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

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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.

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