Making sense of the polls

Making sense of the polls

Late Victorian and Fisher By-Election Counting

The Greens have won Prahran from the Liberals by 277 votes after beating Labor by 31 votes at the point where Labor or the Greens were excluded. In SA, the Liberals staged a dramatic recovery on pre-poll and postal votes that gave them a 17 vote lead over Labor yesterday. However, late arriving postal votes have returned the lead to Labor by 21 votes. The Victorian upper house scenarios are also discussed here.

Greens Win Prahran from Liberals

On primary votes, the Liberals had 44.8% of the Prahran vote, Labor 25.9% and the Greens 24.8%. The 2.3% for Animal Justice Party (AJP) was crucial in allowing the Greens to pass Labor. The distribution of preferences table shows that the Greens surprisingly won 41 more Family First votes than Labor. AJP preferences favoured the Greens by 386 more than Labor, and the Greens then defeated the Liberals by 277 votes on Labor preferences. Kevin Bonham says that the Greens needed 83.0% of all preferences to win based on final primary votes; they actually received 84.2%. These are the recounted Prahran results; the first results had the Greens beating Labor by 41 and the Liberals by 262.

This is the first time the Greens have won a single member seat from a Coalition party; their previous gains have all come at Labor’s expense. It is also the first time the Greens will hold more than one seat in a single member Parliamentary chamber, with Prahran joining Melbourne as a Greens seat. Labor has won a comfortable majority of the lower house, with 47 of the 88 seats.

Wild Swings in Fisher Late Counting

Last Sunday I thought that Labor had very probably won Fisher with a lead of 52.1-47.9 after preferences on election day votes. On Monday, the early postals broke heavily in the Liberal’s favour, reducing Labor’s lead to 51.4-48.6. On Tuesday, pre-poll votes also heavily favoured the Liberals, who took a 17 vote lead. However, yesterday 194 late postals returned Labor to a 21 vote lead.

At by-elections, there are no left leaning absent votes, and this partly explains the Liberals late counting resurgence in Fisher. Labor’s problem was not just the primary votes, but the decline in the Labor share of preferences. On ordinary votes, Labor won about 65% of preferences, but on pre-polls and early postals, they only won 57% of preferences.

The most likely reason for the decline in Labor’s share of preferences among pre-poll voters is that late campaign advertising by the Liberals heavily targeted the Indpendent, Dan Woodyatt. As a result, those who voted for him near or on election day were less likely to preference the Liberals than those who voted for Woodyatt prior to the Liberal campaign.

Woodyatt has also improved his vote share, and now trails Labor by only 3.4% on primary votes, down from a 5.4% deficit on election night. Kevin Bonham says that on current primaries, Woodyatt needs 24.5% more than Labor on minor party preferences to overtake Labor. If Woodyatt does overtake Labor, he would be certain to win on Labor preferences.

If Woodyatt fails to overtake Labor, then Fisher is a standard Labor vs Liberal contest. There cannot be many more votes to count. The official distribution of preferences for Fisher will take place on Saturday. This race has had many shock twists already, so I will not make a prediction now.

Victorian Upper House Late Counting

Note that the ABC’s upper house calculator assumes that ALL votes are above the line ticket votes. In practise, 8% of upper house votes were below the line; these may not follow the group tickets.

The current ABC projection is 16 Coalition, 13 Labor, 4 Greens, 2 Shooters & Fishers, 2 Sex Party and one from each of the DLP, Country Alliance and Vote 1 Local Jobs. If that is the final result, the parties of the left (Labor, Greens and Sex) will only have 19 of the 40 upper house seats, even though Labor won a comfortable lower house majority. As I said in my post-election article, the major parties’ votes were much lower in the upper house than in the lower house.

Here’s a region by region breakdown. Each region elects five members.

  • East Metro: With 93.7% of enrolled voters counted, I do not see any reason to doubt the ABC’s projection of 3 Liberals, 1 Labor, 1 Green.

  • East Vic: The ABC projection of 2 Coalition, 2 Labor and 1 Shooter looks fine.

  • North Metro: On election night, Family First was shown to be winning the last seat, but post-election counting has greatly improved the Sex Party’s position. The projection of 2 Labor, 1 Liberal, 1 Green and 1 Sex Party looks good.

  • North Vic: With 93.5% counted, the ABC projection is 2 Coalition, 1 Labor, 1 Shooter and 1 Country Alliance. The big question is whether the 0.3% gap between Labor and the Greens at the second last count could be reversed when below the line votes are factored in. If the Greens are behind Labor at this point, Labor wins on Greens preferences. However, if Labor is behind, their preferences elect Country Alliance instead of the Greens. I do not think this will be resolved until The Button is pressed next Wednesday.

  • South East Metro: The ABC projection is currently projecting 2 Labor, 2 Liberals and one Sex Party, with 90.5% counted. However, the Sex Party is only beating Labor by 0.1% at a critical exclusion. Below the line votes will probably enable Labor to overturn this small margin, in which case the Greens win the final seat. The count here is now at 92.4%.

  • South Metro: There was a possibility of the Sex Party taking the final seat from the Liberals if they were able to beat the Liberal Democrats earlier in the count. However, the Lib Dems have increased their lead on the Sex Party to 0.8% in later counting, so the Sex Party winning a seat no longer seems viable. The ABC’s projection of 3 Liberals, 1 Labor and 1 Green looks good. There is still much counting to do in this region.

  • West Metro: The projection of two Labor, one Liberal, one Green and one DLP is fine.

  • West Vic: At different stages, the ABC has had the Shooters, Palmer United Party and Vote 1 Local Jobs winning the final seat. Currently Local Jobs is ahead. I do not trust Geeklections, but it currently shows that all three have some chance of winning the final seat. The other four seats will be two Labor and two Liberals.

Federal Polls Give Abbott Dire Ratings

In addition to the Galaxy I discussed in Sunday’s post, we have now had an Ipsos and an Essential poll. The Ipsos poll had Labor ahead by 52-48, a 1% swing to Labor from the November Ipsos. Primary votes were 40% for the Coalition (down 2), 37% for Labor and 12% for the Greens (both steady). Abbott’s approval fell 4 points to 38%, and his disapproval rose 8 points to 57%, for a net approval of -19, down from -7. Shorten’s net approval was +5, up from +3. 57% said that the government was doing too little to address climate change, 33% thought it was doing about the right amount, and only 7% thought it was doing too much. Leader attributes showed that Shorten was way ahead of Abbott on Labor strengths such as social policy, and was not far behind on economic management and foreign policy. Shorten has taken a wide lead on the leader having their party’s confidence, after an even result in July. This poll was taken on the 4-6 December from a sample of 1400.

Essential was unchanged on last week at 53-47 to Labor. Abbott’s approval was down 7 points to 32% and his disapproval was up 5 points to 55%, for a net approval of -23, down from -11 in November; this is Abbott’s lowest Essential approval rate. Shorten’s net approval was -4, down from -1. An assessment of various politicians’ performance over the last year found that Abbott had a net -22 rating, Treasurer Joe Hockey -24, Greens leader Christine Milne -23 and Clive Palmer -50. Shorten’s performance was rated -5, while Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was the only politician in positive territory, with a +28 rating. Same sex marriage was supported by 55-32, down from a 60-28 support margin in June.

Kevin Bonham’s poll aggregate is now at 53.4% Two Party Preferred (2PP) to Labor, up 0.4% on the last week. Bonham says that it has now been one year since the Coalition lost its poll lead. The Poll Bludger’s BludgerTrack is now at 53.9% 2PP to Labor, up 1.0% on last week. Primary votes are 39.0% for Labor, 38.4% for the Coalition and 11.7% for the Greens. Over the last week, Labor has gained 1% at the Coalition’s expense on primary votes. Graphs show that on most measures the Coalition has returned to its post-budget lows.

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