Late mail

There are no fewer than seven seats which are still too close to call a week after polling day, with less than 0.3 per cent separating the two parties. The AEC’s official Close Seats list further includes Flynn and La Trobe, but these are all but certain to respectively go with Labor and Liberal. Corangamite briefly popped on to the list a few days ago, but it’s gone now. Two other seats that could be of at least theoretical interest come the preference count are O’Connor and Calare. In O’Connor, Nationals candidate Philip Gardiner (18.37 per cent) has a vague hope of getting ahead of Labor (20.42 per cent) on preferences from, among others, the Greens (6.68 per cent), and then overcoming Liberal member Wilson Tuckey (45.25 per cent) on Labor preferences. Similarly, in Calare the independent candidate Gavin Priestley (23.73 per cent) might be able to overcome Labor (24.84 per cent) with preferences from the Greens (2.60 per cent) and the Citizens Electoral Council (0.94 per cent, which was boosted by a donkey vote that will flow on to Labor) and then, just maybe, within spitting distance of John Cobb of the Nationals (47.89 per cent). For some reason only ordinary votes have been counted to this point in O’Connor.

Bowman. Labor’s Jason Young narrowly led Liberal incumbent Andrew Laming from election night until Tuesday when Laming got his nose in front on pre-polls, but this has proved to be the only close electorate where postals have favoured Labor. Young recovered the tiniest of leads and has inched slowly ahead to his current lead of 116 votes.

Herbert. Liberal incumbent Peter Lindsay leads by just 60 votes, and I have unconfirmed reports that only provisional votes remain to be counted. Last time provisionals favoured Lindsay 279-257: if there’s the same number this time and they swing the same way as the rest, Colbran will close the gap by 45 votes and lose by 15.

McEwen. Another seat where Labor was ahead on election night, but postals put Liberal incumbent Fran Bailey a very handy 502 votes up on Monday. That looked like it might be enough, but a remarkably good partial count of absent votes pulled it into 111 yesterday. Further counting of pre-polls then pushed her lead out to 150.

Solomon. Labor’s Damian Hale was a full 1.0 per cent ahead on election night, but late factors such as overseas Defence Force votes have steadily whittled it down to 262 votes, or 0.3 per cent. That leaves some hope for CLP incumbent Dave Tollner, though Hale should probably get up.

Swan. Labor incumbent Kim Wilkie had a 134-vote lead on election night, but has since had to watch as each new batch of votes has delivered a few dozen votes to Liberal candidate Steve Irons, who currently leads by 239 and is looking increasingly likely to emerge as the only Liberal candidate to topple a sitting Labor MP.

Dickson. Labor’s Fiona McNamara had reason to feel confident about her 425-vote lead on election night, but a strong performance on postals by Liberal member Peter Dutton pushed him 268 votes ahead on Wednesday. The seat has since provided Labor with some rare late count good news, absents and pre-polls reeling in the lead in to just 106.

Robertson. This one hadn’t been on my watch list, with Labor candidate Belinda Neal holding a formidable 1094 vote lead on election night. However, Liberal member Jim Lloyd has kept whittling away Neal’s lead, once again being boosted by postals which have gone 58-42 in his favour. Neal’s lead is now just 273 – too close to comfort, but probably just enough.

To illustrate the recurring theme of Liberal comebacks, here is a table comparing party support by type of vote cast for 2004 and 2007, bearing in mind that the 2007 figures are still incomplete. While there was a slightly better performance by the Coalition in declaration votes across the board, it does seem they have managed to produce their best results on postals where it has mattered most.

2007 2004 2007 2004 2007 2004 2007 2004
44.0 38.3 5.8 39.3 34.0 5.4 41.1 34.9 6.2 40.2 34.4 5.9
41.7 46.5 -4.8 40.8 44.2 -3.4 45.3 48.3 -3.0 49.2 52.9 -3.7
7.6 7.0 0.6 12.1 10.9 1.2 6.7 7.9 -1.2 5.0 4.9 0.1

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

683 comments on “Late mail”

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  1. The AEC rates a seat as “close” when the progressive TPP is in the range 49.5-50.5, no matter what the stage of the count. A possibly better way, especially at a late stage of the count, is to set a criterion based on the believable variation that could still occur in the remaining count to cause the lead to swap. On the average, at this election, the TPP in the non-booth vote has varied from the booth vote by about 2.5%. With this as a criterion, the only undecided seat is McEwen- and here I still think there’s something wrong with the Absent votes, which are 20% out of whack with the postals. McEwen has one of the highest enrollments of any seat and there seem to be some 12,000 left to count if the turn-out and formal %ages follow history. The gap last night was 396 and the possible deviation in the remaining numbers is about this size.

  2. If McEwen stays with the Coalition, that will leave the ALP with 84 seats and William with the kewpie doll. Well done.

  3. According to the AEC, in Dickson there are 1685 absent, 711 pre-poll and 668 postal remaining to count. As Fiona is only trailing by 106, it does look like a remote possibility for Labor, now that the postals are largely out of the way.

  4. If only…

    we could have all voted again yesterday (1/12) now the flimsy ediface of the liberal party has collapsed. I suspect plenty of marginal seat voters would easily cast a different vote (i.e. not LNP) to give themselves a new member in KR’s government rather than a member in a strife torn Liberal opposition. As yes… if only.

    How quickly has a sense of competence and capability about the incoming government spread among the populace? The rapid shift in sentiment by MSM to acknowledge the new government’s potential for achievement is, to say the least, refreshing.

    In future let’s hope the politics of fear is killed off completely because those voters motivated by irrational or uniformed fear – heavily influence, or worse still, decide elections.

    Is it asking too much that elections be about a contest of ideas, and the individual and collective calibre of people standing for election??

  5. Just a housekeeping point of order. Am I the only one for whom comments now default to all on the same page? Used to be (up until around dinner last evening) that comments defaulted to the most recent page and you could page back to find older ones. Now they are all appearing on one page and if you want to find anything other than the beginning you are forced to page down all the way through the list. Most recent thread besides this new one had 4 digits worth of comments and even at holding down the page down button on the mouse in the right margin it took forever to get down the bottom.

  6. Country Kid, couldn’t agree more with your comment concerning politics of fear. I live in McPherson electorate, where we have a useless time-server Lib Margaret May. Her opponent was Eddie Saroff (I think of Lebanese descent) who has been a tireless campaigner on the Gold Coast City Council. Would have made an excellent contribution to Kev’s team. Apparently a lot of moron voters were heard to remark that they would not vote for that ‘towel head’ even though they normally voted Labor. Such is the legacy of john howard, bush and the rest of that evil gang. It will take a long time to heal. Whatever happened to the flickering light of tolerance that started under previous Labor administrations? We have a collective responsibility now to begin reconciliation, especially with our Indigenous brothers and sisters.

  7. Basil, I also live on the Gold Coast (Moncrieff) and you are quite right about Eddie. The Libs have very safe seats up here largely because Labor does not invest much money in challenging them, and we are (still?) the yob capital of Australia as a result. Hoons rule.

    Mind you, with the Murdoch media monopoly on news up here (he even owns the Gold Coast Sun, a free weekly) it’s no wonder non-Coalition candidates get no proper coverage.

    Also, it’s a pity that Howard has not graciously conceded Bennelong, given we all know he doesn’t want it anyway. Too busy stealing all the silverware from Kirribilli House, it seems…

  8. Yeah, the last thread, with over 1000 posts became impossible.

    William, time to get out the spanners.

    Country Kid, you are so right! Watching the “TEAM” (Reg. Trade Mark) unravel with such incredible velocity demonstrates perfectly how poisonous was the relationship between Howard and Costello and how it had infected the entire party.

    Talk about a fish rotting from the head!

    What gets me, is that the GG and it’s many emulators spent so much effort papering over the cracks, applying the lipstick to the pig, and did whatever it took not to expose it for what it was, ie terminal. Too busy fluffing Costello as the best treasurer in the known universe (as if!), and Howard as the Great Leader and ‘consumate’ politician, the MSM virtually became the PR arm of the government.

    The MSM is so enamored of its role in what I call ‘myth making’ that it just disregards any pretence of reporting the facts. I suppose it will ultimately happen with this next government too, the incumbent gets to steer the ship and all who travel on her go for the ride. Heading off in a lifeboat in a different direction is a brave exercise. (I liked Alan Ramsey’s take on the Howard government, he told it like it was, not how the MSM portrayed it, and he was constantly abused as a “Howard Hater” by the ‘respectable’ journos who ar$elicked the government at every opportunity).

    But no longer! The final curtain has fallen from the gantry and we get to see the remaining cast of this dysfunctional charade without the costumes of government, the grease paint is smeared, the wigs askew, and they are getting stuck into each other for the lousy performance.

    Truly, life is but a stage as the great man said!

  9. Yes Gandhi, sad but true. I thought that the serf choices factor with our high hospitality and casualised workforce would be enough, coupled with the uselessness of May as a member. We did get a swing of about 5% from memory, but nowhere near the margin required. We cannot now complain if Labor proceeds to ignore the Gold Coast in any allocation of funding. I suppose mrs rat is now chaining herself to the ballustrading in a last desperate attempt to delay proceedings, cut off her arm say I. 🙂

  10. Basil, I like to think a good many people have already realised the mistake they made by casting a vote based on fear. And that this sentiment will spread as the new government really does ‘change the direction of the country’ – for the better – so that JWH’s last fear/wedge tactic will be blown away.

    In an intersting twist I have found myself feeling ‘relaxed and comfortable’ since the 24/11/07, just eleven & a half years after JWH coined the term.

  11. Ave it 07, self-delusion is a wonderful thing, I hope you and yours keep it up, it will make our job even easier in 2011

  12. Cont’d (kind of)…

    Not that the MSM learn anything, their reflexes are so ingrained that like a dog returning to its vomit we get this from inimitable Miranda Devine:

    Nelson is an impressive politician, whose courteous manner disguises a steely resolve. He has a gift for communicating, using homespun anecdotes from real life to appeal to people’s better natures. It strikes a chord.

    …hmm, is that the very same Horatio Hornet we’ve seen screaming to a crowd about never voting Liberal in his life? Is that the very same one that nearly put Kezza to sleep on the 7.30 Report the other night? The same HH that Malbull nearly gored after his almost funeral acceptance ‘speech’ in the party room? Is it the same one who signed a cheque for $6,000,000,000 without telling anyone important enough to know what a crap decision it was? (Now, that’s what I call a gift for communicating…NOT!)

    Yeah Miranda, it strikes a chord, a ‘dis’chord with reality.

    But she gives the game away in the last sentence:

    “He would make a wise and compassionate prime minister if ever he had the chance.”

    Notice the tense! She could have said ‘he will make’ and ‘if he ever gets the chance’, but deep down she knows, and the delicious irony is not missed on us.

  13. Actually I tell a lie..

    I was relaxed & comfortable for several months before the election – pretty much from the time I cottoned on to Possums Pollytics (might have been around July/August). The numbers just did not lie.

  14. LaTrobe is still interesting, though I agree the Libs probably have it. The postals are pretty much all out of the way and both the absentee and pre-polls are favoring Labor with a quite a few thousand left to count by the looks of it. The Lib lead has been reduced to about 550 at present.

    Might just depend on where those remaining absentees come from. Certainly likely to be quite a bit closer than it seemed a few days back.

  15. Geoff, the gap in McEwen was actually down to 122 yesterday, but had opened slightly to 150 after the addition of some more Pre-polls. Unless you have access to some figures beyond those available on the AEC website I would think that there is now probably a better than 50% chance this will go to Labor if the absentees break just a little better than even for them.

    Mind you, I agree that there is something skerwhiff about the count, with some very odd things happening in the declaration vote scrutiny figures.

  16. Basil Fawlty, we’ve been informed that the tenants at K House are on notice, but the old dears are getting on a bit, and will be dithering about for some time yet.

    Megan, thanks, ’tis but me blowing off a bit of steam after the longest election campaign in history.

    It’s been quite a morning in the Removals household, where I’ve had to shower a three year old after an early morning accident, vacuum the carpet in the play room after a light bulb disintegrated, and herd the kids away from a sleeping wife who’s been burning the midnight oil for her last (hurrah!!!!) exam for her MBA.

    Phew, in between all of that it’s great to have a chance to whack the keyboard with indignation at the grotesque excuse of a political party the Liberals have been, and at the twisted sisters that wave the pom poms and show their knickers for them!

    Now, must be off. Kids concert to prepare for this afternoon and some lightbulb replacement.

  17. Off Topic, but does anyone have any suggestions for the $160 I won with the free bet (thanks to various people here for the tip) at Sportingbet, backing McKew in Bennelong? I’ve discovered I have to roll it over at least once before extracting it.

    I know SFA about sporting events. I was thinking of backing the Indians to win or draw at least one of the first two games in the cricket test series against Australia, but this has come in from $2.25 to $2.10 since I looked at it.

  18. Nelson on insiders trying to show he knew the price of bread, petrol etc said the cash rate was 7.5%. Wrong it’s 6.75%. He’s a flake.

  19. Don’t bet against Australia in cricket, that’s never a good bet.

    If you want to stick with politics and take a risk…

    Mike Huckabee was paying $20 for the Republican Nomination in the U.S as recently as a week ago, if you can still find that price, it’s great. He’s surging in Iowa, has appeal in the South if he wins Iowa and gets the momentum to win South Carolina and then gets the money to compete on Feb 5 in the big primaries. Giuliani will fall apart and Romney is finished if he doesn’t win Iowa or New Hampshire… Someone has to win it, Thompson is lazy and McCain is broke and hated by the base.

    I’d say he’s actually a 5-1 shot at the nomination.

    Hmm, he’s not listed. That could be a good sign, especially since Brownback is listed and he has withdrawn from the race, lol, I love it how clueless bookies still have Al Gore there for the Dems too. Anyway, ask them for a quote on Huckabee for the nomination (not the general election, since the Dem will win that). Check out his Chuck Norris ad on Youtube if you need convincing, he makes being a right wing nutjob look reasonable.

    Either that or just bet on Melbourne Storm to win their first game of the season in the NRL to extract it, much safer bet than cricket if they’re at home or playing most teams away as well.

  20. Laming has a very impressive CV he would do more good for Australia out of parliament. Flynn looks nice on the map and good to see Labor’s birthplace represented by a Labor MP again. Herbert; perhaps if Labor had run a trade union official instead of a MacDonald’s owner they might have won? Did the polls overstate Labor’s position in Herbert due to military voters os?

  21. To William Bowe
    Statistical Forecast of the 9 doubtful seats

    please advise if the methodology below is ok

    By seat:
    I calculated the no. of votes uncounted in each voter type ,
    deducted the variable informal vote % in each voter type ,
    calculated the net votes uncounted per voter type & applied the 2PP % vote on counted votes todate for each voter type

    I assumed ALL ‘provisional’ votes were excluded which had the effect of
    treating any ‘Provisional’ votes that were counted as an ‘ordinary’ vote

    I assumed 100% did vote …but won’t)

    Flynn ALP + 804
    Robertson ALP +319

    Swan ALP -316
    Herbert ALP -268
    McEwan ALP -239
    La Trobe ALP -452

    Solomon ALP – 79
    Bowman ALP + 29
    Dickson ALP -149

    PS/ the aec site shows McEwen pre polls & postals counted as a HIGHER figure than the envelopes received for pre polls & postals !
    (does not affect result as LCP lead these voter types in 2PP anyway)

  22. Julie,

    If you have a PC, you can go to straight to the end by using Control plus End. Can’t remember what it is on my Mac, but there will be an equivalent. Saves all that scrolling!

    Thought Julia Gillard good on Meet the Press this morning. Straight talking, and my spin detector wasn’t activated! Couldn’t face up to Nelson on Insiders!

    Agree postal vote system needs review, should be off-limits to all except AEC. Seems to have been cleverly used by Libs – I also received official govt envelope with postal vote application and glossy bumph (?spelling) from the Lib hopeful for my strongly Labor seat. Think there was an envelope for a postal vote to be returned via office of said Liberal hopeful. Don’t know if other parties tried the same not-very-subtle trick.

  23. I probably missed it but does anyone know which of the Liberals in doubt voted in the leadership contest.
    There are now 3 videos in my “The Poll That Counts ” series online: Around the booths, Howard Made History and Tallyroom Tension. Working on JWH concession speech as seen by viewers in tallyroom on Saturday night.
    ‘labor View from Broome’

  24. Oliver: I agree, and posted on this a few days back. Rudy’s toxic, and the Mormon (with one silent ‘m’) is not a goer. McCann you’ve not done it to do again, and the rest are even more woeful.

    Huck’s a very good outside chance ONLY if his past doesn’t catch up with him:

    women (he’s a pants man in the Clinton tradition)

    lose with money (especially other peoples’)

    nasty bit of work (what do you expect from the US ‘priestly’ caste?)

    Apart from that, a fine Republican choice.

    Don’t let the ‘aw shucks’ fool ya, he is a thoroughly unsavoury man, which kind of makes him a VERY good bet in a funny kind of way.

  25. Nelson had another hilarious moment. Not quite as good at the ‘portrait of Neville Bonner’ one, but just as odd. Something about being a nuts and bolts salesman at uni.??? He loves a non-sequitur or two in his responses. Maybe he’s pushing for the eccentric vote.

  26. [Off Topic, but does anyone have any suggestions for the $160 I won with the free bet (thanks to various people here for the tip) at Sportingbet, backing McKew in Bennelong? I’ve discovered I have to roll it over at least once before extracting it.]

    Danny — have a look on sportingbet and pick anything with odds of 1.15 or less. That way you can be pretty confident that you won’t lose your winnings, and you don’t need to know anything about the sport you are betting on.

    Alternatively, if you don’t mind losing about 4-5% of your $160 you could split your money and bet on both sides of a two horse race. That way you are guaranteed of keeping around $150. Try betting on basketball or one day cricket (avoid test match cricket or soccer where there are far too many draws!).

  27. Insiders’ interview started badly for the Opp. Leader when he tried to suck up to Cassidy by saying he’d come on the program before Rudd. Cassidy just let it go through to the keeper.

    Cassidy wasted much time badgering Nelson about the distant past rather than questions regarding approval of dud Super Hornet against departmental and RAAF advice. By concentrating on Nelson’s Labor party youth, it was easy for him to fob off Cassidy many times with “what matters to the average fair dinkum Australian is………..”

    Best part of Panel analysis was all in agreement about the depth of talent in Labor’s ministry. What happened to all those “L-Plate” fears?

    Also, a highlight was everyone stressing that Nelson now has Turnbull, Abbott, AND Bishop with their knives sharpened and ready for the kill.

  28. Just heard Nelson on the ABC news saying he was about making sure Rudd keeps his promises (yea, such as to abolish WorkChoices?). Labor should go to town on this.

  29. I think the fact Nelson needed Minchin , Abbott , Bishop , Cooney , Costello & their supporters to vote for hi Leadership GUARANTEES he is stuck with keeping most
    of the work choices policy as his policy

    Over 18 months as a result , his popularity will be under 35% ..Turnbull will then take over. I can not see Nelson surviving but see Turnbull as a bigger Labor danger

  30. I’m glad to see the back of the Libs, and I think they’ll be smashed again in 2010. I’m just disappointed in my new local member for Corangamite, Darren Cheeseman, who appears to be incompetent and fairly thick. Both local papers called him up this week and asked him which two schools he was going to visit, as per the leader’s instructions, and he said he wouldn’t be complying with it as he didn’t have a car. Surely we can do better than this, Kevin.

  31. Panchoon 02 Dec 2007 at 11:02 am

    Also the leader of the Liberal party needing to state that ‘obviously I vote Liberal now’. That one’s gonna stick.

    Pancho are sure Nelson voted Liberal last Saturday !!

  32. Am I correct that Stewart Macarthur and Andrew Lamming voted in the Liberal leadership contest on Thursday? If so, at least one, and possibly 2 votes should be struck off and considered null & voild. Turnball has grounds to ask for another vote.
    As for the close seats, I’m confident Labor will pick up Flynn, Solomon and Bowman, and Robertson(unless Jim Lloyd has another solid win on the next lot of postals). Herbert will be won by either Lindsay or Colbran by 20 votes.
    Fran Bailey will keep McEwen, despite a brave fightback from the Labor candidate.

  33. Progressive, apparently they both allowed these former members to vote. And Turnbull probably can’t afford to challenge again just yet. But it would seem to be his whenever he wants it.

  34. Danny Yee, I just put my $175 on the field hockey men’s champions trophy backing Netherlands over Spain, $1.42 v Spain @ 4.75. Seems as safe as any, given the past form of the two teams:

    Champions Trophy Head-to-head
    > Spain have taken on the Netherlands on 17 occasions, recording 3 wins, 2 draws and 12 defeats.
    > At the 2006 Champions Trophy the Netherlands beat Spain 4-3.
    > The Dutch team have won 7 of the last 8 Champions Trophy encounters with Spain.
    > Spain’s last victory over the Netherlands came in the gold medal match of the 2004 Champions Trophy (4-2).

  35. If Rudd governs competently, and the global economy stays on track, the Libs are in for an absolute smashing next time, as has happened in Vic, NSW, Qld and SA.

  36. I’m not sure that conservative Brits are her type Ave it. And shouldn’t you update your name given the look of the scoreboard?

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