Photo finishes: Indi

This post will be progressively updated to follow the late counting in the undecided seat of Indi.

Wednesday 4pm. Another 69 absents, 56 provisionals, 87 pre-polls and 70 postals have trickled, making little difference to a Cathy McGowan lead that currently stands at 395. The bigger news is that Sophie Mirabella has conceded defeat.

Tuesday 6pm. A variety of additions to the count today – 132 absents, 116 pre-polls and even 132 provisionals – which have chipped 18 votes from McGowan’s lead, now at 387. Mirabella still needs the dwindling stock of outstanding votes, now at around 1750, to break 60-40 her way.

Monday 4pm. Another 1611 pre-polls have favoured Mirabella 899-712, but they’ve been partly negated by 577 absents which continue to favour McGowan, this time by 327-250. Mirabella’s net rate of gain is less than what she needs, putting her on course for defeat by about 400 votes.

Sunday 7pm. Pre-polls are continuing to heavily favour Mirabella, a batch of 1431 breaking 842-589 her way. This is a ratio of 59-41 in a situation where 57-43 should be sufficient to win her the seat. However, the remaining votes include at least 1000 absent as well as 2000 pre-poll votes, and those have been favouring McGowan. A further 971 of the dwindling stock of postal votes was slightly below par for Mirabella in breaking only 520-421 her way.

Saturday 8pm. Along with some rechecking, just 475 absents added to the count today and they’re continuing to favour McGowan, breaking 252-223 her way and putting her lead at 837. My projection of the share of the outstanding vote Mirabella will need is up from 56.3% to 57.1%.

Friday 6pm. The first 930 absent votes have been added and are good news for Cathy McGowan, adding 98 to her lead. Postals continue to flow solidly to Mirabella, a further 1918 boosting her by 290 votes, but there can’t be too many of those left. Her overall deficit is 897 and with about 7000 votes to come, she needs something of a miracle from here.

Friday 3pm. Another 1918 postals have been added and they’ve favoured Mirabella by 290, with McGowan’s lead down to 791. Yesterday’s projection that Mirabella needed about 55% of the outstanding basically still holds. She’s doing slightly better than that on postals, but absents and pre-polls might behave very differently and single one of either has been counted yet.

Thursday evening. The addition of 1930 postal votes has clawed back 318 for Sophie Mirabella after the identification of yesterday’s polling booth error blew out Cathy McGowan’s lead from a bit under 500 to 1471. Still to come are about 2750 postals, 4500 pre-polls, and 2500 absents, which will need to break at least 55-45 Sophie Mirabella’s way. Her share of postal votes so far is 57.6%, but absents and perhaps also pre-polls will presumably be less unlike ordinary votes.

Wednesday 4pm. A sensational development today with the emergence of a counting error at the Wangaratta pre-poll vote centre which was costing Cathy McGowan a bundle of 1000 votes. As David Barry notes in comments, McGowan had hitherto been doing 15% worse in the Wangaratta pre-poll booth than in the ordinary booth vote compared with a more typical 7% at other pre-poll centres, a discrepancy which disappears if 1000 votes are added to McGowan counts. Where McGowan’s lead had dramatically scaled back to 498 votes on latest counting, it can now be regarded as out to 1498, which almost certainly decides the result.

Monday 5pm. All the fixed polling both two-candidate counts are in, giving McGowan a solid looking lead of 24,840 to 23,086. Better modelling of my own in comments variously gives her 50.5% and 50.3% after pre-poll voting centres are added. However, there remains to come the very large number of postals, pre-polls and absents which seem likely to rein that in, the question being by how much. So a fair bit of entertainment left to come, it would appear.

Monday 3.30pm. The AEC is conducting a two-candidate preferred preference count between Mirabella and McGowan, going through the booths in alphabetical order. Since the largest centres in the electorate start with a “W” (Wangaratta and Wodonga), larger towns are unrepresented in the sample so far, which has Mirabella leading McGowan 14850 to 14569. I have attempted to model the relationship between the preference split and a given booth’s combined Labor and Greens preference flow, without a huge amount of success – the relationship is highly significant, but it only explains 24.4% of the variation. For what it’s worth though, the resulting model (preferences to McGowan equal 0.73*0.331x, where x equals the combined Labor and Greens vote) gives McGowan a 690 vote lead, remembering that this doesn’t include postals, pre-poll and absent votes.

Election night. Antony Green has Sophie Mirabella leading Cathy McGowan 29567 to 27880, which is presumably a projection because the AEC has no preference count and will presumably do one today or tomorrow. The primary votes are 44.4% for Mirabella to 32.2% for independent Cathy McGowan, which will be hard to overhaul with the available preferences from Labor (11.3%), the Greens (3.2%) and 9% others.

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.

143 comments on “Photo finishes: Indi”

Comments Page 2 of 3
1 2 3
  1. From the 2010 results page you can choose general downloads then there are links to CSV files for Declaration votes issued by Division and Declaration votes received by Division.

    But the figures aren’t what you want, I think.

    Last time in Indi, there were 6,153 postals issued of which 4632 were own division. There were 6,797 postals received of which 6,567 were own division.

    I’m uncertain but this seems to indicate that a lot of the postals received for Indi were issued in other divisions and there is no figures from the other divisions on how many Indi postal votes they issued just “own” & “non-own”.

    But you know for this election how many postal envelopes have been issued and received (8,844) so far for Indi and I can’t see it changing too much further.

    For each division the total postals issued and received are shown and the postals issued and received for “own division”. I think the difference are postals issued in say Indi for other divisions. There doesn’t appear to be any way to tell how many Indi postals were issued in other divisions.

    That being said, own division appears to make up the majority of all postals with occasional exceptions – in Indi last time the differences are small.

  2. My back of the envelope calculations have it that Mirabella needs about 52% of all remaining votes to win if the turnout is the same this election to the last. I’d favour her for the win at the moment.

  3. The TCP counted now equals the primaries counted. I think this means all pre-polls are accounted for- about 23,000 or somewhat higher than earlier estimates.

    Of 10,165 postals issued, the DRO normally expects 85% to be returned. They are nearly at that now, but these might not all be from inside Indi. McGowan lead has been whittled back from 1755 to 1051.

    There are really only postals to count. There seem to be bout 8800 of them. The DRO said at lunchtime that Indi usually returns about 65% TPP to the Coalition. If this happens in the postals, the final result will be 50:50. In the pre-poll tranches, the Mirabella TCP has ranged from 50% to 55%, so it is within the realms of possibility that this will happen.

    Postals will take about 4 days, at about 2,000 per day. I believe the envelopes haven’t even been opened yet because no primaries are shown. A distribution of postals may not happen in tranches- they may wait for Saturday, but will probably get a hurry-up from the scrutineers, of which there about 50 in the room today- for 21 ROs doing the count.

    So far all Provisional votes examined (177 of about 470) have been rejected. Probably only a handful will get through.

  4. ltep, I don’t think you are right.

    52% means that Mirabella gains 4% of the remaining votes. There would need to be over 26,000 for her to scrape home. There about 13,500 declaration votes last time. They may have increased this time but not by 10,000+.

  5. Actually if there are only postals to count, c. 8800, then if Mirabella gets 65% she’ll walk it in – by about 1500 votes.

    BUT the question is will her 2PP be that high for postal votes?
    Or will it fall like her 2PP on ordinary and pre-poll?

    What about absent votes though? There were 2,600+ last time and Mirabella did much worse on them than ordinary, pre-poll and postal.

  6. Re #51 and #52 – I gave the figure for declaration votes at comment #40 – 15,275, excluding disputed votes which rarely get counted. I also linked to the AEC page where you can find the numbers of declaration votes.

  7. My calculations were based on a turnout the same as the last election and 20,000 remaining votes to count, with Mirabella winning by 1 vote.

    If it’s 15,275 votes remaining, she’ll need 53.4% of the remaining votes to win, which still looks doable.

  8. Looks like they’ve had a correction of the counted votes. 6 votes down for McGowan and 3 votes down for Mirabella, so McGowan’s lead shrinks by 3.

  9. Haven’t some of the 15,275 declaration votes been included in the pre-poll votes counted today?

    I thought that was what Geoff Lambert was saying at #53.

  10. I’m relaying maths that I’m sure I didn’t get right, but someone with a better head for figures than I have (almost anyone, that means) can work backwards and figure out where I’ve gone wrong (if I have!) — blame the bad mobile phone coverage here!!

    After 2000 postal votes counted, McGowan’s lead has been reduced by 288. My scrutineer said that 7800 postals had been issued, the AEC expects an 80% return on them, and if the remainder continues the trend (McGowan losing 288 for every 2000 counted) she should still win by 3-400 votes.

    (Possible the 7800 projected AEC figure for total postal votes they expect returned – ie. 10,000 issued, 7800 expected to be returned — )

    Word of caution: as a casual teacher who covered an awful lot of Indi schools in my time, I put down the high Melbourne vote for the ALP in 2010 to name recognition…)

  11. A tranche of 1906 votes has been added, with Mirabella getting 57% and the gap has narrowed to 759. Carried through to the last Postal at this rate, this would give Mirabella the seat by 193 votes.

  12. But I should add that the “number of booth reporting” has dropped by two, so there is some putting and taking going on. The previous 102 polling places reporting was probably an error. Those missing are 3 non-standar PPVCs

  13. Are there really only postals left? What about the Absents and out of electorate Early Prepolls? These were each thousands last time and are shown as such again on the dec vote scrutiny sheet. (The out of electorate Early votes differ from the PPVC votes in the ordinary tally).

    At a gain rate of the postals so far (.144 votes/vote counted) Mirabella will erase the lead and then some even if no more postals come back than the 7000 received so far.

    Absents + EVs combined could help McGowan to the tune of 200 or so but that might not be enough. I just had Mirabella by 114 in a rough projection. Obviously with a large error so far from over.

    McGowan must get a better split on remaining postals.

  14. Kevin B
    Why does the AEC make it so hard to accurately do the maths by leaving out critical components or by unclear descriptions? We’re never sure if the parameters being used are correct. Does the AEC have shares in William’s PB or maybe they get 1c for every post here?

  15. Mick77@66

    Kevin B
    Why does the AEC make it so hard to accurately do the maths by leaving out critical components or by unclear descriptions? We’re never sure if the parameters being used are correct. Does the AEC have shares in William’s PB or maybe they get 1c for every post here?

    If you think the AEC is bad, the ABC is worse. They were showing the 51.8% lead for Mirabella yesterday without any disclaimer that it was dodgy, raising hopes prematurely and repeating the confusion caused in Denison 2010.

    Often the AEC does explain things in fine print at the bottom of the page. But there are still issues, like moving seats out of the Close Seat list as they realign.

  16. 2PP for postals in 2010 was 65.5% for Mirabella. Currently the postal 2PP is at 57.4%, a swing of -8.1%. This would be just enough for Mirabella with 10000 postal votes (unless absent and other pre-polls swing further away from her). So it remains neck and neck. It could come down to less than 200 votes either way.

  17. Do we know if postals are counted in an order likely to generate fluctuations, or if it is essentially random and thus SM’s PV margin is likely to hold within a certain margin of error?

  18. The 2PP swing in the major Indi PPVCs from 2010 to 2013 is -10%, although variable among booths (-5.8% in Wang, -11.7% in Wodonga). This is similar to the swing across Indi. So a 2PP swing of -8.1% for postals is not surprising, but a touch less than elsewhere (on average, so far). Absent votes in Indi have been less kind to Mirabella than postals in the past, but they also haven’t tracked the overall swing as closely.

  19. “Is it possible to find information on what portion of postal vote envelopes issued were returned last time?”

    It does not seem so. Not on the 2010 pages in the way that they are on the 2013 pages. All I have to go on is what an RO said in the last few days- she expected to get 85%. That is very close to what the electorate office has so far returned.

    Late afternoon has seen some number changes on the declaration vote pages. The Provisionals have jumped up a bit but still 100% of them are being rejected at preliminary scrutiny. 139 formal were admitted to the count in 2010

    There is no data on Absents for 2013. The AEC issued 2,316, but these would have been for everywhere except Indi. Indi received 2,667 formal Absents last time (3.1%). Absents might be bigger this year- but expect 2,800.

    In 2013, there is a category of Declaration votes labelled Early Vote (Pre-Poll). I assume this is a kind of Absentee pre-poll. 3898 have been issued (for other electorates?), but none received. Could we say 4,000 Indi votes might be received on a tit-for-tat basis?

    The turn-out formal/enrollment last time was 91.1% of 92,914. If repeated on the current enrollment figures of 98,465, we would expect about 89,600 formal votes. Total primaries counted so far in 2013 are 78,154, leaving 14,400 uncounted, of which about half are postals. leaving about 7,000 in the “We don’t know what we don’t know” category. That could be accounted for by the two types of Absents above (6,800). Kevin is probably right that they would be better for McGowan than the Postals.

    Postals don’t close until Friday week.

  20. Thanks to a bunch of youse on this thread decrypting the AEC info on Indi and crunching a few numbers, but I sense an inexorable slide over into Mirabella’s favour – tell me I’m wrong, pleeeease!

  21. If postals counted so far are a random sample of the ~10000 postals, Mirabella will be very likely to lead after all postals are counted. If the remaining early votes match other pre-polls, they will be roughly split, while Absent votes might favour McGowan. If so, it is looking close, but it looks like Mirabella by ~200.

    This is based on:

    10000 postals, with 5700 to Mirabella and 4300 to McGowan (based on current 2PP of 0.57 for postals);
    3000 Early votes, with 0.53 to Mirabella (~0.63 2010 election with ~10% swing; PPVC votes were ~0.51 so McGowan might do a bit better than 0.53 but not much); and
    2000 Absent votes, with 0.42 to Mirabella (again, based on a ~10% swing from 2010 election).

    That gives Mirabella an advantage of 1260 votes on the non-ordinary votes, which is just enough to pull back McGowan’s advantage of 1051 on the ordinary votes.

    So it remains close – change those 2PP proportions by a little, and the result can change. The Absent proportion of 0.42 seems especially rubbery. But McGowan seems in trouble if postals stay at 57.4% for Mirabella.

  22. The AEC doesn’t expect all postals to be returned (and not all of them, obviously, would be valid votes) so it’s not ‘10,000 postals’, it’s more like 8,000.

    Which accords with the figure my scrutineers gave me, of 7800 postals.

    At present, with 2000 counted, McGowan dropped 300 votes on the postals. Extrapolate that out and at the end of counting postals she’ll be down around 820, which still puts her ahead.

    Absentees will be interesting – doorknockers reported to me that their impression was that people in Melbourne etc were more aware of the campaign that voters in Wodonga, due to the social media campaign. Anecdotal, of course, but it might mean the absentees hold up better than one would first think.

    Still, I repeat – either way Mirabella will not be contesting the next election.

  23. Just to be super helpful, I’ll pass on other info from our scrutineers — there’s a whole lot of pre polls sitting in Seymour (and a lot of former McEwen voters who’ve been moved into Indi would have gone there) which won’t be delivered for a couple of days yet due to the workload Seymour’s facing with the count for McEwen.

  24. Zoomster (#75) not sure I follow your maths.

    At the end of counting ordinary votes, McGowan was ahead by 1052 (the number was revised again yesterday). 1940 postals counted yesterday, and McGowan’s lead has dropped to 764. That’s a gain of 288 votes for Mirabella out of the 1940 counted. If we extrapolate to the 7800 returned postals reported by the scrutineers, then Mirabella would stand to get 1158 more votes than McGowan from postals.

    As you say at #75, McGowan may do better on absentee votes. I presume many of these are students in Melbourne. I pointed at comment #44 to the fact that at the last election, you did better against Mirabella on absentee votes than you did in ordinary votes. If we assume that Mirabella gets the same proportion of absentee votes as last time, then she will go further ahead. However, if the swing against her on ordinary votes translates to the absentee votes, then McGowan would win the absentee votes by 232. That’s a big if, of course. The postal votes went 65.49% to Mirabella at the last election, and from those counted so far this time she’s got 57.42% – a swing slightly lower than for the ordinary votes.

    A question for the scrutineers might be whether the postal votes are being counted in order of receipt by the AEC? If so, this could hold some hope for McGowan: my perception is that her campaign really only featured proiminently in the Melbourne and national media for the last three weeks or so of the campaign, after Crikey reported the Mirabella staffer’s e-mail. You might think she would do better from the later postal votes.

    But we haven’t discussed the early votes. The AEC says 4122 issued and 55 received: some comments suggest that the figure issued includes other electorates as well. Any intelligence on these? Last election they went 62.44% to Mirabella.

  25. Not just missing votes, it seems they all belong to McGowan. But best wait it is News Ltd News.

    [A MYSTERY pile of 1003 votes misplaced by the electoral commission could seal Coalition industry spokeswoman Sophie Mirabella’s fate.

    The Australian Electoral Commission has found the votes at the Wangaratta pre-poll station in north-east Victoria.

    The votes go to Ms Mirabella’s opponent, the independent Cathy McGowan, the AEC has confirmed.

    It will mean, on current voting, Ms Mirabella will trail by 1773 votes, making her task of holding onto the seat increasingly difficult.]

  26. If it’s true Mirabella is totally busted, of course. Unless she has a missing vote pile too!

    Waiting for official confirmation on this one though.

  27. Compare the ordinary vote TCP to prepoll TCP in the big booths which had prepolls: usually McGowan was around 7 pts worse. In Wangaratta she was 15 points worse, a discrepancy that disappears when you add an extra 1000 votes to her tally.

    Safe to say the story is true.

  28. Just heard the news on the radio driving between workplaces. Best news I have heard all day! But Zoomster you are right – Indi has been poorly represented by Sophie, and I think even if she scrapes in she won’t be the cadidate next time. If she does scrape in, I wonder if Abbott will still put her in cabinet? She would have to be one of the biggest duds of his shadow front bench and I am sure they could do better.

    So many Liberals will be happy if Sophie loses, but maybe none more than Tony Abbott, because he then won’t have to make the somewhat embarrassing decision to dump her from cabinte (or the probably even more embarrassing decision to keep her!)

  29. Will they recount all the votes from that booth before adding the extra votes? The most recent update has seen McGowan’s lead shrink be another few hundred votes, so the 1000+ votes will be determinative.

  30. Curiously, the AEC has posted an update this afternoon which included the extra postal votes counted today, but not the additonal 1003 ordinary votes for McGowan.

  31. No doubt they will be double checking every vote, box and tally sheet at Wangaratta before changing the official figures. The next set of published numbers needs to be 100% correct.

  32. Will they recount all the votes from that booth before adding the extra votes?

    Yes, it is underway

    Not to deprecate the DRO, but I think all of this was a bit overwhelming and I understand someone else is standing in in that role.

    Steve Kennedy (AEC) was just on PM, concurring with the revised lead, but saying the remaining votes will be trickling in until Friday week and the formal distribution will probably happen today fortnight. But he says the picture will be fairly clear by Monday after the bulk of the postals are done.

    A really lovely story emerged that it was Divine Intervention by Cathy’s father in Heaven who, many people have said for months, was looking down with approval on Cathy. I like that. Win or lose, the McGowan campaign has been inspirational. I liken it to the Franklin campaign- very empowering. Everybody working on close campaigns like these can truthfully say= “I made a difference”

    Easier sleep tonight

  33. For Mirabella to draw within a few dozen votes once the extra 1000 votes are added, she would need numbers along the lines of:

    57.3% 2PP (the current rate after 4000 votes counted) on 10,000 postal votes;

    50.9% 2PP on 2000 Absent votes (a 1% swing against from 2010 election); and

    61.4% 2PP on 3000 prepoll votes that are yet uncounted (a 1% swing against from 2010 election).

    If there are fewer votes or bigger swings against her on the Absent and remaining prepolls (bigger swings seem likely given the other trends in Indi), Mirabella will not get enough from the remaining votes to pull ahead of McGowan (unless more votes for her are found via a recount, for example).

  34. Re Kevin [94]: With those numbers and if the postals remain 57.3% to Mirabella, a 2-3% swing or larger against Mirabella on Absent and other prepoll votes will give McGowan the win. A swing larger than 2-3% seems likely given the size of the swing across Indi.

  35. The missing Wang PPVC votes now shows a large consistent swing in prepoll 2PP votes away from Mirabella. The swings in the major prepoll booths are:
    Benalla PPVC: -9.2%
    Div Office prepoll: -16.8%
    Wang PPVC -13.4%
    Wodonga PPVC -11.7%

    In the face of that swing, any remaining prepoll votes (~3000?) are likely to be roughly split (Mirabella had 62.4% in 2010).

    A 50:50 outcome on remaining prepoll and absent votes, and 57.3% to Mirabella for postals mean that McGowan will win by >500 votes.

  36. An example of why Sophie is about to lose her seat:
    [For motel owners Garry and Josie Swaine, Ms Mirabella’s lack of availability has been a source of angst. Six years ago, the couple promised to adopt Mrs Swaine’s then unborn Filipina niece, to save the girl from being aborted.
    Attempts to adopt her from within Australia proved fruitless, so the couple adopted her in the Philippines, named her Hazel and have spent thousands of dollars on lawyers and failed visa applications to bring her to Australia. They kept trying to get a meeting with their local member.
    “We’ve never been able to get past her secretary,” Mr Swain said.
    “If you can’t even have a conversation with your local member, what chance have you got of being heard further up the chain? We’re not young people. What would 10 minutes of her time cost her?” ]

  37. Here is a fascinating article about Cathy McGowan’s campaign in Indi. A group of locals who disliked Sophie Mirabella’s aggressive and hyperpartisan approach to politics organized fifty-five kitchen table conversations across the electorate with 425 participants, developed criteria for the kind of candidate and campaign people wanted, and then approached prominent locals who satisfied the criteria and asked if they would run. Cathy McGowan was the one who said yes. Then the campaign raised 130,000 dollars from 1000 donors, trained supporters in how to use social media tools, required supporters to sign a values contract which emphasized civility towards opponents, empowered supporters to activate their part of the electorate in support of the campaign with events such as bush dances and street parties, and used a software package called Nationbuilder to maintain a website and keep track of supporters’ involvement in the campaign.

Comments Page 2 of 3
1 2 3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *