The Australian Electoral Commission finally lifted the lid on the completed federal election count yesterday, the detail we’ve all been waiting for being the final national two-party preferred result: 53.49-46.51 to the Coalition. That makes it the Coalition’s seventh best result since 1949, after 1966, 1975, 1977, 1955, 1958 and 1996, and better than any achieved since 1943 by Labor, whose modern high-water mark was Bob Hawke’s 53.23-46.77 victory in 1983. Labor nonetheless managed slender wins in the two-party vote race in Victoria (50.2%) and Tasmania (51.2%), with Western Australia remaining its worst state (41.72%).
No less interesting is the data on minor parties’ preference splits between Labor and the Coalition, confirming a significant increase in the share of preferences received by Labor compared with 2010. Labor’s share of Greens preferences was 83.03%, which compares with 80.78% in 2004, 79.69% in 2007 and 78.84% in 2010. My best guess here is that the Greens tended to lose votes from those driven by anti-major party sentiment, perhaps because of the closeness of their association with the government, leaving behind a more ideological voter base with a particular hostility to Tony Abbott.
Labor received 46.33% of Palmer United Party preferences, nearly identical to the overall others result of 46.69%. The latter was also the best for Labor since such figures were first published in 2004, recovering from a low of 41.74% in 2010. One consequence of this was that pollsters’ preference models based on 2010 election results overstated the Coalition on two-party preferred. Had preferences been as they were in 2010, the Coalition would have scored an extra 1% and a few more seats.