Photo finishes: Corangamite

Saturday, August 28

Corangamite is back on the AEC undecided seats list (a list of one), but given not much has actually changed, this suggests the current margin is right on their dividing line. 1877 abent pre-polls have gone 996-881 the way of the Liberals, but 1299 absents have favoured Labor 697-602: a net gain for the Liberals of only 20 votes. Labor leads by 884, while my projection has it at 644.

Thursday, August 26

6pm. Absent votes continue to flood Labor’s way, a batch of 924 going 557-367 and blowing the lead out to 895.

12noon. The first 938 absent votes have been added and they’re a good batch for Labor, breaking 535-403 in their favour and widening the lead from 573 to 705. However, I’m told Labor are worried about what the remainder of the absent count might have in store – much of it might come from the snowfields and Queensland, producing a different absent vote trend from what might be expected at a summer election. The expectation was that Labor would still slip over the line, but only just. I was told this before this present batch of absents was added – possibly it has soothed nerves a little.

Wednesday, August 25

2pm. Another 1466 postal votes have been added, and while they have split 766-700 in favour of Liberal and narrowed the Labor lead to 571, they have reduced the overall Liberal share of the postal votes counted from 57.67 per cent to 56.19 per cent. This means my projection of the final Labor margin has increased from 240 to 315.

Tuesday, August 24

11pm. I had not previously been considering absent pre-polls, which unlike ones cast within the division remain to be counted. The AEC says there are 3508 of these, and if they behave as pre-polls overall did in 2007 my projection of Labor’s winning margin narrows to 240.

7pm. Another 1960 postal votes haven’t favoured the Liberals to quite the same extent, although they have narrowed the margin in absolute terms by 280 to 637. The Liberal share of the postal vote has dropped from 58.2 per cent to 57.7 per cent.

4pm. A surprise from the first batch of postals, with 1955 votes favouring the Liberals even more heavily than in 2007: 1134-821, closing the gap from 1237 to 917. If the trend continues, the gap could narrow by maybe another 700 or 800. However, absent votes are likely to favour Labor, and none have been added yet.

Sunday, August 22

Special hospital team votes have cut 99 votes from Cheeseman’s lead, now at 1189 (0.76 per cent).

Saturday, August 21

This post will be progressively updated to follow late counting in Corangamite, where Labor member Darren Cheeseman finishes the night 1288 votes (0.83 per cent) ahead of Liberal challenger Sarah Henderson. Owing to the extraordinarily strong performance by defeated Liberal member Stewart McArthur on postal votes in 2007, which is used as the benchmark for the projection, the ABC computer has it at 0.0 per cent.

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.

54 comments on “Photo finishes: Corangamite”

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  1. Some pre-poll/postal voting stats (for comparison of these 5 undecided seats, see post #210 in the thread: D-day plus 1)

    First-up, the number of pre-polls in absolute numbers and also as a percentage. The average number of pre-polls in all seats was 6,964

    10,431 10.3% Corangamite

    Next postal votes. The average number of postals in all seats was 6,382

    8,725 8.6% Corangamite

    What is noteworthy on the postals is the percentage that are ALP postals. The first number shows ALP postals:total postals (The average percentage in all seats of ALP:total postals was 26% with very wide variance).

    The second number shows ALP postals:All Party Specific postals (i.e. excluding AEC & GPV)

    27% 48% Corangamite

    Corangamite will be the seat where pre-polls and postals will be most important, totalling 18.9% of the vote, and alas the evidence of ALP postals is that it might be relatively weaker than the other 5 seats (other than Denison).

    However, noting BillBowe’s comment above on the 2007 postal votes, the 48% may be a turnaround from the last election.

  2. Don;t know where else to put this but since it’s Victoria:

    Dunkley has now been moved into the “doubtful” column, only 0.43% margin for the Liberal. Don’t know what’s happened here but the margin seems to have shrunk quite suddenly. It’s a seat of two clear halves so it’s possible a bunch of votes came in from the strongly Labor northern half of the seat.

  3. I have thought for the last 36 hours that Dunkley result is uncertain. Family First, sitting in the ist position on the ballot paper, must have a decent ‘donkey’ component, therefore normal assumptions as to F F prefs don’t apply. If this is the case, even on this morning’s figures–I haven’t seen the latest– this seat is awfully close with a lot of outstanding votes

  4. There’s now been 1950 postals counted, and they’ve broken at 58.21% to the libs … If there are 6062 postal votes (the count in 2007 — presumably there may be a few more this year?) that’ll pull back 995 +/- 22 votes. Very close, but I think the ALP will hold on … assuming absents and provisionals favour the ALP as usual.

  5. Actually, make that 7131 postals from the AEC site. With an informal rate of 1.45% (from 2007), that’s a gain to the libs of 1154 +/- 25. Yikes! … although the absents and provisionals will hopefully provide a buffer.

  6. I posted this in the D+2days thread:

    In Corangamite, the ALP is ahead by 1237 votes after ordinary vote count. Assuming that all 8725 postal votes sent will be received (unlikely), and assuming that that the LIB/ALP split continues as it stands (57.67 vs 42.33), the Libs will have a net gain of 1338 votes from postals. That would put them 100 ahead of the ALP before absent votes. In the absent votes, conservative estimates, the ALP should do at least 53/47 and hence gain back 250 votes putting them ahead and leaving the rest to provisional votes (of which there are 1205). As I said, this seems to be the worst case scenario for the ALP and assumes that all postal votes come back (so far they received only 7100 of the 8700) … 1000 postal votes that dont come back increases the ALPs lead to 400 before provisional votes. So Corangamite is tight but should be ALP’s to take.

  7. DM, you’re forgetting pre-poll votes cast outside the electorate, of which there are 3,340. Pre-polls from pre-poll voting centes on election day look like they’ve strongly favoured the Libs, so this could be very close.

  8. Lord D

    Maybe so, but the trends differ from seat to seat and state to state surely so really we won’t know until the counting starts. Incumbency plays some role in a state where the ALP did well. I still think we will hold it comfortably enough but there will be some nervous moments. The bottom line is we have to win this – if we don’t the ALP government is history and Abbott is PM.

  9. Lord D … true, overlooked those. Some Corangamite PPVC’s had 2CP of up to 45/55. That be 334 votes gain to Libs. But I think with the ALP being 400 votes ahead before provisional and pre-poll, it might just be enough.

  10. DemocracyAtwork –

    Can you please explain those figures from # 11? – (I can’t see how they have been arrived at).


  11. Labor are only picking up 40% of postal votes (42.33 per cent actually). They will do a lot better on absents.

    LNP 40772
    ALP 41409 Margin 637

    Declartion Votes Issued 17011
    Declartion Votes Received 8402
    Declartion Counted 3994

    Oustanding 13017
    LNP @ 0.5777 = 7519
    ALP @ 0.4233 = 5510

    LNP 2009 – 637 Gives the LNP a lead of 1372 based on Declaration oustanding votes

    Received 8402 – 3994 (Counted)
    LNP @ 0.5777 = 2546
    ALP @ 0.4233 = 1865

    LNP 680 – 637 Gives the LNP a lead of 43 based on Declaration votes received

  12. The above calculation are based on the number of Declaration votes reported issued, received and counted to date.

    I have assumed that the current split associated with the postal votes counted will continue. If you like you can outline the percentages that you think the Absentee and Prepolls will split and I will adjust the notional calculations.

  13. The analysis is based on the data published by the AEC at the link below

    Antony Green on the 7:30 Reprot today stated that teh AEC had counted som of teh Prepolls yet this is not reflected in the Declartion vote tallies in thbe link above

    According to the AEC link as of 23:00 today

    Declaration Vote Scrutiny Progress Absent Provisional Early Vote (Pre-Poll) Postal Total

    Envelopes Issued 5,054 1,205 3,508 7,244 17,011
    Envelopes Received 0 1,205 66 7,131 8,402
    Rejected at Preliminary Scrutiny 0 0 0 6 0
    Ballot Papers Counted 0 0 0 3,994

    The percentage of the Postal voptes counted is shown at

    Note: No Prepolls votes to date are recored as being Counted. So I am not sure what Antony Green based his statement on.

  14. D@W, prepolls are now only declaration votes if they are cast outside the division. Prepolls cast within the division were added to the count on election night as ordinary votes. I have to admit that I wasn’t factoring in these absent pre-polls into my projection, and if there really are 3508 of these outstanding and they behave the same way as pre-polls overall did last time, I end up estimating Labor’s margin at 241. This also assumes absent votes behave as last time, i.e. 3.2 per cent better than ordinary votes.

  15. Thanks that what I had thought. My projections are based on the AEC published Declaration report. and voter type. I still calculate a LNP win in both Corangamite and Hasluck. (I wish this was not the case but assuming the stats reported are correct there is no escaping the outcome) I have been arguing that both the AEC and the VEC need to produce better reconciliation data. In many cases the information publish does not tally. We can only work with the quality of the data presented. Clearly there are errors in the AEC stats.

  16. D@W

    I disagree about Corangamite. I think it will be a narrow Labor hold.

    My calculations are as follows:

    Current margin is: 637

    If postals continue at current rate margin will be reduced by 499 votes

    Leaving us with 138 votes.

    If we guesstimate the remaining prepolls break 55/45 for the Coalition we lose another 351 votes.

    That’s a 213 vote deficit.

    However, the provisionals and absents should cover this deficit with some room to spare. Let’s say there’s a 2% swing from last time (53/47 to ALP). That gives us a bonus of 303 on the absents.

    I’m going to assume the provisionals are flat.

    Corangamite by a nose! 90 votes.


  17. The above stats should be adlusted slighly to accomodate the Informal which is running at 2.6% whihc is beliow the national average of 5%. But it will not make a difference as it takes from both sides.

  18. Good Morning All,

    Another day, sans fingernails. I am in bed with a cold. My being is rejecting the Rabit already. 😉

    Is there any way to get these comments to load with the newest ones on top?

    I am spending much time getting to the bottom of pages, flicking between photo-finishes.

    Have buckled seatbelt tightly, here goes…

  19. JJ Fiasson

    The result has to be somewhere between the received and the Issued and based on the split shwoing on postals the LNP is ahead. Ok the abentees may favour the ALP but not by a margin of 7% which would be need to off set the margin in Postals (There are 8,000 outstanding accordining to published data…

  20. @22

    In Latrobe Labor is 2000 votes ahead. The Libs ain’t going to turn that around.

    Lindsay and Greenway I guess remain theoretical possibilities until we know how the declaration votes are going.

  21. JJ, I did a back of the envelope on La Trobe yesterday and Wood will need to do substantially better on the remaining postals to even come close to retaining the seat. It’s by far the least likely loss. I’d say seats like Moreton are more likely to fall before La Trobe.

  22. As I mentioned on the main thread, I think the first batch counted was unusually better for Henderson. Each new batch has brought the percentage down (this time significantly). This means the gap is closing at a slower rate. This could go up or down each time of course.

  23. Is gonna be close

    Not as many absents received as other seats for the ALP to pad their lead with

    Depends which way the 3200 pre-polls will break (+1700 postals around too still to count)

  24. It is actually 571 by my reckoning, dovif.

    On the current rates, Henderson won’t catch Labor on the postals, leaving it to the Absentee (5,483 to count) and Pre-poll (3,592) votes , plus however many of the provisionals are allowed.

    I can’t see Henderson catching Cheeseman in this situation, unless the Absentees break very unusually in her favour.

  25. Guys Please provide your math and backup your assessment with calculations.

    I can not see the ALP retaining a lead based on current data. Yes I agree the AEC stats record is not the best and they need to do much more to restore confidence. The number issued should be fixed and the number received should also be known. Absentees are lodges on Polling day and Pre Poll should be returned on the day. Then only doubtful received value is postals and even that should be known as Australia Post has the means of tracing the location and postage of each ballot paper using the barcode system. Much more attention can and should be done on the AEC producing a better scrutiny and reconciliation of the vote on Election day.

  26. Updated: 25/08/2010 5:12:23 PM

    I calculate the LNP moving ahead on postals now with a margin of 791 on Received and 1,792 on Issued based on current 2PP Split on Postals (LNP: 0.5619, ALP: 0.4381).

    No Absentee or prepoll votes counted. This is a big marghin and virtually impossible to claw back on Absentee and Prepoll.

    The Three Amigos playing a minor yet significant role then first thought.

  27. Absent votes were 3.2% better for Labor than ordinary votes in 2007, so 5513 votes at 54-46 go 2976-2537 in favour of Labor. Pre-polls were 4.9% worse, so 3738 votes at 45.9-54.1 go 2023-1715 against. 8607 postals projected at the current score for postal votes puts them 4831-3767 against Labor. Add them to the ordinary votes and you get 48,191 Labor, 47,883 Liberal.

    I’m ignoring provisional votes as we have no idea how many will be admitted, though clearly it will not be much and they will without question favour Labor.

  28. Ok I have corrected my Analysis and applied the Split LNP:0.4921 and ALP: 0.5079

    Based on the number of received back the LNP has a margin of 274 and assuming 100% issued then the ALp could claw back the advantage. So Yes it is close assuming that the ALP can maintain a 1% advantage on the Absentee and and Prepoll.

  29. I guess we will have to wait until we can ascertain the split in Absentee and Prepolls. 10% should be enough to make a reasonable projection.

    Question what percentage of Postals issued would you expect to be returned?

  30. In Comparing the Senate vote to the House of Representatives for teh seat of Corangamite

    In the House if Represenatives there are a total of 80,775 Ordinary votes recorded

    In the Senate for Corangamite there are 80,417 Ordinary total votes recorded. 358 less votes then the HRs If it ends up being very close a polling place by polling place comparison would need to be done to help reconcile the votes issued and votes returned as a check digit.

  31. OK DemocracyAtwork, here are my calculations:

    1) Labor’s current lead is 573 (as of 5:12PM yesterday)
    2) There are 8,626 postals according to the AEC website
    3) 5,491 of the postals have already been counted and are included in the “current lead” above. They have broken 56.19% to Henderson , 43.81% to Cheeseman
    4) THere are 8626-5491 postals outstanding = 3135
    5) If these “split” in the same fashion as the postals counted to date then Henderson’s share = 3135 x .5619 = 1762 votes and Cheeseman’s share = 1373
    6) Thus Henderson should reduce the difference between herself and Cheeseman by about a further 389 votes on the balance of the postals
    7) At the conclusion of the postal vote counting then we can expect Cheeseman’s lead to have been cut to 573-389 = 184

    As I said earlier, although Henderson will close the gap somewhat with the postals she won’t get in front on them on the current trends. She will still be a bit under 200 votes behind. Let’s now look at the Pre-polls:

    8) There are 3799 “pre-poll” votes not yet counted
    9) None have been counted yet so we have to use last election’s figures to estimate the flow – 46.83% to Cheeseman and 53.17% to his opponent
    10) Of these “pre-polls” Henderson, using last election’s figures, can expect to pick up 2020 and Cheeseman 1779, an improvement in Henderson’s “balance” of 220 when compared to Cheeseman
    11) Subtracting Cheeseman’s lead at the end of the postals from Henderson’s gain in the pre-polls we get 220-184 = 36

    So after counting all Postals and all Pre-polls, but none of the Absentees or Provisionals, Henderson can expect to have a lead of about 36 votes, assuming that the pre-polls flow as they did last election.

    13) Now come the Absentees – some 5,547 of them
    14) last election these split 54.96% to Cheeseman and 45.04% to his opponent.
    15) Assuming a similar split Cheesman should pick up about 3049 of them (5547x.5496) and Henderson should pick up about 2498 (5547x.4504)
    16) Thus Cheeseman should pick up about 3049-2498 = 551 on balance on the Absentees.
    17) We have to subtract Henderson’s lead after the pre-polls from this though so 551-36 = 515

    Thus after the absentees, assuming that they break as they did in the last election, Cheeseman should have a quite comfortable lead of about 515 votes

    The provisionals are hard to estimate. Last election only 60 were counted (splitting 35 25 to Cheeseman). THis year there are 1,205. We have no way of knowing how many will be counted, but they are very unlikely to reduce Cheeseman’s margin.

    I think Cheeseman will quite easily hold this seat, with a margin of around 500 votes.

  32. I don’t think it is valid to use Cheeseman’s split for absentees and provisionals from the last election. He was up against a Liberal incumbent that was part of an old government who was on the wrong end of a ~6% swing. Now that Cheeseman is experiencing a ~0.5% swing against him, why would you expect him to achieve the same numbers?

    I think your estimations are meaningless until real numbers start to come in for absentees and provisionals. I’ll wait until then before I start making claims like Cheeseman will easily hold his seat.

  33. Could someone explain how provisional votes work – have seen comments that not all are counted by the AEC?

    Are the provisional votes the type of votes thet Getup helped be enfranchised?

    thanks heaps

  34. Violets, provisional votes are issued where a voter turns up at the polling booth and the AEC finds they are not on the roll or have been marked off as already having voted. They are given ballot papers which are then double-enveloped with their details on the outside envelope. After polling day the AEC will try to establish the voters eligibility. I’m not sure what happens if the name had been marked off as previously voted, but if the voter was not on the roll the major issue is whether the AEC has made a mistake and taken them off: if they were not enrolled to start with they cannot get a vote this way.

    Rod (#41) we have no stats unfortunately on how many lodged a provisional vote last time, only that 60 were counted. Having looked across a range of the closer contests in recent days, the 1205 lodged in Corangamite seems to be a pretty typical figure. At the last election there were just over 24,000 provisional votes counted nationally, or about 160 per electorate. That would be a reasonable figure to work with here. It doesn’t look like changing the result.

    One factor I think you may not have allowed for in your calculation is the small proportion of postal, absentee and pre-poll votes which will turn out to be informal. This is running at about 2% on the postal votes this time, but was a bit higher (3.64%) for the absent votes and about 2% for pre-poll at the last election. The impact on the final outcome is negligible.

  35. Violets sorry I neglected to respond about the GetUp voters (ie those who enrolled in the week following the issue of writs and were enfranchised by the High Court decision). I understand that the AEC published supplementary electoral rolls for those voters, so they should have been able to lodge a normal vote.

  36. Early absentees are breaking 57/43 to Cheeseman. It’s very early in the count there though (938 votes) and I think this will likely come down a bit, but it’s probably unlikely to come down below the 2007 level.

  37. Hopefully it does come down and Henderson is able to offset the losses with gains in remaining postals. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem likely and Cheeseman will most likely hold this seat. Lets just hope Bevis slows down in Brisbane and is unable to get across the line.

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