This is my last post for 2018, one final set of Victorian election maps. I’ll be back in the new year with more coverage of the New South Wales and federal elections.
Today I’m looking at the distribution of the vote for two of the larger minor parties. Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers both polled over 3%, with concentrations in certain regions that were quite high for a minor party.
First, the Hinch party’s vote is mapped out in blue:
You’ll notice the tremendous difference between the West Metro region and the remainder of Melbourne.
There has been a lot of discussion about newly-elected West Metro MLC Catherine Cumming, who quit the Hinch party on Tuesday barely a week after winning her seat. There was a belief that she had partly won her seat thanks to a higher public profile. She is a former councillor who has run repeatedly in the Footscray area. Yet the results don’t justify a claim of a personal vote. The Hinch vote was highest in the outer fringe of the region, and indeed was also high in the seat of Melton on the western fringe but within the Western Victoria region.
Cumming polled 5.3% in Footscray, which covers her council ward and is the seat where she has repeatedly run in the past. This was the second-worst out of 11 electorate-level results for her former party in the region.
And the map makes it really clear that there was a massive drop-off between Western Metropolitan and similar seats across the border in Northern Metropolitan.
The more likely explanation is the ballot order: Cumming drew group A in the west, while the party’s candidates drew groups J, N, P and R in the other metropolitan regions. The party also had relatively good ballot draws in Northern Victoria (B) and Western Victoria (F) where they also won seats.
This emphasises the importance of ballot order for small parties, particularly when a ballot is packed with candidates. While this wouldn’t immediately be solved by abolishing GVTs, it would remove the incentive for minor parties to run candidates in every region, and would likely see ballots get a bit smaller.
You can also see this trend very clearly on a map of the Liberal Democrats’ vote. The LDP has a particularly strong ballot order effect, thanks to voters confusing them with the Liberal Party.
The LDP drew first column in East Metro, producing a total vote of 4.2%. The party generally did better in regional areas than in Melbourne, which cannot entirely be explained by ballot order, but the LDP drew a column to the right of the Liberal Party in the neighbouring regions of South Metro and South-East Metro, where they polled much more poorly.
Yet the LDP didn’t win in either of the regions where they cracked 4% – instead they won a seat in Northern Victoria, and absurdly won a seat off 0.8% in South-East Metro.
Finally, let’s take a look at the map for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers. The Shooters didn’t particularly benefit from any ballot order effects, and weren’t helped by group voting tickets.
The Shooters polled 7.9% in the Northern Victoria region – which was the highest vote for any party other than Labor, Liberal or the Greens, and was higher than the Greens vote in that region.
You can see the concentration of the vote in the north of the state, but you can also see that the party has a broad pattern of higher support in regional areas and lower support in Melbourne. This matches patterns we’ve seen in other states, and indeed some of the best seats were those that border New South Wales.