Election plus two weeks

A deep look at federal election swings, plus a few meagre snippets of post-election polling news.

Two points to emerge from our friends in the polling community, which passed notice while I’ve been diverted by close counts:

• ReachTEL has published a helpful table illustrating pollster accuracy, which is sporting of them given the attention it calls to the eye-watering accuracy of Newspoll. However, all concerned did very well in predicting a two-party preferred result which, by my back-of-envelope reading, will ultimately settle at around 50.5-49.5 to the Coalition. Essential and especially Ipsos overshot on support for the Greens, with the latter landing around 2% too low for both major parties, but the only other substantial errors involved the balance of support between the Liberals and the Nationals, which I don’t regard as particularly important. Electorate polls were a different matter, and will be looked at in greater detail when all the results are in.

• On the Tuesday evening following the election, Roy Morgan conducted an SMS poll poll from 3587 respondents on leadership approval. The poll had Malcolm Turnbull with a narrow 51-47 lead as preferred prime minister, which the Morgan release sets up for comparison with a 57-24 result from May. However, the May result was an interviewer-administered phone poll, a method evidently less conducive to a “neither/can’t say” response. The poll also found Malcolm Turnbull leading Tony Abbott by 71-25 as preferred Liberal leader, and Anthony Albanese leading Bill Shorten 49-48 for Labor.

Now to an exercise I’ve conducted to get a clearer sense of what sort of areas did and didn’t swing. The chart below shows results of a regression analysis on 6582 polling booth results in which two-party swing data was available, which excludes the 14 electorates where the AEC’s two-party count is not between Labor and the Coalition. The purpose here is to discern if the swing to Labor was more or less evident in areas with particular demographic characteristics. The results record a big move back to Labor in the ever-volatile mortgage belts; an apparent failure of the Abbott-to-Turnbull leadership switch to improve the Coalition’s standing in ethnic communities; and better swing results for the Coalition where voters were wealthier and better educated, and – perhaps more surprisingly – older.

2016-07-17-regression

After the constant and starting with “Age”, the table lists the associations between polling booth swings to the Coalition, which in practice usually means negative results recording swings to Labor, and five demographic variables for the census districts in which the booths were located. All but one of these variables, English spoken at home, records a statistically significant association with the swing, as indicated by a score of less than .05 in the significance column on the right. The “B” coefficient of .001 for “Age” tells us that areas with a median age of 40 would generally swing 1% more favourably for the Coalition than areas with a median age of 30. “MFY” stands for median weekly family income and is measured in thousands, so the coefficient means swings tended to be 0.3% stronger for the Coalition for every $1000 of average household income. “School” represents the percentage of the 18-plus population who had completed high school, every point of which associates with nearly 0.1% of swing in favour of the Coalition. Conversely, Labor did 0.02% better for every percentage point of mortgaged dwellings.

The five demographic variables are followed by geographic ones that are there to ensure the results for the demographic variables aren’t influenced by regional differences in the swing, particularly those from state to state. Sydney is excluded so it works as a baseline, so the coefficient for Melbourne tells us that the Coalition would typically do 2.6% better there than at a demographically identical booth in Sydney. Finally, two variables are listed to control for retiring member and sophomore surge effects, which prove to be significant in both cases. “LNPgain” was coded 1 where the candidate was a Coalition sophomore and -1 where a Coalition member was retiring; vice-versa in the case of Labor sophomores and retirees; and zero where neither applied. “ALPloss” was coded 1 where Labor lost the seat in 2013 and 0 otherwise, to measure the boost to the sophomore effect in seats where Labor had a sitting member defending last time. The results suggest Coalition members who won their seats from Labor in 2013 did 2.2% better in swing terms than other Coalition candidates, which reduces to 0.5% in seats where they were replacing retiring Coalition members.

To observe these effects in action, the four tables below identify the 15 highest and lowest ranked electorates by the four statistically significant demographic indicators, and show their two-party swings to the Coalition where available. The lowest education electorates, all of which are regional, were 4.0% worse for the Coalition than those at the top of the scale, of which all apart from Fenner in the ACT are near the centres of the largest cities. Median age was more of a mixed bag — old electorates are regional, but the young ones encompass inner cities, mortgage belts, enclaves, a defence town and the largely indigenous seat of Lingiari. Nonetheless, the distinction here is as great as it was for education, and not in the direction that might have been anticipated from a touted backlash over superannuation policy.

2016-07-17-tables-B

The lowest income electorates, all of which are regional other than two in Sydney, recorded an average 3.5% swing to Labor, only slightly above the national result. But the results for the Liberals were well above average among the wealthiest electorates, over half of which swung in the Coalition’s favour. The mortgage effect is more modest, with 2.8% separating the averages for the top and bottom fifteen. Electorates at the top end of the mortgaged dwellings table are all in the outer suburbs of big cities, but the bottom end is a dissonant mix of regional and inner-city areas, producing a wide range of swing results.

The extent to which this exercise actually explains the results is illustrated by the chart below. For each electorate, the result the model would have predicted is plotted on the horizontal axis, and the actual result is plotted on the vertical. The electorates identified by name are those where the Coalition most under-performed or over-performed the prediction. Keep in mind that this accounts for regional as well as demographic factors, so Lyons shows up as a strong Liberal performance because the swing there was lower than in the other three Tasmanian seats included (remember Denison is not included due to its lack of two-party swing figures). Most electorates’ results were within 2% of the prediction, but a good many had results where alternative explanations are substantially required.

2016-07-17-model-B

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.

1,112 comments on “Election plus two weeks”

  1. On pairs, my view is that Labor should support the appropriate use of pairs to enable government to work as efficiently and effectively as possible.
    Just because Abbott was a perfect dick does not mean that Labor should slavishly follow his goonish behaviour.

  2. Oh dear. Stand by for a welter of ‘evidence’ to prove $50 Billion of Tax Cuts will create jobs.

    She’s all for the Welfare Crackdown too, apparently.

  3. Just how you might ban “Muslims” is not clear, since Islam, we are constantly told by the right, is a religion, not a race. So how would it work? Would you ban anyone from a country where Islam is a significant religion (eg India)? Or anyone with an “Islamic” sounding name? Or …

    What I’d like to know is how the countries where Islam is a prominent religion would respond to our gratuitous insult?

    I wonder how the AFP would feel about having their police liaison officers kicked out of Indonesia?

    I wonder how long it would take for us to run out of petrol if suppliers in the Middle East decided to teach us a lesson by cutting us off?

  4. boerwar @ #733 Monday, July 18, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    And never forgot that Hanson and her evil spawn got into the Senate on the half quotas gifted them by Di Natale.

    Boerwar,
    Bullshit.
    Hanson and her idiots would be there under the old system just the same as they are now under the new system.
    The only person responsible for the half quotas is Turnbull.
    He’s the idiot that called the DD.

  5. Ah, Pauline Hanson didn’t say there were just as many protesters outside qanda tonight in support of her.

    Ever the victim.

  6. kezza2 at 10:33 pm

    I’m not saying they do it regularly, but they can if they want. The other side is generally better at it, their base is more fearful of change.

    The Save Medicare campaign as the latest example. It was based on some suspicions and half-truths, which is why it worked better than an outright lie. It had all the hallmarks of a Coalition campaign.

    Speaking more generally, anything that Graham Richardson has had anything to do with, he is a ratfucker par excellence.

    I say this as a ALP member.

  7. Trog
    Waters told two big lies tonight. Both were coupled with the routine Big Lie of the Greeens: that the two big parties are the same.

    1. The first lie was that support for the Big Parties was falling. The truth is that Labor’s support INCREASED by MORE than the Greens’ support in this election. So, Waters was telling a coupled lie here. The first is the routine lie that Liberal and Labor are the same. The second was that Labor’s support was falling.

    2. Her second lie was that Labor has no plan or no objective for decarbonising the economy. This is a routine Greens lie. We heard it endlessly during the election campaign. Waters merely repeated the same lie tonight. Once again Waters took care to frame it with the second routine Greens lie: that the two big parties are the same on this.
    So, it is not a matter of what I know.
    It is a matter of simple fact. It is on the public record: Waters told two Big Lies about Labor tonight.
    It does rather seem as if the Greens have swallowed their own bullshit. You axiomatically appear to accept whatever comes out of a Greens’ politician’s mouth. Certainly, your critical faculties appear to have atrophied.

    BTW, the reason I chose Boerwar as my nom de guerre is that I regard that particular war as one of the most bastard of all wars where both the main protagonists were evil personified and where the net result: the beggarization, despoiliation and bastardization of the bantu was going to be the ultimate outcome.
    So the choice is a matter for irony, not for extolling the virtues of the voortrekkers.

    One detail suffices. One the of the Brit rationalizations for the war was that the Boer treatment of the Bantu. One of the first results of British victory was that Bantu pay in the Joburg mines was cut.

  8. ‘Boerwar,
    BiS
    ‘ Bullshit.
    Hanson and her idiots would be there under the old system just the same as they are now under the new system.
    The only person responsible for the half quotas is Turnbull.
    He’s the idiot that called the DD.’
    Nup. People tried to warn Di Natale that he was enabling a DD.
    But he was either too thick or too arrogant to understand what he was about.

  9. I always thought that Halal food meant corn trees were slaughtered in a specific way?

    Hey everybody, lets shake things up this week and keep this a meat free week! Brought to you by me – your friendly vegan that benched 300 today!

    Okay that last bit was a lie….

  10. Gareth

    Crap.

    I’m with BB and many others, that if you take away everything Medicare is, gut it completely, and still call it Medicare, then you have gotten rid of Medicare.
    Labor’s campaign was honest.

    If you really have an example, led by Graham Richardson, then spill your guts. Not forgetting Graham Richardson is on his last legs, and enjoys nothing more than attending NewsCorps functions.

  11. Boerwar@812

    BTW, the reason I chose Boerwar as my nom de guerre is that I regard that particular war as one of the most bastard of all wars where both the main protagonists were evil personified and where the net result: the beggarization, despoiliation and bastardization of the bantu was going to be the ultimate outcome.
    So the choice is a matter for irony, not for extolling the virtues of the voortrekkers.

    One detail suffices. One the of the Brit rationalizations for the war was that the Boer treatment of the Bantu. One of the first results of British victory was that Bantu pay in the Joburg mines was cut.BTW, the reason I chose Boerwar as my nom de guerre is that I regard that particular war as one of the most bastard of all wars where both the main protagonists were evil personified and where the net result: the beggarization, despoiliation and bastardization of the bantu was going to be the ultimate outcome.
    So the choice is a matter for irony, not for extolling the virtues of the voortrekkers.

    One detail suffices. One the of the Brit rationalizations for the war was that the Boer treatment of the Bantu. One of the first results of British victory was that Bantu pay in the Joburg mines was cut.

    Thanks for that insight into the Boerwar. I has wondered why you chose that moniker. I struggle to work out who were the goodies. You have answered my question.

  12. I know I’m going to cop shit for this so let me preface. I do think Pauline Hanson’s views on race and religion are despicable (and a number of other things). However, I do think she got a rough stick from Dastyari, Waters and Jones. In particular, I do think Jones interrupted her way too much and she came off worse because she got flustered. I agree with Margo Kingston who wrote the book on Hanson and explains this is exactly the way you do not deal with her or her supporters as it makes them more rabid. Shes uninformed, shes dangerous, and yes shes comes off as incredible unaware, but tonight it appears to be a “Get Pauline Affair” and this plays well into her crowds.

    Having said that, Dastyari’s line of attack was brilliant. Xenophon being the willy bugger he is was trying so hard to wedge himself on that fence. Birmingham didnt really contribute that much but at least he was decent to state that disunity and hate mongering is attrocious. I wont say anything on Waters lest someone accuses me of lying about either The Greens or Labor.

  13. The senate voting laws make more sense than what we had. Antony Green backs me up on that one.

    As for the DD that was pure Turnbull. He though he was so crafty. His previous spell as LOTO showed how inept he is as a leader. Unfortunately those in the media have the memory of goldfish.

  14. kezza2 at 10:57 pm
    Butter wouldn’t melt huh?
    If you are incapable of admitting that Labor has the -ability- to sling mud and run a smear campaign without an annotated list, then you are a true believer.

  15. Barney in Saigon
    Monday, July 18, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    c@tmomma @ #751 Monday, July 18, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    ““Why have we so much fear on the streets?’ asks Pauline Hanson.
    Because of people who exploit it.”

    Because idiots like you believed the shit Abbot was saying.

    Oh do tell me about which particular piece or pieces of Abbott (it’s got 2 ts, Barney) ‘shit’ I believed. I am intrigued.

    Especially considering my reference above to Pauline Hanson related to the fear that SHE exploits. But do go on.

  16. How many more elections do we have to sit through while Antony Green buggerises around with his IT skills?

    It was fun at first, listening, watching, his rambling excuses why the graphs/graphics didn’t match . . . well, anything much at all.

    All those years, and still the same old hesitating excuses. At least he didn’t have the crusher crap and sundry bullshit from the other commercials.

    But still, why would you expect Antony Green to be an expert on anything much at all?

  17. Gareth

    Butter wouldn’t melt huh?
    If you are incapable of admitting that Labor has the -ability- to sling mud and run a smear campaign without an annotated list, then you are a true believer.

    That’s not an answer to my question.

    Note. I never claimed that Labor didn’t have the ability to sling mud.

    So, comrade, spill your guts.

  18. Barney in Saigon
    Monday, July 18, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    c@tmomma @ #819 Monday, July 18, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    “No more women in the biggest Cabinet in 40 years.”

    They didn’t have anyone else to put in it, did they?

    Do you not have eyes to see and a brain to connect to them? If you do then you would be able to see that there are indeed more women in the Liberal and National ranks who could have been preferred over men. Bridget McKenzie for one just off the top of my head.

    She was even touted for a promotion to the Ministry. Didn’t happen.

  19. max @ #764 Monday, July 18, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    Thanks Nicole for your thoughtful and reasonable comments. Looking at some of the other posts above about the Greens from people professing to be ALP supporters – well I won’t presume to suggest to you what you should make of it – but to me, it gives the impression that there is a body of Labor people who have a visceral and tribal hostility to the Greens. If you are unhappy about how some Greens people represent your party I’d have to say I’m equally unimpressed by some of the dishonesty that is posted here about the Greens. Mostly though I just scroll past…..

    Can you be specific as to the dishonesty you are referring to? Is it dishonesty or a communication breakdown? Do you accept that to Labor supporters being called just like the Liberals is seen as dishonest, provocative, duplicitous and a grievous insult? I think there lies the core of the problem. As long as it continues, of course people are going to be pissed. Hence my appeal. I see the ball as in the Greens court on this. This false claim is not helping anybody. Not us, not the Greens and not anyone negatively affected by the Libs staying in government. Us progressives have the numbers except when the numbers get placed over a pseudo-fence. We may be a diverse bunch of progressives but how about we kick that fence back over where it belongs and let Australia be represented by the more progressive parties and individuals that most represent the constituents? I still hold out hope we can do it. Call me an optimist.

  20. If you need any evidence that Pauline Hanson makes it up as she goes along it was on Q and A tonight.

    Tony Jones: Do you support a 50 billion tax cut for business?

    Pauline Hanson: ummmmmmmmmm (long pause)…………………… No.

    Hanson reaction was like ‘Ummmm gee I never thought about it’ even though it was a central issue in the federal election campaign.

  21. kezza2 at 11:12 pm
    And i won’t. I’ll leave that until the last legs give up.
    You took issue with my statement that Labor can’t get down in the gutter. They can, I don’t think it works on them. Fear as a tactic doesn’t usually fit with progressive policies.

    Antony Green is a very qualified statistician with a massive amount of knowledge about Australian electoral history. I doubt he has much to do with ABC IT. His election night answers are correct, they are nuanced and are based on both experience and raw data. It’s slow and not particularly entertaining, but accurate.

  22. kezza2 @ Monday, July 18, 2016 at 11:08 pm
    “But still, why would you expect Antony Green to be an expert on anything much at all?”

    You sound like a climate change denier talking about scientists.

    Antony Green is a genuine expert, and if you read his blog, you will see that it’s bristling with facts, and with informed commentary; not the sorts of ravings which often pass for commentary here.

  23. BW @9:57PM: And never forgot that Hanson and her evil spawn got into the Senate on the half quotas gifted them by Di Natale

    Hanson and One Nation got in because enough people voted for them. As far as I know, Labor, the Coalition and Greens did not direct preferences towards One Nation. It is not Di Natales fault. She and her colleagues are in the Senate. We have to deal with it. So long as no major party adopts a policy of ‘appeasment’ towards her ideas and positions (I’m looking at you Malcolm Turnbull) we should be OK.

  24. Gareth

    Righto.

    I’ve lost interest in anything you have to say. Broad statements, without any evidence, leave me cold. Let’s just say, you believe Labor get down and dirty, but can’t back it up with concrete evidence.

    As for Antony Green, he may have called it correctly but his hesitating style coupled with the continual fungbuggery spoils it somewhat.

  25. c@tmomma @ #827 Monday, July 18, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    Barney in Saigon
    Monday, July 18, 2016 at 10:54 pm
    c@tmomma @ #751 Monday, July 18, 2016 at 10:09 pm
    ““Why have we so much fear on the streets?’ asks Pauline Hanson.
    Because of people who exploit it.”
    Because idiots like you believed the shit Abbot was saying.

    Oh do tell me about which particular piece or pieces of Abbott (it’s got 2 ts, Barney) ‘shit’ I believed. I am intrigued.
    Especially considering my reference above to Pauline Hanson related to the fear that SHE exploits. But do go on.

    My Most Humble and Heart Felt Apologies Cat,
    The ‘you’ in question was most definitely referring to Hanson.

  26. Pendant?

    “and if you read his blog, you will see that it’s bristling with facts, and with informed commentary; not the sorts of ravings which often pass for commentary here”

    Normally I’d take offence to this, but I’m only here for my looks and trolling for men – trying to give this place an Internet Dating sort of vibe *bats lashes*

  27. Steve777 @ 11.31pm. As it happens, there were at least 8 right wing parties in Queensland, that picked up just a bit less than two DD quotas in total, so it’s entirely plausible that Ms Hanson could have got elected on GVT preference swaps even if the system hadn’t changed, and if there had been a half Senate election rather than a DD.

  28. kezza2 @ #817 Monday, July 18, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    Gareth
    Crap.
    I’m with BB and many others, that if you take away everything Medicare is, gut it completely, and still call it Medicare, then you have gotten rid of Medicare.
    Labor’s campaign was honest.

    I agree. I campaigned for protecting Medicare and to protect bulk-billing and felt fully warranted in doing so. If I had thought it dishonest, I’d have campaigned on another issue.

  29. c@tmomma @ #831 Monday, July 18, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    Barney in Saigon
    Monday, July 18, 2016 at 11:01 pm
    c@tmomma @ #819 Monday, July 18, 2016 at 10:58 pm
    “No more women in the biggest Cabinet in 40 years.”
    They didn’t have anyone else to put in it, did they?

    Do you not have eyes to see and a brain to connect to them? If you do then you would be able to see that there are indeed more women in the Liberal and National ranks who could have been preferred over men. Bridget McKenzie for one just off the top of my head.
    She was even touted for a promotion to the Ministry. Didn’t happen.

    Hi Cat,
    I did get you offside.
    Flippant remark at the lack of female numbers in the Libs Party Room.
    Sorry again neither post was directed at you.

  30. Barney in Saigon,
    Apology accepted. : )

    Next time put, ‘you, Pauline’. I’m sure you’ll be needing to plenty more times from now on. ; )

  31. “Liberals” crying blue murder over “Mediscare” remind me of a bully’s reaction when what he thought was a weak opponent effectively fights back.

  32. The old senate voting system was easier to block Pauline Hanson’s One Nation out. It’s harder now, because the major parties and some of the moderate minor parties can’t preference her out of the contest as easily with the new senate voting system . That’s why Hanson will be harder to beat in half senate election in three years time.

    “For her part, Hanson would have romped home had the 2001 Tampa election that pitted her against Bartlett for the first time been brought on by a double dissolution. She revelled in the divisive campaign debate on asylum-seekers, polling 10 per cent in her first outing as a Senate candidate.

    But in the end she fell well short of a quota — 14.3 per cent at a regulation half-Senate election — because One Nation’s third rail policies on immigration and refugees had slammed the door on trading preferences with any of the majors or moderate minor parties. This was fatal to her ambition to return to parliament.”

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/inquirer/pauline-hanson-makes-a-fresh-senate-tilt-in-queensland/news-story/36c106da48b3359e2390a7bd67462185

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