Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hiatus / Queensland outlook

Just a brief note to warn readers that I could well be largely or entirely offline between now and February 6th, by reason of remote fieldwork - a commitment locked in long before it was apparent that the normally sleepy last week in January might actually be politically interesting.

I'm trying to arrange a degree of online access over the next week and a half, at least in order to provide running commentary on Queensland election night, but I do not yet know if these attempts will be successful, and given the remoteness of my fieldwork, they may not.  So if I don't pop up on election night I suggest keep an eye on Poll Bludger, and if watching the ABC coverage remember that the ABC computer is prone to calling individual seats prematurely.

I was hoping to do some detailed analysis of some fresh Queensland polling but there hasn't been anything of real note for a week.  After the last two significant polls by ReachTEL (52:48 to LNP, though off primaries that I translated to about 52.6% to LNP) and Morgan (50.5% to LNP), my aggregate had the LNP leading with 52.1% of the two-party vote, which came out on my model to a projection of 49 LNP, 36 Labor, and 4 other seats.  The Newspoll reported as showing a larger 13.6% swing to Labor was only an amalgam of three disparate seats that Labor was always expected to recover rather easily, and told us very little despite the headlines.

However, given the very strange, and massively inconsistent, campaign by the LNP over the last week, followed by PM Abbott reminding Queensland voters of his existence in a way that was impossible to ignore, I'm treating the now week-old data as much less reliable than normal. I'm  waiting with interest to see if this week brings any polling to show that the contest has sprung back into life. I'd go so far as to say it's a poor reflection on my state of birth if it hasn't, but the impact of campaign events and missteps on election outcomes, as declared by the commentariat, is often easy to overestimate.  That's all I have time for for now, alas, so hopefully I'll be able to get online during the week.  If not, I'll be back in force from the weekend of February 7th.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

2014 Ehrlich Awards For Wrong Predictions

This supposedly annual end-of-year feature is a little overdue, which I blame partly on the snap Queensland election and partly on the field being uninspiring compared to the 2012 and 2013 ensembles.  But while I wait for another poll to shed light on public response to what seems to be a ragged week for the LNP in the Queensland campaign, here we go. This site awards the Ehrlich Award early every year (unless I decide not to) to the "wrongest" public prediction I observe in or relating to the previous calendar year.

There are a few groundrules, for instance predictions need to be meaningful (in terms of being able to assess factually whether they have come to fruition), and predictions that carry a stated chance of falsehood are not included unless that chance proves to be ludicrously low.  The first of these, for instance, excludes Tony Abbott's pledge that in 2014 his government "every day [.. ] will keep building the stronger, more prosperous country that all Australians want and deserve" - not only are the terms of such platitudes undefinable, but those making them will continue maintaining they were true.  Likewise, I have so far been unable to find an empirical unit for measuring whether or not the President of Russia has been "shirtfronted".

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Queensland: Ashgrove, Redcliffe, And Other Snippets

This post just rounds up a number of issues in modelling the Queensland election.  There have been no fresh state polls since my previous post and I still think it's most likely the LNP will retain office with a narrow to moderate (but greatly reduced) majority.  I could have added these as updates to the roundup from the weekend or saved them for next time, but thought they'd work quite well as an article by themselves to stop the last one or the next one being too long.

ReachTEL Poll Of Ashgrove 
(Scroll down for Newspoll update Jan 17)

The first seat poll of the campaign has been released and there are no prizes for guessing which seat it covers.  A ReachTEL with a slightly larger sample size than last week's state Newspoll and Galaxy offers the candidates in ballot order and finds Campbell Newman effectively up 2.4 points in just over a month (after redistributing "undecided" from last time), and Kate Jones effectively down one point, with the other significant change being the disappearance of the Palmer United Party's three points (they're not running).  The 2PP is 53:47 to Jones and voters are almost exactly split as to who they think will win the seat.

This apparent improvement for Newman isn't a massive surprise given the apparent statewide improvement in LNP polling.  47% 2PP is a slightly better figure than would be expected at this stage, but not by enough to rule out statistical noise.  However, it's also possible that Newman is starting to punch above his weight (based on the expected swing statewide) or that this reflects a shift in state voting intention since last week's polls were taken. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Queensland: LNP Leads After Week One

Queensland Aggregate: LNP 41.4 ALP 37.9 Green 7 PUP 4.6 Other 9
2PP based on last-election preferences: 51.8% to LNP
Election held now would most likely result in LNP majority government (approx 47-37-5)

Polling in late 2014 showed the Liberal National Party government in Queensland in a precarious if probably still just winning position (Beautiful One Day, Lineball The Next).  Following the calling of a snap election for January 31, however, the three polls so far released in the first week are a little less disastrous and suggest that an election held right now would likely result in a narrow LNP majority.

The ReachTEL poll was discussed in the previous article and has been followed by:

* A Galaxy (sample size 800, 7-8 Jan) with a 2PP of 52-48 to the LNP off primaries of 41-38 with 8 for the Greens, a remarkably feeble 3 for Palmer United and 10 for Others including KAP. 

* A Newspoll (sample size 801, 6-8 Jan) with a 2PP of 53-47 to the LNP off primaries of 42-37 with 7 for the Greens, 1 for KAP and 13 for Others including PUP.

Note that these polls were taken entirely before the announcement that Labor deputy leader Tim Mulherin would retire.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Queensland: Beautiful One Day, Lineball The Next

Estimated Queensland state 2PP based on late 2014 polling and first 2015 poll: 50.2-49.8 to LNP (revised from 50.1 to ALP)
LNP would probably retain office in an election "held now", but would be at substantial risk of loss of majority
(This is not a prediction of the election result yet, as voting intentions may change)

With the Victorian election and its unsurprising result out of the way, it is time to look north to a much murkier contest.  The Queensland state election could in theory be held as late as June, but the government's three-year anniversary comes up in late March, and there are persistent rumours that it will be called slightly earlier, for late February or early March.  I previously covered Queensland state polling in four articles last year:

Is Campbell Newman Actually In Trouble? (late April through June)
Careful With That Queensland Pendulum, Eugene (July)
Recent Queensland and Victorian Polling (August)
Recent Polling In Four States (October)

The story for much of 2014 was pretty similar.  The Newman government held a small to modest aggregated 2PP lead and was facing a swing that would cost it dozens of seats but not necessarily government.  Particular polls were sometimes interpreted as showing that the government would actually lose, but either those polls were outliers or the interpretation was dodgy.  The problem always was that one of the doomed seats, all else being equal, was Premier Campbell Newman's own seat of Ashgrove, and all the polling in Ashgrove suggested that all else was in fact equal and that if the election was even remotely close then the Premier's seat would be toast.  Furthermore, Newman at various stages through the year was mildly to distinctly unpopular both in his own seat and in Queensland as a whole.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 site review

That's just about the end of the second full year since this site started; so it's time for the annual stats review.  Obviously with a Tasmanian state election to cover this has been an even bigger year than last year, with about a 58% increase in site traffic.

In my 2013 annual review I noted that in late July 2013 I switched from Blogger Stats to Google Analytics to keep track of site activity.  Just as well, as early this year Blogger Stats started getting swamped by bot hits to the point that it would often rack up several hundred overseas hits a day even when there had been nothing new posted for a week.

This year I released 86 articles of which 19 concerned the Tasmanian state election and 17 were federal polling roundups.  As usual I finished almost everything I started - but I never got around to doing a final wrap for the Tas state election.  Also languishing incompletely in the Drafts vault thus far are:

* a full debunking of some ludicrous social-science rubbish re Tasmanian Devils unwisely published by The Conversation (I gave it plenty in the comments section; also see a rebuttal from scientists working on the species.)

* a critique of a Bob Brown Foundation skew-poll about the proposed revocation of part of the World Heritage Area (had this not come in the heat of the state campaign, or had the revocation had a snowflake's chance of success, I may have finished writing up that one.)

* a glossary of all the big words used on here.

In compiling the list of top ten articles for the year I had a decision to make.  Some articles get lots of hits from visitors refreshing for live coverage or revisiting for updates.  At the same time, an article that gets lots of repeat visits often does so because it is a long article with updates that could have been split into multiple posts if I felt like it.  When in doubt, aggregate, so ...

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Victoria: Final Results, Poll Performance And 2PP Post-Election Pendulum

With results well and truly finalised here's a final wrap-up of various matters from the Victorian election.  This article includes a 2PP pendulum.  I've decided to publish one as a complement to Antony's 2PP pendulum here and I've done so for a reason.  In coverage of the Queensland election it's been common to see estimates of seat gains that are read off non-2PP pendulums, without considering who the seat contests are between.  I can't stop people wrongly concluding that a smallish swing to the Liberals will win them Richmond and Brunswick, but at least it won't be my fault.

I already covered a number of big-picture issues about the Victorian result in my day-after wrap.  This article covers all those aspects that depend on the final results.

Final vote share results

The final primaries for the Lower House were Coalition 41.99%, Labor 38.10, Green 11.48, Others 8.43.  By 2013 election preferences, this would have been a 2PP result of only about 50.7% to Labor, but the 2PP result ended up being 52%. (Officially, 51.99% - that 0.01 will matter a lot to some of those who betted on the 2PP range).

Many pollsters (including the final Newspoll, ReachTEL and Galaxy) got the 2PP more or less spot on (52) by last-election preferences in their final poll.  However as with the 2013 federal election this was a case of errors cancelling out: they had the Coalition primary too low but the preference flow to Labor strengthened markedly.  In all Labor went from getting about 64% of all third-party preferences to about 69.5%. (Ipsos respondents said they would gave Labor about 75%).