We’re now in the second of three weeks of counting for the New South Wales Legislative Council and we’re getting a decent chunk of votes counted.
As of Monday evening, over a million votes have been counted in the check count (the one that includes below-the-line votes and all groups’ above-the-line votes). I estimate this is about 21.6% of the final count, assuming the same turnout we saw in 2015.
In this post I’ll run through my latest calculations, my estimates of the bias in the count and who I think can win.
In short, I expect a race between five or six parties all on about half a quota for the final three seats, with preferences crucial to the outcome.
We haven’t seen much progress on the initial count (the one that only separated the above-the-line votes for seven groups). I estimate this count is at 88% of the eventual turnout.
The votes that have been counted so far don’t come close to being representative of the state.
- I’ve used the same six regional definitions I used for my regional summaries earlier in March. Almost half of the vote has been counted in the Western Sydney region, with just under a third counted in the eastern half of Sydney. In contrast, other regions are averaging 4-5% counted.
- This is totally understandable – votes are being counted centrally and it will take longer for regional votes to arrive. Of course they’ll count the urban votes first. We should see this bias gradually fade but it’s important to understand it.
- Next up, I thought I would just post the total quotas so far for the 19 groups with a box above the line, both according to my adjusted initial count (factoring in 6.2% informal rate and below-the-line ratios for these seven groups which match the check count so far), and the raw unrepresentative check count figures for all 19 groups.
|Group||Initial count (adj)||Check count|
|Shooters, Fishers & Farmers||1.2185||0.7187|
|Keep Sydney Open||0.6003|
|Christian Democratic Party||0.4749||0.5305|
You can immediately see the bias playing out. Labor is overperforming by about half a quota, with the Greens overperforming by 0.3 quotas, and Animal Justice up by 0.06 quotas. On the other hand, the Coalition is down by 0.43 quotas, One Nation by 0.21 quotas, and the Shooters are well down by 0.5 quotas. The CDP are slightly overperforming, reflecting their heartland in suburban Sydney.
There are also three parties in contention who did not have any votes counted in the initial count: the Liberal Democrats, Keep Sydney Open and Sustainable Australia.
It seems reasonably clear that KSO are a primarily urban-based party and should lose ground as the count progresses. The Lib Dems may be a conservative party, but are they the kind who will benefit as rural votes start to flow in? I looked at their Senate primary vote in New South Wales at the 2016 Senate election. The result was remarkably consistent, ranging from 2.1% in Macquarie to 4% in McMahon. It does appear they did better in suburban seats, with their top eleven seats being in Sydney. This could reflect confusion with the Liberal Party (the seats included those with higher informal rates and those with a big Liberal primary vote), which is less of a factor at this election, but still I don’t see a reason to expect an uptick in the Lib Dem primary vote.
As for Sustainable Australia, I did wonder if they might do better in regional areas, but the results of the 2018 Victorian state election and the 2016 Senate election in New South Wales both suggest the party is strongest in safe Liberal seats, like those on the north shore of Sydney. This area is relatively over-represented now.
So I’m still expecting the first eighteen seats to go this way: 8 Coalition, 6 Labor, 2 Greens, 1 each for Shooters and One Nation.
Assuming some decline in support for KSO, Lib Dems and Sustainable Australia would put Sustainable Australia out of the race and give KSO and the Lib Dems about half a quota, which is about where I put Labor, One Nation and the CDP. So that’s five parties all roughly on half a quota, with Animal Justice trailing on about 0.4 quotas.
This probably means Labor or KSO will win one seat, with the Liberal Democrats, One Nation and the CDP competing over the other two, although Animal Justice and Sustainable Australia preferences could potentially help Keep Sydney Open to win alongside Labor.
I’ll be back next week with another update as the vote count continues to grow, and hopefully becomes more representative.