Sunday, March 24, 2024

Tasmania Embraces Chaos: 2024 Election Tallyboard And Summary

TASMANIA 2024: Liberal Minority Government Expected (Subject to will of the parliament)
Labor appears to be not seeking to form government 
Rebecca White resigned leadership, Dean Winter to contest, Josh Willie and others may contest

LIB 14 ALP 10 GRN 5 JLN 3 IND 3

Links to seat postcount pages Bass Braddon Clark Franklin Lyons


Friday 5 April

Dean Winter has publicly announced that he is running for leader, with what he believes is the support of the Labor caucus. 

Informal Vote: Not Good Enough!

Ahead of the release of primary figures the TEC has advised that the informal vote increased from 5.13% in 2021 to 6.31%.  This suggests the informal vote rose with more counting as, eg, cases of duplicate numbers that had been missed on the night were spotted.  6.31% is a bad, though not catastrophic, result.  I warned that an increase in informal voting was likely because votes that were formal at the last election (1-5 with errors later) were informal at this election if the errors were at 6 and 7, but a full review will be needed to detect the specific causes of the increase - which might also be partly down to deliberate informal voting, an increased number of columns, etc.  Certainly I saw some informal votes that should have been saved under transitional savings provisions that I recommended.  In one case a voter had voted 1-6 within the Franklin Greens ticket, leaving a 7th Green blank, then numbered 8-31 in other columns.  The result of this is that their vote did not count at all, whereas in the ACT it would have been good for their first six candidates.  I can only hope that the increased informal rate does not change any outcomes (often it doesn't).   Incidentally, 2024 is the second highest informal vote ever, behind 1946 when for some reason 10.08% of votes were informal (possibly caused by confusing ballot instructions around the introduction of columns).  

The parliament - primarily the government - is to blame for not trying to fix this problem by at least allowing that a vote that was formal in 2021 would be formal in 2024.  However the TEC is also to blame because it has advised the government against measures that might increase exhaust and hence 
"reduce the effectiveness and accuracy of the Hare-Clark counting process".  This stance is addressed in my submission (Hare-Clark Is Not A Rolls-Royce System section) - what really reduces the effectiveness and accuracy of the system is excluding votes from it for no good reason. 

2024 Tasmanian Postcount: Lyons

LYONS (2021 Result 3 Liberal 2 Labor - At election 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 IND)
Notional 2021 7-Seat Result 4 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Green

SEATS WON: 3 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Green 1 JLN
CALLED WINNERS: Rebecca White (ALP), Guy Barnett (Lib), Jane Howlett (Lib), Mark Shelton (Lib), Tabatha Badger (GRN), Jen Butler (ALP), Andrew Jenner (JLN)
SEAT LOST: John Tucker (IND)

(Links to other seat postcount pages Bass Braddon Clark Franklin Summary)

As I start this piece Lyons is 79.1% counted with the Latrobe polling place still to add on Sunday [EDIT: Latrobe is of course in Braddon so it appears this was an out of division booth that was intended to be counted separately but will now not be.  The reason Lyons is lagging is that it has a much higher out-of-division vote than other seats.]. The Liberals are on 3.01 quotas, Labor have surged late in the night to 2.64, the Greens have 0.83, JLN 0.67, Shooters 0.38, John Tucker 0.26, Animal Justice 0.13 and why did the rest bother.  I expected Lyons to be the hardest seat to follow on the night and it has been but not in the way I expected.  

2024 Tasmanian Postcount: Franklin

FRANKLIN (2021 Result 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Green - At election 2 Liberal 1 Labor 1 Green 1 IND)
Notional 2021 7-Seat Result 3 Liberal 3 Labor 1 Green

CALLED WINNERS: Eric Abetz (Lib), Jacqui Petrusma (Lib), Dean Winter (ALP), Rosalie Woodruff (Grn), David O'Byrne (IND), Meg Brown (ALP), Nic Street (Lib)
SEAT LOST: Dean Young (Lib)

((Links to other seat postcount pages Bass Braddon Clark Lyons Summary)

Warning: The Franklin count involves some complicated weirdness and this page has been rated Wonk Factor 4/5

Franklin has reached a glorious 84.5% counted with no further counting to occur this weekend.  The Liberals have 2.73 quotas, Labor 2.20, the Greens 1.55, JLN 0.39, David O'Byrne 0.72, AJP 0.12 and the rest is minor indies and Local Network.  Rosalie Woodruff has topped the poll and is the only candidate with quota.  

There is no doubt now that David O'Byrne has won as he is an independent and cannot leak votes (unlike the Liberals and Greens), and I suspect he will draw leakage from the Labor ticket as well.   The remaining suspense at party level is whether there is any chance at all for the second Green to beat the Liberals and this appears to be highly unlikely.  On current numbers the Liberals have an effective 1500 vote lead, but are more exposed to leakage with about 6400 potentially leaking votes vs 3800 for the Greens.  I'd expect a higher share of the Greens' votes to leak than the Liberals, such that the differences in leakage rates between the two are probably only worth 200 votes.  Animal Justice preferences will knock another few hundred off the lead but it's extremely difficult to see the Greens winning unless there is a large counting error in their favour.  I am pretty much sure the result will be 3-2-1-1 but want to check it further when more awake.

2024 Tasmanian Postcount: Clark

CLARK (2021 Result 2 Liberal 1 Labor 1 Green 1 IND)
Notional 2021 7-Seat Result 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Green 2 IND

2 ALP 2 Lib 2 Green 1 IND
CALLED WINNERS: Ella Haddad (ALP), Josh Willie (ALP), Kristie Johnston (IND), Vica Bayley (Grn), Simon Behrakis (Lib), Helen Burnet (Grn), Madeleine Ogilvie (Lib)

(Links to other seat postcount pages Bass Braddon Franklin Lyons Summary)

Welcome to Clark which had all the fun in 2021 and has thrown up something a little bit unexpected in 2024.  The Independents haven't done quite as well as had been thought, and the seat that could have gone to Sue Hickey appears to have gone to the Greens or Labor instead.  As I start, Clark is 79.3% counted.  Still to come are the booths of Kingston, Kingston Beach, Sandfly and the Kingston prepoll.  Labor has 2.49 quotas, Liberals 2.16, Greens 1.61, Johnston (IND) 0.63, Hickey (IND) 0.40, Lohberger (IND) 0.21, Elliot (IND) 0.15, AJP 0.14, SFF 0.11 and ... oh, why were all these people on my ballot paper.  

Johnston as an independent is too far ahead for Hickey to catch her, especially as Lohberger's voters are more likely to be sympathetic to Johnston.  Also because she cannot leak votes she will most likely beat both Labor and the Greens.  The question is can Labor beat the Greens.  At the moment it looks like probably not.  Both Labor and the Greens have similar leakage exposure, but the votes still to add should be significantly better for the Greens as Labor polled dismally in the Kingston prepoll last time.  The Greens will also be assisted by preferences from Animal Justice and probably from Lohberger.  So I don't currently see any reason why Labor stops Helen Burnet from going to state parliament but it is close enough that this will need to be looked at further.    If Burnet wins this will trigger a recount for her Hobart Council seat (which should go to Bec Taylor, Gemma Kitsos or perhaps Nathan Volf) and Hobart will elect a new Deputy Mayor around the table.  

2024 Tasmanian Postcount: Braddon

BRADDON (2021 Result 3 Liberal 2 Labor)
Notional 2021 7-seat result 4 Liberal 2 Labor 1 IND or 5-2

3 Liberal 2 Labor 1 JLN 
CALLED WINNERS Jeremy Rockliff (Lib), Felix Ellis (Lib), Anita Dow (ALP), Shane Broad (ALP), Roger Jaensch (Lib), Miriam Beswick (JLN)
EXPECTED: Craig Garland (IND) to beat Giovanna Simpson (Lib) after preferences.  Greens eliminated.

Caution: The Braddon count involves some complicated if seemingly unlikely scenarios, this postcount is rated Wonk Factor 4/5

(Links to other seat postcount pages Bass  Clark Franklin Lyons Summary)


Leakage is very important in the Braddon result.  Leakage occurs when a candidate is excluded or elected and some of their votes instead of flowing to other candidates within their party flow to candidates from outside the party or exhaust.  Parties are more prone to leakage when they have candidates who are way over quota or when they have several candidates to be excluded with substantial vote numbers between them.  Independents cannot leak and will often gain on parties through the count.  

2024 Tasmanian Postcount: Bass

BASS (2021 Result 3 Liberal 2 Labor - when election called 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 IND)
Notional 2021 7-Seat Result 4 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Green

SEATS WON 3 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Green 1 JLN 
CALLED WINNERS: Michael Ferguson (Lib), Rob Fairs (Lib), Michelle O'Byrne (ALP), Janie Finlay (ALP), Cecily Rosol (Green), Rebekah Pentland (JLN), Simon Wood (Lib)
SEAT LOST: Lara Alexander (IND)

(Links to other seat postcount pages  Braddon Clark Franklin Lyons Summary)


This year I will do my postcount threads in alphabetical order but some may get more effort at the start than others!   A late-night update in Bass sees the Liberals with 3.04 quotas, Labor 2.40, Greens 0.95, JLN 0.65, Shooters 0.18, Animal Justice 0.12.  The independents are collectively on 0.66 quotas but none of them has any vote to speak of and Greg (Tubby) Quinn is the only one who can hold his head up high, outpolling much more fancied indies who have flopped (though Lara Alexander has just overtaken him).  The count is at 81.9% (it will finish somewhere around 90 probably) and George Town and Scottsdale prepolls are not added yet.

The Liberal vote in Bass has been trashed by an enormous swing currently running at over 20%, but when you start from a base of 60, how bad can it be?    Michael Ferguson has topped the poll with 1.44 quotas in his own right.  Rob Fairs has a little less than half of that.  Ferguson will be the only candidate elected with quota and his surplus will provide boosts to the remaining Liberal candidates.  From then on it will be a long series of exclusions from the bottom up, with occasional surpluses.  Michelle O'Byrne and Janie Finlay will be over quota pretty quickly in that process, and Rob Fairs and Cecily Rosol later.  This leaves two battles.  The first is between JLN and Labor for the last seat at party level and the second is a battle for the third Liberal position.

2024 Tasmanian Election: Late Night Live

This is the late night live blog that fills the void between me finishing my Mercury coverage and unrolling all the seat pages.  It will be used for quick updates over the next hour or so.  

(Updates scrolling to top - refresh now and then)

1:30 Bass is final for night and I nearly have my page for it done.

12:54 An update in Franklin where the Liberals and O'Byrne have moved further ahead of the Greens.

12:48 Finally action in Bass where a first tranche of postals has done very little to the picture and improved JLN's chances but we need to see what the big prepolls do there.  

12:30 An update is through in Clark and Labor have almost matched the Greens total - this is going to be an interesting one!  Note that Helen Burnet has a high personal vote and a high profile and might do well off independent preferences.  

12:25 The count in Bass appears to be stuck or have stopped with no web updates since around 10 pm.  A small update in Lyons with Labor just in front of JLN on notional quotas.  The Greens have dropped back a little but only need to beat one of these two.  

12:10 A note on count progress: Provisionally the TEC will finish tomorrow whatever it doesn't get done tonight as concerns prepolls and early postal batches.  After tomorrow it does not expect to post new figures until Thursday, and then it will be working Easter Monday prior to the start of the preference distribution the day after.  


Saturday, March 23, 2024

Tasmanian Election Day 2024

Live link to Mercury coverage here:


Well we're here again, wherever here is.  What a weird ride this has been.

Tonight the Rockliff Liberal government chases history, for never in Tasmania has a government won four majorities at elections in a row.  Four governments including the current one have won three*.  If the polls are right, history is unlikely to be caught.  One piece of history will be made today with the restoration of the house to 35 MPs.  

Tonight I will be doing live coverage for The Mercury.  The link will be edited in to this article when available.  It may be paywalled but there is usually a cheap introductory subscription for non-subscribers.  My live blog for the Mercury will probably start somewhere around 6:30 and go until not later than 11; it may be wound down late at night as I do interviews and if I need to file an article.  I will be based at the tally room.  I ask media outside of the Mercury not to contact me by phone or email between 5:30 and about 11 tonight; once I have finished the live coverage I should be available quickly for other interviews (feel free to say hi in the tally room when I don't look too busy to arrange).    Scrutineers are very welcome to send me news and figures by phone or email.  

There may be a "late night live" thread.  My plan, energy permitting, is to post postcount threads overnight (between 1-4 am) for all five Assembly electorates.  I will be home tomorrow and available for interviews but no calls or texts before 9 am except if booked tonight.   Also no interviews between 3-5 pm.  

My main guide page is here with links to individual electorate guides and effective voting advice.  For those seeking voting advice, I recommend to number all the boxes or at the least to number every candidate who you think is OK or better.  This may make your vote more powerful and it cannot harm your preferred candidates.  If you vote 1-7 for a party and stop, your vote can play no role in determining which other parties are successful.  Check that you have not doubled or skipped any numbers, especially not between 1 and 5. Do not use ticks or crosses.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

2024 Tasmanian Polling Aggregate

Aggregate of all polls (not a prediction) Lib 36.9ALP 25.3 Green 13.2 JLN 9 IND 12.7 other 3
Seat estimate for this aggregate 15-10-4-3-3.

This article is part of my Tasmania 2024 state polling coverage.  Click here for links to my main guide page which includes links to seat guides and effective voting advice.  

An attempt at aggregating the 2024 Tasmanian polls has been long-coming amid a very distracting and busy campaign, but for what it's worth here goes.  For the second election running I have doubts about the value of this exercise, but for entirely different reasons.  In 2021 there was very little polling and the only campaign poll to be publicly released appeared to (and did) have large house effects, which I determined using EMRS as a benchmark.  Despite me talking them down, both my house-effects aggregate and my no-house-effects aggregate somehow worked, with the former nailing the seat estimate and the latter recording voting share misses of 0.5% or below on all four lines.   I don't expect to be that lucky this time, however I hope the journey of how I try to come up with a what the polls are saying number will make some sense.

If any more public polls are released before 8 am Saturday a fresh aggregate will be included in the article covering that poll, or in this one.

Tasmania 2024: Yet Another Mystery Poll

This article is part of my 2024 Tasmanian state election coverage.  Click here for link to main page with links to effective voting advice and seat guides.


UPDATE 22/3: The Mercury has revealed that this poll was by high-quality pollster Freshwater Strategy and taken about a fortnight ago, and the Fontcast has announced it was THA-commissioned,  New details are also that the Greens are on 13 and Independents 11 in Lyons, the Greens are on 10 in Bass (apparently leaving about 13.7 for independents and others), independents are on 10 in Braddon (leaving about 13.8 for Greens and others) and 28 in Clark (Greens on 20), and in Franklin the Greens are on 13 and independents on 17.  


Original article

After a reasonably polling-rich start to the 2024 Tasmanian campaign, little polling has been seen recently, with the youngest public poll 16 days out of the field as I write.  This creates a fair amount of uncertainty regarding whether anything has happened with voting intention in what has been a noisy and bumpy campaign.  In particular, has the fact that the Liberals are ahead and are the only party that any poll has had within, say, 5% of a plausible majority result, caused any late bandwagon effect to their side?  (I should note that bandwagons to a party capable of forming majority government don't always happen.  The two elections where conspicuous bandwagons did occur were 2006 and 2018 but for both these elections other factors could be cited.)

Today Sky News has released some figures from a poll by an unnamed pollster and source and have said they have been asked not to name.  As is too often the case Sky have failed to report on the polling dates.  What we have is a purported seat breakdown probably by someone with not much of a clue about how Hare-Clark works (14-9-4-4-4) and primary votes for the majors and JLN only.

The primary votes reported are:

Bass Lib 40.28 ALP 25.87 JLN 10.2 (leaving 23.68)

Braddon Lib 49.24 ALP 14.65 JLN 12.28 (leaving 23.83)

Clark Lib 25.35 ALP 21.37 (leaving an enormous 53.28)

Franklin Lib 33.23 ALP 27.4 JLN 8 (leaving 31.39)

Lyons Lib 38.46 ALP 23.26 JLN 11.2 (leaving 27.18)

Sunday, March 17, 2024

There Aint No Stability Clause

This article is part of my 2024 Tasmanian state election coverage; main page includes a link to effective voting guide and candidate guides and other articles.


I feel somehow responsible, but it is probably coincidence. A few days ago I decided to put a bit of low-level Hung Parliament Club propaganda back in its box by explaining why I do not support four year fixed terms for Tasmania.  Among other things they infringe undesirably on the Premier's ability to seek a fresh mandate when the Parliament goes pearshaped.  I explained at the bottom why I do not consider New Zealand style party hopping laws to be an alternative solution.  Days later, along comes the government with a policy for ... New Zealand style party hopping laws.  What hell is this?  

For those who came in late, we are here in part because the former Gutwein Liberal Government preselected one Lara Alexander to run as a candidate for Bass in 2021.  She wasn't seen in the campaign except for her campaign manager complaining that she was being muzzled.  She got next to no votes but was later elected on a recount.  It has subsequently transpired that Alexander is a very odd politician - in particular her talent for inscrutable and apparently self-contradictory comments about confidence in government.  Had the Liberals allowed her to speak for herself before nominations closed this would probably have been obvious within minutes and they could have disendorsed her and picked somebody else.  But they didn't.  We are also here because - for some reason that has never been explained though I've wondered if it was anything to do with this - the Government later decided to make a former TV presenter Primary Industries minister instead of a career farmer, and the latter started or continued accumulating grudges.  

This is not the first time the Liberals have had unity problems - in the previous term Sue Hickey nabbed the Speakership against her party's nominee Rene Hidding and then voted against party policy on gender birth certificate reforms and mandatory sentencing.  However Hickey remained a Liberal until she was disendorsed, precipitating the 2021 election.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Ipswich West and Inala Live

Ipswich West (ALP 14.4% - resignation of Jim Madden (ALP)

   Labor loses seat with 2PP swing of around 18%

Inala (ALP 28.2% - resignation of Annastacia Palaszczuk (ALP)

   Labor retains with 2PP swing in low 20%s.

Comments scrolling to top - refresh every 15 mins or so during counting for new comments


11:30 End of night wrap: Although the ABC haven't called this seat yet for some reason, I want to make it clear there is no coming back for Labor in Ipswich West and why I called it hours ago.  They are currently over 1300 behind on 2PP counted votes, but adding in primary votes yet to be added that jumps out to over 1500, and it will probably be more (or at least not substantially less) after preferences.  And then, apart from the pretty standard Yamanto booth that has not reported yet (assuming it will do so) there are only about 3000 postals to come and there would have to be a swing to Labor on them, which there will not be (though they may not swing nearly as badly as the booths).  There is nothing in the booth counts to suggest any errors either.   [UPDATE 12:00 Many postals have now been added and have been similar to the booth swing.]

I expected both of these to go over the historic swing averages (in the case of Inala as adjusted for a Premier retirement) but they have done so by close to 10%.  They are reminiscent of the famous Stafford and Redcliffe beltings suffered by the Newman government on the way to the enormous swing against it in 2015.  I am not expecting the Miles Labor government to suffer anything like so large a swing at this year's election but I have for a long time been expecting Labor to lose in October and to probably do so decisively (but it might yet be close).  This is simply what is to be expected given that it will be a nearly ten year old government that is the same party as the party in power federally.  

Aside from the LNP, tonight's other winner is Legalise Cannabis who have again done very well in a by-election, including beating One Nation in a seat where One Nation was finishing second at a general election as recently as 2017.    

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Why I Don't Support Fixed Four Year Terms For Tasmania

This is part of my 2024 Tasmanian state election coverage (link to main page here including link to effective voting advice), but is also a standalone article.


The last two Tasmanian Parliaments have ended early.  The 2018-2021 parliament ended ten months early after independent-minded Liberal Sue Hickey was disendorsed and quit the party, and then-Premier Peter Gutwein argued the loss of the Liberals' majority meant an election was desirable.  The 2021-2024 parliament has ended thirteen and a half months early following trouble for the Rockliff Government with two backbenchers who moved to the crossbench in May 2022.  Tasmania is the only state that has not moved to fixed-term elections, but there had not been a seriously early election before these two since 1998, and there is a widespread lack of understanding about the historic conventions under which the Governor considers requests for an early election.   (A note that Tasmania's upper house does have fixed terms, but with elections on a rotating basis.)

I covered many of the misconceptions about calling an early election in 2021, and 2024 has seen a lower-level repeat of many of the same incorrect claims.  A Premier who holds the confidence of the House based on votes that have been cast on the floor - whether or not that looks likely to remain the case - is well entitled by precedent to be granted an early election in order to seek a fresh mandate based on newly arising issues or policies, because the workability of the Parliament is in question or for many other reasons.  It is not even clear that a Premier who is well into their term needs much of a reason at all.  The spurious idea that the Premier should test their support on the Parliament's floor before seeking an election has also been doing the rounds again - this confuses what happens at the start of a Parliament to the end.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

uComms: Labor Just 23: How Much Stock Should We Put In This?

This article is part of my 2024 Tasmanian election coverage - link to main page including links to electorate guides and effective voting advice.


uComms (Australia Institute) Liberal 37.1 Labor 23 Green 13.7 JLN 8.5 IND 12.8 others 5.0
Seat estimate if poll was accurate Lib 14 ALP 10 Green 4 JLN 2-3 IND 4-5
Poll should be treated with caution.

Today saw the the release of the third Tasmanian campaign poll by an established and identified pollster, this one being a uComms for the left-wing Australia Institute.

From the outset I should note some usual cautions.  uComms polls by automated phone polling (formerly all robopolling, lately a mix of SMS and voice robopolling).  The poll employs very primitive weighting (age, gender and location only, with no attempt to weight by any indicator of political engagement such as education).  At the 2021 election an Australia Institute uComms poll which I disputed at the time (What's This Then?  Commissioned Poll Claims Liberals In Trouble) was hopelessly inaccurate, underestimating the Liberals by over 7% and overestimating Labor by nearly 4 and independents by nearly 5.  There was never any attempt to explain why this poll got it so wrong.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Redbridge Says It's A Multi-Party Mess As Voters Flee Liberals

This article is part of my 2024 Tasmanian election coverage - link to main page including links to electorate guides and effective voting advice

Redbridge Lib 33 ALP 29 Green 14 JLN 10 IND/Other 14
My estimate 13-14 Liberal 10-12 ALP 4-5 Green 2-3 JLN 2-6 IND

The second Tasmanian campaign poll by an established and known pollster is out, with Victorian-centred outfit Redbridge releasing its first ever public poll of Tasmanian voting intention.  The sample size is smallish (753 voters) and the sample is spread out over two weeks (Feb 14-28).  

They have also released these combined breakdowns: Bass/Braddon/Lyons Liberal 35 Labor 27 Green 11 JLN 14 Other 14, Clark/Franklin Liberal 30 Labor 31 Greens 18 JLN 4 (ie 8 in Franklin as not running in Clark) Other 17

There is more to come on this poll, including one of the most amusing crosstabs you will ever see, but for now just a quick note on the voting intention numbers.  The Redbridge numbers are significantly worse for the Liberals than both the EMRS public poll and the huge-sample mystery poll of unknown veracity and quality, and very similar to the YouGov poll from January, except that they have treated the Lambie and IND/others votes more normally.  (They've only listed parties in seats they are running in.)

Redbridge have released a seat estimate of 12 Liberal 11 Labor 6 Green 3 JLN 3 Independent based on modelling off mini-samples.  I would expect off these state primaries (based on testing them against my model of the recent EMRS breakdowns) that the Greens would not do quite so well; six seats off 14% would be very lucky.   I got estimates of 13-14 Liberal, 10-12 ALP, 4-5 Green, 2-3 JLN and 2-6 IND for these numbers.  

Sunday, March 3, 2024

How To Best Use Your Vote In The 2024 Tasmanian Election

This piece is part of my Tasmanian 2024 election coverage - link to main guide page including links to my electorate guides and other articles.  

This piece is written to explain to voters how to vote in the 2024 Tasmanian election so their vote will be most powerful.  It is not written for those who just want to do the bare minimum - if you just want to vote as quickly as possible and don't care how effective your vote is then this guide is not for you.  It is for those who care about voting as effectively as possible and are willing to put some time into understanding how to do so.  

Please feel free to share or forward this guide or use points from it to educate confused voters.  Just make sure you've understood those points first!  I may edit in more sections later.

Please do not ask me what is the most effective way to vote for a specific party or candidate as opposed to in general terms.

Oh, and one other thing.  Some people really agonise about their votes, spend many hours over them and get deeply worried about doing the wrong thing.  Voting well is worth effort, but it's not worth that.  The chance that your vote will actually change the outcome is low.  

Effective Voting Matters!

I'll give a recent example of why effective voting matters.  In 2021 the final seat in Clark finished with 10145 votes for Liberal Madeleine Ogilvie, 9970 votes for independent Kristie Johnston and 8716 votes for independent Sue Hickey.  As there were no more candidates to exclude at this point Hickey finished sixth while Ogilvie and Johnston took the last two seats.  Had the two independents had 1606 more votes in the right combination, Ogilvie would have lost instead, and the Liberals would not have won a majority.  But during the count, 2701 votes had been transferred from Labor and Green candidates to "exhaust".  All these were voters who did not number any of Ogilvie, Johnston and Hickey.  Many would have voted 1-5 for Labor and Green candidates (mostly Labor) and then stopped.  There were enough votes that left the system because voters stopped numbering that the outcome could have been different.

Making Seats "Marginal" At By-Elections Is Meaningless

Last night saw the Labor government get the good end of the stick in the Dunkley by-election, easily retaining a seat that was precariously above the long-term average swing for government vacancy by-elections.  It's no disaster for the Liberals who have got a modest swing with some mitigating factors but they (especially Jane Hume) were out in force last night spinning the outcome as a triumph.  Together with the usual nonsense about first-term governments not in recent decades losing seats and governments not losing by-elections caused by deaths (both based on trivially small sample sizes) I heard a lot about how they had turned Dunkley marginal and they were coming for the seat.

Marginal seat status where a seat is retained is determined by general election results not by-elections (so Dunkley is no more a marginal seat than it was before), but this made me wonder, does getting a seat inside the marginal range at a by-election predict anything at all?  I've found that such seats have historically almost always been retained by the government at the next election, although on average the election-to-election swing has been worse than the national average in such cases.  The idea that the Liberals have put Dunkley in serious danger next time with a swing that is not even bog-average for a government vacancy by-election has no basis.  

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Dunkley By-Election Live

DUNKLEY (ALP, Vic 6.27%)
Jodie Belyea (ALP) vs Nathan Conroy (Lib) and others
By-election caused by death of Peta Murphy (ALP)
CALLED 8:42 pm Labor retain


Updates appear here, scrolling to the top.  When counting is underway refresh every 10-15 mins for new comments.  

Thursday: Labor is now very close to winning the postal count and the 2PP is now 52.71; it is likely to finish between that number and 53.  The Australian published an incorrect article today referring to a 10% drop in turnout; the count does not finish until all postals that can be admitted are received 13 days after polling day.  The turnout is currently 83.5% and there should be about 1% or so to come; the turnout decline will be smaller than at least 16 of the last 20 by-elections, potentially 18.  Media should not publish turnout doomery articles without consulting with the AEC or someone who has a clue.  

Tuesday: With vote totals unlikely to change by even 1% from here it's worth noting an outstanding performance by the uComms seat poll.  I've been critical of poor results from this pollster recently (especially Tasmania 2021) but this one is remarkably good by seat poll standards especially. uComms' numbers with undecided redistributed are below with the actual current numbers in brackets:

ALP 40.1 (41.1)
Lib 39.3 (39.3)
Grn 8.2 (6.3)
LTN 1.6 (2.5)
Ind/Other 10.8 (10.8)

2PP 52 (52.6)


Friday, March 1, 2024

Mystery Poll: Why Are We Still Playing This Game?

(This is part of my 2024 Tasmanian election coverage.  For main page with links to all other pages go here.)

Today's Mercury carried a front-page report of a "phone poll" of Tasmania with a massive sample size of 4000 voters.  Unfortunately the newspaper report did not state who the poll was done by or for, making it impossible to immediately assess how useful it was.  I have been told (officially unconfirmed) that it is for the Tasmanian Hospitality Association and do not yet know the pollster, though the large sample size is most often seen with automated polls like uComms.  (I should also add that Community Engagement was reported in the field by some people early in the campaign, but the issues questions I was told about were different.)

Anyway, at the risk of sounding like a broken record or even more like a polling analyst with severe frustration management issues, it should be required by law for all media reports of polling to state the pollster and the commissioning source.  (Or if not known, all details should be published as this often makes the poll easy to identify).  Media frequently express frustration with governments that are not being transparent.  They must lead the way by reporting basic polling details better and refusing to allow sources to supply polls on the condition that the pollster should not be named.   This is especially so when they run Your Right To Know campaigns.   As for sources who try to prevent media from publishing the details of polls they supply, those should be classified as "juvenile career criminals". 

For what it's worth, this looks like neutral polling by someone who actually wants to know the answer, and not a loaded poll released for political purposes.  That doesn't mean it's necessarily good in quality terms, but it's worth checking out especially if we get clearer details.