Late counting: Legislative Council

A post for ongoing coverage and discussion of late counting for the Legislative Council.

Tuesday, December 15

UPDATE: My paywalled review of the result features in today’s Crikey.

Final result: Labor 14 (down two), Liberal 14 (down four) and Nationals two (down one), the Greens five (up two), and Shooters & Fishers two, DLP one, Sex Party one and Vote 1 Local Jobs one (all previously unrepresented). The tight results favoured Labor over the Country Alliance in Northern Victoria and the Greens over the Sex Party in the South Eastern Metropolitan. The former came down to Labor squeaking ahead of the Greens at the second last exclusion – had it been the other way round, Labor preferences would have decided the seat in the Country Alliance’s favour rather than the Greens’. The latter was contingent upon below-the-line votes, since the ABC projection based on above-the-line preferences had the Sex Party winning a second seat at the Greens’ expense. But clearly the Sex Party suffered from leakage when it received the preferences of Animal Justice and the Voluntary Euthanasia Party. For further detail, we must await the publication of the full preference distributions.

Monday, December 15

The Victorian Electoral Commission will be pushing the button on the results for each region starting from 9:30am tomorrow, a process that should take about 90 minutes in its totality, with results to be officially declared later in the afternoon.

Thursday, December 11

With the lower house done and dusted, the Victorian election still has further entertainment to offer with the conclusion of the upper house count. So I’ve changed the time stamp on this post and provided an updated review of the situation. The count does not look like it will be finalised until late next week, owing to the higher number of below-the-line votes (8% of the total, double that of 2010) and the consequent greater load of data entry work before the computerised count can be conducted.

The best way to get a handle on a complex situation is to consider the many contenders as Left, which I take to encompass Labor, the Greens, the Sex Party, Animal Justice and Voice for the West, and the Right, meaning Liberal, Nationals, Shooters & Fishers, Country Alliance, Democratic Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, Vote 1 Local Jobs and Palmer United. Labor plus the Greens land well short of a majority, but the Left will clearly win 19 seats, and the best case scenario for the Andrews government is that they are supplemented by a further three. However, the odds appear against them in two cases, and finely balanced in a third.

The table below shows the state of play, including three categories of “in doubt” seat: those which will definitely go to a party of one ideological side or the other, but where it isn’t clear which one, and the particularly important contests that could go either Left or Right.

Now a summary of the eight regions in order of interest, for which the number of votes in the count has increased by around 60% since my previous overview after election night. Our tools for analysis are the Geeklections simulations and the projected ABC results.

Northern Victoria

IN DOUBT: It is certain that either Shooters & Fishers or Country Alliance will win a Right seat, and there is a strong chance both of them will. If not, the second of the two seats will go to the Left: Labor, the Sex Party or the Greens.

This is diabolically complicated, but the result can be understood as being on the cusp of four Right, one Left and three Right, two Left. In the former case, wins for the Country Alliance and Shooters & Fishers supplement two seats for the Coalition (one Liberal, one Nationals) and one for Labor. Otherwise, the most likely scenario involves the Greens falling behind Labor and dropping out at Count 15, so that their preferences flow to Labor rather than Labor preferences flowing to the Country Alliance, who get them ahead of the Greens.

The odds on this have shortened as the count has progressed, with the Greens’ projected lead at the relevant point shrinking from 0.78% on election night to 0.32% (10.06% to 9.74%). When the preference distribution is properly conducted, it is not clear to me if below-the-line preferences will be a net positive or a net negative for the Greens: their projected vote total includes the 1.78% Animal Justice vote and 0.60% of residue from Palmer United, the Sex Party and Australian Cyclists, some of which will leak.

Other scenarios canvassed at Geeklections involve the Shooters & Fishers dropping out at one of the earlier stages of the count, in which case their seat could go to the Sex Party or the Greens depending on the stage at which it happens. Geeklections also rates as marginal chances other permutations of three Right, two Left, involving various combinations of the aforesaid parties.

Southern Metropolitan

IN DOUBT: A seat might go Right, to the Liberals, or Left, to the Sex Party.

The most likely scenarios here remain three Liberal, one Labor and one Greens, or two Liberal and one each for Labor, the Greens and the Sex Party. For the latter to happen, the Sex Party will need to get ahead of the Liberal Democrats at Count 17. The chances of this have been weakened as the count has progressed, with a Liberal Democrats lead of 6.92% to 6.62% on election night widening to 7.47% to 6.69%. Furthermore, a much higher share of the Sex Party total is in the form of preferences, so they stand to suffer more from below-the-line leakage. Marginally possible scenarios contemplated by Geeklections are the Liberal Democrats winning the seat instead of the Sex Party, and the Sex Party instead taking a seat at the expense of the Greens.

Western Metropolitan

IN DOUBT: A seat might go to the Right, most likely the DLP or theoretically possibly the Liberal Democrats, or to the Left, namely Voice for the West, although the latter seems unlikely.

The ABC projection is Labor, Liberal, Labor, Greens, DLP, which I rated a certainly after election night. However, counting since election night has seen the DLP vote drop from 2.76% to 2.56% and the Liberal Democrats go from 4.55% to 5.52%, and Geeklections is allowing for the possibility of the Liberal Democrats winning the seat if they stay ahead of the Liberals at Count 16, or Voice for the West doing so if they get ahead of the Sex Party at Count 13. Both look rather unlikely to me: in the former scenario, the Liberal vote is almost entirely their own, and thus not susceptible to leakage, and the Liberal Democrats are unlikely to be a magnet for below-the-line preferences; in the latter, a bigger share of Voice for the West’s vote comes from preferences in comparison with the Sex Party, and the higher profile of the latter suggests it is more likely to attract below-the-line preferences.

Western Victoria

IN DOUBT: A Right seat will go to Vote 1 Local Jobs, Shooters & Fishers or Palmer United.

It is clear that the first four seats have gone Liberal, Labor, Liberal, Labor, but the last is a lottery which Geeklections rates in order of likelihood as Shooters & Fishers, Vote 1 Local Jobs, Palmer United, DLP and the Greens, with the latter two particularly long shots. The ABC projection presently has it with Vote 1 Local Jobs, who supplanted Shooters & Fishers on the first day after the election. Shooters & Fishers have been harmed by a 0.36% boost for the Liberal Democrats as counting has progressed, putting them some distance behind (2.59% to 2.27%) at their point of exclusion at Count 14. The Palmer United scenario is contingent on the Coalition doing more strongly than the projection suggests, so that Vote 1 Local Jobs is excluded ahead of them at Count 16 or Count 17.

South-Eastern Metropolitan

IN DOUBT: A Left seat will go to the Sex Party, the Greens or Animal Justice.

Two Labor and two Liberal seats stand to be augmented by a third seat for the Left, which Geeklections rates in order of likelihood as Greens, Sex Party, Animal Justice and Labor. The Sex Party has emerged as a show through the course of counting due to an almost 1% drop in Labor’s total, putting them in danger of exclusion at a point where previously they were staying ahead of the Sex Party. A Sex Party victory is indeed what the ABC is presently projecting, although Geeklections rates the Greens an equal likelihood. The seat would instead go to Animal Justice if they stayed in the hunt in Count 11 and Count 12 by getting ahead of Palmer United, which they presently trail 1.98% to 1.86%, with neither total including any preferences. At this stage though that would appear unlikely. Even less likely is a third seat going to Labor, although Geeklections has it at the margins.

Eastern Metropolitan

The result here has always looked like Liberal, Labor, Liberal, Liberal, Greens. Geeklections has been rating a sizeable possibility of the last seat instead going to Labor, but I’m struggling to see how. The ABC projection has them leading 17.12% to 12.01%, and while 6.64% of that Greens total comes from preferences and is thus subject to leakage, that shouldn’t make more than about 0.5% of difference.

Eastern Victoria

Liberal, Labor, Nationals, Shooters, Labor.

Northern Metropolitan

Labor, Liberal, Greens, Labor, Sex Party.

Sunday overnight

Simulations by Geeklections suggest that a) the Greens seat in Eastern Metropolitan is no foregone conclusion after all, and that Labor might yet win a second seat there, b) the seat in Northern Metropolitan which I have as either the Sex Party or Family First is all but certain to go to the former, c) there is an outside chance that the Shooters & Fishers seat in Northern Victoria will instead go to the Greens or the Sex Party, d) the three Labor, two Liberal possibility in South East Metropolitan is a slight one, and there’s a slightly higher chance of the Greens seat going to Animal Justice rather than third Labor; and e) there’s a slight chance of the micro-party winner in Western Victoria being Palmer United, but Vote 1 Local Jobs is more likely and Shooters & Fishers rather more likely still.

Sunday 3pm

A revised review of the situation, with more care taken to consider alternative scenarios. I see five seats out of 40 in doubt, the remainder going Coalition 15, Labor 13, Greens four, Shooters & Fishers two and DLP one. Shooters & Fishers might get to three, or the third seat could go to Vote 1 Local Jobs instead. The Sex Party might get two, or the two seats in question could instead go Liberal and Family First. Country Alliance might win a seat, or it could go to Labor instead. And there’s a race between the Greens and Labor for the last seat in South Eastern Metropolitan.

First the regions with doubtful seats:

Western Victoria. Since last night, and as intimated might happen below, the ABC has switched its prediction for the last seat from Shooters & Fishers to Vote 1 Local Jobs. That makes two Liberal, two Labor and Vote 1 Local Jobs, with the last seat to be determined by Count 14 and whether Shooters & Fishers (currently 2.27%) can get ahead of the Liberal Democrats (currently 2.28%).

Northern Metropolitan. The current read here is two Labor and one each for Liberal, Greens and Sex Party. But the Sex Party win is contingent on them staying ahead of Labor at Count 22, which is currently 10.62% to 8.73%. Otherwise, the unlocking of the Sex Party bundle causes Family First to win owing to some unlikely types directing them preferences ahead of Labor: the Basics Rock’n’Roll Party, Animal Justice and Australian Cyclists, together with Shooters and Fishers and the Liberal Democrats.

Northern Victoria. Currently a very striking result with two micro-parties elected: two Coalition (one Liberal, one Nationals), and one each for Labor, Shooters & Fishers and Country Alliance. This is because Labor’s surplus of over half a quota is set to flow to Country Alliance ahead of the Greens. However, this will change if the Greens fall behind Labor at the last exclusion, Count 15, at which the Greens are on 10.27% and Labor is on 9.50%. If so, the Greens will be excluded and their preferences will decisively flow to Labor over the Country Alliance, making the result two Labor, two Coalition, one Shooters & Fishers.

South Eastern Metropolitan. Currently a straightforward result of two Labor, two Liberal, one Greens. But if the third Labor candidate gets ahead of Rise Up Australia at the last exclusion, Count 17, where it’s currently Rise Up 10.79% and Labor 9.08%, Labor wins the last seat instead of the Greens, for a result of Labor three, Liberal two.

Southern Metropolitan. Currently a status quo result of three Liberal, one Labor and one Greens – but the third Liberal might yet lose to the Sex Party if the latter stays afloat at Count 17, where the Liberal Democrats currently lead them by 6.96% to 6.64%. The Sex Party would then absorb the big Labor surplus, which otherwise stands to go untouched because the present projection has the second Labor candidate staying in the race until the final count, at which point he loses to the Liberals.

Now the straightforward ones:

Eastern Metropolitan. Liberal 3, Labor 1, Greens 1.

Western Metropolitan. Labor 2, Liberal 1, Greens 1, DLP 1.

Eastern Victoria. Coalition 2 (Liberal 1, Nationals 1), Labor 2, Shooters & Fishers 1.

Close of Saturday night

Another freakish upper house result, with the present ABC projection being Liberal 14 and Nationals 2; Labor 13; Greens five, winning seats in each of the metropolitan region, including gains in South Eastern Metropolitan and Eastern Metropolitan; three for Shooters and Fishers; and one each for Family First, Country Alliance and the Democratic Labor Party. As I shall shortly explain, there are a few results I don’t think are locked down:

Eastern Metropolitan. Nearly half counted, and it’s looking like the Greens have gained a seat from Labor: enter Samantha Dunn, exit Brian Tee.

Eastern Victoria. As was widely anticipated, it appears Shooters and Fishers have gained a seat at the expense of the Coalition. Result: two Coalition (one Liberal and one Nationals), two Labor, one Shooters and Fishers (Jeff Bourman).

Northern Metropolitan. Only a third counted, but Family First projected to take a seat from the Liberals, and I don’t see any narrow cut-off points that might thwart them (UPDATE: I spoke too soon: in an interesting reversal, the seat is now projected to go to the figurehead of the Sex Party, Fiona Patten).

Northern Victoria. Two micro-party winners projected here: Country Alliance, which I figured, and Shooters and Fishers, which I didn’t. But what happens if the Greens drop behind Labor at Count 14?

South Eastern Metropolitan. Looks like the Greens have poached a seat from Labor for a result of 2-2-1. Although there are some close cut-off points there, for which I’ll shortly get to experimenting with alternative outcomes.

South Metropolitan. Status quo result of 2-2-1.

Western Metropolitan. The DLP are back, taking a seat off the Liberals.

Western Victoria. Two Liberal and two Labor, but the third Coalition seat (the Nationals) seemingly to be dropped to Shooters and Fishers (Nicole Bourman, presumably related to Jeff). But there are a lot of close cut-offs late in the count which warrant a closer look. (UPDATE: Areaman notes in comments that the Shooters and Fishers win is contingent upon them keeping their head above water at a point in the count where they are nearly level with the Liberal Democrats. If they fail to do so, the seat looks likely to go to James Purcell of Vote 1 Local Jobs, whose chances were being spruiked by a number of close observers based on his tight preference arrangements.)

Late counting: Legislative Assembly

A post for ongoing coverage and discussion of doubtful seats for the Legislative Assembly.

Tuesday, December 9

8.20pm. The VEC confirms Greens victory in Prahran by 261 votes.

8pm. In keeping with my unblemished record of getting everything wrong this week, reports are emerging from all over the place that the Greens are in fact receiving around 88% of preferences, with some sources saying they have in fact won the seat by 128 votes. Labor is calling for a recount • as Kevin Bonham notes, if such a recount overturned Labor’s 38-vote deficit against the Greens at the second-last count, it would likewise overturn their 25-vote deficit against the Liberals in the final count.

5.45pm. Courtesy of Eleanor Bloom on Twitter, we learn that the preference distribution in Prahran has seen Labor drop out at the second last exclusion with 9953 votes to Greens candidate Sam Hibbins’ 9991. Had it been otherwise, the notional two-party count tells us that Labor’s Neil Pharoah would have fallen short by just 25 votes – 18,580 to 18,555. It now stands to be established whether the preferences of Pharoah and all other candidates enable Hibbins to overcome Liberal member Clem Newton-Browne. He will need 85.7%, and while he will doubtless get a very large majority of them, this seems too much.

17,097 – Clem Newton Brown (LIB)
9,991 – Sam Hibbins (GRN)
9,953 – Neil Pharoah (ALP)

Hibbins needs 85.7% of Labor preferences

Monday, December 8

The anticipated Prahran preference distribution today has instead been put off for tomorrow as a few outstanding postals and provisionals are finalised. The last skerricks in Frankston are being cleaned up, amounting to 24 votes today, and with Labor 334 votes in the lead it is clear they have won here. So Prahran is the only question mark. That makes the overall score 47 seats for Labor, 38 for the Coalition, one each for Greens and independents, and one in doubt. I’ve changed the time stamp on this post to put it at the top of the page, in anticipation of potential excitement from Prahran tomorrow.

Close of Friday night.

Short version: Labor has bolted down Bentleigh, Carrum and probably Frankston besides, making for a clean sweep of the sandbelt four, and Prahran remains as fascinating as ever, with the issue to be determined on Monday.

Prahran. This remains the big excitement of the late count, with the full preference distribution to determine the issue on Monday and the outcome between Liberal, Labor and the Greens anyone’s guess. The Liberal-versus-Labor count appeared to be slipping away from Labor until today’s addition of 1076 absents, 529 provisionals and 223 pre-polls favoured them heavily, despite 226 postals going the other way. This count down the Liberal lead from 273 to just 41, but given only a handful of postals remain, that’s still likely to be enough unless an anomaly emerges during the preference distribution.

That result will be a moot point of the preference distribution leaves the Greens ahead of Labor, which will require them to close a 426-vote gap as the other candidates are excluded in turn. The strongest prospect by far for the Greens is the 827 votes for Animal Justice, who directed their preferences straight to the Greens and would presumably have had most of their supporters do so anyway regardless of what the card had said. However, the bar will be raised by the 278 votes of Family First, who invariably direct preferences to the Liberals but had a surprisingly high leakage rate to Labor in the area’s electorates at the 2013 federal election of around 40%. There are also three independents with 564 votes between them, none of whom registered how-to-vote cards, but will probably give the Greens a slight boost by virtue of expressing anti-major party sentiment.

If the Greens can indeed close the gap, it will come down to the known unknown of Labor’s preference split between the Greens and the Liberals, and whether Labor voters favoured the Greens more heavily than vice-versa.

Frankston. Provisionals have given Labor a handy fillip by breaking 294-202 in their favour, which together with small handfuls of other votes pushes their lead out from 255 to 336 and makes victory look extremely likely.

Bentleigh. Labor has claimed victory here as the last stages of the count continue to go its way, today’s progress consisting of 152 absents and 82 postals which have added 30 votes to the Labor lead, now at 387.

Carrum. The VEC finally got stuck in here today, confirming Labor’s victory with 8941 pre-polls, 2801 postals and 1983 absents paring back Labor’s lead from 1029 to 464, but still leaving more than enough intact to withstand whatever provisionals and the few outstanding postals might have in store.

Close of Thursday night.

Antony Green notes that there has been a spike in below-the-line voting in the upper house from around 4% to around 8%, so clearly we shouldn’t be taking those projections for granted. I haven’t updated my dedicated upper house post since Sunday, but will hopefully find time to do so over the weekend. On to the business at hand:

Prahran. The two-party count continues moving in the Liberals’ favour, with 2586 breaking 1320-1125 and 217 pre-polls going 106-100, which increases the Liberal lead from 72 to 273 and doesn’t leave too much outstanding. The issue of whether this is indeed the relevant result, or if the Greens will finish second ahead of Labor, will not be known until the final preference count is conducted.

Frankston. The first batch of 1760 absent votes were good news for Labor, breaking 852-732 their way, although this was blunted a little by 528 postals breaking 259-230 to Liberal. The net impact is a 91-vote increase in Labor’s lead to 255.

Bentleigh. A further 1446 absents and 312 pre-polls have broken 838-800 to Labor, increasing the lead to 357 and making a Liberal victory now look very unlikely.

Close of Wednesday night.

Prahran. This one is going right down to the wire, with 1550 absent votes (perhaps about three quarters of them) combined with re-checking and a further 2000 pre-polls and postals turning a narrow Labor lead of 14 into a Liberal one of 72. It’s still too close to call, but the trend of the count is favouring the Liberals – postals heavily so, absents very slightly. Outstanding postals will no doubt continue to favour the Liberals, so Labor’s best shot is a batch of absents coming in from a strong area for them.

I have throughout proceedings been failing to give due credence to how close the Greens are to finishing second, as the reported view in the Liberal and Labor camps had been that they would fail to do so. But with Labor’s lead on the primary vote is just 4928 to 4831, and the Greens sure to get a good flow of preferences from the 432 Animal Justice votes, I’m starting to wonder. This raises the question of whether the Greens would do better on Labor preferences than vice-versa, on which the historical record isn’t much guide, as you can see from discussion in this post’s comments thread. Given that the prospect of a Greens victory is still not being widely discussed, my guess is that scrutineers have concluded that enough Labor votes are leaking to the Liberals that they will fall short. Whatever the truth, Prahran clearly remains a very interesting contest.

Frankston. After the Liberals moved ahead at one point to a 60-vote lead, things have swung back to Labor somewhere along the line, who are up 734 on the count as recorded on Monday night while the Liberals are up only 510, so that Labor now has a lead of 164. The recent activity has included checking and the first sign of absent votes, of which 381 out of what should be about 2000 have been added to the count, breaking evenly between Labor and Liberal.

Melbourne. The Greens lead now stands at 849 after rechecking, some more postals and pre-polls and the first 748 absents, which is the last I’ll have to say on the subject.

Bentleigh. Rechecking and a further 1441 pre-polls and 404 postals have increased Labor’s lead from 298 to 319. The main outstanding item is around 2000 absent votes, which are very unlikely to turn things around.

Carrum. The VEC aren’t making a priority of this, the only action since election night being rechecking. This hasn’t extended to the published two-party result, which still puts Labor’s lead at 1029.

Close of Tuesday night.

Today’s count was dedicated to rechecking, causing much consternation among election watchers as the VEC chose to remove the existing numbers from its website and media feed and start from scratch. Among other things, this means the projections you can currently find on the ABC site are based on incomplete counts. The one noteworthy news today was Labor’s concession of defeat in Melbourne, notwithstanding that counting of a further 681 pre-polls caused the Greens lead to narrow by 37 votes to 644.

Close of Monday night.

Note the italicised updates that have been added for Bentleigh and Frankston in the entry below.

Monday 6.30pm.

Bentleigh. The VEC has counted 5565 early votes out of 6482 issued, which have broken 2715-2652 in favour of Liberal and narrowed the Labor lead from 610 to 547. Only about half of 4004 postals received have been counted, the first batch of which narrowed the lead by about 345. But there should also be at least 2000 absent votes, which slightly favoured Labor in 2010. Verdict: Labor ahead. END OF NIGHT UPDATE: Most of the outstanding postals have been counted – an extra 1795, pushing the count to 3893 received out of 4004, remembering that a few more should trickle in over the coming days. This batch is slightly less bad for Labor than the first, breaking 1022-773 and narrowing the lead by 249 to 298.

Frankston. A good day of counting for the Liberals here, who have pared the Labor lead back from 581 to 192. The counting has included 6357 out of 8067 pre-polls, and another 1532 postals to boost the total counted to 3391 out of 4257 received. It’s the postals that have been making the difference, collectively breaking about 1925-1465 to Liberal, while the pre-polls have gone about 3230-3125 in their favour. There should also be about 2000 absents, which favoured Labor in 2010, although the boundary changes may cause them to behave differently this time. Verdict: too close to call.

Melbourne. The counting of most of the postal votes late on election night (1933 out of 2424 received) took a big bite out of the Greens lead, breaking about 1190-745 in Labor’s favour. But the Greens are doing better on pre-polls, of which 4409 out of 8777 have been counted today, breaking 2224-2185 to Labor and reducing the lead from 545 to 506. Furthermore, Melbourne gets a lot of absent votes, which in 2010 broke over 54-46 the Greens’ way. Verdict: likely Greens win.

Prahran. Labor has recovered the lead with the addition of 6780 pre-polls out of 9718, breaking 3645-3135 their way and turning a 397-vote deficit into a lead of 113. There have also been 505 postals added to the primary but not the two-party count, which will presumably send things back the Liberals’ way a little (UPDATE: They have broken 302-203 to Liberal, and cut Labor’s lead to 14). But only a handful of postals will remain after this, and it’s these that put the Liberals back in the hunt. The issue should be decided by maybe 3500 to 4000 absents, which were slightly above average for Labor in 2010. Verdict: Labor ahead.

Shepparton. There has been talk of a tightening here, but that may have been before the addition of 12,066 pre-polls, which is more or less all of them, behaved very much like the election day votes. It’s been a hugely different story on postals, 711 of which have gone 46.3% to the Nationals and 16.9% to Sheed, compared with 35.1% and 34.2% on polling day. But postals in Shepparton are few, and that should be nearly all of them, leaving Sheed with a lead of 2221 (20137-17916). Verdict: independent win.

South Barwon. Pre-polls have bolted this down, opening the Liberal lead from 809 to 2302. Verdict: Liberal win.

Close of Sunday night.

The second batch of postals in Prahran behaved almost identically to the first, breaking 539-320 to Liberal and boosting with the lead from 178 to 397. History suggests the Liberals will need some sort of a buffer from postals to survive a reversal when pre-polls and absents are added. The rest of today’s activity involved sorting of absents and pre-polls in preparation for counting. Counting tomorrow will focus on Shepparton, Bentleigh, Frankston, Morwell and Ripon, together with Prahran.

Sunday 3pm.

The VEC has started counting 1000 postals in Prahran, which is the only counting that will be conducted today.

Close of Saturday night.

Listed below are seven seats which I plan to track in late counting. The ABC computer isn’t quite calling Ripon for Liberal or Carrum for Labor, but I’m going to. That leaves us with 45 seats for Labor, 29 for the Liberals, seven for the Nationals, one independent, and six doubtful. Adding in the leading parties in the doubtful seats, the result is Labor 47, Liberal 31, Nationals eight, Greens one, independents one. Note that Melbourne, where the Greens were claiming victory earlier this evening, is on the watch list, so I don’t regard it as established yet that they have indeed broken their lower house drought. Certainly it seems established now that they have fallen short in Richmond and Brunswick.

The outstanding vote totals assume there will be 62% more pre-polls than last time, based on the statewide total (the VEC does have electorate-level totals of votes cast, which I’m presently trying to track down); 6% more postals, based on the increase in statewide enrolment; and an increased or decreased number of absent votes based on the number of ordinary votes that were cast in the electorate. There are problems here in that the baseline figures are from different electoral boundaries, but it will have to do. One way or another, there are a lot more outstanding votes than we’re used to.

Bentleigh. Labor leads by 610 with 23,343 ordinary and 1920 postal votes counted. Estimated 9,922 votes outstanding, with the Liberals needing 53.1%.

Frankston. Labor leads by 581 with 20,655 ordinary and 1859 postal votes counted. Estimated 11,618 votes outstanding, of which the Liberals need 52.5%.

Melbourne. Greens lead by 545 with 20,010 ordinary 1933 postal votes counted. Estimated 15,497 votes outstanding, of which Labor needs 51.8%.

Morwell. Nationals lead by 818 with 23,341 ordinary and 779 postal votes counted. Estimated 16,908 votes outstanding, of which Labor needs 52.2%.

Prahran. Liberals lead by 178 with 18,958 ordinary and 1872 postal votes counted. Estimated 16,794 votes outstanding, of which Labor needs 50.5%.

South Barwon. Liberals lead by 809 with 21,016 ordinary and 1939 postal votes counted. Estimated 15,414 votes outstanding, of which Labor needs 52.6%.

Victorian election: the day after

As Victoria ushers in its second change of government at successive elections, a summary of what happened and where.

Firstly, let me note that I have dedicated posts for late counting for the lower house and upper house, so if you’ve got anything to offer that’s particularly related to the progress of the count, I encourage you to do so there. What follows is a summary of the results and the fortunes of the various players.

Labor is up 2.5% to 38.8% on the primary vote, which will come down very slightly, say to about 38.5%, as absent and pre-polls come in. It won 43 seats in 2010, of which five were made notionally Liberal in the redistribution (Bellarine, Monbulk, Ripon, Wendouree and Yan Yean), while two new Labor seats were created (Sunbury and Werribee), giving them a net total of 40. Four of the five notionally Liberal seats have been retained, the exception being Ripon, the only one which was not defended by a sitting member. The ABC computer isn’t giving away Ripon either, but Labor’s chances appear slim. However, Labor appears likely to lose Melbourne to the Greens, although that is not as certain as it may have appeared earlier in the evening.

Assuming Labor loses Melbourne, that brings them to 43, which is supplemented by one clear gain from the Liberals in Mordialloc, leaving them one seat short of a majority. Added to that, Labor is all but certain to win the sandbelt marginal of Carrum, and likely to win the other two, Bentleigh and Frankston. Further, Labor is trailing but not out of contention in Prahran (assuming they finish ahead of the Greens, as seems very likely), and a technical possibility in South Barwon. If everything goes wrong for them they might end a seat short of a majority, but that would leave the Greens holding Melbourne, with no option but to support a Labor government even if they didn’t want to.

The Liberals are down 1.8% on the primary vote to 36.2%, which will probably rise very slightly in late counting, perhaps to 36.5%. The Nationals are down 1.2% to 5.5%, which is unlikely to change much, and have lost the seat of Shepparton, which was vacated by the retirement of Jeanette Powell, to independent candidate Suzanna Sheed. This was the worst aspect of a generally poor result for the Nationals, who were also given a fright in Morwell where their margin has been cut from 13.3% to 1.7%, and suffered meaty swings in a number of their very safe seats.

The Greens looked to be big winners early in the count, but their position weakened as the evening progress, such that it’s no longer entirely certain that they have won Melbourne. Certainly they have fallen short in Richmond and Brunswick, as well as the longer shot of Northcote. Their current primary vote of 11.2% is exactly as it was in 2010, although absent votes will probably push it up a little. However, they look to have won two extra seats in the Legislative Council, in Eastern Metropolitan and South Eastern Metropolitan, while also retaining their seats in the other three upper house regions. In no case do Palmer United preferences look to have been responsible.

There is a lot more to be said about the upper house result and the apparent bevy of successful micro-party candidates, but that’s dealt with here. Keeping things focused on the lower house, the one point to be made about the minor players is that Sheed’s victory brings elected independent representation back to the chamber. The result of the 2010 election was the first Australian federal or state election since 1993 at which all the seats were won by the major parties.

Finally, apart from shooting just a little too high for the Greens, and making no effort to account for the possibility of seats not being won by the major parties, I’d like to observe that my poll tracker (and no doubt poll trackers in general) just about nailed it.

UPDATE: Here’s a Labor swings map which I knocked together for my Crikey article today, but which I’ve decided not to use because it isn’t interesting enough.

Victorian election live

Live coverage of counting for the 2014 Victorian election.

10.12pm. The tide continues to go out on the Greens in Richmond, where the ABC computer now has Labor ahead (just).

9.30pm. Okay, got it to open now. Albert Park now being called for Labor, and quite comfortably at that. Frankston still down as Labor gain, unless Steve Bracks had better knowledge when he spoke earlier. There’s now a 2.0% swing to Labor in Ivanhoe, so that danger has passed. Nationals ahead in Morwell, so obviously that’s one we’ll keep tracking over the next few days. Richmond is, in fact, dead level – if that’s a trend, the Greens won’t win after all. Maybe there’s something in the idea that Labor will do better on pre-polls, maybe not. Either way, it’s staying on the watch list. Ripon now Liberal retain, so a good show by Labor but probably no cigar. The ABC computer says Liberal retain in South Barwon, but it’s on the basis of a very slender lead, so obviously it’s only just inside its error margin.

9.28pm. Been attending to a bit of dinner, and now I can’t get the ABC results page to open. But I understand it’s wound Richmond back from Greens gain to Greens ahead.

8.49pm. Steve Bracks now says Frankston is very tight. 12.7% of Frankstonians were sufficiently silly in the head to vote for Geoff Shaw, and these preferences are going hard to the Liberals, which the ABC computer probably didn’t see coming.

8.40pm. One thing I will say about Richmond is that Stephen Jolly (9.3%) is doing a lot better than the Sex Party (3.1%), which is presumably good news for the Greens.

8.36pm. Mary Wooldridge now sounding confident about Ripon — perhaps over-confident but clearly it’s close.

8.35pm. Confusion over Richmond now being acknowledged. Steve Bracks not calling it, but he doesn’t sound all that confident either. Labor have been creeping up in South Barwon – now dead level.

8.30pm. That narrow Labor lead in Ripon never went away. ABC calling it for Labor, but the Liberals might still hope for pre-polls.

8.28pm. ABC now calling Albert Park for Labor. I suggested on News Radio earlier there was still a worst case scenario for Labor where they only one 44 seats, but I’d say that dispatches of it.

8.25pm. Greens now ahead in Brunswick, but I don’t really get the Richmond numbers.

8.22pm. Back now, in case you’ve missed me. ABC computer still calling Richmond for the Greens, but there’s still only one booth on 2PP, the primary vote movements look pretty modest, and maybe Labor will be hopeful about pre-polls.

8.03pm. If you’re a fan of my dulcet tones, I’ll be on News Radio at 8.10. Posting activity has lightened because I’m stepping back and doing my homework.

7.59pm. ABC computer no longer calling South Barwon for Liberal – “LIB AHEAD”.

7.54pm. Prahran interesting: very tight for Labor and Greens to make second, whoever does it will ride home over Libs in preferences. Steve Bracks thinks pre-polls will decided it in Labor’s favour.

7.52pm. Okay, Labor-friendly primary votes are being recorded from Richmond, but they’re swinging big to Richmond. Too early to call, but closer than I indicated. Northcote a bridge too far for the Liberals though. Greens pretty much home in Melbourne. Tight in Brunswick, Labor slightly ahead.

7.50pm. Steve Bracks says he “believes” Labor will win Ripon, calls clean sweep of sandbelt with Prahran included, says Morwell can’t be counted out yet, sounds slightly dubious but still hopeful about Eildon, and calls the election for Labor.

7.49pm. ABC computer has Labor ahead in Ivanhoe now. Craig Langdon polling weakly at 2.5%, so the Liberals’ strength here is actually on their own back.

7.48pm. Greens looking very good in Melbourne though.

7.46pm. Getting very mixed signals on Richmond, which I believe Antony just said was one of two seats where the computer has them ahead. I wonder if he might have had that wrong, or whether I heard wrong. With three booths counted, Greens on only 21.9% of primary vote: with 2600 counted on 2PP, 5.5% swing to Labor.

7.45pm. Labor on track to win Prahran, says Antony. The computer is calling it for them.

7.44pm. Antony turns on his prediction software: Labor definitely 45, which means Labor definitely wins.

7.43pm. Independent Suzanna Sheed almost level with Nationals in Shepparton on primary vote with 40.3% counted. Unless there’s some regional peculiarity brewing, she should win comfortably.

7.42pm. Right down to the wire in Eildon and Ripon.

7.41pm. Much less good for the Greens though in Richmond.

7.40pm. Another latte belt update. The ABC computer is calling Melbourne for the Greens, and contrary to what I said just now, with nose in front in Northcote. I suspect that projecting Labor-versus-Greens is harder than Labor-versus-Liberal though.

7.38pm. Now over 30% counted in Ripon, Labor still with its nose in front.

7.37pm. Steve Bracks reckons Labor ahead in Morwell, which is not what the ABC computer was saying last I’ve looked, and the Nats are under pressure from an independent in Shepparton.

7.36pm. Mary Wooldridge still thinking the Liberals are ahead in Ivanhoe. She’s talking up the swing to the Libs in Narre Warren North, but clearly it won’t cost them the seat, so it sounds like grasping at straws.

7.33pm. ABC computer calling Bentleigh for Labor: 16.1% counted, 3.0% swing to Labor, 0.9% Liberal margin.

7.31pm. Glenn Druery tweets: “On these very, very early numbers minor parties are being elected in the Upper House.. hehehehe.”

7.30pm. Sky News calls the election for Labor, whatever that means exactly.

7.29pm. Labor not home yet in Cranbourne: 16.9% counted, 0.2% swing to Liberal, 1.1% Labor margin. Antony noting consistent 3-4% swings, entirely in line with that poll trend.

7.27pm. ABC computer calls Yan Yean for Labor.

7.25pm. Good early result from the Liberals for Ivanhoe, which they need. Labor “on the cusp of victory” says Antony, summarising situation well.

7.24pm. ABC computer calls South Barwon and Gembrook for Liberal, so certainly not a complete bloodbath.

7.23pm. Ripon likely Labor gain, says ABC computer. The Libs would want to have bagged that one by now — 16.6% counted. But observe my earlier note of caution about Ripon, as earlier reporting booths will be the Swan Hill ones where Nationals are losing sitting member.

7.18pm. ABC TV has more up to date figures from Frankston, with 5.7% counted. This is from the Liberal end of the seat (i.e. the south), and there’s a 6.0% swing to Labor. Maybe the rest of the electorate will behave differently though.

7.16pm. Sandbelt update: Steve Bracks says 2% swing to Labor in Carrum – very tight. ABC numbers from Bentleigh trailing behind what James Campbell is hearing, probably close there but maybe with Labor with nose in front. Labor looking like taking Mordialloc. But next to nothing from Frankston.

7.16pm. Liberals actually not out of the woods in Eildon, but more likely to win than not.

7.15pm. Labor to hold Monbulk, barring big late reversal.

7.14pm. ABC computer calls Bellarine for Labor.

7.13pm. Antony pours cold water on Eildon. Data entry error, by the sounds.

7.12pm. Antony making troubling noises for Coalition: seven or so Labor gains, precisely in line with those poll tracking projections. Mary Wooldridge sounding grim. Steve Bracks says 6% swing to Labor in Bellarine, which they need.

7.10pm. James Campbell of Herald-Sun tweets four booths in Bentleigh are all swinging to Labor, though not by much.

7.09pm. ABC computer very interestingly calls Eildon for Labor with 10.8% swing, although with only 7.7% counted I’d keep that on watch status. Bendigo East and Wendouree called for Labor.

7.07pm. Double-digit swing in Malvern with over 20% counted. Possibly part of a broad trend of these areas getting less blue, without putting the Liberals in any danger.

7.05pm. Over 10% counted in Morwell, 4.6% swing to Labor, but Nationals to hold.

7.01pm. Okay, first numbers from the sandbelt. Mordialloc: two booths with 4.7% counted, big 7.5% swing to Labor. This is the Labor-voting end of the electorate, but still, a big swing’s a big swing.

7.00pm. Mary Wooldridge is also hearing of a swing to Labor in the other Ballarat seat of Wendouree. Big swing to Labor in Benambra, so maybe Bill Tilley hasn’t made himself popular. He’s still safe though.

6.59pm. ABC calls Euroa for the Nationals, in case there was any notion the Liberals might win there.

6.58pm. ABC computer apparently calling Buninyong for Labor, with 5.5% swing.

6.57pm. 7.3% counted in Burwood, 2.6% swing to Labor. The Liberals were getting a bit worried about that one late in the campaign. Jeff Kennett’s old seat, which Labor held from the 1999 by-election after Kennett quit until 2010. Not a must-win seat though by any means.

6.55pm. A solid 6.2% counted in Bundoora, very little swing.

6.54pm. ABC computer calling Macedon for Labor with 5.1% swing in their favour, off their existing margin of 2.3%.

6.49pm. Only 1.8% counted in Ripon, but still, a 2.3% swing to Labor. But we’re probably talking the northern end of the electorate that was formerly in Swan Hill, where the Nationals are losing the personal vote of a sitting member. Things could well swing around when we get bigger booths at the southern end, where it’s Labor who are losing the sitting member. In Yan Yean, first booth swings big to Labor, but only 0.5% counted.

6.47pm. Really big Liberal swing in Polwarth with 5.3% counted.

6.46pm. The ABC projects the first booth from Ripon as a 10.5% swing to the Liberals.

6.42pm. Steve Bracks on ABC reckons 3% swing to Labor in Eltham and 7% swing in Narre Warren North, which would be great news for them – but Mary Wooldridge says she’s seeing the opposite from the latter. She also relates a 1.4% swing on early figures from Ripon, which is less than they would be hoping for.

6.40pm. Big swing to Labor in first small booth in Nepean, so swings and roundabouts at this stage.

6.39pm. Now up to 4.1% counted in Hawthorn, 1.8% swing to the Liberals, which is very mildly encouraging for them.

6.36pm. Antony relates the Nationals are well ahead in Euroa, where the Liberals have annoyed them by fielding a candidate. Maybe the Liberals well do better when bigger centres come in. Small swing to the Liberals in Buninyong, but a tiny rural booth – this one will be decided in bigger Ballarat booths.

6.33pm. Status quo result in the first Hawthorn booth. Big swing to Labor in Lowan, reflecting Hugh Delahunty’s retirement, but still safe Nationals. Swing to the Liberals in Polwarth. Nothing of real interest though.

6.30pm. Single booths trickling in from various electorates around the place, but Macedon still the only one that’s marginal.

6.27pm. Antony on TV says tiny first booth in Macedon has a 0.5% swing to Labor, which they hold by 2.3%.

6.22pm. Antony Green tweets that that Mildura projection is based on 90 votes. Still reckon you can take that one to the bank.

6.15pm. A booth from Mildura is in, and it’s enough for the ABC computer to call it for the Nationals. A foregone conclusion of course, but there it is.

6pm. Welcome to my live blogging of the Victorian election count, for which polls have just closed. The very first results should start trickling in in about half an hour. Known knowns:

• As I type, a Newspoll exit poll should be going to air. I don’t believe the record of Newspoll exit polling has been all that special, but maybe they’ve improved. In any event, watch this space. UPDATE: Newspoll keeps it simple by concurring with Galaxy in having it at 51-49 to Labor.

• A Galaxy exit poll conducted at polling booths today has Labor leading 51-49, from primary votes of 43% for the Coalition, 38% for Labor and 12% for the Greens. But a similar exercise conducted at pre-poll booths found Labor leading 52.5-47.5. Since maybe a bit over 70% of voters are likely to be cast today (meaning ordinary votes plus absent votes) and nearly 20% cast at pre-polls, and the rest should consist of postals which will be more favourable to the Liberals, this suggests to me that the current BludgerTrack reading is maybe half a point too favourable to Labor, although that’s well within any plausible error margin. So stay tuned, in other words.

• Unlike at federal elections, pre-poll votes will not be counted this evening. So if it’s close, expect tonight’s proceedings to be inconclusive. If so, the VEC will swing into action counting pre-poll votes, as they did in 2010 to resolve the crucial seat of Bentleigh.

• Labor are crying foul that the Greens are not directing preferences in a whole swathe of very important seats, namely Bellarine, Bentleigh, Buninyong, Carrum, Forest Hill, Mordialloc, Monbulk, Ringwood, South Barwon, Wendouree and Yan Yean – and apparently the Liberals issued an open ticket in Melbourne, which gives Labor good cause to feel suspicious about a possible deal between them.

Newspoll, Fairfax-Ipsos and ReachTEL: 52-48 to Labor in Victoria

After all the late-campaign talk of a Labor blowout, the final polls of the campaign all have their two-party lead within the margin of error.

Final polls:

• Newspoll, which had Labor leading 54-46 at the start of the campaign, ends it with 52-48. The primary votes are 40% for the Coalition (up one), 39% for Labor (down two) and 12% for the Greens (down one). Denis Napthine’s personal ratings are 41% approval (down five from an unusually strong result last time), 45% disapproval (up four), Daniel Andrews’ are 38% approval (up two) and 43% disapproval (down two), and Napthine’s lead as preferred premier has narrowed from 47-34 to 41-37. The poll was conducted from Monday to Thursday from a sample of 1584. According to the Herald-Sun, the poll “showed the Coalition Government has gained ground in just the past few days”. Hopefully we’ll learn more soon about what that means exactly. HT: James J.

• The final Fairfax-Ipsos poll has Labor on 35% (compared with 37% at the start of the campaign and 39% half way through), the Coalition on 42% (39% in both the previous polls) and the Greens on 15% (progressing downwards from 17%, one point at a time). It’s respondent-allocated two-party preferred was at 56-44 in the first two polls and 52-48 in the third, while its previous-election two-party preferred results were respectively at 53-47 and 50-50. Denis Napthine’s personal ratings have been generally stable, and in the latest poll he sits at 49% approval and 40% disapproval. Daniel Andrews’ approval haas tracked up from 37% to 40% to 42%, but his disapproval dropped from 42% to 37% from the first poll to the second before bouncing back up to 43% in the third. Napthine’s two-party lead has gone from 45-36 to 42-39 to 44-42. The poll was conducted from Tuesday to Thursday from a sample of 1236.

• ReachTEL for the Seven Network came in at 53-47 just before the campaign again, and has ended it on 52-48. The primary votes are 38.3% for Labor (up 0.8%), 39.7% for the Coalition (up 1.1%) and 13.5% for the Greens (up 0.2%), the balance coming off “others”. Palmer United was included as a response option in the earlier poll, but not this time. Personal ratings for both party leaders have improved from the first poll to the second. On the question of party expected to win, 62.3% say Labor and 37.7% say Coalition, “don’t know” having not been an option. The sample in the latest poll was 2155 – a big one for a ReachTEL state poll – and it was conducted entirely on Thursday night.

All of which has been entered into the poll tracker featured on the sidebar for one last update, which projects Labor to win a modest majority with 48 seats out of 40 – assuming no seats are lost to the Greens. If Labor were to drop, say, Melbourne and Richmond, that majority would start to look very bare indeed. And of course, the late momentum to the Coalition could well be an ongoing process, causing them to perform better than the present reading indicates (though I would equally suggest they are likely to do less well on preferences than the model assumes, based it is on flows from the 2010 election). So one way or another, it’s going to be an interesting night.

To give you a closer look at the recent convulsions shown in the poll tracker graphs, this shows how things look if we only go back as far as the start of August:

Looking closer:

Bellarine (notional Liberal 2.5%): Over the last days of the campaign, the Herald-Sun has related that strategists on both sides believe Labor to have this one in the bag.

Bentleigh (Liberal 0.9%): Today, the Herald-Sun relates that the Liberals consider themselves the “favourites”, whereas the talk earlier in the week was of a tight race or, as John Ferguson of The Australian had it, that Labor held the lead in the sandbelt.

Buninyong (Labor 1.6%): No one’s even talking about this one anymore. Labor to hold.

Burwood (Liberal 6.3%): Earlier in the week, the Herald-Sun reported that Labor polling conducted earlier in the campaign showed them leading 52-48. As if to emphasise the point, Denis Napthine joined Graham Watt on the last Monday of the campaign to promise a $350,000 expansion of the car park at the Burwood train station. This fed into reporting that the wheels were falling off for the Liberals, but the late polls have surely provided a corrective to such talk.

Carrum (Liberal 0.3%): In the final days of the campaign, the Herald-Sun twice related that whatever else might be going wrong for them elsewhere, Liberal strategists remain “confident” about Carrum. Today, the paper tells us the Liberals consider themselves the favourites.

Cranbourne (Labor 1.1%): This one had dropped off the radar after early optimistic Liberal talk, and James Campbell of the Herald-Sun reported earlier this week that Labor strategists believed they had the seat in the bag. However, today we learn from the Herald-Sun that the Liberals rate themselves a “strong chance”.

Eltham (Labor 0.8%): Today’s Herald-Sun reports that the Liberals believe themselves a “strong chance” here, and I have also heard concerned talk from the Labor camp. Labor may yet rue its move of having its member Steve Herbert move to an upper house seat in Northern Victoria, apparently as part of a move to set up a parliamentary seat for Emma Walters without exposing her troublesome CFMEU connections to the glare of an election campaign.

Forest Hill (Liberal 3.5%): Labor was starting to get its hopes up here earlier this week, but this should be among the seats which are being firewalled by the late move to the Liberals recorded by the polls.

Frankston (Liberal 0.4%): The Herald-Sun reports that the Liberals have this in the “strong chance” category.

Ivanhoe (Labor 1.8%): According to today’s Herald-Sun, the Liberals consider themselves a “strong chance” here, largely thanks to former Labor member Craig Langdon running as an independent and directing his preferences to them.

Monbulk (notional Liberal 1.1%): Despite being made notionally Liberal by the redistribution, deputy Labor leader James Merlino’s seat hasn’t been much discussed, and the Herald-Sun has lately reported from both sides of the fence that Labor has it in the bag.

Mordialloc (Liberal 1.5%): The tenor of reporting through the campaign has been that the Liberals are particularly pessimistic about Mordialloc, while maintaining hopes for nearby Bentleigh and Carrum. In the past few days, the Herald-Sun has reported that Labor is “upbeat” and the Liberals have “all but given up”.

Prahran (Liberal 4.7%): In the final days of the campaign, James Campbell of the Herald-Sun related that the Liberals were beginning to regard the seat as “a worry”, and I early so heard bullish talk from the Labor side of the fence. However, the Liberals may be preserved by the late swing.

Ringwood (Liberal 6.3%): Another seat that Labor was beginning to get vaguely optimistic about, but the evidence of the most recent polling has presumably put an end to that.

Ripon (notional Liberal 1.6%): The Liberals reportedly consider themselves the “favourite” here, as they would need to be. I’ve never heard any suggestion to the contrary at any point of the campaign.

Wendouree (notional Liberal 0.1%): The Herald-Sun has reported from both sides of the fence that Labor is all but home here.

Yan Yean (notional Liberal 0.1%): Ditto the above.

Victorian election upper house guide

Better late than never (I hope), a guide to the election for the eight five-member regions that constitute Victoria’s Legislative Council.

I’m testing the limits of the better-late-than-never principle here, but let it be noted that I now have a region-by-region guide to the Victorian Legislative Council election in business, featuring brief historical overviews and past results, guides to the tickets for each party, and conveniently placed publication of my simplified upper house preference tickets. The guide can also be accessed on the sidebar, together with the Legislative Assembly guide.

Those who wish to discuss the upper house contest specifically, and to call attention to any glitches that might be in place in my election guide, can do so on this thread. For more general discussion on the Victorian election, this post remains the place to go (at least until later this evening, when the final Newspoll will get its own thread).

Galaxy: 52-48 to Labor in Victoria

Galaxy’s final poll of the Victorian state election campaign is very much like those that preceded it, showing Labor still on course for a modest victory. Also featured: pre-poll booth exit polling, a surprise SMS poll result from Morgan, and sundry scuttlebutt about seat-level prospects.

Opinion polling for the Victorian election campaign has been nothing if not stable, and Galaxy has emphasised the point by ending the show with a poll putting Labor’s lead at 52-48, just as it was in its last two statewide polls. The poll of 1090 respondents, published in the Herald-Sun, finds the primary vote identical in every respect to the last such poll conducted a week ago, with the Coalition on 40%, Labor on 39% and the Greens on 13%. There is even better news for Labor from the preferred premier rating, which has Daniel Andrews vaulting eight points to 38%, and Denis Napthine down one to 41%. Further questions find 60% supporting the building of the East West Link, with only 29% opposed, and 46% considering Labor too close to the CFMEU, against 33% who say otherwise.

UPDATE (Morgan SMS poll): Now we’ve got a Morgan SMS poll, conducted Wednesday and Thursday night from a sample of 1163, which maintains its late trend to the Coalition – to the extent of having two-party preferred at 50-50. The Greens vote, which this series had long had at an implausibly high level, is down no less than four points to 13.5%, which causes me to suspect that there may have been some methodological tinkering going on. Both major parties are well up on the primary vote, Labor by 2.5% to 36%, and the Coalition by 4.5% to 44%. I’d take a Galaxy phone poll over this one any time, but it’s at least made me interested to see what the other late polls might come up with.

UPDATE 2: I’ve updated BludgerTrack on the sidebar, and as you can see, there’s quite a sharp move to the Coalition – although I wouldn’t get too excited about it until I’ve seen a few more polls. In any case, the seat projection has finally budged from 50-38.

Other news:

• The Seven Network this evening reported that an exit-poll conducted by Galaxy at pre-poll booths in the sandbelt marginals of Frankston, Mordialloc, Carrum and Bentleigh showed Labor with a collective lead of 52-48, suggesting a swing to Labor of about 5% when compared with the equivalent results from the 2010 election. The poll captured a sample of 602, and was conducted for Victorian Trades Hall.

• As of last night (Wednesday), 578,628 pre-poll votes had been cast and 187,835 postal votes received, compared with final totals of 543,763 and 247,642 in 2010, with may more yet to come. Antony Green has a post on the impact of the ongoing upsurge in pre-poll voting and its implications for election night. At federal elections, pre-poll voters voting within their division cast ordinary votes by placing them in a ballot box, while those casting “absent” pre-poll votes must fill out declaration envelopes. This means the former kind of vote can be counted on election night (although the task at the larger centres is such that they’ve been struggling to get through it on the night), while the latter require closer scrutiny to see if they are eligible to be admitted to the count. But in Victorian elections, all pre-poll votes go straight into the ballot box regardless of what electorate they are for. This means they must be sorted into different bundles for each electorate before they can be count, which can’t be accomplished on the night. As such, only about two-thirds of the votes stand to be counted by the end of Saturday night.

• On a related note, James Campbell of Herald-Sun reports the upsurge in pre-poll voting is gravely alarming Liberal strategists, who see a late swing in their favour as their last remaining hope.

The Australian reports Liberal sources are now reduced to talking up a best-case scenario of minority government, although it’s far from clear who is envisioned as holding the balance of power. A “slight narrowing of the polls in key marginal seats several weeks ago has ‘evaporated’”, and a “much-vaunted regional seats strategy” looks set to deliver only the low-hanging fruit of Ripon. Contrary to earlier optimistic talk from party sources, the Liberals are now said to be “trailing Labor in the so-called sandbelt seats”. The motif in Labor television advertising of “constructing a merged image of Tony Abbott and Victorian Premier Denis Napthine” is apparently hitting the mark harder than Liberal assaults on union power and the record of the last Labor government.

• According to James Campbell of the Herald-Sun, “Labor folk are exuding a quiet confidence”, while “Liberals just seem to want it to end”. Labor reportedly has Bellarine, Monbulk, Wendouree, Yan Yean and Cranbourne in the bag, and is “upbeat” about the Mordialloc. The Liberals are now said to regard Prahran, which I hadn’t previously heard mentioned, as “a worry”. Frankston and Bentleigh are “tight”, but the Liberals remain “confident” about Carrum, and hopeful that Craig Langdon’s spoiler role will deliver them Ivanhoe. Campbell also notes that Denis Napthine has been campaigning in Burwood and Eildon, which would be locked down by now if the Liberals were even remotely competitive.

• Shout out to two online endeavours doing fine work in election modelling. One is Alizarin Indigo’s Venom at Daily Kos, which uses polling aggregation to model the lower house outcome in much the same way that Kevin Bonham and myself have been doing. The other is Geeklections’ simulations for the upper house, for which the individual region pages can be accessed here. The projections concur with my recently expressed view that the Country Alliance and Shooters and Fishers are extremely well placed in Northern Victoria and Eastern Victoria (but not that Vote 1 Local Jobs is likewise for Western Victoria, as it goes off a base vote of 0.2%). However, a series of boilovers are also projected for the metropolitan regions. I suspect that this is based on excessive assumptions about the vote for micro-parties and especially for Palmer United, but who knows.

Essential Research: 53-47 to Labor in Victoria

A final Essential Research poll lands right on the poll trend target, although its field work period extends back to three weeks ago.

Crikey has published a Victorian state voting intention result collated from Essential Research’s last three weeks of polling, encompassing 794 respondents. It shows Labor with a lead of 53-47, compared with 52-48 from its October result (UPDATE: Peter Lewis of Essential Research is apparently out correcting the two-party result to 52-48) (UPDATE 2: Scratch that – Essential Research has been in touch to say 53-47 is correct). Labor, the Coalition and the Greens are all up a point on the primary vote, to 39%, 40% and 13% respectively. There’s also further attitudinal polling, which I’ll also cover shortly.

Also along shortly: an upper house guide at last, some campaign updates, and a revised poll tracker including the Morgan SMS poll and this one.

UPDATE: Here is a full release from Essential Research featuring party most trusted to handle various issues, and the finding that 38% of respondents felt they would be better off under a Labor government versus 30% for Liberal.

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