Sunday, December 31, 2023

2023 Site Review

Bring Back Universal Analytics!

This post presents site data for 2023, but before I start, there is some disappointing business to relate.  During 2023 Google Analytics shut down its previous version, which had been faithfully recording data here since 2013, and switched to a new version called Google Analytics 4.  As best I can determine GA-4 is in some respects terrible, or if it isn't terrible in these respects, working out how to quickly make it work like the old version is beyond me.  (The full transition to the new version involved instructions that were way beyond my understanding).  In particular, from Oct 5 onwards, I lost the obvious ability to track unique pageviews, which were defined as "the number of sessions during which the specified page was viewed at least once".  Unique pageviews was a very useful statistic to capture whether users were visiting the same page over several days, without also capturing whether they were hitting refresh repeatedly during live coverage.

I was very familiar with the way the previous version worked, and another result of the switch to the new version is that I can no apparently longer directly compare the interest levels in specific articles from this year onwards with articles from previous years.  

Do tech corps that make changes like this even bother to think or care that they might be disrupting the continuity of someone's experience, and damaging their enjoyment of the service?  

Anyway, on with the show as best I can.  The activity graph below shows the total number of users visiting per week.

The biggest spike in late March is for the NSW state election, followed by the Voice referendum in late October.  There are also some small spikes including for the Fadden by-election (Aston is mostly lost in the NSW spike).  There was a generally fairly high level of interest leading up to the Voice after a quiet start to the year.  Overall I estimate traffic was down 52% on 2022 (which was the site's biggest year to date), still making it the sixth biggest year so far, which isn't bad at all given that 2023 contained neither a Tasmanian or a federal election.  Indeed 2023 just beat 2021 which had a Tasmanian state election.

Monday, December 25, 2023

Can Twitter "Polls" Predict Newspoll Changes? (Interim Results)

It's an almost annual tradition on this site to release something every Christmas Day. Click the Xmas tag for previous random examples.  Why do I do this?  Partly it's a present for those who like Christmas, which in a very low-key non-religious fashion includes your host, but it's also a present for those who don't want to deal with this particular Christmas or even generally cannot stand Christmas and just wish it was a normal day when normal things happened.  And what could be more normal than niche meta-psephology?  Therefore, the campaign against compulsory Christmasing brings you ... whatever this is.  

Over the past few years I've been running opt-in Twitter "polls" for the amusement of my followers there, similar to the Not-A-Polls in this site's sidebar. 

This started with the October 2020 Budget, because Budgets attract speculation about Budget bounces in party polling, but these bounces only rarely actually occur.  

The "poll" got this one wrong.  The Morrison government's 2PP rose by one point from 51 to 52.  

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Not-A-Poll Reset 5 of 2023: Fyles Resigns

The most recent sidebar round of the Next Leader To Go Not-A-Poll did not last very long!  It had been up just four days when NT Chief Minister Natasha Fyles followed Annastacia Palaszczuk out the door.  Fyles started her Chief Minister career as a popular choice to replace Michael Gunner and seemed for a while to be going well, with her party retaining a couple of loseable by-elections on her watch.  But early this year I started to hear anecdotally that stuff was going weird up there.  Again.

The government was under the pump for failing to control a sharp rise in crime (particularly property offences and assault including domestic violence).  It also appeared to be very unpopular, though a Redbridge poll implying something like a 40-60 drubbing across most of the Territory was likely to be on the harsh side.  (Somehow, even that poll didn't by itself move betting odds that had Labor at $1.25 vs $4!) But the killer was that Fyles herself came under criticism for a string of conflict of interest scandals involving mining and gas industry interests.  The news of undisclosed mining industry shares in the last week was one "I've declared everything ... oops no I haven't" too many and Fyles had to go.

Fyles is a rare case (in modern times) of a head of government who was neither elected at nor faced a general election; other examples in the last 50 years are Tom Lewis and Nathan Rees (NSW), Mike Ahern (Queensland), Ian Tuxworth (NT) and Trevor Kaine (ACT).  Lewis, Rees and Ahern were all rolled and their parties lost the next election (in the last two cases heavily and after the previous Premier was rolled as well).  Kaine's government came and went on the floor of parliament and he faced elections as Liberal leader at both ends of the term.  The only prior NT example, Tuxworth (CLP), quit to start the NT Nationals who soon sank without trace.  In that case the government survived the election, but with a 3.8% swing against it and the loss of three seats to defectors (one of them Tuxworth, barely).  

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

2023 Federal Polling Year In Review

2PP Aggregate Average For 2023: 54.8 To Labor (2023 Preferences)
Labor won almost every poll this year
Labor's lead declined in second half

What I think may well be the last federal voting intention polls of the year have come out and at this point it's time for a regular site feature, my annual review of federal polling.  The 2022 article was here and for earlier articles back to 2014 click on the annual poll review tab.  If any more polls come out I will update this piece accordingly, but perhaps not very quickly.  

2023 was another successful year for the Australian polling industry.  Final polls were rather good (if mostly a bit light on for Labor) in the NSW state election but the biggest test came in the October Voice referendum.  In the face of poll denial levels so out of control that I wrote an article about it, the industry recorded an outstanding result (especially by referendum standards), although a minority of polls had big misses on the Yes side.  

Even without the very richly polled referendum, there was a lot going on in Australian polling this year.  The most dramatic event was the YouGov breakup in which Campbell White and Simon Levy left and started Pyxis Polling and Insights, with the former YouGov continuing with Newspoll for just one poll before it was transferred to Pyxis.  Both Pyxis and YouGov were able through the chaos to be among the best pollsters on the Voice, and polling has been bolstered for now by the addition of a YouGov series that is a Newspoll clone in wording but uses an increasingly different weighting and targeting structure (now even including Voice vote).  

There was also a change at Essential, which belatedly added education to its weighting frame after big misses in the Voice and New Zealand.  This appeared to have quite an impact in the first poll after it happened, but less so since.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Not-A-Poll Reset: Palaszczuk Resigns

It's time to reset the Next Leader To Go Not-A-Poll in the sidebar after the resignation of Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her replacement by Steven Miles.  Yet again there was the appearance of a Labor leadership contest that could in theory have gone to a lengthy ballot but for the third time this year the potential contest evaporated.  Member ballots in the Labor Party have been effective in putting a stop to coup culture but far from giving members a much greater say in leadership contests they have instead resulted in there hardly being any contests!

Palaszczuk won the 2015 Queensland election from opposition in a stunning result after her party had been reduced to just seven seats in the 2012 landslide.  Initially governing in minority, she won a majority in 2017 and increased it in the 2020 pandemic election.  Palaszczuk's was in general a steady, middle of the road, almost apolitical government that did not arouse passions either way in the manner of its Victorian counterpart.  If politics in Queensland was not wildly exciting since 2015, Palaszczuk at least deserves credit for restoring it to sanity and stability after the chaos of the Bligh and Newman years.  She is also the only Australian female Premier thus far to win two elections, let alone three, and is still the only female Opposition Leader state or federal to lead her party into government. 

Palaszczuk's ratings were at times mediocre.  She had a -7 netsat in the final 2017 Newspoll, though this was far better than her opponent's.  She slipped to a net -15 in YouGov in early 2020 before being boosted into the low +30s by her handling of the lockdown phase later that year.  She was quite popular towards the end of 2022 but started recording her worst ratings in 2023, especially from mid-year on.  Voters perceived that she had been a good Premier but was no longer in touch.  

Party Registration Tracker 2: The Term After The Crackdown


Parties registered for 2022 election: 38

Parties registered since 2022 election: 3 (1 since deregistered, 1 previously deregistered)

Parties deregistered since 2022 election: 14 (1 tactical deregistration, 1 reregistered under new name)

Parties currently registered: 27

Net change for term: -11

Parties applying for registration: 1 

Parties being considered for deregistration: 4

(Expected that at least 1 of the 4 will be deregistered)


Introduction (December 2023)

In the 2019-2022 term the then Coalition Government introduced two major changes to party registration law. The first was an increase in the registration threshhold from 500 to 1500 members (parliamentary parties excepted).  The second was a ban on parties using words that were contained in the name of an earlier registered party.  I monitored the impacts of these laws in a resource piece called Party Registration Crackdown Tracker.  

I've decided a sequel is warranted because it appears that the 1500 member rule is having ongoing impacts in its second term in operation and that the party list for the expected 2025 election could be smaller than that for 2022, so I think it is worth a similar level of monitoring.  Of the eight parties that climbed Mount 1500 to be newly registered for the 2022 election or shortly afterwards, five are already deregistered and a sixth being considered.  As a result the first half of the expected 2022-25 term has so far seen the largest net decline in parties of any first half of a term.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

"Abyss" Piece Is Another Shanashambles


There is something badly wrong with the op ed sector of the Australian media.  Many outlets continue to pay for articles that are factually shoddy and that reinforce the prejudices of partisan readers rather than helping their readers to actually understand politics.  It's perhaps a vicious cycle in which some outlets think there is no market for anything better than an echo chamber, and by offering a bad product ensure they'll never find out otherwise.

The latest hopeless offering by Dennis Shanahan (screenshot above) is an example.  To be clear, nobody should deny that the Albanese Government has been shedding public support rapidly in recent months. Anyone in Labor's support base who is not at least a little bit concerned about this is a fool. 

Sunday, December 3, 2023

2PP Federal Polling Aggregate Relaunched

Introduction (December 2023)

In recent weeks I've relaunched the 2PP aggregate on the sidebar that was a feature here between mid-2013 and the 2019 federal election.  The aim of the aggregate is to present a frequently updated figure for what the current polls should be taken as saying collectively about the state of the two-party preferred contest.  This is never a prediction or a statement that the polls are right, it is just putting a number on where they're at.  A couple of things encouraged me to do this and the first one was a desire to have an up-to-date figure readily available to media now that things are actually happening (my 52.9 estimate from this article was being quoted after my estimate had fallen below 52.)  

Thursday, November 30, 2023

EMRS Says Tasmanian Labor's Getting Nowhere

EMRS: Liberal 39 (+1) Labor 29 (-3) Green 12 (-2) IND/Other 19 (+3)
Election "held now" would be some kind of hung parliament, but further improvement for the government would put it in contention for winning outright
Jeremy Rockliff increases slim Better Premier lead

In 2021 Tasmanian Labor had a poor election result.  Blighted by infighting and candidate disasters and facing a supremely popular Premier riding a COVID management surge, the party managed only 28.2% and lost a seat in Clark to an independent.  Two and a half years on the Premier is gone, and the "moat" phase of the pandemic that boosted his party has gone.  Also gone are two backbenchers who defected to the crossbench, three other Ministers who quit the parliament, another Minister from the Cabinet, and Adam Brooks after some number of minutes as a returned MP.  The government itself was almost gone two months ago when a crisis involving the resignation of then Attorney-General Elise Archer could have sent it to a snap election.  It remains at the mercy of two indies who at times say some very strange things.  These are hard times to govern in without this chaos.  The government is almost a decade old and has spent much of the year lurching from one crisis or shambles to the next and under pressure over a range of unpopular policies, including the now-shelved fire levy.  So where is the Opposition in this feast of opportunity?  According to the latest EMRS poll it's on ... 29%.  Pretty much back to where it started.  

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

JSCEM's Strange Case For Extra Territory Senators

Yesterday saw the release of the final version of the Joint Standing Committee into Electoral Matters report into the 2022 election.  Following the somewhat lightweight and culture-war afflicted 2019 report it was good to see a return to substance, but that is not to say that everything is wonderful.  There are various welcome aspects of JSCEM's findings and proposals that I may comment on later but for now I wanted to deal with JSCEM's recommendation to increase the number of Senators for the ACT and Northern Territory from two to four apiece.  (I'm also considering a longer article about the current push for "truth in electoral advertising" laws, and the extent to which that movement is being fanned by naive support arising from the Voice failure and the rise of Donald Trump style candidates.)

Increasing the number of Territory Senators can be done by legislation and could in theory very well happen before the next election, while an increase in the House of Representatives is likely to be a second-term project for the Albanese Government, assuming that it gets a second term.   As the support of Labor, the Greens and David Pocock for expansion appears highly likely, the Government would only, for instance, need the support of either Lidia Thorpe or the Lambie Network (or even someone to abstain or be away) to pass the change.  In theory an expansion could be challenged in the High Court but the prospects for any challenge would seem dim.  The Constitution allows the Parliament to create Territory representation on whatever terms it likes and so long as there's some reasonable argument rather than it just being an out-and-out stack, it's hard to see on what basis the Court could say no. 

Friday, November 17, 2023

Mulgrave By-Election 2023: Prospects And Live Commentary

Mulgrave (Vic, ALP vs IND 10.8, ALP vs Lib 10.2)
Vacancy for resignation of Daniel Andrews (ALP)

ALP Retain (Called 9:40 pm)

Final 2PP swing was 5.5% but Liberals unexpectedly finished third after preferences!  

Large (just over 10%) primary swing against Labor, but going to left as well as right. 

Normal by-election 2PP swing result for vacating Premier, but finishing third is embarrassing for Liberals.

Updates (scrolling to top)

Tuesday 27th The final result is in - the Liberals did finish third! The preferences from the Libertarian candidate with the donkey vote on board (but not at all just for that reason) flowed exceptionally strongly to Cook (61% vs 11% to Liberals) putting him close enough to just overtake Mann on Green preferences at the end by 158 votes. However the Liberal 2PP (45.33) is still much higher than the Ian Cook 2CP (43.51).  

7:20 Sunday The VEC will not realign the preferences before the preference distribution so we'll be waiting for postals to get the final margin and the expected confirmation that the Liberals were second, probably in a bit over a week.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Poll Roundup: This Is The Way The Honeymoon Ended

 2PP Aggregated Estimate: 52.9 To ALP (-1.4 since mid-August)

ALP would still win election "held now", probably with increased majority

Time for another federal voting intention poll roundup as there have been several noteable results in recent weeks.  In a previous edition I reported that while the end of the Albanese Government's polling honeymoon had been declared by many hasty false prophets, we weren't quite there yet ... but we could be soon.  My standard for the honeymoon phase still existing had been a 54-46 estimated aggregated polling lead for the government, but in the event of the government falling slightly below that level I would want to see at least a month of evidence that that was the case.  (It is somewhat like how a single quarter of negative growth does not count as a recession).  

Anyway I can now report that on my estimates the rear-vision window shows that it's been two months.  The Albanese Government's polling honeymoon ended not with a bang but with a gradual slip into the twilight zone of not-quite-enough-ahead in early September.  There were several individual poll results better than 54-46 since then but on a weekly rolling basis I have had Labor in the 53s ever since.  Furthermore following this week's Newspoll the Government dipped just below an aggregated (and Newspoll!) 53% for the first time.  

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Voice Referendum: Turnout and Informal Votes

I haven't seen any other articles on these subjects so some coverage of turnout and informal votes in the Voice referendum.  

The most important thing to know about Voice turnout is that it was a lot higher than many people said it was going to be.  It indeed managed to just beat the 2022 House of Representatives turnout, but this is no great miracle alone given that the 2022 election was COVID-blighted.  What makes it more impressive was that it was acheived against the backdrop of an enrolment drive that made the roll more complete than ever before, putting more voters on the roll who had a relatively low chance of voting.  Another factor that makes the near-90% turnout commendable is that six years ago there was a mass voting type exercise that was voluntary, and there was some potential for confusion about whether voting in the referendum was required.

Just a disclaimer before I get much further: when I post graphs with low r-squared values (percentage of variation explained) I come across a few readers for whom a little knowledge of statistics is a dangerous thing and who will, sometimes irately, insist that anything below r-squared equals 0.3 or so is worthless.  In fact electoral statistics are very messy and even r-squared values of a few percent can be statistically significant if there are enough data points.  The important thing with such values is to be especially cautious about assuming causation since the causes of such patterns are often to be found elsewhere.  For instance, in the 1999 Republic referendum, seats with high Yes votes had low turnout, but that isn't because high support for Yes in an area caused people to not vote, it is mainly because inner city seats that tended naturally to vote Yes also have high numbers of transient young voters (who themselves would be likely to vote Yes if they voted at all).  

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Voice Referendum Polling Accuracy

The 2023 Voice referendum was a triumph for Australian (and in one case UK) opinion polling.  With all votes counted apart from a few dozen that may or may not exist, here is my assessment of the accuracy of the final polls, and of the polling overall.  

Before I start a few words about the late count: firstly the Yes vote rebounded after the first night of counting from projecting to the low 39s to finishing up at very nearly 40 (39.94 pending any late corrections, which would appear unlikely at this stage).  The main causes of this were: a strong performance by Yes on absents, a relatively strong performance on out-of-division prepolls (which were intermediate between absents and in-division prepolls) and both these forms of votes being substantially more common than in 2022 (29% and 22% more common respectively).  The latter also pushed the turnout up from the initial mid-to-high 80s range to more or less 90%, with it finishing at 89.92% (up 0.1% on the 2022 Reps election, but also up over 400,000 voters because of increased enrolment).   That said because it is harder to get one's vote rejected over enrolment issues, a better comparison might be the 2022 Senate turnout of 90.47%, on which turnout was slightly down.  

34 divisions voted Yes, including all in doubt after the night except for No's closest victory in Hotham, and 117 voted No.  Tasmania pipped NSW for second highest state Yes vote by 0.02%.

The polls overall

The Voice referendum was among the most heavily polled electoral events in Australian history, and the single most diversely polled with at least 22 different pollsters releasing some kind of result on the Voice since the 2022 federal election.  The polling was characterised by a refreshing lack of herding and saw a range of approaches taken in terms of headline figures (these could be broken broadly into one-pass, two-pass and forced choice approaches).  The major national polls towards the end were in general exclusively online, the main variation being that DemosAU used device engagement whereas the others employed panel polling.  This lack of method diversity turned out not to be a problem.  

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Will The Spirit Of Hare-Clark Be Killed By Farce?

Update: As of 9 November the Legislative Council has fixed the issue reporting in this article by changing per-candidate funding to per-party/group funding.  


Watch out which candidate you vote for next Tasmanian state election.  Your vote could cost the party you voted for $17,000.  That's if the Liberal Government's current electoral public funding model is passed through Parliament with the help of the Labor Opposition.

Of all the bizarre things that have happened in the current Tasmanian Parliament this is among the strangest. We are here not by design but by accident, largely because former Attorney-General Elise Archer was given (and relied upon instead of checking) incorrect advice on a technical point about elections in the ACT.  It may be that the Rockliff Government has no real intention of progressing electoral reforms inherited from Archer, or that an election intervenes before they can come into place.  But if the Government does go ahead and  the Electoral Disclosure and Funding Bill 2022 (No. 25) comes into force with Labor support, then that will create a public funding model that will distort the competition between candidates within the same party.  It will also unfairly advantage some parties over others, and expose voters to tactical dilemmas best left to defective voting systems like first-past-the-post.  This will be the worst reform in the 126 year history of Hare-Clark, the first change that is completely contrary to the spirit of the system.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Voice Referendum: Twilight Of The Poll Deniers

The Indigenous Voice to Parliament Referendum this weekend became the 37th out of 45 referendums to be defeated at the polls, the 12th to lose in every State and probably the 10th to finish below 40%.  This was a very richly and diversely polled event.  A full assessment of poll accuracy will be posted when all the votes are counted (ignore all gloating from pollsters claiming they were the best until that time) but one thing is very clear.  The online polling denial movement which was so abundant that I had to write an article about its tropes has been discredited.  Despite all its spurious claims as to why polls would favour No, they have on average slightly overestimated Yes.  

Polling accuracy and polling denial are not the most important things about this referendum, but they are key subjects of this website so I'll of course keep commenting about them.  I will also comment about many of the other things below and perhaps in a later article.  My overall view is that this should never have been a mid-term referendum, and even if held with an election needed to be far better executed.  I only hope that from the seemingly pointless grief and trauma caused, the unnecessary divisions created and the uncomfortable facts exposed, there will be an unexpected positive response and good will somehow come.  Meanwhile while we are used to Trumpy behaviour from sectors of the Australian right and saw as much of it here as we expected, this referendum has exposed far too much likewise in parts of "the left" (I broadly include parts of Labor's Twitter support base.)

(I was intending to use new "chilli warnings" to alert readers about especially ranty sections of this article but in the end this part hasn't come out much rantier than normal.  Maybe next time.)

Saturday, October 14, 2023

2023 Voice Referendum Live

No has won the Voice referendum and will win every state and NT

Yes will win ACT (does not count for double majority)

Yes tracking for vote just below 40% but exact vote still to settle.


Donations Welcome!

If you'd like to help support my coverage, there's a Paypal in the sidebar, or click on my profile to email me for account details.  


Things We Won't Know Tonight

I am putting this paragraph at the top because every election some people jump the gun with comments about two issues before the count is finished.  We will not know the final turnout tonight or tomorrow - it will rise over the next two weeks as postal and absent votes are added.  Always there are articles and tweets complaining about how bad the turnout is at elections without waiting to see what the turnout ends as. 

Unless the result is very high or very low for Yes we won't know tonight which polls were the most accurate.    The referendum vote will shift in coming weeks, probably more so than a normal election.  Also, assessing polling accuracy at a referendum is complicated because many pollsters release final results with an undecided figure included.  We should have a rough idea of how good the polls were overall.

Also a note that nearly all informal votes will be deliberate (and not crosses).


Live Comments

1:15 Signing off here after a result that after months of watching polling ended up extremely unsurprising.  It is also unsurprising by historic standards, a typical thrashing for a mid-term Labor referendum without bipartisan support.  There will be more to look at in coming days but for the moment, goodnight all!

Monday, October 9, 2023

Voice Referendum Polling: Rolling Final Week Roundup

Two-answer aggregated estimate (FINAL) Yes trails 41.3-58.7
No projected ahead in every state, but significant doubt about Tasmania
Unweighted two-answer average of all final polls Yes trails 41.8-58.2

Introduction (9 October)

Welcome to my final week's thread for rolling coverage of Voice referendum polling.  There may be a further polling post on Friday, or not, depending on time and the volume of material.  There may also be side posts on any matters of special polling interest and perhaps even at some point a big rant about why we are here.  The previous edition was here and click on the "voice referendum" tab to view all previous instalments.  

This thread will be updated in the sections below.  The two main graphs will appear at the top and be updated from time to time.  Significant polls will appear in the Major Polls section, scrolling to the top. 

As an overall summary of the state of play, the Yes vote for the Voice referendum may have been declining as early as August 2022 (based on two polls at that time) and was certainly declining by December 2022.  Since then Yes has lost just over 20 points of polled support, falling from the low 60s to the low 40s.  This may seem extreme, but in fact some other referendums have lost more support faster, including the 1988 referendums and the 1951 Communist Party ban referendum.  

People are already voting in significant numbers.  Any late swing back to Yes in polling (as has appeared to a statistically non-significant degree in the most recent Resolve and Essential) is not remotely likely to carry it to victory and the only way Yes now wins is if there is a catastrophic polling failure, several times the size of what happened in 2019  As the polls are quite widely spread in their estimates, that seems even less likely.  

Friday, September 29, 2023

Elise Archer Resignation And Recount

Recounts (Nov 13)

I somehow didn't update at the time with the news that Simon Behrakis had comfortably won the Archer recount (defeating Coats 55.2-44.7).  Behrakis resigned his council seat immediately, which has been won by Coats in a very lopsided countback.  Coats polled nearly 30% of recount primaries to Briscoe's 12.6% and went on to win with an absolute majority against three remaining opponents; at this stage Coats led Briscoe by just over 500 votes.  

Archer Resigns (Oct 4)

As you were ... after the Premier issued a 9 am Monday deadline for Elise Archer to make a decision the news has come out that Archer is quitting after all - I expect this means at least a week of Parliament will be prorogued unless the government is past caring whether it falls.  A number of Labor predictions that the Parliament would not sit again appear to be false barring further twists.  

Update: The Government is indeed past caring, there's no prorogue! In theory the Opposition could now renege on the pair and cause chaos (this has been known to happen in such situations) but even if it did it would not be able to form a workable government on the floor, especially as the Speaker can always cause a deadlock by resigning.  So even if a no confidence motion was to be passed the Premier would simply advise the Governor either to call an election (where we could have been anyway) or to wait a week when confidence would be restored.    I am still a bit surprised by this because of the potential risks of an Opposition party floor majority on other votes, though this is somewhat limited by the two-thirds majority rule for suspending standing orders.  

The recount is expected to happen on Oct 23.  

Alexander Noises:  The Australian now reports that Lara Alexander both says that her promise of confidence and supply stands but also that she would "evaluate it and see" if a no-confidence motion was passed - thereby in effect saying both that she guarantees confidence and doesn't guarantee confidence.  

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Not-A-Poll Reset: Andrews Resigns

After a brief appearance that there could be a challenge from Ben Carroll, Jacinta Allan has been anointed unopposed as the new Premier of Victoria, replacing Daniel Andrews who announced his resignation yesterday.  It's therefore time for another reset of the Next Leader To Go Not-A-Poll, voting for which has commenced in the sidebar.

Andrews has given little reason for resigning other than that he just felt that it was time to move on after nearly nine years as Premier and before that four as Opposition Leader.  Andrews led his party back to Government in 2014 in a single term after a narrow shock loss in 2010.  He was massively re-elected in 2018 despite polls that had a merely comfortable victory, and won again in 2022 with a modest swing against him and no net seat loss.  The opposition might not have beaten him in 2026 either and will be greatly relieved that he has gone.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Voice Referendum Polling: Nothing Has Stopped This Trendline

Two-answer estimate Yes trails 41.7-58.3 (rate of decline is slowing)
No still leads in every state in model but leads in Tasmania in recent tiny breakdowns
Estimate includes data to October 1

Major updates added at bottom: Morgan (Sep 25), DemosAU (Sep 28), Essential (Oct 3), YouGov (Oct 4), Morgan (Oct 5)

Key to colours: Green  - Newspoll, Dark Green - YouGov, Magenta - Resolve, Grey - Essential, Dark blue - JWS, Light blue - Freshwater, Black - Morgan, Red - Redbridge, Orange - DemosAU

This is my seventh Voice polling roundup; I expect there will be one more in the final week, but if polls are sparse over the next fortnight I will probably just add those that do arrive in that time to this article.  We have only three weeks to go til referendum day and remote voting has started as I write. 

Friday, September 15, 2023

Losing The Republic Like It's 1999: The Polling

The current Voice referendum with its rapidly declining support has brought back memories of referendums past.  Surprisingly, given that it's our most recent referendum, there has been little information available about the polling trajectory of the 1999 Republic defeat.  The received wisdom is that support for the Republic started off very high and ended up low, as happened with several other referendums (especially the 1988 quadruple failure) and as is so far happening with the Voice.

It turns out to be not so simple.  The story of the 1999 Republic referendum polling is one where only the last few months of data are all that usable, and in public polls at least, Yes was never all that much in front.

A summary of Republic polling is available in one paper available online but I thought, surely there was more?  I could not find any usable online archive of Republic referendum polling but what I did find, to my surprise, was some polling commentary in an article I published in Togatus April 1999.  1999 model me - not then a polling analyst so please cut some slack for misusing "push-poll" for a seriously bad polling question - wrote this:

"Poll results are confusing. In the last week of January the Age/AC Nielsen showed a national 41% yes vote, but Newspoll showed 58%.[*] The latter was a virtual push-poll because it included the statement 'this will most likely mean that the head of state will not be a politician' and ARM won't get even that simple message through to a thick republican public that mistakes an extra election with people-power."

[* 59% actually. This Newspoll wording was said to have been sourced from the ARM, and was roundly and rightly condemned by opponents as out of step with other polling at the time.]

In fact, question wording was a major issue in 1999 polling, and a case where public polling itself influenced the ballot paper design for the better.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Does Losing Mid-Term Referendums Help Australian Governments To Win The Next Election?

Short answer: there is no evidence it does.  

During the Voice referendum campaign a common view has emerged that a success for the No campaign will be bad news for the federal Opposition and its leader Peter Dutton for the next federal election.  The theory is that the Coalition's opposition to the Voice is already tying it to some strident political positions and that it will wear the blame for the defeat.  An example of this was a recent George Megalogenis article that initially claimed there was no precedent for an opposition leader taking down a referendum and winning the next election or the one after (which was edited after I and perhaps others pointed out Menzies winning in 1949 after defeating the Rents and Prices referendum in 1948).   Similar themes have also been present in the commentary of Professor Matt Qvortrup (who has incidentally long predicted that the Voice would lose, albeit recently with what looks like an optimistic Yes vote of 48 +/- 2.5%). Prof Qvortrup, who has great experience with overseas referendums, may well have evidence that referendum-defeat boost is a big trend overseas, though at a quick look I did not find any study to this effect.  

So, is there anything in this for Australia?  The paradigm case is supposed to be the 1951 defeat of the Communist Party ban referendum, in which Labor won the battle but lost the war: things said on the referendum trail made it easy for Prime Minister Menzies to tie them to Communism for many years after.  This narrative, however, seems simplistic to me, because the Opposition Leader (Evatt) not only said and did things on the referendum trail that made it easy to tie Labor to communism for campaigning purposes, but kept saying and doing such things forever after.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Voice Referendum Polling: How Low Can Yes Go?

Two-answer estimate Yes trails 42.3-57.7 (as of last data September 8)
Yes still behind in every state.  Fourth state now behind national average

(Update added at bottom for Resolve September 11)


Key to colours: Green  - Newspoll, Magenta - Resolve, Yellow - Essential, Dark blue - JWS, Light blue - Freshwater, Black - Morgan, Red - Redbridge.  

Time for another Voice roundup following a flurry of polls in the past week.  In the three weeks since the previous edition there's been another chance for the trend line to do something, anything, other than simple accelerating decline, and again this hasn't happened.  

This week's offerings have been the first Pyxis Newspoll at 38-53-9 (yes-no-undecided), a Redbridge forced choice at 39-61, a Freshwater poll at 35-50-15 and 41-59 forced choice, and Essential at 42-48-10.  The field dates for Freshwater were Sep 2-5.  

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Australian Polling Denial And Disinformation Register


Following a Newspoll finding the Indigenous Voice to Parliament Yes side trailing by a horrendous if not all that surprising 38-53 this week, the website arguably still known as Twitter has been even more awash with polling denialism than at other stages in the Yes side's slide down the slippery slope.  The number of people recycling and reciting the same unchecked viral false claims has become so large that it is almost impossible to manage a response to them.  Inspired by the AEC's electoral disinformation register, I have decided to start a register of commonly encountered false claims about polling that are spread on social media, mostly from people claiming to be on the left.  A few right-wing claims are included too, but I don't see those so often at the moment.  (I do see a lot of right-wing electoral disinfo, especially the "3 out of 10 voted Labor" preferential-voting denial.)

Friday, August 25, 2023

Voice Referendum Ticks And Crosses Beatup

I thought I should make some quick comments on the matter breaking yesterday (following a Sky News interview) regarding the use of ticks and crosses in the Voice referendum.  There was sudden outrage on various right-leaning outlets and from politicians including the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party when it was noticed that the AEC's ballot formality guidelines advise that ticks in referendums are treated as formal votes for Yes while crosses are treated as informal.  This has led to a fairly large outbreak of clueless wheel-reinvention and simple-minded outrage on social media.  It is doubtless worse on talkback.

I should note clearly near the top that the ballot paper will instruct voters to vote "Yes" or "No", and they will also be instructed thusly verbally if they are voting in a booth.  This debate only concerns the tiny minority who fail to follow the instructions.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

EMRS: Government Polling Steadies After Crossbench Defections

EMRS: Liberal 38 (+2) Labor 32 (+1) Green 14 (-1) IND/Other 16 (-2)
Election held now would deliver some kind of hung parliament
Jeremy Rockliff retakes slim Better Premier lead

This is just some quick comments at this stage about the August EMRS poll which has just been released.  The last poll came in the wake of the shock defection of Liberals John Tucker and Lara Alexander to the crossbench, and saw a six-point hit to the Government's vote.  The government has had a bumpy ride in the Parliament ever since, losing several votes on the floor and frequently having proceedings held up by tactical motions, but there has so far been no threat to confidence and supply.  It seems nobody much wants an election at this moment and if one is to happen this year that would probably be a result of some kind of standoff gone wrong.  The stadium controversy has abated for now and while there are plenty of others taking its place (most recently Marinus cost blowouts and mass Hobart bus service cancellations) the latest EMRS poll suggests that the damage is at least not getting worse.  In fact the government has gained two points, though the gain is not statistically significant.  There was a chance here for the rot to set in in public views of the Government, but it clearly hasn't occurred in this quarter.  

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Voice Polling: The Sleeping Double Majority Curse

Yes trails about 45.0-55.0 in aggregated public polling (as of 13 Aug, pending new data)

No now leading on aggregate in every state, but Yes still ahead of national total in four states

Time for another Voice polling roundup.  There has been relatively little new data in the four weeks since the last update and this article includes some historic analysis that suggests that the current state polling picture for the Voice is actually highly unusual.  At the moment the state polling picture is irrelevant because No is ahead nationwide, but a benign state distribution is one thing Yes does have going for it should the national picture improve or if polls are underestimating Yes for some unprecedented reason.  What I find here is that it is almost unprecedented historically for the state picture not to be a drag, so it will be interesting to see if that holds up.  Is the double majority a sleeping curse that will wake up in the months to come or in the final results, or is it really going to be a non-issue this time around?  It turns out that if it is a non-issue, there's a reason for it, and that reason is Queensland.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Poll Roundup: The Honeymoon Still Isn't Over But Could It Be Check-Out Time Pretty Soon?

Federal cross-poll average 55.2% to Labor

(Cross-poll average expected to overestimate Labor's actual standing by c.1%)

It's been a long time since I released a federal polling roundup (several attempts have been commenced then lost in the longer weeds of why Resolve gets such different results from other pollsters) but I thought this would be an appropriately random time to put one out.  A new Voice roundup is also likely in the next week or two, but to save the suspense, the No lead is continuing to build (Yes is now behind about 45-55 on cross-poll aggregate).  There are weak signs that the rate of decline may have stopped accelerating and might even be slowing but that's not enough for Yes which unless the polls are very wrong needs to start making real gains.  

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Do Greens Do Badly At By-Elections When Both Major Parties Run?

(This article has been graded Wonk Factor 3/5.  It contains plenty of number-crunching and the odd statistical concept.)


Today's article is a test of a hypothesis I thought was worth looking at.  In the recent Fadden federal by-election, the Greens were among the obvious losers, copping a 4.56% swing against them and falling to fifth on primaries behind Legalise Cannabis.  Then came the Rockingham state by-election in which the Greens were again smoked by the dope party despite having outpolled them at the previous upper house contest for the seat. The Greens did pick up a swing there (currently standing at 1.7%) but that was nothing but crumbs given that Mark McGowan's departure left a 33.4% swing for other parties to feast on.  On the other hand, there was a significant local-government based independent, Hayley Edwards, running.

Social media has been awash with Labor stans and the occasional op ed or media hack claiming that one poor result and one ambiguous result are clearly all about the party's stance on the Housing Australia Future Fund bill and are a portent of incandescent doom for the Greens at the next Senate election!  Given the variability of by-election outcomes and the fact that the Green vote is stable at its election level in national polling, those involved could as always improve the standard of Twitter psephology by desisting from this untestable game and deleting their accounts.   

On the other hand, I have seen a theory that the Greens will often do badly in by-elections because their by-election campaigns tend to be token attempts in seats they can't win and without the accompanying upper-house focused campaigns to drive up the vote.  So is there any truth in this overall, or is it really just the case that the Greens vote easily goes soft when there is even modest new competition?

Friday, July 28, 2023

Rockingham By-Election 2023: How Big A Swing Is Too Big?

Note for Tas audiences: Cassy O'Connor recount is covered here


Rockingham (WA) (ALP 37.7%)
By-election for resignation of Mark McGowan (ALP), MP since 1996

CALLED 7:40 pm Magenta Marshall (ALP) retains, will probably just be taken to preferences

Second place after preferences TBD between Hudson (Lib) and Edwards (IND) (edit: Edwards was second.)

Monday, July 24, 2023

Voice Referendum Polling: No Leads / Indigenous Support Levels

TWO-ANSWER TREND ESTIMATE YES 47.8 (-2.8 in four weeks)

Aggregated polls have Yes losing in five states and trailing the national average in three (two narrowly)

(Above estimates may be updated if new polls are added in next few weeks)


Greetings.  I was going to call this article "Welcome to No" but thought of some wrong ways that that could be taken.

Four weeks ago my last Voice update still had Yes very slightly ahead but the lead was not long for this world.  Unsurprisingly in this edition Yes is still going downhill rapidly and is now clearly behind in my aggregated estimate.  The most recently added polls are Newspoll with a 46-54 result and Resolve with 48-52 (and an even worse 36-42-22 prior to the forced-choice question).  

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Fadden Live: Who Gets The Swing?


Fadden (LNP 10.6%), vacancy for resignation of Stuart Robert

CALLED (7:26 pm) Cameron Caldwell (LNP) retain

Small 2PP swing to LNP ( 2.72%), slightly above average for contested opposition vacancy

Poor result for Greens, One Nation and obscure independents, strong result for Legalise Cannabis

Live Comments (scrolls to top)

12 August:  The final results have been published and the swing is 2.72%.  Legalise Cannabis stayed ahead of the Greens, failing to overtake One Nation by just 31 votes.  There are "swings" to both the LNP and Labor and away from One Nation at the 4CP stage, but this is not comparing like with like because Legalise Cannabis are the fourth party.  The most striking result in the figures is that the flow of One Nation preferences to LNP jumped to 77.06%, which exceeds the flow in any classic-2PP seat in the entire 2022 election except Gippsland.  In the Gippsland case One Nation were first on the ballot and the National's Darren Chester was second, so the flow included donkey and similar votes.  I would take this as a sign that One Nation voters are pleased that Peter Dutton is LNP leader, although it may also be they are happier to have Stuart Robert gone and/or that they are displeased with Anthony Albanese, his government or its Voice proposal.  

Friday 28th: The remaining postals count has gone to zero so the primary count is probably done now barring very minor corrections in the distribution of preferences.  88.5% of postals came back but 4.1% were disallowed, meaning 84.4% made the cut, a very common figure.  Swing is now 2.72%, turnout is 72.54% and the Citizens Party is last by 19 votes.  Next we get the distribution of preferences sometime next week maybe, which will yield some interesting order of exclusion and probably 3PP/4PP data involving One Nation, Legalise Cannabis and the Greens.  

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Cassy O'Connor Resignation, Recount And Run For Hobart

Clark recount for seat of Cassy O'Connor (Green)
Vica Bayley (GRN) wins recount but it has been closer than expected.

1:01 Bayley wins 5380-4649 (53.6% to 46.4%) with 592 exhausted (mostly on the final exclusion).  That result highlights some problems for the Greens in terms of fracturing of candidate preferences among their voters, with so many preferring Taylor (who has run for Council but is far from a household name) but it is also an opportunity: if they can split their vote this evenly it will improve their chances of winning two!

12:11 I have heard that Bayley is going OK on the final exclusion and should survive. (Update: more than OK, he will gain by over 200 here and win by several hundred.)

Sunday, July 9, 2023

1951 And A Reason To Avoid An Early Double Dissolution

In recent weeks there has been a lot of speculation about a possible early federal double dissolution, after the Greens and Coalition deferred Labor's Housing Australia Future Fund Bill 2023 until October.  The Albanese government says that this deferral constitutes a first "failure to pass" the Bill for the purposes of Section 57 of the Constitution and that if the Senate were to block or defer the Bill again, then the Bill would become a trigger for an early double dissolution election whenever the government wished to call one.  The Greens dispute that the deferral is a "failure to pass", but it would be a brave Governor-General who refused an election to a government that had an even arguable case that that box had been ticked, and in my view the government's case would be more than merely arguable.  There are questions about the mechanics regarding whether the Bill needs to be withdrawn before the Senate could fail to pass it again, but in some form or another it seems to me the HAFF Bill could become a double dissolution trigger if it is not passed in October or shortly afterwards.  

This article concerns not the mechanics of whether and how Labor can acquire an early double dissolution should it be unable to pass the HAFF Bill (though I am happy to have that discussed in comments), but whether it is a good idea strategically. 

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Voice Referendum Polling: The Last Days Of The Yes Ascendancy?

TWO-ANSWER POLLING AVERAGE TREND: 50.1 TO YES (-3.9 in about a month)

(estimate updated 11 July, will be edited if more polls before next article)

(UPDATES ADDED: Notes rejecting the ACM reader survey, the Paterson Tele-Town Hall robopoll and the Australia Institute, plus Essential added 11 July)


It's only three weeks since the last one, but this week's Newspoll (among other developments) merits another chapter in the story of the referendum Yes vote's decline.  Sure, maybe I should do a federal roundup sometime, but on the other hand there's still not much to see there.  I can do it in a paragraph: Labor is currently at about 55.8% 2PP as a cross-poll average. While Anthony Albanese himself is being quickly cut down to merely mild popularity, there is no end yet to honeymoon vote shares for his party.  Even this week's 54-46 Newspoll came off primaries that would normally be good for 55.  There are some signs of improvement for Peter Dutton, whose own ratings have gone up just a little and whose deficit on Newspoll Better PM (20 points) is now not much larger than that indicator historically skews by.  So there are a few signs that at least leadership polling has the potential to get more interesting, but for now at least the Voice is where it's at.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Victoria 2022: New Lower House Distributions And 2PP Pendulum

Last week saw some late excitement for those of us interested in the entrails of the 2022 Victorian election with the release of 39 previously unavailable preference distributions, albeit officially unofficial and "indicative".   These are the full preference distributions for the seats where previously there was either no distribution (because a candidate was elected on primary votes alone) or an incomplete distribution (because the winner crossed 50% against two or more non-excluded rivals).  36 of these were classic two-party preferred contests (mostly lopsided ones), the remainder being Narracan (a supplementary election that Labor didn't contest), Brunswick (Greens vs ALP) and, entertainingly, Mulgrave.

In the original postcount the VEC kept Mulgrave as a Labor vs Liberal seat although independent Ian Cook (of "Slug Gate" fame) held a narrow primary vote lead for second over the Liberals' Michael Piastrino.  This led to complaints from the Cook camp seeking something they thought was called a "recount" (in fact what they wanted was a realignment).  Cook claimed that "according to my scrutineers, it will bring Daniel Andrews down a few per cent to make the seat marginal".

It didn't (though it might have done the "down a few per cent" bit had Cook's primary lead over Piastrino stayed at 4%).  Cook did in fact hold his eventual primary lead of just under 1% over Piastrino all the way to the final exclusion, but Andrews won the 2CP against Cook by a margin of 60.83% vs 39.17%.  This was, in fact, more than Andrews won the 2PP quick throw vs Piastrino by (60.20-39.80).  

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Voice Referendum Polling: The Yes Vote Keeps On Falling

Current estimate of national Yes vote (two-answer basis): 54%

(Note added 12 June: an update on the Resolve poll has been added at the bottom of the article.)


Two months after my first article on Voice referendum polling, it's time for a second.  This week saw the release of a new Newspoll with the worst result for Yes of any reputable poll so far, though Yes was still ahead nationally, just, 46-43.  The poll lead to a spectacular display of unhinging on Twitter from the usual army of drips, megaphones and rusted-ons. Many of these responded by posting completely and obviously false claims about Newspoll's track record, including falsely claiming it had failed to predict Labor victories in recent elections.  I even saw one tweet that claimed Newspoll had wrongly forecast Liberal wins in all state and federal elections in the last three years.  In fact the final Newspolls in every relevant case had Labor winning (with 2PPs in chronological order of 51.5, 66, 53, 54, 54.5 and 54.5) and Labor duly won the lot (with 2PPs of 53.1, 69.7, 52.1, 54.6, 55.0 and 54.3).

One can only wonder what these people will do if, or looking more likely at the moment when, the first poll with No ahead pokes its head above the parapet.  At the current rate of progress, that day might not be far away.  The Yes vote is tanking according to polls.  While it does depend to some degree on which poll one examines and poll wording, the overall downhill trend I highlighted in early April has shown no sign of stopping in the last two months. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Not-A-Poll Reset: McGowan Resigns

Roger Cook was elected unopposed as the new WA Labor leader today as expected and is about to be sworn in as the new WA Premier following the resignation of Mark McGowan.  This means it's time to reset this site's Next Leader To Go Not-A-Poll, voting for which is open in the sidebar.

McGowan resigned citing exhaustion after just over six years as Premier and almost eleven and a half years as party leader.  His electoral legacy is a thumping win from Opposition in 2017 followed by turning WA for the time being into a one-party state in 2021.  Influenced as the latter result was by COVID politics, federal drag with a potent sprinkling of Palmer dust and a remarkably hapless state Opposition, I don't expect to see a 69.7% 2PP in a state election again in my lifetime.  It's surreal to realise that it was not always such - not only did Labor lose the 2013 election heavily (for which McGowan was generally not blamed) but in 2016 there was a semi-serious push to not have him as leader at all despite polling evidence showing that his numbers were such that few Opposition Leaders could even dream of.  

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Holding The Ball: Polling And The Proposed Stadium

Summary: There is adequate evidence of strong overall opposition to the Macquarie Point stadium proposal, but most of the individual polls being cited are unsound.


A proposed stadium at Macquarie Point has now become a major Tasmanian political issue.  The proposed stadium, intended as part of a deal for Tasmania to finally get an AFL team, has been so divisive that two Liberal backbenchers quit the party citing concerns over the stadium approval process, taking the Rockliff Liberal Government into minority.  Unless approved or killed off by then, the stadium is highly likely to feature as an issue at the next state election.  

The stadium becomes the latest in a long line of Tasmanian contentious development proposals - the Bell Bay pulp mill, the kunanyi/Mt Wellington cable car and the Ralphs Bay canal estate proposal being some prior examples.  Typically these have in common that they greatly polarise the community for a long time and suck a lot of oxygen out of other political issues, but also that virtually none of them end up going ahead.  Something else they have in common (and share with some other long-running controversies such as old-growth logging) is that they inspire a lot of mostly terrible polling.   On this site I previously published reviews of polling about the cable car and polling about the pulp mill showing that the great majority of polls on both these issues were biased and/or of poor quality.  

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

EMRS: Liberals Crash But Labor Doesn't Pick Up The Pieces

EMRS Lib 36 (-6) ALP 31 (+1) GRN 15 (+2) IND/OTHER 18 (+3)
Election held now would deliver a very hung parliament
Rebecca White retakes Better Premier lead, most probably as a result of disapproval of Jeremy Rockliff's performance

An eagerly awaited EMRS poll is up and as you would have been nuts to not expect, the Rockliff Liberal Government has been harshly whacked over its recent collapse into minority and its pursuit of a controversial AFL stadium.  After over a year in which basically nothing happened in this quarterly series the Government has slumped six points to 36%.  I have this as the Liberal Party's third-lowest primary since February 2011 (when it was also at 36), beating only a 35 and a 34 polled during 2017, a time when the poll had serious issues that it later addressed with overestimating the Green vote.

For a long time I have been wondering what it would take to lift the Labor Opposition above the low 30s and put it on to numbers where it could at least push for being the largest party in the parliament, if not for majority.  Surely this would be it?  According to this poll, no!  Remarkably the poll finds Labor up just one point to a feeble 31% with the slack being picked up by Greens (up two) and independents/others (up three).  So is the latter a boost in support for the recent defectors Lara Alexander and John Tucker?  The seat by seat breakdown is extremely granular because EMRS in its dashboard presents the numbers as a share of the overall state vote (and the sample size is tiny anyway) but the combined Ind/Other share hasn't moved upwards in either the Bass or the Lyons sample (a lot of the gain was in Clark).  

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

2023 Fadden By-Election

FADDEN (LNP Qld 10.63%)
July 15 by-election
Cause of by-election: Resignation of Stuart Robert (MP since 2007)
LNP should retain seat easily

Welcome to my brief guide to the second by-election of the Albanese government's first term, for the northern Gold Coast seat of Fadden.  Fadden has been vacated by former Minister Stuart Robert, an endlessly controversial MP and close ally of former Prime Minister Scott Morrison (whose career as member for Cook is widely believed to be approaching its end as well).  

Fadden was created in 1977 and was initially very slightly Coalition-leaning compared to the national average, running at just over 1 point above the national 2PP in 1977, 1980 and 1983.  On this basis Labor won it in 1983 but an adverse redistribution made it notionally Liberal and the one term ALP incumbent, David Beddall, decamped to Rankin.  The seat was won back by the Liberals in 1984 and remained fairly marginal through the Hawke/Keating years but was won with a large swing in 1996 (partly fuelled by a further redistribution) and since then has generally favoured the Coalition by between 10 and 13% compared to the national 2PP.  In this time only in 1998 did the 2PP go below 60% to Coalition so it is now a very solid LNP seat with a serious claim to be one of the most electorally boring seats in the nation.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Tasmania Update: Stadium To Be Project Of State Significance

A brief update on today's developments following the announcement of a deal between the Rockliff Liberal Government and former members Lara Alexander and John Tucker, who quit the party just over a week ago and now sit as independents.

The essence of the deal is that in return for the independents' support on supply and confidence, the government has agreed to make the proposed Macquarie Point stadium a Project of State Significance rather than a Major Project.  This means both Houses of Parliament will need to approve the commencement of assessment. Both Houses will also need to approve any variation from the final decision of the assessment process.  Earlier I had thought that both Houses needed to give the project final approval but on reading the legislation this appears to be not the case if the government accepts the outcome of the POSS process without amendment.)

Saturday, May 13, 2023

New South Wales 2023: Final Results, Poll Accuracy And 2PP Pendulum

It's been a long time coming because of other work but here finally is my wrapup piece for the 2023 New South Wales lower house election.  The twelve-year old Coalition led by its fourth Premier Dominic Perrottet was sent packing by the Labor opposition under its fifth leader Chris Minns, but optional preferencing and some luck in the close seats cushioned the blow and the Coalition managed to retain 36 seats.  Labor after looking almost sure to get a majority on counting night (more of that later) ended up with just 45 but no trouble at all forming government given that the crossbench held three Greens and nine independents.  The result snapped a 15-election streak at state and federal level since the last case of a non-majority outcome.

Vote Share, 2PP and Preference Change

The election saw a further slight fall in the major party primary votes.  The primary votes were 36.97% Labor, 35.37% Coalition, 9.70% Greens, 8.76% independents, with the rest led by 2.23% Sustainable Australia, 1.8% One Nation, 1.56% Shooters Fishers and Farmers and 1.28% Legalise Cannabis.  The 2PP was 54.27% to Labor, a swing of 6.29%.  

There was a slight increase in preferencing at this election with 35.2% of non-major party (or minor Coalition partner in three-cornered seats) preferences reaching Labor on a 2PP basis (+2.2%), 16.1% reaching Coalition (+2.1%) and 48.7% (-4.3%) exhausting.  However these figures include many Independent and Green preferences that were not actually distributed in many seats.  The Greens' share of all non-major votes dropped slightly from 38% to 35%.  

Friday, May 12, 2023

Tasmanian Government To Lose Majority (Or Something)

On what could be a fast-moving day, it's been announced that Liberal backbenchers Lara Alexander and John Tucker will quit the Liberal Party and move to the crossbenches, taking the Rockliff Liberal Government into minority.  The primary trigger point (see detailed statement) is the proposed Macquarie Point AFL stadium, with both claiming there has been inadequate transparency from Cabinet, but there are other things going on as well.  Alexander's camp was criticising the government during the 2021 campaign over her inability to speak out as a new candidate, and she later controversially hosted an event for opposition to gay conversion therapy bans.  Tucker says he has been in talks about leaving since March and has also cited dissatisfaction over Marinus Link and the Battery of the Nation.  Alexander has complained about the Premier supporting a yes vote on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Legislative Council 2023: Launceston, Murchison and Rumney Live

Launceston: CALLED (6:51 pm) Rosemary Armitage (IND) re-elected overwhelmingly
Murchison: CALLED (6:32 pm) Ruth Forrest (IND) re-elected overwhelmingly
Rumney: CALLED (7:17 pm) Sarah Lovell (ALP) re-elected overwhelmingly


Updates (Scrolls to top)

Tuesday: All over and Lovell was indeed taken to preferences to an extremely token degree, finishing exactly six votes shy of 50%.

Wednesday: With Lovell now eight votes below majority, the TEC has thrown Pickin's preferences to establish for sure that she wins.  Notably the Liberals came third on this split getting only 27% of the Shooter preferences (Mulder 41 Lovell 32).

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

NSW Legislative Council 2023: Button Press Day

 Button press from 11 am Wednesday

Won off raw quotas: ALP 8 Coalition 6 Green 2* PHON 1 

* fractionally short but certain to cross on preferences

Strongly expected to win seats 18-20: Legalise Cannabis, Liberal Democrats, Shooters Fishers and Farmers

21st seat Rachel Merton (Liberal) vs Alison Waters (Animal Justice)

Merton leads narrowly on primaries but could be caught on preferences


UPDATES WEDNESDAY (scrolls to top)

2:35 It wasn't close at all in the end with Animal Justice closing the gap slightly but not enough; it finished at just over 10,000 votes (.051 quotas) down from the primary gap of .069.  Animal Justice made the largest gain of the competing parties (.124 quotas compared to .106 for Coalition, .094 for Legalise Cannabis, .077 for Liberal Democrats and .068 for Shooters) but the great majority of preferences exhausted rather than reaching any of these parties.  

11:59 MERTON WINS.  Animal Justice couldn't make it three in a row, awaiting news on the margin.

11:55 Pointy end approaching!

11:05 The distribution has commenced; it takes about one hour.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Legislative Council 2023: Murchison

This is my guide for the May 6 elections for the Legislative Council seats of Murchison.  On Wednesday I released a survey of the Council's recent voting patterns.  Yesterday I released a guide for Rumney and today a guide for the fizzer in Launceston. There will be live coverage on the night of May 6th.  

The Legislative Council currently stands at four Liberal, four Labor and seven independents.  Three of the independents are conservative, three are well to the left of Labor and one (Ruth Forrest) has moved from the left to the centre in recent years.  While the Liberal Government therefore has a relatively easy time of it and wins the majority of contested votes, it still needs to convince someone from the left or centre to support it on major legislation. 

This particular guide can have a stronger than usual disclaimer that I will include my own opinions in these guides from time to time, and if anyone doesn't like that they are welcome to GYOB.

Legislative Council 2023: Launceston

This is my guide for the May 6 elections for the Legislative Council seats of Launceston and Murchison.  On Wednesday I released a survey of the Council's recent voting patterns.  Yesterday I released a guide for Rumney and a guide to Murchison is also up. There will be live coverage on the night of May 6th.  

The Legislative Council currently stands at four Liberal, four Labor and seven independents.  Three of the independents are conservative, three are well to the left of Labor and one (Ruth Forrest) has moved from the left to the centre in recent years.  While the Liberal Government therefore has a relatively easy time of it and wins the majority of contested votes, it still needs to convince someone from the left or centre to support it on major legislation. 

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Legislative Council 2023: Rumney

Welcome to this year's coverage of Tasmania's three Legislative Council seat elections.  Yesterday I released a survey of the Council's recent voting patterns.  Guides to Launceston and Murchison have followed.  There will be live coverage on the night of May 6th.  

The Legislative Council currently stands at four Liberal, four Labor and seven independents.  Three of the independents are conservative, three are well to the left of Labor and one (Ruth Forrest) has moved from the left to the centre in recent years.  While the Liberal Government therefore has a relatively easy time of it and wins the majority of contested votes, it still needs to convince someone from the left or centre to support it on major legislation.  I'm starting with Rumney because it is the seat with a major party contest although that contest has less excitement about it so far than last time.  

Seat Profile

Rumney is an urban fringe semi-rural seat on Hobart's eastern shore.  The 2017 redistribution reduced the size of Rumney with Sorell and the Tasman and Forestier Peninsulas going to the new seat of Prosser.  Rumney is now primarily the outer part of the Clarence council boundary, including Risdon Vale, Richmond, Lauderdale, Cambridge, Seven Mile Beach and South Arm.  It surrounds Pembroke which contains the inner Clarence suburbs.  Rumney also includes the commuter suburb of Midway Point (which is part of Sorell council) and Old Beach (Brighton).  

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Legislative Council Voting Patterns 2019-23

 Welcome to my traditional curtain-raiser for Tasmania's annual Legislative Council elections.  This year sees second-term independent Rosemary Armitage in Launceston, third-term independent Ruth Forrest in Murchison and first-term Labor MLC Sarah Lovell in Rumney all up for re-election.  There's a lack of buzz about this year's contests so far and in the absence of more serious challengers in the northern seats, re-election is what I am expecting to occur.  I'll be rolling out guides for these three contests very soon and I'll have live coverage on the night of May the 6th.  

Currently the Tasmanian Legislative Council contains four Liberal MLCs, four Labor and eight independents.  Labor briefly had five MLCs but Bastian Seidel resigned after less than two years and his seat of Huon reverted to its usual kind of occupant, a fairly conservative independent.  Note also that Labor's Craig Farrell is the current President and does not vote, except for casting votes (so far in line with convention) on some ties.  

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Voice Referendum Polling: Yes Is Well Ahead But It Is Getting Closer

I've been meaning for some time to put up an article about the already very often polled issue that is the upcoming Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum, not so much to talk about results of specific polls but to cover general issues that are important in framing discussion of the polling and the outlook for the first referendum since 1999.  Following the release of the question wording and the Coalition's announcement that it will support a No vote to the current wording, now seems as good a time as any (the truth being up til now I simply haven't had the time!)

Some basics: referendums in Australia have a well-known record of mostly failing (8 successes out of 44) but as noted by Peter Brent the record is even worse if introduced by Labor (1 out of 25).  Referendums introduced mid-term are especially prone to being treated like by-elections and thus drubbed.  A mid-term referendum introduced by Labor and lacking bipartisan support is historically the kind of horse whose prospects are summarised in form guides with the word "No."  Can the Voice referendum defy these odds?  

A general trend in polling of referendum-type measures is underestimation of the No vote in final polls, and we saw this most recently here with the same sex marriage postal survey.  But not only can final polls underestimate the No vote, it is also the case that support for referendum measures can decline, sometimes very dramatically, over the course of the debate.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Aston By-Election Live

ASTON (Vic, Liberal 2.81%)
Vacancy for resignation of Alan Tudge (Liberal)
Roshena Campbell (Liberal) vs Mary Doyle (Labor)

ALP GAIN FROM LIBERAL - first federal government gain from opposition at a by-election since 1920.
Projected overall swing 6.4% to Labor

Refresh for updates


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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Not-A-Poll Reset: Perrottet Defeated

 Chris Minns will be sworn in as the 47th Premier of New South Wales on Tuesday after decisively defeating Dominic Perrottet's Coalition.  It was a thumping win for Labor on a two-party basis, especially given the disadvantage of optional preferencing, but it seems a difficult pendulum has seen Labor unexpectedly pull up just short of a majority.  It's therefore time to reset this site's next-leader-to-go Not-A-Poll, which includes the Premiers, Chief Ministers, Prime Minister and federal Opposition Leader.   Voting in the sidebar is open.

Perrottet was the fourth Premier in a twelve-year government and ruled for just under one and a half years.  Expected to be an arch-conservative, he reinvented himself remarkably quickly.  He governed and campaigned with great energy, and was quite popular except for a mediocre reading in the final Newspoll, but no New South Wales government lasts that long without its share of scandals.  In the end the time factor, internal instability and probably a failure to deliver pay rises in the face of inflation cost him, as did his party's record on privatisation.  

Perrottet was the overwhelming pick on this site as the next leader to depart with nearly 70% of the vote.

It will be interesting to see what voters make of the new round though I suspect plenty of readers will vote for Peter Dutton as the obvious baddie in the field alone.

If nobody is rolled, Fyles, Barr and Palaszczuk have elections coming up scheduled for late 2024, while the federal election and Tasmanian election would both fall in the first half of 2025 if those governments went full term.  Dutton has a big by-election test next weekend and first-term opposition leaders don't always get to be around for more than two years, though he has no obvious leadership opponent at this stage.  There are also a few leaders who have been there for a while and might potentially retire during this term.   

Sunday, March 26, 2023

2023 New South Wales Postcount: Legislative Council

This thread is finished now - go to button press day thread

Current live count leaders

ALP 8 Coalition 7 Greens 2 One Nation 1 Legalise Cannabis 1 Liberal Democrats 1 Shooters 1 (Animal Justice 22nd and needing to overtake another party on preferences to win)


ALP 8 Coalition 6 Greens 2 One Nation 1 Legalise Cannabis 1 Liberal Democrats 1 Shooters 1.  1 in doubt: Coalition vs Animal Justice for final seat 

Summary of contest:

Live count suggests a contest between Animal Justice and Coalition-7 for final seat with Coalition well ahead on primary votes. However, Coalition lead fell rapidly in very late counting.  While the Coalition's lead in the initial count appeared sufficient, the initial count slightly overestimated it and it is not clear the Coalition's lead will survive the preference flow.  

2023 New South Wales Postcount: Coalition vs Independent Seats

( Link to classic seats and Kiama thread and seat tally)

Covered on this page: Pittwater, Willoughby, Wollondilly

Pittwater (Now assumed Liberal win vs IND)

Willoughby (Now assumed Liberal win vs IND)

Wollondilly (IND expected to defeat Liberal)


Donations welcome!

If you find my coverage useful please consider donating to support the large amount of time I spend working on this site.  Donations can be made by the Paypal button in the sidebar or email me via the address in my profile for my account details.  Please only donate if you are sure you can afford to do so.