One of the big surprises in the recent federal election was the performance of One Nation in the NSW electorate of Hunter. This seat covers the more rural parts of the Hunter Valley, stretching from the western shore of Lake Macquarie up to Cessnock, Muswellbrook and Scone. It’s held by Labor’s Joel Fitzgibbon, who held it by a 12.5% margin prior to the election. He suffered the third-worst swing for a Labor candidate behind the north Queensland seats of Capricornia and Dawson, with his margin cut by 9.7%.
But the seat stood out for the remarkably high One Nation vote in the lower house. One Nation’s Stuart Bonds polled over 21%. One Nation didn’t poll over 20% in any other seat. The next best seat outside of Queensland for One Nation was the neighbouring seat of Paterson, where they polled 14%. Paterson is another urban-rural fringe electorate in the Hunter, covering Maitland and Port Stephens.
I’ve put together an interactive map showing how One Nation did in the Hunter region, which is below the fold. I’m not planning to assess why the swing was so large in this area, but hopefully the map is useful to others interested in the area.
This map has three layers of voting data. You can toggle between the One Nation House vote in the two seats named above, view the One Nation Senate vote in the four seats in the Hunter region (including Newcastle and Shortland) or see the two-candidate-preferred swing across the region. I really don’t recommend viewing more than one of these layers at the same time.
(You can link on the little chain icon in the bottom right of the map to blow it up into its own window.)
One Nation certainly did better in the more rural parts of Hunter, polling well over 25% in the Muswellbrook and Singleton areas and 23% in the Cessnock area. But they also did very well in the more suburban Lake Macquarie area.
In my pre-election guide, I divided Hunter into six subareas. The Lake Macquarie part of the electorate makes up a majority of the population, and was split into north, central and south. One Nation polled just over 21% in the north and south and they polled 17% in the centre.
One Nation did not do as well in the Senate, but it was still their best area in New South Wales. One Nation polled 14.1% in the Senate in Hunter and 11.4% in Paterson. They just cracked 10% in the deeply rural electorates of Parkes and New England, and nowhere else. They doubled the Greens Senate vote in these seats.
If you look at the two-candidate-preferred swing map, you see a similar trend in microcosm to what we’ve seen in the big cities. The more educated and wealthier inner city areas swung to Labor (in this case, the urban parts of Newcastle) while the suburban outskirts favoured the Coalition. For simplicity I have coded swings to the Coalition as blue, but the Nationals were the coalition party in the seat of Hunter.
That’s it for today. This is the first in a series of posts focusing on an election map in an interesting part of the country. If you have a request please post it as a comment below. Tomorrow: Warringah.