A Punter's Guide To Polling Lingo - Part Two

Mark Latham breaks down marginal seats, approval polls, and internal party polling.

Mark Latham
Tue, 14 Jun, 12:00 AM
Leaders Approval Polls

This is also true of approval and disapproval ratings for the two party leaders.

These polls can be influential during internal party leadership coups, but otherwise, they are of minor relevance in determining election results.

Marginal Seat Polling

As polling day draws closer, we will see more seat-by-seat polling in the media.

Reachtel has already done some (with very few gains for Labor).

Galaxy, Newspoll and IPSOS are expected to publish theirs in the last fortnight of the campaign.

As I mentioned in my last bulletin, Galaxy and IPSOS telephone polling should be treated as more reliable than the automated Reachtel and Newspoll systems.

If Galaxy and/or IPSOS show an upset result, at good odds in a particular seat, I would back that research finding in the betting markets.

With any of the Reachtel polls, it’s always important to check who has commissioned them.

Biased election participants, such as GetUp and trade unions, often pay for Reachtel material. Take those results with a grain of salt.

Internal Party Polling

Both major campaigns conduct a nightly ‘track’ poll of around 1200 voters in key marginal seats.

This is the most reliable research of the campaign, but it’s a tightly held secret.

In my campaign against John Howard in 2004, the ALP track poll showed that we were never in a winning position during the six-week campaign.

Yet Newspoll consistently had us as the campaign frontrunner – highlighting how there can be a big gap between nationwide newspaper polling and what’s actually happening in the seats that matter.

Sometimes the Labor and Liberal Parties leak internal polling results to the media, trying to influence the campaign agenda or reinforce a negative perception against their opponents.

The best guide to Labor and Liberal seat-by-seat polling is the travelling itinerary for the two leaders in the last fortnight of the campaign.

Turnbull and Shorten will visit the seats that are close (according to their internal polling), hoping to gain a last-minute winning advantage.

These visits provide vital intelligence about marginal seats in the closing stages of the campaign.

Polling Websites

At every election new websites pop up, promising to summarise and distill various polling results.

Normally they don’t amount to much (such as Metapoll in this campaign).

In my experience, the best site is The Poll Bludger run by William Bowe at: blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger.

It gives you every polling result and some handy analysis, without having to dig through each newspaper archive.

Tips: Punters will look at short odds and feel they should stay away, but sometimes they represent good value. Especially when you link them in an all-up.

Here are 2 seats to stick in a nice accumulator, they look certain to hold onto their seats and nothing like something better than bank interest:

COALITION (Craig Laundy sitting member) to Hold REID (NSW) @ $1.25 (Sportsbet)

COALITION (Chris Pyne sitting member) to hold STURT (SA) @ $1.15 (Sportsbet)

2 leg all-up price: $1.44

Good Punting.


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