The morning after

A quick acknowledgement of pollster and poll aggregate failure, and a venue for discussion of the surprise re-election of the Morrison government.

I’m afraid in depth analysis of the result will have to wait until I’ve slept for just about the first time in 48 hours. I’ll just observe that that BludgerTrack thing on the sidebar isn’t looking too flash right now, to which the best defence I can offer is that aggregators gonna aggregate. Basically every poll at the end of the campaign showed Labor with a lead of 51.5-48.5, and so therefore did BludgerTrack – whereas it looks like the final result will end up being more like the other way around. The much maligned seat polling actually wound up looking better than the national ones, though it was all too tempting at the time to relate their pecularities to a past record of leaning in favour of the Coalition. However, even the seat polls likely overstated Labor’s position, though the number crunching required to measure how much by will have to wait for later.

Probably the sharpest piece of polling analysis to emerge before the event was provided by Mark the Ballot, who offered a prescient look at the all too obvious fact that the polling industry was guilty of herding – and, in this case, it was herding to the wrong place. In this the result carries echoes of the 2015 election in Britain, when polling spoke in one voice of an even money bet between the Conservatives and Labour, when the latter’s vote share on the day proved to be fully 6% higher. This resulted in a period of soul-searching in the British polling industry that will hopefully be reflected in Australia, where pollsters are far too secretive about their methods and provide none of the breakdowns and weighting information that are standard for the more respected pollsters internationally. More on that at a later time.

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.

1,797 comments on “The morning after”

  1. A few things learnt from yesterday:

    1. The Tories were never ‘broke.’
    2. The Tories can’t campaign. Yes they can.
    3 The Tories cannot compete with Labor on the ground because their membership are all over 70. Wrong!
    4. The Tories had given up and were no longer campaigning in some seats. WTF?
    5. GetUp are unbeatable. I don’t think so.

  2. For what it’s worth, Mumble on Twitter:

    Call out to anyone who believes there will not be a Maribyrnong byelection this term, please consider purchasing this giant coat hanger.

  3. Onlooker @ #1437 Sunday, May 19th, 2019 – 5:55 pm

    Confessions @ #1435 Sunday, May 19th, 2019 – 7:50 pm

    I don’t think Plibersek is up to the job of LOTO. I’ll be happy to be proved wrong if she wins the leadership, and on that front, if it comes down to a vote between her and Albo for leader, I’m voting for her. But she’s not our next PM in my view.

    She is way more up to the job than Gillard was.

    Yes bemused, I’d expect you to say that about Gillard seeing as you hate her so much. But her record of achievement in govt belies your bullshit.

  4. Matt@7:41 pm
    As we used to say in the 20th Century, you’re not wrong. Many thanks for your insightful observations, mate.

  5. In three years time, winning seats in Qld, Tas, WA and Western Sydney would appear to be central to any Labor strategy. The concensus choice of the Bludger commentariat of the left faction aligned members for Sydney and Grayndler as alternative Prime Minister are ‘interesting’ choices for those best placed to be attractive in those seats.

  6. The Parliament that has just been elected represents a divided electorate; a sullen, cynical and in many places an alienated and angry electorate.

    The country is more divided today than it was yesterday and this Parliament will prove it has no capacity to deal with the very great challenges we face.

    Doubtless Labor will be blamed for this. The truth is that while Labor is not responsible, only Labor can resolve these matters. Only Labor can. And Labor must.

  7. Cheryl Kernot‏
    @cheryl_kernot

    Elections are a market place where access to accurate information to make an informed choice is deliberately impeded. Not really democracy

  8. Fess: yeah, there is that as well.

    On the other hand, the weather IS very nice and I think I might quite like to live there one day.

  9. booleanbach says:
    Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 7:57 pm

    Barney in Saigon @ #1253 Sunday, May 19th, 2019 – 6:06 pm

    lizzie says:
    Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    Deal already done.

    @DanaScully2

    Palmer got approval for his mine before the election; it wasn’t reported anywhere except on his company website. #Insiders
    http://iminco.net/clive-palmer-6-4-billion-gaillee-basin-mine-approval/

    Lucky there’s going to be a federal ICAC now¿

    Want to bet on that?
    If they set one up it will not have any teeth to speak of & its first task will be to investigate the LOTO (who ever that turns out to be).

    Didn’t someone say that an upside down question mark (¿) was meant to mean sarcasm?

  10. @Adrian: Honestly, I hope Shorten has enough sense to back off & butt-out. He shouldn’t have made an endorsement at all, having led Labor to a needless loss – but if he does decide to white-ant any candidate (or the eventual winner!), it’ll be disastrous. For Labor, and for Australia – we can’t afford any more Liberal misgovernance!

  11. The swing to the Coalition in outer Western Sydney was so massive, it delivered Lindsay and spread into neighbouring Macquarie and potentially deliver that as well. Western Sydney has turned Liberal blue.

  12. ‘In three years time”

    Agreed.

    Any chance we can drop the memes and stupid names. Bag the people all you want, but can we do it like we aren’t 5 year olds?

  13. For those blaming the Greens.

    It was not the Greens saying in the Batman by election they were against Adani and then telling Qld voters they were for it.

    That’s when Labor created a rod for its back. By campaigning in Batman against Adani Labor convinced Qld voters along with the Batman voters that yes Labor was going to shut down Adani.

  14. FWIW Blobbit I think Littlefinger is a wittier and more apt nickname than scummo, Lucien aye etc. I’m gonna go with it.

  15. clem attlee @ #1451 Sunday, May 19th, 2019 – 8:00 pm

    A few things learnt from yesterday:

    1. The Tories were never ‘broke.’
    2. The Tories can’t campaign. Yes they can.
    3 The Tories cannot compete with Labor on the ground because their membership are all over 70. Wrong!
    4. The Tories had given up and were no longer campaigning in some seats. WTF?
    5. GetUp are unbeatable. I don’t think so.

    Love your posts most of the time Clem, but don’t agree with all of this.
    1. Agree. They have a ever present stream of large donors.
    2. No, but they can buy the advertising to do it.
    3. They don’t do on the ground, but certainly work the social media with mendacity of a high order. And it worked.
    4. I think all parties focus on the marginals, but certainly don’t walk away from others.

  16. Bucephalus @ #1189 Sunday, May 19th, 2019 – 5:35 pm

    Player One

    No country has the level of emissions it is responsible for calculated to include its’ exports – none. There are no global emissions agreements based on exports. Australia is less than 2% of global emissions. We are not the sixth largest.

    Why should Australia continue to emit 2.5 times the per capita emissions of UK? That’s more than our fair share.

  17. Chinda:

    I’ve got family in Qld whom I’d hate to see living in another country. But honestly. It’s like Qld *is* another country these days.

  18. C@tmomma @ #1424 Sunday, May 19th, 2019 – 7:45 pm

    I won’t be voting for Tanya Plibersek. The cap she came out with on Insiders today was exactly the same crap Bill Shorten had just lost the election with.

    Wasn’t she the Labor rep on the final Q&A with Di Natale and the one Coalition rep? She delivered a very sub-par performance there and should be disqualified from leadership on that basis alone. It should have been an easy tag-team beatup of the one right-wing contender. She got seriously flustered at points.

  19. On GetUp’s effect in the campaign, I’d say,

    don’t double dip.

    They had a go at Dutton last election and their campaign didn’t seem to have as much effect this time.

  20. Looks like the whole ‘littlefinger’ thing has a long history:

    Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish: Bill Shorten
    One character has shown a cerebral, sometimes callous approach to the top job, in addition to longing for power, and track record of using industry connections to shape political discourse. He has been a trusted adviser of those in power, a privilege occasionally used for the advancement of personal interests. The other character is Petyr Baelish.

    https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/if-game-of-thrones-were-set-in-canberra-whod-be-after-whose-blood/news-story/a8806dd9ad2e92b3f62584a0f67ee483

  21. He will be getting his hands on a biography of John Howard and trying to gain some inspiration.

    Speaking of books, wasn’t Turnbull supposed to have one that was going to drop right before the election? WTF happened with that?

  22. nath says:

    FWIW Blobbit I think Littlefinger is a wittier and more apt nickname than scummo, Lucien aye etc. I’m gonna go with it.

    Well golly what a surprise you lurve it. Purely because of it’s wit rather than the subject eh ?

  23. Unfortunately MT found that writing a book is harder than it looks. It appears he only penned two words: innovate and agile. Publishers didn’t think there was enough meat in this one.

  24. Perhaps the polling gave Labor/Shorten the confidence to go to an election with a pretty aggressive platform by Aussie standards. Would that platform have been so aggressive if the polls hadn’t shown Labor with a winning lead for the entire parliament?

  25. Can someone please explain to me why, occasionally, this site gives me the option of deleting another member’s post, in the same way the message comes up for my own posts?

    How can that be?

  26. Re: Shorten supporting Plibersek.

    May I just play a bit of Devil’s Advocate here?

    At the risk of sounding naive, it’s entirely possible he might just be returning the loyalty that his deputy showed him. I mean I am not going to pretend he’s an angel who never schemes but I don’t think he’s necessarily the Devil either. There might be a personal goodwill motivation there too I am just saying.

  27. guytaur @ #1226 Sunday, May 19th, 2019 – 5:54 pm

    Cat

    No yours is. You are in denial about change that is happening.
    The unpalatable truth is coal exports have to end.
    Labor has to address that or it will continue to lose elections to the myth coal equals jobs.

    This is more easily achieved when buyers stop buying coal.

  28. Meanwhile Antony has called Wentworth for the Libs. So 75 seats atm – with Bass (76) and Chisholm (77).

    Seems like a workable majority for the next term – with Indi, Mayo and Warringah likely to be back-up votes.

    Still Littlefinger permitted, with sensible changes and planning – Labor is a good show for 2022. Shades of 1996. Moving on from RGR makes sense…..

  29. guytaur says:
    Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 8:06 pm

    For those blaming the Greens.

    It was not the Greens saying in the Batman by election they were against Adani and then telling Qld voters they were for it.

    That’s when Labor created a rod for its back. By campaigning in Batman against Adani Labor convinced Qld voters along with the Batman voters that yes Labor was going to shut down Adani.

    Is that why they didn’t win the Longman by-election?

  30. a r:

    Yes that was a sub-standard performance by Plibersek, and there have been many others where she’s appeared bored, not across her brief, flustered.

    Maybe having the leadership will bring out a more competent leader? Who knows.

  31. Rational Leftist @ #1482 Sunday, May 19th, 2019 – 8:17 pm

    Re: Shorten supporting Plibersek.

    May I just play a bit of Devil’s Advocate here?

    At the risk of sounding naive, it’s entirely possible he might just be returning the loyalty that his deputy showed him. I mean I am not going to pretend he’s an angel who never schemes but I don’t think he’s necessarily the Devil either. There might be a personal goodwill motivation there too I am just saying.

    That is how I would interpret it too.

  32. Rational Leftist
    says:
    Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 8:17 pm
    Re: Shorten supporting Plibersek.
    May I just play a bit of Devil’s Advocate here?
    At the risk of sounding naive, it’s entirely possible he might just be returning the loyalty that his deputy showed him. I mean I am not going to pretend he’s an angel who never schemes but I don’t think he’s necessarily the Devil either. There might be a personal goodwill motivation there too I am just saying.
    ____________________________
    Oh……It hurts again….to laugh…..oh….

  33. Friend of mine in QLD saw three different versions of the fake news meme “Labor introducing a 40% death tax” on FB yesterday and she was “horrified at how quickly it was being shared”. Later she couldnt find it on the pages of those who’d shared it. This highly targeted, quick to disappear stuff is real and is undermining democracy.

    Not proferring this as some explanation of yesterday, but noting it is pernicious, targeted to individuals, hard to track, and potentially effective especially with low engagement voters. Its different to traceable “shitsheeting” from known sources.

    I was warning or weeks that Labor should be addressing the “death tax” meme directly but I never saw them do it. Not even sure how you would… I assume better top-down messaging would help.

    Im not suggesting a “we wuz robbed” narrative here, because there are many factors at play. But this stuff Its frightening. And the problem is you look a bit mad when you raise it. The AEC has to get on to it.

    https://www.ted.com/talks/carole_cadwalladr_facebook_s_role_in_brexit_and_the_threat_to_democracy

  34. briefly @ #1481 Sunday, May 19th, 2019 – 6:16 pm

    Labor has to evolve a strategy that will lead to the defeat of the Gs. It’s practically an existential necessity.

    In other words, they should become more like the Liberal Party. the Nats, One Nation, or any other of the RWNJ parties.

    Sounds like a great strategy.

    Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t have unintended consequences, ie driving Labor voter towards the Greens.

    FMD.

  35. And for all the doom and gloom, yesterday we had an election where no one was killed, no violence was evident, it was conducted fairly with an impartial administrator and there are no questions as to the reliability of the results.

    In my professional duties, I had cause to visit 11 polling booths yesterday. In each case the party workers were getting along at least reasonably well. In one booth, the school sausage sizzle was just closing down and free snags had just been provided to each of the workers (Lib, Lab, Ind and the Green) who were all sitting in their picnic chairs chatting amicably as at any BBQ munching on their sambo between handing out HTV’S.

    It made me feel proud of my country.

  36. Peter BrentVerified account@mumbletwits
    30m30 minutes ago
    To state the bleeding obvious: the commentariat (and everyone else)* got the election wrong largely because were misled by the polls. Flagellation, incl self, “oh we’re in a bubble” is pointless. Polls wot dun it.
    * with exceptions

  37. Davidwh

    I wondered the same. Use the poll lead as the chance to set up a ‘mandate’ for real reform and change. Shame the polls were so wRONg.

  38. Barney

    L am not blaming the Greens for Labor’s decisions.

    I am against Adani but I think Labor had to say that it was for or against.
    Instead voters saw Labor saying one thing in Victoria and another in Qld.

    That’s what damaged Labor in Qld on the Adani issue. Not Bob Brown’s convoy as the LNP wants Labor to think.

  39. I feel sorry for the defeated Braddon and Longman MP’s. To win in 2016 and then have to recontest in 2018 due to the citizenship issue and win and then to lose in 2019 must be wrenching and totally heartbreaking.

  40. “t’s entirely possible he might just be returning the loyalty that his deputy showed him. I mean I am not going to pretend he’s an angel who never schemes but I don’t think he’s necessarily the Devil either. There might be a personal goodwill motivation there too I am just saying.”

    Yup, that’s how i’d see it. I reckon we will see a proper transition, hard fought (mainly out of sight as it should be) amd then a unified ALP team. Thats one of the lessons the ALP proved it learned from the RGR wars and wont have forgotten it.

    #leadersh$t is only really being raised by the bedwetters and graceless prats like nath.

    But hey, bird gotta eat, fish gotta swim and some people are just nasty gits. Its the way of the world.

  41. Davidwh says:
    Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    Perhaps the polling gave Labor/Shorten the confidence to go to an election with a pretty aggressive platform by Aussie standards. Would that platform have been so aggressive if the polls hadn’t shown Labor with a winning lead for the entire parliament?

    I don’t think so.

    They would have expected to lose some votes from it, so they were willing to sacrifice some excess margin for it.

    As seems apparent now that excess margin probably didn’t exist.

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