Thursday, March 29, 2018

Poll Roundup: Number 29

2PP Aggregate: 53.3 to ALP (-0.3 since last week)
Labor would easily win election "held now"

This week's federal polling coverage was dominated by Malcolm Turnbull slipping another Newspoll closer to the dreaded number 30.  Although there may be minor signs of improvement, it would be highly surprising to see the Coalition's 2PP jump to 50% in two or three weeks' time.

Since the last poll roundup, we've had two Newspolls (both 53-47 for Labor), three Essentials (53-54-52 for Labor), and two ReachTELs, one in late February and one today.  The ReachTEL was 54-46 by respondent preferences, but I estimated 55.5-44.5 by last-election preferences, which made it the single worst poll of this government's term in my aggregate (though not by much).  The March ReachTEL was also 54-46 but in this case I got 54.2-45.8 as a last-election estimate.  Oh and there's also, to my great surprise, been a Morgan, and that gets a section of its own below.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Legislative Council 2018: Prosser

As noted in my Hobart preview, I'm getting busy early on my Legislative Council previews as there are quite a few declared candidates already.  There is one preview thread for each seat and I may have other threads should campaign issues warrant them.  I expect to have live comments on the evening of Saturday 5th May.  For more on Legislative Council voting patterns see my 2014-8 voting patterns thread.

This piece will be edited through the campaign from time to time for updates, campaign information, added candidates and changed assessments.

Seat Profile

Prosser is a fairly large rural and satellite-town seat in the midlands, east and south-east of Tasmania (see map).  Its largest population centres are Brighton, Dodges Ferry and Sorell (all in the south) and other significant centres include Bagdad, Bicheno, Campbell Town, Swansea, Triabunna, Nubeena and Oatlands.  Industries include farming, fishing and what remains of forestry, but around Sorell there has been a rapid increase in young commuting families.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Legislative Council 2018: Hobart

I'm getting in a bit earlier than usual with the Legislative Council guides this year as there are quite a few declared candidates already.  I will have one preview thread for each seat and I expect to have live comments on Saturday 5th May.  There may also be other threads if any campaign issue warrants them.  For more on Legislative Council voting patterns see my 2014-8 voting patterns article.

This piece will be edited through the campaign from time to time for updates, campaign information, added candidates and changed assessments.

Seat Profile

As its name suggests Hobart is mostly inner-city Hobart.  It falls entirely within the state electorate just contested under the name Denison (henceforth to be Clark at both state and federal levels.)  It includes most of the Hobart City Council area with the exceptions of the relatively wealthy Sandy Bay and Mt Nelson areas in the south, and some parts of the far north of New Town and Lenah Valley.  At the recent redistribution Hobart lost the latter areas to Elwick, but gained Tolmans Hill, Ridgeway, Fern Tree and a small part of Dynnyrne from Nelson.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Legislative Council Voting Patterns 2014-8

Advance summary:

1. This article presents a revised analysis of voting patterns in the Legislative Council (the upper house of Tasmanian Parliament) based on contested divisions involving the current MLCs in the last four years.

2. Although there is a degree of independence in all Legislative Council voting, the Council continues to have a fairly clearly defined "left wing" consisting of the four Labor Party MLCs, and independents Mike Gaffney, Ruth Forrest, Kerry Finch and Rob Valentine.

3. Excepting Rosemary Armitage and Tania Rattray (and Jim Wilkinson, who does not vote) the remaining MLCs (independents Ivan Dean, Robert Armstrong, Greg Hall, and Liberal Leonie Hiscutt) can all be clearly placed in a strongly-defined right-wing cluster.

4. A possible left-to-right sort of the Council is Forrest, Valentine, the four Labor MLCs (Farrell, Lovell, Siejka and Willie in no particular order), Gaffney, Finch, Armitage, Rattray, Hall, Armstrong, Hiscutt (Liberal), Dean.  However some of the exact positions in this list are debatable.

5. Going into the 2018 elections, the left holds an absolute majority in the current Legislative Council, although the fact that four of the left MLCs are independents means it will not necessarily be realised on every specific issue.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Batman Bits And Pieces

There are a few points of interest I thought were worth commenting on quickly following Labor's drubbing of the Greens in the Batman by-election.

The 34% swing that wasn't

It has been widely reported that the Northcote West booth swung to Labor by 34 points.  This is incorrect; the actual two-party swing in that booth was 9%, which was still one of the largest in the electorate.  It was quite obvious based on the primary votes that the AEC had accidentally transposed the Labor and Green 2PP figures during data entry.  This kind of thing happens now and then and it is best to check cases where one booth says something off the scale before commenting further.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Tasmania 2018: How Woodruff Won Franklin

It's been a hideous few weeks for the Greens - they lost votes and a seat in Tasmania, were thumped in the Batman by-election and were remarkably anonymous in South Australia.  The party is now facing serious internal recriminations over these poor results.

However there was one rather nifty save amid all this, and before I move on to the other house of the Tasmanian parliament (there are two Upper House seat contests coming up in May) I want to post the instructive Hare-Clark details of how Rosalie Woodruff (Green) managed to retain her seat in a very close contest with Nic Street (Liberal).  This article is naturally rather mathsy and has been rated Wonk Factor 4/5.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

2018 South Australia Election Wrapup And Postcount

(Mawson was in doubt but retained by Labor) 
Expected Legislative Council result 4 Liberal, 4 Labor, 2 SA-BEST, 1 Green

This thread will provide some general comments on the South Australian election and will also follow the post-counting in the few seats in doubt.  The post-counting comments will not be updated all that regularly as I took three days off work to follow the Tasmanian post-count and should probably get back to earning some money.  I'll try to check every day or so to see if there's anything worth noting.

The Liberal Opposition led by Steven Marshall has won the election, and is more or less certain to have an outright majority.  If it did fall short in a seat somewhere because of some freakish postcount result, Troy Bell could be counted on for support.

This is only the seventh case since 1969 of an Opposition winning an election while the same party is in power federally; for the previous six see here.  On the other hand, it confirms two other historic patterns: that governments no longer seem to go on forever (it is now 32 years since any state or federal government older than 16 years was returned) and that unpopular state premiers don't get re-elected.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

2018 South Australian Election Night Live


From base of notional 25-19-3 seat distribution:
Apparent Liberal gain: King
Possible Labor gain: Mawson (in some doubt)
In doubt: Adelaide (Lib ahead), Newland (Lib ahead)
Outcome: Liberals have won, almost certainly in majority, most likely result 25-19-3 or 26-18-3.

Note: I will try to clear comments tonight but don't expect replies

Updates (Refresh for latest)

11:42: The ABC has turned off the projection, meaning that some seats that were projected as easy wins have dropped back into in-doubt status.  Of these Adelaide is the closest with a current real margin of just 67 votes.  Here in 2014, booth votes went 51.6% to Liberal but declaration votes went 54.5% to Liberal.  So while the seat can be projected to about 51-49 we have to wait and see if the pattern repeats.  Some doubt can also be entertained about Newland, where we have a 50.9-49.1 margin on booth votes, but in 2014, declaration votes were overall weaker for the Liberals than booth votes, and this time there will be a greater proportion of declaration votes that are prepolls.  Note that in each of these cases I am not necessarily matching exactly the same voting areas, which creates some further issues.

2018 Batman By-Election Live

Note: I will try to clear comments tonight but don't expect replies

Summary: CALLED - Kearney (ALP) retains

Updates (Refresh for latest)

11:56 Ben Raue has essential reading on the pattern I pointed out earlier, with one of the more dramatic booth swing maps we will see - the Greens made good gains north of Bell Street in Labor heartland, but Labor made gains south of Bell Street in the areas where Labor was supposed to be demographically extinct.  Successful Labor campaign or Green self-sabotage?

2018 SA Election Late Polls And Other Comments

SA: Newspoll and ReachTEL 34-31 on primary votes to Liberal
No predicted winner - too close to call

On Saturday night I will be attempting to live-comment the SA state election and the federal Batman by-election at the same time starting from 6:30.  Really this shouldn't be too hard, since Batman is just one seat, so I hope it will be useful.  They will be on separate threads and I will be trying to give each about equal attention to start with, though if Batman can be called quickly I will wind it down and switch to focusing purely on South Australia.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Keating Aggregation 1990-1993

A bit of a special feature for today ...

25 years ago today Paul Keating's Labor government won re-election against the odds, having battled a recession and fallout from the mid-term removal of the previous Prime Minister Bob Hawke.  Among all Australian elections, 1993 stands out as an oddity, the one that breaks almost every predictive election model that can be thrown at it.  If you want to get a feeling of just how unexpected it was, check out Lateline from a couple of nights before.

It is easy to forget that in office Keating was a very unpopular Prime Minister, widely considered arrogant and abrasive, and blamed for comments about "the recession we had to have".  He did not poll a single positive Newspoll netsat in 109 consecutive Newspolls on the job.  Yet history has been kind to him, in part because of this alleged electoral miracle.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

SA Election: Some General Modelling Comments

Note to media of all kinds: this long weekend (10-12 March) I am not available for in-person interviews.  My phone will be switched off most of the long weekend - you may be able to get me on Saturday morning or Monday night, or if you leave a message with an after-hours number I may be able to return your call at night on Saturday or Sunday.

Note to posters: Comment clearing may be slow and replies slower for the next few days.


The two-week gap between this year's Tasmanian and South Australian elections means I will at least be able to do live comments on South Australia.  However, the Tasmanian campaign hasn't done wonders for my ability to devote energy to the SA contest.  I may be able to do another piece with more detailed modelling on South Australia next week, but I'm not sure I will have time for this yet.  This piece just makes a range of general comments that I think are important to trying to model the outcome.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Tasmania 2018: But What Does It All Mean?

Undecided: Franklin - Liberal vs Green - tossup
Undecided: Bass - Labor vs Green vs Liberal - Labor slightly favoured, Liberal chance remote

After the last Tasmanian election, I saw no need to unpack possible meanings of the result, as I thought it was all obvious to anyone who had followed the state's politics through that time.  This one, however, is different, though I certainly won't claim to have all the answers.  A government that seemed to be sleepwalking to a loss of majority has rebounded to the point of suffering just a trivial swing against it.  The Labor opposition did rebound to a degree, but mostly at the cost of the Greens.

Some facts and stats

A few facts about the election first.  For the first time since the 1970s, and the first time for a conservative party since 1912-3, the Liberal Party has topped 50% of the primary vote for a second election in a row.  The charge was led by Premier Hodgman, whose 38.3% is the highest candidate vote since Robin Gray in 1986.  (Hodgman will also break Doug Lowe's 1979 record for the largest number of votes recorded by a candidate, though this record is somewhat meaningless because of population growth. Lowe's record for the highest candidate percentage, 51.2%, may very well never be beaten - and I don't think the fact it was achieved before Robson Rotation really makes much of a difference.)

Sunday, March 4, 2018

2018 Tasmanian Postcount: Lyons

Admin note: Comments received during the day on Sunday on any article will probably not be cleared or responded to until the evening.  

Lyons: 3 Liberal 2 Labor
Re-elected: White (ALP), Barnett (Lib), Hidding (Lib), Shelton (Lib)
In doubt within party: Lambert vs Butler (ALP) for one seat - Butler now ahead and likely to win

And now, my last postcount thread for the day.

In Lyons, we have a clear status quo result.  The Liberals have packed their three quotas nicely with their three incumbents, which would have protected them from any threat from the Greens if there was any threat to be protected from.  Rebecca White has topped the poll with 1.43 quotas.  Labor has nearly two quotas, but its support candidates are a long way behind, with Janet Lambert on 1583 votes, Jen Butler on 1404 votes and Darren Clark on 1254.

2018 Tasmanian Postcount: Franklin

Franklin 2 Liberal, 2 Labor, 1 in doubt between Green and Liberal
Re-elected: Hodgman (Lib), presumably Petrusma (Lib)
Returns to parliament: D O'Byrne (Labor)
New MP: Standen (Labor)
Contest between parties: Woodruff (Green) vs Street (Lib) - Woodruff has won by 226 votes.

Welcome to another postcount thread that I will update through the next two weeks, this one for Franklin. And this one could be very close.

In Franklin, the Liberals' remarkable minimisation of the swing against them has kept them in the hunt for a three-seat result.  However, with Labor rebuilding to over two quotas, it has turned out to be the Greens' Rosalie Woodruff who is in danger of missing out.

2018 Tasmanian Postcount: Denison

Denison 2 Labor 2 Liberal 1 Green
Re-elected: Bacon (ALP), Archer (Lib), O'Connor (Green)
New MP: Hickey (Lib)
Within party contest: Haddad (ALP) vs Ogilvie (ALP).  CALLED: Haddad will win.

There was much interest in the final week of the campaign in Denison.  The possibility sprang up that the seat might rip up the script by delivering three seats to Labor.  This has, in the end, fallen about a further 6% swing short of happening, so it really wasn't all that close.  The Liberal vote, bolstered by the preselection of Sue Hickey to replace Matthew Groom, has held up well clear of two quotas.

2018 Tasmania Postcount: Braddon

Braddon 3 Liberal 2 Labor
Re-elected: Rockliff (Lib), Brooks (Lib), Broad (ALP) 
New MP: Dow (ALP)
Within Party Contest: Jaensch (Lib) vs Rylah (Lib) - CALLED Jaensch will win 
(Update: Jaensch has won)

Welcome to my second postcount thread and this one will be very short, at least until the updates start!  In Braddon, there has been a 2.5% swing against the Liberals coming off their four-seat result in 2014.  The Liberals have 3.38 quotas, Labor have 1.64 quotas and the rest is scattered among the Lambie Network, the Greens, the Shooters and ungrouped, none of whom can win.  Among the allsorts a hugely impressive performance is the 1912 votes polled by independent fisherman Craig Garland.  Garland has almost single-handedly outpolled the Greens, who have polled a miserable 3.3%, with Scott Jordan a poor choice of lead candidate.  Another fizzer was former MP Brenton Best, who didn't seem to run any campaign to speak of and has recorded an embarrassing 568 votes so far.

2018 Tasmania Postcount: Bass

Bass 3 Liberal, 1 Labor, 1 undecided
Re-Elected: Gutwein (Lib), Ferguson (Lib), Courtney (Lib), M O'Byrne (Labor)
Contest Between Parties: Dawkins (Green) vs Houston (ALP)
Houston has won

Warning: The Bass contest is mathematically complex.  This article is rated at Wonk Factor 4/5.

Welcome to the first of my post-counting threads from the Tasmanian state election, which will follow the post-count in the seat of Bass. These articles will be edited and updated as the counts progress.

Bass is the (doubtless expensive) jewel in the crown of the Liberals' blowout win tonight - they are currently running at a 1.7% swing to them in Bass, an amazing result.  With 85.7% counted, the Liberals have 3.53 quotas, Labor have 1.59, the Greens have 0.54 and the Jacqui Lambie Network have 0.28.  There's also 550 votes (0.05 quotas) for anti-Green independent Brett Lucas.  Labor's notional lead on primaries over the Greens is 455 votes.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Election Night Link

I'm on The Mercury live at . It's paywalled (unknown to me beforehand as I didn't ask, but I believe you can sign up for $1 for 28 days if you can't see it.)  Coverage will start sometime between now and 6:30.

I may make comments now and then on Twitter: @kevinbonham but my efforts will be mainly devoted to the Mercury site.  I am happy for people to pass on my comments from the site.

My condolences to the friends, family and political colleagues of Dr Vanessa Goodwin, who passed away today. I did not know Vanessa personally but had great respect for her.

The Liberals Have 170 Secret Policies

(Note: this article currently appears out of order and with one paragraph missing because I mistakenly saved a draft over it. The on-the-day coverage thread is below)

Yesterday I gave Labor and the Greens a serve for trying to take the moral high ground on campaign donations when their "attempt" to reform them in the previous parliament had been a token, late, poorly considered politicised flop.  Today - which happens to be election day, ho ho - it's the Liberal Party's turn.

On one of the strangest final days of a campaign that I can recall, the Liberals were forced into damage control after it became known that they had a policy of relaxing various gun laws.  However, rather than release this policy for public discussion, it had been provided to a firearms consultations group on 9 February.  The letter surfaced only on the final day of the campaign, after being posted on a shooting website.

Election Day: Blue Skies With A Fair Chance Of A Poll Fail

Welcome to my on-the-day election coverage. (See my main guide page with links to electorate pages.) I may be adding comments now and then through the day on anything I feel like commenting on.  I expect this to continue up to the release of the Southern Cross exit poll around 6 pm.  I will be live blogging on the Mercury tonight with coverage expected to start around 6:30.  Once that goes live a link will be posted here at the top of the page. After I finish the coverage there will be comments posted here overnight - I am hoping this will include the rollout of postcount threads, but it may not. 

Note for media: I won't be available for any interviews other than the Mercury between 5:30 and 11; I may be available briefly after 11.  Also, tomorrow (because nobody paid me to stay at home) I will be on a field trip to Tooms Lake, will not be available for in-person interviews and may at times be out of mobile phone range.  

My advice to those still to vote is simple: number all of the boxes.  Even if you find you are getting into candidates you cannot stand or have never heard of, putting the lesser evils ahead of the greater evils will make your vote more powerful than if you stop.  Numbering all the boxes will never disadvantage the candidates you prefer or advantage those you most dislike, because your vote only flows on to your less preferred candidates once those you most prefer have all been elected or eliminated.

Friday, March 2, 2018

What Happened When The Previous Government Moved To Change Tasmania's Donation Laws

I have used the word "moved" instead of "tried" in the title of this piece. There is a reason for that.

Tasmania's lax political donation and disclosure laws have become a major controversy in the Tasmanian election campaign (see guide), with the Greens threatening to move a no-confidence motion against the Hodgman government unless it discloses the campaign donations funding what seems to be a very expensive campaign.  References have been made to failed attempts to reform campaign donations in the last days of the previous Labor-Green government, with Labor saying simply that the Liberals blocked them.  So I thought I'd refresh my memory, and then that of anyone reading, concerning what actually happened there.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Tasmania 2018: Commissioned Pokies ReachTEL

On 14 Feb 2018 the Australia Institute Tasmania conducted a ReachTEL poll for the 2018 state election (see guide), some questions from which have been on public display for some time.  Some results on company tax cuts and donations disclosure were published some time ago and a further tranche on poker machines was published a few days back.  As well as this I have obtained (with thanks to the reader who passed it on) the primary voting figures from the poll, which was taken on the night nominations for the election was announced.

Voting Intention

The voting intention figures are old rope now but may be of some interest in terms of discussions of how the campaign has unfolded. Voting intentions were Liberal 41.7 Labor 30.5 Green 11.0 JLN 4.6 Other 8.0 Undecided 4.2.  What would be a staggering 68% of undecided voters said they were leaning to the Liberals, except that the effective number of undecided voters after scaling would have been just 39, giving that 68% figure a margin of error of at least 15% (even more after scaling).  After redistributing the undecided the results were Liberal 44.6 Labor 31.1 Green 11.1 JLN 4.8 Ind/Other 8.4.