Same conclusion, different spin

Backlash: Bracks risks losing 16 seats, Poll finds ALP is out of touch
– headline in print edition of the Melbourne Herald Sun, 24 October 2006

Libs face crushing loss at poll: One in eight to vote for Greens
– headline in print edition of the Melbourne Age, 24 October 2006

Two rather different interpretations of poll results showing that we are on track to the expected Victorian election outcome – the return of the Bracks government with a slightly lower share of the vote. The actual two-party preferred estimates are from ACNielsen in The Age, Labor 56, Liberal-National (though there is not actually a Coalition agreement) 44; and from Galaxy in the Herald Sun Labor 52, Liberal-National 48.

The major difference between the two polls is their assessment of the minor party and independent vote, 12% according to Galaxy and 18% according to ACNielsen. Galaxy puts the Greens at 7% and ACNielsen at nearly double that, 13%. Because Greens preference to Labor, the ALP ends up with a larger 2-party preferred vote in the ACNielsen poll.

Galaxy puts its margin of error at +/-3.5%, and ACNielsen at +/-3%. They are both going to need all their margins of error, Galaxy up, ACNielsen down, to reconcile the different estimates of the Green vote.

Update: Newspoll’s Victorian election poll is in The Australian today (a small amount of information is online). It’s midway between Galaxy and ACNeilsen on the 2-party preferred, 54-46. It puts the Greens at 7%, the same as Galaxy, and the same as the Morgan Poll in September. Yesterday in comments, Pollwatcher thought that Galaxy’s low result might have been because they did not read out the Greens as an option, but Newspoll seems to have done so by asking ‘which one of the following would you vote for?’ with the Greens appearing in their table with all other minor parties in ‘other’. However the actual Green vote in 2002 was about mid-way between yesterday’s polls, on 9.7%. I’d guess that actual Green support is closer to 7%, but if they campaign more effectively than other minor parties and independents they will pick some of the stray uncommitted and protest voters.