The initial market reaction to the prime ministerial intervention in the Aboriginal lands of the Northern Territory is that it has helped the Government’s electoral chances. Not that the Crikey Election Indicator shows a switch of Tampa-like proportions. The movement this week has been of a relatively minor kind with the assessment now being that the chances of the Coalition and Labor are dead set level-pegging.

The Crikey Election Indicator is based on the federal election market at Betfair and gives an assessment of the probability of victory for the two sides of politics. While the movement towards the Coalition over the last few days is less than one percentage point, the Indicator shows that since the beginning of the month the Coalition’s chance has improved from 43.1% to 50%.

 

Crikey Federal Election Indicator

Date

Coalition

Labor

16-Aug-06

57.0%

43.0%

09-Oct-06

57.0%

43.0%

07-Dec-06

61.0%

39.0%

19-Feb-07

49.5%

50.5%

20-Mar-07

48.5%

51.5%

23-Apr-07

46.6%

53.4%

22-May-07

46.8%

53.2%

1-Jun-07

43.1%

56.9%

23-Jun-07

49.6%

50.4%

27-Jun-07

50.0%

50.0%

 

The Crikey Indicator, based on the price people actually put their money on, has varied surprisingly little this year. It generally moves in the same direction as the opinion polls but without dramatic fluctuations. The Indicator has consistently predicted that the Coalition is doing better than the opinion polls would suggest, as the following table comparing it with the latest set of poll numbers indicates.

 

Comparing the polls
 

Two Party Vote

Winning Chance

Pollster

Date of Poll

Coalition

Labor

Coalition

Labor

Newspoll

June 15-17

44

56

10.2%

89.8%

ACNielsen

June 14-16

43

57

6.2%

93.8%

Morgan

June 13-14

45

55

15.9%

84.1%

Galaxy

June 1-2

47

53

32.3%

67.7%

Owl Indicator*

June 27

48.7

51.3

50.0%

50.0%

 

The winning-chance columns need a little explanation. They convert the pollsters’ voting support in to a percentage chance of each party winning based on the margin of error historically shown by polls six months or so before the actual polling day. With the Owl election indicator at the bottom of the table the winning chance is the actual, based on the market at the Betfair betting exchange, with the Two Party Vote calculated using that same margin of error. For the sake of simplicity it is assumed that the Mackerras pendulum is correct in predicting that Labor needs to get 51.3% of the two-party-preferred vote to finish level with the Coalition.

The prediction I personally am waiting for is that of the Crikey readers who enter our ‘Pick the Newspoll’ contest. In the contest 10 days ago, the Crikey psephologists seemed to be getting the hang of the polling business because their prediction of what Newspoll would contain was almost spot-on – the forecast two-party-preferred vote of 44 for the Coalition to 56 for Labor was identical with Newspoll. Entries to predict what Newspoll will show in The Australian next Tuesday close at noon on Sunday with the winner entering the Crikey/Glug Psephology Hall of Fame and getting a dozen bottles of Bragging Rights red as well.

Our fortnightly guessing game does have a serious side to it. We are putting to the test some of the theories about the collective wisdom of people when it comes to predicting future events and, who knows, by clicking here to put in an entry you might help us discover an important tool to assess political events. For some views on the theory behind this experiment have a look at my piece on “Newspoll and the Dressed Weight of a Particular Ox” in the Crikey political blog.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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