Monday, March 30, 2015

New South Wales Postcount: Ballina

Ballina (Nat 24.6) Kris Beavis (Nat) vs Tamara Smith (Greens) vs Paul Spooner (ALP)
Outlook: Greens favoured.
Outcome: Greens have won preference distribution.

This thread follows post-counting in the NSW seat of Ballina.  On election night this was widely called as a certain Green gain, the Greens being only slightly behind the Nationals on primaries.  However extremely strong post-counting performance by the Nationals has both placed the Green win in doubt and also created a possible exclusion order issue.  As absent votes have not been included yet, it is probable the seat now looks closer than it actually is and the Greens will still win fairly easily.  However we need to see if this will actually be the case.

Ballina is one of the two far north coast seats where the Nationals have copped an enormous swing over coal seam gas issues and because of demographic change, the other being Lismore where the Greens' position in the postcount is somewhat weaker.

The ABC has been projecting Ballina as a certain Greens win, but what the ABC is showing for the Ballina Nationals vs Greens two-candidate contest are not real figures.  Rather, they are ABC estimates of preference flow.  It is very difficult to know exactly what the preference flow will be, other than that it is safe to assume it will be stronger than in 2011.  In 2011 the net flow of all preferences in Ballina was that 58.8% of third-party preferences exhausted, and those not exhausting split 77% to the Greens and 23% to the Nationals.  That gave the Greens a gain rate of .191 votes per preference.  The gain rate required is the key statistic that I monitor for these contests.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

New South Wales Postcount: Lismore

Lismore (Nat, 24.3%): Thomas George (NAT) vs Adam Guise (GRN) and Isaac Smith (ALP)
Assessment:  Nationals favoured to retain.
Result (provisional following button press) Nationals retain

Original Article:

As my paragraph about the Lismore postcount got longer I decided to give it a thread of its own so the potentially many updates do not swamp the main postcount thread.

Lismore is one of the far north-east NSW seats where there have been massive swings to Labor and the Greens as a result of a combination of demographic change and concern about coal-seam-gas and other mining projects. 

This seat caused a lot of confusion on the night as it swayed between being projected to the Greens and Labor on the ABC website.  Today it has swayed between being projected to the Greens and the Nationals.  

What is known is that current primaries as of Sunday are 39.9% Nationals, 29.4% Green, 25.4% Labor, 2.9% Christian Democrat, 1.5% Animal Justice and 1% No Land Tax.  

While the gap between the Greens and Labor may narrow in post-counting, four points is too large to close down and the preferences of the tiddlers (especially the AJP) will most likely be slightly worse than useless to Labor in that regard.  So the seat is between the Nationals and Greens.  

New South Wales Postcount Thread

Legislative Assembly seats won: Coalition 54 Labor 34 Green 3 Ind 2
As of 10 April counting in all LA seats has concluded

This seat follows post-counts for undecided or otherwise interesting seats in the NSW state election, including the Legislative Council.  Each seat has an overview with updates scrolling to the top. I've decided that Lismore, while not quite as thrilling as Prahran, is juicy enough to merit a thread of its own, so that's here: Lismore Postcount.

My review of the result can be found at New South Wales: Decisive Win For Coalition.

I am going to start by posting the Legislative Council and then edit the remaining unclear seats into the post progressively later today.

New South Wales: Decisive Win For Coalition

Seats apparently won: Coalition 52 Labor 32 Green 3 Ind 2
(Includes some seats not absolutely certain)
Seats in doubt and not included in list above:

East Hills: likely Liberal retain
Gosford: Labor leading
The Entrance: likely Labor win
Lismore: National vs Green, Nationals currently slightly favoured

Expected outcome Coalition 53-54 Labor 34 Green 3-4 Ind 2

Normal Programming Resumes

The Liberal-National coalition under Premier Mike Baird has won the NSW state election comfortably and decisively despite a large swing back from the massive margin in the 2011 poll.  On present counting, both the primary votes and the seat distribution will finish up about as predicted before the election.  The main surprise is a strong seat performance by the Greens, who without much increasing their statewide vote have won three or perhaps four seats.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

NSW Election Live Comments


Coalition wins with seat tally in the low to mid-50s.

(Estimate Coalition 53 Labor 34 Green 4 Ind 2.  Includes at least four seats in doubt)

Exceptions to template pattern (Coalition losing seats below 8%, holding seats above):

Seats below 8%:
Oatley: Liberal retain
Monaro: National retain
East Hills: Liberals ahead

Seats above 8%:
Port Stephens: Labor gain.
The Entrance, Gosford ALP leading narrowly
Ballina: apparently lost to the Greens
Lismore: unclear Nationals vs Greens

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Poll Roundup: Onion Edition

2PP Aggregate: 52.5 to ALP (-0.4 in one week, -0.6 in two weeks)
ALP would win an election held "right now" with small to moderate majority

'"Of course," Cantling said. "The onion had a dual function.  On one level, you did it just to prove how tough you were.  It was something none of the others hanging out at Ricci's could manage.  It gave you a certain status.  But on a deeper level, when you bit into an onion you were making a symbolic statement about your appetite for life, your hunger for it all, the bitter and the sharp parts as well as the sweet."'

For the source of this week's mystery quote, read on ...

Six weeks ago, the Coalition was in all sorts of trouble.  The bizarre decision to knight Prince Philip, the unthinkable loss of the Queensland state election, a leadership spill motion attracting almost 40% support, a regular barrage of leaks and appalling 2PP polling all combined to make it look like Tony Abbott would not be long for the top job.

As last fortnight's edition noted, the polling blowout caused by these events was surprisingly brief, and within a few weeks polling had reverted to modest, 53:47-ish ALP leads. There was some thought that the blowout, rather than the reversion, was the new normal, based on the idea voters were factoring in Malcolm Turnbull becoming PM, but that idea has clearly been refuted.

Monday, March 23, 2015

New South Wales: The Final Week

NSW Primary Aggregate (updated 27 Mar) Coalition 45.4 Labor 34.0 Green 10.7 Others 9.9
2PP By 2011 Preferences: 55.8% to Coalition
Estimated 2015 Preferences: 54.0% to Coalition
Seat Projection (estimate): Coalition 53 Labor 36 Green 1 Ind 3

It's time to kick off my rolling post for the last week of the NSW election, which will be updated an unknown number of times through the week.  Before posting too much detail and getting into some of the finer modelling detail - I've posted provisional figures above, but these will be revised through the week - I want to get something up about the big picture of where the polling is at.

From their position last week I thought there were three things Labor needed to do all of to still win the NSW election:

1. Reduce the primary vote gap to the Coalition compared to what polling was showing at that time.
2. Increase their preference flow from the Greens and minor parties compared to what polling was showing at that time.
3. Get lucky on the distribution of seat swings.

There is some evidence that 2 may be occurring.  There is still some evidence that 3 is unusually likely.  But as concerns 1, the four polls out in the last week don't provide cause for hope; indeed they suggest the gap is widening.  No amount of preferencing or uneven seat swing magic will win it if the primary vote gap is too big.  And so, based on current polls, Labor starts the final week in a losing position and needs a late swing back to have a realistic chance.  The extent to which dramatic swings occur in most election campaigns is overstated and Labor's task if they want to win is very challenging now.

Monday, March 16, 2015

New South Wales: March Poll Roundup And Seat Modelling

(For the final week's article go here - note added 26 Mar because this one for whatever reason is still getting more hits!)

Current aggregate (updated March 19): Coalition 44.6 Labor 35.3 Greens 10.2 Other 10.0
2PP Estimate: 53.3% to Coalition (54.6 by last election preferences)
Current median seat projection: Coalition 52 Labor 37 Others 4


1. Recent polling shows the Coalition continuing to maintain a primary vote lead of at least eight points over Labor.

2. Recent polling also shows that while preferencing patterns among minor party voters may change, they are unlikely to change by nearly as much as in Queensland.

3. However, current polling when translated to seat projections suggests only a small Coalition majority.

4. There is more uncertainty than normal in translating the Coalition's current lead to seat results, and for this reason current voting intention levels do not quite assure the Coalition of victory. 

5. Any narrowing of voting intention from this point would make a hung parliament significantly more likely.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Poll Roundup: Neither Fish Nor Fowl

2PP Aggregate: 53.1 to ALP (-0.4 since last week, -2.6 in three weeks)
ALP would comfortably win election "held now"

Last week's Ipsos (51:49 to Labor) sparked a great deal of debate.  Largely ignoring evidence that Ipsos readings have been slightly more Coalition-friendly than those of other pollsters, sources set about arguing either that the result was real and Tony Abbott had spearheaded a miraculous recovery to neck-and-neck fighting from the brink of political death, or that the result was real and that it was because voters were over Abbott and assuming Malcolm Turnbull was about to be made party leader.

A comment by Jess Elgood from Ipsos flagging the latter as possible was the subject of a pollster pile-on in the Australian ("Fairfax pollster panned by rivals"  - possibly paywalled) with heads of Galaxy, Newspoll and Essential all quoted in disagreement, as well as Mark Textor of Crosby-Textor. In last week's edition I suggested that if Elgood was right we would start to see 55:45s and worse all over again.

Well, we did see one 55, from Newspoll, a move of two points back from last fortnight's 53, and following the normal pattern that a big move in one direction in a given poll tends to be followed by a move back in the other.  (This is because big moves from one poll to the next tend on average to be at least as much bounce as signal.)  However, the primary vote moves between the two Newspolls were small (Labor gained one point at the expense of Others), making it likely that Labor benefited from rounding this time and that the real poll-to-poll 2PP move may not have been much more than a point.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Underwhelming Result In Wilderness Poll

Porcupine Fish Award for Ultra-Fishy Polling (image credit)

Advance Summary

1. Recent media articles have carried some reports of a poll said to show support for protection of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, and at least partly commissioned by the Bob Brown Foundation.

2.  Such limited details of the poll as are available show that the poll wording was ambiguous and implied unfounded conclusions in a way that probably pushed respondents towards certain beliefs.

3. Also, the details of the polling thus far publicly released are insufficient to be sure that prior questions were not used to train responses to later questions.

4. The result for protecting wilderness is in my view surprisingly low, and might be explained by negative reactions to the use of unsavoury styles of polling.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Poll Roundup: Ipsos Stalls Re-spill Momentum

2PP Aggregate: 53.5 to Labor (-1.1 since last week, -2.2 in two weeks)
Labor would win an election "held now" comfortably

There aren't a lot of new polls this week so far but one of the two out has been significant and much discussed.  The fourth federal monthly Fairfax-Ipsos phone poll came out with a surprisingly good result for the Coalition (by recent standards), with Labor leading only 51:49 two-party-preferred by last-election preferences and the Coalition leading 42-36 on primaries.

Prior to this poll there had been widespread and increasing speculation of a spill against Prime Minister Abbott on either Tuesday or Thursday this week, but following the poll the idea seems to have gone to ground.  Suddenly there are reports of more acceptance that Abbott should be given a few months, the NSW election and the Budget to see if the Coalition can recover.  The two events aren't automatically connected, but it looks like this single surprise result has had quite an impact on leadership speculation.  Maybe that impact is itself temporary and polls next week will spark another round of fervour, but we are approaching a point at which changing leaders becomes a really bad idea for a while because there will be not enough time to clear the air before the NSW election.

The other result this week was Essential remaining at 53:47 to Labor.  As noted before, because Essential often doesn't move when other polls do, it's not clear what we should read from this.

Monday, March 2, 2015

EMRS: It Looks Like A Hung Parliament Poll, But ...

EMRS: Liberal 42 (-9 since election, stable since Nov), Labor 34 (+7/+3), Green 15 (+1/-4), Ind 7 (overstated), PUP 1, Other 1
EMRS historically skews to Greens and Independents and against Labor
Based on this poll Liberals would have a slightly better than even chance of retaining majority government in an election "held now"
Median seat distribution taking house effects into account 13 Liberal 10 Labor 2 Green
Without considering house effects, 12-9-4

A new EMRS poll of Tasmanian voting intention has been released.  The headline figures show the Liberals stable on their iffy result of 42% from November, Labor up three to 34 (their highest reading since August 2010) and the Greens down four on a rather hard-to-credit result of 19 in the November sample.

It may look with the Liberals so short of 50% that this poll could only deliver a hung parliament if an election were "held today".  However, EMRS polls have a known tendency to favour the Greens compared with other parties, and an increasing tendency to favour unstated "independents" (though independents don't poll much worth noting in actual elections).

Considering what we know about EMRS's historical house effects, an even swing by electorate based off this poll's results would leave the Liberals with good chances of retaining their three seats in Lyons, and thereby retaining majority government.