Friday, July 22, 2022

2022 House Of Reps Figures Finalised

Yesterday the 2022 House of Representatives figures were added to the archive of election results, making lots of the usual preference flow goodies available. Although all the preference throws had been completed and uploaded in rough form some time ago, the final figures importantly include the two-party preference flows by party and two-candidate preference flows by party per seat.  As well as this piece I will also be putting out a full analysis of polling accuracy, I expect within the next few days.

Some of the ground that I normally cover in this article was already covered in Two Party Swing Decided This Election (Plus Pendulum).  That article showed that Labor won the election on normal two-party swing in classic Labor vs Coalition seat contests, with changes in the seat share for the major parties pretty much exactly matching historic patterns, and that the groundbreaking defeats for the Coalition at the hands of six new teal independents and two Greens were nonetheless a sideshow in terms of explaining how the election was won.  

The article also noted:

* that Labor would have won the election under any system (contrary to the nonsense of the "3 in 10 voters" Sky right disinfo crowd who are wrongly claiming the Coalition would have won under first past the post - a different system would have seen different voter behaviour)

* that the view that Labor's primary vote was greatly damaged by strategic voting for teal independents is incorrect

* that Labor's win was assisted by gaining higher swings in Coalition seats on any margin and in marginal Labor seats, while in very safe Labor seats the swing was weaker to zero

Preference Shifting and Card Impacts

The official 2PP is 52.13% to Labor and 47.87% to the Coalition, a 3.66% swing to Labor. (There was an unlikely 2PP flow in a booth in North Sydney which if changed would have made the 2PP 52.14, but no changes have been made there; I do not know if the 2PP flow was rechecked.)

The 2019 election saw an unusual if modest preference shift in the Coalition's favour - the largest to the Coalition since the 1950s - but Labor still received more preferences than the Coalition in that year.  This election largely reversed the 2019 shift, with Labor's 2PP coming in 0.99 points higher than would have been expected based on the primary votes and the 2019 flows by party from Greens, UAP, One Nation, independent and others.  2022 therefore follows 1990, 2013 and 2019 as uncommon examples of such a preference shift in the last 40 years.  It will be interesting to see if 2019 was an anomaly or if 2025 sees a shift back to the Coalition again.  

The change in flow has happened across the board rather than a sharp shift from any one source:

* Greens 85.66% to Labor (+3.45% and a record high)

* One Nation 35.70% to Labor (+0.92)

* United Australia 38.14% to Labor (+3.28)

* Independent 63.77% to Labor (+4.37)

* all others 45.33% to Labor (+0.63)

The 2PP loss on three-cornered contests from the Coalition side was 0.03%.  

So for polls that break out all of these, the formula for Labor's 2PP by 2022 election preferences will be:

2PP = Labor + .8566*Green +.3570*ON +.3814*UAP +.6377*IND +.4533*Others + 0.03

The following are flows to Labor for some combined categories pollsters may employ:

* Others including IND 54.73

* Others including UAP 42.11

* Others including IND and UAP 50.01

* Others including ON and UAP 39.86

* Others including IND, ON and UAP (all non-Greens) 46.37

* Green+IND+ON+UAP+Others (all non-majors) 61.54

After splitting to the Coalition over Labor in every classic seat in 2019, One Nation preferences did the same again, except in Gorton where Brendan O'Connor got a 53.71% share.  The strongest split from One Nation to Coalition was 81.91% to Darren Chester (Gippsland).   One Nation voters also preferred Rebekah Sharkie to the Coalition in Mayo, and preferred independents to the Coalition in Calare, Groom, Wentworth, Wannon and Indi.  

I have records of five seats in which preferences were distributed between the major parties and One Nation recommended a preference to Labor on its how to vote card (Bass, Cook, Franklin, Lyons, Sturt).  In these the average flow of One Nation preferences to Labor was 7.8% higher than average, suggesting that the cards had not much impact.  

United Australia voters preferred Labor to the Coalition in ten classic seats (up from four) with Spence (59.65 to Labor) heading the list; the rest were Greenway, Forrest, Blaxland, Scullin, Canning, Macarthur, Swan, Ballarat and Jagajaga.  The strongest UAP to Coalition flow was 81.52% again to that popular MP, Darren Chester in Gippsland.  UAP voters also preferred Rebekha Sharkie in Mayo to the Coalition, and preferred independents to the Coalition in North Sydney, Cowper, Indi and Groom.

I have records of four seats outside WA that finished as 2PPs where UAP recommended a preference to Labor (Banks, Cook, Dickson, Maranoa).  In these the average flow of UAP preferences to Labor was a mere 4.9% stronger than overall. For Western Australia I saw but did not confirm reports that the UAP pursued an anti-incumbent strategy on their cards.  The preference flows suggest they indeed did this with a 65.0% flow to Coalition in Labor seats but a 53.7% flow to Coalition in Coalition seats (a modest difference of 11.3%).  Again, the evidence is that minor party how to vote cards don't make a lot of difference.  

The weakest 2PP flow involving the Greens was 71.95% to Labor in Parkes.  There were weaker 2CP splits off the Greens in three non-classic seats - Kennedy 64.21 to Katter vs LNP, Clark (where the Greens issued an open card) 66.52 to Wilkie vs Labor and Fowler 64.47 to Labor vs Dai Le.

Flows from the Coalition to Labor over Greens in the Labor vs Greens 2CP seats ranged from 58.65 (Canberra) to 73.33 (Wills) with an average of 65.6%.

In the semi-optional-preferencing Senate, there were far greater shifts in the 2PP preferencing behaviour of UAP voters (shift from Coalition to exhaust) in particular, and overall Labor won the Senate 2PP 52.93-47.07, 0.8% higher than its win in the Reps despite optional preferencing systems having a reputation for not helping the trailing party.  I will probably explore this in more detail but any idea that the Coalition would have done much better under optional preferential voting (which JSCEM recommended but the previous government didn't pursue) is delusional. It's possible they would have lost more heavily in seat terms as UAP voters especially would have exhausted their preferences rather than reluctantly preferencing the Coalition (a la Queensland 2015, where OPV saw a huge preferencing shift in Labor's favour against a disliked LNP government.) 

Non-Classic Seats

There were 27 non-classic seats at this election (up from 15).  These are seats where the final pairing wasn't Coalition vs Labor:

ALP vs Green (6): Grayndler, Cooper, Wills, Canberra*, Melbourne, Sydney*

Coalition vs Green (3): Brisbane*, Griffith*, Ryan*

Labor vs IND (2): Clark, Fowler*

Coalition vs IND (14): Indi, Warringah, Wentworth, Kooyong, North Sydney*, Mackellar*, Curtin*, Goldstein*, Calare*, Groom*, Nicholls*, Bradfield*, Cowper, Wannon*

Coalition vs Centre Alliance (1): Mayo

Coalition vs KAP (1): Kennedy

Those marked * were not non-classics last time.  Three seats moved from non-classic to classic status (Maranoa, Farrer, New England).  Melbourne and Kooyong both shifted from one non-classic status to another while Cowper had a different independent in the 2CP to 2019.

Labor 2PP winners failed to finish in the top two in Brisbane, Griffith, Ryan and Mayo.  In the first three of these Labor were also probably the Condorcet winners (the candidate, if there is one, who would win head-to-head against any other candidate), based on the Coalition to Labor flows recorded elsewhere.  I may discuss this in more detail sometime too.

As explained way back in 2013 I like to explore Labor-vs-Coalition 2PP splits for those voters who preferred the "non-classic" candidate to the majors, as this reveals what sort of voters a potential crossbencher might be beholden to.  Sometimes this can be done exactly for the voters who put the non-classic candidate first, rather than just for those who put them above the majors.  I understand from Antony Green that this year the AEC was in a position to extract exact splits for every seat, which would save me a lot of work, but I've not yet seen those published.  Here's a table showing 2PP preference flows from the non-classic contender to Labor in the non-classic seats:

The "To ALP" column shows the percentage of the 3CP voters for the non-classic contender that put Labor ahead of the Coalition.  In some cases the figure for the primary votes for the non-classic contender is also available, and this is shown in brackets. The %primary figure shows how much of the non-classic contender's 3CP vote is their primary vote (the higher this is, the more accurate the "To ALP" figure is likely to be as an estimate of the 2PP split of their primary votes.)

Overall this table shows that those who voted for independents, or preferenced them at 3CP level, generally strongly preferred Labor to the Coalition.  The exceptions were Groom (where most of Suzie Holt's 3CP votes were primary votes for other candidates), Fowler (where Dai Le's campaign attracted mostly voters who preferred the Liberals in this instance, though possibly in disgust with Labor's preselection or by following a Dai Le how to vote card) and Nicholls.  In most cases, teal independent voters or preferencers preferred Labor to the Coalition about 70-30, which isn't surprising.  Rebekha Sharkie's voters were more Coalition-friendly than last time, but this probably reflects her taking more votes from a struggling Liberal candidate.

Strongest preference flows

The following are the strongest preference flows I could find evidence of, whether those preferences were distributed or not. Estimated flows shown in bold:

93.8 Tim Hollo (Green) to Alicia Payne (Labor), Canberra
93.2 Adam Bandt (Green) to Keir Paterson (Labor), Melbourne (NB Bandt was elected)
93.1 Sarah Jefford (Green) to Peter Khalil (Labor), Wills
92.9 Liz Chase (Green) to Kate Thwaites (Labor), Jagajaga
92.2 Vivian Harris (Green) to Kirsty McBain (Labor), Eden-Monaro
92.2 Tony Hickey (Green) to Susan Templeman (Labor), Macquarie
91.6 Cate Sinclair (Green) to Lisa Chesters (Labor), Bendigo
91.3 Chetan Sahai (Green) to Tanya Plibersek (Labor), Sydney
91.2 Charlotte McCabe (Green) to Sharon Claydon (Labor), Newcastle
90.8 Jade Darko (Green) to Julie Collins (Labor), Franklin
90.7 Rachael Jacobs (Green)  to Anthony Albanese (Labor), Grayndler
90.6 Sam Wainwright (Socialist Alliance) to Josh Wilson (Labor), Fremantle

The highest flow to a losing candidate was 90.2% Greens to Labor in Deakin.  The flows in bold are likely to be slight underestimates, so it is not clear (pending further data, which may emerge) whether the Greens to Labor flows in Wills and Melbourne might have been stronger than Canberra.

Winning (or not) from behind and on minor party preferences

Sixteen seats (up four from 2016) were won by a candidate who didn't lead on primaries.  Labor won Gilmore, Lyons, Bennelong, Higgins, Robertson, Tangney and Boothby, overtaking the Liberals on Greens preferences.  The Greens overtook the LNP on Labor preferences in Ryan and Brisbane, in the latter coming from third on primaries (by 11 votes) in the first case of a candidate winning from third since Andrew Wilkie, Denison 2010.  Independent Dai Le passed Labor on Liberal preferences in Fowler, and new teal independents passed the Liberals on left preferences in Kooyong, Curtin, North Sydney, Goldstein, Wentworth and Mackellar.

In Labor's closest win, Gilmore, Labor needed an above-average 86.4% of Greens preferences to win but got 88.0% and won anyway.  Lyons (Labor needed 79.1%, got 87.1%), Lingiari (needed 68%, got 76.6%) and Bennelong (needed 74.8%, got 83.4%) were all close enough that it's likely that Labor owed these four seats specifically to the Greens' decision to recommend preferences to Labor on how to vote cards.  

In the Coalition's closest win, Deakin, Labor needed 91.5% so a very strong 90.2% was not quite enough.  Other seats where an impossible 100% Greens to Labor flow would have won Labor the seat had it occurred were Sturt (needed 90.6, got 87.9), Moore (needed 87.6, got 82.9), Menzies (needed 91.4, got 86.6), and Casey (needed 95.4, got 84.0).  In all these cases Labor needed figures that were above the national average and that were unrealistic in the seats in question.  On the ALP side of that ledger, independents Nicolette Boele (Bradfield) and Caz Heise (Cowper) could in theory have won with a 100% flow of Labor preferences, but their target percentages of Labor preferences (94.1% and 98.9% respectively) weren't realistic.  Preferences never flow 100% and it is pointless to reproach any party or its voters for this.  

There were also three seats (an unusually low number) where Labor led on primaries but would have lost with an even split of Greens voter preferences.  These were Lingiari, McEwen and Richmond, making a total of ten seats (down from fifteen) where Labor would not have won had Greens preferences split evenly.  The Greens also depended on Labor preferences favouring them in two of their four wins (Brisbane and Ryan), as well as on minor party preferences favouring them at the 3CP stage to get them into second in Brisbane.

Post 2019 there was much fuss for the next three years about United Australia preferences supposedly delivering the Coalition victory (which was false as there was only one seat, Bass, where an even split of 2019 UAP voter preferences would have made a difference).  In this case, because the Coalition has lost, nobody seems to care how many seats the UAP did or didn't save it.  In fact, there were two seats where had a specific right-wing party's preferences split 50-50, the Liberals would have lost: Deakin (any one of LDP, UAP or One Nation) and Menzies (Liberal Democrats only).  There were also other seats where some combination of multiple right-wing party votes (generally UAP plus One Nation) splitting 50-50 would have caused the Coalition to lose - Sturt, Moore, Casey.

As for the independents, unsurprisingly all the new indies needed some help from one side of politics or other and were always going to get it, but the extent of their reliance on preferences varied from seat to seat:

* As well as needing Liberal preferences to win from behind, Dai Le (Fowler) would also have lost had both UAP and One Nation voter preferences split evenly.

* Kate Chaney (Curtin) won because both Labor and Green voter preferences favoured her over the Liberals and would have lost had either not done so.

* Zoe Daniel (Goldstein) would not have won had Labor voters split their preferences evenly, and would also not have won had both Green voters and either DHJP or Sustainable Australia voters done so.

* Kylea Tink (North Sydney) also needed Labor preferences to win, and would have also lost if Greens voters and (voters for TNL, IMOP or both UAP and Sustainable Australia) not preferred her to the Liberals.

* Sophie Scamps (Mackellar) would still have won had only voters who voted 1 Labor split their preferences evenly, but would have lost had both Labor and either Greens or TNL voters done so.  (Scamps came from second on the final Labor exclusion but Labor was carrying preferences from other candidates.)

* Monique Ryan (Kooyong) and Allegra Spender (Wentworth) would still have won if either Labor or Greens voters had split their preferences evenly, but not both.  This is the same as for Rebekha Sharkie in 2019.

The crossbenchers elected in 2019 all won so easily that an even split of preferences from all the parties whose voters favoured them would not have stopped them winning.

Preference flows and tactical voting

Tactical voting arguments were attempted at this election by supporters of teal independents, and also to a much lower degree by a small number of Labor supporters attempting to defend Queensland seats from the Greens.  The tactical voting argument for putting a teal independent ahead of Labor was that Labor voter preferences would favour the teal independent more strongly than teal independent voter preferences would favour Labor, and therefore the teal independent (if second) might win in a case where Labor lost.  

The 3CP flow from urban teal independents to Labor was 70.5%, compared to 78.6% the other way.  (Kooyong, uniquely, had a stronger 3CP flow from the winning independent to Labor than vice versa.) However perhaps the narrowness of this gap speaks to some degree to the success of the tactical voting argument in converting intending Labor voters to teal voters.  Also, the argument only really applies to a hypothetical situation where Labor and the teal have about the same 3CP vote.  In a case like Kooyong, if teal voters who preferenced Labor shifted to Labor, this would reduce the remaining teal to Labor flow and increase the Labor to teal flow, so the strategic voting argument would then say that it is better to vote teal anyway.  

The correct test of whether it is better to vote teal if voting tactically is therefore not the preference flows between the parties but the actual 2PP.  On this the teal argument was vindicated because in all fifteen cases where Labor was excluded, Labor's 2PP was lower than the teal or teal-ish candidate's 2CP.  Furthermore, in nine seats teal-ish candidates won the 2CP and the seat but Labor lost the 2PP.  

In the three Brisbane area seats won by the Greens, the Greens to Labor 3CP flow was in the low 86s while the Labor to Greens 2CP flows were 81 in Griffith, 81.6 in Ryan, 83.1 in Brisbane.  In Ryan, however, the Greens were so far ahead of Labor that their 2CP exceeded the Labor 2PP.  In the other two, Labor's 2PP was above the Greens 2CP, so had the LNP been closer to retaining these seats, there is a very narrow range (0.67% in Brisbane, 0.61% in Griffith) in which Labor would have won but not the Greens.  This is the opposite to the general pattern in previous cases federally and in other compulsory preferencing states.  Overall, Labor and Greens preference flows to each other are more or less interchangeable but there will be rare cases where one would win but the other wouldn't (the only practical case being the Greens' win in Prahran 2014.)

Other sections may be added to this piece if I notice anything worth adding, or if there are any interesting requests that are practical to add here.

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