Saturday, August 28, 2021

A Record Begging To Be Broken: Labor's Low Winning 1990 Primary

One of the most tedious aspects of Australian polling commentary from time to time is obsessive focus on Labor's primary vote.  Somehow the Labor primary vote gets more attention than the Coalition's when the Coalition is more dependent on its primary vote than Labor is.  In current aggregated polling, Labor has a primary vote in the high 30s (BludgerTrack has it at 37.7%) but there will always be people who say this isn't high enough and that the party needs very near 40% or it can't win a majority. 

There may well be truth in this in terms of projecting from the present day to an election (because oppositions tend to fade and therefore have usually needed big leads at some stage of the term to win) but in that case the primary vote is not telling us anything we couldn't have determined from 2PP polling and its history alone.  The idea that Labor needs a primary vote with a 4 in front of it to win a majority on election day, premised on it only once having won a majority with slightly less, is incorrect.  The fact is we haven't seen a lot about what primary votes Labor wins a majority with these days, because it has only once done so since the rise of the Greens.  This article shows that at recent elections, Labor has missed four in-theory chances to win a majority with a lower primary vote than its record low 1990 majority-winning score of 39.4%.  While total minor party votes remain relatively high, it is very likely that if Labor ever wins federal elections again, it will someday break that record.  The primary-vote-to-win history - based overwhelmingly on elections either run in different minor party environments, or else lost heavily - is meaningless. What matters is whether Labor can assemble a decent enough 2PP result and a good enough vote distribution to win a majority of seats.  

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Party Registration Crackdown Tracker

The Electoral Legislation Amendment (Party Registration Integrity) Bill 2021 has passed the Senate without amendments and will shortly receive Royal Assent.  The Bill (i) increases the party membership number requirement for non-parliamentary parties to 1500 members (ii) requires that a person can only be counted as a member of one party (iii) prevents parties from registering names that use words already used by pre-existing parties without consent, with some exceptions.

My view on these changes was expressed in a previous article (The Trolls That Got There First).  I think the membership changes are in principle good and will not disadvantage minor parties with any real chance of ever winning seats - on the contrary they should reduce ballot paper clutter and encourage micro-parties to merge into units more likely to be competitive with bigger parties.  However I believe this should have been accompanied by reform to the current unfair and confusing treatment of non-party groups, which could become more common and cause increased confusion and unsightly ballot papers following this change. Also, the change disadvantages parties with their support based in the NT, ACT or Tasmania and there should probably be a one-jurisdiction registration option with the old 500 member limit.  

Friday, August 20, 2021

Not-A-Polls: Best And Worst Senator Collections

Things are somewhat quiet in Australian psephology at the moment and for a bit of general amusement I thought I'd start some Not-A-Polls in the sidebar to give readers the opportunity to rank which states have the best and worst collections of 12 Senators.  The Not-A-Polls will run for three months but I will extend them for if the number of votes received at that time for one or other is less than 100.  In each case I have allowed an option of vetoing the premise of the question by declaring that all the Senator lineups are either good or terrible (but I haven't allowed an option to rank slates equally).  

Do readers tend to like their own Senator slates, or despair of them?  

Given the number of Senators who are well known not to exist, I provide a list below of the current Senator lineups.  I've omitted the territories because two Senators is hardly a basis for an assessment, but Territorians both Northern and Australian Capital get to be neutral judges of these lineups!

New South Wales

Tim Ayres (Labor), Andrew Bragg (Liberal), Perin Davey (National), Mehreen Faruqi (Green), Concetta Fierravanti-Wells (Liberal), Hollie Hughes (Liberal), Kristina Keneally (Labor), Jenny McAllister (Labor), Jim Molan (Liberal), Deborah O'Neill (Labor), Marise Payne (Liberal), Tony Sheldon (Labor)

Victoria

Kim Carr (Labor), Raff Ciccone (Labor), Sarah Henderson (Liberal), Jane Hume (Liberal), Kimberley Kitching (Labor), Bridget McKenzie (National), James Paterson (Liberal), Janet Rice (Green), Scott Ryan (Liberal), Lidia Thorpe (Green), David Van (Liberal), Jess Walsh (Labor)

Scott Ryan has brought forward his retirement and will resign his seat prior to the scheduled October resumption of Parliament.  

Queensland

Matt Canavan (LNP), Anthony Chisholm (Labor), Nita Green (Labor), Pauline Hanson (One Nation), Susan McDonald (LNP), James McGrath (LNP), Gerard Rennick (LNP), Malcolm Roberts (One Nation), Paul Scarr (LNP), Amanda Stoker (LNP), Larissa Waters (Green), Murray Watt (Labor)

Western Australia

Slade Brockman (Liberal), Michaelia Cash (Liberal), Dorinda Cox (Green), Pat Dodson (Labor), Sue Lines (Labor), Matt O'Sullivan (Liberal), Louise Pratt (Labor), Linda Reynolds (Liberal), , Ben Small (Liberal), Dean Smith (Liberal), Jordon Steele-John (Green), Glenn Sterle (Labor)

(Dorinda Cox replaces Rachel Siewert who has resigned having decided to retire before the end of her term.)

South Australia

Alex Antic (Liberal), Simon Birmingham (Liberal), Don Farrell (Labor), David Fawcett (Liberal), Stirling Griff (Centre Alliance), Karen Grogan (Labor), Sarah Hanson-Young (Green), Andrew McLachlan (Liberal), Rex Patrick (Rex Patrick Team), Anne Ruston (Liberal), Marielle Smith (Labor), Penny Wong (Labor)

(Karen Grogan replaces Alex Gallacher who passed away on 29 August).  

Tasmania

Eric Abetz (Liberal), Wendy Askew (Liberal), Catryna Bilyk (Labor), Carol Brown (Labor), Claire Chandler (Liberal), Richard Colbeck (Liberal), Jonathon Duniam (Liberal), Jacqui Lambie (Jacqui Lambie Network), Nick McKim (Green), Helen Polley (Labor), Anne Urquhart (Labor), Peter Whish-Wilson (Green) 

Enjoy! Comments welcome if non-defamatory and clean.  

Friday, August 13, 2021

The Trolls That Got There First: Proposed New Party Registration Laws

 A raft of electoral reform legislation hit parliament this week.  Included in the collection of Bills introduced by Assistant Minister for Electoral Affairs Ben Morton are:

The Electoral Legislation Amendment (Counting, Scrutiny and Operational Efficiencies) Bill 2021 which, if passed, allows the AEC to commence sorting prepoll votes at 4 pm, sets the prepoll period before polling day at 12 days, increases the number of scrutineers allowed for Senate elections and makes various changes to postal vote procedures.

* The Electoral Legislation Amendment (Political Campaigners) Bill 2021 which, if passed, alters requirements for disclosure by political campaigners, bringing them more into line with those for parties.

* The Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Offences and Preventing Multiple Voting) Bill 2021 which, if passed, firstly allows for a voter to be required to cast a declaration vote in future if they are a suspected multiple voter.  Secondly it clarifies that offences against electoral liberty may include "Violence, obscene or discriminatory abuse, property damage and harassment or stalking" in connection with an election and increases the penalties for breaches, including up to three years' jail.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Poll Roundup: Lockdowns And Rollout Problems End Morrison's Net Rating Streak

It's been a while since my last federal polling roundup and in that time the government's troubled vaccine rollout and the challenges polled by the Delta strain of COVID-19 seem to have put paid to government optimism about rushing off to an early election this spring.  Indeed, recent weeks have seen the government record its worst 2PP polling of the term so far, though by historic standards it is not yet in severe poll-based trouble.  

Voting Intention

Three weeks ago, four polls came out in quick succession:

* A Newspoll Coalition 39 Labor 39 Greens 10 One Nation 3 Others 9.  The published 2PP was 53-47 to Labor but Labor probably got lucky on the rounding here.  The average last-election 2PP for these primaries would be 52.5-47.5, and indeed when exactly the same primaries came out in early March, the 2PP was 52-48.  Given that this one rounded to 53, it must have been at least 52.5 prior to rounding.

* Essential Coalition 37 Labor 36 Greens 10 One Nation 4 Others 6.  After rescaling to remove undecided and get sum to 100, Coalition 39.8 Labor 38.7 Greens 10.8 One Nation 4.3 Others 6.5.  The published 2PP is 47-45 (=51-49) to Labor under Essential's 2PP Plus method using (mostly) respondent preferences, but by last-election preferences I get 52.1 to Labor.  

* Resolve Political Monitor Coalition 38 Labor 35 Greens 12 One Nation 4 "Independents" 7 Others 5.  Resolve does not publish a 2PP.  By last-election preferences these numbers come to about 52.0 to Labor if taken as published, but Resolve overestimates independents.

* Roy Morgan Coalition 39 Labor 37 Greens 11.5 One Nation 3 Others 9.5.  Morgan's published 2PP was 52.5 (respondent preferences); I get 52.0 (last election).  

In the last week two fresher polls have arrived:

* Another Newspoll with a 53-47 2PP to Labor, but this time with the Greens on 11 and Others on 8, which all else being equal suggests the 2PP this time was probably close to 53 prior to rounding.

* A Morgan with a 53.5% 2PP to Labor off primaries of Coalition 37 Labor 37 Green 12.5 One Nation 3 others 10.5.  I get 53.3 (last election).  This is the highest 2PP poll for Labor of the term except for some bushfire-era Morgans for which only 2PPs were back-released. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

The 2022 Pendulum Only Slightly Favours The Coalition

 With redistributions in Victoria and Western Australia complete, the AEC has gazetted new boundaries.  Antony Green has released an estimated pendulum for the next election, now looking most likely to be held in 2022 rather than 2021.  There were some slight differences between Antony's initial estimates and those of William Bowe and Ben Raue, and I expect many of these would still apply to the final version.  Furthermore the AEC will release its own estimates later.  But pending the AEC estimates I thought I would use Antony's estimates as a starting point for a look at the 2022 pendulum and how much it helps or harms each side based on what we know so far about candidates.  This article is fairly mathsy and has been rated 3/5 on the Wonk Factor scale.  

There are three questions I am most interested in here:

1. All else being equal, what national two-party preferred (2PP) vote does the Coalition need for a better than even chance of a majority?

2. All else being equal, what 2PP vote does each side need for a better than even chance of winning more seats than the other?

3. All else being equal, what 2PP vote does Labor need for a better than even chance of a majority?