February 09, 2004

Beattie has a huge result, particularly in marginals

These are brief preliminary notes on the state election result and are the first of a series. We will keep the blog running for a little while yet as we analyse the results and look at some of the fallout. It will be some weeks before we can actually quantify the results of the election in terms of overall two-party preferred vote. At the moment we can only make best guesses on the results. This is the first of a series of shorter articles that will progressively examine the issues in the campaign. David Fraser will update his analysis at a later date, including the pendulum, this piece and following ones are all my own work. In this first piece I want to start to set the scene.

Before I do, some of this is going to be a bit technical, so here are the conclusions for the "time poor":

  • The two-party preferred swing is in the vicinity of 3.6% against the government

  • Beattie will have somewhere around 56% of the two-party preferred vote

  • There will be a net loss to the Government of three seats and a net gain to the Opposition of 5

  • The swing to the Coalition was mostly outside the marginal seats

  • More marginal seats under 3.6% moved away from the Coalition than moved to them

  • The Coalition marginal seats campaign was a disaster on the basis of its results

  • Swings

    To analyse the result we first need to work out what happened. The various party spinners, and a number of the “psephologists” are making this difficult because of the way they are using the word “swing”.

    Naturally everyone is trying to make their result look as good as they can. So the ALP is claiming that there was only a 1.74% swing against Beattie. This is based on their first preference vote. The National Party are claiming a 2.53% swing to them and the Liberal Party a 4.2% swing. These are all largely irrelevant figures on their own because they ignore the effect of minor party preferences. To a large extent the Coalition swings are really only the effect of the decline of One Nation and demise of the City Country Alliance and return of the anti-Labor vote previously trapped in there. They don’t represent the same degree of success in taking votes from the Government.

    My best guess is that the two-party preferred swing against the Government, allowing for minor party preferences and exhaustion of votes, will be in the vicinity of 3.6%. This is a huge victory for Peter Beattie. Originally he was sitting on a two-party preferred vote of approximately 60%, and after this election it will still be 56%. No other state government has achieved this sized majoriyt in successive election in the last 20 years.

    Position of the Parties

    Another way of looking at the election result is to look at the wins and losses of the parties, which is where it is really devastating for the Coalition. At this stage, and I wouldn’t expect anything much to change in any but perhaps Charters Towers, the Coalition has won 6 extra seats - Currumbin, Charters Towers, Surfers Paradise, Burdekin, Burnett, and Lockyer while the Government has won one – Keppel. This is a net gain to the Coalition of 5, but a net loss to the Government of only three because Lockyer was held by One Nation, and Surfers Paradise by an Independent. The Fraser Pendulum shows Lockyer on the Labor side of the divide on a notional distribution of preferences, but the seat has never been held by Labor, and I suspect that our pendulum’s notional distribution of preferences overstates the real notional margin in Labor’s favour. In another of those seats – Currumbin – it is probably more accurate to say that it was lost by the government, rather than won by the Opposition, given the furore surrounding Merri Rose before and during the campaign.

    One way of putting the swing into perspective and to judge the Opposition campaign is to look at what the results of a uniform 3.6% swing against the government should have been. What this shows is that the campaign was a failure in the seats where it should have been targeted, and that the swings actually occurred in the safer Labor seats. According to our pendulum, a swing of this magnitude should have delivered 13 seats.

    Instead the coalition won only three in this group. Of the others, Noosa, Burleigh, Toowomba North, and Broadwater moved away from the Opposition. In Nicklin, Gympie and Tablelands the Independents strengthened their positions. Clayfield moved around 1.5% to the Opposition and Indooroopilly a similar amount.

    Springborg claimed in his concession speech that the Opposition is now much closer to winning government. This is correct in direction but not magnitude and is only marginally encouraging for them. On our assessment they needed a uniform swing of 12.3% to win government this election with Hervey Bay as the swing seat. Next election, they could win minority government on a uniform swing of 7.61% with Toowoomba North the pivotal one. Yet their results in marginal seat campaigning suggest that they are as likely to do this as to put a man on Mars. There has been some shrinkage in the range of margins of safety on the Government’s side across all seats, but this election most of the marginal seats under 4% actually moved further away from the Opposition. That points to a failed campaign.

    To be continued…

    Posted by Graham at February 9, 2004 12:01 AM
    Comments

    Amazing isn't it? After 6 years in opposition, the coalition hasn't learned a thing. Sure, I give them full points for going through leaders and getting new blood, but characterising young Lawrence's political grunt is a little like what Dan O'Connell said "Seriously, would you vote a boy to Parliament?"

    The coalition isn't like it used to be back when Joh Bjelke-Petersen was Premier. Whether you loved him or hated him he did what he said he was going to do.

    Our own Peter Beattie is very much the same. He said he would throw electoral frauds' out of the party, and he did. He said he would implement a new Child Safety Department and he not only did just that.. he also delivered a dedicated Minister with Child Safety as his sole portfolio.

    Lawrence Springborg and Bob Quinn wanted to make ground in Tugun over the controversal bypass issue, but for anyone who travels down that way they will now how volatile the traffic situation can get and more to the point at hand .. Lawrie and Bob didn't even oppose it themselves!

    I'm 4th Generation Labor, that's no public secret. But I appreciate a good campaign when I see one and from an honest perspective I have to agree with Dan O'Connell on this one. The Libs and Nats can't even get their own sh*t together to make a decent campaign.

    Believe it or not, I was this close to calling NPAQ State Office and offering them some tips because I felt so sorry for them. It was like "What the **** are you doing?" for the whole campaign. 5 seats? The Democrats had a better chance of winning Florida than the coalition.

    Ah well, better luck next time Lawrence. Maybe you'll use this for a lesson instead of an over-zealous determination? Here's to hoping!

    Cheers.


    Posted by: T. J. Norton at March 24, 2004 06:53 AM

    The trouble with the Coalition is that they really do not try to win. The Premier boasted before the 2004 election (4QR Talkback with Steve Austin) that he honoured 2001 pledges by getting rid of rorters. What about those two scaliwags sipping sherry in Merry Merri's office? The day before the election, the "Courier" commended him for his open and accountable" government with not a word of FOI secrecy, Cabinet ploys to hide info etc. etc. During the whole campaign, the Coalition never thumped the table about flaws that could have brought the Government down. But my beef is that the Coalition has carved up Queensland as though each Party (Libs and Nats) own the State. In their magnanimity, they gave us here in Stafford an eighteen-year-old boy. Fair crack of the whip! Did he remember to register as a new voter? Has he ever had a mortgage? Does he cart children to school, to sport, to clubs each day? Does he really know what life is all about? Across the State the same story: the Libs and the Nats decided between themselves how Conservative voters would vote. There was no other choice except the one candidate they decided upon. Please, God - if you are listening - give us back the good old days when we had a choice of Lib or Nat (even if one or the other was an independent with close affiliations to one of the Coailtion Parties. In Stafford, for example, Terry Gygar (Lib) used to win time and again with something like 26 to 30 percent of the primaries, invariably pushed across the line by a Nat candidate (or Independent sympathiser) who bagged another 25 percent or more. At election after election that practice helped the Coalition retain/regain the seat! Sadly, those days are no longer. At Election 2004, the Libs gave us an eighteen-year-old and are still wondering why they failed. Seriously, would you vote a boy to Parliament?

    Posted by: Dan O'Donnell at February 10, 2004 02:40 PM

    The trouble with the Coalition is that they really do not try to win. The Premier boasted before the 2004 election (4QR Talkback with Steve Austin) that he honoured 2001 pledges by getting rid of rorters. What about those two scalliwags sipping sherry in Merry Merri's office? The day before the election, the "Courier" commended him for his open and accountable" government with not a word of FOI secrecy, Cabinet ploys to hide info etc. etc. During the whole campaign, the Coalition never thumped the table about flaws that could have brought the Government down. But my beef is that the Coalition has carved up Queensland as though each Party (Libs and Nats) own the State. In their magnanimity, they gave us here in Stafford an eighteen-year-old boy. Fair crack of the whip! Did he remember to register as a new voter? Has he ever had a mortgage? Does he cart children to school, to sport, to clubs each day? Does he really know what life is all about? Across the State the same story: the Libs and the Nats decided between themselves how Conservative voters would vote. There was no other choice except the one candidate they decided upon. Please, God - if you are listening - give us back the good old days when we had a choice of Lib or Nat (even if one or the other was an independent with close affiliations to one of the Coailtion Parties. In Stafford, for example, Terry Gygar (Lib) used to win time and again with something like 26 to 30 percent of the primaries, invariably pushed across the line by a Nat candidate (or Independent sympathiser) who bagged another 25 percent or more. At election after election that practice helped the Coalition retain/regain the seat! Sadly, those days are no longer. At Election 2004, the Libs gave us an eighteen-year-old and are still wondering why they failed. Seriously, would you vote a boy to Parliament?

    Posted by: Dan O'Donnell at February 10, 2004 02:38 PM

    This sounds like mere serendipity or coincidence to me. Hope I did better in the way I get the other things right!!!

    Posted by: Graham Young at February 9, 2004 10:35 PM

    Graham's initial assessment of the election result is just one of the things he has got right.

    The ABC website (www.abc.net.au/elections) lists the seats in descending order of swing away from the ALP.

    The first seat is Currumbin with a swing of 18.3 percent. The second is Cook with a swing of 18.1 percent.

    There must be something in the title "Currumbin2Cook".

    Posted by: David Fraser at February 9, 2004 04:21 PM
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