Podcast #28: Polling after the federal election


This week I’m joined by Kevin Bonham to discuss the failure of Australian polls at the 2019 federal election and the limited improvements in transparency by Australian pollsters since that election.

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  1. What DID go wrong with the polls?

    Ben, Kevin

    I listened to the podcast—very interesting—but got the impression that, while it is agreed that there was SOMETHING wrong, the nature of the “something” is either obscure or jumbled. This morning we have an SMH story that more or less implies that the ALP was told by YouGov that it was in deep trouble; we also have the latest Newspoll.

    These things caused me to rouse myself from my post-election torpor and have a closer look at what I was seeing in my own polling tracking tools. I used the usual suite of tools found in the psephologist’s toolbox (I actually INVENTED some of these as long ago as 1992). For all of these tools, I made regression projections based on trends and displayed the projection with SDs and 95% Confidence Limits. There were some 8 of these (of course, none are independent of the others) and all except 1 showed a lower CL of greater than 50%. The exception was the projection made on the long run trend in ALP TPP in the campaign period (only) of all elections 1992 to 2016. The 95%CLs for this were (48.4% to 52.0%). The 2019 election result was inside that envelope.

    The driving force for me doing such an analysis is the old adage that “the gap always closes”. It was never true arithmetically but, if it is meant to imply “the Coalition always gains at the expense of the ALP” during the election period … then it has been true for 6 out of 8 elections, the average being about 0.4% per polling period.

    This doesn’t mean I wasn’t stunned when I walked out from scrutineering a booth in Warringah, but it does imply I SHOULD NOT have been stunned.

    Geoff Lambert

  2. what does the post election polling mean?
    but the pattern for most governments seems to be they are elected then reelected 3rd election is close
    the 4th election is closer and a 5th election win even less likely
    in the case of miracle wins eg 1993 nsw 2007 and aust 2019…………. a bad bad reckoning comes for the winner. 1996, nsw 2011………………


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