Most of the discussions about Labor’s chances at this year’s election assume that the party needs a primary vote in the high 30s to have any chance of prevailing. But Dennis Atkins, writing in the Courier-Mail, questions one of the predicates of this assumption – that The Greens’ vote will be sufficiently strong to ensure a competitive ALP two party preferred vote.
At the 2010 election, the ALP received a national first preference share of the vote that was just short of 38 per cent while its left-of-centre fellow travellers, the Greens Party, was a tick north of 11.7 per cent.
Labor managed to attract a lion’s share of Greens’ preferences – about 85 per cent of them – which is why the ALP sneaked over the line with 50.12 per cent of the two party vote.
This is why people draw a circle around 38 when they talk about Labor being “competitive” and also why a vote languishing in the low 30s is reckoned to be about 5 per cent or so below the target.
The problem for Labor is that 38 is not going to cut it any more thanks to the vote for the Greens Party shrinking, measured now at about 7 per cent, 4-5 points below where it was in 2010.
While many polls give the Greens a vote of 10 or 11 per cent nationally, almost all real election outcomes see this coming in much closer to 7 per cent.
In Western Australia last weekend, the Greens vote fell by 3.6 per cent to 8.3 per cent, a loss of about a quarter of the support the party managed at the 2008 election.
This Greens slump was seen quite dramatically in the state seat of Perth where the Labor vote went backwards by just under 5 per cent and Greens Party support fell by 6.6 per cent.
He concludes that in order to be in with a chance, Labor would need to achieve similar levels of support to the 2007 election – a primary vote in the low 40s.
I’d be interested in people’s views!
PS: The swings in WA can be seen here.