Victorian election: highlights of week one

Introducing a Victorian state election poll aggregate, along with a quick-and-dirty guide to electoral developments from the first week of the campaign.

With three weeks to go until Victoria’s November 29 state election, I have finally got my act together to put a poll aggregation up, which you can find on the sidebar. Whereas the federal BludgerTrack purports to improve upon aggregated polling through bias adjustments based on historical performance, this really is just a poll aggregate, except to the extent that historical performance is used to determine the weight the various pollsters carry in the model. Had historically based bias adjustment been used, the Greens vote would be coming in quite a bit lower. The seat projection, which presently has Labor on 50 and the Coalition on 38, is determined as it is in the federal BludgerTrack – by calculating two-party win probabilities for every seat based on the size of the overall swing and specific seat-level factors such as the effect of retiring members, and determining aggregate seat totals by adding together the probabilities. The model assumes that all 88 seats will again be won by the major parties.

I will try, but probably fail, to update this each time a new poll comes in, which will probably be quite often. Ipsos at least is currently in the field, and we should be getting a second result from it over the coming days. Here’s some of the rest of what’s been happening:

John Ferguson of The Australian reports that internal polling has “hardheads from both major parties” expecting Labor to win the Frankston line trio of Bentleigh, Mordialloc and Carrum. Liberal polling is nonetheless said to be “better than it expected” in Frankston – although earlier in the week the same reporter related that the party “expects to fail” in the seat, and is hoping for a compensating gain in Cranbourne. Labor’s polling is also said to show it on track to retain its own marginals of Eltham and Yan Yean in Melbourne’s north-east, where Labor is respectively handicapped by the retirement of a sitting member and an unfavourable redistribution.

The Age reports that a Greens-commissioned Lonergan Research automated phone poll, targeting 400 voters per seat, shows them leading in Melbourne (40% to Greens candidate Ellen Sandell and 30% to Labor member Jennifer Kanis, a 53-47 lead to the Greens based on 2010 preference flows) and Richmond (39% to Greens candidate Kathleen Maltzahn and 29% to Labor member Dick Wynne, for a 54-46 two-party lead).

• Clive Palmer will today unveil his candidates for the eight Legislative Council regions, having hitherto kept their identity close to his chest. Palmer United will not be fielding candidates in the lower house.

• Tex Perkins, veteran frontman of The Cruel Sea, The Beasts of Bourbon and Thug, will run as an independent in Albert Park as part of a campaign to restore St Kilda’s Palais Theatre.

• Daniel Andrews has rejected the notion that Labor will enter a preference deal with the Greens, scoring helpful headlines ahead of the Liberals’ likely confirmation that they will again place the Greens last, which proved the tactical masterstroke of their 2010 campaign. This presumably means that Labor will behave much as it did in 2010, when it placed the Country Alliance ahead of the Greens on two of its three regional upper house tickets and the Sex Party ahead in Northern Metropolitan region.

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.

85 comments on “Victorian election: highlights of week one”

  1. Rocket Rocket@37

    Herald-Sun right on cue!

    Really should archive these covers. It is pretty stunning for an election that is clearly fairly close, with Labor being supported currently by more of the Victorian popualtion than the Coalition on TPP intention.

    This made be chuckle, I did wonder how they’d kick it up a gear.

    Clearly myki is coming up – any guesses on the headline? How about

    “Myki CFMEU cover up”

  2. The LegCo could be an interesting contest. A few Labor people I talk to seem confident that Dimity Paul, the #3 for the Eastern Metropolitan region (behind Opposition Whip Sean Lean and Shadow Planning Minister Brian Tee) could be elected. I don’t share that confidence, the Eastern Metropolitan region being what it always has been, conservative. I also note the two ALP members for Eastern Victoria are both retiring…

    I think the LegCo is interesting in that it’s probably the only case of substantial electoral reform in recent times (granted I’m not as familiar with what happened in other states). It’s also the most practical area for the Greens to make gains and yet people only seem interested in the possibility of winning Prahran (while seemingly writing off – on paper – easier wins in Richmond, Melbourne and Brunswick).

  3. Oh, and thank-you, William. Your efforts are always appreciated. Love the guide so far (spent a fair while on it when I was meant to be writing a newsletter) 🙂

  4. Bugler@53

    I think the LegCo is interesting in that it’s probably the only case of substantial electoral reform in recent times (granted I’m not as familiar with what happened in other states). It’s also the most practical area for the Greens to make gains and yet people only seem interested in the possibility of winning Prahran (while seemingly writing off – on paper – easier wins in Richmond, Melbourne and Brunswick).

    Even the subtle detail of an odd number of seats in each district suits the greens.

    I think the focus on Prahran comes from it being the rare chance of trying to poach a seat from the right. I think the rank and file would much rather be taking the fight up to the conservatives and therefore Prahran energises the base. It says “we are mainstream”.

  5. I don’t, Darn. The problem seems to be with the face-to-face method. Morgan has never had a bias issue with its phone polling, and while the SMS polling obviously has problems (see those Greens results), it doesn’t seem to include a bias against Labor – who have in fact been coming in implausibly low on the primary vote, making room for the inflated Greens numbers.

    [Faine visit puts Frankston in the spotlight
    November 10, 2014 Neil Walker

    FRANKSTON became the focal point of state politics last Thursday morning when ABC radio presenter Jon Faine broadcast his Mornings show live from the Farmers Market in Wells St.

    Faine was in Frankston to interview the major parties’ candidates about their vision for the city’s future as the marginal seat shapes up as a major battleground between the Liberal Party and Labor in the lead up to this month’s state election.

    Frankston is regarded as a bellwether seat since the party which has won the seat at state elections since its formation in 1967 has won government.

    Unsurprisingly, as has been so often the case during the Coalition’s past four years in government, it was incumbent independent Frankston MP Geoff Shaw who threatened to steal the show, when he turned up midway through his rival candidates’ debate to speak to Faine despite having failed to respond to several attempts by ABC producers to confirm his appearance on the show beforehand.]
    [Shaw’s ‘nasty’ station stoush
    November 10, 2014 Neil Walker

    TRUE to pugnacious past form, independent Frankston MP Geoff Shaw became embroiled in more controversy last Thursday morning when ABC radio presenter Jon Faine visited the city.

    While Faine spoke to Liberal candidate for Frankston Sean Armistead and Labor candidate Paul Edbrooke during his live ABC 774 broadcast from Wells St about Frankston train station’s reputation as a “trouble spot”, Mr Shaw was arguing with a passerby at the station.

    Dromana resident Lysette Ashford told The Times Mr Shaw had made a “nasty” comment to her when she approached the MP as he was electioneering near Frankston train station.

    Ms Ashford said she had questioned Mr Shaw on his anti-abortion views.]
    [Pollies ‘ignoring’ methadone plan
    November 10, 2014 Mike Hast

    A PROPOSAL to move drug replacement dispensing from pharmacies near Frankston station to a dedicated centre at Frankston Hospital has received little support from the two major political parties, says lobby group Frankston Community Coalition.]

  7. I think the original plan for the Legislative Council change was 6 x 7 member regions, (or 7 x 6 member regions?) It was said that they went for 8 x 5 member regions so that there would be 3 country regions. Though of course it made the quota for a smaller party to get one seat a higher 16.7%.

    A bit like when they changed the Tasmanian Lower House to 5 x 5 instead of 5 x 7 – meaning the Greens neede to get 16.7% rather than 12.5%. Of course in the end that change locked in a fair few 2-2-1 scenarios as the Greens vote increased.

  8. 53

    In the redistribution coming into effect this election Eastern Metropolitan, which has a declining population because it lacks any real growth areas, gains ALP held Ivanhoe and is thus a more favourable seat for the left.

    However the idea that the ALP, which did not even get two quotas in Eastern Metro at the last election, would get enough surplus and minor and micro party preferences after the election of its second MP ahead of the Greens, who got 0.74 quotas (redistribution adjusted), is not a particularly reasonable idea.

    The Greens chances for gains in the Legislative Council are all dependent on other parties because of the high quota and so some focus on the Assembly, where the Greens have chances without so much help, is reasonable. It also adds credibility to a party in they have lower house seats and party status in Victoria is 10 seats and the Greens are not going to get that in the Legislative Council alone.

  9. 59

    I think it was a mistake to shrink the Legislative Council as part of the reforms. They should have increased it to 49 (7×7) or 45 (9×5) and also increased the Assembly. 7 member regions probably would have been better. Maybe if the Greens had won Melbourne Province, they could have achieved a better constitutional change (unless the ALP decided to wait until the next term once the 1999 MLCs had been replaced by a more ALP friendly cohort).

  10. A good analysis of the financiql madness that is the $17 billion EW road link. Is this the last spiteful act of a doomed government?

    An annual repayment cost of $400 million (2014 $)means that, on average, every Working Victorian adult adult will pay around an extra $2 every workday in taxes to cover it, whether they use the road or not. Those who use it will also pay the tolls. This is madness.

    [Jacqui Lambie ‘too busy’ to campaign for Palmer United Party
    Rosie Lewis Reporter Canberra

    JACQUI Lambie has refused to campaign for the Palmer United Party in Victoria’s election, defying the wishes of leader Clive Palmer because she is “too busy”.

    It comes as Mr Palmer issued a stern warning to the rogue senator against politicising Remembrance Day, following Senator Lambie’s call for Australians to turn their backs on government MPs who speak at events today.

    Tensions within the PUP camp has escalated since Senator Lambie said she would vote against all government legislation until a better pay deal was offered to Defence personnel and launched an attack on Mr Palmer for not supporting her stand.

    In an attempt to reclaim his authority Mr Palmer yesterday took to Twitter and declared: “All Australians, particularly politicians, should show the utmost respect on Remembrance Day. It is never a day for political actions.”

    Mr Palmer and PUP senator Glenn Lazarus have previously dismissed Senator Lambie’s Remembrance Day protest call, saying it should be “above politics”.

    While Senator Lambie declined to comment on Mr Palmer’s tweet, a spokesman said she had informed party headquarters she would no longer be campaigning for the Victorian election as requested by her leader.]

  12. I do hope that Guy does not become PM.

    [Melbourne City Council will ask Planning Minister Matthew Guy to reverse changes he made to a Collins Street property title that enabled a developer with links to the Liberal Party to sell it for a large profit soon after.

    The move will bring attention to the many Melbourne developers who have gained approval for a skyscraper from Mr Guy and immediately put the site up for sale.

    “Flipping”, a term coined in the United States to describe the quick resale of a property for windfall gains, has occurred in the case of several proposed skyscrapers approved by Mr Guy.

    The practice pushes up the cost of the final project by forcing developers to squeeze more onto a site in order to turn a profit.
    . . .
    In some countries, such as Canada and Germany, it is regulated against by authorities requiring a planning permit be renegotiated if a property is sold.

    The highest-profile example in Melbourne is 555 Collins Street, over which the city council will on Tuesday ask Mr Guy to reverse planning laws he changed last year.

    In April 2013 Mr Guy altered the planning rules on the site, owned at the time by developer Harry Stamoulis, to allow a tower on it to overshadow the south bank of the Yarra River.

    Mr Stamoulis bought the property for $38 million in 2003. Soon after Mr Guy changed the planning rules for the site, he sold it to Singaporean developer Fragrance Group for $78 million.

    Mr Stamoulis declined to comment on his Liberal Party links when contacted on Tuesday. In 1999, he helped Nicholas Kotsiras, the outgoing member for Bulleen, win preselection for the seat.

    Mr Kotsiras will be replaced in Bulleen by Mr Guy at this month’s election.]

    Read more:

  13. Tom @ 62

    Australians already seem to be horrifically overgoverned, so I’m not sure many would get behind the idea of yet more politicians.

  14. Betfair betting market seem convinced … ALP firmed into 1:15, LNP friendless and out to 5.6:1 from 4.6:1 a couple of days ago…

    [Is it time Melbourne got a rail line to the airport?
    Alan Davies | Nov 11, 2014 8:33AM

    The Napthine government says it’ll start building an airport rail line next term if wins this month’s Victorian election. Of course it’d be nice to have, but should it really be a priority at this time?]
    [Victorian state election: Kim Wells and Nick Wakeling lose Liberal campaign tag
    November 10, 2014
    Richard Willingham
    State Political Correspondent for The Age]
    [Nov 11, 2014
    Razer: Tex Perkins belongs on your iTunes, not your ballot
    by Helen Razer

    You may think that voting for Tex Perkins will recapture your youth and save Melbourne’s Palais Theatre. But all it could really do is kill any chance of a Labor Victorian government — and unseat its potential arts minister.]

  16. Razer seems not to have heard of preferential voting. She’s trying to argue (among other things that actually might have merit) that Perkins running could cause the Liberals to win the seat.

    I might add this is about the fifth or sixth Razer article in the past month or so I’ve considered to be at least partially rubbish, against about one in that time that was actually useful. Not that I was ever a fan in the first place, but there seems to be a running theme of her saying silly stuff in an attempt to pretentiously troll any passing thing that gets more attention than she does.

  17. Watching the ABC News last night, I spilled my glass at the interpretation of the “Vote Compass” survey. For example, it was claimed it shows that half of Victorians support the Tunnel.

    As far as the attitudes of Victorians is concerned, Vote Compass tells you nothing, niente, zilch – since participation is self-selected and not random. In present company, I need say no more.

    Shouldn’t the ABC apologise? Who knows what Vote Compass will purport to demonstrate over the next fortnight?

  18. 72

    She does mention how to vote cards at the previous election but not how to vote cards for Tex. There is also no mention of the Greens running in the seat, who have a significant vote but are still likely to come third again.

  19. RR 76 — the point is that they cannot say anything about their data, except that it reflects solely the views of those who have dialled in to the ABC website — and those people only.

    It cannot be claimed in any respect to represent or reflect the views of Victorians or the electorate.

    Yet the ABC News made such a claim.

  20. Yes they may claim that demographic weighting has resulted in correct voting intention figures before, but it does not follow that it results in correct figures on specific issues. Though it’s really most likely to fail on such issues on cases where the selection method introduces an ineradicable bias, like attitudes to the ABC, computing technology issues and so on. For most things it might work OK, but I’d be cautious about betting on it.

  21. Also the problem is that they include people doing it as a joke or experiment. For instance my attempt to faithfully do the questions as an extreme Tea Party “Republican” which resulted in a result far to the right and below the LNP “dot” would be included in their results!

  22. I just had a thought – imagine if Mr.Ex-Neo-Nazi had been a Labor staffer. What would be the Herald-Sun front page tomorrow?




    I’m sure they could come up with something inappropriate!

  23. Rocket, that’s exactly the same as people lying when they are interviewed by Newspoll. Every poll assumes the respondent is telling the truth. Error margins are a measures of statistical error, not sample bias error or respondent bias error.

    Respondents are also only included in the Vote Compass sample for analysis if they fill in all the demographic questions. If a survey has no demographic data it is excluded from analysis because it can’t be weighted.

    The data is weighted by eight census variables and by electorate.

    Polling companies like Newspoll also weight their sample before publishing their results. In addition, they use stratified sampling by age, so they always reach a point where they have enough older voters and will only conduct further interviews with the hard to get younger voters.

    Newspoll uses a question on education level as one of their weights. But there is a limit to how much weighting you can do when you only have a sample of a thousand, and when you only have a limited number of demographic variables.

    When you have a sample of 30,000 and a range of demographic variables, you can apply more weights, though the number of constraints you apply to the data increases the error margin.

    As Kevin says, if you have a question which is heavily correlated with motivation to do the survey, then it is hard to unpick the bias that self-selection creates.

  24. Napthine enlisting the aid of Nazis? Seems to bizzare to be true

    [A Liberal Party activist working on the party’s campaign in key marginal seats is a former neo-Nazi who claimed in 2010 that the Port Arthur massacre was a Jewish conspiracy.
    Scott Harrison has been vice-president of the Deakin University Liberal Club, and has been working on the campaign of Liberal candidate Tony McManus in Lara. He has also briefly assisted the party’s Bellarine candidate, Ron Nelson.
    Mr Harrison is a former prominent member of the white supremacist group Church of Creativity. The church was founded in the United States in 1973 by neo-Nazis and has several members in Australia, including criminals.
    When contacted by Fairfax Media, Mr Harrison acknowledged his six-year involvement in the neo-Nazi movement but said it had ceased in 2010 and that he now repudiated his former beliefs.
    “My close associates in the Liberal Party know of that history,” he said, while also stating that others in the Liberals “wouldn’t be aware of it to a high degree.”

    Read more:

  25. The sad thing about the ex-neo-Nazi is that some of his professed views now are more socially progressive than those of many “socially conservative” Liberals. He’s got there from where he was in just four years; how long will it take them?

  26. Just redid my model after checking some sitting member effect stuff following sceptical input from Psephos.

    It’s still saying 48-40 for a 2PP of 52.6 (which I will revise once the Ipsos comes out) and it currently has Labor gaining Carrum, Frankston, Bentleigh and Mordialloc and losing notionally Liberal Ripon.

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