This is the wrap up where we analyse what went right, what went wrong, what’s still in doubt and where to from here. We are open and honest about in our methodologies and assessments.
Of the predictions we have missed, they all come back to where our teams have allocated Pauline Hanson’s One Nation to either win the seat in their own right or to push a party over on preferences.
Our team identified the final week drop in the PHON vote as we revealed in the initial election report. However, this fall in their vote was not proportional, such as the similar drop they suffered in the middle of the year amongst the saga of donations, disclosures and who owned the plane.
The drop from 20% statewide to 12% statewide can all be linked to collapses in their primary votes in safe Labor seats. The soft Labor vote got spooked and “came home”.
In these seats they have collapsed between 15%-23% and this has not only prevented them from winning, but prevented them from pushing over the second candidate in the count to win the seat.
Example: In Capalaba PHON between February and November had never polled below 29% and in all bar one of those samples, the LNP came third. However, in the final week, Labor defecting PHON voters went back to the party after they were scared by the ALP Campaign (very well) that voting for PHON would deliver a Nicholls Government with PHON.
The big lessons for the LNP out of this has to be that PHON voters don’t follow HTVs and the pain will be felt in the South East if PHON is going to continue to be seen as a genuine alternative rather than a minor party.
For us, the big winners out of this campaign are Katter’s Australia Party (KAP). Despite being completely ignored during the campaign they potentially can increase their seat count from two to three (Hinchinbrook) and give themselves a 33% win rate of seats contested.
The KAP has shown that they are a party that can gain voters from PHON that are uneasy about the ramifications of voting for PHON (see every seat KAP stood in that they didn’t hold). The only seat KAP did poorly in, was the seat of Whitsunday where in our view, KAP should stop trying to run in (in the region, they should be in Mirani and Burdekin). This is the only seat they have not polled in the double digits in.
If KAP expanded and ran proper campaigns in Central Queensland and Western Queensland, we would not rule them out for being competitive at the next Queensland election in two years, ten months from now. We would also not rule them out of contention federally for a Senate seat either.
In the view of our team, this incessant ‘calling’ of seats from media outlets and bookmakers is futile, particularly in close election contests. This week will start to see some real preference distributions which will determine where seats fall, not just where media commentators want to call seats as won or lost and premature payouts from bookmakers.