To date, only Essential Vision has been polling Federal voting intention since the July Federal election. Beginning five weeks prior to that election, the Essential two party preferred results for Labor have been:
49 50 51 51 51 [49.5/50] 51 51 52 52 52 52
The bracketed figures represent polls taken immediately before and on the weekend of the election.
Those bracketed figures also approximate fairly closely the actual result for Labor in the election of 49.63.
But they can also be perceived as an anomaly in a trend.
They suggest that there were up to one percent of voters who were influenced change their preferences to favour the Coalition over Labor during election week. And given there was no sign of a honeymoon they must have switched back the day after the election.
That temporary swing in preferencing towards the Coalition could well have been the result of a Bandwagon Effect. The Bandwagon effect occurs in Politics because some people like to feel that they are backing the winning side. It has been shown to have greater pull than any “underdog effect”.
Although the polls regarding voting intention in the immediately previous weeks were generally (if sometimes only marginally) favouring Labor, the question “who do you think will win” was heavily favouring the Coalition. This, together with an oft-repeated media consensus that the Coalition would be returned although with a somewhat reduced majority, would have stoked the Bandwagon Effect.
As we know now, the media mindset was overly exuberant in its support of the Coalition. The election result was much closer than most of those media “reporters” and commentators expected. Without their fumbled projections though, the election would probably have been closer still.
A one percent pro-Coalition Bandwagon Effect could have been sufficient to swing 2-3 close Coalition-won seats Labor’s way and produce a “hung” parliament.
Had the media pack favoured Labor instead (admittedly an unlikely scenario) and predicted a small Labor victory, the election result may well have been very different.
Sadly, too many in the media see themselves as players shaping opinion rather than being objective and detached from the fray. And it is very possible their prosletysing was responsible for Turnbull scraping in.