Victorian election: late counting

Progressively updated coverage of late counting from the Victorian state election.

Click here for full Victorian election results updated live.

I spent yesterday fixing bugs in my results system, and now this is done to a reasonably satisfactory level, it should resume updating promptly, at least when I have an internet connection. Most of today’s activity will involve rechecking, but fresh two-candidate counts will be conducted in seats where the initial counts picked the wrong candidates – Albert Park, Brighton, Melton, Point Cook, and Werribee – although in no case is the result in doubt.

My system is giving away 45 seats to Labor and has them ahead in a further 11, which would result in the extraordinary achivement of an increased majority if it stuck. Seats my system is not yet calling but almost certainly soon will are Bayswater, Footscray, Pascoe Vale, Glen Waverley and Yan Yean, which get Labor to 50; Caulfield, Polwarth and Rowville, which get the Liberals to 12; and Mildura and Shepparton, which get the Nationals to not far behind the Liberals on nine. I still have nothing to offer on the upper house result, but that will hopefully change over the next day or two.

Bass. Labor’s Jordan Crugnale needed an 0.8% swing to retain her seat after the redistribution, and after looking gone on election night, a 5.0% swing in her favour on early votes puts it at 1.4%. However, the early vote count of 15427 formal votes is nearly 6000 shy of the number cast, which presumably means one of the three centres hasn’t reported yet. If the outstanding centre is more conservative than the other two, the swing on early votes — which is not broken down between individual voting centres, as would be the case at a federal election — will drop considerably when it reports, perhaps taking Crugnale’s lead with it.

Benambra. The ABC has Liberal member Bill Tilley marked down as holding off two-time independent challenger Jacqui Hawkins, but my more conservative system only gets his probability to 85.9%. He leads by 1.1% on the raw two-candidate preferred count, which is all you’ll get from the ABC — I’m still using a method that presumes to project a final result, which narrows it to 0.8%. Booth and early votes came in about where Hawkins needed to knock off his 2.6% margin, but he’s picked up a 5.3% swing on 2354 postals, about as many of which are still to come.

Croydon. Liberal member David Hodgett had a slight swing against him on ordinary and early votes in a seat where he was defending a 1.0% margin, but the first half of around 8000 postal votes have swung 4.4% his way and he will more than likely get home.

Hastings. Paul Mercurio looks likely to gain a seat for Labor that had no margin at all after the redistribution, and which was being vacated with the retirement of Liberal member Neale Burgess. Ordinary, postal and early votes have all swung slightly his way, leaving him 470 votes ahead with most of the outstanding vote consisting of around 3000 postals and 2000 absents.

Hawthorn. My projection has John Pesutto’s current lead of 0.7% (480 votes) narrowing to 0.3% at the last, mostly because the Liberals did poorly on absent votes in 2018 (36.5% by my post-redistribution reckoning, compared with 44.7% all told), of which I would expect about 2000. However, his primary vote is up 6.1% on the 3055 postal votes counted, compared with about 3% down on ordinary and early votes, and my projection method doesn’t presume that offers any guide to the 4000 or so outstanding. If it does, he will get home fairly comfortably.

Mornington. The teals could emerge empty-handed after a promising start in Mornington fell foul of a 2635-1553 break in favour of Liberal candidate Chris Crewther on postals, leaving him 177 votes ahead with about 3800 further postals still to come. On the other, the Liberals did poorly in 2022 on absent votes, of which there should be about 2000.

Northcote. The Greens’ lower house performance failed to match expectations set to at least some extent by a media determined to hype any anti-Labor narrative to hand, most notably in their likely failure to win Northcote. The first 1651 postals have broken 1027-624 to Labor, a swing in their favour of 5.7% with about 3500 still to come, but the Greens handily won absents in 2018, of which there should be about 3000.

Pakenham. Labor had a notional 2.2% margin in this essentially new seat, and their candidate Emma Vulin ended Sunday with a lead of eight votes over Liberal rival David Farrelly. Labor lost the first 2121 postals by only 1104-1017, a swing of 4.8% in their favour. The question is likely whether an advantage to Farrelly on 3500 or so remaining postals outweights absents, which on my post-redistribution calculation favoured Labor 1230-828 last time.

Preston. Labor’s 1306 vote lead on the two-candidate preferred count will assuredly be enough to see off the Greens. But at Inside Story, Tim Colebatch offers a “scoop”: the final count will in fact be between Labor and independent Gaetano Greco, and it’s not inconceivable he will win. Labor is on 38.1% of the primary vote to Greco’s 14.9%, raising the question of how many voters for sundry left-wing concerns (Greens, Victorian Socialists, Animal Justice and Reason Australia) moved promptly to Labor after their first preference over Greco, a “long-time Darebin councillor and Labor activist”.

Ripon. Liberal member Louise Staley needed a 2.8% swing here post-redistribution, currently has only 0.7%. Labor’s raw lead is 1358, but there are around 8000 early votes outstanding and Staley won the first batch of postals 1814-1272 with about 4500 still to come.

Victorian election live

Live coverage of the count for the Victorian state election. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Click here for full Victorian election results updated live.

End of evening update (WB)

My results system will continue ticking over through late counting, but until I iron out a few bugs that seem to be having the effect of overrating Greens and independents’ chances in tight races, I recommend favouring the ABC’s projections over mine to the extent of inconsistencies. So while the Greens have easily won Richmond, it seems unlikely they will add further to their existing three seats; and it is unclear that any independents will win, with incumbents losing to the Nationals in Mildura and Shepparton, teals being only possibilities in Hawthorn and Mornington, and a number of hyped independent challengers in Labor seats having made only the faintest of impressions.

I haven’t had time to look at the Legislative Council at all, but the preliminary projections of the ABC suggest the Greens are returning as a force in the chamber, up from one seat to four, with Labor on 15 and having myriad possibilities of assembling the required 21 votes out of 40 from another sprawling cross-bench.

Live Commentary

11:32pm There’s a lot of counting to go in the upper house, but the current results look promising for a progressive upper house.  It’s 15 Labor out of 40, 15 Coalition, four Greens, two Legalise Cannabis, one Animal Justice, one Fiona Patten, one Shooter and one One Nation.  If this holds up (I’m not confident given group voting tickets), then the left side will have 23 of the 40 upper house seats and the right 17.  And with that, it’s time for bed for me.  William Bowe will resume coverage of the Victorian election.

11:16pm I’ve done a short article for The Conversation on the results so far.  The Coalition would have been thrashed given the 54.3-45.7 current statewide numbers, but furthermore they’ve lost seats in net terms to Labor, rather than gaining.  The swing to the Coalition was inefficiently distributed, being wasted on safe Labor seats, while some swings to Labor were on Coalition marginal seats.

9:53pm The ABC has Labor losing Morwell and Nepean to the Coalition, but gaining Bayswater, Glen Waverley, Hastings and Polwarth.  If that holds, Labor would be up two in Labor vs Coalition seats.

9:40pm Labor has clearly won a majority, but I’m not sure yet how large the Greens surge will be.  Early votes are now being reported in some seats, and look better for Labor in swing terms than Election Day votes.

9:13pm Greens leading in seven seats now, but in Albert Park they’ve fallen behind the Libs on primary vote, and this will be a Labor vs Lib contest with Labor winning.  Greens gains have been called in Northcote, Richmond and Footscray, while Preston is close between Labor and the Greens with Labor just ahead.

8:31pm There are two Lib-held seats where Labor is currently leading: Bayswater and Glen Waverley.

8:28pm While the Greens are currently winning Albert Park, the final primary vote projections show the Libs getting into second, in which case it’ll be Labor vs Lib with Labor winning.

8:22pm With 33% counted in Hawthorn, teal ind Lowe is leading the Libs by 52.3-47.7 on projected 2CP.  She has climbed into second ahead of Labor and projections suggest she’ll stay second.

7:58pm Greens now winning EIGHT lower house seats.  But with 9.3% counted statewide, swing against Labor down to 3.1% two party, and they’re winning this count by 54.5-45.5 — exactly what Newspoll said.

7:52pm Daniel Andrews will easily win Mulgrave.  The Libs have made their first gain from Labor in Nepean, with a 6.3% swing.

7:45pm Some bug in the PB results now, but before they went offline the Greens were winning SEVEN lower house seats, which would be a great result for them and up from their current three.

7:35pm With 4.1% statewide counted, two party swing against Labor drops to 3.8%, and they’re now up 53.8-46.2 statewide.  They’re leading or have won 47 lower house seats, enough for a majority.  The Coalition is leading in 24 seats and the Greens in five.

7:29pm Now down to a 9.6% swing to the Libs in Yan Yean, with Labor winning by 57.6-42.4 with 6.3% in.

7:28pm With 5.5% counted in Yan Yean, there’s a massive 14.5% swing to the Libs, with Labor still winning by 52.7-47.3.

7:24pm With 2.7% counted, overall swing against Labor reduces to 5.2%, and they lead by 52.3-47.7.

7:16pm Overall swing against Labor increases to 7.3% two party with 2.0% counted.  Only ahead by 50.2-49.8 now, which would see them lose their lower house majority.

7:08pm Teal Independent Melissa Lowe currently winning Hawthorn 54-46 over Libs.  Problem is she’s currently third behind the Libs and Labor.

7:06pm Back to a projected lead of 51.9-48.1 to the Greens in Footscray with 1.8% in.

7:04pm First booth in Footscray is a strong swing to the Greens, who would gain this seat from Labor if that holds up.

6:59pm PB results now projecting a 5.0% overall two party swing against Labor, though that would still be a 52.6-47.4 win for Labor; this might not be enough for a majority.

6:44pm With 1.5% counted in Euroa, the PB projected swing so far is 1.7% to Labor.  It’s a safe Nat seat, but not a good early sign for the Coalition

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is a paid election analyst for The Conversation. His work for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

William Bowe is working for Channel Nine, and has asked me to provide live commentary on the Victorian election. Once a result for the lower house is clear, I will need to write an article for The Conversation. The rest of this intro post is from my article for The Conversation on the large final Newspoll lead for Labor.

There are 88 single-member lower house seats with members elected by preferential voting, and 40 upper house seats in eight five-member electorates. The election in the lower house seat of Narracan has been postponed owing to a candidate’s death.

As at Friday, ABC election analyst Antony Green said 43.4% of all Victorian enrolled voters had voted early in-person, and a further 13.3% had applied for a postal vote. With a likely final turnout of around 90%, that means over 63% have already voted. Early voting has increased since 2018.

The early voting will slow election night counts as early vote centres will likely take until late at night to report their counts. The Poll Bludger said Friday that some postal votes will also be counted on election night. Counting could also be slow owing to the large numbers of candidates.

In the upper house, with eight five-member electorates, a quota is one-sixth of the vote, or 16.7%. It’s probably not safe to call for anyone not elected on quota on election night as small changes in vote share can give a different result under group voting tickets (GVT).

The ABC will have projections of upper house results using its calculator. But this calculator assumes that all votes are above the line ticket votes. If a party that needs help from other parties’ GVTs is beating a bigger party by a narrow margin, that lead would likely disappear once below the line votes are factored in.

Introductory note by William Bowe.

The VEC is conducting non-standard two-party preferred counts in the following seats: Labor versus Greens in Albert Park, Bruswick, Footscray, Melbourne, Northcote, Pascoe Vale, Preston and Richmond; Liberal versus independent in Benambra, Brighton, Hawthorn, Kew, Mornington and Shepparton; Labor versus independent in Melton, Point Cook and Werribee; independent versus Nationals in Mildura; Greens versus Liberal in Prahran.

At first, the projections in the live results will assume the VEC has picked the two candidates correctly. As it becomes apparent in which seats it has not done so, which these days is just about inevitable in at least some cases, I will have to make a manual adjustment so that preference estimates are used to calculate a two-candidate preferred result (such estimates are also used until a respectable amount of the two-candidate preferred votes are reported). To illustrate this point: until I make such an adjustment, the system will give Labor no chance of retaining Hawthorn, since the count there is between the Liberal and an independent.

The results maps that can be accessed by clicking the button at the bottom of each electorate page indicate the locations of polling booths with white dots when no results are in; colour-coded dots when primary vote results only are available; and, when the booth’s two-candidate result has been reported, colour-coded numbers showing the percentage result for the party that won the booth.

Newspoll: 54.5-45.5 to Labor in Victoria

Newspoll finds no sign of any campaign narrowing for Labor in its Victorian election eve poll.

The Australian reports the Victorian election eve Newspoll has Labor leading 54.5-45.5, little changed from its 54-46 result three weeks ago, but less commanding than its 57.3-42.7 result at the 2018 election. The primary votes are Labor 38% (up one, compared with 42.9% in 2018), Coalition 35% (down two, compared with 35.2%) and Greens 12% (down one, compared with 10.7%). Daniel Andrews is down five on approval to 46% and up four on disapproval to 48%, while Matthew Guy has “gone from a net approval rating of -20 three weeks ago to -25”, with exact numbers not provided. Andrews’ lead as preferred premier has narrowed from 52-33 to 51-35. The poll was conducted Monday to Thursday from a sample of 1226.

Victorian election minus one day

A quick overview of what to expect tomorrow night and in the days to follow.

I’ll publish a round-up of late horse race news tomorrow evening, but for this post I will focus on the details of tomorrow evening – in particular my live results system, which I’m confident will survive the rigours of an especially challenging election after performing well enough during the Victorian Electoral Commission’s test the other night. For those unfamiliar with it, you can see the results from the federal election here – it features projections, probability estimates, easily navigable booth results tables which I’m pretty sure will be the only place you’ll find swings at booth level, and mapped results displays if you click the button at the bottom of the page.

Given the inordinately large number of candidates, peaking at fifteen in Point Cook and Werribee (with Daniel Andrews’ seat of Mulgrave just behind on fourteen), the progress of much of the counting tomorrow night could be very slow. The VEC is also unusually leisurely in updating its results feed only every five minutes, though I personally don’t mind this – it’s about as much time as needed to absorb each new update.

In addition to the election day booth votes, for which primary vote and two-candidate preferred counts plus first preferences for the upper house will be counted on the night, counting of pre-polls and postals for the lower house will begin tomorrow evening, with the upper house to follow over the next two days. Out-of-district pre-polls and absent votes will start entering the count on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

Victorian election minus two days

Media reports suggest Labor will be pushed to the precipice of minority government, or perhaps over the edge, although a Morgan SMS poll suggests otherwise.

Relevant news coverage of the past few days:

• Today’s Herald Sun reports pollster Redbridge Group believes “Labor will be reduced to minority government with 43 seats out of 88”, though this is based on “extensive polling and hundreds of focus groups in key seats across the state over the past two years” rather than anything specific. A “best-case scenario” is nonetheless conceded in which Labor wins 48 seats. Labor is predicted to lose Bayswater, Bass, Nepean and Pakenham to the Liberals, with Ashwood, Box Hill and Ringwood “under serious threat” and Eltham, Monbulk, Cranbourne and Eureka “considered to be in play”. Richmond and Northcote are rated as Greens gains, possibly to be joined by Albert Park, Footscray and “even” Pascoe Vale, the latter being the view of “party insiders”. Melton, Point Cook and Werribee “could” be won by independents, Ian Birchall in Melton seemingly being the best chance. Labor is “not expected to retain” Hawthorn, which I take to imply uncertainty as to whether it will be lost to Liberal John Pesutto or independent Melissa Lowe.

• Similarly, The Australian reports strategists from both parties consider seven to eight losses an “optimistic Labor prediction”, although the contention there are “up to ten in the party’s doubtful column” still suggests a bare Labor majority. The Liberals are still hopeful of a “train wreck” scenario for Labor in which the undecided break their way, but concede it to be unlikely. It is “understood the Liberal Party’s poll track has the two-party preferred vote locked at 50 per cent” across 20 target seats, implying it is likely to win a good many of them.

Roy Morgan has an SMS poll showing Labor leading 55-45, in from 57-43 in a similar poll a fortnight ago, from primary votes of Labor 38% (down two), Coalition 32.5% (up three-and-a-half), Greens 12.5% (up one), “teal independents” 4.5% (steady), and 12.5% scattered among the remainder. There were also forced response questions for Daniel Andrews’ personal approval, breaking 57.5-42.5 his way, and preferred premier, breaking 65-35 in favour of Andrews over Matthew Guy.

• An audience of 100 ostensibly undecided voters recruited by Q&A Market Research for Tuesday night’s leaders debate in Box Hill came down 38 for Daniel Andrews, 34 for Matthew Guy and 28 undecided.

The Age had further results from the Resolve Strategic poll on Tuesday, including issue salience responses that closely tracked a similar recent question from RedBridge Group in having the cost of living well in front on 27%, followed by health and environment on 12% each. Respondents were also asked how they viewed twelve election policies announced during the campaign and found net positive responses for all of them, with little separating the Coalition’s promise of $2 public transport fares (65% for, 10% against) and Labor’s investment in renewable energy under the State Energy Commission (64% for, 14% against). The least popular policies were banning gas exploration (34% for, 24% against) and raising the age of criminal responsibility from twelve to fourteen (37% for, 28% against). I am advised that the voting intention results to one decimal place shown on Wikipedia are sourced from the company itself. For what such distinctions may be worth to you, the 53-47 headline was rounded from 52.7-47.3.

Resolve Strategic: 53-47 to Labor in Victoria

After an event-packed three days on the election trail, a new poll shows a substantial narrowing in Labor’s lead.

The Age brings a Resolve Strategic poll (not on the website at the time of posting but in today’s print edition) showing a substantial narrowing since the blowout Labor lead the pollster recorded at the start of the campaign four weeks ago, with Labor and the Coalition tied on 36% of the primary vote, having respectively dropped two and gained five. The Greens are down two to 10%, and where the previous poll had independents on 12% and others on 6%, this one has it the other way round – probably in part reflecting a change in response options following the closure of nominations. This translates to a two-party preferred of 53-47 in favour of Labor, compared with 59-41 last time. Daniel Andrews’ lead as preferred premier has narrowed from 49-28 to 48-34. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1000.

Other news from the past three days:

• The election for the Gippsland seat of Narracan will not proceed on Saturday following the death of Nationals candidate Shaun Gilchrist. The death of a candidate between the closure of nominations and polling day results in the election for the seat being declared void and a supplementary election being held at a later time. This last happened in 1999 in the seat of Frankston East, when Liberal-turned-independent Peter McLellan died on the day of the election itself. When the election subsequently produced a hung parliament, great weight was placed on the result of the Frankston East supplementary election four weeks later, at which Labor’s win resolved any doubt that the three independents would use their numbers to depose Jeff Kennett’s government and put Labor in power under Steve Bracks. Narracan is unlikely to prove so decisive, which likely loomed as a contest between the Liberals and the Nationals following the retirement of Liberal incumbent Gary Blackwood.

• Matthew Guy said arch-conservative upper house candidate Renee Heath would not be allowed to join the Liberal party room after 60 Minutes and The Age reported on her involvement with religious conservative political organisations, notwithstanding that her links to the City Builders Church were a matter of considerable controversy when she was preselected for Eastern Victoria region in August. Tim Smith, outgoing Liberal member for Kew and estranged former ally of Guy, said on Twitter that Guy had no such power and described the decision as cultural Marxism. Coming well after the close of nominations, the episode does not affect Heath’s place at the top of the party ticket, from which she is seemingly sure to win election. The Age reported yesterday that Heath had engaged lawyers and was considering a religious discrimination complaint against the party in the Australian Human Rights Commission.

• The Age published a recording on Sunday of a freewheeling political exchange involving Timothy Dragan, Liberal candidate for Narre Warren North, at pre-poll booth last week. The recording finds Dragan describing Liberal front-bencher Brad Battin a “prick”, declaring himself “100 per cent” opposed to an Indigenous treaty on the grounds that “we won this land fair and square”, and saying that if elected he will vote against his own party’s emissions targets.

• Police are investigating Catherine Cumming, independent MLC and candidate for the Angry Victorians party, after she told an anti-lockdown rally outside Flinders Street Station of her ambition “to make Daniel Andrews turn into red mist”. For the benefit of those not sharing her army reserve background, Cumming clarified that this involved, in its milder pink form, blowing the subject up. Cumming now argues that she was in fact referring to the red shirts affair. Noting the positions of Angry Victorians and other micro-party parties of the right on their group voting tickets, Deputy Premier Jacinta Allan accused the Liberals of preferencing “Nazis”, prompting a rebuke from Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich.

• The impact of the Liberal Party’s change of preference strategy, in which it will place the Greens ahead of Labor as part of a “put Labor last strategy”, is analysed by Antony Green and Kevin Bonham, the latter focusing specifically on the seat of Pascoe Vale, which Bonham argues is a stronger possibility for the Greens than betting markets suggest.

Victorian election minus one week

Campaign chatter continues to point to a weaker result for Labor than published polling has thus far indicated, as the Victorian Electoral Commission increasingly finds itself drawn into the political fray.

Miscellaneous horse race commentary and developments from the past two days of the campaign, much of it involving the Victorian Electoral Commission:

• The Herald Sun reports Liberal sources saying Daniel Andrews’ personal ratings have “tanked” over the past fortnight, with his disapproval rating at 51%. Forty-four per cent wanted a Labor win, but 38% of Labor voters said they would favour a minority government. It should be noted that any Liberal polling would be limited to its target seats. The report also says the Greens rate themselves “a strong chance to win Northcote and Pascoe Vale”, the latter of which would be a turn-up. Conversely, Labor has “become more optimistic about its chances in Melton”, which it fears losing to independent Ian Birchall.

John Ferguson of The Australian says views within the Labor camp about the number of seats it stands to lose range from “as little as seven or eight” to “as many as nineteen”, with anything more than ten being sufficient to cost the government its majority. A “senior ALP figure” said it was “hard to see the Liberal Party winning more than nine or ten seats” and “they could also lose a few”.

• The Liberal Party has accused the Victorian Electoral Commission of “serious, deliberate and unprecedented” interference in the election after its referral of potential breaches of donation laws to the Independent Broad-based Commission Against Corruption. The issue relates to alleged attempts by Matthew Guy’s chief-of-staff, Mitch Catlin, to encourage a businessman to make donations to his private business, which prompted Catlin’s resignation in August. The VEC says it has not received satisfactory responses to its invitations to the principals to respond to questions, although Guy told journalists on Thursday he had not had “any direct contact” with the commission. Electoral commissioner Warwick Gately presumably had this statement in mind when he said yesterday that the VEC had “not received the full co-operation from those connected to its investigation … despite public statements to the contrary”.

• The Liberals have referred Labor and preference negotiator Glenn Druery to IBAC over the video published in the Herald Sun on Thursday in which Druery discussed preference deals during a video conference, with MPs David Southwick and Louise Staley accusing Labor of “vote-rigging” over its rather tenuous connections to Druery’s activities. Paul Sakkal of The Age reports that Michael Piastrino, who is running for the Liberals against Daniel Andrews in Mulgrave, conducted a press conference yesterday alongside member of the anti-lockdown Freedom Party in which he called for the election to be “postponed and for the state government to go into administration … given the election can no longer be deemed valid”.

• Teal independents have succeeded in having the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal overturn the Victorian Electoral Commission’s determination that voters were likely to be misled by how-to-vote cards showing only one box numbered, with accompanying wording advising voters to number the remaining boxes in order of preference. If voters had indeed been misled, the effect would have been the opposite of what was plainly intended.

• A Lonergan Research poll for the Victorian National Parks Association, concerned mostly with public attitudes to national parks and conservation reserves, has breakdowns of voting intention by upper house region if you stick with it until the end, although the field work period was October 28 to November 6.

Victorian election minus nine days

Upper house preference ticket controversy, physical altercations on the campaign trail, and suggestions that Labor’s internal polling is quite a bit less promising for them than media polls.

Various developments on the Victorian election front:

• Antony Green’s eagerly awaited Legislative Council calculators are open for business.

• Today’s Herald Sun leads with a video conference recording showing micro-party preference negotiator Glenn Druery plying his trade. While most of its “bombshell” revelations are old hat, it does show Druery discussing a deal ahead of the 2018 election in which the CFMEU scored preferences for Andy Meddick of Animal Justice and micro-parties got Labor preferences ahead of the Greens, and describing the Restore Democracy Sack Dan Andrews Party as “one of mine”. It was noted here on Monday that the latter party’s preference tickets were not appreciably harsher towards Labor than the Coalition, although both are consistently near the bottom of the pile. Druery was also in the news this week after Animal Justice reneged on deals with his network to instead direct preferences to Labor, the Greens, Reason, Legalise Cannabis and Victorian Socialists.

• Further detail from the RedBridge Group poll published in the Herald Sun on Monday: 73.3% rate that the health system is in crisis, with only 14.5% actively disagreeing; 54.7% think “Matthew Guy and the Coalition” better placed to fix it, strikingly far ahead of Daniel Andrews and Labor on 24%;, 64.9% support the Coalition’s plan to delay construction of the Suburban Rail Loop to divert the money to the health system, with only 18.5% opposed; and 36.4% rated cost-of-living pressures the most important determinant of vote choice, ahead of health on 15.5%, climate change on 10.6% and COVID health and management on 7.8%. It needs reiterating here that the poll’s voting intention question showed Labor on track to win the election. The field work dates, which I said in my previous post were not provided, turned out to be October 31 to November 6.

Bianca Hall of The Age reports disquiet in the Liberal Party over its decision to direct preferences to the Greens ahead of Labor in Northcote, Richmond and Albert Park. A member of the party’s administrative committee, Ian Quick, blamed the decision on Matthew Guy, party president Greg Mirabella and state director Sam McQuestin. The Age reported on Tuesday that the Liberal candidate for Richmond, Lucas Moon, had bucked the directive by handing out how-to-vote cards with Labor ahead of the Greens, but “later switched to handing out the party’s official how-to-vote cards with Labor last”.

Neil Mitchell of 3AW related on Tuesday that “leaked” Labor polling had the party “very edgy”, expecting to lose Hawthorn and Oakleigh to the Liberals, Albert Park to the Greens and Point Cook to an independent. Tim Pallas was said to be in danger of losing Werribee (to whom is unclear); and Daniel Andrews would survive only narrowly in Mulgrave, where independent Ian Cook is said to be gaining traction; and there was a “swing against the government” across regional areas. (UPDATE: Kos Samaras is not convinced).

Clay Lucas of The Age reports Melissa Lowe and Sophie Torney, teal independent candidates in Hawthorn and Kew, are preparing legal challenges against a Victorian Electoral Commission determination that election material directing supporters to make up their own mind beyond the first preference fell foul of the law against misleading voters in relation to the casting of their vote. A VEC spokesperson told The Age that “visuals of blank boxes next to candidate names” could “mislead the voter to cast an informal vote”, whatever the material’s actual intention.

The Age reports the Liberal candidate for Ashwood, Judah Asher, appears to be behind a how-to-vote card advocating a first preference for an independent and a last preference for Labor, while how-to-vote cards being circulated in Northcote direct Liberal supporters to put Labor ahead of the Greens, contrary to the party’s official recommendation.

• Police are investigating an incident in which a Labor activist’s leg was broken during an alleged assault by an opponent of the government’s COVID measures in Wodonga, and both parties to an incident at a Werribee pre-poll booth involving Treasurer Tim Pallas and Freedom Party candidate Mark Strother have lodged harrassment complaints.

• The Victorian Electoral Commission’s site records that just over 400,000 votes have been cast in the first three days of pre-polling, compared with a total of 1.36 million in 2018. The VEC is actively encouraging early voting due to concerns about COVID, with plans to allow those who had tested positive to vote by telephone having been scuttled when the state’s remaining isolation rules were lifted.