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

Commentary appears below the double dotted line.  Refresh frequently for new comments
Live Comments

1:30 Meant to post a wrap but got distracted by other things.  I'll have a more detailed wrap and postcount up tomorrow sometime.  In short, the expected result except for the Greens outperforming Labor where it mattered and hence apparently increasing their representation to three or perhaps even four.  Having claimed their first Liberal scalp in Victoria last year, they are now showing they can be a nuisance to the Nationals as well.

11:37 Strathfield has improved for Labor.  We now have 16 apparent Coalition losses though The Entrance, Gosford and Lismore are not conclusive.

11:15 On latest figures the Greens are easily winning Ballina.

11:08 The ABC site has been consistently ahead of Elections NSW in the Upper House count and has persistently been showing quite a different picture.  While the ABC figures continue to point to 10 Coalition, 7 Labor, 2 Green, 1 each S+F and CDP, the lower Elections NSW figures would produce a much messier outcome with one less seat for each major party and those seats probably going (on very small vote shares) to No Land Tax and Animal Justice.

10:50 Extremely slow count in Lismore and Ballina.  Still a long way to go on both of those.  The ABC is now awarding Ballina to Labor but for no reason I can detect.

10:20 Upper Hunter, where there has been a massive swing to Labor, has been showing with a few percent lead to the Coalition but has just bounced into contention with the ABC currently projecting Labor to lead.  Then it bounced back out with another booth included.  Keeping an eye on it now.

9:58 On current Upper House figures it looks like the Coalition are winning 10 seats, Labor 7, the Greens 2 and the Shooters and Fishers and Fred Nile each 1.  That would leave the Coalition with 21/42, able to pass legislation with either the Christian Democrats or the Shooters and Fishers.  However these numbers can change, mainly if the Coalition or Labor drop back in further counting.

9:57 Just zapped my comment on the Upper House since I couldn't count; recalculating!

9:44 Labor's lead has dropped in Strathfield placing the seat in some doubt.

9:15 To the best of my knowledge, the ABC 2PP Nats-Green figures for Lismore and Ballina are estimated flows only.

9:09 Liberals back ahead on the ABC projection for Gosford which is likely to remain in doubt for coming days.

9:07 ABC computer now giving Lismore to the Greens as well.  It is too early for that; we do not know enough about the Labor preference flow to the Greens in either seat.  (But if Prahran is any precedent, they're all over!)

9:02 ABC now giving Ballina to the Greens; they could yet get Lismore too.

8:51 Labor might still have chances in East Hills where the scare campaign won't be reflected in the pre-polls but that's the only one of the three doubtful sub-8% seats where they're alive.  So 11, maybe 12 of those 14 won.  Rock bottom for the Coalition seems to be about 52 seats.  They're leading in only one more but The Entrance and Gosford are rather close.

8:45 Rorris looks to be second in Wollongong but given OPV Labor looks too far ahead.

8:30 Could be looking at something around (roughly) Coalition 54 Labor 34 Green 3 Ind 2.  A general trend of the night seems to be Labor struggling in competition with the Greens.  I have a temporary issue with trying to watch the ABC broadcast so am just going off web figures.

8:15: The Greens continue to hold second in Lismore and Ballina.  Ballina is probably lost whoever is second; Lismore much less clear.

7:56 All up I now have two of the 14 Coalition seats below 8% now looking difficult for Labor: East Hills and Monaro (edit: add Oatley which seems to have been retained).  Above 8% they have apparently gained Port Stephens and may have gained The Entrance,  In Ballina, Labor is on course to win except that they are third on primaries, so unless they can get into second the seat could actually fall to the Greens. Lismore and Gosford are also still unclear. So we're looking at about the expected number of Coalition losses, maybe 15 or so.

7:50 Labor struggling in East Hills (where there was a vicious illegal scare campaign against the ALP candidate) and Monaro.  Gain of Strathfield also currently doubtful.

7:40 The projected swing in Port Stephens is now up greatly so this could be a surprise win for Labor.  Against that I am expecting when more seats hit 10% counted a number of those below 8% will not be clear Labor wins.  Labor so far seem to have five of those 14 seats below 8% sewn up: Blue Mountains, Granville, Maitland, Swansea, Wyong.

It is too early to say much useful about the two Labor-Green inner-city fights.

7:35 Swing in Goulburn dropping, swing in Heathcote with over 10% in is large but not currently sufficient.

7:32 Port Stephens is on the ABC's radar, which is mildly surprising.

7:30 A lot of booths are in in Tamworth but they're tiddlers.  At the moment Draper is still well behind the Nationals there.

7:28 Colossal swing back in Goulburn booths so far, not quite enough at this stage but the seat is still in play.

7:26 Labor not getting the swing in Kiama so far.

7:20 Overall we're seeing a picture much as expected - messy stuff in a few North Coast seats but otherwise the Coalition tending to lose seats below 8% (but not all of them) and tending to hold those above 8% (but likely losing a few).  As the percents counted get above 10% in a lot of these seats there should be a much more reliable picture of which ones are the exception.

7:19 Lismore - Labor coming back towards second on primaries.

7:14 Barwon - Nationals over 50% in early booths so nothing to see there yet.
Wollongong - Still interesting with Rorris not far behind the Liberals, at the moment Labor have a big primary lead but they would need that to hold up.

7:09 More figures from Lismore and Ballina and the Greens still strongly second in both but several points behind the Nationals and hence relying on rather strong flows from Labor on current figures.  In Ballina the 2PP should be done Nationals vs Greens so through the night we should get a good idea of preference flow, which might also be useful for Lismore.

7:07 The Entrance has popped up in the ABC's list of seats projected to change, with several percent counted.

7:05 Early figures shown by ABC don't have a sufficient swing for Labor in Coogee with several percent counted.

7:00 A part of what is happening in Ballina is that an extremely Green booth, Durrumbul has been included.  But even there it's gone from 44 to 49, with two of the others 24 to 37 and 15 to 24.  The Greens polled 22.5% in 2011 so they are on for a very big vote in this electorate.

6:50 In Ballina the Greens are leading after four booths! Again that will probably go down with more figures.

6:40 Looking at Lismore, the Green vote on average from the four booths so far is up several points on 2010, but there is a lot of variation between the booths and some have no swing at all.  Currently the Greens in a very competitive position but we'll have to see if their vote holds so high as more booths come in.

6:34 Off and running in Tamworth with the Nationals beating Peter Draper 58% to 29% in the first booth, but that may well come back when larger booths report. Indeed the booth reported is one transferred from outside the electorate during the redistribution.

6:26 ABC website has projected party totals up but in the early stages these aren't very accurate.  For instance the National Party projection is currently bouncing wildly depending on which booths come in.

6:24 Off the mark with small samples from many seats.  The usual disclaimer, early booths are not representative so we shouldn't get carried away with the Nationals having a big lead first up in Lismore.

6:20 pm Off the mark with Labor ahead in tiny booths in Shellharbour and Gosford.

6:00 pm Polls have closed, except I think for Broken Hill (Barwon) which is on SA time.

5:15 pm Another exit poll: A 54:46 ReachTEL exit poll is also being reported with primaries of 45.5 to Coalition, 33.3 to Labor, 10.6 Green, 10.6 Other.  Big sample size of 2252.  Polls are still open for another 45 minutes but voting will have tapered off.

5:05 pm Exit Poll: Reports are circulating of a Galaxy exit poll showing a Coalition 55:45 lead, off primaries of 46-34 with 11 for the Greens and 9 to Others.  Exit polls are a bit rubbery and often a few 2PP points out, but that is very much in line with what is to be expected.

Intro (5 pm)

Welcome to my live comments on the NSW state election. The Australian online reports that Mike Baird will still be Premier in another 40 years, thus proving Joe Hockey's statement that by 2055 we will all work harder and live longer.

(This first went up at midnight; as of midday this typo - or perhaps joke - still hadn't been repaired.)

During the day so far I have seen relatively little how-to-vote card aggro on social media, but there is some contention about a blue HTV in Balmain that asks Liberal voters to give the Greens their second preference.

My comments will aim to complement, and perhaps now and then correct, the ABC's coverage which many readers will be watching, and especially to keep an eye on a number of seats of interest.

My summaries of various late polling matters can be seen at New South Wales: The Final Week.  Poll-watchers have been treated to a very wide range of final vote forecasts with different pollsters having the primary vote gap between the Coalition and Labor as low as eight points and as high as 20.  There have also been many different preferencing methods attempted, so that different final polls can be read as implying 2PPs of anywhere from 52% to 58% to Coalition (and one of them, by last-election preferences, even implies 60:40).  My own aggregate has finished up with an expected 54% 2PP to the Coalition, but there is at least 1.2 points worth of uncertainty in the way preferences might flow alone. There are also signs of a late swing to the Government, and estimates of the strength of this vary hugely.

What doesn't seem to change is that everything points to a Coalition victory, most likely with between about 50 and 57 seats.  This is not Queensland or South Australia, where modelling suggested Labor were unlikely to win but still gave them realistic chances of the scraped wins the party ultimately achieved.  Here, the chance of a Labor win appears to be a few percent at best; it would be a genuine black swan event if they could get up tonight.

This could be a tricky election to get a handle on early because of evidence of massive and regionally uneven swing in rural electorates, which tend to be the first to report.  It may take a while for a coherent picture to emerge and things might look better for Labor very early in the night than they actually are.  This has been a much more difficult election to do seat modelling for than Victoria's and there are far more likely to be seat results that hardly anyone expected.

As a template I'll be breaking seats down into four groups, which will be reflected in the summary at the top once I have some idea where things are starting to settle:

* ALP held seats (20, not counting Miranda)

The only threat to this that has been seriously floated is that independent Arthur Rorris is some sort of threat in Wollongong, though Labor claim they have that covered.

* Coalition held seats below 8% (14)

Labor should win most of these and if things go well for them all, but there are doubts about several, most notably East Hills where there has been a vicious smear campaign against the ALP candidate, Monaro, Oatley, Strathfield and also possibly Granville.

* Coalition held seats above 8% (55)

The most widely canvassed departures from this are the apparently probable loss of Tamworth to independent Peter Draper and the reasonably likely losses of The Entrance and Ballina to Labor.  Also of special interest are Gosford (likely to be a close two-party contest) and Lismore (which could fall to either Labor or the Greens), but there are several other Coalition seats capable of falling.  I'll also be keeping an eye on Barwon, a huge rural electorate where there appears to be a large CSG backlash.

* Crossbench seats (4)

These are the Green seat of Balmain and the notionally Green seat of Newtown, both at serious risk of falling to Labor, and the independent seats of Sydney and Lake Macquarie, neither of which has had any real attention though Alex Greenwich is on a very small notional margin.

I'll be covering various seats and possibly the Upper House in postcount comments through coming days.


  1. Exit polls are a bit rubbery and often a few 2PP points out, but that is very much in line with what is to be expected.

    you are kidding right galaxy exit poll

    in QLD had labor 54-56

  2. I had that Queensland one in mind as I wrote. Labor finished up with 51.1% so it was actually 2.9 points out on the 2PP.

  3. I think Animal Justice Party preferences will flow straight to Greens and give them a third seat in the upper house, that's if the Green primary doesn't improve on its own.

    1. On current primaries the third Green is likely to be excluded before the last AJP candidate, though this might change in late counting. The bigger problem is that preference flows are pretty weak in the NSW Upper House because if voters just vote 1 in a party box their vote exhausts (despite which most continue doing it). For a party like AJP there will probably be a higher percentage of voters numbering multiple above the line boxes but even so these preferences won't flow solidly. Past experience is that the final seats are basically first past the post unless they're very close.

    2. Ah, right, yes I forgot the electoral system. AJP does have Greens high on their how-to-vote, but you're absolutely right, they have to be eliminated before Greens for that to mean anything.

      Also, ABC put Ballina back in Green column. Odd glitch.