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. There is one option that I think would give the ALP a blend of the best parts of Tanya P and Albo and that is Ged, she is a straight talker, can hold her own in a debate and would be comfortable mingling with difference crowds while being professionally presentable.

    This whole discussion shows the talent difference between the two sides. The ALP have half a dozen potential options while the Liberals have maybe one or two at best.

  2. And, Guytaur, seriously. You do yourself no favors. Learn to concede the point, learn to distinguish the difference between your opinions and objective fact, and learn to construct a coherent fucking argument. Its hard to blame people for tearing their hair out whenever they get sucked into the rabbit hole that is arguing with you.

  3. Australians Are Arseholes.

    That should inked on the top of every policy document, it should be engraved over the portal of ALP HQ and written out a hundred times by every ALP campaign manager.
    Once we accept this fact then we might be able to devise a strategy to win government.

  4. Cat:

    But I’m trying to be constructive here and get them to be constructive too. Ignoring them achieves nothing constructive.

    Yeah. I think you and I have slightly different interpretations of the word “constructive.”

    And, no doubt, I get how difficult it is to let things go, especially when your personal beserk button get hit.

    But there comes a point when you have to tell yourself “this is getting nowhere” and close the browser, for the sake of your own sanity and that of all the other poor bastards reading this blog.

  5. So the likes of Briefly and various others keep suggesting that the ALP needs to ‘deal’ with the Greens. As-in, not make a deal, but kill off. It’s just not possible and an absolute bloody waste of the ALP’s time and limited resources.

    I mean, look at the Vic State Election. Dan Andrews invests heavily in public transport, renewables, brings in a safe injecting room, passes euthanasia laws, and is very vocal about LGBTQ discrimination and the refugee issues. Basically does 65%+ of what the Greens supporters like myself want. I really like the man.

    And yet – the Greens didn’t have the best of nights in November, but they’re still there, still got multiple seats in the lower house, and largely only lost seats in the upper because of preference harvesting. So, not dead. They may do better next time around when the ALP drop back.

    The only times I’ve voted #1 ALP have been when there was no Green running in my seat. I’m likely never going to vote #1 ALP again. And I’m not a Greens member, and have no interest in the machinations of the party, or of getting involved. Most of my family, friends and colleagues are the same. I was raised working class, father a strong union man, but he votes Greens now too (refugees are his main bugbear being a true Christian). But you always get our preferences before the Libs.

    But come on, let’s hear your strategy. Can’t be worse than your electoral strategy.

  6. A question keeps popping into my head today;

    Is it possible for a single Party to present a platform that plays right across the Nation?

    The Coalition in reality is at least 3 Parties; Liberals, Nationals and the LNP in Queensland. Each one is tailored to a certain region giving a certain level of independence and flexibility in the messaging.

    The left don’t have this differentiation especially across the city country divide.

  7. Well, Saturday didn’t go quite as planned, and to say that I am deeply depressed and distressed by the election result would be an understatement. I have spent the last few weeks alternating between cautious optimism and vague unease, but overall I was pretty confident that Labor would win – after all, that’s what all the polling and other evidence was suggesting would happen. It is cold comfort to know that I was not alone in being mistaken.

    So, here are a few thoughts with the benefit of 24 hours of it all sinking in.
    * This victory is all Scott Morrison’s, and he deserves credit for running a ruthlessly on-message negative campaign. He will have greatly enhanced status within the Liberal Party, and stands a good chance of being the first prime minister to make to another election since 2007.
    * By contrast, Labor’s defeat is mostly Bill Shorten’s, and he has done the right the thing by standing down so quickly. Bowen and Plibersek, as the next two most senior ALP leaders, also need to share some blame. Basically, Labor’s brains trust got it badly wrong, though I’d suggest that it was Shorten’s authenticity deficit that was fatal in the end.
    * Queensland was a bloodbath for Labor (with several 10%+ swings in some seats), and we can be thankful that only two seats were lost. Adani was a huge issue, particularly in northern Queensland, and those who led the Adani caravan there recently will hopefully be pondering the optics of a bunch of well-educated city types descending on rural areas without many jobs.
    * Labor was unable to make up the ground in its stronger areas, with decent swings in Victoria, SA, and inner Sydney not picking up much in the way of seats. I think we are seeing the same divide here as with Trump and Brexit – a whole heap of less well-educated (but electorally significant) swathes of people feeling that their better educated compatriots look down upon them, and so are motivated to vote opposite to them, even though it appears against their basic economic interests.
    * Despite all this, I still believe that 2022 is there to be won for Labor, if they can get their messaging and leadership right. This was, after all, a largely undeserved victory for the Coalition, given that they have presided over a period of disfunction and disunity, with little in the way of policy outcomes to show for it. And history suggests that when governments get wins like this (eg NSW Labor 2007, UK Conservatives 1992, Howard 2004, Keating 1993), they often get their comeuppance the next time around.
    * Labor clearly needs to review its policy stance on all issues, though overall I think the policies they put forward were worthwhile. It could be that many need some serious tweaking, but in any event I’d say we won’t see any Opposition go to an election with that same kind of policy detail for a decade or more.
    * There seem to be a few leadership aspirants for the ALP, but for mine Anthony Albanese is the stand-out candidate. He has the experience and the authenticity needed to succeed, and he will take the fight up to the Morrison government, which will be, let’s not forget, a government with at best a paper-thin majority.
    * And finally, what to make of the next term of government is anyone’s guess. The Coalition put forward nothing in terms of a policy agenda, and they will only have a precarious hold on the numbers in Parliament. It could be that we are in the three years of inaction across a range of issues. Not what the country needs, to be sure, but it appears that’s what they voted for.

  8. J from your self description I guess that you were a frequent poster with “real” insider knowledge here before 2013. If so you can see that PB has become a lesser place because of your long absence

  9. Puffy – My advice to you is to emigrate, but if you choose New Zealand remember wages there are shit by Australian standards and their public health system is pretty shit to.

  10. Herbert, Dawson, Capricornia, Wide Bay, Longman, Flynn in Queensland gave PHON and Clive between 15% and 25% primaries to give to the Libs.
    Shorten and Labor had no effective method to combat Clive’s money. Pauline followers probably ignored the policies of both the majors and did as requested.
    I respect Shorten for what he took to the electorate and the battle he fought.
    Clive was in it for Clive and Pauline had no policies that will see the light of day. They did Australia no favours.
    The performance of the L/NP during the next 3 years looks like more chaos and cuts. Those dealing with the ATO, Centrelink, NDIS etc will miss those thousands of public servants who are getting the boot. ‘We appreciate your call, you are in the queue’

  11. “Labor’s problem is dealing with supporting workers and the environment at the same time”

    Isn’t that a problem for the Green’s as well? Or do they just ignore the workers?

  12. Barney in Saigon

    “A question keeps popping into my head today;

    Is it possible for a single Party to present a platform that plays right across the Nation?”

    —–

    I have thought similarly that there needs to be an sustainable country party that reflects the many farmers that are concerned at climate change and warming.

    This could replace “country labor” and greens in the country and enter into coaltion with ALP to form government.

  13. Barney

    This is the point.

    Labor are not the Greens and the Greens are not Labor

    In fact the comparison you need is between the LNP and Jacqui Lambie or Centre Alliance. Labor and the Greens are not in formal coalition

  14. a r suggests

    Until the far-left and the center-left learn to be friends and work together Labor will never form government. The only thing that happens when the left eats itself is the right wins.

    I’ve been trying to argue this for the better part of five years. I raised it in one of my <a href="http://isocracy.org/content/towards-2019-labor-green-alliance"typically rambling posts after the last Federal election.

    I’ve known Adam Bandt since Murdoch University days almost thirty years ago. I’ve known Bill Shorten in the ALP for close to twenty-five years. How many times does a Coalition government have to be re-elected before they understand the importance of an electoral alliance, even for pure reasons of convenience and resource allocation?

  15. This is the point.

    Labor are not the Greens and the Greens are not Labor

    In fact the comparison you need is between the LNP and Jacqui Lambie or Centre Alliance. Labor and the Greens are not in formal coalition

    ????

  16. briefly @ #1522 Sunday, May 19th, 2019 – 6:46 pm

    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.

    Well, while you’re off fighting the Greens, The Libs and their mates in the media will sit back and point out to everyone what a shambles “The Left” is, and enjoy all the fruits of government in perpetuity.

    Oh and BTW, you still haven’t got back to us to justify why Labor rejected amendments to the Trans-Pacific Partnership that would’ve brought it in line with their stated policy on international trade. Tell us why they waved the ISDS clauses in the TPP straight through despite publicly stating they are opposed to them.

  17. Lev Lafayette

    There are ALP dominantors on this blog who think the only battle the ALP has is against the Greens\.

    I assume they think that the Greens,led by Morrison, have just won this election. They are sincere, sincerely obsessed!

  18. Blobbit

    Yes. However as is pointed out so often. The Greens are not forming government. That too has an impact on how you think when you approach issues.

    Many times some Labor people want the Greens to be both a protest party and a party of government.
    The convoy can be used to say the Greens are not ready for the responsibility of government but you can’t decry them for being a protest party.

    This is the Greens problem. They have to do stunts to get attention. An inevitable effect of not being a party that gets regular media attention like Labor and the LNP do. Yet they are trying to broaden their appeal out for more mainstream support so they can stop doing stunts.

  19. Why do people keep going on as if there was something new about the Trump victory.

    Politics in the USA changed way back in 1968 when the FDR coalition fell apart, dixie went republican and then again in 72 when the white working class right across the country split from the democrats and Nixon won fifty states.

    Trump won with the same demographic coalition Nixon built fifty years ago and has been the path to victory for every Republican President since, nothing new going on in American politics it is where it has been for half a century now.

  20. Asha Leu says:
    Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 10:24 pm

    And, Guytaur, seriously. You do yourself no favors. Learn to concede the point, learn to distinguish the difference between your opinions and objective fact, and learn to construct a coherent fucking argument. Its hard to blame people for tearing their hair out whenever they get sucked into the rabbit hole that is arguing with you.

    Having lost most of my hair at a relatively early age, it’s slightly less painful for me. 🙂

  21. jc @ #1654 Sunday, May 19th, 2019 – 9:59 pm

    So the likes of Briefly and various others keep suggesting that the ALP needs to ‘deal’ with the Greens. As-in, not make a deal, but kill off. It’s just not possible and an absolute bloody waste of the ALP’s time and limited resources.

    I mean, look at the Vic State Election. Dan Andrews invests heavily in public transport, renewables, brings in a safe injecting room, passes euthanasia laws, and is very vocal about LGBTQ discrimination and the refugee issues. Basically does 65%+ of what the Greens supporters like myself want. I really like the man.

    And yet – the Greens didn’t have the best of nights in November, but they’re still there, still got multiple seats in the lower house, and largely only lost seats in the upper because of preference harvesting. So, not dead. They may do better next time around when the ALP drop back.

    The only times I’ve voted #1 ALP have been when there was no Green running in my seat. I’m likely never going to vote #1 ALP again. And I’m not a Greens member, and have no interest in the machinations of the party, or of getting involved. Most of my family, friends and colleagues are the same. I was raised working class, father a strong union man, but he votes Greens now too (refugees are his main bugbear being a true Christian). But you always get our preferences before the Libs.

    But come on, let’s hear your strategy. Can’t be worse than your electoral strategy.

    Just remember, if your vote helped The Coalition in any way to continue raping this country, and murdering people through inaction on climate change, forcing people into suicide through robodebt and doing nothing about Indigenous kids dying through the traumas they experience, then you have blood on your hands.
    I
    If you voted in a way to help Labor, then okay, you are not part of the problem.

    What you need to do is too confront anyone you know who voted to support the Liberals with their complicit culpability for these crimes against humanity.

    It is no longer justifiable or defensible to vote to support a Coalition government anywhere in Australia. It is an unforgivable sin against nature and humanity.

  22. Asha Leu says:
    Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    This is the point.

    Labor are not the Greens and the Greens are not Labor

    In fact the comparison you need is between the LNP and Jacqui Lambie or Centre Alliance. Labor and the Greens are not in formal coalition

    ????

    I glad you seem to have understood him! 😆 😆 😆

  23. Puff

    A reminder. We have preferential voting. So you can vote for both Labor and the Greens without helping the LNP as a voter.

  24. “They have to do stunts to get attention. An inevitable effect of not being a party that gets regular media attention like Labor and the LNP do”

    I actually have no real problem with that. It does mean though that the ALP and the Green’s are going to have to go at each other a bit.

    The Greens will propose closing all mines. The ALP will call them crazy extremists. The Greens will get 10% of the vote, and most of that will hopefully come back to the ALP as preferences.

    Seems doable. The Greens pretty much become the ON of the left, in terms of the relationship with the ALP.

  25. Oh and BTW, you still haven’t got back to us to justify why Labor rejected amendments to the Trans-Pacific Partnership that would’ve brought it in line with their stated policy on international trade. Tell us why they waved the ISDS clauses in the TPP straight through despite publicly stating they are opposed to them.

    They’re going to fix it when they get back into government, remember?

    Oh. Wait.

  26. C@tmomma: “Read it and weep: ‘Two words, retiree tax’: The policy that helped Labor lose the election
    https://www.smh.com.au/federal-election-2019/two-words-retiree-tax-the-policy-that-lost-labor-the-election-201 90519-p51owl.html”

    If, like you, I was a Labor true believer, the words in that article that would make me particularly want to weep are the following:

    “Mr Bowen said on Saturday night that he had no doubt Labor would “bring the [policies] to another election,” but that there would be a review of what went wrong.

  27. “Mr Bowen said on Saturday night that he had no doubt Labor would “bring the [policies] to another election,” but that there would be a review of what went wrong.”

    Yep. None of that shit. No more policies should ever be brought to any election, unless they’re only result in gains for everyone.

    That sounds sarky, but isn’t meant to be. Seriously, no more policies except giving people stuff. Money mainly.

  28. If, like you, I was a Labor true believer, the words in that article that would make me particularly want to weep are the following:

    “Mr Bowen said on Saturday night that he had no doubt Labor would “bring the [policies] to another election,” but that there would be a review of what went wrong.

    I wouldn’t look into that too much. He’s bound to these policies at this moment. Once the party regroups and whatnot, they will be discussing policy, and I imagine some of it will be dropped and then the tune will change.

  29. And can we do demanding politicians on the left are honest. We’ve just seen that the public and media have no interest in that.

  30. Blobbit

    That’s the argument Labor should have gone with except for one thing. Labor people know the Greens are right. They don’t want any connection of the word extremist with climate policy for a very good reason.

    The LNP will use that to paint the LNZ the same way the GOP did when it called the Hillary Clinton led Democrats socialists. The mess around climate policy is already toxic from ideological rhetoric

  31. meher baba @ #1679 Sunday, May 19th, 2019 – 10:51 pm

    C@tmomma: “Read it and weep: ‘Two words, retiree tax’: The policy that helped Labor lose the election
    https://www.smh.com.au/federal-election-2019/two-words-retiree-tax-the-policy-that-lost-labor-the-election-201 90519-p51owl.html”

    If, like you, I was a Labor true believer, the words in that article that would make me particularly want to weep are the following:

    “Mr Bowen said on Saturday night that he had no doubt Labor would “bring the [policies] to another election,” but that there would be a review of what went wrong.

    If a policy is the right thing to do then it should not be so readily abandoned as you seem to think.

  32. “They don’t want any connection of the word extremist with climate policy for a very good reason.”

    No, they have to label the Green’s solution as being extreme. All that’s left now for the ALP, after the convoy stunt, is to match the LNP policy plus add some freebies on top.

    I’d go free solar panels, plus some big projects in mining towns.

    Whatever the Green’s come up with has to be rubbished, however sensible it is.

  33. Fully franked credits and nothing less than legalised theft from working tax-payers.

    Who do these people think make up the difference? “The government” in some sort of abstract pool of money?

    Labor’s had the courage to go after rent-seeking which, along with negative externalities, private monopolies, and asymmetric information, are the great evils in modern economics.

  34. “If a policy is the right thing to do then it should not be so readily abandoned as you seem to think.”

    That’s loser talk. You implement a policy like that once you’ve won government. You soften the blue by giving the people who are going to be hit a bribe.

  35. Blobbit

    Labor should go to the next election with a policy designed to do exactly what the LNP does. Use it as a platform to say LNP reckless dangerous extremists.

    They just can’t be trusted to manage the environment.

    That will add to they just can’t be trusted with health education etc.

  36. guytaur says:
    Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 10:59 pm

    Blobbit

    That’s the argument Labor should have gone with except for one thing. Labor people know the Greens are right. …

    Labor people know the Greens have an aversion to being pragmatic.

    Fixed it for you.

  37. I’m not sure most Australians are arseholes. Most of my facebook feed today was…footyyyyyyy

    People will keep thinking the coalition are superior economic managers until they see counter-arguments with teeth.

    Are we still trailing the likes of Kazakhstan in maths and science?

  38. Blobbit @ #1688 Sunday, May 19th, 2019 – 11:04 pm

    “If a policy is the right thing to do then it should not be so readily abandoned as you seem to think.”

    That’s loser talk. You implement a policy like that once you’ve won government. You soften the blue by giving the people who are going to be hit a bribe.

    And you apparently think deceit is the way to go.
    You would be right at home in the LNP.

  39. Maybe, So called political followers who say all Australians are areseholes should follow another sport.

    It maybe that all Auustralian poloticians are arseholes?

  40. It was a great source of irritation to me to see the number of people voting first greens and then liberal as their second preference . I was the labor scrutineer in my booth. So they feel so good and holy about voting for climate change policies, then they vote Liberal, who don’t give a FARK about CC , as their second preference ,who they know will win the seat.JEESUS!
    I had to to imitate the precious so called caring climate carers, much to the amusement of the official who was bonded to her duty and had to stifle her amusement.

  41. This is an interesting read put up on facebook by Van Badham
    6 hrs ·
    AFTER THE ELECTION: AN ANALYSIS

    It’s so tempting to give in to despair, but our despair is the true crown of our opponents’ victory and I just plain refuse to yield my dignity, my self-respect or MY HOPE to these people. There are some things I want you to remember about this election:

    – the Liberals printed fake AEC posters to deceive people into voting for them

    – the Liberals did a secret deal to share resources with Clive Palmer, who used his billions to fund the most expensive propaganda campaign IN AUSTRALIAN HISTORY, consistently smearing Labor with false accusations: no, Labor are NOT in cahoots with an international communist invasion strategy. My god.

    – the Nationals outright exchanged preferences with the fascist One Nation party

    – the Liberals and Nationals apparently bussed activists to nursing homes (we’re learning this now) to scaremonger old people into voting for them with talk of a “retiree tax” that did not exist, that never existed

    – the Liberals and Nationals used a Cambridge-Analytica-style campaign to target fake news through personal accounts about a “death tax” (that also – SURPRISE! – did not exist) to carefully selected demographics in marginal seats, and kept doing it long after it was called out publicly for the lie it was

    – I’m sure it’s just a massive coincidence that Palmer, the Liberals and Nationals were heavily investing in apps that mined all your Facebook data, and Facebook was where the data appeared: https://www.abc.net.au/…/clive-palmers-politcal-a…/10731324…

    – despite the open warfare between Labor and the Greens across the country, the deep loathing of Labor towards the Greens and the exhausting, endless battle between these two parties for seats, in Queensland – where Greens are thin on the ground and that battle not obvious – the Liberals and Nationals effectively seeded the false narrative that Greens and Labor are the same thing. And then in the most counterproductive political campaign in Australian history, a convoy of Greens & Stop Adani protestors – people who actually hate the Labor party to their marrow – rolled their cars into the very seats Labor needed to win, public and loud and foreign to these small, tight-knit communities… and rendered themselves both hapless & perfect puppets of the conservatives’ incessant false propaganda.

    – Liberals and Nationals promoted online disinformation campaigns about Bill Shorten that were absolutely false, and relentless. And Facebook’s response to requests for outright defamatory claims to be removed? That Labor would have to get a court injunction – by which time the election would have been over anyway.

    It was an election based on lies and deceit on an unprecedented scale – one which noone in the labour movement or its party could have believed were possible.

    When I heard from a friend who was a Labor candidate that an ex of theirs had been contacted with a request to “spill dirt” on their relationship to a conservative news outlet, I thought it was an outlier. But then I heard similar stories from other Labor candidates. Today I learned that a journalist from a conservative news outlet even snuck into Bob Hawke’s house to scope out some kind of “scoop” as he lay dying.

    What are our lessons here?

    They’re not about our movement, our party, or who is our leader. They’re not about our policy platform. They’re not about our values, or our people. Our opponents want us to think they are – but it’s just another trap. It’s to convince us to abandon the real fight.

    They’re about the true values of our opponents – their loyalty and servitude to the agenda of the extremely wealthy makes them prepared to lie, to cheat, to manipulate and hurt people to maintain their grip on power.

    We have seen that the Australian rich are willing to march hand-in-hand with the *actual brownshirts* of the far right, if only to retain some paltry tax advantages.

    So what do we do?

    We remember that a fist is stronger than five fingers, and we band together.

    We remind ourselves that democracy is a contest of majorities and we double down on building OUR majority by donating all our skills and talents to the cause of the side that we have chosen, and serving a unified political strategy. In the workplace, that means joining unions. For elections that means, and can ONLY MEAN, the Australian Labor Party, the ONE Party with the capacity to form an alternative government.

    To pretend otherwise and to dilute efforts into electoral projects with ABSOLUTELY NO CHANCE of an outcome is – clearly, absolutely – destructive madness.

    The only resource we have to counter the manipulations funded by billionaires is the reach of *organised and unified* human beings, serving with absolute fidelity the goal of winning power.

    And we can do this by making sure each and every Australian learns the truth about who they’ve just elected – that in a world of scaremongering and fear that they’ve created for us, it’s their selfish, deceitful and destructive values of personal vanity and greed that will deliver us horrors we can barely imagine.

    Hang in there,

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