Victorian election minus two days

Two days to go until an election that is, in a sense, already half over, thanks to the extraordinary growth in pre-poll voting.

Amid the ongoing opinion poll drought, quench your thirst with the following intelligence from John Ferguson and Ewin Hannan of The Australian.

Elsewhere:

• Pre-poll voting continues to be conducted at an unprecedented clip, which will potentially make life different for prognosticators on Saturday night. The Victorian Electoral Commission reports just shy of a million pre-poll votes have been cast, with the trend suggesting upwards of 350,000 are still to come over the next two days, eventually accounting for nearly 40% of all votes cast. Taking postal votes into account as well, little more than half the votes are likely to be cast on election day. This will be the first Victorian election at which pre-poll votes are counted on the night, and if there is indeed a different dynamic on pre-poll votes, the picture that emerges early in the count may be upset later in the night. The VEC site offers full data on the number of pre-poll and postal votes cast by day and by electorate.

• Last night’s apparently incident-free leaders debate was deemed to have been won by Daniel Andrews by 49 members out of the audience of 100 swinging voters hand-picked by Galaxy Research, with 33 favouring Matthew Guy.

• Fourteen months after it came to light and two days before the election, the Herald Sun reports Russell Northe, Nationals-turned-independent member for Morwell, received a $5000 donation ahead of the 2010 election which, a Nationals official says, never made its way to the party’s campaign account. Northe’s departure from the party in August last year occurred against a backdrop of personal and financial difficulties, among which was a gambling problem. The seat is a complicated contest in which Northe might equally lose to the Nationals or Labor (or perhaps even former Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party Senator Ricky Muir, now with Shooters Fishers and Farmers).

Noel Towell of The Age reports Labor believes it is “close enough to justify extra spending” in Melbourne, which Ellen Sandell of the Greens won from it by a 2.4% margin in 2014. While Labor believes it is drawing blood in its attacks on the Greens for standing by Angus McAlpine, erstwhile gangster rap homeboy and now candidate for Footscray, a party source says it is “treating its research in Melbourne with caution, because of the shortcomings of single-seat polling and the difficulty of accurately gauging voter intentions in inner-city seats”.

• The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has prohibited the dissemination of how-to-vote cards in Northcote disseminated by “Citizens for Stable Government”, having determined that they look rather too much like Liberal Party material. Helpfully for Labor, the cards recommended the Greens be placed last, whereas official Liberal material advises voters to make up their own minds.

• Not unsurprisingly, Labor has failed in a legal bid to have fresh ballot papers printed in Yan Yean to acknowledge Meralyn Klein’s new-found status as an independent candidate. Klein was disendorsed by the Liberal Party after the closure of nominations over her links with the far right Australian Liberal Alliance.

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.

128 comments on “Victorian election minus two days”

  1. Leaders’ debates are a waste of time. We never learn anything new, both sides always declare victory, and only people who have already made up their minds pay them any attention.

    Why bother?

  2. Parasites??? Micro-party threat??

    Some of the rhetoric around the group ticket voting has been hysterical.

    If the micros end up with 8 to 12 upper house seats, as many are suggesting, this would be because

    1. The micros have organised their preferences to each-other across each region
    2. The majors and the minor have largely preferenced micros ahead of each-other meaning their surpluses will end up pushing leading micros over quota
    …and most importantly
    3. The micros collectively receive a significant proportion of the above the line vote

    If you bundle the micro numbers together, peoples predictions will be ball park to what the primary votes will likely be. It seems that most the whinging is coming from supporters of one party that thinks it is getting ripped off. Disproportionately the same people who will insist that proportional representation is inherently superior and should be the principle under which lower houses are voted for as well.

    You can certainly make a strong case that preferential above the line system is better than registered party ticket system overall…..but making out is some mortal sin being committed on democracy is absurd

    People can still choose to vote below the line ffs

  3. After the Train crash performance by the Liberal Candidate in Frangers with David Speers last night, big changes with one bookie who may have watched it and none with another who have not.
    Sportsbet 1.25 ALP 4.00 LNP; Ladbrokes 1.55 Labour and 2.35 Liberal.(10%Arb)
    Caulfield, Guy promising moving Victoria Office from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem must mean he’s twitching
    BetEasy 1.22 ALP, 3.90 ALP;Ladbrokes 1.09 LNP 7.00 ALP. (4% Arb)

    Prahran ALP close to Fav just drove down High Street to home, 4 ALP Volunteers walking down the street with big smiles, have yet to see a blue or green shirt anywhere?

  4. Roger,

    It’s a system where anyone who trusts their first choice party can end up having their vote elect someone they hate. And it can happen because of deals brokered by a parasite who charges thousands of dollars for his services. I’m struggling to see much of a link between that and democracy.

  5. In Wentworth, pre-poll favoured Phelps massively 63-37 while postal favoured Sharma 60-40.

    From what I’ve observed, pre-polls usually skew left of the overall result while postals skew right.

  6. Chris

    I am still holding out hope that there will be a poll published tomorrow.

    Could be one of those classic “Victoria on knife’s edge” Newspoll Australian headlines which may or may not reflect what happens the next day.

    I am almost surprised there hasn’t been a separate betting market on whether there would be a poll published before the election.

    My prediction is there will be a poll (duelling polls would be great)

    My prediction is it will show TPP Labor 51-49.

  7. Roger,

    How unsuprising you are supporting an essentially undemocratic systems of voting in the upper house:

    Antony Green:

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-16/the-best-way-to-vote-in-the-victorian-legislative-council-elect/10503884

    For if 93.9 per cent of Victorians vote in the Council as they did in 2014, using a single ‘1’ above the line for a party ticket, then the Upper House’s balance of power will be delivered to a collection of parties and candidates barely known to most Victorians.

    The good news is that there is an easy option for well-informed voters to control what happens to their ballot paper and influence who gets elected.

    That is by voting ‘below the line’ using optional preferential voting.
    ::::
    The preference tickets for the Council released on the weekend reveal that all the old rorts, subterfuges and manipulations through opaque and labyrinthine preference deals are back and haunting the Legislative Council election.

    Any vote cast above the line by unsuspecting Victorians will be transported on a magical mystery tour across the ballot paper to help elect parties and candidates that most Victorians will never previously have heard of, and almost certainly would never have voted for.

    Why didn’t the Coalition and Labor support reform of this widely acknowledged undemocratic system of voting in 2018 despite agreeing in 2014 such reform was needed?

    What changed during the last four years?

  8. Donski, I’m predicting a surprisingly comfortable ALP gain in Prahran, with the 3CP count being closer than the 2CP count.

    By “comfortable” I don’t mean a big margin, but more like 2-3% compared to the current 0.37% margin (and 31 votes between ALP & Greens’ 3CP results).

  9. @ Trent
    I think you’re talking about the declaration pre-poll votes, of which there were only about 300. The vast majority of pre-polls are ordinary votes: to work out their TPP split, you have to check the vote counts for each pre-poll booth.

  10. Observer@3:03pm
    The pre-poll preferred Sharma about 52-48. It is only because Phelps had a substantial lead about 55-45 on election day, she won in the end. Postal vote about 60-40 for Sharma

  11. I think the Greens will retain Prahran and Melbourne, lose Northcote but gain Brunswick. And lose 2-3/5 in Upper House.

    Greens worst possible outcome = 0 lower + 0 upper = 0
    Greens best feasible outcome = 5 lower + 5 upper = 10

    So from their current 8, a number between 0 and 10 will define their result.
    I am tipping a “score” of 5-6.

  12. Just when the Greens thought it was safe to go back in the water.

    GREENS INVESTIGATING CANDIDATE RAPE CLAIM
    The Greens Party is reviewing whether to allow one of its candidates to stand for election on Saturday after receiving a complaint that he raped a woman.The alleged victim has made a formal complaint directly to Samantha Ratnam, leader of the Victorian Greens.

  13. Well, I really should have waited for Pegasus to assert the correct opinion and spam me with Antony Green rhetoric before I ventured an opinion of my own

    I thus fully deserve the subsequent misrepresentation of that opinion

  14. @Toby:

    “I think you’re talking about the declaration pre-poll votes, of which there were only about 300. The vast majority of pre-polls are ordinary votes: to work out their TPP split, you have to check the vote counts for each pre-poll booth.”

    My bad, you’re correct! Sorry about that, I only did a very quick 30 second look at the totals across the bottom and didn’t read it properly.

    @Rocket:

    “I think the Greens will retain Prahran and Melbourne, lose Northcote but gain Brunswick. And lose 2-3/5 in Upper House.”

    My guess is similar, but swapping Prahran for Northcote. I think they’ll retain Melbourne & Northcote, gain Brunswick and lose Prahran.

  15. I think the Rage and the Hun will both deliver polls – but for Saturday’s paper.
    Pollsters will have conducted interviews on Wed and Thurs night and maybe daytime Friday.
    The word ‘ knife edge’ will be in both headlines.

  16. Trent@3:55pm
    The rate at which HUN is going after Greens and the rate at which skeletons are falling out of Greens cupboard, I will be surprised if Greens win 2 lower house seats. From the postings of Pegasus on upper house, it appears Greens are really worried about the number of upper house seats they get. My combined number for Greens is not more than 5

  17. Ven,

    Well complaining to the Greens management hasn’t been a successful means of dealing with alleged sexual improprieties of Greens candidates and cadres in the past either.

  18. I don’t know what you make of this poll:

    ‘Break bail, go to jail’ – 82% of Victorians agree with Matthew Guy
    It’s official an overwhelming majority of Victorian electors (82%) say people charged with a criminal offence who are given bail who then break a bail condition should be immediately sent to jail according to a special SMS Morgan Poll conducted today (Thursday) on the eve of this week’s Victorian State Election.

    Question – Break bail then jail?

    Victorian electors were asked: “Many people charged with a criminal offence are given bail. If a person given bail then breaks a bail condition should that person be immediately sent to jail or not?”

    This special SMS Morgan Poll was conducted today (Thursday November 22, 2018) with a state-wide cross-section of 961 Victorian electors aged 18+.

    Analysis by Voting Preference

    Analysing by voting preference shows vast majorities of supporters of all parties say the that people charged with a criminal offence who then break a bail condition should be immediately sent to jail led by L-NP voters (95%), supporters of Independents/Others (76%), ALP voters (75%) and Greens voters (65%):

    • L-NP voters: Yes (95%) cf. no (5%);
    • ALP voters: Yes (75%) cf. no (25%);
    • Greens voters: Yes (65%) cf. no (35%);
    • Independent/ Others voters: Yes (76%) cf. no (24%).

    Analysis by Gender

    Analysis by gender shows 88% of women in favour of jailing people breaking their bail conditions immediately compared to 76% of men:

    • Men: Yes (76%) cf. no (24%);
    • Women: Yes (88) cf. no (12%).

    Analysis by Age

    Analysing by age shows Victorians of all ages support sending people breaking their bail conditions immediately to jail with older Victorians 35 and over most in favour (84%), but huge majorities of those aged 18-24 (77%) and 25-34 (78%):

    • 18-24yr olds: Yes (77%) cf. no (23%);
    • 25-34yr olds: Yes (78%) cf. no (22%);
    • 35-49yr olds: Yes (84%) cf. no (16%);
    • 50-64yr olds: Yes (84%) cf. no (16%);
    • 65+yr olds: Yes (84%) cf. no (16%).

    Analysis by Region

    Analysing by region shows Country Victorians (88%) are more heavily in favour of jailing people breaking their bail conditions immediately than Melburnians (80%):
    • Melbourne: Yes (80%) cf. no (20%);
    • Country Victoria: Yes (88%) cf. no (12%);

    Gary Morgan, Executive Chairman, Roy Morgan, says:

    “A special SMS Morgan Poll today shows a huge majority of Victorians (82%) agree with Liberal Leader Matthew Guy that people given bail who then break a bail condition should be immediately send to jail compared to only 18% that say they shouldn’t.

    “In last night’s televised Leader’s debate with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews Guy said that “Bail is a privilege, not a right, when you break it, when you break it – you should go back to jail. It’s as simple as that”.

    “The good news for the Liberal Party is that it is not just Liberal voters (95%) that agree with Guy, support is widespread across the community. A majority of supporters of the ALP (75%), Greens supporters (65%) and supporters of Independents/Others (76%) agree with Guy as well as huge majorities of Victorians of all age groups.

    “Interestingly, more women (88%) want to take a firmer line with bail breakers than men (80%). Women have traditionally been stronger supporters of the ALP than men and this breakdown illustrates an opportunity for the Liberals in the run-up to Saturday’s election.

    “The problem that faces the Liberal Party however is that time is running out to get the ‘message across’ to electors given that up to a quarter of Victorians, or over 1 million Victorian electors, have already voted without hearing enough about the Liberal Party’s policies on law & order.

    “Support for both of the major parties has increased over the last week since we asked Victorian electors about their concerns about the two major parties with ALP and L-NP up to around 35%, and support for the Greens, other parties and Independents down to around 30%.”

    Finding No. 7813 – This SMS Morgan Poll was conducted with a representative cross-section of 961 Victorian electors today, Thursday November 22, 2018.

  19. Roger, the problem with your argument that “If you bundle the micro numbers together, peoples predictions will be ball park to what the primary votes will likely be.” is that we have a preferential system. They only manage to get seat totals roughly proportional to their total vote because of these preference deals. But a person who prefers one micro over the big parties does not necessarily prefer one micro over all other micros. Some of the micros are completely opposite to each other – voters for left micros often hate right micros and vice versa. When voters for small parties have to choose, they are actually more likely to preference big parties next than they are to preference most of the little ones, as the Senate election showed. Also far from voters for the majors tending to uniformly put the other major last, when they were given the choice a lot of them preferenced the other major. Labor-Liberal and Liberal-Labor Senate ATLs are common.

    So actually a proportional system after taking into account how voters would choose to distribute their preferences is distorting the outcome if it gives micros seats roughly in proportion to their combined primary vote.

    And yes, this distortion does arise partly because big parties misuse the system by putting the other big parties last when a lot of their supporters would choose otherwise. But it’s one thing to say that the big parties bring it upon themselves when they preference in this manner and another to say that voters are fairly represented as a result; they’re not.

    It’s all very well to say it’s easy for voters to just vote 1-5 but many voters are simply ignorant of the way the counting system works or accustomed to obeying their preferred party’s recommendations even when those recommendations are actually bad.

    Another problem is that group ticket voting is a risk to the successful conduct of elections. WA Senate 2013 had to be voided and rerun because the close cutoff points that GTVs create mean that if a very small number of ballot papers are lost the election can be wrecked. Optional preferencing is much less likely to have this problem.

  20. I decided to have a play with Antony Green’s upper house calculators, since that seems to be a popular pastime, concentrating on my region of East Metro.

    At first glance, a result of 2 Lab, 2 Lib, 1 Transport Matters seems a foregone conclusion.

    However, there’s a possible spanner in the works. If the Australian Labor Party loses about 1.5 percentage points to Labour DLP via voter confusion, Labor will lose a seat to the Greens. Given that the ALP and DLP are right next to each other on the ballot paper, that’s got to be a realistic possibility.

    How the hell did the DLP ever get permission to use a name like that? (Don’t bother answering. It was a rhetorical question.)

  21. Yes I saw them with the “Labour” above DLP t-shirts on pre-poll. It a disgrace! (I guess they got away with it because of the spelling difference)

  22. Thanks Kevin, note that my primary criticism was of some of the extreme rhetoric being used being way over the top.

    I get your point re those outcomes being skewed precisely because of those deals. I was more trying to appeal to those who more generally argue for proportional representation as a near absolute principle of a democratic ideal (i.e. those who complain about relative seat outcomes for the Greens vs the Nationals based on national primary vote). The reality is that you could have 25% of the population voting for “micros” and not one be elected

    So in terms of outcomes, if Victoria adopts the Australian senate system, it would be very difficult for non majors (including the Greens as a “major” here). Maybe that’s a good thing? I just don’t see how it is unambiguously a good thing in a pragmatic sense (ie in terms of outcomes).

  23. Did Morgan’s poll on breaking bail conditions also include the questions

    “How about for traffic offenses?”

    “Please either list the TAFEs, schools, or hospitals you would like closed down to pay for jailing another 18000 people OR select a doubling of state taxes”

    Apparently everyone wants a magical pony.

  24. Ante Meridian @ #80 Thursday, November 22nd, 2018 – 4:55 pm

    I decided to have a play with Antony Green’s upper house calculators, since that seems to be a popular pastime, concentrating on my region of East Metro.

    At first glance, a result of 2 Lab, 2 Lib, 1 Transport Matters seems a foregone conclusion.

    However, there’s a possible spanner in the works. If the Australian Labor Party loses about 1.5 percentage points to Labour DLP via voter confusion, Labor will lose a seat to the Greens. Given that the ALP and DLP are right next to each other on the ballot paper, that’s got to be a realistic possibility.

    How the hell did the DLP ever get permission to use a name like that? (Don’t bother answering. It was a rhetorical question.)

    I voted below the line to 12 and I urge everyone to do the same.

  25. That Morgon poll really does just reinforce the obvious. Although in the absence of other polling data, I do wonder if the Libs will do a Bradbury here.

  26. An interesting analysis of how representative candidates really are of the community which they hope represent in Vic.
    Reinforces some peoples perceptions that the Lab and Lib are parties dominated by professional pollies, unionists, lawyers and business interests.
    It also smashes some of the other BS and prejudices often seen repeated on PB as well. With the Greens sclearly comprised of a much younger and far more diverse range of people than either Lab or Lib.
    Not that some of the bloviators around here will let facts get in the way of their opinions.
    Some interesting similarities and differences highlighted in this study.

    Representative democracy?
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/nov/22/representative-democracy-how-victorias-election-candidates-compare-with-voters

  27. GG

    I’m going all the way to 45 though it is tough to work out who to put in the last few spots.

    Ante Meridian, chris

    I understand that Labor complained about the designation “Labour DLP” but the VEC ruled that no-one has a mortgage on words such as ‘labor’ or ‘liberal’, and given the different spelling and the DLP suffix they allowed it to stand.

    Clearly the DLP are hoping to fool a few percent of people to vote for them, in the same way the ‘Liberal Democratic Party’ first got elected. To me though it represents final realisation from them that the monicker ‘DLP’ is electoral poison. The last two people elected under their banner left the party in their first (and only) term.

    My advice to them would be to completely dump the ‘DLP’ tag (too 1950s!!) and go with something like ‘Labour Democratic Party’ though then the other LDP may complain.

  28. I have just received an unsolicited text saying that if I vote Liberal they will give me $1,700-

    I tried to send a reply but it would not send!!!

    Probably just as well!!!!

  29. Reading the Hun headlines online from outside Victoria, it seems the paper has been a lot less partisan over the past week than it usually is. They seem to have largely downplayed ‘African gangs’ and terrorist attacks in recent days and are even giving Andrews more or less equal billing with Guy.

    Is this perhaps because they have access to polling or other information about who is likely to win and following Murdoch’s desire to be seen to not (strongly) oppose a winner?

  30. Rocket Rocket @ #87 Thursday, November 22nd, 2018 – 6:32 pm

    GG

    I’m going all the way to 45 though it is tough to work out who to put in the last few spots.

    Ante Meridian, chris

    I understand that Labor complained about the designation “Labour DLP” but the VEC ruled that no-one has a mortgage on words such as ‘labor’ or ‘liberal’, and given the different spelling and the DLP suffix they allowed it to stand.

    Clearly the DLP are hoping to fool a few percent of people to vote for them, in the same way the ‘Liberal Democratic Party’ first got elected. To me though it represents final realisation from them that the monicker ‘DLP’ is electoral poison. The last two people elected under their banner left the party in their first (and only) term.

    My advice to them would be to completely dump the ‘DLP’ tag (too 1950s!!) and go with something like ‘Labour Democratic Party’ though then the other LDP may complain.

    She’s going the distance!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_HoMkkRHv8

  31. Observer says:
    Thursday, November 22, 2018 at 6:37 pm
    I have just received an unsolicited text saying that if I vote Liberal they will give me $1,700-

    I tried to send a reply but it would not send!!!

    Probably just as well!!!!

    Did they ask for your bank details so they could deposit the money {smiley emoticon}

  32. Quoll

    Possibly more useful to compare those who are elected. All parties go for ‘balance’ in the seats they are unlikely to win. For instance 7/8 of the Greens Victorian MPs are female, but this is ‘balanced’ by the much larger percentage of males in all their other candidates. More than 55% of Greens candidates are male – this includes the current MPs, so the non-MP candidates would be even more heavily tilted towards males. This number would presumably include all those candidates in positions 2 to 5 on their eight upper house tickets, so again many of these people are never going to be elected and are often there to present ‘balance’.

    All parties play this game.

  33. citizen @ #89 Thursday, November 22nd, 2018 – 6:55 pm

    Reading the Hun headlines online from outside Victoria, it seems the paper has been a lot less partisan over the past week than it usually is. They seem to have largely downplayed ‘African gangs’ and terrorist attacks in recent days and are even giving Andrews more or less equal billing with Guy.

    Is this perhaps because they have access to polling or other information about who is likely to win and following Murdoch’s desire to be seen to not (strongly) oppose a winner?

    Their polling would be the number of papers they sell and my local supermarket was giving away HS papers earlier this week and they have never done that before. That tells you that the earlier coverage has not exactly resonated with the punters.

    It’s shaping up as a massacre!

  34. The Age just posted their editorial endorsing Labor.

    Most interesting was the quote “If the Andrews government is returned, which our poll today suggests it will be…”

    There’s obviously a poll on its way, finally!!!

  35. When it comes to proportionality for smaller parties, a big issue is the small number of seats per division. The 2016 Senate election under the new system was remarkably proportional when vote shares are averaged by state (every party that averaged over 1.4% won somewhere), and all the parties that performed above their party vote share deserved their extra seats because they did very well on preferences. That was mainly down to the double dissolution; it is much easier to get a very proportional outcome with 12 seats per state than 6, or in this case 5 per division.

    All the same had the Victorian 2014 election been held under the Senate system but with a total micro-party vote of 25%, the Liberal Democrats would probably have won two seats and the DLP would have been close to getting one as well. If there’s a total micro-party vote that high, someone’s going to be getting 5-6% somewhere and with that many votes being taken out of the other parties, that will often be enough. So no seats for micros off a combined 25% primary isn’t likely. Just as people were forecasting the complete demise of everyone bar Labor, Coalition, Greens and NXT under the new Senate system but in fact One Nation in Queensland, Lambie and Hinch all polled a vote that would have won a seat for them at a half-Senate election. (Ineligibly in Lambie’s case.)

    The other point here is that that’s just based on the votes as cast. But what we’re already seeing to a degree under the new Senate system is that micro-parties are realising that having a vote fragmented between a bunch of similar parties is pointless, and they are starting to merge. If there was a system change in Victoria sooner or later a lot of these micros could just merge together into units that would get a higher party vote and be more likely to win.

  36. “The Greens have stood down a candidate after a woman wrote to the party accusing one of its candidates in this weekend’s election of raping her.

    The candidate’s name will still appear on ballot papers, with voters none the wiser.”

    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/greens-candidate-stood-down-following-rape-complaint-20181122-p50hpm.html

    This is just beyond the pale. They haven’t disendorsed him either. Just stood him down from campaign activities.

  37. A Greens candidate has been accused of rape. But the Greens aren’t saying who he is. Best not to vote for any male Greens candidate, in that case.

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