Possums Pollytics

Politics, elections and piffle plinking

As God is my Newspoll, I’ll never be hungry again!

Posted by Possum Comitatus on July 13, 2007

What a whopper of a Newspoll!

Quartely data broken down by State, capital city vs. non capital city, age and gender.

There’s plenty to look at here, but over the next few days I’ll try to throw up some of the more interesting things that don’t get the attention they probably deserve.

So for todays helping we’ll go first to the primary vote swings.

What the following graphs measure is the difference between the current quarterly measure of the primary vote for each party and their primary vote at the last election. These swings are broken down into various categories:


The most important thing here is the big swings for the ALP in Qld and SA, which is where large amounts of seats are up for grabs.That said, NSW isnt looking too shabby either if you’re an ALP type.A bit bleak if you happen to be a Lib or a Nat.

Even WA, which the commentariat insists isn’t looking that crash hot for the ALP is still showing a 5.3% primary vote swing to Labor. What is even more interesting is the non-capital city swing to the ALP being as high as the capital city swing.

In Qld particularly, there are swathes of non-capital city seats which aren’t yet really believed to be up for grabs – like Blair, Flynn, Forde (now a three cornered contest), Herbert, Hinkler, Leichhardt (3 cornered contest) and Longman which, if the non-capital city swing is roughly proportional to the capital city swing in Qld (as it is nationally), must make the sitting members in those seats nervous because these could well be in play. At the very least their large margins would be completely wiped out if these patterns hold.

But where are these votes coming from?

Moving onto the government:


It’s clear that in some states there are large movements toward the ALP that aren’t coming from the Coalition vote. So let us look at how the minor party vote is playing out since the last election in terms of the swing:


There’s a bit here and a bit there going across to the ALP

What’s interesting is how minor party votes have shifted to the Coalition in Victoria and WA, albeit not by much.

The other interesting thing that came out was more information on the voter movement that happened straight after the 2005 Budget. Below we compare the ALP and Coalition primary vote by gender over the period since the last election:


Some of that 5% of the Coalition primary vote that deserted the party after the 05 Budget and went ostensibly to the Minors+Undecideds camp reveals itself.

Women didn’t like the 05 budget, but the blokes seemed to absolutely hate it. Also notice how the slope of the male and female lines for the Opposition after Rudd was elected was steeper than the slope of the lines for the Coalition. This tells us that a fair chunk of these people were parking their vote with the minors before Rudd came along, and looking at the difference between the slope of the Male and Female post-Rudd opposition lines, it looks like more females than males were parking their vote in the minors until Rudd came along and gobbled them up.

Likewise, female voters deserted the Coalition more so than male voters after Rudd came along.

I’ll probably be playing with this data set for about a week or so. Who knows what else we’ll find.



Bryan of Ozpolitics fame does a comprehensive analysis of the swings, the poll movements and all the pseph fit to print about this whopper of a Newspoll. Go and check it out here.

Go on. You know you want to.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button


17 Responses to “As God is my Newspoll, I’ll never be hungry again!”

  1. Lomandra said

    Likewise, female voters deserted the Coalition more so than male voters after Rudd came along.

    I’ve been wanting to see data on this for ages, Possum. Thanks–it’s just what I suspected it might be. I don’t know if you have sufficient information to tell, but is it possible to discern any male/female distinction in Rudd’s popularity after the issue of conflict of interest with his wife’s business emerged? I’m betting it did him a lot of good with female voters.

  2. Possum Comitatus said

    Unfortunately Lomandra, I’d need a monthly breakdown by gender of the ALPs primary vote to pull that out, and we’ve only got quarterly data to work with, so that issue would just get thrown into the primary vote wash with every other issue that’s happened over the last 3 months.

    I’m with you in the curiosity department over that – I’d love to know if it moved the female vote or not.To be honest, I’m not brave enough to make guess.

  3. EconoMan said

    Possum, the first and second graphs are based on the Jan-Mar numbers not the Apr-Jun numbers.

  4. Stig said

    That’s a ton of data – big thanks to the nice folks at Newspoll and the GG for providing it. I haven’t noticed a lot of meaningful interpretation of it in the GG. Maybe it *is* true that if you make or pay for data, you don’t necessarily understand it, but merely have first crack at interpretation! Who would have thought it?

    Also, congratulations Possum on your new-found celebrity/notoriety. Let us know if you receive any lucrative offers from the GG to get you on the payroll, if only to fit you with a possum-sized muzzle. Or, of course, if you get any notifications that you’re about to be done over with a wet lettuce.

  5. Possum Comitatus said


    Holy Smokes Batman – I royally rogered that!

    That’s a bit better.Thanks for pointing that out, I would have sat there and looked at it for a week before it dawned on me.

  6. EconoMan said

    No probs PC. One of those things to do in the next week might be to compare this 3 months to last 3 months (or the ‘from election’ swings of both). Your 3rd graph changed a fair bit for example.

    By the way, as someone cleverly noticed at LP: See how the total primary vote swing to Labor is bigger than either the male or female primary swing. Kind of a problem unless there’s a larger than expected share of “neither male nor female” with a swing of 500%.

    My theory, as I said at LP, is that the gender split must be based on either exit poll or post-election survey data. They’re rounded, unlike the total and state-based numbers. Do you know which?

  7. Possum Comitatus said

    Why thankyou Stig, I’ll need to get some T-shirts!

    Maybe: “8 out of 10 Owners who Expressed a Preference said Their Cats Preferred Possum Comitatus”


  8. Possum Comitatus said

    Eco, that androgynous vote does look a bit peculiar.

    I’m at a loss and can only suggest that there be Micheal Jacksons out in them thar hills.

  9. EconoMan said

    I humbly suggest Possum that my (serious) theory in #6 is more plausible.

  10. Possum Comitatus said

    Sorry Eco, I just had to go and check.

    The reason is that we dont have the numbers from the last election for breakdowns on things like F/M, so we have to use the estimations for them from the most recent surveys to that election.

    So the fuzzy measurements like M/F are going to be out by a point or 2.

  11. swio said

    Anecdotally, there is something about Rudd that appeals to women, or at least does not put them off the way traditional politicians do. Normally politics is a very blokey world with lots of loud mouth alpha males. If you just looked at the mugs and mannerisms of most of our current lot you could be mistaken for thinking they came from the Footy Show.

    Rudd doesn’t quite fit in with that image. He’s softer, more articulate and careful with words, but still doesn’t look like a wimp. Put it this way, if you were choosing the spokesman for a new national product that was 50% aimed at women would you choose
    Latham or Rudd?, Beazely or Rudd? Costello or Rudd?
    Most pols are just too off puttingly blokey.

  12. Lomandra said

    Swio, I think that the spousal conflict of interest issue probably increased Rudd’s popularity with women because it demonstrated him to be someone who sees his wife as an equal, not a sheet-ironing appendage. From the outside, it looks like the kind of marriage most women would either identify with or aspire to. And that means that Rudd’s approval among those women will increase—not because of any vacuous “ooh, wouldn’t mind being married to him” attitude, but because if he behaves well in his private life, there’s a better chance he’ll behave well as PM. In other words, to recall a phrase from yesterday, “the personal is political.”

  13. Bryan said

    Possum, I have also been looking at Newspoll.

  14. Bryan said

    Possum, I think there is something a bit screwy when the average swing for both men and women is less than the average swing for the entire population. I suspect the problem is that the 6-9 October poll used by Newspoll may have been out.

  15. Possum Comitatus said

    Those female/male breakdowns (or the breakdowns for any category that cant be directly measured by the ballot box results)are always going to be fuzzy because they rely on survey estimations.If the survey was out one way near the election, and happens to be out the other way over the last quarter – the difference can be a few points out and make the whole thing look like we’re being invaded by an army of asexual voters.I was thinking of using an adjustment mechanism to make the numbers nice and pretty, but adjusting it doesnt actually achieve anything, it just hides the errors from the sampling under a big rug marked “look at these nice numbers – they add up too!”.

    There might also be a slight issue with movement through the electoral role.People turning 18 since the last election might be interfering with the swing in terms of gender, likewise the recently departed.There might be compounded rounding errors in the mix as well.Combine all these little “out by a bit of a point here”, “out by a bit of a point there” and we end up with bizarre things happening around the fringes of the swing.

    I think I’ll just treat it all with a bit of a smile.

  16. James said

    I’m surprised you haven’t really commented on the size of the swing to Labor in NSW, at around 11%. At this point in time the polls are saying that NSW is the strongest state for Labor, stronger than SA and Qld, and might yield as many as 12 seats alone to said party. Also what the graphs on OZ politics are showing me is that unlike the other states, NSW has yet to show a trend back to Howard and his pack. So why the lack of comment on NSW?

  17. Possum Comitatus said

    James, I havent commented on the size of the NSW swing because everyone else seemed to be doing it comprehensively.Rather than just have a site that is another voice interpreting the obvious, I’m trying to concentrate mostly on the more unusual things that aren’t getting widespread coverage and might still interest people.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: