Blind date

Via Andrew Leigh comes news that SportingBet is taking bets on the date of the federal election. Opening odds have November 24 as favourite, paying $4. Speculation on why readers think various dates likely or unlikely is invited in comments.

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.

20 comments on “Blind date”

  1. I reckon First Saturday in December. Howard would not want to clash with APEC, Football Finals, CHOGM and the Spring Racing Carnivals, as well as School Holidays in September/October.

    Also here in Perth there is a Telethon on the Weekend of Oct 13th & 14th which involves many interstate personalities and ties up all of TVW7’s facilities, and thus would clash with any Election Telecasts by the Seven Network.

  2. Just a couple of points to consider – given the changes to the electoral act meaning the roll closes on the day the election is announced, Mr Howard may be tempted to name the date as early as possible, which could mean a longer than normal campaign.

    Also, Howard likes to appear on the morning talkback radio programs, where certain hosts give him pretty favourable coverage. He’d prefer not to be campaigning during the non-ratings period when Alan Jones et al were on holiday in the non-ratings period.

    On the other hand Howard will want as much time as possible to try to claw back the Labor lead. And if things kept looking dire, maybe he would try an election over the Christmas period, on the basis that it’s never been tried before, who knows what could happen?

    On balance I tip 8 December, but a longer campaign than the 33 day minimum.

  3. Also here in Perth there is a Telethon on the Weekend of Oct 13th & 14th which involves many interstate personalities and ties up all of TVW7’s facilities, and thus would clash with any Election Telecasts by the Seven Network.

    I don’t think Seven has an election coverage any more; only 2&9- at least fulltime from the NTR.

  4. If the budget had gone down well and there’d been a boost in the polls for Howard, I think he would have gone for an August election, just before APEC.
    My guess on an election date: some time in November.

  5. Bob Brown noted at a recent dinner that Ian McFarlane said that it would almost certainly be November 3 with a possibility of November 10. Worth a bet perhaps?

  6. Well John Howard would want to push the date as far away as possible in the hope the polls will trend towards him.
    This latest rate increase should cause another dip in the polls for him.
    There is speculation that another rate increase will be “needed” in November.
    John Howard was lucky that the RBA didn’t go for a half per cent rise now.
    They must have been tempted.
    They’ll wait and see how this pans out, what happens in the stock markets, and then move again if they need to.
    A rate increase in November would be devastating.
    If John Howard’s advisers believe there is a very real prospect of a November rate increase they might want to go to the polls the Saturday before the RBA meets.
    I think December is too late and would really annoy people planning Christmas.
    The betting may be right, 24th November.

  7. November 10. He’ll want to wait as long as he can if the polls continue the way they are, but if he waits too long he’s open to accusations of hanging on to power.

    He won’t call it on Grand Final weekend, but he’ll call it the next weekend, which means (if my calculations are right) an election on Nov 10. Calling it on October 7 is 3 years 4 days after the last election – not any real delay.

  8. There’s now also this climate summit two weeks after APEC in Washington, which Howard won’t want to have take place during the campaign.

  9. January.

    I’ve got travel plans late december early January. Howard is obviously out to get me personally, seeing as I am just such an important leftist, and so I reckon he’d schedule it just to f-ck with me.

    On a more serious note, November ten is straight after Cup day and straight before Remembrance day. Some people might think that Howard would want to avoid a “clash” with such events, but I think there could be some advantage to it.

    As for January or later in December, It may never have been done before, but that’s not to say it can’t be done. Who knows what strange reasoning will ultimately determine the date.

    It could just as easily be October the 27th.

  10. Every date clashes with something somewhere, and one date is much like another as far as elections go. We have had elections before which ran across the football finals. Howard would obviously like to go late, but he can’t go too late or that will become an issue in itself. So I think mid to late November is the most likely, but no-one except JWH knows, so there’s not much point speculating.

  11. the 2001 election was held on November 10, and, unless my memory is failing me, neither the dates for the Melbourne Cup or Rememberance Day have changed since then.

  12. Remembrance day is small time in this country. Anzac Day is the big one. The Cup’s on Tuesday. Not a factor as far as I am concerned.

  13. I think he will go as late as possible but not going past the three years since parliament sat, so November 10. I hope so, it is my poor late mum’s birthday and she would have soooo happy to have that day celebrated with him losing since her birthday in 2001 was ruined.

  14. APEC ends on September 7/8. The Canadian PM addresses the parliament on the 12th. The election won’t be called before then.

    If the PM calls the election as soon as Stephen Harper leaves Australia then he might sneak in the date of October 20th with an issue of writ date for September 17th. I suspect he’ll take his time and call the election for October 27th, with the issue of the writ on September 24th.

    If the PM doesn’t call the election on September 24th then parliament is scheduled to sit. He won’t want to do that. The media in particular will be niggling the PM to call the election, his 3 years will be up and there may be an impression of clinging on to power.

    October 27th is probably the best date to surprise us all. Once November arrives then no date is a surprise. The PM may also be worried that the reserve bank will move to increase interest rates in November.

  15. October 20 or 27 would be interesting as daylight saving starts in WA on October 28. If the election was held on either of those days, electors in WA would have an extra hour to see how the count is going in the east to maybe affect the result especially in the marginals.

    Are there any anecdotes discussing if this has happened in the past?


    It will be called a week after APEC and held on either the 21st or 28th of October.


    Labor by 38 Seats (Don’t laugh at me, but after today, this looks like a genuine possibility.)

  17. BenC – if WA goes to daylight saving – won’t this mean it will now have an hour less than normal at summer, since the polls in the South East corner used to close 3 hours before WA.

    Now they will only close 2 hours before WA.

    That 3 hour gap was terrible in 1996 – I didn’t even have time to get drunk before Captain Smirky was calling the poll.

  18. If Costello were to take over leadership in the next few weeks would that then be justification to hold off till a 19th January election.

    They could argue that Costello needed some time to bed things down hence the delay.

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