Friday, November 30, 2018

Not-A-Poll: Best State Premiers Of The Last 40 Years: Round 2 Results And Runoffs

For the past few months the mostly hopelessly socialist heathen who come here to admire the colour scheme have been involved in the selection of best state premiers of the last 40 years.  This month saw the runoff stage for those states that were not resolved in round 1 by absolute majority, and also the start of the consolation prize round for Coalition premiers.

We are not yet ready to proceed to the grand final stage because some young chap called Andrews was involved in a real election and I feared this could contaminate the vote.  The Victorian runoff will be in February to get a little distance from this result and meanwhile we can continue eliminating Coalition premiers.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

2018 Victorian Postcount: Other Indie Challenges (Pascoe Vale, South-West Coast etc)

On this page - Pascoe Vale, South-West Coast, Geelong, Ovens Valley, Werribee, Mildura

Link to state tally and main postcount thread

Link to upper house coverage

I've already posted threads on the interesting post-counts in Morwell, Benambra and Melton.  There are more seats I could post threads of their own on but I shouldn't put too many on the front page!  This seat covers all remaining seats I am aware of where there are interesting issues involving independent candidates creating problems for either major party.  Often in election leadups this is spoken about as a factor but then most of the indie challenges fizzle.  In this case the Coalition's performance has been so bad that it has opened many doors to independents to either beat the Coalition on Labor preferences or beat Labor on Coalition preferences.  Suzanna Sheed has easily retained, Ali Cupper appears to have won Mildura (see below),  Russell Northe is in a fairly good looking position in Morwell, and there are a bunch of others who either can't be written off, or who can be written off but have come close.  Here we go then.  All seats will be updated from time to time unless I have already called them.

2018 Victorian Lower House Postcount: Melton

Melton (Labor vs probably Birchall (IND), 2014 ALP vs Lib (11.2))
2014-elected ALP member Don Nardella quit party, sat as independent and did not recontest
Assessment: It's complicated [update: fairly close to an upset but Labor has won.]

(Link to main postcount page and state summary)

Melton? What is this?

The Daniel Andrews Labor government has crushed the Coalition opposition in the state election, but it's had a bit of bother in a few seats from independents, and these create the only real threat to its 2014 seat collection apart from the fairly likely and widely expected loss of Brunswick to the Greens.

One that sticks out like a sore thumb on the 2PP swingometer is Melton, the former home of Deputy Speaker Don Nardella, who resigned from the party and declined to recontest his seat after being caught up in an expenses claim scandal.  In an election where the swings are a sea of red everywhere except a few safe rural Nationals seats, Melton has produced a 2PP swing to the Liberals of 7.2%.  Currently, the Liberals are getting 58% of all preferences in a safe Labor seat where last time they got 42.4%.  There is the in-theory prospect of a bizarre boilover in this seat, and while someone out there might have information to prove it won't happen, I don't.  Even if it doesn't happen, it is worth keeping an eye on in case such a contest happens again in the future.

2018 Victorian Lower House Postcount: Benambra

Benambra (Lib vs probably Hawkins (IND), 2014 Nat vs ALP (9.7%)
Current 2PP Lib vs ALP figure is irrelevant
Assessment: Probable Liberal retain (update: retained)

(Link to state tally and main postcount page)

The seat of Benambra has been held by conservatives for 141 years but is under siege from independents inspired by the Cathy McGowan victory in Indi.  Bill Tilley's primary has fallen well below 50% leaving him in the danger zone. Here are the current primaries:

Tilley (Lib) 40.29%
Tait (ALP) 17.61
Hawkins (IND) 16.77
O'Connor (IND) 12.91
Knight (Shooters) 8.97
Bardsley (Green) 3.44

Jacqui Hawkins is a McGowan staffer and Jenny O'Connor is a local mayor who was a Greens candidate for the federal seat of Indi.

The Green how-to-vote card preferences O'Connor then Hawkins.  The Shooters registered two cards, one of which preferences Tilley then Tait and the other preferences Tait then Tilley.  O'Connor registered an open preference card (as did Hawkins.) Labor's card preferenced O'Connor then Hawkins with Tilley last.

2018 Victorian Lower House Postcount: Morwell

Morwell (IND vs ALP, Ind Held, 2014 Nat vs ALP 1.8%)
Nat vs ALP two-party figure is irrelevant
Assessment: Northe (IND) wins subject to being 2nd after preferences which is overwhelmingly likely
(update: confirmed, Northe has won)

(Link to main postcount thread and tally)

This is the first of my indie-seat postcounts.  The 2018 Victorian state election has thrown up a very large number of seats where independents have some sort of chance in the postcount and are likely to finish in the top two.  The count in Morwell may be more straightforward than in Melton and Benambra but it is nonetheless still messy.  Perhaps not as messy, however, as many thought it might be.

Russell Northe held the seat narrowly in 2014 despite a monster swing to Labor.  He has been a very much embattled incumbent (including in the final days of the campaign when there was more adverse media coverage of debt issues) but also one who has received plenty of sympathy for his struggles with the unusual pressures of political life in this seat.  He's polled a primary of around 20%, which normally wouldn't be enough, but he may have been saved by the collapse in the Coalition vote.  Here's how the primaries currently line up:

2018 Victorian Postcount: Greens Vs Labor (Prahran, Brunswick, Melbourne)

Link to main postcount thread including state summary

This thread covers late counting in seats being contested between the Greens and Labor.  The Greens went into the election holding Melbourne, Northcote (which they won from Labor in a mid-term by-election) and Prahran (which they won in a ridiculously close three-cornered contest in 2014) and hoped to pick up Brunswick (ALP vacancy) and Richmond (where there is perennial opposition to their candidate Kathleen Maltzahn from sections of the left on account of her support for the Nordic model of criminalising paying for sex).

The Liberals tried to stoke the pot in Richmond by not running a candidate at all, the strategic point of which remains elusive.  Former Prime Minister Paul Keating waded in by accusing the Liberals of piking on the contest to try to dislodge Planning Minister Richard Wynne in order to assist Liberal-linked property developers, while Maltzahn issues were another distraction for the Greens in a campaign full of them.  In the end Wynne has won Richmond with a commanding swing in his favour, and Labor has also comfortably recaptured Northcote.

2018 Victorian Lower House Postcount: Summary And Classic Seats


Labor 55, Coalition 27, Green 3, IND 3

Seats covered on this page:

Links to other postcount threads (links to be added as completed):

Green vs Labor (Brunswick, Prahran)
Other indie challenges (Pascoe Vale, Mildura, South-West Coast, Geelong, Ovens Valley, Werribee)

Link to Upper House coverage

Victorian Upper House Live

Go to new button press thread for final results and discussion. 

Button presses to occur on Tuesday at 10-minute intervals commencing 2:10 pm.  Very close results (if any) could still be subject to recount beyond that.  ABC Calculator seat "results" (actually output of a flawed but useful model) are not final and some are not likely to be correct.

Warning: The North Metro count section has been rated Wonk Factor 5/5.  Some of the rest aren't too far behind.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Victoria 2018 Live

The starting line: Labor 46 Coalition 37 Green 3 Ind 2 (Melton treated as Labor)
Polls have closed
Seats apparently won (some at low levels of doubt) ALP 51 Coalition 24 Green 1 Ind 2
10 seats currently in significant doubt (that I know of)

Apparent Labor gains from Coalition (some still in some doubt): Bass, Mt Waverley, Ringwood, South Barwon, Burwood, Nepean, Box Hill

Coalition seats in doubt: Bayswater, Ripon, Hawthorn

Apparent ALP gain from Greens: Northcote

Apparent IND gain from Nat: Mildura

In doubt Coalition held vs Ind: Benambra, South-West Coast (likely hold but exclusion order issue)
In doubt IND held vs ALP: Morwell (Ind favoured)
In doubt ALP vs Ind: Melton
In some doubt ALP held vs Ind: Pascoe Vale (probable ALP hold)
In doubt Green held vs ALP: Prahran (ALP ahead)
In doubt ALP held vs Green: Brunswick 

Friday, November 23, 2018

2018 Victorian Final Polls

Galaxy 53-47 to Labor, ReachTEL 54-46 to Labor
Current primary vote aggregate ALP 40.7 L-NP 39.4 Green 11.0 Other 8.9
Polls could be underestimating Labor 2PP vote slightly and may be overstating Greens primary
Seat projection estimate ALP 48 L-NP 36 Green 3 IND 1

This post will update all polling news in the final 24 hours of the Victorian campaign.

If the latest polls are right, yesterday's token post about Lower House modelling might not be quite so token after all. What we've seen in the Herald Sun's YouGov-Galaxy (53-47 to Labor) and Fairfax's ReachTEL (54-46 to Labor) suggests that the net effect of the last few weeks of campaigning has been more or less zero.  The polling would not have to be wildly wrong for an unlucky distribution of seats to leave Labor short of a majority, but it would have to be very wrong indeed for the Coalition to win the election in any way.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A Token Post About Modelling The 2018 Victorian Lower House

Seat modelling on assumed 2PP of 53.4 to Labor currently gives estimate around ALP 47 Green 3-4 LNP 36 IND 1-2 
On current numbers Labor are very likely to win, but at some risk of doing so in minority
Contest badly lacks sufficient recent polling data so any modelling is unreliable

State opinion polling aint quite what it used to be.  At this stage of the 2014 Victorian state election, there had been twelve statewide voting intention polls by six different pollsters released in the previous two months.  This time it's four by either two or three (depending on how you treat Newspoll/Galaxy) and the most recent one was commissioned.  Over a million voters have voted already (including those whose votes are in the mail) and yet so far this month the only statewide poll we've had is a ReachTEL for the Victorian National Parks Association.  There may well be a flood of polling in the final days, but at this stage, those of us trying to predict what might occur have not a lot to work with.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Site colour change

From time to time I change the colour of this site, often partly or entirely for some reason connected with its content.  Examples of past colours adopted have been:

a shade of dark blue which was the subject of a ludicrous cease-and-desist letter from the Tasmanian Liberal director asking that an "independent liberal" candidate cease using the colour "Liberal Blue"
Orange, partly in amazement at Cathy McGowan's team finding 1000 votes under the proverbial table during the 2013 Indi count.
Purple, signifying neutrality between the major parties
The colour of Senate ballot papers, moving to a purely psephological colour as an expression of disgust with the federal parliament over anti-free speech provisions in the rushed-through same-sex marriage plebiscite safeguards bill.
Burnt orange, flying SA-BEST colours in protest against SA Labor and Liberal parties preferencing the Australian Conservatives.

The new colours (though I'm fiddling with the combination to try not to make it too hard on the eyes) are another protest, concerning the behaviour of nearly every party in or leading up to the current Victorian Legislative Council election.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Wentworthless: Another Epic Seat Poll Fail

The failures of seat polling have been a common subject on this site this year.  See Is Seat Polling Utterly Useless?, Why Is Seat Polling So Inaccurate and How Did The Super Saturday Seat Polls Go?

The recent Wentworth by-election was difficult to poll because of a late strategic-voting swing of probably a few to several points from Labor to the winner Kerryn Phelps.  All seven polls that polled a Liberal vs Phelps two-candidate preferred vote did actually get the right winner.  But that is all the good news that there is.  In so many other respects, the seat polls for the historic Wentworth by-election, perhaps the most polled seat in Australian history, were way wrong. And like other recent seat poll failures in such seats as Bass, Macarthur, Dobell, Lindsay and Longman, the failures were characterised not just by the polls being very wrong, but also by them tending to be wrong in the same direction.  The problems go beyond small sample size, and beyond even the tendency of seat polls to be less accurate than their sample sizes say they should be.  They point to systematic errors not random ones, and in this case, I suspect, to the oversampling of the politically engaged.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Fear And Loathing With Victorian Upper House Preference Flows

Following the launch of Antony Green's Legislative Council calculator I've been playing around with some possible scenarios for the Victorian upper house group ticket flows.  Quite a few people are doing this and so there are a number of different estimates about what might happen out there.  What we know from the past is to expect the unexpected - we can say that it looks like preference harvesters will win several undeserved seats, but it's hard to say which ones they will be and who.  The whole exercise is incredibly sensitive to starting assumptions - one micro-party you've never heard of might get 1% instead of 0.5% and suddenly something completely different happens.  Snowballs from very low vote shares have a higher chance of crashing because of below-the-line votes, especially as voters for micro-parties, with the exception of the Liberal Democrats, are more likely to vote below the line.  In 2014 the BTL rate for most micros was in the range 8-22%.

At the last Victorian election, five candidates won seats as a result of preference-harvesting:

* In Eastern Victoria, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (2.44%) beat ALP-2 (8.68% over quota) and Green (8.23%)
* In Northern Metro, the Sex Party (2.87%) beat Labor-3 (7.06% over quota)
* In Northern Victoria, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (3.5%) beat L-NP-3 (7.84% over quota) and Greens (7.68%)
* In Western Metro, Democratic Labour Party (2.57%) beat ALP-3 (10.65% over quota) and L-NP-2 (6.90% over quota)
* In Western Victoria, Vote 1 Local Jobs (1.28%) beat Greens (9.19%)

There weren't any cases of candidates winning from well below 1%, but based on our experience of the new Senate system since, none of the above would have won had voters made their own preferencing decisions.  These parties only won because the Group Ticket Voting system created completely fake near-100% preference flows.  Perhaps, had the Senate system been implemented in Victoria before that election, some of the minor parties would have merged into larger groups and polled higher primaries, but that doesn't seem all that likely.

With the release of the new round of Group Tickets it seems that almost all parties have been involved in backroom preference-trading.  There are again tight flows between the micro-parties, largely believed to be networked by Glenn Druery, that seem designed to elect a particular winner or choice of winners in each seat.  Labor has preferenced a range of, for progressives, dubious parties above the Greens in what looks like an attempt to replace the Greens with Druery parties:

* The Aussie Battler Party, an anti-immigration populist outfit that wants to place juries of randomly selected citizens in control of many aspects of the political system, and that promotes illiberal law and order policies including indefinite sentences. This party is the latest home for long-time conservative party-hopper Vern Hughes.
* Sustainable Australia, a seemingly environmentally focused party that is actually a home for old-style pre-Tampa immigration-cutting Dick Smithery.
* The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party.  Guns!
* The Liberal Democrats.  More guns!


The Greens are far from blameless themselves, having preferenced the anti-vaccination, anti-fluoridation Health Australia Party, the aforementioned Aussie Battlers and Sussos, and also the law-and-order-loving Derryn Hinch's Justice Party all above Labor in various seats.

This basically means that if you want to vote for either Green or Labor and preference the other in the Upper House without your vote going to at least partial right-wingers or crackpots first, you have no choice but to vote below the line.  

The Liberals, for their part, seem to think that the only parties worse than Labor and the Greens are the Australian Liberty Alliance and Victorian Socialists.

Some of the micro-party preference orderings might be taken as vaguely logical (Fiona Patten's Reason Party) while others (eg Animal Justice) are simply all over the place.  I mention the Victorian Socialists (see comments) as one party that has produced an ordering that very closely reflects its likely voters' views.  The Liberal Democrat and Hinch Party orderings of the major parties and Greens jump around between individual candidates in a way designed to confuse the average voter out of having the slightest idea who is actually being preferenced and what the effect will be.

Some possible scenarios

In trying to test some ranges of possible outcomes, here were some assumptions I made:

* Labor currently seems on track to win the election with a modest swing to it, based on state polling.  I assumed this would be the case, all else being equal, and that the Labor primary might be up a shade.

* The field of micro-parties looks mostly weaker than last time, especially on the religious Right.  So even if Labor wins the election I assumed the Liberal primary would be little changed.

* Generally I gave new and unknown parties about half a percent of the vote, unless they seemed hopelessly limited in appeal (Hudson For Northern Victoria won't get a lot of votes outside Northern Victoria, if even there).

* Logos are now displayed on ballot papers.  I assumed this would reduce the strength of the link between ballot position relative to the majors and votes for the confusingly-named parties (Liberal Democrats and Labour DLP).

* I thought the vote for Labour DLP might be down somewhat as the party has lost all the MPs it formerly had at state and federal level.

* The calculator assigns votes for the Sex Party to Fiona Patten's Reason Party.  But as with the change from Family First to Australian Conservatives, the name change switches from a name with a certain appeal to low information voters to a name that is more obscure (and I also think, in Reason's case, pretentious.)  I could be wrong but Reason might not do as well as the Sex Party did, outside of Patten's home seat.

* It's hard to predict what vote Derryn Hinch's Justice Party might get without Hinch on the ballot paper.  In states outside Victoria it polled less than 1% in the 2016 election.  I think it should do quite a bit better here and have guessed 2-3%.

On my first run of this and with some subsequent fiddling, here were some possible outcomes I got:

* Eastern Metro: In my first attempt I got Transport Matters off 0.5% beating the Greens off 10.4%.  If Transport Matters dropped out early or the Liberal Democrats polled 5% off name confusion (seems unlikely) then the Liberal Democrats took the seat instead.  Either way I seemed to get a preference harvester alongside two of each major party.

* Eastern Vic: On my first attempt the Liberal Democrats off 4% beat the Greens off 8.4%.  If I reduced the Lib Dem vote, the Shooters Fishers and Farmers won off 2.4% instead.  Again I kept getting two majors apiece and a preference harvester.

* North Metro: My first attempt elected two Labor, a Liberal, a Green and one from Hinch Justice, with the latter on 2% beating ALP-3 on 10.4%.  When I tried to elect Fiona Patten instead of Hinch Justice, I found I had to jack her vote up to around 7%.  Depending on how much of that I took from the Greens, in some cases I could leave the Greens short of quota and elect both Patten and the Hinch candidate (this seems unlikely.)

[EDIT: As commenter hoddlegrid notes, and as others have confirmed on Twitter, the Victorian Socialists in this district are well above average "socialist" ballot clutter level, and seem to be running a well organised union-backed campaign with a lot of street presence and a reasonably high-profile candidate who has polled several percent in the lower house in the past.  The Socialists have poor preference flows but a strong result for them at least improves the chances of the Greens and Reason compared to Hinch Party; it seem the Socialists would need about 6% themselves for any chance of winning.  If the Greens and Patten do well it becomes more like 9%.  Anything in this range seems unlikely.  If the Hinch Party bombs out I also found chances for Animal Justice and Liberal Democrats].

* Northern Vic: My first attempt here got two of each major and a Liberal Democrat, with the latter off even 2.5% beating the Greens (8%) and Lib-3 (the same).   I had to knock the Liberal Democrat down to below 1% before they lost to Shooters, Fishers and Farmers.  Another thing to bear in mind here is that Hudson For Northern Victoria can win as well as the Lib Dems; I found he could do this off a primary of about 3%.

* SE Metro: Here I got a sane result of 3 Labor, 2 Liberal at the first attempt, and 2 Labor, 2 Liberal 1 Green was just about as easy to get.

[EDIT: David J in comments has found, and I have replicated, that if Tarang Chawla (Group D) can poll a primary of around 2%, Chawla can possibly take the third Labor seat.  Also, if the Transport Matters party can poll around 0.6-0.7%, Transport Matters can win the seat.]

* Southern Metro: On my first attempt I got an unlikely snowball with two of each major and Sustainable Australia (0.5%) beating the Greens (15.6%).  However, see note at the top (I had a crunch point where SA would need almost every preference to get over at least one major), and the snowball is very prone to collapsing early if the primary vote is low, or failing because of below the line votes.  So probably 2-2 with 1 Green was a more realistic outcome for the range of numbers I was looking at.  However if I give Sustainable Australia a non-trivial vote, over 1%, in some cases I get them up with the Greens and with Labor getting only one.

* Western Metro: Here on my first go I had 3 Labor, 1 Liberal and then Aussie Battler Party (0.5%) beating Green and Liberal-2 (each 10.5%).  If I knocked out Aussie Battler early then the Greens or in other simulations Shooters (even off 1.3%) won the seat.

* Western Victoria: The most dramatic one til last - I got a 2-2 major split with DHJP (2.5%) easily beating Greens (9.4%).  I tried cutting the Hinch candidate down to see how low I had to go to beat them and they didn't lose on the calculator until reduced to 0.32%.  [EDIT: It is also plausible for the Animal Justice Party to beat DHJP if AJP poll about 2% and get over Reason, then over Labor and hence over the Greens, though this path to victory is fragile.]

Overall the Greens seem to struggle - while North Metro might not realistically fall, their other three chances are all shaky.  Both the Liberal Democrats and Hinch Justice seem to have some very good flows, though a note of caution is required because if it is close and comes down to Below The Line votes, then the Liberal Democrats will tend to lose.  With varying degrees of likelihood I found micros possibly winning off c. 0.5% of the vote or even less in up to four seats.

These were just my experiments and others doing the same thing (with varying levels of idea what they are doing) are getting different possible outcomes.  Check the Poll Bludger thread, and also Tim Colebatch's Age piece (written before Antony Green's calculator was unveiled).  Also Antony Green has more voting advice - though I am not so sure that some of these specific disasters will actually happen as he is.  Feel free to leave exciting finds in comments!

Just Don't Vote Above The Line. For Anyone!

Voting below the line is easy in Victoria - you only need to vote 1-5 for candidates.  If you're a major party voter you can even vote for your own party's candidates and then stop if you like.  For a minor party voter, you might need to pick a few more.  Your vote won't be as powerful as if you keep on going, but even stopping at 5 is better than voting above the line.  If your vote exhausts at 5 it still doesn't help candidates with no actual voter support beat candidates with voter support, in the way that an above the line vote often will.  The best thing to do is to keep going, ranking any micro party you do not know either last or only above parties you utterly can't stand - especially if the micro has a gimmicky-sounding name like, oh, "Aussie Battler".  Numbering all the boxes below the line - if you have time - will make your vote most powerful and can never help a candidate further down on your list beat a candidate who you prefer.  (If you're short of time, feel free to leave out the second candidates from all the micro parties, since they'll never get elected anyway.)

Voting above the line instead of taking the effort to number a mere five boxes is an act of cowardice and shirking.  Willingly handing out how to vote cards that encourage voters to misdirect their preferences with a 1 above the line is on a par with giving cigarettes to children and then lighting them.  If parties are too lazy and self-interested to fix group ticket voting in the few states that still have it, maybe voters have to do it for them by making aiding and abetting preference harvesters socially unacceptable.  Just remember, everybody: friends don't let friends vote above the line.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Poll Roundup: Well That Wasn't Much Of A Honeymoon

2PP Aggregate: 54.8 to Labor (+0.8 since last week) by 2016 preferences
54.2 to Labor with One Nation adjustment
Labor would win election "held now" with a very large majority 

It's been a while since my last federal poll roundup.  At that time the Coalition's polling was recovering from the shock caused by the messy and (to the public) inexplicable coup that deposed Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister, and it was too soon to read anything into what we were seeing.  Because the Coalition's polling was in recovery mode but the new Prime Minister was still in a polling honeymoon period it was a matter of waiting for things to settle down to get a feeling for how competitive the Coalition really was.

On my aggregate, the recovery from a post-coup low of 43.9% peaked at 46.7% after seven weeks, and since then things have been getting worse rather than better.  Furthermore, since the defeat in Wentworth, they have been getting worse faster, at least if this week's shocker Newspoll is anything to go by.  The Coalition's current position is worse than at any time with Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister, and also worse than all but the worst few weeks under Tony Abbott.