Call of the board

In keeping with the spirit of self-flagellation that makes Australian democracy what it is, the Poll Bludger calls to public attention the various wrong calls he made in his electorate assessments.

Greenway (Labor 1.5%): The Poll Bludger defied conventional wisdom to an extent by giving Labor the benefit of the doubt in the seat, and while he may yet be vindicated, Liberal candidate Louise Markus led by 0.53 per cent at the close of counting.

McMillan (Notional Liberal 2.9%): Only when the margin is over 5 per cent does the Poll Bludger feel cause for embarrassment, and so it was here. His tip was that the advantages of incumbency would allow Christian Zahra to make up the 2.9 per cent gap that an unfavourable redistribution had burdened him with, but he was quite incorrect and Liberal Russell Broadbent, who lost the seat to Zahra in 1998, recovered it with a margin of 5.3 per cent at the close of counting.

Herbert (Liberal 1.5%): That Labor’s position could hardly be any worse in Queensland was a widespread item of conventional wisdom, and a lot of media chatter suggested that the Townsville-based seat of Herbert was a particularly vulnerable seat for the Coalition. The value of conventional wisdom was clearly demonstrated here with a 5.45 per cent swing to Liberal incumbent Peter Lindsay, who ended the evening on a margin of 7 per cent. Labor candidate Anita Phillips will no doubt be spending the evening rueing her decision to abandon her seat in state parliament to tilt at this particular windmill.

Moreton (Liberal 2.6%): A lot of late-campaign media chatter suggested Labor was hopeful and the Liberals worried. In the event Liberal incumbent Gary Hardgrave picked up a 1.24 per cent swing to lead by 3.8 per cent at the close of counting.

Stirling (Labor 1.6%): Having lived there for the first 20-odd years of his so-called life, the Poll Bludger ought to know a thing or two about this Perth northern suburbs seat. Instead he withdrew his call that the Liberals would gain the seat on Wednesday. Why? Because state Liberal Party director Paul Everingham said so. Slap, slap, slap. At the close of counting Liberal candidate Michael Keenan led by 1.58 per cent.

Adelaide (Labor 0.6%): The only seat the Poll Bludger wrongly picked for the Coalition, Labor challenger Kate Ellis ended the evening with an insurmountable 2.09 per cent lead over Liberal incumbent Trish Worth. Adelaide voters appear to have dispensed with the wrong Trish.

Wakefield (Notional Labor 1.5%): Liberal David Fawcett led by just 0.63 per cent at the close of counting, so this one was forgiveable. But it should be noted here that Labor member David Cox, also tipped by the Poll Bludger to hold, leads by just 0.28 per cent in Kingston.

Braddon (Labor 6.o%): This one was much agonised over, but it seemed sensible to err on the side of conservatism. Instead Liberal challenger Mark Baker led Labor incumbent Sid Sidebottom by 1.4 per cent at the close of play.

Solomon (Liberal 0.1%): The Poll Bludger is happy to admit that he has a fair bit to learn about Darwin, whose residents voted for Country Liberal Party member David Tollner in sufficient numbers to give him a 2.02 per cent lead at stumps.

All that said, 141 (perhaps as much as 143) out of 150 is not too bad an effort and, relatively speaking, slightly better than his call for the Queensland election in February. At this rate, a perfect showing can be expected some time around 2010.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.