Friday, May 18, 2018

Cable car catch-up

Not everyone notices when I post links to updates on the sidebar, so for those who read from the top, just a very quick note that I have updated my old article on polling on the proposed kunanyi/Mt Wellington Cable Car following the release of two new polls by groups opposed to the project.

I thought I'd highlight this with a note at the top because I'm actually mildly annoyed about it.  Up til now it has only been the prospective developers of the cable car through time who have engaged in the usual silly commissioned-poll games involving misleading polls with biased preambles.

Now it's both sides.

If you respect the mountain, you should also respect the facts.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

EMRS: No Real Change Since Election

EMRS: Liberal 47 (-3.2 from election), Labor 30 (-2.8), Green 14 (+3.7) Ind/Other 8 (+1.2)
Interpretation: Liberal 49.5 (-0.7) Labor 31.5 (-1.3) Green 11 (+0.7) Ind/Other 8
Outcome if election "held now" based on this poll: Liberal majority government (c. 13-9-3)
However it is unlikely in practice Greens would be in a position to regain Bass so quickly.
Poll provides no evidence that any party's support has changed.

The December 2017 EMRS poll, taken three months out from the 2018 state election, proved to be completely unpredictive of the outcome.  It had a 17% swing against the Government (the actual swing in the end was 1%), a 3.2% swing to the Greens (the actual swing was 3.5% against) and an 8% vote for the Jacqui Lambie Network (who in the end got 3.2).  If a poll taken three months out is predictively worse than useless, what can we say of one taken two months into an expected four-year term?

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Expected "Super Saturday" By-Elections

Today's four resignations from the House of Representatives following the Section 44 disqualification of Labor Senator Katy Gallagher is expected to trigger a day of at least five by-elections, or at least a cluster of by-elections close to each other.  The following seats are affected:

Braddon, TAS (ALP, 2.2%)
Fremantle, WA (ALP, 7.5%)
Longman, QLD (ALP, 0.8%)
Mayo, SA (Centre Alliance vs Lib, 5.0%; Lib vs ALP 5.4%)
Perth, WA (ALP, 3.3%) 

See The Tally Room for detailed histories of these seats.  Also see the Poll Bludger thread for Perth.  All seats will be contested on the old boundaries, irrespective of redistributions.

It's possible that given the strictness of the High Court's ruling, other MPs may come under pressure to resign or be referred to the High Court (note: as of Friday the media are suddenly all over the Anne Aly story, which has been known via Jeremy Gans' Twitter comments for months), though the Coalition may not be in any great hurry to hunt down any more and invite more scrutiny of its own remaining unclear cases.  The by-elections are not just a nuisance for Labor, but also for the Coalition, which must either throw resources into contesting them seriously or else chicken out and leave voters wondering what all the fuss was about.

Australia has never had a day with five federal by-elections before, so it would be quite a novelty.  Three were held on the same day in 1981 and 1984.  In 1994 four were held across three weekends following a cluster of resignations, but the resignations came on different days.  At state level, NSW has often held multiple by-elections on the same day.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Legislative Council 2018: Hobart and Prosser Live And Postcount

Hobart: CALLED (7:15) Rob Valentine (IND) retain
Prosser: Howlett (Lib) leading Lambert (ALP) and expected to win.  Mav (IND) out.

Welcome to my live coverage thread for the 2018 Legislative Council elections for Hobart and Prosser.  After the craziest week in the Lower House in decades, we now come to the voting for two Legislative Council seats - Hobart, where Rob Valentine faces his first defence and Prosser, a new seat created by a redistribution.  The left currently has the numbers in the Legislative Council, care of four Labor MLCs and four left-wing independents, and that's not changing unless the Liberals can pull off a big upset in Hobart.  Indeed, should Prosser go badly for them, the balance will become even worse for the Hodgman government.  By the way, should a party-endorsed candidate win either seat then the party representation will reach a new all-time high (see the chart at Poll Bludger to see how the parties ebbed and flowed in the last several years.)

Comments will follow below the dotted line, scrolling from the earliest upwards. All the seats will be covered together.  I'm leaving this bit of text at the top to try to prevent colours from the heading running into the main text.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Mayhem On Day 1 As Hickey Nicks The Chair!

(NOTE: My very old 25 vs 35 seats article has been updated.)

The opening of the Tasmanian parliament on May the 1st was meant to be a routine affair.  After the election of the new Speaker we were expecting to start off with the ritual parliamentary theatre of a Greens no-confidence motion over the Liberals' failure to disclose any pokies-related donations prior to their re-election in March.  It seems to be the Greens' lot in life lately to have their thunder stolen but in this case they won't mind.  Former Hobart Lord Mayor Sue Hickey has decided that starting her parliamentary career on the backbench was not acceptable, and she's nabbed the Speakership instead.  

That part is by no means unprecedented.  In 1992, Ray Groom's Liberals won 19 of the then 35 seats and they nominated the flamboyant Michael Hodgman (Will's father) as Speaker.  However, Liberal Graeme Page and a colleague voted for Page and Page was elected Speaker with Labor and Green support, 18 votes to 17.  Previous Labor Speaker Michael Polley is generally credited with hatching the plot.  In this case there had been some speculation that the former Liberal Speaker Mark Shelton could do the same thing (if he wanted) but the Greens poured cold water on it.  While I did tweet that this year it would only take one renegade Liberal to repeat the dose, that tweet was better classified as a bit of stirring at Hidding's expense than a serious prediction.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Not-A-Poll: Worst PM Of The Last 45 Years

It's a little bit later than I intended but I've now found time to kick off the Worst PM Not-A-Poll as a sequel to the Best PM series that I ran for several months.  Voting in the sidebar, below the Prosser Not-A-Poll.  The first round will run until the end of May.  The rules are:

* this is intended as a shorter exercise than Best PM, so if there is not an outright majority in round 1 there will be a runoff between the top two only.

* in the case of a tie to get into the runoff, the PM who left office first will progress to the runoff.

* in the case of a tie in the runoff, the PM who received the most votes in round 1 will be deemed Worst PM.  If the two tied in round 1 as well they will be deemed equal worst.

* in the event of obvious or highly likely stacking by a single person I will deduct votes and declare changed results as I deem necessary - any changes will be logged as soon as I decide them.

* Gough Whitlam is not included as he won immunity by winning the Best PM Not-A-Poll series.

I do ask that people vote honestly.  It's common for supporters of political parties to automatically demonise the current PM while their party is in opposition, or the most recent PMs of the other side while their party is in government.  That said, you might honestly think the person that line of attack implies is the worst, and if that's the case, go for it.  (And no, this site doesn't make or break careers at federal level at least, so please don't vote for anyone on that basis.)

Worst PM will be followed by Worst Opposition Leader.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Poll Roundup: What Is Going On With Newspoll Preferences?

2PP Aggregate (Last-election preferences): 52.4 to Labor (-0.4 since last week,  -1.2 points in five weeks)
With One Nation adjustment, 51.8 to Labor 
Closest position since May last year
Labor would very probably win election held "right now", but would probably have a small to moderate majority

[Updated on 26 April at bottom of post]

------------------------

Normally I issue Poll Roundups every second Newspoll. Since the last one there's been the slight distraction of the Coalition's 30th consecutive 2PP Newspoll loss. This week's Newspoll was number 31 in a row, just two shy of equalling the longest losing streak held by Labor under Julia Gillard, but it was more significant for the discussion it has sparked about (i) Newspoll's preferencing methods (ii) the prospect of a Coalition recovery.  So firstly, a detailed discussion of the preferencing issue, and then a slightly shorter discussion of where things now stand in federal polling.

Newspoll as a brand name linked to a standard set of questions has a 33-year history in Australia.  However, in 2015 the company previously doing Newspoll for the Australian was wound up.  The Australian retained control over the brand, but its operation was contracted out to Galaxy Research (which in turn was recently acquired by YouGov).  While the questions didn't change when Galaxy took over, the methods did, with a mixture of robopolling and online polling replacing the old Newspoll's landline-only live phone polling, and an increase in average sample size.

Friday, April 20, 2018

How Could The Tasmanian Legislative Council Be Reformed?

In the leadup to Legislative Council elections for Prosser and Hobart, the fact that the current Legislative Council has a left-wing majority that seems likely to make life difficult for the re-elected Hodgman Liberal Government has been receiving some attention.  Since the balance of power in the LegCo is not likely to move much to the right this year at least, this raises the age-old questions of whether it is too easy for the Legislative Council to obstruct an elected Government, and if so what might be done to change it.

As I mention this is a very old debate, but the novelty in the present situation is having a left-wing LegCo overseeing a right wing government. Up until the late 1990s, malapportionment meant the other way round was much more common.  Discussion quickly turns to the unusual features of Tasmania's upper house system.  The system was designed to check perceived short-term democratic excesses and members are elected on a rotational basis with two or three of the fifteen seats coming up for their scheduled election every year.  There is no mechanism for a government that finds its legislation or even its budgets blocked to force the Legislative Council to an election, and the Legislative Council can never be dissolved all at the same time.  This makes it extremely powerful.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Disassociation From Tasmanian Times

Until yesterday there was an image link to this website in the sidebar of Tasmanian Times (which I ceased writing for in 2012).  Such as it was (I'm no graphic designer!), it looked like this:


However I have now decided to disassociate this site from Tasmanian Times to the maximum extent possible.

The nature of this decision is as follows:

1. It is no longer possible to reach this site via the sidebar on TT as the link has been removed at my request.

2. I have asked the TT editor to cease promoting and linking to my site on TT.

3. Barring a major improvement in TT moderation or other satisfactory solution, I will not post any more comments to TT in the future at all.  (Since leaving the site as a writer in 2012 I have only commented there rarely anyway.)

4. All future links to TT that I may post here in the course of my coverage or debate will be to a Wayback Machine version of the content only.