Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 site review

This site has only been going since late October when I left Tasmanian Times.  I intend to continue it in its current form for some time though I may eventually change to another format, especially as the commenting and comment moderation options on this one are a bit limited.  Apart from that I am happy with how it is going. 

I've finished and published every article I've started, except for a detailed rant about the silliness of claims that Tasmanian Devils are on "the verge of extinction" and similar politicised nonsense about the species.  As the Tarkine mining controversies heats up and the species' plight is politically misused in those matters as it has been in so many others, very likely at some point I will become motivated/irritated enough to complete that one too. 

The ten most popular articles on this site in terms of site hits so far have been, in order:

1. The Abbott Factor: Opposition Leader Ratings and Party Standing

This article, published in October, showed that there is a relationship between the ratings of established Opposition Leaders and their party's two-party-preferred standing, such that the unpopularity of Tony Abbott could be costing the Coalition 1-2 points of voting intention.  It also showed that during the Abbott tenure, this relationship had until recently worked in the opposite direction to normal.

2. Embattled Abbott Thirty-Six Below The Wave

This article followed Tony Abbott's personal worst-ever Newspoll netsat of -36 (one of many personal worsts he set in the last few months across the full range of pollsters) and examined the history of liberal mainstream usage of the term "embattled" to describe political leaders and mainstream reluctance to ascribe the term to Abbott.  The day after this, Paul Kelly used the term to refer to Abbott, but there has been no further mainstream sighting since.

3. EMRS - Libs on course for massive win

Standard Tasmanian state quarterly poll interpretation piece after the November 2012 EMRS state poll showed Will Hodgman's Liberals with a positively thumping lead.

4. As Gillard recovered, so can Abbott?

This article questioned the argument that Julia Gillard's personal ratings had recovered and therefore Tony Abbott's were likely to do likewise.  It showed that "the general historical trend is against the likelihood of Tony Abbott recovering to a positive or even near-zero rating before the next election", but also discussed one remarkable exception to the pattern.

5. The LegCo's Claimed Reasons For Rejecting Same-Sex Marriage

Breaks down (and in some cases refutes) the arguments used by the eight members of the Tasmanian Legislative Council who voted against a bill to introduce a state-based version of same-sex marriage.

6. Do Voters Care About AWU?  A Review of Polling

Looks at the polling impact of the much-hyped "AWU scandal" involving Prime Minister Julia Gillard and finds that there was really not that much to see.  Updated twice in following weeks.

7. Getting Gininderraed: Another For The Hare-Clark Textbooks

Examines the dismal fate of ACT Green Meredith Hunter who managed to lose her seat in the ACT election despite her party finishing closer to its quota than Labor was to its third quota, because the remaining Labor candidates were individually ahead of her.

8. LegCo Ices Forestry Peace/Surrender Deal

Discusses the Tasmanian Legislative Council's decision to send the state government's "forest peace deal" to a select committee, thus deferring a decision on it for months.

9. Is The Silly Season Real?

Tests the theory that December polling is misleading because people are switched off politics and finds it to be false.  Also refutes the claim that Labor's end-of-2012 polling position is as bad as its end-of-2011 position.

10. The Compliant Coalitionists: Voting Patterns in the Tasmanian Lower House

Shows that in the current Labor-Green coalition parliament, the voting pattern of Green and Liberal against Labor, which was the commonest in the previous parliament, has almost disappeared.  Democracy on the floor of parliament, a supposed virtue of minority government, has not eventuated in the way it did in the Rundle years.


It's difficult to determine the top ten hit sources for the site accurately because the site stats software double-counts some sources, but the top three are certainly Crikey blogs (almost entirely  Pollbludger), Twitter and Tasmanian Times, in that order.  A long way behind a blanket could be thrown over The Political Sword, one of my other home bases Chess Chat and some obscure social networking thingy called Facebook for places 4-6.  Google is seventh and I think Mark the Ballot and Poliquant are eighth and ninth.  No idea what is tenth although a single mention in comments on John Quiggin's site (which has excellent moderation guidelines, by the way) brought a surprisingly large number of holiday hits.

Search term tracking has too little data to say much at this stage but the most common search term by which this site is found is, enigmatically, "the evening", followed by "abbott s tenure the", "the pattern include" and "".  Presumably most of these come from a single person repeatedly conducting the same search, but it does amuse me that many people find websites by Googling the URL instead of just entering it.

The countries from which the most hits arise have been Australia, USA, UK, Sweden, Germany, Russia, France, New Zealand, China and Canada.  (Canada displaced the Netherlands from 10th place yesterday).  Most of the hits from Sweden came from a single source repeatedly hitting my comments on the US election.  I'd like to think this is because someone over there was a great fan of my work, but suspect they were just using it to access the xkcd comic that article linked to!

Thanks to readers for their interest and support and to all who have encouraged me down this new path.  Hopefully what I have to offer in 2013 will be of interest to you.

Elections I expect to have on-the-night coverage of in 2013 are the Tasmanian Legislative Council elections, the Australian federal election, and the Hobart City Council elections.  More on plans for these closer to the date; others may be added.  I am not sure if there is value in me doing my own on-the-night coverage of the WA state election but I will certainly be keeping an eye on it, especially the upper house cutups. 


  1. Where is your article on the dangerous laughing stock mainstream media ?

  2. There will be something about some other kind of laughing stock probably tonight!

  3. You're Kevin and you're here to help us with Psephy stuff! Bet you're as excited as a kid in a candy shop with all those elections coming up this year! Have fun in 2013. We at Poll Bludger appreciate your work...except the bit that says Labor are going to likely lose seats in Tasmania in the federal election. ;)