Possums Pollytics

Politics, elections and piffle plinking

The Pollercoaster

Posted by Possum Comitatus on March 13, 2008

Ever wondered what it’d be like to ride the polls?

I present to you the ALP two party preferred vote from January 2000 through to the 2007 election – in a whole new perspective.


A couple of folks have wondered how it was done. I have a weighted poll average of the major pollsters going back to 2000 as the template – which I’ve built for an eventual PossumTrack polling series to use as my polling benchmark in the future. Each straight run on the coaster represents a year, and the coaster is pretty accurate to the actual polling graphs when the coaster is under it’s own momentum, so in those places where the coaster is really shunting along, as well as those drop offs from a polling peak, it reflects the actual shape of the polling changes which occurred .

The only time that the coaster get’s a little out of whack with the shape of the polling is when the ALP launches into one of their big polling surges. As a result of the coaster running out of momentum on those big steep hills, it has to get pulled up by a chain – but the chain is limited to an incline less steep than the data reality – so the run up the big slow hills are necessarily longer than they actually were in the data, simply to get the coaster to the right height that represents polling results like 58%.

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58 Responses to “The Pollercoaster”

  1. pligg.com said

    The Pollercoaster « Possums Pollytics

    Ever wondered what it’d be like to ride the polls?

    I present to you the ALP two party preferred vote from January 2000 through to the 2007 election – in a whole new perspective.

  2. Trixibelle said

    HA! First. Sorry.

    Very good Possum, informative and entertaining. Just what I needed before going to bed in the middle of a heat wave.

  3. Fagin said

    A great ride! A great innovation!

    Will “The Pollercoaster” become a sort of “Snickometer” for poltics?

    The Yanks will love it: seek a patent, pronto!

  4. smokey said

    Oh god that was utterly brilliant.

    I think I need a cigarette after that one…

  5. paul said

    problem is, you always cheer on the way down on roller coasters, so I’d have more fun tracking the rodent’s fall

  6. […] Comitatus recounts the terrifying roller-coaster that was Labor’s two party preferred vote over the past seven […]

  7. Just Me said

    Wonderful! Love the last minute or so.

    “Damn it, the man eats puppies!”


  8. Jason said

    hahahahahahahahaha nice one poss – “data visualisation” at its best.

  9. Benneong Resident said

    A masterpiece. Will Insiders show it on Sunday ?

  10. Can you get a trench deep enough to make a “Liberal Party Leader’s Preferred PM Percentage” coaster?

  11. Meng Tan said

    What is “sunlies”? Not “Scores” is it?

  12. Possum Comitatus said

    Glad you all enjoy.

    Dave, unfortunately I don’t think they make Rollercoaster Tycooon – Oil Drilling Edition.

    I had planned to make the ride based on the Coalition TPP, but I couldn’t dig the trenches low enough in the game so I had to stick the ALP above ground.

    Meng, Sunlies was the false Anzac Day dawn service piffle with Rudd and the Sunrise show.

  13. […] has found an inventive way to bring statistics to the masses with a new innovation on his site, The Pollercoaster. This tracks the ALP’s two party preferred vote from January 2000 until last year’s […]

  14. […] Comitatus presents The Pollercoaster 11. KP: it’s a cute idea I suppose, except that the ups and downs of the rollercoaster […]

  15. Chade said

    That’s the best blog post, ever.

    (And Rollercoaster Tycoon is awesome, too).

  16. 2353 said


    Brilliant – and you obviously have too much time on your hands :-).

  17. Lyn said

    Genius. Leaves the worm for dead.

  18. Dale said

    Awesome, Possum… great work…

    As Paul Keating said, “life is a rollercoaster, you just gotta ride it…”

    Wait, maybe that was Ronan Keating…

  19. bilko said

    love it and also my 2yr old grandson he wants cont replay perhaps with Thomas the tank engine inserted of which he is a big fan

  20. Penny S said

    I loved it. When are you going to start with the opposition?

  21. classified said

    lol your a funny little furry thing arn’t ya :mrgreen:

  22. Rudi said

    Can you install a graphic of Dennis puking out of the roller coaster during the Rudd inclines and leaping up during the Rudd declines?

  23. ben said

    Wow. Just, wow.

  24. […] This is awesome cool – seven years of ALP poll numbers as rollercoaster ride. […]

  25. Rudi said

    Could you twig the Coalition data with say a crease on a forehead so that the crease becomes more severe as their vote declines and then becomes less severe as their vote becomes more severe.

    Hang on how about poll porn with action twigged to the polls? It could give you a whole new audience and revenue stream.

  26. Fabulous ride, except that at the peak of Latham’s big rise before the election we expected to see a super saying “Teh Handshake”. But we love this for its innovation and for eliciting the feelings we had at the time – you know, the excitement of climbing to those giddy heights and the terror of the inevitable plunges.
    If you like clever, effective graphs there’s another recent and innovative (in a different way) graph which you would love in the New York Times.

  27. The Doctor said

    Excellent stuff!!!!

    Ever thought of going into roller coaster design, as far as I can recall underground sections are novel.

  28. Moondark said

    Absolutely sensational!!!!

  29. MsLaurie said

    Brilliant Poss. Loved it. Especially loved “la la la” 🙂

  30. cameorn said

    indeed well done, how long did that take to make.

    I hope it stays updated.

  31. Possum Comitatus said

    Cameron – a wee tad longer than I’d envisaged!

    I had this delusion – “oooh” went I – “cheap rollercoaster tycoon”, thinking that a pollercoaster would look spiffy. An hour to learn the program mused I, a couple of hours to build and ta da!. Well worth the ten bucks.

    ahem…that was Tuesday :mrgreen:

    I think it took about 7 hours all up – it would have only taken a couple if I’d remembered the golden rule: “read ALL of the games tutorials first” :mrgreen:

  32. Geoff said

    If you stand on your head and look at the screen via a mirror you can enjoy the ride from the governments perspective!

  33. Howard Stinks said

    Hello Possums
    Very good Possum, informative and entertaining. Are you related to Dame Edna Everage?

  34. GrahamS said

    OMFG you just keep breaking new ground.

    Loved it

    Poss, if you did a pollercoaster on Shanahan’s ratings you’d need to take a fire extinguisher on the long downward trip to hell I reckon.

  35. Greeensborough Growler said


    Can you do a Poker Machine with Political Lemons, Raspberries,
    Honest Apples, King Canutes etc.

    You could become the Poker Machine King of the blogosphere.

  36. Not quite an original idea – this is a rollercoaster of US home prices.

  37. Enemy Combatant said

    “Sickenly Cool, Possum is the James Dean of Psephdom”

    Laura Tingle, AFR.

  38. ViggoP said

    With apologies to the Shake:

    You are Sir Oracle, and when you ope your lips let no OO dog bark!

  39. PASOK said

    Greeensborough Growler (35): If Possum were to act upon your suggestion, I fear Nick Xenophon may make himself acquainted with this site.

  40. Grumps said


    Wondered where you have been all week but everything, I mean everything is absolutely forgiven on one ride. I am going to enjoy over and over again. Please stick it in the Hall of Fame so we can find it quickly in the future.

    Can I presume that the crash of the rollercoaster cars is a “metaphorical pictorial representation” for the wreck that is now the liberal and nats in opposition?

    We know Shananana is watching. I wonder what dummy spit will follow on this transgression of Poll Data? Wonder if Morgan will comment on this in his site?

    Also wonder if the libs would have down better if this was presented to El Rodent instead of the difficult and complex Crosby Textor stuff?

    Absolutely Bloody Brilliant!!!!!!!!

  41. Tom said

    Nice one Pos. I very much enjoyed the ride, but am still flabbergasted by the last minute swing back to the former government in the final week of the election campaign. It’s as if a stack of Aussies baulked at the last moment, only to come to the realisation after the election… nah, my gut feelings were right after all in the lead up to the poll. Best of luck to the Coalition in opposition sans Howard, you’re gonna need it boys!

  42. kevin cudd is a runt said

    how astute von possum

    as ive always said “what goes up must come down”

    Mr Cudd and his little lovelies better have their sick bags ready the decline will be incremnental!

  43. Rx said

    Enjoyed the ride, can’t wait for the driving simulation sequel, “Liberals: the Demolition Derby”.

  44. Jayne said

    Hours well spent Poss.

  45. a parrot chick said

    Pure Gold!!! – I felt just as sick watching the down section of the roller coaster with their corresponding events eg Tampa, 9/11, etc…

  46. Tassieannie said

    Brilliant. The first sequel’s looking pretty good too.

  47. Marktwain said

    Poss, you are such a nerd.

    You know when the rollercoaster goes into some of those troughs? Chuck a couple of hobbits in there. Or cheeky possums. Or Mark Latham headshots. It would be nice and scary.

  48. Howard Stinks said

    Good onya Possum I suggest a lame duck from Brendan Nelson will spice up the ride.You could have it splatter at the end of the clip.

  49. […] The Pollercoaster « Possums Pollytics Ever wondered what it’d be like to ride the polls? […]

  50. Catherine said

    Love it Possum. Just love it.

  51. ron said

    An identical roller coaster appears on the following site so


    would have preferred some passengers ditched during the ride with appropriate screams

  52. Mercurius said


  53. Possum Comitatus said

    Ron, that’s not identical – it’s US house prices.

    The reason the backgrounds look the same is because that’s the default settings on Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 – green, with blue sky and mountains.

  54. whatgoesaround.... said

    Possum, what a ride! I’m just so glad I knew the ending…….those troughs are scary.
    Normally I would expect to see a post about this over at ‘oz forums’ but the site seems to be having technical difficulties? Wondering if anyone here knows if it has changed address or something? Thanks

  55. blindoptimist said

    The downward rushes still make me groan. The Crean Canyons – really were like being buried alive. Just great!

  56. Cat said

    Important political question for you Poss – what was the font or was that handwriting recognition on a graphics tablet?

  57. Possum Comitatus said

    Cat, the font was whatever the default setting in Windows Movie Maker is – something called “Segoe Print”

  58. how this work lol ?! :/

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