Of swings and misses

The Coalition’s parliamentary majority looks secure, as the polling industry starts facing up to what went wrong.

The latest – or some of it at least:

• It is now reckoned beyond doubt that the Liberals have held on in Chisholm, thereby guaranteeing a parliamentary majority of at least 76 seats out of 151. As related in the latest update in my late counting post, I think it more likely than not that they will supplement that with Macquarie and Bass, and wouldn’t write them off quite yet in Cowan. You are encouraged to use that thread to discuss the progress of the count, and to enjoy the reguarly updated results reporting facility while you’re about it.

• If you only read one thing about the collective failure of the opinion polls, make it Kevin Bonham’s comprehensive account. If you only read two, or don’t have quite that much time on your hands, a brief piece by Professor Brian Schmidt in The Guardian is worth a look.

• The three major polling companies have each acknowledged the issue in one way or another, far the most searching example of which is a piece in The Guardian by Peter Lewis of Essential Research. A statement released yesterday by Ipsos at least concedes there may be a problem with over-sampling of the politically engaged, but Monday’s offering by David Briggs of YouGov Galaxy in The Australian was defensive to a fault.

• Note the guest post below this one from Adrian Beaumont on tomorrow’s European Union elections in Britain.

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.

1,724 comments on “Of swings and misses”

  1. This is utter crap..
    “This is not to say we will never poll again. As chief political correspondent David Crowe says, accurate polling can be an invaluable reality check when journalists are faced with relentless spinning by political parties, interest groups and think tanks.”

    How do polls contribute anything to the judgment of truth.

    Journalists should just get off the tit & do the bloody work themselves, earn their money, if not up to it or too intellectually challenged give it away.

  2. * Laura Tingle, one of the best political analysts in the press gallery, moves from the AFR to give 730 report political coverage more heft (or should that be “some heft”)
    * Barry Cassidy “decides” to retire after a “long and distinguished career”
    * David Speers, arguably the best interviewer on Australian media, moves to the ABC to full Barry’s slot (and probably some others, if they have any sense.

    Why do I get the impression that the new ABC Chair and MD are very serious about improving the ABC political journalism game?

    Interesting that Speers will have been hired in the context of big cuts in the organisation overall, so there must be a fair bit of paddling going on underwater.

  3. Madcyril
    “One good thing to come from this election could be that we may be finally freed from the tyranny of the polls.”
    True. I wonder if all those PMs would have been rolled if the polls were as discredited as they are now. I suspect some would not have.

  4. Sceptic
    Yes, let’s see journos spend the time to properly analyse policies and statements instead of the cheap and meaningless “analysis” of polls.
    It would be a pleasant change.

  5. I think the government might start getting a bit alarmed soon that the ABC might be developing the capacity to report objectively on their shitshow.

  6. Probably Gillard and Turnbull would’ve faced challenges regardless of whether polling existed at the time. There was hostility against them from determined minorities of their party and the polls were only one piece of ammunition to be used against them.

  7. “As chief political correspondent David Crowe says, accurate polling …”

    Well yes, quite. Isn’t the problem that we now don’t know how to do accurate polling?

  8. ltep
    If Rudd hadn’t been booted, a lot of this mess wouldn’t have happened. I know Shorten etc didn’t like him but when he lost Newspoll he lost the lot.

  9. Brexit should be a lesson for Australian Labor, the EU vote tonight will see the Tories with 7% of the vote if the polls are correct.

    Labor had a narrow loss really, led astray by useless polling & defeated by a racist Qld.
    Labor should refine the policies & principals they took to the election.. & learn to explain them better.
    Expecting to gain government because the other side is worse than you is a dumb strategy.

  10. Indeed the original sin was the removal of Rudd in 2010.

    Albo needs to purge the opportunists and timeservers and allow the true believers to rebuild.

  11. What evidence is their to support Turnbull being on the nose in QLD?Your being sucked into a media narrative that was false.Even if it were true it would have just meant a bigger phon 1 lnp 2 vote and would not have changed the seat count.

    The Longman byelection produced a below average swing against the government for a by election(along with no swing for the one down in Tassie with hindsight those two by elections showed Labor were not going that well) and when Turbull was dumped national polling had the tories right where they were on election eve.

    Sacking yet another sitting pm probably shaved a point or two off what the tories 2pp would have been under Turnbull.

  12. @Sceptic

    7% for the Tories! wow, how much are Labour polling if you know?

    If Labour poll less than the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party, then Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership could be in trouble as well.

  13. Diogenes @ #1612 Thursday, May 23rd, 2019 – 8:57 pm

    ltep
    If Rudd hadn’t been booted, a lot of this mess wouldn’t have happened. I know Shorten etc didn’t like him but when he lost Newspoll he lost the lot.

    Well not sure what to make of this comment. Who lost Newspoll? Rudd was 6 years ago now… Surely we have moved on from then!

  14. “If Labour poll less than the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party, then Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership could be in trouble as well.”

    And if he polls less than the Tories?

    Anyway, based on recent recipient, v that 7% should probably be 70%

  15. Indeed the original sin was the removal of Rudd in 2010.

    I personally think this just a symptom of a rot that’s been quietly growing since 1996, TBH. But yes, 2010 was an error (not that I have any great love for Rudd) and some people need to start re-evaluating their long-held beliefs about it being a necessity.

  16. Oh and by the way I live in provincial QLD and I never sensed that Turnbull was hated, he wasn’t a folk hero, but I think most people viewed him as relatively competent .

    I never thought Labor could beat him if the LNP fell in behind him and I think the hard right shared my view so they never really did.( and I say all that as some one who can’t stomach the man)

  17. New Republic
    Just saying if everyone was as sceptical of polls in 2010 as they are now it would have been a lot harder to roll Rudd. I well remember how fixated Labor was with each Newspoll then. Every one point change was trumpeted to the heavens by the Ruddsters or antiRuddsters if it went their way. And that’s set the tone since.

  18. According to her twitter feed, Emma is the ABC’s chief economics correspondence with Lateline.

    Not surprised to see Speers move to the ABC, he has seemed less than his usual self recently at Sky. I don’t see Jayes departing at this stage as she is more partisan than Speers but who knows. Sky has shut down its business channel so a few people will be departing to other networks.

  19. Diogenes @ #1623 Thursday, May 23rd, 2019 – 9:15 pm

    New Republic
    Just saying if everyone was as sceptical of polls in 2010 as they are now it would have been a lot harder to roll Rudd. I well remember how fixated Labor was with each Newspoll then. Every one point change was trumpeted to the heavens by the Ruddsters or antiRuddsters if it went their way. And that’s set the tone since.

    Agreed, I wasn’t convinced Rudd would lose and although surprised by the removal I was OK with Gillard’s performance though she did have a lot of negative commentary that dragged her down in the end. Others have been removed since on opinion polls (thankfully Abbott). Let’s see what the very obvious fail for pollsters means going forward!

  20. Tristo

    The latest poll makes devastating reading for the Tories as the party slumps in fifth place on just 7% on the eve of the European elections.

    In contrast the Brexit Party is storming ahead with YouGov putting the newcomers on 37%.

    That means Nigel Farage’s party is comfortably in first place – just a few weeks after it was founded.

    The Liberal Democrats have been storming ahead and are now comfortably in second place on 19% – pushing Labour , on 13%, into third place.

    But the Greens are snapping at Labour’s heels for third place – being only one point behind on 12%.

    The Conservatives now sit in a distant fifth place, with just 7% of people planning to back the Tories – down from 10% last week.

    While the other new party Change UK have failed to cut through and are now on just 4%.

    Rubbish piece of writing from the Mirror

  21. They were also shown in Victoria, not sure why he thought such a message would matter to Victorians. Someone did some research and found the claims were false, they were shown less from that point onwards.

  22. Mexicanbeemer says:
    Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    According to her twitter feed, Emma is the ABC’s chief economics correspondence with Lateline.

    When was the last time you watched Lateline?

  23. I sometimes wonder whether Labor did too good a job with the reply to the GFC in 2008. Now before you all jump on me, what I mean is that because the ALP saved the country”s arse from the harsher aspects of it the people of this country never felt the hardship that many other people from other nations felt. They never felt what austerity conservative style meant.
    The collapse of the economies,austerity,unemployment….etc……did not happen to same extent as overseas. Their stewardship set the country up to where it is today and unfortunately they will never get the credit they deserve. If the economy tanks again and this govt is still in control the people here will get an almighty shock in how the conservatives will react to what Labor did.

  24. Emma is in the naughty corner because she wrote an article highly critical of government policy.

    This is a mistake that no ABC employee has made since.

  25. Diogenes @ #1604 Thursday, May 23rd, 2019 – 8:47 pm

    Madcyril
    “One good thing to come from this election could be that we may be finally freed from the tyranny of the polls.”
    True. I wonder if all those PMs would have been rolled if the polls were as discredited as they are now. I suspect some would not have.

    Up until the previous federal election there was no indication that there was anything wrong with the polls. And of course speculating about an alternativr reality is pointless.

  26. There are reports that EU citizens in the UK are being denied a vote in today’s election, there are 3.7 million EU citizens in the UK .
    EU rules allow citizens to either vote for a local ie UK member or one in their own country.

    If true another monumental stuff up by May.

  27. Sceptic @ #1612 Thursday, May 23rd, 2019 – 9:01 pm

    Brexit should be a lesson for Australian Labor, the EU vote tonight will see the Tories with 7% of the vote if the polls are correct.

    Labor had a narrow loss really, led astray by useless polling & defeated by a racist Qld.
    Labor should refine the policies & principals they took to the election.. & learn to explain them better.
    Expecting to gain government because the other side is worse than you is a dumb strategy.

    How does that sit with the old addage that oppositions don’t win elections; governments lose them.

  28. The ALP’s mistake when the GFC hit was focusing on trying to hide from a budget deficit instead of focusing on the achievement, the ALP and I well remember arguing it were too focused on things that played against whereas a more confident government would have been dismissive to the media’s obsession for a surplus.

  29. Carn, the pink batts and school halls and open borders were a bridge (or more correctly $10bn) too far for most Australians.

  30. I think the open borders and the dithering after Copenhagen did more political harm than pink batts and school halls. All governments cop flake during the course of delivering projects without it necessarily causing political damage.

  31. sonar @ #1633 Thursday, May 23rd, 2019 – 9:35 pm

    I sometimes wonder whether Labor did too good a job with the reply to the GFC in 2008. Now before you all jump on me, what I mean is that because the ALP saved the country”s arse from the harsher aspects of it the people of this country never felt the hardship that many other people from other nations felt. They never felt what austerity conservative style meant.
    The collapse of the economies,austerity,unemployment….etc……did not happen to same extent as overseas. Their stewardship set the country up to where it is today and unfortunately they will never get the credit they deserve. If the economy tanks again and this govt is still in control the people here will get an almighty shock in how the conservatives will react to what Labor did.

    Totally agree Sonar. During the GFC I was of the view that government would only be able to take the edge off the economic axe and help to protect the most vulnerable from the worst effects. However Labor and Henry worked so well that even the stupid, the lazy and the ignorant were saved from themselves. But of course those were the ones who criticised the government and put their good fortune down to their own brilliance – Kruger Dunning effect writ large. No such repeat can be expexted with the coals in government.

  32. Lars Von Trier says:
    Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    …”Indeed the original sin was the removal of Rudd in 2010″…

    Thank fuck, somebody has finally worked it out.

  33. Septic – And if the polls are correct their version of one nations will have 37 % of the vote, the Tories 7 and UKIP 3 giving the right 47% of the vote which is high by British standards.

  34. One thing is for sure – there will never be such a pro-union agenda from Labor ever again. W/ 10% union density planning for life without them will be one of the many things in Albo’s to do list.

  35. Mexicanbeemer @ #1642 Thursday, May 23rd, 2019 – 9:54 pm

    I think the open borders and the dithering after Copenhagen did more political harm than pink batts and school halls. All governments cop flake during the course of delivering projects without it necessarily causing political damage.

    Unfortunately Rudd chose the weak option in most of those issues, emboldening the opposition, including the MSM.

  36. Not Sure @ #1640 Thursday, May 23rd, 2019 – 7:57 pm

    Lars Von Trier says:
    Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    …”Indeed the original sin was the removal of Rudd in 2010″…

    Thank fuck, somebody has finally worked it out.

    Oh please. Most of us worked it out yonks ago. I have long said Labor should’ve let Rudd contest the 2010 election and then necked him afterwards. It would’ve solved a number of problems, not least of which was Rudd’s ability to whiteant and mischief-make.

    But in any case this was 10 years ago, and irrelevant to today’s circumstances where Labor has been unified, and it’s been the Liberals and Nationals who are divided.

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