The final cumulative Newspoll has arrived and two things have become crystal clear; the Coalition is heading for an absolute thumping and the Narrowing over the election campaign is a complete fairytale.

To see how the big state breakdowns for Newspoll have played out all year, we only have to take a squiz at this:


The quarterly breakdowns are given, and then the weekly rolling Newspoll cumulative breakdown for the campaign period. The State results have a margin of error of about 4% each.

There’s bad new and really bad news for the Coalition. The bad news is the average results for the campaign period would give Labor 98 seats in a new Parliament according to Antony Green’s spiffy election calculator.

The really bad news is that the most current cumulative Newspoll would give Labor 100 seats according to the same calculator, particularly bad news for Luke Hartsuyker in Cowper and Jim Lloyd in Robertson, being the two extra seats in question.

If we look at the average State swings over the campaign period we get NSW (6.7%), Vic (7%), Qld (11.3%), SA (10.4%) and WA (5.1%).

The only Narrowing that can be given any justification by the data is for NSW, where the Coalition made up a point or two in the two party preferred vote over the last six months. However, over the campaign period itself, the movement has simply been within the limits one would expect from natural sampling error.

The other thing worth noting about all of these Newspoll breakdowns is the way that the Coalition is still being reported as holding up strongly in the over 50s age group. But this simply isn’t true. Taking the average figures from the campaign period, there has actually been a 5% swing away from the Coalition primary vote by this group, and a 7% swing to the ALP primary vote by this group since the last election. The same applies to WA where there is still a 5% swing to the ALP in two party preferred terms in the West.

No state or group is holding up for the Coalition – everything is swinging to the ALP, from large amounts of around 5% like WA and the over 50s (a swing large enough to deliver the ALP government in its own right were that swing applied nationally) through to enormous amounts over 10% like Qld, SA and the under 35s.

Forget this plethora of dubious marginal seat polling we’ve been getting lately, and forget about the so called undecided vote as well. When the swing is on, the swing is on. When the smallest swing in the country is still large enough to deliver government, no amount of fanciful interpretation of polling entrails will save the government from a complete rogering at the ballot box.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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