What you think about next month’s Victorian election could well depend on which newspaper you read. Today’s Age and Herald Sun both carry opinion polls, and their messages are rather different.


Herald Sun/Galaxy

Labor (primary vote)



Greens (primary vote)



Labor (2-party-preferred)



Implied Labor majority



Sample size



Date taken

20-22 October

17-18 October

The simultaneous release is probably a good thing, since it will force the media to recognise that neither can be taken as gospel, and that polling is an inexact science – whereas, if they had come out in successive weeks, the commentators would be full of ingenious reasons for why so many people had changed their minds in a short time.

The difference between a 2% swing and a 6% swing in Victoria would be a political earthquake: one would be a status quo result, with only about three seats changing hands, while the other would wipe out most of the government’s majority and give opposition leader Ted Baillieu the status of a giant-killer.

Yet it’s possible that opinion is positioned somewhere between the two, and that enough voters are still undecided to swing it one way or the other in the next month.

If you have to choose, there are good reasons for preferring Nielsen’s result. It is the more experienced and well-regarded pollster, and its numbers are more consistent both with previous Victorian polls and with the election results in other states at this point of the cycle.

It’s now two months since the last Victorian Newspoll (which showed Labor ahead 55-45), so we can expect another one later this week. But The Australian today was playing down the difference between its two rivals, headlining with “Polls predict solid Labor win”.

That’s certainly still the result to bet on. But if more numbers like the Galaxy poll are forthcoming, then Ted Baillieu might start to get his hopes up.