The Power of Data in the 2022 Election

About this event

Australia is set to go to the polls on Saturday, 21 May 2022 for the Federal Election. In this webinar, we explored the important role data science plays in election campaigns, polling, media coverage and social media. We will be joined by:

Casey Briggs – Journalist, ABC News in Sydney

Misha Ketchell – Editor-in-Chief of The Conversation

Associate Professor Mark Lauchs – QUT, School of Justice

Professor Daniel Angus – QUT, School of Communication & Digital Media Research Centre

The discussion was moderated by QUT Distinguished Professor Kerrie Mengersen, Director for QUT’s Centre for Data Science.

Find out more about this session below.

More about the panellists and topics

Casey Briggs – Data on the Campaign Trail

Casey Briggs is a data analyst, reporter and presenter for ABC News and is heavily involved with the network’s election coverage. He will share his perspective on what he is seeing during this year’s campaign and discuss the role data is now playing in it. Casey brings a unique background to his role as a journalist, completing both Bachelors and Masters degrees in Statistics and Applied Mathematics at The University of Adelaide.

Misha Ketchell – On polls and “traffic whoring”: how numbers can be the enemy of good election journalism

Misha Ketchell is the Editor of The Conversation Australia and New Zealand and has been an editor and journalist for more than 25 years. He will explore how polls can be toxic to election coverage and why traffic is a bad metric in journalism. Plus, he will discuss how The Conversation does its coverage and how they use numbers. Misha was previously founding editor of The Big Issue Australia and editor of Crikey, The Reader and The Melbourne Weekly. He was also a reporter and feature writer at The Age and spent several years at the ABC where he was a TV producer on Media Watch and The 7:30 Report and an editor on The Drum.

Mark Lauchs – Nuances of Polling

Mark Lauchs will discuss the targeting of key demographics in marginal seats. There has been a shift in demographic “allegiance” to parties over the last four decades. Mark will provide a summary of the spread of voting preferences by demographic group and how/why they would be targeted by pollsters. Mark came to QUT after nearly two decades in the Queensland state government. He has been designing courses around policy and politics since his arrival at QUT in 2004. The information in this short presentation comes from a lecture in JSB379 Political Practice, People Power, and Protest.

Daniel Angus – Tracking Social Media Activity During Elections

Daniel Angus is a Professor of Digital Communication in the School of Communication, and leader of the Computational Communication and Culture program in QUT’s Digital Media Research Centre (DMRC). For more than a decade, DMRC researchers have developed sophisticated computational approaches to gather, process, and analyse political material shared via the digital platforms that now play a significant role in modern elections. Prof Angus will detail some of the approaches used to examine organic activity on major platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and also introduce newer projects such as the ADM+S Australian Ad Observatory which seek to gather and analyse online advertisements circulating during the election.


Location: Online
Start Date: 06/05/2022 [add to calendar]
Start Time: 12:00 PM
End Date: 06/05/2022
End Time: 1:00 PM