Nick Xenophon’s vote – does it hit Labor or Liberal harder?

Last week, I posted data showing the Nick Xenophon Team vote at the 2016 Senate election broken down by state electorate.

In the process of completing my guide to the South Australian state election, I noticed the trend in terms of which seats popped up with very high NXT votes. It appeared that numerous safe Liberal seats ranked highly in terms of NXT vote, while the safer Labor seats ranked more lowly.

It’s undoubtedly true that Xenophon takes votes from all parties – when his vote has been particularly high, both major parties have suffered big hits. But the vote does tend to be higher in electorates normally considered ‘safe Liberal’.

We saw this clearly at the 2016 federal election – the NXT vote was highest in Mayo, Barker and Grey, all places where the Liberal Party would normally walk all over Labor in a head-to-head fight.

And when I compared the 2016 NXT Senate data to the Liberal two-party-preferred vote in each new state seat, there is a trend where the NXT vote is higher in stronger Liberal seats.

It’s not a perfect trend, but the correlation is around 0.558.

So what does this suggest about the impact that Nick Xenophon’s SA Best could have on the next election?

We obviously don’t know how highly the party will poll – they have only announced a handful of candidates, so it’s conceivable they won’t run a full ticket. But it seems more likely that a large vote for SA Best will hit hardest in Liberal seats, particularly in seats where the Liberal Party would normally not need to campaign hard. In contrast, the safer Labor seats are likely to stay safe, unless SA Best polls particularly strongly.


Launching the guide to SA 2018

As we near the conclusion of 2017’s election season, with the Bennelong by-election this weekend, I have finished my first major guide for 2018: for the South Australian state election on March 17.

I have completed seat guides for all 47 electorates, as well as a guide to the Legislative Council and summaries of the key seats and the redistribution.

You can use the following pages to find your way to each seat’s profile, or click through on the following map.

If you find this guide useful, you can choose to sign up as a monthly patron to maintain and expand this website’s coverage.


One Nation 2016 vote – how well did it predict 2017?

On Tuesday, I published estimates of the Senate vote at the 2016 federal election for the Nick Xenophon Team, broken down by South Australian state electorates.

While writing that article, I became curious about whether the similar dataset (built by Alex Jago) for One Nation in Queensland had done a good job of predicting the One Nation vote at the 2017 state election – we’d used the data regularly before the election, but after 6pm on election night we threw it out.

Well here is a chart comparing the 2016 Senate vote for One Nation (after distribution of minor preferences) to the party’s primary vote in the recent state election, in the 61 seats where One Nation stood candidates.

The trend is pretty strong – while the vote at the state election was slightly higher, it did not vary tremendously from the trend.

The correlation between these two datasets is 0.796 – in other words, the two datasets correlate by about 80%. It’s not a perfect correlation, but a very strong trend.

The biggest exception was in party leader Steve Dickson’s seat of Buderim. One Nation polled 12.7% at the 2016 election, but managed 28.85% at the recent state election. This makes sense – the party had an incumbent MP and put a lot more effort into that seat. Apart from that seat, the ratio was not more than 2:1 in any other seat.


SA election – how do we predict Nick Xenophon’s vote?

Thanks to everyone who signed up to my Patreon after my post yesterday morning. I’ve almost achieved my basic goal of 20 patrons to keep the website running, but I’d like to reach the stretch goal of 30 patrons to expand the reach of the website in 2018. Thanks to everyone who can chip in!

The recent Queensland election produced a dilemma for us electoral analysts: polls suggested One Nation would perform strongly, but the party had no recent history of contesting seats in most of Queensland at state elections.

We relied instead on the results of the 2016 federal Senate election, broken down by Queensland state electorate. This work was conducted by Alex Jago, who used data on which voters from each block voted at each polling place. He also used the entire preference dataset to distribute votes cast for minor candidates between Labor, the LNP, One Nation and the Greens.

The South Australian election has produced a similar dilemma. Nick Xenophon’s SA Best party has never contested a South Australian state election. Nick Xenophon previously ran for the state upper house in 1997 and 2006, polling quite highly in 2006, before running for the Senate with strong results at the 2007, 2013 and 2016 federal elections.

Thankfully Alex Jago performed a similar task for South Australia, distributing votes at a SA1 level between Labor, Liberal and the Nick Xenophon Team. He then gave it to me and I matched those SA1s to South Australian state electorates, to allow me to produce an estimate of the vote for the three biggest parties in each state seat. You can view this data here.

NXT polled well everywhere – the lowest NXT vote was 21.7% in Croydon, and the highest was 38.5% in Heysen. But there is a trend. The NXT vote was highest in the seats in the Adelaide Hills and to the south of Adelaide, as well as those in the north of the state, and it was lowest in centre and northern Adelaide.


Support the Tally Room on Patreon

I’ve been running this website now for just over nine years, and in that time I’ve put in thousands of hours of work, in particular making election guides and electoral boundary maps, more recently expanding into producing clean election results datasets free for use.

A handful of much-appreciated readers have been donating a small monthly amount for a while now, but it’s only just enough to cover the financial cost of running the web server.

I’ve explained on my Patreon page what I’d like to do with any additional donations – my goal is to have twenty regular donors giving every month to keep up my current work, but I’ve also set some stretch goals that would allow me to spend more time on the website and get more stuff done. I’m planning to do regular updates about my ongoing work to those who sign up as patrons.

My plan is to see how many patrons sign up in the month of December, and then use that to plan my work for 2018.

You can become a patron by clicking this button:

Become a Patron!

And below the fold you can read my spiel from the Patreon page.

Read the rest of this entry »


New England by-election live

7:55 – I won’t bother making any more updates now – once we have most of the results in I’ll put together a booth breakdown and post that.

7:22 – No evidence so far that the voters of New England have judged Joyce harshly for his citizenship bungle. I suspect that voters see the by-election as unnecessary, and possibly have sympathy for him. This fits with the 1996 Lindsay by-election, when Jackie Kelly gained a substantial swing after section 44 threw her out.

6:45 – So far the results don’t look very interesting. With four booths reporting, Barnaby Joyce is on 69.6% of the primary vote.

6:00 – Polls have just closed in New England. I’ll be live blogging the results here as they come in.


QLD election – where we stand

Well that was an interesting election night! Almost one third of seats have a candidate other than Labor or the LNP in the top two, with a few others where a minor party is threatening for the top two. We also have numerous seats where it is very unclear who will come in second place (ala Prahran 2014), so those seats will likely drag on for numerous days.

I thought I’d run through my assessment of where the seats stand, and what information we are lacking for each seat.

Firstly, I estimate that Labor has won 44 seats, the LNP has won 34, and Katter’s Australian Party has won two. This puts Labor three seats short of a majority.

I think Labor has retained 42 of their seats (including regaining Cairns) and gained Aspley and Redlands. I think the LNP has retained 33 of their seats (including winning back Buderim from One Nation) and has gained Nicklin back from retiring independent Peter Wellington.

There are five conventional races which are just very close:

  • Bonney – Labor lead by 10 votes
  • Bundaberg – LNP lead by 201 votes
  • Caloundra – Labor lead by 146 votes (Antony has given this seat to the LNP)
  • Gaven – Labor lead by 462 votes
  • Pumicestone – LNP lead by 263 votes

I’m sure there’ll be more analysis about where votes are outstanding here as the week goes on. As a reminder, three Labor wins in this category would give them a clean majority.

Then there are eight (count it, 8!) seats where there is uncertainty about who finished in the top two or an incorrect preference count meaning we don’t know how preferences will flow.

By my count five of these eight seats cannot be determined until the full distribution of preferences is concluded.

I’ll run through them one at a time.

Thuringowa – likely Labor hold, possible LNP gain

The election night preference count clearly put Labor on 56% against One Nation. It’s not clear whether One Nation or the LNP will come in the top two (this will need to wait for a full preference distribution). If One Nation comes in top two, case closed, it’s a Labor win. If the LNP come in the top two, we don’t know how their preferences will flow, but it’s hard to see the LNP overcoming the Labor lead.

Labor leads the LNP by 11.2% on primary votes, with 35.9% between One Nation and Katter’s Australian Party, and 5.4% for the Greens. If we assume this lead increases to 16% with Greens preferences, the LNP would need about three quarters of the ON/KAP preferences to win. Seems unlikely. Since this won’t be answered without a full preference distribution, we won’t get a final answer on this seat for a while.

Mirani – likely ON gain, possible Labor hold

Labor leads with 36.9% of the primary vote, followed by One Nation on 31.5% and the LNP on 27.4%.

We don’t have a preference count between Labor and One Nation. Presumably that will come today or in the next few days. It seems likely this will put One Nation over the top.

Burdekin – likely LNP gain, possible ON/Labor

I keep coming close to calling this seat for the LNP. We have three candidates effectively tied for first place: LNP on 33.7%, ON on 32.3%, Labor on 31%. As long as the LNP comes in the top two, they should win. We have a clear preference count putting LNP over Labor, and Labor preferences should favour the LNP over One Nation.

The only way the LNP loses is if they drop into third place – the margin for this is 2.7%. Right now I’m keeping it undecided, but don’t expect it to stay that way unless things change.

Cook – likely Labor hold, possible ON/KAP gain

We have effectively a three-way tie for second. Labor leads on 39.3% of the primary vote, followed by One Nation on 18.9%, the LNP on 17.9% and Katter’s Australian Party on 17.6%.

We know Labor wins easily against the LNP. But what happens if KAP or (more likely) ON comes out on top in the three-way tie? It appears that the ECQ is planning to switch its preference count to Labor vs ON which should answer this question.

One Nation would need to close a 20.4% preference gap with 35.5% of votes from the LNP and KAP, which would require a very strong preference flow.

Hinchinbrook – likely KAP gain, possible LNP hold/ON gain

Four candidates have polled between 19% and 30%. The LNP lead on 29.9% of the primary vote, followed by One Nation on 21.9% and KAP on 21.2%, wth Labor fourth on 19.1%.

The ECQ is planning to do a new preference count, presumably between LNP and One Nation. The ABC is reporting a 3.5% margin for KAP over LNP, but it’s not clear if this is a projection or the old preference count. We won’t know the result here until the full preference count is completed.

You’d expect Labor preferences to aid KAP, and they don’t need much to jump ahead of One Nation. At that point, you’d also expect them to do well on One Nation preferences. So we could see a candidate win from third. Or not. Who knows?

Rockhampton – likely IND gain, possible ALP hold/ON gain

Yet another case where we don’t know who the top two candidates are!

Labor leads with 31.8%, followed by ex-Labor independent Margaret Strelow on 23.8%, One Nation on 21.3% and the LNP on 17.6%. LNP preferences will likely decide whether Strelow or One Nation make it to the final count.

We don’t have a current preference count, I expect the ECQ is planning to do one between Labor and Strelow. She would need to close an 8% gap with 38.9% preferences from One Nation and the LNP, which seems very doable. We won’t know for sure until the final preference distribution. Does anyone have insights into how Strelow’s voters would have preferenced One Nation?

Noosa – likely IND gain, possible LNP hold

We know who the top two candidates are in Noosa. Independent Sandy Bolton leads with 32.2% and the LNP trails with 29.8%. We just need a preference count, which I expect to come today or tomorrow. It seems likely Bolton will do well off Greens, Labor and One Nation preferences.

Maiwar – GRN or ALP gain

Finally, the seat of LNP shadow treasurer Scott Emerson. Another seat where we don’t know the top two!

Emerson leads the primary vote on 40.7%, with the Greens second on 28.8% and Labor third on 28.1%. Labor and the Greens are very close, and late counting may change the order. There are also preferences from an independent which could change which of the two progressive parties makes it to the final two. Whoever does should win. We won’t know the final answer until the final distribution of preferences, but this can be counted as a seat which will help Labor form government.


QLD election night live

10:57pm – There won’t be anymore to contribute here tonight. Please head over to the Guardian liveblog if you want to read more of my thoughts. I’ll be back tomorrow with a Guardian piece, and will put something together for this website too.

9:46pm – I now think Maryborough is going to Labor, which gives them 44. Maiwar will go to Labor or the Greens, so that’s 45 votes. They then need two more seats from:

  • Five conventional Labor vs LNP close races.
  • Two Labor vs One Nation seats with no preference count.
  • Thuringowa, where Labor will win if One Nation comes second. If the LNP comes second, we don’t have a preference count.
  • Rockhampton, where we don’t have a preference count between Labor and the ex-Labor independent Margaret Strelow
  • Cook, where we don’t have a preference count between Labor and Katter’s Australian Party or One Nation, either of whom could come in the top two

9:14pm – You might be interested in this summary at the Guardian liveblog:

I’ve gone quiet as I’ve been trying to get a grasp of the landscape.

By my count Labor holds 43 seats, the LNP holds 34 and Katter’s Australian Paty holds 2. This leave 14 more seats still in place.
There are four more seats where Labor is currently leading on the primary vote ahead of the LNP (Bonney, Bundaberg, Caloundra, Pumicestone).

There is another seat where Labor is leading against One Nation(Maryborough), and there are six seats where we either don’t know who has made the top two, or don’t have a correct preference count (Logan, Mirani, Maryborough, Maiwar, Cook, Rockhampton). Labor is also trailing the LNP in Burleigh.

That’s twelve seats where Labor has a chance of winning, including five where they are leading. If Labor wins four of those seats, they should win a majority.
The other two seats in play are Noosa (LNP vs Independent) and Hinchinbrook (LNP vs Katter’s Australian Party or One Nation).

7:56pm – The story of this election is “we don’t know who is in the top two” – the latest example of this is in Cook. Labor is leading with 35% of the primary vote, while Katter’s Australian Party, the LNP and One Nation are clustered around 18-20%. Labor looks good against the LNP, but who knows whether KAP would do better.

7:37pm – It’s probably time to change our expectations about where the Greens have their best chance of winning seats. It’s not in places with a low Liberal vote where they can go head-to-head with Labor (ala federal Melbourne). Labor has gained a boost thanks to Liberal preferences, so the Greens now need a primary vote lead to win those seats. Maiwar could well become the fourth case of the Greens winning a seat in a race against a Liberal or National, thanks to Labor preferences. Labor currently leads the Greens by 70 votes. Watch that space.

7:28pm – I’ve made a bunch of posts at the Guardian liveblog. A quick summary of the picture – One Nation doing very well but not clearly winning many seats, Labor appears to be gaining ground in south-eastern marginal seats, and the Greens are doing quite well in the inner city.

6:00pm – Polls have just closed across Queensland. I will be joining the Guardian’s liveblog so don’t expect too many updates here, but I will post a few quick updates. Please use this thread for discussion of tonight’s results.


QLD election eve prediction thread

Polls will open in 25 hours in Queensland and the comments threads have been lighting up here with people discussing each electorate.

In particular there have been a few people posting their predictions on each seat guide.

So I thought I would resurrect an old tradition and create a thread for people to post their predictions of what will happen tomorrow.

I won’t try to be exact with my prediction (never a good idea to predict before votes start reporting) but I’ll give some general thoughts:

  • One Nation will win seats, and poll very well for a minor party, but won’t do as well in votes or seats as in their peak in 1998. Possible the polls are overstating their support and they will drop to the low teens.
  • I don’t think we will see either party in a strong enough position to confidently declare victory early in the night.
  • There is a high chance of a hung parliament but it’s still quite likely that the result will be a majority government, or a hung parliament where only one major party has a viable path to government.

I’ll have a piece in the Guardian tomorrow morning laying out what to expect on the night. Tomorrow evening there’ll be an open thread here, and I might contribute occasionally, but I’ll also be contributed to the Guardian’s liveblog, so I’ll just see how much capacity I have to do both. You’re welcome to join in the conversation in the comments.


Bennelong and New England guides posted

In addition to the complete guide to this weekend’s Queensland state election, I’ve now posted guides to the federal by-elections in New England (December 2) and Bennelong (December 16). Enjoy!


New England