In my last update I mentioned that if there were any by-elections called we might do a pilot study. Well we have five… Perth with the unexpected resignation of Tim Hammond, and Fremantle, Mayo, Braddon and Longman all from the ongoing section 44 imbroglio.
A pilot study has been prepared, however it won’t be launched or promoted until we have a date for what is being called Super Saturday. Australian politics being as volatile as it is, one can never tell what will happen until it happens… we could still go to the general, we could go to a house only election, there could be more to add to these five… it’s all just part of the fun of the 45th Parliament of Australia.
If you live in one of those five electorates and want to take part in the pilot study, you can sign up now and check ‘by election pilot study’ on the participation form.
The pilot study is shorter – only 3 questionnaires: the first one the week the writs are issued, the second 10 days out from election day, and the final one on election day. Many of the more complex factors around voter behaviour like religion, minority, or community involvement will not be investigated. If you decide you would like to go on and do the main study as well, we’ll save your answers so you don’t have to complete the same things twice.
Whether we can release any numbers from the pilot studies (for example the vote intention polling figures) will depend on how many people sign up. Seat by seat polling is notoriously inaccurate in Australia, even with samples above the magic number of 1200. And this study is using an unproven methodology, so any numbers we come up with need to be understated, read with caution, with asterixes and footnotes. But if enough people sign up, and confidence is sufficiently high enough, then of course; I do understand the media and public hunger for the numbers.
For now, I plug in each confirmed candidate name to the questionnaires and await the date for Super Saturday. Let the games begin.