Labor is comfortably ahead on a two-party preferred basis, and the latest Newspoll results show support for minor parties blossoming in Western Australia.
It’s been a quiet week on the federal polling front, with an unsurprising result from the regular Essential Research series being the only entirely new data available for the BludgerTrack poll aggregate. But there is a clear trend towards minor parties in Western Australia, with the Greens on a very high 16% in the state.
The latest results, which as always can be seen on the sidebar of my blog The Poll Bludger, show next to no change on last week, with Labor maintaining a solid lead on two-party preferred and a comfortable majority on the seat projection.
Despite the slim pickings in terms of new national results, poll junkies were spared from withdrawal by The Australian’s publication of Newspoll’s quarterly breakdowns, which combine polling from April to June to produce numbers by state, gender and region from credible sample sizes.
While the Newspoll aggregates are the best single indication that exists as to what’s going on beneath the national headline numbers, they remain subject to the vagaries of statistical randomness that apply to any individual poll, as well as not being entirely up to date.
This is particularly keenly felt on this occasion, as nearly half of the April-to-June polling period preceded the May 13 budget.
This is where BludgerTrack comes into its own, as it rolls together state-level data from five different sources. As this detailed breakdown of results shows, there appears to have been some intriguing regional variation since September, which collectively offers an insight into the impact local electoral events can have on federal polling.
Three such events have occurred since the federal election, all within a three week period — the Tasmanian and South Australian state elections of March 15, and the Western Australian Senate special election on April 7.
The first of these can be held responsible for the biggest peculiarity, namely the blowout in support for the Liberal Party in Tasmania over a period that precisely coincided with the state election campaign. Once the landslide defeat of Lara Giddings’ government was out of the way, Labor assumed a strong improving trend that continues to the present day, helped along no doubt by the May budget. The move to Labor since the middle of March has been in the order of 9%, although the swing since the federal election remains the lowest of any of the six states.
In Western Australia, the poll trend neatly reflects the Senate campaign in recording a surge in support for the minor parties in April. But while the impact of the Tasmanian election began to dissipate seemingly on the morning after polling day, the Greens’ and Palmer’s new Western Australian friends look like they’ve stuck around.
Palmer United’s rating in WA remains at levels comparable with its home base of Queensland, while the 16% support for the Greens is 6.3% higher than the September election result, and has contributed 0.6% to the 2.9% swing to the Greens nationally.
Another contrast with Tasmania is provided by South Australia, whose state election differed from Tasmania’s in every respect other than the date on which it was held.
Reflecting the re-election of South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill’s government in the face of a very mild swing, there appears to have been no shift whatsoever during the period of the state campaign.
South Australia has since recorded a strong backlash against the budget, particularly in comparison with New South Wales and Queensland, where there has been some evidence of a move back to the Coalition over the last month.