Socio-Demographic graphs & pendulums
The Australian Electoral Commission puts each seat into one of
four socio-demographic seat classifications: Inner
Metropolitan, Outer Metropolitan, Provincial and Rural.
These are the AEC's categories, so don't complain to me.
Below left are graphs (time-lines) for votes in these four
categories at the last three elections. Seat numbers won are also shown. Next to
each is the pendulum going into this election. These show precisely where
Labor lost the last election - in the rural
So what?, say you, Labor always does badly in the rural seats. This is
true, but the graphs show that rural seats were the big difference between the
1993 win and 1998 loss.
Two GST elections
Look at it this way: Australia had two GST elections last
decade. At the first one the ALP got 51.4% to Coalition's 48.6%, and won
the election with a double digit seat majority. In 1998 Labor got 51% to
Coalition's 49% - and lost by a double digit number of seats.
The broad explanation for this is that they wasted votes in
safe seats last time, which is true. But as the following graphs show, what they
really failed to do was make gains in the country.
Click any to enlarge and see key
It's obvious why Labor is emphasising Telstra as an issue this time around.
But they are not silly enough to fight the last battle. The 2001 election is a
totally different one to the one last time. Put simply it is not a referendum on
the GST; the seats and socio-demographic categories will swing very differently
to last time.
This is one reason why taking the national pendulum as a starting point and
plotting the swing required for a change of government would be very misguided.
Mark my words, if the ALP were to get 51% of the two party vote again (they
probably won't), they would win the election quite handsomely in seat numbers. (See