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Making sense of the polls

Final Senate results: 30 Coalition, 26 Labor, 9 Greens, 4 One Nation, 3 NXT, 4 Others

Today and yesterday, the button to distribute preferences was pressed in Victoria, Queensland and NSW. In Victoria, 5 Coalition, 4 Labor, 2 Greens and 1 Derryn Hinch were elected, as expected. In Queensland, One Nation surprisingly won a second seat at the expense of the Liberal Democrats, and the winners are 5 Coalition, 4 Labor, 2 One Nation and 1 Green. In NSW, Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm was re-elected as expected, making it 5 Coalition, 4 Labor, 1 Green, 1 One Nation and 1 Liberal Democrat.

Combined with already declared results from the other states, the new Senate will have 30 Coalition members, 26 Labor, 9 Greens, 4 One Nation, 3 Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) and 4 Others, out of 76 total seats. The Others are Jacqui Lambie in Tasmania, Family First’s Bob Day in SA, Derryn Hinch in Victoria and Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm in NSW.

The Coalition lost three seats in the Senate, with Labor up one and the Greens down one. One Nation gained four seats, and the NXT gained two. Of the eight crossbenchers in the old Senate, four were re-elected - Lambie, Day, Leyonhjelm and Xenophon. Of the three original Palmer United Senators, only Lambie survived, and John Madigan and Ricky Muir were also defeated.

To pass legislation opposed by both Labor and the Greens (35 combined votes), the Coalition will need the support of One Nation AND the NXT AND at least two of the four Others. This will be difficult, but not as difficult as it would have been had Labor not been upset by Bob Day in SA. Support from the Greens alone will still be sufficient for the Coalition to pass legislation opposed by Labor.

It is also possible that the NXT or One Nation could fragment, effectively becoming Independents. If this happens, the Coalition would have more options to pass legislation.

Analysis for each state

In Victoria, final primary votes gave the Coalition 4.30 quotas, Labor 4.00, the Greens 1.41, Derryn Hinch 0.79, One Nation 0.24 and Animal Justice 0.23. 4 Coalition, 4 Labor, 1 Green and Hinch were certain to win, with the Greens very likely to win a second seat, and the last seat probably going to the Coalition, but with One Nation or Animal Justice some chance.

In the event, the Victorian Senate result was as expected, with 5 Coalition, 4 Labor, 2 Greens and 1 Hinch Senators elected. There was a surprise in that Family First, despite starting with 0.15 quotas, was the runner-up, losing to the Coalition’s fifth candidate by almost 27,000 votes or 0.10 quotas.

In Queensland, final primary votes gave the Coalition 4.59 quotas, Labor 3.43, One Nation 1.19, the Greens 0.90, the Liberal Democrats 0.37, the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) 0.27 and Family First 0.25. 5 Coalition, 3 Labor, 1 One Nation and 1 Green are certain winners, and Labor was very likely to win a fourth seat. The last seat was seen as most likely to go to the Liberal Democrats, but with chances for the NXT, Family First and One Nation’s second candidate.

In the event, despite starting 0.18 quotas behind the Liberal Democrats, One Nation’s No. 2, Malcolm Roberts, won the last seat, with Labor easily taking 4 seats. Roberts benefited greatly on preferences from other populist right wing parties, such as the Katter Party and Lazarus Team, gaining about 35,000 votes on the exclusions of these parties. The Liberal Democrats gained relatively few preferences, and were excluded before Family First, with Roberts defeating Family First by about 19,000 votes or 0.09 quotas.

In NSW, final primary votes gave the Coalition 4.66 quotas, Labor 4.07, the Greens 0.96, One Nation 0.53, the Liberal Democrats 0.40, the Christian Democrats 0.35 and the Shooters 0.26. 5 Coalition, 4 Labor and 1 Green were certain to win, and One Nation and the Liberal Democrats were seen as likely to win the last two seats.

In the event, One Nation and the Liberal Democrats won comfortably, with Leyonhjelm defeating the Christian Democrats by over 39,000 votes or 0.11 quotas.

I will have more analysis of the Senate, including Senate results tables, how-to-vote card follow rates, and exhaust rates, in the next few days.

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