A few things need to be pointed out today, because, frankly, the mainstream media (MSM) is filled to brim with absolute horsesh-t about the reality of the Queensland election polling results.

Firstly, the polls were not wrong. Journalists and the Commentariat were wrong — the polls were not. Let’s look at the last polls from both Galaxy and Newspoll and see where their results sat compared to the election result once we add in their respective margins of error.

Does that look like the polls were wrong to you?

No, of course not. The election result fell within the margin of error of the last poll from both Galaxy and Newspoll. Statistically, the polls were 100% as correct as they could be. Unless you’re willing to completely redesign the physical laws of the universe, polls can’t get any more accurate than these were.

This commentary about the polls being wrong is just blatant arse covering and a piss poor attempt to rewrite history by a bunch of journos that Got. It. Wrong. Their prognostications on the polling results throughout the campaign were fantasy plucked from a random orifice, that had absolutely no relationship to electoral reality.

When a Galaxy or Newspoll came out showing 50/50 or even a 51/49 lead to the LNP, the News Ltd press regaled us with tales of a strong LNP position, or the likelihood of a hung parliament or even the goodly chances of an LNP victory. The problem with this line is that it completely ignored the reality of the electoral pendulum — where ALP seats sat and on what margins. A 50/50 result would have been a 5 point swing, if uniform, leading to the LNP picking up around 12 seats. A 51/49 result would have been a 6 point swing leading to the LNP picking up around 15 seats if uniform.

Since the LNP needed 18 additional seats give them a chance with a hung parliament, and 22 additional seats to give them the Treasury benches in their own right — a 50/50 result doesn’t even come close as a piece of evidence that could possibly justify the media spin.

To really highlight the complete ignorance behind these MSM poll commentaries and to kill another furphy that’s popped up — that the betting markets were superior — we can turn the pendulum into a set of implied probabilities of ALP victory for any given ALP two party preferred result using a monte carlo simulation. For each tenth of a percentage point increase in the ALP TPP vote, a 200,000 iteration simulation was run using a uniform swing that the TPP result implied with a standard deviation of 4%. We can then see how many times from each of those 200,000 election simulations that the ALP would win at least the 45 seats needed to form government.

A 51/49 LNP result — the best polling result they ever achieved in the campaign — still had the ALP on an implied probability of winning government in their own right of 66%.

A 50/50 poll had the implied probability of an ALP victory at a whopping 94% simply because of where the seats that the LNP needed to win sat on the pendulum.

The final and largest sample poll of the campaign was Newspoll. Its two party preferred result was 50.1/49.9 to the LNP — an implied probability of 92.4% of victory to the ALP.

What the MSM seemed to forget or ignore was that elections aren’t decided by who wins the two party preferred, but by who wins enough seats to form government.

As for the betting markets being superior, we can also use that same simulation to knock this nonsense on the head. At the closing of bets, Centrebet had the ALP on $1.65 and the LNP on $2.27.

That equates to the betting markets giving the ALP a 57.9% implied probability of victory. Every single poll in the campaign however had Labor on a higher implied probability of victory with the lowest (Galaxy 51/49 to the LNP) being 66.4% and the highest (Galaxy 50/50) being 94%. The final poll — the Newspoll — had the implied probability at 92.4%.

Last time I looked, the ALP won government and 66%, 92.4% and 94% are all higher than Centrebet’s 57.9%.

So yes, the betting markets were correct, but the polls were more so — by a significant margin. Something Centrebet should absorb before they say anymore silly things.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW