The big news from yesterday’s deadline for registration of how-to-vote cards was the Liberals’ change of heart regarding the Greens, whom they now propose to put ahead of Labor in seats including Melbourne (which the Greens came within 1.9 per cent of winning in 2002), Richmond (3.1 per cent), Northcote (7.9 per cent) and Brunswick. Throughout the week, the party’s website carried a how to vote card that had the Greens last in every seat other than the aforementioned, where voters were instructed to make up their own minds. The Poll Bludger can only speculate as to what prompted the change of heart; the most intriguing possibility is that the Liberals have ratted on a deal which gave Labor the better half of the bargain, in exchange for an alternative arrangement with the Greens. The Age plays up the impact of the Greens’ decision to distribute split tickets in Morwell (4.9 per cent), South Barwon (5.0 per cent), Ripon (7.4 per cent), Ballarat East (7.6 per cent), Mitcham (7.7 per cent), Monbulk (8.3 per cent), Ballarat West (9.0 per cent), Bendigo West (16.0 per cent) and Footscray (24.9 per cent), although this is only to be of consequence where the result is extremely close. The real dividend for the Liberals is that Labor resources will be diverted to once safe inner-city seats. Duncan Hughes of the Australian Financial Review reminds us that "parties can register any number of cards to be distributed on polling day, which means haggling between parties can continue until the eve of the poll", although last-minute indecision would presumably carry political costs.
In other news, the Geelong Advertiser today follows up on its South Barwon survey of October 16 with a second poll, albeit of only 254 respondents (of whom 67 are reported as undecided). It nonetheless backs up the thrust of the earlier poll in having Liberal candidate Michael King leading Labor incumbent Michael Crutchfield 49 per cent to 38 per cent after distribution of the undecided.