Swinging on the Hipster-proof Fence

The “Hipster-proof Fence” is an evocative name for Bell St, which tended to divide booths in Batman that were won by the ALP in the 2016 federal election from those won by the Greens. A similar pattern was seen in neighbouring Wills electorate.

While I like the name “Hipster-proof Fence”, “The Tofu Curtain” is probably more accurate because Bell St is not a sharp barrier to the voting trend; the two-candidate-preferred vote trends across the entire north-south gradient. Bell St just happens to be where the vote approximately flips from one party to the other.

However, the geographic gradient in the swings is quite different between Wills and Batman. In Batman, Bhathal actually had some swings against her in the northern booths. In Batman, Bell St approximates the location where the swings change.


Swings to Feeney (ALP) for each booth in Batman. Negative swings represent swings to Bhathal (Greens). Booths are colour coded by the party that won the booth. The black line shows the latitude of Bell St at Merri Creek.

Bhathal had consistently strong swings in booths south of Bell St. Swings were much more variable north of Bell St, with strong swings to her at some booths, and strong swings away at others.

In contrast, Ratnam had consistently strong swings across the entire electorate of Wills. Her smallest swing occurred in the far north of the electorate, but so did her largest swing.


Swings to Khalil (ALP) for each booth in Wills. Negative values represent swings to Ratnam (Greens). Booths are colour-coded by the party that won the booth. The black line shows the latitude of Bell St at Merri Creek.

If Bhathal had extended her SoBe (South of Bell St) swing to NoBe, she would have won Batman. In contrast, Ratnam achieved large and consistent swings throughout Wills, but was simply coming from too far behind to win.


About Michael McCarthy

I conduct research on environmental decision making and quantitative ecology. My teaching is mainly at post-grad level at The University of Melbourne.
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2 Responses to Swinging on the Hipster-proof Fence

  1. Pingback: Batman By-Election 2018 | Michael McCarthy's Research

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