Plunge taken

Readers who think they’ve seen it all are invited to take a fresh look at the Poll Bludger’s South Australian election guide, which is now equipped with a number of exciting new features. The main point of interest for most readers is the predicted outcomes for each seat, an exercise in which I continue to indulge against my better judgement. At the risk of putting myself off side with my most trusted South Australian advisers, I have (at least for now) succumbed to the psephological herd mentality and backed a worst-case scenario result for the Liberals. That means a uniform 5 per cent swing that will see off all the seats held by less than that margin, namely Hartley, Stuart, Light, Mawson, Morialta and Bright – although the Liberals’ $150 million Victor Harbour Highway promise might yet save Robert Brokenshire’s bacon in Mawson.

Despite the retirement of the sitting member, I have tentatively given the Liberals the benefit of the doubt in Newland (held by 5.5 per cent), while going out on the opposite limb in Unley (held by 9.1 per cent). The latter judgement is made without confidence, but the Advertiser poll showing Labor ahead 51-49 remains the best intelligence available, and I have also heard corroborating reports of panic in the Liberal camp. I expect Karlene Maywald to retain Chaffey for the Nationals, and for independent members Bob Such and Rory McEwen to be returned in Fisher and Mount Gambier, although the latter may be a wild card. With the departure of independent member Peter Lewis (and even without it), the Liberals should have no trouble gaining Hammond.

Also new to the guide is a feature called "Parish Pump", devoted to the type of local level information that passes under the radar of the mainstream media. Admirers of the guide are invited to marvel afresh at the entries for Norwood, Adelaide, Giles, Napier, Cheltenham, Port Adelaide, Hartley, Stuart, Light, Mawson, Heysen, Morphett, Schubert, MacKillop, Flinders, Mount Gambier and Chaffey. I have also maintained my tradition of appending electorate-specific blog snippets under the "Campaign Update" banner, although this time the entries are identified by what is known in the newspaper trade as a dinkus – which, unlike that for Parish Pump, was not pinched from another website.

Over on the Poll Bludger’s side of the continent, the Victoria Park by-election to replace retired Premier Geoff Gallop will be held tomorrow, and this site will offer its usual up-to-the-minute (well, up to about two minutes anyway) updates of the booth results as they come in, complete with swing calculations based on comparison of booth results with those from the 2005 election. A big round of applause is in order for all who have contributed to the comments threads (here and here), which have possibly been the most productive in this site’s history. Clearly the electorate is not wanting for civic virtue – I challenge to the good people of Gaven in Queensland to at least try and match their efforts in their forthcoming by-election campaign.

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.