After the blast

Some scattered thoughts on the Victorian election:

• Hats off to Peter Brent of Mumble. His pre-campaign post of October 21 was outstanding in its prescience, and his post-mortem from yesterday said it all in 278 words. I am particularly keen on the idea that the late swing to the Coalition was not so much a reaction to campaign events as something that was always going to happen when minds became focused. This happened uncommonly late in the piece due to the national politics fatigue which has inspired Possum to write off the significance of any federal polling conducted before the new year.

• This is not to say that Labor didn’t make errors, and that the attack ads on Ted Baillieu’s real estate undertakings weren’t among them. Indeed, it may even have been enough to push them over the edge. The Roy Morgan Reactor “worm” responses to various party ads are instructive: the Baillieu Knight Frank ad was easily the most poorly received. The Liberals’ positive ads also went down a lot better than Labor’s, another symptom of the inherent difficulties faced by an ageing government. I suspect the Liberals did very well out of the message that voters should avoid signing on for 15 years of Labor government, which doubtless tapped into awareness of the situation north of the border.

• The debacle for the Greens ran deeper than a simple failure to win lower seats which might be blamed on Liberal preferences. Their 10.6 per cent primary vote was 2.1 per cent lower than at the federal election, and they seem likely to lose one of their three seats in the upper house. My guess is that extravagant claims for their place in a new paradigm lost them support they would normally get from voters who are indifferent to them ideologically, but simply seeking somewhere to park a protest vote. Compounding this was the Liberals’ preference decision, which as well as being damaging in purely instrumental terms reinforced perceptions of a party with a hard ideological edge. It would also have had many questioning their competence, and there was no figure in the state party of Bob Brown’s authority to help negate the idea.

• The election provided a further blow to new paradigm talk by producing the state or federal election result since 1993 in which no independent or minor party candidates won election to the lower house. The defeat of the Assembly’s sole independent, Craig Ingram in Gippsland East, would be troubling news for Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, with Ingram citing locals’ desire to avoid a repeat of the federal election aftermath as a reason for the fatal 14.1 per cent drop in his primary vote.

• Here’s a colour-coded map giving an idea of the swings recorded across Victoria. Labor-versus-Coalition figures in Mildura, Gippsland East and the four inner-city seats have been obtained by using preference flows from the last election. Apart from Labor’s relatively strong performance in the north and north-west of the state, nothing particularly stands out. Sophomore surges are evident in Ferntree Gully, Kilsyth, Hastings, Evelyn and especially Morwell, which Labor were surprised to lose in 2006 and are now locked out by an impressive 15 per cent margin for Nationals member Russell Northe. This is part of an ongoing story of Labor decay in the Latrobe Valley which has been evident at state and federal level over the past five years in particular. Retiring member effects explain the slight swing to Labor in Murray Valley, and perhaps also the heavy swing against them in Essendon. I wouldn’t read too much into the swing to Labor in Mildura, where comparisons are complicated by the fact that there was a sitting independent last time, which may have corrupted my preference calculation.

vic2010 - swing map

Victorian election: photo finishes

BENTLEIGH (Margin: 6.20%)

ALP LIB Swing 2006 votes
Ordinary 12,650 50.11% 12,595 49.89% 7.12% 27,106
Postal 1,491 45.28% 1,802 54.72% 4.45% 2,785
Early 1,857 47.04% 2,091 52.96% 3.25% 2,223
Provisional 109 60.22% 72 39.78% 20.73% 21
Absent 1,062 50.26% 1,051 49.74% 7.68% 1,643
TOTAL 17,169 49.36% 17,611 50.64% 6.84% 33,778

ELTHAM (Margin: 6.41%)

ALP LIB Swing 2006 votes
Ordinary 12,382 50.83% 11,980 49.17% 5.94% 27,530
Postal 1,262 46.59% 1,447 53.41% 2.87% 2,497
Early 3,209 50.45% 3,152 49.55% 6.01% 3,266
Provisional 96 51.89% 89 48.11% 14.78% 6
Absent 1,234 56.68% 943 43.32% 4.05% 1,775
TOTAL 18,183 50.80% 17,611 49.20% 5.61% 35,074

BALLARAT EAST (Margin: 6.81%)

ALP LIB Swing 2006 votes
Ordinary 13,288 51.49% 12,521 48.51% 5.35% 26,866
Postal 1,331 48.84% 1,394 51.16% 3.23% 2,026
Early 2,315 48.55% 2,453 51.45% 5.28% 2,268
Provisional 158 54.30% 133 45.70% 2.51% 0
Absent 1,576 57.94% 1,144 42.06% 5.88% 2,236
TOTAL 18,668 51.41% 17,645 48.59% 5.40% 33,396

MACEDON (Margin: 8.17%)

ALP LIB Swing 2006 votes
Ordinary 15,671 51.21% 14,930 48.79% 7.48% 28,429
Postal 1,505 48.44% 1,602 51.56% 6.47% 2,455
Early 3,351 50.04% 3,346 49.96% 2.43% 6,245
Provisional 139 62.61% 83 37.39% -12.61% 16
Absent 1,315 57.73% 963 42.27% 3.27% 1,910
TOTAL 21,981 51.23% 20,924 48.77% 6.94% 39,055


Eastern Metro 2 3
Northern Metro 2 (-1) 2 (+1) 1
South-Eastern Metro 3 2
Southern Metro 1 (-1) 3 (+1) 1
Western Metro 2 (-1) 2 (+1) 1
Eastern Victoria 2 2 1
Northern Victoria 2 2 1
Western Victoria 2 2 1 (+1) 0 (-1)
TOTAL 16 18 3 3 0 0

Tuesday, December 14

The button was pushed today on the count for the Legislative Council, securing the Coalition its 21 seats out of 40 and wrapping up the election count as a whole. Key to the Coalition triumph was Liberal candidate Craig Ondarchie’s victory in Northern Metropolitan from the second position on his party’s ticket, producing a result of two Labor, two Liberal and one Greens. His win came at the expense of Stephen Mayne, who in the event finished fairly solidly behind the second Greens candidate (2.6 per cent to 1.6 per cent) at a point where he had hoped to stay in contention by absorbing her preferences, and the Sex Party, who with 7.4 per cent failed to stay ahead of third Labor candidate Nathan Murphy on 9.1 per cent at the second last count. At that point the second Ondarchie was far enough ahead of Murphy that there was no prospect of preferences closing the gap, with the former sneaking over a quota on preferences from Mayne. In Western Metropolitan, below-the-line votes made the difference by heavily favouring the Greens – largely because below-the-lines for right-wing minor parties who had put Labor ahead of the Greens on their preference ticket tended to exhaust. The rate of exhaustion was such that Colleen Hartland won election with slightly under a quota, finishing on 16.6 per cent to Labor candidate Bob Smith on 16.2 per cent.

Saturday, December 11

As you may have noticed I’ve been less than vigilant in following the count, but those with an interest will be aware that Stephen Mayne continued to fade in late counting in terms that will almost certainly deliver the final Northern Metropolitan seat to the Liberals, securing the Coalition their upper house majority. The only remaining point of curiosity is whether Colleen Hartland of the Greens can secure re-election in Western Metropolitan, thereby achieving a status quo result for a party that had hoped for so much better. Antony Green reports all will be revealed when the button is finally pushed on Tuesday. Hopefully there will be no repeat of the 2006 error in which the Democratic Labor Party was wrongly credited with a second seat.

Monday, December 6

Stopped paying attention there for a while after the VEC started re-checking and took their existing results offline. Antony Green offers a thorough update, noting that recounting in Northern Metropolitan is proceeding slowly due to intensive scrutineering of the result that could deliver the Coalition an upper house majority. In Western Metropolitan, the tide seems to be favouring the Greens’ Colleen Hartland, who might yet retain her seat at the expense of Labor’s number three. UPDATE: Kevin Bonham in comments still rates her the underdog.

Wednesday, December 1

Stephen Mayne has discussed his prospects at length in his email newsletter, noting he has two hurdles to clear: first to stay ahead of the Greens at what appears as count 8 in the ABC’s projection, where he is currently on 1.54 per cent to the Greens’ 1.22 per cent, and then for the below-the-line count to not upset his applecart by putting him behind Liberal and Labor at the second last count. Mayne rates himself only a 50-50 chance of clearing the first hurdle as he expects the Greens to surge as absent votes are added. I’m not sure what was added today, but the addition has seen the Greens lose ground – possibly too much for Mayne, as Kevin Bonham argues in comments, because it will mean fewer of their preferences for him if he can stay ahead. Bonham reckons Mayne will need to significantly outperform Labor in preferences from the 3170 below-the-line votes which are recorded as going to him on the ABC projection, which treats all votes as above-the-lines. Bonham, who has learned a thing or two about preference behaviour from analysis of Hare-Clark elections in his home jurisdiction of Tasmania, reckons this unlikely, and that the most probable result would indeed be a twenty-first seat for the Coalition.

In the lower house, addition of absent and other votes have seen Labor pull further ahead in Eltham and Ballarat East, to 546 and 510 votes respectively, which puts these seats and the final result beyond doubt: the Liberals have won 35 seats and the Nationals 10, with Labor on 43. I will continue updating my tables as new figures come in, but I won’t be offering any further commentary on the lower house unless something unusually interesting happens.

Tuesday, November 30

Long past time I had something to say about the upper house, with the Coalition on the precipice of majorities in both houses. The Liberals have gained a seat from Labor in Southern Metropolitan and the Nationals have gained the DLP’s seat in Western Victoria. They also look likely to win seats from the Greens in Western Metropolitan and to hold off a challenge from the Country Alliance in Northern Victoria, where their second seat had been under threat. That puts the Coalition on 18 seats out of 40 with a likely extra two to achieve a blocking majority, and the chance of getting over the line for an absolute majority of 21. The decisive factor in Northern Metropolitan will be the second last count, at which the Labor number three, Liberal number two and Stephen Mayne appear to be at almost level pegging. Mayne will win the seat if he finishes ahead of either or both, and the current ABC projection has him finishing ahead of Labor after soaking up the Greens’ surplus and an eclectic range of preferences from the Sex Party, DLP and Family First. Should he finish behind the seat will almost certainly go to the Liberals, although Labor remain at least a mathematical possibility.

In continuing lower counting, Labor’s lead has more than doubled in Ballarat East, from 166 to 343, with the addition of 657 more postals and the first 766 absents. It was the latter which made the difference, breaking 60-40 their way – not unpredictably given that most would be sourced from town voters who cast their ballots in Ballarat West. Eltham too has become slightly firmer for Labor with 795 more pre-polls gaining them a handy 53 votes, but losses on rechecking have pared back the overall improvement in their lead, which goes from 245 to 267. Bentleigh and Macedon have drifted out of the doubtful column. Rechecking and a highly unfavourable batch of 819 absent votes has further increased the Liberal lead in Bentleigh from 460 to 559. In Macedon, the addition of 419 postal votes has cut Labor’s lead from 498 to 419, but it’s probably too little too late.

Monday, November 29

9pm. Another 605 postals in Bentleigh have broken 321-284 the Liberals’ way, increasing their lead from 423 to 460. In Eltham the addition of 5730 pre-polls and 600 more postals has increased Labor’s lead from 225 to 245. I’m not sure on what basis Labor sources quoted in the ABC yesterday were expecting to lose this seat – I would rate them better than even. Another 416 postal votes have been added in Ballarat East and have broken perfectly evenly, with Labor continuing to lead by 166.

4.30pm. Labor has had a disappointing result from 2268 pre-polls in Ballarat East which have cut their lead from 388 to 166. The addition of 5111 pre-polls from Macedon has also cut their lead from 719 to 498. However, absent votes remain to be added, and in both cases they favoured Labor heavily in 2006.

Sunday, November 28

11pm. Bob Katter’s Hat in comments relates that according to an ABC report, “Labor sources expect to lose Eltham but are ‘hopeful’ on Macedon”.

6.41pm. If there are the same number of absent votes as last time, and if anything there are likely to be fewer, they would need to defy every trend going by swinging to Labor by 5 per cent to overturn the Liberals’ lead.

6.34pm. The VEC site has now updated, and it has the Liberal lead at 15,667 to 15,244. The Herald-Sun’s assertion that only “some postal votes” remain to be counted is at best imprecise, as no absent votes have been added – and there were 1643 of these in 2010. So what we have today is the addition of 3130 pre-poll votes which, as stated in the previous entry, have broken 1670 to 1460 in favour of the Liberals and increased their lead from 213 to 423. The table at the top of the post has now been amended to reflect this. As you can see, the notion that there would be more of these than last time and that they would be relatively favourable to Labor was quite correct, but not nearly to the extent they required. So it’s fair to say that the ABC computer, which has copped some flak over this, was right all along.

6.12pm. Boerwar in comments reports postals have favoured 1670 to 1460 to the Liberals – I’m not sure if this includes or is in addition to those counted last night, which favoured the Liberals 1072 to 1050. An update on the VEC tally room site would be nice.

6.09pm. The Herald-Sun reports that there are now merely “some postal votes” remaining to be counted, so obviously absent votes as well as pre-polls have been counted (although I fail to see how absent votes could have been assembled so quickly from every corner of the state). In any case, a very clear impression emerges that barring counting errors, the Liberal lead of about 400 is insurmountable, ending any doubts about the overall result.

5.45pm. Rod Hagen in comments hears from Twitter that pre-poll counting in Bentleigh is trending against Labor, increasing the Liberal lead from 213 to 430.

5pm. By popular demand, the VEC have announced they will be counting the pre-poll votes from Bentleigh today. In what promises to be the television event of the year, this will apparently be broadcast live on Sky News.

Saturday night

This thread will be used to follow late counting in the Victorian election, which – for those who have just joined us – promises to be a focus of fierce interest due to the possibility of a 44-44 tied parliament if everything falls Labor’s way. For now you’ll have to look elsewhere for a summary of the situation. However, below is a table which will hopefully shed some light on a few important aspects of the situation. Four must-win seats are identified in the table, of which Labor currently leads in three while trailing by 213 votes (0.38 per cent) in Bentleigh. The first row of the table shows two-party results from ordinary votes, thus excluding the postals that were added last night. To give an idea of how the remainder of the count might go, the next five rows show Labor’s two-party results on the various types of vote in 2006. The story goes that a large number of pre-polls might offer salvation here for Labor in Bentleigh, but that would seem very unlikely indeed going on the precedent of last time. However, Labor is doing slightly less poorly on postal votes than last time — their primary vote is only 1.5 per cent lower — so there might be at least something in the idea that votes cast earlier would not have copped the effects of the late swing to the Coalition. The left column shows the percentage of the statewide vote accounted for by each vote type in 2010. The bottom half of the table shows the ordinary vote turnout in each electorate, which as you may have heard was substantially lower than last time.

% Bentleigh Eltham Macedon Ball. East
2010 Ordinary ? 50.0% 50.8% 51.2% 50.9%
2006 Ordinary 78.0% 57.2% 56.8% 58.7% 56.8%
2006 Pre-Poll 9.0% 50.3% 56.5% 56.2% 53.8%
2006 Postal 6.5% 49.7% 49.5% 54.9% 52.1%
2006 Absent 6.5% 57.9% 60.7% 61.0% 63.8%
2006 Declaration 0.1% 81.0% 44.4% 50.0%
Ordinary votes as percentage of enrolment
2006 75.5% 74.3% 69.1% 73.9%
2010 68.0% 64.3% 67.4% 66.5%

Finally, can we please keep this thread specifically for discussion of the count. If you would like to discuss the Victorian election in more general terms, the election night thread is still open below.

Victorian election live

12.04pm. Those postal votes have been very favourable for Labor in Narre Warren North, increasing their lead from 804 to a probably insurmountable 1022.

11.30pm. Awaiting 830 postal votes to be added to the two-party count in Narre Warren North, which I would say is the only thing further we’re likely to get tonight in a significant seat.

11.23pm. 2475 postals added in Narre Warren North, increasing Labor’s lead from 773 to 804.

11.19pm. 2122 postal votes added in Macedon, reducing Labor’s lead from 741 to 719.

11.12pm. Labor leads by 225 votes (0.4 per cent) in Eltham, with 2013 postal votes added to the count.

11.09pm. Hadn’t heard anyone mention Eltham, but it seems Labor still only have their nose in front.

10.59pm. The VEC has added 1958 postal votes from Monbulk, and their lead is now out to 1.9 per cent.

10.53pm. Same story in Narre Warren North – the VEC has Labor ahead 773, the ABC has it at only 190, with much the same number of votes counted. The VEC has a booth on the primary vote that the ABC doesn’t have, and it’s increased the Labor vote 0.4 per cent and reduced the Liberal vote 0.3 per cent.

10.46pm. Actually, the VEC’s figures from Macedon aren’t more advanced than the ABC’s, they’re just different – both have almost exactly 30,600 votes added. So I’ve no idea why the discrepancy.

10.38pm. The ABC computer seems to have a more up-to-date two-party figure from Bentleigh than the VEC. 2538 postal votes have been added in this seat, whereas there are none yet in the other crucial three, but only half have been added to the VEC two-party count. The ABC however seems to have them all, and has the Liberals leading by 624 votes (1.1 per cent) rather than 213 (0.4 per cent).

10.28pm. Now looking at VEC figures, which are further advanced in Macedon and Narre Warren North and have Labor surging ahead in both, with respective leads of 1.2 per cent and 1.8 per cent.

10.17pm. Another Narre Warren North booth turns a 0.3 per cent Labor deficit into a 0.4 per cent surplus.

10.15pm. Antony also has Labor pulling negligibly ahead in Monbulk, with Daniel Andrews sounding confident – “maybe not even in the doubtful column”.

10.14pm. Daniel Andrews claims counts in all booths counted have Labor ahead in Macedon, where the ABC computer projects a 0.4 per cent Liberal lead.

10.11pm. ABC computer count in Bentleigh has caught up with David Davis’s – two booths left to report two-party counts, Liberals ahead 13,302 to 12,690, lead by 1.2 per cent.

10.09pm. Albert Park count goes from 45.4 per cent to 53.8 per cent, Labor lead goes from 0.3 per cent to 0.5 per cent.

10.03pm. David Davis’s latest figures from Bentleigh have Liberals moving further ahead – 11,892 to 11,175, or 1.6 per cent.

9.55pm. Ben Raue on the upper house:

On my count the Coalition has 21 seats out of 40 in the Legislative Council. Labor has at least 13, with the Greens on 3. In North and East Victoria, Labor is competing with the Country Alliance. Country Alliance will win in either region if the Greens knock out Labor, as Labor preferenced the Country Alliance ahead of the Greens. In South East Metro Labor is competing with the Greens, but I’m on the verge of calling it for Labor.

9.50pm. A run through the seats of destiny. Labor trails by 0.2 per cent in Monbulk with 67.5 per cent counted with one booth to come. In Bentleigh the ABC’s figures are behind what we were told earlier, which is that with most (all?) counting done for tonight the Liberal lead is down to 0.4 per cent. In Macedon too Labor trails by 0.4 per cent with one booth to come. Liberals ahead by 0.3 per cent in Narre Warren North with two booths to come. If Labor wins them all it will be 44-44.

9.48pm. Labor confirms it won’t concede tonight – sounding growingly hopeful of hung parliament.

9.43pm. Peter Reith has apparently criticised Antony Green on Sky News for calling the election too early – he’s only sure 11 seats have gone. If Labor can burrow ahead in Bentleigh, Macedon, Narre Warren North and Monbulk, it will a 44-44 hung parliament and a new election.

9.40pm. Labor hanging on to only a slight lead of 0.3 per cent in Albert Park with 45.4 per cent counted.

9.37pm. This is the first federal or state election since South Australian in 1993 in which no independent or minor party candidates have been elected to the lower house.

9.34pm. David Davis relates figures fron Bentleigh with Libs leading 10,303 to 10,129 – a margin of just 0.4 per cent.

9.06pm. With count up from 29 per cent to 35 per cent, Labor has gone from dead level in Albert Park to 0.3 per cent ahead, which Antony expects to continue.

9.02pm. If preferences had gone as they did in 2006, the Greens would be on 56.3 per cent in Melbourne, 52.5 per cent in Richmond, 51.0 per cent in Brunswick and 45.3 per cent in Northcote.

8.57pm. Daniel Andrews says computer is behind on Bentleigh – with one big pro-Labor booth to go, he thinks they could still get there, but with only limited confidence.

8.51pm. Antony can’t see the Liberals winning Albert Park, even though the computer has them 0.1 per cent ahead with 28.6 per cent counted.

8.50pm. Monbulk continuing to go back and forth, Liberals now in front by 0.2 per cent with 66.1 per cent counted.

8.44pm. Labor moves to the lead in Monbulk, by 0.1 per cent, as count progresses from 48 per cent to 65 per cent.

8.43pm. Labor now ahead in Albert Park by the skin of their teeth, after the count progresses from 14 per cent to 21 per cent.

8.41pm. Macedon count up from 56 per cent to 62 per cent, Liberal lead goes from 0.5 per cent to 0.6 per cent, ABC prediction goes from Liberal ahead to Liberal gain, though obviously not on much basis.

8.39pm. ABC TV has 26.3 per cent rather than 18.8 per cent counted in Bentleigh, but the Liberal lead is basically unchanged. But Daniel Andrews expects better of later booths.

8.36pm. If Labor can somehow fluke wins in each of Bentleigh, Monbulk, Macedon, Albert Park, and Narre Warren North, they would still have 44 seats for a hung parliament in the genuine sense of the term. But they’re behind in all. Might want to stop and note the fact that after all the new paradigm talk of late, we now have a Legislative Assembly with no cross-benchers.

8.34pm. Daniel Andrews not giving away Bentleigh, not unreasonably because only 18.8 per cent is counted, although the Liberals lead by 2.5 per cent. Albert Park count remains very slow.

8.30pm. ABC calling Ballarat West for Labor.

8.29pm. Liberal lead in Monbulk only 0.9 per cent, so if you subscribe to the theory they’ll do better on late counting you wouldn’t be giving it away.

8.28pm. ABC now calling Monbulk a Liberal gain.

8.23pm. Labor can’t afford to lose 11 seats, and 12 look definitely gone. Liberal leads in Macedon, Albert Park and Narre Warren North could yet be chased down if late counting does indeed favour Labor.

8.20pm. Albert Park count up from 9 per cent to 13 per cent, Libs still slightly ahead.

8.16pm. ABC calls Bentleigh for Liberal, Yan Yean for Labor.

8.13pm. Slow count in Albert Park.

8.12pm. ABC computer calling Bendigo East for Labor.

8.10pm. Liberals now ahead in Monbulk.

8.09pm. Still lineball in Narre Warren North, but Labor retains Narre Warren South.

8.08pm. Labor retains Ballarat East, loses Bentleigh, ahead in Ballarat West and Eltham.

8.07pm. ABC computer figures update!

8.04pm. Labor in trouble in Oakleigh as well.

8.03pm. Labor looking gone in Mordialloc, but the computer’s not giving it.

8.02pm. ABC party bods not ready to call Prahran yet.

8.00pm. Still waiting for ABC computer results to update …

7.59pm. Maybe Antony wasn’t quite calling it for the Coalition. Daniel Andrews not giving up South Barwon.

7.59pm. Antony calling Prahran and South Barwon for the Liberals.

7.58pm. Craig Ingram concedes defeat. Antony calls the election for the Coalition.

7.56pm. No good news for the Greens.

7.55pm. Labor now looking better in Geelong.

7.54pm. Macedon seems to be better for Labor now, but I say that without the benefit of booth matching.

7.53pm. Antony says he has his internet back, but the website figures haven’t updated yet.

7.52pm. Still tight in Narre Warren North; Labor ahead in Yan Yean.

7.51pm. Liberals home and hosed in Burwood.

7.48pm. No internet connection for the ABC due to technical problems at the totally unnecessary tally room. Liberals well ahead of Prahran, but this electorate is such that you’d need to look at the booth results. Liberals easily ahead in Mitcham and Forest Hill.

7.44pm. I’m counting 11 seats where the Coalition are ahead of Labor, with no figures in from Forest Hill and Mitcham which they will surely win, and nothing from Prahran and Burwood.

7.40pm. Geelong and Albert Park also tight, despite margins of around 10 per cent.

7.39pm. Early 11.5 per cent swing in Macedon – easily enough for it to fall. Narre Warren North lineball.

7.38pm. Labor ahead in Monbulk on early figures.

7.37pm. Labor holding firm in Bendigo East as well as Ripon. So Newspoll looking good, again.

7.36pm. Computer not calling it, but Labor well ahead in Mordialloc.

7.34pm. ABC computer not calling Mount Waverley, but Antony is.

7.29pm. However, Ripon called ALP retain, but Labor merely “ahead” in Yan Yean.

7.25pm. ABC computer calls Gembrook, Carrum and Seymour for the Liberals – the latter two make it very hard for Labor.

7.20pm. Phil Cleary bombing in Brunswick. Greens and Labor level pegging on primary vote.

7.18pm. ABC computer calls Gippsland East a gain for the Nationals from independent Craig Ingram. Labor ahead in Eltham.

7.17pm. Antony detecting overall swing of 6 per cent, more or less where this morning’s polls had it but better for Labor than the exit poll.

7.16pm. Sorry, had that the wrong way around – 65 per cent of those preferences went to LABOR.

7.11pm. Greens get 65 per cent of preferences from first booth reporting in Richmond.

7.08pm. Ballarat East being discussed on the ABC, which Labor weren’t worried about a week ago.

7.07pm. It looks to me like only the entry page on the ABC results is providing booth-matched 2PP results – click on the link and you get raw comparisons. So the swing in Ripon looks like 0.5 per cent and not 11.0 per cent, though it’s early days.

7.01pm. First booth in from Northcote has Greens primary vote on 50.14 per cent – but it’s a new booth, so we can’t match it.

6.59pm. Antony Green detects 7 per cent swing in the metropolitan area, 6 per cent in regional cities.

6.54pm. Antony Green sounding almost ready to call Gippsland East a Nationals gain from independent Craig Ingram.

6.52pm. Overall early swing seems to be under 4 per cent, but this is mostly rural booths where the polling suggested the swing wouldn’t be so big.

6.49pm. In yet more bad news for Labor, Electoral Commissioner Steve Tully reports the weather has hit turnout.

6.47pm. Tiny booth (203 votes), but 22.4 per cent swing against Labor in Ripon.

6.46pm. Five booths in from Mildura, and Nats member Peter Crisp has picked up a booth-matched primary vote swing of 24 per cent. So I wouldn’t bank on Glenn Milne causing an upset.

6.42pm. Two booths and 180 votes, but Craig Ingram down 12 per cent in Gippsland East.

6.40pm. An independent, whom I know nothing about, is supposedly in with a show in Essendon.

6.33pm. A tiny booth in Nationals-held Mildura (81 votes) has supposedly competitive independent Glenn Milne on 5.6 per cent.

6.27pm. To brace yourself for what’s likely to come, Madcyril in comments relates that according to the ABC, Labor is “worried” about Justin Madden’s seat of Essendon (11.7 per cent) – the sort of seat that fell in 1992.

6.19pm. Auspoll finds 11 per cent decided today, 9 per cent last three days, 10 per cent last week, 17 per cent last month and 52 before that – a high proportion of late deciders, if the shift to the Coalition hadn’t already made that clear.

6.13pm. It seems the Auspoll figures are a straight result from the 18 seats targeted, and that this included the four Labor-versus-Greens contests. The upshot of this is that the swing is 8 per cent, putting the Coalition on track for over 50 seats. Bruce Hawkins on Sky News putting vague hope in pre-polls lodged before the late swing favouring Labor.

6.02pm. Primary votes of 35 per cent, 45 per cent and 12 per cent, Brumby leads as preferred premier 43-35.

6pm. Sky News exit poll tips an easy win to the Coalition, with a two-party lead of 54-46. However, I can never be sure what these figures mean – this looks at the 18 most marginal seats rather than a statewide result. What we need to know is the swing. It should also be known that the pollster, Auspoll, has gotten it wrong before.

Nielsen: 52-48 to Coalition in Victoria; Newspoll: 51.1-48.9

GhostWhoVotes reports an unpleasant surprise for Victorian Labor in the final Nielsen poll of the campaign, which has the Coalition seizing a 52-48 two-party lead. More to follow.

UPDATE: And now Newspoll confirms the picture of a late swing of considerable force, putting the Coalition in front 51.1-48.9. Labor’s primary vote is at just 33 per cent, with the Coalition on 45 per cent and the Greens at 15 per cent.

UPDATE 2: Newspoll was conducted from Tuesday to Thursday from a sample of 1451, boosted from the normally 1000-ish as usual for a final pre-election poll. John Brumby is down four on approval to 38 per cent and up four on disapproval to 52 per cent, while Ted Baillieu is up four to 44 per cent and down two to 44 per cent. Brumby nonetheless leads as preferred premier 48 per cent to 38 per cent, and Labor is expected to win by 55 per cent against 26 per cent for the Coalition. Full tables here courtesy of GhostWhoVotes.

The Age reports the primary votes from Nielsen are Labor 34 per cent, Coalition 45 per cent and Greens 14 per cent – a very similar set of figures to Newspoll, suggesting the 52 per cent Liberal two-party result has benefited from rounding. Nielsen has better personal ratings for both leaders: Brumby is on 46 per cent approval and 47 per cent disapproval, with Baillieu on 48 per cent and 42 per cent. Brumby’s lead as preferred premier is narrower, at 49-44.

UPDATE 3: The Newspoll metropolitan/non-metropolitan breakdowns are an eye-opener: Labor’s metropolitan vote is recorded as slumping from 47.4 per cent in 2006 to just 34 per cent, with the Liberals up from 34.5 per cent to 43 per cent. Yet for all the talk of a regional backlash, Labor’s non-metropolitan primary vote is only down from 36.1 per cent to 32 per cent, and the Coalition are treading water on 48 per cent compared with 47.8 per cent in 2006. In two-party terms, I’m calculating a metropolitan swing of 10 per cent, but a non-metropolitan swing of less than 2 per cent. This is a super-sized version of the JWS Research poll, which respectively had it at 5.4 per cent and 0.2 per cent.

If such swings were uniform, Labor would lose government in Melbourne alone with the loss of 14 seats all the way up to Albert Park (9.7 per cent) without dropping a single seat outside Melbourne. Of course, it won’t play out exactly like that – Albert Park I expect is too established an area to swing that big, and outside Melbourne Labor expects to lose at least South Barwon and is very nervous about Ripon and Bendigo East as well. Election watchers should keep an eye on not only Yan Yean (7.9 per cent) but volatile outer suburban Narre Warren North (9.2 per cent) and Narre Warren South (11.1 per cent). If these seats look shaky, Newspoll has it right and Labor are gone. But if it’s not as bad for them as all that, I suggest it will come down to the Melbourne seats in the 6 to 7 per cent range (Bentleigh, Eltham and Carrum) along with Ripon and Bendigo East.

Without wishing to call the game too early, the prescience of Peter Brent at Mumble should be noted: the scenario just outlined was exactly as he saw it on October 21.

UPDATE 4: Here’s an update of my earlier table.

Sample, Dates ALP 2PP ALP L-NP GRN
Nielsen 1533, 24-25/11 48 34 45 14
Newspoll 1451, 24-25/11 48.9 33 45 15
Galaxy 800, 23-24/11 50 36 44 14
Morgan 990, 22-25/11 49 35.5 44.5 13
JWS Research 9218, 20-22/11 50.1 35 39 19
Galaxy 500, 17-18/11 51 36 42 16
Morgan 943, 16-18/11 52.5 39 41.5 15.5
Nielsen 1000, 10-11/11 52 38 40 16
Newspoll 1000, 9-11/11 51 37 44 14
Nielsen 1000, 27-28/10 53 38 38 16
2006 ELECTION 54.4 43.1 39.6 10.0

And here are the Labor two-party figures with a trend line running through them.

Morgan: 51-49 to Coalition in Victoria

A Morgan phone poll has provided further evidence of a late shift to the Coalition to add to that from Galaxy, recording a 51-49 lead to the Coalition which as far as I can tell is the first time they have led in a poll since early 2005. Morgan sceptics should note that there is no reason to believe their phone polls are any less reliable than anyone else’s. The sample is 990, which is superficially highly respectable but seems to include the 327 respondents from the inner-city poll published earlier in the week – if so the margin-of-error is between 3.5 and 4 per cent. The poll has the Coalition leading on the primary vote 44.5 per cent to 35.5 per cent with the Greens on 13 per cent, their weakest showing of any poll in the campaign. John Brumby’s lead as preferred premier has narrowed to 43.5-39, and he has crashed to a minus 12.5 per cent personal rating with 34 per cent approval and 46.5 per cent disapproval. Ted Baillieu is on 40 per cent approval and 39 per cent disapproval.

You can read my final review of the situation in Crikey.

Galaxy: 50-50 in Victoria

GhostWhoVotes reports a Galaxy poll has it at 50-50 in Victoria, the best result for the Coalition of the campaign. More to follow.

UPDATE: The Herald-Sun has a report which tells us the primary votes are 36 per cent for Labor (the same as in the 500 sample poll Galaxy reportedly conducted for the Victorian Association of Forest Industries), the Coalition on 44 per cent (two points higher) and the Greens on 14 per cent (two points lower). Other findings are that John Brumby leads Ted Baillieu as preferred premier 52-35; Brumby is more trusted to keep his promises 42-34; and Brumby is rated to have conducted the better campaign 46-31. I’m not quite sure what to make of this, but only 18 per cent say if Labor is re-elected it will be because they deserve to be against 54 per cent who say it will be because they deserve to lose, whereas the figures are more positive for the Coalition: 30 per cent say if they win it will be because they deserved it, against 54 per cent who say it would be because Labor deserved to lose. Possibly it’s a reflection of the fact that more of the respondents who landed on Coalition’s side of the two-party divide got there via primary votes rather than preferences.

UPDATE 2: All polls from the campaign period:

Sample/Dates (Nov) ALP 2PP ALP LNP GRN
Galaxy (800/23-24) 50 36 44 14
JWS Research (9218/20-22) 50.1 35 39 19
Galaxy (500/17-18) 51 36 42 16
Morgan (943/16-18) 52.5 39 41.5 15.5
Nielsen (1000/10-11) 52 38 40 16
Newspoll (1000/9-11) 51 37 44 14
2006 ELECTION 54.4 43.1 39.6 10.0

UPDATE 3: Other happenings:

• The Herald-Sun, The Age and The Australian have all backed Labor in their election eve editorials. Have to wait and see for the paywalled Financial Review, but taking the Sunday papers into account, it’s otherwise been an editorial clean sweep for Labor.

John Ferguson of the Herald-Sun rates Mt Waverley, Gembrook, Forest Hill, Mitcham, Frankston, Prahran and Bentleigh “in real danger of falling”, Melbourne “could fall to the Greens” and “speculation abounds of Bendigo West falling”, but Seymour is “tipped to stay with Labor”. However, “Labor may not hold on to Footscray – a result that would surprise many”.

Paul Austin of The Age notes the parallels between the current election and 1999: a Premier perceived as arrogant, a 2 to 3 per cent swing at the previous election, an opposition needing 13 seats to win, a feeling that this is a few more than even optimistic projections could deliver, and the latent possibily that a rural backlash could nonetheless make it happen.

• The Herald-Sun has asked various pundits for opinions on who will and should win. Derryn Hinch reckons it too close to call, but Neil Mitchell, Steve Price, Peter van Onselen, Barrie Cassidy, Ross Fitzgerald, Jill Singer and Nick Economou are all willing to punt for Labor. Hinch and Price think the Liberals should win, van Onselen, Fitzgerald, Singer and Economou think Labor, and Mitchell and Cassidy won’t say.

Tim Colebatch of The Age reviews the situation in the upper house, rating the Greens “almost certain” to hold the balance of power with a representation of five seats.

• The Greens’ number two candidate for the upper house region of Eastern Victoria, Cheryl Wragg, has been disendorsed by her party after repeated public criticisms of the party’s policy to close the Hazelwood power station within four years. Wragg will still be listed in the Greens group on the ballot paper, but will henceforth be running as an independent.

• The Greens have ceased distributing a flyer it was circulating in the electorate of Melbourne which claimed Labor “accepts donations from developers, alcohol gambling and tobacco” after a complaint to the Victorian Electoral Commission. Melbourne candidate Brian Walters has accepted the claim in relation to tobacco was wrong, blaming the error on the volunteer researcher.

Royce Millar of The Age reports that in response to his beat-up on Tuesday about party databases, Ted Baillieu has said he would make available information kept on constituents “to the maximum extent reasonable” and provide reasons for any refusal, while John Brumby declined to give such an undertaking.

• The Herald-Sun reports Nationals leader Peter Ryan is seeking to emulate Anna Bligh and Tony Abbott with “a 30-hour, 30-town blitz to finish off the campaign”.

• Those who fancy the Coalition’s chances can get $4.65 from Flemington Sportsbet, $4.50 from Centrebet and Sportingbet and $4.25 from Sportsbet.

Inner Melbourne Morgan phone micro-poll

Roy Morgan hasn’t let itself be put off by the flak it copped with last week’s small-sample poll results from the four inner-city Labor-versus-Greens contests, repeating the exercise with only a slightly larger sample of 327 respondents. Taken together they show Labor leading the Greens 53-47, which is seven points better for Labor than last week’s poll. All told this points to a 3 per cent swing to the Greens compared with 2006, which if uniform would just tip Labor out in Melbourne, but leave them safe in Richmond, Brunswick and Northcote. This is indeed borne out by the seat-by-seat breakdowns, which have it at 50-50 in Melbourne, 57-43 in Richmond, 52-48 in Brunswick and 52.5-47.5 in Northcote. The margin of error on the combined result is approaching 5.5 per cent.

UPDATE: Now Morgan offers a spiffy video display of “worm”-style Reactor responses to various election ads. It finds Coalition voters were far more positive about their own side’s advertising than were Labor’s, but that Labor appeared to offer both the most (attacking Liberal spending plans) and least (the famous Baillieu Knight Frank ad) effective attack ads. Labor also did pretty well among independents and Greens with a humanised John Brumby’s fireside chat on the economy. Labor’s “meerkat” and the Liberals’ “are we there yet” attack ads failed to impress Greens and independents in roughly equal measure, but the Liberals did better with their “mouldy fruit” ad. The Greens ad, once it began laying on the hard sell, found Labor voters responding barely less positively than to ads from their own side, while Coalition and independent voters headed south.

JWS Research: Victorian Labor to lose seven to 10 seats

The Herald-Sun reports an automated phone poll by JWS Research, such as the one it conducted a week before the federal election, shows the Liberals “on track to win Mount Waverley, Forest Hill, Mitcham, South Barwon, Mordialloc and Burwood” and the Greens “likely to gain Brunswick”. The Labor-versus-Greens contests of Melbourne and Richmond and the Labor-versus Liberal contest of Prahran too close to call. On the worst of these scenarios for Labor they would hold a bare majority of 45 seats out of 88; on the best, that would go up to 48. I will review how well the JWS Research federal poll performed when I get time.

UPDATE: Full results from JWS Research:

Sample 2006 POLL
Brunswick (vs GRN) 300 54.6 47
Richmond (vs GRN) 285 53.6 51
Melbourne (vs GRN) 222 52 49
Ballarat East 345 56.7 54
Ballarat West 339 56.6 59
Bentleigh 351 56.4 57
Bendigo East 420 55.4 54
Ripon 288 54.4 53
Burwood 373 53.8 43
Prahran 269 53.6 50
Mordialloc 325 53.6 42
Frankston 324 53.3 54
South Barwon 384 52.3 44
Mitcham 376 52 48
Forest Hill 357 50.8 47
Gembrook 349 50.7 52
Mt Waverley 372 50.4 44
Ferntree Gully 283 49.9 36
Kilsyth 318 49.6 47
Hastings 296 49.0 42
Narracan 350 47.3 40
Bayswater 324 47.1 44
Box Hill 380 44.7 40
Gippsland East (IND vs NAT) 580 58.5 (IND) 43 (IND)

UPDATE 2: From Roy Morgan: “Labor surge in Inner City Melbourne Means ALP Set to Retain Four Inner City Seats. Full results available tomorrow from a special telephone Morgan Poll of the key inner Melbourne Seats of Brunswick, Melbourne, Northcote & Richmond.”

UPDATE 3: John Scales of JWS Research writes:

To confirm/explain a couple of questions for your readers:

• Yes, we do weight by age and gender according to ABS stats, they are the first questions asked after the introduction and eligibility question.

• We only accept data for respondents who have completed the entire survey, drop outs are not included.

• We did include mobiles where that was the only number available at the address.

• We also surveyed DNCR registered numbers and when I have time I would like to publish an analysis of the results and profiles for landlines v mobiles and DNCR v not.

• We surveyed in all 88 seats State-wide and final sample in each seat was targeted weighted to the same proportion, so boost sample seats contribute the same proportionately as non boost seats to the overall State-wide results.

• It’s ironic that people still complain about low sample sizes where I have surveyed 300+ in 24 seats on top of a State-wide representative poll – this is exponentially more useful and reliable than relying on low sample, grouped seat swings in other published polls. We funded this poll ourselves and yes, it gives us publicity but the information is out there for the public interest too so I believe that’s a fair trade. If people would like to make financial contribution, I would be happy to survey larger samples on a seat by seat basis. I also believe there are other Labor seats in play further up the pendulum, such as Seymour, Carrum, Bendigo West, Bellarine, Macedon and Geelong, but without financial support, there are limits to what I can do.

• Let’s also be very clear that this poll, just like my poll the weekend before the Federal election, is not a prediction. It is a poll of voting intention at the time – people are asked how they would vote if the election were held ‘today’ – and I will no more claim “I was right” if Saturday’s results are the same as this poll than I will accept out of hand criticism of this poll or the Federal poll if it is different to Saturday’s result. In the Federal election, the numbers changed in the last week and I would expect the same to happen here.