Election Prediction

Thus spoke the Chief Armadillo:

I suspect the reality is that it remains impossible to predict with confidence who’s going to win.

He’s quite right. To me it does seem impossible to have any confidence in an election prediction. But if pressed, I would predict a….

…fairly comfortable win to the ALP.

Certainly, I do have some reservations in making such a prediction. I have a poor record in predicting things lately.

In a slightly more serious vein, Mumble predicts that the Coalition will have an increased majority, and The Poll Bludger thinks the Coalition will win with a slightly reduced majority, according to his scorecard.

The more general trend of the media coverage that I have seen also suggests that the Coalition will be returned as well.

And these people have studied this campaign and the polls and the news far more then I have. I have been watching the cricket all day and writing about it. I know more about sport then I do about politics and I figure it is best to blog about the things you know.

So why do I say that the ALP will win?

Because as a general rule, the trend is for a swing away from an incumbent government. I was reading the latest issue of Policy magazine the other day and I saw a graphic in this article (warning-PDF file) that highlighted that only twice in the last fifteen elections has there been a swing towards the government. That was in 1993 and 2001.

Both swings can be explained by unusual circumstances. There are no such unusual circumstances in 2004, so on past behavior, we can expect a swing against the government.

And the other factor is that there seems to be larger then normal numbers of undecided voters. The last time the polls had undecides like this, they swung against the government of the day (Jeff Kennett’s Liberal government in Victoria). It is quite possible that they will do so against the current Liberal government too.

And as for me? I will be watching the cricket. You folks have your own passions, and I have mine.

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Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

This article at News Online suggests the Coalition is likely to win. A Newspoll conducted early this week showed:
The Coalition’s primary vote in the marginals is 47 per cent, compared with Labor’s 40 per cent. On a two-party preferred basis, the Coalition has an election-winning lead of 51.5 per cent to 48.5 per cent.
Labor’s chances of victory appear to rest with most of those uncertain voters shifting to Mr Latham at the last minute.
The Newspoll survey, conducted exclusively for The Australian in the Coalition’s 12 most marginal seats early this week, suggests Labor cannot win key marginal seats and the Government could even get a bigger majority if Labor fears of losing the Tasmanian timber seats of Bass and Braddon are realised.
Latham’s latest gambit also suggests the ALP’s internal polling is showing they’re in big trouble:
LABOR’S chances of victory tomorrow appear to be slipping away as a passionate and desperate Mark Latham yesterday played the race card, reviving John Howard’s infamous anti-Asian immigration views of 20 years ago.
After weeks of what he describes as false advertising and lies about his time at Sydney’s Liverpool Council, the Labor leader lashed out at the Prime Minister, accusing him of being “racially discriminatory” and “disgraceful” on Asian immigration in the 1980s. …
After pledging to run a positive campaign, Mr Latham moved to win over undecided voters with a vitriolic attack against Mr Howard yesterday, accusing him of misleading voters over Australia’s involvement in the Iraq war and supporting an anti-Asian immigration policy.
It smacks of nothing-to-lose desperation IMO. The Galaxy Poll (Daily Telegraph) also shows the Coalition with an election-winning lead of 52-48 (although that’s right on the error margin with a sample size of 1200). I assume the flagship Newspoll, Morgan and ACNeilsen polls will be out later today. They should finally tell the story, unless there are still lots of undecideds who do a Kennett at the very last moment. But Howard is too smart and experienced to display Kennett-style arrogance. Hence his suggestion that a returned Coalition government would “try” to reduce the top marginal tax rate from 47%. On the other hand, maybe Treasury’s vindication of the affordability of Labor’s tax and family plan might help to grab some of those unecided voters. And telephone polling almost certainly undersamples young people who might be expected to favour Labor, because they’re less often at home and many rely solely on a mobile phone. Presumably Latham’s announcement on Tasmanian old growth forests was aimed at those sorts of urban voters (and other urban undecideds): a calculated? trade-off for one or possibly two Tasmanian seats. It’s at least conceivable that this might induce a last-minute and so far unmeasured swing to Labor.

The bottom line? Buggered if I know, but the preponderance of evidence pending the flagship polls still suggests Howard to win.

Amanda
2022 years ago

That was not “playing the race card” or particularly desperate. He brought it up once in relation to attacks on his own past. He wasn’t running ads on it, or going on about it at every opportunity.

Politically, reminding people about it on 2GB wasn’t the smartest thing though, alot of the people listening would agree with immigration restrictions. Another reason to vote for the Libs!

John
John
2022 years ago

I’m not sure that the treasuries findings are going to be enough to counter the publicity over Latham supposedly admitting the possibility of a tax rise, it got a hell of a lot of airplay over here in the West, I suspect that comment was taken out of context but the message is out there.
And Medicare gold has taken so many hits on the economic sustainability front from so called “experts” that it is starting to look more like a noose than an election winner.
All we can do now is pray.

scot
2022 years ago

Howard was talking about not just “immigration restrictions” but immigration restrictions based on the race of the potential immigrant and that is why he is such a despicable human being.

Exactly at the same time while ‘Major Latham’ may or may not have been mismanaging Liverpool council, Howard was banging on about ‘Asian immigration’ and bunch of other reactionary gumpf that he only dropped once he realised it was electoral poison (and not because he recognised it was a Bad Thing in and of itself).

Latham’s point was if Howard wants to do nothing nothing but dredge up the past, then Howard had better watch out because there are far more bodies in concrete boots at the bottom of Howard’s particularly polluted little ocean than anyone in the Labor camp.

I don’t know why the ALP hasn’t counterattacked with Howard’s record as the ‘bottom of the harbour’ Treasurer in the dying stages of the Fraser Government either. But that’s because I suspect they want to talk about the future, not the past, which is the only place Howard is comfortable with.

Bryan Palmer
2022 years ago

From an analytical perspective, the chart in the Policy Magazine breaks down if it is extended back to the Menzies era.

thersites
thersites
2022 years ago

Scotts observation that electoral swings in general tend to favor the opposition makes for some interesting post election crystal ball gazing given that the outcome appears as though it will be close either way. Especially as the current election is being held during a period of sustained economic properity and periods like thais cant endure endlessly. Will any government elected with a slender majority this weekend be able to survive in 3 years time (provided any opposition remains strong and credible and doesnt implode)?

May a narrow loss actually be in the longer term political interests or either Latham or Costello?

Don Wigan
Don Wigan
2022 years ago

Ken, as a Darwinian you may be able to answer this for me.

Solomon is among the marginals Newspoll predicts to remain with the coalition.

My impression from afar is that the incumbent’s antics would just about put him out of the race, especially that one about his dog.

I know the NT is notorious for pollies making berks of themselves and still winning, but I expect this guy is beyond redemption.

What’s yours and local feeling on him?

If you think he’s gone, what does it say about Newspoll?

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Don

I don’t detect a strong feeling against Dave Tollner in the Darwin community. As you hinted, he’s not really any worse than a whole swag of boofhead politicians in the NT, both past and present. The Newspoll marginals poll detects no movement in Solomon, but of course the sample size is too small to be terribly meaningful. So I’m afraid I just can’t tell you. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Labor’s Jim Davidson (an excellent candidate and a good bloke) gets across the line, but I expect it to be very very close.

Incidentally the NT News today declined to endorse either party, merely commenting that the Coalition was stronger on the economy, defence and national security, and Labor better on health, education and environment.

Tony.T
2022 years ago

The Herald Sun today gave a solid endorsement of the Coalition …

http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,11010157%255E24218,00.html

They did the same for Kennett.

Tony.T
2022 years ago

While I think about it. In Vic in ’99, Newspoll on the Saturday morning had the parties 50/50 on TPP, and Labor’s policy of targetting soft marginals enabled them to sneak home even though the Coalition vote held up well through Melbourne.

This time round it’s entirely possible that because Howard has payed far more attention to the marginal details, Labor will comfortably win the TPP overall (I expect this to happen) but not win the election because Howard has done heaps to protect the soft seats.

And speaking as a “worried” Righty, hopefully Howard’s tactics pay off, but Latham’s seemed mighty confident this last couple of weeks, maybe he know’s something we don’t, but he’s been oozing some of that famed smart-mouthed, sledging demeanour that if it’s annoying now, would be fvckin’ unbearable should Labor win.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

I should also record that I reckon Latham has campaigned just about as well as anyone could have hoped, and far better than I expected him to achieve. He’s given Labor the best shot possible at winning*. If he fails, it will be solely because of the “devil you know in prosperous but dangerous times” factor, and no reflection at all on Latham himself. I would expect the ALP to unite behind him in a close defeat situation (cf 1969), and I reckon Labor will almost certainly win next time, because the Coalition’s economic credentials are almost bound to have been dented by then and Howard will (probably) have retired. Don Arthur’s comment about staging a “Don’s Party” on Saturday night might well prove prophetic. Shame he hasn’t got a webcam and Windows Media Encoder etc. He could run a live webcast of Don’s Party!

* Leaving aside the fact that I still reckon Labor would have done better to start selling their big-ticket vision policies (especially in health and education) much earlier, to give them a better chance of penetrating the fog. It would still have been possible to release aditional updates during the campaign proper, to get air-time when the undecideds were tuned in. I notice Kerry O’Brien focused on this aspect of Labor’s campaign when he interviewed Latham last night, and made the same comparison I’ve done previously with Whitlam’s “It’s Time” strategy in 1972.

I don’t know about others, but I’m finding it quite hard to remember exactly which party’s policies are which in many areas, ebcause they’ve all been released in such haste over a short time frame. And that’s despite paying very close attention and even writing analytical blog posts about many of these policies. Maybe it’s early onset Alzheimer’s, but more likely the vast majority of voters will have significantly less recollection or understanding of the respective policies than me.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

I’m attending Kirsty’s Party tomorrow night: lamb on a spit – interesting, given Kirsty’s a vego – and lots of innerurbanati baying for Howard’s blood. I’m only going on the proviso that I can be left alone with Anthony Green and unlimited access to refreshments. Some things are too important for mere human interaction to take precedence.

I’m still picking a Labor win. Something like this maybe:

ALP gains 14

Canning WA
Solomon NT
Hinkler QLD
Moreton QLD
Dobell NSW
Parramatta NSW
Hindmarsh SA
Adelaide SA
Eden-Monaro NSW
Richmond NSW
Wentworth NSW
Cunningham NSW
Gippsland VIC
Bowman QLD

ALP loses 1

Bass TAS

CLP gone (woof! woof! Dave Tollner)
Greens gone (though you’ll be able to see where they’ve been in the inner cities and Richmond)

This will result in a House of Reps that looks like this:

ALP 76
Libs 60
Nats 11
Ind 3

With one of the independents appointed as Speaker (not, I think, Bob Katter), this would give Labor an overall working majority of 1.

This prediction was arrived at without benefit of scientific analysis so there’s no point in demanding to know who my pollster is.

I don’t want anyone from that crazy, defeatist mob at ‘Back Pages’ running over here to scream hysterical thanks. You should all just take a valium and lie down till the polls open.

True RWDB
True RWDB
2022 years ago

Looking through that list, Geoff, I think you’ve pretty well got it. I will have despaired into bed fairly early in the night (I have a low tolerance for pain). My only schadenfreude will be the defeat of Turnbull. A small consolation prize, no doubt. As well as the opportunity to write Latham-hating letters to the SMH (unpublishable of course) for the next two or more terms.

When do you think I could start displaying my “Don’t blame me, I voted Liberal” sticker – one week, two weeks or perhaps on Sunday?

Tony.T
2022 years ago

Geoff, pity Kirsty isn’t called Don. Perhaps you could convince her to change it for the night to tempt a repeat of history.

The ALP might lose Greenway to the Christians and also McMillan here in Braxtoria. In McMillan a re-distribution means they now need a swing TO them of more than two percent, but it is a combination of tollway nastiness and angry woodchoppers.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Apropos Don Wigan’s query on opinions about Dave Tollner (incumbent Coalition MP for Solomon, Australia’s most marginal seat, held by a margin of 88 votes). My 16 year old daughter Rebecca tells me this afternoon that everyone in her Year 11 Politics class thinks Tollner is a complete fuckwit and they wouldn’t vote for him if their lives depended on it.

But none of them have the vote yet. And they all (including Rebecca) expect John Howard to win (as do I, but Rebecca reached that conclusion quite independent of my influence – although she shares a wish for Labor to win). And their Politics teacher is distinctly Labor-leaning. So does this attitude really reflect the electorally-franchised yoof vote? And to what extent is the yoof vote under-represented in the flagship telephone polls of Newspoll and ACNeilsen? We’ll know in not much more than 24 hours from now.

Jacques Chester
Jacques Chester
2022 years ago

I came out of primary school a deadset labor supporter. I came out of highschool still labor-leaning but skeptical. I read a few books by various sides, and now I’m a one-eyed radical liberal.

Politics classes are an entirely self-selected set, Ken. The teachers are 3:1 labor loonies and the students not much better.

Modern politics is bunkum, but I’ll still be manning a booth tomorrow …

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Geoff, I think there will be more than 3 seats falling to Labor in Queensland but Hinkler may not be one of them – it was there for the asking but they’ve got the wrong candidate. Swap it for Bonner and add Herbert and Moreton, and possibly Dickson and Longman.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Ken, just out of interest – what’s involved in the Politics curriculum in the NT – from what you’ve heard from Rebecca? As far as I know, there’s no equivalent in Qld though some stuff gets a run in SOSE and Legal Studies.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

hmmm. I’ve been wondering if I should resign my membership of the Australian Political Science Association since my predictions appear in retrospect to have been inspired much more by hope than reason. Still, I will be interested in the psephological analyses down the track – I suspect a Latham win was a plausible scenario – given the number of undecided voters – I think we now have an answer as to which way undecided voters break in Australian politics.

trackback
2022 years ago

Election Eve

I cannot call the election. It is beyond me. I don’t have the skills or the knowledge to do so.

trackback
2022 years ago

The straightjacket or the Speedos?

So with mere hours to go until the 2004 Federal election, how’s everyone out there feeling? Can Latham buck the odds and get across the line or will John Howard win his fourth term? As Graham points out, the Coaltion…