How many NSW contests would have had different results under full preferential voting?

Unlike the Commonwealth and every other mainland state, NSW uses optional preferential voting (OPV) to elect its lower house of parliament. OPV was adopted by the Wran Labor government in 1980, the only state where a Labor government implemented what at the time was party policy. The Whitlam government tried and failed to implement OPV for Federal elections.

Labor’s embrace of OPV followed the Labor Party’s experience with losing seats to the Coalition on DLP preferences between 1955 and 1972. There was also a desire to make it harder for the Coalition to win seats where both parties nominated candidates.

The Wran government not only introduced OPV, it entrenched it in the state’s Constitution. OPV can now only be repealed by referendum. I doubt that a referendum to repeal OPV would pass.

Labor’s hope for advantage from OPV has failed to live up to expectations. The Coalition has largely abandoned three-cornered contests to avoid losing seats. The emergence and growth of the Greens as a left-wing competitor has cut into Labor’s first preference vote and left the party more reliant on preferences to win seats. Labor regularly comes from behind to win at Federal elections under full preferential voting, but come-from-behind wins are harder under OPV at NSW state elections.

At recent NSW elections it has been the Coalition advocating ‘Just Vote 1’ and the Labor Party encouraging voters to complete more preferences.

I explained more about the political impact of OPV in this post published before the NSW election.

Inside this post I’ll look at the results of the 2023 election and the seats where preferences determined the winner. Many seats had preference distributed, but only six seats saw preferences change the result by allowing a trailing candidate to win.

Using preference flows from last year’s Federal election where full preferences were required, I look at several state seats where there might have been a different result had full rather than optional preferential voting been used.

My conclusion is the Liberal Party probably won four three extra seats due to OPV, two at the expense of Independents (Pittwater, Willoughby), and two at the expense of Labor (Ryde, Terrigal). (A few people are arguing that Willoughby should not be included in this list. They have a reasonable argument. When the result is final it may just be a matter of the result narrowing substantially rather than changing.)

Seats Decided by Preferences

Around half of all seats at the NSW election required at least some preferences to be distributed before one candidate achieved majority vote. But in assessing the influence of preferences, you need to draw a distinction between seats where preferences are distributed, and those where preferences decided the result.

In political science literature, where preferences decided a contest is defined as where the candidate leading on first preferences did not win. Instead, a trailing candidate passed the primary vote leader to win on the transfer of votes through preferences.

Based on what are still incomplete counts, there are six districts with trailing candidate winners where preferences decided the outcome. These seats, with first preference percentages for the top two candidates, are –

East Hills – first preferences Liberal 44.0%, Labor 43.8%, Labor trailing by 0.2% but going on to win with 51.4% after preferences. Preferences are splitting around 16% to Liberal 41% Labor and 43% exhausting.

Monaro – first preferences National 39.5%, Labor 38.5%, Labor trailing by 1.0% before winning with 52.2% after preferences. Preferences are splitting roughly 16% National, 38% Labor and 46% exhausting.

Penrith – first preferences Liberal 38.7%, Labor 38.4%, Labor trail by 0.3% and go on to win with 51.4%. Preferences are splitting roughly 16% Liberal, 29% Labor and 55% exhausting. One Nation polled 8.2% and appears to have a high rate of exhaustion, but Labor was also disadvantaged by missing out on exhausted Green preferences.

South Coast – first preferences Liberal 35.1%, Labor 34.0%, Labor trail by 1.1% but go on to win with 53.3%. Preferences split roughly 12% to Liberal, 35% Labor and 53% exhausting. A very high 15.4% primary vote for the Greens aided Labor.

Wakehurst – first preferences Liberal 37.2%, Independent Michael Regan 36.2%, Regan trail by 1.0% but goes on to win with 54.7% after preferences. Preferences split roughly 11% Liberal, 46% Regan and 43% exhausting.

Wollondilly – first preferences Liberal 34.1%, Independent Judy Hannan 26.9%, Hannan trails by 7.2% but goes on to win with 51.4% after preferences. Preferences split roughly 14% Liberal, 37% Hannan and 49% exhausted.

The only seat currently undecided is Ryde. If Labor wins, it will be a seventh trailing win. Current first preference counts are Liberal 45.4%, Labor 39.3%, a first preference lead of 6.3 percentage points. At the moment preferences from the Greens and two other minor parties are splitting around 12% to Liberal, 52% Labor and 36% exhausting.

Seats that might have had different results with full preferential voting

To assess the possible impact of full preferential voting, I have used preference flows from the 2022 Federal election in the Federal seat that overlaps the local state seats. With several lower polling parties I have used the parties overall preference flow for the state where a local flow was not available.

The paragraphs below highlight eight seats where there was a significant difference between the state result and a possible full preferential voting margin. On my estimates, the Liberal Party won four more seats under OPV than it would have under full preferential voting. Two of the extra seats could have been lost to Labor (Ryde, Terrigal) and two to Independents (Pittwater, Willoughby).

In all the examples below, there was a much larger gap between the first and second placed candidates than in the seats listed above where trailing candidates won. OPV makes it harder for a trailing candidate to win for two reasons. First, the trailing candidate misses out on preferences it would have received under full preferential voting. Second, a big gap on first preferences means that exhausted preferences lower the winning post by diminishing the number of votes remaining in the count, leaving less room for the second placed candidate to catch and pass the leader.

Pittwater (*** CHANGED ***)
State result currently Liberal 51.0%, Independent Jacqui Scruby 49.0%. Based on Federal preference flows in the local seat of Mackellar, the result would be reversed under full preferential voting with the Liberal two-candidate result reduced to 49.3%. The first preferences are Liberal 44.9%, Scuby 36.0%, a lead of 8.9%, Labor 10.1% and Greens 6.6%. State preference flows are 12% to Liberal, 52% to Scruby and 36% exhausting. In Mackellar last May, Labor preferences flowed 79.5% to the Independent and Green preferences 82.6%. At the state election Scruby missed out on these strong preference flows.

Ryde (*** CHANGED ***)
(Based on current count where the Liberal Party are very narrowly ahead) State Margin Liberal 50.2%, Estimated Federal result based on Bennelong preference flows, Liberal 49.4%. First preferences are Liberal 45.5%, Labor 39.1%, a lead of 6.4%, Greens 10.5% and two others 5.0% in total. Current state preference flows are to Liberal 12%, Labor 52%, exhausted 36%. In Bennelong at the Federal election, Green preference flowed 83% to Labor.

Terrigal (*** CHANGED ***)
Liberal state result Liberal 51.4%, estimated Federal result 49.5%. First preferences Liberal 46.7%, Labor 39.4%, a lead of 7.3%, Greens 9.2%, Sustainable Australia 4.6%. State preference flows Liberal 13%, Labor 50%, 37% exhausted. At the Federal election Green preferences flowed 87% to Labor and the loss of Green preference flows to Labor under OPV has allowed the Liberal Party to stay ahead.

Willoughby (*** CHANGED ***)
State result Liberal 52.6% versus Independent Larissa Penn 47.4%. Estimated Federal result would see a narrow Liberal loss with 49.8%. First preferences are Liberal 43.8%, Penn 26.9%, a gap of 16.9 percentage points, Labor 19.8% and Greens 7.6%. Current state preference are 10% to Liberal, 52% to Penn and 38% exhausted. In North Sydney at the Federal election the flows were Labor 81% to Independent, Greens 85%. Exhausted preferences prevented Larissa Penn from closing the Liberal lead on first preferences.

COMMENT: As has been pointed out to me in comments, the count is not complete in Willoughby so it may in the end be a case of the result narrowing rather than changing. I have also been reminded of a post I did on preference flows in Hawthorn at the Victorian state election where the flows of Labor and Green preferences to a lower profile ‘teal’ independent were weaker than at the preceding Federal election. Whether the Willoughby result changes or just narrows, the result demomstrates the impact of optional preferential voting.

Balmain (***Special case ***)
The state first preference result was Greens 40.5%, Labor 37.1%, Liberal third 19.2%. As elections over the last decade have shown, Liberal preference strongly follow the recommendation made by the party on its how-to-vote material. On the above first preference votes, under full preferential voting Balmain would have been won by the party the Liberal Party tactically chose to direct preferences towards. In Balmain 65% of preferences exhausted reflecting the Liberal Party choosing not to recommend preferences.

Drummoyne (*** Narrowed ***)
State result Liberal 51.5%. Based on preference flows in Reid, the estimated Liberal result would be 50.1%. On first preferences the Liberals lead 47.7% to 39.3% for Labor, a lead of 5.5%. The Greens polled 9.6% and Sustainable Australia 3.4%. State preference flows are 11% to Liberal, 57% Labor and 32% exhausted, a low rate of exhaustion for a state seat. Labor received 87% of Green preferences in Reid, so in Drummoyne the Labor Party has missed out on those Green flows, and the exhaustion rate has aided the Liberal candidate with the higher first preference vote.

Goulburn (*** Narrowed ***)
State result Liberal 51.3%. Based on preference flows in Hume, the estimated Liberal result would be 50.6%. On first preferences the Liberals lead 41.1% to 35.6% for Labor, a lead of 5.5%. The SFF polled a very high 13.9%, Greens 6.9% and Sustainable Australia 3.0%. State preference flows are 20% to Liberal, 34% Labor and 46% exhausted. Labor received 82% of Green preferences in Hume while SFF preferences flowed 53.9% to Liberal. The exhaustion rate here does more harm to the Liberal vote as it deprives the Liberals of the SFF preferences on a very high primary vote. Given the size of the SFF vote, it is hard to know how it would have played out under full preferential voting.

Manly (*** Narrowed ***)
State result Liberal 54.7%, Independent Joeline Hackman 45.3%. Based on preference flows in Warringah, the estimated margin would be Liberal 51.7%. First preferences were Liberal 45.3%, Independent 27.5%, a lead of 17.8%. Labor polled 12.7%, Greens 8.6% and there is 5.9% with three other candidates. Preferences are splitting 12% to Liberal, 46% to Independent and 42% exhausting. At the Federal election preferences to the Independent were 82% from Labor and 87% from the Greens

Oatley (*** Narrowed ***)
State result Liberal 51.3%. Based on preference flows in Banks the result would be much closer but hard to estimate. First preferences were Liberal 45.8%, Labor 39.5%, first preference gap 6.3%, Greens 6.0%, Independent Natalie Ward 5.3% and Sustainable Australia 3.3%. Preferences are splitting 15% to Liberal, 45% Labor and 40% exhausting. Green preferences in Banks at the Federal election were 83% to Labor. Hard to assess because of the Independent but the first preferences in Oatley were close enough for full preferential voting to turn around the result.

North Shore (*** Narrowed ***)
State result Liberal 55.8%, Independent Helen Conway 44.2%. Estimated Federal result based on North Sydney preference flows, Liberal 51.8%. State first preferences are Liberal 44.7%, Conway 22.5%, a gap of 22.2 percentage points, Labor 16.8%, Greens 10.5%. Current state preference flows Liberal 10%, Conway 47%, exhausted 43%. Federal preference flows were Labor 81% to Independent and Greens 85%. The Liberal first preference vote might have been to high to be caught on preferences, but the weaker flows of Labor and Green preferences as well as the weighting boost from exhausted preferences aided the Liberal Party.

Tweed (*** Narrowed ***)
State result National 53.9%, estimated Federal result 50.1%. First preferences National 44.4%, Labor 31.1%, a gap of 13.3 percentage points, Greens 11.5%, 13.0% split across Legalise Cannabis, Sustainable Australia and Animal Justice. State preference flows National 14.0%, Labor 40%, exhausted 46%. In Richmond at the Federal election Green preferences flowed 88% to Labor, and very strong preference flows were needed for Labor to win Tweed given the Nationals began the count well ahead with 44.4%.

22 thoughts on “How many NSW contests would have had different results under full preferential voting?”

  1. I guess this goes to show that the teals didn’t entirely flop (in comparison to the Federal election), as you covered, at least they would have won Willoughby. So the fact that they relied pretty heavily on preference flows at the Federal election was, at least, a contributing factor.

    In the end OPV did its job, just for the other side of politics.

    COMMENT: The Independent in Willoughby was not a ‘teal’ candidate. She was an Independent running for the third time on local issues.

  2. Wouldn’t the result in Balmain been closer under CPV considering Liberal preferences favour Labor at the federal election?

    COMMENT: It would depend what the Liberal Party did. Sometimes they recommend preferences to Labor, sometimes to the Greens.

  3. Wouldn’t the result in Balmain been closer under CPV considering Liberal preferences favoured Labor in Labor vs Greens contests at the federal election?

    COMMENT: Just added Balmain. It would have been won by whichever party the Liberal Party chose to recommend preferences for.

  4. Hi Antony. Loved this article, thankyou. I didn’t even know we had OPV in NSW until this election and am in my 30″s & watch every election.

    I was disappointed with the lack of preferences in Vaucluse. Many people I spoke to afterwards said they had accidentally exhausted their vote by voting LAB/GRE and not numbering more than 1 candidate.

    Do you think there’s any chance we’ll ever get the FPV system in NSW?

    COMMENT: In Vaucluse the Liberal candidate polled more than 50% of the first preference vote so it didn’t matter whether voters indicated preferences or not.

    Re-instating full preferential voting requires a referendum. I would be surprised if such a were held I would be surprised if it would pass.

  5. Antony have you ever seen an election night situation with 10+ undecided where they have pretty much all broken one way after full count?

    COMMENT: No. One of the most consistent trends on pre-poll and postals I’ve ever seen. Some of it was due to the way the pre-poll centres were counted. Once I had turned off all predictive tools at the end of election night, Labor was ahead on the raw numbers in another four seats but have since lost three of those and will probably lose Ryde as well.

  6. Antony, thank you for correctly pointing (in a comment above) out that the IND in Willoughby was not a Teal.

    However, this is just one of the reasons why I think your analysis is a bit too crude to forecast (without acknowledging of the inherent uncertainty in it), that the result in Willoughby would have flipped from a 2.6% IND defeat (currently, could expand in the final count) into a 0.3% win.

    In North Sydney, the IND trailed by 13%, here it’s almost 17%. That by itself puts your forecast into doubt. It is quite possible the relatively large exhaustion rate could have been significantly comprised of Labor voters who would have preferenced the Liberal over the IND, if they had to under CPV.

    COMMENT: The analysis is crude as is any attempt to model how an election would have unfolded under different rules. I agree with you entirely that at the end of the count the result could be reversed given the strong flow of postals. I would warn the check count has found several initial count errors that when corrected will favour the Independent.

    I am using the actual preference flows from North Sydney. I know Willoughby has a large gap, but on those North Sydney preference flows the gap closes. Maybe the preference flows would have been different, but I’m not speculating on that. I was modelling on the Federal preference flows, so if the flows aren’t the same, then you get a different result.

    We will see what the final figures produce.

  7. Thrilling to have this analysis – thank you Antony. There was some booth frontline tension at prepolls and Election day booths over how and what was said by those trying to encourage voters to fully preference their cute and those promoting just voting in one box.

  8. My understanding is that a change to CPV wouldn’t necessarily require a referendum as this requirement is contained in a section of the Constitution Act 1902. This is NSW legislation which itself could be amended in the usual way to remove the requirement for a referendum, and differs in this respect from the Australian Constitution.

    COMMENT: That is not correct. Optional preferential voting is set out in Schedule Seven of the Constitution. Section 7B of the Constitution states that Schedule Seven can only be amended by referendum. Section 7B also protects itself by requiring a referendum to be amended. A referendum is needed to end optional preferential voting. The use of Section 7A and 7B to entrench parts of the Constitution go back to the 1930s and entrenchment of the Legislative Council and were approved all the way to the Privy Council in Trethowan’s case.

  9. Applying federal preference flows to successful independents to state independents would result in an overestimate of independent’s 2CP under CPV. Since state independents have much lower profile than successful federal independents, even under CPV preference flows to state independents are generally weaker than preference flows to successful federal independents. As we have seen in the result for Hawthorn and Kew in the Victorian election, the preference flows to Melissa Lowe and Sophie Torney were weaker than the preference flows to Monique Ryan. In the Liberal versus Melissa Lowe contest in Hawthorn, 79.2% of Labor preferences and 82.4% of Greens preferences flew to Lowe, compared with 79.8% of Labor preferences and 87.8% of Greens preferences flew to Ryan in Kooyong. Applying the 2022 Kooyong preference flows to the Kew result I got an independent 2CP of 47.8% (I applied independent Will Anderson’s preference flows in Kooyong to the two low-polling independents in Kew), but the actually 2CP for Torney was 46.3%. Applying the 2022 Kooyong preference flows to the Hawthorn result I got an independent 2CP of 48.8%, but the actually 2CP for Lowe was 48.5%.

    Under CPV Penn needs 78.9% of preferences from other candidates to win Willoughby. No independent or non-Green minor party candidate got such a high rate of preference flow at the 2022 federal election. Kylea Tink in North Sydney only got 75.4% of preferences. Therefore it’s likely that Penn would still lose in Willoughby under CPV.

    COMMENT: Seeing you are quoting my own Hawthorn figures at me, I should have remembered that post. I would point out this is the third time Penn has contested the seat so she has some history in contesting the seat.

    On your North Sydney comment, there were 6.7% of votes for others. There is only 1.8% in Willoughby and that is for Sustainable Australia whose preferences flowed 54% to the Independent on North Sydney. The rest of the preferences were from One Nation, UAP, Liberal Democrats, IMOP and didn’t favour the Independent but they are not contesting Willoughby. So I don’t think your 75.4% figure is applicable. On the three parties contesting Willoughby the relevant rate is 80.4%.

  10. Old timer here – I don’t remember a referendum to introduce OPV – was there one?

    COMMENT: There wasn’t one. It was introduced in 1980 by the Wran government and entrenched into the NSW Constitution Act in a manner that requires a referendum to undo.

  11. Perhaps the more Labor voters see of Larissa Penn, the less they like, Antony?

    My main point was the uncertainty of it all. I just don’t think its reasonable to say that the flows would have been the same as across North Sydney. They are not the same electorate and there are entirely different candidates, Governments and political issues at play. The Liberals have always recently polled higher in Willoughby than in North Sydney, so Labor and Greens voter could well have preferenced them at higher rates in a State election than in a Federal election.

    I think the best question to ask is how often does and IND candidate win on 27% PV and being 17% behind? Not very often I would think….

    COMMENT: It is uncertain and speculative. I stated my assumptions. You’ve disagreed and I’ve published your comments.

    1. Re 7a 7b entrenchment in the constitution.. I agree that a referendum would be unlikely to change from opv to fpv.. but I doubt the entrenchment would hold if a future govt passed an act of parliament to change the system.

      COMMENT: Do you expect a government which has promised to use constitutional entrenchment to protect publicly owned water supplies to go down a path that says such entrenchment doesn’t work for OPV?

  12. So you didn’t explicitly state it, but from your analysis that means that One Nation’s tactics of encouraging their voters to exhaust their votes didn’t actually change any results?

    COMMENT: Probably not.

  13. What is the thinking behind forcing people to vote in our democracy?

    Isn’t not voting or been forced to attend a polling booth also a freedom under a true democracy?

  14. Do you think Larissa Penn would have done better if she had received Labor‘s second preference on their HTV? The Greens gave her No2 but Labor went Greens No2 and Penn No3.

    She also left her run way too late leaving a vacuum for Tim James to occupy. He’d been campaigning for 12 months – we had no idea whether Larissa was even running until a few weeks before the election.

    COMMENT: I don’t think it matters whether Labor put Penn 2 or 3. If people saw the how-to-vote and followed it, I don’t see they would stop at 2 if a 3rd preference is suggested. There will be many Labor voters who just went ‘2’ Greens but I suspect they will be the ones who never saw the how-to-vote.

  15. Thanks Antony again for another great post and interesting discussion.

    I would like to make a general comment to say it seems to me we need at least for now to stop using the term “preferences” as much as possible, or at least the phrase “[Party] preferences”, as I think, whether accurate or not, it contributes to a widespread inability to actually comprehend how votes and preferences operate. Instead, we need to develop new terms and use language like “rounds of voting, “1st vote/choice, 2nd vote/choice” and “[Party] voter preferences” for example, at least until there is a general understanding of what “preferences” actually are. The same goes for replacing the phrase “exhaustion of preferences” with something like “no second round votes/choices”.

    In the article above I note the phrase “[Party] preferences” was used about 10 times. Is it not actually the case that (aside perhaps from GVT situations) there is no such thing as “[Party] preferences”, but instead ~”preferences (and/or second round votes) of people who voted for [Party] first”?

    Again, while this seems like nit picking, especially on a website like this where shorthand ways of discussing something using the phrase “[Party] preferences” save a lot of time and words, and most people here likely know what is meant by the phrase, this kind of language (even if it is accurate) gives the impression to many people when in wider circulation that the particular [Party] has actually allocated those preferences/votes by some mechanism in the electoral process, and not actually by specific people who cast their vote via the numbers they placed on the ballot.

    I understand there are already constant efforts to combat this misunderstanding by Antony and others by discussing how it all comes back to the numbers people place on the ballot etc, especially in media coverage where where GVT’s are involved, but I would like to stress that whenever possible we should stop talking about “[Party] preferences” and instead at least add in the extra word for “[Party] voter preferences”. I think the apparent loss of efficiency by using an extra word will be recouped in the actual effective uptake of the information.

    Other longer format replacements could be something like “preferences from people who voted for [Party] first”, “second round votes”, “second choice votes”, “second choice of [Party] voters” etc.

    ### Feel free to just post the summary if you do not want this long post on your website. ###

    I have perhaps just a beginner to intermediate understanding of the operation of preferences in Australian elections as someone who likes to watch elections closely as an amateur and follow along with related discussions.

    At every election I find myself trying to teach people at a basic level how votes and preferences work with colleagues, friends and family, ranging from people who have voted for 1 to ~50+ years across a broad formal educational spectrum. Unfortunately, given the differences across jurisdictions, between formats within elections between houses of parliament for example and as rules have changed over time, and I think because of both deliberate and unintended efforts that lead to confusion, many people do not understand either how their votes or their “preferences” work.

    I believe there are at least 2 important contributors to this confusion and I suggest a potential remedy for consideration. The first is the deliberate obfuscation of what preferences are and how they operate in a given election by people trying to influence others to vote in specific ways. I don’t wish to comment further on this now only to say that I think my remedy would help to limit the strength of dishonest discussions of preferences.

    The second contributor is the honest and well meaning discussion of “preferences” especially by psephologists, political commentators, media, interested people generally, etc. by the simple use of the term “preferences”. I don’t believe there is anything essentially wrong with the use of this or other technical terms in general discussions, but this term really does not currently seem to register with many people’s understanding of what is occurring when they vote, especially when group voting tickets are involved, and I think this should be addressed.

    I think at least 1 simple remedy to the problem is to simply stop talking about “preferences” as much as possible and instead talk about something more like “rounds of voting” or “1st choice, second choice etc”. My beginner understanding of our electoral operations is that preferences are just another way of describing “rounds of voting” in “instant run off elections”. Please correct me if I’m wrong on this, but if not, I think we should just talk about preferences in that more simple and direct language. I have started doing something like this during the last few elections with much more success.

    This can be done by as simply as possible beginning the discussion by describing preferences as essentially multiple rounds of voting, discussing that we all vote once and count the votes, if no candidate gets 50% (or a quota where relevant), then we exclude the candidate with the lowest votes and whoever voted for them gets to choose to give their vote to one of the candidates not yet excluded, and we repeat until we have just 2 people in the count and one has 50% (or a quota).

    Also helpful to elucidate this process is to describe the more obvious version of this in jurisdictions where voters actually go away and come back on subsequent weekends/months to vote again for the remaining two candidates for example, and then to explain how we simply do it all at once on one ballot paper.

    From this point it is easy to convey that people can/should most often just vote for their favourite/1st choice/preferred candidate, and then, in the next “instant runoff election/round of voting”, vote for their 2nd amongst those remaining by writing the number 2 on their ballot, etc.

    Obviously this task is of an elementary nature designed to prepare a general understanding within people to be able to comprehend and tease through often technical/complicated/partisan discussions of numbers of “preferences” etc. that is not always possible or suited to particular circumstances.

    So what is the shorthand response? To use a different set of or a few more words than we currently do, potentially sacrificing some efficiency to effect a greater understanding.

    As mentioned above phrases like “[Party] voter preferences”, “second round votes of [Party] voters”, “preferences from people who voted for [Party] first”, “second round votes”, “second choice votes”, “second choice of [Party] voters” etc. could go a long way to cutting through the confusion associated with “preferences” at every election that leads many people to just throw up their hands and say it is too complicated.

    When people give up due to this difficulty it is too easy for them to ignore their own actual preferences and just follow what someone tells them to do (through the media and/or how to vote cards) that might not actually reflect their “preference”.

    Interested to hear any thoughts in response or links to existing discussion of this problem.

    Thanks anyway.

  16. Am I in the minority by believing that optional preferential voting is way fairer than full preferential voting?

    An increasing number of voters are shunning the major parties and choosing to put a “1” in the box of an independent or minor party. However, they cringe at the fact that under FPV they are forced to allocate all their preferences, so their vote will usually flow to one of the majors which they don’t want. They would much rather have their vote thrown away (i.e. exhaust) before going to Labor or the Coalition, however under FPV they don’t get that option.

    COMMENT: The vote doesn’t get thrown away. It still counts towards the candidates and parties the voter voted for. The voters just don’t choose between certain candidate. As vast numbers of Liberal voters in Balmain and Newtown didn’t choose between Labor and the Greens.

  17. Antony it’s just after the state election how do I find preference flows from the 1998 election in certain seats and the Senate vote in certain seats from 1996,1998 and 1993 elections and etc

    COMMENT: The 1996 and 1998 data (1993 not available) was published on a CD-ROM after the 1998 election. It was available on the AEC website at some stage in a hard to navigate part of the site but it appears to have disappeared. It may be best if you ask the AEC. If you are desperate for the data e-mail me as I can access the files.

    1. No need to worry Antony I found the information in the statistics zip file on the aec website from those past elections

      COMMENT: I knew they were on the AEC site somewhere.

  18. Very interesting analysis as always. I do wish there was more educational material on exhausting your vote.

    When you exhaust your vote (and thus removing your vote from the denominator of the 2CP count), you are effectively outsourcing your preferencing decisions to the rest of the electorate. I think people would be more inclined to preference if they understood this.

    COMMENT: Maybe some of them don’t wish to make the choice.

  19. Thanx for your hard work in providing all this data and analysis, Antony. 🙂

    However, given that Federal and State elections are fought on different issues, I can’t understand why you relied on Federal voting patterns to determine the possible preferences of exhausted votes in this State election.

    I posit that a more reliable way to hypothesise what would have eventuated if CPV was in existence is to use the actual distribution of the preferences in the election and apply them to the exhausted votes.

    I am in full support of a return to CPV. As the Greens candidate for Goulburn, I campaigned heavily for voters to number all the boxes and 80% of the Greens voters complied. 🙂

    COMMENT: I’ve used that method in the past. The problem with it is that for candidates with a high exhausted rate, the preferences you do see are only a small proportion of all votes and in some cases I’ve seen, very odd looking compared to full preferential voting. Plus at this stage there are no individual candidate flows, just preference totals. So in a seat with a One Nation candidate and a high exhausted rate, and a Green candidate with a strong flow to Labor, at this stage you can’t separate the flows, so weighting up the exhausted preferences converts exhausted One Nation votes into flows to Labor based on the Green preference flow.

  20. Antony are we not far off from getting the two party preferred figures in seats where there was no liberal vs Labor contests ?

    COMMENT: The final data on preferences allowing the calculation of 2PP will be released in about a fortnight.

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