Nonsense reporting about direct enrolment

This was published in the Australian on 12 December 2012. It is pasted here un
formatted
Here are some simple facts about the electoral roll and direct enrolment.
There are currently around 14.3 million people on the electoral roll. At the last election, in 2010, there were 14.1 million. The AEC estimates that around 1.5 million eligible voters living in Australia are not on the roll, and puts the 2010 number at 1.4 million.
So about one in ten eligible votes are not on the roll.
But—and this bit seems to cause confusion among some journalists and academics—it is not true to say most of those 1.5 million are young people. Most of them are in fact over 30. There are more unenrolled people over 50 than aged 18–19. I spelt this out in a recent post.
http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/mumble/index.php/theaustralian/comments/whats_the_proportion_of_unenrolled_young_people/
And it is not true to say most of the 1.5 million have never been enrolled. Most of them have, but dropped off at some stage when they moved home.
So young never-enrolled are a small subset of the “missing 1.5 million”. This is important.
Another misunderstanding, or assumption behind shock-horror analysis, is that direct enrolment will get all these unenrolled into the roll. It won’t. It won’t even come close, not even by 2020.
As you might expect, the commission is proceeding with care, slowly.
As Milanda Rout in the Australian has written: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/labor-in-campaign-to-mobilise-the-young/story-fn59niix-1226534036231
“The AEC expects to automatically enrol 500,000 to 600,000 over the next two to three electoral cycles as a result of the new laws. A number of the remaining one million “missing” voters may not be picked up under the new system, including the homeless, indigenous people and some non-English speaking communities”
So only about a third of the “missing” will eventually be scooped up—after four to seven years.
So, what about the 2013 election? How many electors will be directly enrolled by then? I reckon 200 thousand is as good a guess as any. It assumes some low-hanging fruit in the early stages of the process.
The unenrolled are disproportionately young, and mobile, and renters, all people who lean left-of-centre more than the rest. (There’s much overlap between those groups of course.)
Earlier this year an ABC 730 segment and Drum article asserted that the unenrolled would favour the ALP, after preferences, by around 10 per cent more than the rest of the country. I think that’s crazy. It may apply to the very youngest age cohort, the 18 to 19 year olds, but not the rest. I reckon it would be less than 3 per cent across all age-groups, but let’s call it 3 per cent for the sake of argument.
Let’s also pretend every one of the extra 200 thousand turns out to vote next year. In reality, for pretty obvious reasons, we can be sure they’ll turn out at a lower rate than everyone else.
(NSW started direct enrolling before its 2011 election and about 80 per cent of them turned out.)
And we’ll also assume all of them will vote formal, when for similar reasons we can be pretty sure they’ll register a higher informal rate than everyone else.
Finally, let’s apply it to the last election, which again is overly generous, as 200 thousand will be a smaller proportion of total voters in 2013 than 2010.
http://results.aec.gov.au/15508/Website/HouseTppByState-15508.htm
Here are the sums.
In 2010 the two-party-preferred votes for the ALP and Coalition were 6,216,445 and 6,185,918 respectively, 50.12 to 49.88 per cent. If we add 200 thousand more votes, favouring the ALP 53.12 46.88,
http://results.aec.gov.au/15508/Website/HouseTppByState-15508.htm
Labor on 50.17 and Coalition on 49.83. A difference of 0.05 per cent of the total vote.
It would be vary a little across electorates of course. And 0.04 can make a difference in close seats. But no seat was that close in 2010.
In 2010 several hundred thousand people tried to vote but couldn’t because they weren’t on the roll. If direct enrolment brings that number down, it will be a good thing.
How can making the electoral roll more accurate be a “rort”?
Mr Pyne needs a Bex and a lie down and so do a few others.

*Overseas Aussies is a whole different category. There are around a million of them, but less than 100,000 on the roll and voting.

Mumble has moved to the Oz

Here

Mumble moves to the Oz

Dear Mumble-readers, Mumble moves today to the Australian. It will be a mainly online gig, doing the kind of stuff I’ve done here but more frantically and often.

I love youse all, thanks for indulging me at this place and I invite you to continue at the new one. If only to judge if/how the piper-payer calls the tune.

New site here. Comments here closed; any comments there please. (They will eventually appear, just working that out.)

Do not adjust your set

Great news for NSW premier in latest Newspoll

Kristina Keneally is still preferred premier in the latest NSW Newspoll in the Oz!

Irony on It’s time to roll Barry O’Farrell who languishes on both the preferred premier and approval ratings. Barry can’t win on these numbers. Irony off

(Oh, and the Coalition is ahead in the arcane “voting intentions” measure 61 to 39.)

And another thing: tweets to Kevin

You’d have read about the former PM (and wife) continuing to tweet. If you’re wondering why, you can see the tweets that have been sent his way, including many nice ones, here. [Update: oh, it doesn't work. Try going here and entering @kevinruddpm into the search box.]

Westpoll says federal WA vote of 54.5 to 45.5

Pollbludger has the info.

Newspoll says 53 to 47

Kind of snuck up; in the Oz here. Up from 52 to 48.

Like the others except Nielsen, it shows a large increase in Labor’s primary support at expense of Greens and others, and small one in two party preferred. As happens after leadership changes, whether they turn out to be a good or bad idea. (Am repeating self, yes.)

Dennis Shanahan puts the argument, as Peter van Onselen and others also have, that primary vote and preferred PM are the only things that wot matter.

No doubt that’s what the party “hardheads” believe, but that doesn’t make it true. They believe all sorts of things.

It’s back to the future with western Sydney

The new prime minister, Julia Gillard, is a creature of the Labor Party.  She is from Melbourne (before that Adelaide) but apparently like all good ALP operators has an obsession with western Sydney.

In signalling her shift in population policy (or emphasis or whatever), she yacked about that part of the world. This is a very Labor thing to do, especially from opposition.

Throughout the Howard years, the ALP held about 80% of seats in what could be described as that area. When winning government in 2007 they took a total of – wait for it – two new seats there.

In 2010, after redistribution, more seats are in play in the general region: Macarthur (Liberal-held but now a notional margin of 0.5 percent for Labor) Greenway (Lib-held but notional 5.7 percent Labor) and Lindsay (Labor by 6.3). Go further south and there’s winnable Hughes (0.5 Lib). Update: let’s throw in provincial Macquarie, Labor by 0.3 percent.

Still, the way Rudd won in ‘07 was to concentrate on that category of people called Australians. You might have heard of those: from many walks of life, in the main outward-looking. A decent two party preferred majority of votes from this component pretty well guarantees you a majority of the 150 electorates in the country.

But we’re returning to the self-defeating idea that Labor’s support begins in western Sydney and if they make it big enough there it kind of overflows into the rest of the country.

This was a hallmark of the Crean and Latham oppositions; they carried on about that part of the world alot. It’s a very machineman thing to do, but it doesn’t work. Some of the biggest swings away from Latham in ‘04 were in outer western Sydney, as were some of the biggest to Rudd in ‘07. Yet every utterance of Latham’s was conceived with those people in mind.

Check out the forest, Julia.

Nielsen says 55 to 45

In Fairfax, Green vote way down, Labor’s primary way up, Gillard v Abbott preferred PM up on Rudd’s. Something like this is par for the course.

In the case of Nielsen, comparisons are complicated by the possible rogure nature of the last poll; Abbott’s net approval (as opposed to just approval) has improved. Here’s anticipation on Thursday.

Table here, very odd state components (small samples of course). Victoria says 67 33 and the rest of the country about 50 50.

New tear ‘m down and put the next one up leaders nearly always get a boost vis a vis the predecessor, whether they’re a Rudd or a Howard, a Latham or a Downer, although it can take a few weeks. It doesn’t mean much in terms of eventual electability.

Update: Galaxy says 52 to 48, here, which is no two party preferred bounce at all from general polls. Will try to get tables.

And this sting in the tail for Tone: “The only measure where Mr Abbott topped the survey was that 52 per cent said he was someone they don’t like much compared with 24 per cent saying that of Ms Gillard.”

Ouw. A bit rude.

To the victor goes the fantasies

- That’s not a poll driven prime minister – this is a poll driven prime minister

We all thought Kevin Rudd was content-free and gutless; Julia Gillard has indicated she’s likely to gutless out on the mining tax. She was party to every previous bit of Rudd government gutlessing out. What’s left?

- The best, perhaps only, government policy explainer, Lindsay Tanner, is going. Just leaves Emerson and Bowen.

- Until 7pm on Wednesday most commentators favoured the government to win the election. Now they’re saying Labor couldn’t win under Rudd. That’s narrative-land for you.

- Barrie Cassidy had interesting piece in the drum. Rudd did make lots of mistakes.

But like everyone else Barrie accepts at face value the story, laid out for example with faux outrage by the over-exposed Paul Howes on Lateline, that it was Rudd sending CoS Alistair Jordon to visit caucus that drove Gillard over the edge.

Yes that’s right, she wasn’t going to challenge, but Kevin angered her so much she couldn’t help herself.

Oh, and Jordan wouldn’t let Karl Bitar show the prime minister the polling, so he …  sent it to Andrew Bolt instead. As you would; the journalist you go to when you’ve got your leader’s interests at heart.

Fair enough the plotters want to pretend there was no plot. Must the journos play along?

- And have a look at it on Bolt’s site. All vague and dodgy.

Party people armed with an agenda and opinion polls should be treated with grains of salt.