Visualising the Question: Is it really “Two Party Preferred”?

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When I was watching the ABC coverage for the last Australian federal election the Liberal panelist took great delight in pointing out how little of the primary vote the Labor Party had gotten at that point. Frankly, he was right. But interestingly the Liberal Party were not looking likely to get over 50% of the primary vote either. In light of what we’ve been seeing happening in Europe and the USA with the apparent growth of anti-establishment feeling in the electorate, I was curious whether¬†we had seen the same thing here over the last few elections

So shortly after the last election I made some graphs using Shiny (the code can be found here) and then posted a short post on LinkedIn. I was planning to return to this at a later date and add in the data from the 2016 election too.

Two party versus others

And there it is: the trend that was seen over the last few elections has certainly continued into the 2016 election. There was also one interesting thing to turn up in the 2016 election: an increase in the number of newer, smaller parties, many of which were not present in the 2013 election. In the following graph these are aggregated as ‘Other’ and include parties like Nick Xenophon Team and Katter’s Australian Party.

Parties over time.

What really does stand out when you look at the smaller parties is that while the Greens have been somewhat consistent over the last three elections, it is the growth of those in the “Others” group that really stands out.

Minor Party Growth

One interesting question that this raises is whether this trend will affect the conservative side of politics in the same way that the Greens have done to the ALP over time. The last time in recent history that we have seen this trend in politics was with the emergence of the One Nation Party, which immediately preceded Australia’s swerve to the right in regards to asylum seekers, best exemplified by the Tampa Affair. It will be interesting to see what kind of an impact the results from the 2016 federal election have on Australian politics over time and how the major parties attempt to reconnect with their constituents and address the loss of faith and disenfranchisement that this voting trend away from both of the mainstream parties represents.

Works in online marketing, runs on coffee and has a web design background. I maintain a few blogs to collect ideas and interesting stuff about the Internet, marketing online, coffee and technology.
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One response to “Visualising the Question: Is it really “Two Party Preferred”?”

  1. […] politics has become progressively more interesting, with the percentage of primary vote being cast for one of the two major parties steadily going down over the last three federal elections. So the upcoming Western Australian state election in March […]

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