Friday, 23 January 2015

The Battle for Inner Melbourne - By Colours

OK. So, about a week out from the State Election, I had this ready to roll off the presses. And then I thought about potential succour to the enemy, and I'm sure that's some sort of Federal offence now, although maybe not retrospectively, and goodness me where did I put my spectacles, and so forth  ... !! (keeping up?)

It's all based around this here analytics I've done using Google Earth, kind of geospatial representations of the ALP/Greens vote based on booths at Federal and State elections. And now I really am building up rather a useful volume of such material over successive polls, and no, you cannot have any.

The question I wanted to ask prior to the election was whether an extrapolation of Federal voting trends in Melbourne FEA was already evident in the trend figures at the State level, and if so what was the likely State result?

You can see this below in pretty pictures. The regions are based on estimated likely voter catchments for each of the state and federal polling booths. The shades are based on each party's PRIMARY vote as a % of the total # of votes cast.

 ALP 2012 VIC BY-ELECTION

ALP 2010 FEDERAL ELECTION

ALP 2010 w 2012 OVERLAY

So, the first thing we see is that the ALP's primary vote at the by-election was a very close match in profile to that it obtained at the 2010 Federal poll, implying voters largely stayed with Labor across the two polls.

 ALP 2013

ALP 2013 w 2012 OVERLAY

The picture is very different relative to the 2013 poll, in fact the decline in Labor vote between the two Federal polls appears to have been almost cruelly centred on booths within the new geographic boundaries of the state seat. This should have been the first warning to the ALP that Jen Kanis in particular was in trouble. Our worst booths at our worst result ever, Federally, now comprised the core of the State District of Melbourne. Jen won 2012 mightily against expectations at a by-election that drew a record low voter turnout and without any Liberal candidate on the ballot.

It seems clear now looking at the above alongside the result of the 2014 election, that Labor effectively likely started from a point of needing a sizeable swing in order to hold the seat.

Green 2010

Green 2010 w 2012 Overlay

Looking at it from the Greesparty's end of the tube, once again, we see very little divergence between the two maps -the Green vote was largely constant from 2010 to the state byelection. Where I have effectively made the assumption above that of those voters who failed to turn out at the by-election, a majority are likely to be Greens, perhaps this actually indicates it was just the Liberal voters who stayed away, a finding that does make some intuitive sense.

Green 2013

Green2013 w 2012 overlay

And this image would likely give more cheer to the Greens' position, as a repeat of the 2013 vote would see the virtual northern half of the state seat (and the smaller cells there indicate that's where a large majority of the voters reside) swing strongly Green.

So. What really happened, then?

Well, all the new lot of pretty pictures that ought to be here are currently ontologically situated somewhere between my crashed hard dive and oblivion. Waaaaaaaa. Nonetheless, let me resort to baggage-laden, un-net-friendly words and reveal everything....

The results in both cases read almost exactly as if halfway between the 2013 actual and the 2013 with 2012 overlay. What's that mean in plain language? We see in evidence an enduring swing TO the Greens and AWAY from the ALP since the 2010 federal election, but that swing has been significantly mitigated since then. Nonetheless the ALP's core vote remains at losing levels (assuming Liberal preference flows were to stay constant) in the state boundary. Would the addition of Labor-held Richmond and parts of Essendon be enough to tip the scales and say "it's neck and neck in Melbourne"? Unlikely on sheer weight of numbers. The state districts of Melbourne and Richmond are 90% of the Federal FEA, and Richmond was a near enough run thing itself.

But we've established State vote is a reasonably good proxy for Federal vote in this seat, if not to much time has elapsed between, there is real grounds to say the process of the rehabilitation of the Labor brand in inner Melbourne is at least SOMEWHAT underway.

So there is much work yet to be done, but plenty more lessons to take away from this. Lessons I'm not inclined to cast afore the swine of the internet at large. The nub end of my analytics if for comrades alone, shoot me a message, prove your membership creds, and we might continue this conversation over your beverage of choosing ...