Britain, America, and now Australia

So, the Australians, like the British, and the Americans, confound the polls and disappoint the pollsters and the left (redundancy alert, mostly). Why does this keep happening, and what lessons can we take from its recurrence? David Catron in The Spectator has some ideas.

[I]magine an election in which one party promises to save the planet and the opposing party pledges to save your job. Which is more likely to get your vote? For most people, those who support families and coach T-Ball on weekends, the answer will not require a lot of soul searching. You may have, for various social reasons, told some pollster that the “Save the Earth” party has your support. But it’s a lot easier to focus on the environment if one can count on a steady income. Consequently, in the end, you’ll vote for the “Paycheck Party.”

This shouldn’t require enormous prescience to predict, yet it consistently surprises the pollsters. The latest election in which they managed to miss the blindingly obvious just took place Down Under between the Labor Party and the conservative Liberal-National coalition. Like Brexit and the 2016 presidential election in the United States, it was a whiff for the pollsters. Labor — which ran on combating climate change, clamping down on fossil fuels, and raising taxes — was the universal favorite. Just before the vote, the Washington Post gleefully reported:

Opinion polls and betting markets predict Australia’s Labor Party, under the leadership of 52-year-old former union head Bill Shorten, will handily defeat the Liberal-National party coalition that has governed the country for five-and-a-half tumultuous years.… The Labor Party wants Australia to generate half its electricity from solar, wind and other renewable sources by 2030, a huge shift for a nation with the world’s fourth-largest coal reserves and the eighth-biggest natural gas industry.

Well, schadenfreude is fun but I shouldn’t gloat too much, Right up until the results I really though Mittens Romney was going to win. How lucky for us he didn’t, if Mittens had defeated Obama, we’d still be in the doldrums caused by the globalists, instead we have the resurgent vibrant economy that Trump brought with him.

In a country like ours, where voting is voluntary and turnout fluctuates significantly, it’s all too easy to create a polling model that includes inaccurate assumptions. And, for a survey to be statistically valid, it must be based on a random sample. This presents real challenges in a nation whose turnout in presidential elections tends to be about 60 percent of eligible voters. But this shouldn’t present an issue where voting is compulsory. Yet election analyst Kevin Bonham told SBS News that the consistency of Australia’s recent polls is “suspicious”:

It’s like one poll can be three per cent out and that’s what you would sort of expect now and then by random chance. But all the polls being out by that amount in the same direction and getting all the same results is something that absolutely cannot happen by random chance.… It’s absolutely proof of a systematic issue.… If they are doing true random sampling independent of each other, there is no way that they would all get results so close to each other at the same time.

Hilariously, some of the excuses that have been offered are not merely inconsistent with compulsory voting, but suspiciously reminiscent of those made by left-leaning statisticians in the U.S. Some “experts” suggest that the Australian samples contained too many educated people. Sound familiar? As with Brexit and the Trump election, the idea is that “smart” people are over-represented, so naturally they skewed the poll in the “smart” direction. This is what University of Melbourne statistician Adrian Beaumont suggests in The Conversation.

Beaumont claims, without evidence, that educated people are “probably” more likely to respond to surveys. Likewise, he avers that Morrison had a “much better connection to those with a lower degree of educational attainment” than did the leader of the Labor Party. He also fails to provide any objective data to support this assertion. A far more plausible explanation is provided in the Wall Street Journal by Tom Switzer, the Directorof the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney. It involves a species of voter similar to the “shy Trump” supporter:

Shy voters now shape Australian politics. During the past three years, television and social-media outlets created a climate of opinion in which it was politically incorrect to oppose identity politics, high taxes, wealth redistribution and costly climate-mitigation policies. In the privacy of the voting booth, “quiet Australians,” as Mr. Morrison calls them, decided that their interests lay in a low-tax and resource-rich market economy.

I’m very sure that is true, we have seen it in Britain, in America, and now in Australia. If you make the average citizen feel like an oppressed minority in his own country, who exists only to do what his betters tell him to do – well with the people who led the world into freedom, again the British, the American, the Australians, those whom De Gaulle called “The Anglo Saxons” (he had much right, love of freedom is one inheritance that we all have of that foggy, damp, island off the coast of Europe) well, you’ll get a revolt, peacefully at the ballot box, and historically, if that doesn’t work, more direct means will come to the fore.

We are all rather ‘Deplorable’ like that.

And so, Britain, then America, and now Australia, that’s the first round.

The second round starts Thursday when Britain will elect European MPs. I suspect the European Parliament is going to be interesting, because I think the British are going to send a bunch who will be more likely to give an Agincourt Salute than further the ‘European Project’ and I also suspect that quite a few in Europe will once again follow.

Welcome, Australia, to the Counterrevolution!

Ultima Cumaei venit iam carminis ætas;
Magnus ab integro sæclorum nascitur ordo.
iam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna,
iam nova progenies cælo demittitur alto.

From the  Eclogue of Virgil:

which translates as follows:

Now comes the final era of the Sibyl’s song;
The great order of the ages is born afresh.
And now justice returns, honored rules return;
now a new lineage is sent down from high heaven.

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