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  1. #1
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Australian political trivia / history

    Just posted this on Pollbludger but no-one's got it yet. It's rather difficult.

    A certain thing has happened at nineteen different House of Reps elections, but only one of the last nine, and that one was 1998. What was it?
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  2. #2
    CC International Master Goughfather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    Just posted this on Pollbludger but no-one's got it yet. It's rather difficult.

    A certain thing has happened at nineteen different House of Reps elections, but only one of the last nine, and that one was 1998. What was it?
    My first guess is that the party winning the 2PP vote did not win government, although I'd be surprised if that's happened nineteen times and surprised if that happened in 1984.
    Last edited by Goughfather; 16-06-2012 at 11:32 PM.
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  3. #3
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goughfather
    My first guess is that the party winning the 2PP vote did not win government, although I'd be surprised if that's happened nineteen times and surprised if that happened in 1984.
    That was also the first guess on Pollbludger but that's not correct (it hasn't happened 19 times, but it did happen in 1990 which is also one of the last nine.)
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  4. #4
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Hint: Something happened in 1984 that made this event less likely in elections from then on.
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  5. #5
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    An election was held less than three years after the previous one? That is true for both the 1984 and 1998 elections, and I'm guessing that the increase in the size of the chambers is what happened in 1984 to make it less likely.

    That seems too easy to be the correct answer, though.

  6. #6
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Byrom
    An election was held less than three years after the previous one?
    Strictly speaking that's actually common (eg the 2010 election was Aug 21 cf 2007 24 Nov). If you make it a gap of less than three calendar years it's a very good guess because the last two times that happened were indeed 1984 and 1998 but prior to that there were only nine others.

    As for the event in question, you are right that the increase in the size of the chamber is the thing that happened in 1984 that made it (somewhat) less likely.
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  7. #7
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    Something to do with how many seats the government won in each state? (I don't really know, I'm just fishing for another clue.)

  8. #8
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    It is something to do with the government winning or losing seats, but not that.

    Here's the list of years it happened in:

    1914
    1917*
    1925*
    1928
    1929
    1934
    1937
    1949
    1951
    1955*
    1961
    1963*
    1966*
    1969
    1975
    1977
    1983
    1984
    1998

    In those marked *, it happened in a different way to normal.
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  9. #9
    Premium Member ER's Avatar
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    Good thread

    Why hadn't I notice this thread earlier? as soon as I saw the dates my mind went straight to either referenda or double dissolutions, or maybe referenda held on double dissolution elections... Grrr I am so busy to do my searches now, but good question anyway! Can we have more of that stuff please? I strongly believe that threads like this will result to uniting the populace rather than dividing it!
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  10. #10
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaK
    as soon as I saw the dates my mind went straight to either referenda or double dissolutions, or maybe referenda held on double dissolution elections...
    No, none of these. By the way, double dissolutions were held only in 1914, 1951, 1974, 1975, 1983 and 1987. There was quite a plague of them in the seventies and eighties.
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  11. #11
    Premium Member ER's Avatar
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    hold on!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    No, none of these. By the way, double dissolutions were held only in 1914, 1951, 1974, 1975, 1983 and 1987. There was quite a plague of them in the seventies and eighties.
    Hey, hold your horses boss, "my mind went straight to ..." didn't necessarily mean that I my answer(s) would be revolving strictly around double Ds and referenda! If you keep this thingy going till say end of the weekend, I think I 'll come out with an answer. This right moment I am thinking of an article by M.H. Mackerras I 'd read years ago on compulsory voting. I 'll look around that as well as some other parameters!
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  12. #12
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    *bump*

    Anyone want another stab at this?

    It's probably too hard so I'll introduce something else that's (cough cough) easier. Or not.

    So here we go. My reading material today was an almost complete set of Gallup / Morgan Gallup polls from 1942 to 1984.

    Question 1. At which House of Representatives election in this time had the winning party trailed by 21 points fifteen months prior to the election?

    Question 2. In the months leading up to which election did one party improve from 27 points behind to a slight lead (in one poll) in four months, and yet lose?

    Both questions concern primary vote.
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  13. #13
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Not much interest in these (actually none in the later two) so I will post the answers so I can show off a spiffy if rather badly done graph.

    A certain thing has happened at nineteen different House of Reps elections, but only one of the last nine, and that one was 1998. What was it?
    Seat changes between the major parties occurred in one direction only.

    Either Labor won seats off the tories or the other way round, but not both. (Years marked * in my list are cases where the government won seats from the opposition. 1975 doesn't count there as Fraser was caretaker PM before the election.)

    Question 1. At which House of Representatives election in this time had the winning party trailed by 21 points fifteen months prior to the election?
    1954. And no, it wasn't the Petrov Affair; Menzies had already recovered.



    This is a comparison of the polling of Menzies' government 1951-4 and Gillard's current at equivalent stages of time since last election. (The interval of the comparison points is a few months but isn't completely uniform.)

    Question 2. In the months leading up to which election did one party improve from 27 points behind to a slight lead (in one poll) in four months, and yet lose?
    1975. There were very dramatic swings in opinion leading up to and then after the Dismissal.
    Last edited by Kevin Bonham; 17-07-2012 at 03:22 AM.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    This is a comparison of the polling of Menzies' government 1951-4 and Gillard's current at equivalent stages of time since last election. (The interval of the comparison points is a few months but isn't completely uniform.)
    But how reliable was the polling in the 1950s?

  15. #15
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pax
    But how reliable was the polling in the 1950s?
    It's surprising how reliable it actually was. We think of it as a primitive era because of "Dewey Defeats Truman" (1948) and so on but the pre-election polling for federal elections in Australia from 49 onwards got several of them more or less spot-on, and the ones it was wrong about were typically only three or four points out. Given that they weren't even always polling right up to the day for their final pre-election samples, they did OK.

    Modern pollsters know more about getting it right, but they also have some serious challenges, such as the increasing move to mobile phones and the rise of the Greens (who are especially difficult to poll accurately because they are often given as a feelgood don't-know kind of response.)
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