Humiliating backdown

For about one hour, this entry proclaimed that Charles Richardson of Crikey and myself shared the honours for best Western Australian election prediction since we ended up reaching identical conclusions after my late change of heart on Albany. On re-reading Richardson’s piece I see that he did warily predict that Labor would take Kingsley, which unquestionably makes him the king of the castle. He scores a further point for expressing more doubt about Alfred Cove than myself. Kingsley, a formerly Liberal seat where Labor ended the night with a lead of 1.1 per cent, is my only clear wrong call apart from Greenough, which only half counts because it is a Nationals gain from the Liberals (it might emerge as Richardson’s only error). The other swap between the Coalition parties, Liberal candidate Graham Jacobs’ apparent victory at the expense of the Nationals in Roe, was correctly tipped by us both. In Alfred Cove independent member Janet Woollard is struggling to prove us right by staying in front of a Labor candidate she must keep in third place to ride over Liberal Graham Kierath on preferences; and Labor might yet hold Bunbury and Murray, tipped as Liberal gains. But in each case the predicted outcome is still the more likely and everything else went according to script.

The key to Labor’s win was a strong performance in the northern suburbs marginals, which constitute a collective bellwether of far greater utility than Bunbury. Labor picked up swings of between 3 and 4 per cent in Mindarie and Wanneroo as well as Kingsley (which should be of some comfort to the Edwardes clan), and also held firm in Joondalup. This area switched sides en masse with the three previous changes of government in 1983, 1993 and 2001 and the Liberals are unlikely to lose sight of the fact next time. Elsewhere, a 2.0 per cent swing was not enough to see Labor’s Tony McRae off in Riverton, while Jaye Radisich added a handsome 3.3 per cent to her shaky margin in Swan Hills. The picture was patchy outside Perth but Labor performed well where they needed to, picking up a huge 6.9 per cent swing in Collie-Wellington and holding firm in Geraldton.

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.