The crow flies

Thirty-one days out from polling day, and a month later than promised, the Poll Bludger’s guide to the March 18 South Australian election is finally in business. All 47 lower house seats have been gone through with a fine-tooth comb, with a separate upper house guide hopefully to follow later in the campaign.

This guide is a Poll Bludger first in that each electorate is dealt with on a separate page, a virtue born of necessity – ever since the site moved to WordPress and changed hosts (I believe the latter to be the more likely culprit), it has become impossible to fully download my longer election guides on most computers. Anyone who can work out why this might be is welcome to offer their insights. Interestingly, the problem does not extend to the Google cached pages (compare with this).

The Poll Bludger is off on a well-earned three-day holiday and will tackle South Australian campaign blogging in earnest on his return.

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.

34 comments on “The crow flies”

  1. Nice start to the SA election site. Note however that the “Legislative Assembly” referred to on each electorate profile page does not exist. The lower house of the South Australian Parliament is the House of Assembly, the upper house is the Legislative Council.
    All the best
    Angas Story

  2. Yes, the candidates haven’t been updated for at least a month. I thought I’d get the thing up and worry about that next – it will be done in the next day or two. #1 and #3 are now corrected – thanks for pointing them out, I’m sure there’s quite a few more like them.

  3. Well done Poll Bludger. Looks like a very thorough coverage. Looking forward to contributing to these pages as the election draws close. The much predicted ‘Rann-slide’ is slipping away from the government. Rob Kerin has surprised many by stealing the limelight from Media Mike in the last few days highlighting government wastage (ie the $51m ‘feel good’ tramline extension through the CBD), the flip-flopping on Glenside Hospital (and therefore lack of committment) and the chinks in Rann’s economic credibility (a dramatic fall in exports). I’d still predict a Labor government to be returned to power but the massacre widely talked about over the past year is now surely a pipedream. A couple of seats may fall but the Libs are now running to win and it’s an impressive turnaround. Even more impressive is The Advertiser’s sudden decision to rail against Rann’s spin and lack of true direction. Rann’s 3 year, 10 month honeymoon has come to an abrupt end. About time!

  4. I think the most significant thing in the campaign so far has as dave mentioned been the advertiser. It seems to have taken on the role of the opposition.

    As for wether or not it will be a rann-slide, I still think it will be a very big win for Rann, mainly because pretty much all the issues the liberals are campaigning on are not vote turners. While the economy is going well governments dont change.

  5. While I agree that Rann will be return, I disagree that government don’t change when the economy is going well.

    That was how Rann got elected

  6. Looking forward to you adding your predictions to this thorough analysis William.

    Although I expect that Rann will get back in with an increased margin, quite deservedly, I know that there are a number of Labour voters that are insensed at the legislation proposed to tie gay rights to that of marriage and the consequential social impact that this will ensue. I am anticipating a message will be sent to Labor in advance of the final vote that they stategically delayed until after the election.

    Watch Florey as a key indicator of this, as Bedford was key in championing this legislation.

  7. Rann got elected through luck and amazing negotiation with independants that were not labor leaning. So yeah it is an exception, however only an exception to the rule.

  8. At this early stage I am willing to go out on a limb and predict Rann’s re-election but with overall gains of only 2 seats, and I am not yet able to predict which seats will change hands.

    Norwood is an interesting electorate which should be watched closely. Tho’ Nigel Smart (former Crows player) was significantly behind in an Adverister poll a few months back, there is evidence that his campaign is growing in vigour and Vini Ciccarello will have to work hard to maintain her wafer-thing margin. If the Libs are going to gain a seat this may be it.

    Rann’s government hasn’t bonded well with regional South Australia and the vast electorate of Giles could be at risk, while the ultra-marginal Stuart is looking much more secure than its 500-vote margin would suggest.

    Which seats will fall to Labor … Hartley, Light, Mawson, Morialta and Bright are all at risk, though the first four all have reasonably strong sitting members who will fight hard and should cushion the swing. Bright is in trouble despite its margin of over 4%. Sitting member and former Energy Minister Wayne Matthew stepped aside to promote generational change. Matthew was in his late-forties and his replacement, upper house member Angus Redford, is a couple of years older. Make of that what you like?!

    Polls taken up until now should probably be discounted as lacking any real strength of prediction. The Advertiser has been aflood with polls on an almost weekly basis for the last year. It is only once the campaign proper starts (sometime within the next 4 days) that voters will ‘switch-on’ and polls will begin to firm and a more accurate predictor will be available.

  9. I’m not sure what you mean there Ray. All Labor tried to do was equalise same-sex relationship rights in state laws as has happened in every other state in Australia. Nothing to do with marriage as that’s federal law.

    Regardless, I think you’ll find there are many Labor voters incensed that Labor did not honour its commitment of carrying out these reforms within its first term as it promised. The AG did not introduce the Bill until nearly 3 years after Labor won the election and through various delays and filibusters the Bill stalled in the lower house.

    Yes, there’s a strong anti-Bedford lobby group keen to get her out of Florey but a bunch of extremist God-botherers in NE Adelaide were probably never Labor voters to start with, especially as Labor’s GLBTI platform was prepared and known prior to the 2002 election.

  10. It looks certain the SA ALP will score its first two-party majority – either state or federal – in 16 years and its first state 2pp majority in over twenty years – since Bannon’s re-election landslide in 1985. Interesting that they have nevertheless been in power for 12 of these last 20!

    Even if Rann scores a very poor (for a 1st term state government seeking re-election) result of 52%, this still represents a swing in his favour of 3 – 3.5%. The Libs will be doing very well to keep the result at this level and even if they do Kerin will be branded a failure.

  11. I think Dave S is a bit optimistic about the Libs prospects.
    Despite recent favourable media there is no sign of them making up ground and they actually seem to be going backwards in regional areas. Todays Tiser poll (17/2) has the two-party preferred vote with Labor at 57 per cent to the Liberals’ 43 per cent – no change from the previous Advertiser poll on January 11.
    A two-party preferred vote of 57 % represents an 8 per cent swing to Labor since the 2002 election, if uniform across the state,the ALP would grab eight Liberal seats including Hartley, Stuart, Light, Mawson, Morialta, Bright, Newland, and even Fisher.
    The two-party vote in the metro area has Labor on 59 % compared with the Libs on 41% while in the Opposition’s supposed rural stronghold, Labor’s vote has jumped sharply to put them neck and neck.
    In the January poll, Labor was trailing the Liberals by 10 percentage points – 45 per cent to 55 per cent.
    The only comfort for the Libs in this poll is the thought that it can’t get much worse.

  12. “while in the Opposition’s supposed rural stronghold, Labor’s vote has jumped sharply to put them neck and neck.”

    I thought this was too good to be true, and given the survey was of only 700 odd people, only say 50-100 of which would be rural voters, it prolly is.

    Still not bad news though

  13. Will Mr Rann yet prove to be personally more popular than his government as a whole? Maybe we’re not looking at a landslide as the polls suggest.
    No real hope for the libs this time around though. I look forward to seeing how it all develops through pollbludger’s excellent site.

  14. The Polls from the advertiser have been a little funny when you compare it with some of the information that has been coming out of the individual electorates. I think Dean Jaensch’s comments about the swing at the last state election lacking any uniformity will apply even more this time.

    I can see the Liberals retaining Hartley and Stuart, Stuart particularly, but losing seats with higher margins like Heysen or Morphett

  15. Since you asked for clarification Sam, there is a significant religeous left constituency that doesn’t get much exposure. These are people who are strong on social justice issues, but just as strong on traditional family values. This legislation affords gay couples the the same rights as marriage after the nominal qualifying period. And before you label these people as homophobic, many have no objection to the registration of gay relationships, but protected by laws that recognise the difference of those relationships, especially with respect to responsibilities for nuture of children. Tieing the rights to marriage will not provide this distinction, and fail to protect the birth-right of children to be nutured by their natural parents.

    Just because the other states have similar legislation doesn’t make it right.

  16. Tim’s point about a swing lacking uniformity is very interesting and I think this could be the case. At the last election we saw a significant swing towards Labor in Colton, delivering this seat to Labor, but nominal swings towards Labor in other electorates, and anti Labor swings in a number of Liberal held seats.

    Heysen and Morphett are probably a bit too safe to be lost but other seats such as Kavel (where Family First should be watched) and Finniss, seat of retiring former Premier Dean Brown (where a messy Liberal pre-selection has resulted in a local mayor standing as an ‘Independent National’ candidate) could be at risk.

    Today’s Advertiser poll is bleak for the Libs but I think hefty Labor swings will occur in Labor held seats and much smaller swings will occur in the marginal Liberal electorates.

  17. It seesm the Tasmainian and SA elections will be held on the smae day…

    Have two states gone to an election on the same day before ?

  18. This has nothing to do with being “tied” to marriage Ray – that was fearmongering largely generated by Andrew Evans and other opponents of equality for same-sex couples to confuse the issue. As it’s only reforms at state levels it can only relate to state law.

    Regarding your point about children: the key areas in which Labor deliberately avoided reforms when it (eventually) presented its Bill was adoption and IVF.

    Perhaps it’s not just the fact that other states have these laws in place that make them right – perhaps it’s also the fact that now nearly 30 other developed countries – and counting – have initiated similar reforms in one way or another.

    Perhaps they’re also right because there is no logical opposition, only dogmatic hysteria, to equal rights for same-sex couples in committed, long-term relationships who pay taxes and are law-abiding civil citizens like their heterosexual equivalents.

    Anyway, this is all a little off-topic. If Labor are as successful in the upper house as it looks like they’ll be in the lower house, opponents like Evans and others will be rendered redundant and SA can finally catch up to the rest of the nation.

  19. When this happened in 1986 (with WA & Tas), I remember reading then that the only time it had happened previously was in 1970 with SA & Victoria going on the same day…but I was only one in 1970, so I cant vouch if thats right..

  20. Ray if ‘massive impending backlash’ due to the relationships bill was well massive, surely it would of come up in polling? Nothing I have seen has indicated this and it is nothing more than a issue for a smal % of the population, of which the majority would never vote for labor anyway.

  21. I haven’t seen anything to indicate this will not be a Labor landslide. The apparent ‘good news’ for the Liberals is no different to how the CLP woke itself up prior to the 2005 NT election, and it didn’t swing a thing. Not to mention the polling numbers look very, very bad. 57% 2PP, higher in built up areas and Labor now equal in rural areas….points to that more then the 8 or so seats that would fall under an 8% swing might be under threat. Back to the NT, with a result as one-sided as this seats that had never fallen fell, CLP heartland was lost, and swings in indidvidual CLP held seats were often larger then the NT average swing. The Liberals have a problem, a very big, big problem. Kerin hasn’t learnt the lesson dealt to Denis Burke if polling to date is to be any guide.

    It’s all over bar the Liberal slaughter.

    All the small issues, all the small signs from different seats, will mean next to nothing if a big swing develops. I hope I’m wrong, but I haven’t seen anything to indicate that is the case.

  22. If what SD says is correct, and all indications are that it is – this result could mirror the NT’s in another way also. Watch Kerin’s seat of Frome. It includes the Labor city of Port Pirie, was marginal after the 1997 poll and only became ‘safe’ due to Kerin’s becoming premier, a gloss he now seems to have well and truly lost. Add a general swing of say 6-7%, (or perhaps a bit less as its in the country) and he could be in trouble.

    And I think its a good point that the swings could be higher in marginal & Liberal held seats. It would be interesting if anyones done any research on what happened here Qld, Vic & NSW with their respective “2nd term bounce” elections over the last few years.

  23. If a Northern Territory style swing occurs (similar to an NSW, Vic and Qld second term bounce) the Liberals will be destroyed in South Australia. In the NT we saw an average swing against the CLP of around 12%, but this rose to over 20% in a couple of seats (including that of Denis Burke). If this were to occur in South Australia we would see the ‘list of eight’ oft quoted in The Advertiser fall to Labor: Hartley, Stuart, Light, Morialta, Mawson, Bright, Newland and Unley. This would be only the start of the Libs woes, a swing reaching 12% would cull 2002 newcomers Isobel Redmond (Heysen) and Duncan McFetridge (Morphett) and reak havoc among leadership aspirants Ian Evans (Davenport) and Martin Hamilton-Smith (Waite). A Denis Burke train-wreck would be completed with Rob Kerin falling in his mid-north seat of Frome.

    While we’re playing out this worst-case-scenario why not knock off the Libs in Finniss where Independent National Kym McHugh has a strong local profile as Mayor of Alexandrina and in Kavel where the great Tom Playford’s grandson (also Tom Playford) is standing for Family First and is reckoned in with a chance.

    This result would be catastrophic for South Australia and the Libs owe the State more than the current polls are predicting. They could be left with as little as eight seats in Parliament (assuming that they gain Hammond and Mt Gambier, the latter which is actually made much more plausible if a hefty Labor bounce occurs and Independent minister Rory McEwen is forced to third place) and Labor would be free to operate with reckless abandon.

    I stand by my previous prediction of a two seat gain for Labor, but the memory of the NT disaster and interstate meltdowns is too fresh to ignore …

  24. At this rate we may only have Liz Penfold, member for Flinders, left standing. What a fantastic leader of the opposition Liz would make! Liz for Premier!

  25. And on a more serious note … I just spent the evening putting up posters for one of the major parties in Adelaide’s western suburbs; it is a hellishly slow job and stobie polls should be outlawed!

  26. Dave If you didn’t have Stobies where would you out your posters?
    Where is Nick Xenophon going to end up? Hopefully in the Legislative council. As he shows some spirit and some alternative views. I agree with the Rannslide slipping away. Looks like Mike and his smarmy army not being as effective as first thought, but getting there in his own right will be better for him than having to rely on Peter Lewis as he did after the last election. Remember people Kerin would have been premier had not Lewis switched sides to get to wear a funny wig

  27. Xenophon wont get in, ive been playing around with the upper house calculator, at and he just isn’t getting the preference flows, so unless he polls something like 6 % i dont think he will get in. Im amazed at the preferences FF are getting even at 2% they can still get in..

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