Wentworth by-election minus zero days

One last report of internal polling for the Liberals suggests the situation for them is bad, though maybe not quite as bad as some reports this week have suggested.

Dawn breaks, and we have arrived at the end of the campaign without a single media-commissioned opinion poll. All those results from ReachTEL (which you can find listed on the sidebar of my by-election guide) were commissioned by left-of-centre political concerns; the other source of intelligence has been the purported internal polling provided by the Liberals in the name of scaring wavering voters back into line. The last such is from today’s Daily Telegraph – make what you will of the following:

Internal party polling, obtained by The Saturday Telegraph, shows the Liberals are faring better in the contest in Sydney’s wealthiest electorate than they have admitted, with a primary vote of 39 per cent, although this is still not an outright winnable position … Earlier this week, polling conducted by the Liberal Party collapsed to as low as 41 to 59 two party-preferred. However, tracking polling has improved since then.

If all goes well, I’m hoping to take a leap forward with my election night results reporting this evening, I having finally – I hope – wrapped my head around enough Python and Javascript to offer fully automated live results, updated by the minute from the Australian Electoral Commission media feed. For a preview of how this will look (with a few imperfections), I have retroactively applied the set-up to the final results from the Super Saturday by-elections in July: go here and click on one of the five electorate tabs.

Have a look down any given page, and you will see booth results in a nice and neat tabular form, with tabs to allow you to choose whether they appear as raw votes, percentages or swings from the last election. I flatter myself that this will be the handiest way of observing booth results as they come in: the AEC doesn’t publish them at all on its site on election night (unless there’s been a recent change of policy), and navigating Antony Green’s display at the ABC requires a bit more effort.

You will also note “win probability” gauges, copying the concept the New York Times made famous on the unforgettable night/day of the 2016 presidential election. This will only get a workout if the AEC publishes a Liberal-versus-Labor notional two-party count, as this will be the only way to allow for a swing calculation. If that’s indeed what happens, it will come with the fairly substantial qualification that the result will apply only if Liberal and Labor are indeed the last two candidates in the count, and it’s not the general view that that’s what will happen. One way or another, the facility should be regarded as experimental for the time being.

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.

134 comments on “Wentworth by-election minus zero days”

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  1. Dear #auspol We will be covering #WentworthVotes live tonight with @gabriellechan in command of Politics Live, @annefdavies on the ground in Sydney, and news and commentary from me. Look forward to hearing from you as the night goes on @GuardianAus

  2. So they are wheeling out. 104 year old – with all due respect

    But there is no mention of Menzies – with Holt as his treasurer – raising both personal and Company tax rates

    And if you are concerned by infrastructure lagging community requirements – Howard gave the money to tax payers – but left out those who received a sandwich a week according to Vanstone so only high income earners benefited – instead of investing in infrastructure

    And a White Australia!!!

    Just goes to show the demographic the Liberals rely on – and the fact they are in decline speaks to the decline of the Liberal Party as a political force

    They are mired in the time of Menzies – who took us to Vietnam, introduced conscription and murdered over 200 young Australians who were unlucky enough to have their birth dates drawn from a barrel

    Ironic that focus is on the Invicta Games because the damage caused to those conscripted by Menzies did not stop at the over 200 killed

    And here we are over 50 years on

  3. @Frednk

    My guess is that the Liberals were probably happy with a smaller sample size. 800, which is what Labor were stating they wanted, is pretty decent for a seat poll. Of course it is important to note that voters would not have known for which party the poll was being taken, so it really is an indication of an angry electorate.

  4. The Liberal volunteers must be feeling like I did handing out HTVs for NSW State Labor in 2011. No one wanted one and the only time people stopped was to tell me that today, they would have to change the habit of a lifetime and vote for anyone but Labor. I felt like crying. 🙁

  5. swamprat @ #105 Saturday, October 20th, 2018 – 1:32 pm

    It would be amusing if the final two were Phelps and Murray. Who are the Liberal preferrencing?

    At a guess I’d say Murray as you’d think they’d rather be up against Labor than an independent at the next election.

    So, in light of that they’ve probably they’ve gone for Phelps. 🙂

  6. The AEC’s secret envelopes
    A little bit of trivia from our smh State Political Editor Alexandra Smith.

    The Australian Electoral Commission keeps its decision on who is likely to emerge as the two top candidates under wraps in sealed envelopes until 6pm.

  7. C@tmomma says:
    Saturday, October 20, 2018 at 5:35 pm
    The Liberal volunteers must be feeling like I did handing out HTVs for NSW State Labor in 2011. No one wanted one and the only time people stopped was to tell me that today, they would have to change the habit of a lifetime and vote for anyone but Labor. I felt like crying.

    Hugs – we’re coming back sister

  8. “Good Afternoon political par-tay people! ”

    And good arvo to the c@t. Am settling in with relaxants of choice to hopefully watch the Liberals bleed, spin and squirm. Tonight is i think, one for politics as bloodsport. 🙂

    Part of the joy is that if this does go bad for the Libs….they have brought it all and entirely down upon themselves. 🙂 Strategic, Tactical, and Marketing genius wot?? 🙂

  9. “No one wanted one and the only time people stopped was to tell me that today, they would have to change the habit of a lifetime and vote for anyone but Labor. I felt like crying. ”

    Been there, done that and actually…do still have the T shirt…….

    For all the damage the Libs have inflicted on this country i have no sympathy for their voters or party faithful. They can suck it up. Maybe learn from the experience??

  10. Why so little comment (perhaps I have missed it) on the fact that Kerryn Phelps is a convert to Judaism? Much talk of Morrison’s Jerusalem talk, and Sharma’s background as ambo to Tel Aviv. But nought that I’ve seen on Phelps converting to the religion of her partner many years ago.

  11. Alias, her partner in Jewish, so maybe it was one of these pre-nup things to convert. Most Australians don’t care about religion, or what people choose to do

  12. and the previous member for Wentworth converted from Anglicanism to Catholicism to please the Hughes family – nobody said anything about this

  13. Sprocket..
    Religion apparently matters enough to those 12.5 per cent of Wentworth constituents who say they’re Jewish right? Otherwise why did Morrison do the Jerusalem thing etc? I mean I’m not saying Phelps is a synagogue-goer – I have no idea – but given it’s the electorate with the highest number of people of the Jewish faith, then I’m a little surprised it’s received so little in the way of reportage.

  14. True J-number, but do you know if Pentecostals feature much in Wentworth? I somehow doubt it. More of a bogan, outer burbs kind of thing. Can’t see those Wentworth people waving their hands around Pentecostal style.

  15. This snippet on the Guardian:

    “With the appropriate cautions for exit polling (“from raw unweighted data and should be considered as indicative only”), the Australia Institute has released the following interim results of an exit poll of 875 respondents. This is directly from its report:

    Kerryn Phelps has a strong primary vote and has attracted many former Liberal voters, as well people who had voted for Labor and the Greens in 2016

    Liberal vote has dropped significantly and preferences are flowing strongly to Kerryn Phelps from ALP and Green voters

    Climate change and replacing coal with renewable energy is the biggest single issue motivating voters in Wentworth – 78% of voters say it had at least some influence on their vote. Half (47%) said it had a lot of influence on their vote and 33% name it as the most important issue.

    Climate and coal was more important than any other issue to Phelps voters, with 39% of them saying it was their primary concern.

    Amongst ex-Liberal voters who have now voted for Phelps, climate change was the second-biggest issue (27%) behind Turnbull’s toppling (44%), but 80% of those voters said climate change and getting out of coal had at least some influence on how they voted.

    Remember we have yet to see the raw numbers all up. Just putting it out there.”

  16. Classic: In a vox pop outside a Wentworth polling station, a woman voter said she had voted for “Dharma”. I had hoped the reporter would say: “You bum!”
    But in fact she helped the woman get the name right. Nice contraction though.

  17. Phelps won…. she and shamra will each poll 35 to 37% with more than 25% for greens,alp, and Heath of those will vote maybe 80% to phelps… so Phelps has at least 55%

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