Pre-poll voting kicked off the SRC elections today. Here’s the debrief.
According to polling officials, over 700 students turned out to vote at the Jane Foss Russell booth, the only booth open today. These figures are a massive increase on last year, which saw only 483 pre-poll votes cast.
And now for the drum roll, because exit poll results are in: Honi surveyed 329 voters, asking for their first, second and third preferences for president, and their first preference in the Honi Soit race. That makes for a healthy sample size of just under a half
If all of this is new to you, follow this link for an explanation of SRC voting. If you’re a seasoned hack, read on for the addictive, beautiful numbers.
What. A. Dataset.
As the numbers stand, Jacky He (Panda) would win on the first count, storming the presidency with 50.9 per cent of votes. This is huge, given there are four candidates to split the vote. Last year, with only three candidates competing, pre-poll leader Brendan Ma only clinched just over 40 per cent.
He’s nearest contenders are Lara Sonnenschein (Grassroots) and Adriana Malavisi (Reboot/Labor Unity), on 19.1 per cent and 17.3 per cent respectively. Alex Yang (Advance) is polling last, with 12.7 per cent of the vote.
Despite fielding fewer campaigners than the traditional stupol factions, He benefited from influential friends. Big names like USU Board directors Zimeng Ye and Hengjie Sun showed up in Panda t-shirts, walking large groups of voters over the line. Behind the scenes, Panda’s online campaign is presumably well-organised.
Malavisi took the lion’s share of second preferences, at 44.3 per cent, with over 86 per cent of those flowing from He. That’s to be expected: He and Malavisi have a mutual preference deal. He’s Panda base, largely Chinese international students sympathetic to the China Development Society, is very good at following how-to-vote instructions.
But this is all academic: to benefit from He’s second preferences, Malavisi would have to poll higher than him on first preferences, or receive enough preferences from another candidate to knock He out later. Neither of those things is looking likely at this stage.
Given their quid pro quo, He received the majority of Malavisi’s second preferences—just under 60 per cent or 28 votes. Impressive figures, but Malavisi’s Reboot supporters are less disciplined than He’s, with over 30 per cent disobeying her how-to-vote instructions and preferencing Sonnenschein or Yang second. All this said, Malavisi’s preferences are still a buffer for Panda, especially if He ultimately receives fewer than 50 per cent of first preferences.
He also benefits from Yang’s second preferences, bringing in over 26 per cent today. This is despite Yang and Sonnenschein’s mutual preference deal: only about 60 per cent of voters in each of the two candidates’ supporter bases followed the how-to-vote instructions.
Even if He ultimately receives fewer than 50 per cent of first preferences, torrential preference flows will get him over the line.
At this stage, the most likely scenario is something like this: Yang will be eliminated on the first count. 60 per cent of his preferences will flow to Sonnenschein. She will then poll a combined first and second preference total of 86 votes. Only two of Yang’s second preferences will flow to Malavisi, meaning her total would be 59 on the second count. Here, the 26 per cent of second preferences flowing from Yang to He will probably be enough for a majority, depending on He’s first preference total. If not, Malavisi will be eliminated in count two. He will take 60 per cent of her second preferences, fending off Sonnenschein, who will only take 20 per cent of Malavisi’s twos. Combined with third preferences from Yang, He’s victory will be guaranteed.
That is, unless the numbers change radically by Thursday.
In contrast, the Honi Soit race is disappointingly simple. Spice for Honi is winning in the first count, with 65.8 per cent of the vote. Honey Soy and Pictures of Spider-Man for Honi are way behind on 17.6 and 16.5 per cent respectively. Which is probably because only Spice is campaigning. Go figure.
Day two is just over 12 hours away. Tune in to our live blog from 8.45 tomorrow for all the latest.