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 journalArticle

    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 - 2016

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    local factors
    election result
    trend
    competitiveness
    election
    Eden
    Polls
    Elections
    Competitiveness
    Partisan
    Coincidence
    Demographics

    Cite this

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    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.",
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    AB - 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.

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