Thursday, November 7, 2019

Braddon And Bass 2019: Another Rec Fishers Preferences Beatup



One of the eternal tropes of Australian media electoral reporting is the breathless expose of how the preferencing behaviour of some obscure party or candidate could swing or did swing an important contest or in cases an entire election.  And, on a day when there was quite enough going on for election buffs to look at in the Chisholm and Kooyong signs challenge (see my updated coverage of that on the link) it has unfortunately broken out again with the sensational headline "CFMMEU-funded independents helped Liberals steal two key seats".  (CFMMEU = Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union).  The article goes on:

"The CFMMEU helped the Coalition win two key seats back from Labor at the May election by funding the campaigns of two independents who sent 1757 votes between them to the Liberal Party."  It then refers to independent recreational fishers Todd Lambert (Bass) and Brett Smith (Braddon).

The piece has been widely criticised on the Twitter psephosphere, but not everyone uses Twitter, and especially as the seats in question are Tasmanian I think it's worth posting a detailed explanation here of why this piece is incorrect.  I note that no psephologist was interviewed for the article.

Firstly, the basic facts on Lambert's and Smith's preferences on a two-party basis.  Lambert polled 2607 votes (3.79%) in Bass and his preferences ultimately split 1370-1237 (52.55%) to Labor, in a seat Bridget Archer (Liberal) won by 563.  Smith polled 1203 votes (1.72%) in Braddon and his preferences split 683-520 (56.77%) to Labor, in a seat Gavin Pearce (Liberal) won by 4239.

So there's the first problem for this narrative right away - while 1757 votes flowed from these recreational fisher candidates to the Liberal Party, 2053 flowed from them to Labor.  So even if we assume that nobody who voted for those candidates would have otherwise voted at all, the conclusion to be drawn from that would be that these candidates helped Labor slightly, not hurt them.

But of course the vast majority of voters for these candidates would have voted anyway had these candidates not stood, they just would have not voted 1 for those candidates.  To argue that the CFMMEU helped the Coalition by having these candidates run, one needs to argue that had these candidates not run, voters who voted 1 for them and ultimately preferenced the Liberals would instead have voted for or preferenced Labor.  This is despite these candidates actually preferencing Labor, so ...


The idea is simply nonsensical.

What actually happened here is just a typical story of low-polling candidates, especially independents, in federal electorates.  Low-polling independent candidates tend to have weak preference flows between the majors.  They tend to attract a lot of "random" voting:

* voters who know the candidate personally and vote for them irrespective of the voter's normal politics
* voters who dislike all the other candidates, sometimes for idiosyncratic reasons, and vote for the candidate by elimination
* voters who like independents on principle
* donkey votes if first on the ticket

(and so on).

As well as these "random" factors, low-polling candidates and campaigners for them have little impact on their own preference flows.  People who vote for low-scoring candidates are generally independently minded in their politics and more likely to make up their own minds.  Low-polling candidates tend to have small support bases and limited abilities to distribute how-to-vote recommendations anyway.

The other thing to note here is that while Lambert was one of several candidates whose preferences together determined the very close Bass outcome (had the flow from him been 64% to Labor, Labor would have retained), in Braddon the Liberals were easily home without needing a single Smith preference.  So the idea in the headline that Braddon was "stolen" would be pejorative nonsense even if the CFMMEU had caused some of Smith's preferences to flow to the Liberals.

2016 Beatup Redux

The article reminds me of a similar beatup following the 2016 election, where the Liberals (Eric Abetz in particular) tried to blame the Recreational Fishers (then a party) for the Liberals' defeats in Tasmanian seats.  On the surface, this seemed to have some plausibility - the Rec Fishers had polled strongly in these seats, polling between 4.9% and 6.3% with between 60% and 67% of their preferences flowing to Labor.  But it turned out on closer scrutiny (see my detailed article on this and Abetz's other excuses for the 2016 result) that these voters were mostly not voting for the Rec Fishers out of positive enthusiasm, but rather because they considered them the least worst option on the Reps ballots.  This was proven by the Rec Fishers sinking without trace in the Senate, where they polled just 0.7% statewide.  Moreover, only 44 voters in all of Tasmania followed their Senate how-to-vote card! So the idea that the Rec Fishers were an effective preference harvester for Labor in 2016 was nonsense.  Rather, voters who voted 1 for the Rec Fishers in 2016 and preferenced Labor would generally preferenced (or voted for) Labor anyway.  They didn't cause Labor wins in 2016, and off smaller votes they are hardly causing Liberal wins now.

The individuality of voters for the 2019 minor candidates shows up nicely when you look at where their preferences actually went first when distributed, though this is slightly messed up by votes passed to them from other candidates also being included.  Smith was excluded with 1234 votes (31 from another candidate) and these split as follows:

Brakey (IND) 42.9%
Labor 18.3%
One Nation 12.2%
Liberal 8.8%
Green 6.5%
UAP 5.9%
National 5.4%

Lambert was excluded with 3212 (605 of these from two other candidates) and these split as follows:

UAP 37.2%
Liberal 24.3%
Labor 23.9%
Green 14.6%

So in the first case we have a lot of voters voting for one independent and preferencing another.  In the second, it's interesting that the UAP did well on Lambert's votes having done poorly on Smith's, and a probable reason for this is that by Lambert's exclusion the UAP were the last remaining party that was none of Liberal, Labor and Green.  These big three had held every Tasmanian lower house seat for 21 years until a recent defection of sorts, and there is some level of sentiment out there that is sick of all three of them.

There is no real question of the CFMMEU's financing/encouragement of these candidates driving preferences to the Liberal Party.  The first question really should be whether a union supporting small-party or independent candidates who preference Labor on their cards is an attempt to harvest preferences for Labor.  If it is, it is clear it doesn't work as the preferences of obscure candidates are largely undirectable - but it might also be that a union with "maritime" in its name is genuinely more interested in promoting fishing issues by supporting candidates who will make noises about them.  The second question is whether such a union would support its objectives more effectively by simply donating straight to Labor.  All I can say is that if the objective is to harvest votes for Labor then running obscure candidates doesn't work - but I can't say if that's actually the aim or not.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Not-A-Poll: Best State Premiers Of The Last 40-ish Years - Final Stage 3

Over a year ago I started a new series of Not-A-Poll voting for this site's choice of Best State Premier in every state and, eventually, the whole country.  It's been going so long that some of the original contestants, including the current leader, are no longer in the original 40 year window, but just retitled it and ignored that.

For the last round in an attempt to cull the field faster in what looks like an inexorable run to the crowning of Don Dunstan, I set a threshhold of 15%.  It turned out that for this round the threshhold was 17 votes, and the also-rans were very tightly packed around it, with Neville Wran and the last surviving current Premier Daniel Andrews just falling short.


Having been miraculously saved from elimination in the previous round, Jim Bacon came second in this one and goes through to the next stage, together with Dunstan and the Coalition run-off winner Greiner.  Voting on this stage (possibly the final stage) is open in the sidebar and goes to 6 pm New Year's Eve.  If one candidate gets an absolute majority this round that's the end, otherwise there will be a final between the top two (after any necessary tiebreaks).

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Migrants Voting For One Nation and UAP? (Plus Some Polling Comments)

A Few Pointed Words About Polling

Before I start this article, a quick four paragraphs regarding polls, in lieu of a formal roundup.  Firstly and mainly for Tasmanian readers, there has been some (disappointingly uncritical in some cases) media coverage of a poll commissioned by The Australia Institute (Tas) concerning proposals for a Tarkine National Park.  Unfortunately the poll is simply totally unsound.  It uses a loaded preamble that gives arguments for one side of the debate, quantifying a claimed total clearance area while not quantifying how much of the area included is really old growth or rainforest, and further leading the respondent with a comment about claimed community and business support for a National Park.

Having been presented with just one side of the argument, respondents may well be led to give the answer that suits the sponsor, or may well be driven to just hang up if they don't agree with the statements made.  The poll report also provides no data whatsoever on other questions asked, disconnection rates or on the methods and extent of any weighting used to obtain the final results.  The question design also fails to establish whether any support for a National Park would be in addition to some logging activity or as an alternative to it.  Maybe voters really do support a Tarkine National Park of some kind, maybe they don't (the risible voter support for the Greens in Braddon in recent years is not the most promising sign)

I have been trying to write about polling more generally but it is very difficult to get the job done with any motivation when leading pollsters, with the sole exception of YouGov's Queensland polling, have thus far done virtually nothing about the pressing need for a major improvement in polling transparency following the 2019 Australian polling failure.  As such there is no basis for confidence that Newspoll's current picture of a close federal race is in any way accurate (the Coalition's 51-49 leads might really be 54-46 or more, or alternatively Labor might be in front, though that is much less likely.)  And since Essential keeps suppressing its voting intention figures although its unsatisfactory reason for doing so long ago expired, there is no way to benchmark any of its leadership polling, and its issues polls are often problematic.  

Media coverage of commissioned polling also continues to be as awful as before.  Some recent amusing nadirs were rival YouGov poll results being cited and uncritically reported by friendly media on both sides of the NSW abortion debate, and also the Your Right To Know campaign claiming to have Colmar Brunton polling supporting their position, but failing to publish the details of the polling.  If you want to scrutinise it, you can't - you just don't have the right to know.  Media are rightly, if in some cases hypocritically, concerned about laws that can unduly limit what public interest information they are allowed to report. But the claim of media outlets to be servants of the public in reporting public interest information is undermined when they so frequently fail to report relevant information or cautions about their stories when they could and should, largely for reasons of laziness and the back-patting of sources who have fed them material for easy articles.

On to the main course ...

There has been quite an amount of interest in an ABC article by Stephanie Dalzell that claims that migrant voters are increasingly voting for populist right outfits like One Nation and the United Australia Party. Of course, some migrants will vote for these parties, but the article is not a useful contribution to establishing how many.  

Saturday, October 26, 2019

MPs Who Do Not Have Citizesnhip Of New Zeland

Now would I misspell a title twice?  Read on and all will be revealed ...

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Scott Morrison (Liberal, Cook)

Today there was a curious development in the long-running Section 44 citizenship farce.  Margaret Simons in the Guardian reported that Prime Minister Scott Morrison appears to have given incomplete/incorrect citizenship declarations that fail to address a manner in which he could in theory have become a citizen of New Zealand.  That is not to say he is a citizen of New Zealand, but that his explanation of why he is not is apparently wrong, or as Dr Anna Hood puts it in Simons' article, "problematic".

Simons has published that fine print in a change in New Zealand law, passed in 1948 and effective 1/1/1949, conferred full citizenship on then-living females (but not males) who were the offspring of British subject fathers born in New Zealand.  That full citizenship then allowed the offspring of those females to be potentially registered as New Zealand citizens by virtue of being "the minor child of a New Zealand citizen".  If so registered, they would now be ineligible to sit in the Australian parliament under Section 44, unless they had subsequently renounced.  (The British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act 1948 was repealed effective 1 Jan 1978 by the Citizenship Act 1977, but those who were citizens under the former Act at that stage remained so. For this reason as well as Morrison no longer being a "minor child", there is no issue of an existing entitlement to become a citizen.)

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Chisholm and Kooyong Signs Challenges

Updates Nov 6-8

The case, before three judges, is now on, and expected to run for three days, after which the court may well reserve its judgement.  Tweeted coverage is being provided by Josh Taylor of the Guardian and I will link here to other reports of interest that I see.  If anything of special interest comes up I may discuss it at length here.

Nov 6 12:30: Of some interest today is discussion about the signs having said something different to what was intended (as touched on below) - Frost says that he provided an intended meaning but the actual signs when translated said something different.  According to Taylor "Frost said he made no inquiries on election day to make sure the corflutes said what he authorised them to say. Frydenberg and Liu didn't contact him to ask about them on election day" and "Frost says he doesn't know if anyone who proof-read the corflutes before election day speak/read Chinese." (It may be significant here that Liu could read the signs for herself.) However later in his evidence Frost said that the Hotham Liberal candidate, George Hua, checked the signs.  According to Taylor, Frost has also admitted that the corflute was intended to convey the impression that it was an AEC sign.

Under Section 329 (5) "it is a defence if the person proves that he or she did not know, and could not reasonably be expected to have known, that the matter or thing was likely to mislead an elector in relation to the casting of a vote." however "Note: A defendant bears a legal burden in relation to the defence in subsection (5) (see section 13.4 of the Criminal Code )." It should be kept in mind that Simon Frost is not on trial for breaching Section 329 at present.

Nov 6 5:10 pm: This verbatim exchange reported by Taylor is notable:

“You intended to convey the impression that this was an AEC corflute, didn’t you?” De Ferrari asked.

Frost, now an adviser to Frydenberg, took a long pause before replying: “It was similar to the AEC colours, yes.”

“So the answer to my question is yes?” De Ferrari pressed.

“Yes,” Frost replied.

During the 2016 campaign Labor's "Mediscare" material resulted in laws being changed to create offences relating to impersonating a Commonwealth body.  Although that is not at stake in this case it will be interesting to see if any complaint might be made under those laws in relation to these disclosures.  I am not familiar with the law in this area though. Graeme Orr on Twitter has noted that the standard of proof required (criminal law) is very high and also that examples given in the explanatory memorandum involve explicit statements of being the same entity (such as use of a false letterhead, etc).

The ABC has a good detailed report.

Nov 7: Very busy today but some quick highlights from Taylor's tweeting.

* Lisa De Ferrari (barrister for the petitioners) has pointed out it is uncontested Gladys Liu knew about the signs.  Her reported argument that Frydenberg knew is unconvincing to me - that people tweeted at him about it and there's no evidence he didn't see the tweets.   Federal parliamentarians, especially major ones, are often tweeted at with all kinds of hostile and ludicrous garbage and would rarely read it all, especially on election day!

* There is mention of the corflute being placed next to AEC material at certain booths (a minority), but not whether any argument is being made about voting patterns in those booths.

* The AEC is arguing that the number of Mandarin/Cantonese-only speakers (as opposed to those with some fluency in those languages and also English) is too small to change the result, and also arguing that voters understand Australia isn't a one-party state and that the AEC wouldn't issue instructions supporting a party.

* Frydenberg's lawyer has pointed out that there are not enough fluent readers in his electorate to change the outcome and has suggested that the case is being brought for other reasons.

Nov 8: Solomon QC for the Liberal Party has, according to Taylor, now said that it was George Hua who prepared the incorrect translation.  Solomon has also said that similar corflutes were used at the Bennelong by-election.

Judgement has now been reserved; there is no indication of how long a decision might take.  I haven't seen anything in the reporting that suggests to me that either result will be overturned but the exact nature of the judges' findings will be of interest.

Meanwhile the Greens have referred the matter of the signs possibly impersonating a Commonwealth body to the Australian Federal Police. 

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Original article

Thought it was time to put up some coverage of the Court of Disputed Returns election signs challenges to the elections of Gladys Liu in Chisholm and Josh Frydenberg in Kooyong.  Frydenberg is facing a distinct Section 44 challenge that has yet to commence.  There has been a fair amount of interest in these challenges so I thought I would post some comments about where I see matters currently.  I am not professionally involved in these cases, which don't seem to have required any advanced voting pattern analysis though in theory the Chisholm one could have done so.

Referral to Federal Court

These challenges were initially heard for directions by a single judge in the High Court but were then referred to the Federal Court.  The High Court has the options under Section 354 of the Electoral Act to hear challenges itself, to refer specific details to the Federal Court or to refer a case to the Federal Court entirely.  It has chosen the latter option.  The case is entirely about interpretation of the Electoral Act and not constitutional issues, and Gordon J rejected the middle option on the grounds that "It is always easier to decide facts in the context of legal questions or other issues and I think it is fraught with danger to split it."

The referral to the Federal Court is inconvenient for observers because transcripts are not automatically available for free online.   There appears to be an application process and a $50 per document fee.  I would like to see changes made so that future CDR cases referred to the Federal Court are automatically treated as public interest cases with documents available online for free as in the High Court. My understanding of the submissions of the parties is limited to what has been reported in the media, which is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Psephology And "Total Control"

(Now includes updates for episodes two and three, but I haven't changed the title for site statistics reasons.)

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Episode One

I don't watch a lot of TV drama really (too much else to do).  However, yesterday some tweets regarding electoral situations in the ABC's new political drama "Total Control" attracted my attention and I decided to watch an episode to see what its representation of Australian politics is like.  I may do this for future episodes too, either as updates to this article, or if there is enough material as separate articles.  Warning: spoilers will be posted without restraint and commenters are welcome to post spoilers likewise.

This article and any that may follow it are not intended as reviews as such, though like the reviewers I have noticed that these are tough times for political drama generally as it struggles to keep pace with the outlandishness of the real thing.   Rather, what I'm doing here is purely commentary on whether the series' representations of Australian politics, and especially electoral politics, are accurate.  Some people think such commentaries about fiction are pointless because "it's fiction", but others enjoy political fiction more when they are able to suspend disbelief and think they are watching something that could really happen, and that as such is an insight into our actual political condition.  I don't personally care at all about the plot holes and contradictions already evident in this series, because I wouldn't have watched it except to write about it, but others may find them irritating.

Also in a world where many people take their political cues from dispersed, self-selected and frequently non-credible/biased sources, it's not that unlikely that someone out there who sees something in an ABC drama production will assume that that is how things actually work.  So far as Episode One is concerned, it isn't ...

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Australia's Closest Federal Elections (2019 Wasn't One Of Them)

This article is brought to you by the following quote from Brendan O'Connor, as Labor continues to grapple with its unexpected 2019 federal election loss and continues trying to work out whether what it did wrong this year was hardly anything or almost everything (or something in between):

"Some of the critiques to date, especially from outside the party, remind me of those absurd footy match reviews where despite the margins being very close, extol only the excellence of the winners and denigrate the virtues of the vanquished, even when there was just a kick in it."

He's right, for the most part, of course.  Analysis which praises everything the winner did (because they won) and pans everything the loser did (because they lost) is a massive problem in electoral commentary.  I refer to it as "annotation by result", a chess term for the same thing.

But there are a couple of big caveats here.  Firstly if you're up against Richmond or GWS, you might think a loss by a few points was a decent effort and that with only a little fine-tuning, if you catch them on a bad day next time round, you'll beat them.  But if you think you're a good team and you lose by a goal to the Gold Coast Suns, you might be sacking more than the captain.  One of the hard things with elections is that you can say how much one side won by, but that doesn't tell you if both sides campaigned well or if they were both hopeless.  Before the election the Morrison Government hardly looked like Grand Final material!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Wonk Central: The Hare-Clark Recount Bug and the Wangaratta Case




Welcome back to Wonk Central, this site's sporadic series of articles that have been deemed too mathsy, too quirky or too niche for remotely normal human consumption.  In this case, it's clearly all three.

In this episode we take a very close look at the Hare-Clark Recount Bug (which could also be called the Hare-Clark Countback Bug, but "recount" is the term confusingly used for countbacks in Tasmanian law). What is it, why don't we kill it, and is the minister aware of any alternative approaches?  The impetus for this article is a recent court case in Victoria, in which a candidate disadvantaged by the bug in a Wangaratta Council countback in 2017 took legal action but lost.  Among other tries, the plaintiff (a local doctor, former soldier and Australian Country Party candidate in last year's state election) claimed that the use of a countback method that disadvantaged him deprived him of the human right to take part in public life.  

For various reasons, the judgement didn't get into the weeds of whether the countback system in use was fair or whether there was any better alternative.  Therefore, let's go there here.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Did A Late Switch-Off From Shorten Cause Labor To Lose?

(Note for Tas readers and anyone else interested: Scott Bacon recount thread is here)

Nearly four months after the election, Labor and its supporters are still having great trouble working out what happened.  Ahead in the (faulty) polls for an entire term, well ahead in them for much of it, Labor managed to lose to a government that had seemingly imploded nine months earlier.  There are basically three possible explanations.  The first is that Labor should have won the election, but that at least some central parts of its policy platform were wrong.  The second is that Labor should have won the election and that its policies were sound, but it was let down largely by tactical issues.  The third, about which little has been said, is that Labor could not have won anyway.  (The idea here is that voters no longer care about governance scandals or internal party turmoil so long as they like the PM and the basic way that he is leading.)

A version of the second theory - and by the way, I don't subscribe to any version of the second theory - says that Labor's policy mix was OK but Labor was undone by spurious "death tax" scare campaigns and a massive advertising spend by Clive Palmer against Bill Shorten.  (Those arguing this tend to oversimplify things as if the United Australia Party did little in the campaign but attack Shorten.)  Adherents of this theory seem to have taken succour from findings of a recent ANU study that has been reported as finding that Labor lost because the Coalition made net primary vote gains in a volatile environment during the campaign, and also that a big part of Labor's failure to do likewise was voters switching from Labor to other parties because they became more negative towards Bill Shorten.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Not-A-Poll: Best State Premiers Of The Last 40-ish Years - Final Stage 2

A very long year ago today I started a new series of Not-A-Poll voting for this site's choice of Best State Premier in every state and, eventually, the whole country.  It's been going so long that some of the original contestants, including the current leader, are no longer in the original 40 year window, but I'm going to just retitle it and ignore that.

The votes are in for part 1 of the final for the state winners and the Coalition winner (the latter being an open-primary consolation prize on account of the roughly 80-20 left-right bias in readers on psephology websites).  And here they are:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Total Votes: 201

Why I Don't Prefer Abolishing Above The Line Voting

This week I sent a submission (not yet posted) to the Victorian Electoral Matters committee, concerning the 2018 Victorian election.  Primarily, my submission called for the abolition of Group Ticket Voting in the Victorian Legislative Council and its replacement with a Senate-style system or similar.  This follows a farcical, gamed-to-death 2018 election in which ten micro-party MLCs were elected from primary vote shares eight of them would not have won from under any other system, including two from less than 1% of the vote.

In the event that Victoria won't abolish Group Ticket Voting completely, I suggested the state at least clip its wings a little by:

* allowing an above-the-line preferencing option, so that votes that were just-1 above the line would still be distributed by Group Ticket, but voters could choose to distribute their own party preferences as in the Senate.

* banning preference trading and a range of related consultant activities

* bulk-excluding all parties that fail to clear a primary vote threshold of 4% at the start of the count

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Expected Scott Bacon Recount

Resigning MP: Scott Bacon (ALP, Clark)
Recount from 2018 state election for remainder of 2018-22 term 
Contest between Madeleine Ogilvie and Tim Cox
Ogilvie likely, but not certain, to win [UPDATE: Ogilvie has narrowly won.]
Ogilvie may sit as independent and share effective balance of power with Sue Hickey, or may rejoin Labor. [UPDATE: Ogilvie has said she will sit as an independent.]

Recount updates will now be added at the top

Previous Party-Hopping Cases:

As noted below Ogilvie's (under unique circumstances for Tasmania) is the first case of a Lower House MP deserting their party mid-term and sitting with a different party status in 38 years.  However prior to that, this was a more common event.  Here is a not necessarily perfect list since World War II:

* Carrol Bramich (1956) Labor to Liberal (policy tensions and internal issues).  Re-elected as a Liberal.
* Reg Turnbull (1959) Labor to IND (kicked out after refusing to resign as Minister). Re-elected with massive support, later Senator.
* Bill Hodgman (1960) Liberal to IND. Defeated.
* Tim Jackson (1960) Liberal to IND (leadership change fallout). Defeated.
* Charley Aylett (1963) Labor to IND (quit after being disendorsed). Defeated.
* Kevin Lyons (1966) Liberal to IND (preselection issues). Later formed Centre Party and was re-elected.
* Nigel Abbott (1972) Liberal to IND (policy dispute). Defeated.
* Doug Lowe (1981) Labor to IND (leadership change fallout). Re-elected.
* Mary Willey (1981) Labor to IND (leadership change fallout).  Defeated.
* Madeleine Ogilvie (on recount 2019) Labor to IND (multiple factors)

All of the Bramich, Turnbull and Lowe/Willey cases precipitated state elections.

There is also the case of Gabriel Haros (Liberal) who lost preselection for the 1986 election and ran as an Independent, and probably other similar cases.

It is interesting to note the weak performance of some of these independents at elections.  In the 1964 election Bill Hodgman (Will's grandfather) managed only 475 votes and Charley Aylett only 102.  This didn't stop Bill Hodgman going on to become a two-term MLC for Queenborough (1971-83).

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

2019 Federal Election: Pollster Performance Review

Welcome (belatedly) to another of my regular pieces that I do after all the election results are finalised and, um, we can't really give this one its usual title this year.  Normally it's called "Best and Worst Pollsters" (see the comparable articles for 2013 and 2016) but this year that title isn't really appropriate.  This year was the year of the great Poll Fail, and when it came to final voting intention polls at least, they all went down together.  The story for seat polling turns out to be a little less clearcut, but not that much.

For all the complaints about "too many polls", the frequency and diversity of Australian polls had been declining at state and federal level in the four years leading up to this election.  At this election there were only five poll series conducting national polls, and of these two were conducted by the same pollster (YouGov-Galaxy conducts both Galaxy and Newspoll polls).

I usually include three categories but this time I'm not going to take tracking too seriously.  As usual the first cab off the rank is ...

Least Worst Final Poll

I usually say the final poll should be the easiest one for the less accurate pollsters to get right, because pollsters can look over each others' shoulders and consider corrections if everybody else is getting something vastly different.  Thus there have been some prior cases where polls that differed from Newspoll for some time have jumped into line with it in their final poll.  This year unfortunately it seems that some pollsters may have taken this concept a little too far - either that or multiple pollsters got to around the same 2PP coincidentally and then decided to self-herd from that point.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

EMRS: Labor Down, But Will The Others Voters Please Stand Up?

EMRS July raw figures: Liberal 38 Labor 30 Greens 16 Others 16
Also retro-released EMRS May: Liberal 38 Labor 34 Greens 13 Others 15
Also retro-released EMRS March: Liberal 38 Labor 34 Greens 14 Others 14

Possible "interpretation" figure for July poll: Liberal 41 Labor 32 Green 13 Others 14 (maybe)

Liberals could retain majority in an election "held now" (13-9-3 or 13-10-2), but this would probably depend on what happened with Sue Hickey.

Tasmanian pollster EMRS has released a poll of Tasmanian state voting intention, and has also released the two previous polls in the series (which were not released at the time they were taken; the last released poll was in December).  The polls show a general pattern of a slim lead to the Liberal Government, support for which in the series crashed not long after the March 2018 election, but this particular poll has that gap widening to eight points, with Labor dropping four to 30%.  Labor also polled 30% just after its election loss, and prior to that we have to go back to March 2017 to find it polling worse.  The main beneficiaries are the Greens, who EMRS has long tended to have too high compared to their actual support at elections, but there is also a trend of "Others" continuing to rise, although less than 7% voted for "Others" at the last election.  Who are all these people saying they would vote for someone else, and what are they thinking?

The Labor slump would raise some concerns - as at federal level the party is currently struggling to work out what it stands for, and much of its oxygen on issues is being taken by Sue Hickey.  However, at this stage it is just one reading and we need to see the next one to see if it's a blip or a lasting loss of enthusiasm.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

2019 House of Reps Figures Finalised

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The 2019 House of Representatives results have been finalised, a joyous event that tends to arrive unheralded two to three months after every federal election.  Although all the preference throws had been completed and uploaded some time ago, the final figures importantly include the two-party preference flows by party.  Normally I say that this is very useful for assessing the performance of polls.  At this election the polls failed dismally, mainly because of failures on the Coalition and Labor primaries (except for Ipsos which failed on the Greens primary instead of Labor); nonetheless there will be a final review of them here fairly soon.  This article is a general roundup of other matters regarding the House of Reps figures.

Preference Shifting

The final 2PP result is 51.53% to the Coalition and 48.47% to Labor, a 1.16% swing to the Coalition.

There was a very large shift in the preferences of Pauline Hanson's One Nation.  One Nation preferences flowed only 50.47% to Coalition in 2016 but 65.22% to Coalition in 2019 (even more than the 60-40 split believed to have been assumed by Newspoll after considering state election results).  Overall, preferences from parties other than the Greens and One Nation also flowed more strongly to the Coalition by a few points (53.93% compared to 50.79%) but this was caused by the United Australia Party flowing 65.14% to the Coalition.  Excluding the Greens, One Nation and UAP, Others preferences (50.7% to ALP) were 1.5 points stronger for Labor than in 2016.  It is also interesting that Katters Australian Party preferences flowed 14 points more strongly to the Coalition, very similar to the shift for One Nation.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Poll Roundup: Newspoll's Back, But Should Anyone Actually Care?

This week finally saw the long-awaited return of voting intention polling to the field following the great 2019 election opinion polling failure.  Newspoll returned ten weeks after the election, its longest break between in-field dates ever, and its longest break between releases except for two eleven-week summer recess breaks very early in its history.  The poll, which had the Coalition ahead 53-47 two-party preferred, was the first voting intention poll by anyone since the election.  The ten-week gap without any published attempt to measure voting intention by any pollster was the longest such gap since at least the early 1970s.

The first poll to poke its head over the parapet was of course pelted with eggs on social media.  The strong prior accuracy records of the Newspoll brand, Galaxy Research and Australian federal polling generally were suddenly no protection against charges that polling was no better than astrology.  Much of the pelting came from hopelessly biased Twitter entities who have always hated and distrusted Newspoll because of its Murdoch connections, who used to insist the poll was Coalition-skewed, and now hate it because it got their hopes up for an election their side lost.  So that aspect is a moveable feast of complaint.  But is there any reason for confidence yet that YouGov-Galaxy has identified and fixed whatever went wrong with its polling earlier this year?  Given that it underestimated the Coalition by three points at the election, is there any evidence for confidence that it isn't still doing so?

Well no, there isn't really (though that doesn't mean we should read this poll as really 56-44). At this stage, alas, YouGov-Galaxy and the Australian have done very little that should restore public trust or to even convince us that they care whether their poll will be trusted or not.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Hobart Building Heights Elector Poll

On Monday the Tasmanian Electoral Commission released the results of a voluntary postal elector poll about building heights in the Hobart City portion of Greater Hobart.  This non-binding elector poll has been something of an oddity with a lot of commentary making various claims about it so I thought I'd say a few things about it too.

The turnout

The elector poll attracted a response rate of 42.39%.  This compares to the response rate of 61.94% at the 2018 Hobart City Council election, however that was a record high turnout for Hobart, which had never been above 55.5% before.

I have found data for fourteen previous elector polls going back to the mid-1990s, of which six were held concurrently with council elections and eight were held separately.  Of the eight held separately, I have comparable data for six, and of these turnouts ranged from 83% to 109% of the previous election's turnout for that council (in many cases I have had to use raw turnout figures as I cannot find enrolment data at the time of the poll).  So this elector poll at 68% of the municipality's previous turnout has the lowest comparative turnout rate - and this would be so even without Hobart's 2018 turnout spike.  Issues in comparable elector polls included amalgamation, a proposed major pulp mill, whether to move a council's administration, whether to change a council's name, the location of a waste disposal site and options for a lawn cemetery.  To complete the set, other issues that have been canvassed in elector polls have included water supply and pricing options (including whether fluoride should be added), and the boundaries of a municipality.  It's notable that one of the three pulp mill polls occurred in Hobart, about 200 km away from the pulp mill site.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Tasmanian Local Government Reform Proposals (2019)

The Tasmanian Government has been conducting a detailed review of local government legislation in the state, including electoral rules.  This week this took a major step forward with the release of the Reform Directions Paper.  This outlines a series of possible changes that, based on further feedback, may then appear in the government's draft legislation.  Many of the suggested changes are excellent, in particular reducing the number of boxes a voter must number on the councillor ballot for a valid vote.

My main reason for writing this article is to raise major concerns about some of the proposed options for electing mayors.  The paper gives four possible options for mayors, one of these being the status quo (the mayor is elected directly, anyone enrolled in the council area can run for mayor, the mayor must be elected as a councillor to serve as mayor).  While the status quo has some issues, I don't like any of the three alternatives much, and two of them are especially unsound.  I am writing this article mainly to provide detailed reasons as to why these options are bad, and I encourage anyone who wants to to use these arguments in their submissions, or add others.  While I'm doing this I may as well comment quickly on other aspects of the paper.

There's plenty of time to send a submission with submissions not due until 30 September.  For some reason the official closing time for submissions is 5 pm.  

Monday, July 1, 2019

Not-A-Poll: Best State Premier/Chief Minister Of The Last 40 Years: Final Round 1

A loooong time ago when the world was young and innocent I started a runoff series to select this site's choice as best state Premier or Chief Minister of every state and territory in the last 40 years.  The plan was to then run a final with all the state and territory winners together.  Ultimately and unsurprisingly with the left-wing skew of readers on this and other psephology sites, Labor leaders won every round convincingly, so I also ran a runoff to get a token Liberal into the final as well.  Earlier this year I got too busy with all the elections going on to run new rounds when each month started, so I have waited until the elections were over before starting the final.

Our contestants and their histories in this contest are:

NSW - Neville Wran, Premier 1976-1986.  Topped the NSW group first round with 37.8% and thrashed Bob Carr 152-50 in the runoff.

Victoria - Daniel Andrews, Premier 2014-present.  The only current Premier to win a state, Andrews polled second in the Victorian group first round with 25.3%, but with a landslide election victory under his belt, defeated Steve Bracks 158-102 in the runoff (which was postponed in an attempt to reduce contamination from the state election.)

Queensland - Wayne Goss, Premier 1989-1996.  Tied with Peter Beattie on 29.3% in the Queensland group first round then cleaned up Beattie 122-73 in the runoff

Western Australia - Geoff Gallop, Premier 2001-2006.  Gallop won the WA first round narrowly with 32.5%.  The first runoff against Carmen Lawrence was tied 97-97 and I hadn't made a rule for ties so there was a second runoff, which Gallop won 75-71.

South Australia - Don Dunstan, Premier 1967-1968, 1970-1979. Smacked it out of the park with 57.4% in the SA group first round.

Tasmania - Jim Bacon, Premier 1998-2004. Polled 37.3% in the Tasmanian group first round and defeated Lara Giddings 105-84 in the runoff.

ACT - Katy Gallagher, Chief Minister 2011-2014. Polled 40.3% in the ACT group first round and defeated Jon Stanhope 119-52 in the runoff.

NT - Clare Martin, Chief Minister 2001-2007.  The only other leader to win in the first round, with 57.6% in the NT first round (none of the others even managed double figures!)

And the Coalition wildcard is Nick Greiner, NSW Premier 1988-1992, who eventually won a long series of Coalition eliminations, defeating Kate Carnell (ACT), who I had been suspecting would win the Coalition series when I started it, 58-38 in the final.

I've decided not to add any more wildcards.

The rules for the final runoffs are:

* The last candidate in each round is eliminated.
* Any candidate failing to poll 8% in a round is eliminated.
* Ties are resolved in favour of the last leader on primaries at a previous stage at which there wasn't a tie, and failing that in favour of the candidate least recently in office.
* Any candidate who could not mathematically win or tie from their position in a preferential election is eliminated.

Spruiking is, as always, welcome in comments.  Voting for round 1 is open til the end of August.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

What Might 2PP Voting Intention Have Really Looked Like In The Last Federal Term?

The 2016-2019 parliament saw Australia's worst failure of national opinion polling since the early 1980s, a failure that was not just a combination of normal errors and a reasonably close election.  Aggregated polling had the Coalition behind for the entire term, at no stage better than 49% two-party preferred, and yet the Coalition won with 51.53% of the two-party preferred vote.

The view that the polls were in fact right all along but voters changed their minds at the last moment (either on election day, or on whatever day each elector voted) fails every test of evidence that it can be put to.  The difference between voting intention for voters voting before election day and on election day is similar to past elections, and if anything slightly stronger for the Coalition.  There was no evidence in polling of change in voting intention through the final weeks, as would have been expected as voters who had already voted reported back their behaviour if the polls were at all times accurately capturing the intentions of the person being polled.  Also if those who had already voted had shifted towards the Coalition as they made their final decisions while those who had yet to vote were yet to do so, there would have been polling gaps of several points between those who had already voted and those yet to do so; this was not the case in the released evidence either.  

Friday, June 28, 2019

Most Tasmanian Senate Votes Were Unique

Over the last week or so I've been looking at some statistics relating to the uniqueness (or not) of Senate votes in Tasmania, and some other aspects of Tasmanian Senate voting.  At the moment I'm only doing this for Tasmania, but it can be extended to other states if anyone else wants to do so.  This article has been rated 4/5 on the Wonk Factor scale - it is obviously out and out wonkcore but the maths is not as tricky as in some of the stuff on this site.

All Senate votes are scanned by optical character recognition and the scans are verified by human data operators.  The AEC publishes files of all formal Senate preference votes that can be used by outside observers to verify that the AEC is getting the right results and computing the count correctly.  This year's formatting of these files is a lot more user-friendly than in 2016.  On downloading the files one can find all the numbers recorded as entered in the system for any vote recorded as formal.  Sometimes this includes both above the line preferences and below the line preferences (if both are formal, below the line takes precedence, an issue I will come to later on.)
One minor change is that ticks and crosses are no longer indicated by special characters, an aspect that was the source of some confusion among the easily confused at the last election.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Senate Reform Performance Review 2019

The results of this year's half-Senate election are all in so it is time to observe how our new Senate system performed at its first half-Senate test.  Australian Senate voting was reformed in the leadup to the 2016 election to abolish Group Ticket voting and the preference-harvesting exploits it had become prone to, and give voters more flexibility in directing their own preferences either above or below the line.  In the leadup to that election, many false predictions about Senate reform were made and were then discredited by the results.  I reviewed how the new system went back then: Part 1, Part 2.  Some of the predictions that were made by opponents of Senate reform concerned the results of half-Senate elections specifically, so now we've had one, it's a good time to check in on those, as well as on how this election compared to 2019.  One unexpected issue with the new system has surfaced, concerning above the line boxes for non-party groups, but it is one that should be easily fixed.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Seat Betting As Bad As Anything Else At Predicting The 2019 Federal Election

Advance Summary

1. Seat betting markets, sometimes believed to be highly predictive, did not escape the general failure of poll and betting based predictions at the 2019 federal election.

2. Indeed, seat betting markets were significantly worse predictors of the result than the national polls through the election leadup, and only converged with polling-based models to reach a prediction that was as inaccurate as the national polls at the end.

3. Seat betting predicted fourteen seats incorrectly, but all of its errors in Labor vs Coalition contests, in common with most other predictive methods, were in the same direction.

4. Seat betting markets did vary from a national poll-based outlook in several seats, but their forecasts in such cases were about as often misses as hits.

5. This is the third federal election in a row at which seat betting has failed to show that it is a useful predictor of classic (Labor vs Coalition) seat-by-seat results in comparison with simpler methods.  

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With all House of Representatives seats now declared, it's time for a regular post-election feature on this site, a review of how seat-by-seat betting fared as a predictive method.  I have been interested in this subject over the years mainly to see whether seat betting contained any superior insight that might be useful in predicting elections.  In 2013 the answer was a resounding no, in 2016 it was a resounding meh, and surely if seat betting could show that it knew something that other sources of information didn't, 2019 would be the year! Even if seat betting wasn't a very good predictor, if it was not as bad as polling or headline betting this year, that would be something in its favour.

2019 saw the first failure in the headline betting markets since 1993, but it was a much bigger failure than that.  In 1993 Labor were at least given some sort of realistic chance by the bookies, and ended up somewhere in the $2-$3 range (I don't have the exact numbers).  This year the Coalition were $7.00 to Labor's $1.10 half an hour before polls closed - just an implied 14% chance -  and Sportsbet had already besmirched itself in more ways than one by paying out early (which I think should be banned when it comes to election betting, but that's another story).  The view that "the money never lies" has been remarkably immune to evidence over the years, but surely this will be the end of it for a while.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Senate 2019: Button Press Thread

Intro 

Just starting a thread that will cover the button presses in the remaining Senate races including any interesting information from the distributions of preferences as they come to hand.  I haven't been putting myself in the loop concerning when exactly the button presses will occur, save that Tasmania's will be tomorrow at 10:30 am (open to scrutineers, of which I'm not one this year) with the declaration of the poll on Friday at the same time.  The ACT count is also ready to go (to be delcared on Friday afternoon) and the remaining counts are getting close to completion with relatively few unapportioned or uncounted votes still showing.  The NT button has already been pressed, which did nothing because both major party #1 candidates had a quota.  William Bowe has some comments on NT preferences.

Jim Molan's Senate Result In Historic Context

There is a lot of discussion surrounding Senator Jim Molan's below the line vote in the NSW Senate race.  Misleading arguments about it are being weaponised by some of those who would like to see Molan appointed to the Sinodinos casual vacancy, but there is also a risk that amid all this appreciation of the scale of Molan's result could be lost.

To start with, Molan absolutely is not going to win and has never even looked remotely like being in contention during counting.   But his result is still very significant - in the state in which getting a high below-the-line vote is most difficult (because of historically low below the line rates and also the sheer scale required for an individual campaign), Molan has so far polled just over 130,000 votes (2.8%).  His share should rise slightly based on remaining unapportioned votes but won't be significantly above 3%, if it even reaches that.  

Saturday, June 1, 2019

How Can Australian Polling Disclosure And Reporting Be Improved?

Australian national opinion polling has just suffered its worst failure in result terms since 1980 and its worst failure in margin terms since 1984.  This was not just an "average polling error", at least not by the standards of the last 30+ years.  The questions remain: what caused it and what can be done (if anything) to stop it happening again.

A major problem with answering these questions is that Australian pollsters have not been telling us nearly enough about what they do.  As Murray Goot has noted, this has been a very long-standing problem.

In general, Australian pollsters have taken an approach that is secretive, poorly documented, and contrary to scientific method.   One notable example of this was Galaxy (it looks like correctly) changing the preference allocation for One Nation in late 2017, and not revealing they had done this for five months (in which time The Australian kept wrongly telling its readers Newspoll preferences were based on the 2016 election.)  But more generally, even very basic details about how pollsters do their work are elusive unless you are on very good terms with the right people.  Some polls also have statistically unlikely properties (such as not bouncing around as much as their sample size suggests they should, either in poll to poll swing terms or in seat-polling swing terms) that they have never explained. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Oh No, This Wasn't Just An "Average Polling Error"

As previously noted, Australian opinion polling has just experienced its first clear predictive failure, in pick-the-winner terms, in a federal election since 1980.  Every campaign poll by four different pollsters (one of them polling under two different brands) had the Labor Opposition ahead of the Liberal-National Coalition (as it had been for the entire term), and yet the Coalition has won an outright majority.  Moreover, polls in the final weeks were extremely clustered, with 17 consecutive polls (plus an exit poll) landing in the 51% to 52% two-party preferred range after rounding, a result that is vanishingly unlikely by chance.  No pollster has yet made any remotely useful contribution to explaining this clustering - those who have even commented have generally said they didn't do it and it must have been somebody else.

The general reaction has been dismay at this unusual level of pollster error in a nation where national polls have a proud record of accuracy.  The Ninefax press, as I call them (SMH/The Age), have even announced that they now have no contract with their pollster, Ipsos, or with any other pollster.  (This may just be for show, since in the past Fairfax often took long breaks in polling after elections.)  News Corp is, for now, standing by Newspoll.  The Association of Market and Social Research Associations has announced a review, although this may be of little value as its only member who is involved is Ipsos. 

Saturday, May 25, 2019

2019 Queensland Senate: Who Will Be Last When The Music Stops?

2019 Queensland Senate

Outgoing Senators: 2 LNP 2 ALP 1 Green, Fraser Anning

Seats won: 2 LNP (Paul Scarr, Susan Macdonald), 1 Labor (Nina Green)

Four-way fight for three seats with one to lose: Gerard Rennick (LNP), Chris Ketter (Labor), Malcolm Roberts (One Nation), Larissa Waters (Green)

Rennick and Roberts are overwhelmingly likely to win; Waters is most likely to win final seat
Final result won't be known for certain until the button is pressed

Warning - Senate races are complex! This article has been rated Wonk Factor 4/5.

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Friday, May 24, 2019

Gladstone Rises Up: An Error In The 2013 Tasmanian Senate Count

There's apparently not all that much going on in the 2019 election postcount, where the only major dramas left at present appear to be which (probably) left party loses in the Queensland Senate and whether anyone can possibly avoid a recount in Macquarie.  When I compare it to 2016, I'm quite surprised at how busy I'm not.

This means I have time to post something curious I've been meaning to post for some time.  As is well known, the 2013 Senate count was not the Australian Electoral Commission's finest hour.  In Western Australia, the original count had a tipping point between two candidates, neither of whom could win, but the resolution of which determined the final two seats. The loss of 1370 ballot papers meant that it could not be determined who had won, and as a result the entire 2013 WA Senate election had to be voided and rerun in 2014.  This resulted in the resignations of the Electoral Commissioner and the Electoral Officer for Western Australia and major changes to the way ballot papers are handled.  The farce also contributed to the death of Group Ticket Voting at federal level. Under the system we have now the tipping point would have been irrelevant and the lost ballots may well not have affected the outcome.  Many other issues with the AEC's culture were identified in a review and many positive changes have been made.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

2019 Federal Election Postcount: Mallee

MALLEE (Nat vs ALP - 19.8%)

Webster (Nat) has won after the seat remained a Nats vs ALP seat by 386 votes.  It is unknown and will perhaps never be known what would have been the Nat-Lib result had Labor been eliminated in third.  (I expect Webster would still have won, but am awaiting the preference distribution.)
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In the election leadup I had my eyes on the Victorian seat of Mallee as the most likely to deliver an absolute mess in the postcount.  On election night it seemed to be a bit of a fizzer because none of the independents made 10% in their own right, making it clear that the Coalition was headed for victory.  However the Mallee count has thrown up some interesting complications, and there is a theory doing the rounds that the Liberal candidate Serge Petrovich might be able to defeat Webster if he can make the final two.  I am unconvinced about this theory, firstly because I'm doubting he will make the final two, and secondly because even if he does a rather strong preference flow is needed to get him over the line. I don't think that will happen, Labor HTV card notwithstanding, but in the meantime there's a possibility Mallee will create electoral history.  Never (thanks to Malcolm Baalman for this) has a candidate who finished fourth or worse on primaries in a federal seat reached the final two, and it is possible that this could yet happen.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Miracle Is Over: The 2019 Australian Federal Election Poll Fail


Nice 2PP.  Shame it's for the other side ...

"I have always believed in miracles" said re-elected Prime Minister Scott Morrison very late on Saturday night.  But many (not all) of us who study national Australian polls and use them to try to forecast elections have believed in a miracle for one election too many.  The reason we believed in this miracle was that it kept delivering.  While polls failed to forecast Brexit, Trump and two UK elections in a row (among other high profile failures) Australian national polls continued to churn out highly accurate final results.  The two-party preferred results in final Newspolls from 2007 to 2016 are an example of this: 52 (result 52.7), 50.2 (result 50.1), 54 (result 53.5), 50.5 (result 50.4).  

Predicting federal elections pretty accurately has long been as simple as aggregating the polls, adjusting for obvious house effects and personal votes, applying probability models (not just the simple pendulum) and off you go; you generally won't be more than 5-6 seats wrong on the totals.  While overseas observers like Nate Silver pour scorn on our little polling failure as a modest example of the genre and blast our media for failing to anticipate it, they do so apparently unfamiliar with just how good our national polling has been since the mid-1980s compared to polling overseas.  As a predictor of final results, the aggregation of at least the final polls has survived the decline of landlines, volatile campaigns following leadership changes or major events, suspected preferencing shifts that frequently barely appeared, herding with the finish line in sight, and come up trumps many elections in a row.  This has been put down to many things, not least that compulsory voting makes polling easier by removing the problem of trying to work out who will actually vote (another possibility is the quality of our public demographic data).  But perhaps it was just lucky.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

2019 Senate Postcount: Main Thread

Carry-Over from 2016 Senate: Coalition 16 Labor 13 Green 3 CA 2 AC 1 PHON 1
Expected 2019: Coalition 19 Labor 13-14 Green 5-6 PHON 1 Lambie 1

Currently Coalition is likely to hold 35 seats and need two of Centre Alliance, One Nation and (Bernardi+Lambie) to pass bills.

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Welcome to my main 2019 Senate postcount thread.  This will contain outlooks for each state which I will update.  I may move any state that I do any very complex modelling on to a different thread.  In the case of Tasmania, this is only likely to happen if Lisa Singh's below the line vote starts projecting to such a level as to create a serious contest between her and Catryna Bilyk.

Some states will receive much higher detail level than others on account of the competitiveness of races.  Where races appear uncompetitive I won't be posting frequent updates.

2019 House of Reps Postcount

Coalition has won the election, almost certainly with a small majority

Apparently won Coalition 77 Labor 68 Green 1 CA 1 KAP 1 IND 3. 

Seats Assumed Won By Coalition From Labor: Longman, Herbert, Bass, Braddon, Lindsay
Seats Assumed Won By Labor From Coalition: Gilmore, Corangamite, Dunkley
Seat Assumed Won By IND From Coalition: Warringah
Seat Assumed Won By Coalition From IND: Wentworth 

Seats that were being covered but now assumed won: Boothby and Chisholm (Coalition retains), Lilley, Cowan  (Labor retains), Bass (Liberal gain), Macquarie (ALP retain)

This is the main thread for the 2019 House of Reps postcount.  A few days ago I expected I would be unrolling separate threads to unravel three-cornered contests in Melbourne, a complete mess in Mallee and so on, but at this stage none of that has happened.  I have done a quick thread for Mallee though as there's some interest in it.  There is a weird situation in Hunter, where One Nation are currently two points short of beating the Nationals into second, but I don't see any reason to think they can get into second, let alone win if they do.  Indeed the Nationals' margin in second should increase.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

2019 Federal: Late Night Live Commentary

Coalition has won the election - small majority likely but perhaps a minority

Apparently won Coalition 74 Labor 64 Green 1 CA 1 KAP 1 IND 3

Seats Assumed Won By Coalition From Labor: Longman, Herbert, Bass, Braddon, Lindsay
Seats Assumed Won By Labor From Coalition: Gilmore, Corangamite, Dunkley
Seat Assumed Won By IND From Coalition: Warringah

Seats currently in doubt (projection = AEC projection)

Eden-Monaro (ALP) - Labor leading on projection
Boothby (Lib) - Liberal leading narrowly on projection
Chisholm (Lib) - Liberal leading narrowly on projection
Cowan (ALP) - Labor leading on projection 
Lilley (ALP) - Labor leading narrowly on projection
Macquarie (ALP) - way too close to call on current projection
Wentworth (IND) - Sharma (Lib) currently well ahead and expected to win

If all current leads hold Coalition will win 77 seats, Labor 67, KAP 1, CA 1, Greens 1, IND 3, with one unclear.

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Election night arrangements and election watching tips (2019)

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My coverage tonight and to come

I will be doing live blogging for the Mercury from 6 pm.  The link to the live coverage is here.  The link to the tweet that links to the live coverage is here.  I am not sure yet how long the coverage will go or whether I will need to take any breaks to write articles.  There is an email address on the live coverage for people to ask me questions during the coverage.

I will probably not be checking emails, tweets or for comments on this site regularly during this time, and I ask journalists not from the Mercury not to call me until the live blog has finished.  However if you have interesting scrutineering samples from Tasmania - especially of the rate of below-the-line voting for Lisa Singh in a Senate booth (please say which booth!) - you're extremely welcome to SMS them to me (0421428775) or email them to me (k_bonham@iinet.net.au).  I probably won't be able to reply immediately.

The live blog is paywalled and I don't know if there will be a paywall free link or not. Subscription options are available starting from $12.  (In a kind of reverse Antony Green situation, a public media source did try to poach me for this election but negotiations collapsed from the point where I mentioned the concept of being paid.)

Election Eve: Final Newspoll and Seat Betting Roundup

2PP Aggregate (Final): 51.6 to Labor (Last-election preferences)
(51.3 with One Nation adjustment)
Seat projection assuming polls are accurate 79 Labor 66 Coalition 6 Others

The final Newspoll marks the end of my poll aggregation for this term (barring any late offers) though in the last few weeks, I really needn't have bothered.  Aggregation is most useful when polls are bouncing around, when they have marked house effect differences relative to each other or when there is something happening that is causing voter intention to move.  In the last few weeks, almost nothing has happened and seventeen consecutive polls have landed their 2PPs somewhere in the range 51-52.  There's really nothing for an aggregate to do!

Friday, May 17, 2019

A few election notes (especially re Tasmania)

Just a few quick notes on a number of things, mainly to bring links to various articles to the top.

Election night coverage

On election night I am very pleased to say I will again be live blogging for The Mercury, starting from 6 pm and probably going til about 11 or maybe later, except for any time when I may or may not need to stop blogging and write a quick article for them.  The link will be posted here when known.  It is possible the coverage will be paywalled; if so there are various subscription offers starting from $12, or it may be there will be a paywall-free link.  Once that has been finished, after a brief break I will relocate to home and then continue on here for a while.

Links

Some links to recent items on my site that may be useful:

How To Make Best Use Of Your 2019 Senate Vote

Tasmanian House of Reps Seats

Tasmanian Senate Guide

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Rolling Poll Roundup And Seat Betting Watch: The Final Days

2PP Aggregate 51.5 to Labor (by last-election preferences) (-0.3 since last week)
51.1 with One Nation adjustment
Current seat projection approx Labor 79 Coalition 66 others 6 assuming polls accurate.

The end, it seems, is nigh.  If the (ludicrously herded) national polls are right, the Morrison government would need a huge amount of luck to survive a swing of somewhere around 1.3-2.3%, at an election at which it can afford perhaps two net seat losses.  If the polls on the whole are just modestly wrong in one direction, the Government's chances of survival improve greatly, but the other direction leads to a decisive loss.  The most likely path to survival is a Donald Trump style path - a combination of a modest national polling error and a fair amount of luck with the local breakdowns, but if it happens in this case, after everything, it will be very surreal.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

New South Wales 2019: Final Lower House Results And Poll Accuracy

Amid the gearing up for the federal election, the finalisation of the NSW election figures has been largely ignored.  For whatever reason it took a few weeks longer than last time to get to the final 2PP, which is necessary for assessing which polls performed the best among other things.  Though in this case, comparing polls is hardly worth the bother.

Vote Share, 2PP and Preference Change

The primary votes were 41.58% Coalition, 33.31% Labor, 9.57% Green and 15.54% Others (including 3.46% Shooters, Fishers and Farmers with the rest led by 1.53% Sustainable Australia, 1.52% Keep Sydney Open and 1.51% Animal Justice.) The 2PP was 52.02% to the Coalition, a 2.3% swing away from their 2015 result.

The overall two-party preference flow barely changed at all, with 33.0% of preferences flowing to Labor (-0.6%), 14.0% to Coalition (-0.8%) and 53.0% exhausting (+1.4%).  But overall what happened here was that the flow of Greens preferences strengthened, but this was cancelled out by the Greens' share of all non-major voting falling from just over 50% to just 38%.  In those seats in which Greens candidates were excluded, the preferences distributed at that stage flowed 51% to Labor with just 9% to Coalition and the rest exhausting.  The stronger flow in Lismore, 72%, was among the highest and was crucial to winning the seat, while East Hills would have been extremely close had Labor managed to match the state swing there.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Poll Roundup And Seat Betting Watch: The Polls Are Getting Closer (To Each Other)

2PP Aggregate 51.8 to Labor (2016 preferences) (-0.1 since last week)
51.4 to Labor (with One Nation preference adjustment)
Current seat projection assuming polls are accurate c. 80 Labor 65 Coalition 6 crossbench (+/- lots!)
Polls appear to be "herded" which can increase risk of error

Time for another instalment of the week in polling and seat betting, delayed slightly by an interstate trip.  As of last week the United Australia Party were going through a bit of a purple patch, polling 5% in Newspoll and above their 2013 result in a bunch of seat polls.  This hasn't lasted; all their poll results this week have been in the 3-4% range, and in three WA YouGov-Galaxy seat polls they did worse than their 2013 results (in one case much worse; the other two only very slightly.)

This week's action in the minor party primaries came from the Greens who polled 14% in Ipsos, 11 in Morgan, 12 in Essential and 9 in Newspoll.  Ipsos (especially) and Morgan have form for exaggerating the Green vote and Essential's reading of the Green vote lately has been quite volatile, but even so the party doesn't seem to be in too bad shape, with the issues mix at this election helping it (that is an understatement.) That said, the Greens have finally struck the candidate problems that have hitherto affected everybody else.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Legislative Council 2019: Nelson, Pembroke and Montgomery Live And Post-Count

Montgomery: CALLED 8:30 pm Hiscutt (Lib) retains
Nelson: CALLED 4:45 pm Tues Webb (IND) defeats Street on preferences by a large margin
Pembroke: CALLED 8:37 pm Siejka (ALP) retains

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Friday, May 3, 2019

Disendorsed, Resigned Or Withdrawn Candidates at the 2019 Federal Election

Scoreboard (will be updated as needed)

Since calling of election (includes since close of nominations):

Liberal 10
National 1
Labor 4
Green 2
One Nation 1
United Australia 9*
Independent 6

(* based on UAP website listing as of April 11)

TOTAL 33