The two-party preferred vote criticised

The national two-party preferred Coalition vote is probably artificially high and this should be noted as both parties cite this vote as justification for their claim to form government. The level of this vote has jumped around in counting as those electorates where the local contest is not between Labor and the Coalition have been taken in and out of the count. Within reasonable limits the importance of the national two-party vote is overstated. How much moral weight should be placed on preferences well past the second? Public choice theorists emphasise that political voting unlike market choice does not allow for different intensities of preference. I suspect also that the Coalition two-party vote in the Independents’ electorates is artificially high presumably because Independents I think allocate preferences to the Coalition the Independents poll a large personal vote, and many of these voters simply follow their ticket and allocate their preferences to the Coalition without thought. Consider the 2007 two-party vote in the independents’ electorates and the Senate voting:

Kennedy: Coalition 2PP 57.51% (a 1.35% swing to Labor from 2004).  Senate vote was 39.18% Coalition, 4.39% Greens and 35.77% ALP. Labor won Kennedy in 1990 at its last Queensland surge; the Coalition 2PP is clearly artificially high.

New England: Coalition 2PP 64.8% (a 1.21% swing against Labor from 2004) Senate vote was 45.3% Coalition, 6.21% Green, 30.48%. Labor has not won New England since 1910 but it does include the university town of Armidale and Labor did come close in 1983 the Coalition 2PP is also much too high.

Could it be argued that Labor’s share of the vote is inflated by Green preferences? Not to nearly the small extent as for the Coalition. In 2007:

Melbourne: 72.27% ALP, Senate 40.35% ALP, 28.74% Green, 24.02% Coalition

Another argument against use of the 2PP is that a Labor vs. Coalition choice is not what the independents face rather we face a Labor + independents vs. Coalition + independents choice. it is an analogous story in the independents’ electorates politics there is not a two-party contest and it is rather misleading to force it into this framework. If voters in these electorates thought they were choosing a national government they would vote differently.

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