Friday, April 15, 2022

Prospects for the 2022 Senate Election

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This is a general (and maths-heavy) piece giving assessments of the Senate contest in each state and territory and overall. A detailed Senate guide for Tasmania will be released soon after the announcement of nominations for the state.  Firstly, a look at which Senate seats are up for grabs at this election and which are continuing until 2025 (barring a double dissolution):


The ACT and NT seats are recontested every election.  At present the Coalition is three short of a majority and can pass legislation supported by Stirling Griff, Rex Patrick and Jacqui Lambie, or by any one of these plus One Nation.  The ability to block enquiries, motions and disallowances in the Senate is also very important and here the Coalition and One Nation have a "blocking majority" of exactly half the seats.  

If Labor forms government, its first target would be to get rid of the Coalition/One Nation blocking majority and to be able to pass legislation supported by the Greens, Lambie and any other non One Nation crossbenchers who might be elected.  If no state repeats Queensland's 2019 4-2 right/left split, then Labor ticks this box if the Coalition and One Nation combined are held to two seats in at least one state, or if the Liberals lose their seat in the ACT.  For each state with a 4-2 right/left split, Labor needs one more state or territory to go its way as described, though it's fairly likely that if any state does have such a split that means it isn't happening.  

A second target for Labor might be to win a combined Labor/Greens Senate majority and not be reliant on other crossbenchers.  The most likely path to this result is for two states to return 3 Labor 1 Green (which seems plausible in any of Victoria, WA, SA or Tasmania).  A much less likely path is one state to return 3-1 and the Greens to win in the ACT.

If the Coalition manages to survive, a problem for it is that exactly half the 2019 Senators are opposed to it (Labor, the Greens and Lambie).  So it needs to either improve on 2019 or else have a crossbencher who will work with it more often elected somewhere (eg Xenophon).  Otherwise it will have much trouble getting anything through the Senate bar the rare cases where it can work with the Greens or Lambie. The most likely path to improvement would be three seats in every state plus One Nation in Queensland.  

If Labor finds itself stuck with an obstructive Senate then it would probably look for a double dissolution rather than tolerate the situation for three years.  A DD is possible for Labor because it isn't close to a majority anyway.  The Coalition would not win six seats out of 12 in states as easily as it wins three out of six, and if Labor won the Reps election at a DD it is unlikely the Coalition plus One Nation would get a blocking majority.  

On to the individual contests.

Resources

For this article, I mostly treat the 2019 result as the default result, and look at how much needs to change from 2019 for different seat results to occur.  (In 2019 I used a half-Senate conversion of the 2016 result to look at Senate possibilities.)  I mention Senate polling where known, but Senate polling is very difficult and pretty much nobody gets it right.  The challenge is to simulate contests where voters are choosing from dozens of parties, but where major party voters especially are helped to find their party on the ballot by how-to-vote card handers for their parties.   Polls do not handle this challenge well (mainly because they don't try.)  Senate polling is especially prone to overstate the vote for parties that are named, and understate the vote for other parties.   

In current House of Representatives polling there has recently been about a 6% two-party swing from the Coalition to Labor (down to 4.5% in the latest Newspoll), but past history suggests that much of Labor's lead will probably disappear by election day.  There is no evidence of any shift in the One Nation or UAP votes compared to 2019.  There are greatly varying estimates as to whether the major parties and Greens are losing primary vote support to independents, but this does not affect the Senate much. The main appeal of "Voices Of" type candidates is in Coalition seats where Labor and the Greens are not competitive, but in the Senate voting Labor or Greens could make a difference anywhere.  

There has long been speculation about a rise of right-wing minor parties off the back of lockdown/vaccine/mandate issues but this hasn't been a thing in polling or elections (One Nation and LDP both did OK in the SA Upper House, but in LDP's case with a perfect ballot draw to capitalise on name confusion).  Supporters of this movement appear to be a noisy rabble.  There are attempts to co-ordinate preferences between these parties but other than perhaps delivering some boost to One Nation I suspect they will fail dismally.  Nonetheless if things go well for One Nation in the Senate my analysis below finds chances for them in some states.  

A general rule in the Senate is that seats are mainly determined by primary votes.  Preferences are important around the edges.  The Coalition, Labor, Greens and One Nation tend to be the best performers on preferences (not necessarily in that order) and tend to outperform or overtake all other parties.  How to vote cards have little influence, outside of those for major parties in the rare cases where a major party candidate with a substantial remainder gets excluded.   If you see a Senate model that uses how to vote cards as a major input, you can ignore it.  

Below I mainly give seat totals in terms of quotas.  A quota is effectively one-seventh of the total vote in each state (c. 14.29%) and one-third in the territories.  Through the article I talk a lot about possible swings between two parties, but this need not be an even gain and loss from one party to another.  For instance, a 5% swing from Liberal to Labor does not necessarily mean Liberal primary down 5% and Labor up 5% - it could be Liberals down 3 and Labor up 7, or Liberals down 10 and Labor stable (etc).  And it does not necessarily mean voters are moving between those two parties, just that those are changes in the totals.  

Note added 19 May: The Australia Institute has Senate polling that overall finds massive swings to Labor in Queensland, WA and to a slightly lesser extent SA and a substantial swing in Victoria.  It finds the Greens up a few points in general, UAP up a lot in NSW and Victoria and others in general down by about 5% (which seems unlikely and follows the usual pattern of underestimates of Others).  The major party swings are consistent with about a 55-45 2PP in the Reps, which is at the high end of current polling.  TAI Dynata polling hugely underestimated the Coalition in the Senate in 2019.

New South Wales

SEATS VACATED: 3 COALITION 3 LABOR
2019 RESULT: 3 COALITION 2 LABOR 1 GREEN

The 2019 NSW primary leaders looked like this:

L-NP 2.699 Q
ALP 2.087
Green 0.611
PHON 0.347
SFF 0.178
HEMP 0.149

However the Coalition (L-NP) vote included a large below-the-line vote for Jim Molan.  0.057 Q of the Coalition's vote was Molan votes that had a candidate from another party second (One Nation at 0.017 Q the biggest recipient).  

After the election of two each for the major parties and the exclusion of most little parties, Labor's 3rd candidate was excluded tenth with totals of

L-NP 0.899 Q
GRN 0.769
PHON 0.496
SFF 0.243
HEMP 0.230
ALP 0.207

At this point a swing of 0.317 Q (4.5%) between the major parties would put Labor and the Coalition (minus Molan leakage) on level terms, but it would also put One Nation around the same position.  If One Nation goes out here, its preferences flow strongly enough to the Coalition that Labor might need about another 0.5% of swing to hold that off.  However if the Coalition goes out first, One Nation doesn't get a lot.  So all else being equal, a rather large two-party swing from Coalition to Labor of around 4.5%-5% is needed for Labor to win, with only a very small sweet spot around that mark where One Nation perhaps wins without any major change in its own support.

Beyond the possibility of a rather big two-party swing that might place Labor or (less probably) One Nation in the hunt for the 3rd Coalition seat, it's not easy to see much room for a different result to 2019.  The Greens defeated One Nation for the final seat by 0.281 quotas (4%) and that seems a large margin to shift between two minor parties.  

(The 3 Coalition 3 Labor breakdown from 2016 is a legacy of the unsound order of election method for short and long terms.)

Poll added 19 May: Australia Institute sample (5 April to 13 May) has Liberal 36 Labor 33 Green 11 One Nation 7 UAP 5 LDP 1 other 7.  This would see a race between the third Liberal and One Nation but I'm sceptical about the claimed size of the One Nation vote cf Others, especially alongside a high UAP vote.  

Outlook: Most likely 3-2-1 again (Green gain from Labor)

Victoria

SEATS VACATED: 3 COALITION 2 LABOR 1 GREEN
2019 RESULT: 3 COALITION 2 LABOR 1 GREEN 

2019 Victorian primary leaders looked like this:

Coalition 2.513 Q
ALP 2.179
Green 0.743
PHON 0.200
DHJP 0.197
DLP 0.177

The DLP has now been deregistered, while Derryn Hinch's Justice Party spent months on deregistration death row before escaping the same fate.  DHJP was defending incumbent Senator Hinch in 2016 and no longer has an incumbent, so would seem not to be a major threat (indeed it has not announced a candidate yet).  

After the first four seats, exclusions proceeded from the bottom up with ALP #3 excluded in ninth place:

Green 0.960 Q
Coalition 0.743
PHON 0.377
DHJP 0.366
ALP 0.323

While the gap between the Coalition and Labor was 0.42 quotas at this time, it rises to 0.47 quotas after considering what would have happened with the One Nation preferences distributed.  So a swing of around 0.235 quotas (3.4%) from Coalition to Labor hands Labor a crucial third seat and a 4-2 left-right result.  

That doesn't sound like too much really.  The problem with it is that Labor may have more or less maxed out its vote in the Reps in Victoria already.  A 3.4% swing in the Reps would take Labor to 56.5 in Victoria, its best result since 1929, substantially above the results in 2007 (Rudd's sweeping victory) and 2010 (with a Victorian PM).  

The low Coalition primary in Victoria does raise the prospect of a minor party taking the Coalition's 3rd seat instead of Labor, for instance if the Coalition's vote crashes but Labor's does not rise much.  However, Hinch was seventh in 2019, 0.343 quotas (4.9%) behind the Coalition.  If he or his party could repeat their 2019 vote, then maybe, but it seems unlikely.  For One Nation the problem is that they don't do very well on preferences in Victoria (even assuming they got over Hinch, they would be something like 6.5% adrift).  A further possibility is a United Australia Party win, as there is some thought that the UAP vote may be much stronger than last time in Victoria over lockdown discontents.

Poll added 19 May:  Australia Institute (dates above) Coalition 31 Labor 37 Green 12 One Nation 4 UAP 6 LDP 1 others 9.  This would probably be 2-3-1.  The size of the UAP vote is notable but see above.  

Outlook: 3-2-1 likely again if election is overall close.  But could be 2-3-1 or 2-2-1-1 if Labor has a big win nationwide.

Queensland

SEATS VACATED: 3 LNP 2 LABOR 1 ONE NATION
2019 RESULT; 3 LNP 1 LABOR 1 ONE NATION 1 GREEN

Queensland saw the shock Senate result of 2019 with Labor only winning a single seat after a very bad performance in the state.   Primary vote leaders were:

LNP 2.723 Q
ALP 1.580
PHON 0.719
GRN 0.696
UAP 0.247
KAP 0.124

...and I should mention that the Liberal Democrats got 0.058 quotas (0.83%).

Two Coalition and one Labor were elected, and exclusions continued until the exclusion of UAP put Malcolm Roberts (One Nation) over the line in fourth:

PHON 1.128 Q (Elected 4)
LNP 0.990
GRN 0.938
ALP 0.743

That put Gerard Rennick (LNP) over in fifth:

LNP 1.042 Q
GRN 0.951 
ALP 0.759

And then the Greens defeated Labor by 0.190 quotas (2.7%) for the final seat.   

If only these four parties are in the running for the final seats this time then Labor needs a swing against at least one of them to win.  So against the Greens that's a 1.35% swing, which is plausible given how terrible Labor's 2019 Queensland result was.  But it's not much more (2%) vs the LNP, and a straight 2% from LNP to Labor without any change in the Greens vote puts the Greens ahead of the LNP as well.  The third possibility is One Nation falling below Labor, which happens on a 2.8% swing from the point where Roberts was elected.  (This could happen if One Nation was knocked down from 10% to say 7-8%).   So if Labor can improve substantially in Queensland, there are paths to victory at the expense of any of the other three parties.  On the other hand, if it's a close election for Labor generally, it's possible there could be another 3-1-1-1.  And if Labor loses, another 3-1-1-1 is likely.

Two outsiders to this contest have attracted interest.  Those interested in the prospects of Clive Palmer need only recall that he was also the lead candidate in 2019, so there's no reason to expect Palmer will win.  The other one is former LNP Premier Campbell Newman, running for the Liberal Democrats.

In an election where at least 8% is likely to be needed to be competitive, Newman would need to lead the Liberal Democrats to around ten times their 2019 vote, if not more, to get them over the line.  Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence and I am not sure even having a former Premier (and not a very popular one) on board is worth that much - at least not without a repeat of NSW 2013 style ballot confusion (which also seems unlikely).  However Newman's presence on the ballot is something the LNP needs like a hole in the head and that could do their chances of avoiding seventh place a lot of damage.  

May 19: Australia Institute (see above): LNP 29 Labor 34 Green 13 One Nation 7 (seems low) UAP 3 Liberal Democrats 2 others 11.  This would be 2-2-1-1 and a Labor gain from LNP but the swings claimed are very large and hard to believe.

Outlook: May or may not be a left gain.

Western Australia

SEATS VACATED: 3 COALITION 2 LABOR 1 GREEN
2019 RESULT: 3 COALITION 2 LABOR 1 GREEN 

2019 primary leaders for WA looked like this:

Lib 2.864 Q
ALP 1.934
Green 0.827
PHON 0.412
UAP 0.122
HEMP 0.118
Christians 0.116
NAT 0.0984

After the election of the first three and various exclusions the Liberals actually beat Labor to seat number 4:

Lib 1.005 Q (elected 4)
ALP 0.998
GRN 0.923
ON 0.494
HEMP 0.209
UAP 0.167
Christians 0.154

After looking at the minor preferences (Christians flow very strongly to Liberals) an enormous swing is needed to put the Liberals behind Labor (I estimate 8.5%).  Also, if there is such a swing there is a very narrow window for One Nation instead of Labor to win the seat if One Nation lifts a little bit.  

This swing is normally unthinkable.  There has been speculation based on Reps polling that WA will deliver an enormous swing that might approach the swing needed for a 2-3-1 result in WA, but WA has some history of being a state where dramatic things are expected to happen in federal elections and then those things do not always occur.  The possible difference this time around is the same dose of pandemic politics that helped the McGowan government smash the Liberals 70-30 in the state election, and the ability of Labor to tie the PM to Palmer in its attack ads.  

May 19: Australia Institute poll (see above) Liberal 31 Labor 41 Green 12 One Nation 4 United Australia 3 others 9.  This would be the 3 Labor scenario discussed above. 

Outlook:  Labor gain possible, but a big ask.  

South Australia

SEATS VACATED: 2 LIBERAL, 2 LABOR, GRIFF, PATRICK
2019 RESULT: 3 COALITION 2 LABOR 1 GREEN

South Australia is a weird contest because of the tangled history of Nick Xenophon associated centrist crossbenchers.  Xenophon won in 2007 (the last candidate to win with a blank group box).  In 2013 his vote was enough that it would have dragged in Stirling Griff as well under a fair voting system, but Labor Group Ticket preferences put Bob Day in the Senate instead (with the Greens making a similarly bizarre preferencing decision).  At the 2016 double dissolution Xenophon's ticket scored three seats, but during this term Xenophon resigned and spearheaded the SA-BEST campaign for the 2018 SA election (which won two upper house seats but none in the lower house).  Skye Kakoschke-Moore was disqualified under Section 44, Tim Storer inherited her seat but left the party, and Kakoschke-Moore did not win her seat back in 2019.  Xenophon's seat passed to Rex Patrick, but Patrick quit the Centre Alliance and has since registered his own front party, Rex Patrick Team.  Finally, Xenophon has announced he will run in 2022, Griff becomes his running mate.  Patrick considered running in Gray but is recontesting.

The 2019 result will be fairly academic if Xenophon polls strongly, but for the record these were the leading primary votes:

Lib 2.647 Q
ALP 2.125
Green 0.764
PHON 0.341
UAP 0.212
CA 0.182

Labor were 0.575 quotas behind the Liberals when their third candidate was excluded, which would have stretched to about 0.6 quotas after preferences from various minor parties.  On that basis, a swing of 4.3% from Liberal to Labor would put Labor in front of the Liberals, though as with other states, this also puts One Nation in the mix.  One Nation isn't competitive with the majors on preferences in this mix so it would also need a slightly better primary vote to win.   I should also note the final seat margin, which was Antic (Liberal) over One Nation by 0.376 Q or about 5.4%.  (The Greens did very well on preferences and Sarah Hanson-Young bolted in 0.258 quotas ahead of Antic)

The biggest unknown here is the Xenophon return.  He's been out of the mix since the 2018 SA election; how strong is his personal brand and will voters still want to vote for him?  Here there are three main scenarios:

1. Xenophon wins easily: Xenophon polls a quota or most of a quota (enough for two seats seems unlikely).  He draws votes from all parties with a most likely result of 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Greens and Xenophon, though other results might be possible at the fringes.   

2. Xenophon flops: Xenophon polls below 5% and isn't a factor, being excluded before the major parties or One Nation, and projections off the last election can be used as above.

3. Middling Xenophon vote:  A Xenophon vote around 8-9% is the most fascinating scenario because of the properties of the new Senate system.  There is very strong evidence that candidates running with blank above the line boxes are disadvantaged in above the line preference flows.  They get some above the line preferences, but a lot of voters mistakenly conclude that the blank box cannot be preferenced or does not relate to anything.  Thus, Xenophon with a vote in this sort of range is likely to crawl on preferences in a way that will be difficult to predict off the primary vote totals, and might be chased down on preferences from 3-4% behind or even more.  A possibility here is that Xenophon sucks enough votes out of the majors to prevent either major winning three seats and ensure both majors are knocked out early, but is himself chased down by One Nation.  

We do have some SA Senate polling.  A Greens internal uComms (treat with multiple cautions) has Labor on 2.59 quotas, Liberal 2.30, Greens 0.83, Xenophon 0.37, ON 0.28, Patrick 0.22 etc (a very small undecided rate redistributed).  This would be a 3-2-1 to Labor.  However Labor's own internal poll is reported as having Xenophon over a quota and points to a 2-2-1-1 result.

Patrick has decided to run again but the competition from Xenophon appears damaging to any chance he may have had.  At the least he needs to outpoll Xenophon, and if he can do that and the other numbers fall his way he might be able to fight it out with the major parties and/or One Nation.  However it's not clear if he really has enough support to be competitive.  A final possibility is the Greens losing, SA having often been their weakest state.  In my analysis their position looks stronger than I initially expected, but nonetheless perhaps a strong Coalition result with a strong Xenophon result could cause them problems.  

Update 19 May: A mysterious and inadequate report in the Advertiser of a Lonergan poll said to be an "internal party" poll (but it doesn't say which party, the date or the method). Figures given are ALP 34 Lib 23 Grn 12 Xenophon 6 One Nation 4 Patrick 3  but that leaves 18% unexplained.  All parties were named but the remainder polled 13.5% in 2019 and that was without Xenophon in the mix, so I suspect the 18 includes undecided.  The more undecided are in that 18% the closer the expected result on these numbers gets to a straight 3-2-1, but if undecided is low or zero then there is a notional contest between Labor, Xenophon and One Nation for the last seat, though most likely Labor would win given Xenophon's unmarked ATL box.  

Also Australia Institute (see above) Liberal 28 Labor 36 Green 13 One Nation 2 UAP 3 Xenophon 6. This would also be 3 Labor.  

Outlook: At least one left gain from centre likely (perhaps two), right gain from centre possible.  At most one centre seat, if any.

Tasmania

SEATS VACATED: 3 LIBERAL 2 LABOR 1 GREEN
2019 RESULT: 2 LIBERAL 2 LABOR 1 GREEN 1 JLN

Tasmania is the only state where the Coalition didn't get three seats in 2019, and its 2016 Senate result in the state compared to Labor's was worse than 2019, but it ended up with three long-term 2016-22 seats. Jacqui Lambie's Section 44 disqualification changed the order of election (which should not be used to assign term lengths anyway) because Labor's 2016 vote had been more dispersed down the ticket.   Now the Liberals are defending those three seats, and veteran ultra-conservative Senator Eric Abetz has been moved down to the risky third position below Jonathan Duniam and Wendy Askew.  So Tasmania is the one state where the Liberals must improve on 2019 or go backwards.    In the event of the Coalition winning, Tasmania could be the difference between a Coalition/One Nation majority and needing to rely on the Jacqui Lambie Network (Lambie detests the PM) and perhaps Xenophon.  

These were the leading primary totals last time:

Lib 2.202 Q
ALP 2.141
Green 0.882
JLN 0.624
PHON 0.242
UAP 0.185

However, over a quarter of Tasmanian voters vote below the line.  Labor's vote included .137 quotas of below-the-lines for Lisa Singh that were not #2 for Labor (about half of this going to the Greens) and Lambie's included .122 quotas that were 1 for Lambie but 2 for candidates not on the JLN ticket.  So it's best to think of Labor as coming off a base of around 2 quotas and JLN off about half a quota. 

Lambie is not the candidate for JLN at this election - she is trying to elect her staffer Tammi Tyrell, who was little known before this campaign.  The question is how much of the JLN vote will stick with the party without Lambie herself being a candidate.  Her name will appear above the line but there will be some awareness among voters that it's not actually her.   

In the 2018 state election a bunch of mostly obscure candidates running under the JLN banner polled just under half the 2019 JLN Senate vote in the northern seats.  However they were competing against multiple Liberal and Labor candidates with strong state personal followings, whereas the 2019 major party Senate tickets really had only one well known name apiece.  Also, that campaign was not so well funded.  

It isn't too useful to look at the exclusion points in the 2019 count because in Labor's case Singh stayed in the count for a long time care of her high below the line vote.  Lambie ultimately beat One Nation to the final seat by 0.55 quotas, which would have become about 0.6 quotas after unused Labor preferences (a massive margin).  At the point of the Liberal exclusion she was 0.476 quotas ahead of the Liberals (6.8%).

If the Lambie Network gets, say, half a quota, then the Liberals need a swing to them on primary vote to win, of say 5% allowing for Lambie's better preference-getting.  Labor would need a primary vote swing of about 8%.  Both these results seem difficult.  Eric Abetz will draw some voters to the ticket to cast below the line votes for him but it's hard to see the added value of his BTL campaign exceeding maybe 2%.

Where things get interesting is if the Lambie Network drops to, say, a third of quota or below.  Now nobody in the race for the final seat would necessarily have anything much.  In this case there are at least four contenders: JLN, Liberal, Labor (subject to Labor getting a swing of a couple of percent, or say 4% on the non-Singh party vote) and One Nation.  One Nation's candidate, Steve Mav, is a rather well-known and controversial Tasmanian political figure (albeit a serial candidate who likes to wave signs at cars and almost always loses) and polled 1% as an ungrouped independent below the line in 2019.  

I have seen polling (such as it is) - uComms polls for the Australia Institute of Braddon (March 2022) and Bass (December 2021).  Combined, the polls have the Liberals up 1%, Labor up 2.6%, Greens up 2.1%, JLN down 1% and PHON up 0.6% (the polls are bound to be underestimating unnamed micro-parties).  This would result in another 2-2-1-1, but of these the much fresher Braddon sample has JLN down 5% on 2019 (a swing which if reproduced statewide would open the door to others).    

Another party being talked about is the Tasmania-centred Local Party, which has some union and climate backing and might take votes from the Greens and Labor around Hobart (especially with endorsements from Clark independent Andrew Wilkie) but wasn't having any early polling impact in the north of the state at least.   

Outlook: Either repeat of 2019 (JLN doubles up) or very open race for final seat

Australian Capital Territory

SEATS VACATED AND 2019 RESULT: 1 LABOR 1 LIBERAL

One of the old chestnuts of Australian election campaigns is the prospect of the Liberals losing their ACT Senate seat.  It didn't get near happening in 1975 when John Gorton ran as a much-hyped independent, it didn't happen in 2010 or 2013 when Group Ticket Voting made it easier than now, and it didn't happen in 2019 when the Liberal vote was expected to crash but did not.  A quota in the ACT is one third of the vote; these were the 2019 primaries:

ALP 1.180 Q
LIB 0.971
Green 0.531
Pesec (IND) 0.140
UAP 0.068

On very nearly a quota with just over 32% of the vote, Zed Seselja couldn't be caught.   However, had preferences been thrown to the end, the gap between him and the Greens would have closed to about .288 of a quota (9.6%) meaning that, all else being equal, a 4.9% swing from the Liberals to the Greens unseats Seselja.  (All else being equal means none of it is ALP voters tactically moving their votes to the Greens.)  That isn't easy to get, because the Greens' vote may not move around that much; most likely it would reuire Seselja's vote crashing.

But there's an extra factor in the form of independents David Pocock and Kim Rubenstein.  Pocock is a rugby star with similar views to the "climate independents" and might be able to get near the Greens total.  If he polls enough to overtake the Greens, it is likely that preferences would flood to him from Labor, the Greens and Rubenstein (assuming that he outpolls her, which I think is likely.) 

Some insight into what might be possible comes from the preferences of the Greens between Seselja and Labor in 2019.  As a combination of above and below the line votes, Katy Gallagher was preferred by Greens voters over Seselja 90% to 9%.  Pocock could get a similar flow, and perhaps not much weaker from Labor voters.  

ACT Senate polls taken for lobby groups and so on should be treated with great caution but as a guide to possibilities, here are the results from two (in percentage terms with undecided removed):

Redbridge ALP 36.7 Lib 25.4 GRN 14.3 Pocock11.1 Rubenstein 6.5 UAP 1.8 other 4.1

Community Engagement ALP 34.9 Lib 24.3 GRN 14.7 Pocock 13.2 Rubenstein 6.0 UAP 6.8 (no others option, hence excessive UAP vote)

In the Community Engagement poll, if Pocock gets over the Greens he only needs enough of a flow from Rubenstein and Labor to ward off any damage from minor right parties, and he could very well win.  In the Redbridge poll Pocock probably doesn't get over the Greens, and they are too far behind to catch the Liberals on his preferences.  

I don't take either of these polls that seriously especially as neither have been tested at elections, they are just used to illustrate the sort of vote needed to depose Seselja.  It would not be any surprise (given that they are both commissioned polling) if they are underestimating the Liberal vote and Seselja again polls too much to be caught.

The question is whether Pocock and/or Labor can really do enough damage to the Liberal vote to put Seselja into the danger zone of the mid-20s and beat him.  There may well be a lot of talk about strategic voting here, as Pocock seems likely to get a better flow from the Greens than vice versa.

Update 6 May: Climate 200 Redbridge poll has been reported with partial apparently redistributed primaries of ALP 27 Lib 25 Pocock 21 Rubenstein 6 Green 11 UAP 6 (leaving 4 presumably for others).  A partial preference flow is also given with 24% Pocock 23% Gallagher 13% Seselja.  On these numbers I estimate Pocock would win by about 2% but see the cautions above.  The UAP vote is not believable and there is also doubt that Labor would fall so low.  There are also problems with reported breakdowns which suggest Pocock is only taking 2.5% off the Liberals (in which case it's very hard to see the major party primaries being so low) and is taking 7.1% from former voters for Anthony Pesec (which is impossible if the sample is balanced since Pesec only polled 4.7%).  

As of the final week Labor is showing some concern about the black swan threat of runaway tactical voting (or simply voters preferring Pocock to them) and the potential for a Seselja/Pocock result with Labor losing (which would be incredible).  On the Redbridge numbers Labor was still 6% clear of that happening.  

Outlook: Potentially in play (but yeah we've heard that one before)

Northern Territory

SEATS VACATED AND 2019 RESULT: 1 CLP 1 LABOR

Last and least, there is never much to see in the NT Senate race.  In 2019 both major parties polled about 1.1 quotas with the Greens a distant third on just over 0.3.  Disendorsed CLP Senator Sam McMahon is running for the Liberal Democrats which may well knock the CLP below quota but I strongly expect that this will be another 1-1 split.  

Outlook: zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

8 comments:

  1. For the past 35 years I've been hearing how the non ALP ACT Senate seat is potentially in play ....

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  2. If David Limbrick (LibDem MLC) in Victoria doesn't get more than 5% of the Senate vote I will be very surprised. (Indeed I already have a couple of cases of beer riding on it...) I think he has built quite a large personal following among the anti-lockdown and anti-mandate crowd over the last two years. How much over 5% will be the interesting question.

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    Replies
    1. The anti-Mandate and anti-Lockdown vote in Vic is massively split between 2 grouped Independent tickets, UAP, ONP, Lib Dems, Federation Party, and IMOP. And they aren't really preferencing each other very tactically. More likely the vote concentrates with UAP, disperses and exhausts, or ends up with Liberals.

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  3. Do you know how grouped independents like Xenophon will appear on the ballot paper? Will the box above the line be blank?

    This happened to Anthony Pesec in the ACT Senate 2019, and he severely underperformed expectations. It's why Kim Rubenstein and David Pocock made political parties for their runs.

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    Replies
    1. This issue is mentioned in the article. No legislative changes were made despite me and others lobbying JSCEM so as far as I know the box above the line will be blank.

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    2. In that case I think Xenophon will be a fizzer. Although it's also quite possible that Pesec was also just unpopular (despite being a well funded teal independent) in addition to being disadvantaged by how he appeared on the card.

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    3. I think people will actually look for Xenophon. To me the 8-9% scenario seems likely.

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  4. Polling for the Greens in the House in SA is presently weak compared to other States according to the Poll Bludger website (9.8%). In the Senate, without SHY leading the ticket, who is one of their most recognisable politicians, and with competition from Xenophon and Patrick, I would expect that number to be even lower. Something like 0.5 quotas, perhaps. At that level, it's going to get really messy for the last seat. And if Xenophon really does have over a quota, there might even be a path for Patrick, especially if it comes down to a race between him and the GRNs, as he's likely to attract more support from ONP and/or LIB voters than the GRNs will. In other words, I think there is an outside chance that the centre could hold 2 seats.

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