Saturday, May 5, 2018

Legislative Council 2018: Hobart and Prosser Live And Postcount

Hobart: CALLED (7:15) Rob Valentine (IND) retain
Prosser: Howlett (Lib) defeated Lambert (ALP) by 887 votes after exclusion of Mav (IND).

Welcome to my live coverage thread for the 2018 Legislative Council elections for Hobart and Prosser.  After the craziest week in the Lower House in decades, we now come to the voting for two Legislative Council seats - Hobart, where Rob Valentine faces his first defence and Prosser, a new seat created by a redistribution.  The left currently has the numbers in the Legislative Council, care of four Labor MLCs and four left-wing independents, and that's not changing unless the Liberals can pull off a big upset in Hobart.  Indeed, should Prosser go badly for them, the balance will become even worse for the Hodgman government.  By the way, should a party-endorsed candidate win either seat then the party representation will reach a new all-time high (see the chart at Poll Bludger to see how the parties ebbed and flowed in the last several years.)

Comments will follow below the dotted line, scrolling from the earliest upwards. All the seats will be covered together.  I'm leaving this bit of text at the top to try to prevent colours from the heading running into the main text.


Preference Throw

5:56 Looks like the final margin is 8776-7889 (52.7%:47.3% of non-exhaust).  Lambert made a small gain on Mav's preferences but nowhere near enough.

It was never that clear what to expect from this new seat and the Liberals would have gladly taken a win by any margin.  In the end it's a fairly close result but the preferences have done basically nothing from the primary standings, a big contrast to Huon 2014.  So the Government has its first LegCo gain since taking office in 2014 and party representation in the Legislative Council reaches an all-time high.

5:47 Report from a Liberal source that Howlett has won.

4:24 Mav's out!  Howlett leads Lambert by 975 with 5392 to throw.  Assuming none exhausted Lambert would need a 59-41 split, which is unlikely enough, but the inevitably massive exhaust will have her needing at least well into the 60s.  That seems very unlikely but there's no point calling it so close to the end.

3:25 Bennett excluded and these went 371 to Howlett, 328 Lambert, 259 Mav, 253 Mulder, 205 exhaust.  Mav needs to gain 794 on Lambert off Mulder's 2797 and he might not even get that many.  So it's looking like it is Howlett vs Lambert, in which case Howlett leads by 574 with 7403 to throw - a lot of which will exhaust. Let's see how strong the split on Mulder's votes is now.

3:04 Playsted's preferences went fairly strongly to Lambert 316 and Mulder 305, which won't do Mulder any good as he's out of mathematical contention now.  Howlett got 200 and Mav 171.  Howlett now leads Lambert by 531 with 570 back to Mav.  There are only 3960 to throw so the asking rate is extremely steep for Mav off the Bennett and Mulder preferences.  The interest now is more in whether Lambert can stay in touch off Bennett and Mulder well enough to maybe catch up off Mav.  Perhaps the preferences pooling with Mulder and Mav from the minor candidates will help her and cause the flows off them to be more favourable than the sampling from Mulder and Mav primaries.

1:57 Howlett made a very small gain off Wiggins while Mav again didn't gain on Lambert.  Mav is now 570 behind Lambert with 4854 votes available.  We next have the Playsted throw which could do anything given that Playsted was an ex-Liberal running a Laborish agenda as an independent.

1:22: Bain excluded - Bain was a past Green candidate so a strong gain for Lambert over both opponents (155 to 55 for Mav and 28 for Howlett).  It's getting tougher for Mav to get into second as he's 558 behind now with 5305 left between positions 4-7.  These votes are splitting three ways and to exhaust.  On the other hand, the candidates most likely to help Lambert are all gone now.  Wiggins, the next to go, is an unknown quantity.

12:43: Parkinson excluded and probably a better result for Howlett than the Liberal camp would have expected - Howlett 58 Lambert 85 Mav 59.  Probably the key pattern so far is that Mav isn't making gains on Lambert on the minor candidates overall, though he might well make gains off Bennett later on.  At the start of the count there were 6241 votes between candidates outside the top three, now there are 5599. So Mav's task seems to have got a bit harder.

12:13 Spaulding excluded and the pattern of Howlett doing not that well on the very minor candidates continues - Howlett 52 Lambert 70 Mav 65. The best scrutineering data I've seen suggested that the preferences of Mav and Mulder would about cancel out if Mav is third, so Howlett probably needs to still be in the lead when it gets down to four.

Three voters somehow managed to vote for at least three of Harris, The Duke, Peart and Spaulding (and nobody else, or made mistakes) so those votes have exhausted already.

11:55: On the first three exclusions (Harris, Lambert, Duke of Avram) Howlett gained 62 votes, Lambert 77 and Mav 89.  Peart is left-wing so Howlett did very poorly on his preferences.  Next to go are Spaulding, Parkinson and Bain.  Parkinson and Bain at least could display a similar pattern to Peart.  The current Mav-Lambert gap is 427.

11am: Off and running with final primaries.  The leaders are Howlett 26.13, Lambert 21.92, Mav 19.65.  

Tuesday 15th: Today's the day! The preference throw should start this morning sometime after 10 am and I'll have updates as soon as I can once anything happens.  The early exclusions should go pretty quickly.


Thursday: On today's update Howlett has gained another 0.05%, Lambert has lost the 0.04% she gained in late checking, and Mav has dropped another 0.07%.  Howlett is now 26.14, Lambert 21.92, Mav 19.69.  

Sunday 6:40 Rechecking and the addition of Out of Division and Provisional votes in Prosser has seen Mav drop 0.24%, Howlett gain 0.10% and Lambert gain 0.04%, making Mav's challenge just a little more difficult.  I don't expect we'll now see any action apart from the gradual adding of small numbers of postal votes until the 15th.  The TEC are advising that the number of outstanding votes (some of which will not arrive or be informal) is 421.

Sunday 6 pm: Hobart Preferences

A provisional preference throw has been done for Hobart.  Valentine defeated Griggs 61-39, a result which will not move more than a few tenths of a percent with remaining votes.  The preferences of the minor candidates split very evenly but then those of Behrakis (Liberal) split 56-39 to Valentine over Griggs with 5% exhausting.  At present the result is a 1.5% swing away from Valentine's 2012 result, but in that case his final opponent Penelope Ann was (i) an endorsed Green (possibly a disadvantage compared to running as an "independent") who (ii) did not live in the electorate and (iii) advertised on election day.

In light of comments by Michael Ferguson about the state having voted for the cable car, it is worth noting that candidates who were (to varying degrees) opposed to it finished 1st, 2nd and 4th in this electorate (where it would be based) with a combined 76.8% primary vote.

(Disclosure: The author lives in an area that is likely to see increased traffic flow if the cable car is ever built.)

Where We Are In Prosser Now

The first question in the case of Mav is whether there will be a strong enough independent-to-independent preference flow to get him over Labor.  This isn't very clear.  There was animosity between Mulder and Mav on the campaign trail and Mulder is Liberal-aligned, so Mav might not get much there.  A lot of the Shooters preferences will probably go to Howlett, while voters voting Playsted over the salmon farming issue might preference Labor.  If Mav is going to do it it will probably have to be by doing very well on scraps from the very minor candidates and then breaking even on the rest, and that doesn't seem too easy.

If Mav is second he needs to gain preferences at what is currently a rate of .111 votes per preference available (a 55.5% split if none exhaust).  However if 20% of these preferences exhaust, he'll need a 57% split, and if 30% exhaust a 58.5% split.  I'm expecting that Mulder and Bennett won't help him here and he'd probably have to really do most of it off Lambert.  Labor preferences split 72% to independent Rosemary Armitage in Launceston in 2011 but I don't think the ALP flow to Mav would be that strong.

Given that Mav has two bridges to cross, both of which are iffy, I think Howlett is still better placed.  However this is an unprecedented situation and there's a severe shortage of scrutineering data because scrutineers were expecting a two-party contest.  Mav believes he will get over Lambert.

What Has Happened In Large LegCo Fields

I thought it would be worth a look at the history of preference distributions in large Legislative Council fields.  There have been seven previous cases with more than ten candidates I could find (15 in Huon 1986, 13 in Mersey 1990, Queenborough 1983 and Queenborough 1968, 12 in Cornwall 1978 and 11 in Hobart 1992 and Huon 1974).  Of the preferences that were not primary votes for the final two, the exhaust rates ranged from 10.8% to 41.8% (the latter was the 15-candidate cases).

In Queenborough 1983 John Stopp who had a good lead on primaries did so well on preferences that he won an absolute majority with two opponents still in the count.  In all the remaining cases but one, the leader on primaries increased their lead (in cases substantially) and won.

The exception was Queenborough, 1968.  John Clemente on 17.0% had a large primary lead over Louis Shoobridge with 12.0%.  However, of the preferences distributed, Shoobridge gained 50.5% to Clemente's 30.5% with the rest exhausting. (10.5% of the potentially available preferences didn't even need to be distributed between the two).  Shoobridge ended up winning by 7.7% (44.1% to 36.4% with 12% exhausted and 7.5% not distributed); his 12.0% primary vote is the lowest winning score in Council history.

Looking at the distribution, Shoobridge won because of strong preference flows from candidates Bill Hodgman (Will's grandfather) and Bob Baker (actually to my surprise unrelated to Henry Baker, the conservative incumbent whose death had caused the election - thanks to the reader who corrected this!)  Hodgman had been a Liberal-turned-independent.  Baker was to be elected to the Assembly as a Liberal the next year. Clemente had been a ticketmate for Bill Wedd, an independent who had supported Labor in office.

10 am Sunday: The scrutineer who posted a since-deleted sample anonymously last night (with Lambert preferences breakdown between Mav and Mulder and Mulder preferences between others) has contacted me to confirm they are a real scrutineer and that the details were genuine.  The sample was positive for Howlett.  However the sample sizes were below 100 in all cases and the scrutineer reported (not surprisingly) that sampling a 13-candidate field for preferences is difficult. 

Wrap (10:15 pm): As usual, I'm going to post summary comments based on what we have seen.

Hobart is the easy one!  Rob Valentine has scored a commanding victory which will be confirmed after preferences tomorrow, topping every single booth on primaries.  There was about an 8.5% swing to him on a booth-by-booth basis overall, including swings well into double digits in the West Hobart booths and also North Hobart.  Richard Griggs' vote pretty closely tracked the Greens state election vote, with some variation which was partly down to competition with the Animal Justice Party.  The AJP, which polled very decently for a first attempt, tended to do best in the inner-city booths, and where they did best, Griggs tended to do worse relative to the Green state vote.  Liberal Simon Behrakis was down on the Liberal state vote across the board, significantly at most booths, and this suggests partly competition from Valentine and also that Behrakis just didn't have the profile of Elise Archer and Sue Hickey combined, and possibly that he sticks out ideologically in a seat like this.  Not a great result for the Liberals who would have been hoping for second.

In Prosser, we have a three-cornered contest that will probably run until the big preference throw on 15 May.  The major parties have played according to form with Howlett leading Lambert by a modest but significant-looking margin, but the surprise of the night has been the extent to which the third-party vote has concentrated in the hands of Steve Mav.  Mav has very successfully targeted the more populated areas in the south of the electorate and he has particularly trashed both major parties in the area where he ran last year for Rumney.  All that waving at voters from the side of the road at Sorell appears to have paid off after all, but he also did extremely well at Brighton.

Whether Mav can actually win this from here is unclear - I have had fabulous amounts of scrutineering data sent to me tonight (thankyou to all involved!) but all of it assumed a Liberal vs Labor contest and not Liberal vs IND.  At this stage, I would not take anything away from this in terms of it being a good or bad result for any party, but it may be possible to do so to some degree once we see how the preference flow pans out.

9:21 It's worth noting that the size of the task Mav faces is in some ways similar to that faced by Robert Armstrong in Huon in 2014.  Peter Hodgman polled a primary of 26.13% and Armstrong polled 20.40%.  Armstrong ended up winning by a country mile (56.9-43.1).  It shouldn't be that easy for Mav, for three reasons (i) his profile isn't as high as Armstrong's (ii) he still has to get over Labor (iii) the larger field means more exhaust.  But even so this does show this is winnable.

9:14 I've seen some more sampled ALP vs Liberal preferences, from Sorell, that are similar to those below except as concerns Playsted (slight split to Liberal).  My feeling overall from the various reports here is that if it comes down to Howlett vs Lambert, preferences are going to do roughly nothing, and probably won't flow strongly enough to close down Howlett's 4-point lead (which in any case may increase slightly on what I hear are 500-700 postals).

8:57 Another set of scrutineers' comments I've been sent had Mav preferences to Labor over Liberal (55-45), Mulder preferences to Liberal over Labor (60-40) and a very tiny sample of Playsted preferences strongly to Labor. They are more formalised than the other report I mentioned before and are from multiple booths.  Anyway, still not seeing anything that suggests Lambert wins if she makes the final two.

8:55 Check the maps at Tally Room to see where different candidates did well.

8:47 Final for night in Prosser.  Howlett 25.99% Lambert 21.92% Mav 20.00% and Mulder 9.76% is the best of the rest.  TEC have been very good at trying to accelerate these elections to a conclusion but I am not sure whether they will be attempting an indicative throw here or not.

8:34 Hobart's finishing up exactly where my projection off the first booth said it would.  Can't say the same for Prosser where the disproportionate strength of Mav in the southern booths has taken the leaders down a bit as the evening has progressed.  Hobart is now Final For Night (not sure why Prosser isn't).

8:07 We have what must be close to final primaries for the night.  Howlett 25.9 Lambert 21.87 Mav 20.2.  Probably Howlett will gain on remaining postals.  If Mav makes the top two, he'll have 54.8% of the vote to try to chase down, say, six points on.  A hell of a lot will exhaust, but in theory it seems doable.  Detailed scrutineering will be needed to say whether it will happen or not.  I'll be having a look at the cutups for some of the old seats with this many candidates, but we've actually never had one with both parties and an indie in the mix, and that may make things different.

8:01 I think Lambert's position is now very difficult. She will be substantially behind Howlett because so much of the Labor vote was pilfered by Mav in the big southern booths, and she doesn't seem to have anywhere much to get preferences from.  That's even assuming she is second, which in itself currently looks very doubtful with a 1.5 point lead and 32.5% of preference throw.

7:47 Mav smashes it in Dodges Ferry and Brighton (and we know about Sorell) and he is on over 20%! STEVE MAV MIGHT ACTUALLY WIN THIS OMG! Sorry, couldn't help myself.  Calm down there, still a long way to go.

7:44 I've seen a scrutineering sheet from prepoll with prefs of Mav and Mulder estimated to be 60-70% to Liberal and those of Playsted even.  More preference samples welcome!

7:41 A kind person has sent me the Sorell votes and it's a 430-430 tie between Mav an Howlett with Lambert on 385.  Total formal 1704 and the Mav chariot will advance again.

7:37 Brighton, Dodges Ferry and Sorell to come, and seems like a bugbear might have eaten Levendale, a small booth that would normally have been in by now.  The big three are all pro-Labor compared to the seat average, but Dodges may also be pro-Mav.  His four booth wins so far (Copping, Forcett, Pontville and Primrose Sands) were all in the south and mostly in that area. 

7:30 Mav is closing on Lambert and on current figures is still in this.  He is on 15% to her 21% but a lot of indie preferences to come.  The projection still sees Lambert rising to about 24 but she doesn't seem to be doing as well relative to the state Labor vote in Labor's better booths, which are mostly the ones now being ticked off.  We'll have to look at this carefully at the end but for now Steve Mav's still in this.  If he can be close enough to Lambert to get past her on preferences he could win.

7:22 Prepolls and postals going in in Hobart too and stretching Valentine's lead over Griggs.  The Animal Justice Party can be well pleased with their first attempt as they are currently running at about 7%, and those should ensure Griggs stays in second and Behrakis finishes third.  A lacklustre, but not terrible, result for the Liberal Party if so.

7:15 A thumping win for Valentine at North Hobart Central now sees Griggs needing 80% of preferences which I now do not project to change much.  Bear in mind that preferencing is semi-optional so the mountain is slightly steeper than that - diehard Liberal voters especially may exhaust their vote rather than preferencing either Griggs or Valentine.  CALLED.

7:11 I now have Howlett and Lambert projected to both end up around 25 (currently Howlett leads 27.6 to 20.2).  That can vary a few points but it currently at least looks like it will not be a knockout blow for either tonight. The question is whether Lambert can be competitive on preferences with both Mulder and Mav likely to attract somewhat conservative voters.

7:08 A heap more booths in in Prosser.  Mav has won Copping and Primrose Sands putting him up to 13%, which might be not completely out of it although it seems very difficult.  Crunching numbers through the projections now.  (I've decided not to bother projecting Mav and Mulder since the Rumney booths were so slow coming through)

7:05 My projection thinks Griggs might come up a few points but even so he would need about a 71% flow.  I'm just about sure Valentine has this but I'll see a few more booths before taking the plunge!

7:00 Five booths in in Hobart and Valentine is topping the primary count everywhere, even the most Liberal booth Battery Point.  I'm probably going to call this for him in about five minutes.

6:57 Howlett wins Campania, Orford and Swansea.  But my projection still has this coming back to very close (indeed it has Lambert slightly in front on primaries, now 25.3-26) because the larger Labor-friendly booths are still to be counted.

6:51 First booth in from Hobart and Valentine has beaten Griggs at Fern Tree.  If he can beat him there he can probably beat him anywhere.  My projections off this booth are Valentine 44 Griggs 26 Behrakis 19 but this is a very unrepresentative booth.

6:46 I have a report from a scrutineer of a high rate of numbering only 1-3 and also of seeing a fair number of combo votes with Mav, Mulder and Howlett in some order.  High exhaust is to be expected here and the target score after prefs probably in the low 40s.  Nothing from Hobart yet.

6:43 Lambert wins the Ross booth.  As expected she is strongest in the north of the electorate, but she seems to be converting her strong areas better than Howlett.  My projection now has the two close to level on primaries.  (both in high 20s).  The rest struggling to get double figures.

6:39 Colebrook booth in and I now have 29-24.1 on the projection, but I would have thought this booth would help Howlett more near her home base.   Already shaping up as likely to be a straight fight between Howlett and Lambert, but let's see if any of the indies can pick up steam.

6:36 Four Prosser booths in and while Howlett leads 33.5:20 my projection has that going to something like 28-24 over Lambert.  Mav is presently thumping Mulder for third.

6:31 First Prosser booth is Coles Bay with 44 for Howlett 29 for Lambert. That is an excellent start for Lambert although it is a very tiny booth, as she has held the Labor state vote while Howlett has dropped nearly 20 points. Playsted best of the rest on 16.

6:30 Final results from my site Not-A-Poll on who will win Prosser: 68 votes for Howlett, Lambert 51, The Duke of Avram 7 (??!!?), Parkinson 6, Mulder 4, Bain 3, Peart 3, Playsted 3, Mav 2, Spaulding 2, Wiggins 1 Harris 1 Bennett 1.

6:25 Ellen Coulter (ABC) reports power outages in a couple of Hobart booths (caused by the wind).  Unknown if this will have any impact on the count yet.

6:03 And they're off!  Results on the TEC site will be here (complete with scrollbar at the bottom for the Prosser horde), nothing up yet.

How this works:  Comments will start soon after 6 pm (give or take me eating dinner at the same time!) and will go through til counting finishes (usually about 9-ish) with a wrapup posted sometime after that.  Refresh frequently after 6:30-ish to see the most recent comments - at the height of counting on average there will probably be a new comment every five minutes or so.

Comments will continue over coming days as the post-counting unfolds - Prosser appears certain to go to preferences with a long cut-up, and Hobart is likely to go to preferences though the result may be clear on the night.  All going well there could well be a preference throw in Hobart on Sunday, but we'll have to wait and see what the TEC will do with Prosser.  Outstanding votes may make it very difficult to distribute preferences early in the piece because there will be many candidates with very low votes who will be close together.  Perhaps if two candidates are way ahead of all others we might get a notional throw, but if we get, say, the two major parties out in front and some independent who is not too far behind one of them, then that will be messy.  I won't be too surprised if this one gets caught up in the ten-day wait for all postals before the result is finalised.

When I consider there is no realistic doubt about the fate of a seat the magic word CALLED will appear in the header.  Until then it will contain a brief summary of how the count is going in each seat.

Early in the night I'll be trying to do some rough projections for each seat, but as the numbers settle down I'll largely stop doing this.

For Hobart I will be projecting Rob Valentine off his 2012 tally, Richard Griggs off Green candidate Penelope Ann's 2012 tally, and Simon Behrakis off the 2018 Liberal vote. Fern Tree was not a booth at the 2012 Hobart contest and it is an important booth because of its very strong Green vote.  I have therefore modelled it off the 2012 result at Cascades and the 2018 state votes at Cascades and Fern Tree (for the sake of modelling only, treating Griggs and Valentine as Green and Labor respectively).  How well (if at all) any of this works, and whether Griggs' voting pattern will actually resemble the Greens' we will see!  Note that I cannot project the Agfest booth for Hobart, and a number of others will be rubbery because of changed boundaries and merged booths.  Also note that in 2012 Valentine led on primaries by 14.4% but won by 25% after preferences, though it probably helped him there that his main opponent did not live in the electorate.  If Griggs is third, I expect Griggs' preferences to very strongly favour Valentine.  If Behrakis is third, it's not so clear.

For Prosser I will be projecting Howlett and Lambert off the 2018 state election votes for their parties.  I will also be projecting Mav and Mulder within the booths formerly within Rumney, using their 2017 Rumney votes (16.1% Mav and 27.9% Mulder).  I doubt either will poll anything like that this time, and expect that both will also do worse outside Rumney than within it, but we'll see.

Something to be wary of in Prosser is that, as with Huon in 2014, a lot of candidates will have certain parts of the electorate where they do very well because they are locals, so we may see the totals jump about a lot for reasons other than certain booths being left-wing or right-wing.  We already know that Howlett tends to do well in the south-west of the electorate and that Lambert's best area is the north.  We'll also see Spaulding and perhaps Parkinson get their best results on the Peninsulas, and Playsted could poll well around Orford off the back of the fish-farm issue.

Oh and if you think you know who will win Prosser, the Not-A-Poll for predicting the result is open in the sidebar until 6 pm.



  1. Surely Will Hodgman's days are numbered if Labor wins Prosser..

  2. Pftt! Surely there is more to being a politician than standing on the side of the road day in day out waving and putting your thumbs up to cars as they pass you! I am so disappointed in people, they obviously did not make an informed decision before voting in Prosser.

  3. I've declined a comment that referred to a politician by a crude nickname, though I am not certain which of two possible politicians from opposing parties it was.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. mav prefs to next be distributed 5300 votes....Howlett in front by about 1000 votes


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