Probing the polls: early voting a winner, not so much the Liberals

Genevieve Jacobs 22 October 2020 12
Alistair Coe

Liberals leader Alistair Coe fronted the media for the first time since losing the election. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

It’s all over bar the shouting (and those last handful of seats in the balance) and most of you are pretty relieved to be done with the 2020 election.

COVID-19, the burden of incumbency versus the risks of inexperience and the vagaries of the Hare-Clark system all played their part in an election which delivered the same result but with all sorts of different variables.

For most of you, though, voting was a matter of getting it out of the way as soon as possible. The ACT Electoral Commission was keen to get as many of us out to vote as early as possible to manage the health risks as efficiently as possible.

In total, 63.5 per cent of voters cast their ballots before Election Day at a booth. Postal votes accounted for a further 7.4 per cent, leaving just 29.1 per cent of Canberrans to vote on the day.

We asked, Do you prefer early voting? 1015 people got involved. Your options were to vote No, I like to be able to change my mind up to the last minute. This option received 11 per cent of the total or 108 votes. Alternatively, you could vote Yes, I always know who I’m voting for, get it out of the way. This received a virtual-vote tsunami, attracting 89 per cent of the total or 907 votes.

This week, after a disastrous result for the Opposition, we’re asking what becomes of the Canberra Liberals’ leadership? Alistair Coe has accepted responsibility for the result, but deep divisions are apparent inside the party.

That echoes the concerns of many Canberrans: why would conservatives control a Liberal branch in the most progressive demographic in Australia? And will they ever win another election?

Jason said: “Never forget that these are people who clearly would rather be out of power for 19+ years than accept the mainstream views of Canberrans and change on issues like LGBTQI rights, economic policies, women’s rights and environmental concerns.”

And Paul Murray said: “There was nothing wrong with the campaign – how it was run and organised, how tirelessly it was worked at, how thoughtfully-placed the damn corflutes were – the problem was with the platform the campaign was selling.

“When I got the card in the mail that promised they’d both reduce taxes and improve services, that absolutely everything would be better, I burst out laughing. I bet I’m not the only one. Their promises were just not credible. This is Canberra, for God’s sake – we’re cynics.”

But Hidden Dragon observed: “When they’ve worked through the various stages of grief, the best option for the ACT Liberals might be to go on a unicorn hunt, in search of politicians of the right who have found a formula for repeated (not flash in the pan) electoral success in polities dominated by ‘white collar’/knowledge industry workers.”

But Alistair Coe won’t be drawn on whether it’s time for him to step down from the leadership.

Our poll this week asks:

Is it time for Coe to go?

View Results

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12 Responses to Probing the polls: early voting a winner, not so much the Liberals
Peter Bee Peter Bee 11:26 am 25 Oct 20

Zed and friends have put his party into a position of not being electable. A move to the centre needed.

Henry Kivimaki Henry Kivimaki 9:26 pm 23 Oct 20

No. Canberra has a ideological noose around her neck. Ill stick with truth and principles than pander to the rabid zeitgiest.

James Fellows James Fellows 2:40 am 23 Oct 20

The best leader... For Green seats!

Shawn McIntyre Shawn McIntyre 2:06 am 23 Oct 20

Nah, hang on to him, his style of comedy isn’t lost on some us - soooo funny!

Maria Greene Maria Greene 11:24 pm 22 Oct 20

And Zed and all his footsoldiers

Tom Adam Tom Adam 10:37 pm 22 Oct 20

Cool. While we’re at it, let’s spend more time looking at why the Greens won so many more seats than before? Let’s look at why Labor’s vote didn’t change and they lost seats.

Labor says “we have the most seats”, but they can’t do it alone.

The liberals need to do some soul searching (and move back closer to the middle), but they’ll not be reading this and agreeing.

Another question is, why didn’t more centre-right parties win seats from the liberals?

    Angela Thomas Angela Thomas 7:36 am 23 Oct 20

    Tom Adam there weren’t any centre right parties!

    Tom Adam Tom Adam 7:47 am 23 Oct 20

    Angela, yeh no irony lost in my statement is there. That’s the problem, lots of people are right leaning but not “that right” enough to vote for the Liberals in their current form.

    Justin Watson Justin Watson 2:11 pm 23 Oct 20

    Labor at times is centre right! But there are not any parties that sit between Labor and liberal like the Democrats did or Nick Xenophon in SA. Also as the liberals go further right more people go further left, which is prob why the greens got more votes. The political voting curve flattens as people move to the fringes.

Cathy Beckhouse Cathy Beckhouse 9:57 pm 22 Oct 20

Bring back Jeremy? Or give Mark Parton a go?

Tara Murray Tara Murray 9:50 pm 22 Oct 20

Seems he cant string a sentence together so yes

Arjuna Arjuna 6:17 pm 22 Oct 20

I found the choice of questions disappointing. The statement that “Canberra is a hard demographic to crack” is obviously wrong. Labour and the Greens have cracked it 6 consecutive times.

As to whether Coe should go, I believe that this is the wrong question. Coe is only the representation of a local Liberal Party that is way out of touch with the community. Changing the rider on an old, out of form hack, is not a plan for winning the Canberra Cup, or ACT Government.

So long as the Libs are so comprehensively out of touch with the electorate, they will continue to lose.

We can be grateful that a new group of exciting, younger Greens MLA’s will help keep the Government refreshed and renewed. In the absence of a credible Alternative Government, they will play a vital role

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