4

Podcast #3 – Mayo, Longman and Senate party-hopping

In this episode I’m joined by Peter Brent and Amanda McCormack. We preview the by-elections in Mayo and Longman, and discuss the phenomenon of party-hopping in the Senate.

The next episode is due the week before the by-elections but I’ve pushed it back to be recorded and released on the day after the by-elections, so keep an eye out for that.

You can subscribe using this RSS feed in your podcast app of choice, but should also be able to find this podcast by searching for “the Tally Room”. If you like the show please considering rating and reviewing us on iTunes.

9

Using 3PP data to understand three-cornered races

I was recently alerted to a new source of data on the AEC website. The AEC has always published the distribution of preferences at the seat level, as well as a more detailed dataset showing the flow of preferences from each candidate’s primary votes to the two-candidate-preferred count. They have now published this data at the booth level. This means you can see how many votes in each booth flowed to other candidates as the count progressed. Until now, the only booth-level data we had was the primary votes and the top two count.

You could probably use this data to make some interesting maps (how the flow of Greens or One Nation preferences shifts across a diverse electorate) but that’s for another day. I’m finding it most useful now because it allows us to recalculate a three-party-preferred count for electorates that have been redistributed, and there were two in particular I wanted to look at.

The Greens were not far off getting into the top two in Melbourne Ports in 2016. While the Greens candidate trailed Labor MP Michael Danby on primary votes by 3.21%, this gap shrunk to 1.12% after preferences from minor candidates were distributed. We already knew that this primary vote gap had narrowed in the renamed seat of Macnamara following the redistribution, but until now I haven’t done a 3PP count.

The new seat of Canberra has a big question mark floating over it. The best Greens areas in the ACT were previously split between Canberra and Fenner, but the new inner-city seat (confusingly taking the name of Canberra, while the old Canberra was renamed Bean) now concentrates these areas in one seat. My primary vote calculations put the Greens 14.1% behind the Liberal Party, but with over 4% of the vote going to the Bullet Train party. I was curious to know whether that gap would narrow once those Bullet Train preferences were distributed.

The answer is below the fold:

Read the rest of this entry »

3

ACT redistribution finalised

The final boundaries for the ACT were released today. There was one small change on the Bean/Canberra boundary in the Woden Valley area, where the remainder of the suburb of Phillip was moved from Canberra to Bean. This made no change to the margin.

I’ve now published the final ACT map, as well as the final Victorian and South Australian election maps, and you can download them all from the maps page.

I’ve now started work on my guides for federal seats in South Australia and the ACT, but I will wait to do the Victorian seats until the official maps are released on July 13. There were enough changes, and they were described vaguely enough, that I’ll want to check that the boundaries are correct.

I’m still regularly posting a seat guide every day. Today’s seat guide was the Western Sydney seat of Chifley. There are only two more seats in NSW to publish, and I’ve now published every seat in Queensland, WA, Tasmania and the NT (although I will post new guides to the five by-election seats once the results are finalised). Once I finish New South Wales on Thursday, I’ll be posting guides to the Senate races, and then ACT and South Australia seats through mid-July. So please keep an eye out, and join in the numerous conversations taking place across many guides.

2

Podcast #2 – Braddon, Fremantle, Perth and how we name seats

In this episode I’m joined by Maiy Azize and Kevin Bonham. We preview the by-elections in Braddon, Fremantle and Perth, and discuss how we name electorates in light of Batman being renamed. In the news segment we discuss the results of the Darling Range by-election and begin the conversation about single-seat polling (sure to be revisited).

This episode involved guests joining me remotely, and there were some technical hiccups we’ll need to work on. You’ll notice that my guests are not with me for the whole show, but we still have a great conversation.

I mentioned this article about who federal electorates are named after. Kevin also mentions his analysis into single-seat polling which has since turned into this long and interesting post.

You can subscribe using this RSS feed in your podcast app of choice, but should also be able to find this podcast by searching for “the Tally Room”. If you like the show please considering rating and reviewing us on iTunes.

I’ll be back in two weeks, until then, enjoy this episode!

9

Vic redistribution – final(ish) map finished

The AEC announced its final decision for the Victorian federal redistribution on Wednesday. That day I published my new estimates of the margins, and I’ve now also finished my map of the new electoral boundaries.

I am not 100% sure these are correct, because the AEC did not publish data or maps on Wednesday. They simply published descriptions of the changes they made to the draft boundaries (albeit detailed ones). I believe I have accurately drawn all the changes that involved voters moving but I will need to wait for the publication of the maps and data on July 13 to double-check.

You can download this map as a Google Earth file, or browse the map below.


3

Darling Range – results wrap

Yesterday’s by-election in the Perth seat of Darling Range was undoubtedly a disappointment for Labor, with a swing of 9% after preferences, producing a reasonably comfortable victory for Liberal candidate Alyssa Hayden.

A Reachtel poll last week predicted a 54-46 result in favour of Labor, which was out by about 7%. While it’s just one poll, it’s more evidence that we don’t really have the ability to do good accurate polls in Australia (at least for the budgets available to media organisations).

In one way the result wasn’t that surprising. Labor’s sitting MP was forced out in absurd embarrassing circumstances, and then the party had to change candidates shortly before the election. But on the other hand Labor is a new state government performing reasonably well, and statewide polling suggests the party is on the up at a state and federal level. These strong fundamentals made it plausible that the party could have withstood its local problems and held on.

I don’t think we can say anything more generally about the state of Labor in Western Australia based on this one by-election. The circumstances were too strange.

I’ve analysed the results at the booth level (thanks to William Bowe for tracking them down – they’re not yet available on the WAEC website).

Firstly, this booth breakdown divides the booths in the same way I did for the pre-election guide. The ‘central’ area mostly aligns with Armadale council area while the ‘south’ mostly aligns with Serpentine-Jarrahdale.

The Liberal Party did much better in the north and south than they did in the centre. Labor’s vote held up better in Armadale, just barely losing. Labor also won close to half of the pre-poll.

The sparsely-populated north was already favourable to the Liberal Party in 2017, so it’s unsurprising that the swing was smaller there. The south had the biggest swings to the Liberals, which explains the divergence in the vote between the centre and the south.

Booth breakdown

Voter groupLIB 2PP %LIB 2PP swingTotal votes% of votes
South55.4+11.78,42535.2
Central50.3+6.44,89620.4
North55.2+4.61,2735.3
Other votes58.1+13.92,0528.6
Pre-Poll51.2+9.27,30030.5

Below the fold I have posted a map showing the two-party-preferred vote per booth. You can toggle this map off and instead show the swing map. Labor only gained a swing towards them in one booth, increasing their vote by 2.8% at Kelmscott Primary School. I think this is probably explained by the closure of the neighbouring Clifton Hills Primary School booth after a garbage truck crashed into the school on Thursday. Clifton Hills Primary was much more pro-Labor than Kelmscott Primary in 2017.

Read the rest of this entry »

3

Darling Range by-election live

Primary votes – 18/20 booths reporting

CandidateVotes%Swing
Russell Goodrick (WAP)13895.85.8
Anthony Pyle (GRN)13965.8-1.9
Jehni Thomas-Wurth (AJP)7883.33.3
Alyssa Hayden (LIB)823434.44.0
John Watt (FF)1020.40.4
Rod Caddies (ON)18677.8-0.9
Tania Lawrence (ALP)769032.1-9.4
Eric Eikelboom (CHR)11284.70.3
Stuart Ostle (SFF)10814.50.3
Doug Shaw (IND)1400.60.6
George O’Byrne (IND)1310.50.5

Two-party-preferred votes – 18/20 booths reporting

CandidateVotes%Swing
Alyssa Hayden (LIB)1275053.39.1
Tania Lawrence (ALP)1116946.7-9.1

Sunday, 8:43am – We saw another batch of pre-poll votes after I went to bed last night which brought the latest margin down to 53.3%. I’ll be back later this morning with deeper analysis.

8:51 – Okay I’m going to end the liveblog now. We haven’t received any more primary votes but it looks like most two-party-preferred votes have been counted, and Liberal candidate Alyssa Hayden is sitting on slightly less than 54% of the 2PP vote. She should win comfortably. This is about 8% better than the Reachtel poll predicted, and a swing of almost 10% compared to last year’s election. I’ll hopefully return with a map tomorrow if we have 2PP figures by booth, and possibly provide some more analysis on the result (which we’ll also discuss in this week’s podcast). If you’ve found my analysis of this by-election useful, tonight and over the last few weeks, maybe you could consider signing up as a donor via Patreon?

8:03 – We now have every election-day booth, as well as sizeable numbers of pre-poll and postal votes. I can’t imagine there’s many primary votes left to count. On the 2PP count, we have about 10,000 formal votes (about half of the primary vote count) and the Liberal Party’s Alyssa Hayden is still over 57%. I still don’t have any booth data for the 2PP count so I think I’ll probably call it a night soon and come back tomorrow to do a map once this data is available.

7:54 – Judging by Antony’s list of booths reporting 2PP figures, I reckon there could be a difference of about 2% in the swing between the booths reporting so far and those to come. But the Liberal Party is on 58.7%, so this would still represent a swing of about 12%.

7:51 – We are now just waiting for one ordinary booth on the primary vote, plus two types of special votes, and the swing against Labor has dropped back a bit. So we probably should also expect the 2PP swing to drop back, but it’s hard to see the Liberal Party losing at this point. I would probably call the seat if I could conduct my booth comparison, but alas.

7:41 – It’s worth noting that Reachtel’s recent poll put Labor on 54% after preferences in Darling Range. On current numbers this was off by about 12-13%.

7:32 – I don’t have a two-party-preferred count by booth, so I can’t run my model, but we have a seat-wide total which is about 1/3 of the primary vote total so far and it has Liberal candidate Alyssa Hayden on 58% after preferences.

7:18 – The swing against Labor isn’t too harsh in Mundaring but is over 15% in Oakford. Interesting that we haven’t seen a two-party-preferred count yet but it’s worth noting that the Shooters, Christians and One Nation are on over 18% between them, compared to 8.5% for clearly centre-left minor parties. So Labor can’t rely on preferences to overcome a primary vote deficit.

7:09 – We have three more booths and the trend is similar. Labor suffered a 19.7% swing at Marri Grove, although they barely lost ground at Pickering Brook.

7:04 – The latest booth is Serpentile Jarrahdale Community Recreation Centre, and Labor has suffered a whopping 18.7% swing on primary votes there. If the current trend continues, it’s hard to see Labor winning.

6:51 – We’ve just received two more booths. Labor has suffered swings of 8.2% and 11.7% at Armadale Primary School and Bruno Gianetti Hall respectively. The Liberal Party also lost ground, suffering swings of about 1% in each booth. Overall Labor is currently projected to suffer a swing of just over 8%, but the Liberal Party is also expected to suffer a swing.

6:45 – By the way, for the booth matching I’m not currently including last election’s pre-poll votes.

6:44 – Okay we now have the results from Karragulleen District Hall which produced a swing of 3.3% to the Liberal Party, a 7.2% swing against Labor, a 2% swing against the Greens and a 2.4% swing against One Nation. Definitely suggests the Liberals will recover some ground, but not clear if it’s enough to win.

6:31 – We have 66 formal votes reporting from one small pre-poll booth. I won’t update my table yet because the inclusion of these votes will trigger the booth-matching against the entire pre-poll vote. The Liberal Party is on 42.4% in this small batch, with Labor on 28.8% and the Greens on 13.6%.

6:00 – Polls have just closed in the state by-election in the Western Australian seat of Darling Range. I expect we’ll start to see results in about half an hour. I’ll be running a booth-matching model tonight. For now the results tables are at the bottom but I’ll move them to the top once there is something useful within. In the meantime, why not take a read of my guide to this by-election?

3

Podcast #1 – Darling Range and Liberal women

Here it finally is, the first episode of the Tally Room podcast. It was recorded earlier this week after an earlier attempt last week, with Stewart Jackson and Megan Clement-Couzner.

We discussed a number of election news items, which involved a wide-ranging conversation about the Ontario provincial election and the Maine primaries, and what they tell us about voting systems, before previewing tomorrow’s Darling Range by-election in WA, and discussing the lack of Liberal Party women in the federal parliament.

I plan to publish episodes every fortnight for now, but I’m planning an episode next week to cover the results of Darling Range (amongst other topics).

I expect the podcast to be up soon on iTunes but you can use the RSS feed now to subscribe in other podcast apps (I’ve done it myself in Overcast) or you can listen to the episode in the player below.

(You can now listen, subscribe, rate and review on iTunes here.)

If you find this podcast interesting, please consider donating via Patreon. It takes some time to organise and then to edit the show, so donations will help me keep time free to do this while still doing the other work of this blog (such as completing the last 51 seat guides for the federal election upon the conclusion of the redistributions this month). Thanks!

Here are some links to inform the stories on this week’s episode: Read the rest of this entry »

39

Vic redistribution finalised – the end of Batman

The Australian Electoral Commission released the final decisions for the Victorian federal redistribution earlier today. Most of the changes were very minor, with no seats experiencing a large change in margin. The switch of Dunkley from Liberal to notional Labor has been maintained.

We have seen two changes in seat names. The seat of Cox has been restored to its previous name of Corangamite. While they noted the concern about the double-entendre in the name, the decision has supposedly been made due to the longstanding use of the name Corangamite.

The AEC is also renaming the seat of Batman in Melbourne’s inner north to ‘Cooper’. This name honours early 20th century Aboriginal leader William Cooper. The report specifically mentions his role in founding the Australian Aborigines League in the 1930s, and his protests against Nazi Germany in 1938. This is the culmination of a long campaign to abolish this seat name.

Overall we will see eight new seat names at the next federal election. Batman is not the only seat named after an early white settler to be renamed in part due to that man’s genocidal history – the seat of McMillan in eastern Victoria has been renamed ‘Monash’.

The announcement today just included descriptions of how the boundaries have been changed since the first draft. There are no maps and no data. So it’s possible there might be small errors in my margin calculations. I will put together the updated map over the weekend, although I’ll double-check the boundaries when the official map is released on July 13.

I also expect we’ll be getting the final boundaries for ACT and South Australia over the next week.

The table below the fold lists the margin in every Victorian seat, before the redistribution, on the draft boundaries and on the final boundaries. I discovered a small bug in my margin calculation code so there may be some small changes (around 0.1% in most cases) even where boundaries haven’t changed, but I’ve included the previously-published margins for transparency.

Read the rest of this entry »

3

Women in parliament – still marginal

There has been a lot of discussion recently about the lack of representation of women in the Liberal Party, and it got me thinking about what sort of seats tend to be represented by women. Do they tend to hold safer seats, or more marginal seats? I recently noticed that most coalition women hold marginal seats, in the context of Jane Prentice and Ann Sudmalis facing preselection threats.

Firstly, I just looked at what sort of seats current federal MPs hold. For this graph, I divided seats into “safe” (margin over 12%), “reasonably safe” (margin 6-12%) and “marginal” (margin under 6%).

A majority of Labor MPs in marginal seats are women, and that proportion gradually drops in the safer categories. The Coalition likewise has more women representing marginal seats. Half of its women, but only a third of its men, represent a seat with a margin under 6%. We already know that Labor does much better than the coalition in terms of equal representation overall.

But it’s not all about those who were elected. I was curious about the candidates who ran in 2016.

Seat type# of seatsALP F %LNP F %
Safe coalition3336%11%
Marginal Labor3145%50%
Reasonably safe coalition2832%13%
Marginal coalition2748%31%
Reasonably safe Labor1540%31%
Safe Labor1127%27%
Crossbench540%17%

Interestingly, Labor runs less women in safe Coalition seats (people who are very unlikely to win a seat). The seats with the most women candidates for Labor are marginal seats, either held by Labor or the Coalition. Labor also has a high proportion in its reasonably safe Labor seats, but in its safest seats it ran a much lower proportion.

The Coalition shows a similar trend, although on a much lower baseline. Just under a third of candidates in marginal Coalition seats, and half of candidates in marginal Labor seats, were women, but about 12% of candidates in safe seats were women.

So both parties are usually happy to run women in seats where the election will be hotly contested, but are more likely to run men in safer seats.

So this suggests that the lack of women in parliament is not a symptom of voters preferring male candidates (otherwise we’d expect the opposite trend), but I reckon there’s better evidence out there.

Of the 55 seats where the margin was less than 6%, there were 20 where a man and a woman came in the top two. Of these races, women won 9 races and men won 11. The pattern is the same if you narrow your sample to seats decided by less than 3% – women won four and men won five races where the top two candidates were of different genders.

So this evidence suggests gender doesn’t make much of a difference in a close race (although you’d want a larger sample to be sure) and it doesn’t appear either major party is resistant to run women where the race is close enough for these personal characteristics to matter.

So why is the gender balance so different in safe and marginal seats? My last theory is that the problem is with incumbency: even if you run a lot of women for open seats, the predominantly male incumbent MPs will throw off the balance. And incumbents are more likely to be running in safer seats, since marginal seats change hands more often.

PartySeat typeIncumbents F %Non-incumbents F %
LaborMarginal40.9%50.0%
LaborSafe33.3%50.0%
CoalitionMarginal37.0%47.2%
CoalitionSafe12.2%12.5%

Labor had a perfect 50/50 record amongst non-incumbents in their marginal seats and safe seats. But while they ran 36 non-incumbents in marginal seats, there were only two open Labor seats with margins of over 6%. The deficit in women’s representation in Labor lay entirely amongst the pre-2016 incumbents, particularly those in safe seats.

This explanation doesn’t hold up as much for the Coalition. While they are running a lot of women for marginal seats, some of which they would win (although non-incumbents in marginal seats don’t tend to win when you go backwards), they barely bothered in safer seats. And the only two women running for open safe seats were not running in super-safe seats. Nicolle Flint won Boothby (margin 7.1% before the election), and a Nationals woman ran for the safe Liberal seat of Pearce, so really shouldn’t count.

Overall I can conclude that Labor’s gender imbalance is entirely due to its longer-standing MPs, who tend to be in safer seats. Half of current sitting Labor MPs who were first elected in 2010 or later are women, while less than a third of those elected up to 2007 are women. This is a legacy that should work its way out of the system as they are succeeded, but may take some time since it can take a long time for incumbents in safe seats to move on.

The Liberal/National coalition does not have this excuse. Their newer MPs, elected in 2010 or more recently, are more balanced, but not by much (20% of 2010-2016 MPs are women, compared to 15% of the longer-serving MPs), and evidence from 2016 suggests that most safe seats, even when they are vacant, go to men.