Hanson is Liberals' only chance in WA


Our first analysis of our polling on the WA election (download by clicking here 870kb) suggests that a change of government is on the way, although not by a lot. However, this could depend on the One Nation vote.

Neither of the major parties excites electors.

Most voters think the state is heading in the wrong direction, except Liberal and One Nation voters. When our sample were asked to allocate their final preference, they split almost uniformly - 51% to Labor and 49% to the Liberals. ALP and Greens were very tightly bound together with 96% of Greens preferencing Labor, but of those One Nation voters who allocated a preference 100% went to the Liberals, but only half of them had decided who to preference, the rest had yet to make up their minds.

In the last federal election One Nation preferences split almost evenly between Liberal and Labor. So the undecided half may be just trying to get up the courage and jump into the water and vote Labor. Or they may be going to go with the government. This would be unusual as our research indicates that One Nation voters tend to protest against the government, no matter who they are.

When it comes to leaders, One Nation voters are split on Colin Barnett's performance - 39% in total approving, and 39% disapproving, with 22% neutral. 50% of them think Barnett has done enough to deserve to be returned, and 33% dont.

With McGowan's performance only 22% of One Nation voters approve, while 78% disapprove.Only 11% think he's done enough to deserve to be elected, while 72% think he hasn't.

The result is that for One Nation voters, Barnett is their preferred premier by 63% to nothing, but 38% have yet to make up their mind.

However, across the sample Barnett has a net negative approval rating - 32% approval and 56% disapprove and McGowan manages to be in positive figures - 51% approve versus 41% disapprove. These might not matter because they represent a highly committed ALP and Greens voter, against a less committed Liberal and National one. Other issues than preferred premier may be at play here in people's choice of government.

Despite some media commentary suggesting a huge win to Labor (supported by the betting markets), that is not the expectation of our sample. 29% think Labor will win, 23% Liberal, and 20% a hung parliament. This is not what they'd prefer. 47% would prefer Labor, 41% Liberal, and there is little support for a hung parliament (7%), all of whom are minor party voters.

From what we can tell the campaign is also not going well for either. Both the campaign slogans receive only minority support, and the Liberal ad, which stresses getting the job done, repels more voters (36%) than it attracts (13%). Labor performs better, 31% are more likely to vote for them because of their ad, versus 24% less likely.

The Liberal Party deal with One Nation seems to have upset those voters whose party will suffer from it, which is not quite balanced out by Liberal and One Nation voters, because some of them are lukewarm about it. As a result it is a net negative 15%.

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