Blogging Senate forecasts and results in the WA Senate re-election until officially declared.

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Tuesday, 1 October 2013

ACT Senate Preference distribution

Here is my take on the ACT Senate Distribution of preferences, including a couple of graphs.

Please note that all preferences:
- Are Below the Line (BTL) votes only, excluding all Above The Line (ATL) or "Ticket" votes.
- Depend on the candidates still remaining - Less choice of candidates still remaining will alter the likelihoods
- Are based on the Distribution of Preferences as released by the AEC today
- Refer to the eliminations done by the AEC. For example, at three stages, two candidates were simultaneously eliminated.
- Each elimination is in sequence. So SPP2 and DRP2 got eliminated after the ALP1 candidate got eliminated (elected), and the Ungrouped candidate (UG1, E. Ezekiel-Hart) got eliminated prior to the #1 Drug Reform candidate.

Graph 1

Graph 1 shows the distribution of preferences of candidates who have the choice of transferring their next preference to the continuing candidate of the same party.

It is clear to see that the majority of voters preferenced the continuing candidate of the same party before leaving that party and giving their vote to another party. However, note that the percentage of voters that started with the 2nd Liberal candidate and then gave their #2 preference to another party was an astonishing 37%. That is, 643 votes had #1 for the 2nd Liberal candidate but then #2 to someone other than the Liberal #1 candidate - Zed Seselja? Is this due to some wacky form of "payback" of members disheartened about having Zed Seselja parachuted in? In 2010, only 20% of votes, or 185 votes in total leaked from the Liberal Party in a similar fashion. It is odd to see the total number of votes lost from the LIB party more than triple from one election to the next. The number of votes leaking to Simon Sheikh was 61.

A significant number of ALP #2 candidate voters then gave their #2 preference to the Greens. Given the massive decline in the ALP's primary vote this time, such a strategy could have been highly risky. As it was, 34% of primary vote was for the ALP, just a smidgeon above the 33.33% threshold.

Of the 805 voters who voted GRN #2 candidate, just 22 then leaked to the Liberal Party.

Graph 2:

Technically, there is a decline in preferences heading towards the "other" category as the count progresses. This does distort the graph somewhat but the "other" preferencing decreases as candidates are eliminated and less "other" candidates remain in contention. No preferences flow to the ALP after it is eliminated - once the cake has been given to others you can't make it reappear and have your cake and eat it too.

In 6 of the 10 eliminations, the Greens were the "best" recipient of BTL votes. This is slightly counter to evidence from the WA 2010 election where the greens polled less well in BTL votes, but is probably due to the usual high-profile nature of this unique GRN vs LIB senate contest. 

Also, the "Left" (SXP, Bullet Train, GRN, ALP) outpolled the "Right" (PUP, LIB) in all eliminations apart from the predictable Rise Up Australia elimination. In 7 out of 10 eliminations, the left doubled the preferences of the right.

Finally, Palmer Party did not go very well on BTL preferences, compared to Tasmania where it polled very well. This is probably due to the lack of the high-profile candidate of Jacqui Lambie who contested Tasmania for PUP.

Overall, Zed Seselja got over the line despite receiving no ticket preferences - all his vote gain of 2690 votes across the 20 stages of elimination were BTL votes. We know ACTers vote strongly below the line, but the analysis above shows that they voted strongly to the Left BTL. Still, this was enough to get Seselja across the line without having to rely on Animal Justice, Rise Up or Stable Population ticket votes. 

As expected, this was a very comfortable victory to Seselja (dare I say, even more comfortable than I was expecting).

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