Thursday, 18 September 2014

Latest results from Scotland

 
Aberdeen City (population 222,800): No (58.61%)
Aberdeenshire (population 253,000): No (60.36%)
Angus (population 116,000): No (56.32%)
Argyll and Bute (population 88,200): No (58.52%)
Clackmannanshire (population 51,400): No (53.80%)
Dumfries and Galloway (population 151,300): No (65.67%)
Dundee City (population 147,300): Yes (57.35%)
East Ayrshire (population 122,700):  No (52.78%)
East Dunbartonshire (population 105,000): No (61.20)
East Lothian (population 99,700): No (61.72%)
East Renfrewshire (population 90,600): No (63.19%)
City of Edinburgh (population 476,600): No (61.10%)
Falkirk (population 156,000): No (53.47%)
Fife (population 365,200): No (55.05%)
Glasgow City (population 593,200): Yes (53.49%)
Highland (population 232,100): No (52.92%)
Inverclyde (population 81,500): No (50.08%)
Midlothian (population 83,200): No (56.30%)
Moray (population 93,300): No (57.56%)
North Ayrshire (population 138,200): No (51.01%)
North Lanarkshire (population 337,800): Yes (51.07%)
Perth and Kinross (population 146,700): No (60.19%)
Renfrewshire (population 174,900): No (52.81%)
Scottish Borders (population 113,900): No (66.56%)
South Ayrshire (population 112,800): No (57.87%)
South Lanarkshire (population 313,800): No (54.67%)
Stirling (population 90,200): No (59.77%)
West Dunbartonshire (population 90,700): Yes (53.96%)
West Lothian (population 175,100): No (55.18%)
Na h-Eileanan Siar (population 27,700): No (53.42%)
Orkney Islands (population 21,400): No (67.20%)
Shetland Islands (population 23,200): No (63.71%)

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The spirit of Scotia reigns fearless and free?

Tomorrow the people of Scotland will vote on the following referendum question: Should Scotland be an independent country?

This question is interesting* politically, psephologically and, to a lesser extent, vexillologically. But it is also an interesting one historically. For a long time, England and Scotland were separate countries. One was largely defined by its Roman, Saxon and Norman conquerors, the other heavily influenced by Viking incursions and Scandinavian ties. Early attempts to unite the two, in the form of England invading Scotland, were not entirely successful – perhaps most famously during the era of William Wallace.


Wallace is equally famous for his habit of using up all of the woad left in the pot, much to the irritation of his troops.



In 1603 England and Scotland were eventually united, but not by English victory. Instead James VI of Scotland ascended to the throne left to him by the death of Queen Elizabeth. This left the English in the awkward position of having not only failed to take the Scottish throne, but also losing their own throne to the Scots without even the consolation of Game of Thrones style drama. Even more awkwardly, the Church of England now had a Catholic at its head.

In addition to uniting England and Scotland and leading a religion he didn’t even follow, King Jimmy got to do some other cool stuff; he changed his name from “James VI” to “James VI and I”, became the target of a plot famously not led by Guy Fawkes, then added himself to the Holy Bible.

AKA: making the big time

But it wasn’t all fun and V for Vendetta. James had the recurring problem that his powers in England were heavily restricted by Parliament (thanks to the pesky Magna Carta) throughout his 22 year reign. Then, within a few decades, the monarchy itself was gone. Oliver Cromwell promptly announced an end to the reign of tyrants, and began to rule as a tyrant. Then, because a tyrant’s gotta do what a tyrant’s gotta do, he abolished the parliaments and ruled Scotland and England as one country, with more power than any other British ruler since 1215.


Chump.
The British, however, had got a taste of violently overthrowing oppressive rulers; the monarchy was restored soon after. Scotland and England parted ways in 1660, but kissed and made up in 1707. And now, after 307 years, the next instalment in the series is finally available. So, you know, it’s got some advantages over Game of Thrones.

Game On

It must be time to brush the dust off the old Infographinomicon and take it out for a spin for a special report. I do these for any voting process that captures my attention – from conclave to Eurovision – but rarely are these as well reported on in Australia as the Scottish Independence Referendum. Part of this is because there is a view in the media and at large that this might somehow trigger a push for an Australian Republic. It won’t, for several reasons – not least of which include the high popularity of the royal family at the moment and the fact that Tony Abbott is a staunch monarchist.

Another factor is that the two referenda are hugely different. If the Scots do vote for independence tomorrow, they will still recognise the Queen as the head of state (at least for now). The vote is about becoming a separate country, with its own economy, military and Olympic team. Australia already has all of these things. In fact, Scotland is effectively facing a choice between the status quo or becoming like Australia.

Nevertheless, Australia is following this story with great interest, including all the absurd, peripheral trivia and conspiracy theories.

I’m not even sure how this makes sense, but this is not the first time this has been asked…

The secret truth

For some reason, the one time the conspiracy theorists would be right to suggest it’s all about money and big business they’ve gone off on bizzare tangent involving MI5, secret oil fields and the Islamic State insurgency.

My favourite part, personally, is the oil field. Sure, there’s oil off of the Shetlands. And there probably have been recent oil reserves discovered. But the idea that England is keeping the Scottish geology a secret from the Scots to make them think they don’t have the resources to survive as an independent country is absurd. The oil fields would not be as big as some have speculated, and even if they were I doubt any Western government is competent enough to keep it a secret. And by keep it a secret, I am referring to the supposed "fact" that the Prime Minister of Britain “had been alerted to the massive new oil find and had come up to check it out in person.” Because Mr Cameron is an expert in geo-sampling for petroleum, and would risk exposing the resources by flying to Scotland just to check the samples in person.

The real issue is Europe. Britain has an interesting relationship with the European Union – a piece of political Hokey Pokey.

You put the armies in, you take the Euro out, you put the lawyers in and shake the labor laws about…
Britain is in every opt-out the EU has, except on the Common Security Defence Policy, making it the least EU member of the EU, and thus arguably less European than some Caribbean islands. That’s why Britain still has the Pound Sterling, rather than the Euro. And support for leaving the EU is growing in Britain (specifically England). Scotland, however, has a lot of trade links to Europe, and leaving the EU would be very bad for the Scottish economy.

The anti-independence argument that splitting from Britain would require Scotland to re-apply to the EU seems to have worked during the early campaign, but recent talks from England about a 2017 referendum on leaving the EU seems to have swayed the vote recently.

So in short, England wants autonomy and more independence from the EU, and Scotland wants independence from that independence. The question is, then, does Scotland want to maintain its EU ties enough to leave Britain and transition to nationhood, which would involve reclaiming part of the British military, changing the currency, and a large number of other costly alterations.

 

Weel dae ye, punk?

The question is simple: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

The answers are simple to – Yes or No. As a result, any prediction is either 100% right or 100% wrong. If you listen to news reports in Australia, and I assume further afield as well, the race is neck and neck, and only a fool would make a call at this point.

Don’t give me that pitying stare, Mr T…
The polling may be close, but it’s also stable (see the data dump below). The referendum was put forward on March 21 2013, and of the 81 regular polls since then the Yes vote has outpolled the No vote three times. (Although admittedly two of those were this month, all three demonstrated a very rapid correction in the following poll – again see the data dump.)

Also, these figures are arguably more reliable than Australian polling since voting in the referendum is not compulsory – much like answering a polling survey.

To get around the 100% right/wrong issue I’m going to rely on the system that has consistently turned around and bit me: comparing my prediction to a baseline of the most simplistic possible analysis. This is normally just applying the latest polls (47.8% Yes, 52.1% No, adjusted to exclude the undecided/other vote) but, given the number of polling services available and the noticeable bias gaps between them, in this case we’ll also use the average of the votes since the referendum was announced.

The “Yes” votes across these surveys average out to around 36.1%, while the “No” voters have a mean result of just under 47.5%. Eliminating the “others” this is a 56.1% vote for the negative.
If my regular losses to the baseline calculations have taught me anything, it is that the simplest formulae are generally the best; for this reason I’ll try to determine the trend in voting opinion through a line-of-best-fit calculation of the poll results.

Here are the results of those 81 polls, compressed beyond legibility:

Thin!                                                 
And here are the proportions of the voting public divided into Yes, No and other camps:

Colourful!                                                 
The short term variation is most likely the result of variations in survey methodology since the general trends through most polling houses are reasonably stable (please, please, please see data dump!), but we can plot the general trend by breaking out the old high school maths and calculating the least squares regression line.

For those of you who like to pretend you forgot, the equation of the line is in the form y=mx+c where y is the dependant variable (poll results), x is the independent variable (date of the poll measured in days after 21/3/2013), m is the slope of the line and c is where the line crosses the axis (i.e. the polling on day 0).

The slope is calculated by:

and the value of c by:

Really it’s the value of m that interests us here: the Yes vote is slowly increasing with a value of m = 0.0226 (i.e. the Yes vote increases by 0.0226 percentage points per day), No is decreasing very slowly with m = -0.00518, and others making up the difference with m = -0.0166. (These values do not sum to 0 due to rounding to 3 significant figures.)

However, let us factor in the c value to calculate the expected results on referendum day. The Yes vote’s line of regression is y = 0.0226x+28.0; No is y = -0.00518x+49.3 and the others are y = -0.0166x+22.4. Tomorrow (x=546), the Yes vote should sit around 40.6%, No at 46.5% and others at 13.3% (again, with rounding errors).

Assuming the others don’t vote, or else break along a similar division to the predicted vote, this gives a simple 53.4% in favour of remaining part of the United Kingdom. In fact, for the Yes camp to win, the “others” would need to break roughly 3:1 in their favour. Interestingly, with the exception of TNS BRMB polling, an increase in the other vote normally corresponds with a decrease in the Yes vote and vice versa, so maybe the others are really latent Yes voters, hiding from an (apparently) pro-union majority. Only time will tell.

TL;DR: My prediction is in the area of 53.4% vote against independence.
This will be compared against:
1) The latest polling data of 52.1% No vote
2) An average of the polls since the referendum was put forward in March last year, which gives a larger 56.1% No vote.

*The accuracy of the adjective is not guaranteed.

Data Dump


Well, it’s been a while since I last did one of these. The raw data is sourced, as referenced, from this compilation of polls on Wikipedia. Due to tabulation problems, the data is provided here in graphic format:
The relative stability of the polls intra-house is evident in the following graphs: 





Draw your own conclusions.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Yes, We're on Hiatus...

... but here's one last infographic until we return: a word-cloud of this blog, indicating word frequency as word size.





Courtesy of www.wordle.net.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Good Night and Bad Luck...

While things have not been slow in the world of elections – particularly in Ukraine – there has been little movement in the spheres that I normally write about. This week will look at the recent predictions before this blog returns to hibernation.

This hiatus will end as soon as there is regular updates to provide on the Victorian and US Midterm elections, both in November (so expect blogs from late September/early October).

Eurovision:

No points are going to be awarded, and no detailed analysis of what went right/wrong can really be produced with any real detail. I predicted that ‘Austria may come from nowhere, but I doubt it’, so like the conclave predictions, I did shortlist the winner but didn’t pick it. I consider that a partial victory, and at least I didn’t back France.

Tasmania:

Here we have two possible points – one for Huon and one for Rosevears.
In Rosevears Kerry Finch (IND) easily retained his seat as predicted (with over 60% of the primary vote).
In Huon, I predicted Peter Hodgeman (LIB) to win. Hodgeman came a close second to my second bet, Robert Armstrong. Hodgeman was easily ahead on primary votes, and retained this lead until the fifth count, but was ultimately beaten on preferences. While I had expected the left vote to bolster Liz Smith, and I has expected this to be insufficient, I did not appreciate the size of this flowing on to just about anyone but Hodgeman (splitting more than 3:1 against, with Lib preferences lower than the exhausted count).
It is clear that Tasmania is in a very conservative mood at the moment. However, it is important not to underestimate the appeal of Independent candidates in Tasmania.
It is unfortunate that the results of this year’s TasLegCo prediction is only 50%, but with only two possible bets this is going to happen from time to time.
These results will be added to the sidebar in the coming days. See you after the winter!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Demonstration Game

This week saw the release of the Budget. Last year I took the time to analyse the main areas of spending and the demographics they played to. As it turned out it was quite difficult to break down the ABS data to a manageable level that informed our predictions. It was an interesting exercise, but no points could be awarded for correct predictions – much like a demonstration match at the Olympics.

This year, however, there is something else to look at. This weekend we will find the results of the International voting in an election run across the length and breadth of the European Union. International politics will come to the fore. Diplomatic ties will be strained and strengthened. Smoke, wind and fire pour forth from the floor.

I speak, of course, of the Eurovision Song Contest.

It is no secret, of course, that the voting in Eurovision is at times more political than a reflection on musical talent. The Nordic/Scandinavian countries will back each other to the hilt.* Turkey and Armenia will strive to put the past behind them once more.** Ukraine and Russia will go head-to-head on an illuminated screen floor concealed beneath dry ice and loaded with enough pyrotechnics to blow up the British Houses of Parliament.***

This year, however, Australia has sent Jessica Mauboy to perform. Technically Australia’s not in Europe (although similar geographic inconveniences has never stopped Israel participating). Instead, we were just be appearing as an act in the second semi during voting for the real contestants. It was an interesting exercise, but no points were awarded for the performance – much like a demonstration match at the Olympics.

The semi-finals are over, however a brief analysis of past semi-finals results may have informed our expectations. Certain countries are well known to favour each other – this may be due to political reasons, geographical closeness fostering a familiarity and friendliness to other nations or songs being sung in common languages (e.g. the Most Serene Republic of San Marino might sing in Italian, which might isolate non-Italian dominated countries a little but appeal to the Italian vote). This was a bigger rort back when the winner was picked by a small jury of representatives. In 1998 the phone voting system was introduced, but because unpredictability and lack of bias are boring we are now on a hybrid system.

Most importantly, it is not possible to vote against a country. This means that nations can afford to narrow in on the support of a few select nations without a significant backlash from others. This also means that there are situations, for example in the current Crimean Crisis, where the results are counter intuitive. Pro-EU (aka anti-Russian) forces outnumber pro-Russian (aka anti-European Union) protestors in Ukraine. As a result, one would expect the Russians to do poorly off of the Ukrainian vote. However since the anti-Russian vote will be split across so many other options, the consolidated Russian support might mean top marks for the former super-power. A pox upon first-past-the-post voting systems.

Semi Finals

First off, here are the total points awarded to the countries on the y-axis by those on the x-axis since 2008 when the semi-finals were first split into two pools.


And here is the average score since 2008, adjusted for the times each country has not participated.

Given that only half of the x-y combinations will match up each year (countries in pool 1 cannot vote for those in pool 2), and the average pool size is around 18 participants, an average score would be roughly 1.6 (the actual average of all scores is roughly 1.484). The standard deviation is higher than this (1.643) and therefore does not offer a convenient way of grading favouritism. Instead, let’s graph each nation’s support for each contestant to determine if there is a particularly strong peak of support anywhere.
 Okay. Let’s not, then. Instead, 1.0 and less is arbitrarily considered poor, up to 2.0 is fair, up to 4.0 is a lean towards a nation and anything above 4.0 is a very strong lean. And, go:

 
Slightly better, I suppose. While the obvious approach is to simply see which 10 teams do best from each voter in the same pool as a prediction, the green votes above are the key ones that we can rely on. Whether you see this as the historical strength of each nation’s musical ability or other factors, certain patterns emerge. Greece is historically very strong with green ratings from 13 different countries and favours the smaller nations in the Balkan/Eastern European sphere. Russia does well off of the Baltics and other peaceful neighbours (Poland, Azerbaijan, Lithuania and Latvia blue, Estonia green) but poorly from the major powers (red from France and Portugal, grey from UK, Spain, Germany, Italy, Sweden & Norway) and neighbouring nations fearing a military invasion (Georgia, Ukraine and Belarus all red).

So, lets take a look at, on past voting, who can be expected to do best in each pool:
 
Where countries have drawn, the availible points are averaged. These are rounded off to the nearest whole number above.

Comparing the rankings (total score) with the actual results (red countries in the grids were eliminated) It is clear that there is no real predictive power in this methodology. In fact, the bottom three and top four in each pool went straight through, leaving the battle to the middle of the field.

Instead, I’m going to have to pick the songs manually. Countries can get support for being genuinely good (see Norway) or, more commonly, for ridiculous costumes (see Iceland), special effects (see Montenegro) or bizarre songs (see Estonia). You can also get into the finals for being Scandinavian or, in a tiebreak situation Baltic/Balkan.
 
For Pool 1, I predicted the ten to continue to the finals as Armenia (the only pyrotechnic-dependant performance), Latvia (splitting the Hipster vote with the Netherlands and scooping up the often overlooked cake-baking vote), Sweden (Scandinavian vote), Iceland (slightly less lucrative Nordic vote, reinforced by technicolour costumes), Russia (for using singing twins and a guy whose only roll is to stand behind a collapsible sunrise), Ukraine (giant freaking hamster wheel), San Marino (impressive use of video screens with dry ice), Portugal (all the drums, and a half-naked black guy), the Netherlands (reaping more than half of the votes of hipsters dominating the west of Europe) and Montenegro (impressive figure-skater/effects coordination).

With 16 contenders I was guaranteed at least 4 of my 10 would get through, so the possible scores for this prediction range from 0 to 6 guesses inaccurate. Latvia and Portugal dropped out for Azerbaijan and Hungary, so that’s 8 out of 10 correct, but should honestly be a score of 4/6 or 66%.
 
For Pool 2, my pick was Malta (hipsters with the obligatory acoustic guitars, double bass and drums (plus a piano and a… a… I don’t even know what)), Norway (perhaps the best act on actual musical ability), Poland (for traditional dress and sensual – even erotic – clothes washing), Austria (for supporting a bearded transvestite), Lithuania (for the Tron-inspired outfits), Belarus (for Mo-town junior), Switzerland (whistling hipsters with obligatory acoustic guitar, double bass and drums (and banjo and tambourine)), Greece (a rap/R&B/dance number appealing to a completely separate demographic, backed up by a trampolinist), Romania (Mohawk and fake circular piano) and one other. The choices for the last place are varied, with different attributes to pick from: there’s Ireland with a Bollywood/Riverdance combo; Slovenia with an interesting flute opening; and there’s the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia with Voldemort in a white hoodie.
 
With 31 contestants between the two semis we actually earn one tossup, which I would probably use here if the results were not already known. Instead, I’m going with Georgia due to their electric guitar wielding mobster and a guy with a parachute.
15 contestants means 5 of my 10 predictions are guaranteed to be correct. Georgia was a gamble that didn’t pay off. Lithuania also failed to capitalise, and Slovenia and Finland (Damn you Nordic bloc vote) replaced them. So, 80% again on total results, but 3 out of 5 (60%) once adjusted for mathematical certainties.

With that less-than-impressive background, we need to look at the automatic finalists:
UK: Britain seems to think Eurovision is a song contest of some sort. Nothing too zany to report on here.
Spain: Based on the preview movie clip, there may actually be rain falling on the stage for this one.
Germany: Accordion, Double Bass and Mime artists – I’m a little concerned France and Germany may have switched acts.
France: Big hair and a burning desire to grow a moustache – I’m very concerned France and Germany may have switched acts.
Italy: Futuristic Punk. ‘nuf said.
Denmark: Seems to be competing as Belarus’ older brother.

With the exception of 2010, an auto-finalist has not won since 1997. In that time, the Nordics have won six times. If you want to pick a shortlist of winners, the Big Five and the Host is not the set to pick. That’s not to say they cannot win, but I suspect given the cost of hosting the contest, none of them want to become regular giants of the contest (compare Ireland in the 90’s).

And that brings us to:

The Finals

A lot of gimmicks that got countries through the semis – circular pianos and Wiggles-inspired suits – will lose their appeal the second time around. I think the strongest contestants from pool 1 are Russia, Ukraine and the Netherlands. For pool 2 I’d back Norway, Switzerland and, at an outside chance, Poland or Austria. The first-time performers are not hamstrung by this seen-it-all-before fatigue (except perhaps Denmark), so France may get a boost there too.

To pick one, I’d have to tentatively circle Ukraine, with Norway a close second and the Dutch in third. The Netherlands will overshadow the Swiss for the hipster vote, and I think Russia and Poland will appeal to similar voters, splitting the votes. Austria may come from nowhere, but I doubt it.

Since I am operating with completely untried (or, realistically, no) predictive methods, these predictions will not be counted towards the total points of this blog. I should, perhaps, have done the same thing with last year’s conclave and the United Nations Security Council vote the year before that (although the UNSC results have not been factored into the current score at Infographinomicon). It is an interesting exercise, but no points will be awarded for correct predictions – much like a demonstration match at the Olympics.
* Although exactly where these boundaries are drawn is open to debate. With Denmark into the finals by default, this does not necessarily result in predictable preference flows.

** Although Turkey has chickened out this year.
 
*** Calculation not performed. However, the gunpowder to be used by Guy Fawkes et al amounted toa cubic ton. Measuring gunpowder by volume is complicated by grain size, but will generally resolve to the equivalent weight within 10% accuracy. So allowing 1.1 ton (roughly 998,000 g) of gunpowder to blow up parliament seems like a pretty good benchmark. If you know where to buy blackpowder substitutes (that link may land you on certain government watchlists) you can get the stuff for less than $20/pound ($18.29 plus shipping, limit 48 lb), or go full-on V for Vendetta for just over $40,000. Granted the cost of fireworks will cost more for labour, colours etc. and can vary hugely with the choice of pyrotechnic, and because these are payed for by the performing countries, exact expenditure is difficult to track down. But even if the fireworks are 10% gunpowder by cost, that’s $400,000 spread between 37 countries. Given that most contestants give their performance at least twice, that’s only $5000 per act on fireworks. Add in the opening ceremony etc. etc. etc. and Big Ben doesn’t really stand a chance.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Tasmania III

Huon

Huon is slightly more complicated than Rosevears. For one thing the incumbent is not standing again next election, opening up the field. For another, probably as a result of this, it has seven candidates running.

Voting history is not hugely informative here, with (as usual for the Tas LegCo) a mostly Independent history.



A few obvious differences from Rosevears are apparent. While both seats have only one (officially) party-affiliated candidate, Rosevears' was a Liberal while in Huon this was from Labor. For another, Huon's history dates back much further. And, while only two of these candidates are known to have lost the seat in an election (including the afore-mentioned Labor candidate) the older incumbents are harder to find information on. The candidates more than a century ago – a large number of which have names starting with J – are harder to research and may or may not have lost the seat. In more recent history, though, the incumbent of Huon has not lost since a few months after the introduction of decimal currency.

Although there is no incumbent and no useful trend, however, the history of the seat does prove quite a useful predictive tool. For the decade from 1976 to 1986, it was held by Peter Hodgeman. The less Tasmanian-electoral-history centred may recognise the name Hodgeman from the immediately preceding name on that chart; Michael Hodgeman held the seat from 1966, starting the incumbent victory line that continues today and a twenty-year Hodgeman dynasty over the seat.

The more in-tune with the Island state's political system will recognise the name of Peter Hodgeman's nephew Will – the current Premier of the state – and possibly Peter's father Bill – former President of the Tas LegCo.

The really Tas-pseph-fanatics will recognise Peter Hodgeman, however, as one of the candidates standing for the seat of Huon this year. By re-contesting the seat, especially without ever having lost it, Peter may well hold a semi-incumbent status. Combine this with name recognition, association with an apparently popular Premier, the ability to cash in on Liberal projects touted last month, and the entire Liberal volunteer base, Hodgeman has to be a strong contender this year. However, with a marginally ALP lean in seat history and forming part of the Labor-held (since 1993) federal seat of Franklin, there could be significant opposition if organised.

The most likely candidate to muster the support of the left is former Greens member Liz Smith. She bills herself as a progressive independent and has a strong history of performing well in local council elections, having won seats since 2002 and regularly coming second in Mayoral elections. Her political background is nowhere near as strong as Hodgeman's, though, as she has only contested the seat of Huon once in the past, receiving a 14% primary vote out of four candidates. That would be expected to drop lower out of seven, especially in a state that is apparently hankering for a bit of right-wing politics.

Another council-based politician this election is Robert Armstrong, who was elected in 1996 and became deputy mayor in 1999. By 2001 he had made Mayor, with a primary vote of 55%. The field of people contesting against him has never exceeded two, and his primary vote has never dropped below 40%. In the absence of Mr Hodgeman's candidacy, he would be well placed to be a front-runner. He is an independent and a centrist, but I suspect a lot of his support will be the first to flow to the Libs.

Rodney Dillon is a second possible candidate for the left to rally behind. Although I have not found any information on his political experiences, he is employed by Amnesty International and was short-listed for Tasmanian of the Year twice. Although I am not listing policies for this seat due to time constraints (but see below), one policy did catch my eye:
He feels strongly that Huonville District High School should be expanded to include Years 11 and 12 to enable all students in the area to successfully complete their education. He will work towards making this happen.
On the right, and likely to do poorly in the shade of Hodgeman and Armstrong, we have Jimmy Bell. Mr Bell has experience in the military, manages the Police Citizens Youth Club and is a prolific money-raiser for various charities and community projects. Policy information is lacking.

Helen Lane has a list of sporting administration achievements, as well as professional experiences regarding integration of computer skills in education. Again, policy is lacking.

Finally, there is Pavel Ruzicka, a saw-miller and “specialist timber” provider who advocates managing forests for multiple industries and interests. He is clearly marked out as an anti-greens candidate, but may struggle to gain traction on the crowded right of the stage.

Policies

There are several reasons I have abandoned the attempt to provide policies for the candidates. Firstly, most have no useful information on their websites, if they even have websites. On the other extreme, wading through all the Liberal policies linked to Mr Hodgeman's campaign could easily take a month. Besides, you can often learn more about independents from their long answers than their soundbites anyhow.

Furthermore, others have already composed a (heavily right-wing, pro-life, conservative) summary of the candidates. To quote directly from Tasmania's own Kevin Bonham on the Australian Christian Lobby's survey, while I “do not endorse the content of their questions, which are frequently loaded and misleading... they are one of the few forces that effectively prods candidates into taking positions on social issues, and their surveys are often a valuable insight into who will fence-sit and who will kowtow in an attempt to get votes.”

Their summary for Mr Armstrong, Mr Bell, Mr Hodgeman, Ms Lane and Ms Smith is here.

Information on Mr Ruzicka was not found. Mr Dillon's site is here.

For further information, an article by Ms Smith in the Tasmanian Times can be found here and a biography of Mr Armstrong is linked to from Dr Bonham's blog here.

Summary

Prediction for Rosevears: Kerry Finch (IND) Retain
Prediction for Huon: Peter Hodgeman (LIB) Win