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.