Ballot paper draws were conducted yesterday, to be followed on Monday by the start of two weeks of early voting. The Poll Bludger election guide pages now feature full candidate lists for the lower house in ballot paper order, and will be further updated in the odd idle moment over the fortnight to come. As always, Antony Green has a summary of candidate nominations which startlingly illustrates the record-smashing 740 lower house candidates, 454 upper house candidates and 178 upper house groups. Some noteworthy points: Daniel Andrews will be among a field of 14 in Mulgrave, although little or nothing became of businessman Andrew King’s plan to enlist 50 independents, beyond King nominating himself; Catherine Cumming, Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party-turned-independent upper house member for Western Metropolitan, will run with the Angry Victorians party; and former Greens MLC Nina Springle is the Reason Party candidate for North-Eastern Metropolitan region.
The next big event will be the publication of group voting tickets on Sunday. The Liberals it seems have abandoned their practice over the past three elections of directing preferences to Labor ahead of the Greens, and will at least be doing the reverse in the Northcote, Richmond and Albert Park. When the Liberals switched to putting the Greens last, the Greens share of overall preference flows fell from about three-quarters to two-fifths, suggesting the move could boost their two-party share compared with last time by well over 5%. The Australian reported on Tuesday that “some Labor figures” were looking to prod the Liberals into such a move by directing preferences to them ahead of teal independents in Kew and Hawthorn, albeit that the notion had been met by “internal reluctance”.
Finally, Roy Morgan has an SMS poll showing Labor leading 57-43 on two-party preferred, from primary votes of Labor 40%, Coalition 29%, Greens 11.5%, “teal independents” on 4.5% and fully 15% scattered among various other contenders. Forced response leadership questions had Daniel Andrews at 58.5% approval and 41.5% disapproval and leading Matthew Guy as preferred premier by 65.5-34.5. The poll was conducted Wednesday and Thursday from a sample of 1030.