Why only a few seats really matter in an election | Politics Explained


When it comes to politics, your postcode
counts. The sad reality is some electorates in the House of Representatives are more important than others and that boils down to how safe they are. Nothing motivates people as much as fear, or for that case, winning, and to win you can’t rely on the safe seats alone. If an electorate, AKA seat, is within grasp you can bet your last fiver that political parties will have it within their sights.
So what makes a seat safe, and on the flip side of that, marginal? The Australian Electoral Commission says that any seat held by less than 6% is
considered marginal. That means that after the final vote is done and dusted if the leading candidate wins with 56% of the vote or less then they’re officially on the ropes as a marginal seat holder. Due to our system of voting
in the House of Reps those last two people standing are mainly Labor or
Coalition candidates. The result of that is that major parties throw a lot of coin at winning marginal seats, whether that’s through advertising or campaigning in the area or through the more shady practice of pork barrelling. Pork barrelling is using government money on local projects designed to win votes. Like, have you ever noticed that those new roads or bridges or jobs hubs just happen to be in marginal seats? It’s not just me saying that. Recent analysis found you’re 3.5 times more likely to get cash for infrastructure if you’re in a marginal electorate compared to a safe one, and sometimes the efforts to win
goodwill are a bit more obvious. For example Georgina Downer, the Liberal candidate in the South Australian seat of Mayo, got in a lot of hot water recently for handing over a novelty cheque to a local bowling club. The $127,000 cheque was part of the community sport infrastructure program, a national program funded by the Federal Government to help local sporting groups. But Georgina Downer didn’t really have a hand in awarding that grant because she isn’t the elected representative for that seat. She’s just a candidate, albeit a candidate from the government side. Labor said Georgina Downer made it look like the money was either from herself personally, or from the Liberal Party and that was deliberately misleading the public. The Libs lost Mayo to Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie. Politicians who hold marginal seats are particularly sensitive to opinion polls. Any suggestion of a swing away from their party gives them the jitters. A swing determines the popularity of a party. If a party is shedding popularity then there’s a swing in voter sentiment away from them. If that swing in popularity is happening
nationally across the board then there are a lot of seats in doubt. At the last election the Coalition suffered a 3% swing against it, and Labor scored a small uptick of 1.3 percent. That left an awful lot of seats marginal. About a third of seats, or 51 to be exact, were on a margin of less than 6% Labor’s Kathy O’Toole has the slimmest margin in the country. She holds the Queensland seat of Herbert by 0.02 percent. She won her seat by just 37 votes. By contrast, Nationals’ MP
Andrew Broad had the safest seat. Seats like that one can be safe because they have a demographic group that shares similar concerns or political persuasions, or because they’ve got a strong local member or because there’s a
local issue that gets the community fired up. That’s why we sometimes see a safe seat change hands when a beloved long-time MP retires. If you live in a safe seat and are feeling a little bit neglected by this info, consider this – safe seats don’t always stay safe. The Liberals found that out the hard way in Wentworth. That was the seat held by Malcolm Turnbull on a pretty huge margin of nearly 18% making it one of the safest seats in the country. In other words, the Liberals would have needed 18 percent of voters to change their mind
and swing the vote. That’s usually a pretty tall order, but after Malcolm Turnbull lost his job as Prime Minister and resigned from Parliament, Wentworth was up for grabs. The Libs suffered a nearly 20% swing away from them, and independent, Kerryn Phelps, won the seat. Safe seats can also change hands if
the boundaries of the seat itself change. Boundary changes can often bring demographic shifts which affects who wins and loses. Boundary changes before the 2007 election were widely tipped as part of the reason a sitting prime minister, John Howard, lost his seat of
Bennelong in the federal election. Which means that everyone, even people in the top job, have to keep on their toes, and that can only be a good thing.

100 Replies to “Why only a few seats really matter in an election | Politics Explained”

  1. NBN is about filtering Internet of bad government propaganda that's why they throwing such a great amount of money. Let's not vote the Liberal. Labour or Greens.

  2. The ABC coverage of this election was disgraceful . It was so biased to the labor party and the greens  that if you were a conservative voter it was it was impossible to watch. The only mention of the Prime Minister, Peter Dutton or Tony Abbott etc. was all negative . No wonder labor is offering this mob extra funding all they put out is leftist propaganda.

  3. and now you need to watch the seat of GORTON as many people seen the result from the state election of MELTON and looks like will happen with GORTON

  4. The problem with this system is that a lot of clueless voters out there show up at the polls to vote for "free" stuff showered upon them by politicians who want to be popular using other people's money.

  5. Regardless of what side of the fence you are on, Electoral boundary changes are the equivalent of hating the game so much you refuse to play until the rules change enough to enable you to win.

  6. At a micro level the winners of seats means very little, but at a macro level it's easy to see which party is voted for by the majority of people.

  7. the establishment is full of secret paedophile networks going to the top…PM of england Ted Heath used Jimmy saville to procure boys for him and the BBC Knew it…I love how the ABC allowed …Fiona Barnett The 'Candy Girl' Documentary FULL…on youtube to expose it in australia…it would be nice to make this the number one issue, even john howard protects the paedophiles at the top of the catholic church.
    The System is sick, so why do we discuss meaningless issues….i guess the truth gets boring, but to ignore it is psychosis. for those ready to know the truth, watch Kathy obrien on granada forum , on youtube.
    also listen to the jfk speech on secret societies…the real rason the cia had him killed

  8. No no no, if your margin is 18% the swing needed id 9% . as in the Turnbull example Turnbull had a margin of 18%. If 9% of voters no longer vote for Turbull and they all go to the leading alternative, that is then a swing of 9%. The turnbull replacement would lose the seat.

  9. Compulsory voting enables the major parties to focus exclusively on marginal seats, since their supporters in safe seats who might otherwise decline to vote are compelled to, as there is no need for them to encourage their base to go out and vote. It actually makes for a less democratic system.

  10. You still talk in jargon to explain other jargon. Put another way, you’re not being as clear as you think you are.

  11. I have the misfortune of living in Glady's electorate -_- but what is weird for state i am in Willoughby but the Federal i am in North Sydney. Why does that change? (Artarmon)

  12. .NONE of these dogs are worth voting for but remember this honest Ozzies before you vote…SCOTT MORRISON was treasurer and hurriedly passed BILL 2018 in February last year at 3AM!!!…WHY?…to STOP other parties from amending the BILL. This BILL evokes special powers to the LIBERAL Government to STEAL your bank deposits should a bank get into difficulties….i.e…in 2008 the world banking system was bailed out with TRILLIONS and has NOT gone away….it's an even worse problem today and THEY KNOW IT…..this is why SCOTT MORRISON sneakily forced through the rights of banks and governments to round up ALL DEPOSITS into what will be called a BAIL IN. Global financial crisis mark 2 is coming sooner than you believe and THEY know this. Your money will be LOCKED UP and no access.

  13. Raise the voting age, when it was made 18 to vote we had left home, were married , had been conscripted, been paying taxes. Now their in there 30s before Leaving home, starting families, getting jobs. They don't deserve to vote. 🙄

  14. I live in Gorton, located between Ballarat and Melbourne in ViC, super safe for labour. Population in my seat is the same as the ACT. The ACT has countless hospitals, we have 0… Our political system is broken

  15. Any time I see a piece with bellwethers and marginals at the core, I can't help but wonder if people take away the idea that voting makes no difference.

  16. Bankers seats because their not politicians their political whores.
    Stop bullshiting yourselves and call them for what they are

  17. Once again, imbeciles rule. The incumbent cactus-head and the challenger potato-head are both unfit for the job. Get rid of idiots and institute a Singapore style meritocracy, where the country is run by people who have impeccable record of integrity, education and administration.

  18. My seat of Gellibrand is guaranteed Labor, has always voted ALP for the 100 or so yeara its existed. So yeah, feels more like a chore to just turn up, even if I'll probably vote ALP.

  19. #Liberals are terrible economic managers | change my mind video in Cronulla, Scott Morrisons electorate. https://youtu.be/aEHTiVmBC6g

  20. The Liberals, The Nationals, One Nation, Fraser Anning, Clive palmer & Guns, Fishing & farming about to take over 💯🇦🇺

  21. How the hell is this a election close did the coalition once again bribe the gullible people ,YES THEY DID
    Most of those tax cuts are short term for the average Australian ,permanent for the wealthy.
    The same BS as in America that has debt soaring deficits INCREASING.
    TO stupid like those dumb Americans TRICKLE DOWN has never worked is a fallacy
    But let's try it again .
    Remenber they were the best with the government finances and the economy.
    No GFC but they have more than doubled the debt .
    Delivered a third world NBN that is a complete joke .
    Morrison who never gave a shit about climate change.
    Remember Morrison stunt of bringing a lump of coal into parliament ,COALS THE FUTURE .
    Their climate policy was a complete failure paying the polluters not to pollute .
    Which was in reality looking after the polluters
    I'm a dual citiizen one been Australian but like the US has got to have some of the most stupid voters .

  22. In Canada there are several districts that went to a candidate with over 80% of the vote, it is also very common to see candidates win with over 60 or 70% in federal or provincial elections. Marginal constituencies see people get elected with 40 or even less than 30% of the vote

  23. Can't believe there is nothing about the NBN or the homelessness crisis in this election. It's all about personal tax cuts. WTF is wrong with us?

  24. Listening about Australian politics from Britain is really confusing!
    Labour vs Liberals… the two main parties? Umm aren’t Labour traditionally left & Liberals traditionally centre-left??
    I thought it’ll be Labour vs Conservatives or Liberals vs Conservatives.
    Can someone explain this?

  25. Your vote still matters in a safe seat, the party you put 1st gets funding from your vote even if they dont win the seat

  26. @0:51 If a candidate received 56% of the vote then that candidate has a 12% margin on a two party preferred basis. A marginal seat is only one where the candidate ends up with 53% of the vote or less.

  27. Bill wants to take away owner Truck drivers off the road,He wants people to struggle getting a Rental property by stopping negative gearing,Bill wants to open the borders,more boats arriving.Stop and think when you vote,what policies are being promised.I don't want Australia to have a past accused rapist as PM,or One married to a drug dealer jail bird as an MP.I will not be voting Labor.

  28. Is there a site to check how much of a swing your electorate has? I've seen both Liberal and labor MPs going hard in Hurstville (Banks electorate) at pre-polling.

  29. Well that goes a long way to explain how my electorate (Chilsholm) was the only one to change sides in all of Victoria, because our Labor candidate retired. However it is a marginal seat, and the Liberal candidate was under a lot of fire up until her retirement. It will be very interesting to see what happens at this election. Will her disgracved downfall be enough to change things around again?

  30. "My Dad voted >insert party< and his dad before him, that's why I'm a >insert party< man." These types of people should be punched with the wrong end of a claw hammer.

  31. Look what happened in the NSW election everyone said Labor won what happened? Labor got their bum kicked
    You often hear that only NSW and Victoria decide election, no way even WA and SA alone can decide who governs

  32. “Democracy has nothing to do with freedom. Democracy is a soft variant of communism, and rarely in the history of ideas has it been taken for anything else.” – Hans-Herman Hoppe, Reflections on State and War

  33. Cant wait to send Downer packing again! Don't forget to forget your local Liberal/Nationals member tomorrow!

  34. The cuts to the ABC are beginning to show……what do you get after a pigeon craps on your jacket? Nothing.

  35. Don't vote. It only encourages them.
    There is only 1 reason people get into politics…$$$$. Drop politicians pay to the same as a factory worker, and see how many want to do the job.
    Here's political equality. What someone on unemployment gets in 2 MONTHS, the prime minister gets in 1 DAY. Told you, $$$$.

  36. @3:58 No. Not 18% – it requires 9% to change their minds. Does the ABC even maths?

    E.g 40 votes for "A", 60 votes for "B".
    "B" has margin of 20 votes, or 20%.
    "A" only needs 10 voters (10%) to change their mind to close the gap.

  37. I'm sorry to hear you have inherited the stupid British system, and have never switched to a more sensible election system, like proportional representation.

  38. Georgina Downer… an appalling woman how has an appalling father, both with appalling born to rule mentalities.

  39. conservatism and nationalism are the most dangerous threats to our country. Liberals want to sell the 'daddy-knows-best' mantra to the scared and isolated rural areas, but all they really care about is money in their pockets. Traditional jobs are NOT coming back. Investment in new environmental and renewable energy employment, and a shift towards socialism, is the only way to combat automation leaving every working class Australian out of work.

  40. Ok marginal seats change every election due to the political climate. I live in Wentworth, and after turnbull got out its now a marginal seat between keryn Phelps and dave sharma. This isn't a sign of a bad voting system what it's a sign of is just different values in different electorates.

    I know they mentioned this in the video but the swing is always going to change

  41. Baba labour and have you any wool yes sir yes sir three bags full problem is the three bags that labour send were full of wool were of shit bye bye bill have you any wool yes sir yes sir three bags full only to find out that the three bags were full of bills shit bye bye labour goodnight🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  42. Another win for the top end of town. Thank god we fended off socialism once again. Now we can proceed with making a dollar.

  43. Actually law States that this two party system is completely illegal the fraud that was used to allow the two party system to continue will be brought up in the High Court it's time Australia learnt and learnt the law your dumb ass ABC couldn't even step outside of the two party system with your advertisement just the same as the government failed to recognise the Australian people who were asking for them to step down in this election we did not vote for liberal and it's disgusting that we have to put up with them not for long as I'm calling it to the High Court as I fill this election was rigged why is no one talking about the fact that this is the fastest counting of electoral vote in history of Australia why is no one concerned about this this was the largest percentage of Australians voting more votes to count than ever before yet they count them faster than ever before makes absolutely no sense unless it was rigged from the start

  44. Please do a doco on how politicians are allowed to lie with impunity, and there's no accountability for spreading misinformation in the media. I really want to know. You'd think the LNP would be up something like perjury. Otherwise, if all it takes is bold lying to get in to power, and this ok, then what's the point of media or journalism or education?
    (I'm a kiwi, just asking for a friend who was recently badly burned.)

  45. So for Australia… there's the….
    Liberals (American conservatives)
    Labors (the Leftists)
    And Greens (like Leftists)

    ….guess who's ruining the country by bringing in mass 100,000 illegals from boats? The Greens and Labors……

  46. And this is precisely why Australia needs to ditch the current garbage system and use NZ's Mixed Member Proportional system.

  47. Abc feeling the pain. Message being, a handful of nutters decided the election, stay true to the hard left we will prevail

  48. ABC the same media who prediction morrison was gonna to lose like 98% of the vote, fake news😂😂😂😂

  49. I Wish Labor had of won Longman and Herbert Again In May 18th, but That day will be Remembered as a Disaster! 😡😡😡
    Thanks a lot Fatty Clive Palmer and Old Hag Pauline 😡😡😡

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