The Sunday after Super Saturday

A good night for Bill Shorten as Labor lands a surprisingly emphatic win in Longman, and does enough to get home in Braddon.

While Labor’s by-election performances were nothing special in historical terms, it was undeniably a good night for the party, thanks largely to an unexpectedly clear win in Longman. Five campaign opinion polls had Labor slightly behind in the seat, before the election eve Newspoll found them edging to a 51-49 lead. Labor actually appears headed for a winning margin of around 4%, bolstering a fragile 0.8% margin with a swing of 3.4%. The big surprise was the near double-digit fall in the Liberal National Party primary vote, which leaves them struggling to crack 30%. This is well below the 34% attributed to them by Newspoll, to say nothing of a series of ReachTEL results that had them approaching 40%.

The LNP slump rendered redundant what everyone imagined would be the decisive factor, namely the flow of One Nation preferences. Despite this, One Nation were the other big winner in Longman, adding around 7% to their 9.4% vote from 2016. This indeed flowed a lot more strongly to the LNP than in 2016, reflecting the party’s how-to-vote card recommendation and the fact that they clearly picked up much of the LNP’s lost support. After receiving 56.5% of One Nation preferences in 2016, Labor looks to have scored only a third this time.

The Braddon result was less good for Labor, notwithstanding that they have clearly won, and that this looked in doubt throughout the campaign. The main change from the 2016 result is that independent Craig Garland scored a creditable 11.0% (although it may come down a little in late counting), chipping a few percent away from each of Labor, Liberal and the Greens. Rebekha Sharkie’s win in Mayo was of about the anticipated scale: her present lead over Georgina Downer after preferences is 8.6%, compared with her 5.0% margin in 2016. Sharkie’s primary vote performance was even more robust, up from 34.9% to around 45%. This bespeaks one poor aspect of the by-elections for Labor – after playing dead at two successive elections, its vote in Mayo has fallen all the way to 6.0%.

In the two WA seats, Josh Wilson did notably better in Fremantle than Patrick Gorman did in Perth, although neither was in the least bit troubled. Wilson gained 11.6% to gain a clear majority on the primary vote, with the Greens treading water at 17% and the Liberal Democrats garnering enough stray Liberals to land in the low teens. Despite the 42.3% Liberal vote from 2016 being up for grabs (compared with 36.9% in Fremantle), Labor only made a negligible gain on the primary vote in Perth, with the Greens also only up slightly. The rest spread among a large field of 15 candidates, with independent Paul Collins the strongest performer among claimants to the Liberal vote. Turnout was notably subdued in Perth and Fremantle, and looks likely to settle at around 70%.

If you click on the image below, you will find an accounting of the swings in Braddon and Longman and, in the former case, an projection of the final result. Since the swing on votes counted in Braddon thus far is exactly zero, it concludes Labor’s existing margin of 2.2% will be maintained. Also featured are regional breakdowns for Braddon and Longman, with the former broken into the larger towns (Burnie, Devonport and Ulverstone) and the remainder, and the latter into Bribie Island area and the remainder. This doesn’t turn up anything particularly interesting: especially in Longman, the swings were remarkably uniform. Craig Garland’s vote was a little lower in the larger towns, but there was otherwise little distinction to speak of in Braddon.

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.

813 comments on “The Sunday after Super Saturday”

  1. Pegasus@2:47pm
    It is astonishing that you are supporting Garland now, who heavily prefereced ALP. Is it because Greens got only about 3.5% of primary vote in Braddon( a electorate of Tasmania), which is in state of your spritual leader. I never expected Greens to perform so pathetically in Tasmania.

  2. Nicholas

    If the Greens were truly bold and imaginative, they’d have a chance of talking over the media and directly to the people.

    To some extent utilising social media such as Facebook and Twitter is a way of circumnavigating the msm.

    However, for people like me who refuse to participate in both, it can be frustrating, as I have been locked out of some community and political campaigns because they only communicate via these outlets.

    The same applies to whether you have a smart phone or not as calls for action on the day are often only communicated by sms.

  3. I think that the Greens are a ‘niche’ party and will stay such unless they completely transform. People who vote Green care more about the environment than they do about their electricity bill or their marginal tax rate.

    If the Greens want to increase their vote share they need to persuade more people to their view. They cannot become a major party because people worried about their bills greatly outnumber those who worry about climate change, Indigenous recognition or asylum seekers. I’m afraid that’s the truth of the matter.

    The Greens can hope to be a member of a Centre-Left Coalition one day, this in my opinion is what they should be aiming for.

    That’s my 2 cents’ worth. Our Green comrades may or (more likely) may not agree.

  4. Ven

    As I have stated many times here, I want the political duopoly to be smashed.

    I would prefer multiparty governance and proportional representation in the lower house as that would more truly reflect the diversity of views present in our society and would ensure more genuine policy debate and discussion.

  5. On ballot papers I always put the Greens ahead of the ALP and the ALP ahead of the LNP. But I suspect that the great public policy improvements that we need will come from outside those three entities.

    My own contribution at present is to network with policy experts, develop my policy knowledge, write policy analysis, and influence institutions to which I belong and to which I have access. It is a modest contribution but an important one. I’ll need a few lucky breaks to make a big impact. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. Either way, I will do my best.

  6. Steve777

    The Greens can hope to be a member of a Centre-Left Coalition one day, this in my opinion is what they should be aiming for.

    And that is the position I advocated for several years when I first appeared on PB a decade ago.

    You don’t need much imagination to know how that view was received here by many Laborites.

  7. Zoomster:

    Georgina just isn’t a good candidate, full stop. And if she is the Liberals idea of a good woman candidate, they can set themselves all the targets in the world and it won’t get them anywhere.

    _____________

    Dammit, Zoom!

    Keep it down, loose lips sink ships!

    😉

  8. Seems to me the Kill Bill campaign by the CPG was designed to con the punters into forgetting the issues and voting for President instead.

    “Forget policy, forget reasoned debate. Just vote against Labor to get rid of Shorten. Then we’ll install Albo and eventually tell you what’s wrong with him too. You know all you want is a beauty contest. We’ll give you one.”

  9. Nicholas

    But I suspect that the great public policy improvements that we need will come from outside those three entities.

    I tend to agree which is why for a couple of decades I was solely involved in community activism, eschewing political activism.

    Now, I combine both , rather exhausting at times but worth the effort!

    All the best in your endeavours. Your genuine, authentic and passionate commitment to a better world is heart-warming.

  10. [My own contribution at present is to network with policy experts, develop my policy knowledge, write policy analysis, and influence institutions to which I belong and to which I have access. It is a modest contribution but an important one. I’ll need a few lucky breaks to make a big impact. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. Either way, I will do my best.]

    Bulldust.

    As you noted from the outset of your appearance here — you exist only to “poke Labor”.

    Nothing more, nothing less.

  11. Lay off Peg guys — some of her postings may be tedious to some, but like DTT she has every right to post whatever she wants just as it is yours/my right to read it or not as we choose.

    And they probably think the same of many of our collective posts.

    We should be in a good mood here today, after all, democracy triumphed over spivocracy!

  12. Julia Baird mentions the issue (non disclosure of donations) and then runs away from it. Hey, Julia, ban all “think tanks” that don’t publically disclose their donors. If that puts them in a “silo”, fantastic.
    P.S. I’m still waiting for my invite onto the Drum. I’m not a “think tank” but I am a “thinker”. What’s wrong with me?

  13. jenauthor says: Sunday, July 29, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    We should be in a good mood here today, after all, democracy triumphed over spivocracy!

    ***********************************************

    Well said Jen !!!! – I am still celebrating ….. and the nips are getting bigger 🙂

  14. I never thought any of the seats yesterday were any realistic chance of changing hands. But even I’m surprised by the size of the primary swing against the LNP in Longman. Party operatives and the likes of Dutton and the rest the LNP members on small margins must have been rocked by that well sub 30% primary.

    On reflection I really shouldn’t have been surprised. It is axiomatic that a high PHON vote spells disaster for the Coalition. I can’t think of a single election where PHON have been a significant factor that the LNP have done well in. 2017 Qld election PHON grabbed 13.7% and the LNP dropped 7.6% to 33.7%, Labor moves from minority to majority. 98 PHON grabbed 22.7% and the Coalition dropped 17.7% to drop to 31.3% and hand Beattie government. In 98 Federally PHON grabbed 8.4% and the Coalition dropped 7.7 to hang on despite a 49.0% 2PP (-4.6%).

    In both 98 and last year Qld Labor had primary swings against them, but they were ‘but a scratch’ compared to the smashing the LNP suffered. Yesterday the flood away from the LNP was almost split between PHON and Labor. That’s a nightmare scenario for the filth.

    Whilst it’s right for the ALP to treat Pauline with contempt, it’s also easy – they don’t have a lot to lose and much to gain. For the LNP the PHON vote is largely the dopes they’ve been able to rope into voting against their own interests with dog whistling and culture warring. If for every one of those they lose to PHON (and get back as a pref) they also lose one direct to the ALP primary vote as happened in Longman they truly are fucked. It indicates the economic pain they are inflicting on their own support has exceeded their capacity to be conned with ‘black bashing’ or whatever is the culture war du jour.

    So there’s a story for the media. How is it possible that for the first time ever the Coalition can benefit from a large PHON vote? How is it possible that a toff like Trumble could be the first Coalition leader to pull off the feat of playing footsies with Hanson and not get badly burnt? Trumble doesn’t have the electoral fat Howard had in 98 to survive. He really seems to have no option other than to set out to destroy Hanson to my mind. If PHON does poll anywhere near as strongly as they are currently showing then LNP members all over Queensland are cooked. But Trumble also hasn’t got the strength to go after Hanson. Brian is also stupid, and will think buttering up Pauline to pass tax cuts for big business is a big win for him. And that’s assuming Dutton et al even give him much time to work out how to attack Hanson if he was so inclined..

  15. The election betting in Longman is a great example of how people are swayed by media and polls ….

    The resulting meme was Longman was going to be the hardest task for ALP and the betting agreed.

    Lots of people have lost their dosh as a result

  16. As you noted from the outset of your appearance here — you exist only to “poke Labor”.

    A lot has changed since I made that tongue-in-cheek remark when I began posting here in 2014. My efforts in public policy are focused outside of Poll Bludger. I like this blog because of William Bowe’s analysis of polls. The comments thread of this forum is valuable because of the links that people provide. It isn’t the right place to persuade people of the merits of a federally funded, locally administered Job Guarantee that is combined with a targeted Basic Income. It isn’t the place to persuade people of the merits of the federal government focusing on non-inflationary real resource space rather than meaningless, arbitrary fiscal targets. It is, however, a good place to come across links to material that I otherwise wouldn’t read.

    My existence is much greater than the small amount of comments that I make in this forum.

  17. So why didn’t Garland run for the Greens? Not middle class professional enough for them? Or did he consider them a waste of time?

  18. William
    Would it be reasonable to assume that the higher the vote for PHON the higher would be the preference proportion to Liberal seeing the additional votes are more likely to have come from there?

  19. jenauthor,
    ‘Lay off Pegasus’!?!
    When she lays off Labor as a reflexive position. And follows it up with contemptuous snark when you dare question her motivations.
    And that’s just my opinion too. Which I am just as entitled to.

  20. I’m delighted that Dutton might have come down a peg or two after Super Sat. I am really looking forward to someone challenging him in his seat.

    His influence and all the Monkey Pods are the reason I become irritated at the same-same narrative.

  21. Rhwombat
    Thanks for the recommendation. I’d come across Blitzed but haven’t ordered it. Drugs in politics is
    an overlooked issue. JFK was another one due to all his medical problems.

  22. One perspective that might be worth thinking about for those who insist that voting for minor parties is a way to get better policy:

    We have seen in the past 24 hrs, again (as we saw with ALP/Greens) that the practice of voting minors does not actually force better policy in the long run – it more likely forces the major parties to have to try and out think those minors and take their fingers off the pulse of the community as a whole.

    The Libs have been fracturing under the assault of the ultra right wing because they are trying to fight ON bleeding their votes. So instead of focusing on policy that suits the greater good, they are focusing on crap that appeases the fringe element. Abbott has been using this to agitate (as do Indies like ON/Leyonhelm/Hinch etc.) and it has resulted in a lot of uncertainty and allowed the people who have personality issues to throw stones at their own party.

    Labor went through the same with the rise of the Green Party.

    But the result of this ISN’T the attainment of better policy for the entire electorate. It causes a polarisation that might get some more extreme policies through (right wing or left) but they are ephemeral rather than entrenched.

    Shorten & Co have refused to be swayed this time by fighting against agitators from outside (who encourage agitators from within). Instead, they have seen an outcome they want, focused on it, and ignored the collateral bullshit.

    If you ignore a dog it comes to realise it isn’t as important as it thinks and starts to behave itself.

  23. It takes a brave person to run as a Greens candidate in Braddon.

    https://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/5515755/police-bungle-car-vandalism-probe-braddon-greens-candidate-says/?cs=87

    A person who vandalised a Greens candidate’s car will likely get away with it because police waited too long to secure CCTV footage, the candidate says.
    ::::
    He said police had admitted to him their failure to view the footage while it was still available.
    :::
    Mr Edwards’ car windows were smashed as he spoke at a Bob Brown Foundation event at the Burnie Arts & Function Centre on June 22.

  24. If you ignore a dog it comes to realise it isn’t as important as it thinks and starts to behave itself.

    Has been tried. Dog thinks it’s then okay to bark louder and more frequently and has had a win over those trying to silence it.

    I deal with dogs all the time. They are cunning beasts. Like humans. 🙂

  25. In an electorate where jobs in forestry, logging and saw mills butt heads against environmental concerns, as reflected in family and community divides, emotions run high with consequences often not pretty.

  26. Silos aside (agree with that part), Julia Baird seems to lament that talking heads interviewed by other talking heads are insufficiently represented on her show. She compares people who have a very loud voice, and a public platform from which to throw it, with people who have neither. Why does she think the latter like twitter? Are we supposed to sympathise with the strong who feel persecuted by the weak? Perhaps she could consider less lecturing of those who feel voiceless and powerless and try to work out how to include them in the conversation in a healthier fashion :-P.

  27. And from the Toaster, Alan Jones tweets…

    “In politics, as in life, if you do today what you did yesterday, you get yesterday’s results.

    The Liberals surely can’t stomach again what happened on Saturday.

    Turnbull has to go.”

  28. She compares people who have a very loud voice, and a public platform from which to throw it, with people who have neither.

    Reading the article, that thought occurred to me as well.

  29. C@tmomma,
    Totally concur with your point at 3:53 pm. Only William Bowe has the right, as well as the relatively unbiased judgement, to tell a Bludger to “lay off”.

  30. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-29/participation-rate-at-wa-by-elections-extremely-low/10048928

    Perth and Fremantle may be about to take out the dubious honour of recording the lowest voter turnout in an electorate since compulsory voting was introduced into Australia.
    ::::
    As of Sunday afternoon, Perth was recording voter turnout rates of 62 per cent, and 64 per cent in Fremantle.
    :::
    Australian Parliamentary Library researcher Stephen Barber notes in his report on Australian by-elections there has been a decline in voter turnout for since 2015, with average turnout sitting at 86.1 per cent since 1970.

  31. Some people say Chris Kenny talks out of his parochial backside. Others say he has poor judgement.

    This tweet from him when Georgina Downer was announced as candidate supports both views.

  32. “In politics, as in life, if you do today what you did yesterday, you get yesterday’s results.

    The Liberals surely can’t stomach again what happened on Saturday.

    Turnbull has to go.”

    I suppose Jones wants Abbott to return? In which case my advice to Abbott is to go his hardest. 😀

  33. Green posters should attack the National Party for their lack of action in rural/regional Australia.

    Stop attacking Labor, or the Greens will get bloody no where.

  34. poroti says: Sunday, July 29, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    phoenixRED

    Youse made me do it

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeuK2Myv2y8

    ************************************************************

    THANKS Poroti – The Mentals were a truly great Aussie band ……. 🙂 ….. great day all round for Bill and the whole Labor team and hopefully it translates well into the next federal election ….. give me another and keep topping up my glass till I pass out …….. or go to bed and dream of when Bill Shorten becomes our next PM

  35. Confessions @ #531 Sunday, July 29th, 2018 – 4:15 pm

    She compares people who have a very loud voice, and a public platform from which to throw it, with people who have neither.

    Reading the article, that thought occurred to me as well.

    Also, Julia Baird refuses to acknowledge all the times that an IPA, and/or CIS, a Sydney Institute or Tom Switzer personage, plus a Liberal is on one or another ABC program during a variety of shows on the ABC. From breakfast on. Not to mention how they seem to conveniently pop up after major stories break to offer their ‘expert’ opinion.

  36. Dr KB makes a very perspicacious observation.

    An under-studied aspect of preferential voting is the extent to which some voters might be open to switching their preference only if they can find somebody else who they like (rather than the other major party) to vote 1 for. Some voters have class-based or habit-based resistance to “voting Labor” or “voting Liberal” that may not extend to preferencing.

    http://kevinbonham.blogspot.com/2018/07/super-saturday-by-elections-live-and.html

    It is interesting to ponder how widespread this is. I’d surmise that there could be a not insignificant amount to this regarding PHON prefs. The percentage of the prefs flowing one way or the other (from any minor candidate not just PHON), is less important than the number of voters who would have voted 1 for a major but have felt able to preference the other major once they’d found a minor/indie they could give their 1 too.

    This could be part of the explanation for why a high PHON votes always hurts the Coalition.

    The thesis being that they are a cohort who for cultural reasons would never vote for Labor directly. When PHON is absent these are LNP primary voters, but having jumped on Pauline’s bandwagon at least some find themselves able to put Labor above the LNP once they’re in the both. I’d add as speculation that these are basically cultural voters – but once they’ve put their cultural marker down with PHON they are free to vote their economic interest.

    These voters don’t even need to be near the majority of those LNP voters who throw a protest vote for One Nation to be devastating to the LNP. If the LNP was to say lose 8% of their PV to PHON in a seat even if only 10% of those voters find themselves freed to pref Labor when they would have previously been LNP primary votes you are talking about a 1.5% swing on 2PP. And that’s before you get to direct changes in voting as clearly happened in significant numbers in Longman.

    So you can have a situation where the % of prefs to Labor from PHON goes down significantly as with Longman yesterday, but that is actually counter productive for the LNP because a larger number of votes that were previously Coaltion primaries are now going to Labor via PHON even though the percentage of prefs from PHON to Labor has dropped.

  37. Wombat et al
    Talking about drugs, I was told that Dr Harris used oral alprazolam combined with intranasal ketamine to sedate the kids in the cave. The US team suggested half would die so the rescuers had to get diplomatic immunity in case it went bad.
    I also heard the rescue was superbly organised. Absolute textbook. Hence the excellent outcome.

  38. @Nicholas:

    “It isn’t the right place to persuade people of the merits of a federally funded, locally administered Job Guarantee that is combined with a targeted Basic Income.”

    As someone who has given you a fair bit of stick, I also say you have ‘won’ me over with that idea. Much better than the UBI malarkey that the Greens are peddling.

    However, I’d like to see a proper Government White Paper linking Employment, Training and the basic income safety net before committing to any particular detailed plan. Such a White Paper would be a first in those fields for 25 years (over the same peroid we have had 4 Defecne White Papers FFS!).

    One thing I’d add to your concept of a ‘jobs guarantee’: I’d like to see a job guarantee, coupled with appropriate vocational training kick in for all unemployed past the point where they could reasonably be considered to be ‘fictionally unemployed’ (say the three month mark). It would also work on the basis of mutual obligation. In other words something along the lines of the Working Nation program of the mid 1990s. I think this could be easily rolled out in the cities, but I wonder about how practical it would be rural and regional areas. Especially for Indigenous populations.

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