Saturday, November 4, 2017

Pembroke By-Election: Live And/Or Post-Count

CALLED: Reliable scrutineering reports on Sunday that Siejka (ALP) will win easily with Walker narrowly beating Chipman for 2nd.


Analysis: Still awaiting margins for the two scenarios. As Brad Stansfield has said on Twitter, it's a bit much to be saying first that the Liberals' attack on Chipman wouldn't work at all, then after the result that it worked too well. But if working means getting near winning, it was only a pyrrhic success. It seems that far from generate a sympathy vote for Chipman, the tactic actually worked in driving votes away from him and to Walker, but at the cost of driving Chipman preferences (in droves as predicted by Pete Lawler on Twitter last night) and possibly primaries to Siejka. The Liberals needed to make the final two to have any on-paper chance, but did they cause enough voters to switch their preference from Chipman ahead of Siejka to the other way around to the extent that they caused Siejka rather than Chipman to win ? 

The result has major impacts as the left (4 ALP and four left-leaning indies) will gain an outright majority.  A White Labor government will start with a workable upper chamber while a returned Hodgman government will have great difficulty doing much.

Reports from scrutineering - Chipman prefs did not break to Walker and Siejka is going to win! TEC figures have Chipman missing second by just 200 votes - the remaining votes to be added will change little there.  However, Chipman was too far back to win from 2nd and would have fallen about 1000 short.  Having Chipman out first will pad Siejka's margin, it is going to be a solid win.

I have managed to get online with much difficulty.  Currently Willink, Di Falco and James have been provisionally excluded.  Chipman got a massive boost off James and can still catch Walker if his share of Harvey prefs is 27 points higher. That seems unlikely, but if he could get very close there are also nearly 400 outstanding votes.  

Walker's share required hasn't changed much - he still needs 58% off Harvey and Chipman assuming he stays second and ignoring exhaust.

Saturday Night Wrap

What have we seen this time? Well, nothing surprising so far as Labor's vote goes - we know they're on a bit of a high and with the conservative vote splitting many ways, I expected Siejka to top the poll.  But James Walker (Liberal) - a relatively low-profile Councillor who had a widely panned campaign run in his name - has polled very well on primaries given the competition from the sort of sitting Mayor who normally cleans up in these things.  By-elections are difficult for governments and the Liberal result is at least acceptable whatever may happen from here.  I considered a Liberal retain to be at pretty long odds and they're within striking distance of doing it, although the preference flow required doesn't look easy.

In general we have not had the degree of anti-major-party vote I was expecting, especially by the standards of Legislative Council elections.  All of the indies polled poorly.  The Green vote of 9.5% is acceptable given the field and having an out-of-electorate candidate, but with no really left-wing competition bar the ALP, that's all it is.

As for the Liberals' campaign tactics, they're getting a lot of trolling about this on Twitter right now, but my take is they worked.  They would have known that they needed to stop Chipman from beating them into second at all costs and it appears they have succeeded.

We will need to see the preference flow to say what can really be read into that.  We should get a notional preference cutup tomorrow afternoon and we may even know the winner by the day's end.

Updates (scrolling up with latest at the top)

9:35 I've seen scrutineering figures for one of the strong Labor booths that assumed a Chipman-Siejka contest.  Walker preferences split 65:35 to Chipman, Harvey preferences 61:39 to Siejka.

8:57 Prepolls and mobile votes were added and Siejka's position has improved slightly. Siejka 32.27 Walker 25.78 Chipman 19.86.  Walker would need 57.8% assuming no exhaust, so say 60%.  If the Green votes break 70:30 to Siejka that leaves Walker needing about 66% of the rest, assuming no exhaust.  The preferences of Willink and James may not break that heavily, so it will have to mostly come off Chipman.  Could be difficult.

8:12 Risdon Vale is in as are some postals.  Siejka 33.01% Walker 25.7% Chipman 19.36%.  Chipman needs to gain on Walker at a rate of 0.289 votes/vote out of preferences that are splitting three ways, including Green preferences going to Siejka; I think this is exceptionally difficult.  Assuming it's Siejka and Walker then Walker currently needs to gain at 0.177 votes/preference, which is a nearly 59:41 share.  Some votes will exhaust so he'll need about 60-40 or perhaps a bit higher of those that don't.  It will come down to how strongly the Chipman preferences still flow to the Liberals despite the Liberals' attack on Chipman.  It cannot be called tonight without extensive scrutineering evidence.

8:06 On current numbers Walker would need 57% of all preferences assuming none exhausted.  This will increase once Risdon Vale is in but may decrease for other votes.  Some of the preferences are Green votes which will help Siejka; Walker will need a lot of what is left.

7:58 More booths in and the gap from Walker to Chipman is looking formidable at 6%, so it could well be that it is a Labor-Liberal final two and the Liberals' age attack has actually worked.  Walker is currently close enough if he's good enough on preferences, though Siejka should gain a few percent off Risdon Vale and then we can assess the magnitude of Walker's task.

7:40 A flood of booths comes in suddenly and the pattern here is the two-party vote is strong with Chipman consistently being beaten by Walker on primaries.  Walker's lead over Chipman is such that Chipman has a fight on his hands to get into second, especially given that the also-rans have few votes and many of the Green preferences will flow to Siejka.  Siejka has dropped to 37 as more conservative booths have arrived, but the lead she has at the moment is a very large one.

7:28 Warrane in; another ALP-skewed booth so the massive vote for Siejka may be misleading. She has 47.8% in this booth where Ritchie scored 49.1%, so now tracking for well into the 30s and could have a strong primary lead - if the comparisons hold up in the other booths.  Chipman was again narrowly third on primaries in this booth, and James is polling very poorly.

7:06 And we have votes!  From the Labor-leaning Mornington booth where Siejka has nearly doubled everybody else with 40.9%; this compares with 46.8% for Allison Ritchie in 2013 (Ritchie finished on 36.)  The interesting thing is that in this booth Walker has just beaten Chipman, though not by enough to be safe if it was across the whole electorate.  The rest are doing nothing special though the Green vote has almost held up.  For Walker's part he is on 21% compared to Goodwin's 44.7 in this booth, so tracking for something well into the 20s and in with a shot based on this booth. Note that William Bowe projects Siejka into the mid 30s off this booth - it all depends which election you use as baseline!

7:02 No figures yet; this is getting rather unusual.

6:55 Have an indirect scrutineer report that Labor have won Warrane on primaries (not surprising), are "strong" in Howrah and 3rd in the Lindisfarne booth.

6:44 Mornington is the smallest booth; last time it was up by 6:39 with others following from just before 7.

6:37 17 minutes in line to order dinner but I didn't miss anything.

6:13 Results screen is up at No votes showing yet.

6:10 There may be some delays with my comments because of having to have dinner at the same time, but not in the same room.  You can also keep an eye on coverage at the new Poll Bludger.

6:00 Haven't seen a results page yet but shouldn't be far away.

5:25: Internet working so far (to some degree) so here's hoping.

There may be a "mobile" booth early in the count; if so it will skew to the conservatives.


Intro Text

Welcome to my page for coverage of the Pembroke by-election count.  Because I am on a long-ago-planned remote field trip this weekend, coverage may be limited and I am not even certain there will be anything at all, but it's fairly likely that at least one of the three different options I have for accessing the internet tonight will work.  If there are preference distributions on Sunday then my ability to cover them during the day could be very limited.

My preview page for this Pembroke by-election is here.  It's been quite an unusual campaign, with a high volume of issue coverage and lots to talk about but also notable for the attack campaigning by the Liberal Party on behalf of their candidate.

Just in case I don't get online tonight, what you may need to know to follow this count is that the booths of Risdon Vale, Warrane, Warrane North and Mornington tend to be good for Labor and the Tranmere booth is normally through the roof for the Liberals.  Also, should things go to preferences it's likely there will be preference flow from the Greens to Labor and from all the other candidates to each other.  However, preference flows in Legislative Council elections tend to be pretty weak - don't expect anything over 75:25 if even that, as a general rule.

Comments should start from around 6 or 6:30 if everything is working OK.  I am going to be difficult to contact by phone this weekend and, because of another trip after this one, am not available for TV interviews until November 14.


  1. Kevin, do you expect that Walker would pick up most of Chipman's preferences if Doug is excluded first?

    1. Yes but it's hard to say how heavily and that's going to be the crucial point.

  2. I think this is an alp win........ alp has roughly a 10% lead with Chipmans 20% rounded to be distributed.....need a very very high percentage to change the result

  3. It remains to be seen how "left" the "left" members are, personally I think most are centrist with a slight lean to the right, copying the feds. As for Willink, why does this bloke bother? I fully expect him to start popping up in electorates in the north of the state next time round, I think he has just about ran in every one in the south so must be running out of options down this end of the island. Thanks for the efforts in getting the info online Kevin in what appears to have been an iffy situation as regards interweb access.

  4. Hi Kevin. If Jacquie Lambie runs in Braddon at the state election do you think it would be a possible 2/2/1 result in that electorate?

    1. Highly possible but she says she's not running for state.