The Left votes early. Graphic by Keith Rankin.
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Keith Rankin Analysis: Election Day versus Advance Voting

With half of the preliminary (ie non-special) votes being cast before election day 2017, we can glean a clear view about which parties’ supporters are more likely or less likely to vote early.

This week’s chart shows the percentage point differences in voter behaviour for significant parties. By ‘percentage point difference’ we mean the party percentage of election day votes minus the party percentage of advance votes.

The four parties which gathered a larger proportion of advance votes relative to election day vote were the parties of the left. They show up in the chart as negative percentage differences. While the bigger parties necessarily show more prominently in this chart, relative to their own voter base the pattern is just as significant in the Māori Party and Mana Party figures.

It is not clear whether the left as a whole feels a greater sense of urgency in casting their votes, or whether it is in fact people who want change who tend to vote early. What matters here, for the future, is that, as election night tallies progress the party percentages for the Left (or for change) diminish. Labour got 36.7% of advance votes, but just 35.0% of election day votes. Their overall percentage tally dropped between 8pm and 11pm on election night, to 35.8%.

What also matters is that the advance votes probably tell us the pattern of special vote distribution, given that many of the special votes were cast early by people with similar motivation to those of early voters. My expectation is that Labour will gain almost as many special votes as National, and that the Green Party will gain enough specials to get one more MP. New Zealand First, who just missed getting a ninth MP in the preliminary count, will probably keep all nine MPs currently allocated to them.

One point of surprise is that the Opportunities Party (TOP) received proportionately many more votes on election day. Does that mean that TOP voters were largely conservatives? Did Gareth Morgan collect votes from people who voted for Colin Craig last time?