There’s a Victorian state Newspoll out this morning via The Oz that has the Coalition leading the ALP on the primary vote by 40/35, but with the two party preferred running 52/48 the other way. This comes about because the Greens vote is sitting on a high of 19.
That’s all good and well, but here’s something much more interesting. If we trace the Greens vote from 2005 through to the present day for the States of NSW, Vic, Qld, WA and SA, what we find is a massive structural change occur in the level of Greens support across Australia right after the 2007 federal election. To highlight the change, we’ll also run a combined State trend before and after the 2007 election, as well as the Greens vote at the federal level over the period. We’ll use Newspoll as the raw data (click to expand):
It’s worth noting that Newspoll only started putting the Greens in their polls as an up front, read out option in their voting intention question part way through the series here, just before the 2007 election. Yet it doesn’t really make a lick of difference, as the election results for the Greens (which are in these series as a substitute for that month’s Newspoll observation) always fell within a point or two of the polls leading up to an election result anyway, at any time since 2005. We’re dealing here with a structural jump in the Greens vote of more than 6 points over the few months following the 2007 federal election, but a change that occurred across all levels of Australian politics. It’s a change far beyond what any small wording difference in Newspoll could produce.
We often wonder about the impact that Federal politics has on State politics and vice versa – but here we have a Federal election result apparently changing both state and federal level politics in a pretty fundamental way . It’s almost as if the 2007 result unleashed a kind of permission to vote for the Greens.
It’s hard to believe that two months before the 2007 election, 6% of the country thought the Greens were an unviable alternative at both the state and federal levels, only to completely change their minds two months after the election at both the state and federal levels.
More realistically, many of those 6% would have been looking at the Greens as a potential political alternative for a while, but where the 2007 election result produced something that caused a slight perception shift, letting the potential for support transform into actual support.
What makes it really unusual is that it happened everywhere, at every level of government, over exactly the same short period of time. The question is, just what was that “something” that caused the perception shift? How did the election of a federal Labor government cause a boost in the support levels of the Greens at the state and federal levels almost instantaneously?