Today the Poll Bludger will wrap up his Senate coverage and devote the remaining precious few days to the real action. What follows is South Australia, with Tasmania and the territories to come this evening. First, the grouped ticket preferences:
Labor: Liberals for Forests; Greens; Democrats; Family First; Liberal; One Nation.
Liberal: Family First; Liberal for Forests; Democrats; Greens; Labor; One Nation.
Nationals: Liberal; Family First; Greens; Democrats; Liberals for Forests; Labor; One Nation.
Greens: Liberals for Forests; Democrats; Labor; Liberal; Family First; One Nation.
Democrats: Liberals for Forests; Family First; Greens; half-Labor, half-Liberal; One Nation.
One Nation: Liberals for Forests; Labor; Liberal; Family First; Democrats; Greens.
Family First: Democrats; Liberals for Forests; Liberal; One Nation; Labor; Greens.
Australian Progressive Alliance: Democrats; Liberals for Forests; Family First; One Nation; Greens; half-Liberal, half-Labor.
Socialist Alliance: Greens; Labor; Democrats; Liberals for Forests; Liberal; Family First; One Nation.
Ex-Service, Service and Veterans Party: Liberals for Forests; Democrats; Liberal; Labor; Greens; Family First; One Nation.
Liberals for Forests (ticket one): Labor; Democrats; One Nation; Greens; Family First; Liberal.
Liberals for Forests (ticket two): Greens; One Nation; Democrats; Family First; Liberal; Labor.
The Liberals scored an easy three quotas in 2001 and only if they lose a substantial proportion of the vote to Family First will they be in danger of failing to do so this time. Labor didn’t come close and it will take a very fortuitous arrangement of preferences to put them in contention for a third seat. An interesting contest looms between Family First and the Democrats to see who picks up the preferences of the other, this being the strongest state for both parties. If it’s the Democrats they will then need to overtake the Greens and make it home on their preferences. The Greens will get a boost in that they are very likely to do better than Labor’s surplus over their second quota, in which case they will receive these preferences and then also those of the Democrats if they can outperform the Democrats/Family First. It’s not altogether out of the question that Democrats or Family First can deprive the Liberals of a third quota while the Greens do the same for Labor, but a more likely result is three Liberal and two Labor. In this case the other place would go to either the Greens or the winner out of Family First and the Democrats – bearing in mind that the latter two would get an extra boost from the Liberals surplus to their third quota in this scenario. If Labor’s vote can lift enough that they are still in the hunt at this point, they could hold a vague hope that Family First preferences might put them over the Greens. Pressed for a decision, the Poll Bludger’s money is on the Democrats.
Here’s what others think. Malcolm Mackerras: "My prediction is that the Liberal Party will win three seats, Labor two and Family First one". Charles Richardson at Crikey says "ironically, the backlash against the Democrats from their preference deal with the fundamentalists (i.e. Family First) may be the very thing that drags down their vote and allows their preferences to put Family First within reach of a seat", and he countenances a range of possibilities including Family First winning a seat at the Liberals’ expense, and even an unprecedented outcome where both the Democrats and the Greens win seats. But he ultimately favours a more "boring" outcome of three Liberal, two Labor and one Green. Antony Green alone considers Meg Lees worth a mention, but sees a contest of two halves in which the Liberals and Family First compete for a third seat, while on "the other side of the ledger" are Labor, Greens, Democats and also Family First if the Liberals win their third seat. He notes that "the lower the Labor vote, the more likely that Labor preferences will elect the Greens. The higher the Labor vote, the more likely the Democrats can stay ahead of the Greens".