The Monday after Super Saturday

An all-new forum for discussion of Super Saturday and its aftermath.

For those wanting a more psephologically focused forum for discussion of the by-elections than the main thread, which is the Newspoll post directly below this one, I offer the following.

As well as that, some scattered notes and observations:

• Hear Ben Raue and I trade thoughts on the results in a podcast at The Tally Room.

• For those of you still following the count, Braddon and Longman (and presumably others) yesterday saw counting of postals and special hospital booth votes, together with rechecking. In Braddon, 3967 postals and 1224 followed the overall pattern in not swinging at all, leaving the Labor lead at 52.5-47.5 from a favourable swing of 0.3%, which is unlikely to change much from here. In Longman, 7775 postals and 943 special hospital votes swung somewhat more heavily to Labor (4.9% and 7.1%) than the election day result (3.4%). Since the LNP nonetheless won the postals 52.3-47.7, the raw lead has come down from 5.4% to 4.5%, but I’m now projecting a final margin of 4.3% rather than 3.4%.

• It’s not news anymore, but I thought it worth noting that the Daily Telegraph had a report on insiders’ expectations for Braddon and Longman on July 21 that proved unusually prescient, but which escaped my notice at the time – other such commentary having generally been unduly bullish from the conservatives’ perspective. According to the report, “a senior Liberal strategist said the polling was much tighter in Braddon and that while the LNP was still competitive in Longman, Labor would have to be considered in the box seat”. Also quoted as a “senior Labor source” who said Labor had “made considerable ground in the past couple of weeks”, and that the party was now feeling “pretty confident”.

• If by-election booth results in a spreadsheet-style format are of any use to you, I am maintaining them online for my own purposes for Longman and 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.

59 comments on “The Monday after Super Saturday”

  1. Thank you William. The Toiletgraph report seems to suggest that the party internal polling and Newspoll were a long way apart. It also suggests there is such a thing as good seat-polling that the parties rely upon – but we don’t see it.

  2. I just got a message off the answering machine from the weekend.

    A lovely old lady, whose name I didn’t catch, congratulating the Labor Party on its win in Mayo.
    #Doh #ThisPersonVotes

  3. Re seat polling: it’s interesting that, despite the carry-on around Longman and Braddon in particular, Mayo was pretty much bang on.

  4. The lack of swing away from the LNP in Braddon could in part be explained by the fact that Get Up had targeted Braddon in the 2016 election to get rid of Nicolic. I was part of that telephone campaign. It will be interesting to see what happens in Get Up targeted seats in the forthcoming election – particularly Dutton’s seat of Dickson.

  5. I know a national poll should be more accurate, but nobody seems to be commenting that the 51:49 newspoll is the same margin the last polls in Longman recorded, and most prior to that gave the seat to the LNP. The actual result (with PHON preferences directed to LNP) = 54.5/45.5.

    If the polls keeping giving the ALP 51:49 or better then I think we can bet on a landslide.

    LNP will tear itself to shreds either before or after the election.

  6. Taken in isolation, the Braddon result would normally be seen as a disaster for an opposition and a sign that the government is on track for re-election.

    The Longman result – again, in isolation – would usually be considered approximately situation normal for by-elections, and nothing for a government to be unduly worried about. That is, until the reversal of PHON preferences are taken into account, which adds a couple of percentage points to the swing and thus makes it look like the government of the day is in major trouble.

    So overall, any conclusions depend on whether you’re glass-half-full or glass-half-empty.

  7. sustainable future,
    Leroy’s right. You’re trying too hard.
    Ante Meridian,
    You’re right, but the difference here is how finely placed the balance already is. Even before the redistributions the government couldn’t afford any swing against them. I remember an old rule of thumb that you could halve the swing at a by-election to get a sense of what might happen at the general: taking Longman, even a ~2% swing will see the government out on its ear.

  8. Menzies House seems to be well represented here today. The Longman result says the coalition is toast and Mal is back to his dead-man-walking status. the shit-sandwich eating ricktus grin was back yesterday and will stay there until he goes (at the polls or in a coup).

  9. sustainable future,
    I yield to no-one in my detestation of the Coalition. I’m just saying – like Leroy – that your point is unsound: seat polls are notoriously unreliable, national polls are – compared to those in the rest of world – reliable.

  10. every poll got the by-elections wrong in favour of the LNP. if they were merely inaccurate, you’d expect some high and some low around the actual mean. It suggests polls are understating the labor vote.

  11. @Windhover

    Andrew Nikolic was the MHR for Bass not Braddon, Brett Whiteley who contested the by-election was the former federal MHR for Braddon. Bass was notable for a over 10% swing to Labor at the last federal election, Braddon on the other hand recorded just shy of 5% to Labor.

  12. Longman polling was actually consistently accurate for the first preference votes for ALP, Greens and One Nation – it’s just the LNP Primary that they (all) got badly wrong. (I suspect they mostly had modelling errors in 2PP preference flows as well.)

    Bearing in mind the general unreliability of seat-level polling, any thoughts as to whether this means anything, and if so what?

  13. The massive drop in the LNP primary vote in Longman should be the govt’s biggest concern, not the 2PP swing. This was despite (because of?) Turnbull’s frequent campaigning in the seat.

  14. A few points not noted above:
    – Unlike a normal by election (Perth excluded), there were incumbents here – and that always provides some sort of advantage. This was noted also in Bennelong and New England.
    – By elections allow resources (people and money) to be concentrated – in a general election they need to be spread thinner. This could be a deciding factor in Mayo at the next election – the CA resources will need to be spread thin to win senate votes.
    – The Libs only have 5 SA seats to spend time and money at the next election – the redistribution has made Makin, Adelaide and Hindmarsh unwinnable – why spend money there?
    – There is still the opportunity for a protest vote – the government was not going to change even if Labor won the seats they held.
    – Why has no one mentioned that the ALP came fourth in Mayo – the Greens actually outpolled them almost 2:1.
    – The LNP result in Longman was dreadful – they might need to look beyond fat 50 something men as candidates.

  15. “Unlike a normal by election (Perth excluded), there were incumbents here – and that always provides some sort of advantage. This was noted also in Bennelong and New England.”

    FWIW Bilbo and Ben talked about this on the linked podcast.

    “By elections allow resources (people and money) to be concentrated – in a general election they need to be spread thinner. This could be a deciding factor in Mayo at the next election – the CA resources will need to be spread thin to win senate votes.”

    True, but surely defending Mayo will be a huge priority for them.

    “– Why has no one mentioned that the ALP came fourth in Mayo – the Greens actually outpolled them almost 2:1.”

    The ALP were deliberately running dead weren’t they? But the Greens weren’t.

  16. The problem crossbenchers have is finding ways to lift their profile. It’s especially difficult during a general election when all the media attention is concentrated on the battle between the major parties.

    The effect of the Mayo by-election has been to send Sharkie’s profile through the roof, less than twelve months before the general election – a priceless gift for her.

    The Liberals have no chance of reversing an eight percent margin at the next election. Maybe at the election after next, or the one after that if Sharkie’s star fades, but at the next election they’ve got Buckley’s.

  17. The effect of the Mayo by-election has been to send Sharkie’s profile through the roof, less than twelve months before the general election – a priceless gift for her.

    This is actually an aspect of something I’ve been musing on more generally since the weekend – it may be that being caught up in the S44 kerfuffle has actually been beneficial for some previously low-profile, first term members. Not only Sharkie either – I reckon there’s a fair few more Longman electors who would have heard of Susan Lamb now than would have 18 months ago for example, and I have a feeling that just name recognition alone could be worth a % or two.

  18. In Longman theoretically the increase in preference flows to the LNP could be due to the increase in the ON vote.
    ON vote prior by-election around 9.6%, about 5% to labor, ON vote post around 15%, labor share still around 5% as higher flow to LNP.
    This suggests that drop in LNP vote some headed to ON where LNP were directly preferenced and some direct to labor increasing their primary.
    Its strange that big Trevs medal misnaming is counted as a factor against him when the ON bloke allegedly dodged his debts, I thought that this would count more against him, maybe punters dislike a fake hero more than a welcher?

    Still Turnbull praised big Kev and his vote went down, went for Garland big time and his vote went up and said Georgina was the best.

  19. “The effect of the Mayo by-election has been to send Sharkie’s profile through the roof, less than twelve months before the general election – a priceless gift for her.”

    Libs dumping on Sharkie, blaming her for undesirables coming into the area doesn’t help, also may help CA’s senate vote as unlikely to vote CA reps and Lib in senate after been told you are hateful and unpleasant.

    Also spare a thought for Georgina, with Avon closing in Australia she doesn’t have many options left.

  20. why are some pollies and pundits claiming there was a slight swing to LNP in Braddon? why are they not being called out/corrected?

  21. Boris@4:23pm
    MT has Midas touch in reverse. We did not know that at the time of Republic vote in 1999. How can we loose a Republic vote with over 2/3 voters wanting republic? We may not have a republic vote for another decade or two. That is how powerful his “Midas touch in reverse” is.

  22. Ah, fess and C@t , I had thought bemused had disappeared to join the Men’s Rights Movement with that LDP Senator! (Notwithstanding both of them have never been seen in the same room together…)

    I wondered why it has been so pleasant here of late — I had thought it was just the by-election results and the CPG cumuppence that had given the place a more festive vibe.

    Good riddance to bad rubbish!

  23. A bit of historical perspective:

    On 14 July 2001, the Liberals won the Aston by-election after suffering a swing against them of ‘only’ 3.66%. Everyone knows what happened at the next federal election which took place only a few months later.

    Right now, the ALP has a swing of 0.2% in Braddon and 3.7% in Longman.

    The average pro-Labor swing is worse than the swing in Aston. Even if we ignore Braddon, then the ALP has only done as well as it did in Aston.

    Braddon & Longman are very average results for the ALP & provide a worrying sign that the Coalition is slowly moving back into contention.

  24. A bit of an extra layer of historical perspective

    Following the Ashton by election Tampa and 9-11 happened. And the Libs were run by a shrewd political operator rather than a buffoon.

  25. Another question about Mayo – do the Libs have much of a grassroots party organisation left in the seat? I assume not. The LNP seemed to fly a lot of people into Mayo, but had very few locals campaigning for it as far as I could tell. Did any SA bludgers observe otherwise? I ask this because if so Downer will still struggle in a Mayo campaign again next time.

  26. I’m very happy for the Libs to delude themselves that they are in the race and the media to keep reporting that the election will be close.

    After weeks of concerted media lies about leadership issues in the ALP, attacks on Shorten, and a miraculously long period of no major LNP fuck ups, the LNP failed to win two ultra marginal seats that are historically conservative and ‘natural’ LNP seats. They suffered a swing against them in Queensland that suggests their one seat majority is in even more trouble than it already is due to new electoral boundaries. Due to redistribution nationally The libs need to win seats just to hold their slim majority. They are on track to lose multiple seats in Queensland and WA, and are unlikely to win any new seats in Vic or SA. There are not enough seats up for grabs in NSW and Tas to make up the likely shortfall.

    I predict the next lot of polls will swing back to labor – because shorten won the by-elections according the narrative the LNP and their media arm at Murdoch (or is the LNP the political arm of Murdoch?) had set up in the expectation they would win Braddon and/or Longman or at least get a swing.

    Panic will now rise within the LNP and the media will frenzy over the blood in the water. There will be many nervous LNP ministers, including Dutton – and he has not worked so hard to get where he is to not get a go at being PM. He will be counting his numbers and plotting a coup – abbott will settle for a senior ministry and revenge on Turnbull.

    Disunity is death and the LNP is the most disunited rabble we have ever had not quite managing to govern the country. Labor were disunited under Rudd, but most were united in despising the little prick by the time he went – it was personalities not ideologies, whereas the LNP is deeply divided between the libertarian right and authoritarian/theocratic far right. They are unified in their general sociopathy and lack of empathy for those without privilege, but the deep hatred between them will ultimately only be resolved by a night of the long knives as the hard right take over, and the a party split with moderate votes going elsewhere. ‘

    It is hardly surprising that a party that has worked hard since 1996 to only appeal to and recruit sociopathic arseholes has internal unity issues. PHON are the spawn of the LNP and the personalities are similar, although PHON seems also to make sure no candidate has an IQ higher than their leader’s sub-80 score.

  27. All we need to know is that LNP sucks and Labor is better than LNP.

    Time for greens to work with Labor to throw out National Party for the inaction of the QLD/NSW drought.

  28. @ Roger: “Following the Ashton by election Tampa and 9-11 happened. And the Libs were run by a shrewd political operator rather than a buffoon.”

    Malcolm has a lot more charisma than Howard, and his moderate social views make more attractive to centrist voters.

    Regarding Tampa/9-11, see for example, Peter Brent’s analysis:

    http://insidestory.org.au/a-vote-changer/

    “When the Tampa arrived, the Howard government had already been steadily improving its opinion poll position from the early 2001 nadir. Tampa and, later, “children overboard” melted the talkback lines, but so do lots of issues that don’t change votes.”

    “It was September 11, two weeks later, that sent Howard’s voting-intentions figure skywards, but by polling day they had subsided, and the result of fifty-one to forty-nine, while respectable for a government in good economic times asking for a third term, was no landslide.”

  29. Tetsujin,

    That Howard was making a comeback in 2001 anyway is certainly true, but it’s a bit too cute to suggest that Tampa and then 9/11 had no effect. 9/11, in particular, was a highly traumatic event the world over, and one which saw voters swing towards incumbents. Tampa was also significant, in that it solidified the late 90s One Nation vote (remember that ONP got over 10% of the vote in 1998, and then their vote collapsed in 2001) under the Coalition banner.

    To be the sure, the final result wasn’t a landslide, and this is probably more due to a decent campaign by the ALP and a sloppy one by Howard, but it was still a very comfortable win, which looked highly unlikely the previous February. Tampa and 9/11 wasn’t everything, but it certainly bolstered the Coalition vote in marginal seats.

    But one of the mistakes that many people make when looking for parallels in history is that circumstances are unique each time. Turnbull (or possibly his successor) may well be able to mount a sufficient comeback by May of next year, but to do so he would need to get the clear air that he has failed to get for the last two years. Truffles leads a highly divided party – divided on policy, personality, and direction, who have achieved very little in the five years in office. Howard, by contrast, led a pretty united team (notwithstanding the “mean and tricky” jibes that came out) who had already put forward some significant policy wins (eg GST, guns), and so he had developed a persona as a policy man.

  30. We are reliably informed that a top heavy delegation of ten saw Turnbull yesterday and asked him to resign for the good of the Party.
    We are aware of the makeup of the delegation. Both Right and Moderate,
    Scott Morrison
    Christopher Pyne
    Christian Porter
    Michael Sukkar
    Dan Tehan
    David Coleman
    Concetta Ferreira-Wells
    Angus Taylor
    Paul Fletcher
    Karin Andrews

    Turnbull refused the request

  31. Robert Ball – interesting, if true. Do you have any evidence to back up your rumours?

    Also, as a point of order, stuff like this should probably go on to the main thread.

  32. I’m not *much* of a one for telling people what to do but could general discussion be on the main thread and this one left for “a more psephologically focused forum for discussion of the by-elections”?

  33. On the matter of the 2001 election, my memory is that the Labor campaign was utterly incompetent. Some of their ads seemed almost to have been written by the Liberal party. Only the campaign of 2004 was worse (and no, I haven’t forgotten about 2010).

    I don’t think Turnbull can rely on the shambles that Howard was gifted by his enemies.

  34. “Totally disagree. Its widely known that national polls are more reliable than seat polls. Its seat polling that’s the problem, not polling (in Australia) in general.”

    Leroy,
    The current opinion polls give a consistent average of about 51% 2PP to the ALP. Let’s say that they have a margin of error of 3%. Do you think that it’s equally probable that on election day the ALP would win with a 54% 2PP or would be trashed with a 48% 2PP? If you wanted to bet, where would you put your money: an ALP win or an ALP loss?

  35. “Things are becoming quite fluid now, and moving very quickly,stand by for an announcement at perhaps 1500.”…

    Indeed! The Liberal party is a fluid…. and Turnbull can’t swim anymore… 🙂

  36. “Right now, the ALP has a swing of 0.2% in Braddon and 3.7% in Longman.”
    This a by-election.
    Swing in Braddon at the last Federal election: +4.8% + 0.2% now, total swing since and including the Federal election in Braddon = 5%!!!
    Swing in Longman at the last Federal election: +7.71% + 3.7% now, total swing since and including the Federal election in Longman = 11.41%!!!

    The Coalition are going to be decimated at the coming Federal election…. Queensland saved Turnbull in 2016, Queensland is going to bury Turnbull.

  37. “We are reliably informed that a top heavy delegation of ten saw Turnbull yesterday and asked him to resign for the good of the Party.”…. It sounds too good to be true… I strongly doubt it. Time will come when Fizza will get the boot pre-election, perhaps, but the momentum is going to build up continuously for the next couple of months. The tipping point is probably going to be a Newspoll return to 53% ALP after this by-elections debacle. Now the Libs are somewhat optimistic by what they call a “slim” advantage to the ALP of “just” 51% in the 2PP.

  38. I sense that what the polls vrs by election results are telling us is that there are a lot of people who are undecided when polled (and possibly decline to participate in the poll), but when they are made to vote the majority of these are backing labor. This was despite four weeks of intensive misinformation from the murdoch and other media.

    the idea that turnbull is a great campaigner vrs shorten was disproved in 2016, but some choose to believe it still. all turnbull stands for it tax breaks for those who need them least and service cuts to those who need them most. If labor repeat this message from now until the election they will win. If they has a surplus instead of a record deficit, the libs will be planning a ‘mini-budget’with middle class welfare paid directly into bank accounts – just as Howard did. but their well is dry and they are farked.

  39. I sense that what the polls vrs by election results are telling us is that there are a lot of people who are undecided when polled (and possibly decline to participate in the poll), but when they are made to vote the majority of these are backing labor. This was despite four weeks of intensive misinformation from the murdoch and other media.

    the idea that turnbull is a great campaigner vrs shorten was disproved in 2016, but some choose to believe it still. all turnbull stands for it tax breaks for those who need them least and service cuts to those who need them most. If labor repeat this message from now until the election they will win. If they has a surplus instead of a record deficit, the libs will be planning a ‘mini-budget’with middle class welfare paid directly into bank accounts – just as Howard did. but their well is dry and they are farked.

  40. Love all these positive comments about Labor winning the next federal Election – keep up the positive feed back and don’t let this IPA LNP and murdock press deter our positive ambitions for a Shorten Led ALP government. At last a Priminister who will govern for all Australians and our Environment – go Labor we can and will win the next election we must be like Bill Shorten said
    ” I never give up”.

  41. Alpo, very real, has been ongoing since Sunday. Started with a meeting of Ministers at the Ryde Eastwood RLC on Sunday, Turnbull was not there. Sources of course are sacred.
    MSM knows but is not reporting the story hoping for a bloodless coup.
    The Liberals are acting business as usual
    We are also informed Murdoch has abandoned Turnbull.
    You cannot have missed the ramping up of the anti Turnbull comments from the commentariat and the increasing calls from MPs for the end of Corporate Tax Welfare. The Backbench can see the signs, and are very nervous indeed as are some Ministers and Assistant Ministers.
    The story will develop.

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