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Federal Election Tracker 2016: I’m calling it

Final Update on 8 July at 8:30am

I’m calling it folks. I’m packing up my election ‘night’ desk for another three years. While there are still a number of seats that have to be finalised, it would take such a dramatic shift in voting trends now that the outcome is pretty much certain.

The LNP will be able to form government – and most probably a majority government, albeit with a much reduced hold on power. In my view, the most likely outcome is:

  • 77 or 78 seats for the LNP
  • 67 or 68 seats for the ALP, and
  • 5 seats for Minor parties/Independents.

Even if there was some miraculous shift in trend for the outstanding seats, the absolute best the ALP could do would be 71 seats. To form government that would require them to get the support of all five Minors and Independents – and with Bob Katter having already declared his hand, this is not going to happen.

So that’s it for the House of Reps folks. Now it’s time to focus on the Senate and who holds the all important balance of power there. And while we don’t know the final outcome there, we do know the LNP haven’t won there.

If you’re interested in reading my previous updates – read on:

Update at 9:00 am, 7 July 2016 (with mini-update at 6:30 pm below)

At 9:00 am on 7 July, in my increasingly ill-named ‘Election night’ tracker – since my most recent update, more postal results have come in which have firmed up the outcome for a number of doubtful seats, and continued the swing towards the LNP that I wrote about last night.

Based on my calculations, there are now only six seats in doubt, plus two others we need to keep an eye on – Grey and Cowper – where the AEC is taking a while to do a two-party preferred count on the Green/Independent candidates. This means that while it’s probable both will be held by the incumbent LNP MP, it’s not completely certain.

Based on my projections – and assuming that both Grey and Cowper stay with the incumbent LNP MP – this is where we currently stand:

  • The LNP have likely won betweeen 74 and 77 seats – with 74 seats being fairly firm and 3 seats leaning heavily in their direction. There are also another 3 seats which I’m not attributing either way – Capricornia, Cowan and Melbourne Ports – meaning their best possible outcome is 80 seats.
  • Labor have likely won 65 seats. Unfortunately for them, the postal swings in the ‘too close to call’ seats have all gone the LNP’s way, and as more postals are counted, the probability of them picking up more seats is narrowing. There are still the 3 seats I noted above which could go their way – but that would only take them to 68 seats.
  • Our Independents/Minor parties continue to hold 5 seats between them:
    • Katter party – 1
    • Xenophon party – 1
    • Greens – 1
    • Independents – 2 (Andrew Wilkie and Cathy McGowan)

Mini-Update at 6:30pm

It’s 6:30pm and during the day the count of postal votes and the few small outstanding polling booths has continued in our undecided seats. This has had the expected effect of tipping the scales further and further in favour of the LNP.

In terms of updates to my ‘where we currently stand’ statement above and the graphic below, the only thing that has happened since this morning is that one of the three seats I classified as ‘too close to call’ this morning – Capricornia (discussed further below) – has slid further into LNP territory, and is now arguably likely to go to the LNP.

Just how close is close?

I mentioned above that there are three seats that are too close to call. These are Capricornia in Queensland, Cowan in WA and Melbourne Ports in VIC. If you’re interested in understanding why these seats are too close to call, I’m going to break down the current numbers for Capricornia.

So far for Capricornia the numbers from the AEC website at the time of writing this are 75,067 formal (or valid) votes counted – of these:

  • 37,899 (or 50.49%) of the votes are in favour of the ALP in two-party preferred terms and 37,167 (or 49.51%) of the votes are in favour of the LNP.
  • 73,119 are ‘ordinary’ votes (or votes cast on election day) and 1,948 are ‘declaration’ votes (which includes all other votes – including postal votes).

At a glance, those numbers look good for the ALP. However, if you split out the voting trends for ordinary votes and postal votes – you see a different story. While 50.62% of ordinary votes were cast in favour of the ALP (in two-party preferred terms), for postal votes it is only 45.64%. This difference between ordinary and postal votes is common, and in fact is more pronounced in other seats as I wrote last night – where Flynn had 51.5% of ordinary votes in favour of the ALP but only 34.7% of postal votes.

So of course the outcome for Capricornia will depend on how the remaining votes not yet counted and/or received by the AEC pan out. At this stage, all but one small group of ordinary votes are counted – one of the polling stations that go around to hospitals, which based on the other hospital polling stations probably has less than 200 votes. However, in regards to postal votes there are:

  • 1,948 postal votes received AND counted,
  • 8,245 postal votes received but NOT counted by the AEC,
  • another 7,330 declaration votes (includes postals, absentee votes and pre-polls) issued but not yet returned by voters (or not yet received).

If we assume that the remaining postal votes received but not yet counted by the AEC fall out in a similar manner to those received so far – then the outcome would be 41,662 votes to the ALP and 41,649 votes to the LNP – a victory to the ALP, but only by 13 votes.

But if we then factor in all declaration votes that have not yet been returned to the AEC (which won’t happen), then if the current postal voting trend held across all declaration voting types, the outcome would be 45,007 votes to the ALP and 45,635 vote to the LNP – a victory to the LNP, but only by a margin of 627 votes.

The numbers of potential outstanding votes are also not final – there could be other votes yet to be received and factored in, further complicating the potential to determine an outcome when the margins are this tight.

So how close is close? It’s too close to call – so stay tuned for an update later today…

Original post from Saturday evening….

The following commentary was written last Saturday – but the graphic has been updated along with the commentary about safe seats at the end.

The Deciders rule

As I’ve written previously, while there were technically 150 seats up for grabs in the House of Representatives this election, the reality is that the vast majority of electorates are considered to be ‘safe’ seats – meaning they won’t be changing hands, because, well, they almost never do. This means that the outcome of yesterday’s election will actually be determined by just over a third of electorates – the Deciders. These are typically electorates which either have a high proportion of swinging voters in them (marginal seats and a few fairly safe seats) plus electorates where there is a well-known and well-liked Independent/Minor-party candidate running.

As a result, when you’re looking at the election outcome from last night, it’s really only the outcome in the Decider seats that matters. So I’ve created the following Balance of Power Meter to track how the election outcome is going based primarily on the results in the Decider seats – rather than all seats – as it’s a more accurate proxy of how both parties are tracking. (I am keeping an eye on the safe seats as well and adjust the chart if any of them decide to perform out of character. So far the LNP lost one – Wyatt Roy’s seat – and may possibly lose Peter Dutton’s seat.) I am continuing to update my Balance of Power Meter – so check back in (make sure you refresh the page) for regular updates on progress.



Decider seats

My list of 54 Decider seats shown below is based on the ABC’s Antony Green’s list of Key seats plus I have added:

  • Cowper – Rob Oakeshott’s seat – as recent polls suggest he’s in within cooee of an upset in this seat; and
  • Warringah – Tony Abbott’s seat – enough said.

I’ve included running totals for each group to show where they end up, which I will update as the night progresses.

a) Decider seats won by the LNP in 2013 – 32 seats

This includes: Banks (NSW): Bass (Tas); Bonner (Qld); Boothby (SA); Braddon (Tas); Brisbane (Qld); Burt (new seat in WA); Capricornia (Qld); Corangamite (Vic); Cowan (WA); Cowper (NSW); Deaken (Vic); Dunkley (Vic); Eden-Monaro (NSW); Forde (Qld); Gilmore (NSW); Herbert (Qld); Hindmarsh (SA); La Trobe (Vic); Lindsay (NSW); Lyons (Tas); Macarthur (NSW); Macquarie (NSW); Mayo (SA); Murray (Vic); New England (NSW); Page (NSW); Petrie (Qld); Reid (NSW); Robertson (NSW); Solomon (NT) and Tony Abbott’s seat – Warringah (NSW).

b) Decider seats won by the ALP in 2013 – 18 seats

This includes: Barton (NSW); Batman (Vic); Bendigo (Vic); Bruce (Vic); Chisholm (Vic); Dobell (NSW); Grayndler (NSW); Greenway (NSW); Lilley (Qld); Lingiari (NT); McEwen (Vic); Melbourne Ports (Vic); Moreton (Qld); Parramatta (NSW); Paterson (NSW); Perth (WA); Richmond (NSW); and Wills (Vic).

c) Decider seats won by minor parties and independent candidates in 2013 – 4 seats

This includes: Denison (won by independent candidate Andrew Wilkie in Tas); Fairfax (won by Clive Palmer of PUP fame in Qld); Indi (won by independent candidate Cathy McGowan); and Melbourne (won by Andrew Bandt from the Greens in Vic).

Safe Seats

For a full list of all 150 seats up for election see the AEC’s list. Any seat that I haven’t listed above, is classed as a Safe Seat in my Balance of Power Meter (although the AEC may have classed some of them as ‘Fairly safe’).

Update: The LNP have lost a Safe Seat – Wyatt Roy’s seat – to the ALP and the seat of Flynn in Queensland is also in doubt, but thanks to postals is likely to stay with them. Peter Dutton’s seat was also up for grabs for a while, but he seems to have slid in by the skin of his teeth.

This article was first published on ProgressiveConversation.


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  1. David Stephens

    Sounds about right. I’d forgotten about ADF postals in Herbert. I reckon 76 or 77 for coalition. I’d thought 78-68-4 from the beginning but didn’t pick NXT in Mayo (see my Tweets way back @honesthistory1). This on no more sophisticated analysis than historically roughly 4 seats drop off for every one per cent of 2PP national swing. Historic national swing going back to 1937 averages a bit over 3 per cent. (Actually 3.2 per cent on a check this week) so, say 12-14 seats lost by government. I’m not sure that all the analysis done comes out much better. (Suck on that Antony.) BTW also betting markets on eve of election tipped 78-80 most likely, followed by 76-78. See you next time. Senate: don’t go there.

  2. Kate M

    David – 🙂

  3. townsvilleblog

    I’m still hoping for Herbert and Capricornia so I’m hoping for 68 to Labor, at least that is a big gain from 55, so the Senate will give the LNP 3 years of frustration then we get in.

  4. Florence nee Fedup

    Seems Ley is first to be sacrifices. Clear that Morrison & co made decisions to cuts without input of ministers, #auspol

  5. Florence nee Fedup

    Ley to go. Dutton to be promoted. Talking of Abbott doe speaker. Definitely in touch with mood of the people.

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