Federal 2019 – update on the close races

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It’s now a week since the election and there are only a handful of seats that are still in play. In this post I’ll run through the counts in each of them.

Last Sunday I identified seven seats still in play. Since then most of these seats have become clearer. The Liberal Party has clearly won in Boothby, Chisholm and Wentworth with margins of over 1000 votes. Four other seats are deserving of attention. I’ll run through the state of the race in those four closest seats below the fold. I’ve called two of these seats (Bass for Liberal, Lilley for Labor), while Cowan and Macquarie are still in play.

Less marginal seats: the new shape of the electoral battleground

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Last Saturday’s election was not a landslide: far from it. While it appears the Liberal/National coalition has gained a small swing nationally, there are lots of areas which swung in the opposite direction.

So I was interested in zooming out to get a sense of how many seats had swung in each direction, and how they fit into the respective “marginal”, “reasonably safe” and “safe” categories.

I’ve defined these categories as follows:

  • Marginal – 0-6% margin
  • Reasonably safe – 6-12% margin
  • Safe – 12%+ margin

Overall I have found a reduction in the number of marginal and reasonably safe seats and an increase in the number of safe seats, mostly on the Coalition side, but also that both major parties have seen seats moving in both directions.

I should note that I have included Cowan and Lilley as Labor seats, and Bass, Chisholm and Macquarie as Coalition seats post-election. I have also treated Wentworth as a safe Coalition seat and Chisholm as a marginal Coalition seat before the election.

Trends in minor party voting in the Senate

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On Sunday I published a post focusing on the chances for each party in the Senate. Unsurprisingly we are expecting a shrinking of the Senate crossbench due to the half-Senate election and the concentration of low-polling Senate crossbenchers, but it is interesting to examine the trends in how people voted.

We already know that there was a record high vote for minor parties and independents in the House of Representatives. The same is not true in the Senate, which has had a consistently higher level of support for the small players for decades. These parties and independents have polled over 25% at every election in the last decade, but support declined slightly in 2019, from 35% down to about 33.1% (based on data as of Tuesday morning).

This is still astoundingly high, and can partly be explained by the decline of specific parties. But there’s enough of them that it feels like a trend.

Big map of the day – swings by booth

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For today’s post I’ve put together a detailed map showing the two-candidate-preferred (2CP) vote in every booth across the country.

The map can be toggled between the swings and the total vote in each booth. Most booths are based on a Labor vs Coalition 2CP (red and blue respectively) but in some places the 2CP includes the Greens (in green) or others (Centre Alliance, Katter’s Australian Party, One Nation and independents, in orange).

This was something I’d been planning but I admit to being reminded of it by this map produced by Nathan Ruser.

In my map you can zoom in and scroll around, and click on each booth to see the 2CP vote and the swing for each booth.

For the image at the top of the post I have shown the swing across south-east Queensland. It shows a similar picture to what we see in every major city across Australia: swings towards Labor in more established suburbs and swings to the Coalition in outer suburban areas.

Let me know which areas you find the most interesting? If there is time I may do specific analyses focusing on interesting electorates down the track, or produce maps showing the primary vote for the larger minor parties.

Podcast #27 – Federal election results

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Ben is joined by Kevin Bonham for a quick podcast reacting to the results of the federal election.

Please consider supporting this podcast by signing up as a donor via Patreon.

You can subscribe to this podcast 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.

Turning our eyes to the Senate

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We largely overlooked the Senate count last night, in part due to the late hour at which votes started to arrive. But we now have a sizeable share of the vote counted and we can make some conclusions about likely winners.

The Senate result has been relatively encouraging for Labor and the Greens, while the non-Greens crossbench is set to be culled. The Coalition will not need as many crossbenchers to pass legislation, but the balance of power will likely remain with the same group of senators.

Votes equivalent to over 40% of the roll have now been counted in every jurisdiction except the Northern Territory.

The most likely outcome at the moment would see the Coalition with 33 seats (up two), Labor with 27 seats (up one) and the Greens steady on nine seats. One Nation looks likely to hold two seats, both in Queensland, alongside Jacqui Lambie, Cory Bernardi and two members of the Centre Alliance. One other seat in Victoria is a complete wildcard and could give the Coalition a 34th seat.

The Centre Alliance has fallen far short of success at their first Senate election since the departure of Nick Xenophon and the subsequent renaming of the party. The two sitting senators have another three years in parliament, but Skye Kakoschke-Moore will not be returning to fill the seat she vacated over citizenship issues.

Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party doesn’t look set to win any seats. One Nation seems likely to lose their Western Australian Senate seat and won’t regain the seat in New South Wales won by Brian Burston in 2016 before he moved over to the UAP. Malcolm Roberts does look likely to regain his seat from his successor Fraser Anning as a Queensland One Nation senator.

Jacqui Lambie looks set to win a seat in Tasmania, while Derryn Hinch’s vote has collapsed in Victoria, giving him only a slim chance of re-election.

Below the fold I’ll run through the key numbers for each state:

The state of play this morning

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As my first post today I thought I would summarise the state of play in the House of Representatives.

As of last night I had called 141 seats as part of my analysis at the Guardian. This includes 72 Coalition seats and 63 Labor seats, as well as six crossbench seats – the five won at the 2016 election plus Warringah.

I have three other seats which I was close to calling but hesitated because there is a lot of pre-poll votes yet to report: Eden-Monaro, Hunter and Swan. Examining these seats this morning it looks likely Hunter will go to Labor while the other two are close (one going each way at the moment). If you assume these three go to the party in the lead that’s a total of 73 Coalition and 65 Labor, leaving you with seven seats in play:

  • Bass – LIB by 321
  • Boothby – LIB by 1311
  • Chisholm – ALP by 325
  • Cowan – ALP by 1575
  • Lilley – ALP by 1323
  • Macquarie – ALP by 620
  • Wentworth – LIB by 801

If these seats all break to the party currently in the lead this will give the Morrison government 76 seats – the slimmest of majorities. They would need to rely on the casting vote of the speaker unless they made other arrangements with the crossbench.

Best case scenario for Labor would see the Coalition reduced to 73, with Labor on 71, and with a seventh crossbencher with Kerryn Phelps winning Wentworth.

Best case scenario for the Coalition would see them win 80 seats, which would be a comfortable majority.

The middle scenario would be almost exactly the same as in 2016. Labor and the Coalition would win the same number of seats, with one more crossbencher. Which is remarkable considering the last three years.

I’m sure I will touch on this in more detail later, but it’s worth noting that there has been another slight increase in the vote for minor parties and independents. These candidates polled 23.47% of the primary vote in the lower house in 2016, the highest ever figure for candidates outside the major parties. On current figures minor parties and independents are polling 24.73%. Despite almost one quarter of the electorate voting outside the major parties, they will collectively hold over 95% of seats in the lower house.

In addition to the seats listed above, I count eight seats that have changed hands. This includes Corangamite and Dunkley which were redrawn as notional Labor seats and have been won by Labor. Apart from these two redistribution gains, the only Labor gain so far is Gilmore. The Coalition has gained Braddon, Lindsay, Longman and Herbert, while independent Zali Steggall has gained Warringah.

I’ve produced the following map which shows the swing on two-candidate-preferred vote (except for the eight seats where we don’t have such a figure). You can toggle to see the 2CP vote for the winning candidate, except for the five seats where we have no 2CP count at the moment. I have grouped together independents, Greens, One Nation, Katter and Centre Alliance as ‘others’ – only in Kooyong was there both a strong independent and Greens candidate, in that seat the ‘other’ refers to the Greens.

While the Coalition did generally gain swings, there was lots of places where the reverse happened. Of the 133 seats where we have a Labor vs Coalition two-candidate-preferred count, the Coalition gained a swing in 85 seats, and Labor gained a swing in 47 (there is currently no swing in Tangney).

There is a clear difference between the trends in each state. Almost every seat in South Australia and Queensland swung to the Coalition (barring 3 Queensland seats and one SA seat). About two-thirds of seats in NSW swung to the Coalition while two-thirds of seats in Victoria swung to Labor.

StateSwing to ALPSwing to LNPUnknown
NSW13277
VIC21125
QLD3252
WA691
SA163
TAS221
ACT12
NT02

On a final note, I should touch on the polls.

I don’t spend a great deal of time analysing polls, but I think it would be a mistake to treat this as a complete shock from a polling perspective.

If you look at the Bludgertrack polling average there had been a clear trend of polls drifting back towards 50-50 since the collapse in support for the government last year.

The final polling results were about 2% off the final outcome, which is within the range of the margin of error. We don’t have anyone who does the kind of probability-based modelling that we see from outfits like FiveThirtyEight, but a sensible model would have given the government a sizeable chance of winning, if not a majority. In that way the result reminds me of the Trump victory in 2016 – the polls were not significantly off, but expectations were such that the result was a shock.

One question I’ll be interested in answering is how well the seat polls performed. I haven’t looked at them in aggregate, but I definitely noticed a trend of seat poll results which seemed incompatible with the national polls. I think most of us assumed it must have been the seat polls that were wrong, but now I am wondering. Still, that’s a topic for another day and for others who have more expertise in polls.

That’s about it for now. I’ll have more analysis to come on the close races in the Senate and the House, as well as a podcast, over today and tomorrow.

Election night live

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11:34 – I have to admit tonight’s election has been a more difficult one to call, due to some reluctance to call seats due to pre-poll voting. There’ll be a bunch more analysis to write tonight but I’ll return tomorrow with some clear-headed summaries of the state of play.

9:05 – There has been a big swing towards the LNP in Queensland, which has seen them solidify their hold on marginals such as Forde, Flynn, Capricornia, Dawson and Petrie. Interestingly the swing to Peter Dutton in Dickson was much smaller. It looks like the LNP has gained Herbert and Longman, and Labor is just ahead in Blair.

8:34 – It’s been a long few hours. The big unknown question is how the massively expanded pre-poll vote flows. If that pre-poll vote has the same swing as the election-day vote we’re probably headed for either a Coalition majority government or a hung parliament. But there has been a big change in the composition of that vote, and I am reluctant to make assumptions about those votes until we see how they look.

6:00 – Polls have just closed in 123 electorates on Australia’s east coast. Polls will close in 12 electorates in South Australia and the Northern Territory in 30 minutes, followed ninety minutes later by the remaining 16 electorates in Western Australia.

I will be regularly dropping in her to post broad updates on the results, but you can also find my analysis on the Guardian’s live blog.

Election day thread

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Polls have just opened on the east coast in the 2019 Australian federal election. The handful of Australians who are yet to cast a pre-poll vote will be voting today in an election expected to be relatively close.

The latest polls have Labor in the lead, but not by much. The most recent Ipsos and Galaxy polls both give Labor 51% of the two-party-preferred vote, with Essential on 51.5%. Finally Newspoll has given a small boost to Labor, giving them 51.5% of the 2PP vote.

Approximately 4.76 million people have cast a pre-poll vote, with about 700,000 having voted on Friday. This is an increase of almost 50% compared to 2016, and it will likely translate into more than 30% of votes being cast at pre-poll.

I probably won’t be posting anything during the day today, but please use this as an open thread. I’ll be back tonight with a results thread, although it will only be updated occasionally (maybe once an hour). I will also be contributing to the Guardian’s election night coverage.

If you are looking for something to read today, I recommend you check out my complete guide to the federal election, including profiles of all 151 House of Representatives seats and the 8 Senate races.

One other thing I’d like to plug is my Patreon which supports this website. I’ve only been able to do what I did over the last year, covering three major elections in detail while running a fortnightly podcast, thanks to the hundred-or-so donors who give their support on a monthly basis.

Federal 2019 – the race in regional Victoria

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In this post I’m looking at the 13 electorates that I have defined as “regional Victoria”. This includes the major provincial cities of Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat, as well as the seats of Casey and La Trobe on the eastern edge of Melbourne (which some commenters have argued should have been included in my Melbourne analysis).

This area includes four Labor seats, five Liberal seats, three Nationals seats and one independent seat.