Tasmanian Times

Kevin Bonham

Elwick …

Tasmanian Times psephologist Dr Kevin Bonham’s analysis of Adriana Taylor’s Elwick victory in comments …

… just as he and Peter Tucker predicted: HERE

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Dr Kevin Bonham

    May 5, 2010 at 1:20 am

    Whether Sharon saw Mat’s work at Uni as “well-informed and quite inspirational” is irrelevant to the question of his support level in voting in student elections, in which he usually struggled. And it’s hardly surprising that a political fellow traveller would have such a view of a candidate – Sharon, who would you consider to have been [i]bad[/i] Greens candidates, or do they not exist?

    It does seem (having checked the 2002 campaign website via Wayback Machine, where the support candidates are simply listed in alphabetical order) that I’m incorrect about whether Mat Hines was specifically endorsed as #2 in Denison in 2002. But in any case, out of a fairly unremarkable group of Greens’ support candidates (only Cath Hughes had much of a profile) he was not first on primaries, was last out of Putt’s surplus, and only narrowly second of the five after preferences from within the ticket. Hardly a shining performance yet somehow the myth has developed that he came close to getting elected when in fact he was nowhere near. My previous endorsement of “woeful” is too harsh if he was really not endorsed or listed second on any campaign media; I hereby downgrade it to “nondescript”. 🙂

    “Preselection and endorsement by the local branch” (well, those among it who were there) is hardly a protection against error; all kinds of terrible candidates have at times been preselected by local branches of various parties. And my suggestion that Helen might have got 2000 votes if endorsed #1 for HCC in 2002 is very far from baseless and in fact is consistent with sound psephelogical modelling. We know that Mat got over 1500 as endorsed #1 although all other evidence shows him to have been an electoral nonentity at best (in 2000 he polled less votes than any of the other Greens candidates although he had already acheived one of his heights of fame as TUU Environment Officer), while Helen has been a consistently strong performer including before she was on Council. We can also look at the percentage of the Greens vote acheived by the lead candidate: 1999 (Hughes) – 69% of two, 2000 (Jones) – 47% out of four, 2002 (Hines) – 43% out of four, 2005 (Burnet who at the time had been on Council for only about seven months) – 76% out of five, 2007 (Cocker, who at the time had been on Council for two years) – 70% out of of four. I don’t think it’s a big stretch at all to suggest Burnet would have got 57% of the ticket vote (ie 2000 votes) in 2002 had she been preselected #1, even assuming that doing so did not increase the overall Greens vote. Another way of modelling it is like this: suppose the endorsed order had been Burnet 1 Hines 2, how many of the 2460 votes they got between them would have gone to Hines? And since being endorsed #2 on a Greens council ticket does not seem to be much of a primary vote advantage, the answer is most likely he would have got not all that many more than the 305 he got in 2000. Notwithstanding whatever profile he got from his state election result (and that sort of thing really doesn’t contribute as much as some might expect – eg consider Wendy Heatley’s Hobart Council vote just after getting media profile for a surprising result in Pembroke), he probably wouldn’t have got 500, leaving the rest to Burnet.

    Student politicians and associates in my time often imagined that student politics was some kind of indicator of future success and that it was noticed by the wider community. Actually it wasn’t – outside of the fishbowl, no-one cared, and candidates could be quite competitive at student level (eg Bruce Paterson) and disappear without trace in other elections, or candidates could perform the other way around (Steve Mav).

    With reference to the 2002 Council cutup, Sharon writes “Both Mat and Helen received a close to equal share of the preferences from other Greens candidates and it doesn’t surprise me that Helen attracted a greater share of preferences from more conservative voters.” Actually the main basis for the preference difference was not “conservatism” (as if anyone who’s not a Green is somehow “more conservative”) but gender. Burnet got very strong preference flows from female non-Greens candidates whatever their politics, excepting Ruzicka, some of whose voters would have preferenced down the Greens ticket. Burnet was more preferenced than Hines by voters for the male non-Greens candidates but not generally by much, although some of those candidates were very “conservative”.

  2. sharon eames

    May 4, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Well it would seem that Kevin has a very different view on Mat’s work on campus, but from my perspective and of those I studied with at Uni we saw his work as well-informed and quite inspirational.

    As for Kevin’s comments on the 2002 elections. Having been involved, in a minor way, in Peg Putt’s campaign I know that in 2002 the Greens did not have a ranked ticket, that is Mat was not endorsed as number 2. As such Kevin’s analysis is flawed and Mat gained his support and preferences on merit.

    Regarding the council election, Mat would have undergone preselection and endorsement by the local branch. So an error? I don’t think so. At that time Mat had a high-profile in the community and had shown his knowledge of urban issues. Helen was still relatively unknown. Mat polled third highest of all candidates in that election, an excellent result for a non-sitting councillor. Any suggestion that Helen would have polled 2000 is baseless. I’m sure the Greens would have been pleased with the result which saw Mat elected and Helen coming close. Both Mat and Helen received a close to equal share of the preferences from other Greens candidates and it doesn’t surprise me that Helen attracted a greater share of preferences from more conservative voters.

    Mat was a great councillor for Hobart and much of the work he began is now being continued by Helen and her colleagues.

  3. Dr Kevin Bonham

    May 3, 2010 at 6:24 am

    I remember very well (having also been a student during Hines’ TUU career, and having followed student politics very closely – often meddled in it and even once ran for a position as a joke candidate!) that Mat Hines was not at all a “very popular” student politician; he was rarely elected to anything there unless it was either a multi-member election where whatever ticket he was on endorsed him #1, or else his opposition consisted solely of non-serious candidates.

    In 2002 (Hobart Council) I certainly do not take it for granted that Mat’s preselection at #1 was on any real kind of merit as opposed to being simply an error. Anyway the story can be clearly seen in the voting – Hines polled 1513 primaries to Burnet’s 947, because Hines had been endorsed #1. (Had Burnet been endorsed #1 it may well have been 2000 to 500.) From this point Burnet outperformed Hines on preferences 1386 to 1030 but his primary lead was enough to still just elect him. Paradoxically, picking a relatively poor vote and preference gatherer as #1 candidate thus giving him the votes of all who were blindly following the ticket, actually did improve the Greens’ chances of getting two elected (another few hundred votes in the right places would have done it) but there have been other times they have endorsed a #1 and also strongly promoted a #2 without the ratio between votes for #1 and #2 being as low as 1.6. Yes, the Green vote went up considerably at the 2002 Council election compared with 2000 but 2002 was a surge year for the Green vote generally.

    Hines’ 2002 Denison result as endorsed #2 was woeful. He polled only 4.8% of the Green ticket vote which was the lowest share of the Green vote for a #2 Denison candidate since 1989 (and less than half of the share at four of the other five since then). He was even outpolled on primaries by one of his running mates. Far from getting a strong flow of preferences he got less of Peg Putt’s surplus than [i]any[/i] of the other Greens and only got ahead of Jo Hall by 191 votes on preferences from the other minor Greens (similar to Wendy Heatley very nearly outlasting Burling in the 2010 Franklin cutup.) Most likely the reason Hines even got ahead of Hall at all after crawling on preferences to that point was some Green voters voting 1 for either Graham or Hughes because they knew them, then following the ticket 2 Putt 3 Hines etc.

    Far from getting “almost elected” at that election, Hines went nowhere in the cutup and finished ninth with less than half a quota. (I really suggest that before asking me to “remember” things you check that they are actually true.) From primaries to his exclusion the Greens’ total advanced by only 17 votes while Labor’s advanced by 839 in spite of Labor being almost three times more vulnerable to leakage than the Greens were.

    By comparison in 2006 Cassy O’Connor received 66% of Peg Putt’s #2s and the leakage rate out of the ticket on Putt’s surplus was down from 16.8% when Hines was #2 to 10.2% with O’Connor as #2. Flick to Franklin 2010 when the Greens again preselect a #2 candidate who is not that high-profile and who is seen as radical and the leakage on the surplus (McKim’s) is the same as with Hines.

    I don’t know whether Mat’s [i]ideas[/i] were especially radical, so much as his manner of presenting them coming across as dogmatic and ideological. But in any case while there probably will always be some Greens voters who prefer to vote for dark Greens, out of a light Green and a dark Green with similar profiles and the same opportunity, the light Green is likely to poll more votes and certain to get more preferences. That dark Greens will support light Greens was clearly shown by the massive approval rating for Nick McKim among Greens supporters prior to the election. The reverse is far from guaranteed.

  4. sharon eames

    May 2, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    Kevin, I’m not too sure why you would consider either Mat Hines or Adam Burling too-radical duds. While I don’t know much about Adam (other than his work in representing his community against logging interests), having attended University at the same time as Mat and observing the way he worked on Council I consider him to have been a high quality Greens politician. He was a very popular student politician and a high-profile advocate of sustainable development. Surely this is what led to his preselection as the lead candidate and his subsequent election, following a considerable growth in the Greens’ council vote. Kevin will also recall that during the 2002 election the Greens sought to have both Mat and Helen Burnet elected and as such ran a campaign focussed on getting a strong vote for both candidates, which they achieved. Let’s not forget that Mat was almost elected as second Denison Greens MP in an earlier state election, receiving a strong flow of preferences. As for his ideas being radical, well sure he was of a darker shade of Green than Burnet but if we look at his priority issues – Sustainable Transport (for which there is now a Government Ministry), Affordable Housing (for which the Greens now also hold the ministry) and Inner Hobart redevelopment (which is now a HCC focus) perhaps he was just ahead of his time. Radical or not there will always be a core of Green voters in Tasmania who seek to elect what some may perceive as ‘dark’ Greens – eg Mat, Adam or Peg Putt, just as there are those who will choose to support ‘lighter’ Greens such as Cassy O’Connor and Nick McKim.

  5. 6clegs

    May 2, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Touche` re my ranty post to Stewy, Dr Bonham.
    I should have ignorned him – but more wine than usual, and well, we’re all capable of errors of judgement, aren’t we? (>cough< your own snarky speel about Franks... ) I did and *do appreciate* the work you put in on a Saturday night. As i posted previously, you and the Tasmanian Times were the only ones giving the "Elwick" poll any attention.

  6. Dr Kevin Bonham

    May 2, 2010 at 5:19 am

    Franks’ preferences (happy now, 6clegs?) have favoured Taylor over Jacobson by close to 55:45 so Taylor has won by a margin of around 56:44 (this may change slightly as further postals are added). Closer than some expectations, but not exactly close as such. The preference flow to Taylor is not quite as strong as I expected, but not far short (I was expecting something like 58 to 60%).

  7. Stuart

    May 1, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    I thought it was a mis-spelling of “clogs”.

  8. Dr Kevin Bonham

    May 1, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    6clegs (we’ll take your word for it, and ditto for your claimed gender), Kartika (correct spelling) Franks’ name was mentioned in both my previous co-authored articles about the Elwick election on this site, and I narrowly resisted the temptation to add a side-note about how I found her (self-performed?) HO-FM jingle to be vocally accomplished but aesthetically so appalling that it almost fitted in with much of the other tripe on that station.

    The function of the posts on this thread was to provide quick updates of how the count was going for those who were already interested, not to act as an election primer from scratch. The comments last night were written hurridly as results came in and in most cases while commenting on the Green vote I was interested in focusing on the party swing from 2004 to 2010, since the Greens are actually the only party for which swing could be meaningfully assessed at this election.

    As it happens I was going to mention both Labor and Greens candidates by name in #7 but momentarily thought it was questionable whether Franks’ fairly low vote should be couched in a way which might be seen as reflecting on her as a candidate.

    It’s my experience that candidate choice rarely affects the Green vote much, except for star performers like Nick McKim or Helen Burnet (within the Hobart area specifically, I don’t think that crosses over to her 2004 result in Elwick) and too-radical duds like Adam Burling or Mat Hines. (Yes I know Hines got elected to Hobart Council but only because he was endorsed #1 and even then he didn’t beat his running mate by all that much.)

    Oh and contrary to your suggestion otherwise I do appreciate the assist from Stuart in #11. It was particularly amusing after your failed attempt at pedantry over Green/Greens and the general indignancy over nothing of your post. I used the latter seven times to three for the former, and the use of the former in an adjectival sense (the only sense in which I used it), eg “the Green vote”, “Green preferences” is common.

  9. 6clegs

    May 1, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Stuart, thanks for the heads up.

    See, while i may be a Greens member I don’t live in “Elwick”, write professional pieces, nor am I a “Sir”… – back-atcha.
    So while i might have made a spelling mistake,(?) I feel that my criticism is valid.

    BTW, I *do know* how to spell “Franks” from years of personal exp, so I’m guessing, since I don’t assume ( coz thats what Asses do) that I’ve spelled Ms Franks’ first name incorrectly???

    Oh and Stuart, i see that you didn’t care to post the proper spelling – thanks ever so.

    Crikey! if genuine, but polite criticism is treated like this then no wonder the Tasmanian Times is treated like a snobby-closed-boys-club by the wider media!

    Go Stuart! with friends like you Dr Bonham doesn’t need anymore enemies.

    BTW, I woulda thunk that my moniker *sexy-legs* would’ve been enough of a hint of my gender, go figure

  10. Stuart

    May 1, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    6clegs, Sir: I do reckon that if Dr Kevin mentioned the name of the Greens candidate, he would at least have got it correct…

  11. 6clegs

    May 1, 2010 at 5:12 am

    Dr Bonham, Sir,

    I do appreciate the commentary, but I am truly baffled as to why, in all your posts, you didn’t mention Ms Katinka Franks’ name once?

    The Tasmanian Times must surely have many other readers who don’t live in “Elwick” and are not Greens members, and might like to know the name of The Greens candidate? Also, there is an “s” on the end of The Greens.

    Again thank you for your input, as aside from your commentary on here it’s like this election never even happened! (as far as other media outlets are concerned)


  12. john hayward

    May 1, 2010 at 1:10 am

    The decisive importance of profuse but utterly meaningless posters in local government elections, and the subsequent ascension of the likes of Greg Hall and then Mark Shelton to the LC from the Meander Valley mayoralty, suggests that our electoral system operates on some kind of Pavlovian principle.

    John Hayward

  13. Peter Tucker

    April 30, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Great job by Kevin.

    I agree that there really is little to read into this in regards to state politics. Local government mayors really do have a great record in the LegCo!

  14. Dr Kevin Bonham

    April 30, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    Last regular booth in, Moonah North, is Jacobson’s third win for the night. So Taylor’s margin on primaries will be about 11 points and I expect this to blow out towards the mid-teens on Green preferences as these should favour Taylor.

    All up:

    Taylor: the expected result
    Labor: a rather good result in the circumstances
    Greens: a mildly disappointing result

    I don’t believe any state implications can be reliably read into this but I am certain this will not deter several from trying.

  15. Dr Kevin Bonham

    April 30, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Just three booths, prepolls, late postals and provisionals to go on this very fast count now and the booths are Moonah North (should lift the Greens), Glenorchy East (biggest Labor booth last time but also biggest local mayor booth last time, so crystal-ball that one how you will) and Lutana (not in electorate in 2004).

    Labor has topped Goodwood and Bowen Road.

  16. Dr Kevin Bonham

    April 30, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Chigwell and Montrose booths have been added and both these also with substantial swings against the Greens compared to 2004. It is looking like Jacobson has done reasonably well for Labor all things considered but Taylor has just done too good a job of covering all the political bases.

  17. John

    April 30, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Never get into bed with the enemy! Beginning of the end for the Greens!

  18. Dr Kevin Bonham

    April 30, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    The Greens are currently 0.9 points lower than for the same booths than in 2004. That could change by a point or two either way as counting continues, but at present it suggests that the bounce to them operating in the 2010 state election is either no longer operating or else is being cancelled out by Taylor running as an independent and hence taking more of their votes than Martin did as a Labor candidate.

    The Greens would not want their standing compared to 2004 to get any worse from here as the night continues. A result around 14 is acceptable but anything below that and hence significantly below their 14.7 last time would be poor.

  19. Dr Kevin Bonham

    April 30, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    The Greens have improved their position in the count with a swing to them in Moonah and are now back to where they should be. Taylor will clearly win with the question being whether she gets a majority and Jacobson’s vote is not bad but doesn’t look like it will break 40.

  20. Dr Kevin Bonham

    April 30, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    The first booths in show Taylor close to 50% and with a substantial lead. The Green stronghold of Collinsvale was one of those and the Green vote in Collinsvale was down. It was also down in Windermere so a bad start for the Greens this evening. We will have to wait and see how the Taylor/Jacobson pattern goes as it is hard to predict which booths either will be strongest compared to the other in, given the overlap of trad Labor support with Taylor’s local government patch.

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