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. Ven @ #50 Sunday, November 25th, 2018 – 11:49 am



    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.

    Sucha pleasing result. So much Greens winning!

  2. In Albert Park there were some incredible 2CP results in affluent polling places that usually vote Liberal these days:

    Middle Park: 68.5-31.5 Labor
    Bridport (Albert Park): 62-38 Labor
    Port Melbourne East: 68-32 Labor

    Middle Park really stood out to me, probably the most affluent pocket of the entire electorate.

    Meanwhile St Kilda remained defiant against gentrification having any impact in diluting its left wing vote, with every polling booth having a 2CP of at least 75-25 vs the Liberals, and a Liberal PV of under 20% in every booth.


  3. meher baba says:
    Sunday, November 25, 2018 at 11:44 am
    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.

    Good one Mehar Baba. But there is already a resolution by Roseville branch of Sydney Northshore that MT should expelled. May the Liberal party is keeping the powder dry for the aftemath of 2019 Federal elections. I have a strong gut feeling that MT will be expelled after 2019 Fed elections. 🙂

  4. Observer: “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.”

    I would need a few days to mobilise my data, but I would suggest the two main causes were

    1) The near-doubling of the annual rate of permanent migration since the 1990s, plus the enormous impact of the rapidly-growing numbers of students, short-term workers and even tourists to some extent. These numbers have increased much more rapidly than has the quantum of housing stock in many areas, which has driven up the cost of housing.

    2) The generally much more favourable borrowing conditions for home-buyers since 2000. First of all, there was the long-term impact of financial deregulation in the 1980s, which was initially dampened by high interest rates, but began to gather pace when these began to fall in the 1990s. Then there were the high levels of employment and a significant growth in real wages in the 2000s. And, finally, there was the promulgation by the banks of new (in my view dangerous) products such as interest-only loans for rental investors.

    Put 1) and 2) together and you have the textbook scenario of a shortage of goods combined with a substantial increase in purchasing power on the part of those seeking to buy them. This leads to price inflation and consequently, in the housing market, much higher levels of mortgage debt.

    And, yes, I think the change in the CGT discount in 2000 from one based on deducting cumulative inflation to a flat 50% might have made a bit of difference at the margins. But if you are implying (as I think you are) that this was the main driver in pushing up investment in housing, I think you are quite wrong. The main beneficiaries from that policy change were short-term investors in the share market, and perhaps some property developers. Most negatively-geared property investors seem to be looking to hang onto their properties for a decade or more, where the benefits of a 50% discount over a CPI-based discount were not so apparent.

    Also, the policy change really didn’t receive that much publicity at the time, and I don’t recall banks or real estate agents running around shouting from the rooftops that it had made investment in rental property that much more attractive. It’s always been an overrated issue IMO.

  5. GG
    Oh.
    That DOES create a problem.
    If Ratnam is the only MP, and she resigns because she cocked up the election campaign big time, who is going to be the leader then?

  6. Some weeks ago I predicted that the Andrews’ Government would be comfortably returned. I was wrong. Not only has it been returned, it has been returned with a likely majority in double digits.

    Although there are myriad reasons for its re-election, the most important for me is that it’s an emphatic denunciation of the politics of division, hate, not only espoused by Victoria’s tories but also the feds.

    I’d like to see Morrison go the federal election endorsing Dutton’s black arm-band view of Australia. If he does, he’ll be on the receiving end of an almighty drubbing. Well done Victoria, once blue-ribbon Tory under Bolte, Hamer, but now again very solidly Labor, the former winning the 1967 election on the back of the execution of Ronald Ryan.

  7. GG
    I can see the log jam at the Greens Party Room meetings now with the leader getting stuck in the door.
    ‘After you.’
    ‘No, no, no. After you.’

  8. BTW, I’m acutely aware I’m talking about this on the wrong thread, so this will be my last point on CGT.

    I think the current system of taking CGT at the top marginal rate paid by a taxpayer in the current year discriminates unfairly against the so-called “mum and dad investors” and would prefer to see a flat rate applied”: eg, all capital gains taxed at 20% or so something like that.

    At present, someone who owns a lot of geared assets can sell one and quite easily minimise their CGT obligation on the basis of declaring an annual income of $50k or something like that. Meanwhile, someone who only owns one asset, and sells while they are still earning a taxable income, might have their entire capital gain on that asset taxed at an effective 20-25 per cent. When PJK introduced CGT in 1985, I couldn’t understand the policy justification for this different treatment, and I am still unable to do so.

    I reckon the government should identify what it sees as a fair share of the capital gains achieved by any individual from any asset, and tax them accordingly.

  9. BW: “If Ratnam is the only MP, and she resigns because she cocked up the election campaign big time, who is going to be the leader then?”

    She can refuse to accept her resignation.

  10. ‘meher baba says:
    Sunday, November 25, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    BW: “If Ratnam is the only MP, and she resigns because she cocked up the election campaign big time, who is going to be the leader then?”

    She can refuse to accept her resignation.’

    Cracker!

  11. After 2014, the Greens voted to make a Liberal the President of the Legislative Council. If they thought for one moment the ALP was going to do them favours to retain those seats after that they clearly were delusional.

  12. Polling booth duty this time was interesting.

    All of us volunteers, so all of us care about politics enough to be involved, so I have a lot of time for all and i am very interested in the why they are there.

    The Liberal volunteer knew they were done and we discussed how much her party had changed in 30 years.

    The Green still believed they were going to take over the world. My response was I thought their time was done; to much division too much like the democrats dying days, but we will see.

    Excellent result for Labor, new member ( always a risky time) win from 57% to 62%.

  13. Greens appear to have increased their primary vote in four of the five Melb seats they were hopeful of. Even in Richmond where there was much fuss and comment on the candidate. They clearly beat Lab on first prefs in the other.

  14. Greensborough Growler:

    [‘The Greens have always believed they could be arseholes with impunity. They were wrong!’]

    Yes, and Dan was right to dissociate Labor from them. And, Dick’s leadership must surely be under a cloud, with them looking like they’ll only retain one seat in the LC, two in the LA.

  15. Quoll @ #69 Sunday, November 25th, 2018 – 8:49 am

    Greens appear to have increased their primary vote in four of the five Melb seats they were hopeful of. Even in Richmond where there was much fuss and comment on the candidate. They clearly beat Lab on first prefs in the other.

    Well with the Liberals vacating the field in Richmond, so they should! 🙂

  16. Two different questions, for those of you taking joy at the showing of the Greens:

    1) Should you be glad that their performance in the Legislative Council has less to do with their performance in terms of vote, and more to do with preference-whispering of the sort that rightly was removed from Federal politics ?

    2) How is Andrews going to adequately govern in a set of circumstances where Glenn Druery and Derryn Hinch essentially have veto power over any legislative propositions he may have?

  17. G.Rochon Loll

    Labor now has a number of paths to negotiate legislation through the Upper House. They only need two other votes, which they can get with the Greens, the minors, the Liberals, the Nats….plenty of options.

  18. The pollsters need to rethink their survey methods. Polling 53-54/47-46 when the result was 56-44 is a long way out. They probably rang too many landlines (pensioners) and not enough mobiles (young people).

  19. Ven, meher baba

    In the great Purge of 2019, Turnbull won’t just be expelled from the Liberal Party.

    His name will be erased as ever being leader.
    Records will be “updated” to show Abbott peacefully handing over power to Morrison in 2018.
    Images and video will be photoshopped so that Turnbull no longer appears.
    All sound recordings of Turnbull on any Liberal media will be overwritten with white noise.
    The Ramsay Western Civilization degree will make sure any reference to Turnbull’s existence is expunged from the record (probably already done after his involvement in treason against Australia’s head of state who is of course there by the Divine Right of Kings)

    Then the “Five Year Plan” to reclaim their “base” will be able to commence.

  20. Rocket Rocket

    They will know they have reclaimed the “base” when there first preferences have fallen to 10%, and all who claim to be Liberal are anti abortion, anti gay and know that a women must be pregnant and in the kitchen.

  21. At this stage Anthony Green’s Vic LC calculator always looks worse than the final result.

    Still, party distributed preferences don’t favour the Greens. So the will depend on BTL votes.

    Can go either way. But the Green vote has held up despite a number of ‘challenges’.

    It’s comical that their demise is predicted by haters at every election.

  22. Barney in Go Dau @ #72 Sunday, November 25th, 2018 – 11:52 am

    Quoll @ #69 Sunday, November 25th, 2018 – 8:49 am

    Greens appear to have increased their primary vote in four of the five Melb seats they were hopeful of. Even in Richmond where there was much fuss and comment on the candidate. They clearly beat Lab on first prefs in the other.

    Well with the Liberals vacating the field in Richmond, so they should! 🙂

    Actually Barney it would seem that Libs vacating the site helps Labor NOT the greens. Not sure why but a look at the the contsest without Liberals labor does better.

  23. I confidently await Ratnam and Di Natale stepping out and announcing that the Greens will be forming Government in Victoria before you can say ‘Jack Snap.’

  24. ‘It’s comical that their demise is predicted by haters at every election.’

    It’s comical that the quite reasonable attempts to point out to the Greens prior to an election that their predictions for the result are wildly optimistic are then portrayed as being driven by hatred, even when it turns out that the Greens predictions were wrong.

  25. zoomster

    I read a few days ago your summation on the North-East independent candidates and the reasons you felt made it unlikely any would win. I see Benambra is still a possibility.

    We have family ties to both the Shepparton region and the Mallee, and when I was in Mildura yesterday morning reading the “Sunraysia Daily” I was thinking of all the points you mentioned which help an independent. And I started seeing that Ali Cupper was a huge chance

    1. Big local profile – a Mildura councillor
    2. Previous electoral experience – ran in 2010 for Labor, 2014 as Independent
    3. Base to start with – got 42% TCP in 2014
    4. Electorate previously elected independent Russell Savage 1996, 1999 and 2002.
    5. The Labor, Green and other independent all preferencing her ahead of the sitting National
    6. Major local issues (and these were highlighted in the paper’s online poll) – unhappiness with Private management of Mildura Hospital, and with Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
    7. Media presence – 3/4 pages of Saturday paper’s “outer sheet” were her ads, as well as bottom quarter of front page.
    8. Slogan “The big parties are failing us. Change the Game.”
    9. Lots of comparison to how well the Shepparton region has done since electing the independent Suzanna Sheed in 2014.

    All in all, a very impressive campaign. Which was why by the time I got back to Melbourne I thought she was maybe the biggest chance of any of the independents.

  26. G. Rochon Loll

    If the Greens get two then a vote with Labor will get the legislation though but a vote with the Liberals will not amount to a hill of beans. Given the Greens behavior in the last parliament this is probable considered a plus by Andrews.

    The Greens have brought this on themselves.

  27. Rocket Rocket

    Yes – number 3 is a biggie. The best an indie is doing up here is 20%.

    Although McGowan’s team predicted in the lead up to her first election that she could win with 25%, in reality she barely made it with 31%.

    If any of the indies are prepared to commit themselves to a couple of runs up here, they’d stand more of a chance.

  28. What’s happening in Pascoe Vale?

    Blandthorn only has 37.1 FP vote and Yildiz 25.5, yet their is no sign of a preference count.

    Same as in Bensmbra and Morwell.

    No one will have any idea until the VEC get around to working out the right TPP contenders.

    Not really great by them.

  29. zoomster says:
    Sunday, November 25, 2018 at 1:42 pm
    ‘It’s comical that their demise is predicted by haters at every election.’

    It’s comical that the quite reasonable attempts to point out to the Greens prior to an election that their predictions for the result are wildly optimistic are then portrayed as being driven by hatred, even when it turns out that the Greens predictions were wrong.
    ————————–
    With the relative abundance of nongs who gloat and squeal about Greens here. Actually it seems an appropriate comment. Though perhaps more political spite than hate at an organisational level.
    Is it wildly optimistic that ~10% of the population ends up with half the representation of ~0.5% and not the other way around?
    Is it wildly optimistic to think you can increase your vote in seats you hope to win and you do?
    Everyone’s predictions were more or less wrong. Some wildly.

  30. zoomster

    Primaries

    2014 – Nat 46, Cupper 21, Labor 12, Country Alliance 10, Ind 4, Rise up A 3, Grn 2, FF 2, Ind 1
    2018 – Nat 39, Cupper 34, Labor 17, Independent 7, Greens 4

    Yes so she had a solid 20% already, and this time passed crucial 33% while Nat went under 40%.
    Also “uncluttered field” helped – 5 candidates compared to 9, with the other three all unequivocally preferencing the National last.

  31. Can anyone tell me whether the central polling booth ie in Vity are treated as absentee votes or prepoll votes. makes a very big difference to projected outcomes.

  32. Out of interest what are the Reason paty’s views on major economic wlelfare issues and public transport, privatisation etc.

    Are they to the left or the right of the ALP?

  33. Quoll @ #88 Sunday, November 25th, 2018 – 2:01 pm

    zoomster says:
    Sunday, November 25, 2018 at 1:42 pm
    ‘It’s comical that their demise is predicted by haters at every election.’

    It’s comical that the quite reasonable attempts to point out to the Greens prior to an election that their predictions for the result are wildly optimistic are then portrayed as being driven by hatred, even when it turns out that the Greens predictions were wrong.
    ————————–
    With the relative abundance of nongs who gloat and squeal about Greens here. Actually it seems an appropriate comment. Though perhaps more political spite than hate at an organisational level.
    Is it wildly optimistic that ~10% of the population ends up with half the representation of ~0.5% and not the other way around?
    Is it wildly optimistic to think you can increase your vote in seats you hope to win and you do?
    Everyone’s predictions were more or less wrong. Some wildly.

    Another Greens practising alternative universe political theories.

    Representative politics is about winning seats to form Government. So, blathering on about retaining a certain vote level is nonsense when it does not translate into seats. If this were not true Andrew Peacock would have won in 1990, Kim Beazley is 1998, Various Liberal South Australian Oppositions and of course the douzy, Hillary Clinton.

    At the moment the Greens look like winning 1 or 2 seats in this Pext parliament down from 8. This is not a great and glorious victory on the way to Greens world domination. This is what is generally referred to as having your arse handed to you on a plate.

  34. Quoll

    Like it or not the greens cannot get a quota in all divisions in their own right, it means they need the help from another party. I would have thought it was easy to work it all out from there. Being able to work out how to work in groups is supposed to be one of the strengths of humanity.

  35. Labor would rather the greens with one in the upper house, requiring another vote from one of the other 8-10 cross benchers.

    I still suspect the greens are a reasonable chance of retaining a southern metro seat.

  36. @Boerwar: This site isn’t (last I checked) an anti-Greens site – it’s an elections commentary site. The Greens’ vote held up reasonably well across the board; Druery simply did what he does best and arranged for no-name microparties to swan in and take vulnerable LegCo seats (which happened to be Green) off absurdly small votes. Despite not being a Green, I can feel some sympathy for them over that. Please knock it off – your anti-Greens obsession is becoming worrisome.

  37. So has there been much said about the early voting and whether the self-selecting population is unrepresentative of the on the day vote or whether there was a real swing to the ALP late?

  38. Matt @ #96 Sunday, November 25th, 2018 – 2:18 pm

    @Boerwar: This site isn’t (last I checked) an anti-Greens site – it’s an elections commentary site. The Greens’ vote held up reasonably well across the board; Druery simply did what he does best and arranged for no-name microparties to swan in and take vulnerable LegCo seats (which happened to be Green) off absurdly small votes. Despite not being a Green, I can feel some sympathy for them over that. Please knock it off – your anti-Greens obsession is becoming worrisome.

    BW is simply holding the Greens to rigorous scrutiny. They don’t seem to like being held accountable for what they say and do. Hard Cheese!

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