Turnout

About quarter of a million more Kiwis cast votes in 2005 than in 2002. Who did this increased turnout favour?

Well, I have gone through each electorate, and tallied up how many extra votes (excluding specials) were cast yesterday compared to 2002. I then worked out which of the major parties won each electorate and by how much, and therefore how many ‘extra comparative votes’ the parties got as a result of the increased turnout. So, if National won an electorate by 10% and that electorate had 1000 more votes this year compared to 2002, then National would be said to have 100 ‘extra comparative votes’ in that electorate. I then tallied these ‘extra comparative votes’ for the whole country.

It became clear, in analysing these numbers, that Labour got more ‘extra comparative votes’ than National – 26,171 plays 18,772. This accounts for almost half of Labour’s election night lead. The vast majority of Labour’s ‘extra comparative votes’ came from South Auckland (7,028) and the Maori electorates (11,383). So, Labour’s get out the vote machine in working-class Auckland clearly worked. Also, National’s raising race as a pivotal issue in the campaign, as well as the emergence of the Maori Party, hugely benefited Labour’s ‘comparative extra votes’ tally. The election day turnout in the Maori seats ballooned a stonking 24% on 2002. An extra 22,644 votes were cast in the Maori electorates, with Labour holding a 50-55% lead over National among these votes.

It is one of the delicious ironies of Election 2005 that, while Don Brash got within a whisker of being Prime Minister by Maori-bashing, it was Maori voters who ultimately thwarted his ambitions.

18 Comments Posted

  1. Ah… I am agreeing with much of this comment…. I posted this elsewhere on the blog but now see that this is a better place…

    I was looking at the results in the paper on Sunday and I now think that our message of PARTY VOTE GREEN has not been successfully communicated (those hoardings won’t have helped…). In a number of electorates our candidate received more votes than the Green Party. This should not be happening if our supporters adequately understood the electoral system we are operating under.

    If a voter was happy to support Nandor or Sue B (for example) but was not prepared to vote Green… they would probably need to be confused to make this decision. Nandor and Sue B were never likely to win their electorate. They would ONLY get to parliament if the Greens received enough party votes. So why would these people vote this way? If they really wanted these MPs in parliament they should have voted Green and given their electorate votes to someone else (probably their Labour candidate). At present Sue B is only there by the 1500 party votes that are holding us over the 5% I think…. and Nandor will only make it back if the specials go our way… and Mike Ward is almost surely a goner…..

    In the Maaori seats many were very prudent… giving their electorate vote to the Maaori party candidate and supporting Labour with their party vote… of course that party vote should have gone Green…. but hey.. the idea was excellent.

    In Epsom…. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED LEFTIES?! Those who voted for Nash or Locke…. I am confused?! Why would you do that? Neither of these candidates had a realistic change of winning the seat. But, if even just the Labour voters had supported Worth we would now have NO ACT MPs.

    Oh dear. How sad. Nevermind.

    Let’s all learn from this for next time. If we are to have any chance next election we will need to have a very well educated support base.

    Let’s get to work.

  2. alistair wrote:

    “STV sounds like an excellent idea for the electorate voting however. A real improvement.”

    Which is exactly why I believe that STV should be introduce JUST for the electorate voting component.

    Granted, people might take a while to warm to this idea and/or get used to the maths. But simply opposing STV based on the assumption of voter confusion – as some would posit – seems not to give voters enough credit, and perhaps even come across as a convenient cop-out (“it’s too hard; let’s not do it…”).

  3. wiz,

    STV for the party vote?
    You’ll have to explain that one to me.
    It’s contradictary with proportional representation, unless you’re going to invent some sort of a weighting system, where a second preference is worth 50% of a first preference, etc…
    That what you have in mind, or have you just neglected to think it through?

    STV sounds like an excellent idea for the electorate voting however. A real improvement.

    One thing that’s always surprised me : what’s the big deal about instructing people how to cast their electorate vote? Apart from tactical voting for an Epsom or a Tauranga, it doesn’t make the slightest bit of overall difference, so people should be left to choose the PERSON they think will best represent the electorate. (that’s why STV is a good idea — you really are voting for the person, not the party)

    I really don’t comprehend why Rod should be embarassed about getting so many electorate votes, for example. Unless it’s a sort of crony arrangement with his local Labour candidate. And I don’t actually think we want to encourage cronyism.

  4. Having campaigned with Labour party people for STV in our city council elections, I found that the biggest obstacle to acceptance was poor maths knowledge. People just couldn’t understand the cumulative effect of the subsidiary rankings unless they were highly educated in stats. My stats was a bit rusty (thanks Prof R_R for the course I failed so long ago) but a collegue on the campaign team coached me through it well enough that I could explain it in simple terms to people on the street.
    Postal voting lasted 3 weeks, the counting was over in a few hours, and a minority of mathematical wellingtonians had voted for a change in our city council election process. The turnout was horrific, but we still got a binding result, which taught me a lot about perceived threat and campaigning.

    Maths is fun, statistics are relevant, repeat this to every child/teen you know, and hopefully in 20 years this will all be a funny story and people in general will have the sense to be able to vote in an informed manner.

  5. Having campaigned with Labour party people for STV in our city council elections, I found that the biggest obstacle to acceptance was poor maths knowledge. People just couldn’t understand the cumulative effect of the subsidiary rankings unless they were highly educated in stats. My stats was a bit rusty (thanks Prof R_R for the course I failed so long ago) but a collegue on the campaign team coached me through it well enough that I could explain it in simple terms to people on the street.
    Postal voting lasted 3 weeks, the counting was over in a few hours, and a minority of mathematical wellingtonians had voted for a change in our city council election process. The turnout was horrific, but we still got a binding result, which taught me a lot about perceived threat and campaigning.
    National was counting on creating scandals to raise perceived threat & thus increase participation. Yep, they mobilised their opposition, and got Labour more votes due to the increased turnout.
    Maths is fun, statistics are relevant, repeat this to every child/teen you know, and hopefully in 20 years this will all be a funny story and people in general will have the sense to be able to vote in an infirmed manner.

  6. On that note stuey, I have a theory:

    Maybe it’s because some people like the Greens and/or (some of) their policies, and so while they vote along party lines for their Party Vote, or simply because they prefer another party, they give the Greens the electorate vote as a TOKEN vote of approval – i.e. “hey we like you guys but not quite enough to give you our Party Vote – so here’s an Electorate Vote for you, Greens, just as a nominal way of saying you’re onto something.”

    Which is why wizban makes a rather insightful point there. Despite having an MMP system, the electorate voting component of it actually reeks of FPP. As wizban correctly noted, Rodney may have won Epsom – but he didn’t get over 50% of the vote. That’s why STV has been introduced on some health boards, and there are proposals for having STV for mayoral elections (if they aren’t already in place) – such that a candidate who fails to get 50% doesn’t win simply because he/she got the most votes.

    STV could potentially benefit the Greens a fair bit. For instance, in 2002, a survey showed that 20% of Labour-voting women said they would have voted Greens as their second choice. Now that’s a huge bloc of voters there!

    wizban, let’s put in a submission. 😀

  7. people electorate voting green rather than party vote has been a consistent problem for the greens acros the last 3 elections, before commenting further I would want to see the % of such voters from year to year, was it higher or lower? is the message getting through or not?

    It was interesting to note that Rod was one of only two Green candidates on the night to have increased the Party Vote in their electorate, sign of a strong campaign, well done Rod.

  8. eredwen said “I believe all voters have the right to be fully informed about the system.
    Then each voter can make an INFORMED DECISION about whether the race between candidates is too close to use one particular strategy or another.”
    – a simple solution would be to introduse stv as part of mmp. Then people would simply rank the candidates and rank the parties, and wouldn’t have to worry about what everyone else was doing.
    For example in epsom, hyde won but he didn’t get over fifty percent of the vote. If (under stv) labour and green voters had put Hyde after Worth (the nat candidate). Then Worth would have won instead.

  9. Well an easy solution to that particular problem would be to introduce stv as part of mmp. People wouldn’t need to get all confused about how to tactically split their vote, they’d simply rank the candidates and rank the parties. Much easier than gambling on what everyone else is going to do.

  10. jingyang:

    Good Point!

    However, my point was that by not fully understanding ther system people UNKNOWINGLY completely wasted their Electorate votes.

    I believe all voters have the right to be fully informed about the system.
    Then each voter can make an INFORMED DECISION about whether the race between candidates is too close to use one particular strategy or another.

    eredwen

  11. ironically, if those voters hadn’t party voted Labour,then National may have been the largest party, and then if Winston still sat on the crossbenches, we have a National govt.
    Or possibly a Labour govt, listening to National banging on for three years about how they got more votes and that the other parties had disrespected the will of the people in giving National more votes but not government.

  12. “It is one of the delicious ironies of Election 2005 that, while Don Brash got within a whisker of being Prime Minister by Maori-bashing, it was Maori voters who ultimately thwarted his ambitions.”

    Hehe, amen to that. Cher cher.

  13. Exquire:

    I counted a “frightening number” of Labour/Rod Donald votes as well.

    Kiwis of all levels of education take their votes seriously and deserve a nationwide education effort on how to use MMP votes effectively … in schools, and available in the community.

    We have three years to get that done, and I for one intend to work for it to happen.

    eredwen

  14. Nice.

    Here’s something that didn’t work: Party vote Green in Auckland. Where I counted, although Green Party support was admirably high, Nandor Tanczos’ support was actually stronger. I counted a lot of Green/Tizard votes, admittedly, but I also counted a frightening number of Labour/Tanczos votes. Clearly this is a Green force that has ended up being wasted, and while small, it’s of concern for sure.

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