Podcast #10 – Wentworth results wrap-up


Ben talked to Peter Brent in a mini-episode about yesterday’s Wentworth by-election.

Some links if you want to read more about the by-election:

You can subscribe using this RSS feed in your podcast app of choice, but should also be able to find this podcast by searching for “the Tally Room”. If you like the show please considering rating and reviewing us on iTunes.

Wentworth – wait just a minute


EDIT 6:44PM: We’ve now got new figures for both Bellevue Hill and Bondi Beach. In both cases we saw the preference flow to Kerryn Phelps increase significantly, and between the two of them Phelps’ 2CP lead has increased by almost 1000 votes. It now looks very unlikely that extra postal votes will put Dave Sharma in front.

EDIT 9:31AM: We now have the first batch of postal votes – about 5,463 votes. Dave Sharma is winning 64.4% of them after preferences. This suggests he is roughly polling enough in the postal vote to have a chance of winning – the big question is how many postal votes are left to be counted, and whether adjustments in the election-day vote might give Phelps some breathing room. It’s also worth noting that I didn’t factor in informal postal votes when calculating Sharma’s threshold to win, up from 63% to 63.6%.

ORIGINAL POST: Since I posted last night, we had some shifts in the count following the inclusion of pre-poll votes. In short, it is no longer certain Kerryn Phelps will win. We are awaiting the results of the postal votes, which could see Dave Sharma win if he does well. On the other hand, there’s also reason to suspect a counting error in two booths which may be underestimated Phelps’ vote.

I’ll run through both of these issues in this post, and try and briefly explain why I think we had problems predicting this result last night.

Wentworth wrap-up – Liberals destroyed in heartland


Tonight’s election result was very clear. A massive swing against the Liberal Party has pushed the Morrison coalition government into a minority position, with Dave Sharma losing a seat held by the conservative major party since federation, despite a 17.7% margin built up by former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

There are many things to say about the causes, and i won’t go into a lot of depth on this point. Clearly the departure of Malcolm Turnbull made it harder for the Liberal Party, and this was made worse by the manner of his leaving. The party’s inability to reconcile its base with sensible policy on climate change made it much harder for them in a seat like Wentworth, and a strong independent like Kerryn Phelps was able to exploit this position.

In this post I’m going to focus on the geography of the electorate, showing how the swings spread across the seat, and how a distinct geographic divide within the seat is much more obvious following this result.

Last week I blogged about “the three Wentworths” – three distinct parts of this electorate I had identified which I believed would behave differently. Specifically, I thought the Liberal Party was more vulnerable to a swing in the city and beach areas than they were in the harbour area. And this has been proven right.

Kerryn Phelps won the two-candidate-preferred vote in every booth in the city and beach areas, while Sharma held on in every booth in the harbour area. While the Liberal Party suffered similar swings in the harbour as they did in the beach, they weren’t enough to lose booths in places like Double Bay, Vaucluse, Watsons Bay or Rose Bay.

Wentworth by-election live


9:33 – I’m going to end this liveblog here. We now have primary vote figures from all ordinary booths, and are just missing the 2CP data from Bondi Beach. We will also be waiting for pre-poll and postals to be reported, presumably most of them coming over the next 24 hours. Phelps currently sits on 54.3% of the two-candidate-preferred count, leading by almost 4,000 votes. I will now start work on a wrap-up blog post, which will feature a map of the electorate.

8:43 – Sorry for the limited commentary. To be honest there isn’t much to report at the moment, but the trend is the same. The only booth to violate the divisions I used for the seat was Dover Heights (which anyone familiar with Wentworth would know should really be lumped in with Harbour, but I had left it in Beach for simplicity), where Sharma won. Once we have the final figures for the booths I’ll put together a map and a subarea summary.

Wentworth election day open thread


Polls have just opened in the federal by-election in the seat of Wentworth in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. I’ll be back at 6pm to cover the results, but until then enjoy this open thread.

You may like to read my guide to today’s by-election.

No podcast this week


Apologies for this, I was planning to publish a podcast today about the Wentworth campaign and Victoria but some technical issues mean it won’t be happening. I plan to put out a post-by-election podcast this Sunday then we’ll be back in two weeks with a show all about Victoria.

New website design


Some of my more committed readers may have noticed that this website was unavailable late on Saturday night. Basically an attempt to install a new mobile theme screwed up the website and it took some time to fix the damage.

This prompted me to realise I’d had my existing website theme since at least 2010 so have replaced it with a new theme. This new theme is responsive so should work much more smoothly on both mobile and desktop. You’ll notice the ad placement has changed somewhat. I hope that this isn’t too much of a problem for readers, but the ad revenue is a useful boost in funding my work (and pretty much covers all the costs of actually running the website).

I expect this will improve the website experience for the Wentworth by-election, but if you notice any weird things please let me know.

The three Wentworths


When I produce seat guides, I always like to split up the polling places in the electorate into a number of subareas. I find that there are times where you want a sense of the different parts of the seat, but the granular detail of polling places can confuse the broader trends.

Sometimes these subareas represent very clear and distinct divisions in a community, while sometimes they’re more arbitrary. But I think my breakdown of Wentworth reflects some pretty strong differences within the seat which I think will play out on October 20.

I’ve divided this electorate into three areas:

  • Harbour – the north-east of the electorate, including the majority of Woollahra council plus Dover Heights in Waverley council.
  • Beach – the south-east of the electorate, including most of Waverley council and the parts of Randwick council contained within the electorate.
  • City – the west of the electorate, including Paddington, Woollahra, Elizabeth Bay and Rushcutters Bay.

Below the fold, I’m going to explore the differences between these three areas, and how I think these differences could play out in the by-election.

New by-elections datasets available


I’ve just added a bunch of extra data to my collection, covering all of the recent by-elections.

By-election data can often be even more scattered than general election data. I’ve avoided publishing federal election data, because the AEC does a thorough job, at least they do at general elections.

But the data they’ve provided for the eight by-elections held in the last twelves months is lacking this thoroughness. No published booth list with latitudes and longitudes (thankfully they usually publish this before election day so I’ve captured that). No spreadsheet with information about how non-ordinary votes were cast. Not to mention the fact that each by-election is treated as a separate event, so if you want to analyse the lot you need to download many spreadsheets.

I’ve now finished a dataset featuring the first eight by-elections of this parliamentary term, featuring the list of polling places, candidates, and primary and two-candidate-preferred vote at the electorate and polling place level.

I’ve also added the 2018 Wagga Wagga by-election to my NSW state by-elections dataset, which dates back to 2016.

And finally, I’ve just published a comprehensive dataset covering the last twelve Western Australian state by-elections, from Kalgoorlie in 1996 to Darling Range in 2018 (although if anyone can help me with final two-candidate-preferred figures per booth, that’d be appreciated).

The NSW by-elections dataset is available for free to readers of this website. The other two datasets are available to people who donate to my Patreon.

I plan to keep publishing more datasets over time – if you have one you really want to see done I am taking requests from my $20/month Patreon donors.

Podcast #9 – Wentworth and Victoria


Ben is joined by William Bowe and Georgia Tkachuk to discuss the Wentworth by-election and to begin discussing the Victorian state election.

You can subscribe using this RSS feed in your podcast app of choice, but should also be able to find this podcast by searching for “the Tally Room”. If you like the show please considering rating and reviewing us on iTunes.