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Federal Election 2013

Sep 8, 2013

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Wednesday 4pm. Another 69 absents, 56 provisionals, 87 pre-polls and 70 postals have trickled, making little difference to a Cathy McGowan lead that currently stands at 395. The bigger news is that Sophie Mirabella has conceded defeat.

Tuesday 6pm. A variety of additions to the count today – 132 absents, 116 pre-polls and even 132 provisionals – which have chipped 18 votes from McGowan’s lead, now at 387. Mirabella still needs the dwindling stock of outstanding votes, now at around 1750, to break 60-40 her way.

Monday 4pm. Another 1611 pre-polls have favoured Mirabella 899-712, but they’ve been partly negated by 577 absents which continue to favour McGowan, this time by 327-250. Mirabella’s net rate of gain is less than what she needs, putting her on course for defeat by about 400 votes.

Sunday 7pm. Pre-polls are continuing to heavily favour Mirabella, a batch of 1431 breaking 842-589 her way. This is a ratio of 59-41 in a situation where 57-43 should be sufficient to win her the seat. However, the remaining votes include at least 1000 absent as well as 2000 pre-poll votes, and those have been favouring McGowan. A further 971 of the dwindling stock of postal votes was slightly below par for Mirabella in breaking only 520-421 her way.

Saturday 8pm. Along with some rechecking, just 475 absents added to the count today and they’re continuing to favour McGowan, breaking 252-223 her way and putting her lead at 837. My projection of the share of the outstanding vote Mirabella will need is up from 56.3% to 57.1%.

Friday 6pm. The first 930 absent votes have been added and are good news for Cathy McGowan, adding 98 to her lead. Postals continue to flow solidly to Mirabella, a further 1918 boosting her by 290 votes, but there can’t be too many of those left. Her overall deficit is 897 and with about 7000 votes to come, she needs something of a miracle from here.

Friday 3pm. Another 1918 postals have been added and they’ve favoured Mirabella by 290, with McGowan’s lead down to 791. Yesterday’s projection that Mirabella needed about 55% of the outstanding basically still holds. She’s doing slightly better than that on postals, but absents and pre-polls might behave very differently and single one of either has been counted yet.

Thursday evening. The addition of 1930 postal votes has clawed back 318 for Sophie Mirabella after the identification of yesterday’s polling booth error blew out Cathy McGowan’s lead from a bit under 500 to 1471. Still to come are about 2750 postals, 4500 pre-polls, and 2500 absents, which will need to break at least 55-45 Sophie Mirabella’s way. Her share of postal votes so far is 57.6%, but absents and perhaps also pre-polls will presumably be less unlike ordinary votes.

Wednesday 4pm. A sensational development today with the emergence of a counting error at the Wangaratta pre-poll vote centre which was costing Cathy McGowan a bundle of 1000 votes. As David Barry notes in comments, McGowan had hitherto been doing 15% worse in the Wangaratta pre-poll booth than in the ordinary booth vote compared with a more typical 7% at other pre-poll centres, a discrepancy which disappears if 1000 votes are added to McGowan counts. Where McGowan’s lead had dramatically scaled back to 498 votes on latest counting, it can now be regarded as out to 1498, which almost certainly decides the result.

Monday 5pm. All the fixed polling both two-candidate counts are in, giving McGowan a solid looking lead of 24,840 to 23,086. Better modelling of my own in comments variously gives her 50.5% and 50.3% after pre-poll voting centres are added. However, there remains to come the very large number of postals, pre-polls and absents which seem likely to rein that in, the question being by how much. So a fair bit of entertainment left to come, it would appear.

Monday 3.30pm. The AEC is conducting a two-candidate preferred preference count between Mirabella and McGowan, going through the booths in alphabetical order. Since the largest centres in the electorate start with a “W” (Wangaratta and Wodonga), larger towns are unrepresented in the sample so far, which has Mirabella leading McGowan 14850 to 14569. I have attempted to model the relationship between the preference split and a given booth’s combined Labor and Greens preference flow, without a huge amount of success – the relationship is highly significant, but it only explains 24.4% of the variation. For what it’s worth though, the resulting model (preferences to McGowan equal 0.73*0.331x, where x equals the combined Labor and Greens vote) gives McGowan a 690 vote lead, remembering that this doesn’t include postals, pre-poll and absent votes.

Election night. Antony Green has Sophie Mirabella leading Cathy McGowan 29567 to 27880, which is presumably a projection because the AEC has no preference count and will presumably do one today or tomorrow. The primary votes are 44.4% for Mirabella to 32.2% for independent Cathy McGowan, which will be hard to overhaul with the available preferences from Labor (11.3%), the Greens (3.2%) and 9% others.

William Bowe — Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe

Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, is one of the most heavily trafficked forums for online discussion of Australian politics, and joined the Crikey stable in 2008.

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143 thoughts on “Photo finishes: Indi

  1. dovif

    Mirabella should benefit from postals and have a high enough primary vote to just fall over the line

  2. Kevin Bonham

    Very hard for McGowan. Currently needs 76% of preferences and a substantial minority don’t come from ALP/Green, which makes it so much harder. Indeed she’s bombed the Greens into micro status, they won’t even get their deposit back.

    Maybe doable on this asking rate if the voters really hate Mirabella but very likely postals will make it harder.


  3. zoomster

    1. Mirabella is gone in the long run, whatever happens. There’s been a high level of discontent with her amongst the local party faithful for years – they’re used to local members who actually show some interest in the electorate – and there’s been talk of de-selecting her in the past. This will give them the ammunition they need to get rid of her (she’ll probably retire to spend more time with her family…)

    2. Last election, Labor (i.e. me) picked up 1.5% after the postals and absentees were counted. If that happens this time, it’s enough to get McGowan across the line. On present numbers, however, I’d be tipping Sophie’s back.

  4. Kevin Bonham

    Re 2. that reminded me I should have checked the post-count swing in Indi. From the total of ordinary votes to the final total the Coalition’s 2PP improved by 0.32%. Non-ordinary votes include out-of-electorate prepolls as well as postals, absents and provisionals.

  5. dw barry

    TCP figures trickling in, I make it a 78% preference flow to McGowan so far – this is very close.

    Not much of a relationship between McGowan’s primary vote percentage and the rate of preference flow to her.

  6. sykesie

    I have set-up a similar regression model for Indi to the one I made for the close count in Denison at the 2010 election. Whilst the model is not yet complete, it is currently predicting a final 2PP number for Cathy McGowan of 50.51%. The standard error, however, is currently an unhelpful 1.37%.

  7. Edi_Mahin

    McGowan is going to very badly lose the Benalla PPVC and Wangaratta PPVC booths which are large booths. A number of PPVS booths have not reported yet and while McGowan is doing well in some she is doing very badly in others. They could decide the result. Still a long way to go for McGowan to win.

  8. Kevin Bonham

    I just had a look at the booths remaining with 70 booths included. At that time McGowan was behind but just looking at the primaries they projected her to the lead, which I see she has since taken.

    They’re going so fast there’s not much point me modelling it – I was out on work commitments for a few hours. Looks like McGowan will be in a position after ordinary votes that might be just holdable.

  9. wal kolla

    Sophie looks home to me.
    281 votes in front on 2PP from 92/103 booths

  10. ruawake

    Sophie now behind by ~1,700 votes. She will win from here.

  11. wal kolla

    *whoops Cathy I meant.

  12. sykesie

    my model predicts (McGowan 2PP):

    Benalla ppvc (45.71%)

    Div Office prepoll (51.56%)

    Harrietville ppvc (41.17%)

    Merrijig ppvc (37.37%)

    Mount beauty ppvc (55.96%)

    Wangaratta (43.60%)

    Wodonga (51.55%)

  13. mexicanbeemer


    Not sure what the underlining assumptions are but Wodonga and Wang seem a bit low so if able too what are you basing that on.

  14. sykesie

    Mexicanbeemer; simply basing it on a regression analysis of a relatively large number of booths already reporting.
    3 variable model.

    Model says:

    McGowan 2PP% = 57.59 + 0.45*(McGowan primary) -0.60*(Mirabella primary) + 0.47*(ALP primary)

  15. sykesie

    The model R2 is 0.98.

    Errors in the coefficents are:

    57.59 (+- 7.50)
    0.45 (+- 0.08)
    0.60 (+- 0.08)
    0.47 (+- 0.11)

  16. mexicanbeemer

    Thanks Sykesie

  17. Kevin Bonham

    Sykesie is McGowan still tracking for 50.5 or so?

  18. dw barry

    50.3 after pre-polls from my regression which is less sophisticated than sykesie’s (just uses Mirabella primary). Judging by the 2010 absentee and postals, I don’t think it’ll quite be enough for McGowan to hold on.

  19. Edi_Mahin

    Are they doing the PPVC booths today?

  20. sykesie

    Kevin – just got back from giving a 4pm spectroscopy lecture. I’m about to input a whole heap more data and we will see what happens to the model. It seems fairly robust at this stage.

  21. zoomster

    My info is that postal vote counting will begin tomorrow.

  22. sykesie

    OK, so the model has now been updated and predicts the following:

    1) For the 92/103 booths the model predicted a final McGowan 2PP vote of 50.66% (the actual one according to the AEC is 51.83%). So the first point is that my model seems to UNDERPREDICT McGowan’s 2PP vote. This may be due to booths where the green vote is higher (green primary is not included in the model).

    2) If I take the primaries of the 7 pre-poll booths that do not currently have 2PP counts and project a 2PP count based on the model, I get Mirabella pulling back the lead by a further 863 votes.

    3) The AEC currently has Mirabella behind by 1754 votes.
    If we apply the model change and subtract the 863 votes McGowan is predicted to drop for the pre-poll votes, then McGowan’s lead drops to 891. However since the model under-predicts McGowan’s vote, it may be a little better than that for McGowan.

    4) So after the 7 pre-poll booth 2PP votes are added in, Mirabella will need to pick up 800 or so votes from the remaining (postals??).

    5) I reckon that means Mirabella would need to win the 2PP for the absentees by about 55-45. It might be worse than this because of the model under-prediction bias. Doable? Sounds pretty tight to me …

    Mirabella is definitely in for the fight of her life, but I can’t rule out that she might overturn it on very favourable postals. I would suggest she is on the precipice.

  23. Diogenes

    The Sports guy seems quite reasonable.

    He’s copping a pasting from Steve Price and taking it very well.

  24. Kevin Bonham

    I’m going to have a look (when I get home from chess) at Mirabella’s performance at PPVCs compared to ordinary booths last time and this to see if it might be a fair indicator of whether she is likely to do better than normal at out of electorate PPVCs.

  25. Marrickville Mauler

    The Sports guy seems quite reasonable.

    Dio# 23

    Yeah but what did the detectives say; when did he walk into the room; etc etc etc

  26. canberra boy

    KB #24 I had also been thinking about Mirabella’s relative performance with ordinary votes, prep old and postal votes at previous elections. I’ve had a look back at the 2004, 2007 and 2010 results. The thing that stands out is that, while she did significantly better on postal votes than in ordinary votes, this was offset by a poorer performance in absent and declaration votes. At two of the three previous elections, Mirabella only performed marginally better on prepoll votes than ordinary votes on polling day.

    In all three previous elections, Mirabella’s overall two candidate preferred result improved on the ordinary vote by less than McGowan’s current lead in percentage terms.
    2004 ordinary vote: 66.13% final vote: 66.29%
    2007 ordinary: 58.79% final: 59.19%
    2010 ordinary: 59.62% final: 59.94%

    My final observation for the moment is that the two candidate preferred figure the AEC has published does not seem to include all the ordinary votes – 47,926 counted of 73,313. I can’t identify what is missing.

  27. canberra boy

    Prep old = prepoll 🙂

  28. Edi_Mahin

    I did a very quick, very rough cout and there are 23000 PPVC votes that have been counted and showing first preferences but are not 2PP counted yet. Is that the missing votes you are talking about?

  29. canberra boy

    I forgot to make the further point that for some reason the AEC Indi Divisional Office has not provided the declaration vote details so we can see how many prepoll and postal votes there were. I thought I saw this over the weekend, but perhaps I’m thinking of another electorate?

  30. Kevin Bonham

    Yes there are a lot of counted PPVC primaries that are not yet included in the 2PP.

    I am a bit cautious re including pre-2010 figures on post-count performance because of the changes that came in when PPVC votes became ordinary votes that were counted on the night.

    Can say that Mirabella’s net post-count gain of 0.32% 2PP in 2010 was almost right on the national average (0.28.) Doesn’t seem to be an electorate that lends itself to a huge rate of post-polling catchup.

    McGowan is doing better than I expected on the preference flow; the voters for other parties must be totally fed up with Mirabella.

  31. canberra boy

    Edi_Mahin #28 that may be it. Last election there were 71,000 ‘ordinary’ votes and 4,400 ‘Early Vote (pre poll)’. Perhaps the PPVC votes are displayed as ‘ordinary’.

  32. Geoff Lambert

    Postals issued were about 6,600. This is smaller than I would have expected. If it is true, the gain for Mirabella, based on usual differences between Postal and Ordinary, won’t be large

    The pre-poll primaries vote count (it is hard to find- look in the CSV download page) is currently about 22,000. Mirabella is polling 45.7% there, compared to 44.0% in the booths. If the preference flow pattern remains the same, this would probably mean Mirabell could creep up by about 400 votes in the TCP, which would not be enough.

  33. Geoff Lambert

    About 4,400 pre-polls counted so far this morning and Cathy’s lead has increased by 1 vote. The first 2,000 postals are also being counted this morning. Perhaps they are in the totals already. Unless the remaining pre-polls and postals are weirdly different, I think we can say Cathy’s win is just about locked in.

  34. Michael McCarthy

    Modelling 2PP to McGowan in each booth as a linear function (zero intercept) of 1st preference percentages for: McGowan, ALP, Greens and other (other is a sum of all 1st prefs for candidates other than McGowan, Mirrabella, ALP and Greens) gives coefficients of: McGowan 0.996, ALP 0.928, Green 1.033, Other 0.518. So there are strong 2PP preference flows from ALP and Greens, but roughly 50:50 from the other candidates. R^2 for that model is 0.999 (adjusted R^2 is 0.988).

    Using that model to predict 2PP in the major PPVCs from 1st preferences, McGowan is predicted to win the Wodonga and Mt Beauty PPVCs and the Divisional Office prepoll, but lose the other PPVCs. The net prediction is McGowan to be ahead by 600.

    Since building this model, the following PPVCs have results for 2PP: Divisional Office (PREPOLL), Harrietville PPVC, Merrijig PPVC, Mount Beauty PPVC. Across those 4, McGowan has 4 fewer 2PP votes than predicted by the model (out of a total of 4457 votes). Results of the bigger PPVCs for 2PP are yet be reported.

  35. Michael McCarthy

    Re: Geoff Lambert comment 33. Results for the biggest PPVCs are not in yet. Mirrabella has a large 1st preference count in Wang and Benalla (51.5% and 49.7& of 1st preferences) which are two of the three largest PPVCs, so things might be different (but perhaps not different enough for Mirabella).

  36. ltep

    Now 101 of 103 booths counted and McGowan 676 votes ahead. Of the final 2, 1 is the Wodonga PPVC:


    Doesn’t look like a bad booth for McGowan so she should (I guess) extend her lead slightly.

  37. Michael McCarthy

    Results for Wang and Benalla PPVCs are now in. McGowan did lose those, but not by as much as my model predicted – across the pre-polls so far in, McGowan has got 96 more 2PP votes than my model predicted. Wodonga is the other large PPVC without 2PP results so far, where my model predicts a small win for McGowan.

  38. Martin B

    And the Blind/Low Vision (BLV) centre will presumably be low numbers and may in fact have already been incorporated into the Divisional Office count.

  39. zoomster

    OK, just had a call from one of my guys at the count in Wangaratta, reporting that McGowan ahead by over 1,000, with postals about to be counted.

    He also reports overhearing Mirabella supporters conceding defeat.

  40. Kevin Bonham

    Amazing performance by McGowan on preferences; I thought the small but substantial preference of minor right parties in the preference flow would probably make it too hard.

    I looked at PPVC/ordinary comparisons that might assist in projecting the out of electorate prepolls but there were no serpents in the water there; if anything they weakened Mirabella’s chances.

    I’d like to see some postals first but this is looking very very bad for the incumbent.

  41. Spray

    Praise the Lord!!! (and I’m an atheist).

  42. ltep

    McGowan has tweeted that she’s 1049 votes ahead before they start counting postals this afternoon.

  43. Michael McCarthy

    There are 8844 postal votes received so far (it’s a bit frustrating that my comments are still awaiting moderation – things are moving fast!), so Mirabella needs ~56% of those on 2PP to win. Last election she got about 65%, so the swing of around 10% if realized in postal votes will make it very tight.

  44. canberra boy

    Prepoll votes all now counted, assuming nil from the blind/low vision centre. AEC shows McGowan 1051 ahead.

    There were 15,275 absent, early vote and postal votes issued. Leaving aside declaration votes, very few of which will be counted, Mirabella needs to get 8164 of the 15,275 to win. That’s only 53.45%.

    At the last election, Mirabella got less of the 2CP absent vote than she did of the ordinary vote. She got more of the early vote and almost 6% more 2CP from postal votes compared to ordinary votes. If the 2CP swing against McGowan holds into the 15,275 remaining votes, but they otherwise bear the same relativities to ordinary votes as in 2010, I calculate Mirabella will win by 21 votes.

    To get to this, the benchmark I’d worked out above is 55.15% of postal votes, 52.1% of early votes and 41.59% of absent votes.

    Right now I’d be calling for my party’s best scrutineers and thinking about grounds for disputing the result.

  45. canberra boy

    Sorry ‘declaration’ should be ‘provisional’.

  46. Kevin Bonham

    McGowan has 50.72% 2PP at what I take to be the close of ordinaries.

    In 2010 the Coalition managed a post-count swing exceeding .72 in twelve electorates nationwide. Five were Victorian: Hotham, Holt, Flinders, Dunkley and Melbourne Ports (the latter because of the high Jewish vote).

  47. canberra boy

    Kevin this time round there are a lot more postal votes – 10,465 compared to 6,388 last election.

  48. Kevin Bonham

    canberra boy is right – the breakdown of remaining votes as postals/absents/EVPP is radically different to in 2010 and that changes things considerably and makes it much more likely Mirabella can pull this back. It’s not also the number of non-ordinaries but the different pattern of non-ordinaries that is crucial. So this is very unclear.

    But if that is the case in Indi how many other seats is it also the case for? Are we going to see massive late Coalition pullbacks all over the place in post-counting?

  49. Kevin Bonham

    Is it possible to find information on what portion of postal vote envelopes issued were returned last time?

  50. sykesie

    Mirabella is still going to need Very favourable preferences on the remainder. Vastly different to what we have seen so far. Not impossible based on the type of votes remaining, but still not that likely in my opinion.

  51. DodgyDave

    From the 2010 results page you can choose general downloads then there are links to CSV files for Declaration votes issued by Division and Declaration votes received by Division.

    But the figures aren’t what you want, I think.

    Last time in Indi, there were 6,153 postals issued of which 4632 were own division. There were 6,797 postals received of which 6,567 were own division.

    I’m uncertain but this seems to indicate that a lot of the postals received for Indi were issued in other divisions and there is no figures from the other divisions on how many Indi postal votes they issued just “own” & “non-own”.

    But you know for this election how many postal envelopes have been issued and received (8,844) so far for Indi and I can’t see it changing too much further.

    For each division the total postals issued and received are shown and the postals issued and received for “own division”. I think the difference are postals issued in say Indi for other divisions. There doesn’t appear to be any way to tell how many Indi postals were issued in other divisions.

    That being said, own division appears to make up the majority of all postals with occasional exceptions – in Indi last time the differences are small.

  52. DodgyDave

    Oops ignore the last 2 paragraphs of my post – they were in an earlier version and I thought had been deleted.

  53. ltep

    My back of the envelope calculations have it that Mirabella needs about 52% of all remaining votes to win if the turnout is the same this election to the last. I’d favour her for the win at the moment.

  54. Geoff Lambert

    The TCP counted now equals the primaries counted. I think this means all pre-polls are accounted for- about 23,000 or somewhat higher than earlier estimates.

    Of 10,165 postals issued, the DRO normally expects 85% to be returned. They are nearly at that now, but these might not all be from inside Indi. McGowan lead has been whittled back from 1755 to 1051.

    There are really only postals to count. There seem to be bout 8800 of them. The DRO said at lunchtime that Indi usually returns about 65% TPP to the Coalition. If this happens in the postals, the final result will be 50:50. In the pre-poll tranches, the Mirabella TCP has ranged from 50% to 55%, so it is within the realms of possibility that this will happen.

    Postals will take about 4 days, at about 2,000 per day. I believe the envelopes haven’t even been opened yet because no primaries are shown. A distribution of postals may not happen in tranches- they may wait for Saturday, but will probably get a hurry-up from the scrutineers, of which there about 50 in the room today- for 21 ROs doing the count.

    So far all Provisional votes examined (177 of about 470) have been rejected. Probably only a handful will get through.

  55. DodgyDave

    ltep, I don’t think you are right.

    52% means that Mirabella gains 4% of the remaining votes. There would need to be over 26,000 for her to scrape home. There about 13,500 declaration votes last time. They may have increased this time but not by 10,000+.

  56. DodgyDave

    Actually if there are only postals to count, c. 8800, then if Mirabella gets 65% she’ll walk it in – by about 1500 votes.

    BUT the question is will her 2PP be that high for postal votes?
    Or will it fall like her 2PP on ordinary and pre-poll?

    What about absent votes though? There were 2,600+ last time and Mirabella did much worse on them than ordinary, pre-poll and postal.

  57. canberra boy

    Re #51 and #52 – I gave the figure for declaration votes at comment #40 – 15,275, excluding disputed votes which rarely get counted. I also linked to the AEC page where you can find the numbers of declaration votes.

  58. ltep

    My calculations were based on a turnout the same as the last election and 20,000 remaining votes to count, with Mirabella winning by 1 vote.

    If it’s 15,275 votes remaining, she’ll need 53.4% of the remaining votes to win, which still looks doable.

  59. ltep

    Looks like they’ve had a correction of the counted votes. 6 votes down for McGowan and 3 votes down for Mirabella, so McGowan’s lead shrinks by 3.

  60. DodgyDave

    Haven’t some of the 15,275 declaration votes been included in the pre-poll votes counted today?

    I thought that was what Geoff Lambert was saying at #53.

  61. zoomster

    I’m relaying maths that I’m sure I didn’t get right, but someone with a better head for figures than I have (almost anyone, that means) can work backwards and figure out where I’ve gone wrong (if I have!) — blame the bad mobile phone coverage here!!

    After 2000 postal votes counted, McGowan’s lead has been reduced by 288. My scrutineer said that 7800 postals had been issued, the AEC expects an 80% return on them, and if the remainder continues the trend (McGowan losing 288 for every 2000 counted) she should still win by 3-400 votes.

    (Possible the 7800 projected AEC figure for total postal votes they expect returned – ie. 10,000 issued, 7800 expected to be returned — )

    Word of caution: as a casual teacher who covered an awful lot of Indi schools in my time, I put down the high Melbourne vote for the ALP in 2010 to name recognition…)

  62. zoomster

    …the bit I know I got right were the 2000, the 288 and the expected margin!!

  63. Geoff Lambert

    A tranche of 1906 votes has been added, with Mirabella getting 57% and the gap has narrowed to 759. Carried through to the last Postal at this rate, this would give Mirabella the seat by 193 votes.

  64. Geoff Lambert

    But I should add that the “number of booth reporting” has dropped by two, so there is some putting and taking going on. The previous 102 polling places reporting was probably an error. Those missing are 3 non-standar PPVCs

  65. Kevin Bonham

    Are there really only postals left? What about the Absents and out of electorate Early Prepolls? These were each thousands last time and are shown as such again on the dec vote scrutiny sheet. (The out of electorate Early votes differ from the PPVC votes in the ordinary tally).

    At a gain rate of the postals so far (.144 votes/vote counted) Mirabella will erase the lead and then some even if no more postals come back than the 7000 received so far.

    Absents + EVs combined could help McGowan to the tune of 200 or so but that might not be enough. I just had Mirabella by 114 in a rough projection. Obviously with a large error so far from over.

    McGowan must get a better split on remaining postals.

  66. Mick77

    Kevin B
    Why does the AEC make it so hard to accurately do the maths by leaving out critical components or by unclear descriptions? We’re never sure if the parameters being used are correct. Does the AEC have shares in William’s PB or maybe they get 1c for every post here?

  67. Kevin Bonham


    Kevin B
    Why does the AEC make it so hard to accurately do the maths by leaving out critical components or by unclear descriptions? We’re never sure if the parameters being used are correct. Does the AEC have shares in William’s PB or maybe they get 1c for every post here?

    If you think the AEC is bad, the ABC is worse. They were showing the 51.8% lead for Mirabella yesterday without any disclaimer that it was dodgy, raising hopes prematurely and repeating the confusion caused in Denison 2010.

    Often the AEC does explain things in fine print at the bottom of the page. But there are still issues, like moving seats out of the Close Seat list as they realign.

  68. Mick77

    Thanks Kevin
    I gave up long ago on any real “real time” info from ABC.

  69. Edi_Mahin

    Ia Sophie Mirabella a very good chance of winning?

  70. Michael McCarthy

    2PP for postals in 2010 was 65.5% for Mirabella. Currently the postal 2PP is at 57.4%, a swing of -8.1%. This would be just enough for Mirabella with 10000 postal votes (unless absent and other pre-polls swing further away from her). So it remains neck and neck. It could come down to less than 200 votes either way.

  71. Simon Keal

    Do we know if postals are counted in an order likely to generate fluctuations, or if it is essentially random and thus SM’s PV margin is likely to hold within a certain margin of error?

  72. Michael McCarthy

    The 2PP swing in the major Indi PPVCs from 2010 to 2013 is -10%, although variable among booths (-5.8% in Wang, -11.7% in Wodonga). This is similar to the swing across Indi. So a 2PP swing of -8.1% for postals is not surprising, but a touch less than elsewhere (on average, so far). Absent votes in Indi have been less kind to Mirabella than postals in the past, but they also haven’t tracked the overall swing as closely.

  73. Geoff Lambert

    “Is it possible to find information on what portion of postal vote envelopes issued were returned last time?”

    It does not seem so. Not on the 2010 pages in the way that they are on the 2013 pages. All I have to go on is what an RO said in the last few days- she expected to get 85%. That is very close to what the electorate office has so far returned.

    Late afternoon has seen some number changes on the declaration vote pages. The Provisionals have jumped up a bit but still 100% of them are being rejected at preliminary scrutiny. 139 formal were admitted to the count in 2010

    There is no data on Absents for 2013. The AEC issued 2,316, but these would have been for everywhere except Indi. Indi received 2,667 formal Absents last time (3.1%). Absents might be bigger this year- but expect 2,800.

    In 2013, there is a category of Declaration votes labelled Early Vote (Pre-Poll). I assume this is a kind of Absentee pre-poll. 3898 have been issued (for other electorates?), but none received. Could we say 4,000 Indi votes might be received on a tit-for-tat basis?

    The turn-out formal/enrollment last time was 91.1% of 92,914. If repeated on the current enrollment figures of 98,465, we would expect about 89,600 formal votes. Total primaries counted so far in 2013 are 78,154, leaving 14,400 uncounted, of which about half are postals. leaving about 7,000 in the “We don’t know what we don’t know” category. That could be accounted for by the two types of Absents above (6,800). Kevin is probably right that they would be better for McGowan than the Postals.

    Postals don’t close until Friday week.

  74. Pica

    Thanks to a bunch of youse on this thread decrypting the AEC info on Indi and crunching a few numbers, but I sense an inexorable slide over into Mirabella’s favour – tell me I’m wrong, pleeeease!

  75. Michael McCarthy

    If postals counted so far are a random sample of the ~10000 postals, Mirabella will be very likely to lead after all postals are counted. If the remaining early votes match other pre-polls, they will be roughly split, while Absent votes might favour McGowan. If so, it is looking close, but it looks like Mirabella by ~200.

    This is based on:

    10000 postals, with 5700 to Mirabella and 4300 to McGowan (based on current 2PP of 0.57 for postals);
    3000 Early votes, with 0.53 to Mirabella (~0.63 2010 election with ~10% swing; PPVC votes were ~0.51 so McGowan might do a bit better than 0.53 but not much); and
    2000 Absent votes, with 0.42 to Mirabella (again, based on a ~10% swing from 2010 election).

    That gives Mirabella an advantage of 1260 votes on the non-ordinary votes, which is just enough to pull back McGowan’s advantage of 1051 on the ordinary votes.

    So it remains close – change those 2PP proportions by a little, and the result can change. The Absent proportion of 0.42 seems especially rubbery. But McGowan seems in trouble if postals stay at 57.4% for Mirabella.

  76. zoomster

    The AEC doesn’t expect all postals to be returned (and not all of them, obviously, would be valid votes) so it’s not ‘10,000 postals’, it’s more like 8,000.

    Which accords with the figure my scrutineers gave me, of 7800 postals.

    At present, with 2000 counted, McGowan dropped 300 votes on the postals. Extrapolate that out and at the end of counting postals she’ll be down around 820, which still puts her ahead.

    Absentees will be interesting – doorknockers reported to me that their impression was that people in Melbourne etc were more aware of the campaign that voters in Wodonga, due to the social media campaign. Anecdotal, of course, but it might mean the absentees hold up better than one would first think.

    Still, I repeat – either way Mirabella will not be contesting the next election.

  77. zoomster

    Just to be super helpful, I’ll pass on other info from our scrutineers — there’s a whole lot of pre polls sitting in Seymour (and a lot of former McEwen voters who’ve been moved into Indi would have gone there) which won’t be delivered for a couple of days yet due to the workload Seymour’s facing with the count for McEwen.

  78. canberra boy

    Zoomster (#75) not sure I follow your maths.

    At the end of counting ordinary votes, McGowan was ahead by 1052 (the number was revised again yesterday). 1940 postals counted yesterday, and McGowan’s lead has dropped to 764. That’s a gain of 288 votes for Mirabella out of the 1940 counted. If we extrapolate to the 7800 returned postals reported by the scrutineers, then Mirabella would stand to get 1158 more votes than McGowan from postals.

    As you say at #75, McGowan may do better on absentee votes. I presume many of these are students in Melbourne. I pointed at comment #44 to the fact that at the last election, you did better against Mirabella on absentee votes than you did in ordinary votes. If we assume that Mirabella gets the same proportion of absentee votes as last time, then she will go further ahead. However, if the swing against her on ordinary votes translates to the absentee votes, then McGowan would win the absentee votes by 232. That’s a big if, of course. The postal votes went 65.49% to Mirabella at the last election, and from those counted so far this time she’s got 57.42% – a swing slightly lower than for the ordinary votes.

    A question for the scrutineers might be whether the postal votes are being counted in order of receipt by the AEC? If so, this could hold some hope for McGowan: my perception is that her campaign really only featured proiminently in the Melbourne and national media for the last three weeks or so of the campaign, after Crikey reported the Mirabella staffer’s e-mail. You might think she would do better from the later postal votes.

    But we haven’t discussed the early votes. The AEC says 4122 issued and 55 received: some comments suggest that the figure issued includes other electorates as well. Any intelligence on these? Last election they went 62.44% to Mirabella.

  79. ruawake

    Not just missing votes, it seems they all belong to McGowan. But best wait it is News Ltd News.

    [A MYSTERY pile of 1003 votes misplaced by the electoral commission could seal Coalition industry spokeswoman Sophie Mirabella’s fate.

    The Australian Electoral Commission has found the votes at the Wangaratta pre-poll station in north-east Victoria.

    The votes go to Ms Mirabella’s opponent, the independent Cathy McGowan, the AEC has confirmed.

    It will mean, on current voting, Ms Mirabella will trail by 1773 votes, making her task of holding onto the seat increasingly difficult.]

  80. Outsider

    Wow! What a twist…. Tony Windsor will be delighted! As am I of course….

  81. Kevin Bonham

    If it’s true Mirabella is totally busted, of course. Unless she has a missing vote pile too!

    Waiting for official confirmation on this one though.

  82. David Barry

    Compare the ordinary vote TCP to prepoll TCP in the big booths which had prepolls: usually McGowan was around 7 pts worse. In Wangaratta she was 15 points worse, a discrepancy that disappears when you add an extra 1000 votes to her tally.

    Safe to say the story is true.

  83. Kevin Bonham

    Yes and the votes clearly exist as well. What an extraordinary way to win a seat.

  84. Outsider

    Full report on the SMH website. Described by the AEC as an accounting error! Extraordinary. Sophie is gone…..

  85. Rocket Rocket

    Just heard the news on the radio driving between workplaces. Best news I have heard all day! But Zoomster you are right – Indi has been poorly represented by Sophie, and I think even if she scrapes in she won’t be the cadidate next time. If she does scrape in, I wonder if Abbott will still put her in cabinet? She would have to be one of the biggest duds of his shadow front bench and I am sure they could do better.

    So many Liberals will be happy if Sophie loses, but maybe none more than Tony Abbott, because he then won’t have to make the somewhat embarrassing decision to dump her from cabinte (or the probably even more embarrassing decision to keep her!)

  86. ltep

    Will they recount all the votes from that booth before adding the extra votes? The most recent update has seen McGowan’s lead shrink be another few hundred votes, so the 1000+ votes will be determinative.

  87. Rocket Rocket

    Sophie Mirabella’s plaintive cry –


  88. canberra boy

    Curiously, the AEC has posted an update this afternoon which included the extra postal votes counted today, but not the additonal 1003 ordinary votes for McGowan.

  89. SD

    No doubt they will be double checking every vote, box and tally sheet at Wangaratta before changing the official figures. The next set of published numbers needs to be 100% correct.

  90. Geoff Lambert

    Will they recount all the votes from that booth before adding the extra votes?

    Yes, it is underway

    Not to deprecate the DRO, but I think all of this was a bit overwhelming and I understand someone else is standing in in that role.

    Steve Kennedy (AEC) was just on PM, concurring with the revised lead, but saying the remaining votes will be trickling in until Friday week and the formal distribution will probably happen today fortnight. But he says the picture will be fairly clear by Monday after the bulk of the postals are done.

    A really lovely story emerged that it was Divine Intervention by Cathy’s father in Heaven who, many people have said for months, was looking down with approval on Cathy. I like that. Win or lose, the McGowan campaign has been inspirational. I liken it to the Franklin campaign- very empowering. Everybody working on close campaigns like these can truthfully say= “I made a difference”

    Easier sleep tonight

  91. Michael McCarthy

    For Mirabella to draw within a few dozen votes once the extra 1000 votes are added, she would need numbers along the lines of:

    57.3% 2PP (the current rate after 4000 votes counted) on 10,000 postal votes;

    50.9% 2PP on 2000 Absent votes (a 1% swing against from 2010 election); and

    61.4% 2PP on 3000 prepoll votes that are yet uncounted (a 1% swing against from 2010 election).

    If there are fewer votes or bigger swings against her on the Absent and remaining prepolls (bigger swings seem likely given the other trends in Indi), Mirabella will not get enough from the remaining votes to pull ahead of McGowan (unless more votes for her are found via a recount, for example).

  92. Kevin Bonham

    The revised lead is now showing on the AEC site (it’s currently 1449).

  93. Michael McCarthy

    Re Kevin [94]: With those numbers and if the postals remain 57.3% to Mirabella, a 2-3% swing or larger against Mirabella on Absent and other prepoll votes will give McGowan the win. A swing larger than 2-3% seems likely given the size of the swing across Indi.

  94. absolutetwaddle

    Don’t worry guys, if she loses her seat I’m sure a News Ltd tabloid will give her some weekly column inches.

  95. Michael McCarthy

    The missing Wang PPVC votes now shows a large consistent swing in prepoll 2PP votes away from Mirabella. The swings in the major prepoll booths are:
    Benalla PPVC: -9.2%
    Div Office prepoll: -16.8%
    Wang PPVC -13.4%
    Wodonga PPVC -11.7%

    In the face of that swing, any remaining prepoll votes (~3000?) are likely to be roughly split (Mirabella had 62.4% in 2010).

    A 50:50 outcome on remaining prepoll and absent votes, and 57.3% to Mirabella for postals mean that McGowan will win by >500 votes.

  96. triton

    An example of why Sophie is about to lose her seat:
    [For motel owners Garry and Josie Swaine, Ms Mirabella’s lack of availability has been a source of angst. Six years ago, the couple promised to adopt Mrs Swaine’s then unborn Filipina niece, to save the girl from being aborted.
    Attempts to adopt her from within Australia proved fruitless, so the couple adopted her in the Philippines, named her Hazel and have spent thousands of dollars on lawyers and failed visa applications to bring her to Australia. They kept trying to get a meeting with their local member.
    “We’ve never been able to get past her secretary,” Mr Swain said.
    “If you can’t even have a conversation with your local member, what chance have you got of being heard further up the chain? We’re not young people. What would 10 minutes of her time cost her?” ]


  97. triton

    Oops, wrong thread.

  98. obama44

    Here is a fascinating article about Cathy McGowan’s campaign in Indi. A group of locals who disliked Sophie Mirabella’s aggressive and hyperpartisan approach to politics organized fifty-five kitchen table conversations across the electorate with 425 participants, developed criteria for the kind of candidate and campaign people wanted, and then approached prominent locals who satisfied the criteria and asked if they would run. Cathy McGowan was the one who said yes. Then the campaign raised 130,000 dollars from 1000 donors, trained supporters in how to use social media tools, required supporters to sign a values contract which emphasized civility towards opponents, empowered supporters to activate their part of the electorate in support of the campaign with events such as bush dances and street parties, and used a software package called Nationbuilder to maintain a website and keep track of supporters’ involvement in the campaign. http://inside.org.au/from-little-margins-big-margins-grow/

  99. Patrick Bateman

    Thanks obama44, interesting.

  100. Greg Louis:

    So I am not sure what the AEC did today but Cathy is now over 2000 votes in front
    Did they do a recount of ordinary votes?

  101. Greg Louis:

    Sorry, I have no idea what I was looking at now. 1471 vote lead, no postals added yet today.

  102. Evan Parsons

    Update: McGowan’s lead now down to 1100 votes.
    A big enough buffer now?

  103. Haydn

    Liberal scrutineers obviously applying a lot of pressure. Over the last couple of hours 106 of McGowan’s votes have been declared informal against 54 of Mirabella’s. As a result the lead has been cut from 1152 to 1100 even though no new votes have been counted.

  104. Outsider

    I don’t think Sophie has much hope of a Lazarus like come back from here. I note that there are no absent votes as yet included in the count. There would be around 3,000 absent votes. In 2010, the overall 2PP was 60/40 but the absents were near enough 50/50. I would expect in line with the general swing against Mirabella, the absents will break strongly in McGowan’s favour. With maybe 4,000 postals to go, taking these factors into account – even with the hardest scrutineering possible going on – McGowan’s lead is just too big to conceivably be clawed back. If the outstanding votes were all postals, it would be too close to call at this point. But they’re not.

  105. Outsider

    For all true Sophie-phobes, up to date count details available via this link:


  106. River

    The lead is now at 790. It will end up very close.

  107. Outsider

    I have revised my view in comments on the main thread. I agree its now too far close to call. Until we see some numbers on the pre-polls in particular.

  108. Greg Louis:

    The first 1004 absentee votes have been added and the votes have gone 55.27% Cathy 44.73% Sophie, so Cathy is doing really well on these (1658 of these left to count). 1072 postals left to add and over 4000 pre-polls). Margin out to 897.

  109. Greg Louis:

    So if Cathy continues to get 55.27% of the remaining absent votes (1658) she will gain 174 votes on these. On the remaining postals (1072) Sophie would gain 162 votes, putting Cathy further ahead by 12 votes after both of these are added putting her 908 votes in front before early votes are added.
    There are currently 4001 early votes maybe as many as 4708. In the last election Sophie got 62.44% which would give her a gain of 955 votes enough to win Sophie the count (only just). However, surely there will be a swing on these if Sophie gets 60% of these her gain drops to 800 votes, not enough to win.

  110. Martin B

    Ordinary votes have swung 11% against Mirabella, Postals looking stable at an 8% swing against and Absents are so far swinging 7% against. To hope for no swing on Early seems to be wishing for a miracle. (Not that I’m suggesting that anyone here was hoping for that 😉 )

  111. Geoff Lambert

    New postals arrive at about 30 per day, probably half that next week, meaning about 9,300 in total and leaving 1600 to be counted. This will shrink Cathy’s TCP by 250 at the current TCP% for postals.

    There are probably about 6,400 Absents and Early Absents to count. If they break Cathy’s way as the Absents have so far, this means a gain of about 650.

    If these two things came to pass, the final lead would be about 700.

  112. Geoff Lambert


    Looked in the wrong Excel cell- that was a regression projection. I should have said a final gap of about 1300.

    The AEC put Indi back on the “Close Seats” list earlier today, but have taken it away again this evening. (The criterion is a gap of 1% or less).

  113. canberra boy

    This one was all over on Wednesday afternoon with the discovery of the 1000 uncounted votes. There was no doubt from that point.

  114. Greg Louis:

    By no means think that I was suggesting that Sophie would win. I was just saying if she did as well as the last election on the early votes she could come close, I fully expect that not to happen. I live in Indi, I know people who all their lives who voted Liberal who voted for Cathy. I look forward to her being our local member.

  115. Michael McCarthy

    My projection with an update from yesterday based on the absent votes is here:


    Mirabella will need 60% of the early votes, which is close to impossible.

  116. Michael McCarthy

    Mirabella has got approximately 57% of the early votes from the first ~700 counted. That is only a swing of -5% from 2010, which is much smaller than PPVC votes. The total number of postal votes eventually received and the number of early votes will be crucial. An update here:


    Are any more absent and early votes expected to be received? What is the cut-off date for postals?

  117. Kevin Bonham

    I now have a projected final margin of 336 to McGowan assuming no late postals arrive or 180 assuming all late postals arrive.

    There’s a bit of an issue here that I picked up with the Tassie Senate modelling as well – within electorate PPVCs are not a good model for out of electorate PPVs. Why not I don’t know, they’re just not. Maybe votes are cast at different times.

  118. Kevin Bonham

    Redid that to take account of the higher informal rate on absents and got 283 and 108. Very close.

  119. Geoff Lambert

    An so it came not to pass.

    Are they still counting? the numbers jiggle about on a hour-by-hour basis. It seems to me that someone might have asked for Pre-poll Dec votes to be counted today, just to see where the land lies.

    Projection of Cathy’s winning margin dropped sickeningly to about 290 with these sample votes.

    Like Kevin I assumed it would not matter whether the “out-of-electorate” were pre-poll or booth voting. But, on reflection, I think you could say that these people were just “natural” postal voters, who chose to go to a pre-poll.

    Indi is now like the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, rocking back and forth across the “too-close-to-call” line.

  120. Greg Louis:

    Sophie is getting 56.51% of the 700 early votes already counted. This is not enough. If all remaining absent, early and postals go they was they are now the gap will narrow by 510 votes. Cathy will win by 327 votes. Course some of the remaining votes will be informal. There is a higher rate of informal voting amongst the absent votes than postals or early votes, so it might narrow to a margin of 300. Of course this depends on late postals and how many more of the missing almost 500 early votes turn up.
    If another 450 early votes turn up and say 200 postals it could narrow by a further 88 votes to just over 200

  121. Kevin Bonham

    I’m getting an average gap of 240 on the latest figures on the assumption that practically all remaining EVPPs and one quarter of remaining postals arrive. Mirabella has some chance still, maybe five percent or so (assumptions on probability calculations can be argued various ways). The last 500 absents had almost no effect on my projection.

  122. Greg Louis:

    After today’s counting the result has narrowed to 270 once all the remaining votes are distributed, again it depends how many more postal votes and early votes are still to be added to the total….postal votes have to next Friday?

  123. Rod Hagen

    On Sunday Cathy has been doing well on Labor and Green prefs in the Absent vote (both running at a significantly higher percentage than their Ordinary vote, while Cathy herself is doing significantly worse). Still 1,127 Absents left to count at end of Sunday, so that will add to her tally.

    The EVPP’s are her biggest worry. Still nearly 2000 left, and breaking heavily Mirabella’s way. Again, Green and Labor prefs are helping her stay in the race in this area, but her own EVPP 1st pref count is very low indeed, so she needs all the help she can get.

    I think Cathy will still get there, but just. 250 votes sounds about right, as long as too many more postals don’t arrive!

    You can really see the advantage that the parties have over Indies when you look at the declaration vote 1st prefs in this seat.

  124. Kevin Bonham

    There was a theory Labor would have a big advantage over Andrew Wilkie in the 2010 Denison postcount but in the end it came to very little.

    Assuming 300 remaining postals – which is probably excessive – my current projection is McGowan by 180. There is enough uncertainty that a Mirabella win still can’t be completely ruled out.

  125. Kevin Bonham

    McGowan has improved on latest absents and my projection has increased to 207 (same assumptions as before). Mirabella is currently needing a 62%+ split on remaining EVPPs. That’s getting very difficult even by the standards of her strong post-count so far.

  126. Rod Hagen

    With Cathy 449 in front, and only 551 Absent and 776 EVPPs & postals left to count, Mirabella can’t catch McGowan.

  127. Rod Hagen

    On current % of Absentees & EVPPs Cathy should finish about 360 to 390 ahead of McGowan.

  128. Rod Hagen

    Whoops Make that “Cathy should finish about 360 to 390 ahead of Mirabella” !

  129. Kevin Bonham

    Yes it’s too hard now for Mirabella especially given the %age of the remainder that are absents.

  130. Geoff Lambert

    They must be counting and entering data like fury- the numbers change at about 5-minute intervals. Everybody down there is exhausted. They hope they don’t have to hang about for a re-count.

    At 3PM, the gap is 405, an estimated 1420 of received and to-be-received votes to count, the final gap looks like being 340. TCP would be 50.2%

    As everybody says, Cathy can’t be caught now.

  131. Rod Hagen

    Final lead could even reach 400, on the latest count.

  132. absolutetwaddle

    C’mon Cathy, ring it home baby!

    At my workplace down here in Melbourne there are lots of people who will be simply ecstatic to see Mirabella go out to pasture. Symbolic victories are often the sweetest it appears.

  133. absolutetwaddle

    Also my workplace is highly unionised. Just thought I’d throw that in there.:D

  134. Geoff Lambert

    Willum said, at the top of the page: “Mirabella still needs the dwindling stock of outstanding votes, now at around 1750, to break 60-40 her way.”

    He must be reading from a different script to me. Mind you, the Declaration Vote Progress page gets the wobblies late every afternoon and is changed without the header “updated” line acknowledging the changes. What it says now 2020 Tue night, is

    Absent Provisional Early Vote (Pre-Poll) Postal Total
    Envelopes issued 2,671 1,052 4,815 10,466 19,004
    Envelopes received 2,668 1,052 4,705 9,374 17,799
    Ballot papers counted 2,237 146 3,993 8,976 15,352
    Ballot papers not returned by voter 7 4 15 24 50
    Ballot papers disallowed
    Envelopes rejected at preliminary scrutiny 148 689 372 273 1,482
    Envelopes processed 2,392 839 4,380 9,273 16,884
    Envelopes awaiting processing 276 213 325 101 915

    Allowing for nearly all Provisional votes to be rejected and allowing for a handful of postals still to come (they got 4 today), this seems to predict that there are only about 720 to count. This agrees with what the DRO said yesterday.

    It implies Sophie needs a 95% TPP from here on in- in postals and Pre-poll Decs- not 60% as William says

  135. Geoff Lambert

    To add to the above, the ABC quotes the AEC as follows:

    Meanwhile, the AEC says the Liberal Party’s Sophie Mirabella is fighting a losing battle in the north-east Victorian seat of Indi.

    Independent candidate Cathy McGowan is leading Mrs Mirabella by 387 votes with just 550 ballots left to be counted.

    The majority of those pre-poll votes will be tallied tomorrow, and about 50 postal votes will be counted on Friday.

    The commission’s Steve Kennedy says Ms McGowan is on track to win by more than 300 votes.

    “The pre-poll votes have been favouring Sophie Mirabella by 57 per cent, but even if that trend holds it’s still not enough to bridge the gap,” he said.

  136. ltep

    Mrs Mirabella has conceded and confirmed she won’t seek a recount.

  137. Rod Hagen

    At time of concession McGowan had a lead of 394, with 201 Absent, 212 Provisional, 321 EVPP and 101 postals left to count (=835 all up). Looks like a final lead in the mid 300s to me.

  138. ltep

    Now down to 30 postals, 183 EVPP. Lead at 389 and shouldn’t fall significantly from there.

  139. billie

    Congratulations Cathy! The best candidate in 2013 won! Thanks to all other parties who preferenced Cathy.

  140. Geoff Lambert

    “It has been a damn nice thing-the nearest run thing you ever saw…”

    Quite so Mr Wellesley!

    The Voice 4 Indi campaign will become the text-book example of how to empower people, how to make a difference.

    I think it is true to say that there is nothing to match it in recent Australian political history. Certainly I have not seen its like in Federal elections since I started analyzing them in 1980. There is a history to be written here.

    I don’t think I’ll ever take my campaign T-shirt off until it falls off.

  141. ltep

    For what it’s worth, Indi has now been declared.