EMRS: Liberal 40 Labor 29 Green 21 Ind 9
Interpretation (provisional): Liberal 42 Labor 33 Green 18 Other 7
Seat distribution based on poll: Hung parliament (Liberal 11-12 Labor 9-10 Green 4)
Aggregate of all recent state polling: Liberal majority (13-9-3) slightly more likely than not
A new EMRS poll of state voting intentions has been released (also see the tracker) showing a surprising six-point slide for the Hodgman Liberal government from the May sample. The poll result is surprising mainly because, unlike last year's indifferent polling, the government does not seem to be in any particular trouble. It is also against the run of play given a very strong result for the government in the large ReachTEL in June and also strengthening results in the small Morgan state samples. Therefore, the result should be treated with a fair bit of caution for now.
The poll features a surge in voters stating they will vote "Independent" to an EMRS record nine points, and also a very high Green vote. Overestimates of both these categories have long been a feature of this pollster's results, but I am wondering whether the pollster has become even more prone to overestimate Greens and Others votes, as the old landline-only Newspoll did in its final months. That said, the Greens are presently on a national surge and this may be rubbing off in Tasmanian polling.
The poll does not show any lift in support for Labor at the government's expense, and suggests that soft supporters of the government may be parking their vote with third parties, something which could well be driven partly by federal as well as state factors. However there is absolutely no reason to believe that federal factors are responsible for all or even most of the change.
I am also wondering whether EMRS's sampling is fully random across the whole population. I'm wondering that mainly because I was again included in the sample, the second time I've been sampled in the six polls since the election of this government, and having also been polled recently by EMRS commissioned polls. With the increasing non-connection rates for landline polling making it much more expensive it would be tempting to use a partly or entirely panel-style method in which preference is given to numbers with known successful connections. EMRS do not explicitly state that their sampling is random across the entire population.
The raw voting intentions after excluding undecided voters are Liberal 40 (-6) Labor 29 (=) Green 21 (+3) Ind 9 (+2); rounding prevents totals adding to 100. This is the worst result for the Liberals in this term in office, and indeed their worst since August 2010. As already noted it's the highest for "Independent" ever. It's the equal highest for the Greens in this term; they were last higher in August 2012.
As noted in previous EMRS articles I apply various changes to EMRS raw figures based on consistent experience at past elections that the pollster overstates the third-party vote at the expense of the majors and especially Labor. In some cases this will turn a poll that points to a hung parliament into one that points to a Liberal majority, but not this time. Based on my interpretation methods and what data we have on electorate-by-electorate sampling, here is a possible statewide model for this poll:
The Liberals as usual lose their fourth seat in Braddon and their third in Franklin but this time they also lose the crucial third seat in Lyons to the Greens, and possibly their third in Bass as well.
I repeat the usual caution that many Tasmanian voters vote strategically to avoid hung parliaments, except when they cannot work out how. So if the Liberals went into a campaign leading in polling by eleven points and clearly the only party capable of winning outright, I would expect their lead to increase during the campaign.
We shouldn't read too much into just one poll and that's why I've been trying to aggregate Tasmanian polling (a difficult task because polls are infrequent and not very reliable, every pollster has substantial house effects, and in all cases it's possible that the house effects change from time to time).
My aggregate was last updated for the small Morgan sample last week, which showed the Liberals on 44, Labor 31, Green 20, others 5. That was a strong result for the Liberals given that the Morgan series has at times had them behind, and has seemed to be skewed against them by four or five points. The new EMRS suggests the Morgan Tasmanian samples might be becoming less skewed (my new estimate is that they skew to Labor and the Greens by two points each, and against the Liberals by 3.5).
Given that there was a ReachTEL in the last few months and a Morgan very recently I have weighted this EMRS at 35%. Here is the new aggregate:
Braddon and Franklin, you know the drill. In this version of the aggregate the critical third seat in Lyons is very close to being lost to the Greens. I am continuing to treat that with caution because of unfavourable third-party preferences and the Greens lacking an incumbent, so although that seat is precarious for the time being the Liberals retain it. The one change to the aggregate is in Bass, where although the Greens are projected to trail Labor slightly on quota, Labor has only one incumbent, so I am now giving the Greens the benefit of a great amount of doubt to hold on in Bass. Therefore the aggregate changes from 13-10-2 to 13-9-3, and although one poll has pointed to a hung parliament, my aggregate still shows a Liberal majority as slightly the more likely outcome if an election was "held now".
The poll shows Hodgman (49) leading Bryan Green (21) as preferred premier with 30%, the highest since this two-leader series started last year, undecided. This is Green's worst result so far and is further evidence that this poll is hardly showing firm enthusiasm for Labor.
I will update with any notable public responses to this poll I come across, noting that I am trying (and probably failing) to write two other articles today!