Sunday, 18 January 2015

Double Take

We’re just doing a quick retrospective this week to look at our predictions for Victoria and Fisher and see us tow very wrong we were.

First, Fisher, because that’s a simple right or, in this case, wrong.


This was a really close election. As in, recount close. For simplicity we’re just going to look at the recount results, not the pre-recount ones.

Prediction: D. Woodyatt (IND)
Result: N. Cook (ALP)
My prediction had placed Woodyatt, Labor and Liberal in the final three, and guessed that Woodyatt would out-poll Cook, receive the bulk of preference flows and soar ahead of the Libs. I was correct in my guess of final three – not that that is worth anything, even bragging rights, in this case.

However, Labor out polled Woodyatt 6325 to 6106. 219 votes is not much out of 20,559, but it’s not super close either. The independent’s votes split more to Labor than Liberals, suggesting he claimed more pragmatic Labor supporters than disenfranchised Libs, but I doubt the relationship is symmetric.

While Woodyatt’s preferences split 2147:3959 (or about 1:2) against the Libs, I’d suggest that if Nat Cook had dropped out there would have been enough anti-Liberal sentiment in the ALP ranks that the preference flow would have been far more extreme in it’s anti-Coalition skew.


Predictions did well here, with a 93.2% success. Unfortunately we’ve yet again failed to meet the baseline of 94.0% set by applying the polling data to existing margins.

However, let’s not feel too bad. We called every right answer that the polling did. Both systems failed to predict a Liberal win in Forrest Hill, Ripon or South Barwon. Neither expected the Greens to take Prahran, even given the Federal electoral landscape. And no practical method could even have expected the Independent victory in Shepparton.

The only seats we got wrong polling didn’t were the ones the polling couldn’t deal with – the tossups in Brunswick, Melbourne, Northcote and Richmond where 2PP polling didn’t work because the race was ALP v Greens. Our method backed Labor in all four, but Melbourne ended up with the Greens.

So while we got a lower percentage than the polling, we actually got more right (82 instead of 79) as a result of taking a punt at contests the baseline was too chicken to deal with.

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