Eden-Monaro by-election minus one day

A poll conducted on Tuesday credits Labor with a lead which, however you slice it, lands well inside the margin of error.

If you’re planning on following the action in tomorrow night’s Eden-Monaro by-election count, I flatter myself that there will be no better place to do so than this website’s live results feature, which you can see ready for service here. For an idea of how it will look when fleshed out, here’s a test I ran on the feed from the Bennelong by-election.

The top half of the display features progress vote totals and booth-matched swings, including a New York Times-style “election needle” recording a probability estimate of the final result. This is based on a somewhat novel projection of two-party preferred that uses estimates of the final primary vote shares and preference flows. The latter is the subject of its own table, which will show how minor party and independent preferences are flowing based on the latest two-party count, and how this compares with the corresponding results from the 2019 election.

The bottom half features the clearest and neatest display of the booth results you will find, in the form of a table in which you can toggle between vote totals, percentages and swings. Not the least of the benefits of this is that the results can be easily cut-and-pasted into a spreadsheet. The table also features separate sub-totals for ordinary election day polling booths and pre-poll voting centres, with swings to match — an increasingly important distinction on election night, when the latter come in quite a bit later than the former and don’t always behave the same way.

With the self-promotion taken care of, here’s the late news:

• The Australia Institute has produced its second uComms robo-poll for the campaign, conducted on Tuesday night from a sample of 643, which shows Labor with a lead of 52-48. This compares with 54-46 at the earlier poll on June 15, although the tightening is more pronounced on the primary votes. After allocating results from the forced-response follow-up for the 3.7% undecided, the poll had Labor up 0.3% to 39.3%, Liberal up 6.2% to 38.3%, the Greens down 1.5% to 7.5%, the Nationals down 1.8% to 5.2% and Shooters down 1.9% to 4.8%. Using preference flows from last year’s election, the new result rounds to 50-50, whereas the earlier poll had Labor leading 53-47. The poll also found 56.4% of respondents thought the ABC should receive more funding, 23.8% less and 19.8% about the same. Kooyong, Wentworth and Warringah were also polled, the latter finding independent member Zali Steggall with a 56-44 lead over a presumably hypothetical Liberal candidate.

• If the result indeed goes down to the wire, it will be a long night tomorrow – as well as processing large pre-poll voting centres whose results are unlikely to be reported well into the night, the Australian Electoral Commission will also be counting what it estimates will be between 5000 and 8000 postal votes, contrary to its usual practice.

Phillip Coorey in the Financial Review reports sources from both parties say their internal polling is similar to that of the aforesaid Australia Institute poll, “but neither side was prepared to predict how it would pan out on Saturday”. A Labor source is quoted expressing concern that the Victorian outbreak could rekindle a sense of concern about coronavirus to the Liberals’ advantage (“it puts us back in the dynamic of April and May”). Elsewhere, Niki Savva in The Australian ($) writes of Labor concern that lack of awareness of the by-election could depress turnout.

• John Barilaro persists as a thorn in the side of the Liberal campaign, having contradicted the goverment’s line that it had not cut funding to the ABC, refused to rule out running for the seat at the next election and, reportedly, encouraging supporters to preference Labor. A blast from the past also emerged this week in the shape of a post-election Facebook comment in which he told Kotvojs he was glad she didn’t win.

• With scarcely an account of the race failing to note that 1920 was the last time a government gained a seat from an opposition at a by-election, Peter Brent at Inside Story notes the probably more salient fact that 14 of the 91 by-elections since 1918 have swung to the government by more than the 0.9% they will need to win in Eden-Monaro. He also calculates an average swing against the government of just 0.9% in opposition-held seats at by-elections, compared with 4.6% in government-held seats.

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.

45 comments on “Eden-Monaro by-election minus one day”

  1. C’mon, Kristy! Let’s get Kotvojs back onto her property to clear away all the native vegetation that apparently cause bushfires!

  2. The fact that no government since 1920 has won a seat from a government is the most relevant fact. And oppositions have more to lose, especially their leader. Apart from mail outs there doesn’t appear to be that much activity in the seat. I’ve just driven right across it yesterday and saw 3 signs. There may be a high informal vote and I expect people won’t be followed up and fined because of the virus and they know it.

  3. It’s looking like it will be close, but that Labor has its nose just in front as we head into polling day.It is of course a traditionally marginal seat, with a distinct “Labor” end (Queanbeyan) and a more conservative section (the rest), so it may come down to turn-out in particular areas.

    Much has been made of the fact that no government has won a by-election of an opposition-held seat since 1920, though Brent points out that in 14 of 91 by-elections since 1918, the government of the day has secured a swing of greater than the current 0.9% margin. The reason for the century-long stretch might be more due to the fact that most by-elections are in safer seats, and often one side doesn’t bother running. We don’t often see by-elections in marginals.

    I’m not convinced that a result either way will mean much in the greater scheme of things. If the Libs win, then Morrison will get a lift, and strengthen his hold on the party, while at the same time undermining Albanese’s position (though there is no obvious alternative at this stage). If Labor wins, it’s a bit of a black eye for Morrison, and a big lift for Albanese. Either way, it won’t mean much within a month or two – the general situation at the moment is just too fluid.

    My best guess is that the fact that Labor looks to have a better candidate might be decisive.

  4. This is a seat I would have expected the ALP to lose in a by election given clear evidence of the outgoing member’s vote in retaining a seat that had been demographically drifting away from the party due to redistribution. An ALP win if it happens would be an outcome that the party should be pleased with as it should have been a lay down misere for a government gain.

  5. I wonder if the (alleged) offender is a graduate of the Young Liberal academy?

    Also, it seems the AFP employs everyone’s idea of a computer nerd.


    The AFP investigated the matter after it was referred to them last month.(Supplied: Australian Federal Police)

  6. Just saw the latest Ch9 report from E-M. Apparently Scotty from Marketing has recorded a telephone message, with military overtones, because military bases and people in E-M, saying they needed to put ‘boots on the ground’ in the government in Canberra. Nor do you need someone ‘sniping from the sidelines’.

    Such a ridiculous thing to say.

  7. Reposted from the main thread:

    I still think the Liberal candidate will win Eden-Monaro, despite the apparent late rally to Labor.

    It may be partly me listening to the ABC news on the way from Sydney to Newcastle – everyone the ABC interviewed certainly thought Morrison had done a great job with surpassing COVID-19 and supporting business by providing job-keeper. And also, look at outbreak of COVID-19 an ALP government has presided over just over the border.

    However, more than that, The Guardian and The Conversation in the last few days have both noted that they have seen a pro-coalition movement in their focus groups generally / in E-M respectively, and I take both the latter fairly seriously.

    Very happy to be proved wrong tomorrow pm.

  8. out of the blue….. it is possible Labor wins Eden-Monaro well. 55% 2pp. There are a lot of own goals for the liberals…… Morrisons bushfire lack of response, the refusal to discuss the report on job keeper and job seeker till 23/7 after the byelection. The Constance /Balliro farce . The ongoing simmering row between the libs and Nats. This is of course partly balanced by the loss of Mike Kelly’s personal vote

  9. An election day – it’s about time!

    I’m thinking Labor should retain but who knows. Sounds like it will be pretty close. I sense that the Coalition would’ve been thumped in this by-election had the last few months gone differently. I think they will still face a fair bit of backlash over their poor handling of the bushfire crisis though. Will be interesting to see what turnout is like.

  10. Douglas and Milko @ #18 Friday, July 3rd, 2020 – 10:15 pm

    Reposted from the main thread:

    I still think the Liberal candidate will win Eden-Monaro, despite the apparent late rally to Labor.

    It may be partly me listening to the ABC news on the way from Sydney to Newcastle – everyone the ABC interviewed certainly thought Morrison had done a great job with surpassing COVID-19 and supporting business by providing job-keeper. And also, look at outbreak of COVID-19 an ALP government has presided over just over the border.

    However, more than that, The Guardian and The Conversation in the last few days have both noted that they have seen a pro-coalition movement in their focus groups generally / in E-M respectively, and I take both the latter fairly seriously.

    Very happy to be proved wrong tomorrow pm.

    ‘Morrison had done a great job with surpassing COVID-19 and supporting business by providing job-keeper.’

    A pity Labor gets no credit for job-keeper. None. Zero. Nothing.
    Labor should never have shut up about having proposed it in the first place, Scrooter dismissing the idea, then……..3 weeks later announcing it.

  11. Best let Morrison convince one and all that Jobkeeper was his idea and his alone.

    Regardless of the result in EM, it will come back to bite his bum hugely in the next general election for the way he stuffed the concept up..

  12. Hey ALP types – you’ve got Mick Quinlivan predicting a 55% ALP 2pp vote. What could possibly go wrong now – he gets it right so often!!

  13. Eden Monaro is a test of Bandt’s Grand Plan to Connect with Farmers.
    Eden Monaro is a test of the popularity of the Greens Defence Plan to turn the ADF into Peace Studies Lecturers combined with a Light Mobile Force just in case.
    Eden Monaro is a test for the popularity of the Greens Not So Secret Desire to deploy the UBI, the UJG, and the MMT.
    Eden Monaro is a test for the Greens Plan to deliver ZeroNet2040.
    Eden Monaro is a test for the Greens Plan to destroy the coal industry and the uranium industry.
    Eden Monaro is a test fro the Greens Plan to destroy the GMO cotton industry.
    Eden Monaro is a test for the Greens Plan to reduce irrigation in the MDB by around 25%.
    Eden Monaro is a test for all the Greens Culture War faves.
    Eden Monaro is a vindication for giving priority to astro turfing naive kiddies and getting them out onto the streets as your main political tactic.
    Eden Monaro is a vindication of the Greens’ habitual sniping of Labor.
    Eden Monaro is a marker of the grand progress of the Greens after 30 years of Greens Party politics.
    Eden Monaro is a test for the Greens Plan to increase taxes by a motsa.
    Eden Monaro is a test for the Greens Plan to load farmers with a shedload of new criminal law regulations and restrictions combined with a swingeing set of committees to enforce same.

    After 30 years of Greens self-marketing, and following catastrophic drought, fires, floods, hail, dust storms, a pandemic and economic mayhem, anything less than 15% of the total vote in Eden Monaro is a Greens and Bandt failure.

  14. It seems like clearly different strategies employed by the two major parties here in Eden-Monaro.
    Libs – throwing truckloads of cash at a media/social media blitzkrieg.
    Labor – more boots-on-ground approach with Albanese highly visible.
    Hopefully the boots prevail.

  15. Eden Monaro is a test of Bandt’s leadership, of the Greens Party, of Greens policies, of Griff, and of Greens electioneering tactics.

  16. Our great coalition will win the seat of eden Monaro by 55/45 and our great Scott Morrison will be PM for another ten years

  17. Our wonderful Labor party will easily win Eden Monaro and go on to win the next federal election in a landslide. Albanese will be Prime Minister for at least 18 years

  18. Scummo popular in the polls for effort in relation to covid-19 where state premiers and health officials set all the parameters. Left to his own devices with bushfires etc, pathetic. His hopeless mates helping him with things like job keeper/seeker will result in numerous stuff ups. While listening to Big Corporates plus Sky and Murdoch, every sneaky unfair opportunity will be taken to screw anyone not in the privileged class.
    This by election is also important because of the church / state connotations and a candidate who is a climate change denier.
    And Pauline Hanson One Nation party will be there preferencing appalling Pauline’s best friend Scummo.

  19. For as long as the seat…. state… or territory is already in ALP hands, ScuMo can play the game:

    – If I win: I smashed Labor, Albo should resign…. the ALP is finished.
    – If I lose: it was expected, nothing to see here…. move on…

    Yawn….

  20. Douglas and Milko:
    “And also, look at outbreak of COVID-19 an ALP government has presided over just over the border.”

    Cases of coronavirus
    NSW: 3400
    Victoria: 2368

    What about coronavirus vs the Vic-ALP and the NSW-Lib?

  21. Alpo,

    You are absolutely correct about the numbers. Also Newmarch house has just had 4 more residents testest for COVID 19 today.

    But, if no one makes a fuss in the media, then as far as the average punter fours it did not happen

    Edited – abcnews notification said positive, guardian just said tested for.

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