Friday, September 13, 2013

Don't Stop The Votes!

While for most, the election (and the watching of the results) was done and dusted on Saturday night, for political tragics and statistics nerds like myself the results from election night are only the beginning. It's now been nearly a week since election day and with counting still going in every seat a few people (myself included) are keeping an eye on the results in the seats that are still too close to call and tweeting numbers every time there's an update. The two seats with the most interest on Twitter are Indi - currently being led by Independent Cathy McGowan over the Liberal's Sophie Mirabella, former Shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research - and Fairfax,  where Mining Magnate Clive Palmer is leading the LNP's Ted O'Brien. Indi is a fascinating example of how a likeable candidate against an unpopular sitting member can attract attention from across the country. The hashtag #indivotes was among the top trending topics in Australia for a few days and will trend again once it becomes obvious who will win. The interest in Fairfax is obvious: Clive Palmer is famous and is a colourful character. Love him or hate him people will always talk about him.
There are other close seats that aren't attracting as much attention. All are Labor held and all but one look like they will fall to the Coalition: Capricornia, Eden-Monaro, McEwen and Parramatta. 
Thanks to the type of data the AEC publishes we can attempt to "predict" who will win a close seat before all the votes are counted by assuming the two candidate-preffered figure for a certain type of vote will hold, and using maths to work out the vote difference after all those votes are counted. This method is for those of us who don't have a computer program we can feed the raw data into and have a result calculated for us.  For example, in Capricornia the AEC shows us that of the 4,981 postal votes counted so far 2.85% were informal and of the formal votes the LNP is winning the 2PP 59.66%-40.34%. If we assume this trend holds for the remaining 5,000 or so postal votes and do the maths with the figures for absentee votes we can come up with a rough estimate of the winning margin.
UPDATE - Original table moved to under updated table.
UPDATE 13/09: Slight alterations in the 2CP trends. Fairfax updated from LNP by 237 to LNP by 22
UPDATE 13/09: 2PP Parramatta absentees trend hasn't held (didn't think it would) changed from LIB by 47 to ALP by 530)
UPDATE 14/09McEwen added
UPDATE 14/09: Indi added
UPDATE 15/09: New Table, with updated figures (for comparison to see how the prediction changes as the current margin and trends change)
UPDATE 16/09: All seats updated - Capricornia removed (prediction of LNP by 1,167), replaced by Barton.
UPDATE 17/09: Final predicted Indi margin is 363 unless more postals are received or any of the provisionals are accepted.
UPDATE 22/09: Table changed to Predicted Margin and Actual Margin. Fairfax is final result, other seats still have a handful of votes to process.
SeatPredicted MarginActual Margin
FairfaxPUP by 66PUP by 33
ParramattaALP by 1,039ALP by 917
BartonLIB by 703LIB by 493
Eden-MonaroLIB by 1,057LIB by 1,085
McEwenALP by 487ALP by 316
IndiIND by 363IND by 420

In the table below I've done just this for the seats I've mentioned. Let's see how close we get to the actual winning margin using this method.
SeatCurrent MarginPredicted Margin
FairfaxPUP by 1,132LNP by 22
ParramattaALP by 482ALP by 530
CapricorniaLNP by 624LNP by 1241
Eden-MonaroLIB by 864LIB by 465
McEwenLIb by 158ALP by 24
IndiIND by 896IND by 819
Predicted margin is calculated using the figures of votes left to count provided by the AEC (votes received so far) and does not include provisional votes but will once enough are counted.
These figures will have a slight margin of error due to more votes not being received by the AEC in time, changes in the 2CP for a certain vote type and some votes being rejected instead of added into the count. For updates as the count continues see my twitter feed - @Australiavotes.
This post also available on SBSNews here
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