Photo finish: Solomon

This post will not be further updated. Results below are not final. For up-to-date results visit the AEC’s Virtual Tally Room site.

2007 2004
Booths 20,957
Pre-Poll 3,631
Absent 411
Postal 802
Provisional 52
Total 25,853
ALP (adjusted) 50.2
LIB (adjusted) 49.8

Saturday evening. This post will be used to follow the final stages of the count in Solomon, where at the close of election night counting the ABC computer has Country Liberal Party incumbent Dave Tollner 0.2 per cent ahead of Labor candidate Damien Hale. On raw figures from the AEC Hale is 1.0 per cent ahead, but the Liberals performed strongly on absent, pre-poll and postal votes in 2004.

Sunday evening. Solomon seems to produce a lot of pre-polls: if the numbers are similar to last time, there’s still only 30 per cent counted. These are have so far produced a slightly bigger swing than the booth votes, adding 0.1 per cent to Damian Hale’s adjusted lead.

Monday evening. It seems only rechecking was done today.

Tuesday 4pm. Still nothing, but comments chat informs us that pre-polls still to come which include those from more conservative Palmerston. Postal votes lean the CLP’s way in Solomon due to overseas Defence Force personnel.

Tuesday 11pm. 485 absent votes have broken 255-230 Damian Hale’s way, though only in marginally greater proportion than they did for Labor in 2004. This puts Damian Hale’s lead at a very handy 718 votes, but the ABC reports that “Australian Electoral Commission says staff will count 1,500 electronically lodged military votes tomorrow (and more pre-poll votes on Thursday)”, suggesting Tollner can expect a boost in tomorrow’s counting.

Wednesday 5pm. As foreshadowed, 1587 new “postal” votes have been added, presumably the military votes referred to in the previous entry, and they have split 939-648 in Tollner’s favour. This is not greatly out of proportion with the result on postals from 2004, although it cuts Hale’s lead to 427 votes.

Thursday 5pm. Another 2572 pre-polls have narrowed the gap by a further 166 votes, to 262. I am informed via comments that there are “an estimated 1500 to 2000 more pre-polls from interstate and overseas”, suggesting there were a lot more of these than at the last election. If they continue to go 53 per cent Tollner’s way, he should claw back a little over 100 more votes. However, 2004 patterns suggest Hale should pick up a little on provisional votes and remaining absent votes.

Monday 3pm. Tollner has made up 79 votes from the counting of 1693 pre-polls from interestate (thanks to ALP Campaign Genius for the info in comments), cutting the Labor lead from 262 to 183.

Monday 8pm. Tollner keeps whittling away that lead, a further 225 postal votes going 133-92 his way and reducing the deficit to 142.

Tuesday 11pm. Hale gains 20 from the counting of 84 provisionals, but loses five from 21 absents. He now leads by 158.

Wednesday 8pm. Here as elsewhere, Labor is slowly dying a death of a thousand cuts. Today saw another 767 pre-polls cut the lead from 158 to 89. There are another 820 to come, which will leave it almost dead even if they go the same way as the last batch. On top of that are 200 absents and even smaller handfuls of provisionals and postals which should break more or less evenly.

Thursday 8pm. A huge reversal of late-count fortune has probably sealed the deal for Hale. A batch of 297 pre-polls, presumably coming from a Labor area, broke 188-109 his way; 267 absent votes favoured him 148 to 119; and further postals went only 59-57 in favour of Tollner. Hale now leads by 194.

Friday 8pm. With only tiny trickles of votes still coming in (three pre-polls for Hale and one for Tollner, plus five postals each), Hale has claimed victory. This post will close for business unless there’s some surprise late development.

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.

99 comments on “Photo finish: Solomon”

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  1. and there are heaps of them this time around.

    The AEC had polling booths in main traffic centres for the past two weeks.

    Its said there are 10,000 pre-poll votes.

  2. R U OK db. I was indeed pointing out your misunderstanding of terminology i.e. what pre-poll means. Postal and absentee votes are described seperarely and differently.

    I think what you actually meant in your initial post was
    “There’s about 10,000 votes to count yet”. I accept your retraction in advance.
    I think we both agree that it will be some time before the mist lifts.

  3. done some sums….

    Assuming 8000 pre-polls and etc… I have Tollner winning by 350 votes based on

    6000 prepolls CLP 57.4 / ALP 42.6 TPP (from 2004)

    1500 postal CLP 61 / ALP 38 TPP

    500 provisional CLP 46 / ALP 54 TPP


    Tollner: 20129 + 3444 + 915 + 230 = 24718
    Hale: 20941 + 2556 + 585 + 270 = 24352

    I would think the postals and provisionals would be about the same in number from last time. Pre-polls have increased due to a bigger effort to service the electorate at large by the AEC (5400 votes that way in 2004).

    for Hale to win.. (besides if my numbers are skewiff) he must have limited the pre-poll vote to the CLP in the split 54.5/45.5 – the current 3% swing.. interesting.

    If there are more than 6000 pre-polls.. then the margin might be bigger to Tollner.

    so… any which way.. it should be the smallest margin electorate in Australia.. again.

    any thoughts?

  4. Good breakdown. Not sure when u went to the AEC site last but it was updated today @ 3-30 our time and the margin was out to 50.8/49.2 (ALP way) and removed from the too close to call list.

    Been doing a bit of research too and I see that there are 3 outstanding booths to be counted. Not sure about the raw numbers here (? 600-700 ) but they are the 2 Mobile Hospitals and the Mobile Prison votes. Given that they all were around the 56% ++ in favour of the ALP in 2004, there is a little buffer maybe, helping DH to absorb some of the prepoll hit.
    Will be interesting to see how many Greens pre-polled too. Not sure of their voting pattern in this regard.
    I can safely say that I don’t think Maurice F. and his immediate family would have pre-polled though (LOL). Cheers.

  5. Five Solomon pre-polling booths

    Darwin x 2




    if this first 1500 is the booth at Palmerston, then Hale has won.

    The margin has narrowed to just over 700 votes.

    Damien Hale needs to be 300 in front before postals.

  6. I’d be wary of using 2004 as a great guide to pre-polls and postals in this seat.

    Expecting an extremely tight finish and obviously hoping that Damian can hang on. He’s one of the best candidates I’ve worked with/for.

  7. The support for Hale around town has been phenomenal. Still is; there were cars drivng around yesterday with ALP flags waving from them, my neighbour across the road yelled “KEVIN OH SEVEN!” when she saw me this morning. Tollner has been on the nose, even with some of the rusted on CLP folk. Good luck to Hale!

  8. “Flash Says:
    November 26th, 2007 at 9:54 am
    On another matter, ABC radio in Melbourne is suggesting Clare Martin will resign as NT Chief Minister today, possibly to play a role in the new federal government.”

    Henderson as CM?

    and a spot for Damian Hale if he loses Solomon?

  9. Mad Max..

    the raw numbers on the three outstanding booths:

    Hospital 1 + 2 and Prison would suggest a net gain (compared to 2004) of around 30 to Hale.

    there were less than 200 votes cast in 2004 at those three places combined.

  10. Just had an update after the second lot of pre-polls were counted. They were 395-327 (2PP) in favour of Tollner.

    Hale now leads by 657 (22005-21348).

    At the time of writing, the AEC site hasn’t been updated with these pre-poll votes.

  11. all the booths in..


    Prison: Hale 11
    Tolner 0

    Hospital 1: Hale 44
    Tollner 31

    Hospital 2: Hale 26
    Tollner 12

    net 36 to Hale.

    Mr “Tough on Crime” smacked by the jail. LOL

  12. dartboard predicts….

    Damian Hale has lost.


    the pre-polling booths to date reflects Inner Darwin and Northern Suburbs polling. (vis a vis the Greens vote at 9.00%). In 2004 the Greens vote was the same or lower at pre-polls.

    Palmerston aggregate Greens vote at the 6 booths was about 5% (2004 vote similar at poll and pre-poll) on aggregate and therefore by taking the incumbent swing shown on the booths from Inner Darwin/Northern Suburbs to date (3.5%) and adding that to the Palmerston results cf 55%.. gives 58/42 TPP.

    The Palmerston Booth should return 1400-1500 or more. On the above figures thats +250-300 votes. Add to that the other prepolls booths totalling up to 6000 at 53.5/46.5 (+150), take away for Provisionals 44/56 (-60) and add in the postals 60/40 (+300).

    Toller wins.

    and the more pre-polls.. the greater the margin.

    any comments?

  13. Damian may do a little better than 42/58 in the Palmerston pre-polls.

    He is a local in Palmerston and the swings to Labor there were better than most of us expected – the surprise for me is that Darwin (i.e. non-Palmerston Darwin) didn’t swing more to Labor.

  14. Hale leading by 675.

    A little more concrete today on the number of “other” votes from the AEC:

    Provisional: 1236
    Pre-Poll: 5760
    Postal: 67 – waiting on deliveries?

    of this, 2370 of the prepoll have been counted giving a swing back to Tollner of 170 votes.

    Theres perhaps 5500 in total to go, with the more conservative majority to be counted (postals, overseas forces and the Palmerston booth).

  15. Postals are approximately 1300 each according to AEC (as provided by each party). The ones provided directly to the AEC could go either way.

  16. The AEC doesn’t list Solomon as one of its close seats, nor is it featured in the article in the Australian today which covers all the still undecided seats (including Sturt). The latest AEC figure is about 50.78 in favour of Hale. Could this be chalked up as a Labor gain?

  17. MGM, I wouldn’t be claiming it yet. I am reasonably confident but we haven’t seen any postals – and they will include more than 300 votes from the Defence Force which I expect to go heavily Tollner’s way.

  18. ALG, I have a nice collect on Hale to win the seat. When would your guess be on a result being known? Would you say it is 50/50 at the moment?

  19. Fatcat, the technical answer is Friday of next week (Dec 7) as that’s the last day votes can be admitted/counted.

    But the picture might be a little clearer after we’ve seen most of the postals and absentees and that should happen by the end of this week.

    Whatever happens, most betting agencies aren’t paying out until polls are declared.

    I stuck a massive amount on the Libs winning the seat of Grey (at $1.24 on Centrebet, it was an invitation to print money) and despite the inevitability of the outcome, I’m yet to be paid.

  20. Damian’s lead now up to 721. He’s just won the first batch of Absentees by 25 (255-230). This batch came from Lingiari (i.e. Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Katherine, etc).

    Postals tomorrow – up to 1400 to be counted. They may make the picture clearer.

  21. @24
    Help !!! Are those mobile figures right? Difficult to reconcile only 11 Prison voters and 113 Hospital voters.
    Anybody in “the know” able to help out with this one please.
    My understanding is that Berrimah has 300 “residents” at least and the RDH has a 300 bed capacity. Even in unusual circumstances one would think that there would be at least 50% of them as registered voters.

    Tomorrow is the real test now. I think Damien is in a good position going into this part of the count. It will be very interesting too because I believe there are a number of ADF votes in the mix. Will be watching the AEC site closely.

    BTW Genius– good bet on Grey if u have that sort of money to outlay. 28% return is a top result anytime.

  22. here’s the local insight..

    from ABC news:

    Meanwhile in the Northern Territory seat of Solomon, recounts and postal votes have added complications to the tally.

    Iain Loganathan from the Australian Electoral Commission says staff will count 1,500 electronically lodged military votes tomorrow and more pre-poll votes on Thursday.

    “Obviously we try to count the votes as quickly as we can but my main priority is to make sure the count is accurate,” he said.

    But Mr Loganathan says unless the margin widens with the counting of postal votes, the final outcome could still be unclear.

    “Postal votes can still come in until next Friday,” he said.

    “There’ll be a large count of early votes on Thursday and depending the way that count goes, what the margin, is, whether that gives a clear indication I really can’t speculate.”

  23. a guess on my part…

    2004 turnout was just over 91%

    So far in 2007 we have “Enrolment: 57,560 Turnout: 78.55%”

    therefore.. there are about 12% of the votes to count.. somewhere around 7000.

    anyone taking bets?

  24. so the lead is Hale by 716 votes after stumps on day 3, up 5 votes 3 days ago, some Postal, prepoll and Absentee to count. Hale won Absentee today and should be roughly Equall at Pre Poll.

    Tollners run rate is blowing out.

  25. Thanks Max (comment 37). Though Fatcat trumped me getting the Cheese Man of Corangamite at $1.85 🙂

    Some of those hospital voters you refer to might be permanent postal voters so they wouldn’t vote in mobile booths – I might ask my good friends at the other end of the Stuart Highway if they have more info about that.

    I’m really nervous about today. Come on Damian!

  26. Virtually all postals including o/s military now counted.

    All that remains is 2000 provisionals which typically favour Labor and absentee votes from interstate and o/s which will be not too bad for them either.

    Prediction: Hale to win by between 150 and 200 votes.

  27. “the Cleaner” @ 46 ( you must be a misso), at 2.23 pm AEDT the AEC posting had 81.37% of votes counted, in 2004 there was 91% voter turn out, which when I do the numbers suggest that there’s another 6500 votes to count.
    Assuming the 1500 electronic lodgment military votes are already in the mix, I understand they where to be counted this am, Tollner needs to poll better than 53% of the remaining votes ( thats assuming there are still 6500 to count).
    Any inside info that can confirm the number of outanding ballot papers ?

  28. Sorry.

    Correction – 3500-4300 pre polls from Casuarina (likely to favour Hale) and Palmerston (likely to favour Tollner) also outstanding.

    I stand by my prediction – Hale by 150-200 votes

  29. the AEC has 8642 “declaration” votes received on the website (ignoring the 11141 issued).

    So far 4437 votes have been counted “after” the fact.

    There must be at least 4200 votes to be counted, and potentially another 2500 on top of that going on the 91% voting pattern and the AEC top figure.

    let me draw you a graph


    x marks the winner.. somewhere in between

    +150 for Hale and + 150 for Tollner.

    its that close.

  30. The Postals actually weren’t quite as bad for Hale as I’d feared with Tollner getting 59% 2PP.

    The info that “The Cleaner” has is reasonably similar to what I’ve heard from our people in Darwin.

    I understand that there are no more than about 2800 Pre-Polls remaining (yes, from Casuarina and Palmerston) and there will be at least 300 more Absentees (which will come from outside the NT).

    Hale might profit from Provisional Votes – ALP candidates usually do. I’m told there are about 1200 but, of course, not all of them will be admitted.

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