ReachTEL: 51-49 to Labor in New South Wales; YouGov Galaxy: 52-48

An encouraging first poll for Labor’s new leader, as the burden of federal politics weighs upon the Berejiklian government four months out from the election.

The first New South Wales state poll in a surprisingly long time (considering the imminence of the election in March) is a uComms/ReachTEL poll for the Sydney Morning Herald, which credits Labor with a lead of 51-49. After excluding the 3.1% undecided (there may have been orced-response follow-up results for these, but the Herald report doesn’t relate them), the primary votes are Coalition 37.7%, Labor 35.2%, Greens 9.9% and One Nation 7.7%.

The poll also has new Labor leader Michael Daley leading Gladys Berejiklian 54.2-45.8 on preferred premier, which is not bad for a newcomer non-incumbent, even allowing for the peculiarities that ReachTEL’s forced response preferred leader questions tend to produce. After a week of election-decided-on-state-issues malarkey from politicians with an interest in such matters, the poll finds 50.2% of respondents saying federal politics would indeed play a role in their decision, with only 36.4% saying it wouldn’t.

The poll was conducted Thursday night from a sample of 1557. Come back later today and you might find an updated state poll trend chart attached to this post.

UPDATE: And now a YouGov Galaxy poll from the Daily Telegraph, this one of 903 voters conducted Thursday and Friday, showing Labor leading 52-48. The primary votes are Coalition 37%, Labor 39%, Greens 9% and One Nation 8%, with Gladys Berejiklian holding an unconvincing 33-31 lead over Michael Daley as preferred premier. As per ReachTEL, they asked about the influence of federal factors, but specified “the Coalition’s federal performance”. This had 33% saying they had become less likely to vote for the Coalition, against 35% for no influence and 20% for more likely.

And now for that poll trend, the current reading of which is 51.3-48.7 to Labor, from primary votes of Coalition 37.2%, Labor 35.9% and Greens 10.0%.

Continue reading “ReachTEL: 51-49 to Labor in New South Wales; YouGov Galaxy: 52-48”

BludgerTrack: 54.5-45.5 to Labor

A devastating Newspoll strips the Coalition of almost all of its poll trend gains from two improved results last week.

In the week that brought them the Victorian election result, Newspoll has taken from the Coalition what Ipsos and Essential Research gave the week before in BludgerTrack, with Labor up 0.6% on two-party preferred and making seat projection gains in Victoria and South Australia. I’m afraid I’ve been too preoccupied/lazy to update the leadership trends, but Newspoll is unlikely to have changed them much. Other than that, full results from the link below.

Victorian election: photo finishes

A closer look at the yet-to-be-decided seats for the Victorian election.

A full display of the election results, with complete booth figures, swings and probability estimates, can be found here. This will be updated with the latest figures at irregular intervals.

Tuesday afternoon

4pm. Ali Cupper has reportedly emerged the winner in Mildura after distribution of preferences by 254 votes.

2pm. No official figures available, but the preference count in Prahran has established that Greens incumbent Sam Hibbins has prevailed over Labor’s Neil Pharaoh, apparently by around 200 votes, with the latter conceding defeat on social media. So the Greens have maintained their lower house status quo of three seats, losing Northcote but gaining Brunswick, although they stand to be gutted in the upper house, where they went in with five and will come out with one or two.

Tuesday morning

Preference distributions will apparently start being conducted today, and it doesn’t seem there are more than tiny handfuls of votes remaining to be cleared up in the primary and two-party counts. So unless the preference distribution process turns up a misplaced bundle, it would seem Labor has won Bayswater and Hawthorn, the Liberals have held on in Caulfield and Ripon, and independent Ali Cupper has scraped home in Mildura. The only significant action in the close seat counts yesterday was in Caulfield, where postals continued to save the day for David Southwick, the latest batch favouring him 145-61 and extending his lead from 338 to 410.

Monday morning

The most interesting development over the weekend from my perch was that 525 postals were added in Mildura, which cut Ali Cupper’s lead from 252 to 189. With the dealine for postals to arrive being tomorrow at 5pm, there will presumably be only one more, smaller batch to go, and very little chance that it will overturn Cupper’s lead. Tiny additions to the vote in Hawthorn and Ripon made no appreciable difference to the situation there, as related in the previous entry. Kevin Bonham has been doing good work following the count in Prahran, where only scrutineers’ reports offer any guidance as to the flow of preferences between the Greens and Labor, which stands to decide the result. Suffice to say that it’s going to be very close. The other potential wild cards when preferences are distributed are Melton and Benambra, which Labor and Liberal respectively have at least some chance of losing to independents. Then there’s the upper house …

Friday evening

Just as my interest in the count was winding down, along comes Caulfield — Liberal member David Southwick led by 1101 yesterday, and trails by 118 today. Southwick is one of three Liberals on very narrow deficits, hoping they might be overturned on the final batch of postals. The damage to Southwick was done on absents — not so much due to the swing, which was actually modest (3.6% to Labor, compared with 7.0% of ordinary votes), but the surprisingly high number cast (5692 as compared with 3130 in 2014). Labor scored over 60%, for a split of 3439-2253. Postal votes have been overwhelmingly favouring Southwick — 2682 to 1030, or 72.3-27.7 — so it will only take a small number of late arrivals behaving according to form to get his nose back in front. But there will very little in it either way.

Provisionals and a handful of pre-polls have made next to no difference in Hawthorn, where the Labor lead goes from 156 to 163. A big day of counting in Ripon (or maybe two — I don’t think I looked closely at the numbers yesterday) has failed to settle the matter — Labor has moved to a razor-thin 73 vote lead due to the latest pre-polls, which they won 2211-2059. There was nothing in it on absents (1296 to Labor and 1289 to Liberal), and Labor made their usual small gain on provisionals (147 to 124).

In Mildura, independent Ali Cupper got a handy 195-144 break on provisionals, cancelling out a 41-22 loss on pre-polls and 20-10 on absents in a race where every vote counts. She now leads by 303 votes, which will presumably be enough.

Friday morning

As the count dries up, the in doubt seats are increasingly looking less so. Labor’s lead in Hawthorn grew from 47 to 156 yesterday, as they gained the edge on absents (281-207), postals (109-86) and pre-polls (27-15). They should gain a bit more when provisionals are added, leaving John Pesutto needing something pretty extraordinary on late postals. Labor’s lead nudged from 236 to 266 in Bayswater, after provisionals broke 120-88 their way and postals went 69-67 to the Liberals. The Greens’ lead in Brunswick grew from 353 to 414 with small additions of absents, postals and pre-polls, at which point you would be pretty much calling it. It no longer seems necessary to continue following Nepean, where Labor leads by 794, or Sandringham, where the Liberals lead by 451. No progress today in Mildura, where independent Ali Cupper leads the Nationals by 281.

Thursday morning

Another good day for Labor overall, who seem to be doing better from votes cast out-of-district, whether as absent votes or pre-polls, than the in-district pre-poll votes that were counted on election night. However, I’m not clear if absent votes are all being added in one hit per electorate, or if further additions can yet be anticipated where results have already appeared. I’m tending to think the latter — since absents are usually the best part of late counting for Labor, a fair bit hinges on this.

In Hawthorn, absent votes turned yesterday’s 235-vote Liberal lead into a Labor lead of 47. Labor got 56.8% out of 2498 absents, above the 53.0% I was projecting. I was also projecting there would be 3792 in total, so I am guessing there are another 1000 or so still out there. These will be decisive if so, but it can’t be said how they might behave — batches of absent votes can behave very differently depending where they were sourced from. The Liberals also got only 50.7% out of 4242 new pre-polls (2150 to 2092) added yesterday, compared with their 56.3% of the first 7148 counted.

Things continue to go Labor’s way in Bayswater, where their lead grew yesterday from 165 to 236. Labor got 55.2% of the absents added yesterday — exactly as I had anticipated, but they were 2705 in total rather than my projected 2054. It was also a good day for Labor in Nepean, where they won a batch of 3673 new pre-polls 1903-1770 — 51.8% compared with their 46.4% from the first 14,903. Labor now leads by 492, and most of the outstanding votes are likely to be absents, none of which have been added, so the balance would seem to be tipping their Labor. My lineball projection as of yesterday is now for a Labor winning margin of 0.5%.

One late counting bright spot for the Liberals is Sandringham, where 4464 new pre-polls behaved very much like the first 9424 in breaking 2489-1975 their way. Furthermore, absent votes were added and while they went 1139-884 to Labor, there were less of them than I was anticipating (2023 rather than a projected 2566). However, I’m not sure if this is all of them or not. In any case, the Liberal lead is now 497, and with only a few scraps still outstanding, this will be hard for Labor to rein in.

The Greens’ lead in Brunswick grew from 218 to 353, but they underperformed my projection out of 2653 absent votes counted in Brunswick, scoring 1475 to Labor’s 1178 — 55.6% compared with my projected 61.8%. However, that’s also about 1000 less than I was projecting, so there are presumably more of these to come. There would seem to be another 2000 of these as well. Labor will need about 56% of what’s to come.

The Nationals have come storming home in Mildura, being overwhelmingly dominant on the small number of absent votes (575 to independent Ali Cupper’s 227), and reversing earlier form to win a batch of pre-polls 870 to 640. This slashed Cupper’s lead from 859 to 281. My earlier judgement was that the number of votes outstanding here was too small for the Nationals to close the gap, and that probably still holds, as I believe there are only a few hundred postals still to come.

Nothing today from Ripon.

Wednesday morning

Labor solidly outperformed my projections yesterday in Bayswater, scoring almost exactly half of 4559 pre-polls added, where they only got 46.1% of the first 8383. They also won 52.1% of 674 postals, after scoring only 39.6% of the 2217 counted on election night, did about as well on absents as anticipated, winning 1132-922. That gives Labor a lead of 165, or 0.2% – with not much of the vote outstanding, my projection has it coming down to 0.1%, but Labor will more likely than not continue outperforming its assumptions.

Better news for the Liberals from Ripon, where 889 postals broke 535-354 to Liberal (60.2% compared with 58.0% in the first 3735) and pre-polls went 393-304 (56.4% compared with 51.0% of the first 3302). My Liberal projection has gone from 49.9% to 50.2%, but here too the number of postals received has exceeded my projection, so if anything it might be understating their chances. That said, the margin is narrow enough that a good pre-poll batch or better than expected show on absents for Labor could up-end it. Swings and roundabouts in Nepean, where the Liberals went below par on yesterday’s postals (360-297 in their favour, or 54.8% compared with 59.2% in the election night batch of 2341), but above par on pre-polls (587-357, 62.2% compared with 53.0% of the first 13,959). Before I was projecting a 134 vote win for Labor, now it’s 26 votes for Liberal.

The Liberal lead in Hawthorn increased yesterday from 53 to 235, but only postals were added, and these were slightly less favourable to the Liberals than those counted on election night, bringing my projected final Liberal margin down from 1.1% to 0.8%. The election night postals went Liberal 1104 (60.4%) and Labor 725 (39.6%), but yesterday’s batch went Labor 1115 (54.3%) and Liberal 937 (45.7%). No further pre-polls have been added, and the outstanding ones may yet surprise in either direction. Then there are absents, which I am projecting Labor to do well on, though evidently not well enough.

The Greens are firming in Brunswick: they won a second batch of postals 442-426, after losing the election night count 950-699, and they won a batch of absents 811-537, exactly the proportion anticipated when I projected them to win by 1.0%.

Tuesday afternoon

Labor leads on the raw count with about a third done in Morwell, but my projection is that this will flip when the outstanding votes are in — Northe is on track to receive about 70% of preferences, in which case he wins 52-48 (I conducted a regression analysis to test whether the existing preference count was representative of the whole, and found that it was). Better news for Labor in Geelong, where Christine Couzens leads Darryn Lyons, and Pascoe Vale, where Lizzie Blandthorn leads Oscar Yildiz 59.0-41.0. In Shepparton, Suzanna Sheed looks seat to emerge with 54% to 55% against the Liberal candidate.

Tuesday morning

With very little counting done yesterday, the chief news is that the Victorian Electoral Commission announced it is conducting new preference throws to indicate the likely winners Morwell (independent versus Labor), Geelong (Labor versus independent), Pascoe Vale (Labor versus independent) and Shepparton (independent versus Liberal), and will publish the results later today. The removal of the two-party numbers from the media feed caused my results reporting facility to conk out, so the figures it show remain those from Sunday.

The only thing I know so far about the new preference throws is that the Pascoe Vale pre-poll count has broken 6059-6008 for Labor’s Lizzie Bladthorn over independent Oscar Yildiz, as related by Richard Willingham of The Age. This suggests the advantage to Yildiz on preferences is only 53-47, in which case Blandthorn would win handily with between 54% and 55%. Independents Russell Northe and Darryn Lyons will respectively need around 72% and 66% of preferences in Morwell and Geelong. The deal in Shepparton is that it’s the Liberals rather than the Nationals who finished second, but unless I’m missing something, it would seem to me that Suzanna Sheed is home and hosed in either case.

The only change in the seven seats where I felt the existing notional counts were following was in Ripon, where a batch of pre-polls broke 587-357 to the Liberals – 63% compared with their earlier 53%. This means my projection has gone from 0.1% in favour of Labor to 0.1% in favour of Liberal. The votes counted totals for the upper house have edged up from the forties to the fifties, but I’m still holding off looking into them in detail.

Sunday night

If you want real detail on the likely course of the late count, Kevin Bonham is your man. For starters, I will content myself with the following projections of how the undecided seats where the correct two candidates have been picked for the notional preference count stand to play out. As explained below, there are methodogical details that one might well think imperfect, but if nothing else, consider it a conversation starter.

This assumes that a) outstanding pre-polls will break the same way as those already counted, and the number outstanding is as indicated by the relevant figures from the Victorian Electoral Commission; b) postals will break the same way as those already counted, with the total number to be counted equal to the total in 2014 adjusted in proportion to the growth in enrolment since that time; c) absent votes will differ from non-absent votes in the same way they did in 2014, with the total number determined the same way as for postals. No account is made for provisionals, which should throw a handful of extra votes Labor’s way.

This makes it clear enough that the Liberals should get home in Hawthorn, Sandringham and probably Bayswater, but Nepean and Ripon will go right down to the wire. The Greens’ traditionally strong showing on absent votes should see them home in Brunswick, and it seems likely independent Ali Cupper will gain Mildura from the Nationals. I was circumspect about this in my post last night, as I expected the Nationals would do well on postals – but it turns out that, for whatever reason, very few postals are cast in Mildura. Indeed, it ranks last in the state for number of postal votes received, according to the VEC’s figures.

Then there are the in doubt seats for which the two-party count doesn’t offer an insight. Prahran will be won by whoever out of Greens incumbent Sam Hibbins and Labor’s Neil Pharoah survives the second last exclusion on preferences, which will be absolutely touch and go. Then there is my watch list of five seats (not counting Mildura) that could potentially be won by independents, as discussed in my previous post. Morwell could stay with Nationals-turned-independent member Russell Northe, and will go to Labor if it doesn’t; the Liberals might lose Benambra; Labor might lose Geelong, Melton and Pascoe Vale.

That leaves Labor with 49 seats nailed down, on top of which they might keep Geelong, Melton and Pascoe Vale, and gain Prahran, Nepean, Ripon and Morwell. The Coalition have 27 seats in the bag, including Hawthorn, Sandringham and (perhaps generously) Bayswater, on top of which they might keep Nepean, Ripon and Benambra. I’m pretty sure the Greens will have Brunswick in addition to Melbourne, and are lineball to keep Prahran. I’m giving Mildura as well as Shepparton to independents, to which it’s at least possible to add another five.

As for the upper house, we’re still at too early a stage in the count for me to be bothered putting my oar in – only election day votes have thus far been counted, and an increasing number of voters have finally got the message about the advisability of voting below the line (requiring the numbering of only five boxes in the case of Victorian state elections). However, it looks fairly clear that there will indeed be a spectacular array of micro-parties on the cross bench, and that the principal casualty of this phenomenon is the Greens.

Newspoll: 55-45 to Labor

After a Victorian election result decided entirely on state issues, a poll shows the Coalition doing every bit as badly at federal level.

A weekend to forget for the Coalition has been compounded by Newspoll’s finding that its federal operation is down yet another point, putting Labor’s lead at 55-45. Its primary vote is down a point to 34%, the equal lowest since the 2016 election, while Labor is steady on 40%, the Greens are unchanged on 9% and One Nation are up two to 6%. Scott Morrison’s lead as preferred prime minister is down slightly, from 43-35 to 42-36. Nonetheless, Scott Morrison’s personal ratings have improved since a fortnight ago, with approval up four to 43% and disapproval down five to 42%, while Bill Shorten is up two to 37% and steady on 50%. The poll will have been conducted Thursday to Sunday and the sample around 1700, although it’s not specified in the online report.

UPDATE: The sample size was 1717.

Victorian election: call of the board

Digging deep into the unexpectedly comprehensive Labor win in Victoria.

A full display of the election results, with complete booth figures, swings and probability estimates, can be found here. No updates will appear today (Sunday).

I believe my election results facility, which after a very slow start is now running almost bug-free (with apologies to the seat of Preston), is the only place where you can find two-party preferred results by booth and vote type – vote type being very important in the context of this election. It also trumps the Victorian Electoral Commission site in having swing results at booth-level, on both primary and two-party. To access these, go to the entry page linked to above and follow one of the electorate links further down the page, where you will find neatly displayed results tables with tabs for toggling between totals, percentages and swings. Note that I have turned off booth-matching for my aggregations and predictions, at least for the two-party vote – my failure to do the same with the primary vote means the swings shown for it are slightly anomalous.

The results display turns up ample evidence of what became apparent as the night progressed, which was that pre-polls and postals very often failed to replicate the massive swings to Labor on election day. This meant the final result, as bad as it was, will not be quite as apocalyptic for the Coalition as earlier booth-matched projections made it appear. Cases in point included Brighton, where a 10.2% election day swing that appeared set to deliver Labor a shock victory was followed by swings of only 2.6% on pre-polls and 1.8% on postals; and Hawthorn, where a 10.8% swing had John Pesutto reading his own obituary on ABC Television, only for him to inch to a 53 vote lead after pre-polls and postals only swung 3.4% and 4.5%.

Another seat where the cavalry arrived late was Caulfield, although alert PB commenter Trent notes what is clearly an anomaly in the result. This relates to the booth of Elsternwick North, where Labor has a higher primary than two-party preferred – a mathematical impossibility that can be readily explained by the party’s two-party results having been entered the wrong way around. On this basis, the Liberal margin would appear to be 1.8% rather than 2.9%, although that should be enough for David Southwick after his early fright.

A particularly interesting feature of the result is that the gap between early and election day polling swings was very much a phenomenon of the affluent areas nearer the city. Late counting did little to diminish the swathe Labor cut through the eastern suburbs, which took in Burwood, Mount Waverley, Ringwood and Box Hill. The one exception to this picture was Bayswater, where Heidi Victoria suffered only a 1.5% swing on pre-polls compared with 6.5% on ordinary votes, and ended the night 72 votes in front. In Labor’s other clear gain, the Geelong region seat of South Barwon, pre-polls actually swung quite a bit more heavily than election day votes — 12.6% compared with 7.5%. Nor was pre-poll voting any less harsh on the Liberals in the sandbelt seats, which have delivered Labor stunning margins of 11.9% in Bentleigh, 11.7% in Carrum, 12.3% in Mordialloc and 9.5% in Frankston.

The least unexpected of Labor’s gains was the heavily over quota electorate of Bass, the story of which is told by the suburb of Clyde: in 2014 had one booth which went 376-165 to Liberal, while in 2018 it had two booths that collectively went 1318-932 to Labor. Still in doubt are Bass’s near neighbour, Nepean, where Labor holds a 1.0% lead after swings of 11.3% on the ordinary vote and around 6.0% on pre-polls and postals; Sandringham, where the Liberals now lead by 1.0% and should have the advantage on remaining postals; and Ripon, a Labor target seat where the Coalition performed well above the norm, as they did in Eildon and Euroa, which have in common being regional seats defended by female sophomores.

As usual, it’s been a nerve-wracking election night for the Greens, who are now holding out for their traditionally strong showing on absent votes in a number of seats (to say nothing of the upper house, which I will defer for a later time). This will presumably be enough to keep Ellen Sandell safe in Melbourne, where she leads by 1.2%, and could well allow Tim Read to close his 72 vote gap over Labor’s Cindy O’Connor in Brunswick. However, the Greens have failed to replicate their by-election win in Northcote, and had a rather poor result in Richmond, despite the Liberals making life easier for them by declining to field a candidate. Prahran was a particularly pronounced example of the Liberals doing better on pre-poll and postals voting in inner urban areas, which removed the possibility of their being excluded in what earlier looked a three-way dead heat on the primary vote. So the winner will be whoever finishes second out of Greens incumbent Sam Hibbins (28.3%) and Labor’s Neil Pharaoh (29.6%).

Aside from Shepparton, which was easily retained by Suzanna Sheed, the following seats have independents somewhere or other in the mix:

Mildura. My model says independent Ali Cupper’s 1.3% margin is enough, but it’s not sufficiently cognisant of how well the Nationals tend to do on postals.

Morwell. Labor’s Mark Richards has the edge in the two-party count against the Nationals, but this is redundant as Nationals-turned-independent member Russell Northe will clearly run second. He must then chase down a 34.2% to 20.0% deficit on the primary vote with mostly conservative preferences.

Benambra. The two-party count was Liberal versus Labor, but the potential for interest here lies in the potential for independent Jacqui Hawkins (16.8%) to get ahead of Labor (17.6%) with preferences from independent Jenny O’Connor (12.9%) and then ride home over Liberal incumbent Bill Tilley (40.3%).

Geelong. Independent Darryn Lyons is a clear second on 25.2% to the Liberal’s 20.2%, and Labor incumbent Christine Couzens’ 40.3% is low enough that she might have to worry.

Melton. An exquisitely complicated contest in a normally safe Labor seats which, in which Labor had a retiring member and a late substitute after their original candidate withdrew. There are twelve candidates, most of whom appear to have at least some sort of following locally, and the Labor primary vote is only 34.3%. If preferences from the first eight excluded candidates lock heavily behind independents Bob Turner or Ian Birchall, the might get ahead of the Liberal and then home on preferences. However, one suspects there will be a good deal of leakage along the way. In pure two-party terms, there has been a very unusual 7.2% swing to the Liberals.

Pascoe Vale. Haven’t heard much talk about this, but the primary votes look a bit dangerous for Labor’s Lizzie Blandthorn, who has 37.1% to independent Oscar Yildiz on 25.5%.

Victorian election live

Live coverage of the count for the Victorian state election.

Live publication of results, updated by the minute with full booth results, swings and probability estimates, can be found here. Commentary of the progress of the count follows below.

12.50pm. John Pesutto now leads by 53 votes in Hawthorn, and I’m also now projected the Liberals to hold Caulfield. So without wishing to take anything away from the scale of Labor’s win, a big part of the election night story is that Liberal voters voted early. I’ve now got Sandringham back down as a confirmed Labor gain, but with no pre-polls or postals there yet, I certainly wouldn’t take that for granted. I will be off line for the next half an hour, and my results won’t be updating in that time.

12.18pm. Things continue to look less bad for the Liberals. My model now has the Liberals with their nose in front in Mount Waverley and Nepean, and is no longer giving away Sandringham, Bayswater and Hawthorn — though it’s still calling it for Labor in Ringwood, Caulfield and Box Hill. Over the past hour, the statewide Labor swing has come down from 3.7% to 3.2%.

11.35pm. The notion that some of the more freakish results would be overturned on late counting is looking good. The Liberals are now home in Brighton, after hardly any swing was recorded on pre-poll and postal votes. My seat projection has come down over the last few hours from 59 to 56 (which really means 60 to 57, because a bug is awarding Preston to the Liberals — though equally, it may be wrong about the Greens winning Prahran).

9.30pm. The Greens, as ever, are living on a knife edge — they could win four, they could win nothing. The ABC projects them with leads of 2.2% in Melbourne and 1.0% lead in Brunswick, while they’re 1.0% behind in Northcote. The only thing the Prahran two-party count tells us is that they will definitely beat the Liberals if that’s what it comes down to, but with nothing to separate Labor, Liberal and the Greens, they may drop out in third, or lose to Labor if it’s the Liberals who do so. The one thing that is clear is that they have not won Richmond, despite the Liberals’ decision to give them a leg-up by not fielding a candidate.

9.07pm. Plenty to feast on in the ABC’s seats in doubt list, on which twelve seats are listed. Labor has only the gentlest of leads in Brighton, which one suspects will not stick; they are slightly further ahead in Sandringham, which remains very much in doubt; a Labor win in either would be astonishing. Both were vacated by sitting members, and male candidates (a conservative young turk in the case of Brighton) were chosen for both of them.

9.02pm. There are nine seats listed on the ABC’s “changing hands” list – Bayswater, with a 2.0% Labor lead and 42.8% counted, may not be nailed down yet, but the others look fairly solid. The only ones that were widely thought a shot for Labor in advance were Bass, South Barwon and maybe Burwood. The others are remarkable for being affluent and historically blue-ribbon Liberal seats: Box Hill, Caulfield, Mount Waverley and Ringwood. Then there is Nepean, which is a semi-rural seat neighbouring Bass, where the Liberals had a retiring sitting member and may, as in Bass, have been hampered by the retirement of the sitting member, not to mention the party’s uninspired choice for his successor.

8.24pm. Rather extraordinarily, the ABC computer has Labor ahead in Brighton and Sandringham. Either the backlash against the Liberals by well-heeled voters has taken on hitherto unanticipated dimensions, or the high pre-poll vote is turning up static.

8.08pm. Labor has retained Richmond, where the Greens showed characteristic persistence with a dud candidate, but the ABC has the Greens retaining Melbourne and Northcote. Brunswick has been going back and forth — currently it’s down as Labor retain. Prahran is a three-way contest that will be determined by the candidate who drops out in third.

7.53pm. Burwood took a long time to report a result, but not it has, it’s looking like another possible gain for Labor … and indeed has been called for Labor by the ABC as I type.

7.49pm. Ringwood and Mount Waverley looking very solid for Labor now, and Labor looks to have gained South Barwon. The ABC calling Box Hill and Nepean for Labor, but I wouldn’t give those away yet. Less unexpectedly, Labor to gain Bass. Looking close in Ripon, which was thought a lot more likely to go to Labor than the aforementioned.

7.48pm. The ABC computer is now calling Mildura an independent gain, but it shouldn’t be because it’s far too close.

7.38pm. Independent Suzanna Sheed comfortably returned in Shepparton. The ALP is calling Mildura a Nationals retain, but it looks close to me, with independent Ali Cupper a show. The ABC computer apparently doesn’t expect Darryn Lyons to get very strong preferences in Geelong, but I’ll be keeping an eye on it. Ditto Benambra, where Jacqui Hawkins looks competitive against Liberal Bill Tilley. Independent Tammy Atkins is running second behind beleaguered Nationals member Tim McCurdy in Ovens Valley, but his primary vote of 43% looks high enough.

7.36pm. The ABC computer has wound Forest Hill back from Labor gain to Labor ahead, but the Labor leads in Mount Waverley and Ringwood look rather formidable.

7.34pm. Prahran now looking a near three-way tie on the primary vote, as it was in 2014. The Greens are struggling to hold Northcote; still early days in Melbourne and Brunswick; nothing yet in Richmond.

7.32pm. The ABC computer is calling Benambra Liberal retain, but this assumes a Liberal-versus-Labor contest, and independent Jacqui Hawkins is well ahead of Labor in second place. With a primary vote barely north of 40%, Liberal member Bill Tilley is another in trouble.

7.31pm. Small swing to the Greens from the first booth in Melbourne.

7.30pm. Antony Green picking three unheralded Labor gains in the eastern suburbs: Forest Hill, Mount Waverley and Ringwood.

7.27pm. The ABC guesstimate says Labor shouldn’t be troubled by Darryn Lyons in Geelong, but the primary vote numbers look pretty soft for them to me, being just north of 40% and with Lyons clearly placed to finish second.

7.24pm. I’ve been tending to focus on boutique regional contests, but the big story is of overwhelming success for Labor in eastern Melbourne. They’re bolting it in the sandbelt seats, and putting the Liberals under pressure in normally solid seats. Though I reiterate the note of caution that there may be a lot of Liberal vote outstanding in the pre-polls, which will come through later in the night. Even so, it’s clearly a question of how far Labor.

7.18pm. Labor’s good early figures in Ringwood, which I found hard to credit, appear to be sticking.

7.16pm. One bit of good news for the Liberals is there’s an early swing to them in the endangered country seat of Ripon.

7.15pm. The Liberals look like they will run third in Prahran, rendering the notional Liberal-versus-Greens preference count academic. So the result will come down to the flow of Liberal preferences between Labor and the Greens.

7.13pm. The second booth in Brunswick is better for Labor than the first – there is now a 1.0% swing in their favour. Nothing else in from the other potential Greens seats.

7.10pm. The ABC is covering Geelong, where it actually seems to me that independent Darryn Lyons is doing a lot better than he deserves — he’s matching it with the Liberals on the primary vote, and Labor is only on 36.2%. However, the primary vote swing to Labor is 3.5%, which would keep them safe if consistent.

7.07pm. An interestingly huge swing to Labor in the first booth in from Albert Park, whose Wentworth-ish demographic might not be too thrilled with the Liberals right now. The Liberals came close to knocking it over in 2010 and 2014, but not this time by the look of it.

7.06pm. First booth in from Brunswick is a 3.7% swing to the Greens, which exceeds the 2.3% Labor margin.

7.04pm. Independent Jacqui Hawkins polling strongly in Benambra with 25.1%, and Bill Tilley’s 43.1% is low enough to make it touch-and-go for him after preferences.

7.03pm. Early days, but Nationals member Peter Crisp is under pressure from independent Ali Cupper in Mildura.

7.00pm. The first electorate with over 10% counted is Gippsland South, with a 3.7% swing to Labor. It should be cautioned here that the dynamic in play may be that the upsurge in pre-poll voting has disproportionately involved conservative voters. If so, some of these swings will come back later in the evening.

6.58pm. The ABC election results page (they need to make this stuff easier to locate) paints an impressive picture of across-the-board swings to Labor in all those electorates where two-party votes are in.

6.56pm. Russell Northe, the Liberals and the Nationals are almost exactly level in Morwell, all on around 17%, with Labor on 28.3%. Only a few small rural booths, 1.5% counted.

6.53pm. James Purcell, the upper house micro-party member trying to win South-West Coast as an independent, trails Labor 21.2% to 17.2% with 4.3% counted. The Liberal is on 42.0%, so he might be competitive if he closes that gap.

6.50pm. The ABC’s booth-matching is picking up a 6% to 7% drop in the Coalition primary vote, although there is only 0.6% counted.

6.35pm. A few peculiarities with the VEC’s approach actually, such as media feed updates only coming through every five minutes. However, they have picked the notional two-party counts I would have expected, having been guided entirely by what happened last time. So Nationals versus independent counts in Shepparton and Mildura, Nationals versus Labor in Morwell and Liberal versus Greens in Prahran.

6.25pm. An unforeseen peculiarity in the way the AEC does its media feeds means I won’t be able to get my results reporting facility to work until every electorate has a two-party preferred result in, which should take a while.

5.30pm. Half an hour before polls close, a YouGov Galaxy exit poll gives Labor a lead of 55-45. While exit polls don’t have a brilliant record in this country, this does add to a formidable picture of a strong result for Labor. For my part, I’m currently sweating over how my live results reporting and projection facility is going to operate in a real world environment, so stay tuned for that. It should be up in one form or another at about 6:15pm, with the first results to come through shortly after.