Thursday, June 17, 2021

The Major Parties Are Not "Neck And Neck" In Victoria

RESOLVE PM (Victoria state) Labor 37 Coalition 36 Green 9 IND 12 Others 5

2PP Estimate 54-46 to Labor.  If numbers repeated at election, Labor would win easily (c. 50 seats)

"Independent" vote very likely to be overstated

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I've had too little time for writing here in recent weeks, largely because of a backlog of contract work that I had to clear after it built up during the Tasmanian snap election.  There are a few pieces I have been working on that I do hope to finish some time but they will be well behind the news cycle should they actually appear.  However, I wanted to make some comments about reporting of today's Resolve Political Monitor poll of Victorian state election voting.  This furthers a concern I have had about some responses to the 2019 federal polling failure - that some media sources that commission or work with polls have responded with trendy solutions that lose information and then lead to worse reporting of what polls are actually claiming to show.  

In my initial coverage of Resolve's entry to the major polling markets I noted that fingering two-party preferred figures as a major culprit in the 2019 federal polling failure was simply incorrect: polls were wrong overwhelmingly because their primary votes were wrong, with errors in preference estimation making only a small contribution to the failure.  I doubted the claims that this would deliver readers "something deeper" than "the “horse race” nature of the way we reported the results of TPP questions" and suggested that what this would actually lead to was journalists reporting the horse race off primary votes.  In the case of the reporting of this specific Victorian poll, the horse race commentary hasn't gone away, it's just got worse.  It's like being told just the relative positions of the horses near the end of a race without being told one of them is flagging and the other is charging home strongly.  

In this case Labor has a 1-point primary vote lead over the Coalition, compared to 7.67 points at the 2018 Victorian state election.  However, while Labor won the primary vote by 7.67 points in 2018, it officially won the two-party vote by 14.6 points.  It would have been over 15 points had the Liberals not piked on contesting the seat of Richmond.  In Victoria, the Greens are by far the most significant minor party and their preferences give Labor a massive edge.

It's difficult to know what to do with Resolve's estimate of 12% for "independents" (who actually polled only 6.07% in 2018) and really it would be useful to have some insight as to which side's vote-parkers these might be (it could be a lot are soft Labor voters).  Some voters confuse "independents" with candidates for micro-parties and others might want to vote for an indie but be unable to find one who is prominent enough for them or shares enough of their views.  In 2018, 34 of the 88 seats did not even have any independents running.  (Comparable figures were 53/93 for NSW 2019 and 77/151 for Reps 2019, and these are also polling markets where Resolve is getting far higher Independent votes than what they actually get.  In contrast Newspoll doesn't use the word "independent" in seats where independents did not run at the last election; it offers "another party or candidate" in all seats).

But even treating these as generic "others" I estimate these primary vote numbers would produce about a 54-46 2PP in Labor's favour, based on my estimate of 2018 election preferences after adjustments for (i) the Resolve totals adding to 99 not 100 (ii) Richmond and (iii) three-cornered contests.  Labor would win easily if these primary numbers are accurate.  On current seat boundaries an effective uniform 3.9% swing (after adjusting for Richmond) would cost Labor around eight seats, leaving them with around 47 seats out of 88.  However (i) personal vote effects from the 2018 election would protect Labor in its marginal seats and would be likely to reduce the damage by a seat or two (ii) an impending redistribution is also likely to benefit Labor to the tune of a seat or two.  Labor would be a good chance to keep 50+ seats on the new boundaries if this poll is correct.  

None of this is more than hinted at in the Age's reporting of the poll.  The lead article contains barely a hint to readers that the contest painted by these numbers isn't really close ("the Coalition doesn’t appear to be in an “election winning position”" is about as close as it gets).  Another article dealing with the Liberals' current leadership situation refers to "the major parties neck and neck", and "the tight poll margin" which could "embolden Mr O’Brien’s strategy and quieten detractors."  Now, for sure, only being behind 46-54 and only trailing 23-49 on the skewed preferred Premier metric is polling better than the Victorian Liberals might have feared, and is polling better than Labor were getting in NSW prior to their leadership change.  However, an election held right now in Victoria would not be tight on these numbers.  None of this is to argue that the Liberals should or shouldn't be in a hurry to change leaders.  I for one am not convinced that going back to Matthew Guy so soon after the 2018 debacle would be wise.  

I should note that the Age report refers to "a reduction in preferences flowing to [Labor]" but it is not clear whether this is simply inferred from the reduced share of the preference pool that comes from the Greens, or else from respondent preferencing.  (The "About the data" section does report that "ranked preferences" are used in the voting intention polling via a sort of simulated ballot, but there is not enough detail of how this works - detail that Resolve would be publishing if they were an Australian Polling Council member.) In any case, respondent preferences are unreliable.  And on these numbers, it doesn't matter: on any realistic preference flow from these primary votes, Labor wins easily.  It's not so different to the last major poll (YouGov in late Oct 2020) which had Labor up 55-45.  

On the matter of leaderships, the poll finds fairly good but decidedly sub-Gladys ratings for Daniel Andrews at net +10 (42-32) and Acting Premier Daniel Merlino at +15 (30-15). The most striking impression re the ratings of Michael O'Brien is the level of indifferent responses.  Resolve's personal ratings have been previously reported as "favourability" but in fact come from the question:

"For each leader, please tell us whether you have heard of them and, if so, whether you have a positive, neutral or negative view of them?"

A high proportion of survey respondents don't know who an Opposition Leader is by name without being told that person is the Opposition Leader (to which their response might well be "oh, that guy"). I suspect this explains much of the difference between these Resolve polls (which have been finding barely a third of voters with a positive or negative view of Opposition Leaders) and YouGov state polls where usually at least 60% of voters, sometimes a lot more, are either satisfied or dissatisfied with the Opposition Leader.   Perhaps telling voters that someone is Opposition Leader provides too big a partisan prompt to some voters who actually have no idea about that leader, and Resolve are laudably seeking to avoid that, but it's rather difficult to compare a net rating of -8 (14-22) with YouGov's October net rating for O'Brien of -27 (26-53).  It's also possible that those voters who say they have never heard of an opposition leader would tell YouGov that they were not satisfied with that leader because they had never heard of them.  

We've Been Here Before

It's painful to see wheels of bad poll reporting reinventing themselves just because there has been a polling failure.  The reporting of poll results through the lens of primary votes in ignorance of preference flows became more of a bugbear in the early 2000s as both the level of third-party voting and the flow of preferences to Labor increased.  Here's an article by Peter Brent from the time pointing out that the Australian was continually reporting Labor as behind in the national horse race when based on the numbers provided, after preferences, Labor would quite often be ahead.  Around this time Newspoll started routinely publishing 2PP estimates, but during 2004 they made the error of using respondent preferences, and partly because of that had Mark Latham much closer to the Lodge than he actually was.  Since then, last-election preferences of some kind have generally worked well at projecting what elections would look like if the primary votes in polls were accurate.  That "if" is an important proviso: the 2PP estimate is only as good as the primary vote sampling underlying it, and if the primary votes are way out then the 2PP also tends to be nonsense.  

The Victorian Liberal leadership is a current matter of public speculation, some Victorian Liberals' political tactics even more so.  It does public debate about said leadership and tactics no favours for media to incorrectly report a poll as if it shows a very close battle between the major parties, when if the poll is remotely accurate then it shows no such thing.  Rather than getting rid of "horse race" commentary, in this case the reporting is keeping it ("neck and neck" and all!) but also dumbing it down and distorting it.  

This is not the only aspect of this poll's reporting that is suboptimal.  The lead report says that:

"Victorians were also lukewarm on the state government’s latest budget with one in four voters believing the measures, which including billions for mental health funded by a big business tax, would be bad for the State as a whole. Only 28 per cent of Victorians believe the budget will leave them better off."

I haven't seen the text of these questions or the precise results of them yet, but what isn't mentioned here is that voters are usually pessimistic about whether budgets will leave them better off!  In the context of federal Budgets, Newspoll has found more than 28% of Australians believing a Budget would improve their lot only seven times in 34 years, and this year (19%) wasn't near being one of them.  Likewise, more than a quarter of Australians have thought a federal Budget would harm the economy 21 times out of 34.  So those are not lukewarm responses to a Budget, they're quite good.   

Why is it so?

Opponents of Daniel Andrews' government may be mystified that polls keep showing it in decent shape when Victoria's experience of the COVID-19 outbreak has been worse than other states (and Victorians give their state much worse ratings for handling of COVID too).  Not only has Victoria had more serious outbreaks, but it also struggles to contain them without lockdowns in comparison with New South Wales.  However, firstly, the polls do reflect this to the extent that the Andrews government has a substantial polling swing against it from the last election, the only state for which this is true.  (Western Australia's government had an immense swing to it at a recent election, Queensland's and Tasmania's had small swings on a 2PP or 2PP-equivalent basis, NSW's government has a large swing to it in polling and South Australia's is around about where it was.)  Those who expect that COVID and lockdowns alone should be driving a double digit swing back in Victoria should probably look at some of the overseas governments that are romping in the polls - the Tories in the UK in particular - in spite of COVID death rates that are fifty times Australia's. The other point is that Victorians do not only mark their state government down when there are outbreaks - they blame the federal government too.  

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Upper Hunter By-Election Live And Post-Count

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UPPER HUNTER (National, 2.6%)
By-election caused by resignation of Michael Johnsen
2019 primary votes Nat 34.0 Labor 28.6 SFF 22.0 Greens 4.8 LDP 4.4 SA 2.2 AJP 2 CDP 1.9  

Seat called win to Nationals at 8:24 pm Saturday (final swing to Nats 3.26%)

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Saturday: Final 2PP 55.82 to Nationals (+3.26)

Monday: 2PP now at 55.7 after a strong performance for the Nats on initial postals more than cancelled out a comparatively weak performance on iVotes.  

Sunday 8:00 Good performances in the other prepolls have the Nats up to 55.4 now.  Still no sign of the iVotes.  

Sunday 2:20 Muswellbrook prepoll has come in dropping the live 2PP to 54.5.

Sunday 1:10 The 2PP in the live count is now sitting at 56.8.  Labor has stopped the rot in a couple of prepolls today and the 2PP will come down when Muswellbrook prepoll is added.  My projection has dropped to 54.6 but I believe that's on the low side.   Still no sign of the iVotes but I believe they're coming today.  

9:06 Not much more counting yet (has anybody seen the iVotes?) Anyway we have a c. 3% 2PP swing to a 10-year old incumbent government that is also "federally dragged" after its own MP resigned in disgrace.  That's not just COVID.  

It is possible it says something about the previous member.  When George Souris retired after 27 years in 2015 there was a 20.8% swing to Labor, in the context of an election with an overall 10% swing.  Souris would have taken a huge personal vote, but even so, it is worth bearing in mind that this seat had not been won by Labor since 1910.  However, the tightening in this seat was driven by increased coal mining bringing in a Labor-voting demographic, and this renders the history of the seat pretty irrelevant.  

8:33 And a very weak preference performance for Labor in the Qirindi prepoll has blown it even further open, now to 55.6.  

8:24 I still have 54.1% projected.  It has been obvious for some time that Dave Layzell is going to win; interest now turns to whether he can do so with a 2PP swing in his favour, which he is currently on course to do.  If so it will be the first case of a 2PP swing to a NSW government in a by-election that I can find since Sutherland, 1997.  

8:10 Quirindi prepoll is in with about a 7% swing against both majors.  

8:04 I now have 54.3.  My projection had been tracking Antony Green's but has now diverged from it.

7:39 53.4 now.  Note that I'm assuming Labor makes a constant preference gain rate, whereas most likely Labor's gain rate will be better in booths that are bad for the Nats.  

7:33 Nats must have had a bad booth as it dropped to 53.0

7:30 My projection is hovering around 54.3 to National.  

7:23 Swing only 1.2% against the Nats now, with 19% counted.  

7:20 More booths in and the swing against Nats has fallen to 1.6% and that against Labor is up to 6.4%.  It is looking like the Nationals are winning.   

7:18 With seven booths in Labor is not hitting the 10% gain rate in any of them and went backwards in one.  Again these are all very small booths.  

7:10 Currently Labor will need a gain rate of about 10% (0.1 votes gain per vote for other parties) to catch up.  They're at 8% and 5% in the first two booths, but those are tiny samples!

7:05 First 2PP booths in. Wallabadah Public - 20 prefs to Labor, 13 Nats, 54 exhaust.  Kirkton 14, 21, 111.  So Labor closing on preferences in these little booths so far; I'll soon check if this shows any sign of being enough.  

6:58 Still no 2PP results.  Swings now 4.6% and 3.5%, which indicates the 2PP contest will at least be reasonably close.  

6:54 The swing against Nats has come up to 4.7 while that against Labor has come down to 4.4.  In 2019 preferences were basically a wash so a projected lead for the Nationals is still good news, but they are not running away with it yet.  

6:46 11 booths in now and O'Connell has dropped back a bit to 11%.  The swing against Shooters has come down to 10% but this still looks very much like a Nationals vs Labor contest and while the swing against Nats is smaller than that against Labor, it will take a major preference shift to threaten them.  

6:41 Coming thick and fast, eight booths in and the primary vote swing is down to 2.9% against Nats and 5.7% against Labor.  At this early stage there is no sign that anyone else gets into the top two and nothing yet that would frighten the Nationals but we need to see some booth preference flows.  

6:38 Five booths in now and the primary vote swing is down to 3.7% against Nats and 6.3% against Labor.  Interestingly O'Connell is still going well, on 14.3%.  The Shooters and One Nation are splitting votes between them with the Shooters having a 10.8% swing against so far.  

6:29 And were faster than they said, we have two booths in (Moonan Flat Hall and Mt Pleasant) and the primary vote swing so far is 10% against Nats and 6.4% against Labor, which is a rather YouGov-y start to proceedings.  Early booths will show idiosyncratic swings and especially there's a high O'Connell vote in the Moonan booth.

6:15 NSWEC expects to post results from 7 pm.

5:55 I'm not sure how quickly we'll get the c. 2000 iVotes once polling closes but it's worth noting that in 2019 there were 1673 formal iVotes and they skewed against the Nationals by 2.8%, against the ALP by 4.6%, and to Greens, LDP and various minor parties (but were roughly representative for Shooters).

Intro 5:30.

There is a lot of interest in today's Upper Hunter by-election in NSW and I thought I'd post some live comments just for anyone interested - mainly in case anyone wants a second or third or even fourth opinion to those provided elsewhere!  Especially keep an eye on the Poll Bludger live results facility which should be excellent at watching for booth swings etc.  This post will follow the seat at least until the winner is clear.  Once numbers start coming in after polls close at 6 pm, refresh every 15 mins or so for recent comments.  Comments will scroll to the top.  

This by-election is especially important for various sides of politics.  The NSW government is polling very well but has fallen into minority, and while it won't get out of it tonight a win here would give it a path back if it can also secure a by-election in Kiama (12.0%) and win that as well.  A loss would make governing messier.  On the Labor side, Jodi McKay's leadership is widely considered to be terminal unless Labor wins tonight.  The contest has added interest for federal Labor because there have been claims (for which I think all the polling evidence has come from Redbridge) that it is in trouble in this area and could lose seats at the federal election.  

The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers polled 22% in 2019 and this seems like a seat that could join their collection in a by-election environment.  The problem for third-party challengers, indeed for Labor as well, is that it is optional preferential voting and there may well be too many challengers.  Many are not even cross-preferencing so there will be a lot of exhaust.  Added interest here comes from Malcolm Turnbull endorsing independent Kirsty O'Connell, whose how to vote card preferences a few other independents then stops.  Amid all the larger and more local factors at play in this by-election, the  circumstances of the incumbent's resignation have been largely forgotten.

NSW by-elections recently have a history of vicious swings against governments even when held between elections in which not very much happens, and governments normally cop a whacking in their own vacant seats, so by normal standards this seat would be indefensible against either Labor or the Shooters.  But with the government travelling strongly these are not normal times and the general expectation is the Nationals will hold the seat.  

The only recent public poll is a 400-sample targeted YouGov phone poll with primary votes of Nats 25 Labor 23 Shooters 16 One Nation 11 Greens 6 O'Connell 6 Reynolds 4 Norman 3 LDP 3 Others 3, 2PP 51-49 to Nationals.  (Shooters would not get out of third on such numbers.)  Several other polls, including Nationals internals (frequently a rich source of fine fictional narratives) are listed on Wikipedia.  It is worth noting, if we do see numbers anything like YouGov's (which have a remarkably low combined major party vote even for a large field), that the Shooters have preferenced Labor on their how to vote card recommendation.  

Antony Green has reported about half the voters will have voted before the day (mostly prepoll) and that counting tonight will include about c. 2000 iVotes, with  postals on Monday. Regarding prepolls we will get Singleton and Quirindi (about 40% of total prepolls) tonight with the rest from 9 am tomorrow.  


Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Poll Roundup: Another Budget Rates Pretty Well As Early Election Talk Resumes

With the 2021 Budget now released it's time for this site's annual post-Budget federal polling roundup.  

Voting Intention

The current polling consensus is that Labor has a narrow (51-49ish) lead, though we should not be too confident Labor is ahead at all given the errors seen at the 2019 election.  We can hope that pollsters have successfully addressed the causes of the errors (and also not overcorrected, in which case Labor might in theory be ahead by more). YouGov at least has taken targeted action aimed at fixing the 2019 problems, but until we actually see a test at a federal election, we don't know.

The current Newspoll had Labor ahead 51-49 (unchanged) off primaries of Coalition 41 Labor 36 Greens 12 One Nation 2 others 9.  The second ever Resolve Political Monitor poll (link to my April discussion) has primaries of Coalition 39 Labor 35 Green 12 One Nation 2 Independent 8 Other 5.  Treating "independent" in this poll as generic "others", I get a 2PP of 51.1 to Labor (+1 since April).  If "independent" is carved out, I get 51.9 (+0.9), but I don't recommend this as there are plenty of low-information voters who use "independent" as a catch-all term for indies and minor crossbench parties such as KAP, Centre Alliance etc.   As noted in the initial article about this poll, using Independent as a standalone option can lead to inflated readings compared to actual Independent vote shares.  

The initial Resolve poll had One Nation on 6% and they have now dropped to 2%, with Others up from 2% to 5%.  The April poll was criticised for getting One Nation on such a high figure, possibly by including them in the readout everywhere whether or not they are actually running there.  Whatever the reason, nothing has happened since that would have suddenly cost One Nation two-thirds of their supporters, and low readings are less volatile than high ones (the in-theory margins of error on these results are 1% and 0.7% respectively) so this looks like a methods change.  However I haven't seen any discussion of a possible methods change in the accompanying reporting, which treats it as a change in voting intention: "While Pauline Hanson’s One Nation lost ground, there was a corresponding gain in support for “other” candidates."  Did One Nation actually lose ground, or did the poll handle them differently, or both?

This appears a handy time to mention that the Australian Polling Council, consisting of YouGov (which conducts Newspoll as well as YouGov branded polls), Essential, uComms, Ipsos, Lonergan, Telereach and JWS, will launch a detailed Code of Conduct for pollsters next month that I expect to lead to far more public detail about how Australian polls are running.  At this stage Resolve is not a member of the Australian Polling Council and I very much hope that it will join, or that its client will persuade it to, or failing either that it will at least match whatever disclosure standards the APC releases.

Aside from these two series, there's not that much to see in voting intention land.  Results for Essential were reported in The Guardian on April 29, with "an effective tie between the major parties, with both Labor and the Coalition recording a two-party-preferred vote of 46%," (equivalent to 50-50 based on Essential's 2PP Plus system.)  Other details included were that Labor had led 48-45 (=51.6-48.4) in March and that the Coalition primary had moved between 37-39 with Labor between 34-36.  These would be raw figures without undecided redistributed, so both would actually be a few points higher, as would the Coalition's primary vote among women (quoted as 31 in the April 29 poll).  

However Essential hasn't put these figures up on their website weeks after they were reported, and currently a 47-44 lead to Labor from three and a half months ago is still flapping in the breeze on the sidebar as if it is a current voting intention reading.  

The matter of gender splits in voting has been of interest lately with Essential persistently finding large gaps and Newspoll finding even less than normal.  In the latest Essential sample it's effectively 57-43 one way for one gender and 57-43 the other way for another.  The initial Resolve poll found nothing to see here but the new one implies the Coalition 2PP around 53.6 for male voters and 44.9 for female.  Across the two samples combined Resolve is finding a fairly normal gender gap of a few points.  

One other voting intention finding comes from the quarterly ANUpoll series.  After removing undecided I get Liberal 39.1 Labor 36.8 Greens 15.3 others 8.4, which implies a large Labor lead of about 53.5-46.5, compared to 50.5-49.5 three months ago.  However I don't take polls that have the Greens this high seriously; this is usually a sign of over-sampling of politically engaged voters.  This panel-based survey has very large sample sizes but mostly repeat-samples the same pool of recipients. The polling report has this concerning weightings used:

"1. Compute a base weight for each respondent as the product of two weights:

a. Their enrolment weight, accounting for the initial chances of selection and
subsequent post-stratification to key demographic benchmarks

b. Their response propensity weight, estimated from enrolment information
available for both respondents and non-respondents to the present wave.

2. Adjust the base weights so that they satisfy the latest population benchmarks for
several demographic characteristics."

Good luck to anybody seeking to replicate, or even comprehend, whatever that is!

Leaderships

From its pandemic peak in around mid-2020, Scott Morrison's approval ratings were gradually declining but still very high until March 2021.  From that point there was a crash that strongly appears to be caused by the Higgins/Porter/staffers cluster of issues involving the treatment of women, and now Morrison has recovered to some degree (see the Bludgertrack approval tracker).  He's at net +20 in Newspoll presently and net +15 in Resolve.   The +20 isn't the +41 he was getting mid-last year, but still it's not shabby either.  Morrison's current streak of 18 consecutive positive ratings is surprisingly the fourth longest in Newspoll history (see list here; I don't think he'll be touching John Howard's record of 102).  Meanwhile Anthony Albanese isn't getting a lot of love from the new poll Resolve, which has him at net -12; Newspoll's -7 (his equal worst net rating, albeit for the fourth time) is not much better.  In this week's Newspoll 46% are dissatisfied with Albanese, the highest level so far.  Essential also has Morrison rebounding, from +17 up to +26, while a friendly run for Albanese from it is starting to run out of steam as it only has him on +4 (39-35).  

The skewed Better (Newspoll, Essential) or Preferred (Resolve) Prime Minister questions see Morrison with a current lead in the mid-20s.  Such questions tend to skew to incumbents, and given that Morrison's party is trailing slightly on the 2PP he would normally have a lead of only around 11%.  That he is doing better is partly because of his high personal ratings, while Albanese's personal ratings are mediocre.  

Budget

Newspoll asks three Budget questions in a stable form which is great for comparisons between years.

On the question of whether the Budget is good for the economy, Newspoll respondents say yes by a margin of 44-15, for a net +29.  This is the sixth highest on record, behind:

1987 +49 
2007 +48
1996 +37
1998 +35
2006 +31
2021 +29

The top four were election years, but the 1987 budget came after the election.  

On the question of whether the Budget is good for the respondents' own financial situations, it's 19% for better off, 19% for worse off and a record 62% for meh/dunno.  But a net score of zero is actually the eighth highest reading ever.  All the positive scores were for Coalition budgets, including the three before this one.  The only cloud here for the Coalition is that the Budget did include a measure described as a tax cut (though I believe it's actually the extension of a currently existing rebate) so maybe the government would have hoped for a better personal impact score.  On the question of whether the Opposition would have done any better, it's a 46-33 lead for nope, fairly typical by recent standards after last year's Budget recorded the biggest lead for no since 2009.  

The once-off Newspoll questions included one that asked:

"The current budget is in deficit and forecast to remain in deficit into the future, so that net debt will climb from $617bn this year to $920bn in 2024.  The government says the pandemic is not over and this budget will ensure we come back even stronger, securing Australia's recovery.  What is closer to your view about this budget?"

Options were "The government is right to stimulate the economy even though this means increased debt" and "The government should be doing more at this time to rein in spending and reduce debt" 

I don't like this question, but at least it was published verbatim, unlike (so far) a number of the Resolve Budget questions that have been referred to in media reporting.  The question part gives the government's defence of increased debt but no counter-argument from anyone who might oppose it, beyond the size of the debt.  The first reply implies as fact that the government will be successful in stimulating the economy.  So I disregard the 60-30 margin for the first response over the second.  But it is interesting that Labor has at times been flirting with austerity politics in attacking the Coalition over debt (doubtless in frustration that the Coalition got away with the same thing so much more easily around the time of the Global Financial Crisis) and when the question is framed like this, Labor supporters become more likely to be opposing big spending.  

Here's my increasingly scribbled graph showing the relation between economic and personal scores in Newspoll since 1988 (the personal impact question seems not to have been asked in 1987):


Note that the 2007 Budget is the best received of these on both scores, yet the Coalition lost that election.  They did lose by a great deal less than lead-up polling indicated, with only the final polls getting it more or less right (mostly).  

Resolve has asked rare questions about the performance of the Treasurer and Shadow Treasurer, with Josh Frydenberg recording a strong +31 (54-23) net rating while potential leadership contender Jim Chalmers scores an underwhelming -3 (24-27).  Resolve found much stronger approval for the Budget than Newspoll did (56-10 on impact for the country as a whole, 35-17 for personal/household impact) but I haven't seen the exact questions asked by Resolve there.  

The current picture

Talk about, or about avoiding, early elections tends to be very poll-driven.  At the start of the year an early election was all the rage.  During March and April, as the government took a modest polling hit the consensus was that an early election was off the table.   Now that Morrison's own ratings are rebounding, the government's 2PP is competitive and the budget is all spendy-feely, it suddenly seems to be on again.  At the moment the government has good reasons for optimism whenever the election is since oppositions that only lead narrowly don't generally end up winning the election.  

The lack of a "Budget bounce" shouldn't be cause for concern for the government at the moment, since such bounces rarely even exist, and when they do exist, they sometimes take time to become fully apparent (an arguable example being 2019).  Indeed the normal average voting intention change following budgets is a slight decrease, with the exception of Coalition election year budgets, so the next few polls may be of interest.  The biggest potential pothole issue for the Coalition at the moment could be criticism of the pace of Australia's vaccine rollout, though this might also be an incentive for the government to get off to the polls in October or so before the impacts of disparities become too severe.  While polls have showed a mixed reception for the government's vaccine rollout performance (Essential negative, Newspoll slightly positive) the government continues to score well on its handling of COVID overall.  

In the Resolve poll voters say they don't want an early election, but in general I suspect voters only want an early election when they're desperate to throw the government out.  

I may add comments on other federal polling matters should I think of anything else worth noting at this time.  I doubt I'll have time for a preview post about this Saturday's fascinating Upper Hunter state by-election in NSW, but I expect to have live commentary on the night and postcount comments if required.  

Monday, May 17, 2021

Tasmania 2021: What Was The Point Of This Election?

LIBERAL 13 LABOR 9 GREEN 2 IND 1 (Unchanged from before election)

This is another state election where I think a post-election washup post is in order, some of which will cover similar ground to the 2018 washup.  I started writing this a few days after the election but found it was hard to assess the result without knowing for sure who had won and lost.  I ended up rewriting this piece quite a few times and have stripped out a lot of commentary because the article was getting way too long.  

This election's been a crazy and fascinating ride.  The interest levels in it, especially Clark, have been extremely high on this site.  The post-election Adam Brooks news just adds more weirdness to the mix, and now we have a Labor leadership election as well (the first since Michael Field defeated Neil Batt in a party room ballot in 1988, and the first under new rules with voting by members and delegates).  

Why Even Bother?

Before the events that led to this election, Tasmania had a 13-9-2-1 parliament.  After Sue Hickey quit the Liberals and Madeleine Ogilvie joined them, it was still 13-9-2-1.  And after the election it was yet again 13-9-2-1.  All the election seems to have achieved is replacing Sue Hickey with Kristie Johnston and letting Labor get Dean Winter and Janie Finlay into parliament, without any renewal (unless one counts Ogilvie) on the Liberal side.  The Liberals sacrificed ten months of their term and risked a lot in the process, winning the final seat in Clark by just 2.2%.  Was it all worth it?  The artificial falling into minority and trying so not hard to get out of it?  The nonsense theories about the early election? The bizarre Adam Brooks storyline and the claims that it tainted the result?  The criticism of calling an election while the Opposition Leader was pregnant?  The criticism over undelivered promises and over outlining plans for the first 100 days only to be told they could have been doing those things instead of having an election?  All this ... just to get rid of Sue Hickey?

Well, in the case of Brooks it wasn't worth it. The Liberals would have won three in Braddon anyway (which is why the "tainted election" claim is incorrect, though Braddon voters have good reason to feel stuffed about by the scandal).  They didn't get that close to four, and the unseemly dissembling and dead cat throwing in Brooks' defence could all have been avoided by just not picking him in the first place.  It just turned out to be a very bad preselection.  But overall, the point of the election from the government's perspective is this: the next election is now due in 2025.  Winning majority government in Hare-Clark isn't easy.  If you can reset the clock and not have to worry about it again for a while, then you do.  As the government again has a one-seat majority, we will have to watch out for any further rogue MP issues, but the biggest problem (Brooks) has been avoided.  

A close election?
 
The Liberals only just won a majority in Clark, with a victory margin of 1429 votes (2.2%) over Sue Hickey.  But they were nowhere near losing any seat outside Clark, and with 12 seats they would most likely have governed anyway.  A two-party swing around 7% would have been needed to cost them a seat to the Greens or maybe Labor in Lyons.  

Winning majorities in Tasmania at all is challenging because it usually requires a primary vote in the high 40s.  The Liberal Party outpolled Labor by 20.7 points. On primary votes this is a third consecutive thrashing, which I estimate at 57-43 two party preferred.  This compares with my estimates of 60-40 for 2014 and 56-44 for 2018.  

However, the dynamic around minority government in Tasmania often drives lopsided voting share results.  Voters who do not want hung parliaments (especially those involving the Greens) herd to the party that appears to be winning.  So we can't assume that in a single seat system these Liberal governments would have won as heavily.   Since the Greens first captured the balance of power in 1989, primary vote margins exceeding fifteen points between the big parties have occurred at six of the next nine elections, compared to just two of the twelve up to and including 1989.  (There had been a batch of lopsided elections around World War II, as in some other parts of the country.)

Facts, stats and the odd interpretation ...

Liberals

This is the first time the modern Liberal Party has won three straight Tasmanian elections.  An earlier but different party also called the Liberal Party won three straight elections, and in all the non-Labor side won elections continuously until Labor won in 1925.  However the non-Labor side did not always rule through this time (eg the Liberal government elected in 1913 collapsed with Labor governing from 1914-6).  

The Liberals' 13-seat result ends a streak of 17 consecutive cases where a state (not territory) government of the same party as the federal government at the time has lost seat share in the parliament at an election.  11 of these 17 governments lost the election.  The last case of a same-party state government not going backwards was WA 1996, but that was in both the state and federal governments' first terms.  The last case where a same party state government that was beyond its first term didn't lose seat share was Victoria 1976 and the last such case where neither government was first term (as in Tasmania this year) was in Victoria 1967. (Queensland Nationals 1972 gained seats but the parliament had been expanded, so that doesn't count.)  I think that this underlines the difficulty of winning a majority at all at this election, suggesting that without at least one and perhaps all of COVID, Labor being a mess and the emphasis on majority governments in this state, it wouldn't have occurred.  

Peter Gutwein's primary vote of 48.2% is the second highest in percentage terms of all time, behind only Doug Lowe's 51.2% (which was before the adoption of Robson Rotation).  His 32,482 votes was over 5,000 ahead of Will Hodgman's 27,184 in 2018, which in turn passed Doug Lowe's record for the highest number of votes by a candidate - a record that had withstood 39 years of enrolment growth.  

Labor

Labor's vote in Clark of 22.1% is the worst Labor primary vote in an electorate ever (the previous worst was 23.1% in Braddon 2014).  

This election was the third case since World War 2 of an opposition winning fewer seats than at the previous election.  This previously happened in 1979 (also an early election) and 2002 (first term government).  However, in this case Labor's seat loss came via a mid-term defection (Ogilvie) and they held all the seats they went to the election with.

Vince Taskunas has noted that Labor won only one booth (St Marys) north of Kempton.  Even in 2014 when Labor's vote was lower overall, Labor topped some northern booths it did not win this time, such as Waverley, Ravenswood and Acton.  In fact in the north in 2021 Labor won the same number of booths as Craig Garland did (Garland won Sisters Beach).  For non-Tasmanian audiences who want to know what "north of Kempton" looks like, it looks something like this:


As spotted by Mark Bacon on Twitter, Rebecca White polled exactly the same primary vote (16,338) in 2021 as 2018.

Others

This was the first election since 1989 (and before that 1959) with primary vote swings against both major parties.  It also saw the largest vote for candidates who were not Labor, Liberal or Green (including "Green Independents") since Norm Sanders and Doug Lowe won seats in 1982.  

The Greens recorded swings to them in every electorate except the one where they turned out to most need a swing, Bass.  As it happened the final result in Bass wasn't even remotely close with Janie Finlay winning by 5.2%.  Had the Greens matched their swing in other seats and done so entirely at Labor's expense they may have just won Bass.  Although much was made (especially by them) of the overall 2.1% swing to the Greens, their statewide result was still 2.3 points below their historic average.

The lead Green candidate received less than half the Greens' vote in Bass (47.8%), Braddon (47.7%) and Lyons (45.8%), however none of these were as low as the 42.2% in Lyons in 2018.  Low vote shares for the top Green candidate make the Greens more susceptible to leakage, and indicate the problems that the party currently has with attracting high-profile candidates outside the south.  

Independent Kristie Johnston has been elected in Clark.  This is the first time an independent has won at the ballot box since the House was reduced to 25 seats in 1998.  Proto-Greens excluded, independents had been rare even in the 35 seat system, with Doug Lowe (ex-Premier, 1982) and Bruce Goodluck (ex-federal MP, 1996) the only exceptions since the 1950s.  (Kevin Lyons in 1969 was elected as "Centre Party", a Country Party branch rebadge.)

Justin Stringer (Australian Federation Party) recorded the lowest vote tally at this election, 150 votes in Clark.  However that's the highest statewide low score by a candidate since 1955.

On the exclusion of the Animal Justice Party candidate in Lyons, 32% of preferences flowed to the more or less diametrically opposed Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (who had drawn an adjacent ballot paper column).  In Bass the figure was 25.6% and in Franklin 16.8%.  In Clark, the Shooters were excluded first and 13.8% went to the AJP, who were in an adjacent column.  It appears the AJP attracts some votes from voters who either don't know what the party stands for (like the low-information voters who used to be attracted by Family First) or else really can't stand Labor, Liberal and Greens.  

Miscellaneous

Madeleine Ogilvie is just the second MP elected for both the Labor Party and a major non-Labor Party, after Carrol Bramich whose defection triggered the 1956 election.  (I frequently cited Bramich as a prior for Ogilvie winning but Bramich's win was far more emphatic.)  Several MPs have been elected for multiple conservative parties or for some party and as an independent.   Ogilvie incidentally has led a mostly charmed electoral life with close within-party wins over Amos (2014) by 331 votes, Cox (2019 recount) by 201 and Behrakis (2021) by 342, but also the one serious loss against Haddad (2018) by 731.  

All five incumbents were returned in Lyons.  This is the first such case since 2006 in which all incumbents were returned in all of Braddon, Franklin and Lyons.  All five winners at the 2018 election were returned in Braddon, but one of them (Adam Brooks) had resigned partway through the term, with his seat being filled by Joan Rylah then Felix Ellis before he very narrowly won it back.  Braddon has hence had a pass-the-parcel Liberal seat that has gone Brooks to Rylah to Ellis to Brooks and now presumably to Ellis again.  

35 Seat Conversion 

I've been asked a lot about the 35-seat result for this election.  My estimates (Liberal - Labor - Greens - IND) are as follows:

Bass 4-2-1 (close to 5-2 but Liberal vote leaks)
Braddon 4-2-0-1 (Garland) or 5-2 depending on candidate effects
Lyons 4-3-0 (because Labor would have three incumbents)
Franklin 3-3-1
Clark 2-2-1-2

Total 17-12-3-3 or 18-12-3-2

However in the 35 seat system the government would have realised Bass and Braddon were crucial to majority and strategised to increase their chance of at least one 5-seat result.  Some of the contests in this election, especially Braddon and Clark, really deserved a seven-seat contest and several of the candidates who missed out would have been deserving winners.  

Polling and pundit accuracy

This election saw a serious polling drought.  The lack of quality polling during the campaign makes it impossible to say (unless you trust reports of party polling) whether the government was ever on track to win by more than they did, though there have been no reports of internal polling otherwise.

The only actual poll released during the campaign was a uComms robopoll commissioned by The Australia Institute.  As the table below shows, the February EMRS was a better predictor of the election result than it was:


(MPG = major party gap)

Especially the uComms poll was inaccurate on the major party gap because it severely underestimated the Liberals and overestimated Labor.  Both errors were outside the poll's margin of error (in the Liberal case more than doubly so).  The EMRS poll was taken before the announcement of significant independents so had EMRS polled later they may have been even more accurate.  In uComms' case, the error may have been magnified by the sample of "undecided" voters (in their lingo voters who are leaning to a party but need prompting) being unusually pro-Labor, suggesting that the Labor vote was soft.  However even with "undecided" redistributed proportionally their results would still have been less accurate than EMRS (2.8% average error, 6.8 point miss on major party gap.)

I refused to make a formal projection of this election because of the unsatisfactory level of polling data.  However the aggregate attempts I issued anyway performed very well with the version incorporating house effects predicting the seat total correctly and the version excluding house effects getting every party's votes within 0.5%.  What I found impressive was that Tasmanian political commentators who attempted seat predictions, including Sean Ford in the Advocate/Examiner, and all of Brad Nowland (FontPR), Becher Townshend (FontPR), Alex Johnston (Win) and David Killick (Mercury) on the Fontcast, in the end converged on the correct outcome of 13-9-2-1 - although some of these had the Liberals higher for a while.  So at this election Tasmania was rather well served by its more informed pundits (as distinct from those who wrote hopeful and one-eyed op eds barracking for minority government) in the absence of polls.  Betting markets also performed very well (for once) with betting successfully predicting that there would be no change to any party's total in any seat, and successfully predicting a Liberal majority at all times.  And the reader Not-A-Polls on the sidebar of this site also nailed 13-9-2-1 as the average result.  

Legislative Council

I should also make some comments about the Upper House elections.  These were contentiously held on the same day as the state poll for the first time ever.  Mike Gaffney was re-elected unopposed, the first MLC to be so since Ruth Forrest (Murchison) in 2011.  There were four unopposed seats between 2005-2011 after a 12-year gap from 1993.  The Liberals gained Windermere on the retirement of Ivan Dean and now hold four seats compared to five for Labor and six independents.  As my voting patterns assessment shows, four of the independents are currently to the left of Labor while two are somewhat (but not very) right of centre.  This means the Government normally needs support from two of the four left indies on votes where Labor is opposed.

There was some thought that the blanket party advertising would result in voters voting the same way in both houses.  The voters of Windermere, however, weren't having a bar of it and the Liberal primary vote in the Legislative Council was 17 points lower in matching booths than it was for the Assembly.  Labor's result in Derwent was also strong given lacklustre Assembly results in the Lyons booths in Derwent and the trashing inflicted by indies in the Clark booths.  It seems that holding the elections on the same day did not result in voters in them voting much differently to normal in primary vote terms.  Whether or not it made a difference to the outcome in Windermere (where Will Smith missed the final two by 1.5%) we will probably never know.  

Added May 20: Did The Brooks "Terry" Saga Make A Difference?

With the release of booth voting figures by candidate it is possible to look for signs of the Adam Brooks "Terry" saga involving alleged fake dating profiles affecting his personal vote.  Basically, there is no evidence it did.  Brooks polled 16.1% of postal and prepoll Liberal votes and 15.2% of on-the-day Liberal votes in Braddon.  That might look like something happened given that in 2018 he polled slightly better on-the-day than before (28.3 vs 27.7).  However, it isn't necessarily evidence of anything to do with the "Terry" saga, as Jeremy Rockliff who had no such scandals also showed a significantly greater difference in favour of prepoll and postal voting than in 2018.  (51% vs 46.6% in 2021, 46.1 vs 44.9 in 2018).  It turns out that the factor most likely driving these shifts for both Rockliff and Brooks is the performance of Felix Ellis, who polled only 12.7% of Liberal prepolls and postals but 16.9% of Liberal votes on the day.  In 2018 Ellis had a much lower vote and a much lower difference in this regard.  Two possibilities here (and it could be a bit of both) is that Ellis's appeal to voters peaked late in the campaign, and that Ellis, as a younger candidate, was supported strongly by young voters and other voter types who are more likely to vote on the day. 

There's also not much evidence the saga hurt the Liberal vote in Braddon on the day, and if it did it wasn't by much.  Their on the day vote was 2.6 points lower than prepoll/postal compared to 1.5 points lower in 2018 but this could be explained by many things including Liberal support increasing towards the end of the 2018 campaign.  

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Test

This is a test post because my website was being blocked by Firefox and Chrome this morning based on a presumed phishing false positive which I've reported.  Individual links are working OK; I just wanted to see if I could post new content or not.  

All seems to be fine now but if anyone has this problem please report cases of it to me by email (k_bonham@tassie.net.au) and please excuse any frustrated tones in any reply!

Friday, May 14, 2021

Brooks (Braddon) Instant Recount 2021

RECOUNT: Ellis (Lib) vs Sheehan (Lib).

Recount will conclude Thursday morning.  Unofficial result: Ellis has won by about 749 votes.  

Warning: unusually wonky recount.  The Braddon recount has been upgraded to Wonk Factor 5/5.

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Updates June 3: Counting starts from 9 am; my guess is it will take a few hours to distribute 3301 votes from Lara Hendriks and see whether or not Stacey Sheehan can close down a gap of 649 votes to Felix Ellis in a contest in which she has significant advantages based on the origin of the remaining recount votes.  Ignoring exhaust she needs 60%, but the small rate of exhaust that there will be could play a role here too, so it is probably a bit more than that.  

9:45 The results will be counted in five counts, the value of each of which sums to 2447, 8, 32, 732 and 92.   (These add to slightly more than 3301 because of recombination of fractional values.)  The 8 vote count gave Sheehan 4 and Ellis 3 with one lost to fractions.  The 32 vote count gave Ellis 17 and Sheehan 14.  So Ellis increases his lead by two and c. 40 votes go out of the count. 

9:50: The 92 vote count is Sheehan 59 Ellis 32 rest lost to fractions.  These votes actually came from Ellis but they would include votes that were, for instance, 1 Hendriks 2 Sheehan 3 Ellis.  Ellis by 624 now. 3179 to go.

10:00 The 732 vote count is Sheehan 378 Ellis 333 rest exhaust and fractions.  Ellis by 579 now, 2447 to go.  Ignoring exhaust, Sheehan needs 62%.  I thought Sheehan might gain more off the 732 vote count.  

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Updates June 2: have heard from a scrutineer that starting figures - I think this is just the 1-value votes, not the whole primaries, are Ellis 2368 Sheehan 1729 Hendricks 1652 and a few hundred across the others. Too early to say which of Hendricks or Sheehan will be eliminated, the question is whether the preferences of the eliminated candidate will be strong enough to make things interesting. All figures I post here are unofficial - official results will be on the TEC site when posted.  If the recount does finish tonight it will be late.  

3:10 Final count 1 figures headed by Ellis 2390 Sheehan 2145 Hendriks 2047 with 1578 across minor candidates (led by Garland 528). That looks seriously close, however there are still primary votes to be added as those are just the 1-value votes and quota is 11661. In particular, Ellis will get several hundred votes back from the topup to bring Brooks to surplus so he will extend his lead. The minor candidate preferences will determine which of Sheehan and Hendriks is excluded first and then it is just a question of whether Brooks votes that flowed to the excluded female candidate favour the other female candidate over Ellis by enough to overturn what should be a substantial (but not huge) lead.  

4:30 With only the Ellis topup votes (most of which go to Ellis) to go it's Ellis 3239.1 Sheehan 2987.8 Hendriks 2749.4 others combined 1817.8.  I do expect Sheehan to gain somewhat on the Ellis topup votes, but probably by not more than 100.  So it looks likely Hendriks will eventually be excluded, though not by much, with her preferences to decide between Ellis and Sheehan.  Ellis should lead by something like 800-900, which seems unlikely to be caught but could be close.  

5:15 Ellis 3800 Sheehan 3057 Hendriks 2823.  Others combined 1893.  Ellis lead 743.  If the others votes have no net impact between Ellis and Sheehan then Sheehan will need about a 63-37 split (seems a bit much) over Ellis on the votes from Hendriks to win.  Geography could assist Sheehan - all the candidates are Devonport-based except Ellis who is from all over the place and performed best on the west coast (Brooks also did well there because of his mining connections).  

5:55 Official numbers were posted so the above totals have been edited. There are four Green candidates and one independent with very low totals to exclude, then two Shooters and Garland.  On the first Green exclusion Ellis made a net gain of one.  

I need to look at this recount carefully as there may be lurking recount-bug effects that could still make things difficult for Ellis.  

6:35 Three exclusions down and Ellis still leads by 744.  Not sure if they are stopping yet - had one report from a party source that they seemed to be but not confirmation.

6:40 WONK FACTOR 5 DISCUSSION - When Hendriks is excluded her votes at the moment are mainly 2047 votes from Adam Brooks' primary pile and 702 votes that originated with Jeremy Rockliff.  Ignoring Rockliff and considering what happens to Hendriks votes based on their history between the other four candidates:

* Ellis gets all votes that have the history Hendriks-Brooks-Ellis, at full value.

* Ellis gets votes that have the history Hendriks-Ellis at value 0.23 provided they reached Brooks before Jaensch. (I initially missed the quirk that because Jaensch was also short of quota in the original count, a vote that is Hendricks-Ellis-Jaensch is not in the recount as it has been notionally thrown to Jaensch during the top-up process.)

* Sheehan gets votes that have the histories Hendriks-Sheehan-Brooks or Hendriks-Brooks-Sheehan, at full value

* Sheehan gets votes that have the history Hendriks-Sheehan-Ellis, at value 0.23 provided they reached Brooks eventually.

* Votes that are Hendriks-Jaensch or Hendricks-Sheehan-Jaensch are not in the recount.  

Overall I calculate that of 24 possible orderings of full-value (non-1 Rockliff votes) between Jaensch, Sheehan, Ellis and Brooks after Hendriks (and ignoring Rockliff), three reach Ellis at full value, three reach Ellis at value 0.23, five reach Sheehan at full value, and two reach Sheehan at value 0.23.  This suggests that Ellis will still be slightly disadvantaged by "recount bug" effects when Hendriks is excluded.  Indeed if all these orderings were equally common the preference split would be 59.7% to Sheehan.  

For the 1 Rockliff votes, the 0.23 value options aren't in the recount, so three possible orders reach Ellis at full value and five reach Sheehan, giving her a 62.5% split on those all else being equal.  

When I wrote the original article I thought it was very likely Ellis would win the recount but it is much less clear at the moment as the structure of the remaining votes advantages Sheehan.  

8:00 With all the exclusions that will be done tonight finished except Garland and Jones, Sheehan has gained a bit and is now 722 votes behind. 

8:37 Ellis has recovered most of his losses off Garland and is now 742 ahead.  One more throw to go for tonight.

9:08 A big gain for Sheehan off the final exclusion for the night of Brenton Jones!  So it's 4253 for Ellis, 3604 for Sheehan and 3301 for Hendriks.  Assuming no votes exhaust, Sheehan needs 60%.  A very small number will exhaust so the share she will need of those that don't will be very slightly higher.  

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Original Article

We have an instant encore to the Tasmanian election with the news that Adam Brooks has been charged with firearms offences and something related to a document in Queensland and will not be taking his seat.  He will notify the Governor that he resigns his seat today. He is currently being treated for mental health issues.  This continues the weirdness of Braddon's pass-the-parcel Liberal seat which was won by Brooks in 2018, resigned by Brooks in 2019 and won by Joan Rylah, resigned by Rylah in 2020 and won by Felix Ellis, won back by Brooks at the 2021 election and is now being resigned by Brooks again.  

This is breaking news and it is being reported that there will be a recount for the seat.  I am assuming the Liberals have sorted out the legalities of this which probably consist of Brooks being declared elected then immediately resigning.  There is a misconception that he has to be sworn in first but Section 30 of the Constitution Act only requires that a member must be sworn in to take their seat or vote within the House. Update: A recount will occur and will be initiated next week; candidates will have two weeks to advise whether they wish to contest it.  Consents are due on June 2 and I'd expect the recount to finish either that day or the day after.  

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Senate Surprise: Abetz Demoted To Third

News has just come through that Tasmanian Liberal preselectors have released a ticket with Senator Jonathon Duniam first, Senator Wendy Askew second and Senator Eric Abetz third.  This comes as a surprise after recent Fontcast gossip that suggested Abetz and Duniam would fight out the top spot on the ballot with Askew to be placed third (gender issues notwithstanding).  Askew has only been a Senator for just over two years since being appointed to a casual vacancy.  

Previously Abetz had been on top of the Senate ballot four times in a row since being first appointed to the Senate on a casual vacancy.  Previous pretenders to the top position Guy Barnett and Richard Colbeck were demoted by preselectors to risky positions where they subsequently lost their seats.  (Barnett went into state politics where he has been successful, while Colbeck returned to the Senate after the disqualification of Stephen Parry and topped the 2019 ticket).  

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Almost Everything In West Media's Polling Video Is Wrong

Got my right hand high, with the thumb down ...


I'm writing a long washup piece re the Tasmanian election and its outcomes but my attention has been diverted by clueless Twitter praise of a YouTube video by The West Report, called "Who really is the preferred PM?"  Strangely the video doesn't actually talk that much about preferred PM scores or say who the preferred PM actually is, but it says a lot of other things that are just not accurate.  It's possibly the worst thing I've seen about polls on a vaguely prominent platform since Bob Ellis.  

The video claims at 0:31 that the questions in the polls aren't public while highlighting a statement from Resolve Political Monitor that says "All questions are designed to be fair, balanced and accurate, e.g. voting questions emulate the actual presentation and ranked preferences of ballot papers as closely as possible". The words from the second "questions" on are highlighted.  But in Resolve's case, what appears to include at least some of the questions is published.  It's also perhaps a bit early to judge Resolve on its transparency approach since it has so far done one national poll.  The Newspoll standard questions, however, are not only regularly published verbatim in The Australian but have existed in stable form for just over 35 years.  I can vouch that the questions as published by Newspoll are their questions, exactly, as I have been polled by them a few times going back to the early 1990s.  Granted, it would be beneficial for pollsters to openly publish exact details of the ballot forms they offer voters (including being clear about Resolve's exact voting intentions question), but in Newspoll's case and for some questions for Resolve, we do see what they are asking.  Ditto for Essential, by the way, although Essential unfortunately doesn't usually release the order (if there was one) in which options for issue questions were asked. 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

2021 Tasmanian Postcount: Lyons

(Link to main 2021 page including link to other postcount threads)

LYONS (2018 Result 3 Liberal 2 Labor)

SEAT RESULT 3 Liberal 2 Labor (called)

CALLED ELECTED: Rebecca White (Labor), Guy Barnett (Liberal), Mark Shelton (Liberal), Jen Butler (Labor), John Tucker (Liberal)

Lyons is as dead as it gets as a party level contest with the Liberals on more or less exactly 3 quotas, Labor on more or less exactly 2 and the Greens on just over half, and the rest is mostly Shooters.

Rebecca White has topped the poll with 1.4 quotas.  Guy Barnett is also over quota and Mark Shelton is on .72 quotas and will win, though it will take a while.