Friday, November 12, 2010

ABC Green's Calculator

Swings are not uniform and as such the pendulum and Antony Green's election calculator are notoriously wrong when it comes to predicting the outcome of the election.   Each electorate and region has its own resonance and frequency and to better understand the extent of the swing you need to also consider the direction and magnitude of the last swing which is used for comparison. Green would have been better off it he had produced eight calculator control panels - one for each upper-house region, this would then allow the user to nominate the relevant swing as applied to the region as opposed to an overall state-wide swing.

In the past it was argued that State and Federal elections where no comparable, this is not longer true. Better communication national coverage in the news and  the Internet have altered state and federal politics.  Voters are assessing political parties in terms of their local representation both nationally and regionally within the state, even down to the local level where there is greater differentiation. In Victoria's  upper house, where the ballot paper in the same format as in the Senate, comparison between Federal and State results are essential if you are to understand the makeup of the electorate.

It is said that there are only 5-6% swinging voters whose votes can readily change from a left to right perspective. Not taking into consideration recent shifts towards the Greens - Analysis of the Green and their perceived success is predominantly attributed to a consolidation of minor party votes .  There are fewer votes for minor parties and those that did exist have consolidated around the Greens.

Another aspect to consider in this election is that there are fewer independent an minor groups running.  We have the usual suspects such as Stephen Mayne - always the candidate never the board member. And the various denominations of the Christian lobby (Family First, DLP, Fred Nile - These groups compete against each other in the first instance but always maintain a tight preference alliance). The Christian lobby can collectively represent 5-6% and it is for this reason that they have been able to survive the count and remain under consideration collecting other minor party and surplus votes as the count progresses. This Si another factor that Antony Greens Calculator does not take into consideration.

Like wise Green's Victorian Upper-house to Senate comparison did not process the below the line  preference data. Green has original even excluded absentee, postal and pre-poll votes form his initial analysis.   The AEC has published the details of the below-the-line preference data which Green should have taken into consideration but failed to do so.  Had he done so and not been so lay the results of the comparison would have been more accurate and  shown a much closer outcome then what he has presented.  Further comparisons will be able to be undertaken on Sunday when the registration of above-the-line voting closes..

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