Monday, April 28, 2014

Is Campbell Newman Actually In Trouble?

Updated in May and June - scroll to bottom of article.


Life isn't easy for conservative state and territory leaders anymore.  Of the five who came to power during the Rudd/Gillard years, Barry O'Farrell, Ted Baillieu and Terry Mills all failed to make it to the next election, and Colin Barnett won re-election comfortably but his polling has been on the skids (see Unpopular Premiers Have Dire Historic Fates).   Now, the future of Campbell Newman, whose government must go to an election by the middle of 2015 and is likely to go to the polls a few months earlier, is also attracting speculation.

Newman's position has always looked dicey because of the nature of the seat he holds, Ashgrove. Newman's electorate had been held by Labor for 26 of the previous 29 years at the time he won it, and it typically runs about six points above the state average for the ALP.  So, all else being equal, the Coalition would only win this seat in years when they recorded about 56% of the two-party preferred vote statewide.  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nielsen: Greens 17: What Is This?

This week's AC Nielsen poll has created a bit of a flap with a primary reading for the Greens of 17%, and that is not the only unusual thing about it.  This result is a national record - the highest vote polled by the Greens in any reputable national opinion poll.  Ever!  Their previous highest results were recorded during a purple patch surrounding the 2010 election - 16% in Newspoll in late May that year, 15% in Nielsen the week later, 15% in Galaxy in late July, and two 15s in Morgan that September. 

The state breakdowns in the Nielsen (in a preliminary version the PUP row was mistakenly labelled "Independent") are especially interesting because they show the Greens on 27% in WA, compared to only 20% for the ALP, despite the two-party-preferred in that state being 52:48 to Coalition.  I've modelled the implied 2PP from the Senate poll as 53:47, so 52:48 in WA is about what we'd expect. Of course, the sample size for WA is tiny, so we shouldn't take too much notice of the figure.  All the same, might such things as a national Greens vote of 17% really be true?

Monday, April 14, 2014

JSCEM Comes To Hobart

Just a quick note that the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters will be holding hearings into the 2013 Federal Election this Wednesday morning in Parliament House.  Here's the star-studded lineup:

The hearings are open to the public, unless the Committee grants a request from a witness to go in camera so they can disclose sensitive information.  They are also expected to be broadcast on the Parliament House website (I'm assuming this is the federal one).

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

WA Senate Take Two: Preview, Live Comments And Post-Count

Seats Called: 3 Lib 1 ALP 1 Green 1 PUP

Summary and general comments (edited to update as required):

Liberal Senators David Johnston and Michaelia Cash, ALP candidate Joe Bullock and Greens Senator Scott Ludlam are all elected based on party quotas.  Palmer United Party candidate Zhenya Wang is close to quota and will be elected on micro-party preferences.  Liberal candidate Linda Reynolds (who would have won in the first election had it not been annulled) and Labor Senator Louise Pratt were contesting the final seat as of election night.  Both Labor and the Coalition have little over half a spare quota in their own right and the outcome will be determined by the preferences of other parties including the surplus votes of the Greens and, once they cross the line, PUP.

The hope for Labor in the post-count was that the pattern of postal votes relative to ordinary votes would be different to how it was in the 2013 federal election, when the Liberals performed nine points better on postal than ordinary votes.  In particular, it might have been thought Labor's dire final week (with constant bad publicity surrounding Bullock) would have meant that its vote before the last week had been higher.  Postal votes in so far are very consistently showing that the Liberals' performance relative to booth voting is at least as strong as in 2013, possibly stronger, and for this reason Reynolds will win.