Saturday, August 28

The AEC has published its provisional distribution of preferences which makes it very clear that Andrew Wilkie will surpass the Liberal candidate in very fine style, recording 20,430 votes to the Liberals’ 15,695 after distribution of Greens and Socialist Alliance preferences, and then comfortably winning the seat on Liberal preferences.

Friday, August 27

The Australian Electoral Commission announces it will conduct a “provisional” distribution of preferences in Denison to ascertain whether the Liberals are likely to be excluded from the count before Andrew Wilkie, a necessary precondition for the latter winning the seat.

Tuesday, August 24

6pm. Indicative preference count finished for real now, with pre-polls and hospital booths added, and Wilkie’s lead has risen to 1.2 per cent (1375 votes).

3pm. The indicative preference count for ordinary votes has been completed, and it puts Andrew Wilkie 1091 votes (1.0 per cent) clear of Labor. That’s a big hurdle for Labor to clear on absents and postals, but there are too many imponderables to say it can’t happen.

Monday, August 23

11pm. “Only one seat now in doubt as Wilkie loses bid for Denison”, reports the Sydney Morning Herald, and it’s probably not alone. This misapprehension is based on the ABC computer’s projection of the Labor-versus-Wilkie indicative preference count, which assumes the 20 booths that haven’t been counted will follow the preference pattern of the 26 that have. There is a three-sided problem here: Labor’s share of the preferences is not as high in areas where they are weak generally; the booths are being counted in alphabetical order; and the strongest Liberal booths begin with an S. Antony Green’s modelling to account for this turns the projected 0.6 per cent Labor lead into a 1.1 per cent deficit (subject to a margin of error), a view shared by PB commenters who know their way around a linear regression. However, Labor is likely to at least close that a little on postal votes.

6pm. Labor might appear to have the advantage superficially at present, but Sykesie in comments has produced a model accounting for the association between Labor’s primary vote in booths that have reported and the share of their preferences in them. The upshot is that as counts are added for booths less preferable to Labor are added, their share of the preferences will come down, Sykesie projects them to finish on 48.4 per cent with an error margin of only 1.3 per cent. However, that doesn’t factor in the likelihood that Labor’s position will improve as postal votes come in. That still makes it too close to call, but Wilkie would probably be favoured.

2.30pm. The Electoral Commission is conducting a thrilling indicative preference count between Wilkie and Labor to ascertain what will happen if they are indeed the final candidates. Wilkie currently looks to be just slightly under the share of preferences he needs, but it’s been back and forth as booths have been progressively added in alphabetical order.

Sunday, August 22

Accomplished Tasmanian psephologist Kevin Bonham, who closely observed the behaviour of Greens preferences in relation to Wilkie when the latter ran at the March state elections, disagrees with Possum’s assessment that Greens preferences will not necessarily put Wilkie ahead of the Liberals, and thinks a greater threat to Wilkie would be that he might be overtaken by the Greens, who will have run a better resourced postal vote campaign. If he’s right, the surprises in Denison might not be over. It is mostly being taken for granted that Liberal preferences will allow Wilkie to ride home over Labor if he finishes ahead of them, but a WA Labor source advises caution on this count based on the precedent of Kwinana at the September 2008 state election. It was widely thought after election night the seat had been won by independent Carol Adams, but victory slipped away from her due to the surprisingly high number of Liberal voters who had Labor second.

Saturday, August 21

This post will be used to follow the late count in Denison, where independent Andrew Wilkie superficially looks well placed to win a Labor seat vacated by Duncan Kerr and contested for them by Jonathan Jackson. At issue is the distribution of preferences from the fourth-placed Greens, who polled 19.01 per cent. Wilkie needs them to close what at present is only a 0.1 per cent deficit over the Liberals, but Possum at least believes the fact preferences are splitting three ways between Labor as well as Liberal and Wilkie will land him short, especially after factoring in a likely weakening of his position as postal votes come in. However, the ABC reports “Labor scrutineers are predicting a desperately close result as preferences are distributed”.

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