ALP Vote Deteriorating In Final Stages Of Counting; 55 Seats May Be 53 When All Votes Are In

The ALP’s vote continued to deteriorate in Thursday’s counting.

Whilst on Wednesday it appeared that the ALP would lose 17 seats to finish with 55, it is now possible that it will lose 19 and finish with 53.

In NSW, the seat of Parramatta became close yesterday. The sitting Labor member, Julie Owens, now has a lead of 389 votes, or 50.27%.

In Barton, the Liberal lead of 771 became 961. In Eden-Monaro, the Liberal lead of 591 was extended to 633.

In Victoria, the Liberal lead of 116 votes in McEwen grew to 396.

In Queensland, for the first time since Saturday night, the Liberal National candidate has taken the lead in Capricornia. On Wednesday night, the ALP led by 268 votes, whereas by Thursday night the LNP was ahead by 624 votes.

Assuming that the ALP has lost Barton, Eden-Monaro and McEwen, it will finish with 54 seats if it also loses Capricornia. A loss in Parramatta would see the ALP settle on 53, with the Coalition on 92. This is the ALP’s worst case scenario.

For the Coalition, the seats of Fairfax and Indi remain in doubt. In Fairfax, Clive Palmer’s lead has dwindled from 1,411 votes to 1,132. In Indi, independent Cathy McGowan’s lead has narrowed from 1,449 to 1,100.

In most electorates, ordinary votes, those cast on polling day last Saturday, have now been counted. Most pre-poll votes, those cast at pre-poll centres in the three weeks prior to election day, have also been counted.

Absentee votes, those cast on Saturday by voters outside of their electorate, are now arriving at electoral commission offices, as are postal votes from Australia and overseas. These will continue to dribble in for several more days.

Electoral staff are also processing provisional votes, those votes where the eligibility of the elector has to be verified.

Late changes in close electorates are often caused by one or major party candidates polling better on postal votes than their opponent. It is not uncommon for the Coalition to poll better on postals, although it is also common for sitting members of either side to do better on postals. In the case of Indi and Fairfax, it is especially interesting because Palmer and McGowan have not previously contested the seats and it is difficult to predict which side postal votes will break for.

There has been much discussion about the extent of the ALP’s defeat in this election. As I showed yesterday, a final tally of 55 seats would be 36.66% of the House seats and the ALP’s 10th worst defeat since 1910.

A final tally of 54 seats (36%) or 53 seats (35.33%) would be the ALP’s 9th worst defeat since 1910. It experienced more severe defeats in 1917, 1919, 1925, 1931, 1966, 1975, 1977 and 1996.

Aside from the proportion of seats it wins in the House of Representatives, the ALP has struck a new low in terms of its primary vote, the percentage of people who placed a number “1” against a Labor candidate. On current figures, it has polled 33.73% of the primary vote nationwide, a swing of 4.26% from 2010. Previously, its lowest vote was in 1931, when the official ALP polled 27.10% and the NSW Lang Labor forces polled 10.57%.

Most worrying for the ALP is that two of its lowest ever primary votes have been recorded in the past ten years. In 2004, under Mark Latham’s leadership, it polled 37.63%.

The most accurate measure of voter support, however, is the two-party-preferred vote. This is the figure that shows the final preference of all voters for either the ALP or the Coalition. Because full preferential voting is compulsory, it is the most accurate measure of popular support.

On current figures, the ALP has 46.71% of the two-party vote, compared to 53.29% for the Coalition. This is slightly better than the 46.37% achieved when Paul Keating was defeated in 1996 and not as bad as the defeats of 1975, 1977, 1966, 1958 or 1955.

The two-party swing to the Coalition in 2013 currently stands at 3.49%. This compares to 5.44% achieved by the ALP under Kevin Rudd when it defeated John Howard in 2007 and 5.07% achieved by the Coalition under John Howard when it defeated Paul Keating in 1996, or the 3.6% swing achieved by the ALP under Bob Hawke when it defeated Malcolm Fraser in 1983.

The 53.29% two-party vote for the Coalition in 2013 compares to John Howard’s 53.63% in 1996 and Bob Hawke’s 53.2% in 1983. In 2007, Kevin Rudd was elected with 52.70%.

It is fair to say that the ALP has suffered a significant defeat in the House of Representatives, although it has done much worse in at least 8 previous elections. It’s two-party-preferred vote is on a similar level to previous defeats of this magnitude but its primary vote is significantly lower than at any election for the past 80 years.

2013 Federal Election: House of Representatives Seats
No. Seat Incumbent Challenger Status
NEW SOUTH WALES
1.
BANKS
Daryl Melham
ALP
David Coleman
Liberal
LIBERAL GAIN
2.
BARTON
Steve McMahon
ALP
Nickolas Varvaris
Liberal
Liberal 961 votes ahead
3.
DOBELL
Craig Thomson
IND/ALP
Karen McNamara
Liberal
LIBERAL GAIN
4.
EDEN-MONARO
Mike Kelly
ALP
Peter Hendy
Liberal
Liberal 633 votes ahead
5.
LINDSAY
David Bradbury
ALP
Fiona Scott
Liberal
LIBERAL GAIN
6.
LYNE
Rob Oakeshott
IND (ret)
David Gillespie
The Nationals
THE NATIONALS GAIN
7.
NEW ENGLAND
Tony Windsor
IND (ret)
Barnaby Joyce
The Nationals
THE NATIONALS GAIN
8.
PAGE
Janelle Saffin
ALP
Kevin Hogan
The Nationals
THE NATIONALS GAIN
9.
PARRAMATTA
Julie Owens
ALP
Martin Zaiter
Liberal
ALP 389 votes ahead
10.
REID
John Murphy
ALP
Craig Laundy
Liberal
LIBERAL GAIN
11.
ROBERTSON
Deborah O’Neill
ALP
Lucy Wicks
Liberal
LIBERAL GAIN
VICTORIA
1.
CORANGAMITE
Darren Cheeseman
ALP
Sarah Henderson
Liberal
LIBERAL GAIN
2.
DEAKIN
Mike Symon
ALP
Michael Sukkar
Liberal
LIBERAL GAIN
3.
INDI
Sophie Mirabella
Liberal
Cathy McGowan
Independent
Independent 1,100 votes ahead
4.
LA TROBE
Laura Smyth
ALP
Jason Wood
Liberal
LIBERAL GAIN
5.
McEWEN
Rob Mitchell
ALP
Donna Petrovich
Liberal
Liberal 396 votes ahead
QUEENSLAND
1.
CAPRICORNIA
Peter Freeleagus
ALP
Michelle Landry
Liberal National
Liberal 624 votes ahead
2.
FAIRFAX
Ted O’Brien
Liberal National
Clive Palmer
Palmer United Party
PUP 1,411 votes ahead
3.
PETRIE
Yvette D’Ath
ALP
Luke Howarth
Liberal National
LIBERAL GAIN
WESTERN AUSTRALIA
1.
O’CONNOR
Chub Witham
The Nationals
Rick Wilson
Liberal
LIBERAL GAIN
SOUTH AUSTRALIA
1.
HINDMARSH
Steve Georganas
ALP
Matt Williams
Liberal
LIBERAL GAIN
TASMANIA
1.
BASS
Geoff Lyons
ALP
Andrew Nikolic
Liberal
LIBERAL GAIN
2.
BRADDON
Sid Sidebottom
ALP
Brett Whiteley
Liberal
LIBERAL GAIN
3.
LYONS
Dick Adams
ALP
Eric Hutchinson
Liberal
LIBERAL GAIN

 

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