Sunday, June 26, 2022

The Crossbench

The crossbench in the 2019 House of Representatives had six members: Adam Bandt (GRN/Melbourne), Helen Haines (Ind/Indi), Bob Katter (KAP/Kennedy), Rebekah Sharkie (CA/Mayo), Zali Steggall (Ind/Warringah), and Andrew Wilkie (Ind/Clark).

After the 2022 election the crossbench has 16 members. All of the crossbench members from the 2019 Parliament were returned. In addition there are 10 new members: Stephen Bates (GRN/Brisbane), Max Chandler-Mather (GRN/Griffith), Kate Chaney (Ind/Curtin), Zoe Daniel (Ind/Goldstein), Dai Le (Ind/Fowler), Monique Ryan (Ind/Kooyong), Sophie Scamps (Ind/Mackellar), Allegra Spender (Ind/Wentworth), Kylea Tink (Ind/North Sydney), and Elizabeth Watson-Brown (GRN/Ryan).

According to the two-party preferred (2PP) count of votes, the crossbench took nine seats from the Coalition and seven seats from Labor.

The notionally Coalition seats are as follows. The swings in this table are the swings in percentage points towards the Coalition (+), or away from the Coalition (-).

State 2PP Coalition Percentage 2PP Labor Percentage Swing

North Sydney NSW 51.26 48.74 -8.01
Warringah NSW 51.43 48.57 -0.69
Kooyong VIC 54.18 45.82 -2.21
Goldstein VIC 54.80 45.20 -2.99
Indi VIC 55.26 44.74 -7.47
Curtin WA 55.60 44.40 -8.35
Wentworth NSW 55.92 44.08 -3.93
Mackellar NSW 58.60 41.40 -4.62
Kennedy QLD 60.16 39.84 -4.35

The notionally Labor seats are as follows.

State 2PP Coalition Percentage 2PP Labor Percentage Swing

Mayo SA 48.41 51.59 -4.13
Ryan QLD 47.58 52.42 -8.45
Brisbane QLD 45.60 54.40 -9.32
Fowler NSW 44.28 55.72 8.27
Griffith QLD 38.93 61.07 -8.21
Clark TAS 32.76 67.24 -1.07
Melbourne VIC 22.09 77.91 -10.11

Of note, Fowler is the only one of these crossbench seats that saw a 2PP swing to the Coalition. Mayo, which is held by Rebekah Sharkie (CA) has gone from being a notionally Coalition seat to a notionally Labor seat, according to the two-party preferred count. Brisbane and Ryan in Queensland, now held by the Greens, have transitioned from being Coalition seats to being notionally Labor seats. 

And a quick look at these seats ...


Saturday, June 25, 2022

Poll performance - 2022 Australian Federal Election

Now that the count is complete we can look at the performance of the final polls immediately prior to the 2022 Australian Federal Election. In terms of the final two party preferred (TPP) outcome, in which Labor won 52.13 per cent of that vote, all of the final polls performed well. The final estimates of TPP voting intention were all well within the margin of error. This is a substantial improvement on performance in 2019.

However, there was some patchiness among the these final polls when it came to estimating the first preference primary votes for each of the major parties. Only the final poll from Resolve Strategic had each primary vote estimate within the 2-sigma margin of error when compared with the election result. The other polls had a tendency to over-estimate Labor's primary vote share and/or under estimate the vote for one or more of the minor parties and independents.

We can sum the absolute values of the differences between the final poll estimate for each party from each pollster and the election outcome, to rank the performance of these final polls in terms of providing an estimate of the election outcome. 

Cautionary Note: This poll ranking should not be seen as a ranking of the pollsters. We expect polls to be randomly distributed around a mean. If we assume ceteris paribus, then then it is just luck (or randomness) as to whether the final poll from one pollster would be closer to the election result or not (when compared with another pollster).

Also note: where pollsters have provided an effective sample size (ESS), this was used to calculate the margin of error. Otherwise the reported sample size was used. 

Link: the Jupyter Notebook for these charts can be found here.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Update on the count

One week after the election, and we are still not absolutely clear on whether Labor can form majority government (though it does seem likely). My conservative attribution of seats is as follows. 

My allocated seats are as follows.

  • Labor: 74 - (Adelaide, Ballarat, Barton, Bean, Bendigo, Bennelong, Blair, Blaxland, Boothby, Brand, Bruce, Burt, Calwell, Canberra, Chifley, Chisholm, Cooper, Corangamite, Corio, Cowan, Cunningham, Dobell, Dunkley, Eden-Monaro, Fenner, Franklin, Fraser, Fremantle, Gellibrand, Gorton, Grayndler, Greenway, Hasluck, Hawke, Higgins, Hindmarsh, Holt, Hotham, Hunter, Isaacs, Jagajaga, Kingsford Smith, Kingston, Lalor, Lilley, Lyons, Macarthur, Macquarie, Makin, Maribyrnong, McEwen, McMahon, Moreton, Newcastle, Oxley, Parramatta, Paterson, Pearce, Perth, Rankin, Reid, Richmond, Robertson, Scullin, Shortland, Solomon, Spence, Swan, Sydney, Tangney, Watson, Werriwa, Whitlam, Wills)
  • Coalition: 58 - (Aston, Banks, Barker, Bass, Berowra, Bonner, Bowman, Braddon, Bradfield, Calare, Canning, Capricornia, Casey, Cook, Cowper, Dawson, Deakin, Dickson, Durack, Fadden, Fairfax, Farrer, Fisher, Flinders, Flynn, Forde, Forrest, Gippsland, Grey, Groom, Herbert, Hinkler, Hughes, Hume, La Trobe, Leichhardt, Lindsay, Longman, Lyne, Mallee, Maranoa, McPherson, Menzies, Mitchell, Monash, Moncrieff, Moore, New England, Nicholls, O'Connor, Page, Parkes, Petrie, Riverina, Sturt, Wannon, Wide Bay, Wright)
  • Independent: 10 - (Clark, Curtin, Fowler, Goldstein, Indi, Kooyong, Mackellar, North Sydney, Warringah, Wentworth) 
  • Green: 3 - (Griffith, Melbourne, Ryan)
  • Other: 2 - (Kennedy, Mayo)

And my unallocated seats are: Brisbane, Gilmore, Lingiari, and Macnamara. These seats have the following first preferences.

Brisbane and Macnamara will be won by either the Greens or Labor, based on preference flows. Which ever party comes third in the preferential count will determine this outcome. The AEC is about half-way through its three candidate counts in Brisbane and Macnamara. At this point in the count, Labor is in first position, and it is likely to win Macnamara. The Greens are just ahead of Labor for second position in Brisbane, and likely to win on Labor preferences. 

The next chart is based on the two-candidate preferred (TCP) counts from the AEC. The counts for Brisbane and Macnamara may have the wrong candidates. This will be determined by the three-candidate counts currently underway.

My system has not allocated Lingiari, because the TCP vote count is low. However, this seat is highly likely to go to Labor. 

Gilmore will continue to be counted for the rest of next week, until postal votes close.  For sake of the next chart, let's assume the Coalition remains ahead.

Based on the current state of the count, the most likely outcome looks like:

But if Gilmore flips, it will be Labor on 77 and the Coalition on 58.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

State of the House (10am Tuesday)

Using the latest data from the Australian Electoral Commission, this is my take on the official count.

Let's start by allocating those seats where the two-candidate preferred vote (2cp) is higher than 51.5 per cent, and where the official 2cp count is greater than 50 per cent of enrolments in the division.

This allocates 71 seats to Labor: Adelaide, Ballarat, Barton, Bean, Bendigo, Blair, Blaxland, Boothby, Brand, Bruce, Burt, Calwell, Chifley, Chisholm, Cooper, Corangamite, Corio, Cowan, Cunningham, Dobell, Dunkley, Eden-Monaro, Fenner, Franklin, Fraser, Fremantle, Gorton, Grayndler, Greenway, Hasluck, Hawke, Higgins, Hindmarsh, Holt, Hotham, Hunter, Isaacs, Jagajaga, Kingsford Smith, Kingston, Lalor, Lilley, Macarthur, Macnamara, Macquarie, Makin, Maribyrnong, McEwen, McMahon, Moreton, Newcastle, Oxley, Parramatta, Paterson, Pearce, Perth, Rankin, Reid, Richmond, Robertson, Scullin, Shortland, Solomon, Spence, Swan, Sydney, Tangney, Watson, Werriwa, Whitlam, and Wills.

It allocates 46 seats to the Coalition: Aston, Banks, Barker, Berowra, Bonner, Bowman, Braddon, Canning, Capricornia, Cook, Cowper, Dawson, Dickson, Durack, Fadden, Fairfax, Farrer, Fisher, Flinders, Flynn, Forde, Forrest, Gippsland, Groom, Herbert, Hughes, Hume, La Trobe, Leichhardt, Lindsay, Longman, Lyne, Mallee, McPherson, Mitchell, Monash, Moncrieff, New England, Nicholls, O'Connor, Page, Parkes, Petrie, Riverina, Wide Bay, and Wright.

And it allocates 12 seats to the cross-bench: Clark, Curtin, Fowler, Goldstein, Indi, Kennedy, Kooyong, Mackellar, Mayo, North Sydney, Warringah, and Wentworth.

It leaves us with 22 seats where either the count is close or the official 2cp counts is not well progressed. [In the case of Brisbane and Wannon, the official 2cp count has not (re-)started].

Some of these we can clear up quickly. Based on first preference votes, and likely preference allocations, we can add the following seats to the Coalition, bringing the Coalition to 56

  • Wannon will be retained by the Coalition.
  • Maranoa is on the list above because of a TCP realignment. It will go to the Coalition.
  • Wannon is on the list above because of a TCP realignment. It will go to the Coalition.
  • Bradfield, similarly, will be retained by the Coalition.
  • Calare will be retained by the Coalition.
  • Hinkler will be retained by the Coalition 
  • Grey should be held by the Coalition 
  • Casey should be retained by the Coalition
  • Moore should be retained by the Coalition 
  • Menzies should be retained by the Coalition

We can add the following seats to Labor, bringing the Labor total to 75

  • Canberra will be retained by Labor
  • Gelibrand will be retained by Labor
  • Lingiari will be retained by Labor
  • Benelong should be won by Labor

 And we can these seats to the cross-bench, bringing its total to 14.

  • No-one doubts that Melbourne will be won by the Greens
  • The Greens are well placed to win Griffith
From here the landscape is a little less clear. The Coalition may pick up these two seats bringing them to 58 seats.
  • Bass is a possible Coalition win, but if not this will go to Labor.
  • Sturt is a possible Coalition win, but otherwise it will go to Labor

Labor are in the running to win one more seat, bringing their total to 76 seats.

  •  Labor is ahead in Lyons, but if not this will go to the Coalition.

The Greens are in the running to pick one more seat, bringing the cross-bench to 15 seats.

  • The Greens look ahead in Brisbane, if not Labor will win this seat.


  • Gilmore is just too close to speculate (but it is between the Coalition and Labor)
  • Deakin is just too close to speculate (but it is between the Coalition and Labor)

In summary, the likely outcome is:

  • Labor is likely to win 76 seats (could get as high as 78 or 79)
  • The Coalition are likely to get 58 seats (could get as high as 60 seats).
  • The cross-bench is likely to win 15 seats.

Monday, May 23, 2022

An early look at swings

With the count now approach 75% complete, any look at swings is subject to further change, nonetheless I thought it worthwhile to get a sense of what happened where.

In terms of the two-party preferred (2pp) vote, labor gained in all states except Tasmania. But note this is an early and incomplete count. The 2pp count is not as progressed as the first preference counts, nor the two-candidate preferred (2cp) counts. And the 2pp counts have not commenced in something like 26 seats. For each state they are only 50 to 60 per cent complete, with the count completion provided on the left hand side of this chart.

With the first preference votes for the Greens, the Greens improved their overall performance in every state.

The Coalition experienced a first-preference swing against it in every state.

Labor had a mixed performance, with three states increasing Labor's first preference share, and 5 states reducing it.

The United Australia Party managed positive swings in five states and negative swings in three states.

One nation had a positive swing in six states and a negative swing in two.

Everyone else (which includes the independents) had a positive swing in six states and a negative swing in two.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Did we have a polling fail in 2022

Although the count is only two thirds completed, we can start to look at how the final polls before the 2022 Australian Federal Election compared with the 95 per cent margin of error your would expect from random sample opinion polling. Note: I updated this post when the election count was completed.

Headline: While the two-party preferred (2pp) estimates from the pollster's final polls this election look good, all of the pollsters had some struggles when it came to the estimating the primary vote shares for the parties. Pollsters particularly had challenges with Labor's primary vote, the vote for the United Australia Party and the vote for Others.

In each of the charts below we have looked at whether to polls individually or collectively over or under-estimated the vote share seen so far in the 2022 Election. 

To provide a benchmark for assessing the polls, I have also calculated the 95 per cent confidence interval based on the reported sample size on Wikipedia.

Caveats: First, the error bars in the following charts were calculated from the headline reported sample size, not the effective sample size reported by the pollster as a consequence of stratification and weighting. Second, these results are likely to change somewhat between now and when the count has been completed.

Initial reflections on the election

Well that was a little unusual. And while it is still early in the count, we can make some observations. 

  • First, the election saw a huge repudiation of the Coalition under Scott Morrison in all states but Tasmania, but only a lukewarm embrace for Labor in all states but Western Australia. If labor gets to majority government it will be because of its superlative performance in Western Australia. 
  • Second we saw Labor struggling to convert a respectable two-party preferred vote of around 52.4 per cent into a majority of seats in the House. The Labor primary vote is very low by historical standards, currently at 32.8 per cent. I can remember a time when the conventional wisdom was that Labor could not win with a primary vote below 40 per cent. 
  • Third, the Greens and green-leaning independents did stunningly well in many city based Coalition seats. It is primarily in wealthy urban areas that the Coalition has lost many of its traditional heartland seats. This loss of their heartland could make it very hard for the Coalition to return to majority government for a number of election cycles.

In addition to retaining Warringah (NSW), Indi (Vic), and Clark (Tas), it looks like independents have picked up 7 seats, with a further 1 seat still a possibility. Likely gains include Kooyong (Vic), Flowler (NSW, a Labor loss), Curtin (WA), North Sydney (NSW), Goldstein (Vic), Wentworth (NSW), Mackellar (NSW), The seat where an independent is still a possibility is Cowper (NSW).

In addition to retaining Melbourne (Vic) the Greens look well placed in Ryan (Qld, a former Coalition seat) and Griffith (Qld, a former Labor seat). The Greens are still in the race in Richmond (NSW, Labor), Brisbane (Qld, a former Coalition seat) and possibly Macnamara (Vic).

The one-seat, minor parties in Mayo (SA, Sharkie) and Kennedy (Qld, Katter) will be returned. 

The new parliament could see the cross bench expand from 6 to at least 13 and possibly as high as 18.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

The seats to watch at your 2022 election party

I know, you are busy, and it is too hard to get your head around the intricacies of 151 electorates. But here’s the secret: Most seats in the Australian Parliament are unlikely to change hands. This is my pick of the seats you should keep an eye on. By just watching a few seats, and ticking them off as they are decided, you should be able to get a good idea who is winning early in the evening. 

The baseline

The Australian Parliament has 151 seats. For majority government a party needs to win 76 seats. In the most recent parliament, the Coalition had 77 seats. Coming into the election (with seat boundary changes) it has a notional 76 seats. Similarly, while Labor had 68 seats in the last Parliament, coming into the election it has a notional 69 seats. And there were 6 seats for the crossbench.

The headline message is that Labor must win seven additional seats to achieve majority government, without losing any of its existing seats to the Greens on its left flank, or the Coalition on the right.

The Coalition cannot afford to lose any seats if it is to retain majority government. The Coalition faces tough fights from Labor, which is well ahead in the published opinion polls. It also faces challenges from the (so called) Teal independents in several inner-city seats.

If neither the Coalition nor the Labor Party can achieve majority government, one of these parties will need to negotiate with the crossbench for their support before that party can form government. This process last happened in 2010, and it took 17 days after the election before the Government was settled.

Most pundits expect all six of the existing crossbench seats will be retained by their current occupants. Many pundits believe there is a reasonable prospect of the crossbench being increased at the 2022 election.

The seven (or more) seats Labor would be looking to win

Note: if a big swing against the Coalition occurs, many more seats would be won by Labor. This list should give you a sense on Saturday night as to whether Labor can form majority government or not.

  • Bass (Tas) – Coalition held – 0.4% -
  • Chisholm (Vic) – Coalition held – 0.5%
  • Boothby (SA) – Coalition held – 1.4%
  • Higgins (Vic) – Coalition held – 2.6% – the Greens also have a slim chance with this seat
  • Braddon (Tas) – Coalition held – 3.1%
  • Reid (NSW) – Coalition held – 3.2%
  • Swan (WA) – Coalition held – 3.2%
  • Longman (Qld) – Coalition held 3.3%
  • Leichardt (Qld) – Coalition held – 4.2%
  • Robertson (NSW) – Coalition held - 4.2%
  • Casey (Vic) – Coalition held – 4.6%
  • Dickson (Qld) – Coalition held -4.6%
  • Deakin (Vic) – Coalition held – 4.7%
  • Lindsay (NSW) – Coalition held – 5.0%
  • La Trobe (Vic) – Coalition held – 5.1%
  • Pearce (WA) – Coalition held – 5.2%

The seats Labor needs to hold on to (but also see Green possible wins below)

  • Macquarie (NSW) – Labor held – 0.2%
  • Lilley (Qld) – Labor held – 0.6%
  • Cowan (WA) – Labor held – 0.9%
  • Eden-Monaro (NSW) – Labor held – 0.9%
  • Corangamite (Vic) – Labor held – 1.1%
  • Blair (Qld) – Labor Held – 1.2%
  • Hunter (NSW) – Labor Held – 3.0% – Fitzgibbon has retired – a coal seat

Where independents have some chance of picking up another seat from the Coalition

  • Goldstein (Vic) – Coalition held – 7.8% – Tim Wilson is the incumbent and Zoe Daniels is the independent challenger
  • Kooyong (Vic) – Coalition held – 6.4% – Josh Frydenberg is the incumbent and Monique Ryan is the independent challenger
  • Wentworth (NSW) – Coalition held – 1.3% (TCP vs Ind.) – Dave Sharma is the incumbent and Allegra Spender is the challenger
  • North Sydney (NSW) – Coalition held – 9.3% - Trent Zimmerman is the incumbent and Kylie Tink is the challenger
  • Curtin (WA) – Coalition held – 13.9% – Celia Hammond is the incumbent and Kate Chaney is the challenger
  • Nicholls (Vic) – Coalition Held – 20.0%  – Because the former incumbent retired, Nichols is a rare three-way contest between Steven Brooks (Liberal), Sam Birrell (National) and Rob Priestly (independent)

Where the Greens have some chance of picking up another seat

While I think an additional Green seat is semi-unlikely, they may prove competitive in one of these seats.

  • Brisbane (Qld) – Coalition held – 4.9%
  • Ryan (Qld) – Coalition held – 6.0%
  • Griffith (Qld) – Labor held – 2.9%
  • Macnamara (Vic) – Labor held – 4.9%
  • Wills (Vic) – Labor held – 8.2% (TCP vs Green)

Links to useful sites


Friday, May 20, 2022

2022 Final Polls and Forecast

Newspoll has just landed with a published two-party preferred (2pp) estimate of 53 to 47 per cent for Labor. This completes the polls for the 2022 Australian Federal Election. Rather than use published 2pp estimates, I calculate my own 2pp estimate for each pollster using the pollster's primary vote estimates and the preference flows from the previous election. May calculations for the latest polls are as follows.

This represents a small narrowing for Newspoll over the previous poll in the series. More generally we can see that the polls have tightened over the past 3 months.

The average 2pp estimate for the Coalition over the six polls highlighted above is 47.1 per cent. If this was repeated at the election tomorrow, almost certainly it would be a large win for an incoming Labor government. However, our experience with the 2019 election, and the substantial polling failure at that election urges caution. 

When I look at all elections since 1983, I note that the polls have been more likely to be incorrect when they have Labor in front. Adjusting for the historic weakness in the polls, I expect Labor to attract something like 51.1 per cent of the 2pp vote at tomorrow's election. In terms of a highest density interval (analogous to a Bayesian confidence interval), I have labor with a 94 per cent probability that its 2pp election result will be between 48.3 per cent and 53.8 per cent. I expect the Coalition will achieve something like 48.9 per cent of the 2pp vote share. I have the Coalition's 94 per cent HDI in the range from 46.2 to 51.7 per cent. 

The observation about the polls comes from a regression. I have now cross checked this regression as calculated in the Bayesian model (using Student's t distribution) with a simpler Gaussian regression from classical statistics over the same domain. The results are very close.

The other really interesting question this election is how many independents and minor party representatives will be elected. The polling estimate for primary votes for non-Liberal/Labor candidates is 29.1 per cent, up from 25.2 per cent in 2019. Translating the possible increase in primary votes to seats for independents is something that I have found difficult to model, and I suspect my most likely projection of 7 seats (an increase of 1) is an under estimate.

Agsin this is based on a regression, which I have now cross checked between the Bayesian model and a regression from classical statistics.

Then I have estimated how many seats both major parties would win if there were no minor parties. I have then adjusted for the minor parties.

For completeness, here are the regressions that underpin this calculation.

My mean prediction is a Parliament with around 77 Labor seats, 66 Coalition seats and 7 Independents and minor parties. The astute will note that this sums to 150 when there 151 seats in Parliament, welcome to the joys of rounding.

In terms of the Parliamentary outcome, the model sees a 60.4 per cent probability of a Labor majority government, a 24.7 per cent probability of a hung parliament (where the eventual winner would need to be negotiated with the cross-bench), and a 14.8 per cent probability of a majority Coalition government.

Please compare this model with what others have done. Have a look at: Buckley's and None, Australian Election Forecasts, and Armarium Interreta.

The usual caveats 

The estimate of cross-bench seats in Parliament is the weakest element of this model. My intuition is that there are special factors at play this election that are likely to see more independents take seats, primarily from the Coalition. 
If you want to see how the sausage was made, the Jupyter Notebook is on GitHub.

Finally, there are no guarantees with this model. It has been hastily put together in the last week of an election campaign. It has not been back-tested. It is a macro-level model in nature. So, do not blame me if you place bets based on this model and you lose your money, that's your problem.