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Last Sunday Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd visited the Governor General and offered advice that an election be held for the Federal House of Representatives on Saturday the 7th of September.

In the first polls released following the Governor General's acceptance of this advice the Coalition have jumped out to an early lead, though most of the polling was actually performed prior to the election date being known.

My modelling now gives the Coalition a 77% chance of winning government in their own right (at least 76 seats in the 150 seat House). Labor have just a 0.4% chance of winning majority government (1.5% if you assume, as the model does not, that Labor will win Melbourne from the Greens). The remaining 22% of the time no party will have enough seats to form government without the support of one or more independent or minor party Representatives.

The median outcome is 78 seats to the Coalition and 69 to Labor.

This graph describes the chances of either party winning any specific number of seats.
Labor is in red and the Coalition in blue.

While in an election held tomorrow the Coalition would expect to win quite comfortably there are still four weeks to go until election day and Labor could, in theory, easily overcome the Coalition's lead in that time.

As previously the model assumes that the Independent Andrew Wilkie in Denison, Adam Bandt of the Greens in Melbourne, and Bob Katter of an Australian Party of the same ilk in Kennedy will all win reelection. This is not an entirely safe assumption and I'll talk about them again later under their respective state profiles.  

The next few paragraphs are basic Australian background and housekeeping related information. If you've read my previous Australian Election modelling diaries you might like to skip straight to the state breakdowns where you'll find the usual tables now include percentage chances for the Coalition to win each seat (rather than just general ratings) and maps showing which parts of each state are predicted to vote for each party. The state-by-state breakdown text is also updated rather than rewritten from scratch, there is only so many times you can say the same thing.

Currently Australia is governed by the Labor party (centre-left, loves unions) with the support of a number of independents (3 conservative, 1 Laborish, 1 idiosyncratic but left-leaning) and the Greens (progressives). The opposition is known as the Coalition, with an uppercase C as their coalition is permanent, and is composed of the Liberals (centre-right, hates unions, loves free markets) and Nationals (conservative agrarian socialists, loves protectionism). The Labor party need the independent and Green support as they do not have enough seats to govern in their own right (and in fact have less seats (71) than the Coalition (72)).

Voting in Australia is compulsory and uses a preferential ballot (this means that in certain seats the way parties direct their supporters to allocate their preferences will be crucial) in single-member seats for the House of Representatives.

Finally before we get to the numbers I'll just mention a few details in regards to the model I am using. The model takes into consideration the prior voting history of the electorate, incumbent strength (where applicable), and public polling. It doesn't account for potential asymmetric swings within states (not enough polling data available). I'm interested to see how much that ends up mattering.

Tables in this diary are colour coded. Shades of red reflect Labor held seats and predictions, shades of blue represent Liberal held seats and predictions (the occasionally different party names and abbreviations are courtesy of local party branches having inconsistent names), independents are grey, Greens are light green (shocker), and Nationals are dark green.  

New South Wales

Labor holds a lot of seats in New South Wales by narrow margins (10 by less than 6%). Indeed it was Labor's ability to hang on in seat after seat in New South Wales that gave them the chance to form government in 2010. However now that it is 2013 even a minor swing against the government in NSW could lead to a massive loss of seats. Conversely whilst there is somewhat less upside for Labor should they receive a swing toward them there is a non-trivial chance Labor could end up winning seats in New South Wales.

Independents Rob Oakeshott in Lyne and Tony Windsor in New England have both announced they will not be running for reelection this year and the model now rates both these seats as safe for the Nationals. Both Independents supported Labor in the current hung parliament and the Coalition gain of these two seats is a first step toward the Coalition retaking government.

Scandal soaked Laborish MP Craig Thomson (union money, hookers) is technically running for reelection as an independent, for pension related reasons, though he will be receiving, within the margin of error, zero votes. Nevertheless Labor hopes to retain Thomson's central coast seat of Dobell with a less awful candidate and have suggested that internal polling has them ahead.

The model is bullish on Labor's chances of finally taking Gilmore from the Liberal party now that ultra-popular incumbent Joanna Gash is retiring. However it also considers Labor to be in considerable trouble in a good number of seats.


Victoria voted rather strongly for Labor at the 2010 election, more strongly than at any other time since World War II, so Labor don't hope to pick up many more seats here. Indeed Victoria is a state where the Coalition will hope to make gains.

Polling still suggests a swing away from Labor and the model considers the Liberals to have a solid edge in Corangamite and Deakin but Labor looking good to hold on everywhere else.

Melbourne is the sole house seat held by the Greens and predictions will depend on which party the Liberals choose to preference. I currently regard Melbourne as lean Greens but if the Liberals preference the Greens it will move to safe Greens. Conversely if the Liberals decide to preference Labor Melbourne will become a tossup. The Greens released internal polling during the week showing them leading Labor 66-34. There were some issues with this polling (didn't use party names, only candidate names, and assumed previous election preferencing) and it's safe to say the the Greens will not win Melbourne by anything like that margin.


Queensland is an interesting state at this election. Two new minor parties have been established on the right that seek to shake up the established order.
Katter's Australian Party currently holds the seat of Kennedy (which they will retain) and may be a threat throughout rural Queensland with their locally popular brand of agrarian socialism.

Palmer's United Party (or whatever it is called this week) has been established by mining billionaire Clive Palmer to... do something. I'm not inclined to think that it will matter much.

We really need to wait and see how Katter's Australian Party plans on allocating it's preferences to know what effect it might have in seats where it gets a significant vote but doesn't win. For now I've assumed it will preference the LNP (Coalition local name) in every seat and win nowhere except Kennedy, pending press releases or public polling (there is tell that this may be an assumption subject to change in future).

Labor appear to be struggling in Queensland after having earlier looked likely to win quite a few seats from the Coalition. If Labor can't do well in Queensland then they will not win the election.

This week Labor announced that outstandingly popular former Queensland Premier (the equivalent of the Prime Minister of a state) Peter Beattie will be standing for the seat of Forde. The model very likely underestimates his chances in this seat. It's a very unusual situation perhaps a bit as if a popular US governor from a decade ago decided four weeks before the election to run for a swing seat in the House.

South Australia

South Australia was a very strong state for Labor at the 2010 election but is still polling as if it will swing against the government this year.

The model considers that Labor is still ahead, though under threat, in Hindmarsh and Adelaide. The Liberals will still have to keep an eye on extremely marginal Boothby which could reasonably fall to Labor even in a statewide swing against them.

Western Australia

Western Australia voted strongly for the Coalition at the 2010 election and currently holds 12 of the states 15 seats. Both sides of politics hope to win seats in Western Australia this year. Currently the model is hugely optimistic for Labor in Western Australia. I'm not sure if this is just variation in the polls and will wash back out or the start of a real move toward Labor in the west.


With a population of only around half a million Tasmania should be entitled to only 3 seats based on population. However constitutional stipulations guarantee Tasmania five seats. All five seats voted heavily to the left in 2010 and Labor now hold four of the five seats with margins of at least 13.4%. The remaining seat of Denison is actually the most left leaning of all the Tasmanian seats and in 2010 elected independent (and former Green) Andrew Wilkie, with 21% of the primary vote.

The model can't really handle the unique situation in Denison but I have Wilkie listed as likely to win Denison once again based on the assumption that both the Greens and the Liberals will preference him once again and that he will beat the Greens on primary vote. Should either party announce that they will be preferencing Labor instead then Denison's rating will move to safe Labor.    


The Australian Capital Territory consists of two completely safe Labor seats (Canberra and Fraser), whilst the Northern Territory has two very marginal seats.

Solomon makes up the city of Darwin and will probably be retained by the Country Liberal Party (The local Liberal branch) but patchy and poor quality polling makes this a seat one that I don't feel as comfortable with as my model does.  
The rest of the territory lies within the Labor held division of Lingiari. The model considers it to be a slight lean to Labor and that seems about right to me.

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Comment Preferences

    •  More likely than not (0+ / 0-)

      but it's still more than close enough that I wouldn't be picking out drapes were I him.

      •  Turnbull (0+ / 0-)

        So what are the odds there'll be a leadership challenge in the Liberal Party and Malcolm Turnbull comes back in time for elections?  Is that even allowed at this stage?

        Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre.

        by Sky Net on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 05:01:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's allowed (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sky Net, ehstronghold

          Parties can change their leaders at any time including, in theory, the day before or the day after an election.

          That said the Liberals are running pretty hard on the idea that they are the party of stability and Labor are a shambles for changing leaders twice in three years so I don't expect a return by Turnbull unless the Liberals lose the election.

        •  No. Its too late. (0+ / 0-)

          The Parliamentary caucus would have to hold a spill, and the Parliamentary caucus does not exist as Parliament has been dissolved for the election.

          Gay suburbanite in NJ-11. Rush Holt for Senate!

          by interstate73 on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 06:51:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's not entirely too late (0+ / 0-)

            A party can have a meeting even when parliament isn't sitting. It just isn't usually logistically feasible (and the Liberals don't traditionally use the word caucus).
            If Tony Abbott was forced to resign by some massive scandal/health problem the Liberals would absolutely book a meeting room somewhere and pick a new leader. But almost certainly not under any other circumstances.

  •  What's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sky Net

    up with the swing towards Labor in Western Australia? I understand that Hasluck has a behavior of changing hands between the parties every election, but I never thought early polling is showing Labor could win back the two seats it lost to the Coalition in 2007.

    These early polling figures are very concerning though. I'm hoping Labor can make up ground in the polls between now and election day.

    I did read in The Australian that the Liberals will preference Labor ahead of the Greens in Melbourne in exchange for Labor preferencing the Libs ahead of the Nationals in an electorate the Nationals hold in Victoria.

    The Republican party is now an extreme right-wing party that is owned by their billionaire campaign contributors. - Bernie Sanders

    by ehstronghold on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 09:27:48 AM PDT

    •  I don't know! (0+ / 0-)

      I didn't expect it and no one is talking about it. The model may have picked up early movement before the media has, or maybe it's just noise and will wash back out in a week or two. It would certainly take the pressure off Queensland if Labor can pick up three seats in WA.

      Most the data the model is using was collected prior to the election being called. It's not at all likely there will be no further movement before the election, hopefully that movement is the preferable way.

      I'm increasing sure of that preferencing deal in Melbourne as well. We should have details by the end of next week I believe.

  •  What assumptions? (0+ / 0-)

    Are you relying on for the model? Is it just your own perception or based on something else?

    •  Assumptions (0+ / 0-)

      The model takes into consideration the prior voting history of the electorate, incumbent strength (where applicable), and public polling. It doesn't account for potential asymmetric swings within states (not enough polling data available).

      Additional assumptions that aren't entirely true are;

      1. Individual electorates haven't changed their overall partisan composition since the last election.
      2. Public polling is exactly as accurate as it has been historically.
      3. Each individual representative is no more or less popular now as they have been historically.
      4. All new candidates are inherently exactly as strong as each other.

      The only seats where my perceptions are at all taken into account are Denison (likely independent) which is in line with everything I've read, and Melbourne which I've listed as lean Green mostly for the contrast on the tables and maps. I suspect Melbourne is at least a tossup and public perception is largely giving the seat to Labor.

  •  New (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alizarin Indigo

    ReachTEL poll out. Shows the Coalition leading Labor 53-47% after preferences and quite shockingly shows Abbott leading Rudd as preferred PM 53-47%. Usually you only see opposition leaders leading on that question if the government in question is heading for a landslide defeat.

    What's interesting about this poll is this is the highest Coalition lead post Ruddstoration. Usually the Coalition's (discounting Morgan polling) poll numbers have ranged from 52-50% and Labor's 48-50%.

    Also I've noticed that the Obama campaign staffers that ran the digital/Youtube/Social media aspect of the campaign have put their touch on Labor's Youtube channel.

    Labor's Youtube channel like the Obama campaign's Youtube channel is not only filled with tv and web ads, but videos showing the inner workings of the campaign and fact checking videos.

    Now if only Labor could have snatched Jim Messina or Stephanie Cutler to run their campaign...

    The Republican party is now an extreme right-wing party that is owned by their billionaire campaign contributors. - Bernie Sanders

    by ehstronghold on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 03:47:13 AM PDT

    •  New (0+ / 0-)

      Galaxy is much better for Labor though with Rudd still way ahead on preferred PM and Labor down only 51-49.
      ReachTEL is a little weird (compared to other pollsters) with their preferred PM numbers in general.  

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