The federal election will be held tomorrow. Polls close at 6pm Australian Eastern Standard Time in the eastern seaboard states, 6:30pm in SA and the NT and 8pm in WA. Votes cast on Election Day will mostly be counted within two hours of polls closing, but big pre-poll booths are unlikely to be counted until very late. Postal votes and other types of declaration votes will be counted over the next two weeks.
The final Ipsos poll for Nine newspapers, conducted May 12-15 from a larger than normal sample of 1,842, gave Labor a 51-49 lead, a one-point gain for the Coalition since last week. Primary votes were 39% Coalition (up three), 33% Labor (steady), 13% Greens (down one), 4% One Nation (down one) and 3% United Australia Party (UAP) (steady). As usual, Ipsos skews to the Greens and against Labor.
In better news for Labor, a YouGov Galaxy national poll gave Labor a 51-49 lead, unchanged from Newspoll early this week. Primary votes were 39% Coalition (steady), 37% Labor (steady), 9% Greens (steady), 3% One Nation (down one) and 3% UAP (down one). Lower One Nation and UAP votes reduce preference shares to the Coalition under Galaxy’s assumptions. YouGov Galaxy also conducts Newspoll.
Respondent allocated preferences were also 51-49 to Labor, the same as the previous election method. In Ipsos polling since Scott Morrison replaced Malcolm Turnbull, there has been no difference between respondent allocated and previous election preferences.
Those who had already voted favoured the Coalition by 53-47. This would include postal votes, not just pre-poll votes. Postal votes always skew heavily to the Coalition.
48% in Ipsos approved of Morrison (up one) and 43% disapproved (down one), for a net approval of +5. Bill Shorten’s net approval was up six points to -5. Morrison led Shorten by 47-40 as better PM (45-40 last week).
The Coalition’s attacks on Labor’s taxes are likely to have contributed to the narrowing in the polls. A key question is whether the story about the accused Rwandan murderers, the weak economic data and the death of Labor legend Bob Hawke can swing the contest back to Labor. At this stage, Labor is likely to only win a small majority, with a possibility of a hung parliament or a Coalition victory.
YouGov Galaxy assumes that 60% of One Nation and UAP preferences will go to the Coalition, giving the Coalition a boost in its polls relative to last election preferences. However, Ipsos’ respondent allocated preferences have shown no difference between the two measures. If this occurs, Labor will do better after preferences than Newspoll anticipates. I expect the final Newspoll tonight.
A big concern with the polling is “herding”, where the polls are artificially close to each other. All polls published during this campaign have been between 51 and 52% two-party to Labor. Analyst Kevin Bonham thinks this is a problem, although the herded polls were right in 2016. If one side overperforms relative to the polls, herding could explain it.
In economic news, on May 15 the ABS reported that wages increased 0.5% in the March quarter, and 2.3% for the year to March. While this wage growth is weak by historical standards, there was zero inflation in the March quarter, thus real wage growth was up 0.5% in the March quarter and 1.0% for the year to March.
On May 16, the ABS reported that the unemployment rate increased 0.1% to 5.2% in April, and the underemployment rate increased 0.3% to 8.5%. The increase in unemployment was due to a 0.2% increase in the participation rate. Over 28,000 jobs were created in April, but full-time jobs decreased by over 6,000.
Essential: 51.5-48.5 to Labor
The final Essential poll, with figures rounded to the nearest decimal point, gave Labor a 51.5-48.5 lead (52-48 last week). Primary votes were 38.5% Coalition (38%), 36.2% Labor (34%), 9.1% Greens (12%), 6.6% One Nation (7%) and 9.6% for all Others (9%). The poll was conducted May 10-14 from a sample of 1,201. Essential continues to use the previous election method for its preference flows.
Morrison led Shorten by 39-32 as better PM (42-31 last week). Voters expected Labor to win by 59-41 (54-46 last week). 18% said they had not paid any attention to the campaign (up two since last week), 28% had paid a little attention (down one), 35% some attention (down one) and 18% a lot of attention (down one).
49% said they would vote on Election Day, 20% said they would pre-poll vote, 12% said they would vote by post and 8% said they had already voted.
Eleven YouGov Galaxy seat polls
YouGov Galaxy, which also does Newspoll, has conducted polls of ten seats for News Corp on May 13-14 from samples of 500-600 per seat. As I wrote on Tuesday, according to The Poll Bludger, seat polls taken since the 2016 federal election have been inaccurate and somewhat biased to the Coalition. The @GhostWhoVotes twitter feed is invaluable for these polls.
These seat polls have strong swings to Labor and the Greens in Victoria, more modest ones in NSW and WA (see below) and little swing in Queensland.
In Macquarie, Labor led by 53-47 (52.2-47.8 in 2016). Primary votes were 43% Labor, 42% Liberals, 8% Greens and 5% UAP. With a combined Labor/Green primary vote of 51%, Labor is probably winning by a larger margin. The 2% for all Others appears too low.
In Reid, the Liberals led by 52-48 (54.7-45.3 in 2016). Primary votes were 44% Liberals, 36% Labor, 7% Greens and 6% UAP.
In Gilmore, Labor led by 52-48 (50.7-49.3 to Liberals in 2016). Primary votes were 40% Labor, 26% Liberals (Warren Mundine), 17% Nationals, 7% Greens and 2% UAP. The Nationals did not run a candidate in 2016, and some of their preferences will leak to Labor.
In Deakin, the Liberals led by 51-49 (56.4-43.6 in 2016). Compared with an April 20 Newspoll, the two party was unchanged. Primary votes were 44% Liberals (down two), 37% Labor (down two), 9% Greens (up one) and 4% UAP (down one). That leaves 6% for all Others, more realistic than Newspoll’s 2%.
In La Trobe, there was a 50-50 tie (53.2-46.8 to the Liberals in 2016). Primary votes were 43% Liberals, 39% Labor, 7% Greens and 3% UAP.
In Higgins, the Liberals led the Greens by 52-48 (57.4-42.6 in 2016). Primary votes were 45% Liberals, 29% Greens, 18% Labor and 4% UAP. The Liberal primary vote is 9% higher than in a Greens-commissioned poll previously discussed Tuesday, and Labor’s primary vote is 12% lower.
In Dickson, Liberal Peter Dutton led by 51-49 (51.7-48.3 in 2016). Primary votes were 41% Dutton, 35% Labor, 10% Greens, 9% UAP and 3% One Nation. Dutton is relying on Galaxy’s assumption that 60% of UAP voters preference the LNP.
In Flynn, the LNP led by 53-47 (51.0-49.0 in 2016). Primary votes were 37% LNP, 33% Labor, 11% UAP, 7% One Nation and 3% Greens. Primary votes for the major parties had little change, but the assumed preference flow to the LNP strengthened.
In Forde, there was a 50-50 tie (50.6-49.4 to LNP in 2016). Primary votes were 42% LNP, 41% Labor, 7% One Nation, 5% Greens and 4% UAP.
In Herbert, which Labor barely won in 2016, there was a 50-50 tie, a two-point gain for Labor since a May 9-11 Newspoll. Primary votes, with shifts since Newspoll, were 32% LNP (down three), 31% Labor (up one), 14% Katter’s Australian Party (up one), 9% UAP (up two), 6% One Nation (down one) and 5% Greens (down two).
In Leichhardt, the LNP led Labor by 51-49 (53.9-46.1 in 2016). Primary votes were 40% LNP, 34% Labor, 8% Greens, 7% Katter’s Australian Party, 5% UAP and 4% One Nation.
Five more YouGov Galaxy seat polls in WA
YouGov Galaxy conducted five seat polls for The West Australian on May 14-15 from samples of 500-600. The seats polled were Hasluck, Swan, Cowan, Pearce and Stirling. Three of these seats – Pearce, Swan and Cowan – were previously polled on May 1.
In Cowan, Labor led by 53-47 (50.7-49.3 in 2016). That’s a two-point gain for Labor since the May 1 poll. Primary votes were 42% Labor (up one), 38% Liberals (down two), 5% One Nation (up one) and 2% UAP (down two). No vote for the Greens was listed; they had 6% last time.
In Swan, there was a 50-50 tie (53.6-46.4 to Liberals in 2016), a one-point gain for Labor since May 1. Primary votes were 41% Liberals (down three), 38% Labor (up one), 9% Greens (down two), 5% UAP (up one) and 2% One Nation (up one).
In Pearce, the Liberals led by 51-49 (53.6-46.4 in 2016), unchanged since May 1. Primary votes were 42% Liberals (up two), 36% Labor (up one), 10% Greens (down one), 4% UAP (up two) and 3% One Nation (down two).
In Hasluck, there was a 50-50 tie (52.1-47.9 to Liberals in 2016). Primary votes were 39% Liberals, 36% Labor, 9% Greens, 5% One Nation and 5% UAP. The assumed flow of UAP preferences to the Coalition is helping them in this poll.
In Stirling, the Liberals led by 51-49 (56.3-46.7 in 2016). All I can see from the primary votes reported is that that One Nation is at 2% and the UAP at 1%.
Authors: Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne