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.