Monday, March 31, 2014

Legislative Council 2014: Huon and Rosevears Guide and Candidates

May 3: My live coverage page is now up: LegCo Rosevears and Huon Live
What? Another Tasmanian election?  Yes, I know, the dust has barely settled on the main state poll and it's already time to gear up for an election on May the 3rd for two of the state's fifteen upper house electorates.  I should have more on the Lower House election (oh, and perhaps even the WA Senate by-election!) over the next few weeks but felt like setting up this guide first.  This article will serve as the main outlook and candidate guide piece for the two seats, and will include links to any other articles that arise from the campaigns.  I expect to run a separate live coverage thread here on the night.

A reminder that this site welcomes donations; see the sidebar for details.  Donations assist in increasing the amount of time I can spend on this site and my ability to run it effectively when away from home.

The Legislative Council

For those who've managed not to notice it before (even for Tasmanians, this isn't hard) the Legislative Council (or LegCo) is the state's upper house of parliament.  It consists of fifteen single-member electorates with members elected for six-year terms.  Elections are held on a staggered basis so that each year two or three seats go to the polls.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

SA Election: Libs Fall Short Of Majority, Again!

(Note re Tasmanian state election: the seat postcount threads below will continue to be updated when signficant news is available, in the evenings only from Thursday onwards but hoping for more often once the cutups start mid next week.  Links to them will remain in the sidebar on the right)


Unfortunately I've been too busy with the largely-as-expected Tasmanian state election thrashing to even manage a proper devouring of some of my pre-election words on the South Australian election.  I thought that the Liberals had good chances to get a majority in SA since only one state poll (when properly interpreted) had pointed to a strong chance of a hung parliament, and even if the 2PP vote was below 53% to the Liberals, then they could have other avenues to majority victory.

As it turns out they've struck out on both their chances - the 2PP vote seems to have been closer to the final 52.3% Newspoll than to any other poll in the campaign (including the 55:45 final ReachTEL of which no other details have been seen) and the Liberals' performance in terms of seat-harvesting has been not much better or worse than random.  Their best hope of victory now is to scrounge a 23rd seat in late counting to place them on a better footing to deal with the two Independents, but even then, success is not assured.   If they can't flip any seat from the ALP's current lead (or even if they flip just one), then Labor may have pulled off an escape even more precarious than last time.  Of course, the Independents will have the final say about that, but it's much easier governing with a 25-22 majority than a 24-23 one.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

State Election Post-Count Thread: Braddon

This is the last of my state election post-counting threads.  There is now one for each electorate and they will be updated frequently.  During the cutup (which starts in the middle of the week after next) I will be on remote fieldwork and will update nightly, but hope to take a day off at the peak counting time.

SEAT OUTCOME:  4-1-0 (Count finished) 
WINNERS: Brooks (Lib), Rockliff (Lib), Green (ALP), Jaensch (Lib), Rylah (Lib)

Braddon is the most fascinating of the five preference distributions unfolding before us, with a real chance something quite unusual could occur.  The Liberals have racked up a whopping 3.53 quotas (nearly 59%), Labor is on 1.40, PUP have 0.43, the Greens have 0.40, the Nationals 0.13 (headed up by their rogue candidate Ken Dorsey!) and the rest a trickle.  

Adam Brooks and Jeremy Rockliff are both way over quota, with 0.91 quotas surplus between them.  Bryan Green is far enough ahead of the rest of the Labor ticket that he will be elected, though it will take him a very long time to do so.  

The Liberals will obviously get at least one of Roger Jaensch and Joan Rylah over the line and the question is whether they can get two.  Their rivals for this feat are Brenton Best (ALP), Kevin Morgan (PUP) and Paul O'Halloran (Green).

State Election Post-Count Thread: Bass

This is the fourth of my state election post-counting threads.  There will be one for each electorate and they will be updated frequently.  During the cutup (which starts in the middle of the week after next) I will be on remote fieldwork and will update nightly, but hope to take a day off during the cutup.  

SEAT OUTCOME: 3 Liberal 1 Labor 1 Green.
WINNERS: Gutwein (Lib), Ferguson (Lib), Courtney (Lib), M O'Byrne (ALP), Booth (Grn)

Sunday 16th:

Bass is one of the two economically struggling northern electorates where the Liberal Party has done exceptionally well.  They're currently sitting on 3.44 quotas (57.4%).  Labor is on a distant 1.40 quotas, the Greens have 0.75, PUP have 0.31 and we should not forget the Australian Christians with 0.06.  The two indies don't have much.

Peter Gutwein and Michael Ferguson are elected with both well over quota.  Michelle O'Byrne is far enough ahead of Brian Wightman that I very greatly doubt that he can catch her, especially as Senka Mujcic's preferences should favour O'Byrne.  

State Election Post-Count Thread: Lyons

This is the third of my state election post-counting threads.  There will be one for each electorate and they will be updated frequently.  During the cutup (which starts in the middle of the week after next) I will be on remote fieldwork and will update nightly, but hope to take a day off during the cutup.  

SEAT OUTCOME:  3 Lib 2 ALP (Count Finished)
WINNERS: Hidding, Shelton and Barnett (Lib), White and Llewellyn (ALP)

Sunday 16th:

No, there isn't a deliberate geographic bias in the order I am doing these in; I am just doing the less complicated ones first!

Lyons results can be seen here.  The Liberals have 3.13 quotas, Labor has 1.66, the Greens have 0.67, PUP have 0.33 and the other significant presence is independent Paul Belcher who has 0.12.   

Liberals Rene Hidding, Mark Shelton and Guy Barnett have all won as has Rebecca White for Labor.  The interest here is in the battle for the final seat between the Greens' three-term incumbent Tim Morris, and Labor veteran David Llewellyn, an MHA from 1986 until narrowly losing to White in 2010.  

State Election Post-Count: Franklin

This is the second of my state election post-counting threads.  There will be one for each electorate and they will be updated frequently.  During the cutup (which starts in the middle of the week after next) I will be on remote fieldwork and will update nightly, but hope to take a day off during the cutup.  

SEAT OUTCOME: 3 LIB 1 ALP 1 GREEN (Count Finished)
WINNERS: Hodgman (Lib), Giddings (ALP), McKim (Green), Petrusma (Lib), Harriss (Lib)

This thread concerns the post-count and preference cut-up in the seat of Franklin (results here).

In Franklin, the Liberals are currently on 2.99 quotas, Labor on 1.74 quotas, the Greens on 1.00 quotas, PUP on 0.22 quotas, and the Tasmanian Nationals have disgraced themselves by losing to the Socialist Alliance for last place.  

Will Hodgman has been elected with 2.10 quotas in his own right, a slight increase on the 1.90 quotas he polled in 2010.  Lara Giddings and Nick McKim have been re-elected.  The only remaining interest in the count is whether David O'Byrne can pull back enough of the Liberal lead to beat either Paul Harriss or Jacquie Petrusma as the Liberal total declines after leakage from Will Hodgman's massive surplus.

State Election Post-Count: Denison

This is the first of my state election post-counting threads.  There will be one for each electorate and they will be updated frequently.  During the cutup (which starts in the middle of the week after next) I will be on remote fieldwork and will update nightly, but hope to take a day off during the cutup. 

WINNERS: Bacon (ALP), Groom (Lib), O'Connor (Grn), Archer (Lib)
CONTEST: Ogilvie (ALP) vs Amos (ALP) - other ALP candidates getting insufficient preference flow
STATUS: Ogilvie leading and will win count.  If close may be subject to protest but likely to not be close enough.

Sunday 16th:

This thread concerns the post-count and preference cutup in the seat of Denison.  Denison (progressive results here) is the one seat that was absolutely settled at party level on the night.  

On-the-night quota totals are 2.26 Liberal, 2.05 Labor, 1.29 Green, 0.18 PUP, and the remaining 0.22 is split between six independents, the Socialist Alliance and the woefully-performed Tasmanian Nationals.  Scott Bacon and Matthew Groom are re-elected with quota, Elise Archer is re-elected and so is Cassy O'Connor.  

Tasmanian State Election Late Night Wrap

LIB 51.4 ALP 27.4 GREEN 13.5 PUP 5.0 OTHER 2.7
LIBERAL 14 (1 of these very likely but not quite confirmed)
GREEN 3 (1 of these very likely but not quite confirmed)
UNCLEAR 2 (1 ALP vs GREEN, 1 very probably LIB vs ALP)

Post-count links for individual seats:


The Liberal Party has, as expected, won a decisive majority victory in the Tasmanian state election with over half the vote.  In the process Labor has probably been reduced to its worst primary vote since the advent of the Hare-Clark system in the state in 1909, but can manage a sigh of relief that the onslaught wasn't quite as bad as the polls were predicting.  The Greens have again performed poorly relative to their polling (even more so than my attempts to compensate for this tendency suggested) and the Palmer United Party has probably failed to win a single seat. You can replay the live blog (and see a picture from the last time I got around to re-dying my hair) over here.  Apart from an intermission when I had to scramble down to Wrest Point because of a lack of booth data, it went well.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

State election night arrangements and viewing tips

This is the usual post to give details of election night arrangments for this site.


From c.6:30-11 pm I will be doing live coverage at (link above). Based on last election, I expect the link to be an interactive one where I can answer questions and will answer as many as I can, as well as providing constant updates and calls on who is in and out.  Please be aware that keeping on top of the figures and preparing comments is a busy process and so I may sometimes be slow.

I respectfully ask journalists (and anyone else unless they have scrutineering info) not to call me during this time.  If you read my coverage you may find questions answered there.  I may be able to do interviews late tonight and certainly tomorrow.  Scrutineering info from those who have my number (text preferred) is welcome at any time.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Newspoll: It's All Over

Newspoll: Liberal 53 Labor 23 Green 16 PUP 4 Others 4
Seat breakdown based on this poll: Liberal majority win (approx 14-7-4 or 15-6-4)
Aggregate and forecast both 14-7-4.

Note: On election night (Saturday) I will be live-blogging for the Mercury online from c. 6-11pm.  A link will be posted here.  Anyone not working for the Mercury should not attempt to call me in this time. 

Newspoll hath spoken.  The Tasmanian state election appears over as a contest, although it could be said it has been over now for years.  What was the Labor-Green coalition government faces a combined swing against it of almost 20 points (even more than the 16.7 points in the most recent ReachTEL).  It might not be quite that bad on election day, but it will still be very, very bad indeed.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Do The Greens Display "Real Liberal Values"?

Of all the advertising in the Tasmanian election so far, the piece that has most interested me has been the Greens' claim to represent "real liberal values", as seen in a leaflet distributed in parts of the state and on this website.  So far as I know the claim has been largely ignored by opponents, but I thought it was something that deserved proper critical scrutiny.

The campaign is part of an increasingly confident and positive attempt by the Greens to take advantage of Labor's apparent death spiral in order to make a play for Opposition or at least co-Opposition status to the incoming Liberal government.  A part of this is an ambitious attempt to snare an elusive second seat in Denison.  The Greens have had their eyes on this prize for a long time but have never quite got there.  Past elections under both the seven-seat and five-seat systems have now and then seen polling samples that implied this result was possible, but it has never happened.  

Newspoll To Deliver Final Nail

Newspoll Tasmania state (first 1000 respondents) Liberals 53%
Outcome if correct: Liberal majority government (14+ seats)

In the face of over three years of high-volume polling pointing in every single case to Liberal majority government at the upcoming Tasmanian state election, Tasmanian Labor has been able to hold out one small hope.  That hope is that the polls are wrong.

That hope has been not without sustenance.  All the polls in Tasmania in that time have been conducted by EMRS and ReachTEL.  EMRS has a clear track record of underestimating the Labor vote and overestimating the Greens, and greatly misread the 2006 election until very close to the poll.  ReachTEL is a new player, untested at this level, and which overstated the Liberal vote in Tasmanian seats at the federal election. That said, there is strong evidence (see ReachTEL house effect section) that this was due to a method issue specific to the options list in polls commissioned by newspapers, and since fixed.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tas Labor Push-Polling? Not As Such, But ...

Wirrah Award For Fishy Polling (image source)

In the final week of the Tasmanian state election campaign, the Tasmanian ALP has been accused of push-polling.  This follows the apparent leaking, by forces unknown, of an internal Labor UMR poll.

I have also obtained the contentious poll, which was conducted by telephone interviews with a sample size of 300 voters in each of Lyons and Franklin.  The Liberal Party needs to win three seats in at least one of these electorates, and is very likely to do so in Lyons, but lineball in Franklin.

The questions for the two electorates, conducted 5-6 March, appear in a results section entitled "Messaging".  Each question has the opening question "Does the following statement make you more or less likely to vote Labor in the state election or does it make no difference?"  The statements then are:

Poll Roundup: National Polling All Over The Place

Poll Aggregate: 51.2% to Labor (update: 50.4% on 18 March)
Labor maintains narrow lead held since December

Nielsen 52-48 to Coalition? Newspoll 54-46 to Labor?  These two results just one week apart - what could it mean?

It's about time to have another of my irregularly scheduled roundups of the national polling picture and how the not quite so new Abbott government is travelling.  My last federal roundup of sorts was a month back in the Griffith article.  At the time Labor seemed to be starting to drop off a little, and the lukewarm by-election result seemed consistent with that.

Shortly afterwards we had the 52-48 to Coalition from Nielsen.  At the time some dismissed it as a rogue, but it also seemed it could be a harbinger of a return to a Coalition lead.  There was some support for this from a Morgan which gave Labor a wafer-thin 50.5:49.5 lead by last-election preferences (equivalent to a thin Coalition lead given the apparent house effect of Morgan's methods).  Also, two weeks of 51:49 to Labor from Essential proved little, since we know Essential can be contrary to, or lag, the trend of other polling.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

ReachTEL: The Campaign Has Changed Nothing

ReachTEL: Liberal 47.4 Labor 23.6 Green 18.2 PUP 6.7 Other 4.1
Outcome if election was held now based on this poll: Liberal Majority (14-5-5-1 based on sum of individual breakdowns, though Labor would more likely get one more seat somewhere)
New aggregate of all state polls: Liberal 14 Labor 6 Green 4 PUP 1
My current forecast: Liberal 14 Labor 6 Green 4 PUP 1 

In the three weeks since the last public opinion polling most of the formal 2014 state election campaign has gone by.  People often expect events that happen during campaigns (such as campaign incidents or policy announcements) to affect the outcome, but the great majority don't have much impact.  With the release of the most recent ReachTEL, taken just nine days from polling day and with prepoll voting already open, it doesn't look like this campaign period has offered any respite for a Labor government on the verge of being put out of its misery.  Indeed, this poll is if anything a shade worse for the government than its predecessor (see ReachTEL: The PUP Surge Has Landed), which was also at the low end of Labor's recent form.  Not so much because of the loss of a point of support (an insignificant difference), but because the distribution of votes between seats is even nastier.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

SA State Election March 15

South Australia goes to the polls on March 15, the same day as Tasmania. Tasmanian readers should not be cross with SA for this; after all, they were certainly there first, and no-one has advanced any really good reason why Tasmania had to follow suit.  An unfortunate impact of this is that election analysis resources around the country will be strained, and I especially will be too busy with the Tasmanian poll to devote much attention to the South Australian situation.  But I do think SA is interesting too, and here are my comments on the SA election generally and especially one quirk of the SA electoral system.

South Australia loosely parallels Tasmania in that both see ancient Labor governments looking to the presence of a new Liberal government in Canberra as their primary hope to escape a drubbing.  Both are perceived as having won one election too many (in SA's case despite losing the 2PP vote by an embarrassing 48.4%:51.6% two-party margin).  But the problems in Tasmania run much deeper, as the age of the government is even greater and it has spent the last four years in a widely disliked coalition with the Greens.  The SA government has at least enjoyed an outright majority, with 26 of the 47 seats to 18 for the Liberals and three independents.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Not A Poll: How Many Seats Will The Liberals Win In The State Election?

Readers may have noticed the lack of new articles over the past couple of weeks (though various old ones were updated, including frequent updates to the main guide page.)  The main reason was that I was away on fieldwork unrelated to elections and had not only limited internet connectivity, but also very limited spare time.  Anyway that's over now and I'll be online much of the time up to the state election, probably except for most of the long weekend.  There will be quite a few new state articles in the next two weeks (yes, that should include a certain other state!) and it's probably about time for another federal polling wrap soon.  Thanks very much to those who have so far donated money to support this site as without those donations I would not have been online over the last two weeks at all, and nor for much of the post-count.

Anyway, this thread just introduces my usual exercise in which you get to play psephologist by predicting an outcome.  In this case the challenge is to predict the number of Liberal seats that will be won at the state election.  Voting is on the sidebar.