Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is a paid election analyst for The Conversation. His work for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.
The first section of this article has been copied from my article Thursday mainly about the Victorian upper house results for The Conversation.
The United States November 8 midterm elections are not quite finished, as the Georgia Senate contest has gone to a runoff Tuesday, with polls closing at 11am Wednesday AEDT. At the November 8 election, Democrat Raphael Warnock won 49.4% and Republican Herschel Walker 48.5%. A Libertarian, with 2.1%, prevented a majority for either candidate, and so the runoff. Polls for the runoff suggest Warnock is narrowly ahead.
Democrats currently lead the Senate by 50-49. Even if Warnock loses, they will still control the Senate on Vice President Kamala Harris’ casting vote. But this election is important because Democrats face a very difficult Senate map in the 2024 elections.
Of the 33 Senate seats up for election in 2024, 23 are Democrat-held and just ten Republican-held. Democrat-held seats include three states – West Virginia, Montana and Ohio – that Donald Trump won easily in both 2016 and 2020. Democrats need to win Georgia next week to have a realistic chance of keeping the Senate after the 2024 elections.
Republicans likely won the House of Representatives on November 8 by a margin of 222-213 over Democrats, the exact reverse of Democrats’ 222-213 majority after the 2020 elections. Republicans lead the overall House popular vote by 50.7-47.8 according to the Cook Political Report.
Update Sunday: The final undecided House seat, California’s 13th, has been called for the Republicans, confirming a 222-213 House win.
US polls understated the left, in contrast to polls at other recent major national elections
At the Australian national election, polls overstated Labor’s primary support and understated UAP, although polls were better after preferences as Labor performed better than expected on preference flows. Polls also understated the right at recent Brazilian and Israeli elections.
Polls for the US midterm elections understated the left (Democrats), particularly in some key Senate contests. In New Hampshire, Democrat Hassan defeated Republican Bolduc by 9.1%; polls gave Hassan only about a two-point lead. Democrat Fetterman defeated Republican Oz in Pennsylvania by 4.9%, but most polls gave Oz the lead, although Marist College (Fetterman up six) was an exception. Democrats also outperformed their polls in Arizona and Nevada.
We should not assume that polls will be biased against Warnock in Georgia, just because they were generally biased against Democrats at the midterms. Poll bias can change from one election to another, and the Georgia runoff is a different election.
Anwar Ibrahim finally becomes Malaysian PM
Anwar Ibrahim was finance minister in Mahathir Mohamad’s conservative UMNO government in 1998, but was removed from all posts that year, and jailed in 1999 after a trial for sodomy and corruption that was criticised by human rights groups. At the 2018 election, Mahathir led an anti-UMNO coalition to victory and became PM, but his coalition broke down, and UMNO returned.
Malaysia’s parliament has 222 members elected by first past the post. The November 19 election produced the first hung parliament in its history, with Anwar’s reformist PKR winning 82 seats on 37.5%, with the nationalist BERSATU on 73 seats and 30.4%, and UMNO on 30 seats and 22.4%. Most parties pledged to join a unity government led by Anwar, with a confidence vote scheduled for December 19.
UK Labour maintains huge poll lead, and receives big swing at by-election
It’s over a month since Rishi Sunak became Britain’s PM on October 25. Labour is maintaining a huge lead with its vote in the high 40s in UK national polls, with the Conservatives in the low to mid 20s in most polls. Some of the Conservatives’ losses recently are benefiting the far-right Reform, which was at 9% in a recent YouGov poll.
A parliamentary by-election occurred Thursday in the Labour-held City of Chester. Labour won by 60.8-22.2 over the Conservatives with 8.3% for the Liberal Democrats and 3.5% Greens. At the 2019 general election. Labour won this seat by 49.6-38.3 with 6.8% Lib Dems and 2.6% Greens. This seat was a safe Conservative seat until Labour won it in the 1997 landslide. The Conservatives regained it in 2010, but Labour won it by just 93 votes in 2015 and expanded that margin greatly in 2017.