BludgerTrack: 52.5-47.5 to Coalition

Some musings on Senate prospects for micro-parties, plus a few recent updates to the seat-by-seat election guide.

I’m running the above headline essentially because I have no new poll to trumpet for the following assortment of bits-and-pieces. The latest addition is yesterday’s large-sample ReachTEL poll, which was a relatively good result for Labor taking into account the past lean to the Coalition in this series. Its inclusion caused a 0.6% shift in Labor’s favour without affecting the seat projection, mostly because the improvement was concentrated in Victoria where there are few marginal seats. This isn’t the first time recently that the addition of a ReachTEL result has caused BludgerTrack to move in Labor’s favour, which raises the possibility that the series is not as pro-Coalition as it used to be. If so, the addition of the result with out-of-date bias adjustments attached might be causing the present BludgerTrack numbers to flatter Labor slightly. There has apparently been, for the second evening running, a poll conducted overnight by ReachTEL which will have been unveiled on Seven Sunrise by the time most of you are reading this.

(UPDATE: A less good result today for Labor, and another good one for the Palmer United Party. Labor’s primary vote is down to 32.7% and the Coalition’s up to 43.6%, with the Greens on 10.0% and Palmer on 6.1%. Two-party preferred is 53-47 to the Coalition. ReachTEL also has a very ugly result for Labor from the Tasmanian seat of Bass, courtesy of the Launceston Examiner, with Liberal candidate Andrew Nikolic on 51.8% and Labor member Geoff Lyons on 26.6%.)

Now to those bits and pieces. First, I address what looks to be one of the election’s most significant imponderables: the share of the vote that will go to micro-parties in the Senate. Much hinges on the answer, given the tightness of the preference arrangements between micro-parties and the extremely limited value of polling as a guide to the smaller details of Senate voting patterns. Tim Colebatch of Fairfax has run reports over the past week based based on what Antony Green’s Senate election calcalators come up with when seemingly plausible vote share scenarios are plugged into them, which have been partly inspired by simulations conducted by Poll Bludger commenter Truth Seeker (who details them on his own blog).

One particularly headline-grabbing observation was that Pauline Hanson might succeed in her bid for a New South Wales Senate seat at the expense of Arthur Sinodinos, who has the number three position on the Coalition ticket in New South Wales. Since Labor, the Coalition and the Greens all have Hanson last on their preference order, this can only happen if she and the various parties feeding her preferences collectively amount to more than a quota (14.3%). Colebatch argues that this is highly plausible: “In 2010, 29 micro-parties won 14 per cent of the vote between them. This time there will be 41 of them, and disillusioned Labor supporters could swell their collective vote to 20 per cent – easily enough for a Senate quota.”

This appears to assume that collective vote share of micro-parties will continue to expand as more of them enter the field. Evidence from the last three elections, which provide a common footing in that the Democrats and One Nation had faded from minor to micro-party status, provides some support for this. Excluding the unusual circumstance of South Australia in 2007, when Nick Xenophon polled a full quota in his own right, there are 17 state-level observations for modelling the relationship between the number of Senate groups and the vote share for micro-parties (which I take to mean everyone other than Labor, the Coalition and the Greens). The model I have derived is 0.243+(0.283*A)+(0.681*B), where A is the number of Senate groups and B is the “others” vote in the House of Representatives from the state in question. This has an R-squared of 0.517 and a p-value of 0.006, which is to say that the model explains 51.7% of the variation in these 17 results and has a 99.4% chance of being better than no model at all.

With unprecedented numbers of Senate groups at this election ranging from 23 in Tasmania to 44 in New South Wales, this suggests “others” votes ranging from 12.9% to 20.5% (going off the BludgerTrack projections for the lower house “others” vote), which is well in line with Colebatch’s expectations. However, there’s a considerable theoretical problem with the model in that it presumes the relationship to be perfectly linear. If this were so, the major party vote would disappear altogether if only enough micro-parties took the field. In reality, the rate of increase has to taper off, and the meagre sample of observations available offers no insight as to point at which it does so. My own guess though is that it kicks in fairly sharply before we reach the stage where we can start talking of an aggregate micro-party vote approaching 20%.

To offer some historic guidance as to the sorts of numbers you should be punching into the Senate calcalators, the table below displays the vote for micro-parties of various kinds in each state. “Religious” includes the Democratic Labour Party, although they no doubt occupy something of a grey area. The “right” category is exclusive of the “religious” one. “Left” is defined broadly to incorporate the Democrats and all environmentalist concerns, even ostensibly conservative ones. There were also parties and independents that were deemed not to fall into any of these categories, so the “total” column is not simply an aggregate of the other three.

2010		Relig.	Right	Left	Total
NSW		3.63	5.55	3.37	13.82
Victoria	5.35	3.83	3.28	13.2
Queensland	4.31	7.59	3.61	16.43
WA		3.71	2.66	2.81	9.92
SA		5	2.65	2.55	11.11
Tasmania	1.69	2.24	0.66	5.36
TOTAL		4.16	4.81	3.18	13.13

NSW		3.83	3.35	2.44	10.17
Victoria	3.77	1.24	3.16	8.72
Queensland	2.76	6.73	3.04	13.08
WA		3.57	1.1	1.84	7.04
SA		3.97	1.68	1.68	22.25
Tasmania	2.67	0.19	0.78	4.38
TOTAL		3.48	2.97	2.57	10.71

NSW		3.17	3.73	3.88	12.17
Victoria	4.16	1.55	4.18	10.98
Queensland	3.37	9.34	4.09	18.05
WA		2.73	2.82	3.05	9.22
SA		3.98	1.53	3.95	10.02
Tasmania	3.03	0.16	0.82	7.04
TOTAL		3.42	2.93	3.84	12.22

Now to some scattered bits of news for around the traps that I have recently used to supplement the seat-by-seat election guide:

Indi (Liberal 9.0%):Liberals have been telling journalists of serious concerns for Sophie Mirabella’s hold on Indi, where she faces a well-organised challenge from independent Cathy McGowan. The Guardian reports on widespread opinion polling being conducted in the electorate; the Weekly Times reports that Labor are campaigning strongly to boost McGowan; and The Australian reports some in the Liberal Party have been urging Tony Abbott to visit the electorate. The contest is another source of friction between the coalition parties, with former state Nationals MP Ken Jasper among those who are throwing their weight behind McGowan.

Melbourne (Greens 6.0% versus Labor): The Greens have been spruiking a poll of 400 respondents conducted for them by Galaxy showing Adam Bandt’s primary vote up 4% since the 2010 election, with “as many as four in 10” Liberal voters in the seat planning to ignore the direction of their party’s how-to-vote card that voters should favour Labor ahead of the Greens in their preference allocation. This is actually in line with the 35% rate of leakage in inner Melbourne when the Liberals likewise directed preferences against the Greens at the 2010 state election, which nonetheless wasn’t high enough to win them any of the seats they were anticipating. But taken together with the purported primary vote swing, it suggests a very close result.

McMahon (Labor 7.8%): The Liberal candidate for Chris Bowen’s western Sydney seat, Liverpool area police superintendent Ray King, has been defended by a series of police figures and corruption investigators after Labor claimed he had a “close friend” in Roger Rogerson, the notorious detective who was imprisoned in 1990 for perverting the course of justice. The claim has been denied by Rogerson as well as King, with retired assistant commissioner Geoff Schuberg complaining of a “grubby, baseless smear campaign”.

Forde (Liberal National 1.6%):The Australian reports that Forde MP Bert van Manen, who is fighting off a challenge from Peter Beattie, was the half-owner and recently resigned director of a financial planning firm which owed creditors more than $1.5 million when it collapsed last year. The report says administrators KPMG had told creditors of “unreasonable director-related transactions” behind the collapse. A Liberal spokesperson was quoted saying van Manen had personally settled with the main credtior, Westpac, but no comment was offered on $325,000 owed to three further creditors.

Greenway (Labor 0.9%): The Sydney Morning Herald observes a “systemic” silence among Liberal candidates in Sydney, “with multiple examples emerging of candidates pulling out of events or interviews”. The low profile assumed by Greenway MP Jaymes Diaz has been particularly widely noted, after he failed to show for a candidates forum in Blacktown last week.

Herbert (Liberal National 2.2%) and Dawson (Liberal National 2.4%): Sid Maher of The Australian identifies marginal seats on the central Queensland coast as the main targets for the Coalition’s promised curtailing of marine protected areas, a pitch at commercial and recreational fishers. A similar promise before the 2010 election was “credited with delivering the seat of Dawson”, by persons unidentified.

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.

2,149 comments on “BludgerTrack: 52.5-47.5 to Coalition”

Comments Page 1 of 43
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  1. Been up working on a simple national/state/seatpoll/personal vote harmonisation model. Off the current 2PP it has 15 Labor losses with another 8 with either conflicting indications or wafer-thin Labor leads. (It could give most of these away if the 2PP keeps going down for Labor.) It agrees with the seat betting markets in almost every seat but rejects Brand and Petrie as losses; the 8 borderline seats include a 4-4 split of seat betting market favourites. Not too surprising that it gives a result like this given the seat/national polling discrepancy issue.

    That took me til 4 am; thought I may as well stay up for the ReachTEL.

  2. Seems today is dodgy costings day. $40 billion in savings, $34 billion in spendings means a $6 billion windfall?

    Except where is the forgone CT and MRRT revenue in these figures?

  3. Kevin Bonham @ 5:
    I’m surprised they announced the poll result so early into Sunrise, if that’s where you’re getting the result from.

  4. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.
    And STILL no policies and costings. You can be assured that whatevwer they release it will not be capable of interrogation due to the absence of sufficient policy detail to tell us what their real plans are.

    It wouls appear from theis Mark Kenny article that the Opposition’s measly $6b over four years improvement will largely be down to the assumptions of increased growth and the benefits of so-called red tape reduction. Sounds very much like trickle down economics to me. And $6b could easily be described as merely noise. Hockey also has not given any undertaking on when their budget wouyld return to surplus. It’s a crabwalk!
    Nice knowing you Jaymes!
    The march of ignorance, ably supported by a pathetic MSM, is reponsible for a lot of stupiid things.
    If ever there was a reason to not vote for Abbott . .
    ABSOLUTELY MUST SEE!!! David Rowe on Abbott’s “hot” daughters.
    Alan Moir on what he believes will be Rudd’s last days.
    Also Ron Tandberg.
    David Pope uses The Empire Strikes Back to loom at Abbott’s chances of destroying the NBN.

  5. [quote]I’m surprised they announced the poll result so early into Sunrise, if that’s where you’re getting the result from.[/quote]

    I thought those figures were his guesses?

  6. Hey Kevin. I’m comforted to hear that your rigorous scientific confirms my earlier educated guesswork of Labor losing 15 seats, with a few others in danger beyond that fairly clear benchmark. But I’m sorry that you had to stay up all night to achieve it!

  7. And from the Land of the Free –

    Ah yes, justice at work again.
    The weekly upchuck article round up.
    Some cartoons on Syrian intervention.
    Nice work John McCain!
    Religion in the US armed forces. Why?
    More on certain religious types suffereing a severe psychological disorder. Ignorant bastards!

  8. For someone who’s in Western Australia and thus two hours behind when it comes to Sunrise airings – are the figures Kevin Bonham quoted (somehow before the show even started) the ones announced on Sunrise, or haven’t they even been announced there yet?

  9. Kevin Bonham
    Posted Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 5:35 am | PERMALINK
    #ReachTEL 53-47 (rounded primaries 44-33)

    coaliiton wont win governemnt wiht 44& primary

  10. Biggs Max
    Posted Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 6:38 am | PERMALINK
    So, yesterday ReachTEL was showing the beginning of the late turn around for Labor and today it is just ‘very dodgy’?


    every pro coalition media poll is dodgy

    the margin of error is propabably up to 6-7%

  11. Arrnea Stormbringer

    its pro coalition media , they can not show thier puppet abbott isnt doing as well as they are making him out to be

    they need to convince people the election is over

  12. My own figuring of the 2PP based on Nielsen’s polled preference flows on the primary votes on that Yahoo page (and 10% for the Greens) is that the result should be a 2PP of 50.5 to the ALP.

    Assuming that the stated Coalition primary omits the Nationals and assuming that they polled 3% (they polled 2.9% yesterday, so this should be fairly close), the 2PP then shifts to 51 to the Coalition.

  13. BM 16
    Dude…I never claimed that yesterday’s RT was a turnaround…so don’t misquote me. Typical LNP lack of style. Disingenious.

    MB agree with your claim of the margin of error being high.

  14. [quote]However, the figure they’ve quoted there for primaries is a mere 40.5% for the Coalition. How confusing.[/quote]

    For some reason, Yahoo quotes Liberal primary figures as the Coalitions. When they say ‘Coalition primary’ has decreased by 0.8, they mean Liberals primary has decreased by 0.8 to 40.5.

    Palmer still stealing everybody’s vote I see. He’s gone from an amusing distraction to an actual force.

  15. Arnea

    [However, the figure they’ve quoted there for primaries is a mere 40.5% for the Coalition. How confusing.]

    the 40.5 is for Liberal, add 2.9 Nationals to get the generously rounded up 44.

    Despite the ferocious OldMedia campaign against the progressive forces, this will be no lansdlide – maybe 10 seats in it.

  16. If it is 53-47, talk about C7 overblowing it, far from a ‘sensational shift in the race’ which is basically what they were going on about, it simply brings them in line with other pollsters. Talk about overblown, ignore ANY further statements from C7 about polls for the rest of the campaign!

  17. Re: River @ 27

    Yes – Palmer is becoming quite the force. However, the fact that most of his gains today came at the expense of Labor throws ever more doubt on the assertion that his preferences will split 60-40 to the Coalition, which is (correct me if I’m wrong) the assumption that pollsters use when determining PUP voters’ preference flows.

    I hardly think 60% of those people that shifted to Palmer since yesterday will suddenly be preferencing the Coalition above Labor, considering that only around 25% of them were Coalition voters yesterday.
    If anything, it suggests that the proportion of Palmer votes that will end up back with Labor is even higher than the 62% Nielsen found it to be.

  18. [quote]I see you coalition supporters were never confidence , the pro coalition media doing the mitt romney style for abbott[/quote]

    The election’s over. Has been for a while, despite what Ellis spews out on his blog. Unless everybody rocks up on the day and lodges a protest vote, Labor won’t win.

    [quote]the 40.5 is for Liberal, add 2.9 Nationals to get the generously rounded up 44.[/quote]

    Since when did 43.4 get rounded up to 44? Pretty dodgy. May as well round it up to 45 while you’re at it, and Labor down to 30.

  19. Re: River @ 33

    I guess they rounded it up to 44 for the same reason that they rounded the Coalition’s 44.2 yesterday up to 45 (and Labor’s 35.3 down to 35).

  20. [quote]Yes – Palmer is becoming quite the force. However, the fact that most of his gains today came at the expense of Labor throws ever more doubt on the assertion that his preferences will split 60-40 to the Coalition, which is (correct me if I’m wrong) the assumption that pollsters use when determining PUP voters’ preference flows.[/quote]

    No idea how pollsters calculate it.

    Regarding where he’s taking voters away from, it’s weird. I’ve seen a poll released a few days ago saying 60% of his supporters intend to preference Labor in QLD, I’ve seen polls which say the reverse. Yesterday’s ReachTel showed Palmer increasing his primary vote at the expense of the Liberals primary (PUPs increased by 2, Liberals went down by 2.) Today it shows he’s taking votes away from Labor.

    I have no idea who his voters will preference. I don’t think anybody really does. He seems to be getting a lot of the ‘Stick it up both major parties’ vote. In fact, if I hadn’t already pre-polled, I would vote Palmer on Saturday.

  21. meher baba@12

    Hey Kevin. I’m comforted to hear that your rigorous scientific confirms my earlier educated guesswork of Labor losing 15 seats, with a few others in danger beyond that fairly clear benchmark. But I’m sorry that you had to stay up all night to achieve it!

    3-4 am is pretty normal for me.

  22. Re: River @ 35

    I just ran ReachTEL’s primary votes from yesterday (the ones that produced a 52-48 to the Coalition) through the following set of assumptions:

    80% of GRN prefs to ALP
    40% of KAP prefs to ALP
    40% of PUP prefs to ALP
    50% of OTH prefs to ALP

    and produced an ALP 2PP of 47.88 – fairly close to the 48 figure they got.

    I’d say this is probably what they’re doing – and it’s probably wrong.

  23. Morning All

    I agree it’s strange – ReachTel hasn’t updated their website so we can’t get the actual figures

    Palmer is definitely shaking things up though – some interesting tweets from yesterday

    Bernard Keane ‏@BernardKeane 8h

    On the polling numbers I’ve just seen, it’s unlikely there WON’T be a minor party senator from Qld. Senator Lazarus? Very possibly.

    Bernard Keane ‏@BernardKeane 8h

    @maxphillips not if they get a quota.

    Have they doubled their vote in Queensland again??? Will the preferences flow at 60/40??? 50/50??? 40/60???

    Only evidence we have is from Nielsen and suggests the first one is right

    The Coalition lost with a primary vote of just over 43% last time around, they are under that now. Labor is also further back but the “other” vote is larger and flowing their way more strongly.

    Labor is still doing it tough but they can win – my biggest concern is that almost 2 million people have already voted and these swings are too late for them.

    Costings – works out the $70 billion isn’t far off – if they have $40 billion in savings, are heading for a $6 billion surplus and reducing debt by $16 billion – we’re potentially up over $60 billion.

    Will Hockey announce what else he is selling today???

  24. River@11

    I’m surprised they announced the poll result so early into Sunrise, if that’s where you’re getting the result from.

    I thought those figures were his guesses?

    Unlike some here, when I offer a guess I flag it clearly and explicitly as such.

    I knew from a previous case that the ReachTEL announced on Sunrise is often flagged on Seven Early News which starts half an hour earlier.

  25. Thanks Arrnea

    Interesting figures, I agree they look to be using the wrong assumptions – question is, will what Nielsen was told (by very small numbers) hold up instead???

    If Palmer is getting 15% in Queensland (based on Bernard’s tweets) and they are flowing 60/40 back to Labor surely there is more than 1 seat in play

    Plenty of polling to come over the next 24-48 hours

    I’m still happy to be on Labor at $25

  26. Gary@41

    Kevin, did you say some time ago Reachtel has a small bias toward the LNP?

    Yes it did appear so, but on more recent evidence that bias has become so small that it may as well now be ignored. The last few (not just this week but the one before as well) have been very similar to everyone else’s.

  27. Morning all.

    Another day, another poll showing status quo. Honestly, hardly the (wtte) decisive swing in the final days that Ch7 were spruiking last night.

  28. Re: womble @ 43

    I would say Nielsen is closer to the mark, at least when it comes to Palmer’s preferences, since 75% of Palmer’s gains in the last day appear to have come from Labor. I doubt that the act of moving to Palmer will also make them preference the Coalition over Labor if they were Labor voters before doing so.

  29. Clive Palmer,

    what are you talking about?
    10 senate seats?

    It will be extremely interesting if he somehow does win Fairfax which I do not think will happen. However the entertainment would massive if he makes parliament.

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