Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Not-A-Poll: Best Prime Minister Of The Last 45 Years: Grand Final!

Image result for gough whitlam     VS  File:Paul Keating 1985.jpg
(image source, licence)                                (image source, licence) 


Round 5: Whitlam and Keating tie, Gillard eliminated
Disputed Returns adjusts Gillard total following stacking (result not affected)

The last round is upon us.  These two dashing gentlemen (actually both pictured several years before they became Prime Minister) are the final contestants for this site's multi-stage Best Prime Minister of the last 45 years.  Hmmm, I think there might be a lot of Tasmanians voting in the final round somehow.  These two are the last left standing after they tied for first (following four previous outright Whitlam wins) at the end of a cracking round which had the following raw final totals:



In what would have looked from the outside like a victory (well, at least a tie) for the true believers, candidate Keating started the final day in last place, five votes behind candidates Whitlam and Gillard, but bolted home with ten votes on the final day to not just escape elimination with hours to spare but even grab a share of first!

In fact, it wasn't as dramatic as all that.  Early in the round Keating had scored slowly compared to the other two (this has also been a feature of the previous rounds) and he only moved out of last place for the first time on January 19th.  From that point he moved several votes clear of Gillard (and hence elimination) until something suss happened on January 27, on which day Gillard suddenly leapfrogged the others from last into first, contra to her usual pattern of starting fast then slowing to a crawl.

I can't detect or stop all possible multiple voting (especially not small scale subtle stuff), but it turned out there was overwhelming evidence of a deliberate one-person stack in the form of the same person visiting the site from fourteen different proxies between 12:21 pm and 12:29 pm on 27 January.  

Checking further to see whether this sort of thing might have happened more often, I found that the same person may well have also voted six times on 31 December just after the round commenced, ten times on 1 January in two different episodes, six times on 2 Jan and four times on 5 Jan.  On one of these cases they did click on my Bennelong preview as a slight departure from their normal routine, but they only stayed there for seven seconds so I doubt they were really interested in the electoral prospects of John Alexander.

I don't have any evidence concerning who the stacker would have voted for with their early votes - at a time when votes flood in so quickly that a sudden jump of five or ten is easier to miss unless watching constantly - but on the round five page I logged that candidate Gillard would be docked 14 votes at the end of the round for the obvious stack on 27 Jan.  On that basis the final result of round 5 is Gough Whitlam and Paul Keating 135 (34.8% each) and Julia Gillard 118 (30.4%).  Had Gillard finished just ahead of the others, she would still have been excluded after the deduction for the stack.

Gillard has done much better than I thought she would do in this contest and her relative success did prompt some incredulous responses (I forget who it was who blamed millenials who were too young to remember a better Prime Minister than her!) However the data I've kept don't go back far enough to say whether the stacking seen this round was also a feature in previous rounds.

Well, now it's time for the final month of voting of a multi-stage process that began way back in August.  I'm making one adjustment to the previous rules - should Malcolm Turnbull somehow be removed as PM in the next month, I'm not now going to allow a delay to let his successor in as a contender; quite obviously no-one from the Coalition would be winning on this site after just a month in office.  

Voting closes 6 pm 28 February.  One vote per person (or cat) only, pleez.  

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