a Jewish school in it help??The coralation between pro palistine and a left wing vote would be quite strong anyway.

    It’s a bit like attacking a mp for supporting a dirty industry that is a big source for jobs in his electorate. You may think the country would be better off without that mp/policy/industry but attacking the mp on that issue is simply not going to work.

  8. deblonay

    In Kingston in 2007,the Australian Friends of Palestine…a quite well organised and multi-ethnic group ran a campaign against Pyne who has been a passionate zionist,recently visited Israel and is secretary of the Friends of Israel in Canberra.

    The electorate was widely canvassed and some excellent leaflets were distribuited
    Since than the organisation has grown in numbers and has decided to campaign again,and since the Gaza Flotilla massacre they have gained much more support,given Israel has fewer friends than ever
    Pyne is a strident Friend of Israel and while nobody knows how effective the last campaign really was in pulling down Pyne’s vote last time…there is no doubt he will be worried. this time… It will be interesting to see if he zionist friends come to the rescue…if the swing is one against the Liberals this will be the first seat to fall

  9. Socrates


    The AEC electorate profile for Dickson is here

  10. Winston

    evefran @ 35

    The only Nationwide I can find appears to be a smallish company that mainly conducts fieldwork (i.e. telephone interviewing). They operate out of WA.
    Research companies are obliged to give the name of the client if asked. It is unethical and actually illegal not to (unless it is an multi-client survey – where they still have to give at least some information about who their clients are). Of course, they do know who their client is – and although they may not have told their interviewers, the interviewer can get this information for you.

    Report them to the AMSRS ([email protected]) or appropriate state authorities.

  11. evefran

    Can any of the PBs or Possum give me any info on Dickson. I only live here and can’t get any real info on the electorate. I have been polled twice by some mob called Nationwide who say they don’t who they are polling for.

  12. Winston

    Very interesting – while being hard to believe. At the same time we have rumours of polling in Qld and WA which suggest Labor are struggling. I’m wondering if his suggests that swings will be less uniform than in previous elections – that we will see some seats swing to Labor and some to Libs.
    Makes it a bit tricky for the psephs.

  13. calyptorhynchus

    I’m no fan of the Labor party, but the idea of an anti-Liberal landslide with Abbott underneath has me smiling.

  14. Smaug

    Looking forward to the weekend polls, not to mention the debate tomorrow. I live in Longman here in Queensland and would love to see a similar poll done here. The Liberals have put up a 20 year old (no sh*t, guys just out of high school with no work history), my biggest fear is that I’ll wake up on the Sunday after polling day and discover we’ve got to change the local members nappy all the time.

  15. Steven

    I wonder what impact the Government assistance to the car industry in SA has had. There are a whole lot of jobs that have only only survived the GFC because of the Governments intervention.

  16. jenauthor

    If these polls are even remotely correct, what would the numbers be if the press was pro Labor?

  17. Rod Hagen


    If the swing in SA is actually as large as this , and fairly uniform, then presumably it has some impact on the broader “National” polls, Possum? If the poll is, indeed, accurate, how much would a huge swing like this in one direction one way in SA have to be counterbalanced by a bit of movement in the other direction in the other states to get the sort of National poll figures we are currently seeing?

  18. scott73

    Venise, we should ban all political parties and have independents only. All political parties are dirty hoes, they give me da sh*t.

  19. Trubbell at Mill

    [There has been some demographic change in Sturt, but it is higher socio economic so I’d asume less likely to swing. OTOH it is also one of the highest educated electorates in the state, and I’d be amazed if Abbott went down well with female voters here either.]

    That’s the thing Teh Liberals just don’t get!! If you pitch your message at that portion of the population with below average IQ, then, by definition, that message is being pitched at much less than half the total population and you come across as a bit of an idiot to all the rest of us.

    I’m happy they are doing that and hope they never get anyone who understands maths to look at their marketing!

  20. shepherdmarilyn

    Venise, we can vote for each other.

  21. David Richards

    ..Or is it like an abusive marriage.. we live in hope they’ll change, and get duped by the cyclical “honeymoon” phase

  22. David Richards

    Stockholm Syndrome?

  23. Venise Alstergren

    It is surprising, given the contempt with which both major parties regard the electorate, to find anyone to enthuse about this so-called election.

    I use the words so-called advisedly. The mining industry wins no matter which candidate is successful.

    We have been lied to, cheated, schmeered, seduced-as much as a whore needs to be seduced. Stolen from, in the particular and in the abstract, trashed, rubbished and been made fools of.

    Yet they expect us to vote for them. Ha!

  24. Peter Brent

    Geoff Robinson (17) what do you mean by 1984 good for sitting MPs? Given the massive redistributions before that election, I’m interested in whatchootalkinabout.

  25. David Richards

    “While neither major party have no environment or social justice platforms to speak about they don’t get my vote”

    pretty much my dilemma too

  26. shepherdmarilyn

    Rishworth has the advantage that it was the south and north who swung towards the ALP in the state election and the former member Richardson has been charged with perverting the course of justice by pretending to be a cop to try and get his son off an assault or traffic charge.

    Pyne has an extraordinarily good candidate against him this year and his continual bagging of the school buildings is not going down well at any of the schools who have beautiful new buildings. Sort of like the reception Abbott gets from schools all over the country “we love our buildings” and people remember the coalition voted against them.

    Rick Sarre is a law professor and an exceptionally smart and decent bloke who believes in human rights and aboriginal rights.

    Should do well now that Pyne’s seat is down to 0.8% in his favour from 13% when he took it.

    I suspect after nearly 18 years of him doing precisely nothing for anyone the “it’s time” factor might kick in.

    I even know democrats who will vote for Sarre.

    I can’t vote for either major party and haven’t since 1983.

    While neither major party have no environment or social justice platforms to speak about they don’t get my vote.

    As for Abbott, he is such a sick joke that he even gets booed on Hey Hey, and land of the rednecks.

  27. Possum Comitatus

    Not that I’ve heard Cud – but what I don’t hear would will an orchestral chamber.

  28. cud chewer

    Possum, are there any murmurs about polls in the Hunter, especially Paterson?

  29. Geoff Robinson

    Said it before but like 1984 this will be a good election for sitting MPs, Risworth’s 2007 vote was a bit low for a seat Labor held in 1998 and 2001

  30. Possum Comitatus

    Tony might be making a couple

  31. Grog

    Methinks Julia and Tony might now be making a tip or two to Adelaide…

  32. Socrates

    Kingston is a mortgage belt suburb to the south of Adelaide. I’d say it is slightly lower than average socio-economicly but not desperately so, and contains some better off suburbs too.

    Xanthippe and I will be delighted if this means our votes matter in Sturt too 🙂

    There has been some demographic change in Sturt, but it is higher socio economic so I’d asume less likely to swing. OTOH it is also one of the highest educated electorates in the state, and I’d be amazed if Abbott went down well with female voters here either.

  33. Possum Comitatus

    Blackburn – I tried to have a quick look via the SA electoral commission, but not being familiar with the SA state seats, it might take a while for me to figure out!

  34. David Richards

    Even if it’s extraordinarily overcooked.. it is highly unlikely to be so far wrong that the Libs have a snowball’s of winning it. Pyne on ly just hung on last time, so ANY swing to the ALP is bad news for him.

    The swings are going the wrong way for the Libs – overcooked or not.

    It’s the direction that should be their biggest worry. It doesn’t matter if the swing to the ALP is 1% or 10%, it isn’t going to help the Libs.

  35. pancho

    So the good people of Sturt can look forward to seeing a lot more of Mr. Paaane then!

  36. Possum Comitatus

    Mac! I thought you’d be happy 😛

  37. Possum Comitatus

    Pancho, over the last three elections, only WA has had a lower standard deviation in the swing across the state. So all seats in SA effectively “swing together” at a higher rate than any other state apart from WA.

  38. Mac Yourselfathome

    But, but, but….but if Rishworth wins her seat by a whopping margin they’ll move her seat in parliament. And then there will be absolutely no point in watching Question Time. None at all. I’ll have to get a new hobby of pressing flowers or making giant jigsaw puzzles.

  39. pancho

    Hey Poss,

    How does Kingston figure as a seat within SA? Is it representative at all – ie. could this sort of result indicate a huge swing to Labor across SA?

    If so, could that have implications for how we look at national polls which have shown Labor marginally ahead (ie. swing to Labor in SA equalling swings against in Qld and WA?)

  40. Tweets that mention That Kingston Poll -Kapow – Pollytics -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Possum Comitatus, Paul Jarman. Paul Jarman said: RT @Pollytics: Also on Pollytics, *that* Kingston poll http://bit.ly/95XbOr The internal data in the poll doesnt suggest an outlier. As … […]

  41. blackburnpseph

    How did Labor go in the seats covering Kingston in the 2006 landslide?

    Comparing state to Federal can show what the high low potential vote is.

  42. Dave55

    Is this why we are seeing and hearing more and more of Pyne in the media? Damn, I’d almost take a poorer poll result in Kingston if it meant hearing less of that petulant whining. I guess when can only hope that it will reach a csesendo around Aug 21 and then die off to nothing as a Kingston type result also occurs in Sturt.

  43. Possum Comitatus

    It was Dave! All fixed up. Even my typos in the sheets and cascading mistakes coming off it can’t believe a 67/33! 😛

  44. imacca

    If there is a swing on in SA then i’ll bet Pyne is worried. 🙂 Teh WTF factor here is huge!

    Will be interesting to see if anyone does any other individual seat polling in SA, and whether those results or the swing look ANYTHING like this one.

    Has there ever been an actual result in a seat in Australia, say over the last 20 years where the outcome has actually been 63/37??

  45. DaveM

    Poss I thought it was 67-33, not 63-37?
    Surely if Labor’s primary went up 11%, the Greens up 3%, and the Libs down 15%, there would be more than a 9% 2PP swing?
    Then again I could be wRONg.

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