Hours of fun

Praise be, for the 2004 Australian Election Study is now available online, along with all other such surveys going back to the 1987 election. These provide intensely detailed information on the voting behaviour, attitudes, demographic profile, television viewing habits and hair and eye colour of 2000 respondents, along with the facility to easily cross-reference the various results. The Poll Bludger was not aware that this magnificent resource was so freely available, which appears to be a recent innovation of the Australian National University’s Research School of Social Sciences.

Awakenings

The Poll Bludger has stirred from his week-long post-election coma and is hard at work (honest) putting his Queensland election guide to bed now that something resembling final results are available. Once done each electorate entry will be appended with a wrap-up noting the outcome, swings and any last minute shenanigans the campaign updates may have missed. After that the Poll Bludger’s beady eye will turn to preselection fun and games now gathering steam both at the federal level and also in Western Australia, where a factious opposition may yet deliver Geoff Gallop a second term at the election due early next year.

Administrative affairs

The Poll Bludger’s long-awaited domain name is now in business, so amend those bookmarks to www.pollbludger.com. Big up to Crikey for their Poll Bludger awareness-raising efforts in this week’s sealed sections. Apologies to Townsville Greens candidate Theresa Millard whom I falsely accused of being a marine scientist. Her party’s website has her as a "former journalist, academic and government adviser". Thanks to Millard, Antony Green, Malcolm Farnsworth, Troy Reeves and Charles Richardson for their error-spotting and fact-pointing-out – keep them coming here.

Bronx cheers all round as the ABC finally gets it together to post Antony Green’s Queensland election guide on its website. Loud boos for their removal of the archived guides to previous elections going back to 2001 – express your displeasure to Aunty’s minions here. And as the campaign moves into full swing, keep a regular eye on Peter Brent’s observations at Mumble.

Greetings from the Poll Bludger

Welcome to the first ever posting from The Poll Bludger. I am a Melbourne-based amateur psephologist hoping to use the magic of the internet to impart the accumulated wisdom of a life spent obsessing over the Australian electoral process. As anyone who is truly in touch with the aspirations of mainstream Australia can tell you, millions of people out there are crying out for a one-stop point of access for the very latest information on preselection contests, preference deals, electoral redistributions and all the other things that make Australian democracy such a uniquely pulse-quickening affair. The Poll Bludger offers all this and more.

In its present state of infancy the site’s showpiece is this guide to the forthcoming Queensland election, featuring a summary of each of the 89 seats in the Sunshine State’s single house of parliament. For a while talk had been for an election date to coincide with statewide council elections on March 27, but with the Crime and Misconduct Commission into foster home child abuse out of the way and a recent Newspoll showing little if any damage to the government from the whole unfortunate episode, most have their eye on Beattie’s return from holidays on January 19. It is widely expected that his first item of business will be a visit to the Governor to call an election for either February 21 or 28.

A corresponding guide to the federal election is at an earlier stage of development and could probably do with a bit of proof-reading even in its current form, but it can already claim to be the only place on the internet attempting to keep track of the candidates for each electorate as they announce themselves. If you have bothered to read this far you will probably already be aware that said election will either be a double dissolution held in the first half of the year or a normal House of Reps plus half-Senate in the second – not being ready yet, The Poll Bludger both hopes for and expects the latter.