mumble
pages

home

Federal pendulum

margins since 1983

2003 reviewed

Qld election 2004

Federal results by two party preferred

Lemmings!

email:
 
elections AT
mumble.com.au

published

two decades of Newspolls

state votes at federal elections

Votes and seat
representation
1949 - 2001

Newspoll
preferences


Newspoll &
Morgan graphs

preferential voting

NSW election 2003


Beazley versus Crean

Newspoll Opposition leader approval ratings

Newspoll Opposition voting intentions

Two party preferred margins 1949 - 2001

Two tables below expand on this page (where you'll find fuller explanation).

They show votes, seats and seat majorities for every federal election since 1949. The last two columns show the two party preferred vote, assuming uniform swings, for what Malcolm Mackerras calls the "point of pendulum": that which would have resulted in a hung parliament (or as close to it as possible). If the electoral system were perfectly "fair", that would always be 50: 50, but it's not. For example, in 1949 the ALP would have needed over  52.3 percent to win.

Table 1 is chronological. The rankings in first column refer to Table 2, which is ordered by that "point of pendulum".  

From Table 2, the terms of the contest were best for the Coalition in 1955, when the ALP would have needed 53.5 percent two party preferred to win (second column from right). (They only got 45.8, so it's academic.) At the bottom the terms most favourable to the ALP were in 1987, when the John Howard led opposition would have needed 52.9 percent to win.

Table 1: chronological

  year ALP
2pp vote
Coal
2pp vote
ALP
seats
Coal
seats
Tot
seats
Govt
maj-
ority

winning
margin

ALP
2pp for
change
Coal
2pp for
change
4 1949 49.0 51.0 47 74 121 27 3.3 52.3 47.7
3 1951 49.3

50.7

52 69 121 17 3.2 52.5 47.5
11 1954 50.7 49.3 57 64 121 7 0.5 51.2 48.8
1 1955 45.8 54.2 47 75 122 28 7.7 53.5 46.5
2 1958 45.9 54.1 45 77 122 32 7.0 52.9 47.1
10 1961 50.5 49.5 60 62 122 2 0.8 51.3 48.7
9 1963 47.4 52.6 50 72 122 22 4.1 51.5 48.5
8 1966 43.1 56.9 41 82 124 40 8.5 51.6 48.4
6 1969 50.2 49.8 59 66 125 7 1.5 51.7 48.3
13 1972 52.7 47.3 67 58 125 9 1.6 51.1 48.9
14 1974 51.7 48.3 66 61 127 5 0.6 51.1 48.9
12 1975 44.3 55.7 36 91 127 55 6.9 51.2 48.8
7 1977 45.4 54.6 38 86 124 48 6.3 51.7 48.3
16 1980 49.6 50.4 51 74 125 23 1.3 50.9 49.1
15 1983 53.2 46.8 75 50 125 25 2.2 51.0 49.0
20 1984 51.8 48.2 82 66 148 16 2.2 49.6 50.4
22 1987 50.8 49.2 86 62 148 24 3.4 47.4 52.6
21 1990 49.9 50.1 78 69 148 8 1.4 48.5 51.5
17 1993 51.4 48.6 80 65 147 13 0.5 50.9 49.1
19 1996 46.4 53.6 49 94 148 40 3.9 50.3 49.7
5 1998 51.1 48.9 67 80 148 12 0.9 52.0 48.0
18 2001 49.0 51.0 65 82 150 14 1.7 50.7 49.3

 

Table 2: by ALP two party preferred vote for different election result (second last column)

  year ALP
2pp vote
Coal
2pp vote
ALP
seats
Coal
seats
Tot
seats
Govt
maj-
ority
winning
margin
ALP
2pp for
change
Coal
2pp for
change
1 1955 45.8 54.2 47 75 122 28 7.7 53.5 46.5
2 1958 45.9 54.1 45 77 122 32 7.0 52.9 47.1
3 1951 49.3 50.7 52 69 121 17 3.2 52.5 47.5
4 1949 49.0 51.0 47 74 121 27 3.3 52.3 47.7
5 1998 51.1 48.9 67 80 148 12 0.9 52.0 48.0
6 1969 50.2 49.8 59 66 125 7 1.5 51.7 48.3
7 1977 45.4 54.6 38 86 124 48 6.3 51.7 48.3
8 1966 43.1 56.9 41 82 124 40 8.5 51.6 48.4
9 1963 47.4 52.6 50 72 122 22 4.1 51.5 48.5
10 1961 50.5 49.5 60 62 122 2 0.8 51.3 48.7
11 1954 50.7 49.3 57 64 121 7 0.5 51.2 48.8
12 1975 44.3 55.7 36 91 127 55 6.9 51.2 48.8
13 1972 52.7 47.3 67 58 125 9 1.6 51.1 48.9
14 1974 51.7 48.3 66 61 127 5 0.6 51.1 48.9
15 1983 53.2 46.8 75 50 125 25 2.2 51.0 49.0
16 1980 49.6 50.4 51 74 125 23 1.3 50.9 49.1
17 1993 51.4 48.6 80 65 147 13 0.5 50.9 49.1
18 2001 49.1 51.0 65 82 150 14 1.7 50.8 49.2
19 1996 46.4 53.6 49 94 148 40 3.9 50.3 49.7
20 1984 51.8 48.2 82 66 148 16 2.2 49.6 50.4
21 1990 49.9 50.1 78 69 148 8 1.4 48.5 51.5
22 1987 50.8 49.2 86 62 148 24 3.4 47.4 52.6

From Table 2: there have been 22 federal elections since 1949, and nineteen of them had terms favouring the Coalition, ie they only needed a minority of the vote to win. (At four of them - 1954, 1961, 1969 and 1998 - they did just that.)

The three others - at bottom of table - which favoured Labor, were all during the Hawke government; incumbency obviously plays a part. (Labor enjoyed one "minority win" - in 1990.)

But compare 2001, ranked 18, with 1998, ranked 5. Kim Beazley would have needed a whopping 52 percent to win in 1998, but three years later 50.8 would have done it. It is no coincidence that 1998 saw Labor rack up record two party preferred majorities in Sydney's western suburbs, while three years later the demographic swung massively to Howard, without resulting in one western Sydney seat changing hands*.

Big support in the Labor heartland is a waste of electoral capital.

More explanation here

* Fine print: Two, however, Macarthur and Parramatta, had been notional Labor before the election.