Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 Site Review

This post presents site data for 2020.  The activity graph tells the story of the year (the units are unique pageviews per week):

Most of the activity in the year came between late February and early June, including the WA election, the Tasmanian state election and the Braddon recount.  The peak for the Tasmanian state election in early May was the fourth most visited week in site history (behind 2016 federal, 2018 Victoria and 2019 federal) and May overall was the fourth most visited month (behind the months of 2016 federal, 2019 federal and 2014 Tasmania/South Australia.)  

The final seven months, however, have been among the quietest, with the site never rising above the "bubbling along" level in this time.  The main reason for this has been a complete lack of state or federal electoral events.  Overall though, the high interest in the Tasmanian election meant that traffic was still up 46% on 2020.

In 2021 I released 69 articles (+10 from 2020) including this one.  The combined Tasmanian lower house and upper house elections accounted for 23 of these, WA accounted for five and there were seven general federal polling articles.

Unreleased studio demos

Articles I started but never finished this year and don't expect to release very soon were to have covered such subjects as:

* an article about Donald Trump being banned off social media that was to argue that banning Trump was not a free speech issue and that a bigger problem with social media companies was their lack of accountability to ordinary users over matters such as incorrect algorithmic bans and technical faults

* the intended 2020 (+belated 2019 non-) Ehrlich Awards for False Predictions, the existence of which became a false prediction in itself (I can't even remember why now; January seems so long ago.)  I didn't notice much talent in this department in 2021 and these awards have been replaced for now by the Grand Gerry.  

* an article attacking the use of agree/disagree style polling (didn't get very far on this one)

* an article against what I call "minority avoidance auctions" in Tasmanian state elections, in which the major parties box themselves into corners and offer their leaders up as human sacrifices to try to avoid being wedged about minority government.  Some aspects were included in this article.

* a detailed article about the Australian Polling Council Code of Conduct following its launch

* suggestions as to how Tasmanian Labor might get back in the game (eventually) 

* analysis of whether seats gained at by-elections become easier to hold at the following election for reasons other than the size of the by-election swing needed to gain those seats (this one was nearly finished and might still be released eventually).  This was to be especially relevant to Labor's apparent reluctance to contest some of the NSW by-elections but it now looks like they will run in most of them

* the same Newspoll tweeting disclaimer/debunk page that I didn't finish last time

Reader enthusiasm for one of the incomplete 2020 pieces led to it being released this year on Christmas Day.

Top of the pops

As measured by unique pageviews, the Tasmanian elections dominated the 2021 top ten list.

1. 2021 Tasmania Postcount: Clark

Easily the second-most uniquely visited article in the site's history (behind the 2014 state election guide which should have been broken up into smaller articles).  Also the all-time leader by total pageviews. This piece followed the postcount in Clark where the contest for two seats between the Liberal Party and the independents Kristy Johnston and Sue Hickey was to decide whether the Liberals had a majority and whether Premier Gutwein still had a career.  A side-plot was the contest between Labor-turned-Independent-turned-Liberal MP Madeleine Ogilvie and Hobart councillor Simon Behrakis for the Liberals' 13th seat if they got it.  Ultimately Ogilvie and Johnston won.

2. 2021 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Main Page

Tenth on the all-time list with almost twice as many unique readers as the 2018 guide, showing the level of interest in the snap Tasmanian election.  General guide and link hub page.

3. 2021 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Clark

All the election guide pages greatly outperformed the 2018 versions except Lyons.  Guide to the Clark contest which loomed as a fight between the Liberals, Labor, Greens and two independents for the final three seats. 

4.  2021 Tasmania Postcount: Braddon

Braddon saw a very close internal contest between Liberals Roger Jaensch, Felix Ellis and Adam Brooks for two seats against the backdrop of dating profile and weapons controversies surrounding Brooks.  Ellis was prematurely called in by the ABC and Jaensch prematurely written off, without considering that Jeremy Rockliff's large surplus might assist Jaensch.  Ultimately Jaensch and Brooks were elected but the contest was rendered for nothing when Brooks faced weapons charges in Queensland and did not take his seat.

5. 2021 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Franklin

Franklin attracted attention during the state election not so much for the between-party contest but for Labor's controversial - and to nearly every outside observer senseless - non-endorsement of Kingborough Mayor Dean Winter.  Ultimately Winter was added to the ticket following federal intervention and topped his party's side of the poll. It wasn't all smooth sailing for the Liberals here either, with the less damaging dropping of Dean Ewington early in the campaign.

6. WA 2021 Legislative Council Postcount

We will not see its like again, thank goodness.  A now obsolete cocktail of malapportionment and Group Ticket Voting that, among other things, resulted in the Daylight Saving Party turning 98 votes into a seat.

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

A uComms poll commissioned by the Australia Institute claimed Tasmania was headed for a hung parliament.  This site was very sceptical of the poll and rightly so; it proved to be a load of rubbish.

8. WA 2021 Live

Live comment thread on the biggest pasting Thein Australian state election history.

9. 2021 Tasmanian Postcount: Lyons

Lyons wasn't especially interesting but it did have an initally close within-party contest between Jen Butler and Janet Lambert (won by Butler) on the Labor side, and a remote prospect Stephanie Cameron might catch John Tucker for the Liberals.

10. Brooks (Braddon) Instant Recount 2021

The recount sparked by Adam Brooks resigning his seat within hours of being elected saw Felix Ellis restored to the Parliament after a very short holiday, but not before a bit of a scare from fellow Liberal Stacey Sheehan.

Some other stats

The ten biggest days of the year for site visits were May 2, May 12, May 11, May 1, May 3 (all Tasmanian election), March 27 (Tasmania starts), May 6 (Tas), March 14 (WA), March 29 and May 4.  Of these May 2 was easily the biggest day in site history so far.

The most popular pieces started or written in any previous year were the Field Guide to opinion pollsters, the ratioed tweets page, Why Better PM/Premier Scores Are Still Rubbish, the increasingly outdated bio page and It's a Joyce Joke: Barnaby's Senate Mutilation Madness.

The ten most clicked tags were Greens, Tasmania, pseph, debunkings, Tasmania 2018, Tasmania 2021, silly greens, Western Australia, EMRS and Hare-Clark.

The top ten visiting countries were Australia, USA, UK, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, Singapore, India (+1), Netherlands (+1) and Japan (re-entry).  120 "Google countries" visited in 2021 and 171 have visited in total.  First-time visits were recorded from Paraguay, El Salvador and Haiti, so the most populous countries never to visit remain Democratic Republic of Congo, North Korea, Niger and Burkina Faso.

The top ten cities this year were Melbourne, Sydney, Hobart (+1), Brisbane (-1), Perth (+3), Canberra (-1), Launceston, Adelaide (-2), London and Gold Coast.

In the past I provided lists of strange keywords used to access this site via searching, but more and more of these are being hidden now, so the only weird one I found for this year was "David Paull port arthur comments".  There are ways around this with things like Search Console but at the moment that looks to me like effort.  

The top ten hit sources were: Twitter (+1 and leading for the first time) Google (-1), Facebook, Poll Bludger, duckduckgo (+1), Bing (+2), Reddit, Blogger (+3), Wikipedia (+4) and  The Conversation (-1).  Ignoring search engines the next three were Chesschat, feedburner and Armarium Interreta.

Orders of the year

2022 looks very busy and exciting! For the first time in this website's history, there'll be a federal election and a Victorian state election in the same year, and that alone could well result in new visitor number records.  The federal election seems rather finely poised at present, Victoria much less so (but that could change if the federal Coalition gets the boot).  We also have a South Australian state election (probably only COVID can stop rats and federal drag gnawing the government to death) and probably at least five NSW by-elections [edit:and Callide (Queensland) which I may or may not cover.]  There could be some in other states as well.  

Tasmania will get Legislative Council elections in May, probably just before the federal election (or perhaps a little later if postponed to avoid clashing).  These will be Labor's Josh Willie's first defence of Elwick, the first ever election for the oddly-shaped division of McIntyre (three-time Apsley winner and right-ish indie Tania Rattray is the incumbent;  I don't know if she's recontesting) and the by-election for Huon (to be vacated by Labor's Bastian Seidel in what seems a sad sequel, whatever one's politics, to a glorious win.)  Tasmania will also have local council elections and I am hoping to expand my detailed coverage to include at least one other council besides Hobart.  I will also be continuing to track the fallout from the federal parliament's party registration law changes in the usual level of detail.

Happy New Year to all readers and thankyou all for your interest and support!  An extra special thanks to those of you who've donated.  


  1. Happy New Year Dr Bonham and thanks for your efforts throughout the past one.
    Me thinks the coming year is going to be a doozy.

  2. Happy New Year, and thanks for another year of great writing

  3. HNY Dr Kevin!

    Some other useful metrics which are quick to measure include bounce rate and time on site. (I find these useful as user engagement is an indication of traffic quality...actually interested traffic vs bots or junk traffic).

    - Bounce: how many visitors are reading > 1 article?
    - TOS: how long is a typical visitor staying on the site? Are they reading entire posts / engaging with the content.

    Thanks for all your polling insights in 2021. This year looks like an interesting one for all.