I see England, I see France: part deux

The results of looming elections in France and Britain are looking less in doubt than ever.

Update

4.00am. The sampled count result is in: Macron 65.1%, Le Pen 34.9%.

3.15am. Actually, what will be published at 4am will be the sampled early count of actual voting, which proved pinpoint accurate last time. Exit polls are coming out now, and have Macron at around 63%.

2.15am. I’m giving this a bump in case anyone’s about who wishes to discuss tonight’s results from France. Exit polls will be out at 4am.

Earlier:

We’re now two days away from the run-off election for the French presidency, and a bit under five weeks away from the general election in Britain. A ban on polling in the final days of French election kicks in around about now, and they suggest that centrist contender Emmanuel Macron’s 60-40 lead over far right candidate Marine Le Pen as of a week ago has widened a little as the big day approaches. The polls were eye-wateringly consistent and accurate ahead of the first round election, and have remained so on the former count at least.

Britain had a dry run with yesterday’s council elections, the results of which poured cold water on any notion that the polls might be as badly astray this time as they were in 2015. In other words, they delivered unprecedented victories for the Conservatives and unmitigated disaster for Labour, as well as reinforcing the impression of a mass exodus from Ukip to the Tories. The poll aggregate below, conducted without any clever-dickery in relation to weighting and bias adjustment, records the Conservatives at 44.8% (compared with 36.9% in 2015), Labour at 28.3% (30.4%), the Liberal Democrats at 10.5% (7.9%) and Ukip at 6.8% (12.6%).

The first chart goes back to the last election, the second to the beginning of March. Among the things the latter makes clearer is that a spike to the Conservatives after the election was announced has in fact levelled off, and that some vaguely encouraging results for Labour a week or so ago haven’t been maintained.

I see England, I see France

An overview and thread for discussion of looming national elections in the United Kingdom and France.

UPDATE: Exit polls from France will be published 4am EST (i.e. early Monday morning), and the actual result should be clear about three hours after that, unless it’s particularly close.

There’s a lot of big election news going down right now at the other side of the globe, starting with the first round of France’s presidential elections on Sunday, to be followed a fortnight later by a run-off between the two leading candidates.

Recent polling indicates the two leading candidates are Marine Le Pen of the far right National Front and Emmanuel Macron, a former Socialist running under his own banner. However, polling hasn’t had a great record in Europe lately, and Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight has pointed to a suspiciously narrow range of recent French presidential results, which has been known to signify that pollsters are “herding” each other off the end of a cliff. This leaves at least some hope for François Fillon of the centre-right Republicans, whose initially promising campaign has been hobbled by personal scandals. A hard left candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, has gained a head of steam over the past month, although his recorded support has recently tapered off at a level below where he needs to be. Head-to-head polling suggests Le Pen would be heavily defeated in the run-off, particularly if facing Macron.

It also emerged on Tuesday that Britain will go to the polls on June 8, for an election that looms as an historic disaster for Labour. The Conservatives’ unexpected majority victory at the May 2015 election was achieved from 36.9% of the national vote, which netted them 330 seats out of 650, compared with 30.4% and 232 seats for Labour. Recent polling has mostly had it in the low forties, but two polls conducted in the immediate wake of the election announcement had them at 46% (an ICM poll for the Guardian) and 48% (YouGov for The Times). Labour’s recent poll ratings have been anywhere between 23% and 29%, with the most recent results being 24% from YouGov and 26% from ICM. This suggests the Conservatives are in a position to match Labour’s historic landslides under Tony Blair, who won 418 seats in 1997 and 413 in 2001.

Both major parties were up slightly on the primary vote in 2015, but the Conservatives emerged the principal beneficiary of the collapse of the Liberal Democrats. By contrast, Labour was devastated north of the border by the triumph of the Scottish National Party, which won all but three of Scotland’s 59 seats, gaining 40 from Labour and 10 from the Liberal Democrats. The seats remaining to Labour are concentrated in London; Merseyside and Manchester; Leeds and its industrial surrounds; Birmingham; Newcastle and Durham; and south Wales. The rest of England’s electoral map is a sea of blue, punctuated by occasional small islands of red, and still more occasional ones of orange (traditionally associated with the Liberal Democrats).

Each of Labour’s stronghold regions consists of a safe core and a less safe periphery, and it’s the latter areas that are looming as the main battlegrounds of a losing election. To isolate one example, Labour holds 45 seats in the area of Greater London, compared with 27 for the Conservatives and one for the Liberal Democrats. It will continue to dominate the city’s inner east even under worst case scenarios, but will come under pressure in as many as ten seats in the west and on the fringe of the Greater London region.

The polls have generally had the Liberal Democrats at around 11%, representing a modest recovery from the disaster of 2015, when they dropped from 57 seats and 23.1% of the vote to eight seats and 7.9%.
However, opportunities for further gains are limited, and the Conservative tide could even cause the party trouble in the few seats it continues to hold. Ukip yielded only the seat of Clacton from its 12.6% share of the national vote in 2015, and lost that a month ago when Douglas Carswell, a former Conservative MP, quit to sit as an independent. Polls suggest the party has shed support to the Conservatives, so its pickings in the House of Commons look likely to remain slim or non-existent.

The polls I’ve looked at for Scotland suggest the Scottish National Party will retain most if not all of its 50.0% support from 2015, so the party will presumably continue to dominate Scotland’s 59 seats, of which it holds all but three. Any talk of a defeat for the government is being framed in terms of its majority being lost to a “progressive alliance” of Labour, the Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats, but at this stage it seems very unlikely it will come to that.

A rough guide to the British election

A region-by-region beginners’ guide of what to look for in today’s/tomorrow’s British election.

This post features, or will feature, a region-by-region run through of the key constituencies and their prospects for the British election, which is being held overnight our time with the business end of the count occurring tomorrow morning. The maps identify Conservative marginals as “primary” if they would fall to Labour on the uniform national swing predicted by the polls, which broadly point to a Conservative vote of 34% (down three on the last election), Labour on 33% (up five) and the Liberal Democrats on 9% (down fourteen). “Secondary” marginals are those which might be expected to fall if Labour won a majority, which I’ve crudely drawn at the 12% point on the swing-o-meter. I’m playing Liberal Democrat seats by ear according to the betting markets in identifying them either as safe or under threat from this party or that.

I’ll be adding regions to the guide progressively as I complete them. And what better place to start than:

London

Six seats in London that would fall from Conservative to Labour on the uniform swing indicated in the polling, but no real prospects for Labour beyond that, the margin in Ilford North being 11.5%. I’ve heard it said that the swing is expected to be slightly above par in London, but an Ashford poll during the campaign had the Conservatives with a four-point lead in Croydon Central. With respect to the Liberal Democrat seats, Labour are very short-priced favourites in Brent Central and favourites in Hornsey and Wood Green. Other Liberal Democrat seats are at least endangered, but betting markets favour them in each case.

South-East

This area is ground zero for the Ukip insurgency, being home to the two seats they have won at by elections, Clacton and Rochester & Strood, and the seat being targeted by party leader Nigel Farage, Thanet South. It’s also good territory for the Greens, encompassing their solitary seat of Brighton Pavilion.

The strength of both parties is causing Labour headaches, and could certainly cost them what should otherwise have been an easy win in Thurrock, which the Conservatives won last time on the tightest of margins. Southhampton Itchen is the only seat anywhere identified as a potential Conservative gain for Labour, partly due to a retiring sitting member, but also because Ukip is believed to be biting into the Labour vote (the number for it has failed to show up on my map tomorrow, but it’s the one bordering Eastleigh to the west).

The Greens vote could also cost Labour potential gains in the two seats neighbouring Brighton Pavilion, Hove and Brighton Kemptown, although they are the favourites in both cases. Seats Labour is clearly favoured to gain from the Conservatives are Hove, Brighton Kemptown and Hastings & Rye, and the betting is fairly tight in Milton Keyes South.

The Conservatives are short-priced favourites to win Portsmouth South from the Liberal Democrats, and rated competitive but behind in Eastbourne. The markets rate the Liberal Democrats a better chance than Labour to unseat the Conservatives in Watford, for what reason I’m not sure.

South-West

This region is the greatest area of strength for the Liberal Democrats, and much depends on the extent to which they can dig in here. The Conservatives are clearly favoured to win St Austell & Newquay, Taunton Deane, Somerton & Frome, Wells, Mid Dorset & Poole and Chippenham, and it would appear to be very close in St Ives, North Cornwall, North Devon and Torbay. Labour is expected to win Bristol West from the Liberal Democrats, despite determined efforts from the Greens. The only seats the Liberal Democrats are clearly favoured to retain are Yeovil, Bath, Thornbury & Yate and Cheltenham. As for the few Conservative-Labour contests, Labour is strongly favoured to gain Plymouth, Sutton & Devonport, it’s expected to go down to the wire in South Swindon, and the Conservatives are slightly favoured in Gloucester.

Midlands/East Anglia

Moving up to the central band of England, we find rock solid Labour industrial areas and equally safe Conservative countryside, with marginal seats tending to crop out where the two blur together. Labour is very strongly favoured to win Sherwood, City of Chester, Broxtowe, North Warwickshire, Wolverhampton South West and Corby, and moderately favoured in Cannock Chase, Erewash, Amber Valley, Lincoln and Bedford. Crewe & Nantwich, Nuneaton, Halesowen & Rowley Regis, Northampton North, Ipswich and Norwich North are thought to be lineball, while Labour holds out some hope in High Peak, Cleethorpes, Loughborough, Worcester, Peterborough, Great Yarmouth.

There are only a few Liberal Democrats seats here, but one of them is Nick Clegg’s seat of Sheffield Hallam, where polling long found him struggling to hold off Labour, although more recent polling has been more favourable to him. Labour is also expected to gain Norwich South, but the Conservatives are favourites in Cambridge, and Birmingham Yardley is lineball. Next door to Birmingham Yardley, the Conservatives are short-priced favourites to unseat the Liberal Democrats in Solihull.

The North

Around Liverpool and Manchester, we see a repeat of the pattern in the Midlands where marginals seats fill the cracks between Labour-voting industrial and Conservative-voting country areas, although elsewhere in the north the distinctions are more pronounced. The betting markets favour Labour to win six seats from the Conservatives throughout the region: Wirral West, Bury North, Dewsbury, Lancaster & Fleetwood, Morecambe & Lunesdale and Carlisle. The Conservatives are rated as having the edge in South Ribble, Rossendale & Darwen, Pendle, Colne Valley, Elmet & Rothwell and Blackpool North & Cleveleys, while Keighley and Pudsey are down to the wire.

The expectation is that the Liberal Democrats will be hit hard in the north as voters react against their involvement in the coalition by returning to Labour, who are thought all but certain to gain Bradford East, Burnley, Manchester Whitington and Redcar, with the Liberal Democrats given a slight edge in Leeds North East. There are a further three seats where the Liberal Democrats are under pressure from the Conservatives, with the markets favouring the Liberal Democrats in Southport, the Conservatives in Berwick upon Tweed, and evenly split in Cheadle. The wild card constituency in the region is Bradford West, which George Galloway won from Labour for his Respect party at a by-election in March 2012. His re-election bid would appear to be a 50-50 proposition.

Wales

My casual observation of polling suggests the Conservatives have dropped a point since the last election, Labour has gained one, the Liberal Democrats are down thirteen and Plaid Cymru are up about four. Labour are short-priced favourites to take Cardiff Central from the Conservatives and Cardiff North from the Liberal Democrats, and at least some chance of further gaining Carmathen West & South Pembrokeshire, Vale of Glamorgan and Aberconwy from the Conservatives. The Liberal Democrats are also under pressure in Brecon & Radnorshire from the Conservatives and Ceredigion in Plaid Cymru, who otherwise don’t seem in danger of matching the SNP’s accomplishments.

 

Scotland

It may seem odd to be short-changing Scotland in a guide to this election, but there really isn’t all that much that needs be said: anything that isn’t held by the Scottish National Party is under threat from them. The map to the right accordingly sticks to representing the result of the 2010 election. Out of 41 seats currently held by Labour, a list of seats from The Week where they “might survive” consists of Coatbridge Chryston & Bellshill, Glasgow East, Glasgow North East, Glasgow South West, Motherwell & Wishaw and Paisley & Renfrewshire South. The SNP is clear favourite in every one of the 11 seats held by the Liberal Democrats with the exception of the border seat of Berwickshire Roxburgh & Selkirk, a three-way contest in which the Liberal Democrats might instead lose to the Conservatives.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland and its 18 seats are generally treated as an appendage to the real action, since it has a distinctive party system with an overlaying of sectarianism. Sixteen of those seats behaved the same way at both the 2005 and 2010 elections, with five being won by Sinn Fein, eight by the Democratic Unionist Party founded by Ian Paisley, and three by the nationalist, Labour-aligned Social Democratic and Labour Party. The Ulster Unionist Party lost its only seat at the last election after formally aligning with the Conservatives, causing its one incumbent, Lady Sylvia Hermon, to contest and hold her seat of North Down as an independent. The other change was that the non-sectarian Alliance Party won Belfast East from the Democratic Unionist Party, which is mounting a determined effort to win it back.

UK general election: May 7

A thread for discussion of Britain’s May 7 general election.

April 30, 2015

With only a week left to go, I’m bumping this thread back up the batting order. If you’re a Crikey subscriber, here are my thoughts on the subject of Britain’s need for electoral reform.

April 14, 2015

A thread for discussion of Britain’s May 7 general election, about which I’m sure I’ll find something to say in due course. In the meantime, here is a poll aggregation from Wikipedia.

Scottish independence referendum: September 18 (UPDATED 18/9)

Polls aggregated and entrails examined ahead of next week’s knife-edge referendum on Scottish independence.

Friday, September 19

For literally anything you need to know about what to expect and when, Antony Green’s guide can’t be beat. Basically, we can’t expect any official results until about 3pm AEST, though presumably some manner of informal indication of how the count is going might emerge. There will not be any exit polls, but there is talk that a retrospective opinion poll might be conducted (how did you vote rather than how will you). The one final poll out was, as noted below, from Ipsos MORI, which was a phone poll of 980 respondents showing yes on 45% and no on 50%, rounding out to 53-47. I couldn’t be bothered running the poll tracker charts again because the result of the poll after bias adjustment was right on the trend, at 51.2% for no. My personal feeling is that no is likely to do it a little more easily than that, but only time will tell. The map to the right is derived from regional level polling data over the past few weeks from Survation and ICM, to give at least a broad-brush idea of where the independence cause is weakest and strongest. The actual results will emerge at the level of Scotland’s 32 local government authorities – at the link above, Antony Green maps their past voting behaviour, since support for the Scottish National Party is very likely a good proxy for how the referendum vote will go.

Thursday, September 18

9pm

A few hours after polls open, one final poll from Ipsos MORI – 53-47 to no. Ninety-five per cent report they will vote, which by early reports of turnout can almost be believed.

Overview

Okay, to tidy up the mess below: we’ve had 51-49 from the very authoritative Ipsos MORI, a phone poll with a sample of 1405; two online polls at 52-48, one from YouGov with a bumper sample of 3237, the other from Panelbase with 1004; and a phone poll from Survation, for which I assume the sample was about 1200 given such was the case in its only previous phone poll, at 53-47. The Survation survey in particular is very fresh, having been conducted entirely within the last 24 hours. Pumping all that into the poll aggregate is slightly better for yes than you might think, since Ipsos MORI and YouGov both get bias adjusted about 1.4% towards yes, and weighted heavily in the overall result. I’m a bit nervous about this – those bias adjustments seem excessive – but the current reading, which you may take or leave, is 51.2% no, 48.8% yes.

Earlier

UPDATE 4: Survation has it at 53-47.

UPDATE 3: YouGov has it at 52-48. And the fun’s not over, because Survation have just revealed they’re about to lay on a surprise phone poll.

UPDATE 2: Mike Smithson of Political Betting tweets: “So 4 pollsters have NO on 52% and 2 on 51%. Maybe they are wrong but at least they are all wrong together”. The implication, I believe, being that we may be seeing a little bit of herding going on.

UPDATE: The Ipsos MORI poll turns out to be a nailbiter – 51% no, 49% yes. This is important because it’s a phone poll rather than online, and Ipsos MORI did a particularly good job of calling the last Scottish parliamentary election. YouGov to come in a few more hours, and then I’ll give the poll aggregate another run.

A new poll from Panelbase does nothing to relieve the monotony, once again producing a result of 52-48 in favour of no. However, this is the best 52-48 so far for the no camp, as Panelbase has been the most yes-leaning of the regularly reporting pollsters. The full numbers are 49.5% no, 45.4% yes, 5.1% don’t know. Full results here. The eagerly awaited Ipsos MORI poll will be along at 3am EST, followed by the final YouGov poll at 5am.

Wednesday, September 17

Three new polls have come in overnight – from Survation, Opinium and ICM – and every one of them finds no with a lead of 52-48. My poll tracker (methodology explained in the entry below from Saturday) now has no leading 51.7% to 48.3%, slightly higher than the 51.4% to 48.6% recorded following Sunday’s polls. More tellingly, the trendlines provide a fairly clear indication that the momentum to yes which was evident over a period of weeks has tapered off:

Of the three pollsters to have reported new results, Survation has the no lead narrowing from its result on Sunday, which had it at 54-46; Opinium also narrows slightly from a poll on Sunday, which had it at 53-47; while ICM is much better for no this time around, its previous poll being a small-sample outlier with yes leading 54-46. All three polls were conducted online; Mike Smithson at Political Betting says that, based on past form, the one we should be hanging out on is tomorrow’s final phone poll from Ipsos MORI. I had a paywalled piece in Crikey yesterday considering the possibility that the polls might just have it all wrong.

Some further findings from Opinium: 50% do not trust that new devolution powers in the event of a no vote will be delivered as promised; 47% think Scotland will keep the pound against 37% who don’t; 44% think Alex Salmond should resign as First Minister if no wins (which I find very odd); and 45% think independence will damage the Scottish economy.

Sunday, September 13

No less than four new polls have reported overnight, of which two have “no” with reasonable solid leads of six or eight points, one is lineball, and one is the best poll yet to emerge for yes. These are reviewed in detail below, but first we take an updated look at the poll tracker. This puts the current result at 51.4% for no and 48.6% for yes, all but unchanged on the 51.2% and 48.8% recorded yesterday (based on like-for-like methodological comparison). An outline of the methodology was provided yesterday, in the bottom half of this post.

The polls in turn:

• The good news for the independence camp first: ICM has produced the second poll to show the yes vote in front, following on from the first of last week’s surveys by YouGov, and by a not inconsiderable margin – 49% to 42%, rounding out 54-46 after exclusion of the undecided. Unlike yesterday’s ICM poll, this one uses its usual online methodology. The caveat here is the unusually small sample of 705. Also, as noted below, ICM has been one of the more yes-friendly pollsters, such that the poll tracker adjusts it downwards by 2.0%.

• An online panel poll by Survation, which has tended to come in at the middle of the range, has no at 47.0% and yes at 40.8%, for a rounded result of 54-46 to no. The poll was commissioned by the pro-union Better Together campaign. Whereas the bulk of the polling for the referendum has been online, this one was conducted by telephone, from Wednesday to Friday, with a sample of 1044. As was the case with TNS yesterday, this is a first phone poll from an outfit whose previous polling was conducted online.

Opinium is an established online pollster which has made its first entry on the referendum, this being a survey of 1055 respondents. Its result is a lot closer to Survation’s than ICM’s, with 45% for yes and 49%, rounding out to 53-47.

• Panelbase in the Sunday Times has no on 50.6% and yes on 49.4%, but given its relative “yes” lean in the past, it’s comes out similarly to Survation and Opinium so far as the poll tracker is concerned.

Saturday, September 12

It’s now less than a week until Scotland’s independence referendum, which will be held on Thursday with polling stations to close at 10pm local time, or 7am Friday on the east coast of Australia. An official result won’t be expected until mid-afternoon our time. Before that time, the 32 local authorities that will be taking care of the business end of proceedings will report their results, which I guess we can expect to be done more promptly in the cities than the country.

The latest poll out this evening is an ICM poll for The Guardian which confirms the recent trend of being too close to call – 42% no, 40% yes and 17% don’t know, panning out to a headline figure of 51-49 with the exclusion of the undecided. According to Anthony Wells at UK Polling Report, we can expect a result reasonably soon from Panelbase, which I have determined to be one of the more “yes”-friendly pollsters. We might then see a relative lull before heavy-hitters YouGov and Ipsos MORI hold off until their final results nearer the big day, although there will surely be other results around the place between now and then.

My own polling tracker, which is laid out below, currently has “no” in the lead with 51.6%, but there is no sign that the trend to “yes” is levelling off. As I shall discuss, it would have been more like 51.3% if I had treated the latest poll differently, as maybe I should have.

A few things that have caught my eye:

• For those of you who know your way around Scotland, The Guardian offers mapped results of a year’s worth of Ipsos MORI polling in eye-watering detail.

• John Curtice, a political scientist of some renown, considers the contention popular in the “yes” camp that pollsters are under-representing respondents who don’t normally vote, whom they expect will give their cause a boost. However, Curtice finds that past non-voters who have been polled are leaning quite strongly towards no.

Stephen Fisher at Elections Etc observes polling before 16 constitutional referenda in Austria, Ireland, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Quebec, Scotland, Sweden, Britain and Wales (not us, alas), and notes there “does not seem to be a precedent for a close referendum at which final polls underestimated the Yes vote” (he in fact said “overestimated” but if you read the sentence in context, this was clearly erroneous).

Now to my own poll tracker. The methodology runs roughly as follows: 1) Calculate accuracy ratings for each pollster based on the performance of their polls in the last week of the campaigns for the 2014 European, 2011 Scottish and 2010 Westminster elections; 2) Run a local area regression on the results with each poll weighted as per the relevant pollsters’ accuracy rating multiplied by the sample size; 3) Use the trend result thus produced to derive bias measures for each pollster, by averaging the deviation of their poll results from the trend; 4) Correct the pollsters’ results accordingly and run the regression again.

The bias adjustments made to the various pollsters’ “yes” results are as follows: Ipsos Mori +1.6%; YouGov +1.6%; TNS +0.6%; Survation -0.7%; ICM -1.5%; Panelbase -2.5%; Angus Reid -4.4%. The complication I mentioned earlier is that the latest ICM poll was conducted by telephone, whereas the nine previous polls from which I have derived its bias adjustment were online polls. I have nonetheless decided to apply their existing adjustment to the latest result. Since this poll is, together with the most recent YouGov, the very latest result in the model, and the bias adjustment used is a not inconsiderable penalty to “yes”, the effect is non-trivial. If no bias adjustment is applied to this poll, the “no” result comes down to 51.2%. If the poll is removed altogether, it is 51.3%.

A couple of further points to be noted. YouGov’s stunning poll result on Monday showing yes in the lead was a real outlier from a normally no-leaning pollster, and it shows up in the charts as the only data point with yes above 50%. Another poll from YouGov a few days later had no back in front. This was inevitably reported in terms of the momentum for yes having stalled, but that’s not the picture that emerges when the polling is aggregated. Panelbase’s polling before the start of this year had an enormous lean in favour of yes which has since been corrected, so the earlier results have been excluded. Angus Reid is, or has been, a fairly major pollster in Britain, but there has been no Scottish independence polling from it since August last year. Should it re-emerge in the next few days, I will have to think twice about applying the 4.4% correction noted above.

Photo finishes

LNP OTH LNP LEAD
Mackay (vs ALP) 10993 11199 -206
Yeerongpilly (vs ALP) 13416 12655 761
Bulimba (vs ALP) 10702 10806 -104
Maryborough (vs IND) 12028 11734 294
Thuringowa (vs KAP) 10189 9669 520

Tuesday (2pm). Pardon my recent laziness. The LNP now has Maryborough and Thuringowa in the bag: in the former case 1273 absents and 846 pre-polls have piled 178 votes on to their lead, which is now at 294 with only a late trickle still to come. The lead over the KAP in Thuringowa is out even further, from 320 to 520. However, Labor looks to be home in Mackay: with another 901 absents counted the LNP has only chipped 10 votes from Labor’s 216 vote lead. For some reason though, there has still been no progress in the two-party count in Bulimba. By my arithmetic though, Labor is in trouble: the LNP Leads by 980 on the primary vote with 2802 Greens preferences to be distributed, and if these continue to split as the booth votes did, they will land about 179 short.

Friday. The ECQ has unexpectedly come good with an indicative LNP-versus-KAP count from Thuringowa, and it confirms almost exactly the reported preference split referred to in yesterday’s entry, with the LNP leading by 320. Quite a few votes remain to be counted, but it will be very tough for the KAP to rein in a lead of that size. The other big news of the day is that a bundle of 50 votes has been identified as being in the wrong pile in Bulimba, which has cut Labor’s lead from 193 to 93. In Mackay, 282 absent votes and a some other miscellany has reduced the Labor lead from 235 to 216. In Maryborough, 432 votes have been added to the count, a mixture of postal and absent votes, and they have cut the LNP’s lead over independent Chris Foley from 162 to 116. The early trend of absent votes is encouraging for Foley, so this could go down to the wire.

Thursday. The ECQ’s Bulimba error from yesterday has been corrected: it turned out the Greens vote had been entered as the Labor vote in the relevant booth after rechecking. Otherwise no progress in the count there, which leaves 2662 primary votes still remaining to be added to the notional two-party count. I am not exactly sure whether these are booth votes, postals, pre-polls or some combination. If they’re postals, Labor should gain ground; otherwise they will tread water. In addition to this, there are absent votes of which we can expect as many as 3000. If the vote differential between booth and absent votes plays as it did in 2009, Labor should pick up at least 200 votes here. In Mackay, the first 895 absents have reduced Labor’s lead by all of one vote, to 235. Minor additions in Maryborough have increased the LNP lead by 11 votes to 193. The LNP continues to drive nails into Labor’s coffin in Yeerongpilly, where 687 absents and 199 postals have increased their lead from 440 to 470. Antony Green relates in comments that Labor’s scrutineers in Thuringowa say 70 per cent of Labor preferences are exhausting and the rest are splitting 75-25 between KAP and LNP. This would only give the KAP 1000 of the votes it needs to bridge a 1300-vote deficit against the LNP on the primary vote.

Wednesday. Something odd in Bulimba: with booth figures updated after rechecking, 691 votes have disappeared from the Labor primary vote count in the Morningside booth. This reduces the Labor vote there from normal to unbelievably low, so we can presume the original figure was not significantly erroneous. Labor has gained 37 votes there with the addition of 1696 postals and now leads by 195. In Maryborough, 565 postals have increased the LNP’s lead over independent Chris Foley from 158 to 195. In Mackay, 1002 postals have cut the Labor lead from 269 to 236. In Yeerongpilly, 494 postals have increased the LNP lead from 429 to 440. Only uneventful rechecking today in Thuringowa. Most of the absent votes – about 2000 in Maryborough and 2500 to 3000 in Mackay, Yeerongpilly and Bulimba – still remain to be counted; pre-polls should be done and postals will slow to a trickle, except perhaps in Maryborough where a few more look to be outstanding.

Tuesday. The LNP looks home and hosed in Yeerongpilly: its lead is out from 372 to 429 after the addition of 792 postals and 213 absents. Chris Foley has cut the LNP’s lead in Maryborough from 171 to 146 with the addition of 1162 pre-polls and 182 postals. There should be at least 1000 of the latter still to come, but the kicker for Foley is that there will also be about 2000 absent votes, and he did very poorly on these in 2009. The first 1010 postal votes in Thuringowa have been an eye-opener: compared with the polling booth results, they have come in 6.6% lower for the LNP, 4.1% higher for Labor and 3.5% higher for KAP. This has cut the LNP’s primary vote lead over KAP from 6.8% to 4.9%. Based on current numbers, when the preferences from Labor and other candidates are distributed, the KAP will need to outscore the LNP by 13.8% in the KAP-LNP-exhausted carve-up. Nothing today in Bulimba, and only rechecking in Mackay.

Monday 4pm. Von Kirsdarke in comments relates the notional LNP-versus-KAP count in Thuringowa has turned up a surprise with the KAP candidate 61 votes in front, but the ECQ site is not publishing the figures (UPDATE: But it turns out Antony’s results page is, and it now has the LNP 262 votes ahead) (UPDATE 2: Scratch that: those numbers are just based on Antony’s guesstimate of the likely preference flow. The ECQ is not conducting an indicative count, which means we’ll have no idea until the full preference count is conducted next week). I might expect though that the LNP will do better in late counting than on the polling booth figures, which are presumably what is being counted here. The Townsville Bulletin reports LNP figures are whingeing that the ECQ “stuffed up” by conducting the election night count on an LNP-versus-ALP basis, but they’ve no right to – any contrary decision would have been very odd indeed. In the three outstanding Labor-versus-LNP contests, the most recent counting has widened all existing leads: Labor has gained 26 votes with the addition of 489 postals in Mackay and 43 with the addition of 118 various votes in Bulimba, while the LNP has gained 52 with the addition of 675 votes of various kinds (mostly postals) in Yeerongpilly. In Maryborough, 613 various votes (mostly postals) have split almost perfectly evenly, with the LNP maintaining a lead of 613.

Sunday. This post will follow late counting in the still undecided seats in the Queensland election. I’m counting five, which leaves the LNP with 74 definite wins and Labor with six, with two independents and two for Katter’s Australian Party. The five still in play are Bulimba, where Labor led at the close of counting last night by 83 votes; Mackay, where Labor led by 239; Yeerongpilly, where the LNP led by 320; Maryborough, where the LNP led independent incumbent Chris Foley by 177; and the wild card of Thuringowa. The issue in Thuringowa is that Katter’s Australian Party candidate Steve Todeschini finished second (with 30.8 per cent) ahead of Labor incumbent Craig Wallace (27.2 per cent), with LNP candidate Sam Cox on 36.2 per cent. The indicative preference count on election night was conducted between the LNP and Labor candidates, so we do not know how Todeschini will fare after Labor preferences are distributed. The ECQ is currently conducting a LNP-versus-KAP count to answer the question for us. Wise heads who have crunched the numbers deem it very unlikely, but Bob Katter is bullish about his candidate’s chances on the basis that Labor’s how-to-vote cards directed preferences to him. However, that’s not what Labor’s registered how-to-vote card says. If Labor was indeed distributing different how-to-vote cards on the day, it has committed an offence with a $2000 fine attached. I gather we should get the results of the indicative count shortly, which may well put the result beyond doubt.

As was the case at federal level, electoral laws have been changed since the previous election to allow pre-poll votes to be admitted to the count on election night. That leaves two substantial categories of votes outstanding, together with curiosities like institution and electoral visit votes, along with rechecking which can occasionally show up bundles of 50 votes which were added to the wrong pile. Each electorate should produce as many as 2000 postal votes, of which it seems about a third are being added to the count today. These will continue to come in in diminishing numbers over the fortnight, and will be added to the count sporadically. There should be about 3000 absent votes, which past practice suggests should be admitted to the count later this week. Everything will be finalised by Friday week. Late counting traditionally favours the conservatives, but Labor would at least be hopeful of doing relatively well on postal votes as many would have been cast before things went seriously awry for them over the past 10 days or so of the campaign.

So far today, we have seen the addition of 792 postal votes which has increased Labor’s lead from 83 to 115. In Maryborough, 649 postal and other votes have been added, shaving the LNP margin from 177 to 170. Similar additions will presumably follow shortly in Mackay and Yeerongpilly.

NOTE: Can this thread be used exclusively for discussion of the count. For more general discussion of the election and its implications, please use the other threads.