Archive for the ‘SA election’ Category

A reminder that shorty priced election favourites can get beaten

March 19th, 2014 Comments off

Just a reminder that favourites can get beaten.

I did not produce an Owl’s election indicator on the South Australian election because the only markets available were the very fragile ones of the corporate bookmakers. Just how fragile was shown on Saturday morning when they stopped betting after Newspoll in The Australian came out suggesting, accurately as it turned out, that it was going to be a close run thing.

The night before, when I checked, the major firms had the Liberals around $1.02 with Labor at $15. Take out the bookmaker’s margin and the assessment was round about a 94% chance of a Liberal win with Labor on 6%.

The result is still uncertain but anyone who took the $1.02 would be feeling a little uncomfortable at the moment. And the Kouk’s red rover should be sweating a little as well.



Bragging rights contest – Pick the South Australian election winners

March 13th, 2014 Comments off

A little contest to test your political wisdom when the votes come in from Adelaide on Sunday night. Mark your assessment of the Liberals winning in every seat and the honour and glory could be yours.

In keeping with The Owl’s desire to be the thinking person’s political blogger the contest is not completely straight forward. We have chosen the methodology of the wonderful Probabilistic Competition that the smart people of Monash University run each year on the AFL. I’ll defer to their explanation of the scoring:

The probabilistic competition involves the tipper entering the probability (between 0 and 1) that they believe a team will win the match. It is sometimes also referred to as the information theoretic or info competition. The father of information theory was Claude Shannon.

In a traditional tipping competition, the tipper is forced to choose one team as the outright winner. However the tipper still believes that the other team does have some chance, just not as much as the team they chose. (In closely matched games, you may even think it will be a draw.) Choosing a probability allows the tipper to express their uncertainty or confidence level in the outcome.

It can be simply proven that the highest expected score can be achieved by tipping the true probability. (Even though the true probability is never known.)

The scoring system works as follows: If the tipper assigns probability p to team A winning, then the score (in “bits”) gained is:

  • If A wins: 1 + log2(p)
  • If A loses: 1 + log2(1 – p)

From the above we can see that the maximum gain of 1.0 is obtained by tipping 1.0 on the winning team. This however is very risky as maximum loss of -Infinity is achieved by tipping 1.0 on the losing team.

The scoring is not symmetrical and can be very non-intuitive for the beginner. The table below gives example tips and the scores (in bits) you would receive if your team won and if your team lost. Note that p values less than 0.5 are equivalent to tipping the other team with 1.0-p. Also, p=0.5 is equivalent to sitting on the fence – you neither gain nor lose any bits. Some examples:



Something remarkable must happen for Labor to survive in South Australia

March 1st, 2014 Comments off

Grim news for the South Australian Labor Government this morning. Newspoll in The Australian has it well behind with the election just a fortnight away.

1-03-2014 sanewspoll

Categories: SA election, SA Polls Tags:

An Adelaide Advertiser Labor election launch yawn

February 17th, 2014 Comments off

It is going to be a hard battle for South Australian Labor to get its message across if today’s Advertiser is anything to go by. The party’s big set piece policy launch on Sunday barely made it on to page one.

17-02-2014 advertiser

Categories: Elections, SA election Tags:

A century breaking vote for Labor in Tasmania?

February 16th, 2014 Comments off

Grim news for the Labor Party in Tasmania as the state election approaches. A poll in Saturday’s Hobart Mercury puts the Labor share of the statewide vote at just 24.6%. 16-02-2014 Taspoll If that happens it will be the worst result since the 10.6% recorded in 1903 when candidates stood under the Labor banner for the first time. 16-02-2014 laborvote

Stopping minor party nonsense – South Australia leads the way

November 26th, 2013 Comments off

An interesting story today on the In Daily – Adelaide Independent News site that predicts that in South Australia something will be done to stop the lunacy of candidates with virtually no votes in their own right winning seats in the parliamentary upper house.

The story says that new laws to bar Upper House candidates who can’t gather more than 2.5 per cent of the primary vote from collecting preferences will be rushed through parliament this week.

After intense negotiations between the main players in the last fortnight, a deal has been agreed to add a further amendment to have a 2.5 per cent minimum vote qualification.

“It means that if you can’t get 2.5 per cent of the primary vote, then you are not eligible to ‘receive’ preferences,” Shadow Attorney-General Stephen Wade told InDaily.

“As candidates are eliminated, their preferences will only go to candidates above that 2.5 line.

“It will prevent the coordinated harvesting that’s happened in a few recent elections.”

The Bill also proposes changes to prevent candidates “sending a message” with their group name or using common members in group qualification.

The  changes include:

  • A single candidate for the House of Assembly be required to obtain the support and signature of  20 electors and a candidate for the Legislative Council 100 electors (as opposed to the current requirement of two). This is unlikely to get broad support and is expected to be knocked out.
  • Only political parties and groups may lodge a voting ticket and hence obtain an  ‘above the line’  voting ticket square.
  • If candidates group together, they must have the supporting signatures of different electors.
  • Limits to the number of descriptive words that may be provided adjacent to a candidate or group name on the Legislative Council ballot paper from five or less words to two words. An amendment from “Nick Xenophon Group” candidate John Darley, to increase this to three words, is expected to be approved.
  • The ballot paper will be required to list candidates and groups in an order beginning with registered political party groups, independent groups and then lastly independents candidates.

Attorney-General John Rau said the current South Australian laws had too many loop holes that could be used to lever an almost unsupported candidate into a seat in parliament.

“The Government believes that these outcomes are undemocratic,” he said.

“This capacity to manipulate the system needs to be addressed.”

See previous post: Comfortable Liberal lead in South Australia but ALP a little closer

Categories: Elections, SA election Tags:

Comfortable Liberal lead in South Australia but ALP a little closer

November 15th, 2013 Comments off

The favourite Labor tactic of sacking a leader when the opinion polls turn against the party has yet to pay dividends in South Australia. The Galaxy Advertiser poll published this morning shows the Liberals with an election winning lead. The Labor two party vote is at the same level as when Jay Weatherill replaced Mike Rann as Premier but significantly higher than the previous poll back in March.


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