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.
This first table shows the number of seats in each category before and after the election.
|Coalition reasonably safe||29||26||-3|
|Crossbench reasonably safe||1||1||0|
|Labor reasonably safe||26||26||0|
You can firstly see a net increase in Coalition seats of three, and a drop of two Labor seats, and a gain of one for the crossbench. That reflects the latest expected numbers of 78-67-6.
The total number of seats considered “marginal” has dropped from 49 to 43, with both parties holding less marginal seats than they did before the election.
Labor previously needed a uniform swing of 1% to win the 76 seats necessary for a bare majority (an increase of 5). They now need nine seats (assuming no change in who is leading), which requires a uniform swing of 3.4% on the latest figures.
The Coalition previously needed a swing of 0.02% to regain their majority. A swing of 0.8% would now see them lose their majority.
Next up, this chart shows the seats by their pre-election category and how many seats in that category saw a swing to the incumbent or away from the incumbent.
|Category||Swing to incumbent||Swing away from incumbent|
|Coalition reasonably safe||20||9|
|Crossbench reasonably safe||1|
|Labor reasonably safe||9||17|
There is no broader trends of seats in certain marginality categories swinging one way or the other. In fact it appears that both major parties gained support in at least half of their marginal seats, with the Coalition doing particularly well.
The Coalition also gained swings towards them in their safer seats, while the opposite was true for Labor, which will tend to help the Coalition national two-party-preferred figure without having an impact on the seat count. Yet in every category at least one third of seats are bucking the trend.
Finally I decided to check how many seats are now in a different category to what they were before the election.
63 seats out of 151 have changed category. This includes 28 marginal seats. In eight of these seats (6 Labor and 2 Coalition) the seat changed hands. In the other twenty the seat became safer for the incumbent party.
12 reasonably safe Coalition seats moved up a category, while it was more common for Labor seats to move down the category.
While there has been some general shift towards the Coalition, and a reduction in the breadth of the marginal seat battleground, it is more interesting to see where these most marginal seats are.
Prior to this election, the ten most marginal Coalition seats on the pendulum included five Queensland seats, as well as three in New South Wales, one in Victoria and one in South Australia.
Now there is only one Queensland seat on this list (Longman), as well as three seats in New South Wales (Macquarie, Reid and Wentworth), two in Victoria (Chisholm and Higgins), two in Tasmania (Bass and Braddon) and one each in South Australia (Boothby) and Western Australia (Swan). That makes for quite a different election next time around.