Bennelong by-election live

Live coverage of the count for the Bennelong by-election.

Projected ALP swing Projected 2PP ALP win probability
Robinson (ALA)
Folitarik (SPP)
Jansson (FUT)
Alexander (LIB)
Keneally (ALP)
Platter (APEP)
Alick (GRN)
Ziebell (AAHP)
Fels (NCP)
Richa (ACP)
Cao (CDP)
Golding (AUP)
Booths reporting on primary vote (out of 41)
Booths reporting on two-party preferred (out of 41)
Formal votes counted as % of enrolment (106,582)


All I have to add at this stage is the chart below, which seeks to give some insight into how well by-election swings have worked historically as pointers to the next election result – to which the answer is, not very well at all. Featured are all federal by-elections contested by both the Coalition and Labor back to the Whitlam government, with the by-election swing to the government (nearly always negative) recorded on the horizontal axis, and the subsequent election swing (usually negative as well) on the vertical. As such, all by-elections for a given parliamentary term have the same result on the vertical axis. I have also included a line recording the correlation between the two variables, but only for by-elections that were not held in the first nine months of the parliamentary term, which are usually a lot more favourable for the government. However, the predictive power of the underlying equation is very poor (the r-squared result is 0.0655), as it could hardly fail to be, given the government recorded a favourable swing of 7.4% in New England a fortnight ago.

Election night

9.38pm. I believe that’s it for this evening – counting of postals will not begin until tomorrow. I have three polling booths listed as outstanding, but I believe two of them were not in service.

8.41pm. The big West Ryde pre-poll voting centre is in, and its impact is modest, although the Labor swing has at least nudged above 5% now.

8.15pm. And now some other booth has taken it away again.

8.12pm. A booth I suspect to be Gladesville North has ratcheted up the swing to Labor by a bit over half a point.

8.08pm. In my search for something interesting observe, I would note that large additions to the count should occur late in the evening with the pre-poll voting. These might have the effect of nudging the swing a few per cent, in one direction or another. For the time being though, the swing has been stable for some time at a bit under 5%.

7.54pm. Swing steadying at around 5%.

7.51pm. With half the booths in on the primary vote, I’m now projecting a slightly bigger Labor swing of 5.0%.

7.48pm. Not seeing much of a pattern to the swings: double-digit swings to Labor in three booths, Carlingford, Marsfield and Middle Ryde, which aren’t in any particular proximity. Weak results for Labor in Eastwood West, Gladesville and Truscott.

7.39pm. Eleven booths now in on two-party, still only 17 on primary.

7.36pm. Two more two-party results in, and the swing remains settled at 4-5%. Unlike the ABC, I’m projecting two-party totals in the seven booths that have only reported on the primary vote, but it’s not making much difference.

7.34pm. An eight two-party result, and same again: swing now up to 4.5%.

7.32pm. A seventh two-party result is better for Labor, so the swing projection is now up to 3.5%.

7.31pm. A couple more booths on the primary vote, and the Liberals position has strengthened still further, to the extent I’m now projecting essentially no swing at all.

7.30pm. A fairly striking improvement for the Liberals on preference flows. My early prognostications were based on noting the similar primary vote swings, but it turns out 6% movements on the primary are only translating into 2% on two-party.

7.28pm. Twelve on the primary vote, six on two-party, and still looking a disappointing result for Labor. It may be worth noting Tony Burke’s point that Labor is doing better in Chinese areas, including a double-digit swing in Carlingford, and that these tend to be larger booths that will report later.

7.26pm. Tony Burke more or less conceding on the ABC.

7.25pm. Okay, I’ve now got those two-party numbers and I’m seeing what Antony’s seeing — hardly any swing at all.

7.23pm. Antony Green has five results from two-party preferred, whereas I’m only seeing one – so definitely take my projection with a grain of salt so long as it says there’s only one two-party result in the count.

7.19pm. Eight booths in on the primary vote, and Ryde reporting on two-party preferred. By projecting Ryde’s preferences across the booths with primary votes only, I’m projecting Labor with a pretty handy swing. However, this is projecting a lot from a little – I would want more than one small two-party result before I read anything into it.

7.11pm. The AEC is projecting a swing to Labor of 4.7%, which I presume is based off a single booths two-party total that I’m not seeing published anywhere.

7.10pm. Eastwood West slightly reduces Labor swing, but still no two-party numbers.

7.08pm. Carlingord has now reporting, along with Macquarie Park, and it has indeed boosted the swing to nearly 8%, albeit that this would still leave Labor a little short.

7.06pm. Tony Burke talking up Labor’s performance in Carlingford, saying it points to a big swing to Labor in Chinese communities.

7.03pm. The larger Truscott booth is a much better result for the Liberals, suggesting a swing more like 5%.

7.01pm. Primary vote numbers in from Marsfield and Ryde, both consistent with a swing of about 9% to Labor, suggesting a very close result.

6pm. Polls have closed for the Bennelong by-election. This being an urban electorate, we shouldn’t expect any serious numbers for about an hour or so. I will hopefully be offering my own prognosis of the situation in the table above, but it’s all a bit experimental and we’ll have to wait to see if it works.

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.

488 comments on “Bennelong by-election live”

Comments Page 9 of 10
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  1. A lot of comparisons are being made to the 1982 Flinders by-election. While that was well before my time, it should be noted that the disappointing result in that case was a roughly 2% swing to Labor in a seat the Liberals previously held at 54-46.

    What was the state of voting intention polling around the time Hawke rolled Hayden, anyway? (Again, these are events that happened a while before I was born.) IIRC Newspoll didn’t start up until after Hawke became PM, but there were other pollsters in the field, right? Was it common or reliable enough that either the Labor caucus’ lack of faith in Hayden or Hayden’s drover’s dog claims could actually be substantiated by evidence beyond general gut feeling?

    I ask because the comparison is often made between Shorten’s situation and the Hayden/Hawke change-over. Of course, today we have an absolute glut of polling showing Labor would trounce the Coalition in an election held soon, with BludgerTrack currently showing them winning by a higher margin than Hawke managed in 1983.

  2. But nothing is wrong, a magnificent result for labor

    14.1 bass
    4.5 bennelong

    It’s a harbinger of a change of government, rejoice comrades rejoice!!

  3. Steve777 @ 9.47pm

    Postals do indeed favour the conservatives compared to other votes. But unless they favour the conservatives disproportionately more than they did in 2016, the SWING in the postals won’t be any greater than the swing in the other votes, and so when the postals are included they won’t change the swing that’s currently showing.

  4. Citizens of former communist countries know very well what the commos are like. Yet Labor embraced Beijing – pretty silly and implicitly racist too.

    Second the fake ness of Keneally and shorten – as bob hawke said the Australian people always get it right. the people of bennelong saw these phonies coming a mile off.

    Thirdly it looks like people are giving Malcolm Turnbull a second chance.

    Interesting times ahead.

  5. Seeing ESJ’s efforts, I thought I’d have my own go at pontificating
    (well, it is getting late…)
    What messages do we take away from this by election?
    1. Generally, by elections result in a swing away from the government.
    2. But….This was not an ordinary by election because
    a) the incumbent was standing again
    b) most people think the reason for the by election does not reflect badly on JA
    c) JA has built up a strong personal following
    d) It is a socially conservative electorate.
    3. So point 2 probably negates point 1.
    4. Both Labor and Liberal campaigned as if their political lives depended on it. The LNP like to attribute the swing to Labor’s campaign, conveniently forgetting their own was the most intensive since 2007.
    5. So the swing seen today of 5.4% is probably similar to the one we would have seen had this been a general election.
    6. It confirms William’s aggregated national poll figures to be realistic, if not conservative.
    7. We can look forward to a HofR of Labor > 90 and LNP < 55 after the next election
    8. We will be inundated with spin and hubris from the LNP and their cheer squad, but all it will do is comfort their weak-minded followers, and cement their own self-delusion.
    Trainee members of the LNP must get High Distinction in self-delusion before graduation.
    ESJ has graduated.

  6. EDJ,

    Australia is located in Asia-Pacific, not America, we not another state of America, and should never be another state of America.

    We had enough of being slaves to the Americans, slaves to their secret laws, their wars, secret courts, secret trade agreements that go against the voters.

    America is corrupt.

  7. Its that time in the evening where we announce the winner of the Bennelong By-Election sweep.

    Congratulations Ophuph Hucksake with your prediction of 53.8 – 46.2 to JA. The AEC site is currently showing 54.14 to 45.86.

    24 Bludgers correctly predicted a Liberal win, and 48 incorrectly predicted a Labor win.

  8. Edwina StJohn @ #403 Saturday, December 16th, 2017 – 10:04 pm

    I am shocked by the extent of labor fail.

    I’m not shocked by yet another wrong call by you –

    Edwina StJohn (AnonBlock)
    Wednesday, December 13th, 2017 – 12:09 pm
    Comment #919

    Put me down for 52.1 – 47.9 in favour of Keneally comrades. Nothing goes right for Turnbull in politics why would he break his losing streak now.

    *BUT* – You are in no position to pontificate.

    You call most things wrong.

    Consistently. Over and over,

    Again with Bennelong.


    Oh – how about these –

    Edwina StJohn
    Posted Tuesday, November 10, 2015 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    I reckon Shorten will quit before Christmas – most likely for health or family reasons.

    Edwina StJohn
    Posted Saturday, November 21, 2015 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Less than 100 days left before Labor knifes Shorten.

    Edwina StJohn
    Posted Saturday, November 21, 2015 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Less than 100 days left before Labor knifes Shorten.

    Edwina StJohn
    Posted Monday, November 16, 2015 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Election now! Lets put Bill Shorten out of his misery!

    William Bowe
    Posted Thursday, June 18, 2015 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    ESJ, are you really planning on spending a second week blubbering like a little girl who’s lost her dolly because you got called out for making shit up?

  9. Shows how thick Libs are.Alexander wins then makes a dickhead of himself by telling an offensive joke about the disabled.Already being picked up by the Oz .”Victory speech marred by offensive joke”

    ‘Moments after reclaiming Bennelong, John Alexander tells an offensive joke about the disabled in his victory speech.’

  10. “Shorten is the problem- he’s a private school bovver boy like Turnbull in the British mould- just like Blair, Cameron, Clegg, Boris etc…
    ALP need to take a leaf out of NZ Labour.”

    A leaf out of NZ Labour? Lets be clear NZ Labour got in on a minority government and their prime minster is at the age of 37 and has spent her whole career virtually in the party machine.

    Julia Gillard had a minority government and her mandate seemed illegitimate to voters its something Labor wants to stay clear from again. Take a leaf out of NZ? Yeah right!

  11. Maude Lynne:

    Trainee members of the LNP must get High Distinction in self-delusion before graduation.
    ESJ has graduated.

    While I’m reasonally certain he has zero interest in politics beyond the “game” – if he’s ever expressed an opinion on policy, I’m yet to read it- various cryptic comments he’s made over the years suggest to me that ESJ is actually a dissaffected former Labor insider who tried and failed to become a factional player, and is so bitter about it that he’d rather see the Coalition win than the party that spurned him, and gets his kicks trolling the Labor supporters here.

  12. Incidentally, the swing seems to have jumped from 4.8% to 5.6%. But that’s due to a change in the way the AEC calculates the swing once all of the ordinary votes are counted: instead of calculating a matched booth swing and then applying that to the final results from the 2016 election to get a 2017 projection, it shifts to totalling the current two-candidate preferred vote and calculating the swing by comparing that with the final two-candidate preferred vote in 2016. But that fails to take account of the postals, which, once counted, will pull the swing back down again, but probably only to the 4.8% swing starting point.

  13. Edwina StJohn @ #422 Saturday, December 16th, 2017 – 10:30 pm

    Sour grapes Dave.

    These are your own words sunshine –

    Edwina StJohn (AnonBlock)
    Wednesday, December 13th, 2017 – 12:09 pm
    Comment #919

    Put me down for 52.1 – 47.9 in favour of Keneally comrades. Nothing goes right for Turnbull in politics why would he break his losing streak now.

    For all your sneering you fcuked up yet again


    Wadda drop kick!

  14. Politcal night watchman

    Take a leaf out of NZ? Yeah right!

    Yeah what a stoopid idea I mean they are in government and feck all they can do is useless stuff like this. Far better to be in opposition eh ?

    Goodbye tax cuts but Labour’s families package expected to halve child poverty

    Free tertiary fees start next year, new Govt confirms

  15. Yes, interesting analysis of ESJ’s background, Asha.

    I wondered about the name ‘St John’ since Edward St John was a Liberal MP who upset a number on his own side, and then morphed into an anti-nuclear campaigner when he left parliament, supporting Peter Garret’s NDP.
    He seemed to be disliked by many on both sides.
    What about you tell us about yourself, ESJ?

  16. Maybe one day the Libs will enable me to buy a big house in the country and not declare rent. I will vote for him. Completely deluded Lib voters.The trouble with Lib voters they just think that they are Liberals.Most of them are just working class who think they are the CEO of a company.

  17. confessions –

    Actually I’ve been following Poll Bludger since about 2005-06 and have been a (very) occasional contributor whenever my own musings and the general PB zeitgeist coincide. Now that
    PB is free of Crikey and its bizarre thread updating algorithms I might post a bit more.

    I also share the general disappointment that the swing against Alexander wasn’t higher.
    If I had put my tip in with a week to go I would have still gone for JA to win but a closer result – say 51-49. So, I would say my win was fortuitous, though achieved without the incumbency
    advantage, nor resorting to smear and outright BS – unlike tonight’s other winner.

    The trouble with doing something well is that everyone expects you to repeat that again and again … nonetheless I’ll still my neck out and have a go at the TPP for the 2018-19 Federal election:

    Labor 51.1 – LNP 48.9

  18. Asha Leu,
    You also need to know that the Labor Xmas Party ESJ keeps referring to is for the Labor Right. The Left have a separate party. So I’m guessing ESJ is a disaffected former Labor member from the Right. Plenty enough of them lose the plot and just keep heading further Right into the badlands. Like Mark Latham.

  19. Ophuph Hucksake:

    Apologies, I’ve never seen you comment before hence my assumption. But then again I’m usually not here during the day on weekdays so perhaps have missed your comments on the blog.

  20. I’ve added some wrap comments giving a general appraisal of the result to my live comments thread:

    Apart from relief for the government at not losing, I think there’s nothing conclusive to see here. Average swing + extra swing for govt being already unpopular – reduced swing for incumbent recontesting = average swing. There were an unusual number of other things going on on both sides, and I thought if the electorate cared about one set but not the other then Keneally could win, but it looks like it just all cancelled out.

  21. I’ve always supported proportional representation. Our political system is corrupt and needs root and branch reform – labor is just the most corrupt part of it not that I hold any particular candle for the liberals.

  22. In the current NSW parliament, here is a list of by-elections with the swing against the Liberal or National candidate:
    Orange -34% Primary, -21.8% 2CP
    North Shore -15.3%, -16.5%
    Manly -24.2%, -14.0%
    Gosford -11.9%, -12.3%
    Murray -14.8%, -19.3%
    Cootamundra -19.6, -10.0%
    Additionally, in Wollongong, Canterbury and Blackburn Liberals or Nationals did not have a candidate and Labor had swings of +7.7, +15.2 and +17.7% on primary vote and -0.9, +12.1 and 19.1% on 2CP.
    In the federal by-elections in NSW, the swings to the liberal and national candidates were:
    New england +12.6%, +7.4%
    Bennelong -6.3%, -5.2%
    Would rather be Luke Foley than Bill Shorten.

  23. Edwina StJohn @ #432 Saturday, December 16th, 2017 – 10:47 pm

    Oh Dave yes labor should have won tonight but shorten blew it, that’s pretty clear.

    Err – you called it wrong.

    You called all of these wrong –

    Edward StJohn
    Posted Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Tony Abbott….the right man to be the next Prime Minister of Australia.

    Edwina StJohn
    Posted Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    …. all Abbott needs is a “budget deal” whatever that looks like…

    Edwina StJohn
    Posted Monday, January 19, 2015 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Three (3) more years of Campbellism coming up !

    You called 2007 wrong.

    I recall it so fondly you getting so upset here on PB.

    Great Days.

    Moah 🙂

  24. So Tories are meant to be in it for themselves, labor pretends to be about nobler goals but is also in it for themselves, eg dastyari .

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