Victorian election: call of the board

Digging deep into the unexpectedly comprehensive Labor win in Victoria.

A full display of the election results, with complete booth figures, swings and probability estimates, can be found here. No updates will appear today (Sunday).

I believe my election results facility, which after a very slow start is now running almost bug-free (with apologies to the seat of Preston), is the only place where you can find two-party preferred results by booth and vote type – vote type being very important in the context of this election. It also trumps the Victorian Electoral Commission site in having swing results at booth-level, on both primary and two-party. To access these, go to the entry page linked to above and follow one of the electorate links further down the page, where you will find neatly displayed results tables with tabs for toggling between totals, percentages and swings. Note that I have turned off booth-matching for my aggregations and predictions, at least for the two-party vote – my failure to do the same with the primary vote means the swings shown for it are slightly anomalous.

The results display turns up ample evidence of what became apparent as the night progressed, which was that pre-polls and postals very often failed to replicate the massive swings to Labor on election day. This meant the final result, as bad as it was, will not be quite as apocalyptic for the Coalition as earlier booth-matched projections made it appear. Cases in point included Brighton, where a 10.2% election day swing that appeared set to deliver Labor a shock victory was followed by swings of only 2.6% on pre-polls and 1.8% on postals; and Hawthorn, where a 10.8% swing had John Pesutto reading his own obituary on ABC Television, only for him to inch to a 53 vote lead after pre-polls and postals only swung 3.4% and 4.5%.

Another seat where the cavalry arrived late was Caulfield, although alert PB commenter Trent notes what is clearly an anomaly in the result. This relates to the booth of Elsternwick North, where Labor has a higher primary than two-party preferred – a mathematical impossibility that can be readily explained by the party’s two-party results having been entered the wrong way around. On this basis, the Liberal margin would appear to be 1.8% rather than 2.9%, although that should be enough for David Southwick after his early fright.

A particularly interesting feature of the result is that the gap between early and election day polling swings was very much a phenomenon of the affluent areas nearer the city. Late counting did little to diminish the swathe Labor cut through the eastern suburbs, which took in Burwood, Mount Waverley, Ringwood and Box Hill. The one exception to this picture was Bayswater, where Heidi Victoria suffered only a 1.5% swing on pre-polls compared with 6.5% on ordinary votes, and ended the night 72 votes in front. In Labor’s other clear gain, the Geelong region seat of South Barwon, pre-polls actually swung quite a bit more heavily than election day votes — 12.6% compared with 7.5%. Nor was pre-poll voting any less harsh on the Liberals in the sandbelt seats, which have delivered Labor stunning margins of 11.9% in Bentleigh, 11.7% in Carrum, 12.3% in Mordialloc and 9.5% in Frankston.

The least unexpected of Labor’s gains was the heavily over quota electorate of Bass, the story of which is told by the suburb of Clyde: in 2014 had one booth which went 376-165 to Liberal, while in 2018 it had two booths that collectively went 1318-932 to Labor. Still in doubt are Bass’s near neighbour, Nepean, where Labor holds a 1.0% lead after swings of 11.3% on the ordinary vote and around 6.0% on pre-polls and postals; Sandringham, where the Liberals now lead by 1.0% and should have the advantage on remaining postals; and Ripon, a Labor target seat where the Coalition performed well above the norm, as they did in Eildon and Euroa, which have in common being regional seats defended by female sophomores.

As usual, it’s been a nerve-wracking election night for the Greens, who are now holding out for their traditionally strong showing on absent votes in a number of seats (to say nothing of the upper house, which I will defer for a later time). This will presumably be enough to keep Ellen Sandell safe in Melbourne, where she leads by 1.2%, and could well allow Tim Read to close his 72 vote gap over Labor’s Cindy O’Connor in Brunswick. However, the Greens have failed to replicate their by-election win in Northcote, and had a rather poor result in Richmond, despite the Liberals making life easier for them by declining to field a candidate. Prahran was a particularly pronounced example of the Liberals doing better on pre-poll and postals voting in inner urban areas, which removed the possibility of their being excluded in what earlier looked a three-way dead heat on the primary vote. So the winner will be whoever finishes second out of Greens incumbent Sam Hibbins (28.3%) and Labor’s Neil Pharaoh (29.6%).

Aside from Shepparton, which was easily retained by Suzanna Sheed, the following seats have independents somewhere or other in the mix:

Mildura. My model says independent Ali Cupper’s 1.3% margin is enough, but it’s not sufficiently cognisant of how well the Nationals tend to do on postals.

Morwell. Labor’s Mark Richards has the edge in the two-party count against the Nationals, but this is redundant as Nationals-turned-independent member Russell Northe will clearly run second. He must then chase down a 34.2% to 20.0% deficit on the primary vote with mostly conservative preferences.

Benambra. The two-party count was Liberal versus Labor, but the potential for interest here lies in the potential for independent Jacqui Hawkins (16.8%) to get ahead of Labor (17.6%) with preferences from independent Jenny O’Connor (12.9%) and then ride home over Liberal incumbent Bill Tilley (40.3%).

Geelong. Independent Darryn Lyons is a clear second on 25.2% to the Liberal’s 20.2%, and Labor incumbent Christine Couzens’ 40.3% is low enough that she might have to worry.

Melton. An exquisitely complicated contest in a normally safe Labor seats which, in which Labor had a retiring member and a late substitute after their original candidate withdrew. There are twelve candidates, most of whom appear to have at least some sort of following locally, and the Labor primary vote is only 34.3%. If preferences from the first eight excluded candidates lock heavily behind independents Bob Turner or Ian Birchall, the might get ahead of the Liberal and then home on preferences. However, one suspects there will be a good deal of leakage along the way. In pure two-party terms, there has been a very unusual 7.2% swing to the Liberals.

Pascoe Vale. Haven’t heard much talk about this, but the primary votes look a bit dangerous for Labor’s Lizzie Blandthorn, who has 37.1% to independent Oscar Yildiz on 25.5%.

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.

184 comments on “Victorian election: call of the board”

  1. Patrick Bateman @ #766 Sunday, November 25th, 2018 – 7:14 am

    One can only hope that the demented and misguided obsession with the Greens amongst some ALP posters here doesn’t reflect the thinking of the party proper. How sad to have obliterated the LNP and in response spend your time jeering at a broadly aligned minor party which predictably lost a small fraction of its vote due to the scale of the major party swing.

    I call you a genius, Sir!

  2. As the Greens have abandoned the environment I’ve long thought they should re-brand themselves. “Greens” no longer represents what they aspire to and is probably hurting them electorally now.
    Given how their actions so often result in hindering the outcomes they profess to aspire to, can I humbly suggest “The Irony Party” as their new name.

  3. A great summary of the state of play, thanks. Looks like my cousin Darryn Lyons was correct when told early in the count he was getting 15% and countered with his own estimate of 25%.

  4. It wouldn’t be a bad result for the Greens if they can hold Prahran, Melbourne and gain Brunswick in such an avalanche. Richmond and Northcote will eventually turn. LC is another matter.

  5. Concur with that Patrick Bateman quote from the other thread.

    Well done Labor, very impressive. This gives me hope that people are finally coming round on the Conservatives lies about fear and division.

  6. The Greens spent four years wedging and sledging Labor.
    They then crawled to Labor for preferences.
    On election night Di Natale and Ratnam both spent some time smearing Labor. It turns out that Labor should have stayed silent on the Greens’s systematic problem with the treatment of women. Really!
    The Greens, smashed, then graciously claimed that the Labor victory was because they did what the Greens wanted them to! Oh, yeah!
    The Greens, smashed, then offensively stick it to Labor supporters. It turns out that they are ‘demented’ and ‘obssessed’ etc, etc, etc.
    And now the Greens want to spend the next four years wedging and sledging Labor and also ‘to work with Labor on policy’.
    Meanwhile, among others the Greens have these bizarre policies:
    1. closing Olympic dam (the relevant policy is that all uranium mines will be closed, pronto)
    2. closing the cotton industry (the relevant policy is that all GMOs will be withdrawn from the environment)
    3. closing down the ADF (not a single Greens costed policy – and they boast that ALL their policies are fully costed) has ever mentioned the ADF. No funding means no ADF.

  7. To repeat, MB passing opinion thru his own pocket courtesy of self interest?

    Dividend imputation, Capital Gains Tax and Negative Gearing

    Coalition legislation designed to sand bag a voting demographic and, you could present, a demographic numerically in decline

    In regards legislation and the Greens

    The Greens will need to occupy the Treasury benches to progress their policies

    With all of Labor, Liberal, National, minor and Independents on the Opposition benches, so a gaggle of an Opposition

    The progress they are making is in evidence with the result of the Victorian election

    In the most progressive Australian State

  8. One of the hidden subtexts of the election is that Coleman spent some time assuring chinese residents that citizenship approval processes of Chinese applicants were not being held up.

    It turns out that sticking it to China at APEC AND doing immigration FUD during the election was being interpreted by Australian Chinese voters as an attack on THEM.

    Fancy that!

  9. Once again, the media are the losers.

    Stick to reporting the news, guys. If you’re going to do opinion and analysis, you need to do it properly, and you’re obviously not up to it.

  10. This is one of the Greens employment policies:
    ‘A fairer sharing of paid work’
    Full time employees will have their hours cut back?
    Is this the UBI and UJG by stealth?
    What does it mean?

  11. Ben Eltham
    ‏Verified account @beneltham
    37s37 seconds ago

    Terrible result for the Greens in the Victorian upper house, losing 4 of their 5 members. Only leader Samantha Ratnam remains #VicVotes

  12. I expect some prominent Tory will attack the electoral commission for not counting the pre polls sooner and scaring the pants off the likes of Pesutto
    live on national TV.

    And will his nice guy persona survive a leadership battle? Remember as would- be attorney-general he stood at Guy’s shoulder for most of the outrageous law and order announcements that have been repudiated by the electorate.

  13. It’s no surprise that the Brighton pre-polls were skewed to the Liberal candidate. All those Ladies Who Lunch, and there’s a lot of ‘em, for whom voting Liberal comes as naturally as moving their bowels, would have voted early. There’s no way they were going to line up at some primary school – and a public/state primary school at that – with their social inferiors, if they could avoid it.

  14. William
    Your scoreboard – and I hope it is in template form – is far and away the best I have seen anywhere and in any country.
    It should work a treat in the NSW and federal elections and become he place to be.

  15. I hear that at my local polling booth, around 100 out of the 540-odd LC ballots were below the line (i.e. 18.5%)

    I expect this is an outlier as it was a small, not busy booth where there was a better opportunity for the booth workers to explain the voting system. But even half of that below the line rate would break down the preference whispering and may work against expectations.

    I can’t see any indication on the VEC LC pages of above the line vs below the line at present, only first preference by party / group.

  16. Congrats William Bowe, your Tallyboard is brilliant. It has made following the count quite easy and informative. I definitely want this up and running for the next NSW poll and more importantly for the coming federal election.
    To this end I will certainly be making a donation towards the running of your page.
    Keep up the great work.

  17. Congrats William Bowe, your Tallyboard is brilliant. It has made following the count quite easy and informative. I definitely want this up and running for the next NSW poll and more importantly for the coming federal election.
    To this end I will certainly be making a donation towards the running of your page.
    Keep up the great work.
    Donation made.

  18. Don’t know what influence it might have in any of the close seats but Absent votes (people voting in an electorate other than their own on the day) could be expected to favour Labor in the same proportion as the ordinary votes in the booths. These votes will not be added to the count for a day or two yet, as it takes time to have them transported to their own electorates.

  19. I do have a query about one of the Gembrook booths… it has Pakenham Upper having a 10%+ swing to the Liberals when every other booth swung heavily to Labor. I mean, it could be right and won’t change the outcome but seems odd.

  20. Tallyboard is the best analysis available after sorting a few glitches. Well done William. Perhaps an offer to the ABC to have something that will survive a mid session meltdown. Is there any explanation from ABC about why they went off air?

  21. Excellent results page! I’m just wondering about your having Northcote as ‘ALP retain’. Shouldn’t it be a gain, or is that a reference to it being a notional Labor seat?

  22. William Bowe analysed

    The results display turns up ample evidence of what became apparent as the night progressed, which was that pre-polls and postals very often failed to replicate the massive swings to Labor on election day.

    Another seat where the cavalry arrived late was Caulfield, although alert PB commenter Trent notes what is clearly an anomaly in the result. This relates to the booth of Elsternwick North, where Labor has a higher primary than two-party preferred – a mathematical impossibility that can be readily explained by the party’s two-party results having been entered the wrong way around. On this basis, the Liberal margin would appear to be 1.8% rather than 2.9%, although that should be enough for David Southwick after his early fright.”
    What can we conclude from that? Was it on last Thursday that Guy said that he will shift Tourism office from Tel aviv to Jerusalem?
    Pre polls show that Jews were quietly voting for Libs without attracting any attention. Then Guy focuses the spot light on them with that annoucement. After reading Guy’s annoucement I asked whether Caulfield had lot of Jews ? PBers answered that a third of Caulfield electorate is Jewish. Then I posted that Libs are insulting the intelegence of Jews with that announcement. Election day voting proves that people of Caulfield were really pissed off with that announcement & swung decively in favour of ALP. That may not be sufficient for Labor victory in that seat but that is a different story.

  23. Muchas gracias for the tally board, Mr Bowe. The amount of work that went into generating it must have been prodigious.

    It would be a gross understatement to say that Antony Green was “displeased” by the epic failure of ABC’s steam-driven computer crashing quite early in his call of the board.

  24. I can only assume that such a democratic travesty of justice occurred because right-thinking people were too scared to leave their homes to vote due to African gangs and terrorists having taken over the streets of Victoria.

  25. Observer: “To repeat, MB passing opinion thru his own pocket courtesy of self interest? Dividend imputation, Capital Gains Tax and Negative Gearing.”

    Nope, it’s been a while now since I’ve personally benefited from any of these policies. I have been pretty consistent in my argument about them, which is mainly that I think they will alienate significant numbers of potential Labor voters. Also, they are going to be very difficult to get through the Senate. So why campaign on them? While MT was in charge, and Labor was focusing hard on the “big end of town” rhetoric, they made a bit of political sense. But no longer.

    In terms of my opinion about them as policies…

    Neg gearing has been around for ever, but it was a concession that was much less widely used by landlords in the era when the real cost of home purchase used to increase at a more pedestrian pace: that is, before bank deregulation in the 1980s and increased migration rates from the early 2000s lit a lasting fire under the housing market, attracting a lot of investors who were looking for significant short to medium term capital gains. (Prior to this time, most landlords seem to have been looking to hold onto their properties for the very long term.) The pre-1980s era was also one in which government used to construct and let a much higher proportion of the rental housing stock than is now the case.

    So the problem now is that the effective subsidy provided by neg gearing is built into the price of rental accommodation. Take it out, and one would expect rents in many areas to enter an upward trajectory and/or for rental investors to look for the exits. I realise that Labor proposes to maintain neg gearing on new builds, but the people investing in these are still going to be looking for a capital gain over the medium to longer term (as it is well-nigh impossible to make a reasonable return – something much above bank deposit rates – purely on the basis of rental income alone). Under Labor’s policies, that capital gain will be taxed twice as heavily as before. Also – and this point also applies to existing investors who would be grandparented under Labor’s proposals – the market of potential purchasers for existing rental properties will effectively disappear, as these people will no longer be eligible for neg gearing. That’s fine if you are trying to sell a property with strong appeal to home buyers, but many apartments are better suited to being rented out.

    As for the dividend imputation issue: the ability for people who don’t pay tax to get a cash rebate is something that should probably never have been introduced. But there are now a lot of retired people who depend upon these rebates to maintain their income, and who are too old to go back into the workforce to earn any more. Worse still, share prices have been falling and, if this continues, they might end up being forced into a fire sale of their assets at a low point in the market in order to try to maintain their current income levels. It’s a policy change that is undoubtedly going to hurt a lot of people.

    The only solution to this problem would be to grandparent all existing shareholdings from the impact of the policy change. Which would mean that I would have no problem with it, but it would also mean that it will raise bugger all additional revenue for forever and a day.

  26. Picture this
    Daniel Andrews is almost at the end of his Victory speech.
    He says ” We are the most progressive government in the country”. Then there was a pause in his speech. There were cheers from ALP supporters. Liberal party people watching the TV must have either muttered or said loudly ” We know that (with expletives). Yours is the most leftwing government in the country.”.
    Then Andrews says the most telling statement of his speech ” we are the most progressive state in the country”. Thus he stuck the boot into Liberral party. Victoria was the Crown Jewel of Liberal party. What Andrews meant was the Crown Jewel is ours now. In 2016 Federal election, Libs won a seat only from Victoria whereas they lost seats all across the country. In the last 19 years, ALP is in power for 15 years in Victoria. Victorian Labor now drives the policy initiatives at Federal level. NSW ALP is in moribund state.

    Till John Howard became PM, all Liberal party PMs were from Victoria (except Billy McMahon) & there was long reign of Liberal governments in at Victorian state level. NSW was/ is a Labor state as Bob Carr once said. Victorian Libs were the engine room of Libs policies. No longer. Including Howard NSW Libs countinuosly gave 5 Federal Liberal leaders. Federal LNP government is driven by ideas of NSW conservative Libs.

  27. WB: thats great details in your results page.

    One suggestion, would love to see sortable columns in the electorate projections, so we could see what seats are close, and what the pendulum might be looking like for the next election.

    (EDIT: And even sorting Electorates based on Rural/Provincial/Metro classification so we can see different swings in those areas, but that request makes me feel a bit needy…)

  28. The ideology

    Austerity = confidence = ecenomic prosperity

    Underpinning trickle down economics and the most effective form of regulation being self regulation

    And inequality

    The requirement of government is to manage across the economic cycle to the benefit of the community and by using the fiscal and monetary tools at its disposal.

    And legislation ensuring a balance between Markets and government

    To me, every other “issue” is a result of the foregoing

    So there you go

    And that is before you get to data and the comparisons (because data analysis is about comparisons)

  29. William, your results page is brilliant. I only discovered it half way through the night and found it to be far more useful than the VEC & ABC results pages. Thanks also for the mention re: Caulfield!

    On the blue ribbon seats that swung hard to the Liberals on the day but pre-polls & postals, I think for some of them it’s not over yet and they are still to be decided by a) Volume of absentee votes; b) Whether those absentee votes replicate the polling place swings from yesterday.

    On one end of the spectrum, Brighton is clearly out of reach now but the scare Labor gave them is quite incredible.

    On the other end of the spectrum, ALP have to be favourites to gain Hawthorn as the Liberals only lead by 53 votes with most likely a lot more absentee votes than postals & pre-polls left to be counted.

    Liberals are most likely to retain Sandringham but it’s also up for grabs and the <600 vote margin should tighten up on Wednesday too.

    Caulfield is similar, but the Liberals have slightly more of a buffer there thanks to a 1100 vote lead and the fact that postals are breaking 70-30 to them. However, again, depending on how many postals are left to count vs absentee votes, that lead could still shrink and the other wild card is that while the first batch of 10,000 pre-polls entered by the VEC only had a -0.1% Liberal swing, the second batch of about 1500 had a -13% Liberal swing so who knows how the out of district pre-polls with break?

    In summary, my tips for them are:
    – Brighton: Comfortable Lib retain
    – Hawthorn: Surprise ALP gain
    – Sandringham: Likely Lib retain but ALP are still in with a chance
    – Caulfield: Likely Lib retain but results were odd for this seat all night (slow counting, 2CPs not being uploaded for ages then with an incorrect one, two batches of pre-polls breaking VERY differently, etc) so I think anything can still happen here as the remaining results will be unpredictable

    Regarding my seat Prahran, I'm tipping an ALP gain. They are gradually extending their lead over the Greens and remaining postals should help that, although the lead will be small enough for absentee votes to keep it uncertain. Absentee votes should also reduce the Liberal primary and I imagine the 2CP will go back above 59-41 (whether it be Labor or Green v Liberal) after they are counted.


  30. Robert Ball says:
    Sunday, November 25, 2018 at 10:39 am
    Congrats William Bowe, your Tallyboard is brilliant. It has made following the count quite easy and informative. I definitely want this up and running for the next NSW poll and more importantly for the coming federal election.
    To this end I will certainly be making a donation towards the running of your page.
    Keep up the great work.
    Donation made.

    I made donation yesterday knowing it will be excellent


  31. Diogenes says:
    Sunday, November 25, 2018 at 11:28 am

    I can only assume that such a democratic travesty of justice occurred because right-thinking people were too scared to leave their homes to vote due to African gangs and terrorists having taken over the streets of Victoria.

    This has got to be the comment of the day.

  32. Ven: “How can now Libs blame the Victorian State election defeat on MT? ”

    Easy. Turnbull knows how popular he is in Victoria, just as he is in Wentworth. He should have been down there campaigning hard for Guy. This would have helped to counteract the strong antagonism Victorians have towards ScoMo.

    Moreover, now that he is no longer PM, he has a lot more time to spend campaigning for the Libs. He should be issued with an ultimatum: campaign full-time for ScoMo leading up to the next election or we will expel you from the party.

    You know it makes sense.

  33. MB

    You may gather that I have no regard for your opinion – because in my view you speak with a forked tongue

    In January 2000 the amount owed to our home mortgage lenders was $335 Billion

    In January 2010 that amount had increased to $1.226 Trillion, a 350% increase to the same amount as the Nations GDP

    This is RBA data

    And the banks turned off the lending taps post 2008 and the GFC

    So what were the determining factors in that growth in home mortgage debt from 2000?

    What were the events?

    And you may wish to support any response with data, not windy rhetoric



  34. Zoidlord says:
    Sunday, November 25, 2018 at 10:00 am
    Ben Eltham
    ‏Verified account @beneltham
    37s37 seconds ago

    Terrible result for the Greens in the Victorian upper house, losing 4 of their 5 members. Only leader Samantha Ratnam remains #VicVotes

    If the remaining vote count in Lower house goes against Greens, They may end up with only 1 seat in Victorian parliament i.e of Samantha Ratnam.

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