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”

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  1. I am very disappointed Joel Fitzgibbon did not enter the Labor party leadership race

    Joel is well like in the labor party and one of the few who put effort into attacking the weakness of Liberal and national partys, for the last 6 years in opposition Joel has been the hard hitting investigator who discovers the dodgy dealing done by the liberal and national party members.

    Joel Fitzgibbon went into his electorate and went hard on campaigning as a royal labor team member

    No one in the Labor party put in close the effort that Joel Fitzgibbon did , Labor party members should support the hard hitting Joel Fitzgibbon

  2. Rambler @ #1492 Sunday, May 19th, 2019 – 8:22 pm

    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.

    Sounds much like the school at which I handed out HTVs. Except we lacked the luxury of picnic chairs. 🙂
    I have to say the school kids were just delightful and there was quite a lot of fun interaction between them and the HTV workers.

  3. Labor lost because they tried to go Full Climate Action on a public that now cares more about cost of living and then utterly failed to crush rumours it was going to cost voters their first born.

    Labor lost because they pushed class warfare while lacking the self awareness of what actual class they actually are.

    Labor lost because they fail to understand that the ‘Little Aussie Battler’ is now a conservative small business owner with a massive morgage and not the pro union semi skilled factory worker.

    Labor lost because they fail to realise the semi skilled factory workers lost their jobs when their own greedy unions destroyed the manufacturing industry and those people have moved on.

    Labor lost because they fail to realise their core supporters are now public servants and the rest of Australia actually work for a living.

    Labor lost because they believed the polls would transfer straight over into the ballot boxes.

  4. Poroti the unfortunate thing is I think Labor could have won with a less aggressive platform and argued some others once in government. It’s pretty well how most governments go about things. There may Just have been too much change at once for people to get their heads around.

  5. imacca

    #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.
    yes it’s only me that’s engaging in leadershit. Littlefinger is doing it for altruistic reasons. And swinging his entire faction along just because it feels good.

  6. Queensland is one of the locations in this country where the political tectonic forces of our times collide. The decline in the fortunes of the global coal industry and the consequences – the intimately related consequences – of global climate change are driving the decline of incomes and job opportunities in Queensland. These forces cannot be resisted by Queensland. They cannot be resisted by the country as a whole. Their origins are extra-territorial. Given this, it’s barely any surprise at all that Queenslanders expressed their anger at being told by smart-asses from Victoria to suck it up.

    These kind of problems will only get worse. Voters know it. They also know that escapism is neither possible nor desirable.

    We badly need a non-escapist politics. We need to drop the essentially dishonest politics of Green/Lib/ Lib-Kin/Lib-Lib nostalgia.

  7. 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

    There’s nothing wrong with being wrong. As long as you acknowledge and earnestly attempt to learn from it.

    I don’t think anybody who said “Hey that Government that went through 3 different PMs in two terms and currently doesn’t have a majority in the House and has trailed pretty much every poll in the last 3 years is probably going to lose” is necessarily in a bubble. I don’t think anybody who uses sound reasoning to make a prediction is necessarily in a bubble. The ones who are, are the ones scratching their heads today genuinely being baffled as to how it is even possible that voters would not vote the way they wanted. And, in the alternate universe where Shorten won, there would be similar RW bubbles.

  8. Commiserations, Bill and Co,
    I guess that we will never know
    what forward thinking might achieve,
    for now, it seems we have to leave
    our future hopes to fade away
    while troglodytes cavort and play
    in wastelands where whole species die,
    and we are left to wonder why
    so many people couldn’t see
    what now will very likely be
    the tragedy that lies ahead
    now common sense is stone-cold dead,
    for they have chosen to elect
    a party that will not respect
    our many urgent climate needs,
    for, sadly, as the nation bleeds,
    this government of fossil-men
    will drag us backwards yet again,
    so cheers to those who think they’ve won,
    enjoy your moment in the sun,
    for that warm glow will quickly fade
    when you perceive the price you’ve paid.

  9. Well Ladbrokes is offering 1.50 on Albo and 3.00 on Plibersek. Those odds will narrow once Littlefinger’s position gets factored in. Albo will retire and Plibersek will lose in 2022.

    Chalmers is likely to be deputy ( he is on 5.00) and will be Littlefinger’s deputy in 2025.

    It is all of course for altruistic purposes. Littlefinger retiring is a bit like John Howard or Bob Hawke retiring at the next election after this one.

  10. Boy if the good Labor members can’t see how rotten and toxic Shortens leadership and back stabbing has been for progressive politics and his shit personality is the reason why they lost then they may as well lock themselves in their caves and continue playing with themselves until they expire.

  11. Davidwh

    Good chance the ALP thought they were coasting re: polls
    I also thought playing dirty wasn’t considered necessary due to positive polling.

  12. @Rational Leftist: Shorten’s motives are immaterial. Due to this…lacklustre campaign strategy, his name is mud everywhere except in Liberal politician circles. Or it should be.

    I hope he’s just returning Plibs’ loyalty; either way, his endorsement should be of very little value.


    Re Adani: Labor has to take a stance; I’m pretty sure that trying to have a bob each way cost a lot of votes in Queensland, and gained very few in Victoria. IMO, Bill’s worst mistake was trying a both-sides approach to such a hot button issue; it fed into the Coalition’s “shifty Bill” smears of him, and didn’t impress the people on either side.

    For myself – I’m against it. It makes no commercial sense; coal prices would have to stay at a minimum of $A90/t for the Carmichael project to break even, much less generate a profit. It’s there now, but I doubt it’ll stay there; then, of course, the fact that India has stated an intention to discontinue coal imports entirely, removing the stated rationale for the project.

    Then, of course, there’s the fact that it risks ~90,000 Barrier Reef-linked tourism jobs to create 1,400 mining jobs, the irreparable environmental damage it will inflict, both initially and on an ongoing basis, the further irreparable harm to the groundwater supplies, and so on and so forth.

    The pro-Adani vote is already firmly on the Coalition’s side, as shown yesterday; the anti-Adani vote has hived off to the Greens. There’s nothing to lose – either in terms of policy or of politics – in belatedly taking a firm stance and cogently explaining it, and perhaps some gain in rebuilding a coherent, forward-looking base of support for Labor.

  13. guytaur says:
    Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 8:24 pm


    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.

    And yet, Labor won the Longmann by-election!

    Many things have contributed to the results at this election, but to suggest that actions like convoy had only positive effects is naive to the extreme.

  14. Does anybody have an update on counting for Chisholm? What is left in it? Seems like it will be a very small margin either way?

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

    I think they’re all stupid. Just shows how people ultimately just think this is a game.

  16. There are a lot of people asserting, without evidence, that this was about Adani. I think it was more likely about franking credits, negative gearing and lies, aka retirement tax, property tax, death tax. That false but simple messaging was absolutely everywhere – TV, radio, internet, signs in the street, newspapers and in people’s letterboxes.

    I saw hundreds of ads about Labor and taxes. I saw nothing about Adani or climate change. If anything, the Libs seemed scared to mention the latter and felt it was a problem for them.

    The other big non Adani factor was Palmer’s vote siphoning scam.

    Adani would not kill the ALP momentum in Victoria, SA, NSW or WA IMHO. Outside of Queensland people do not generally support the mine and do generally support action on climate change.

    Those asserting Adani to be the issue (many of whom I suspect to be climate change deniers looking for an excuse to argue against action) need to provide evidence and explain why Labor did so much worse than expectations outside of the affected parts of Queensland.

  17. Barney

    That’s not what I said. I said Labor can’t blame the Greens. It was Labor’s decision way before Bob Brown started a convoy that decided Labor’s fate.

    The awful bald truth for Labor is that the LNP link the Greens with Labor. It worked. Why? Voters saw Labor campaign against Adani in Victoria

  18. Dan
    In 1929 Andrew Scullin led Labor to a victory with 49% of the PV. Labor were unable to win again from opposition until 1972, an interval of 43 years. For much of this time Labor were obstructed by a nearby-rump – an offspring – that existed solely to keep Labor from office. We now have a nearby-rump – also an offspring – that also exists solely to keep Labor from office. This has become their raison d’être. There will be no success for Labor until we deal with the Gs.

  19. Simon² Katich® @ #1250 Sunday, May 19th, 2019 – 6:01 pm

    That part is just going to have to happen naturally.

    I agree. I have never advocated for the early closing of coal mines. In fact, due to overseas demand I do not see the industry suffering immediately. But I do advocate for the end to new Coal fired powerstations in Australia. That era is gone.

    For the record, I lived in a coal mine area for 8 months. Have worked on both open cut and underground coal mines. I have worked in Oil and Gas seismic research on the NW Shelf. Occasionally worked on Abbott Point. And I use electricity and pay for my power bills and have children that I would like to not have to live in a +3°C world.

    Sorry, but 50,000 coal jobs slowly reducing over an extended period time is not as important as the future of the planet. FFS. Closing down the car industry cost that many jobs in far less time. Automation is costing far far more job losses.

    Yes, losing your job sucks. I know that personally. But that is the modern era of job security. Coal jobs are not immune from that.

    There’s recent memories of other mine closures in central Queensland and the resulting high unemployment, economic recession and depopulation. Communities need to see new jobs on the ground before voting to acceleration the closure of coal mines and stopping any new mines.

  20. Fess @ 7.17:

    “I’m very interested in that report that Palmer’s Adani-adjoining mine was approved prior to the election. Cause from here it’s looking awfully like what $80m worth of electoral spending can buy a resources sector businessman.”

    It was an investment. The $80m he blew on the election is petty cash compared to what he stands to make from his mines. Actually securing a seat in any state was a secondary consideration. Clive Palmer has always been about just two things – Clive and Clive’s money.

    Guaranteed, he will find a way to write off that $80m too.

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

    Yes, that strategy sounds familiar. Been waiting for that for six years.

  22. I hope he’s just returning Plibs’ loyalty; either way, his endorsement should be of very little value.

    I’m of the mindset that endorsements carry very little weight in Australian politics anyway. They seem to be more a thing that’s effective in the US. Where endorsements from politicians and activists serve as a guidance call for followers and endorsements from celebrities are there to try to get people off their arses and go vote, much like a celebrity endorsing a brand of product increases that product’s sales.

  23. “Outside of Queensland people do not generally support the mine and do generally support action on climate change.”

    Hunter? Isn’t that a coal area, and the Labor vote died?

    The problem with Adani wasn’t the mine itself. In the end it, together with the tax policies, made the left seem completely uninterested in people’s livelihoods.

    The tax thing probably depressed the vote overall, but the standout issue in Qld was Adani. It smashed the vote there. Without those seats, I struggle to see how the left is going to get into power.

  24. “Communities need to see new jobs on the ground before voting to acceleration the closure of coal mines and stopping any new mines.”

    This. Which the ALP or Green’s can only do from government.

  25. nath, I wasn’t saying that he was, I was addressing the statement about his endorsement meaning very little and using that to segue on a broader point about endorsements in Australian politics. Geez.

  26. It’s just like the last six years never happened. That applies equally to some on here, particularly after the RGR wars carnage.

  27. Ok sorry. It’s just that after the slaying of Gregor Clegane to find that a zombie has arisen and seeks to rule via sock puppets. How much more can I put up with?

  28. Yeah I don’t accept Samantha Maiden’s story that ALP insiders were saying their tracking polls never had three above 76, but they chose to believe Newspoll. If their polling was that tight, Shorten would have gone to Brisbane regardless of Hawke’s death and would have campaigned til the end rather than go home for dinner with the kids Friday night.

  29. no matter who they select now, they probably wont be the Oppo leader come next election time.
    The next Labor PM probably isn’t in the parliament yet.
    If they keep going on the same.

  30. But yes, you’re right. If Shorten is going to support anyone – whether it is good natured or completely Machiavellian – he’s going to do so by picking up the phone and making a few calls.

  31. D

    Nothing that is both important and durable has happened in Australia since 1996, save the introduction of the GST and the NDIS. The survival of the NDIS is an open. We have had 23 years in which nothing important has been resolved by any Parliament.

    We have stalemate.

  32. The ALP on the coal industry seems to be in a similar position to Labour in the UK regarding Brexit.

    Trying to support two positions runs the risk of losing support in two directions. Losing those concerned about the global climate crisis to Greens or Independents and those concerned about jobs to the LNP.

  33. Blobbit @ #1518 Sunday, May 19th, 2019 – 8:43 pm

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

    I think they’re all stupid. Just shows how people ultimately just think this is a game.

    Well said! They appeal to the childish on PB.

  34. no matter who they select now, they probably wont be the Oppo leader come next election time.
    The next Labor PM probably isn’t in the parliament yet.
    If they keep going on the same.

    I have seen less optimism from Tories after 2004 – when they had good reason to believe they might be in for a lot longer. You have the slimmest of majorities. Don’t be cocky.

  35. Oh one more lesson:

    6. The MSM possess zero insight or insider knowledge… nadda, none! People on here have more of an idea than any of them. They were all calling it for Labor based on Newspoll. No party polling for them.

  36. I loathe all political nicknames, unless it’s a common one like “Albo” and prefer to refer to politicians by their names.

    And yes, “Lucien Aye” has been the most stupid of them all.

  37. Chisholm as the 77th seat is important for ScoMo.

    with 77 he can appoint a speaker with a spare vote – in case any one goes rogue.

    Amazing it comes down to about 170 votes. I guess Julia Banks regrets listening to Littlefinger and running in Flanders for 14.6% of the PV. Sticking in Chisholm was the smarter play and given the dearth of Liberal woman – a likely ministry would have been the outcome.

  38. LNP still short of majority

    75 to them.

    Things going to be shit for them still with a minority/slim majority.

    No mandate.

  39. “Trying to support two positions runs the risk of losing support in two directions. ”

    The only way out of this that I can see is to spin the positives as much as possible. So, stop going on about mine closures. Start talking about an actual scheme to employ people building out infrastructure for renewables.

    People love solar panel subsides. They get free stuff. The fact is going to result in coal mines closing doesn’t register. Do Snowy 3.0. Build a hugh thermal solar plant.

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