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SRC exit polls: Day 1

We surveyed nearly 1000 voters, giving you a confidence interval every mother would be proud of.

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Day 1 of campus-wide voting is done. There’s been sunburn, wind-chill and a polling booth tent collapse. But Honi has made it through—bruised but unbeaten—to bring you the numbers. It’s always about the numbers.

Voter turnout

Nearly 2050 students made it to the polls today. Electoral Officer Karen Chau has provided the following, booth-by-booth breakdown:

Added to yesterday’s 700+ voters, and we’re looking at over 2750 votes cast. If tomorrow, the final day of polling, brings another 2000 votes, this election’s turnout will be one of the highest ever. In 2017, 4269 came out to vote, and 4357 in 2016. The highest turnout in the last ten years was in 2012, when 4812 students casting their ballot, and the total vote count has not cracked 5000 since before VSU.

A few factors might explain this year’s high numbers. In previous years, long lines have been one of the big barriers to voting. But this year, Chau has hired more polling booth attendants; this means votes can be processed faster and queues can be kept short, incentivising students to get out and exercise their democratic rights.

And then there’s the rising engagement of international students. He and Yang both promise they will represent this demographic, giving them a reason to pay attention to elections that, previously, have seemed like a solely domestic student race.

The exit polls

Now for the numbers you’ve really been waiting for. Honi surveyed over 668 voters today, which adds to yesterday’s 330 for a total of 998. The graphs below are based on today’s and yesterday’s numbers: in general, the same trends that emerged yesterday are continuing as the sample grows.

President

Jacky He (Panda) is still out front, though he longer has a majority of first preferences. Instead, he’s sitting on 45.7 per cent of the vote. Adriana Malavisi (Reboot/Unity) and Lara Sonnenschein (Groots) have inched up their first preference total by about two per cent each: Malavisi is now on 19.3 per cent, and Sonnenschein is on 21.6 per cent. Alex Yang (Advance) is still in last place with 13.3 per cent—up by less than a percentage point from his pre-poll total.

Preference flows are almost identical to yesterday. He is managing to direct about 75 per cent of his second preferences to Malavisi, as per the pair’s preference deal. Malavisi’s voters are following the how-to-vote less strictly, with only 60 per cent preferencing He. 

Similarly, Yang and Sonnenschein are each directing about 60 per cent of their second preferences to the other.

It’s worth noting that the graphs show each candidate receiving some of their own second preferences. This is impossible, but reflects voter responses to our survey: those voters may have made a mistake when filling out our form. Or, if they really did vote first and second for the same candidate, their vote will only be counted as far as the first preference.

Based on the data, no candidate wins a majority of first preferences. That means Yang, who has the least first preferences, will be eliminated, and the count will move to a second round. Over 25 per cent of Yang’s second preferences flow to He, even though the two are vowed enemies. That might be enough to get He to 50 per cent, given his huge lead.

If Yang’s preferences aren’t enough, then the count will move to round three. Yang’s second preferences will be enough for Sonnenschein to edge out Malavisi, who only takes 5 per cent of Yang’s flow. With Malavisi eliminated, 60 per cent of her preferences will flow to He; added to his massive primary vote, this total will eclipse Sonnenschein’s, and comfortably clinch a majority.  

And thus, a Jacky He victory.   

Honi Soit

The election’s quieter race is almost exactly where it was yesterday. Spice for Honi is out front with 64 per cent of the vote, far outstripping Honey Soy and Pictures of Spider-Man for Honi who each have under 20 per cent.

It all happens tomorrow: tears will be spilt on Eastern Ave, ballot boxes will be filled—and when the sun comes up on Friday, there’ll be a new SRC.

Tune in to our live blog from 8.45 tomorrow for all the latest.