Older parties in decline as support surges for Australian Conservatives

April 30, 2018

In recent years the major parties’ share of the vote has declined. This means preference flows from minor parties such as the Australian Conservatives, the Greens and One Nation have become increasingly important in determining the outcome of elections.

The Australian reports, one of the most challenging aspects of Australian polling is to accurately predict these preference flows from minor parties. We have always believed preference flows at previous elections provides the best guide to how they will flow at the next. This is much more accurate than asking people about their second or third preferences, as some polling companies do.

One reason this latter method has generally proven to be unreliable is many voters follow how-to-vote cards. The other reason is preference flows for established parties tend to be rather consistent. The best example of this is the Greens, which consistently deliver more than three-quarters of their preferences to the Labor Party.

Since the 2016 federal election the Australian political landscape has changed dramatically. The growth of minor parties has accelerated.

Parties which barely registered at the last federal election, now enjoy substantial support in published polls, including Newspoll.

The Australian Conservatives, which didn’t exist at the last election, is now, by membership, the fastest-growing political party in Australia.

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