There wasn’t much suspense in last night’s by-election results – it was clear early on that Labor wasn’t coming close to the swing they needed to win the seat. There was a sizeable swing (approximately 5.7% after preferences) which dented the Liberal margin. If this swing was repeated at an election the current government would easily lose its majority, but it would be dangerous to extrapolate this result to a general election. Federal polling has suggested that Labor is up by between 2% and 5%, so the by-election isn’t far outside of this range.
The most interesting part of the results was the geographical variation. My pre-election guide divided the electorate into five areas, and there was a big difference in the swings between these areas:
% of 2016 vote
ALP 2PP %
LIB 2PP %
ALP 2PP swing
The swings were substantially larger in Eastwood and Epping, in the north-western corner of the seat. This is very obvious when these swings are plotted on a map (you can also toggle to see the two-party-preferred total).
These areas have the largest Chinese and Korean populations in the seat. There was a lot of attention paid to that community in the campaign, and a possible shift of support from Liberal to Labor in that community. I’m not going to say that this is the reason for the larger swing, but it’s certainly consistent with that theory.
This is the last election for 2017, but I will be back next week with some small data projects. I’m still seeking donors to support this website in 2018, with a target of 50 donors by the end of this month. If you want to sign up please go to Patreon to sign up.