March election: what the bookies, an analyst and polls say

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Bookmakers consider Labor has a 56.04 per cent chance of winning the seat of Wanneroo and the Barnett Government a 30.5 per cent chance.

WHAT are the bookies, a political analyst and the polls telling Yanchep and Gingin voters in the lead-up to the March State Election?

Since the 2013 State Election Western Australia has undergone many changes including a slowdown in economic growth, which has led to a rise in unemployment and Budget problems for the Liberal National Government led by Premier Colin Barnett.

Mr Barnett has fought off a challenge to his leadership, as has Opposition leader Mark McGowan while former National Party leader Brendan Grylls has returned to power.

Some seats, including Butler, which accounts for many suburbs covered by Yanchep News Online have had their boundaries altered after the Electoral Redistribution Commission redrew the state’s electoral boundaries.

ABC election analyst Antony Green said before the changes Butler had 33,293 people enrolled when all new electorates had to be drawn with enrolments within 10 per cent of the state average of 24,923.

The big population growth in the northern corridor of the City of Wanneroo meant Butler was 33.6 per cent and Wanneroo 9.7 per cent over quota.

In his blog 2015 Western Australian State Redistribution Mr Green said this led to a general counter-clockwise rotation of seats around northern parts of the metropolitan area.

He said Butler had been diced and spliced losing Clarkson to the electorate of Burns Beach and Banksia Grove to West Swan and was now notionally held by Labor with a margin of 1 per cent.

By his calculations, Wanneroo, where the commission only made minor changes is a notional Liberal seat with a margin of 11 per cent.

The seat of Moore, which includes the Shire of Gingin, is unchanged and is a notional National seat with a margin of 23.2 per cent.

In his blog 2017 Western Australian Election – Electoral Pendulum published on January 3 Mr Green said using the new boundaries, the Liberal Party had a notional 32 seats in the 59-seat Legislative Assembly (Lower House).

“If the Liberal Party loses three seats then the National Party will hold the balance of power,’’ he wrote.

“This would occur with a 2.2 per cent swing to Labor.

“All opinion polls currently indicate a larger swing to Labor.

“For a majority Labor government, Labor needs to gain 10 seats on a uniform swing of 10 per cent.

‘’The 10 seats include two notional Liberal seats (one of these is Butler) with sitting Labor MPs.

“A swing of between 2.2 per cent and 10 per cent would most likely deliver the National Party the balance of power, though it would be a significant break with the party’s history for the National Party to do other than back the return of a liberal-led government in these circumstances.’’

Another factor that was not around to affect the 2013 State Election is Pauline Hanson’s One Nation but in 2016 her party contested the Federal election with 31 Senate and House of Representatives candidates.

In his blog One Nation and the 2017 WA Election – Lessons from the Past published on December 15 Mr Green said if One Nation repeated its past level of support, it would struggle to win lower house seats in March, but could win at least three Legislative Council (or Upper House) seats.

“Past elections have shown a consistent pattern of One Nation polling more strongly in regional Western Australia, but also polling well in outer southern and eastern parts of Perth,’’ he wrote.

“One Nation has damaged the Liberal and National parties in the past by taking first preference vote support which then dissipates as preferences to both sides of politics.

“One Nation did not contest any of Western Australia’s 16 Federal lower house electorates at last July’s election, but it polled 4.0 per cent in the Senate.

“One Nation’s Senate results by electorate reveal a pattern of support that is similar to the 1998-2001 period (with support) weaker in Perth and stronger in regional areas.’’

He said One Nation’s strongest results were in Durack (7.0 per cent), O’Connor (6.3 per cent), Forrest (6.3 per cent) and Pearce (5.5 per cent).

“Working against this has been the revival in the National Party fortunes since 2001.

“Then the Nationals were firmly in coalition with the Liberal Party.

“In recent years the Nationals have worked hard to maintain an identity separate from the Liberal Party.

“The question will be preference deals.’’

Mr Green, who will release his guide for the election at the end of January, said polls had traditionally been poor at measuring One Nation support and there had often been late surges in support for the party as polling day approached.

On Saturday, January 14 with the election still two months away Western Australians woke to the news that a ReachTel poll conducted on Thursday, January 12 showed One Nation could win almost 11 per cent of the primary vote across the state.

The Weekend West, which commissioned the poll, said the results showed Ms Hanson’s party was on track to hold the balance of power in the Legislative Council.

“The support for the Hanson party will concern the Nationals and comes at a cost to the primary vote for the Labor and Liberal parties, despite the chaos created by the removal of former One Nation WA Senator Rod Culleton this week,’’ the newspaper said.

Support for both major parties has fallen since a September poll but Labor remains in front on a two-party preferred basis with 52 per cent of the vote to the Liberals 48 per cent.

One Nation has not named any candidates yet but it is believed to be seeking 15 to 18 people to run for the Upper House and 25 candidates for Lower House seats.

What do bookmakers think of all this?

This week in an analysis piece on the ABC WA election: bookies back Labor for poll victory (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-12/bookies-predict-wa-labor-election-victory/8178166) it was reported bookmakers believe the election on Saturday, March 11 will be won by Labor.

“Odds listed by every mainstream bookmaker has the Opposition as a strong favourite to defeat a Liberal-National Government seeking a third term,’’ the report said.

According to the report numerous studies indicate betting markets are more reliable predictors of electoral outcomes than polls or pundits prove to be but it said not everyone held this view and there had been some famous and recent failures.

“The (Barnett) Government has as little as a 23 per cent chance of winning a third term, according to one bookmaker market, but another suggests the probability is almost one-in-three,’’ the report said.

“Labor’s chance of winning, according to the agencies, is somewhere between 67.76 and 76.63 per cent.

“The market considers Labor likely to hold all 20 seats on its side of the pendulum — its lowest probability to hold one of its own electorates is 66 per cent.

“But the Opposition needs to win 10 another seats which are either notionally Liberal, following a redistribution, or currently held by a Government MP.’’

One of the 10 seats the betting market considers Labor most likely to win is Wanneroo.

The report said bookmakers consider Labor has a 56.04 per cent chance of winning the seat of Wanneroo and the Barnett Government a 30.5 per cent chance.

  • The Western Australian Electoral Commission is reminding those who need to enrol that rolls close at 6pm on Thursday, February 9.