Saturday, July 31, 2021

The Ipsos MyView Drink Survey Shambles

With telephone response rates falling, and people who answer polls by phone becoming less and less representative, many pollsters have turned to online panel polling.   As part of my interest in polling I have joined a number of online panels, to get some insight into the experience of respondents and ways in which their experience may shape how they respond.  Being on polling panels is also helpful because I get to see some of the polls that are in the field and how they are designed (polling disclosure being as poor as it is, and many of these pollsters still not being Australian Polling Council members).  By this method I also earn a very small amount of extra income by answering surveys on a range of topics.  It's worth mentioning that despite some misconceptions to the contrary I am not a professional pollster or market researcher, so there's nothing stopping me taking most such surveys, though now and then my honest answers to a particular screening question will see me rightly screened out.  There's also not a lot stopping the panels from kicking me off.  

One of these panels is Ipsos MyView and I thought I should share a recent experience with them that I found especially absurd and that might provide some insight into the lives of online panel poll recipients.  I may not have gone public had it been entirely a one-off, but my general experience is that this panel is very buggy compared to at least some others.  Surveys sometimes crash or screen the respondent out without providing any points, or lurk in the respondent's dashboard as awaiting completion for weeks but if you click on them you are told the survey isn't available as you may have already taken it.  There has been some improvement in this in recent months, with the panel more often referring the respondent to a different survey rather than screening them out immediately, but there are still far too many glitches.

Much of the time MyView works like this: You are invited to take a survey and asked a few screening questions.  If you are accepted and complete the survey you then get points, which once you have enough of them can be converted to shopping vouchers, gift cards, EFTPOS cards or charity donations.  Most completed surveys are worth between 100 points (effectively $1) and 300 points (effectively $3).  If you are screened out you should in theory get 5 points (5 cents!).  A common annoyance on these surveys is filling out what may as well be a full survey and then being screened out, though I have found that complaining about the more ridiculous examples of this will often result in 100-150 points compensation.  

Some of the surveys are reasonable value if you don't mind earning $15/hour or so in moments of spare time that are not otherwise useful.  Some, however, are ridiculously long for the amount of points given if one answers seriously, to the point that the client cannot possibly be still getting useful responses by the end (I've used the term "sweatshop" in the feedback section at the end of surveys many times).  As a guide to the sort of overall value one might gain from being a regular member of one of these things, in the last 12 months my dashboard shows me as completing 94 surveys, being screened out 163 times, and receiving points for other things (a mix of loyalty points and complaining) six times, for a total of $165.60 in voucher value.  Respondents won't be spending that all at once, and that doesn't account for dozens of times I clicked on a survey link and ended up with nothing.  Nonetheless, the surveys do provide some small measure of actual reward for people who enjoy them or find them interesting.  

(Some other panels such as YouGov use a different approach in which the respondent is pretty much never screened out and in general given some kind of survey, but with a lower average value per completed survey - though also with more shorter surveys.)

The Drinks Survey

Nothing in my experience of the MyView panel over the past few years prepared me for the circus that was the drinks diary survey.  It started (more or less, there may have been some earlier invitation that I agreed to) with an email invitation on 14 May that looked like this:


The survey turned out to be about drinks, of all varieties.  I have no idea who the client commissioning it would have been or what they would use the information for.  When I took one of these surveys I would be asked to give numbers of drinks of all kinds that I had consumed in the previous three days, even if they were only water.  For one drink within this sample space I would be asked to provide many more details, for example: Where did I drink it?  Was I with anyone? How large was it?  Did I drink it in a bottle, a cup or a glass?  What brand was it? Did I have food with it?  What sorts of characteristics of the drink were important to me? Did I drink it in a box? Did I drink it with a fox?  

The last two were of course not the real questions, but they would have made more sense than two of the actual questions, which asked me about how (from a list of options) I wanted the drink to make me feel, and how I wanted it to make me look (relaxed, confident, calm, energised etc.) What was especially senseless about those two questions was that they had no "none of the above option" and worse still no option for me to write an essay enquiring as to what portion of the human race really considered their status as a fashion model and visual influencer every time they consumed a glass of water or a cup of tea.  

In theory I should have been sent invitations every three days through the period.  What I actually found was that between the email system and the dashboard (which I will sometimes check in case I have missed any surveys sent out by email) I was getting invitations to take part in these surveys almost every day.  (The dashboard was the main culprit here as the email invitations were fairly well spaced.) That was weird, but I thought that maybe I had entered the survey through multiple portals and was being polled twice (something that has actually happened to me with some other surveys).  

When I filled out the surveys to the end, one of the following things happened, with each of them happening many times:

1. I completed the full survey, was told that was all for today, and to check back in three days for the next round.

2. I completed the full survey then was told my response had been rejected for data quality reasons.  This tended to happen especially if I filled out the survey via the dashboard within a day or so after having a response accepted.

3. The survey asked me only a few of the usual drinks questions, said that that was all the questions it had had for me today, and then the final screen told me I had just earned 200 points.

As my experience with this survey was different to what had been foreshadowed, I was very curious to see what would happen with my points tally 30 days after the survey finished.  On 20 June (a week late) I received this:


I was expecting at least 3000 points for this survey having filled it out to the end and had it accepted several times, and having also been told at least half a dozen times that I had just earned 200 points.  So it was rather odd to look into my profile and find that I had been awarded, in total, 450 points (= $4.50) - one lot of 100 points, one lot of 350.

Subsequent Exchanges

I sent a brief please-explain and received a response on 23 June, the important parts of which were as follows:

"As shown in the screenshot above, please be advised that the 1st transaction of 100 points is for participating the diary surveys, and the 2nd transaction is total of additional amount based on your response quality. Please note that the number of transactions does not refers to the number of entries that you have submitted.

As you can see from the original email we sent you (as shown in the below screenshot), we did clearly state that the number of rewards would be dependent on the quality of the responses received. "

This was, of course, complete nonsense.  The only references to response quality in the original email had referred to lots of 1000 or 5000 points - there was no way to earn 350 points for response quality.  There was also no way to earn 100 points for responses since even a single response was worth 150 points.  Indeed even if the points had all been for responses and not response quality, there was still no way to get 450 points.  Depending on interpretation, 1 response was 150, 2 was either 200 or 300, 3 was either 550 or 750, 4 was either 700 or 1000 and so on.  I wrote back again at some length, and also pointed out to them that they were again ignoring what I had said about often being told I had just earned 200 points.

On 27 June I received a response, the important parts of which were:

" After a thorough investigation, our record shows that you have completed 3 diary entries. Please refer to the breakdown  of your points as below :

Please refer below for the breakdown of your points :

3 diary entries x 100 points per response  = 300 points

3 diary entries x 150 extra points per response = 450

Extra points for providing 3 responses = 150"

Now this still doesn't make sense, because they've already given me the promised 150 points extra per response for 3 responses and therefore there is no additional "extra points for providing 3 responses" to add.  But the bigger problem is that they're claiming I only completed 3 entries, which I know isn't true, and which I had already told them wasn't true.  I filled out the surveys to the point of either being told to check back in a few days, or to the point of being told that was all for today and I had just earned 200 points, at least a dozen times - not counting the times my entry was rejected.

I wrote back again, and on 31 July received a supposed itemised list of my sessions of answering the drinks survey.  Their system had a record of a plausible 20 times that I had started a session of the survey.  However their system recorded:

* three of these as successful completions
* five as screenouts because I had completed surveys more rapidly than once every three days (consistent with my memory of the timing of cases where I submitted an entry that was rejected after filling in one survey from my dashboard soon after another)
* twelve supposed dropouts

The alleged dropouts included all nine cases where I started a session in June, up to June 8 (the day I was last emailed an invitation for this survey series).  In a large number of cases I completed either the long or the short version of the survey and was told either to check back or that I had just earned 200 points, yet MyView clearly must have either recorded these events as dropouts or not recorded them at all.

In their first three emails to me, at no point did Ipsos MyView:

* Acknowledged or directly addressed my comment that in several cases I was told I had just earned 200 points (beyond finally saying in their third email that "Production team also confirmed that the reward per response is only 100 points as stated in the invitation email.")

* Accepted my comments that the number of entries I successfully completed greatly exceeded three.

* Given me any points as an apology for the false nature of their original response (which meant I had to write a much longer email explaining why they were wrong) or a thankyou for the advice I have given them on how to stop this debacle happening again. (My advice was to either provide points at the time or at least record a survey as completed in a member's record so the member can see immediately whether their responses were accepted or not).  They have said the feedback will be passed on to the client who will hopefully improve the survey as a result.

* Shown any awareness that their system is full of bugs and that a customer who complains about bugs in their system is probably right.  

They, in effect, chose to believe the records of their bug-ridden system rather than the person taking the survey.

Finally (this update added 3 August) after a fourth email from me they compensated me 1500 points and apologised for the issues with these surveys.  

Tales Of The Punch-Drunk Panellists

Based on my overall experience of the MyView panel, it's no surprise to me that pollsters have to continually deal with respondents who speed, straightline, satisfice and in other ways attempt to game the system to get points as fast as possible.  Doubtless some do it from the start, but I suspect others would start out with good intentions and become more cynical over time.

More often than not MyView works correctly, but it is so often buggy that it becomes a ripoff if a respondent answers all questions honestly and thoughtfully to the best of their ability.   I'd expect that some respondents would come to see it as a game in which they became more interested in getting rewards as easily as possible than in the quality of information they were providing.  Things have changed since the days when most polling was done by live phone and most people were happy to have a yarn to the pollster for nothing!  

MyView is not only used by Ipsos.  Through it I have taken polls by a number of minor Australian pollsters including Dynata, Painted Dog, Q+A Research and others that I probably do not remember.  Ipsos is a member of the Australian Polling Council.  I hope that Ipsos MyView will improve its service to its members in the interest of quality participation in the polls that its panel provides.  

Ipsos MyView are welcome to respond in comments.

Updated note to email subscribers

 In June I posted a note to say that the Feedburner system that sends out automated emails from this site was "going away" (ie stopping working).  I was expecting this to take effect from the end of June, but the date seems to have now been pushed back to mid-August, and most of my posts seem to have still been sent out via the email system in the meantime.  There may be further changes and at this stage I cannot be sure that the existing email feed will stop working altogether at any time.  

In the event of the Feedburner feed stopping working (ie I am still posting articles but subscribers are not receiving emails about them) then I recommend that email subscribers sign up to other services that will allow you to enter your email address and a site name and receive an email feed of that site.  You may want to bookmark this post to come back to it should you realise you haven't heard anything from me for more than a few weeks and wonder why.  Anyone who wants to be sure of getting any article I write may want to sign up to such a service right away.

In comments to the previous article commenter Et3e! mentioned two example feed sites: feedrabbit.com and blogtrottr,com.  I have tested these and find that they work in more or less the same way except that Blogtrottr includes ads with the email of the article text. 

I've considered maintaining my own email list about the site and decided not to do it - too labour intensive and fiddly.  (I edited an email newsletter for a few years once and have no desire to repeat the experience.)

I should caution that both Feedburner and Blogtrottr are very fast in sending out emails (depending on the options chosen).  Initial release versions of articles are often sent out when an issue is fresh and information is emerging - they are more likely to contain typos, unfinished sentences and other errors.  I often say that I only have time to write this stuff, not to proofread it! I view all articles on this site as like a one-person Wikipedia - often I get them out as quickly as I can, but the articles are polished and more content often added later.  So what you get in the initial email and what the article looks like 24 hours later are sometimes rather different.  

I also recommend that anyone wanting to sign up to a feed of this site starting from now uses one of these services or find another similar service.  I've taken down the link to the Feedburner feed signup because I am not sure if the signup system is still working.  If Feedburner reverses all these mooted changes and does so in a language I can understand I may restore it.  

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Tasmania 2021: Voters Who Voted In One House Instead Of Two

This year Tasmania controversially had Legislative Council elections on the same day as a House of Assembly election, for the first time ever.  With the election being called for May 1st on March 26 with no prior warning the Tasmanian Electoral Commission had very little time to adapt to the logistic challenges of some voters having to vote in both houses.  These voters were the voters in the eastern Launceston division of Windermere, which occurs entirely within the Assembly division of Bass, and voters in the large division of Derwent, which is mostly spatially in Lyons but includes many voters in the northern suburbs of Glenorchy within Clark. 

The initial controversy around the holding of the elections on the same day concerned potential unfairness to candidates.  Party candidates could benefit from generic party funding for the Assembly campaign while independent Legislative Council candidates were restrained by the Council's strict spending caps.  There were arguments about whether parties could even legally run generic campaigns without in the process incurring expenditure on behalf of their Legislative Council candidates, though so far in terms of post-election challenges this aspect has not come to anything.  As it happened voters voted quite differently in the two houses, so while the Lower House campaign may have distorted the Upper House outcomes, there isn't any clear sign that the latter are different to what would have been expected anyway.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Could A Major Party Soon Take Control Of The Tasmanian Legislative Council?

The recent Tasmanian state election featured the holding of Legislative Council elections on the same day as the House of Assembly election for the first time ever.  This was controversial in fairness terms, and there were suggestions that parties might be breaching the Electoral Act, in particular by their candidates benefiting from generic party advertising that fell outside the strict Council spending requirements.  All has gone quiet on the challenge front following the election so far, but the Tasmanian Electoral Act allows a snoozy 90 days (!) for would-be challengers to get their act together, so it's too early to be certain that we've heard the last of it.  The strikingly different voting patterns in the overlapping booths could make it difficult to satisfy the court that Lower House generic advertising affected the upper house results, if that was something that the court considered relevant.  

One of the three seats contested saw a change in party status, with Liberal Nick Duigan picking up Windermere on the retirement of three-term conservative independent Ivan Dean.  This took the Liberals up to four seats out of 15, with Labor on five and six remaining independents.  

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Tasmanian Senate Contest And Integrity Commission Polling

Over the last two days results have been emerging of an Australia Institute Tasmania poll about the Tasmanian Integrity Commission, together with one about the next Tasmanian Senate race.  Unfortunately both these polls are unreliable.  In the Senate race case, the main problems are that polling Senate races is very difficult because standard polling platforms do not simulate the Senate voting experience, and also a recent robopoll at state level was way out.  In the case of the Integrity Commission poll, however, the main problem is the use of a skewing preamble.  This polling is also of interest because I believe it is the first uComms poll to be covered by the Australian Polling Council's disclosure requirements, so it will be interesting to see what surfaces on the uComms website over the next day or two.  

Distrust The Evidence Of Distrust!

The Tasmanian Integrity Commission was established in 2010 via a bill passed in 2009 by the then Bartlett Labor government.  Political tragics and commentators generally view it as at best a modest specimen of the integrity commission genre and at worst the sort of commission you have for the sake of saying you have one.  

There has been increasing frustration with the Integrity Commission's powers lately after it ruled that it could not investigate matters relating to Adam Brooks' candidacy at the 2021 state election because the election campaign occurred while parliament was dissolved and was therefore outside its jurisdiction.  The Greens made a complaint to the Commission (no they did not "refer" the matter*) asking it to investigate "the circumstances of Adam Brooks' pre selection, the support that the Premier gave him throughout the campaign and the manner of his resignation,".  Partly this complaint seems to have been an attempt to fuel the silly and sore-loserly "tainted election" claim surrounding Brooks (the Liberals would have easily won three seats in Braddon anyway), but there are some genuine questions up for grabs here.  Was Brooks a recent party donor?  Did the tipoff that resulted in Brooks facing charges in Queensland come from a party-connected source, or was it simply coincidence?  

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Email subscription changes

Up until now this site has offered an email subscription service, though I'm not sure how many people would have seen it.  Tucked in the bottom right hand of the page, for anyone who ever scrolled down that far, has been a space marked "Follow by email" where an email address can be entered.  At least in theory, anyone who enters their address then gets emailed the text of articles that are posted on this site, sometime within a day or so after the articles being posted.  (As one of the subscribers myself, I've found this to be more than a little hit and miss.)

The email service started rather slowly - this site started in October 2012 and by the end of 2012 only my mother and I were subscribed to it.  However it's continued to pick up subscribers over time.  Weirdly the smallest number of new subscribers was picked up in 2019 (a federal election year and a busy year for the site) while 2018 saw one of the largest numbers of new subscribers.  

For some time there's been an announcement inside my Blogger console that the Feedburner email service is "going away", which is a curiously quaint way of saying it aint gonna work any more.  I believe this takes effect from this week.

After (one by one, because there wasn't any other way!) culling over a thousand spam signups from the list, I've downloaded a file of the 110 genuine email subscriptions so that I may be able to, in future, transfer these over to a new email system providing the same service.  However, while I am pretty familiar with using mailing list sites such as MailChimp, what I don't know is how to replicate what the existing Feedburner service does.  That is, I don't know how to set up a service that will monitor my site, notice when I've got a completely new post up, and at that point (or preferably several hours later when I've culled out most of the gremlins and typos) send out an email to subscribers.  Also, of course, I would want to be able to put something in the sidebar where people could subscribe to this site.  

If anyone does know how to do this (and maybe someone will tell me immediately!), please let me know.  Otherwise, the email subscription service may be on hold for a short time, a long time or permanently pending me working out how to (and whether to) best replace it.  

If/once a new system is up to date, details will be posted.  

Update (11 July)

The article I posted yesterday has still gone out via the existing email system, so perhaps the change has not taken effect yet.  I'm continuing to explore and test alternatives (see comments) while I wait to see what happens.  

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Recent Newspolls Do Not Prove That A Hung Parliament Is Likely

Today's Australian reports claims by federal Greens Leader Adam Bandt that recent Newspolls suggest Australia is headed for another minority government situation similar to that which occurred (for the first time in many decades) in 2010.  It's a typical case of using polls for a purpose for which they are neither intended nor fit.  

The most relevant quotes:

"The Greens leader used ­research from the parliamentary library to argue that Labor’s only chance of forming government, based on the past six months of Newspoll, is to gain the support of the Greens and independents on supply and confidence.

The research, based on a uniform swing in each electorate, predicts Labor would have reached 75 seats on its two best polls this year – one seat short of a majority government.

“The maths just says we are heading towards a power-sharing parliament; (there) is a swing against the government,” Mr Bandt told The Weekend Australian. “It shows Morrison being pushed out of majority government but not enough for Labor to win in its own right.”

Thursday, June 17, 2021

The Major Parties Are Not "Neck And Neck" In Victoria

RESOLVE PM (Victoria state) Labor 37 Coalition 36 Green 9 IND 12 Others 5

2PP Estimate 54-46 to Labor.  If numbers repeated at election, Labor would win easily (c. 50 seats)

"Independent" vote very likely to be overstated

-------------------------------------------------------------

I've had too little time for writing here in recent weeks, largely because of a backlog of contract work that I had to clear after it built up during the Tasmanian snap election.  There are a few pieces I have been working on that I do hope to finish some time but they will be well behind the news cycle should they actually appear.  However, I wanted to make some comments about reporting of today's Resolve Political Monitor poll of Victorian state election voting.  This furthers a concern I have had about some responses to the 2019 federal polling failure - that some media sources that commission or work with polls have responded with trendy solutions that lose information and then lead to worse reporting of what polls are actually claiming to show.  

In my initial coverage of Resolve's entry to the major polling markets I noted that fingering two-party preferred figures as a major culprit in the 2019 federal polling failure was simply incorrect: polls were wrong overwhelmingly because their primary votes were wrong, with errors in preference estimation making only a small contribution to the failure.  I doubted the claims that this would deliver readers "something deeper" than "the “horse race” nature of the way we reported the results of TPP questions" and suggested that what this would actually lead to was journalists reporting the horse race off primary votes.  In the case of the reporting of this specific Victorian poll, the horse race commentary hasn't gone away, it's just got worse.  It's like being told just the relative positions of the horses near the end of a race without being told one of them is flagging and the other is charging home strongly.  

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Upper Hunter By-Election Live And Post-Count

-----------------------------------------------------------

UPPER HUNTER (National, 2.6%)
By-election caused by resignation of Michael Johnsen
2019 primary votes Nat 34.0 Labor 28.6 SFF 22.0 Greens 4.8 LDP 4.4 SA 2.2 AJP 2 CDP 1.9  

Seat called win to Nationals at 8:24 pm Saturday (final swing to Nats 3.26%)

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Saturday: Final 2PP 55.82 to Nationals (+3.26)

Monday: 2PP now at 55.7 after a strong performance for the Nats on initial postals more than cancelled out a comparatively weak performance on iVotes.  

Sunday 8:00 Good performances in the other prepolls have the Nats up to 55.4 now.  Still no sign of the iVotes.  

Sunday 2:20 Muswellbrook prepoll has come in dropping the live 2PP to 54.5.

Sunday 1:10 The 2PP in the live count is now sitting at 56.8.  Labor has stopped the rot in a couple of prepolls today and the 2PP will come down when Muswellbrook prepoll is added.  My projection has dropped to 54.6 but I believe that's on the low side.   Still no sign of the iVotes but I believe they're coming today.  

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Poll Roundup: Another Budget Rates Pretty Well As Early Election Talk Resumes

With the 2021 Budget now released it's time for this site's annual post-Budget federal polling roundup.  

Voting Intention

The current polling consensus is that Labor has a narrow (51-49ish) lead, though we should not be too confident Labor is ahead at all given the errors seen at the 2019 election.  We can hope that pollsters have successfully addressed the causes of the errors (and also not overcorrected, in which case Labor might in theory be ahead by more). YouGov at least has taken targeted action aimed at fixing the 2019 problems, but until we actually see a test at a federal election, we don't know.

The current Newspoll had Labor ahead 51-49 (unchanged) off primaries of Coalition 41 Labor 36 Greens 12 One Nation 2 others 9.  The second ever Resolve Political Monitor poll (link to my April discussion) has primaries of Coalition 39 Labor 35 Green 12 One Nation 2 Independent 8 Other 5.  Treating "independent" in this poll as generic "others", I get a 2PP of 51.1 to Labor (+1 since April).  If "independent" is carved out, I get 51.9 (+0.9), but I don't recommend this as there are plenty of low-information voters who use "independent" as a catch-all term for indies and minor crossbench parties such as KAP, Centre Alliance etc.   As noted in the initial article about this poll, using Independent as a standalone option can lead to inflated readings compared to actual Independent vote shares.  

Monday, May 17, 2021

Tasmania 2021: What Was The Point Of This Election?

LIBERAL 13 LABOR 9 GREEN 2 IND 1 (Unchanged from before election)

This is another state election where I think a post-election washup post is in order, some of which will cover similar ground to the 2018 washup.  I started writing this a few days after the election but found it was hard to assess the result without knowing for sure who had won and lost.  I ended up rewriting this piece quite a few times and have stripped out a lot of commentary because the article was getting way too long.  

This election's been a crazy and fascinating ride.  The interest levels in it, especially Clark, have been extremely high on this site.  The post-election Adam Brooks news just adds more weirdness to the mix, and now we have a Labor leadership election as well (the first since Michael Field defeated Neil Batt in a party room ballot in 1988, and the first under new rules with voting by members and delegates).  

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Test

This is a test post because my website was being blocked by Firefox and Chrome this morning based on a presumed phishing false positive which I've reported.  Individual links are working OK; I just wanted to see if I could post new content or not.  

All seems to be fine now but if anyone has this problem please report cases of it to me by email (k_bonham@tassie.net.au) and please excuse any frustrated tones in any reply!

Friday, May 14, 2021

Brooks (Braddon) Instant Recount 2021

RECOUNT: Ellis (Lib) vs Sheehan (Lib).

Recount will conclude Thursday morning.  Unofficial result: Ellis has won by about 749 votes.  

Warning: unusually wonky recount.  The Braddon recount has been upgraded to Wonk Factor 5/5.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Senate Surprise: Abetz Demoted To Third

News has just come through that Tasmanian Liberal preselectors have released a ticket with Senator Jonathon Duniam first, Senator Wendy Askew second and Senator Eric Abetz third.  This comes as a surprise after recent Fontcast gossip that suggested Abetz and Duniam would fight out the top spot on the ballot with Askew to be placed third (gender issues notwithstanding).  Askew has only been a Senator for just over two years since being appointed to a casual vacancy.  

Previously Abetz had been on top of the Senate ballot four times in a row since being first appointed to the Senate on a casual vacancy.  Previous pretenders to the top position Guy Barnett and Richard Colbeck were demoted by preselectors to risky positions where they subsequently lost their seats.  (Barnett went into state politics where he has been successful, while Colbeck returned to the Senate after the disqualification of Stephen Parry and topped the 2019 ticket).  

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Almost Everything In West Media's Polling Video Is Wrong

Got my right hand high, with the thumb down ...


I'm writing a long washup piece re the Tasmanian election and its outcomes but my attention has been diverted by clueless Twitter praise of a YouTube video by The West Report, called "Who really is the preferred PM?"  Strangely the video doesn't actually talk that much about preferred PM scores or say who the preferred PM actually is, but it says a lot of other things that are just not accurate.  It's possibly the worst thing I've seen about polls on a vaguely prominent platform since Bob Ellis.  

The video claims at 0:31 that the questions in the polls aren't public while highlighting a statement from Resolve Political Monitor that says "All questions are designed to be fair, balanced and accurate, e.g. voting questions emulate the actual presentation and ranked preferences of ballot papers as closely as possible". The words from the second "questions" on are highlighted.  But in Resolve's case, what appears to include at least some of the questions is published.  It's also perhaps a bit early to judge Resolve on its transparency approach since it has so far done one national poll.  The Newspoll standard questions, however, are not only regularly published verbatim in The Australian but have existed in stable form for just over 35 years.  I can vouch that the questions as published by Newspoll are their questions, exactly, as I have been polled by them a few times going back to the early 1990s.  Granted, it would be beneficial for pollsters to openly publish exact details of the ballot forms they offer voters (including being clear about Resolve's exact voting intentions question), but in Newspoll's case and for some questions for Resolve, we do see what they are asking.  Ditto for Essential, by the way, although Essential unfortunately doesn't usually release the order (if there was one) in which options for issue questions were asked. 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

2021 Tasmanian Postcount: Lyons

(Link to main 2021 page including link to other postcount threads)

LYONS (2018 Result 3 Liberal 2 Labor)

SEAT RESULT 3 Liberal 2 Labor (called)

CALLED ELECTED: Rebecca White (Labor), Guy Barnett (Liberal), Mark Shelton (Liberal), Jen Butler (Labor), John Tucker (Liberal)

Lyons is as dead as it gets as a party level contest with the Liberals on more or less exactly 3 quotas, Labor on more or less exactly 2 and the Greens on just over half, and the rest is mostly Shooters.

Rebecca White has topped the poll with 1.4 quotas.  Guy Barnett is also over quota and Mark Shelton is on .72 quotas and will win, though it will take a while.

2021 Tasmanian Postcount: Franklin

 (Link to main 2021 page including link to other postcount threads)

FRANKLIN (2018 Result 2 Labor 2 Liberal 1 Green)

ALL SEATS CALLED: 2-2-1, Jacquie Petrusma and Nic Street (Lib) re-elected, David O'Byrne (Labor) re-elected, Rosalie Woodruff (Greens) re-elected, Dean Winter (Labor) replaces Alison Standen (Labor)

There is no suspense about the count in Franklin: all the incumbents have won except that Alison Standen has lost heavily to Dean Winter and David O'Byrne in a within-party contest.  Winter's campaign was initially blocked by left unionist elements in the party and this was only overturned by federal intervention (at the behest of another union that took exception to the claim Winter wasn't Labor-y enough).  The result confirms the utter senselessness of leaving Winter off the Labor ticket for even five minutes and Labor should identify those irresponsible and ensure they don't get asked to pick the squad again.  

2021 Tasmanian Postcount: Braddon

(Link to main 2021 page including link to other postcount threads)

BRADDON (2018 result 3 Liberal 2 Labor)

SEAT RESULT 3 Liberal 2 Labor 

CALLED ELECTED: Jeremy Rockliff (Lib), Anita Dow (ALP), Shane Broad (ALP)

WITHIN PARTY CONTEST (Liberal): Adam Brooks extremely likely to win, Roger Jaensch vs Felix Ellis for third Liberal seat.  Expecting formal confirmation soon that Brooks and Jaensch have won.   (UPDATE: confirmed)

In Braddon there is nearly 84% counted.  The Liberals have 3.42 quotas, Labor has 1.6, the Greens 0.32, the Shooters 0.23 and Craig Garland has 0.37 (6%) and has beaten the Greens again!  Jeremy Rockliff has topped the poll, of course, and currently has 1.74 quotas.  

2021 Tasmanian Postcount: Bass

(Link to main 2021 page including link to other postcount threads)

BASS (2018 3 Labor 2 Liberal)

CALLED RESULT 3 Liberal 2 Labor

MPs CALLED: Peter Gutwein (Lib), Michael Ferguson (Lib), Sarah Courtney (Lib), Michelle O'Byrne (Labor), Janie Finlay (Labor).  

Jennifer Houston (Labor) loses seat to Finlay.

In Bass, we currently have 81% counted, which is pretty good.  Premier Gutwein has already smashed Will Hodgman's 2018 record for the largest number of personal votes ever recorded by a candidate, and his 48.2% primary vote is the second highest of all time, behind Doug Lowe's 51.2% (which was pre Robson rotation).  For the Robson Rotation era he beats Robin Gray's 42.2% by six points, though that was achieved with seven candidates on the ticket and not six.  The concentration of the Liberal vote in Gutwein is amazing and has left incumbents Ferguson and Courtney looking a bit neglected!  They're bound to win on Gutwein's surplus though; indeed Ferguson will probably clear quota right away and Courtney might do so too.  

2021 Legislative Council Postcounts: Windermere and Derwent

(Link to main 2021 page including link to other postcount threads)

WINDERMERE Vacancy (retirement, Ivan Dean, conservative IND)

Nick Duigan (LIB) vs Geoff Lyons (ALP) or Will Smith (IND)

Duigan won after preferences of Smith.  

DERWENT called, Craig Farrell (ALP) has retained.

This is a very brief (initially) postcount thread for Windermere, which I am doing second behind Clark because the Legislative Council matters!  Labor's Craig Farrell has retained Derwent as he is leading Ben Shaw 48.7-41.2 and the Animal Justice preferences (10%) will favour Farrell.  Farrell might win 55-45 or slightly more.  

2021 Tasmanian Postcount: Clark


CLARK (2018 Result 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Green, when election called 1 Liberal 1 Labor 1 Green 2 IND, when election held 2 Liberal 1 Labor 1 Green 1 IND)

SEATS WON 1 Liberal 1 Labor 1 Green 1 IND.
CALLED WINNERS: Elise Archer (Lib), Cassy O'Connor (Green), Ella Haddad (Labor).
PARTY CONTEST: Liberal vs IND, Liberal well ahead, INDs will gain, both INDs need to overtake Liberals for them to lose.  Liberals strongly expected to win.
WITHIN-PARTY CONTEST: Behrakis (LIB) vs Ogilvie (LIB) for expected
 Liberal 2nd seat. Ogilvie will win.  
IND vs IND CONTEST: Johnston vs Hickey, Johnston ahead and expected to win.

UPDATE: Clark called as wins for Johnston and Ogilvie after exclusion of Davis.  

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Tasmanian Election Day 2021

Yes the glorious day has arrived, we are finally there!  We are (checks watch), er, ten months early.  

Tonight I will be doing live coverage for The Mercury.  The link will be edited in to this article when available.  It may be paywalled but there is usually a cheap introductory subscription for non-subscribers.  My live blog for the Mercury will probably start somewhere in the 6-6:30 range and go until late night although I may have to stop it to file articles and do interviews eventually.  I will be based at the tally room.  I ask media outside of the Mercury not to contact me by phone or email between 5:30 and about 11 tonight; once I have finished the live coverage I should be available for other interviews (feel free to say hi in the tally room when I don't look too busy to arrange).   Scrutineers are very welcome to send me news and figures by phone or email.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

2021 Tasmanian State Election Polling Drought

One of the regular services I've provided on this site and, before that, on Tasmanian Times, is polling-based forecasting of Tasmanian elections.  At all elections since 2006 there have been multiple public polls that have allowed me to do this, and some of these polls have had very good sample sizes indeed. However this year (link to my 2021 guide main page) we have had no public polling since February.  By public polling, I mean a poll either released by a polling company off its own bat, or commissioned by a media outlet that is always going to publish the results.  We have had a single commissioned poll with voting intentions data released (uComms commissioned by the left-wing Australia Institute), and some rumours about party polling.

I would like to be able to present a forecast and say that it should be as reliable as in previous years, but with such a low level of polling data I can't do that.  There might be more voting intentions polling to come, but I don't have any specific reason to expect any.  This especially follows the news that EMRS, who last polled in February, will not bring forwards their May omnibus to include a poll for this election.  

Before I get into some fine detail about the maths of such a lack of polls, I want to cover some general points: how did we get here and why does it matter?  The tail end of this article is more technical and gets up to around 3/5 on the Wonk Factor scale.  

Monday, April 26, 2021

The Governor's Role In The 2021 Tasmanian Election

The 2021 Tasmanian election campaign (link to main guide) has seen various claims about the role of the Governor Kate Warner, both in calling the election and in resolving the aftermath should the election produce a hung parliament.  Not only are these claims incorrect, but some of them (concerning the calling of the election) are both unfair to the soon-to-retire Governor Warner and by implication anti-democratic.  

Calling the election

The first set of claims that have circulated concerns the Governor's role in calling the election.  The claims being made fall into two groups:

1. That the Governor may have made a mistake in accepting Premier Gutwein's advice to dissolve the Parliament and hold an election.

2. That the Governor made the correct decision, but that she must have relied on false or misleading advice from the Premier in so doing, and would otherwise have not called the election.

I first saw claims of type 1 in an April 2 op ed by Charles Wooley  (paywalled, and need to scroll down).  It's far from being the only thing I disagree with in that article:

Saturday, April 24, 2021

What's This Then? Commissioned Poll Claims Liberals In Trouble

 Australia Institute uComms: Liberal 41.4 Labor 32.1 Greens 12.4 IND 11 Other 3.1

If accurate Government would probably lose majority (approx 12-10-2-1 or 12-9-3-1, perhaps more INDs)

Handle with caution - commissioned robopoll, IND figure looks exaggerated

Aggregate-based model of vaguely recent vaguely public polling: approx 13-8-3-1

A week out from the 2021 Tasmanian state election (link to guide main page) there remains no public polling that is less than two months old.  This is a parlous situation and I feel that relying on the media to commission useful polling at a useful time has failed and that for future state elections it will be necessary to look at crowdfunding reputable polling to fill the void a few weeks out.  If, that is, such a thing proves viable.  

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Ditching Two-Party Preferred Won't Resolve Australia's Polling Problems

Resolve: Coalition 38 Labor 33 Green 12 One Nation 6 IND 8 Others 3.
My 2PP Estimate 50-50
Alternative Estimate 51-49 to ALP

A new federal polling series has been launched and what we have before us is a mixture of the good, the bad and the interesting.  Such is my initial reaction to the launch of Resolve Political Monitor, a new poll by Resolve Strategic for the SMH and The Age.  Many of the reporting decisions around this new poll appear intended to keep it on a similar footing to the Nine stable's former Nielsen and Ipsos polls.  The poll will run monthly, and excitingly will include bi-monthly state polling for NSW and Victoria, something there has been a deplorable lack of in recent years.  

Monday, April 19, 2021

Legislative Council Voting Patterns 2017-21

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 (and one retiring) MLCs in the last four years.

2. Although there is a degree of independence in all Legislative Council voting (outside of party blocks), the Council continues to have a fairly clearly defined "left" side consisting of the five Labor Party MLCs, and independents Mike Gaffney, Ruth Forrest, Rob Valentine and Meg Webb. 

3. The three Liberal MLCs and retiring independent Ivan Dean form a "right" cluster and independents Rosemary Armitage and Tania Rattray now clearly more often vote with that cluster than with the left.

4. The votes recorded in the last year have also seen greater fracturing of the left cluster, more divisions with both major parties on one side and a higher proportion of divisions where the government wins.  

5. A possible left-to-right sort of the Council is Valentine, Webb, Gaffney tied with Forrest, the five Labor MLCs in no particular order, Rattray, Armitage, Dean, and the three Liberal MLCs in no particular order.

6. Going into the 2020 elections, the left holds an absolute majority in the Legislative Council, normally meaning that the government needs the support of Labor or at least two left independents to win votes.  The left will remain in majority, the question being the size of that majority.

7. The left-right split is only rarely reflected perfectly on the floor of the Council at the moment.

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Thursday, April 1, 2021

WA 2021 Button Presses And Final Results Comments

 I've just taken a brief break from my extensive coverage of the snap Tasmanian election to return to the 2021 WA landslide because button presses may be imminent - the WA Electoral Commission says buttons will be pressed in the three smallest regions Mining and Pastoral, Agricultural and South-West today from 3 pm WA time.  That said there have been varying reports on social media as to whether this will happen or not.  If the elections are really approaching button press status then it is disappointing that the WA Electoral Commission site does not include the below-the-line vote totals in order for election-watchers to revise our expectations and I hope this will be improved in the future.  

I have had no time to add to what was already up on my postcount thread, which I consider to have been largely overtaken by Antony Green's detailed coverage.  In short no doubt has been raised about Agricultural as 3 Labor 2 National 1 Liberal, and expectations in Mining and Pastoral have settled on 4 Labor 1 Liberal 1 Daylight Savings (of which I will have more to say if that occurs) while the last two seats in South-West (beyond 3 Labor 1 Liberal) are a multi-party mess with about five parties having been in contention at some stage.  I'll add comments on the results when they are up and later when time permits I will also be adding some summary comments on the Lower House final results.  

Monday, March 29, 2021

Legislative Council 2021: Derwent

This is the second of the Legislative Council guides that I am putting out quickly as I am keen to ensure that the LegCo elections do not get neglected (especially as they are currently expected to be on the same day as the state election).  My guide to Windermere is up, and links for all pages will be added to my general state election hub page.  An analysis of voting in the chamber in the last four years has also been posted.

I will be doing live coverage of the state election from 6 pm for The Mercury on their website and I expect this to include the Legislative Council elections too, assuming that they go ahead on May 1 as flagged.  Postcount threads will be posted for any seats that remain in doubt or of interest following counting night.

Derwent: Seat Profile

As its name suggests Derwent covers much of the middle and upper Derwent Valley.  It starts in the suburbs of Glenorchy and takes in Bridgewater/Gagebrook, Brighton, the major town of New Norfolk, and a scattering of small farming, fishing and timber towns up to Lake St Clair and out into the south-west.  It even takes in Great Lake which isn't very Derwent Valley at all.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Legislative Council 2021: Windermere

With a snap state election called I am scurrying to get my Legislative Council guides out as fast as possible too, as I am keen to ensure that the LegCo elections do not get neglected (especially as they are currently expected to be on the same day).  I've started with Windermere because it is the most interesting on paper; link to Derwent is here and both pages are linked off my general state election main page.   An analysis of voting in the chamber in recent years has also been posted.

I will be doing live coverage of the state election from 6 pm for The Mercury on their website and this will include the Legislative Council seats too.  Postcount threads will be posted for any seats that remain in doubt or of interest following counting night.

Seat Profile

Windermere covers the eastern side of the Tamar River including George Town and the northern and some eastern Launceston suburbs.  At the 2017 redistribution it was expanded, gaining the Lilydale area from the abolished division of Apsley (the nearest parts of which are now McIntyre).  Windermere is a diverse electorate, including the strongly Labor satellite suburbs of Ravenswood and Waverley, the pro-Liberal suburbs of Norwood and St Leonards, and some booths with fairly high Green votes along the river.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Holding The House Of Assembly And Legislative Council Elections On The Same Day

Having completed the initial runs of my Lower House guides it's now time to move onto the Legislative Council.  But before I do there is a general matter about the Legislative Council elections that I wish to cover in its own post.  For the first time in the state's history as a state (I am not sure about colonial elections) this year's Legislative Council elections are set to be held on May 1, the same day as the House of Assembly elections.  While there are advantages in holding the elections on the same day, I believe this is unfair to independent candidates because of the Council's strict spending restrictions, and that for this reason the Legislative Council elections should have been moved (perhaps to May 29) and should be moved if this is still possible.  

Historic cases of elections held close together

The following table shows cases where the House of Assembly and Legislative Council elections were held close together:


(Source: Parliament House website).  In the early days, Legislative Council elections seem to have been held on a range of days of the week, resulting in some cases of the elections falling four days apart.

2021 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Lyons

This is the Lyons electorate guide for the 2021 Tasmanian State Election.  (Link to main 2021 election preview page, including links to other electorates.)  If you find these guides useful, donations are very welcome (see sidebar), but please only donate in these difficult times if you can afford to do so.  Note: if using a mobile you may need to use the view web version option at the bottom of the page to see the sidebar.

Lyons (Currently 3 Liberal 2 Labor). 
Most of the state
Rural, outer suburban and forested.  
Lots of tiny dispersed towns that take many years for an MP to work

2021 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Franklin

This is the Franklin electorate guide for the 2021 Tasmanian State Election.  (Link to main 2021 election preview page, including links to other electorates.)  If you find these guides useful, donations are very welcome (see sidebar), but please only donate in these difficult times if you can afford to do so.  Note: if using a mobile you may need to use the view web version option at the bottom of the page to see the sidebar.

Franklin (Currently 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Green)
Eastern shore Hobart (Clarence City), much of Kingborough, Huon Valley, D'Entrecasteaux Channel
Urban/outer urban/treechange/rural

2021 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Clark

This is the Clark electorate guide for the 2021 Tasmanian State Election.  (Link to main 2021 election preview page, including links to other electorates.)  If you find these guides useful, donations are very welcome (see sidebar), but please only donate in these difficult times if you can afford to do so.  Note: if using a mobile you may need to use the view web version option at the bottom of the page to see the sidebar.

Clark (Currently 2 Liberal 1 Labor 1 Green 1 Independent)
(When election was called 1 Liberal 1 Labor 1 Green 2 Independent)
(2018 Result 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Green)
Western shore Hobart, primarily Hobart City and Glenorchy City
Inner and outer urban

2021 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Braddon

 This is the Braddon electorate guide for the 2021 Tasmanian State Election.  (Link to main 2021 election preview page, including links to other electorates.)  If you find these guides useful, donations are very welcome (see sidebar), but please only donate in these difficult times if you can afford to do so.  Note: if using a mobile you may need to use the view web version option at the bottom of the page to see the sidebar.

Braddon (Currently 3 Liberal 2 Labor). 
North-west and western Tasmania including Devonport, Burnie and Ulverstone
Regional/rural/remote

Friday, March 26, 2021

2021 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Bass

This is the Bass electorate guide for the 2021 Tasmanian State Election.  (Link to main 2021 election preview page, including links to other electorates.) If you find these guides useful, donations are very welcome (see sidebar), but please only donate in these difficult times if you can afford to do so.  Note: if using a mobile you may need to use the view web version option at the bottom of the page to see the sidebar.

Bass (Currently 3 Liberal 2 Labor). 
North-east Tasmania including most of Launceston
Mixed urban/small-town/rural

2021 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Main Page

The election has been run and the Liberals are the largest party but it remains to be determined for sure whether they have a majority.  

Postcount threads are being unrolled:

Clark 

Windermere and Derwent

Bass

Braddon

Franklin (zzzzz)

Lyons

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Welcome to the main page for my 2021 Tasmanian state election coverage.  This page will carry links to all the other articles about the election that I write prior to the close of polling, and will contain general big-picture stuff and links to all the specialised articles (once these are written).  It will be updated very frequently.  Each electorate has its own guide page.  Note that these are my own guides and I reserve the right to inject flippant and subjective comments whenever I feel like it; if you do not like this, write your own.

Tasmanian Snap Election? Early Elections and Majority vs Minority

Following the resignation of Sue Hickey from the Liberal Party, placing the Gutwein Government into minority, there have been strong rumours since Wednesday afternoon of a May 1 snap election.  Whether or not the election is actually called for this date or soon, I thought it would be interesting to cover some of the history.

The resignation of Sue Hickey from the Liberal Party presents no clear threat to confidence in the government.  Hickey has promised continued confidence in the government in the absence of "corruption", but notwithstanding her definition of "corruption" or whether the government can trust her, they presently have another confidence vote if needed from Madeleine Ogilvie.  So I classify this as an unforced early election.

However, the spectacle of recent days and the constant goading that losing a majority brings would be unappealling for the Government.  It seems most likely that the Government brought on Hickey's departure having already decided to go to an election ASAP, perhaps inspired by the example of the McGowan government which has been massively re-elected and which has followed a similar COVID-19 storyline to Tasmania.  There is however one major difference between Tasmania and WA: federal drag.  In the absence of COVID-19, McGowan's government would have been expected to increase its majority anyway (though not by as much as it has), while Gutwein's would have been expected to go backwards.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Sue Hickey Disendorsed And Leaves The Liberal Party

I am still on remote fieldwork for another few days but the developments of the last two days deserve a quick post.  Yesterday Tasmanian House of Assembly Speaker Sue Hickey and Premier Peter Gutwein both announced that Gutwein had told Hickey that there was insufficient support for re-endorsing her as a Liberal candidate in the next Tasmanian state election.  While no formal endorsement announcements have been made, this effectively ensures that Hickey is disendorsed.  

What got us here?

For interstate and international audiences and any Tasmanians who have spent the last few years down a cave, Hickey is a former Hobart Lord Mayor, small businesswoman and long-time and long-suffering Liberal who was elected to state parliament in 2018, polling just under two-thirds of a quota in her own right.  Even before her election, Hickey had showed that she was about as left-wing as one can get in the Liberal Party without falling off the edge of the plane.  She was overlooked for an immediate ministry, but claimed she had been promised a ministry if she ran and was elected.  On the first day of the parliament, Hickey accepted a nomination from the opposition benches and was elected Speaker instead of the Government's nominee Rene Hidding.  It was a secret ballot but one can safely assume Hickey's thirteen votes were ten Labor, two Greens and herself.  

Monday, March 15, 2021

AsiNine: NSW Labor Not At Hundred-Year Low

With much attention on the Western Australian election and also a rather interesting Newspoll this weekend, unfortunately there was a third story that saw some of the most lamentable poll reporting that has been seen from a major network for a while.  I've put the other matters aside for an hour or two now, because what has happened here needs to be strongly condemned.

The first I saw of this poll was a news item tweeted by the Nine News Sydney account, concerning a disaster poll for NSW Labor, one supposedly finding that the party's primary vote was lower than at any election since 1904, and worse even than the 2011 debacle.  The Twitter video of the news report was three minutes and 18 seconds long.  I watched it three times in disbelief that a report of such a momentous poll did not even name the pollster involved, let alone state who had commissioned the poll.  Then I ranted about it on Twitter.  Then I watched it a fourth time just to make sure that I hadn't just made a real fool of myself.  But it was real - 198 seconds complete with interviews with ex-Premier Morris Iemma, but no mention of the pollster's name.  This alone was quite ridiculous.

(I've been told there is a longer version that does name the pollster, but haven't seen it, and don't know how widely versions with and without the pollster named were broadcast.)

WA 2021 Legislative Council Postcount

Note added 1 April: I have had no time to update this page because of the Tasmanian snap election.  Button press comments and final results comments are being added on a new thread.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It seems a bit dubious to be calling what is going on in WA at the moment a "postcount" when on the Monday morning after the main count we are only at 43% counted in the lower house (about half the votes that will be included) and a similar level upstairs.  However, that's the convention so I'll stick with it, especially since I won't have time for anything I could flatter by calling it a live counting thread.

Anyway for now I have not started a lower house postcount thread for time reasons.  The lower house result currently looks like probably 53-2-4 or 52-3-4, with Liberal-held Churchlands most in doubt.  There is also some doubt about Liberal-held Carine and Nedlands (both of which Labor is leading), the Nationals' Warren-Blackwood (Nationals leading) and the ABC still has the Nationals' North-West Central (Labor leading) in doubt, possibly because the seat is so varied (Poll Bludger projects an easy Labor win).  I suggest keep an eye on PB for further developments in the Lower House; if a seat is still interesting once the percentage counted gets much closer to completion I may have more to say.

This thread will follow counting in the six Legislative Council threads, and I will gradually unroll them as my very limited time permits.  Just for starters I thought it was worthwhile putting up some general notes on the counts.  

Saturday, March 13, 2021

WA 2021 Live

WA 2021: Start position Labor 40 Liberal 13 National 6

(Includes Darling Range, notionally Labor occupied by Liberal via by-election, and Geraldton, notionally Liberal but incumbent switched to Nationals).

Labor has won the election overwhelmingly.  Nationals likely to win more seats than Liberals.  

Labor on track to win upper house majority.  Some prospect of micro-party wins.

Expected Labor gains from Liberal (9): 

Bateman, Carine, Darling Range,  Dawesville,  Riverton,  Kalgoorlie,  Hillarys,  Scarborough, South Perth

Expected Labor gains from National (1): Geraldton

Liberal seats at risk to Labor (2): Churchlands, Nedlands - both currently likely to fall

Nationals seats at risk to Labor (1): NW Central -  currently likely to fall

Latest updates appear below the line scrolling to the top.  Refresh every 10 mins or so once counting is well underway for the most recent comments.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

When Federal Polls Are 50-50, Oppositions Rarely Win

For nearly a year of federal polling, an unusual situation has existed.  The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has polled very high personal ratings, and large leads on Better Prime Minister scores, but the Coalition has struggled to build any meaningful two-party voting intention lead.  If polling is to be believed, an election held right now would be a close thing, though the government would probably survive.  

However, many observers just don't believe Labor is really at 50-50.  This is not surprising given that Newspoll was 3% out on the two-party preferred vote at the last election, so perhaps that's still the case and the government is 53-47 ahead and cruising.  (The history of polling failures elsewhere suggests probably not - every election cycle is different.)  But what I've noticed a fair bit is that people who don't believe the voting intention polling cite the PM's personal polling (or in some cases the primary votes) as evidence that the 2PP voting intention polling is wrong.   This doesn't make sense - why should voters give misleading answers on their current voting intention but not on what they think of the PM?  Or if sampling issues are causing the voting intention polling to be wrong, surely they would also drag the PM's personal ratings down (in which case he would actually be amazingly popular, and there would be a new issue of why he had only a modest 2PP lead instead of a massive one.)  

Thursday, March 4, 2021

EMRS: Liberals Still Have Hefty Lead, But Data Lacking On Clark Indie Runs

EMRS Feb 2021: Liberal 52 Labor 27 (+2) Greens 14 Others 7 

If these results were recorded in an election "held now" Liberals would win a majority (15-8-2, 14-8-3 or 14-9-2 most likely breakdowns.)

Poll was taken before announcement of Kristy Johnston independent candidacy for Clark

The first EMRS poll for 2021 has been released.  It confirms some degree of easing in the massive Liberal leads seen in the August poll last year, which may have been an outlier.  However it still has Peter Gutwein's Liberal Government on a primary vote above 50% and with a primary vote lead over Labor of 25 points, both of which imply another majority Liberal government if an election was "held now", and probably an increase in seat numbers.  That is, assuming the poll is reasonably accurate.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

The Howard Aggregation 1993-1996

In 2018, on the 25th anniversary of the Paul Keating's famous and unusual 1993 election victory, I released The Keating Aggregation, an account of the well-known polling downs and lesser-known polling ups of the Hawke-Keating government on its way to that celebrated victory.  

Today, it is 25 years since the Keating Government was turfed by the Liberal-National Coalition led by a second-time Opposition Leader, John Howard.  And to mark the 25th anniversary of that occasion too, today I present a polling aggregation for the years 1993-1996.  Together with the above Keating piece, this means that 2PP aggregations for all the terms from 1990 onwards are now available online; other historic aggregations are available at Poll Bludger.  Incidentally, aggregation itself existed in the early 90s, and while looking for missing poll data I found old newspaper articles by Brian Costar that used 2PP aggregation to estimate election results.  What I haven't found yet from that time are any aggregation graphs.  

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

One More Nightmare: Group Tickets And The 2021 WA Upper House

Sorry to be so ranty about this, but I think that it has to be said.  The 2021 Western Australian Legislative Council "election" is a bad joke.  Voting systems should give voters real choices about how they vote and should only reward parties with serious voter support.  WA politicians have failed and disrespected the voters by doing nothing at all to deliver this.  Instead voters are still coerced, eight years after the 2013 Senate farce, into propping up another dishonest Group Ticket grift party fest.  If you can do it without making a mistake, vote below the line.

As noted four years ago (sigh) Western Australia's upper house has the worst voting system in the country.  The chamber is grossly malapportioned, with votes in two bush regions being worth nearly four times more than votes in Perth suburbs.  

Voters can vote by putting a one above the line, in which case their vote may be sent goodness knows where as a result of backroom preference deals and deliberate preference harvesting.  They cannot give preferences between parties as they can in the Senate.  The only other way in which it is permitted to vote formally is to vote below the line.  If you do this you must number every box (about 54 on average) and if you leave any box blank or skip or repeat any number in the sequence, your vote is informal. 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

WA 2021: How Lopsided Do You Want It?

The 2021 Western Australian lower house state election looks like the most lopsided state election for several years, and may be among the most lopsided ever.  A Premier with near-universal approval who won a large majority last time around takes on an opposition onto its third leader of the term amid a pandemic that has seen large polling boosts in most places that have not completely stuffed it up.  The comparison with the New Zealand landslide is impossible to avoid.  

Even with no COVID-19 and no Opposition disarray it would be a massive upset for the McGowan government to lose.  Two major patterns in predicting state results are "federal drag" (it is an advantage not to be the party in power in Canberra) and the age of the state government.  The last loss by a first term government that was in opposition federally in any state was back in 1930 and the historically expected result for WA Labor would be to gain about three seats.  That should be treated with some caution given that they have so many already, but to actually get near losing would be a massive outlier.

But there's been speculation that this might not be just a routinely heavy pasting of a hapless opposition (such as the crushings delivered by Labor Premiers Beattie, Bracks and Bacon at the end of their first terms in 2001-2) but rather something more spectacular.  Is the opposition heading for Tarago territory or worse?  The results of the opening Newspoll would suggest yes, while a uComms poll merely predicts an enormous but more manageable thrashing.  

Sunday, February 7, 2021

How Much Does A Home State Federal Leader Matter In That State?

This piece came about, indirectly, because the Courier-Mail was printing silly sentences again.  A piece commenced with the following lines:

"Kevin Rudd has refused to reveal whether under-pressure Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese can win Queensland despite the former Prime Minister joining him for day one of a whirlwind ‘jobs tour’ across the state. 

[..] 

Mr Albanese was joined by Mr Rudd on the pre-campaign hustings at Southbank – however the former Prime Minister declined to comment when asked by The Sunday-Mail about how or whether Labor could win the state."

Rudd claims he declined to comment because it was the Courier-Mail rather than because of the question.  Whatever the facts in that regard, two things stood out to me in the opening line. Firstly there's the idea that the former Prime Minister is a divine revelator who can exclusively "reveal" facts  about the prospects of Opposition Leaders in his state.  Secondly, the idea that winning Queensland is a realistic or relevant goal for an Albanese-led ALP.  After all, Labor currently needs an enormous 8.44% swing to win the 2PP in Queensland, and has only won the Queensland 2PP three times since the Second World War - 1961, 1990 and 2007, all of them by a whisker

Monday, February 1, 2021

Newspoll: Surprise 2PP Tie Takes Heat Off Albanese

The first Newspoll of this year had the potential to be a very significant one for Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, but he has escaped it without major harm.  This was one of the more significant Newspolls lately because of the leadup, so I thought I'd briefly write about it and related themes.

Leadership speculation has been swirling around Albanese in recent weeks.  This started after forces within the CFMEU and closely linked to unionist John Setka spruiked polling claiming to show dire numbers for Labor in its Newcastle area seats of Shortland (4.5%) and Paterson (5.0%).  Setka was expelled from the ALP in 2019 at Albanese's insistence.  

The polling has not been published for scrutiny.  The polls were conducted by Chorus Consulting with Community Engagement.  No public polling for any election by Chorus is known to me, but their director is also a director of Redbridge, who have released other polls predicting similar doom for Labor in other seats including Dobell and Macquarie.  I have been told that Community Engagement did tracking polls for Labor at Victorian state elections, but as no results were published or given to me at the time there is no way to comment on their accuracy.  I am however aware of some polls by them that were published for the 2016 election and these were not that accurate overall (the worst a Higgins seat poll that had Liberal 42 Greens 25 Labor 20; the result was 52-25-15).

Friday, January 22, 2021

The Federal Government's Majority Is Three Seats, Not One

(23 FEB 2021: Scroll down for Craig Kelly update; the headline is now out of date!)

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I have a number of pieces half-written, in the pipeline, or mostly written but not quite right yet, and hopefully most of them will see the light of day sooner or later, though I am extremely busy with contract work and other things through to about mid-February.  However having seen quite a few people making false claims about the size of the federal government's majority on social media lately, I thought I would just correct them and also make the case for using one convention of defining a majority instead of some of the others some people are using. 

The best way to define a government's majority, conventional in the UK especially, is the number of government seats minus the number of non-government seats.  In this case, 77-74=3.  In Australia it is fairly common to see alternative methods used involving the number of MPs who have to vote with the other side for a bill to be defeated.  However, these methods are inferior, because the mathematical consequences of every possible majority in the conventional form are different, but for the votes-to-swing methods this isn't always true. As a result, the votes-to-swing methods lose useful information and create confusion.