Sunday, January 14, 2024

2024 Dunkley By-Election

DUNKLEY (VIC, ALP, 6.27%)  By-election March 2
Jodie Belyea (ALP) vs Nathan Conroy (Lib) and others
Cause of by-election: Death of previous incumbent Peta Murphy
Outlook: interesting; seat margin is just above average swing for government vacancies

Early this year we'll get the first electoral test for the Albanese Government on its own turf when the division of Dunkley goes to the polls in sad circumstances after the death of popular previous MP Peta Murphy.  Last year Labor sensationally captured Aston from the Liberals during a period of honeymoon polling, while the Coalition had a pretty good swing result when it retained the uncompetitive seat of Fadden in Peter Dutton's home state.  By-elections are more random and a lot less predictive than politics junkies tend to think they are, but an outer-suburban seat, on a loseable margin, with the honeymoon gone, seems much more significant.  

The by-election has been announced for March 2.  The writ will be issued Jan 29 with close of nominations Feb 8.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Lambiemania: What Should We Make Of The Tasmanian YouGov Poll?

YouGov Tasmania (state) Liberal 31 Labor 27 JLN 20 Greens 15 IND 7
If recorded at an election (unlikely) would result in a hung parliament, probably leading to a Labor minority government
High JLN figure likely to represent a bubble, with response options contributing - but consistent with JLN being in the mix for seat wins

Populist minor party bubbles often happen in state elections.  In the late 2017 SA Newspoll, Nick Xenophon's SA-Best was polling 32%, ahead of both major parties, and Xenophon himself was 5% ahead of both major party leaders combined as Better Premier.  Was South Australia heading for Premier Xenophon?  Just a few months and one of the worst ads in political history later, the juggermaut had ground to a halt, with the party polling 14.2% on election day and winning zero lower house seats.   

And while One Nation did manage 22.7% in Queensland 1998, there have been plenty of other bursting bubbles: One Nation Queensland 2017, Palmer United Tasmania 2014 and Queensland 2015 and yes Jacqui Lambie Network Tasmania 2018 are other cases where minor parties that threatened to win several seats ended up with one seat or nothing.  (Another one is Territory Alliance in the NT 2020 but that is a weaker example since the only poll that pointed to success there was an internal poll.)  Campaigns often result in fourth parties being exposed as rabbles full of terrible candidates and contradictions.  They can be outspent by big parties or simply sidelined from media debate because they won't be governing.