Saturday, 7 September 2013

Down to the wire

The House of Reps has been seen as a foregone conclusion -- not that I disagree -- and many commentators I am listening to in my election-night bunker are saying that the only question is the magnitude. However there is another, far more significant question: Who holds the balance of the senate. So, just before we get down to the actual, official figures, here is my prediction for the senate seats:

A federal NewsPoll indicates the following primary votes by state:

NSW (including ACT):

LABOR: 35%
OTHER: 11%


LABOR: 30%
OTHER: 17%

South Australia:

LABOR: 31%
OTHER: 15%


LABOR: 33%
OTHER: 11%

Western Australia:

LABOR: 30%

Crikey also reports on a ReachTEL poll that apparently (once rounded off) gives the following primary votes for Tasmania:


LABOR: 28%
OTHER: 13%

I could not find polling for the Territories (ignoring the ACT section of the NSW report above). In the Territories, both senators are up for relection, and normally these are one Coalition and one Labor. I'm using the National Primary Vote of roughly 33% ALP, 46% Coalition, 21% other. With two places to fill (i.e. n=2), each candidate needs more than 100%/(n+1) = 33% votes to win a seat. Labor and Liberal candidates are likely to get this streight out, but if not the sizable other vote will boster both sides, so I'm assuming one of each in the ACT and NT.

As for the states, n=6 so each candidate needs 100%/(n+1) = ~14.3% of the vote.

Assuming the primary vote (normally calculated for the House of Reps) is indicative of votes in the senate, this straight out gives Labor 2 senate seats in each state and the Coalition 3. With the carry over senators from 2010, the senate so far looks something like:
Red = ALP || Green = Greens || Black = DLP || Blue = Coalition

However, given the greater choice in the senate, the primary votes will be unlikely to be quite that high, potentially costing the ALP a Tasmanian seat, and possibly in Queensland and WA as well, and the Coalition one in SA and Victoria. However, when the "others" drop out, this will probably come back.

SA and Queensland also have a large enough "other" vote to collectively get one person into the senate in each state. The "other" vote is naturally difficult to predict, since it could represent one strong alternative or many no-hopers. In Queensland this is largely split between Katter's and Palmer's respective parties. If Palmer drops out first, preferences flow to the Greens. If Katter falls first, this will favor Palmer. I think Katter will poll lower than Palmer, but will be boosted by ALP overflows before Palmer gets any LNQ bonus, giving the final Queensland seats to Katter or the Greens. My prediction, is "tossup", with a possibility of Katter, Greens or Palmer.

Nick Xenophon is the only other "other", in my mind, who will harvest enough support for a seat. He does well off ALP, Liberal and National overflows (with the Nats preferencing him above the Libs!), who will be shorter of reaching the last seat than he, and thus push him over the line.

New South Wales will have less Coalition overflow from their third seat than Labor will have from its second, and the LibNat bloc wil give support to the ALP before the Greens. The Greens, therefore, will need a lot of support from "others". As low as the ALP scores in the preferences, the Greens score lower. I think Labor gets this one.

In Tasmania, Labor will be spent after taking two seats, meaning the Coalition needs to gain 60% quota, or the Greens need 20%, from the "others". I suspect this is a Greens win, but I'm calling this a tossup.

In Victoria the Greens will outpoll all "others", based on the primary vote data, and unless there is a heavy flow to either major party to bolster their overflows, this should be a Greens win.

WA Labor favours the Greens, and may give the Greens a close-to-quota vote from overflows. The Greens are likely to carry this one too:
Red = ALP || Green = Greens || Grey = Independent (Xenophon) || Black = DLP || Blue = Coalition || X = Tossup

This will give the Liberal party 36 senators, Labor 28 and the Greens 8 (giving a left-wing bloc of 36). Throw in one for Xenophon, one for the DLP and two unknowns (neither of which I expect to go to the Coalition). To hold the balance of power, the Coalition will need to make a deal with the DLP (not a big ask) and win Tasmania (a somewhat bigger ask).

I am therefore expecting a ballanced Senate, giving Abbott's now apprently inevitable government a lot of power, but still requiring a little backroom dealing.

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