For Whom the Bellwether Polls: The Electorate of Eden-Monaro as an Indicator of Australian Electoral Trends

Brendan McCAFFRIE, Chris AULICH

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article examines the concept of bellwether electorates through a case study of the federal electorate of Eden-Monaro. Eden-Monaro is known in Australia for its unparalleled bellwether record, that is, as an electorate whose results consistently approximate national results. The article finds that bellwether seats must have an enduring demographic partisan balance between major parties, organisational competitiveness between the parties in that electorate, and national factors must outweigh local factors in determining election results. A study of Eden- Monaro particularly focusing on data from the 2013 elections, demonstrates that the seat meets these criteria, and that Eden-Monaro’s bellwether status is not merely coincidence. We argue that if used cautiously, the bellwether concept can be valuable as an indicator of national trends, rather than for any supposed predictive capacity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-466
Number of pages15
JournalAustralian Journal of Politics and History
Volume62
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016

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