Saturday, June 30, 2018

Worst Opposition Leader Of The Last 45 Years: Round 2

Last month I started a new multi-month Not-A-Poll series to give readers a chance to vote for the Worst Opposition Leader of the Last 45 YearsThe groundrules are here.  I split the contenders into two groups - those who never or had not yet become Prime Minister, and those who at some stage had been Prime Minister (whether before or after they were Opposition Leader.)

The results of Round 1 are in.

Firstly in Group 1 we now go to a cage match between Mark Latham and Alexander Downer. These two always dominated the voting.  At some stages, Brendan Nelson was also above the thresholds for making it into the runoff but he finished up four votes short of the 8% primary vote threshold and nine votes shy of the electability threshold.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Is Seat Polling Utterly Useless?

Advance Summary

1. Seat polls have received bad publicity because of poor results at the 2013 and 2016 federal elections, and in some other recent elections such as the WA Darling Range state by-election.

2. Because it is clear that seat polls are not very accurate, it is common for posters on social media to dismiss them out of hand as useless or so misleading as to be worse than useless.

3. Indeed, seat polls at the 2016 federal election shows they were so inaccurate that they had greater average 2PP errors than simple models based on uniform swing and national polling.

4. However, in 2016 hybrid models combining seat polling and uniform swing would have been more accurate than either seat polling or a uniform swing model alone.

5. The correct use of publicly available seat polling seems to be not to ignore it entirely, but rather to aggregate it with other sources of information including national modelling.

6. Seat polling should be most useful for races that are difficult to predict by normal means, but seat polls may be unusually inaccurate in those races too.

7. The biggest problem with seat polling is the reporting that treats unreliable seat polls as definitive verdicts that one side or the other is "winning".  In fact they are weak indicators and need to be reported in the context of other evidence.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Tas Councils: Is The Deputy Election System Dudding Us?

This article is not so much brought to you as provoked by Hobart's Lord Mayor Ron Christie, who today caved in to a campaign from sectors (by no means all) of the Tasmanian and interstate religious right.  Following an outcry about upside-down red crosses on the Hobart waterfront, Christie criticised the Dark Mofo music and art festival, suggesting it was no longer "family friendly" (was it ever?) and that the Council may cease funding this very successful visitor drawcard.  It doesn't appear Christie necessarily speaks for the Council on this matter, and certainly nor did he when he became remarkably keen on a proposal for co-naming Hobart "nipaluna" (a stance rather at odds with his opportunistic criticism of Mike Parr's three-day burial performance by the way, given the intended meanings of that artwork).  The Ron Christie I knew a little in the early 2000s was quite the zany freethinker and I suspect would have loved Dark Mofo to bits.  I can only wonder what has occurred!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Federal Newspoll Records Page

Introduction (June 2018)

This weekend, the Coalition government under PM Malcolm Turnbull trailed on two-party preferred vote for a 34th consecutive Newspoll, an all-time outright record.

As there has been so much interest in federal Newspoll records this year I thought I would start a Newspoll records page, a resource page which I will update and expand as time permits.  Some of the material has previously been published on the Newspoll Wikipedia page, which I fixed up after finding it contained a large number of errors caused by confusion between satisfaction scores and Better Prime Minister.

Suggestions for new categories are welcome, as are corrections.