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Western Australian election count endgame

March 18, 2017 - 07:08 -- Admin

Formal distribution of preferences starts today, which presumably means we’re pretty much at the end of the primary vote count, so I haven’t bothered with another update of the results. The picture is clear, with all the close seats (Pilbara, Jandakot, Joondalup, Murray-Wellington and Kingsley) having broken to Labor. Still very much of interest though is the upper house, where we have the rather peculiar situation of what is presumably an all-but-complete count of above-the-line votes, but no information whatsoever on below-the-line votes. The latter are simply being put through the data entry process, without being added to the first preference count. So we’re pretty much in a state of suspense until the button gets pressed on the count, which is expected on Wednesday or Thursday.

For this reason, I’m now offering two scenarios for my simulations – one based on the raw numbers currently in the system, and the other with rough adjustments made according to how much difference the addition of below-the-lines made to first preference totals in 2013. What this amounts to is an improvement for the Greens (who I’ve bumped 0.3% in Agricultural and Mining and Pastoral, and 0.6% everywhere else), and cuts for the Liberals (down 0.4% in Mining and Pastoral and 0.8% everywhere else) and the Nationals (down 0.4%).

This suggests the Greens are not out of the hunt in South Metropolitan, contrary to what the above-the-line projection has been suggesting, and could deprive the Liberals of a second seat in South Metropolitan — which is to say that it’s not out of the question that there could be a Labor-Greens majority. However, the politics of this are complicated by the fact that the second Liberal is Simon O’Brien, and reports yesterday suggested Labor hopes to tempt him with an offer of the President’s chair. Either way, Labor and the Greens between them would have 18 seats out of 35 on the floor, with the President only exercising a vote in the case of a tie (which would not arise when all members were presdent).

Another result to emerge from estimating the numbers inclusive of below-the-lines, which I was not expecting to see, is the fairly dramatic possibility of One Nation stealing the Liberals’ third seat in North Metropolitan. The ABC projection shows the danger point is after the exclusion of Family First at Count 19, leaving very little to separate the four remaining candidates: Greens (11.78%), Liberal #3 (10.48%), One Nation (10.45%) and Labor #3 (10.15%). So the Liberals only need to fall back by 0.33% at this point to be excluded, in which case their preferences would elect One Nation. Below-the-line votes should ensure the Greens keep their head above water here, so they look sure to take the other seat that’s outstanding at this point. My cursory examination of past form suggests One Nation at least holds its ground when below-the-lines are added, so this could get interesting.

In another development, the above-the-line projection now shows Labor in danger of losing its third seat in Mining and Pastoral to Flux the System and the micro-party preference snowball, but that won’t happen if below-the-lines behave as they usually do. I’ve also got the Greens improving in the race for the final seat in South West at the expense of Labor #3.

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