Possums Pollytics

Politics, elections and piffle plinking

Chilling Steadiness and Deadly Intent

Posted by Possum Comitatus on November 20, 2007

Don’t you just love that cracker of a line from Peter Hartcher about the behaviour of the polls?

As a new day dawns, the institution of Newspoll Tuesday – campaign edition, comes to a close.

And what new excitement does the Newspoll bring us on this solemn occasion?

None at all – its more of the type of business as usual that Peter Hartcher described so well.

The headline figure gives us a TPP estimate of 54/46, with the ALP down 1 and Coalition up 1 since the last Newspoll.


On the primaries we have the ALP down 2 to 46, and the Coalition up 1 to 41, giving us the following (thanks to George P. again). These results come from a survey of 1696 people giving us an MoE of around the 2.5% mark.


The Greens vote is at their highest level for a long time, at 7 points matching their 2004 election result of 7.2. The non-green minors are stuck on the same 6 points they have been for the last 4 polls.

So Newspoll Tuesday – ‘campaign edition’ ends with the same more of the same that it’s been delivering for weeks.

But the one thing I wanted to show you all today was the long term trend since the 2004 election. If we take the ALP two party preferred vote between November 2004 and November 2006 and run a linear trend using a simple regression through that period, and then we project that pre-Rudd trend through to today – look at what we find:


The ALP two party preferred vote is currently at its long term, pre-Rudd trend.

Now isn’t that interesting.

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25 Responses to “Chilling Steadiness and Deadly Intent”

  1. josh lyman said

    Don’t let Bomber see that…

  2. kwoff.com said

    Chilling Steadiness and Deadly Intent « Possums Pollytics

    Don’t you just love that cracker of a line from Peter Hartcher about the behaviour of the polls?

    As a new day dawns, the institution of Newspoll Tuesday – campaign edition, comes to a close.

    And what new excitement does the Newspoll bring us on t…

  3. KeepingALidOnIt said

    That piece by Peter Hartcher and his appearance (I think the night before) on the 7.30 Report were the most level-headed, cool-as-a-cucumber reports of the whole election. And he’s pretty easy on the eye too.

    But getting back on topic, Poss, would it be appropriate to draw a straight line through the ALP 2PP from the beginning of the campaign to election day to get an idea of where we might end up? And if you did draw a line, what would the 2PP vote be? It looks like around the 53s, which is just a tad lower than my prediction of 54% (but a low number of seats).

    Could you tell us the range of seat numbers that a 53 and a 54% 2PP could convert to? I have been trying to work it out.

  4. Possum Comitatus said


    There’s probably not enough Newspoll data points to be able to project a straight line just from the campaign, but if you want to look at the range of seat numbers that a 53-54 converts to, head over to Antonys spiffy election calculator

    And just move the slider until you get the right numbers you’re looking for.

  5. gandhi said

    How about Hartcher takes over from Kerry on 7:30 Report?

  6. Goodbye Mr Thatcher said

    Poss – I thought I heard Textor on the radio this morning say something about a decline in the nationals primary vote. Do you have any info on this?

  7. Possum Comitatus said

    Thatcher, unfortunately the public polling isnt very good for measuring the Nats vote, so I cant really say.

    It wouldnt surprise me though.

  8. You regression line adds some grist to George Megalogenis’ mill:


  9. KeepingALidOnIt said

    Thanks poss, I have tried the calculator but I think what I am asking for involves too many permutations and combinations for my rusty Year 12 maths. It’s my theory that the ALP will get solid swings to it further up the pendulum, but the number of seats actually converted will be low. I want to know how few seats the ALP could win with an overall swing of 6.7%. But we are close enough to the day that I will be able to test my theory with actual outcomes. 🙂

  10. Mike said

    As always, tidy work, possum.

    A quick question that I was hoping you might be able to help with. Is there any data in the polling that suggests whether any Greens voters might be likely to preference the Coalition? I’m wondering whether it’s possible for Green voters to be thinking “After watching that Gore movie I’m worried about the environment, so I’ll vote Green in protest, but I’m preferencing the Coalition – I’ll be damned if I’m putting a 70% union-dominated government in power”. Seems unlikely and illogical to me, but who knows? I don’t know if we have any data that’s anywhere near that specific, but I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.

    Herein lies a second question; in the polling analysis round the traps, are Greens preferences usually allocated directly to the ALP? The last three Newspolls have the ALP primary falling, the Greens primary rising, and the ALP TPP staying roughly the same; is it wrong to read this as suggesting Greens preferences have kept the TPP where it is (taking Newspoll at face value, of course)?

    Thanks for all the hard work throughout the year; this site has been a highlight.

  11. Stimulus Package said

    It is, of course, the end of the Howard Era.

    There are three well thought out ‘Polls of Polls’ that predict it:

    1. Possum’s own model used regression to get a national ALP TPP of 55.15% (November 16, 2007)


    2. Prof. Simon Jackman pooled and trended the polls to get a national ALP TPP of 54% (November 19, 2007)


    3. Geoff Lambert used some Monte Carlo modelling to get a national ALP TPP 55.5% (November 12, 2007)


    So, a poll of the polls of the polls, weighed evenly (and why not?), says a national ALP TPP of 54.8, right about where the current individual polls are lining up.

    And then there’s the real insights:

    . Those of you who participate will have been talking to Liberal pre-poll booth volunteers. They’re ‘preparing for opposition’.

    . Howard’s planned full-week ‘ooga booga!’ on State and Federal ALP governments and union domination is a clear firewall strategy.

    . Hoawrd and Costello on Today Tonight (to paraphrase):

    Noboby likes you, everybody hates you,
    They think you’re a pair of worms
    A short grey old one
    And a long thin meany one
    They watched you squiggle and squirm.

  12. denise said

    Possum me again do we need Western Australia,
    And what about trying to turn workchoices in to a plus, i thought it sounded very scary, doesent this man realise we in the east hear him from over there proably not.

  13. Steve said

    Tehre *is* a slight “narrowing” 🙂

  14. Goodbye Mr Thatcher said

    Denise – its only scary if a)people are actually listening and b) they take it seriously. It seems the government faces the ;cry wolf’ syndrome. After awhile they may just ignore it.

  15. paul said

    Poss, How much of this poll is rounding noise?

  16. 50_sigmas said

    A reasonable argument is to be made that the series should begin with Rudd. Does anyone seriously think that the Bomber would not have been hopelessly wedged by now? Could he credibly been presented as new leadership?

    To take the Rudd part of chart alone, the obvious conclusion is that we see an extended honeymoon. The shine will last long enough to rid us of the rodent.

    The real question now is why Labor could not have done better.

    It is understandable that when so far ahead the ALP did not want to do anything to upset the picture. Hence the Politics Lite character of the campaign. But Keating’s warning about strategy driven by focus groups comes to mind.

    Consider the ALP’s TV ads. Weak as p*ss. Sure the Coalition’s ads have been worse; but their dire position has dictated that they must try to hang onto votes rather than try to win them.

    The fact is that the ALP’s ads have lacked creativity. You need creativity to have impact, to win new votes. I recall a journalist, I think in the SMH, recording that he or she was interviewing John Brogden when he first saw the NSW ALP’s “In the Liberals” ad. He was speechless. Nothing in the same class this time.

  17. 50_sigmas said

    Sorry, meant Debnam.

  18. Possum Comitatus said

    Paul – this poll has relatively low noise in terms of the preference flows from the minor parties, as the prefs are split 61.5% to the ALP (in terms of rounded whole numbers) which is nearly bang on the 2004 preference flows Newspoll uses.

    So the only noise would be in the rounding of the actual primaries – and I dont have that information.

  19. Ron Brown said

    Possum ,
    “The ALP 2PP is at the pre Rudd ling term trend”

    I do NOT believe this means Beasley would have had 54 to 46 now if he was leader

    I believe the polls have narrowed DURING the Election
    (whether because of Liberal scare ads or because some of the ALP vote was ‘soft’
    and reality set in when an ACTUAL Government changing vote was involved)

    What do you think ????

  20. Crispy said

    Hi Poss, interesting graph. It calls to mind your demonstration months ago of ‘poll overshoot’, where big events cause a spike, which then takes weeks or months to wash out of the series, by which time the TPP has returned to where it would’ve been anyway.

    Which makes Kevin Rudd officially ‘Labor’s Tampa’. He must be so proud.

    Mind you, nothing statistical tells us the line necessarily had to be straight, does it? As 50Sigmas notes, Bomber would’ve found a way to bleed votes somehow, starting just after the budget. I think that was his traditional time for miscalculations.

    Quite like the Labor ad capaign, btw sigma. ‘In the Liberals’ is the sort of smart-arse jab you use to kick an opponent who’s already down for the count. The ting-buzz ads are about as flippant as the feds can risk. And hey, if they come in at 54 and a bit TPP it’s a record. Pretty amazing given the Libs perecived economic credentials.

  21. Crispy said

    ‘perecived’ is Swahili for ‘widely but erroneously held belief in’

  22. Bert said

    I was not going to get my hopes up that at last the majority of Australians have woken up to the hypocrisy duplicity venality stupidity racism and smugness of the current government members until the stake of electoral defeat was driven through their shriveled hearts on Saturday night. But I sense that the first piercing is drawing what passes for blood in their soulless cadavers.

    I just heard Downer bleating more than usual. I have not heard Ruddock give a convoluted legalese explanation of why an innocent child was locked up behind razor wire for years for some time…

    There are more portents and signs. Please list any you see.

  23. Rocket said

    That straight line is brilliant – as you know there are psephologists who believe that in the end the leaders actually don’t make any difference, and it’s just that some people (Hawke, Howard, Blair) are lucky, while others just end up on the wrong side of trends in public sentiment (Beazley, Peacock)

  24. thanks for the GREAT post! Very useful…

  25. Snap said

    Where did our discussion go? The messages seem to have disappeared?

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