Saturday, May 4, 2013

LegCo Live Comments And Post-Poll Discussion

Pembroke: CALLED: Vanessa Goodwin (Lib) re-elected on first preferences
Nelson: CALLED: Jim Wilkinson re-elected
Montgomery: CALLED: Leonie Hiscutt (Lib) elected

The live comments appear below and updates are being added from the top.  To see TEC results pages go here Thanks to all for the interest on Saturday night; at one stage had nearly 2000 hits including close to 1000 link clicks-in (so not just the same five people obsessively hitting refresh) in three hours.   This is what the hit spike (figures are hits per hour) looked like:

 Monday 10:15 pm: It's been rather sad to watch same-sex marriage supporters whose cause I agree with say so many implausible, silly and denialist things (scroll down to "Sunday comments") about this result.  So it's nice to see the other side get in on the silly-spin act too.  The Australian Christian Lobby's Mark Brown has made the following claims: 

"The facts are self-evident: candidates with a more conservative stance on social issues won comfortably in all three electorates. This is a clear message from the community to the upper house to reject another likely push to introduce same-sex marriage legislation later in the year."

"Furthermore, it is insulting to Tasmanians to suggest that marriage dominates people’s voting preferences. A range of issues including the economy, health services and the environment influence a person’s vote"

To belabor the exceedingly obvious, if people's voting preferences are (as Mr Brown correctly claims) dominated by a combination of issues other than marriage, then it is wrong to claim that the result sends a "clear message from the community" on that specific issue.  If a vote is about all sorts of things, with no one issue dominant, then it cannot be a "clear message" about a single thing. 

Mr Brown talks about a certain claim being insulting to Tasmanians.  But his previous sentence implied exactly that insult; therefore, by its own admission, the Australian Christian Lobby insults Tasmanians.    
Monday 11:40 am: A comment on the Willink vote in Nelson.  For a candidate who doesn't live in the electorate, with negligible profile within it and entering the race only as a late surprise, he did OK.  When he first nominated he was probably expected to only get around 5%.

The Willink vote corellates directly with the Wilkinson vote and inversely with the Baxter vote.  Willink's voters also preferenced Wilkinson and Richardson but very few preferenced Baxter.  Seems to me that the voters for Willink were a combination of (i) Turnbull Libs unimpressed with Wilkinson (ii) voters fed up with all parties who would otherwise consider Labor the least unpalatable option.  This is a somewhat different vote to the Wilkie state election vote which consisted mainly of (i) above plus (ii) light-greens who would otherwise have voted Green.

Ben Raue has some excellent electorate mapping up at the Tally Room here.

Monday 10:30 am: Despite Vanessa Goodwin's win on primaries in Pembroke, it may well have been closer than it looks (and this is partly why I did not call it until there were only three booths outstanding even though Goodwin was tracking around 50%)  Tony Mulder MLC reports "Of even greater concern will be Scrutineers consistently reporting a staggering 25% of these rusted-on Green voters preferencing Liberal over Labor"

By comparison with other elections (especially the one won by Mulder himself) 25% is actually not that high for a preference flow in an election with no HTV cards.  It is much lower than appeared to be the case in the 2010 state election.  I'd assume that if scrutineers "consistently" reported 25% then then in some places it would be higher, so I'd expect the overall figure might be a bit higher than 25% (unless Goodwin's primary drops below 50 we will never know.  Mulder also refers to "a third" of Green supporters not "obeying orders").  In any case, if it is 25% that's a two-candidate preferred of 54.3:45.7 on current figures.   The target preference flow for 55:45 is 30.4%, for 56:44 it's 38.2% and for 57:43 it's 46%.  I feel comfortable with assuming that Goodwin's 2CP margin would have been at most 56:44, and was at the closer end of my pre-election expectations.

Meanwhile Nick McKim has chimed in with some spin which, among other things not worth addressing at any particular length, claims “Will Hodgman and the Liberals are now parked out on the far right like the Tea Party in the United States.”

Nice try there Nick; about half of the state is parked with them.

(For general comments about the Green vote see my Saturday end-of-night wrap below.)

Sunday 7:40 pm: Leonie Hiscutt has formally won Montgomery with a notional margin of 55.6-44.4 on a two-candidate basis based on a notional distribution of preferences.  Ed Vincent's preferences split 41.6% to Kevin Morgan, 33% to Cheryl Fuller and 25.3% to Hiscutt.  I would have thought Kevin Morgan's preferences might have flowed a little more strongly than this but in the end they went 61.3:38.7 to Fuller over Hiscutt.  So while preferences eroded Hiscutt's lead by almost 1000 votes, in the end it was a fairly comfortable margin and a few points less close than I expected, even after deciding during polling day that Hiscutt would probably win.

In Nelson, Jim Wilkinson is elected on the distribution of Hans Willink's preferences.  These split 44% to Wilkinson, 40.2% to Helen Richardson and just 15.8% to Baxter.  As a result Wilkinson finishes notionally with 52.4%, Baxter 26.6%, Richardson 21.  I would expect the preferences of Richardson, if distributed, to favour Baxter by about 60:40 (maybe more), in which case Wilkinson's 2CP margin would be at best 61:39.  Allowing for the redistribution, this would represent a net 2CP swing of about 4% against his 2007 result.  Incidentally, I note that the primary figures are remarkably similar to the state intention figures from the main Nelson ReachTEL, if Wilkinson is treated as the Liberal, Richardson as Labor and Willink as Ind/Other.

These are notional results that will change slightly as more votes are added but the main aspects are beyond mathematical doubt.

Sunday comments: Look, I support same-sex marriage strongly, as I have noted on these pages before.  However, some of the spin from the same-sex marriage campaign in response to the results is getting a bit much and my first responsibility is credible analysis.  We already know from results like Obama's victory in the US Presidential Election that supporting SSM is not a vote-loser (and the same applies more or less anywhere).  But in this election it was not much of a vote-winner either.

Check out this:

"In the seat of Nelson, where the marriage equality campaign was strongest, sitting member, Jim Wilkinson, was punished for not supporting state marriage equality, with a swing against him of 15% and the overall majority of votes going to pro-equality candidates."

Now the ABC elections site is showing the "swing" against Wilkinson as 14.7% although at the moment he is actually 12.8% behind his 2007 result, a figure that will probably change a little in late votes.  But the actual figure isn't critical here - the main point is that 2007 was a snoozefest between Wilkinson and a rather obscure Green who had no public profile to speak of.  Labor voters who did not like the Greens, or were unimpressed with the Green candidate, had nowhere to put their vote in 2007 but Wilkinson or the informal pile.  This time they had Helen Richardson.  Wilkinson also had minor competition from the Liberal-ish vote from Hans Willink, and SSM was not the only reason for some Liberal-inclined voters to support the latter.  Yes the 2013 environment is more favourable for Wilkinson than 2007, including the redistribution, and yes, Wilkinson was barely even trying last time, but we also had a better Greens candidate in 2013 running a much better campaign.

Indeed note the comment by Ben Raue at the Tally Room:

"Both the Greens and Wilkinson suffered double-digit swings, which isn’t surprising considering the addition of two extra candidates." 

(Incidentally Tom Baxter has made a small piece of multiply qualified party history here!  He will be the first Green to finish second after preferences in a LegCo election with more than two candidates for a seat other than Hobart/Wellington).

My own model which projected Wilkinson a couple of points short of where he finished up was based on an assumption that the SSM campaign would do him about four points of damage.  I suspect it did damage him slightly but that it may not have been even that much. 

Or perhaps it did do him that much damage but it was partly cancelled out by the silly, petty personal attacks on Wilkinson proving not just ineffective but actually counterproductive. 

Either way, most of the "swing" against Wilkinson had absolutely nothing to do with SSM, or any other social issue, or indeed any issue at all.

Finally, it is notable that Wilkinson has said this will be his final term.

End of night wrap:  All over for the night; there will be more postal votes, provisionals and out-of-division votes added over the next 10 or so days.

The night is a complete triumph for the Liberal government-in-waiting which has had both its endorsed candidates returned, and also seen a win for Jim Wilkinson ,who it was very clearly tacitly supporting.  The performance of Wilkinson in Nelson, in the face of a very large campaign against him, has been extremely strong, just slightly better than I thought.  Possibly those campaigning against him would have done better to stick to the issues and give the personal baiting about his lack of an electorate office and small amount of law work on the side a break.  It's hard to say whether the somewhat bumbling intrusion of GetUp! into the campaign, in the end, achieved the slightest thing.

The Greens have a respectable result in Nelson and a poor one in Pembroke.  (Don't let the similar percentage of the primary vote in Pembroke between 2009 and 2013 fool anyone - in 2009 there were numerous competitors for the third-party vote including various local council independents and a very Green-ish Laborite in James Crotty, while this time there was only Allison Ritchie, who fence-sat on key social issues.)  It should be quite a worry for the Greens that they did not compete effectively for the non-Liberal vote in the seat with Allison Ritchie and that Ritchie was probably able to get almost all the "soft Green" vote just by not being party endorsed.  Ritchie has polled about seven points better than I expected, and even if it was mainly as a result of the Greens doing poorly, it is still enough to suggest her career in politics may yet be rehabilitated at some level. State opportunities will be scarce for a while but she would probably bolt onto Clarence Council.

Possibly comparing the results of Ritchie and Richardson, there is a message that profile is profile is profile (even if it is a profile laced with notoriety) and that Ritchie picked up those voters who would vote for any Independent in a LegCo seat on the condition solely that they had heard of them.

There is not much of a message for the Labor Party in these results as they did not run any endorsed candidates and the fate of the two ALP-aligned independents seems to have been determined mainly by profile and competition from other candidates.  It is all consistent with the polling situation at Lower House level and there are really no state-level takeaways here except that those doubting the state polling pattern have another reason not to.

For Montgomery I did finally get off the fence and tip Hiscutt as the winner about half way through election day but her performance was still a few points stronger than I thought, her hardline attitudes apparently not turning many voters off.  Ed Vincent made little impression despite his strong CV and was possibly caught in the crossfire between progressive and conservative elements. 

If there's a consistent pattern here it is that those voters who are even leaning towards voting Liberal at the moment just are not bothered by the party's social-issue stances at all - and that indeed voters' primary concern is fixing Tasmania's economy, which voters believe entails majority Liberal government.

As for same-sex marriage, the result will be spun both ways, and both sides of the spinning will be nonsense.  It is true on the one hand that at present a slight majority of votes have gone to candidates who are apparently at least very loosely supportive of same-sex marriage or willing to allow themselves to be depicted that way.  However, since that is a total for eight candidates (including Ritchie and Morgan) as opposed to three, that does not mean very much.  And, indeed, the distributions of preferences will show that voters sometimes voted for same-sex-marriage preferring candidates and then gave their preferences to a Liberal or Wilkinson ahead of a different same-sex-marriage preferring candidate.  So ultimately such votes don't support SSM all the way down the line.

On the other hand, opponents will spin the result as showing opposition to SSM in that all three candidates opposed to SSM (two in general, and one at state level) were elected.  But since the result is explicable by economic issues, which the available polling (albeit internal) persistently suggests is a greater priority for voters, there's no evidence that SSM actually determined the outcome.  All that can be said is that the opponents of state-based SSM will consider they have a mandate to continue to oppose, and there's not much anyone else can do about that.

The Council will be little changed by the result, but that is no consolation for supporters of reform.  Sue Smith will most likely be replaced by one of the "main conservative cluster" in the chair, and hence the net outcome will be that Leonie Hiscutt replaces whoever is elected the new President.  This will make no difference on contentious major issues, although from time to time Hiscutt may be more hardline on social issues conscience votes.

Roll on 2014, when Kerry Finch and Paul Harriss will be up for re-election, probably in the early days of a new Liberal state government. 


8:40 Montgomery: Hiscutt has dropped back a little as late figures come in to 45.57% compared to Fuller's 30%.  However even on those figures, Fuller would need 81.9% of preferences to get over the line and that won't happen.  If there is a friendly flow from Morgan the end margin might be close-ish but we may well never even find out.

8:24 Montgomery: Hiscutt has topped every booth on primaries except the tiny booth of Abbotsham, topped by Fuller by 1 vote.  (Correction Sunday: Ulverstone South was initially shown as a win for Fuller but the figures were incorrectly reversed.)

Pembroke: Goodwin has topped every booth on primaries except the Labor strongholds Mornington, Risdon Vale, Warrane and Warrane North.  Goodwin beat the Liberal 2010 state primary by 8.3 points overall and beat it in every booth.

Nelson: Baxter has topped Fern Tree (with 62%) and Taroona, Wilkinson topped all the rest.

8:06 All seats: Disappointingly it is possible that none of the seats will go to a final two-candidate preferred.  Goodwin is over 50 on primaries, Wilkinson at the moment should cross on Willink's preferences and Hiscutt may cross on Vincent's.

7:56 Montgomery: I've heard that Hiscutt is performing well on Vincent preferences in scrutineering samples (Vincent has not done well at all, even being beaten by Morgan).  It's possible this will not even go to the final exclusion.  

7:53 Interesting contrast between the fairly good result for Tom Baxter in Nelson and the party's terrible result in Pembroke.

7:49 All seats: A few booths still to come in and the only interest left really is whether Goodwin can get 50%.  Green vote little over half what it was in the 2010 state election, a truly horrible result for the party; not even able to compete effectively with the controversial Ritchie.

7:41 Pembroke: Was waiting for some of those very Labor friendly booths in case there were huge results for Ritchie but in fact while losing the booth Goodwin performed very well in Risdon Vale and could now win on primaries alone (which I thought would be touch and go).  The real takeaway here is the lousy result for the normally well-performed Heatley, perhaps as a consequence of infighting following the TFA outcome (cue post hoc reasoning!)

7:38 Montgomery and Nelson have gone from negligible doubt to no doubt so I've called them.

7:08 Montgomery: Hiscutt continuing to perform well, now projecting to 46 but we still have Fuller's home ground of the Ulverstone booths to go

7:06 Nelson: Slight delay while I fixed a glitch in my model.  Wilkinson projected to 51% after three booths, seems little doubt that he is winning.

6:59 Pembroke: Goodwin wins the large Lindisfarne booth comfortably and is currently tracking for about 50% primary.  What is interesting in the booths in so far is that Green candidate Wendy Heatley is polling awfully compared to the state election result while Allison Ritchie is not doing too badly.

6:56 Pembroke: Goodwin wins Agfest comfortably

6:53 Nelson: Figures are in for postals and Agfest and Wilkinson has performed massively on both.

6:51 Montgomery: Few more booths in and while Hiscutt is now over 51% her projection on my model of around 45% has not changed much.  That would be enough so she is currently doing OK.

6:41 Montgomery: Flurry of rural booths.  Although Hiscutt is currently over 50% my model projects her to 44% primary at this stage.  (That may not be accurate as the booths in are unrepresentative in size and Hiscutt does well in small rural booths.) 

 6:39 Pembroke: Ritchie beats Goodwin narrowly in Mornington but that is a screamingly Labor booth, and in fact this is a 7% swing for Goodwin cf Liberal state election vote.  No concern for Goodwin there.

 6:37 Montgomery: Hiscutt leads on primaries in the mobile booth but interestingly not by much.

6:34 Montgomery: Two booths in and Hiscutt polling very strongly in those booths. She is 21% and 7% up on the Liberal state figures in those booths.  Have to be careful with this electorate because of small rural booths and also uneven candidate profiles across electorate.

6:30 TEO pages up but no figures yet.

6:23 Yes Antony you do have prettier graphs than me, but you don't (yet) have gratuitous jokes about Liberal Blue!

6:14 Note that I am using a different swing model to the ABC, which is modelling off previous LegCo votes while I am modelling off the state votes (because Nelson and to a degree Pembroke were so lopsided last time and Pembroke had a large field.)  It probably won't make much difference and we'll all end up in the same places pretty quickly.

6:00 Welcome! It's been a cracking campaign and I hope it will be an interesting count.  Polls are closing as I write, first figures usually come through in half an hour or so.

5:25: If you haven't voted yet and are required to, get to a booth fast!  Electoral Office doesn't do 5-10 minutes late; you need to be inside the booth by the cutoff time or you will be turned away.

2:45:Projection spreadsheet finished and tested; hopefully it will actually work!

11:30 am: Opening post: Welcome to my coverage of the 2013 Legislative Council election counts.  There will be live comments tonight through the count.  There will be updates through following days as well.

My comments will be updated in the main post with the most recent comments below the line so refresh your browser frequently during the counts for latest comments.  I am not aiming to compete with any of the Tasmanian Electoral Office, the ABC Elections site or Pollbludger in posting results. What I am aiming to do is comment on the results as they come in.  Thus, this site is best read in conjunction with some or all of the others.

Reader comments and questions may be posted at any time without requiring registration but please be aware that any anonymous comment that engages in criticism of any kind at all will be rejected.  Comments are subject to clearance and I will try to clear them and respond as quickly as I can.

When I believe a seat has been definitely won by a given candidate the seat will appear as CALLED at the top of the page. Until then, anyone stating I have CALLED a seat will be fed to a Freckled Duck.

I will be using the 2010 state election results as a baseline for results for all candidates in Nelson and Pembroke and for Liberal Leonie Hiscutt in Montgomery.  I think these are more useful than the past LegCo results in these seats.  Thus I will be comparing Ritchie and Richardson to Labor and Wilkinson to Liberal, and Hans Willink to Andrew Wilkie.  I don't believe there is any sound basis for modelling the votes for the three non-Liberals in Montgomery in comparison with any past results.  Generally if the "Liberal" candidates are tracking well ahead of the party's 2010 state result then expect their races to be CALLED after a handful of booths. 

In the very unlikely case that visitor interest melts the site, comments will be posted on Twitter at .  Some comments including CALLS may be posted on Twitter anyway depending on just how hectic it all is.

This will all be a bit of a practice run for doing the same thing for the federal and state elections in the next 12 months


  1. I'm taking on my live coverage to the overview post I put up this morning, in case you hadn't noticed ...

  2. The bloke who gave me my Pembroke ballot paper said "make sure you number all 3 boxes"(or similar words)

    The ballot paper had "You must number at least 2 boxes" (or similar words)

    Clearly the election should be null and void?

  3. Anonymous - no because a vote 1,2 with the third square blank conveys the same intention as 1,2 with the three filled in and is accepted as formal under the rules as voter intention is clear.

  4. Fair enough Kevin. My comment was mostly in jest.
    Thanks for the blog

  5. No surprises tonight. Good test run for September 14. I wonder how Labor and the Greens interpret these results?

  6. No surprises tonight. A good test run for September 14. How will Labor and the Greens shrug-off these results?

  7. "voters who are even leaning towards voting Liberal at the moment just are not bothered by the party's social-issue stances at all "

    Which is largely as would be expected; add to that a the proportion of those who would normally vote Labor who are bothered by their stance, and you get the current results.