Possums Pollytics

Politics, elections and piffle plinking

Newspoll Tuesday – Graphdump edition and new Pollytrack methodology

Posted by Possum Comitatus on August 26, 2008

Another Tuesday, another Newspoll of psephy goodness via The Oz, this time showing the ALP down 2 on the primary and the Coalition steady for a 45/38 split -washing into the two party preferred for an ALP lead of 56/44, down from the 57/43 a fortnight ago.

Today we unveil a new Pollytrack methodology to plug these numbers into.

Previously we were using just phone polls, but over the last few weeks I’ve been experimenting around with different polling aggregations and comparing them to election results to find a more accurate way to do it (and a big thanks goes out to a few folk that gave me access to unpublished polling data to help with the calibration of this thing).

Instead of just using phone polls, we are going to do the obvious and use every piece of polling data we can find to give us rolling super samples calculated weekly. Each Pollytrack calculation is made up of a rolling all pollster average weighted by sample size, that operates over a 5 week maximum window, and where each pollster has only their latest poll contributing to the super sample at any given time.

As a pollster releases a new poll, their old poll result drops out of the rolling window, and gets replaced by their new polling data.

The 5 week window works best as ACNielsen (a monthly pollster) occasionally releases polls 5 weeks apart rather than the usual 4, simply because of timing issues. Using a 5 week window allows us to always have an ACN poll in the Pollytrack mix.

The current Pollytrack mix is made up of Newspoll, ACNielsen, Morgan face-to-face and Essential Research (EMC). Morgan phone polls will also be added when they pop up, but the last phone poll from Morgan was taken over 5 weeks ago, so it drops out of our Pollytrack window.

The beauty of this is that it gives us super samples. Our current sample is 6039, but it has been as high as 7450 in early July, while the lowest it’s been all year was 4158 in early May. That gives us minimum MoEs on this baby of between 1.1 and 1.5%.

On the primary and TPP Pollytrack charts, the minimum MoEs have also been added to the chart itself, giving us a much better handle on the current state of play that includes pure sampling error uncertainty.

Currently, Pollytrack has the primary vote on 45.7/37.2 to the ALP, with the two party preferred running at 56.6/43.4 to Labor. The minimum MoE for this week’s Pollytrack is plus or minus 1.3%.

That now makes Pollytrack by far and away the most accurate tracking poll in the country bar none. Nothing else comes within a bull’s roar of this baby.

(As always, just click the charts to blow them up)


The estimated seat changes are calculated using an assumption of a uniform swing on the national pendulum.

Essential Media have also been added to our Loess regression charts, which now give us:

Currently our local regression series has the ALP leading 45.6/36.4 on the primary vote for a TPP of 57.0/43.0.

Next up, we’ll take a squiz at the Newspoll qualitative metrics.

Finally a squiz at how all the pollsters have been traveling, including the new EMC polls we’ve added to the mix. There were a few numbers out of place in this series previously for the Morgan polls – I had a bit of a brainfart, but that’s all been fixed up.

Things might get a little bit all over the shop round these parts for the next few weeks as I prepare for the site move, so I might run a day or so late on stuff.

But good psephing to all, I’ve got to scurry off and do the latest US Intrade data that should have been completed yesterday.

Elsewhere: Pollbludger and Larvatus Prodeo

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17 Responses to “Newspoll Tuesday – Graphdump edition and new Pollytrack methodology”

  1. George said

    Great stuff Poss. Is this similar to what Nate Silver is doing on FiveThirtyEight.com?

    For those interested in his site/methodology, here is a YouTube interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDRe0XwuU_I

  2. David said

    I can’t help the Schadenfreude I feel every time the numbers show that the Coalition in general, and Brendoc in particular, are about as popular as genital herpes. Sorry. I’ll go away now, and gloat in private.

  3. George said

    “Schadenfreude”… David, you made my morning :) LOL

  4. Peter said

    I clicked on them and they didn’t blow up. They just got larger. Having watched Four Corners last night, I wish I could click on a picture of Malcolm Turnbull and blow him up. But knowing my luck, he’d just get larger! :-)

    [Sorry Peter, you were hiding in the spam bin..... Poss]

  5. Jason said

    Seksy new graphs poss.

  6. Possum Comitatus said

    Heh! Jason – Ta, I’m testing the new colour schemes and graph types out for the new site. I think those ones work for pollytrack, still not sure about the satisfaction ratings though.

    George, Nate uses something far more complicated than this – he has demographic weights thrown into the regression mix, as well as polling weights based on recent pollster accuracy, things that we cant really use in Australia because we simply dont get enough polling in enough individual seats (which is effectively what each US State is in terms of the 538 regressions).

  7. Ad astra said

    Another great analysis. The addition of the MOE sampling error uncertainty increases the value of the graphs enormously.

    This is easily the premier poll analysis site. The graphs, and your balanced, objective comments, make it both informative and enjoyable.

    Thank you.

  8. Just Me said

    The new style graphs (especially the first 11) are a model of clarity. Extremely easy to read. Keep it up.

  9. David Richards said

    Great stuff! So I take it that on the current figures, ALP would gain 22 seats if an election was held now? Even allowing for non-uniform results, it means that the Libs would have their gene pool reduced even further. It’s shallow enough as it is, with all the inbreds like Tuckey and Minchin.

  10. Possum Comitatus said

    Close David – 22 seats, The bars (seats) are read from the left, the TPP swing from the right. There might be a better way to do that chart though as it does get a bit difficult to read the bars – a situation that will only get worse as the number of bars increase over time.

    How about this, which shows the number of seats swinging on the chart itself?
    http://possumcomitatus.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/pollytracktppswingstest1.png

    I’ll fix up the grid lines so they all line up properly, but it’s an option that makes it a little clearer.

  11. Grog said

    Great graphs. The MOE bars should greatly assist the nervous!

  12. GrodsCorp said

    [...] Original graph from Possums Pollytics [...]

  13. Aristotle said

    Nice work. Indeed the premier site. Well done.

  14. JP said

    Poss @ 10

    It might be just me, but I’d find the swing/seats graph WAY easier to read with swing on the left axis, and seats on the right axis (after all, the number that you’re most likely to want to read off is the most recent seats number on the right.)

    Also, you might be interested in any books you can find by Edward Tufte, an expert in displaying quantitative information. They’re hideously expensive in Australia (much cheaper from Amazon), but libraries or wankier bookshops may have them. Worth a look, especially his first and best:
    http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/books_vdqi

  15. steve_e said

    Now that the Opposition has a strategy – OPPOSE EVERYTHING
    should we think about the only way to reduce the impasse in the Senate?

    I am feeling a Double Dissolution coming on.

    There is no way the ETS will get past the Libs/Nats in their current mood.

  16. Bingo Bango Boingo said

    I clicked the charts but they just got larger.

    BBB

  17. helen mc said

    Congratulations Poss, I see things have been going real well since the wedding!
    “Hello possums! Urban dwellers caught out as population explodes”
    http://www.domain.com.au/Public/Article.aspx?id=1219516358213&index=NationalIndex&headline=Hello%20possums!%20Urban%20dwellers%20caught%20out%20as%20population%20explodes&s_rid=smh:Homepage

    [SorryHelen, you were hiding in the spam bin for a bit... Poss]

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