German election live

Live commentary on today’s German election, plus Canadian final results and crucial US votes in Congress. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Live Commentary

3:11pm If Germany just used FPTP seats without the list top-ups, what would the result have been? Wikipedia has the CDU/CSU winning 143 of the 299 FPTP seats, the SPD 121, the Greens 16, AfD 16 and three very important seats for the Left. The FDP won zero FPTP seats.

2:50pm Seat count now official. This is easily the worst vote share since WW 2 for the CDU/CSU. In 2017, right-wing parties won the overall vote by 56.2-38.6, so the margin falling to just 0.5% to the right at this election is still a massive improvement for the left.

2:35pm From these parliamentary numbers, it takes 368 seats to get a majority. Combining the SPD, Greens, Left and SSW gives them 364 seats, tantalizingly close to that majority. It is likely there will be weeks and possibly months of wrangling before we get our next German government. With no other parties prepared to work with the AfD, a right-left coalition will be needed. A plausible combination is SPD, Greens and FDP, or even another grand coalition between SPD and CDU/CSU, this time with SPD as the senior partner.

2:24pm I can’t see anything yet on official sites, but the Europe Elects twitter account has the parliamentary seat result. There will be a total of 735 seats, up 26 from 709 in 2017 and far exceeding the minimum of 598. The SPD won 206 seats, the CDU/CSU 196, the Greens 118, the FDP 92, the AfD 83, the Left 39 and an ethnic environmentalist party (SSW) one seat (ethnic parties are exempt from the 5% threshold).

2pm The Left party won three of the 299 FPTP seats, just enough to qualify for proportional allocation of seats, after coming just below the 5% national threshold with 4.9%. Their closest seat win was in Leipzig, where they beat the Greens by 22.8% to 18.4% with a split field.

1:08pm With all 299 seats in, it’s 25.7% SPD (up 5.2% since the 2017 election), 24.1% CDU/CSU (down 8.9%), 14.8% Greens (up 5.8%), 11.5% FDP (up 0.7%), 10.3% AfD (down 2.3%) and 4.9% Left (down 4.3%). The overall right-wing parties win by a narrow 45.9-45.4 margin over the left-wing parties.

10:15am 279 of 299 seats in, and it’s 25.8% SPD (up 5.3%), 24.4% CDU/CSU (down 9.0%), 14.2% Greens (up 5.5%), 11.5% FDP (up 0.8%), 10.5% AfD (down 2.2%) and 4.6% Left (down 4.2%). So the overall right is beating the overall left by 46.4-44.6, contrary to pre-election polls. A Red-Red-Green (SPD, Left, Green) coalition is out.

9am 248 of 299 seats in, and it’s 25.7% SPD (up 5.2%), 24.7% CDU/CSU (down 8.8%), 14.0% Greens (up 5.5%), 11.5% FDP (up 0.7%), 10.7% AfD (down 2.3%) and 4.6% Left (down 4.2%). Vote shifts are matched against the results from the same seats in 2017.

8:47am The Left party has dropped to 4.9% (below the 5% threshold) in an updated projection, but is set to win three FPTP seats, enough to get a proportional allocation of seats.

8:15am With 201 of 299 seats in, current vote shares are 25.2% CDU/CSU (down 8.8% using seat matched data from 2017), 25.7% SPD (up 5.1%), 13.8% Greens (up 5.4%), 11.4% FDP (up 0.8%), 10.5% AfD (down 2.3%) and 4.4% Left (down 4.1%).

7:57am With 184 of 299 seats in, the SPD is up 5.0% and the Greens up 5.4%, but the Left is down 4.1%, putting them on pace now for a final 5.1%. The FW party has faded back to 3.1%, so won’t enter parliament.

6:58am After 65 of 299 FPTP seats, it’s a 5.0% gain for the SPD and a 4.3% gain for the Greens but a 3.7% loss for the Left. Subtracting 3.7% from the Left’s 9.2% in 2017 gives them 5.5%. Another party has 4.5% of the party list vote. It takes 5% of the list vote or 3 of 299 FPTP seats to enter parliament.

6:40am 30 of the 299 FPTP seats have now reported their final results. It’s important to look at the swing from 2017. In second vote share, the SPD is up 3.8%, the Greens up 4.2% and the Left down 3.4%. The Left won 9.2% in 2017, so this would be enough, but they’re likely to fall further when results from areas where they were strong in 2017 come through.

6:10am Monday Contrary to pre-election polls, projections from exit polls and partial results show the overall vote for right-wing parties leading the left vote by 47.5-45.0. Furthermore, the Left party is at the 5% threshold. If they fall below that threshold, they need to win at least three of 299 FPTP seats to get a proportional allocation of seats. I believe they’re currently losing two of their existing five FPTP seats.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

The German election is today, with polls closing at 2am Monday AEST. I believe it will take until Monday afternoon AEST to have final results. To qualify for a proportional allocation of seats, parties must either win at least 5% of the vote, or three of the 299 first past the post seats. Owing to overhang and levelling seats, the total size of parliament is to be determined, but all qualifying parties will be allocated a proportional share of seats.

The Guardian’s poll aggregate gives the centre-left SPD 25.3%, the conservative CDU/CSU 22.4%, the Greens 15.7%, the pro-business FDP 11.4%, the far-right AfD 10.8% and the far-left Left 6.2%. That’s an overall left lead of 47.2-44.6, a tightening from 47.7-44.0 last week. Individual late polls have the overall left ahead by between 0.5 and 4 points.

Official results will be available at this link. There are two points that may cause confusion. These results will give the “first” and “second” votes. The first vote is the local member vote, and it is the second vote that is far more important in determining the seats each party is entitled to; the 5% threshold applies to the second vote. The CDU and CSU will be listed separately, even though they are effectively the same party, like the Liberals and Nationals in Australia. The CSU runs only in Bavaria, the CDU everywhere else.

Upcoming US crucial votes in Congress

Democrats hold the US House of Representatives by a 220-212 margin with three vacancies. In the Senate, it’s a 50-50 tie with Vice President Kamala Harris having the casting vote. However, to pass the Senate, most legislation requires 60 votes to shut down a filibuster. Special legislation can be passed with a simple majority using “reconciliation”. This can only be used for legislation related to the budget, not for eg, voting rights reforms.

In the next week, there are likely to be votes in the House on a bipartisan infrastructure bill (BIB) and a Democratic infrastructure bill (DIB). The BIB earlier passed the Senate with a filibuster-proof majority. The DIB has not passed either chamber yet, and can only get through using reconciliation. Left-wing and centrist Democrats have had disagreements over these bills.

The US budget for the current year expires on Friday AEST, and appropriation bills must be passed by then to prevent a shutdown. The debt limit must be raised by sometime in October to prevent an economic disaster.

Democrats have put the debt limit increase in a bill to fund the government, but it has no chance of passing the Senate with Republicans opposed. Democrats are likely to decouple the debt limit increase from the government funding, which Republicans say they will not oppose. But the debt limit still needs to be raised, likely using reconciliation. Republicans are opposing the debt limit increase as Democrats are likely to be blamed if it goes wrong, as they control the presidency, House and Senate.

Final Canadian results

At the September 20 Canadian election, the Liberals won 159 of the 338 seats (up two since 2019), the Conservatives 119 (down two), the Quebec Bloc 33 (up one), the NDP 25 (up one) and the Greens two (down one). Vote shares were 33.7% Conservative (down 0.7%), 32.6% Liberal (down 0.5%), 17.8% NDP (up 1.8%), 7.7% Bloc (up 0.1%), 5.0% People’s Party (up 3.3%) and 2.3% Greens (down 4.2%).

Despite losing the popular vote by 1.1%, the Liberals won 40 more seats than the Conservatives. A key reason was the most populous province of Ontario, where the Liberals won 78 of the 121 seats to 37 Conservatives on a 4.4% popular vote lead. The Liberals utterly dominated Canada’s big cities: to see this zoom in on Toronto in Ontario or Montreal in Quebec on the CBC’s results map.

Canadian election live; German election minus five days

Live commentary on today’s Canadian election. German polls remain relatively stable. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Live Commentary

11:25am Wednesday: Pleased to report that I survived the Melbourne Earthquake! In Canada, 15 seats remain in doubt, 10 with Liberal leads. I believe postal votes in many seats were verified today, and will be counted tomorrow.

2:32pm Liberals plus NDP is currently 184 seats, Libs plus Bloc is 189 seats. Both combinations easily exceed the 170 required for a majority. Very much a status quo result.

2:15pm In 2019, the Tories won the popular vote by 34.3-33.1 over the Liberals, but lost the seat count by 157-121. Current popular votes are 34.1-31.9 to the Tories, yet the Liberals lead on seats by 156-122, with 30 Bloc and 28 NDP.

1:08pm The Conservatives are now 0.1% ahead of the Liberals in vote shares.

1:07pm Despite the clear seat win for the Liberals, the Conservatives now only trail them by 0.1%, and are very likely to end up with more votes. So once again vote wastage in safe seats hurts the Conservatives.

12:48pm 150 Liberals, 119 Conservatives, 28 Bloc, 27 NDP, three Greens. The Conservatives actually have a 48-39 edge over the Liberals on those called “Elected”, owing to too much vote concentration in safe seats.

12:41pm Seat changes have swung to Liberals down eight, Conservatives up five, Bloc down three and NDP up six. Liberals led Conservatives by 157-121 seats in 2019.

12:32pm Seat changes are now NDP up five, Liberals and Bloc down one and Tories down three.

12:28pm CBC News is CALLING a Liberal government. That means they project Liberals will win the most seats, majority still in question.

12:25pm 131 Liberals, 71 Tories, 27 Bloc, 18 NDP. Liberals up four, Tories down six, NDP up four, Bloc down two.

12:17pm Liberals lead Conservatives by 122-56 with 24 Bloc and 18 NDP. Liberals making nine net gains, Conservatives nine net losses.

12:05pm Liberals leading Tories by 83-42, with 14 NDP, 14 Bloc and one Green. Liberals up six, Tories down five, Bloc down three, NDP up two.

12:01pm Liberal gains down to three, Tory losses at two, NDP up three and Bloc down four. The final polls have just closed Canada: British Columbia.

11:57am Liberals won 157 seats at the 2019 election. They’re currently showing as making a net eight seat gain. They could win a majority (170+ seats).

11:54am 55 Libs, 25 Tories, 6 Bloc, 6 NDP, 1 Green. Liberals making six net gains, Tories four losses

11:43am Liberals lead by 39-15 with 4 Bloc, 1 NDP and 1 Green.

11:35am Liberals lead by 31-11 with one Bloc.

11:16am Liberals leading by 26-8 with no seats for anybody else. There’ll be a deluge of results when the large majority of polls close at 11:30am.

11:03am Liberals leading by 24-9 with one Bloc. The Conservatives are making five gains, the Liberals four losses, and the NDP and Greens one loss each.

10:40am Liberals leading by 24-8 with one seat for the Quebec Bloc. The NDP seats have disappeared. Gains and losses are Conservatives up four, Liberals down three, Bloc up one, NDP and Greens both down one.

10:17am Liberals lead by 23-7 with 2 NDP. Gains and losses are Liberals down three, Conservatives up three, NDP up one and Greens down one.

10:03am Liberals now leading by 16-4 with one NDP; that’s two Conservative gains.

9:55am Liberals now leading by 12-2 with one NDP, as Conservative gains reduced to one. Atlantic Canada (where these early results are from) is a stronghold for the Liberals.

9:47am Tuesday Results are in from 10 of the 338 seats, and the Liberals lead the Conservatives by 6-3 with one NDP. If those results hold up, it’s three GAINS for the Conservatives. Canadian media list seats as “leading” and “elected”, with seats listed as “elected” when called for a party.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

Justin Trudeau called the Canadian election two years early, and the results will come in today. Canada uses first past the post to elect its 338 members of parliament.

The final CBC Poll Tracker has Trudeau’s centre-left Liberals on 31.5%, followed by the Conservatives on 31.0%, the left-wing NDP 19.1%, the right-wing populist People’s Party (PPC) 7.0%, the left-wing separatist Quebec Bloc 6.8% and the Greens 3.5%. Final polls range from Liberals by six (EKOS) to Conservatives by four (Forum).

Although the Liberals and Conservatives are nearly tied on vote shares, the Tracker gives the Liberals a large seat lead of 155-119 over the Conservatives, with 32 NDP and 31 Bloc. The Liberals are given a 17% chance to win a majority (170+ seats) and a 57% chance to win the most seats but not a majority.

The Liberals had an eight-point lead when the election was called, but lost ground quickly in the first two weeks to trail the Conservatives on vote share. But the rise of the PPC appears to have wrecked the Conservatives’ hopes.

Most of Canada uses staggered poll opening and closing times, in which polls in the trailing time zone open and close an hour earlier than those in the leading time zone. The exceptions are polls for seats in Atlantic Canada. Here are the Canadian poll closing times today AEST:

By 9:30am, polls in the four small provinces of Atlantic Canada (32 of the 338 seats) are closed. Newfoundland (seven seats) closes 30 minutes earlier. At 11:30am, the large majority of polls close. At 12pm, all polls are closed in Canada, with British Columbia (42 seats) closing.

Owing to COVID, there has been a surge in the number of postal vote applications, with over 1 million requests. Postal votes will not start being counted until tomorrow, delaying the results in close seats. According to an Ipsos poll, NDP and Liberal voters were more likely than Conservatives to say they would vote by mail.

German polls relatively stable five days before election

The German election will occur this Sunday, with polls closing at 2am Monday AEST. If my 2017 article for The Conversation on the German election is accurate at this election, final results will not be available until Monday afternoon AEST.

The Guardian’s German poll aggregate has the centre-left SPD on 25.6%, followed by the conservative CDU/CSU on 21.8%, the Greens 15.8%, the far-right AfD 11.1%, the pro-business FDP 11.1% and the far-left Left 6.3%. The overall vote for left parties leads the overall right vote by 47.7-44.0. I wrote last week that, for the likely formation of a left government, the Left party needs to exceed 5% or win at least three of the 299 FPTP seats.

California recall live; Canadian and German elections minus six to 11 days

Democrat Newsom set to defeat Recall – live commentary today. Conservatives fall back in Canada, and polls stable in Germany. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Live commentary

12pm Thursday: With all election day votes counted, No to Recall leads by 63.9-36.1. Late mail and provisional votes will be counted over the next four weeks. When everything is counted, Newsom is likely to exceed his 61.9-38.1 margin in 2018, but fall a little short of Biden’s 29-point California margin in 2020.

4pm As the election day vote comes in, Newsom’s lead is dropping slightly. But No to Recall still leads by 65.7-34.3 with an estimated 66% in. Remember that counting will continue for about four weeks after today.

1:50pm CNN finally CALLS it for No to Recall. In 2018, Newsom won the governor’s race against a Republican by 62-38. Can he exceed that margin? Polls did not have him far enough ahead.

1:42pm No to Recall leading by a massive 67.5-32.5 with nearly 8 million votes in. Margin likely to decrease a bit as election day votes come in, but 17% of election day votes are already in.

1:25pm Dave Wasserman has CALLED it for Newsom and is off to bed (it’s 11:25pm on the US East Coast).

1:17pm No winning by almost 70-30 after over 5 million counted.

1:13pm No to Recall winning by 64-36 with over 2.2 million votes in already.

1:07pm No immediate call, but the exit poll has a wide margin for No. The first results from San Diego have No leading by 60.6-39.4 from over 800,000 votes.

12:52pm Wednesday Polls close in eight minutes. There is an exit poll. If that exit poll shows No to Recall winning by about the same0 margin as in pre-election polls, the recall is likely to be called as soon as polls close.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

The final FiveThirtyEight aggregate for today’s California recall election shows Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom leading Recall by 15.8%, out from 10.1% last week and just 1.2% three weeks ago.

Newsom has been able to make this election a contest between him, and the likely winner of the replacement vote, radio shock jock Republican Larry Elder. With no prominent Democrats contesting the replacement vote, Newsom’s lead over Recall has rapidly increased in a Democratic stronghold.

Early mail votes will be released soon after polls close at 1pm AEST. Given the polling, it is likely that the election will be called for Newsom once we see these votes. Election day vote counting will go until the evening AEST. California keeps counting late mail and provisional votes for four weeks after election day.

The FiveThirtyEight aggregate of Joe Biden’s ratings has him at 49.2% disapprove, 45.9% approve (net -3.3); his net approval is up half a point since last week. Biden last week announced vaccine mandates to combat COVID. In a Morning Consult poll, voters supported requiring all employers with over 100 employees to mandate vaccination or weekly tests by a 58-36 margin.

People’s Party rise hurts Conservatives in Canada

The Canadian election is next Tuesday September 21 AEST. Canada uses first past the post to elect its 338 members of parliament.

In the CBC Poll Tracker, the Liberals have regained the lead with 31.9%, followed by the Conservatives on 31.3%, the NDP 19.4%, the Quebec Bloc 6.6%, the populist right People’s Party (PPC) 6.4%, and the Greens 3.3%. Last week, the Conservatives had 33.5% and the PPC 4.8%.

Under FPTP, small parties on the left and right spoil their better aligned major party’s chances. The Tracker has the Liberals seat lead over the Conservatives out to 151-122 from 140-133 last week, with 35 NDP and 29 Bloc.

Most of Canada uses staggered poll opening and closing times, in which polls in the trailing time zone open and close an hour earlier than those in the leading time zone. The exceptions are polls for seats in Atlantic Canada. Here are the Canadian poll closing times next Tuesday AEST:

By 9:30am, polls in the four small provinces of Atlantic Canada (32 of the 338 seats) are closed. Newfoundland (seven seats) closes 30 minutes earlier. At 11:30am, the large majority of polls close. At 12pm, all polls are closed in Canada, with British Columbia (42 seats) closing.

Polls relatively stable in Germany

The Politico poll aggregate for the September 26 German election has the centre-left SPD leading with 25%, followed by the conservative CDU/CSU on 21%, the Greens 16%, the pro-business FDP 12%, the far-right AfD 11% and the far-left Left 6%. The overall vote for left parties leads the overall right by 47-44 (48-44 last week).

I described the German electoral system in my previous article. Parties that either win at least 5% of the party vote or three of the 299 FPTP seats receive a proportional allocation of seats. The Left party is close to the 5% threshold in current polls, but won five FPTP seats in 2017. If they hold three of these seats, they will qualify for proportionality. It is unlikely that the SPD and the Greens will win enough seats on their own for a left majority, so this is crucial.

Conservative government ousted in Norway

At Monday’s Norwegian election, Labour won 48 of the 169 seats (down one since 2017), the Conservatives 36 (down nine), the agrarian Centre 28 (up nine), the right-wing Progress 21 (down six), the Socialist Left 13 (up two) and the Red eight (up seven). The Conservative PM conceded, and it is likely Labour will govern with support from the Centre and Socialists (89 seats for that combination exceeding the 85 needed for a majority).

California recall, Canadian and German elections minus one to three weeks

Democrat Gavin Newsom now likely to beat recall in California, Liberals slump in Canada after Trudeau’s early election call and Social Democrats surge to the top in Germany.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

Polls close in the California recall election next Wednesday September 15 at 1pm AEST. There is a Yes/No question on whether the governor is recalled, followed by a long list of replacement candidates. If the recall succeeds, the candidate with the most votes is elected.

In my last article two weeks ago, Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom led Recall by just 1.2% in the FiveThirtyEight aggregate, but he has surged since then, and now leads by 10.1%. California is a Democratic stronghold that voted for Joe Biden by 29% in November 2020. Motivating Democrats is likely to be enough for Newsom.

To qualify for a Recall election, 12% of the total votes cast for governor at the last election must sign a petition. Only one governor has been recalled since recalls were introduced in 1911: in 2003, Democrat Gray Davis was replaced by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. Davis lost the Recall vote by 55.4-44.6, and Schwarzenegger had 48.6% of the replacement vote, well ahead of 31.5% for a Democrat.

Since the withdrawal from Afghanistan, Biden’s ratings have continued to slide in the FiveThirtyEight aggregate. He’s now at 49.0% disapprove, 45.3% approve for a net approval of -3.7%. Biden’s net approval was +6 before the fall of Kabul on August 15.

There are other factors dragging Biden down, like COVID, inflation and illegal immigration. But the clear downward trend since Kabul’s fall indicates Afghanistan is a big factor. US COVID is likely to improve soon, but Biden’s perceived incompetence over Afghanistan could reflect badly on him when Americans consider other problems.

Trudeau’s Liberals slump in Canada

Justin Trudeau called the Canadian election for September 20, two years early. Canada uses First Past the Post to elect its 338 parliamentary members.

The CBC Poll Tracker has the Conservatives leading with 33.5%, followed by Trudeau’s centre-left Liberals on 31.2%, the left-wing NDP 20.3%, the left-wing separatist Quebec Bloc 5.9%, the right-wing populist People’s Party 4.8% and the Greens 3.4%. The Liberals were eight points ahead before the election was called, and their position deteriorated rapidly in the first two weeks of the campaign, but it has stabilized in the last week.

Despite the Conservatives’ narrow vote lead, the Liberals still have a narrow seat lead of 140-133, with 37 NDP and 27 Bloc, owing to Conservative wastage in safe seats. The tracker gives the Conservatives just a 4% chance of winning an outright majority.

In a recent Angus Reid poll, NDP leader Singh had a +14 net favourable rating, the Bloc’s Blanchet -1, the Conservatives’ O’Toole -17 and Trudeau -25. In Abacus, it was Singh +19, Blanchet +10, Trudeau -5 and O’Toole -8.

Social Democrats (SPD) surge in Germany

The German election is on September 26. Germany has 299 single-member seats elected by FPTP, and at least 299 list seats that are used to top-up FPTP seats to ensure overall proportionality of all qualifying parties. Voters cast one vote for their FPTP seat, and another for their preferred party. Parties can qualify by either exceeding 5% of the national “party” vote, or winning three FPTP seats.

List seats are awarded by states, and this results in frequent “overhangs” when a party wins more seats by FPTP than entitled from its party vote, which are compensated by “leveling” seats for other parties. There are usually more than the minimum 598 seats in German parliaments, with the 2017 election having 709 seats owing to the conservative CDU/CSU’s dominance of FPTP seats on a 32.9% vote share.

In the Politico poll aggregate, the SPD now leads with 25%, with the CDU/CSU at 21%, the Greens 17%, the pro-business FDP 12%, the far-right AfD 11% and the far-left Left 6%. The SPD has surged to the top at the expense of the CDU/CSU, and the combined left now leads the combined right by 48-44 (47-45 to the right two weeks ago). The Left is close to the 5% threshold, but could survive even if they fall below as they won five FPTP seats in 2017 – three are needed.

Angela Merkel, who has been German chancellor since 2005, is retiring at this election. In a recent poll, just 20% were satisfied with the new CDU/CSU chancellor candidate, Armin Laschet, compared with between 57% and 71% for Merkel in the four elections she contested.

Canadian and German elections minus four to five weeks

Justin Trudeau calls an early Canadian election and German polls tighten. Also: Biden’s ratings slump after the Afghanistan withdrawal.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

On August 15, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau called the election for September 20, more than two years early. Trudeau’s centre-left Liberals won the most seats, but not a majority, at the 2019 election, and good polling encouraged Trudeau to seek a majority.

Canada has 338 seats elected by first past the post. At the October 2019 election, the Liberals won 157 seats, the Conservatives 121, the left-wing separatist Quebec Bloc 32, the left-wing NDP 24 and the Greens three. Vote shares were 34.3% Conservative, 33.1% Liberal, 16.0% NDP, 7.6% Bloc and 6.6% Greens. The Conservatives wasted votes in safe seats, while the Bloc benefited from only running in Quebec.

The CBC Poll Tracker currently gives the Liberals 34.0%, the Conservatives 30.3%, the NDP 19.8%, the Bloc 6.3% and the Greens 4.6%. Seat estimates are 160 Liberals (ten short of a majority), 111 Conservatives, 38 NDP and 28 Bloc. The Liberal lead over the Conservatives has dropped from eight points to four in the week since the election was called.

At the 2015 election, the Liberals promised to change the electoral system from FPTP, but welched on that promise after winning a majority. There was a bad sign for the Liberals when the Conservatives won the Nova Scotia provincial election last Tuesday. The Liberals were well ahead, but faded late.

Social Democrats gain at CDU/CSU’s expense for German election

The German election will be on September 26. Parties need to clear 5% to qualify for the proportional allocation of seats. The Politico poll aggregate currently gives the conservative CDU/CSU 24%, the centre-left SPD 20%, the Greens 18%, the pro-business FDP 12%, the far-right AfD 11% and the far-left Left 7%. In the last few month, the SPD has gained 4-5 points from the CDU/CSU, and the combined right’s lead over the combined left has narrowed to 47-45 from 51-42.

German polls do not appear to ask for leader approval ratings, only for preferred chancellor. The SPD’s Scholz is leading both the Greens’ Baerbock and the CDU/CSU’s Laschet by double digit margins, probably explaining the shift in voting intention polls. Angela Merkel, who has been chancellor since 2005, is retiring at this election.

Biden’s ratings slump after Afghanistan withdrawal

A week since the fall of Kabul, Joe Biden’s ratings with all polls in the FiveThirtyEight aggregate are 49.4% approve, 46.2% disapprove (net +3.2%). Biden’s net approval was +10 in late July and +6 before Kabul. Recent polls have been near net zero, so the aggregate may fall further.

Biden’s drop can also be attributed to US COVID, inflation and illegal immigration. But Afghanistan has been damaging. In a CBS/YouGov poll, 74% thought the removal of US troops had gone badly, although 63% still approved of their removal. Biden’s handling of withdrawal crashed from 60-40 approve in July to 53-47 disapprove.

The Afghanistan withdrawal has been compared to the 1975 US withdrawal from Saigon at Vietnam. New York Times analyst Nate Cohn said former president Gerald Ford’s ratings increased in the months after Saigon.

In Vietnam, over 58,000 US soldiers were killed in action, while 2,500 were killed in Afghanistan. There had been no US combat deaths since February 2020. The far greater US casualties in Vietnam meant the public was far more likely to be willing to accept the costs of sudden withdrawal.

Another problem for Biden with Afghanistan is that the chaos and perceived humiliation for the US erodes the public’s faith in his competence. As an anti-establishment candidate, Donald Trump’s supporters did not care about the scorn of the establishment, but Biden’s competence was a big selling point at the election.

Californian Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom faces a recall election on September 14. Voters will be asked whether they want to keep or recall Newsom, and who to replace him with. If Newsom loses the recall vote, the replacement candidate is elected by FPTP.

With no primary to select one Democratic and Republican candidate, there are many from both parties, so the winner could have a low vote share. The FiveThirtyEight poll aggregate has Newsom beating Recall by 1.2%. If Newsom loses, Republican Elder, with 19%, has a ten-point lead over his nearest rival.

England COVID “Freedom Day” plus two weeks

A drop for the Conservatives in the polls as UK COVID cases fall. Also: German polls ahead of the September 26 election, and Biden’s ratings and US COVID.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

Boris Johnson declared July 19 would be COVID “Freedom Day” in England, the day when virtually all remaining- COVID restrictions were relaxed. Freedom Day only applied to England, with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland retaining some restrictions.

Over 88% of UK adults have received a first dose of COVID vaccination, and over 72% have received both doses (fully vaccinated). About 95% of English aged over 55 are fully vaccinated. The vaccination coverage for the elderly, who are most vulnerable to COVID, explains Johnson’s Freedom Day.

The government could have given younger people more opportunity to be vaccinated, but they wanted to have Freedom Day during summer, when there are fewer complications from cold weather.

After peaking at over 54,000 daily cases on July 17, two days before Freedom Day, UK daily cases declined to 23,500 last Tuesday. On Thursday, cases rose to over 31,000, but have fallen every day since to below 22,000 Monday. The government and many epidemiologists had predicted daily cases would rise to over 100,000 after Freedom Day.

While cases had nearly increased to their January peaks on July 17, the rolling seven-day COVID death average has only increased to 75. That’s a massive reduction from the horrific January peak when the seven-day average was over 1,200 deaths. The UK’s vaccination program has clearly worked in reducing the severity of COVID for elderly people.

In national polls conducted the week after Freedom Day, the Conservative lead over Labour fell from the high single to low double digits to only two to five points, likely owing to public disapproval of the perceived recklessness of Freedom Day. But with daily COVID cases roughly halving instead of doubling, it is likely that the Conservatives will soon regain a large lead.

German election: September 26

The German federal election will be held on September 26. The conservative CDU/CSU has governed since 2005, with assistance from the centre-left SPD in three of those four terms. Parties require at least 5% to qualify for the proportional allocation of seats.

A few months ago, the Greens were doing much better, and the combined vote for the left parties (SPD, Greens and far-left Left) was just ahead of the combined right vote (CDU/CSU, far-right AfD and pro-business FDP). But the CDU/CSU has since regained ground at the Greens’ expense, and the right is now ahead by about a 50-43 margin. The Left party is at 6-7%, close to the threshold.

While no other party will work with the AfD, any government would need to include a right-wing party on current polls. I believe Germans were dissatisfied with their vaccination rollout, but are now better disposed, as over 51% of Germany’s population is fully vaccinated; the denominator includes children. The recovery of the CDU/CSU has implications for the Australian Coalition’s recovery once vaccinations are at a high level.

Biden’s ratings steady as US suffers “pandemic of the unvaccinated”

Over six months into Joe Biden’s presidency, the FiveThirtyEight aggregate gives him 51.5% approval and 43.4% disapproval (net +8.1%). With registered or likely voters, Biden’s ratings are 51.0% approval, 44.5% disapproval (net +6.5%). Biden’s ratings have been steady, but there has been a little recent decline. On net approval, Biden is ahead of Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford at this point in their presidencies.

NBC News has two maps, one showing where US COVID cases are rising fastest, and one showing the unvaccinated percentage in each state. There is correlation between these two series, but there have been large rises in Florida and California, which are both close to the fully vaccinated share of the national population (49.2%). Most states with current large outbreaks voted for Trump in 2020, but California is the exception. According to a US ABC hospital survey, 94% of COVID ICU patients were unvaccinated.

An economic danger for Biden is inflation. The US Consumer Price Index has increased 2.9% in the four months to June, for a total increase of 5.4% since June 2020. High inflation undermines wage growth. Most analysts believe current inflation is transitory, and will ease as supply chains are ramped up.

Netanyahu ousted in Israeli Knesset confidence vote

Also covered: US and UK by-elections, a German state election and federal polls, and the far-left narrowly wins in Peru.

11:24am Saturday A grim Survation poll for Labour in Batley and Spen, with the Tories leading Labour by 47-41.

11:06am Friday The Lib Dems have GAINED the UK Chesham and Amersham by-election from the Conservatives. The Lib Dems won 56.7% (up 30.4%), the Conservatives 35.5% (down 19.9%) and Labour a pathetic 1.6% (down 11.2%).

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

At the March Israeli election, right-wing PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s bloc of parties won 59 of the 120 Knesset seats, two short of the 61 for a majority. Netanyahu was given the first attempt to form a government, but was unsuccessful.

On June 2, just before the deadline expired, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid announced he had formed a government that excluded Netanyahu. Under the agreement, Naftali Bennett, leader of the far-right Yamina, would be PM for two years, with Lapid taking over for the remainder of the four-year term. The coalition has parties from across the political spectrum, including a small Arab party for the first time in an Israeli government.

On Sunday, the Israeli Knesset held a confidence vote in the new government, and it won this vote by 60-59, with one Arab member abstaining. Bennett became PM, ending Netanyahu’s 12 successive years as Israel’s PM. Yamina won just seven seats at the election, while Yesh Atid won 17.

The key question is how long the present government will last. The parties that formed it are united only by their detestation of Netanyahu. As the government is headed by a far-right PM, it’s unlikely to be good for Palestinian rights.

US Democrats perform strongly in New Mexico by-election             

At a by-election for New Mexico’s first Congressional District on June 1, the Democrat defeated the Republican by a 60.3-35.7% margin. The almost 25-point Democratic victory is two points better for Democrats than Joe Biden’s margin over Donald Trump in the same district in 2020, and eight points better than the Democratic incumbent in 2020. This was much better for Democrats than the dreadful result in a Texas federal by-election on May 1.

In the FiveThirtyEight aggregate, Biden’s current ratings are 53.2% approve, 40.7% disapprove (net +12.5%). With polls of likely or registered voters, his ratings are 53.6% approve, 41.3% disapprove (net +12.3%).

Biden’s initial ratings had high disapprovals by the standards of past presidents, and he was ahead of only Trump on net approval. But his approval has since been very steady, and he has overtaken Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford at the same point of their presidencies.

Good result for CDU at German state election

At the June 6 Saxony-Anhalt state election, the conservative CDU won 37.1% (up 7.4% since 2016), the far-right AfD 20.6% (down 3.4%), the Left 11.0% (down 5.3%), the centre-left SPD 8.4% (down 2.2%), the pro-business FDP 6.4% (up 1.6%) and the Greens 5.9% (up 0.8%). The CDU won 40 of the 97 seats, the AfD 23, the Left 12, SPD nine, FDP seven and Greens six. 5% is needed for the proportional allocation of seats, so the FDP missed out last time.

In German federal polls ahead of the September 26 election, the CDU/CSU has advanced at the expense of the Greens since my last update in early May, with the FDP also up, while the Left is close to the 5% threshold. Right-wing parties now have about 50% combined, to about 43% for the combined left. Another poor election for the left in a major European country is likely.

Upcoming UK by-elections

On Thursday, a by-election will occur in the Conservative-held Chesham and Amersham. While this seat has been Conservative-held since its creation in 1974, it voted 55% Remain at the Brexit referendum. To compensate for the loss of its Leave-voting seats, Labour needs to gain seats like C&A. Although Labour finished second in 2017, the 2019 results were 55.4% Conservative (down 5.3%), 26.3% Lib Dem (up 13.3%), 12.9% Labour (down 7.7%) and 5.5% Greens (up 2.5%).

There will be a July 1 by-election in Labour-held Batley and Spen, which voted 60% Leave at the Brexit referendum. The 2019 results were 42.7% Labour (down 12.7%), 36.0% Conservative (down 2.8%), 12.2% for an independent, 4.7% Lib Dem (up 2.4%) and 3.2% Brexit party.

Far-left defeats far-right in Peru

In the June 6 Peru presidential runoff, the far-left’s Pedro Castillo defeated the far-right’s Keiko Fujimori by just a 50.13-49.87 margin. Fujimori is the daughter of the former dictator, and has narrowly lost three runoffs. In the first round, Castillo won 18.9% and Fujimori 13.4% with the rest being too split to qualify for the runoff.

UK local, Scottish and Welsh elections minus four days

Two polls have a sizeable swing back to Labour before Friday’s (AEST) elections. Also: Joe Biden’s ratings after 100 days and German election polls.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

UK local government elections will be held on Thursday, with polls closing at 7am Friday AEST. Elections for the Scottish and Welsh parliaments will also be held. Owing to COVID, no elections were held in 2020, so these elections will combine the normal 2021 with the rescheduled 2020 elections.

The key statistic for assessing the performance of the parties is the Projected National Share (PNS). This is calculated by assuming elections were held across the whole UK, correcting for bias in where elections were actually held.

In the 2016 cycle, which would normally have been up in 2020, the PNS was Labour 31%, Conservative 30%, Lib Dem 15% and UKIP 12%. In 2017, it was Conservative 38%, Labour 27% and Lib Dem 18%. The 2017 local elections were held a month before the 2017 general election at which the Conservatives lost their majority.

The Scottish and Welsh elections use first past the post with regional lists. Parties that win a large proportion of FPTP seats will earn few regional seats, so the system is far more proportional than the simple FPTP used at UK general elections and most councils.

National UK polls currently give the Conservatives about 42%, Labour 35%, the Lib Dems 8% and the Greens 5%. In the last week, two polls have shown a shift to Labour, with the Conservative lead in Survation dropping from six points to one, and in Opinium from 11 points to five. This narrowing has not been replicated in all polls. If it is real, perhaps it is attributable to PM Boris Johnson’s recent scandals.

In Scotland, the Britain Elects tracker has the Scottish National Party (SNP) on 62 of the 129 seats, three short of a majority. The Conservatives have 26 seats, Labour 25, the Greens 11 and Lib Dems five. This outcome would likely result in a continuation of the existing SNP/Green coalition. There has been a recent slide in SNP support in both FPTP and regional list polling, and No to independence has pulled ahead 51-49.

Labour is likely to remain the largest party at the Welsh election, though they will find it difficult to find a governing partner. In other important contests, Labour’s Sadiq Khan is certain to retain London’s mayoralty. There is also a Westminster by-election in Labour-held Hartlepool. In 2019, Labour would probably have lost Hartlepool, which they have held since 1964, if not for vote splitting between the Conservatives and Brexit party.

After first 100 days, Biden has 54% approval rating

It is 102 days since Joe Biden began his term as US president on January 20. In the FiveThirtyEight aggregate, his ratings with all polls are 54.0% approve, 41.1% disapprove (net +12.9%). With polls of likely or registered voters, Biden’s ratings are 53.8% approve, 42.0% disapprove (net +11.8%). For the duration of his presidency, Biden’s approval has been between 53% and 55%.

FiveThirtyEight has ratings of presidents since Harry Truman (president from 1945-53). At this stage of their presidencies, Biden’s net approval is only ahead of Donald Trump and Gerald Ford (who took over after Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974).

The US economy, boosted by stimulus payments, appears to be recovering very well from COVID, but attempted illegal immigration has surged since Biden became president. The key question is how Biden’s ratings look at the November 2022 midterms, when the president’s party normally loses seats.

Democrats performed badly at a federal House by-election in Texas on Saturday. Trump beat Biden by just three points in this district, but Republicans overall crushed Democrats 62-37. Democrats failed to make the top two, meaning the runoff will be R vs R.

Greens narrowly lead CDU/CSU in Germany

In January the moderate Armin Laschet won the CDU leadership, but was challenged for the joint leadership of the CDU/CSU by the CSU’s Markus Söder. The CSU only runs in the state of Bavaria, and is regarded as more right-wing than the CDU. On April 19, the CDU’s federal board ruled in Laschet’s favour by 31-9.

Since this vote, the Greens have surged into the mid to high 20’s, while the CDU/CSU has fallen to the low 20’s. Overall, the left-wing parties (Greens, Social Democrats and Left) are a little ahead of the right-wing parties (CDU/CSU, far-right AfD and pro-business FDP). Will this polling movement hold up until the German election on September 26? Germany uses proportional representation with a 5% threshold.