Thursday, February 13, 2014

EMRS: Divorce Tactic Falling Flat As Liberals Dominate

EMRS Lib 50 ALP 23 Green 17 PUP 5 Ind 4
Interpretation (provisional): Lib 50 ALP 26 Green 15 PUP 6 Others 3
Outcome if election held now: Liberal Majority Win (approx 14-7-4)

The February EMRS poll is out (PDF Link) and shows no significant change from the poll released late last year, as can also be seen on the trend tracker.  The Liberals and Labor are up one point each on the headline measure with the Greens down two.  The number of respondents initially claiming to be undecided did rise sharply from 17% in the previous poll to 23% in this one, but once those respondents were prodded for a response, the true undecided rate comparable to that polled by other pollsters rose only three points from 10% to 13%.  So let's please not have too much nonsense about almost a quarter of the voters being "undecided".

EMRS have a history of underestimating the Labor vote and overestimating the Green vote at elections, while their final result for the Liberals was very accurate last election.  Based on this poll, if an election was held now the Liberals would certainly win outright and would be likely to win around 14 seats. I initially thought the Greens' support base was only enough for three but I now think a 15% result would probably just get them four (as a 16%-ish result did in 2006, by a whisker).  There's not much in it though and it would come down to the breakup of votes between different parties in different electorates.

The poll suggests that any impact of the "divorce" in which Labor excised the Greens from Cabinet  (while not ruling out accepting their tacit support in future elections) has not been significant.  It may have increased the Labor vote slightly (though this poll does not even prove that) but it has failed to be a real game-changer, as has everything else Labor has tried in the last three years.  The poll was taken before yesterday's release of further grim budgetary news for the state.

The poll does not show a significant surge for the Palmer United Party and does not show that they are currently polling enough to expect any seat wins, no matter what their founder may think otherwise.  However PUP's potential to improve based on a late campaign spending surge and/or a voter switch-off similar to the federal election should not be underestimated.

The poll repeats the result of every public poll since the start of 2011 in showing the Liberals on track for majority government, after a Liberal internal poll that created slightly more doubt than usual about that outcome.

The following is my current aggregate of polling from all sources.  The Liberal-commissioned ReachTEL was used with a weighting of one-third to scale the electorate-by-electorate results but was not used to scale overall voting intention.  Following that the current EMRS was added with a weighting of one-third and used to scale voting intention results across all seats.

This is what the aggregate looks like at the moment:

Although the Greens in Lyons would seem to have a solid lead over Labor, I have noticed recently that federal election PUP preferences in Tasmania heavily favoured the major parties over the Greens.  Also at around that vote level, the Greens would be at some risk of losing if the Labor vote wound up evenly split between two leading ALP candidates (eg if the Polley vote really does still flow to David Llewellyn!)  So I have flagged that seat as uncertain though more likely the Greens would get it.

The big point here is that the aggregate has flipped Franklin again, now showing the Liberals as on course to win their three-seat block in the electorate.  This is not a result that I entirely believe in yet, at least until I see the full size of the Liberal campaign in the seat and more electorate data.  It doesn't have to be much closer before the high profiles of Lara Giddings and David O'Byrne would see them both retain, but some large sample-size candidate-based polling of this electorate (if it told us anything other than that Will's going to poll a packet) would be handy.

On the whole what this poll tells us that we don't already know is that we are little over a month from polling day and there is still no sign of change from the polling pattern of the last few years. 


  1. Well, that tactic was always going to fall flat, wasn't it? Even Labor cast it as something they were forced to do by fractious elements of the party.

    If someone actually polled 'Do you believe that the Labor Party and Greens Party will form government together if the numbers allow them' or some better worded variant on that, you'd probably see numbers in the high 80's saying yes.

    It's what they do.

    It would be a far more interesting question if the Greens picked up more seats than Labor (not suggesting that this is at all likely), and in that instance it would depend on which Labor candidates got up.

    The other thing with those numbers is that it wouldn't take a lot of movement from that position to make PUP quite competitive in Braddon, assuming their votes consolidate to a single candidate. They will pick up a substantial portion of the Liberal surplus, and Labor will also leak votes to them, possibly twice as much as they would to the Liberals. A little more liberal surplus, a little more advertising... hello Kevin Morgan.

    1. A question similar to "'Do you believe that the Labor Party and Greens Party will form government together if the numbers allow them" has been asked in two more or less identical internal ReachTELs, one taken early this week and one two weeks ago. However whoever is paying for them has not released the results. I was a respondent for one of those. Unfortunately the question was in the form "Do you think Labor and the Greens will do a deal after the next election?" As a ReachTEL respondent, I answered no to that question, because I believe they will probably be in Opposition.

      And yes, in the current aggregate Morgan is not too far off snagging the second Labor seat. A cautionary note on that though: if the Labor vote is relatively evenly split between Brenton Best and Bryan Green then it may be that the real target for another party in Braddon is more like .7 or .8 rather than .6.


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