Victorian election minus two days

Two days to go until an election that is, in a sense, already half over, thanks to the extraordinary growth in pre-poll voting.

Amid the ongoing opinion poll drought, quench your thirst with the following intelligence from John Ferguson and Ewin Hannan of The Australian.


• Pre-poll voting continues to be conducted at an unprecedented clip, which will potentially make life different for prognosticators on Saturday night. The Victorian Electoral Commission reports just shy of a million pre-poll votes have been cast, with the trend suggesting upwards of 350,000 are still to come over the next two days, eventually accounting for nearly 40% of all votes cast. Taking postal votes into account as well, little more than half the votes are likely to be cast on election day. This will be the first Victorian election at which pre-poll votes are counted on the night, and if there is indeed a different dynamic on pre-poll votes, the picture that emerges early in the count may be upset later in the night. The VEC site offers full data on the number of pre-poll and postal votes cast by day and by electorate.

• Last night’s apparently incident-free leaders debate was deemed to have been won by Daniel Andrews by 49 members out of the audience of 100 swinging voters hand-picked by Galaxy Research, with 33 favouring Matthew Guy.

• Fourteen months after it came to light and two days before the election, the Herald Sun reports Russell Northe, Nationals-turned-independent member for Morwell, received a $5000 donation ahead of the 2010 election which, a Nationals official says, never made its way to the party’s campaign account. Northe’s departure from the party in August last year occurred against a backdrop of personal and financial difficulties, among which was a gambling problem. The seat is a complicated contest in which Northe might equally lose to the Nationals or Labor (or perhaps even former Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party Senator Ricky Muir, now with Shooters Fishers and Farmers).

Noel Towell of The Age reports Labor believes it is “close enough to justify extra spending” in Melbourne, which Ellen Sandell of the Greens won from it by a 2.4% margin in 2014. While Labor believes it is drawing blood in its attacks on the Greens for standing by Angus McAlpine, erstwhile gangster rap homeboy and now candidate for Footscray, a party source says it is “treating its research in Melbourne with caution, because of the shortcomings of single-seat polling and the difficulty of accurately gauging voter intentions in inner-city seats”.

• The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has prohibited the dissemination of how-to-vote cards in Northcote disseminated by “Citizens for Stable Government”, having determined that they look rather too much like Liberal Party material. Helpfully for Labor, the cards recommended the Greens be placed last, whereas official Liberal material advises voters to make up their own minds.

• Not unsurprisingly, Labor has failed in a legal bid to have fresh ballot papers printed in Yan Yean to acknowledge Meralyn Klein’s new-found status as an independent candidate. Klein was disendorsed by the Liberal Party after the closure of nominations over her links with the far right Australian Liberal Alliance.

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.

128 comments on “Victorian election minus two days”

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  1. I am a long time PB reader, first time commenter. I am taking the once in a blue moon opportunity to comment on this fresh thread first. I have been enjoying reading the wild speculation (I think we will see a poll or two in the next 48 hours) and trips down the memory lane of Victorian electoral history. For what it’s worth, I think the ALP will be returned with 48 seats – a clear win.

  2. Morning all. It’s been fun venting, reminiscing and speculating on here, but a major work project starting today means I’m going to have to be offline until probably Monday.

    Have fun… If seats like Morwell live up to 7-cornered expectations it may not be clear by then anyway.

  3. On the higher early voting numbers, in 2014 you needed to make up an excuses to vote early, but they have done away with that, now anyone can vote early without a reason.

  4. In breaking news, AM are featuring a seat analysis of Ripon this morning. The reporter has introduced yet another variation on how to pronounce the seats name. She’s gone with Rip On!

  5. Pre-poll voting: “eventually accounting for nearly 40% of all votes cast.”…

    Very bad news for that Guy and his mob….

    Did I write “mob”? Funny enough, yesterday at The Guardian all mentions of “mob”, “lobster with the mobster”, etc. in reference to the Libs were censored by the moderator, including my:

    Mobsters….Lobsters….Libsters….Libeters…..Liberers…. Liberars……Liberals…..

  6. DS – Welcome.

    I too see Labor getting 48 ( Coalition 35, Greens 3, Independents 2)

    I thought about voting pre poll, but will be back in Victoria by the weekend and I just prefer the actual Election Day.

    Only one single-term Victorian government sine the DLP split wrecked John Cain Snr’s Premiership in 1955, and that was the Coalition 2010-2014. Just cannot see Labor being voted out after one term.

  7. Does Murdoch thru the prism of the Victorian Coalition having a battle to seize government (not Labor set to retain government) have polling numbers it is not releasing?

    it appears that even Murdoch publishing contributions from known Liberal Party affiliated persons including former Premiers and a legal practitioner and including on the CFA demarcation issues with the MFB may not have shifted polling given the absence of polling and the Murdoch prism (the C being Country and the M being Metropolitan, which has expanded so requiring full time professional coverage not volunteers even for all the commitment of volunteers)

  8. Could well be proved wrong, but think the independent hype is over the top, particularly in the North East.

    If an indie does get up, it won’t be a sign of anything much, other than if you give a candidate more media attention you increase their chances of winning – we have, after all, always had independents running.

    The logic this time around goes: Indi is independent, therefore the State seats under the Indi umbrella are also likely to become independent.

    There have been numerous seats held by independents at a federal level in the past, and I don’t think this has ever flowed through to the seats at state level.

    Ovens Valley requires a swing of around 17%. Yes, McCurdy has his problems , but none of the campaigns are highlighting these*, and the media is only doing the bare minimum in reporting them. I expect a swing against him, and for the indie (Atkins) to do well, but I can’t see enough of a mood shift to get her over the line. (There may well be a by election here very soon, which will be more interesting).

    Benambra is closer, with 9% required (but of course, these shifts are not “incumbent/independent” but “incumbent/Labor”, so in practical terms, the indie needs to shift 50% of the vote). There are two indies whom the media have decided are high profile and have thus made them so – one’s a former McGowan staffer, the other used to be the perennial Greens candidate up here (which says something about the state of the Greens…). The 9% means Tilley (the incumbent Liberal) is in the same place McGowan was. Similarly, the last Labor campaign received a swing of 7%, which suggests there’s a mood to build on there.

    However, I don’t think (and here I’m going purely by ‘the vibe’) that either indie can do it. The ex-Green (O’Connor) is just that; her profile is built on her Green candidacy and she is Mayor of the Greenest council in the area. To win over a seat locally, the vote you need to attract is National voters (which is how McGowan won). I haven’t seen anything suggesting that O’Connor appeals to them, or is even trying to.

    As for McGowan indie (it’s probably of some significance that I can’t remember her surname and can’t be bothered finding it), she won’t have learnt anything in Cathy’s office which will help her campaigning. The fact that the spotlight shifted from her to O’Connor fairly quickly is also an indication of her chances.

    Of the three candidates, only O’Connor has the kind of strong family connections to the area that McGowan had. However, if this was to be of any significance, you’d have expected that to have surfaced when she ran as a Green.

    The other assumption that all three seem to be running on (and again, it’s because they’re mirroring McGowan) is that being a woman is automatically an advantage and that there will be swings to them on that basis alone. Again, I think that may ignore the realities of politics up here.

    *McGowan’s model is that you are nice about your opponent. That worked with Mirabella, because her history was well known in the electorate. In these two cases, it means that MPs with dodgy pasts aren’t being asked to explain them.

  9. The limits of the power of the Murdoch media are clear to see in this campaign. The Herald Sun has thrown everything including the kitchen sink at Andrews over the red shirts affair, and despite it being a real thing, not made up like some things they say, has gotten no traction over it at all. It must be driving the Hun editors to despair (not to mention Matthew Guy). Andrews has managed it beautifully, just playing a dead bat the whole time.

  10. I think our great LNP in Victoria will win the state election on Saturday by a landslide and Daniel Andrews will quit leadership after his big defeat on Saturday and Matthew Guy will be a great premier for this great state of ours…..

  11. Re O’Connor the reason she let her Greens membership lapse was:

    O’Connor’s path to independence was from the left. She stood for the local Indigo shire council as a Green, and ran against McGowan at the last federal election for the Greens. But when she became mayor of the shire two years ago, she let her membership lapse because she worried conservative voters would assume she would pursue political, rather than community, interests.

  12. peg

    O’Connor has a long – and fraught – history with di Natale, which I was too polite to refer to.

    Funny coincidence, di Natale became the party leader two years ago…

  13. It’s been a weird vibe this election, kind of low temperature and joyless. It’s weird because from a progressive side it looks like it should be a great election. Two competitive suites of programs from the ALP and the Greens, a state that’s growing with decent economic stats, a conservative movement that from my perspective is no where fit for governing… and yet, it all feels so *heavy* this time. I guess with Trump and the Turnbull knifing generating a lot of political attention this year there’s a bit of exhaustion around.

  14. …and O’Connor has been running as a Green for at least a decade.

    I’ve known her a long time, her son and my son played soccer together, but we go back further than that.

  15. O’Connor becomes mayor, doesn’t want to appear she will be politically partisan so she gives up her party membership.

    Quite simple really and understandable.

    I understand your need to spin it differently.

  16. If the numbers are one side in Labors favour, Labor wont wan to publish them because people might slacken off, Coalition wont want them published because people will give up. If the numbers are close there is an incentive for both to release them as a rallying cry.

    I dont feel any mood for change, Libs have suffered huge brand damage in 4 years from federal side of things, their main campaign theme is law an order and their leader is damaged in that area.

    I expect their will be a significantly higher first time voter turnout than 4 years ago, young people seeing the importance of registering with the SSM plebicite, which should favour progressives.

    I think Libs could see a slightly higher swing against them in country areas (it was 55% in their favour in 2014), a lot of farmers are embracing renewable energy now, for years their side had (and continues to) shamed them away from it, im sure some are seeing their lack of vision and bad leadership now.

    The state branch had funding issues, and administrative fights, im tuned into their policies but i dont think anything much is cutting through, reflective of a bad campaign for them.

    If Libs get a statewide swing to them i will be calling them cheaters very early.

  17. According to VEC

    Method Votes
    Early voting 970,454
    Postal voting 177,572

    Mr Bowe reckons up to 50 % of votes could be Pre & Postal votes. Why are people preferring Pre-poll so much I do not understand. I can understand the reason for Pre-poll in US because the voting is on Tuesday. But in our country it is Saturday.

  18. The LNP will win the election on Saturday by a landslide and Matthew Guy will be our next premier till 2026 and beyond as the ALP will just waste our money

  19. Rocket Rocket says:
    Thursday, November 22, 2018 at 7:54 am
    Only one single-term Victorian government since the DLP split wrecked John Cain Snr’s Premiership in 1955, and that was the Coalition 2010-2014.

    And LNP never gave a reason why they replaced Ted Baillieu with Dennis Napthine mid term.

  20. The Victorian Electoral Commission is so concerned about the undemocratic effect of the group voting tickets and preference whispering a la Druery, it has issued some advice.

    Victorians urged to understand preference system ahead of election:

    ‘Voting above the line means your preferences will be determined by the Group Voting Ticket(s) registered by the party or group you select. Voting below the line allows you to control where your preferences flow.’

  21. Ven, I think the reason why people are voting early are

    * More people work on Saturdays now than previously (as a % of the population)
    * there is more advertising to vote early with the law change see the massive signs on Citylink and roadside electronic signs in Broadmeadows for example
    * time it takes to vote. For me it took 5 minutes on day 2 of pre-poll opening where as the VEC has reduced the number of polling booths where I live and last time it took 90 minutes of standing in line
    * I also suspect that families with young kids find it easier to vote during the week and leave saturday for normal activities

    As of yesterday the electorate with the highest number of voted electors is

    Postal Prepolled Total
    Bass 2,861 18,765 21,626

    and the lowest is

    Eildon 1,038 5,286 6,324

  22. Where can you find the data relating to how many electors have already voted in each electorate?

    EDIT: Nevermind, just spotted the link in the actual post!

  23. peg

    ‘The Victorian Electoral Commission is so concerned about the undemocratic effect of the group voting tickets and preference whispering a la Druery, it has issued some advice.’

    The VEC always issues advice about voting systems – whatever they are – before an election. It’s not a sign of concern about a particular voting model, it’s to ensure voters understand what they’re doing.

  24. Trent please find the full list by number of people voted

    As of Yesterday

    Postal Prepolled Total
    Bass 2,861 18,765 21,626
    Cranbourne 2,581 16,900 19,481
    South Barwon 2,778 16,552 19,330
    St Albans 2,190 16,917 19,107
    South-West Coast 2,595 16,300 18,895
    Kororoit 2,467 15,105 17,572
    Ovens Valley 2,400 15,007 17,407
    Footscray 2,335 15,070 17,405
    Nepean 2,226 14,818 17,044
    Benambra 2,061 14,962 17,023
    Altona 2,489 14,309 16,798
    Mornington 2,288 14,243 16,531
    Werribee 2,457 13,980 16,437
    Sydenham 2,108 14,323 16,431
    Morwell 2,194 13,979 16,173
    Bendigo East 2,385 13,651 16,036
    Tarneit 2,696 13,251 15,947
    Melton 2,136 13,280 15,416
    Wendouree 2,047 13,353 15,400
    Mill Park 2,077 13,070 15,147
    Essendon 2,132 13,011 15,143
    Yan Yean 2,108 12,882 14,990
    Narracan 2,320 12,433 14,753
    Yuroke 2,411 12,208 14,619
    Pascoe Vale 2,068 12,522 14,590
    Brunswick 2,185 12,378 14,563
    Narre Warren South 1,978 12,249 14,227
    Carrum 1,943 12,187 14,130
    Sunbury 2,055 11,969 14,024
    Albert Park 1,809 11,897 13,706
    Hastings 1,870 11,820 13,690
    Eltham 1,893 11,764 13,657
    Gippsland East 2,078 11,579 13,657
    Gippsland South 1,879 11,770 13,649
    Bellarine 2,106 11,442 13,548
    Richmond 1,934 11,411 13,345
    Ivanhoe 1,743 11,574 13,317
    Geelong 1,893 11,411 13,304
    Mordialloc 1,932 11,199 13,131
    Melbourne 1,851 11,149 13,000
    Mildura 1,949 10,967 12,916
    Buninyong 1,906 10,899 12,805
    Shepparton 1,784 10,959 12,743
    Niddrie 1,894 10,806 12,700
    Bendigo West 1,779 10,883 12,662
    Prahran 1,853 10,797 12,650
    Lara 1,950 10,675 12,625
    Gembrook 1,816 10,690 12,506
    Northcote 1,770 10,685 12,455
    Ferntree Gully 1,631 10,683 12,314
    Lowan 1,841 10,359 12,200
    Murray Plains 1,917 10,110 12,027
    Caulfield 1,693 10,321 12,014
    Croydon 1,716 10,024 11,740
    Bundoora 1,556 10,142 11,698
    Preston 1,711 9,869 11,580
    Keysborough 1,678 9,876 11,554
    Rowville 1,516 9,616 11,132
    Sandringham 1,684 9,362 11,046
    Bayswater 1,638 9,375 11,013
    Malvern 1,552 9,430 10,982
    Williamstown 1,655 9,082 10,737
    Kew 1,504 9,213 10,717
    Burwood 1,553 9,136 10,689
    Frankston 1,647 8,999 10,646
    Bulleen 1,455 8,985 10,440
    Warrandyte 1,476 8,964 10,440
    Dandenong 1,563 8,808 10,371
    Brighton 1,457 8,706 10,163
    Evelyn 1,552 8,582 10,134
    Clarinda 1,467 8,473 9,940
    Oakleigh 1,444 8,419 9,863
    Narre Warren North 1,513 8,219 9,732
    Bentleigh 1,383 8,324 9,707
    Hawthorn 1,532 8,122 9,654
    Macedon 1,370 8,176 9,546
    Mulgrave 1,351 8,154 9,505
    Polwarth 1,555 7,937 9,492
    Mount Waverley 1,161 8,112 9,273
    Ringwood 1,349 7,907 9,256
    Thomastown 1,448 7,726 9,174
    Forest Hill 1,265 7,699 8,964
    Euroa 1,362 7,563 8,925
    Box Hill 1,356 7,384 8,740
    Monbulk 1,295 6,701 7,996
    Ripon 1,038 6,444 7,482
    Broadmeadows 1,225 6,115 7,340
    Eildon 1,038 5,286 6,324

    Sorry i cant line this table

  25. Ven – They did actually give a reason why they changed leaders, it was not a very good one. The reason was Geoff Shaw vetoed Ballieu out of office.

  26. The Toorak Toff @ 9:30 am
    Henry Bolte would not be pleased that his seat of Ripon is up for grabs.

    Bolte was the member for the now-abolished electorate of Hampden.

  27. The VEC issued the media release on 19 November, a full week after early voting began.

    Why didn’t VEC release it before the beginning of EV or on the first day of EV?

  28. “The VEC always issues advice about voting systems – whatever they are – before an election. It’s not a sign of concern about a particular voting model, it’s to ensure voters understand what they’re doing.”

    Nonsense, the reason they are doing it is precisely the motivations Peg has projected on to them.

    It is no different to any other agent / institution that does something for the reasons Peg insists

  29. Dr Hirst agrees:

    The Victorian Electoral Commission appeared to be so alarmed about the prospect of uninformed voters throwing away their vote on candidates they might not agree with that it took the unprecedented step of issuing a public statement urging electors to effectively study the form-guide and vote consciously below the line.

    VEC issued the media release a full week after EV began.

  30. peg

    So what? They haven’t looked at any ballots yet – if they have, they’re breaking several rules – so it can’t be a reaction to voting patterns.

  31. From Wikipedia:

    Victoria—Legislative Assembly
    County of Hampden
    State Victoria
    Created 1904
    Abolished 1976
    Namesake County of Hampden
    Demographic Rural
    Hampden was an electoral district of the Legislative Assembly in the Australian state of Victoria from 1904 until its abolition in 1976. Most of the territory located in the old division of Hampden was transferred into the re-created electorate of Ripon. Hampden’s most notable member was the longest serving Premier of Victoria Sir Henry Bolte. The seat was a marginally conservative seat, having never been won by the non-conservative parties for more than one term.

  32. B.S. Fairman says:
    Thursday, November 22, 2018 at 10:05 am
    Ven – They did actually give a reason why they changed leaders, it was not a very good one. The reason was Geoff Shaw vetoed Ballieu out of office.

    What kind of reason is that? Libs brand in Victoria is totally trashed. They behave worse than NSW ALP Obeid faction

  33. Coverage of the radio debate:

    It’s hard to see clearly into the distance when you’re scratching around in the weeds.

    With just half an hour available for their second and final election debate, Premier Daniel Andrews and Opposition Leader Matthew Guy tried to talk up their big plans for the future, but couldn’t resist chewing up valuable seconds settling personal scores about the past four years.
    ABC Radio’s Jon Faine moderated the debate and began with a stern threat to pull the leaders into line if their answers dragged on, but more often had to assume the role of a boxing referee, pulling the two combatants apart as they talked over one another.
    The two leaders shook hands afterwards but the moment felt flat, like a nil-all draw.

  34. Ven – I said it wasn’t any good but there was a “reason”.

    I actually lost a bet I made in 2002 when Dennis Napthine became Premier in 2013… I had said Napthine would never become Premier…. it just took 11 years to prove me.

  35. The Toorak Toff @ 11:12 am
    Most of the territory located in the old division of Hampden was transferred into the re-created electorate of Ripon.

    Sure – just setting the record straight.

    Hampden did have a couple of Labor representatives during its existence (Bolte defeated one of them) and, as Zoomster has noted, Joe Helper held the current seat of Ripon for Labor for fifteen years.

  36. interesting that half of cranbourne has allready voted. Is this a sign that libs are more likely to gain it given that early voting tends to go their way?

  37. So, we have a Greens politician who does not want to admit being a Greens politician?

    Well, that is a virtue in one way. It is not same old, same old.

    It is brand new same old.

  38. Unitary State – I’m not sure that early voting trends do go the Liberals’ way, postals definitely do but not pre-poll.

    It’s only one seat as an example, but I was looking at some Prahran data from 2014 and the pre-poll vote vote was 54-46 to Labor * compared to 50-50 overall.

    That said, the postal vote favoured the Liberals so much (62-38) that when combined I think the Liberals still came out about 1% better than ordinary votes.

    In any case, I’d think an increase in early votes wouldn’t sway things either way. I don’t think it’s so much that voting early would make you more likely to vote for a particular party, rather that voters of a certain persuasion are more likely to vote certain ways (ie. Liberal more likely to do postal).

    So any increase in pre-polling you’d think would largely just be transferring the same results over from ordinary votes rather than changing the results.

    * VEC only has the initial Labor v Liberal 2CP by polling place and vote type listed, not the Greens v Liberal recount.

  39. Sorry to cast doubt upon the accuracy of Wikipedia, but I am certain that the major centres in current Ripon (Ararat, Stawell, Maryborough, St Arnaud, Avoca ) came from the old electorates of Kara Kara and Midland.

    Even in the 1970s both of these seats used to swing between Labour or Liberal. Bolte’s seat based around the Corangamite lakes has always been blue blood liberal.

  40. I see that one commenter “Angela” on Ben Raue’s site has come up with 9 micros.

    She has two micros getting up in Northern Vic.
    I consistently have LDP getting up there, often as the 4th, and sometimes with another micro in 5th.
    Other regions I have had similar results where widely-favoured micro comes 4th, and then another just pips Greens into 5th.

  41. I don’t think the micro-party threat is quite as dire as some are predicting. Enough votes will be below the line to disrupt the preference flows at key points and deny the parasites some seats. Even so, they might add one or two to their current five, which will be one or two plus five too many. I just hope the major parties both suffer as a result so we get some change for next time.

  42. “The two leaders shook hands afterwards but the moment felt flat, like a nil-all draw”

    That is just being polite. It doesn’t mean that either of them think it was a draw.

    However, suggesting it was a draw does not mean everything is equal. It is set agsinst a background of a confrontation. If Labor were ahead, they should stay ahead!!

  43. Actually, I should just clarify my last post.

    Just because a party gets elected from a small vote with a strong flow of preferences doesn’t make them parasites. In fact, I’m all in favour of diversity in our legislatures, with minority views represented. What gets up my nose is when candidates succeed by cynical party-to-party deals that have nothing to do with voters’ real choices.


    Declaring a winner in any election debate is often fraught, and it’s made harder when the two combatants start bickering and talking over each other.

    The two Victorian leaders’ debates involved just that: Daniel Andrews and Matthew Guy allowing their inner brawlers to surface.

    It laid bare the behaviour of both men, giving voters a chance to see beyond the 10 second grabs on the nightly news.

    It also gave both men airtime to answer some of the big questions, and be exposed on others.

    Thursday morning’s debate between the two leaders was probably a tense draw.
    It was a snapshot for the public of what has happened inside Parliament for the past four years.

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