My modelling of support for the major party’s candidates is taking shape. I have used district level demographic data from the 2010 election to model the support base for the major party groups and the Greens. Four demographic data points have proven to be important in predicting the support base for the major party groups:
1. Percentage of professionals and managers in the district work force. These are people with an elite status in the laborforce.
2. Income. Income is a very tricky measure because low income and high income voters tend to support the same party in Australia. Thus if one models the effect of income as linear such a model would produce an inconclusive result. I have dealt with this problem by taking some point “near” the average median income across districts and calculating the median income distance from this point.
3. Immigrants from non-English countries, non-western. A significant percentage of immigrants to Australia come from English speaking Commonwealth countries most importantly New Zealand, the UK and South Africa. To a lesser extent there are immigrants to Australia from western native speaking English countries such as Ireland, Canada and the US. My assumption is that immigrants from such countries are likely to have general political views in line with Australians and, thus, such immigrants can be treated the same as native Australians. I have used detailed district level demographic data to separate out such native, western, English speaking immigrants from those from other countries. The result is a measure of the number of people that can be called “ethnic” living in each district.
4. Never married. These people tend to be young.
The percentage of professionals and managers in the district work force is very strongly tied with support for the two major party groups and for the Greens. Districts with high percentages of professionals and managers are likely to have an increased support for Liberals while the opposite is true for Labor. Greens also draw a significant percentage of their votes from the same group of professionals and managers supporting Liberals. This suggests that Liberals and Greens are, to some degree, drawing their support from the same population. This is very interesting. Labor’s support, on the other hand, tends to decline with an increasing percentage of professionals and managers in a given district.
I noted above that I calculated the distance from a point “near” the average median income across districts. This calculation showed that districts with median incomes “near” the average median income tended to support Labor while incomes that were higher and lower tended to support Liberal group candidates.
Immigrants from non-English speaking, non-Western countries tend to support Labor. It is interesting to note than these immigrants appear to have very little interest in Green candidates.
Never married people tend to support both Labor and the Greens which suggests that, to some extent, these left-of-center parties are in conflict with each other for this group of voters.
In the end, my analysis suggests that Greens are actually more likely to take votes from Liberals rather than from Labor a result that is counterintuitive. On the other hand, my analysis also suggests that Family First voters are more likely to take votes away from Labor rather than Liberals.
I am now getting closer to creating a model of the 2013 Australian election. The only thing now lying between this and such a model is an analysis of redistricting that has taken place in Victoria and South Australia States.