Stafford by-election live

Ongoing coverage of the count for Queensland’s Stafford by-election, and its aftermath.

# % Swing 2PP (proj.) Swing
Bob Andersen (Liberal National) 7,967 33.4% -18.6% 36.7% -20.3%
Sally-Anne Vincent (Family First) 951 4.0%
Anne Boccabella (Greens) 2,846 11.9% +2.1%
Anthony Lynham (Labor) 12,105 50.7% +17.1% 63.3% +20.3%
FORMAL/TURNOUT 23,869 76.6%
Informal 474 2.2% +0.1%
Booths reporting: 14 out of 14


The table above shows raw figures in the first two columns for the primary vote, then uses booth matching over the next three columns for the primary vote swings, two-party preferred result and two-party swing. However, these figures are entirely derived from the polling day booth results, and are unaffected by the 2742 pre-polls and 2946 postals which have been added to the count, which are included in the first two columns. Here the swing has been slightly lower – respectively at 16.0% and 14.7% by my reckoning, compared with the 20.3% shown based on polling booth results. So it would seem in the final analysis that the swing is unlikely to have a two in front of it. An interesting new feature of the declaration vote breakdowns is “uncertain identity”, which no doubt has something to do with the new voter identification regime. There are as yet no results listed, but presumably this will change over the next week as the ECQ investigates the declaration votes of those who showed up at the polling booth without the required ID.

The map to the right shows booth-level two-party results from both the March 2012 state election and yesterday. The swing was highly uniform throughout the electorate with the exception of the Chermside booth, where it was only about 6%, and the Prince Charles Hospital booth, where it was 31% (not shown because with only 223 votes cast it falls below the 250-vote threshold I use for inclusion). The waters in Chermside may have been muddied by the fact that it attracted voters who at the general election voted in nearby polling booths in other electorates.

The chart to the left offers some historical perspective by detailing polling booth results (so no postals, pre-polls, absents or other declaration votes) in Stafford from this and previous election. I did this half in the expectation of showing that 2012 rather than yesterday was the extraordinary result, but what emerges is that it was a very good result for Labor by any measure. It should be particularly encouraging for them that they were about 6% up on two-party preferred from a winning election in 2009, although I should caution that Labor did seem to suffer a bit of a backlash in Brisbane’s inner north on that occasion.

Another way of putting the result in perspective is offered by the chart to the right, which seeks to illustrate the extent to which by-election swings provide a pointer to the result of the next election. Drawing on federal and state by-election results over recent decades, it shows the government swing (which is usually negative) on the X-axis and the overall swing recorded at the subsequent election on the Y-axis. The linear trendline that runs through the middle is not brilliantly predictive, explaining only 42% of the variation, but the relationship is there, and for a 20% by-election swing it implies a swing of 8.7% at the following election. While this is a seismic shift in absolute terms, it still leaves the LNP out in front by 54-46. If such a swing was uniform, Labor would emerge with a still fairly modest 27 seats in an assembly of 89 – although importantly, one of those seats would be Ashgrove.


7.51pm. Stafford Heights two-party result added.

7.39pm. All that remains for the evening is two-party results from the Stafford Heights booth and perhaps a few pre-poll numbers. The projected swing to Labor is now over 20% – a disastrous result for the LNP by any standard.

7.20pm. All booths now in on the primary vote, and the result is fairly clearly looking worse for the LNP than Redcliffe, which would be gravely alarming for them.

7.03pm. At around the time I thought results would start coming in, they’re actually well on their way to finished. Preference shares: 52.1% to Labor (41.4% in 2012), 14.4% to LNP (20.3%), 33.5% exhausted (38.3%).

7.01pm. Gympie Road booth added, swing now 18.9%.

6.58pm. Stafford West booth has reported, and the swing is staying above 18%.

6.55pm. There are now enough two-party votes that I’m no longer going off 2012 preferences, and the Labor swing is now even higher – over 18%.

6.49pm. I very seriously understimated how fast this count was going to be. Six normal booths in plus a pre-poll, and the result is looking very similar to Redcliffe with a swing of around 16%. It can most assuredly be called for Labor now.

6.48pm. Chermside has reported 2PP: four votes to LNP, nine to Labor, 12 exhaust.

6.45pm. I’m doing some experimental probability calculations for my own amusement, and I presently have Labor’s win probability at 94.05%.

6.42pm. Newmarket booth added on primary vote. Whereas I only had the swing at Chermside at about 6%, being right on what Labor required, here it’s 18.8%.

6.37pm. Two-party result from Prince Charles added: of the non-major party votes, 16 went to Labor, five to the LNP, and eight exhausted.

6.33pm. A far more moderate result from the 382 votes at Chermside, where I’m rating Labor up 9% and the LNP down 3.5% – although a number of booths from 2012 aren’t in use this time, so such comparisons are problematic.

6.23pm. Only 216 votes from Prince Charles hospital booth, so quicker off the mark than I thought. The results are … interesting. My two-party preferred projection is at this stage based on the preference allocation from the 2012 election.

6.10pm. Polls have closed at Queensland’s Stafford by-election and counting is under way. This post will follow the count as the results come in, with the above table showing raw primary votes and percentages, and booth-matched two-party preferred projections and primary vote swings. This being a highly urban electorate, all the booths will be large and take a while to count, so I wouldn’t hold my breath on any results being in before 7pm.

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.

121 comments on “Stafford by-election live”

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  1. I suspect that in true PUP style they will intervene in ALP leadership as a condition of confidence and there will be enough internal ALP division to swing the numbers in favour of, maybe, Dick. This is a speculative prediction.

  2. If PUP hold the balance of power post-election (heaven help us all, really), but:
    * PUP really aren’t friends to the ALP and would almost certainly offer to form government with the LNP. The PUP strategy has become very clear with their Senate shenanigans of the last couple of weeks – they want to dominate the LNP, and the way to do that is to drive the agenda over a hapless LNP. PUP have no interest in dominating the ALP.

    * In the unlikely event that PUP did offer to install the ALP as a minority government the ALP really have to say “thanks, but no thanks”. It would be madness to form government reliant on PUP support.

  3. [ALP should defiantly say no to minority gov or offer support to Clive.

    Clive wants to benefit himself.]
    Agree. A Coalition government with Palmer would last 6 months tops.

    Labor should stand aside and just wait for that to fall apart before claiming majority government at a subsequent election.

  4. If federal Labor had any sense of irony they’d tie the result of this election to the repeal of the carbon tax. Obviously the voters miss it. :pictureasmugsmiliehere:

  5. The danger for the alp is that disaffected lnp voters will turn to the pup but their preferences will not go to labor. Optional preferential voting and poosible pup preferencing are the wild cards of the next qld election. Labor needs to convert the disaffected lnp votes to alp votes to surely win.

  6. Campbell Newman is in serious denial:
    [The Premier laid the blame for the LNP’s defeat firmly at the feet of his former assistant health minister Chris Davis, whose resignation triggered the by-election.]

    So it is all the fault of the guy who complained about the risk of corruption and ego-mania? It can’t possibly be the fault of the ego maniac. Clearly, Stafford voters disagreed.

  7. If you look at by elections swings for QLD only from 1991.

    their is almost no correlation between size of the swings between the by election swing and the main election swing.

  8. On what Socrates linked to at 107:

    Dr Davis resigned after a public falling out with the Newman government over doctors’ contracts and changes to electoral donation laws.

    “Clearly, the attacks on the government by the former member were a factor in this election as well – it did us no favours and did Bob’s campaign no favours,” Mr Newman said.

    A local member resigns in protest, so the Premier decides to blame him for the by-election campaign? That’s why I reckon the swing is going to be north of 10% come 2015. Most governments – say, like Howard – have a rudimentary ability to learn from their mistakes. Newman has none.

  9. The comments here about the next Qld election being close are ludicrous. The 2015 Qld election will be a LNP massacre. It’s a simple 1, 2, 3. i.e. Redcliff, Stafford then all of Qld.

  10. Peter Murphy

    Exactly, hence my ego-maniac reference to Newman. If anything the article was polite to Campbell, ommitting several other concerns Davis had with his high handed manner. Even in his “we are listening” line, Newman talks about tough decisions and redoubling efforts. He does not say anywhere he intends to change a single policy. Steady as she sinks, for Capn Newman.

  11. Davis at least listened to his constituents and the polling that his office conducted at least show some consolation to him.
    Newman, on the other hand, is in a world of his own.

  12. [The danger for the alp is that disaffected lnp voters will turn to the pup but their preferences will not go to labor. Optional preferential voting and poosible pup preferencing are the wild cards of the next qld election. Labor needs to convert the disaffected lnp votes to alp votes to surely win.]

    I strongly suspect that enough votes will come back to Labor to give them their ‘normal’ Brisbane seats. It might be a problem for the ALP in Ipswich and regional cities, although I still suspect PUP will be more of a problem for the LNP there.

  13. Comparisons to the last Qld State elections are all but meaningless, the Katter Party has imploded an PUP has not captured its voters (apparently, I see no evidence of this).

    Some seats that should fall easily won’t. Others that nobody expected to change hands will.

    I am hearing Ted Sorensen in Hervey Bay is telling anyone who will listen he is going to lose in March.

  14. Paul:

    [The comments here about the next Qld election being close are ludicrous. The 2015 Qld election will be a LNP massacre.]

    The LNP will certainly take a hit in the next state election, but I wouldn’t get too excited. The magnitude of the anti-LNP swing in this by-election was in a large part due to Newton’s Third Law of Motion.

  15. [I wonder if the charges against the mayor of Ipswich will have any bearing against the state seat.]

    I doubt it, most local councils in SE Qld do have have party affiliation in elections. Paul Pissale is not associated with any brand of politics in public.

  16. ruawake@114

    Comparisons to the last Qld State elections are all but meaningless, the Katter Party has imploded an PUP has not captured its voters (apparently, I see no evidence of this).

    PUP has indeed not captured most of the KAP voters. There was a ReachTEL which asked those saying they’d vote PUP to self-report how they voted in 2012. Self-reporting tends to be slightly inaccurate and perhaps especially so in this case, but the percentage who self-reported KAP was so low (15%, ie about 2% of all voters) that it was clear most of the KAPpers had not switched to PUP.

    The hard core of KAP voters, the 3.7% who voted for them at the federal election in Queensland, are rather more PUP-supportive. In most seats between 40 and 55% of their preferences went to PUP. (Lower in Moreton and Griffith, higher in Maranoa where the PUP candidate was a Bjelke-Petersen).

  17. Premier Springborg?

    How many of the Beattie/Bligh elections were won over not letting a National become Premier again?

  18. Other than Borg and Seeney, the other old Nats in Cabinet would seem to be Jack Dempsey, John McVeigh, Andrew Powell, Andrew Cripps and Steven Dickson. If I’ve missed any, or anyone thinks that one of these latter – or someone currently outside Cabinet – is a real shot then I’d be interested to hear.

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