Possums Pollytics

Politics, elections and piffle plinking

The Polls Have It

Posted by Possum Comitatus on November 16, 2007

Two bits of polling to chew through today, an ACN phone poll and a cumulative Newspoll breakdown.

First up we have a new ACNielsen, with the ALP primary down 1 to 47%, the Coalition primary up 2 to 43%, with the minors and others down 1 to 10%.

The headline two-party preferred results have the Coalition up 1 point to 46 for a 54/46 TPP lead to the ALP.

Not much going on there in terms of movement, with 1465 survey respondents giving an MoE of about 2.6%.

Tracking the primary votes over the longer haul we get this (Ta George):


And a TPP history of this:


ACN since August has had 55/45 being the name of the game, coming down from a 57/43 split in the first half of the year.

There’s not much to look at there, so moving right along to the Newspoll breakdown over at The Oz which was taken either side of the rate rise, but before the campaign launches.

The Newspoll cumulative is based on the last two big Newspolls to give a combined sample of 3402 respondents, giving a MoE on the state breakdowns at about 4%. Here I’ll take the first two Newspolls and combine them into one result, then take the last two Newspolls and do the same to get two different polls that don’t overlap (Newspoll is running a two poll rolling average, but I’d rather distinct pieces of polling data here).

Tracking the primary votes over time we get (where week 2 and week 4 refer to the campaign):



Interesting here is that the WA primary has been on an increasing trend for both parties over the last few months at the expense of the minors vote. The other states are showing a fair bit of volatility with that 4% MoE making it hard to tell what’s really going on if anything. But what is probably certain is that the Primary vote for the ALP in NSW didn’t drop by 5% in 3 weeks (nor increase in Vic by 5% over 3 weeks) – that sort of movement just doesn’t happen that dramatically without something like a leadership change, so there’s a fair bit of noise in the series.

Looking at how this transfers across to the TPP:


This would deliver 99 seats to the ALP in a new parliament according to Antony’s spiffy calculator, which is 9 seats more than the number that a national 6.8% swing would deliver using just the national pendulum.

Qld delivers 13, NSW 7, Vic 9, SA 5, WA 2, Tassie 2 and the NT 1.

Higgins would fall in such a uniform state swing and Goldstein would become the most marginal electorate in the country, being retained by the Coalition by 0.03%.

That would be Howard, Turnbull, Costello and Brough all sacked by the electorate leaving an interesting decision for the Libs in terms of who would be leader.

It’s interesting to see the non-capital city blow out from the capital city swings over the last few months – that’s probably an artifact of the Qld swing on the one hand with Qld being rich in regional seats, and the 35-49 females in NSW city seats on the other, which we better explain with the demographic data.



What stands out here is the movement in the female vote back to the Coalition.

Taking this into account with the state swings, we can probably say that Newspoll was picking up a change in 35-49 year old female voters primarily living in NSW city seats (If I were to make a guess). If there is a bit of sampling error in the polls to explain the big jump in NSW, this looks to be the demographic where it occurred. The 35-49 group has moved 7% back to the Coalition over the last few months, with females moving 5% over the period (males only 1%) and NSW moving 5% over the period as well – all back to the Coalition primary. When you take account of the capital city vs non capital city swings from earlier, it seems to be a metropolitan phenomenon.

In terms of primary vote swing since the last election, as close as we can tell, they look like this:

  Male Female 18-34 35-49 50+
Coalition Primary Swing -4% -4% -6% -1% -6%
ALP Primary Swing 8% 8% 12% 5% 8%

So you can get a bit of an idea of the demographics where the minor parties are taking a hit.

If this female NSW swing is happening (which it may be, just not as much as the data is probably suggesting) it will be interesting to see if the bank notices arriving about increasing mortgage payments makes an impact (especially as surveys suggest it is the female in the family that does the home budget), as well as how the childcare and education policies from each party play out.

As for what’s going on in Victoria – your guess is as good as mine. Those Mexicans have been confusing all year and don’t look like stopping any time soon.

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40 Responses to “The Polls Have It”

  1. kwoff.com said

    The Polls Have It « Possums Pollytics

    Two bits of polling to chew through today, an ACN phone poll and a cumulative Newspoll breakdown.

    First up we have a new ACNielsen, with the ALP primary down 1 to 47%, the Coalition primary up 2 to 43%, with the minors and others down 1 to 10%.

    The h…

  2. John V K said

    The big centre piece of your interest rate math is about to be tested Poss.

    Thanks for all the hard work.

  3. Rod said

    My suspicion, poss, is that the big “spike” in late October for the coalition in Victoria was due in a large measure to the nurses strike. If you pull it out of the graph for Victoria things would look pretty flat from 2007 Q1 to today for both the ALP and Coalition primary vote level.



  4. Chris said

    Something I don’t understand about stats. I see in George’s chart that the MoE is say 2.6%. According this this it is possible the the parties could be neck and neck.

    Does this MoE tighten if more samples are taken, eg if 4 samples show 54% and the MoE is 2.6% then are we more confident that the real value is closer to 54% or could it still be anywhere between 51.4 and 56.6

  5. VP for Hillary said

    Has anybody heard how what’s-her-face – Caroline Overington’s gal-pal with the ‘friendly banter’ emails – over in Wentworth is preferencing? And can any body explain to me

    (a) will she get anybody voting for her, or is she just getting media coverage because of the I-was-shagging-the-Labor-candidate gumph

    (b) is anybody in Wentworth likely to follow her preferencing directions anyway (assuming someone does vote for her)?

    Thanks muchly

  6. Rod said

    I should add that I think Labor will perform better than most people expect in Victoria. Apart from that October spike the Coalition have been polling consistently well under 40% primary in Vic for quite some time.

  7. Stephen T said

    Poss maintains stability while pundits live in fear. The dreaded sudden narrowing? It ain’t gonna happen. Volatility is the name of the game at the moment which definitely points to methodological problems. It’s all seems to be going wobbly however the six month trend still holds. The variability is not believable so keep the old chin up mates. Factor in the interest rates, Rudd’s wedge, Rodent and Abbot’s latest cock up, the Auditor General, Shrek’s incoherent bleating and you’re on a roll. As usual Poss is keeping a steady ship so don’t panic and go out and destroy your liver. Lets put the noose around the right neck.

  8. bilko said

    The Libs fiscal policy re bribes give you $x in hand outs next year and the latest increase in interest rates takes back $x+$y NOW.
    What with another possible rate rise by xmas after their campaign release last Monday, the take back could be $2x, so now we are all behind the eight ball even before the new parliament sits. And now we have the NP regional rort saga over the previous 3yr term, I bet the nexr AG’s report when ever that is will be a doozy seeing they are awash with cash at the moment, roll on the 24th to see the back of them.

  9. PP said

    VP for Hillary, Ecuyer is running a split ticket on preferences. She’s giving her supporters two options, one where Labor is at the bottom and one where the Libs are at the bottom. The HTV card has a massive red sign saying that Labor will sign Kyoto, so overall it favours Labor.

    (a) I think she just gets attention because of the “fight between former lovers” aspect. She has no natural supporter base and her greenie policies are done better by the Greens.
    (b) People tend to follow HTV cards, but the split card of someone who will only get a few percent of the vote at most will be irrelevant.

  10. Detest National Socialists said

    Surely the current Newspoll and ACN TPP results, based as they are on 2004 preference flows, must be understating the ALP vote by 1%, or so, given that the Greens are preferencing the ALP in almost all seats?

    I am also consoling myself with the other flaw in their methodology in that the 18-35 year old results must also be understating the lower end of that age band (the strongest supporting group for the ALP) because of the prevalence of mobile phone usage, rather than land line, and the known difficulty in contacting these people, and securing a telephone interview with them?

    I know the polling companies won’t quantify these effects on their published results, as there are commercial considerations in admitting a larger error than they state, but what independent research is available, if any, that investigates and attempts to quantify these distorting effects?

  11. Diana said

    muchly @5, Dani Ecuyer’s preferences are shown on her website here. Her How To Vote brochures show how to number your ballot if you want your preferences to flow to Labor, and how to number your ballot if you want your preferences to flow to Liberals. She is preferencing the Greens in the Senate. If you have access to yesterday’s Crikey, you can see the actual brochure.


  12. Andos the Great said

    VP for Hillary:

    Danielle Ecuyer’s preferences can be found here: http://votedani.com/preferences/

  13. Andos the Great said

    DNS @ 10:

    I am sure that the pollsters take these demographic issues into account, and weight their results accordingly to give an outcome that reflects the actual demographic that they are trying to model (ie the electoral roll).

    I’m sure that Possum can go into a bit more detail about this but like you said, their weighting methods would be proprietary information. I have no doubt that they go to extreme lengths to try to quantify these distorting factors as it greatly effects the accuracy of their output, which in turn effects the magnitude of their income (if you know what I mean).

  14. snowstorm said

    Morgan results (face-to-face) have jsut come out for last weekend.

    ALP TPP is 56.5%, with primary support at 48%.

    Coalition primary support: 39%. Yep, rock bottom.

    Next lot of Morgan results to come out on Sunday

  15. Andos the Great said

    Does that mean we can call you “Abu al banat”, Rod?

  16. Rod said

    DNS@10 writes: “I am also consoling myself with the other flaw in their methodology in that the 18-35 year old results must also be understating the lower end of that age band (the strongest supporting group for the ALP) because of the prevalence of mobile phone usage, rather than land line, and the known difficulty in contacting these people, and securing a telephone interview with them?”

    Interestingly we’ve been polled twice so far here in McEwen . Two different companies, but on each occasion they asked for the youngest member of the household of voting age, once for a female and once for a male. As far as the male goes they didn’t score very young (yours truly, well past the half century mark), but with the female they did better – a 19 year old about to vote in her first Fed election.

  17. Neilbris said

    Hi folks – first time here.
    Morgan phone poll results are in


    “On November 10/11, the weekend after the interest rate rise but before the L-NP’s official campaign launch in Brisbane, Coalition support was 39% (unchanged from the telephone Morgan Poll conducted November 7/8), while ALP primary support was 48% — up 3.5% from the telephone Morgan Poll.

    With preferences distributed as they were at the 2004 Federal election, the two-party preferred vote is ALP 56.5% (up 0.5%), L-NP 43.5% (down 0.5%). If the Federal election had been held last weekend the ALP would have won in a landslide, the latest ‘face-to-face’ Morgan Poll finds.”

  18. Neilbris said

    My mistake…Morgan is face to face

  19. steve_e said

    No possible positives can come from the Auditor General’s scathing report of the pork barrel known as The Department of Transport’s Regional Partnership spending.

    Timing is everything in politics. Not only was setting an Election date after the Melbourne Cup RBA meeting a serios gamble but they knew when this AG report would come into public view. The outcome of this analysis by the Auditor General was totally predictable (and it seems to be accurate).

    In Crosby Textor terms the Libs have had their only 2 strengths brought back to neutral if not negative (Leadership and Economic Management)and this has forced the Libs to talk on topics they have no control: Education, Health and Housing. How these topics can boost the Libs vote is VERY hard to see. According to CT, focus on these topics can only benefit the ALP.

    Therefore, the next Newspoll should push up the primary to around 47 or so and this would see TPP move up to 56 +. From this point there will be a breakdown of discipline in the trenches.

  20. B1 said

    I’d be interested to know what CT research told them it was a good idea to campaign on the “Soft on Crime” angle; (not sure if everyone is seeing these ads); obviously a state issue but these ads would seem over the top in a state campaign.

  21. RobertBe said

    Poss is right. The nurses strike probably depressed Labor’s numbers temporarily here in Victoria. One can only imagine what Labor head office had to say to the ANF about that. Nothing printable you may sure. There are probably some melted telephones and serious tranquiliser prescriptions in that office as a result. Now that it’s over, we’re back to normal. And yes 10% is really possible. Viva la Mexico.

  22. HarryH said

    “the polls have it”

    how very boring.

    “rudd duds elmer fudd”

    is much better.

  23. Goodbye Mr Thatcher said

    Poss – what are the implications of the shift in patterns of female voters in NSW you mentioned if the trend continues the same next week? Sounds like a significant movement.

  24. wal said

    Rod @ 3

    How will they handle a teachers strike then?

  25. GS said

    Can’t speak for the female demographic (you suggest they do the budgeting) but having just received MY bank’s kind letter informing me of the pointy end of the rate rise and what it means for me I’m resigned to shelling out more. That’s more money…and more PAIN TO THE LIBS ON E-DAY!! Agree that the ‘soft on crime’ ads (featuring Gary Nairn out our way) are especially clunky.

  26. Mathew Cole said

    With respect, O possumic one,

    One other things stand out to my flawed and failing eye – the severe movement back to the Coalition of the 35-49 demographic.

    Perhaps this is the portion of the population that a)remembers the worst of the Hawke/Keating years, and b)is willing to flirt with change, but is too inherently conservative to carry through with it?

    Regardless, it’s doubtful that it will move any further to the Coalition, and highly unlikely that either of the other age groups will, as well – the Coalition is no “yoof vote” party, and the oldies are already supporting the Coalition more than the ALP.

    Unless another Tampa or 9/11 happens, the Coalition is probably toast, and not before time either!

  27. Detest National Socialists said

    I had a bit of a look at the Newpoll website, and they are clearly stating that their current TPP results are based on 2004 election preference flows, so this must be understating the ALP vote in their current TPP results, given the ‘new deal’ with The Greens to preference the ALP in most seats in the Lower House in exchange for ALP preferences in the Senate.

    AC Nielsen ask an active 2nd preference question in their survey that Newspoll do not, so their TPP results seem to be based on respondent answers at the time the survey is conducted, rather than what may happen on polling day, when most minor party voters, for example those supporting a Green candidate in the House of Reps, will vote according to their candidates ‘How to Vote’ card, thus allowing their selected party/candidate to allocate the preferences, rather than making a judgement themselves about other ranking of candidates they may know nothing about. This, again, must be understating the Labor vote in the opinion polls, given The Greens decision to actively preference the ALP.

    Roy Morgan is currently showing results using both methods, ie: TPP based on 2004 preference flows, and also on respondent’s stated preference answers.

    There must be a way to quantify this effect, but I can’t see any analyst, or blogger who is currently putting a number to this – am I looking in the wrong place, or does anyone know if this is really a non-effect in the overall scheme of things? My gut feel says it must be an advantage to the ALP on November 24th which is being under-represented in the current polling.

  28. Mark said

    Greens mostly ran 80+% to ALP anyway in 2004 so the prefs deal wont make much difference.

  29. Neilbris said

    Must say I agree with some views above. It does look like some narrowing is finally taking place – but the ALP primary is rock solid on 47/48, so I suspect it’s as narrow as it’s going to get. Nantucket sleighride anyone?

  30. Detest National Socialists said

    Mark @ 28 – this is my point – in a seat like Wentworth, for example, where The Greens could expect to get a large share of the 1st preference vote (perhaps up to 15% on 24th November, based on 2004 counts, where they polled over 11%) their 2nd preferences could be a fair chunk going to the ALP, and given the difference between 80% preference flows in 2004, and perhaps 90%+ flows on November 24th, this is significant – I just don’t know how significant, and I’d like to know if anyone in the psephological community has analysed and tried to quantify this effect?

  31. Rod said

    wal asks: “How will they handle a teachers strike then?”

    I think it will almost certainly cost labor some votes here, though it depends on how it plays out. If it is simply a “one day” affair , rather than dragged out in the same fashion as the nurses issue was, the impact may be more limited. People also tend to react more strongly about “health” than they do about ‘education” when it comes to industrial action. Pretty dumb timing , if you ask me though, regardless. No state government is going to allow itself to be portrayed as doing a “cave in to industrial action” in the last week before an election, even a federal one. Victorian teachers really are badly underpaid by national standards, and parents generally have a great deal of sympathy with teachers during strikes, but it is a dumb time to start such action.

    The other issue here, of course, is the police corruption stuff, which may also have a bit of an impact , especially given Mullet’s “union” connection (though the fact that he was going to stand for the Coalition a while back reduces any effect on the ALP quite a bit!)

  32. Guido said

    The teachers strike is going to be for one day only. It will inconvenience parents as they will have to find someone to look after their kids (if both parents work).

    The Mullett Union connection I don’t think is damaging as I don’t think police is seen the same way as construction workers.

  33. Deano said

    I’m not sure as to why the great Poss finds us Vics so hard to decipher. We take our politics seriously done here sipping lattes, wearing black skivvies and without a care in the world about the suburb we live in. The Libs offer nothing new except tacky, desperate bribes that will drive up inflation. Down here the penny has dropped and Higgins and Goldstein could be the big scalps.

  34. Rod said

    Deano writes: “We take our politics seriously done here….Down here the penny has dropped and Higgins and Goldstein could be the big scalps.”

    Fran Bailey’s attempt to play funny games at Wallan isn’t going to win her many friends either – see http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/11/16/2093520.htm .

    It is all very well dishing out the sweetner on the pork when you are a government minister. People here in McEwen, though, are cluey enough to see that the same honey won’t be flowing when you (according to the polls) are, at best, an ex minister in a very marginal opposition seat, especially when many in the electorate are already questioning the claims you are making about your contribution to local endeavours and wondering why you don’t bother mentioning your HOWARD GOVERNMENT LIBERAL political affiliations in much of your promotional material.

    Getting yourself specifically named in an Auditor General’s report is really not a good idea in such a situation.



  35. Don Wigan said

    Interesting what you say about a 5% movement in a week not being credible. I suspect you’re right about NSW and Vic. IN the Newspoll accumulative, something like that seems to have happened in SA wiht ALP falling from 59 to 53 2pp and Lib picking up by similar amount. Seems a bit big. Water is very big as an issue in SA but it’s hard to imagine the Libs could benefit from it.

    Any thoughts?

  36. canberra boy said

    Deano (#33) watch Kooyong on election night, too!

  37. Pencil said

    #33 and #36:

    Indeed, Goldstein vs. Kooyong will be one to watch.
    Similar margins, similar demographics, similar size, 15 minutes drive from each other.

    The big variable is the relative Labor campaigns.
    A few calls tells me one electorate’s campaign budget was below $5000 (extraordinarily low, by federal standards), while the other’s easily scaled 15 times that.

    Which one is which?
    Well, if the ‘all-politics-is-local’ crowd are right, you should be able to work it out after the big race.
    If there is no discernible difference between the two, many people will be asking themselves a lot of serious questions.

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