In spite of a major global downturn in early 1958, the Coalition was returned to power and there was an even swing against the Labor Party. This was due largely to support for the breakaway Democratic Labor Party. This was the first Australian election campaign to be fought using television as a medium for communicating with voters. Menzies was interviewed on television, while opposition figures H. V. Evatt and Arthur Calwell took part in debates with ministers Harold Holt and William McMahon. Somewhat surprisingly Menzies emerged as a confident and effective television performer. This may have contributed to the better than expected result for the government.
Prior to 1984 the AEC did not undertake a full distribution of preferences for statistical purposes. The stored ballot papers for the 1983 election were put through this process prior to their destruction. Therefore, the figures from 1983 onwards show the actual result based on full distribution of preferences.