First Preference Index March 2011

Our first preference index shows a confirmation of the decline in the ALP vote, a slight lift for the Libs and Nats, and a fall in the Greens vote. (The index tracks the first preference votes since September 2009)

The Labor first preference vote is sixty-seven per cent what it was in September 2009. It was marginally lower in Otober last year at two-thirds, but essentially is flat-lining. By contrast the Liberal vote is forty-four percent higher and has climbed by four percentage points since October last year. The Greens are tracking higher than when the index was first originated, but have dropped from their peak last year.

The picture our index is drawing is of a Labor Party that is out of favour, that has bled votes to the left to the Greens, but is now also starting to bleed them to the Liberals as well. At the same time the Greens appear to have peaked, at least for the moment. The Greens position warrants some investigation. As working hypothesis is that it might be a result of them being seen as part of the mechanics of government and therefore less of a protest vote vehicle. Something like this happened to the Australian Democrats after they negotiated changes to the GST.

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