Sunday, May 28, 2023

Holding The Ball: Polling And The Proposed Stadium

Summary: There is adequate evidence of strong overall opposition to the Macquarie Point stadium proposal, but most of the individual polls being cited are unsound.


A proposed stadium at Macquarie Point has now become a major Tasmanian political issue.  The proposed stadium, intended as part of a deal for Tasmania to finally get an AFL team, has been so divisive that two Liberal backbenchers quit the party citing concerns over the stadium approval process, taking the Rockliff Liberal Government into minority.  Unless approved or killed off by then, the stadium is highly likely to feature as an issue at the next state election.  

The stadium becomes the latest in a long line of Tasmanian contentious development proposals - the Bell Bay pulp mill, the kunanyi/Mt Wellington cable car and the Ralphs Bay canal estate proposal being some prior examples.  Typically these have in common that they greatly polarise the community for a long time and suck a lot of oxygen out of other political issues, but also that virtually none of them end up going ahead.  Something else they have in common (and share with some other long-running controversies such as old-growth logging) is that they inspire a lot of mostly terrible polling.   On this site I previously published reviews of polling about the cable car and polling about the pulp mill showing that the great majority of polls on both these issues were biased and/or of poor quality.  

With polling on the proposed stadium having ramped up to the point that at one stage there were at least three polls in the field about it simultaneously, I thought it was time to start a rolling article that over time will cover every poll I see about this issue (at least those for which results have been discussed in media, but perhaps also those I have simply found the wording of).  In place of my normal fish awards for smelly polls, I will be awarding footballs to polls I consider to be good, and whistles to polls I consider bad.   A poll may be awarded footballs, whistles, both or neither, together with a flippant "umpire says" which is an excuse for me to demonstrate my limited knowledge of AFL metaphors.    The more footballs the better, the more whistles the worse.

Whistles can be awarded, for instance, for the following:

* the poll is conducted by an unreliable pollster or polling method

* the poll employs bad (not just debatable) question or answer design

* there has been inadequate transparency regarding the poll

* it actually isn't a poll at all

A poll that receives a whistle for bad question design cannot receive any footballs at all.  A poll that is exceptionally bad will receive four whistles (equivalent to the Washington Post's Four Pinocchios) irrespective of how many of the above boxes it ticks.   Awards may be changed (for instance if I slam a poll for poor transparency but results are later published or sent to me) but I won't necessarily do it quickly - because everyone commissioning polls should be releasing them properly as soon as they discuss any result of the poll in public.  

How To Be Best And Fairest

In this introduction section I just want to explain some principles of sound polling design.  Issue polling is actually extremely difficult to get right even when a pollster or commissioning source is doing their very best to get the question right.  But many people involved in issue polling commission questions that can skew the response to their side.  Common issues here include the use of skewing preambles, the provision of arguments for one side or the other, and the inclusion of facts that the respondent may not actually know.  Many left-wing groups in Tasmania have a very long and disgraceful history of using longwinded preambles and/or biased questions that focus the respondent's mind on some aspects of the issue while ignoring others.

Likewise I have seen many stadium supporters insist that the question should make it clear to respondents that the deal for an AFL team will not happen without the stadium going ahead.  But firstly if a respondent currently opposes the stadium but doesn't know it is connected with the team, then they are opposed to the stadium and should be marked as such.  It might be that telling this respondent of the connection changes their mind, but in that case the respondent ceases to represent others who were not aware of this argument, and the sample ceases to represent the public at large.  Furthermore the respondent might not actually be convinced that the team and the stadium are linked.  Even if the respondent's view that the AFL if pressured will agree to something else is completely wrong, it's a view that's out there and it is wrong to discourage the respondent from answering accordingly.  (Of course there is nothing wrong with conditional follow-up questions - so long as they are clearly reported as such, including by media.)

A further pitfall is the framing of questions in an agree/disagree format, because acquiescence bias may drive up the "agree" response.  

If you actually want to know whether people currently support the proposed stadium or not then the way to find that out is to ask them exactly that, and since it is the primary controversy at the moment, it should be asked before any other questions about the stadium or AFL (ideally, just after the voting intention question that pollsters should in general ask first.)  

My idea of a good question is something like:

"Do you support the proposed construction of a stadium at Macquarie Point"?

I include the "at Macquarie Point" because this eliminates any confusion arising from any other stadium proposals, and also because some of the opposition to the current proposal is specific to its proposed location.  

The Roster

Here is my list of polls and poll-shaped objects that have taken the field in this season, in rough order of me becoming aware of them.

In summary as of May 2023 there is sufficient evidence of strong overall opposition to the stadium. 

1. Tas Labor October 2022

Reported result: 67.3-16.6 against.

See previous full-length article.  In summary, the poll used a skewed question drawing attention to the cost, the pollster has a poor and limited public polling track record and uses primitive weighting.  Oh and doesn't know how many Tasmanians there are.  

Umpire says: Out of bounds on the full.

2. Big Issues Survey (not a poll) late 2022

Reported result: 69.46% opposed (forced choice so presumably 30.54% for)

The Mercury's Big Issue survey may have a solid number of respondents (around 3200 in this case) but it is still not a scientific poll.  Those who respond to this survey are most likely to be southerners and politically engaged.  A similar reader poll in the leadup to the 2021 state election found voting intentions (after redistributing undecided) of Liberal 36.5 (actual 48.7), Greens 20 (12.4), Independent 20 (6.3) and Labor 18.8 (28.2).  In fact this was much closer to the results for the very left wing seat of Clark than for the election as a whole.  Aside from it being an unrepresentative and unscaled sample, this question is extra-useless because forced choice yes/no options were unnecessarily sprinkled through the survey, and also because newspapers commission surveys of this kind then can't be bothered publishing a permanent record of what the questions were.

Umpire says: Fifty metre penalty.

3. Our Place May 18 and 22 2023

Reported result: 61.3-34.1 against

This is a widely reported commissioned poll for Our Place, a group of opponents of the stadium who are spruiking an alternative vision for the site.  The primary problem here is the question:

Do you support or oppose the Tasmanian Government spending $700 million on a new stadium at Macquarie Point in Hobart?

This question in effect gives an argument against the stadium (it will cost a lot of money) while not giving any argument for it, such as any possible economic benefits, and it is therefore a biased question.  The factual correctness of the question is also debatable - the federal government has said it will contribute $240 million, although there is debate about whether the state government will end up effectively bearing this cost through reduced GST receipts.  (In the other direction, it is London to a brick that the project will blow its current budget.)

The other major problem here is that the pollster, uComms, recorded a dreadful result at the 2021 Tasmanian state election where its robopolling for the Australia Institute, the sole poll released during the campaign, underestimated the Liberal Party primary by 7.3% and generated wrong predictions of a hung parliament.  There has been no explanation of why this poll - among the worst errors in a state poll that I have seen - was wrong but I would guess primitive scaling and poor response rates were big parts of it.  

This poll result is also feeding a view that young voters are more supportive of the stadium than older voters based on a 39.5% support rate among 18-34 year old voters.  But in fact there is a very common problem with this age group producing right-wing responses in uComms polls, perhaps because nobody much in this age group answers a robopoll.  As for the follow-up question claiming to show 57.8% would be less likely to vote for a party supporting the stadium to 34% more likely, the idea that this proves the stadium to be an electoral kiss of death is absolutely ludicrous.  The respondent by this stage has been primed with a question about the cost and a question about building 1000 houses on the site instead, and voters frequently overestimate the impact of specific issues or else engage in cheerleading when asked to express a view on an issue in isolation.  (Voters may say they are more likely or less likely to vote for a party they were certain to vote for or not vote for respectively.)

Umpire says:  Free kick to team stadium.

4. EMRS May 15-19 2023

Reported result: About two thirds to one third against

This is a commissioned poll attached to the EMRS quarterly omnibus (which includes public voting intentions polling) and I understand it to have been commissioned by tourism/hospitality groups.  On the good side EMRS is the only poll with a good public polling record to have yet been used to poll the matter, but at this stage there has been nowhere near enough disclosure of the results, with only vague descriptions of the numbers and no verbatim details of the question.  There is also a minor methods issue, which is that respondents were asked first if they supported an AFL team (apparently about two-thirds did) but that has some potential to affect the stadium question results.  And, because the poll result has been transmitted through Tasmanian politicos rather than being published, it's not clear whether the reported two-to-one margin is with undecided excluded, or whether it was a forced choice question.  A press release mentioning this poll claimed it to have showed support for the stadium had doubled, but no previous EMRS poll on the matter is known, and I suspect this is only a comparison to the skewed Labor Community Engagement poll which had a substantial undecided rate (and therefore not even close to true).  

Umpire says: Boundary throw-in.

5. Mercury reader "poll" (not a poll) May 2023

Reported result (current): noting that this one in particular is utter bollocks, 60-40 in favour

The Mercury has unfortunately besmirched its current coverage with an ongoing online reader "poll" that asks "Would you support abolishing the stadium even if it meant not having a Tassie AFL team?" and allows options of "No, we need a team. It has been 30 years in the making" and "Yes, I don't care about AFL".  Aside from the usual problems with such reader "polls" (including in this case that only those who are subscribers or can get around the paywall can vote) the problem with this one is that the answer designs are extremely biased.  The reason given for answering No is one that anyone who supported the stadium would hardly disagree with, and this answer effectively cheerleads for the stadium.  The reason given for answering Yes, however, is one that many opponents of the stadium would not agree with - there are plenty of people who love football but still think the stadium is wrong.  The idea that one can abolish something that does not exist and has not even commenced an approval process may also intrigue those whose Mastermind special subject is the life and works of Bertrand Russell but makes very little sense to the rest of us.  

Umpire says: Reported to tribunal.

This piece will be continually updated as more items come to hand, but in some cases specific items will be given their own articles as well.  

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

EMRS: Liberals Crash But Labor Doesn't Pick Up The Pieces

EMRS Lib 36 (-6) ALP 31 (+1) GRN 15 (+2) IND/OTHER 18 (+3)
Election held now would deliver a very hung parliament
Rebecca White retakes Better Premier lead, most probably as a result of disapproval of Jeremy Rockliff's performance

An eagerly awaited EMRS poll is up and as you would have been nuts to not expect, the Rockliff Liberal Government has been harshly whacked over its recent collapse into minority and its pursuit of a controversial AFL stadium.  After over a year in which basically nothing happened in this quarterly series the Government has slumped six points to 36%.  I have this as the Liberal Party's third-lowest primary since February 2011 (when it was also at 36), beating only a 35 and a 34 polled during 2017, a time when the poll had serious issues that it later addressed with overestimating the Green vote.

For a long time I have been wondering what it would take to lift the Labor Opposition above the low 30s and put it on to numbers where it could at least push for being the largest party in the parliament, if not for majority.  Surely this would be it?  According to this poll, no!  Remarkably the poll finds Labor up just one point to a feeble 31% with the slack being picked up by Greens (up two) and independents/others (up three).  So is the latter a boost in support for the recent defectors Lara Alexander and John Tucker?  The seat by seat breakdown is extremely granular because EMRS in its dashboard presents the numbers as a share of the overall state vote (and the sample size is tiny anyway) but the combined Ind/Other share hasn't moved upwards in either the Bass or the Lyons sample (a lot of the gain was in Clark).  

If this was a federal poll, we would see Labor's 2PP up by, say, 4.5% in three months and Labor with a clear 2PP lead and on course to win off a low primary (similar to, say, the 2022 federal election).  But Tasmania's is not a 2PP system.  If your party primary vote is low then it hurts more, because it's so much harder to win seats from behind and because if the Green and Ind/Other votes go up enough then that becomes seats for those forces.   The Greens' 15% is their best reading since mid-2019 and the 18% for Ind/Others is I think the equal highest ever (matching the June 2022 reading which I suspect was contaminated by the federal election.)

The Better Premier poll sees Rebecca White take the lead from Jeremy Rockliff, 40-38.  Unusually by the standards of preferred leader polling, it's been fairly common for White to lead in the past (she often led against Will Hodgman and was also narrowly leading Peter Gutwein when he was a very new leader, until the pandemic arrived.) The early leads against Hodgman were because White was extremely popular in her own right at the time.  The leads against Gutwein were most likely because he was so new, but even so perhaps this suggests White remains well regarded in her own right (it's hard to say since no actual approval ratings for her have been seen since before the 2018 election).  The change in this one (with White up 4 points and Rockliff down 6) is, I suspect, entirely a negative reflection on voter concerns about Rockliff's performance.  If it were not so, why would Labor's primary have done so little?

What's happening with the government's polling is all too obvious and all too self-inflicted (there may well be relief it isn't worse) but what's going on here with Labor?   We don't have sufficient detail of any issues polling to go with this poll so it is speculation, but there is probably a more than niche perception out there that Tasmanian Labor is still to clean up all its internal problems and doesn't clearly stand for anything. Even though the party has thus far said quite clearly that it does not support the proposed stadium, there has been ducking and weaving about how the party will eventually vote on it in a Project of State Significance vote should such a thing occur.  The party seems to be more scared of being wedged than determined to advance a clear position.  The most obvious and clear voices against the stadium (the biggest issue in Tasmanian politics right now, and which it's safe now to say is unpopular off what is known of the commissioned part of this EMRS sample) are minor parties and some independents.

It should be noted that while the stadium and the loss of majority are the most obvious news cycle items at the moment, this is also the first EMRS poll since racing integrity and computer hacking scandals which saw Madeleine Ogilvie's performance as Minister criticised, and also conflict of interest claims against the Speaker Mark Shelton.  All this, together with the spate of resignations since the last election, plays into a narrative that this government's wheels are falling off and that it cannot be long for this world (if it even manages to complete this term without collapsing or feeling obliged to go to another early election).  

The problem with all this is that at the moment it is not clear in this poll that the government is losing.  If voters go to the polls with the Labor primary still trailing the Liberals, the government might be able to survive in minority, or alternatively it might be displaced by some sort of "rainbow coalition" of opponents that would probably be quite a mess.  If Labor is going to win, its time in government will be much easier if it can get its primary vote up to, say, 40, and find new pathways to govern and avoid having to rely on the Greens.  And if Labor doesn't get a wriggle on soon, it might get harder, because federal Labor's honeymoon cannot continue forever.  

This is only one poll - albeit one that performed well at the last election despite not even polling close to election day - so not too much should be read into it pending corroboration from any others.  I should also note again that EMRS is not a member of the Australian Polling Council, meaning that it does not publish extensive details of its methods.  (Cynics may also mention that it is now a member of the often conservative-linked C|T Group - unfortunately with uComms being union-linked, we don't get a lot of polling here that is free of some sort of connection.)  There are a raft of commissioned polls in the field concerning the stadium, and any that are even half-decent will ask voting intention questions (as also may some of those that are not that good).  Hopefully some more voting intention results will see the light of day during this process.  

Seat Estimate: Fools rush in ...

It is impossible to estimate what this poll would produce if an election was "held now" in the restored 35 seat parliament with any reliability.  The only things I think I can say with confidence are that the government would lose its majority, Labor would get nowhere near one, the Greens would gain seats (perhaps several, perhaps not) and it's very likely that somewhere there would be more independents or fourth party MPs elected than the one in 2021.  If the current poll's vote shift continues over a few polls then there should be enough information in the geographic breakdowns to see if there has been any big shift there.  

My very rough estimate of a seat conversion for this poll if it occurred at a 35-seat election is Liberals 13-16 seats, Labor 10-13, Greens 3-6 with 2-6 for Independents and others.  On current numbers the Liberals would not get a four-seat slate anywhere outside Bass and Braddon and would not exceed two in Clark.  The Greens would be unlikely to win in Braddon, but would be a shot at two in both Clark and Franklin (though I think the former would be a high chance of going instead to a second independent if one could be found to run).  Independent and minor party prospects are everywhere, but the problem is that this "independent" vote may include a degree of vote-parking from voters who will go back to the majors if no suitable independent candidate runs.  

April uComms

I hadn't previously covered off on an Australia Institute uComms robopoll in early April which at the time had primaries (with undecided redistributed) of Liberal 42.2 Labor 33.5 Greens 14.8 Ind/Other 9.6.  The poll also included a string of questions about fishing management issues that as usual primed and prodded respondents to express views about a low-profile issue they would not be often giving thought to; these results can be generally ignored.  The problem with drawing any conclusions whatsoever from this poll is that its numbers are all but identical to the same pollster and source's results in their April 21 2021 poll.  That poll was taken in the final fortnight of the state election campaign but was wildly inaccurate, underestimating the Liberals by 7.3% after redistributing undecided.  There had been evidence before that poll via benchmarking off EMRS that uComms was underestimating the government, but errors that large make a poll almost impossible to benchmark - the best that can be said of this year's uComms was that the government's result at the time was not bad (at least as good as surrounding EMRS samples, and perhaps in majority territory after adjusting for the behaviour of uComms.)

(uComms also releases 2PP data in its polls - just ignore it, it's a result of applying a standard polling format in a state it doesn't work in.)

That is, of course, all very ancient history now, but it will be interesting to see if any other polling comes out soon.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

2023 Fadden By-Election

FADDEN (LNP Qld 10.63%)
July 15 by-election
Cause of by-election: Resignation of Stuart Robert (MP since 2007)
LNP should retain seat easily

Welcome to my brief guide to the second by-election of the Albanese government's first term, for the northern Gold Coast seat of Fadden.  Fadden has been vacated by former Minister Stuart Robert, an endlessly controversial MP and close ally of former Prime Minister Scott Morrison (whose career as member for Cook is widely believed to be approaching its end as well).  

Fadden was created in 1977 and was initially very slightly Coalition-leaning compared to the national average, running at just over 1 point above the national 2PP in 1977, 1980 and 1983.  On this basis Labor won it in 1983 but an adverse redistribution made it notionally Liberal and the one term ALP incumbent, David Beddall, decamped to Rankin.  The seat was won back by the Liberals in 1984 and remained fairly marginal through the Hawke/Keating years but was won with a large swing in 1996 (partly fuelled by a further redistribution) and since then has generally favoured the Coalition by between 10 and 13% compared to the national 2PP.  In this time only in 1998 did the 2PP go below 60% to Coalition so it is now a very solid LNP seat with a serious claim to be one of the most electorally boring seats in the nation.

Stuart Robert seems not to have taken much of a personal vote with him as his own 2PP (60.6%) runs only just above the Senate 2PP (60.3%) and that is in a seat with a pretty high One Nation/UAP vote (which does the Coalition no favours in the Senate 2PP.)  

Who's running?

There may be a sizeable field for this one.  

The LNP, obviously (cue the obvious preselection bunfight covered plenty elsewhere for what is probably a safe seat for life for the winner).  Labor at this stage have shown no signs of not running, and seem likely to have a go, but it isn't confirmed.  One Nation are understood to be canvassing for candidates.  The Greens run in nearly all by-elections but did skip Groom in the previous parliament.  

Independent Belinda Jones has said that she is running and is actively canvassing for donations (by PayID, no less).  Jones is well known on Twitter as owner of one of the most prominent "water drip" accounts.  (The water drip symbol was started by Simon Holmes a Court as a protest against a water scandal involving Angus Taylor; these days it is nowadays used by Labor sycophants and some independent lefties while many of its original users have abandoned it in disgust at the embarrassing accounts that have since adopted it.)  Jones (often known as Bee) is a regular figure of fun among more discerning Twitter users and one of her tweets was crowned the worst tweet of the 2022 election campaign against all manner of stupid, unhinged and toxic twitter madness.  In the grand final of this competition it defeated ... another one of her tweets!  She has also invoked my ire by repeatedly falsely claiming that Newspoll was wrong more than 80 times in a row in the 2016-9 term, as if writing for the mostly dreadful Independent Australia wasn't bad enough.  (Only polls very close to the election can be tested as to whether they were right or wrong but in any case there were only 58 Newspolls in that term.  Jones made her false claim about Newspoll on at least 13 separate occasions in 2020-2021 despite being repeatedly corrected by yours truly.)

Determined to prevent Bee coming last, the Australian Citizens Party (nee Citizens Electoral Council) have stated an intention to clutter the ballot with their wacky conspiracy nonsense.

Stewart Brooker, who ran in 2022 as an independent and just got his deposit back (but most likely wouldn't have without drawing the donkey vote), is running again.  Brooker describes himself as a community independent and has praised the teal movement (while being sceptical of the money that goes with it) and says he preferenced Labor at the last election.  


The historic boilover happened in Aston but Fadden is immensely more difficult.  Partly because of the margin and partly because the Queensland LNP appear to be actually getting their act together, unlike the Victorian Liberals who blighted the Aston campaign with their farcical Moira Deeming fighting.  Furthermore the federal Coalition leadership has changed to a Queenslander since the federal election and that should be worth a little bit.  And the error of preselecting a ring-in from way outside the electorate is unlikely to be repeated.

Assuming Labor do contest, any spin from them about the average by-election swing being 4-5% to Oppositions should be ignored.  This is an Opposition seat by-election and the historic average (further dented by Aston) is only about 1% to opposition.  Furthermore federal governments that are polling well do better in by-elections than those that are polling badly, so that all else being equal the government should expect a swing of 1% or so.  All up I think there aren't strong arguments for a swing either way and that if either side gets a 2PP swing of over 2% there will be some bragging rights in that (this is, again, assuming Labor runs.)

One Nation?  I would think not; although the minor party did finish third after preferences in 2022 it did so with only 16.9% 3CP (needing an 8.2% swing vs Labor to get into second and still lose.)  I also think ON are on the wane in general and unlikely to be any threat even if Labor don't contest.  Teals?  Forget it.  Other serious indies?  Would probably have their hands up by now.

This guide may be updated from time to time, but not as a high priority.  

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Tasmania Update: Stadium To Be Project Of State Significance

A brief update on today's developments following the announcement of a deal between the Rockliff Liberal Government and former members Lara Alexander and John Tucker, who quit the party just over a week ago and now sit as independents.

The essence of the deal is that in return for the independents' support on supply and confidence, the government has agreed to make the proposed Macquarie Point stadium a Project of State Significance rather than a Major Project.  This means both Houses of Parliament will need to approve the commencement of assessment. Both Houses will also need to approve any variation from the final decision of the assessment process.  Earlier I had thought that both Houses needed to give the project final approval but on reading the legislation this appears to be not the case if the government accepts the outcome of the POSS process without amendment.)

This means the stadium's fate will depend on both Houses approving the start of the assessment, and at least on the assessment itself. In the lower house, the former is no problem.   In the Legislative Council, the government will (barring absences) need three votes.  With Craig Farrell (ALP) in the chair, this means either three of the seven independents or Labor will have to support the POSS assessment for it to be approved. If Labor opposes approval, getting three independents onside could be challenging.

Why only three?  Because the approval process allows the motion to be approved unless it is disallowed.  This means a 7-7 tie on the floor on approval is also a 7-7 tie on any disapproval vote which means a disallowance motion doesn't carry.  (The process of approving the start of the POSS assessment can be relatively fast but the assessment itself would seem to take at least a few months.)

The independents have given standard confidence and supply agreements but have also agreed not to support legislation moved by Labor and the Greens (what about legislation moved by other independents?  Indeed this doesn't stop the pair from moving legislation themselves.)  All this should mean the parliament is stable for the short term and this week's manoeuvres in parliament should be just grandstanding,  However down the track the government may not be able to get all its legislation through (with the independents having reserved the right to vote against government Bills).  

I'm awaiting more detail on potential impact on other projects, as Alexander today flagged a preference for Project of State Significance assessment over Major Projects assessment in other cases, but it is not clear yet what deal might have been made on that.  

My initial reaction (this paragraph edited on 22 May) was that contrary to the immediate reaction from others, the agreement is a substantial win for the new independents, who had got more than I was expecting following news that a deal had been made.  However that was before the issue of a POSS approval not necessarily going back to parliament had surfaced.  At the moment the independents seem to have handballed the decision to the Legislative Council, or failing that they need more.  It remains the case that this is an embarrassing concession for the government and a potential wedge issue for Labor, while the Greens are deprived of oxygen because the independents won't support their Budget amendment.  

More comments may be added.  

[NB A few edits have been made through the day as I studied the POSS legislation.]

Sunday: Deadline update - the AFL deal for a 19th team has been released and the deadline for the stadium to complete approvals is 30 June 2025.  

Tuesday: The Premier has stated he is seeking advice on a pathway to ensure the stadium comes back to Parliament for a vote at the end if made a POSS.  (In my view a legislative amendment is the most likely and perhaps the only sound pathway).  If that occurs the independents can approve the kickstarting of the POSS process and have a second free vote at the end after the merits or otherwise of the project are clear to them based on the assessment.  That would also, however, take the heat off Labor for some time.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

New South Wales 2023: Final Results, Poll Accuracy And 2PP Pendulum

It's been a long time coming because of other work but here finally is my wrapup piece for the 2023 New South Wales lower house election.  The twelve-year old Coalition led by its fourth Premier Dominic Perrottet was sent packing by the Labor opposition under its fifth leader Chris Minns, but optional preferencing and some luck in the close seats cushioned the blow and the Coalition managed to retain 36 seats.  Labor after looking almost sure to get a majority on counting night (more of that later) ended up with just 45 but no trouble at all forming government given that the crossbench held three Greens and nine independents.  The result snapped a 15-election streak at state and federal level since the last case of a non-majority outcome.

Vote Share, 2PP and Preference Change

The election saw a further slight fall in the major party primary votes.  The primary votes were 36.97% Labor, 35.37% Coalition, 9.70% Greens, 8.76% independents, with the rest led by 2.23% Sustainable Australia, 1.8% One Nation, 1.56% Shooters Fishers and Farmers and 1.28% Legalise Cannabis.  The 2PP was 54.27% to Labor, a swing of 6.29%.  

There was a slight increase in preferencing at this election with 35.2% of non-major party (or minor Coalition partner in three-cornered seats) preferences reaching Labor on a 2PP basis (+2.2%), 16.1% reaching Coalition (+2.1%) and 48.7% (-4.3%) exhausting.  However these figures include many Independent and Green preferences that were not actually distributed in many seats.  The Greens' share of all non-major votes dropped slightly from 38% to 35%.  

Friday, May 12, 2023

Tasmanian Government To Lose Majority (Or Something)

On what could be a fast-moving day, it's been announced that Liberal backbenchers Lara Alexander and John Tucker will quit the Liberal Party and move to the crossbenches, taking the Rockliff Liberal Government into minority.  The primary trigger point (see detailed statement) is the proposed Macquarie Point AFL stadium, with both claiming there has been inadequate transparency from Cabinet, but there are other things going on as well.  Alexander's camp was criticising the government during the 2021 campaign over her inability to speak out as a new candidate, and she later controversially hosted an event for opposition to gay conversion therapy bans.  Tucker says he has been in talks about leaving since March and has also cited dissatisfaction over Marinus Link and the Battery of the Nation.  Alexander has complained about the Premier supporting a yes vote on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Legislative Council 2023: Launceston, Murchison and Rumney Live

Launceston: CALLED (6:51 pm) Rosemary Armitage (IND) re-elected overwhelmingly
Murchison: CALLED (6:32 pm) Ruth Forrest (IND) re-elected overwhelmingly
Rumney: CALLED (7:17 pm) Sarah Lovell (ALP) re-elected overwhelmingly


Updates (Scrolls to top)

Tuesday: All over and Lovell was indeed taken to preferences to an extremely token degree, finishing exactly six votes shy of 50%.

Wednesday: With Lovell now eight votes below majority, the TEC has thrown Pickin's preferences to establish for sure that she wins.  Notably the Liberals came third on this split getting only 27% of the Shooter preferences (Mulder 41 Lovell 32).

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

NSW Legislative Council 2023: Button Press Day

 Button press from 11 am Wednesday

Won off raw quotas: ALP 8 Coalition 6 Green 2* PHON 1 

* fractionally short but certain to cross on preferences

Strongly expected to win seats 18-20: Legalise Cannabis, Liberal Democrats, Shooters Fishers and Farmers

21st seat Rachel Merton (Liberal) vs Alison Waters (Animal Justice)

Merton leads narrowly on primaries but could be caught on preferences


UPDATES WEDNESDAY (scrolls to top)

2:35 It wasn't close at all in the end with Animal Justice closing the gap slightly but not enough; it finished at just over 10,000 votes (.051 quotas) down from the primary gap of .069.  Animal Justice made the largest gain of the competing parties (.124 quotas compared to .106 for Coalition, .094 for Legalise Cannabis, .077 for Liberal Democrats and .068 for Shooters) but the great majority of preferences exhausted rather than reaching any of these parties.  

11:59 MERTON WINS.  Animal Justice couldn't make it three in a row, awaiting news on the margin.

11:55 Pointy end approaching!

11:05 The distribution has commenced; it takes about one hour.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Legislative Council 2023: Murchison

This is my guide for the May 6 elections for the Legislative Council seats of Launceston and Murchison.  On Wednesday I released a survey of the Council's recent voting patterns.  Yesterday I released a guide for Rumney and today a guide for the fizzer in Launceston. There will be live coverage on the night of May 6th.  

The Legislative Council currently stands at four Liberal, four Labor and seven independents.  Three of the independents are conservative, three are well to the left of Labor and one (Ruth Forrest) has moved from the left to the centre in recent years.  While the Liberal Government therefore has a relatively easy time of it and wins the majority of contested votes, it still needs to convince someone from the left or centre to support it on major legislation. 

This particular guide can have a stronger than usual disclaimer that I will include my own opinions in these guides from time to time, and if anyone doesn't like that they are welcome to GYOB.