The Canning by-election was held yesterday. With counting final for election night, the Liberals' Andrew Hastie has won by 55.0-45.0, a 6.9% swing to Labor. Primary votes were 46.4% for Hastie (down 4.7%), 35.9% for Labor’s Matt Keogh (up 9.3%), 6.1% for the Greens (down 1.3%), 3.1% for Palmer United (down 3.8%) and 3.1% for the Christians (steady).
At by-elections, there are no out-of-electorate absent votes, which favour Labor, and almost all of the counting after election day will be postals, which strongly favour the Coalition. At the 2013 election, postals in Cannning gave the Liberals 65.1% Two Party Preferred (2PP), compared with their overall 61.8%. As a result, the swing to Labor should reduce somewhat as these postals are counted, and I expect the final swing to Labor to be about 6.5%.
Before the change in PM last Monday, this by-election was seen as a huge test for Tony Abbott. The change to Turnbull meant that the by-election lost importance, though a very poor result for Labor could have put pressure on Shorten. The sizable swing to Labor will be a relief to Shorten.
The two national polls taken since Turnbull became PM have shown a 50-50 tie (ReachTEL) and 51-49 to the Coalition (Galaxy). Kevin Bonham thinks the by-election result is well in line with what we would expect given national polling of about 50.5% 2PP to the Coalition.
It is surprising that Labor’s primary vote was up 9.3%, while the Greens actually lost 1.3%. Labor’s primary vote gains came mainly at the expense of the Liberals and Palmer United, who benefited from drawing the top square on the ballot paper. The Greens' poor performance is partly explained by the presence of left wing micro parties, such as Animal Justice, Sustainable Population and the Pirate Party, but the two national polls conducted since PM Turnbull have the Greens averaging 11.5%, up 2.8% on their 2013 result.
Partly as a result of the Greens' poor performance, Labor’s share of all minor party preferences was only up marginally to 51.7%. Until PM Turnbull, it had looked as if Labor’s minor party preference share would be in at least the 60’s.
The only Canning poll taken since PM Turnbull was a ReachTEL poll for The West Australian, conducted Thursday night from a sample of 1130. This poll gave the Liberals a 57-43 lead on primary figures that suggest 58-42 had actual preference flows been known. There were many polls conducted while Abbott was still PM, but we cannot now assess their accuracy.
I will update this article with the results of the Greek election tomorrow, and will have a full wrap of the national polls since the shift to Turnbull next Thursday.
Authors: The Conversation