Hands off Sankey

A visual representation of how votes flowed between the parties at the 2016 and 2019 elections, plus other observations from the Australian National University’s post-election survey.

First up, note that you can find Adrian Beaumont’s latest British election post immediately below this one, and that The Guardian has preliminary details of what will presumably be the last Essential Research poll for the year, which I will blog about this evening when the full report is available (suffice to say for now that it still doesn’t feature voting intention numbers).

Now on to some further observations from the Australian National University’s post-election Australian Election Study survey, at which I took a preliminary look at the tail end of the previous post. Over the fold at the bottom of this post you can find a Sankey diagram showing how respondents’ vote choices in 2016 and 2019 compared, based on the slightly contingency of their recollections of what they did three years ago.

These suggest the Coalition actually lost a sizeable chunk of voters to Labor – 5.1% of the total, compared with only 1.6% going the other way. I might take a closer look at the survey responses for that 5.1% one day, but presumably they were the kind of Malcolm Turnbull-supporting voter who drove the swing to Labor in affluent inner urban areas. The key point is that the Coalition was able to make good this loss out of those who were in the “others” camp (i.e. everyone but the Coalition, Labor and the Greens) in 2016 – both directly, in that fully 30% of “others” from 2016 voted Coalition this time (or 4.1% of voters overall, compared with 1.6% who went from others to Labor), and indirectly, in that their preference share from what remained went from 50.8% to 56.3%.

Before that, some other general observations based on my reading of the ANU’s overview of its findings:

• The survey adds context for some intuitively obvious points: that the Coalition won because self-identified swinging voters rated them better to handle the economy, taxation and leadership, and rated those issues the most determinants of their vote choice. Labor’s strengths were, as ever, health and environment, which rated lower on the importance scale, and education, which hardly featured.

• Coalition and Labor voters weren’t vastly in their opinions on negative gearing and franking credits, with support and opposition being fairly evenly divided for both. However, there were enormously divided on their sense of the importance of global warming, which was rated extremely important by 64% of Labor voters but only 22% of Coalition voters.

• A drop in support for Labor among women caused the gender gap to moderate compared with 2016, although the unchanged 10% gap on the Liberal vote remains remarkable by recent historic standards. The new normal of Liberal doing better among men and Labor among women only really goes back to 2010 – back in the Keating era, it was Labor who had the women problem.

• Scott Morrison trounced Bill Shorten on popularity, their respective mean ratings on a zero-to-ten scale being 5.14 and 3.97.

• The number of respondents professing no party identity reached a new peak of 21%, maintaining a trend going back to 2010.

• The 2018 leadership coup was received as badly as the 2010 coup against Kevin Rudd. The 2013 and 2015 coups were less badly received, but both scored over 50% disapproval.

• Long-term trends show a steady erosion in trust in government, satisfaction with democracy and belief government is run for “all the people”, although the 2019 results weren’t particularly worse than 2016. Satisfaction with democracy is poor compared to the countries with which Australia is normally compared – though slightly higher than the United Kingdom, which is presumably one symptom among many of Brexit.

Based on weighted results from the AES survey, this shows how votes moved between the parties at the 2016 election (on the left) and the 2019 election (on the right). Roll your mouse pointer over it to see the percentage figures.

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.

702 comments on “Hands off Sankey”

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  1. lizziesays:
    Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at 9:31 am

    Costin Heaps @DianneCostin
    Road sign back road on way to Murwillumbah

    Over here the opposite sign would be more efficient. 🙂

  2. AE

    Your need to apply denigrating labels to me speaks volumes. Albanese seems to be suggesting discourse needs to be more civil, something you once again have difficulty complying with.

    Enjoy your day.

  3. RI

    Geoff Gallop Mark Bishop don’t agree with you. Doug Cameron does not agree with you. Peter Garrett does not agree with you. Bob Carr does not agree with you.

    They know better than blame the Greens for Labor’s faults.

  4. Speaking of establishing trust.

    @Julieoz836 tweets

    @ClimatEmergency @MobilizeClimate @LiteFootPrints COP25 must ban the use of carry over credits if meaningful reductions in emissions are to be reached. https://twitter.com/eatatjoe2/status/1204155250531135488

    @eatatjoe2 tweets

    “If that happens, Australia would need to actually lower its emissions to meet the target.” Perish the thought! Doing something about #ClimateEmergency. #auspol https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-10/cop25-what-are-carry-over-credits/11781040

  5. In the game of politics, perception is king.
    The Greens work hard encouraging a perception that, on environmental matters, Labor and the LNP are the same.
    The LNP, and Murdoch+ work hard encouraging a perception that Labor and The Greens are allies called Labor-Greens.
    Labor had to work twice as hard to be heard.
    Albanese’s voice of reason doesn’t cut through this clamor for clicks. It can’t now, and arguably never will.

    Based on preference distributions, The Greens must steal voters from Labor to survive. They rarely steal votes from the LNP.
    Hence they can never concede Labor’s policies have merit.
    Noisy radicalism beats the voice of reason quest for clicks every time.

    The best thing The Greens could do for Australia, since they will never rise above ~10% PV, would be to voluntarily close down.

  6. Seriously, guytaur? An article from 2014 – whose predictions turned out to be wrong, given that Labor has formed majority government in WA off its own bat.

  7. guytaur says:
    Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at 9:37 am

    Geoff Gallop Mark Bishop don’t agree with you.

    That citation is 5 years old. Nonetheless it is true that the centre-left is now so weak it cannot win elections. The Right dominate. This will become more pronounced, not less. The Labor+Green plurality is about 4/10. We are fucked. Get used to it.

  8. The problem with transport models is political abuse, not their use in planning


    A recent Infrastructure Australia report predicts worsening road congestion and public transport crowding over the coming decades in all Australian capitals. These predictions are the result of the lack of endorsed strategies to deal with population growth coupled with Australia’s dependence on the private motor vehicle. Indeed, the report highlights many examples where major new road projects will worsen congestion by encouraging more car use.
    We urgently need a sensible discussion about developing a realistic plan to deal with this challenge. Doing more of the same, as we have done over the past 50 years, doesn’t sound like a solution to us.

  9. Two days after a Houston police sergeant was shot dead responding to a domestic violence call, city police chief Art Acevedo has lacerated majority leader Mitch McConnell and Texas’s two Republican US senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz for stalling the Violence Against Women Act.

    “I don’t want to see their little smug faces about how much they care about law enforcement when I’m burying a sergeant because they don’t want to piss off the NRA,” Acevedo told reporters on Monday.

    Sgt Christopher Brewster was killed in Houston on Saturday. At a briefing the same day, Acevedo paid tribute to Brewster, 32, who was shot repeatedly after responding to a call from a female victim who reported her boyfriend was assaulting her and was armed with two guns.

    A suspect, captured at a nearby school, was charged with capital murder.

    Acevedo clashed last week with Cornyn over why the Violence Against Women Act was stalled in the Senate, which Republicans control.


    The laws had been in place since 1994 but lapsed. Democrats passed legislation to reauthorise the act earlier this year, however the GOP controlled Senate has poured cement on it. A classic case of #ETTD coupled with Republican fear of the NRA and hatred of women.

  10. zoomster

    Thats how long the culture in the Labor party has taken over.
    The fact is public pronouncements that could be seen as supportive of another party are few and far between because Labor has to have its own identity.

    Labor needs to relearn how to do that and get its message out. Not cave on policy because people are shouting Greens Boo!!

  11. guytaur @ #114 Tuesday, December 10th, 2019 – 9:47 am

    Not cave on policy because people are shouting Greens Boo!!

    You have it the wrong way round, guytaur. Labor shouts “Greens Boo” to justify their caving on policy.

    You see it here constantly. Demonizing the Greens has very little to do with the actual Greens – it is the way the Labor right faction demonizes the Labor left faction.

  12. The really plain facts are the centre-left has been taking a beating for many years. This is getting worse, not better. Unless and until the dysfunction on the centre-left is resolved, the beatings will continue and they will become more devastating. The Greens are political actors. They cannot pretend this has nothing to do with them. The resolution of the dysfunction cannot be achieved by Labor alone. Unless and until this is dealt with we should accept we are asking to be defeated.

  13. Jeff Sparrow

    Climate crisis spawns clowns not statesmen


    The correlation between emissions and economic (and thus political) power places politicians in a strange bind. The welfare of the planet and most of its inhabitants depends on the curtailment of the carbon economy, yet national elites remain committed to its expansion. To achieve the latter, leaders must ignore the former.

    That’s one reason why contemporary politics devolves into a clown show. Incapable of addressing the increasingly pressing crisis, politicians turn their impotence into a selling point. Even Trump’s supporters recognise him as a carnival barker, delivering entertainment rather than solutions. Scott Morrison campaigned in the last election on the basis that, unlike Bill Shorten, he wouldn’t promise anything much at all. Johnson, meanwhile, pledges everything to everyone in an almost transparently dishonest fashion, like a conman who winks during his own spiel.

    A fish, they say, rots from its head. The leadership we have now indicates the depth of the problems we face.

  14. P1

    Yes. Any mention of Labor people not caving on policy as the way to get trust of voters does get very short shrift from the factional spear warriors.

    I am now starting to see why Bemused used the word cult. It was unfair and inappropriate but one can see the reason for the temptation.

  15. *Sigh*

    Yet another day of sniping, carping, bitching and circular, go-nowhere, been done to death arguments that change nobody’s views.

  16. P1

    “You see it here constantly. Demonizing the Greens has very little to do with the actual Greens – it is the way the Labor right faction demonizes the Labor left faction.”

    Bingo. How often has it been said here wtte happy for Labor’s so-called lefty members to go off and support or join the Greens….good riddance….

    The MSM and the political duopoly desire above all else to maintain the status quo aka business as usual. It’s all about wielding power and keeping it in the hands of the few.

  17. Confessions

    Blame the RI’s of the world on ad nauseam repeat.

    I am at least trying to talk about the messaging of the last election and why that is the problem not the policy. I have made the point. Without trust Labor’s message does not work.
    See NSW as voters reacted to ICAC about Obeid. That trust loss has led to repeated election defeats.

    Its a huge problem for Labor. Deal with that and Labor can start to get the casual unengaged voter to pay attention. Without it I just don’t see Labor winning the message war.

    This has nothing to do with the Greens. All the complaints amount to the Greens are effective political campaigners.

  18. : Rick Wilson :

    Trump allies will use Bill Barr’s ‘corrupt lie’ to keep chasing their FBI ‘phantom conspiracy theory’

    On Monday, the long-anticipated inspector general report on the FBI’s investigation of President Donald Trump’s campaign’s ties to Russia was released — to reveal, as previous reports had hinted, that all of the Republican conspiracy theories about federal agents trying to sabotage Trump and planting spies in his campaign are false. But Attorney General William Barr immediately announced his opposition to the findings.

    As GOP strategist and Never Trump commentator Rick Wilson warned in a tweetstorm, however, the GOP is only just beginning with their efforts to promulgate their false narrative:

    Rick Wilson‏Verified account @TheRickWilson

    1/ I’m betting that Fox News and the rest double down on the Horowitz report. They’re going to scream “PROOF! J’accuse!”

    2/ They’ll take Barr’s utttttterly corrupt lie of a statement (weird, just as he did with Mueller) and run with it.

    All of this is to bridge to “But Durham!” “Durham is coming!” “Durham will get ’em!”

    3/ Like every endtimes preacher, they’ll move the goal back and back and back.

    What happened if Durham doesn’t deliver the vivid conspiracy story Trump wants?

    There will be another, and another, and another investigation, all chasing the same phantom conspiracy.

    4/ Trump is also going to LOSE HIS MIND because Wray and Comey are doing TV.

    He’s going to lose his mind because Strozk and Page are speaking out.

    Under the radar, Barr will keep purging and reorganizing the DOJ and FBI to serve as his political tools in service to Trump.


  19. This year was marked by global unrest — and 2020 is likely to be worse


    Mass protests over the skewed benefits of globalisation accompanied by faltering confidence in a democratic model are challenging the assumptions on which a Western liberal capitalist system has rested. Local grievances are fuelling protests against an established order in places as far apart as La Paz in Bolivia and Beirut in Lebanon. Endemic corruption is looming larger.

    If there is a defining issue that is driving popular unrest more or less across the board, it is that people do not feel they are sharing the benefits of an extended period of global economic expansion.

    In January, Oxfam reported that the world’s 26 richest individuals owned as much wealth as the poorest half of the global population.
    Across the globe, unrest over climate change is a common denominator and is likely to become more — not less — challenging to governments.

  20. For my part, I’m from Labor’s Left. I do not whinge about other Labor voices, whether from the Right or the Left. There’s very little intra-Labor wrangling here….though Labor’s detractors would have it otherwise.

  21. Albanese plans to visit mine workers on first Queensland tour as Labor leader


    Labor is doubling down on its efforts to woo back the coal communities it lost at the last election, with Anthony Albanese aiming to meet mineworkers as part of his first official tour of Queensland since becoming leader.

    Albanese is also expected to clean up the opposition’s position on the controversial Adani coalmine during the trip, after the project – which has since been granted approvals by the Queensland Labor government – continually tripped up Bill Shorten’s campaign in the sunshine state.

    Albanese will leave for Barcaldine in western Queensland, considered the spiritual birthplace of the Labor party, on Tuesday morning. It will be the first stop in a regional tour intended to win the state back after its historically low polling result in May.

    Mining towns Emerald, Rockhampton and Gladstone top the list, and Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Maryborough and Gympie will round out the four-day tour.
    But with the Queensland election – now less than a year away – looming as his first big test as leader, Albanese is expected to take a more definitive line on the topic.

  22. “Yet another day of sniping, carping, bitching and circular, go-nowhere, been done to death arguments that change nobody’s views.”

    Yup, the BlueGreen Groupies are back early. 🙁 It will get worse over the Xmas break as the schools are on hols.

  23. RI

    BS. Labor’s left is against coal mining expansion.

    Not existing jobs. Expansion.

    Labor has caved on policy because it has lost the trust of voters and has totally bought the LNP is right narrative.

  24. On the LNP line that cutting Australia’s emission wouldn’t impact globally: the irony is that if you pick another topic (e.g. anti-terrorism, free trade, standing up to obscure middle eastern dictators) the exact same group of people will argue we “punch above our weight” in international diplomacy, have a duty to contribute, putting our hands up for what’s right etc. And suddenly we’re a middle power all over again with substantial influence and according responsibility. Which is in fact closer to the truth when you look at things like the Antarctica treaty, Cambodia in the 90s etc.

    But no, suddenly we’re useless on the global stage. Nice messaging isnt it? Makes you proud to be Australian. According to our own government, we’re bloody useless as a nation.

  25. Katharine Murphy
    Scott Morrison will unveil another exposure draft on the religious discrimination bill in about half an hour #auspol

  26. If the Greens ever do dissolve themselves they will be replaced by another party on the spectrum that progressives can vote for. There are enough people that will never vote for the likes of Shorten, Kitching and the SDA. Labor created the circumstances for the Rise of the Greens by re-admitting DLP unions and networks in the first place. Enjoy.

  27. “the irony is that if you pick another topic (e.g. anti-terrorism, free trade, standing up to obscure middle eastern dictators) the exact same group of people will argue we “punch above our weight” in international diplomacy, have a duty to contribute, putting our hands up for what’s right etc. ”

    There is that. 🙁 LNP have the constant lying and hiding down pat. Bring on Morrison Ad Man caught in church with the shaved goat, mango butter, and Angus Taylor.

    Or get the press hyena’s off and running on #leadershit??

  28. immacca

    I understand your need for a safe space where like-minded individuals like you can congregate and bitch and moan about those evil Greens and how it’s all their fault Labor lost the election.

    How sad a handful of posters intrude into your echo chamber with alternative information, news and opinions.

  29. On the LNP line that cutting Australia’s emission would do anything globally: the irony is that if you pick another topic (e.g. anti-terrorism, free trade, standing up to obscure middle eastern dictators) the exact same group of people will argue we “punch above our weight” in international diplomacy, have a duty to contribute, putting our hands up for what’s right etc.

    Indeed. I’ve seen people make the analogy with reducing our GHGEs with our effort with the Anzacs in WW1.

  30. Confessions says:
    Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at 9:56 am

    Yet another day of sniping, carping, bitching and circular, go-nowhere, been done to death arguments that change nobody’s views.

    Yes, I accept criticism for my role in perpetuating the carping. It was frustration at the intentional misreporting and spin of Albanese’s message. Personally, I’d love to see coal exports cease, of course, but politics is the art of the possible.
    And I am very much aware of Labor’s failings. They drive to despair at times, but it’s still the party with the best chance to stop the relentless fascism we are living with now.

  31. Of course people like Kitching are pleased about the Rise of the Greens. It cements the power of the SDA and like-minded folk:

    Kitching recently formed the Parliamentary Friends of Democracy with Liberal MP Andrew Hastie to defend “Judaeo-Christian” and “Western-liberal democratic values”. She told this paper’s Greg Brown in October it was part of her job to fight “smug elitism” and she would ensure the views of “inner-city elites” didn’t prevail over the “quiet wisdom of working people”. Kitching quipped that the rise of the Greens in Melbourne’s latte laneways had been good for Labor, as it helped create a “Corbyn-proof fence” to protect the party from the “more extreme and out of touch” parts of the Left.


  32. nath

    Exactly. As has been pointed out many times already.

    The trend of people casting votes for viable independents and non-major parties is upwards. It will only rise.

    An increasing number of people are disillusioned with the two-party state.

    Multiparty governance will be the future.

  33. Kitching said…. it was part of her job to fight “smug elitism” and she would ensure the views of “inner-city elites” didn’t prevail over the “quiet wisdom of working people”.

    The Italianate mansion in latte infused Parkville formerly owned by Kimberley Kitching. Not at all an abode of an ‘inner city elite’:

  34. Kimberley Kitching fighting inner city smug elitism:

    Wardlow is a house of historical significance located in the Melbourne suburb of Parkville, Victoria, Australia. It was built in 1888 by John Boyes and is considered to be a fine example of the boom style Italianate architecture of that time, and is listed by the Victorian National Trust.

    Kimberley Kitching and Andrew Landeryou purchased Wardlow for $1,175,000 in 2001. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, “the pair would host parties at home that guests still compare to the lavish soirées in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby”.


  35. Maude Lynne:

    I think some commenters should just exercise more restraint. You don’t have to respond to every little provocation; indeed often the best response to baiters and inciters is to simply ignore them.

    As for the Labor-Greens wars, they are pointless. Nothing that gets posted here influences anyone either here or in general voterland, and all we end up with is a bunch of anonymous people simply shouting the same things at one another that they’ve been shouting at one another for years. As I said yesterday, you’d think they’d catch a clue it’s a pointless exercise, but apparently they don’t.

    The reality is that we aren’t going to get significant action on AGW until we get a federal Labor govt, because Labor is the only party willing and capable to implement policy solutions to abate the impact of climate change, and the only major party that actually accepts the scientific reality of AGW. Until then PBers can bay at the moon all they like, but we still have a do-nothing coalition government which continues to prove daily that it has no intention of doing anything to cut our GHGEs.

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