Sunday, August 28, 2022

Legislative Council Voting Patterns 2018-22

 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 recently retired) MLC 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 independents Rob Valentine, Meg Webb and Mike Gaffney

3. However, Labor (which currently has three MLCs pending a by-election) and independent Ruth Forrest no longer tend strongly to vote with the left grouping and in the last four years are on average best considered as only slightly left of centre.

4. During his brief period as a no-longer-caucusing Labor MLC, Bastian Seidel voted similarly to the left grouping.

5. The four Liberal MLCs and independents Rosemary Armitage and Tania Rattray form the "right" side of the cluster, though Armitage and Rattray only vote with the Liberals moderately often.  Data so far is consistent with Dean Harriss being part of this group but with nowhere near enough evidence to be confident of that yet.

6. A possible left-to-right sort of the council is Valentine, Webb, Gaffney, (Seidel pre-retirement), Forrest, the three Labor MLCs in no particular order, Armitage, Rattray, and the four Liberal MLCs in no particular order.  Harriss is not placed in this list yet pending further data.

7. The increased tendency of Labor to vote with the Liberal government in recent years has meant that the Government has suffered relatively few (and generally minor) defeats on the floor of the Council in the last year and a half.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Victorian Lower House 2022: Labor Well On Track Despite Federal Drag

Yesterday saw the release of the first Newspoll for Victorian state voting intention this year.  This is the first new public polling voting intention data for the state for over four months with the exception of a couple of Morgan SMS offerings, on which I can't place a lot of weight.  The release of a Newspoll with about three months til the election is a good time to launch my coverage of the Victorian lower house election, having not covered the Victorian lower house contest since the last Newspoll late last year.

The new Newspoll estimates Labor leading 56-44 (an effective 1.6% swing from the last election after accounting for the Liberals not contesting Richmond in 2018) off primary votes of Labor 41 Coalition 36 Greens 13 others 10.  These results are not wildly different to the 2018 election, with Labor down 1.9%, the Greens up 2.3% and the Coalition up negligibly.  For all the hype from some on the right about how hated he supposedly is, Daniel Andrews polls a rather strong +13 net rating (54-41) with the artist now known as Matt Guy on a not so flashy -17 (32-49).  A modest Better Premier lead for Andrews given the other scores and the way preferred leader scores skew to incumbents (51-34) does provide some support for the idea that Andrews is a polarising figure and the minority who dislike him tend to do so strongly.

Seat Model

What might this poll look like if realised on election day?  By uniform swing Labor would drop four of its 58 notional seats to the Liberals and Northcote (just) to the Greens, coming out just two down on its 2018 election result, but the uniform swing model is if anything potentially unkind to Labor's chances vs the Liberals in the 2PP seats.  There are two major reasons for this: firstly, personal vote effects from the 2018 massacre will make it hard for the Liberals to pick off Labor marginals, and secondly the Liberals have a lot of ultramarginals that are at risk from random variation unless they can get a more substantial swing.  They have nine seats on 1.5% or less (including occupied notional Labor seats) to Labor's four.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

EMRS: No Real Change In Second Rockliff Era Poll (plus comments re 35 seats)

EMRS (Tasmania): Liberal 41 (+2) Labor 31 (+1) Greens 13 (=) IND 14 (-1) others 1 (-2)

Poll suggests Liberals largest party with Greens and/or Independents holding balance of power if election "held now"

Independent vote is probably being overestimated

It seems like the last one wasn't long ago (and indeed the interval was shorter than normal) but an EMRS poll of Tasmanian voting intention taken from the 8th to the 11th of August has just been released.  After an uptick in the previous poll that could have been caused by federal election contamination, the collective "others" are down three points to 15% in this poll, the voting intentions for which are almost identical to the March poll, the last under Peter Gutwein's leadership.  

The news seems moderately good for the now Rockliff government.  They hold a 10% lead, Labor has still to break out of the very low 30s, and nobody except the government is within cooee of forming a majority.  The government's lead would almost certainly not result in a majority if the votes recorded in the poll were cast as such at an election, but history suggests that doesn't matter.  Governments with slender leads or even no lead at all at points through the term perked up as the election approached (or well before it with a big hand from pandemic management) and won majorities in 2006, 2018 and 2021.  It's necessary to go back to the pre-EMRS 1996 election for the last case where a government with any sort of real polling lead did not win a majority.  The bandwagons seen in 2006 and 2018 may reflect the tactics of voters who want to avoid minority government, but it can also be argued that they were caused by campaign factors in those two elections.   

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Poll Roundup: Albanese Honeymoon Phase Polling

Enough polls have now appeared for the new Albanese Labor government that I think it is worthwhile summarising where things are at.  The limited polling data available is all over the place but on average points to a substantial honeymoon boost in favour of the new Albanese Labor government.  

While we haven't seen this kind of honeymoon polling for a while, it has been historically normal for governments elected from opposition.  A phase with a new government averaging above 54-46 occurred for six of the previous seven new governments, the exception being the Abbott government which never got above about 53% on aggregation in its early months and hence never matched the 53.5% 2PP it had been elected with.  (This indicates the extent to which the election of the Abbott government was a repudiation of Labor's Rudd/Gillard/Rudd shambles rather than a positive endorsement of the alternative.)  

Lopsided honeymoon polls get a lot of attention but whether we are still seeing them in twelve months, six months or even three months remains to be seen.  The longest runs of mostly 54+ 2PP polling were for the Rudd government elected in 2007 (just over two years), the Howard government elected in 1996 (14 months) and the Hawke government elected in 1983 (most of the next two years though with a brief spell below after about five months).  The Menzies government's post-1949 phase lasted about eight months while the Whitlam 1972 and Fraser 1975 victories were good for about four months of basking on laurels.  (The difference is that Fraser's government then mostly kept the polling lead until a year and a half in, while Whitlam's soon lost the lead altogether.)  

Friday, August 12, 2022

Legislative Council 2022: Pembroke By-Election

PEMBROKE (ALP vs Lib 8.65%)
Retiring Incumbent: Jo Siejka (ALP)

This is my guide page for the 2022 Legislative Council by-election in Pembroke.  I will be covering the by-election count live on the night of Saturday 10 September.  If time permits I may also update my analysis of Legislative Council voting patterns before the day.

Earlier this year Huon, which Labor had won in 2020, had its own by-election and was won by independent Dean Harriss.  This shifted the numbers in the Council to four Labor, four Liberal and seven independents.  Of the seven independents, three are left-wing and one is lately (like Labor) slightly left of centre, while three are either known, or in Harriss's case expected, to be somewhat right of centre.  

Both the Council's left-plus-centre majority, which has existed since Siejka won Pembroke in the 2017 by-election, and the combined major party majority, which has existed since 2020, are at risk in this by-election.  While the current left-plus-centre majority is not realised on anywhere near every issue, and indeed the government has had a fairly easy time of things upstairs lately, it would be a great result for the government if its own candidate won the seat.   For more detail see my latest assessment of Legislative Council voting patterns, which finds Labor and independent Ruth Forrest to have moved into the centre of council voting after previously being placed on the left.

The winner will serve until May 2025.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

2022 World Chess Federation Elections


Updates will follow here through Sunday (note for Australian audiences: Chennai time is four and a half hours behind Australia).  Times in Chennai time.

10am: The General Assembly is underway with at last count 155 voters present (98 needed) but no electoral business has happened yet as there are several reports to get through.  Unsurprisingly the wifi is overloaded which may limit updates, though I also have another connection which is not great either.

10:33 The election process is now starting.

10:40 The nominated scrutineers have been appointed. The three tickets are present and are about to start their 15 minute presentations.

The order of the presentations is Baryshpolets, Kouatly, Dvorkovich.