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By Possum Comitatus - posted Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Thanks to the good people over at Crikey, the internal Liberal polling and analysis that the Murdoch tabloids were banging on about a few months back has been released to all. It’s a pity the journos didn’t seem to understand a word of it when it was delivered into their hot little hands, but now we can have a squiz at “Oz Track 33” the Cosby-Textor document and do what they couldn’t … like, er … actually understand it.

This document fills in the missing links to our regular polling analysis. We already know where the swings are happening, but this gives us the “why”. It tells us the demographic composition of the swings and the issues that are driving voter change.

And it’s bleak for the Coalition - so bleak that … well, we’ll get to that shortly.


This is going to be a long post that will set out a number of issues and slowly draw the threads together at the end for a startling conclusion, so you might want to go and get yourself a cuppa first.

Crosby Textor uses a pretty standard analysis technique for estimating the whys and wherefores of voter movements and the issues that drive it (which disappointed me a little, but I digress). It’s pretty much the same methodology that every market research group worth its salt uses on brand warfare and product positioning.

The way it works is that you run varying types of regressions where a persons vote is the dependant variable and various issues are independent variables. This gives you an estimate of how much a given issue influences a persons vote. The higher the value of the coefficient on the issue, the greater that issue influences the vote.

You then spread those issues out into a spectrum (by using either more regressions or qualitative analysis) that tells you which issue each party has more ownership of.

So what you end up with is a two-dimensional graph with the ALP on the left and the Coalition on the right. The further away horizontally each issue is from the centre, the greater the ownership of that issue is for the party that has it on their side of the graph. The higher the value of the issue on the vertical axis, the more influence that issue has on driving the vote.

So to start with, let’s have a look at how the issues were playing out under the last days of Beazley (just click on the thumbnail - and ignore the little dotted boxes and arrows, - that’s just the Crosby Textor commentary for the Coalition).

Issues; during the last days of Beazley

Click on image to enlarge

The big squares represent issues that have a statistically significant effect on vote movement (high confidence) while the little boxes represent issues that have a marginal statistical effect on vote movement (low confidence).What each party wants is to have as many of the big box issues as they can to be as far in their top corner as possible - for that means they completely own the issue, and it’s a significant vote driver.

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Posted at Possums Pollytics on September 7, 2007.

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About the Author

Possum Comitatus character is the pseudonym of a single writer; a 33 year old male from Northern Bayside Brisbane that has a keen interest in politics and econometrics. He blogs at Possums Pollytics.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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