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Making sense of the polls

Projected WA Senate Result: Libs 3, ALP 1, GRN 1, PUP 1

Since election night, almost 32,000 postal votes have been added to the WA Senate count. When we look at the results by electorates where postals have been counted, we find that the Liberals are doing at least 10% better on postal votes than on ordinary votes. The Liberals’ share of the overall Senate vote has thus increased from 33.7% to 34.0%. The Greens have performed badly on postals, and their share of the overall vote has declined from 15.8% to 15.5%. Labor is approximately flat when comparing postals in each electorate with ordinary votes. However, with the total Labor/Green vote falling, and the Liberal vote rising, the sixth WA Senate seat can now be called for the Liberals, who now lead by over 5,000 votes in the ABC Senate calculator.

Although absentee votes will probably be worse for the Liberals than ordinary votes, pre-poll votes will be somewhat better, and there simply will not be enough provisionals to make a difference. You can see these patterns from the 2013 Senate results, which have so far been validated by the postals.

A hope for Labor was that Palmer United Party (PUP) would gain a quota earlier than the ABC calculator suggested, freeing up some votes that went to PUP then Labor to go directly to Labor. Labor would thus get the full value of these votes, rather than have them diluted by becoming part of the PUP surplus. However, the Liberals’ lead is going to be too large for this consideration to make any difference to the result.

The Labor-favouring electorate of Brand is the electorate with the most counting. The vast majority of ordinary votes in Brand have been separated into above-the-line ticket votes and below-the-line candidate votes. All of the postals counted so far are only ticket votes, but looking at the ordinary votes, there are not very many below-the-line votes. Labor will not receive much help from below-the-line declaration votes.

In general, I can see no reason to not call the sixth WA Senate seat for Liberal Linda Reynolds, who will defeat Labor’s Louise Pratt. That means this WA half-Senate election will produce 3 Liberals, 1 Labor, 1 Green and 1 PUP. This has definitely been a disastrous election for Labor.

Queensland Polls

Newspoll recently released its Jan-March quarter poll of Queensland, showing the Liberal National Party (LNP) leading 52-48 on Two Party Preferred (2PP) from primaries of 40% for the LNP, 36% for Labor, 8% for the Greens and 16% for all Others. These figures agree well with a union-commissioned ReachTEL conducted 2 April. It is possible that preferences will not be as unfriendly for Labor as they were at the 2012 State election, so the Newspoll 2PP may overestimate the LNP’s position. Newspoll had Queensland Premier Campbell Newman’s approval at 36% and disapproval at 54% for a poor net approval of -18.

There is a clear trend to Labor across multiple polls in Queensland. The next election is due by early 2015. Labor’s abysmal performance in 2012, when they only won 7 of 89 seats, looked likely to doom them for at least two terms. However, the trend back to Labor means that the next Queensland election could be interesting.

NT By-Election Tomorrow

In the Northern Territory, the Country Liberal Party (CLP) won the 2012 election with 16 of the 25 seats. However, recently three indigenous CLP members left the party, so tomorrow’s by-election in the former Chief Minister Terry Mills’ seat of Blain is now important. If Labor wins, the CLP will have only 12 of 25 seats, and would need to reach an agreement with a cross-bencher, the best option being Independent Gerry Wood, to remain in power. The CLP held Blain by a 13.2% margin in 2012, but by-election swings in the NT can be big.

Update 8:30pm 12 April: With all booths for Blain now counted, the CLP has retained it by a 53.2-46.8 margin despite a 10% swing to Labor. The CLP will thus retain a one seat majority in the NT Assembly.

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