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Day 2: USU exit polls

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Disclaimer: Honi Editors Lamya Rahman and Liam Donohoe are not involved in any decisions or contributions to USU Board Election coverage.

It’s Day 2 of pre-poll on the USU campaign trail, and the numbers are flowing in fast. The following two charts—first and second preferences respectively—will update in real time as we receive polling figures.

Day 1 recap

Day 1 ended with Zimeng Ye in a commanding lead: she has taken 42.3 per cent of all first preference votes so far. Her closest contender, Decheng Sun, ended yesterday with less than half that total, claiming 18 per cent of first preferences. Both Ye and Sun are international students, but only Ye managed to capitalise on strong support at the International Student Lounge booth, where she took 65.1 per cent of first preferences. Sun polled just over 16 per cent at the same location. His results were stronger at the Manning booth, however, where he received 19 per cent of first preferences.

Mike Mao and Daniel Lee performed worst, each taking just under 2 per cent of first preferences each. Maya Eswaran and Lachlan Finch came in with around 10 per cent, Connor Wherrett on 8, and Bec Miller on around 6 per cent of first presences.

But this election will not be decided on first preferences. In fact, only one or two candidates are likely to get elected on first preferences alone, which is called “breaking quota”. Breaking quota means a candidate has received one vote more than one-sixth of all first preferences (i.e. total number of votes/6 + 1). Once a candidate has reached quota, all their remaining first preferences “exhaust”, and instead flow to their second preference.  The count continues until it is impossible for any candidate to reach the quota by redistributing exhausted votes. After that, the count moves from the bottom up, excluding the candidates with the least votes and redistributing their preferences accordingly. The count concludes when six candidates have reached quota.

That means preferences are essential. Yesterday, Finch took the lion’s share of second preferences, with just under 25 per cent. Most of these came from Ye voters, who consistently followed her how-to-vote cards’ suggested order and preferences Finch second.

That said, 42 or 35 per cent of Ye’s 120 voters recorded no second or third preference at all.  No other candidate came close to attracting this proportion of first-preference only votes. Five of Ye’s voters also claimed they had preferenced Ye herself in second place. The USU’s voting computers do not allow this.

Sun, yesterday’s other big winner, was less successful in ensuring voters followed his how-to-votes, which suggest a second preference for Eswaran. However,  nearly 24 per cent of Sun voters preferenced Ye second. Eswaran took just under half of Sun’s second preferences.