With thanks to Catherine Bouris, Jayce Carrano, Caitlin Harvey and Aria Kim for their assistance in conducting the exit poll.
Today Honi Soit, for the first time ever, ran exit polls on voting in the University of Sydney Union (USU) board elections. This involved a team of editors and reporters asking students who have just formally voted to fill out an independent survey which would replicate their ballot.
We polled 266 students across the day – a sizeable proportion of the expected final vote count. This was one of several “pre-poll” days, where there are only two voting booths open. Main voting will run on Wednesday – and will be much more visible to the average student.
Here’s the breakdown:
First Place Preferences
The most important individual metric is first place preferences. The rankings are as follows:
1st Koko Kong (46 votes)
2nd Esther Shim (43 votes)
3rd Vanessa Song (43 votes)
4th Grace Franki (41 votes)
5th Sam Kwon (32 votes)
6th James Gibson (22 votes)
7th Courtney Thompson (20 votes)
8th Cameron Hawkins (13 votes)
9th Dom Bondar (6 votes)
If this were the actual election result, this would mean that Dom Bondar would be the first candidate to be excluded. His preferences would be distributed among the other candidates.
There is also the possibility that candidates will hit “quota” which will automatically elect them. Since the numbers in this pre-poll aren’t high enough, it doesn’t weigh into these calculations.
This process would be repeated for the second lowest candidate (which in this situation would be Cameron Hawkins, since Dom’s second preferences were insufficient to get Cameron over Courtney).
Taking into account the flow of preferences, the final result was:
1st Koko Kong (58 votes)
2nd Grace Franki (50 votes)
2nd Vanessa Song (50 votes)
4th Esther Shim (46 votes)
5th Sam Kwon (43 votes)
Essentially, Koko is the winner, with a dead heat between Vanessa and Grace for second place. Esther is slightly behind, with Sam a bit behind her.
Notably, the top candidates received an extremely small boost through preferences. A large chunk of the preference flow went to candidates that had already been excluded.
We noticed that there were a very large number of students voting of their own volition (as opposed to students who were encouraged to vote directly by campaigners). Therefore, these statistics may shift on Wednesday when there will be many more campaigners.
There were also people across the day (we approximate at 20) who voted but did not complete the poll, which does affect the margin of error.
Further, and crucially, this poll was taken on a day that Koko was excluded from campaigning after several complaints were upheld by the Returning Officer. These complaints related to Koko’s campaign working in the restricted zone surrounding voting booths. It will be interesting to whether Koko’s share of the vote increases further when she is able to campaign again.
Finally – this was definitely a pre-poll. There were only two booths open (at Manning Bar and International Students Lounge). There will be many more on Wednesday.
By these numbers, the election is very much up for grabs.