Call of the board: Sydney

Ahead of Newspoll’s apparently looming return, the first in a series that probes deep into the entrails of the May 19 election result.

In case you were wondering, The Australian reported on Monday that the first Newspoll since the election – indeed, the first poll on voting intention of any kind since the election, unless someone else quickly gets in first – will be published “very shortly”.

In the meantime, I offer what will be the first in a series of posts that probe deep into the results of the federal election region by region, starting with Sydney and some of its immediate surrounds. Below are two colour-coded maps showing the two-party preferred swing at polling booth level, with each booth allocated a geographic catchment area built out of the “mesh blocks” that form the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ smallest unit of geographic analysis (typically encompassing about 30 dwellings). The image on the right encompasses the core of the city, while the second zooms further out. To get a proper look at either, click for an enlarged image.

In a pattern that will recur throughout this series, there is a clear zone of red in the inner city and the affluent, established eastern suburbs and northern beaches regions, giving way to an ocean of blue in the middle and outer suburbs. The occasional patches of red that break this up are often associated with sophomore surge effects, which played out to the advantage of Mike Freelander, who had no trouble retaining Macarthur (more on that below); Susan Templeman, who held out against a 2.0% swing in Macquarie; and Emma McBride, who survived a 3.3% swing in Dobell (albeit there was little to distinguish this from a 3.1% swing in neighbouring, Liberal-held Robertson).

The second part of our analysis compares the actual two-party results from the election with the results predicted by a linear regression model similar to, but more elaborate than, that presented here shortly after the election. This is based on the correlations observed across the nation between booth-level two-party results and the demography of booths’ catchment areas. The gory details of the model can be found here (the dependent variable being Labor’s two-party preferred percentage). The r-squared values indicate that the model explains 76.5% of the variation in the results – and doesn’t explain another 23.5%. Among the myriad unexplained factors that constitute the latter figure, the personal appeal (or lack thereof) of the sitting member (if any) might be expected to have a considerable bearing.

Such a model can be used to produce estimates that hopefully give some idea as to where the two parties were punching above and below their weight, and where the results were as we might have expected in view of broader trends. The latter more-or-less encompasses Lindsay, which was the only seat in the Sydney region to change hands between Labor and the Coalition (the only other change being Zali Steggall’s win over Tony Abbott in Warringah). The table below shows, progressively, the model’s estimate of Labor’s two-party vote, the actual result, and the difference between the two.

The first thing that leaps out is that the current leaders of both parties did exceptionally well, with their margins evidently being padded out by their substantial personal votes. Beyond that though, patterns get a little harder to discern. The Liberal-versus-independent contests in Warringah and Wentworth appear to have had very different effects on the Coalition’s two-party margins over Labor, which reduced to a remarkably narrow 2.1% as voters turned on Tony Abbott in Warringah, but remained solid at 9.8% in Wentworth, suggesting Dave Sharma may have accumulated a few fans through two recent campaigns and a dignified showing in the wake of the by-election defeat. That there was nonetheless a 7.9% two-party swing to Labor illustrates that he still has a way to go before he matches Malcolm Turnbull on this score.

The modelled result further emphasises the particularly good result Labor had in Macarthur, a seat the Liberals held from 1996 until 2016, when Russell Matheson suffered first an 8.3% reduction in his margin at a redistribution, and then an 11.7% swing to Labor’s Michael Freelander, a local paediatrician. At the May 19 election, the seat defied the national pattern in which outer urban seats that responded had unfavourably to Malcolm Turnbull swept back to the Liberals, with Freelander in fact managing the tiniest of swings in his favour. In addition to Freelander’s apparent popularity, this probably reflected a lack of effort put into the Liberal campaign, as the party narrowly focused on its offensive moves in Lindsay and Macquarie and defensive ones in Gilmore and Reid.

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.

1,549 comments on “Call of the board: Sydney”

  1. The five lowest points of Trump’s presidency (so far)

    Donald Trump’s latest blatantly racist outburst — in which he told four ethnic minority congresswomen to “go back” to the countries they came from — was certainly a low point of his presidency.

    But for the past 2½ years, there have been too many “low points” to count.

    Trump’s rock-bottom moments come in many guises: the scandals, the criminal investigations, the corruption, the lies, the abuses of power, the misogyny, the bigotry and the relentless attacks on American principles, values and institutions.

    Here’s my best shot at ranking the five lowest points of Trump’s time in office.

    5. “Go back” to where you came from
    4. Trump “fell in love” with Kim Jong Un
    3. Implying that Puerto Ricans were lazy as an estimated 2,975 Americans died
    2. The “very fine people” in Charlottesville
    1. Implementing child separation — and lying about it

  2. Kellyanne Conway blows up on Fox: ‘We’re sick and tired of many people in this country’ who support Democrats

    ….. “we’re sick and tired of many people in this country” who are being represented by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (R-MI).

    “They represent a dark underbelly in this country of people who are not respecting our troops, are not giving them the resources and respect that they deserve,” she fumed. “We’re tired of people not kneeling for the flag out of disrespect. We’re tired of some of these women palling around with terrorists!”

  3. Thank you, William. This may give posters something to chew on rather than each other.

    Meanwhile, on the subject of meat:

    The woman at the supermarket had promised I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between her “Beyond Burger” – a plant-based, vegan-style meat substitute – and the real thing.

    Oh, but I could. Once it hit my mouth its flavour was like a Barnaby Joyce speech – a hint of nuttiness buried in a mound of bland emptiness. Not even a dash of dead horse – err, sorry, tomato sauce – could disguise its insipidness.

  4. Zoidlord
    Not a good post on a thread that actually looks at the swings. The liberal did not win in the suburbs that would have had to pay for labor’s agenda. Those that have to pay seem to realize equality is an issue that has to be addressed.

  5. This filth Abetz should be forced to resign:


    @SenatorAbetz is paid to represent all Tasmanians, is unfit for office. @ScottMorrisonMP must rebuke this disgusting comments and dismiss him @AustralianLabor #auspol @abcnews @RNDrive

  6. That range from Robertson to Banks is devastating for Labor. There is not much left in Metro Sydney which is actually marginal.

    Reid 3.2% and Robertson 4.2% are the only ones Labor can realistically hope to win in 2022 and Parramatta is marginal the other way.

    All roads lead to Queensland for Albo…..

  7. It’s good to see The Squad stand up to their ignorant detractors. They are thoroughly inspiring. The future of the United States will be strongly influenced by them.

  8. Good Morning


    The LNP is extreme right. Authoritarian including the love of secrecy.
    First in their playbook is divide and conquer. So we have exactly the same strategies as Trump and yes Hitler. Where it’s not Nazi style is we have not moved to genocide.

    We still have the demonisation as the first rule in the playbook. It starts with the hardly ever mentioned “dole bludger” and lazy or addict homeless.
    Moves onto terror dog whistle of violent Muslim extremism implying all Muslims are suspicious. Especially those that look different.

    Then it’s Religious Freedom to further make LGBTI people feel and be seen like the the above mentioned groups as the other. Not forgetting the very same tactics used against the unions.

    So it’s no surprise that people hear what it’s government is saying and believe it. It’s to the credit of our people here and in the UK and US that this is not a majority view.

    The first thing people involved in politics have to do is acknowledge how extreme our government is. So extreme common decency and empathy is seen as something to be sneered at. Labelled snowflake “soft” etc. this is how we get normalised to an extreme view when we don’t have that in the forefront of our minds. This is not a normal government. Just like Trump and Johnson as leaders are normal.

  9. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    David Crowe writes that Australia’s banks and superannuation funds will face tough new controls including extraordinary powers to veto top executives after a review of the peak financial regulator slammed its “culture of conformity”.
    Dana McCauley reports that Greg Hunt’s promised medical fee transparency website has hit a snag, with leading physicians warning they will not participate in a “meaningless” political exercise.
    Greg Jericho tells us how Treasury blaming a lack of ‘job switching’ for stagnant wages may have backfired.
    Sarah Martin reports that a growing number of Labor MPs are pushing for the party to adopt a bolder strategy on Newstart, with one saying the opposition needed to “show some guts” to pressure the government to lift the payment.
    Labor says it is the federal government, not the states, dragging the chain on infrastructure investment,
    Andrew Colvin has backed his officers’ actions in raiding media organisations last month but admitted police and government needed to work together to balance press freedom and the law.
    Meanwhile children and young adults who go to protests are the most likely Australians to have their phones tracked and monitored by police, a prominent security analyst has warned in a submission to an inquiry cybersecurity laws.
    The Queensland government has started prosecution proceedings in relation to information in Adani’s annual return for its Carmichael mine.
    Australia’s health care system is in urgent need of reform, according to a new report into private health insurance, which has declared the Federal Government is facing an impending crisis.
    Adele Ferguson explains where Graeme Samuel’s report into APRA calls for changes to APRA’s organisational structure, beefed up powers to ban directors and executives of regulated entities including super funds, more transparency in its policies and to lift its game when it comes to its obligations to members of the $2.7 trillion superannuation industry. How will it and the government respond?
    And the AFR says banks, insurers and super funds should brace themselves for significant increases in their cost of doing business as the prudential regulator responds to a highly critical review of its capabilities.
    Sally Whyte reports that law enforcement agencies are deleting metadata obtained in investigations before the Commonwealth Ombudsman has the chance to inspect it because of gaps in legislation.
    A review into whether Christopher Pyne breached ministerial standards by taking a job with consultancy EY is expected to report back before parliament sits next week.
    The tightening economy has led to a big increase in part-time jobs and it could be hurting young workers, in particular says The New Daily.
    The “drip feed” approach to the approval process of Snowy 2.0 projects is hiding the development’s full environmental impact, a conservationist has warned.
    Stuart Robert’s move to appeal an AAT decision, awarding an MS sufferer sexual therapy under the NDIS, reflects his own personal prejudices and not the standards of the community which he represents writes, Dr Jennifer Wilson.,12903
    A US defence official has expressed concern that a small oil tanker which stopped transmitting its location after entering Iranian waters over two days ago, was seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
    “There’s not a racist bone in my body”, says Trump.
    The New York Times says, “If Donald Trump has a theory of anything, it is a theory of US citizenship. It’s simple. If you are white, then regardless of origin, you have a legitimate claim to US citizenship and everything that comes with it. If you are not, then you don’t.´
    On the basis is this report Clive Palmer earns a nomination for “Arsehole of the Week”.

    Cartoon Corner

    Two new ones from David Rowe.

    And he reminds us of an old one.

    Mark David’s back after a bit of a break. His poem is awesome!

    From Matt Golding.

    Cathy Wilcox on what there is to protest about.

    Fiona Katauskas posted this.

    Peter Broelman and Porline’s Ayers Rock.

    Zanetti also has a crack.

    Jon Kudelka and building cladding.

    From the US

  10. Nicholas

    Yes fully agree. It also shows why it will not be Biden as the Democratic nominee.
    The demonisation means that the social democrats have the strongest pushback.

    It’s exactly the same tactics used against Pelosi. So we know it’s actual effect. Trump alienating everyone other than his base means he loses. It energises and unites the Democrats.

    Ugly as it is it could mean Latinos turning Texas blue. Something that would otherwise take a decade to accomplish.

  11. The updated Monkey Pod members.

    Along with long-time attendees like Energy Minister Angus Taylor, Housing Minister Michael Sukkar, Assistant Finance Minister Zed Seselja, Rolex-loving Moore MP Ian Goodenough and Lazarus-like Hughes MP Craig Kelly, we see many new faces on the invite list.

    The newly-elected Chisholm MP Gladys Liu has made the cut, as has new Queensland senator Gerard Rennick — a man who accused the Bureau of Meteorology of cooking the books “to fit in with the global warming agenda” — and fellow LNP colleagues Paul Scarr and Amanda Stoker.

    Queenslanders are certainly well-represented. Also on the invite list are new Herbert MP Phillip Thompson and Longman MP Terry Young.

  12. phoenixRED,
    That Kellyanne meltdown must mean the approval numbers for Trump are really, really bad.

    I mean, how could any fine, upstanding American with more than a shred of decency in their body support Trump in 2020. There are only so many flat out racists in the country.

    I also wonder how many of those poor voters in the middle of America who voted for the prospect of a job from Trump, actually have ended up with one?

  13. It’s there in NewExaminer

    Direct copy and paste:


    Reinforcing his Government’s claim that people who have a go, get a go, former Employment Minister Eric Abetz today said unemployed people from lower socio-economic backgrounds had no right to pick and choose their vocation.

    The Senator also said jobseekers unable to live on income from their investments “should be prepared to reap the bitter harvest left by their idle, welfare-dependant parents.”

    “It’s an absolute disgrace that many of the prostitutes, drug dealers and call centre workers in Tasmania aren’t even locals,” Abetz told the media this afternoon.

    “Surely even the tattooed, drug-ravaged daughters of Labor and Green voters could fill these jobs, or find a sugar daddy rather than expecting taxpayers to fund their lives of idle luxury?” he questioned.

    Abetz also suggested out of work youth try volunteering as a means of enhancing their job prospects.

    “Plenty of good, decent, hard-working folk in suburbs like East Launceston would appreciate some help raking leaves, and perhaps washing the BMW,” he said.

    “So before the poor start putting their hand out, perhaps they should try and help those who have value in society?”

    The Senator also backed the Prime Minister’s argument that some young people should look to the mainland for work opportunities, even if it involved prostitution.

    “Attractive young women are always in demand amongst Liberal politicians in Canberra,” he concluded.

    (from the New Examiner archive)

  14. Zoidlord
    Wednesday, July 17, 2019 at 7:18 am
    This filth Abetz should be forced to resign:
    Zoidlord believes that the Vic Libs are involved in a conspiracy with both the Mafia and the AFP. This is actually a step up.

  15. @AaronDodd

    Last week @ScottMorrisonMP validated a man who covered up the activities of paedophile by appearing on stage with him at the Hillsong convention. If he meets with #Trump he will be validating a racist. This is not the leadership Australians expect from their PM. #auspol

  16. C@tmomma says: Wednesday, July 17, 2019 at 7:42 am

    That Kellyanne meltdown must mean the approval numbers for Trump are really, really bad.


    C@tmomma – I am not sure about Kellyanne and her husband George – if its all an goodcop/badcop act to build their bank balance ?????? but George wrote about Trump the other day :

    Conway, a vocal critic of the president despite his wife’s senior role in his administration, said Trump’s comments in recent days had shifted his opinion of the president. Though Conway once thought of Trump as merely “boorish, dim-witted, inarticulate, incoherent, narcissistic and insensitive,” now the lawyer says the president’s behavior leaves “no doubt” about his character.

    “No matter how much I found him ultimately unfit, I still gave him the benefit of the doubt about being a racist. No matter how much I came to dislike him, I didn’t want to think that the president of the United States is a racial bigot,” Conway wrote in The Washington Post. “Naivete, resentment and outright racism, roiled in a toxic mix, have given us a racist president. … Telling four non-white members of Congress — American citizens all, three natural-born — to ‘go back’ to the ‘countries’ they ‘originally came from’? That’s racist to the core ”

  17. phoenixRED,
    Because George Conway isn’t as White as his wife may have something to do with his outrage about Trump’s bigotry and racially-charged sentiments.

  18. Rep. Al Green will file articles of impeachment against President Trump on Tuesday night, triggering a contentious vote in the coming days to confront an issue that has bitterly divided the Democratic Party.

    The Texas congressman, who notified Democratic leaders of his decision on Tuesday, said the House must impeach Trump for racist remarks suggesting four minority congresswoman “go back” to their ancestral countries as well as other comments made in the past. The four Democrats — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) — are all citizens; three were born in the United States.

  19. Longtime Trump loyalist warns the president that his racist tweets are about to permanently stain his image

    Anthony Scaramucci accused the president of playing to his base, in a way that has dangerous manifestations: for the president and the country.

    “He’s blowing very hard on a dog-whistle that every ethnic group that’s landed in the United States has had to hear,” Scaramucci told the BBC.

    “I don’t think the president is a racist, but here’s the thing: if you continue to say and act in that manner, then we all have to look at him and say, ‘OK, well, maybe you weren’t a racist, but now you’re turning into one.’”

  20. Confessions says: Wednesday, July 17, 2019 at 8:21 am


    Are you able to get around the paywall on Rick Wilson’s latest?


    Sadly no, Confessions 🙁 – its members only at the moment and we will have to wait a day or two till they release it for general viewing

  21. Guytaur ,
    I strongly agree that the prgressive strategy needs to include some really straightforward hammering home how abnormal this government is.
    If that part of the culture war is lost we will be mired in far right lunacy for a generation.
    It already feels a bit ‘Gillead’ with trumpeting of extreme religious views, escalating government secrecy, and attacks on journalistic freedom.
    Clearly focussing on policy does not win government anymore, if it ever did.
    The unknown is whether people care enough, or understand enough to punish this government for its fanaticism, cronyism, bigotry and authoritarianism.
    Surely there is enough genuine material there for Labor to mount an attack on the character of this government [even without the power of a Royal Commision al la Kill Bill]
    Morrison snuck in on the doubts about Shorten’s character, without people realising what a complete schmuck Morrison himself is.

  22. Ha – couple of his tweets :

    Rick Wilson‏Verified account @TheRickWilson

    If you’re wondering if I described Jared’s eyes as “Those eyes, like hard, black plastic eyes found on the floor of an abandoned Russian sex doll factory evacuated after Chernobyl”…I did.

    We’re closing in on “Your papers, please.”

  23. Here’s my best shot at ranking the five lowest points of Trump’s time in office.

    5. “Go back” to where you came from
    4. Trump “fell in love” with Kim Jong Un
    3. Implying that Puerto Ricans were lazy as an estimated 2,975 Americans died
    2. The “very fine people” in Charlottesville
    1. Implementing child separation — and lying about it

    What, molesting women and bragging about it doesn’t even factor?

    And what about helping the Saudis peddle their bullshit about what happened to that poor journalist they assassinated and dismembered (not necessarily in that order)?

  24. D money

    The building failures is a good example.
    Labor should be attacking the normalisation of the process that made it possible. Owning up to some Labor mistakes in the past as part of that process will show voters authenticity about their argument.

    The bottom line. It should never be normal for building failure like it.
    Labor is right to highlight the failure at the Federal level. They have so far failed to say its time for red tape.

    Edit: even a campaign advert would help.

    Red Tape. Your life your safety your money.

    That would change the political conversation

  25. Confessions @ #45 Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 – 8:34 am


    At least it will be released in full. Meanwhile did you catch Kellyanne Conway at her press conference earlier asking a journalist his ethnicity?

    As George Conway said, if he was asked that question he doesn’t know how he would answer:

    To this day, I can remember almost the precise spot where it happened: a supermarket parking lot in eastern Massachusetts. It was the mid-1970s; I was not yet a teenager, or barely one. I don’t remember exactly what precipitated the woman’s ire. But I will never forget what she said to my mother, who had come to this country from the Philippines decades before. In these words or something close, the woman said, “Go back to your country.”

    …I couldn’t understand why colleges required applicants to check boxes for race or ethnicity. I’m also part Irish and Scottish. What box should I check? Should I check one at all? Will that help me or hurt me?

  26. What, molesting women and bragging about it doesn’t even factor?

    I think the criterion is, actions as President, during his time in office.

    Though I admit, there are reams to choose from.

  27. Confessions says: Wednesday, July 17, 2019 at 8:34 am


    At least it will be released in full. Meanwhile did you catch Kellyanne Conway at her press conference earlier asking a journalist his ethnicity?


    Yes – she is a real piece of work ……. but its all grist for the mill for their base ….

    They keep attacking “The Squad” in the hope that the Democrats circle the wagons around them – then they can attack the WHOLE PARTY as being Socialist/Communist sympathisers. Trump wants the most liberal and controversial House members to become the face of the Democratic Party so he, the most disruptive and norm-violating president of modern times, will seem like the political equivalent of comfort food, or at worst the devil you know.

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