Election plus three weeks

A look at how the religious vote might have helped Scott Morrison to victory, plus some analysis of turnout and the rate of informal voting.

I had a paywalled Crikey article on Friday on the religion factor in the election result, drawing on results of the Australian National University’s Australian Election Study survey. Among other things, it had this to say:

The results from the 2016 survey provide some support for the notion, popular on the right of the Liberal Party, that Malcolm Turnbull brought the government to the brink of defeat by losing religious voters, who appear to have flocked back to the party under Morrison. Notably, the fact that non-religious voters trusted Turnbull a lot more than they did Abbott did not translate into extra votes for the Coalition, whereas a two-party swing to Labor of 7% was recorded among the religiously observant.

The charts below expand upon the survey data featured in the article, showing how Labor’s two-party preferred has compared over the years between those who attend religious services several times a year or more (“often”), those who do so less frequently (“sometimes”), and those who don’t do it at all (“never”).

Some other post-election observations:

Rosie Lewis of The Australian reports the looming Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters inquiry into the election will examine the three-week pre-polling period and the extent of Clive Palmer’s campaign spending. There is not, it would seem, any appetite to explore the debilitating phenomenon of fake news proliferating on social media, for which Australia arguably experienced a watershed moment during the campaign through claims Labor had a policy to introduce a “death tax”. This is explored in depth today in a report in The Guardian and an accompanying opinion piece by Lenore Taylor. That said, not all of the mendacity about death taxes was subterranean, as demonstrated by this official Liberal Party advertisement.

• As best as I can tell, all votes for the House of Representatives have been counted now. There was a fall in the official turnout rate (UPDATE: No, actually — it’s since risen to 91.9%, up from 91.0% in 2016), which, together with the fact that not all votes had been counted at the time, gave rise to a regrettable article in the Age-Herald last week. However, as Ben Raue at the Tally Room explores in depth, the turnout rate reflects the greater coverage of the electoral roll owing to the Australian Electoral Commission’s direct enrolment procedures. This appears to have succeeded to some extent in increasing the effective participation rate, namely votes cast as a proportion of the eligible population rather than those actually enrolled, which by Raue’s reckoning tracked up from 80.0% in 2010 to 83.2% – an enviable result by international standards. However, it has also means a larger share of the non-voting population is now on the roll rather than off it, and hence required to bluff their way out of a fine for not voting.

• The rate of informal voting increased from 5.0% to 5.5%, but those seeking to tie this to an outbreak of apathy are probably thinking too hard. Antony Green notes the shift was peculiar to New South Wales, and puts this down to the proximity of a state election there, maximising confusion arising from its system of optional preferential voting. The real outlier in informal voting rates of recent times was the low level recorded in 2007, which among other things causes me to wonder if there might be an inverse relationship between the informal voting rate and the level of enthusiasm for Labor.

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.

1,359 comments on “Election plus three weeks”

  1. It is easier to divide states than unite states in state-created federations like both the USA and Australia where states have their vetoes on such things.

  2. I’ll give it a shot! I’m stuck. 🙁 It’s killing me and the intertubes aren’t helping me.
    How do I determine an exponential equation which passes through point A (-75,35) at slope -0.5 and point B (-65,10) at slope -2? It can be any exponential equation as long as it meets those 4 criteria. I tried using y=ae^bx + c and I could only meet 3 criteria.

  3. Hola Bludgers from Istanbul, a city of 15 million people. They are having a re-run of the mayoral election, after Erdogan got the first attempt cancelled after his candidate lost.

    So who is his candidate? It is Binali Yildrim. He and Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party have taken a leaf out of Clive Palmer’s playbook. Every single billboard and corflute-able area is plastered with his image – saturation carpet bombing of every available sightline. Will it work? I think so.

  4. Compared to America, Australia is not a particularly polarized country. The results of the Same Sex Marriage plebiscite showed that, it was notable that Western Australia (63.7%) and Queensland (60.7%) had a higher yes vote than New South Wales 57.8%. The highest No votes were in electorates with a high percentage of immigrants, which is expected since they come from quite Socially Conservative societies.

    The electorates in Central and Northern Queensland had Yes majorities expect for Kennedy which voted 47% No.

    Yes votes by electorate: Wide Bay 56%, Dawson 55%, Flynn 51%, Hinkler 51%, Capricornia 54%, Leichhardt 63% and Herbert 63%.

    I believe it is possible that the country can be brought together, we just need the right kind of leadership. Anthony Albanese has showed some promising signs so far, he can do that.

  5. Rex Douglas says:
    Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 4:32 pm
    Boerwar @ #1207 Tuesday, June 11th, 2019 – 4:27 pm

    A human being set himself on fire.
    How good is that?
    Is there a statement from KK about this ..?

    Will the Greens apologise for their collusion with Abbott that thwarted the Malaysia Solution? Will the Greens accept their share of responsibility for the institutional depravity that our gulag constitutes?

  6. Hi Sprocket from Budapest,

    Hola Bludgers from Istanbul, a city of 15 million people. They are having a re-run of the mayoral election, after Erdogan got the first attempt cancelled after his candidate lost.

    So who is his candidate? It is Binali Yildrim. He and Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party have taken a leaf out of Clive Palmer’s playbook. Every single billboard and corflute-able area is plastered with his image – saturation carpet bombing of every available sightline. Will it work? I think so.

    I wish I could fit Istanbul into my trip, but alas not.

    I am also really pissed off that the Orient express only finished its great train journey in 2002. I reckon a hop on / hop off ticket would have got me through my work travels in great style. Somehow Ryan Air just does not seem to have the same grandeur, but it does get the job done 🙂

    It is sobering traveling overseas at the moment. Every problem / crisis facing Australian politics and society is also facing every other country in the world.

    We should keep fighting for democracy and social justice, but we are fighting not just against trends in Australia, but trends right around the world.

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