Well, there you have it a day of joy for the Tasmanian Greens as their most endangered sitting member, Kim Booth, just scrapes over the line in Bass by 136 votes. I might modestly note that it was my own gut feeling that this would be the case, as expressed in this post from early last week, despite news reports to the contrary as recently as this morning (in the Mercury and apparently also on the ABC). However, the real prize must go to Kevin Bonham, whose correctness was based not on lucky guesswork, but on psephological modelling that outperformed some formidable competition. Note his running commentary in the Tasmanian Times and contributions to the comments thread from this site’s previous post, in which he boldly predicts an imminent victory for Booth in the face of ongoing scepticism.
The key to Booth’s win was not just the rate of Labor leakage, as was stressed in my earlier commentary, but also the high rate of Labor exhaustion (thanks to Geoff Lambert for making this clear to me). Following the 2002 election, it was widely argued that Labor’s surprise late-count defeat was caused by the fact that they had fielded six candidates, when voters are only required to number five boxes. However, Antony Green argued that the real cause was leakage of Labor votes to Liberal candidates, particularly Sue Napier, and Labor was not discouraged from fielding six candidates again at this election. But this time, it does appear that Labor voters who numbered five of the six Labor boxes and left the remaining candidate hanging really did cost their party an extra seat. This compounded a repeat of Labor’s problem from 2002 when the number of Liberal votes leaking to their own candidates was subdued because only two of them had a sufficiently high profile.
Elsewhere, Paula Wriedt’s victory has been sealed in Franklin, which the Mercury did get right this morning, while all bets seem to be off regarding the final seat in Lyons. The final result is a remarkable status quo outcome in each of the five electorates 3-1-1 in Denison, Franklin and Lyons, 3-2 in Braddon and 2-2-1 in Bass.