Click here for full display of Mulgrave by-election results.
End of Saturday night
Labor candidate Eden Foster’s 40.1% primary vote, while more than 10% down on Daniel Andrews’ share in November 2022, is enough to ensure the only remaining point of interest is who finishes second. Liberal candidate Courtney Mann leads independent Ian Cook by 21.6% to 18.9%, leaving 19.5% from various other candidates to be distributed among the three during the preference count. To close the gap, Cook’s share of the latter needs to be 13.85% higher than Mann’s, whereas at the general election he did little better than equal it (29.6% to 29.2%, the rest going to Andrews), and there’s little reason to expect different this time.
Consequently, the 56.2-43.8 split in Labor’s favour on the indicative TCP count is of only academic interest, and will probably be pulled over the next few days and a fresh Labor-versus-Liberal count conducted. Based on my own preference estimates, I’m projecting Labor to win that one by 56.5-43.5, though it seems that’s at the high end of what’s generally expected. This gives Labor 25% of preferences from Ian Cook, 80% from the Greens, 83% from Victorian Socialists, 64% from Animal Justice, 30% of Libertarians and 25% from Family First, and splits the rest evenly. To pull off a freakish win, Mann would need 74% of all preferences.
11.35pm. We’ve got what I take to be our final numbers for the evening, which include a third batch of early votes that were very strong for Labor — so much so that they are now performing above par on early votes, in swing terms.
10.51pm. A big missing piece of the puzzle has been added with the second batch of early votes on TCP, which had hitherto been in the count only as primary vote. What was previously listed as a 27.2% swing against Labor on TCP now registers as 9.9%. They have nonetheless slightly boosted Ian Cook’s vote against Labor on the progressive TCP count, which is unlikely to be the one that applies at the final count. Still outstanding for this evening are one booth on both primary TCP, and another just on TCP.
10.23pm. Labor have claimed victory and Liberal have conceded defeat, although the Liberals at least say they expect to finish ahead of Cook.
10.19pm. The last two updates have brought three TCP booth results, which confirm what was already known.
9.51pm. The only new result in the latest update is a TCP result from the Brandon Park booth, which slightly improved Ian Cook’s position relative to Labor. Whether that becomes the operative count is still an open question, but Labor is clearly not in danger either way.
9.34pm. The latest update brings another election day booth primary vote result, which does nothing to change the situation.
9.21pm. The latest update brings one new election day booth on the primary vote, and it must have been a good result for Labor because it’s almost cancelled out the impact of my correction to the error that was selling the Liberals short on the TCP projection (it had been splitting preferences 50-50, whereas now it’s going about 58-42 to the Liberals).
9.17pm. I note that a big new batch of pre-polls got added on the primary vote in the previous update, and they confirmed my earlier suspicions — the swing against Labor on the primary vote is now 13.4%, whereas before it was well over 20%. The 27.2% TCP swing against Labor currently indicated on early votes can thus be expected to come down dramatically when these new votes are added to the count.
9.14pm. I’ve identified the error that was inflating Labor’s projected TCP against the Liberals. The next update, which should be along in a few minutes, should bring it down to about 55-45.
9.05pm. There are now seven booths in on the primary vote, and still only two for TCP (plus postal and early votes on both counts), and the situation appears to have settled in.
8.49pm. The regular once-every-15-minutes update brings another election day booth on the primary vote and the small number of absent votes (if you’re wondering how a by-election can have absent votes, these are in fact telephone-assisted votes), neither of which much changes the situation.
8.36pm. The latest update (they happen every 15 minutes) brings a fourth booth on the primary vote and a second on TCP, together with the batches of postals and early votes that have been added to the count, which have both. Ian Cook has fallen further behind the Liberal on the primary vote. The Labor-versus-Liberal and Labor-versus-Cook two-candidate results from the 2022 election were very similar, so presumably the 6.2% lead has on the Labor-versus-Cook count will be broadly indicative regardless of what happens. I still think my projection of 7.6% is probably flattering Labor a little, but in any case it seems they are going to win fairly comfortably despite a double-digit hit on the primary vote, about half of which is going to the Liberals.
8.23pm. There is now an election day booth in on TCP, together with the early and postal results. Cook remains 2.7% behind the Liberals, and I wouldn’t care to venture how much chance he has of closing the gap on the primary vote. My system has a method for projecting this that says it won’t happen, but I’m not entirely sure how much I trust it at this stage of its development. My preference estimates suggest Labor will win by about 8% if he drops out, but the size of the primary vote swings are making me think that’s flattering to Labor. I’ll now revisit my preference estimates.
8.07pm. The postal TCP votes are added and Ian Cook no longer leads on the TCP count, suggesting he’s unlikely to beat Labor even if he finishes second. One further booth has reported on the primary vote, and the primary vote gap between Cook and Liberal has narrowed from 3.4% to 2.9%. His primary vote is similar in both size and distribution to the election. Apart from early votes, Labor are down a bit over 10% and Liberal up a bit over 5% — but the early votes are strikingly worse for Labor elsewhere. It may be that this is because they are from one particular location that’s weak for Labor, and will come more in line with the rest of the result when further votes are added.
7.55pm. The first two election day booths have closed the gap between Ian Cook and the Liberal candidate, from nearly 10% to 3.4%. We also have a TCP result on the pre-polls, which were bad for Labor on the primary vote, but are nonetheless striking in having Cook well ahead. My probability estimate is still not giving him any chance of making the final count, but given the imbalance between election day and postal/early votes, it may not be reliable.
7.40pm. My results page conked out for a few minutes after the first upload, but I’ve patched it up now. As was the case in Warrandyte, we have the slightly confounding (from my perspective) fact that postals and pre-polls have reported before any of the election day booths. Labor is on 41.3% of the primary vote, and Ian Cook appears set to finish third with 17.1% to the Liberals’ 26.9%. My projection does not get the Liberals anywhere near closing the gap on preferences, and is close to calling it for Labor.
6pm. Welcome to the Poll Bludger’s live coverage of the count for Victoria’s Mulgrave state by-election. Results are likely to be a bit slow in coming (and will only be updated every 15 minutes), given the field of ten candidates and the fact that all the booths are in urban areas. If the Warrandyte by-election in August is any guide, the first batch of results to come through may in fact be postals, which was something I had never previously encountered (and which my results system struggled with at first). The candidates chosen for the Victorian Electoral Commission for the indicative two-candidate preferred count are Labor’s Eden Foster and independent Ian Cook, so its results will be redundant if Cook performs below expectations and the Liberal candidate looks set to reach the final count instead. If my system calculates that this is likely, it will fall back on preference estimates to project a final result.